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Comment Re:i/o ports and support (Score 1) 59

The Pie has FreeBSD and other Linux distro support and lots of i/O to hook up other peripherals.

And I was running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on a Beagle Bone Black in April of '04 (although its userland was running on a somewhat back-versioned kernel for a couple months until the guy doing the kernel ports got the proper one fully ported).

The Black is not the first Beagle Bone version, either, and it was running Debian Linux from the first time I encountered it. It has lots of I/O hookup opportunities - including onboard USB, Ethernet, video, and lots of GPIOs that can be configured to provide several serial ports and a number of buses, in addition to lots of wiggle wires. And you can stack peripheral boards on it, as well.

Plug in a wall wart, USB hub, keyboard, mouse, monitor, (and, if 4 or 8 Gigabytes of file systems feels too cramped, a USB drive or mount a filesystem from a fileserver). Bingo: a full-blown desktop system with about the power of a cellphone and smaller than a pack of cigarettes (excluding all the stuff you plugged into it, of course).

Which is not to say it's the best choice. it's just one I happen to be familiar with. There are a number of single-board machines out there. Cellphone processor technology is too powerful, cheap, and available to NOT be plowshared.

Comment Re:Short-term numbers versus long-term (Score 2) 96

I'm not up on state of the art on computer image/object recognition but the experience I have from about 10 years ago leads me to believe that...

Others have already responded to your other points, I just want to point out that experience from 10 years ago tells you basically nothing about the state of the art today. Deep learning methods have enabled dramatic progress on exactly the class of pattern matching problems that includes computer vision.

Personally, I still think that LIDAR is inherently superior to video cameras for this task, but Tesla's numbers are impressive, and prove that while their system may not be all that it should be, it's already better than a typical human driver -- at least than the typical Tesla buyer (note that I have no reason to believe that Tesla buyers would be worse than average drivers, but the possibility shouldn't be ignored).

Comment Re:Whitespace takes the most space (Score 1) 164

But what is the value of an algorithm that you can't actually execute?

In the practical world, language efficiency actually matters and is a reasonable thing to discuss.

Sure, that's true. But it has no bearing on the question of whether a language can accurately be called Turing Complete -- and Turing Completeness also matters, because it defines the class of algorithms that can be implemented in the language. What's the value of an algorithm that you can't implement because the language lacks the necessary expressive power? Except in very limited circumstances, Turing Completeness is a prerequisite. Without it, there's no point in discussing efficiency.

Comment Re:You need to do a bit of research. (Score 1) 136

Star Trek Continues also violates those same guidelines (high-quality props/sets/uniforms instead of toy-store quality items, professional acting/directing/scriptwriting

Have you seen Star Trek Continues? Cheesy plots, lousy acting, terrible effects and you can't tell me their props, uniforms and sets don't look like toys.

It's like a low-budget 1960s vision of space travel.

Comment Re:Whitespace takes the most space (Score 1) 164

To be considered Turing-complete, a language must be able to simulate a Turing machine - and that's actually impossible, since it can never meet the "infinite tape" requirement.

Languages are not machines. Languages have no memory limitations, and therefore have no trouble simulating a Turing machine.

The fact that we run code written in those languages on finite machines does not change the Turing-complete nature of the languages.

Comment Beer? (Score 2) 159

BSD is free like the Grimm fairytales.

Sometimes you're shared the stories and you're allowed to reshare them, e.g. from Gutenberg. Sometimes you're not. E.g. from Disney.

BSD gives you the freedom to take it, modify it, distribute it and not allow the recipient the same benefit.

"Free as in beer" doesn't imply the knowledge nor right to start a brewery and produce your own. It's ridiculous to say Linux is free as in beer.

Comment Re:Now lets see. (Score 5, Interesting) 1429

You might be interested in reading "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America", by Colin Woodard. The author argues that there are 11 distinct cultures in North America, which don't align neatly with state (or even national) boundaries, and that US politics is primarily a competition between two shifting coalitions of these 11 cultures, coalitions anchored in the Yankee culture (Democrats) and the Deep South culture (Republicans). One value that both of those cultures hold in common is authoritarianism, though of very different forms.

Yankeedom is built around and values a communitarian form of authoritarianism, derived largely from its Puritanical heritage. Even though the religious aspects of Yankee Puritanism have gone away, they've been replaced by a secular form of the same thing, which is the notion that while it's critical that the people as a whole have "independence", meaning they can form their own assemblies and regulate themselves, the individual should willingly subjugate his or her own will to that of the community. In Puritan days, this was severe; almost any form of disagreement with the community's religious and social values resulted in severe punishment. Individual freedom was not valued, and tolerance for alternative views was extremely low. Also, Yankeedom reveres education, and therefore the fruits of education, including progressiveness.

The Deep South is built around and values a hierarchical form of very strict authoritarianism, derived from that region's slaveholding culture, which enabled it to establish an essentially feudal model of lordly manors occupied by elegant idlers, supported by masses of lower classes. The southern planters placed tremendous value on "liberty" but it was the old Greek and Roman notion of liberty, which is available only to those at the top. The south took the "lower classes" notion a bit further than feudal lords with their serfs, but the southern class-based society wasn't just "planters" and "slaves", there was also a large underclass of what we might now call white trash, which was also expected to be subservient. What's perhaps odd about the old Deep Southern notions of hierarchy is that they were so deeply embedded in the society that although the underclasses chafed a bit, they also grew to expect a strong hierarchy and to respect their aristocratic leaders.

So, the two core cultures around which our political battles revolve are both authoritarians. Their allied cultures are less authoritarian, but it's the core cultures that hold the whip hand. In particular the left coast is very big on individual freedom and self-realization, but also has its roots in Yankeedom, including the trust in education and progress, which makes is a natural ally of the Yankee culture even though they disagree on individual freedom. Similarly, the far west culture is very libertarian but allies with the deep south because of its opposition to Yankeedom, rather than because it likes the southern authoritarianism.

Anyway, that's a flavor of what's in the book. You probably won't agree with all of it (I don't), but a lot of it makes a great deal of sense and I found that it really illuminates my understanding of the major political dynamics in the US, and has helped me understand why there is this strong streak of authoritarianism in a country that purportedly values freedom and independence.

Comment Re:this is all very odd (Score 2) 22

For anything expensive, sure. But this isn't for that - the buttons are for things you already use, already have decided you like, and don't want to have to think about running out of. I have one for trash bags, for example. I don't need to spend time thinking about trash bags, I just need more to magically appear when I'm nearly out.

It's a convenience, nothing more.

Comment Re:We deserve what we get. (Score 2) 79

A Meitu spokesman actually replied to the ArsTechnica article on this:

Since they're a Chinese company, they have to collect their own user data since they don't have access to user data from the Apple / Google stores. So they likely have less info about you than most Western app devs.

I installed Meitu on an Android 7.1 device yesterday. It only asks for device permissions as it needs them. I denied giving it access to my phone functions and the app works fine without that telemetry. But if you're really paranoid, go ahead and play with it in Andyroid or something.

Comment Not so much for iOS (Score 2) 79

It's worth pointing out that iOS doesn't allow apps to access the MAC, IMEI or any other persistent unique ID field (for just this reason). There is a unique ID field designed for apps to use for device identification but it is generated by the device on a per application basis, so it cannot be correlated with other apps. It also changes if you reinstall the app. Both of these facts make it fairly useless for nefarious purposes.

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