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Comment Re:Great System (Score 1) 148

This is for two days. It's not likely even the ultra rich are going to buy a new Mercedes specifically to bypass this rule when the maximum in fines they'll suffer will be EUR35. Not unless Europe has seen some significant deflation lately and EUR34 is the cost of a brand new Mercedes.

Comment Re:Banish cars from the city center (Score 2) 148

I used to walk half way across Reading, in the UK, from Sainsburys in the city center to my flat, carrying four or more bags of groceries. Older people had little carts, resembling carry on bags (the type with a slide out handle and two wheels) you'd see in an airport, to do the job.

And in the event I really had too much weight in those bags to contemplate walking that distance, I'd take a bus.

Why would you think you'd need a magical transportation device for more than one grocery bag?

Comment Re:Way ahead of you (Score 1) 148

One issue with public transportation in the US (not so much in the EU) is that everyone assumes that the primary incentive to get people to use it must be cost. As a result, it's usually run on an absurdly low budget, given revenues are only a fraction of costs, and inevitably it ends up not being terribly useful. Which means few people ride it, at any cost.

If you want public transportation to be popular, you need to make it useful. Make it useful enough, and people will use it, even if the prices are similar to, or even higher than, other forms of transportation.

One Parisian above claims that it takes an hour and a half to cross the city to get from one suburb to another, while it takes 20 minutes by car. That, to me, is a sign that there aren't enough buses filling in the gaps. Here in Martin County, Florida the "bus system" appears to be designed to turn tax money into jobs, rather than provide a useful service, with buses spaced an hour apart, taking an inordinate length of time to cross the county, only offered during daylight hours, and providing no effective county to county service. If they ran every ten minutes, with express buses linking to nearby county systems, I'd probably use it, because I hate driving.

On a wider scale (yes, I know this isn't directly comparable, it's to demonstrate the point about usefulness vs price), Amtrak's Acela Express charges passengers orders of magnitude more per mile than, say, the Silver Meteor. It also carries 10-20x as many passengers. Why? Because it's useful. It links major population centers with an hourly service, rather than linking minor towns and cities with a once-a-day service. So people are willing to pay big money to travel on it. Which is why it makes double what it costs, as opposed to the Meteor which makes half of what it costs.

Build a useful service and they will come. You don't need to make it free. In fact, making it free is probably the worst possible thing you can do.

Comment Re:Qualcomm doesn't make chips (Score 1) 86

My understanding is most server farms are connected to dedicated nuclear power plants anyway, so power consumption isn't an issue. Heat dissipation? Yeah, that might be an issue.

Heat and power are the same issue. The conservation of energy means that power in is power out, and the power out is heat that needs to be dissipated. A rule of thumb for data centres is that every dollar you pay in electricity for the computers, you need to pay another dollar in electricity for cooling. If you want high density, then you hit hard limits in the amount of heat that you can physically extract (faster fans hit diminishing returns quickly). This is why AMD's presence in the server room went from close to 100% to close to 0%: Intel was much better at low power.

Comment Re:Intel 10nm != Other Foundry 10nm (Score 1) 86

Intels problem is that it cannot sell FAB time because they are vertically integrated

This is true. Intel will fab chips for other people, but they've had very few customers because everyone knows that the priority customer at Intel fabs is Intel and if yields are lower than expected it won't be Intel chips that get delayed.

Intel builds a FAB and runs its next gen chips off of it for a few years, then they are stuck looking for something to do with the FAB when it is no longer current-gen

This is simply not true. Slashdot likes to think of Intel as a a CPU vendor, but that's actually quite a small part of their business. They make a lot of other kinds of chip and a great many of these don't require the latest and greatest fab technology. This has always been a big part of their advantage over AMD: they have products that will use the fab for 10+ years, so they can amortise the construction costs over that long a period.

TSMC's revenue is now approaching Intel's, and unlike Intel they can keep all their FABs busy making money, so the outlook for Intel is grim without a serious restructuring, which they are doing (see recent massive layoffs, and bullshit marketing about their new "cloud strategy")

This is the important part and is where the ARM ecosystem has an advantage over Intel. No single processor vendor has to compete head-to-head with Intel. As long as the total size of the ecosystem is large enough, the foundries can invest in process improvements.

Comment Re:ARMing servers. (Score 2) 86

AMD had a unique market opportunity to build up a good manufacturing base w/ quality fabs for their CPUs, but didn't. Intel gave top priority to their fabs, and are the standard

AMD spun off their fabs for precisely this reason. Building fabs is insanely expensive and the only way to do is to amortise the cost over a lot of chips. Even at its peak, Intel was producing 4-5 times as many CPUs as AMD and had a load of lower-end products (e.g. network interfaces) that they'd start using the fabs for once they were a generation old. There was absolutely no way for AMD to compete head to head with Intel in fab technology, because they couldn't get the economies of scale.

This does; however, highlight just how bad Intel is at CPU design. AMD has been able to achieve rough parity for decades (and been ahead a couple of times, with the original Athlons and Opterons) in spite of always being at least one process generation behind in fabrication technology.

Comment Re: It takes a LOT of cache and very clever data p (Score 1) 86

Linked lists are just traditionally implemented linked lists. Hash tables are just traditionally implemented hash tables

Linked lists suck for caches, but hash tables don't have to. There's a trend for libraries to provide things like hopscotch hash tables as the default hash table implementation and these are very much cache aware. The real problem is the trend towards languages that favour composition by reference rather than by inclusion, which means that you do a lot of pointer chasing, which is very bad for both caches and modern pipelines.

Comment Re:But... (Score 1) 149

I think that this is less of a problem in Paris, but it's crazy in some other places. I used to live in Swansea, and for the last few years I lived there the cost of a day ticket was less than most fares (which the drivers knew, so they'd give you the day pass if you asked for most things). At £2.30/day, it wasn't too bad, but for 3-4 of you it was often cheaper to get a taxi. We went back a few months ago and it was cheaper for one person to get a taxi for shortish hops than to take the bus and the cost of the day tickets had gone up enough that it wasn't worth it.

The city council had spent millions remodelling the city centre to allow larger bendy busses when I was there. I never saw one more than 50% full and apparently a year or two ago they discontinued them. If they'd spent the same amount of money on more frequent, subsidised, minibuses, treating it as infrastructure that encourages people to do things that raise tax revenue rather than as a profit centre, then they'd have had far more people using public transport. Instead, privately owned bus companies have made a lot of money and it's now at a point where it's cheaper to drive than to take the bus.

Comment Re:But... (Score 3, Informative) 149

Every week I drive to the supermarket and pick up 20-30 kg of stuff[*].

Why do you do this? I haven't done a big supermarket shop in person for over 10 years. It takes 10-20 minutes to drive each way, an hour wandering around the shop, I have to queue for the checkouts, and it's just a horrible experience. All of the major supermarket chains deliver and it takes about 10-20 minutes to do the shop online (5 minutes for a routine shop where I'm just adding stuff from my favourites) and then it's delivered to my door, by a van that's delivering to a dozen other people on the way.

I'm doing pretty well just to walk through the store and COLLECT the stuff. And no, nobody will deliver it, even if I had two pennies to rub together to pay them with.

Delivery from most supermarkets here is free and even from the rest it's far cheaper than the cost of driving there, even if you don't factor in the cost of your time.

Comment Re:Bluetooth Headphones (Score 1) 317

Plus Bluetooth on Android (may be true of iOS too, no idea) is fairly bug ridden and crappy. I've seen three relatively recent Android phones that crash if they try to connect to our minivan's BT system. Googling for "bluetooth share has stopped" (the error message the phones give) show this is a common problem and has been for some years. Looks like the 4.x series was the last version of Android that had remotely stable Bluetooth support.

You'd think, at the very least, Samsung would hold off until Google can put out a half way stable Bluetooth stack.

Comment Re:Yey! (Score 0) 130

I thought the game looked okay (especially for a one-hour thing), but then I saw what he'd actually had to do. The things that were done for him:
  • Drawing the game board.
  • Collision detection between ball and player, goal, and walls
  • The bounce logic.
  • Events delivered for the buttons.
  • The mechanic for introducing a new ball into the game.
  • The score management. This is like those lego sets that have about half a dozen pieces and can be quickly assembled into a single design of spaceship. Yes, sure, you've built something, but there was little creativity or effort involved. It's not a bad learning tool (and for something that expects people with no programming experience to get something done in an hour, it's fine) but if he doesn't realise how much harder all of the pre-defined bits were to write than the simple logic for gluing them all together then he's now dangerously ignorant.

Comment Re: Yeah but... (Score 1) 194

That's why DVR users aren't thieves - in the end, the programming they like gets cancelled, so in the end they just hurt themselves in the long run.

That assumes they would have watched the same shows with ads. I can honestly say that I wouldn't, because in 2001 I canceled my cable completely because I found US TV unwatchable because of the ads. It wasn't until four or five years later that I "came back", and that was a combination of my soon-to-be wife wanting TV, and me requiring we have a DVR as part of the package.

What we're actually seeing now, as a result of the effect the DVR has had on the industry and the opportunities the Internet provides, is a massive, unprecedented, move to subscription TV. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, are all producing their own TV programming, with quality as good as the broadcast networks, and networks like HBO are broadening the ways in which their content can be obtained. Meanwhile even the broadcast networks are finding people buy their shows if they put each episode up on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, etc, immediately after broadcasting them.

Did we screw ourselves? Nah. I think we're getting what we asked for. And for the most part, we're getting what we wanted as a result.

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