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Comment Don't worry about the tech of today. (Score 0) 557

Who cares about what cool tech there is today, in a few years it will be obsolete. Think about making your home as upgrade friendly as possible. Wireless is cool, but you can never have enough wire running through a house. If I was building new, I would run a pair of CAT6 to every wall and every light switch. I'd also lay DC power cable next to your AC cable, it isn't going to be long before battery tech makes DC homes more common so be prepared for it by putting the wiring in now while it is easy. I'd run speaker cables to each room including the ceilings and down walls to make it easy to put speakers anywhere. I'd spend money on a good patching system and rack cabinet and build it into the house design so you don't have to clamber around in the roof to change things. Invest in good infrastructure and you will never ever regret it, forget about the tech right now or you will narrow down the infrastructure you put in and limit what you can do in the future. Don't assume that everything will be wireless in the future. Wireless stuff is great but it will never be as great as the wired equivalent.

Comment Backups (Score 0) 446

the thing is, nothing that you can physically hold in your hand will ever be as secure and safe as an online option. say you spend $50,000 on a fireproof safe, multiple copies on flash disk, CD, paper, everything under the sun. its still not going to be as safe as sticking it in the cloud. the exact reason you list for saying you don't like cloud is why you should use cloud. "because once it leaves your property its out of your control" any solution that involves putting it on a physical medium and storing it on your property is not 100% safe. if you a paranoid, encrypt a file and store it on google drive. its not going to go away and it never will, google is not going to go out of business. and if you are ultra paranoid, store the same file on sky drive as well. you don't have access to the funds that these companies do that are required to keep digital storage safe, you would need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get in the same order of magnitude of safety as they can achieve.

Comment Re:Which is more tech? A computer or a human brain (Score 0) 460

consider this though, 99% of the technology in a cockpit is around the human interfaces to the 'brain'. dials, switches, screens, knobs, sticks, radios.... all that stuff only exists so that the pilot can control the plane. if you took all that stuff out you would remove a huge amount of technology, weight and cost. then you could replace it with technology that was only there to increase reliability and safety. a control stick does not make a plane safer, so get rid of it. a pilotless plane would have far less 'technology to go wrong' in it than a plane with a pilot. look at military drones, they very rarely fall out of the sky (and they are being shot at all the time) and the military often considers them as a disposable item. if we built a passenger aircraft with no pilot and made the focus of the technology onboard safe and reliable flight, there is no way that a piloted aircraft could ever come close to it in terms of reliability and safety.

Comment Re:IFR vs VFR (Score 0) 460

Yes, an autopilot could easily do that. For every point in space, you can give a computer an optimal landing location, it might be a road, a river, a beach or the nearest runway. But if a computer senses a failure and has to land it can lookup the closest viable location or can be fed a location from the ground.

Comment Re:IFR vs VFR (Score 0) 460

I get what you are saying, but consider this for a moment.... yes things fail in a cockpit, but 99% of the technology in a cockpit is only there to interface with a human, dials, gauges, switches, screens, control sticks, pedals. all that stuff is the stuff that fails. If you took all that stuff out of a plane the reliability would sky rocket. You can get all of the technology including sensors required to fly a commercial airliner on a circuit board the size of a small laptop. So if you take out all that interface technology and say replace it with 10 parallel autopilots and additional redundancy on everything. That has to be more reliable than all the switches, dials and human interface technology that is constantly failing today. How many times have you been delayed on a flight due to a 'failed gauge' that needs replacing. Imagine just getting rid of all that stuff and having standardized sensor packs that can be massively parallel and redundant. Stuff would just not fail any more, not catastrophically anyway, and if it does, the aircraft would just ignore the output from that sensor pack because it didn't correlate with the information coming out of the other 9. The only reason aircraft are unreliable is because we have to fill them up with technology so the pilots can see what is going on, just get rid of it all and the problem will go away.

Comment Re:Air Disasters (Score 0) 460

where the safety of many of our systems fail is with all of the interfaces. the actual brain that flies a brain is tiny, but think of all the millions of miles of wires, switches, screens and technology in a plane that is only there to provide an interface to two humans sitting in the seats. Its when that stuff fails that things go wrong. A short in a switch, a failed screen, a faulty dial. If you take all that interface stuff out, you would save tonnes and tonnes of weight and can replace it with more failsafes and more technology the sole purpose of which is to make the plane safer. Human interfaces technology does not make a plane safer. replace it with technology that actually does and I'll be the first to climb aboard.

Comment Re:There's idiotic, then there's this (Score 0) 460

Sorry, but you are wrong on this. That was in 1988. AI and Autopilots have come so far since then its almost a joke to compare. As I have said before, an autopilot does not have to be perfect, they just have to be better than humans. For every air incident you point to that was a result of technology failing, I can point you to 100 others that have been caused by human error. The robots are coming and while there will be accidents, there will be far fewer than what there is now.

Comment Re:An autopilot would never have landed in the Hud (Score 0) 460

but arguably, if an autopilot had been given the hudson as a landing location it could have pulled it off just as well if not better than sully. don't forget, Sully "didn't know if they would make it back to the airport safely". a computer could have calculated exactly which airports were viable landing options given all the input (rather than a hunch). Sullys actions were only right because nobody died, but what if everyone died on board (which could have just as easily happened) and it was subsequently found he could have made it back to an airstrip? Nobody bothered to calculate for certain if he could have made it back, only because nobody died. If they had died then he would have been called a very poor pilot if he could have made it back. While Sullys cool and calm were admirable there was a considerable amount of luck involved in that incident. If every pilot on every plane was a Sully you might have a valid point, but they aren't all that good. An autopilot could consistently and accurately make the right call with the best chance of survival without any guesswork. It would know based on its altitude, winds and distance where it could make it back to.

Comment Re:no way in hell (Score 0) 460

actually, its probably exactly those high wind flights that the pilots leave the auto-pilot on for landing. a human is too slow to react to those really high cross wind situations and an autopilot can do a fantastic job of keep an aircraft on a steady keel. they just dial in the heading / co-ordinates of the runway and set the target altitude and sit back and watch all the blinky lights.

Comment Its only a matter of time (Score 0) 460

In order for automated pilots to replace humans, they don't need to be perfect, they only need to be better than human pilots, and judging by 90% of air accidents, that wouldn't be too hard. How many times have you heard of a plane crash because the Autopilot malfunctioned? Never. Its only a matter of time and if I was a human pilot I'd be thinking about my career prospects.

Comment Re:Not all audiphiles are like this (Score 0) 418

I am a professional live sound engineer, and I have to disagree with the thoughts on speakers being the most important thing. I wrote a blog series on why spending a lot on speakers (main relating to live sound but just as applicable to Hi Fi) is not the best place to invest your money. The difference between a high quality speaker and a crap speaker is actually not all the much. They both push air. The cabinet design has a far greater impact than the speaker within the If I was building the ultimate home Hi Fi, then I wouldn't spend that much on speakers at all, any mid range brand would be absolutely fine. Where I would spend my money would be on the amplifier. I wouldn't even buy a "Hi Fi" amp, I'd get a mid range pro grade touring amplifier which cost half as much, deliver 5 times the power and probably have a lower noise floor. An average speaker being driven with an amplifier that is idling will sound far better than a top of the line speaker with a crappy amp. Here is my series on amplifiers:

Comment Quality vs Quantity (Score 0) 617

If the Quantity goes up and the price goes down it de-values the quality. ie because Tim and Bob are churning out load of rubbish music in their garage and selling it cheap, it reduces the value of a well produced album. Because the barrier to distribution has been removed, Tim and Bob are on an equal footing to a quality album. If there was ever any doubt about the supply / demand issue its in Spotify. Spotify has ~20 million songs and ~6 million users.

Comment Innocent until proven (Score 0) 604

Has it actually been proven they set the bombs? Have you actually seen any images of the suspects with guns or bombs? The scary thing for me that the president said the most important question for him was why these two did this. This implies they have been proven guilty. If you were in a foreign country and your image appeared on tv as the main suspect of an act of terror, would you hand yourself in of hide? There is something very dodgy going on here and that is plainly obvious without even needing to start looking up some of the crazy conspiracy theories.

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