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Comment Re:Not the press: OPERA (Score 2) 186

*you* read the paper.

From your link (emphasis mine):

In conclusion, despite the large significance of the measurement reported here and the
robustness of the analysis, the potentially great impact of the result motivates the continuation of
our studies in order to investigate possible still unknown systematic effects that could explain the
observed anomaly. We deliberately do not attempt any theoretical or phenomenological
interpretation of the results.

They specifically did not make the claim that neutrinos were travelling faster than light. The paper actually contains a lot of detail, and they were asking for ideas on what they might have missed. Did you read past the abstract?

Comment how will they disable 3rd-party add-ons? (Score 1) 383

> we are disabling add-ons installed by third parties without your permission

how will they do this, technically? from what I understand, on windows, as long as the program installer can write to your firefox directory (unfortunately this is highly probable), it can put what it wants there, even modify the firefox binary. The only solution I can think of is some kind of hash-based solution where modified files are detected, but that stinks of a flawed DRM-style approach. How will they mitigate ill-behaved 3rd-party installers?

Comment why does Android use FAT anyway? (Score 1) 186

Is Android really using FAT?

The only reason I can think of to use FAT on a device is because you'll sooner or later need to put the SD card into a Windows computer and it won't be able to access it. This makes some sense for SD cards and USB sticks, but Android devices are so good at using Wifi for file transfer (ftp apps, dropbox, http, email, many many options..)

I can hardly imagine really _needing_ to take the SD card out of my tablet and physically inserting it into my desktop computer. So why not just say that this is not a supported action, drop FAT, and use another file system by default?

Comment Cyperownership (Score 1) 176

A subject that I thought about a lot after first reading Snow Crash was the concept of "ownership" in the metaverse. If I remember correctly (it's been a few years) the main character was sort of rich because he was in on the metaverse early and owned a bunch of virtual "land". I recall trying to get my head around how ownership could even work in a peer-to-peer system where the bits and pieces of the metaverse are running on various computers and mobile devices around the world.

Companies like Linden Lab have taken a centralised approach, but this doesn't really equate with the ideas in the book. Now it seems clear that the answer is something like bitcoin, where a proof-of-work can be used to make copying impossible. If bitcoin could be used to organise a fully peer-to-peer cyberworld then perhaps there could be some mutual benefit there -- a way to organize land ownership, and a way to assign solid value to bitcoin.

I suppose in a way this is what namecoin is attempting to do by organizing a replacement for DNS around a similar concept.

Comment email? (Score 1) 734

I'd like to see evidence that it is really email that is killing USPS. With internet shopping, there are more packages being sent than ever. I don't know the facts, but I imagine that packages must be far more profitable than letters. However, for reasons I just don't understand*, many online shops use UPS or other private services instead of USPS. I would argue that it is competition that is killing USPS, not the internet.

* I always choose USPS when I order things because then the items end up down the street from me and I just go pick them up. Contrast to UPS, where if I'm not home when they drive to deliver (before 5pm of course, who's home at that time?), then I have to somehow get my ass very far out of town to their depot to pick up the package; without a car, this is extremely inconvenient. Sadly, some shops don't even seem to give you the option of selecting the postal service.

Comment Won't affect Quebec (Score 1) 405

Fortunately, if they stick to their 2006 decision, this can't affect Quebec, who have banned all future ideas related to electronic voting.

On a related note, the only eVoting system I've seen that I would actually trust is Punchscan... note however that it only allows you to later verify that your vote was cast and counted correctly when you come home from the polls. It's not intended for internet voting, which comes with a whole extra set of problems.

Comment has digital i/O (Score 2) 82

I was doubting the "robotics" claim because all I could see in any of the descriptions was that it has USB and Ethernet. Usually to control motors one needs more low-level I/O than that.

I was wondering if they would consider having analog inputs or PWM outputs, but I don't think it's the case. Having to use a tx/rx to shell out these services to a small microcontroller would be a crappy, inefficient solution.

However, I found in one of the comments that one of the developers claims they have "roughly 16 3.3V GPIO lines, 2 3.3V I2C and a 3.3V SPI." So you'll need to add your own driver chips, which makes sense, but at least high-speed interchip communication will be available.

Comment Quantum effects don't remove Turing interpretation (Score 1) 729

The fallacy here as far as I can tell is the assumption that things which rely on quantum effects on the lowest level have any effect on their _macroscopic_ interpretation of having determinism. Complex systems of probabilities can result in perfectly deterministic computations, when averaged over a number of trials and thresholded. (Otherwise you calculated the probabilities wrong.) There is no theory that I know of that states in a general manner that because something relies on quantum effects it *cannot* be simulated in a Turing machine, i.e., is not computable. Put more tersely, there seems to be an unfounded assumption that quantum effects imply incomputability; where does this come from?

Comment I really enjoy watching 3D movies. (Score 1) 394

It seems to be an unpopular point of view, but I really enjoy 3D movies. I've never gotten this headache people talk about. I just really like the immersive experience. It's true that 3D is not always used properly by directors, and that it definitely requires a higher frame rate than is normally used, but these are technicalities that will improve over time. In general I find 3D really makes a movie more immersive, it can be quite captivating. Avatar was an incredible experience.

Comment So this isn't about the _rest_ of your hard drive (Score 1) 333

When I first read the title, I thought the article was talking about the Dropbox local utility reading data on the _rest_ of your hard drive. Well, seems everyone is talking about the data you actually put in your drop box, which is fine... simple solution, just encrypt it. (I've been using encfs.)

But considering you're deploying a local program that has access to your whole home folder, and whose only job is to upload data to a server, it wouldn't be such a big stretch for Dropbox to be asked by authorities or even by some rogue employee to access any old file on your hard drive. By installing a closed-source program that is always running in the background, you're basically giving them carte-blanche access to your data, whether it's in your drop box or not.

Comment Re:big diff: editors are actually important (Score 1) 290

My ebook reader at least doesn't do nearly as good a job at formatting an ePub as Latex does. For one thing it tends to leave the right side ragged and doesn't have a hyphenation engine. Maybe other ebook readers have better renderers, but in general I like Latex's output and find it the most readable.

Comment Need a more descriptive summary (Score 1) 97

From the summary it looks like they are basically using a classifier which they spent a lot of time training, and it works well. This is impressive, but I don't know if it meets the story title's claim of "AI breakthrough", since from the summary it sounds basically like, "researchers used classifier for classifying data and it worked!" Can someone summarize in a little more detail exactly what the "breakthrough" entails, other than basically standard use of classifiers for training on data sets?

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