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The Subtle Developer Exodus From the Mac App Store

Bitmanhome Re:Ob (229 comments)

You think Facebook did market research before starting up?

Yes, basically. According to the movie, Zuckerburg copied another in-development app, one that was likely to be successful. And being at the school he saw a need that he carefully wrote his app to fill.

"Market research" doesn't need to be charts and surveys; if you know your field well enough you can generate good ideas.

5 days ago

How 3D Printers Went Mainstream After Decades In Obscurity

Bitmanhome Re:How it happened? Easy: gigabytes of RAM (69 comments)

I suspect cheap and huge computers had a large effect too. I haven't done a 3D print, but the app that slices an object for printing and plans the head path probably takes a significant amount of CPU and RAM. The printer could easily have been built in the 80s, but only recently have home computers become powerful enough to drive them.

about three weeks ago

Why India's Mars Probe Was So Cheap

Bitmanhome Re:They outsourced their engineering to India (200 comments)

Citation needed. Govt projects still need "advertising" at least inside the govt to convince people it's worth spending money on this mission. Probably much lower than for films, but can't be sure.

about three weeks ago

Video Released, Crowdfunding Underway For Axiom Open Source Cinema Camera

Bitmanhome Don't see the need (52 comments)

My camera-nerd friend loves the new Sony a7s, as it's optimized for video. Considerably less expensive than this.

If I were to hack an image sensor, I'd work on phone cameras. At this price range, I expect the thing to be awesome out of the box, so "open source" doesn't really add anything.

So that just means the project is not for me. I hope it's successful regardless, but I suspect it's much cooler for the inventor than it will be for the users.

about 1 month ago

Buying New Commercial IT Hardware Isn't Always Worthwhile (Video)

Bitmanhome Re:Slashvertisement? (92 comments)

I agree with most of your post, but this is simply false. USB 3.0 is a completely new interface, bolted on USB 1/2 to make it seem like a seamless transition.

I've been wondering about that -- Since a USB 3 port has separate pins for ultra-speed and high-speed, shouldn't I be able to plug two devices into the same port?

about 3 months ago

"Internet's Own Boy" Briefly Knocked Off YouTube With Bogus DMCA Claim

Bitmanhome Re:Don't sweep it under the rug as collateral dama (157 comments)

But if the claimant doesn't have any copyright authority, I don't believe the claim is actionable under the DMCA. If I claim your video violates someone's copyright, YouTube is under no obligation. If I claim the video violates my copyright, only then is YouTube obligated to take down the video. And this triggers the perjury clause.

about 3 months ago

Is LG's New Ultra Widescreen Display Better Than "Normal" 4K?

Bitmanhome Re:4k at viewing distance isn't that special (304 comments)

20/20 is the ability to read things made of lines 1 arc-minute thick. If the letters are smaller, you might not be able to read them, but you can tell tell it's text because the rods and cones are much more dense than that. "General colored images" usually have texture.

Another big value that's not discussed often is that the higher the resolution, the harder the pixels are to see. This is why even 480i content looks better on an HD TV -- it's a much smoother, cleaner picture. Also, through some quirk of physics, when my eyes de-focus I can see pixels.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Which VHS Player To Buy?

Bitmanhome Re:Panasonic AG1980P (201 comments)

Be sure to test every tape with the TBC on and off. I've noticed a hint of pixelation with it on, and the dynamic range seems to be a bit narrower too. I believe you should leave TBC off as much as possible as long as your capture device likes the signal.

about 6 months ago

Sony Tape Storage Breakthrough Could Bring Us 185 TB Cartridges

Bitmanhome Re: But is it even usable? (208 comments)

I start with
# ls "/!BigData!"
to verify the computer is finding the dir I want to delete, then edit the command and insert rm -rf.

about 6 months ago

Camera Module Problems May Delay Samsung's Galaxy S5

Bitmanhome Re:How many megapixels is enough? (70 comments)

There's two advantages to silly numbers of megapixels on a phone. One is that there's no room for a zoom lens on a phone, so the more pixels your sensor has, the more useful digital zoom becomes.

The second is that us nerds buying high-megapixel senors funds research and development of high-megapixel sensors, eventually making them cheap enough that something like the Lytro light-field camera becomes possible on a phone.

about 7 months ago

NVIDIA Unveils Lineup of GeForce 800M Series Mobile GPUs, Many With Maxwell

Bitmanhome Re:seperate mobile GPU's is declining market (83 comments)

By ordering low-end GPU, you annoy everyone -- the users have to put up with crappy chips, IT has to support more complex systems, and budgeting has to pay for chips noone wants. So instead, order most of the laptops without discrete GPU to save a few bucks. Then order a few with high-end GPU for the few people who want them.

about 7 months ago

Google Glass User Fights Speeding Ticket, Saying She's Defending the Future

Bitmanhome Re:Reinforcing the term (464 comments)

No actually, a dash-mounted tablet (or phone) is not legal unless it is not "operating" (term is not defined), or it has explicit interlocks to prevent app and video operation while driving. IANAL, but the only way I can find to legally use your phone as a GPS is to install it facing away from the driver, and use it only in voice mode.

about 9 months ago

Officials Say Site Now Performing Well

Bitmanhome Re:Officials say? (644 comments)

No, you're thinking of banks. The purpose of insurance is to take your money and provide as little as possible, as long as you keep paying the premium. That insurance is useful these days is due to regulation, but it's not in the nature of insurance to behave this way.

The rest of your paragraph I totally agree with, except the last line -- It's not the government who's corrupting the system, it's the insurance company requesting laws that reflect their true nature, and the public constantly demanding free health care.

about 10 months ago

Officials Say Site Now Performing Well

Bitmanhome Re:Officials say? (644 comments)

I don't care "how it was sold," I can only be a responsible human and analyze the claims for myself. It's obvious that:

  • the hospitals support it because it means they can continue overcharging;
  • the insurance companies support it because it forces ALL health care money to go through their hands;
  • the public support it because they believe it means free health care;
  • the politicians know there's no way to make a workable plan, but the public wouldn't shut up about it so they pushed something through;
  • and, most importantly, this is clearly socialized medicine, though more complicated than other countries.

I don't understand the anger at the perceived lies. Insurance is fundamentally a fraud, and health care costs are also fraudulent. You're already happy with this level of corruption, and you're happy with encoding this corruption into law. Why are you suddenly unhappy with the way it's being done?

about a year ago

Officials Say Site Now Performing Well

Bitmanhome Re:Officials say? (644 comments)

One of the flaws in the law is that it doesn't allow for people who CAN afford healthcare and want the MINIMUM of insurance. That kind of catastrophic care insurance program is rarely useful for most normal people, but for those who are independently wealthy the plans are just fine.

It's not a flaw at all, that's how socialized medicine works. If you can afford your own health care, you still pay in to float all those who cannot. So your rich friend is not being scammed, he's simply paying the new U.S. health care tax.

about a year ago

Thor: The Dark World — What Did You Think?

Bitmanhome Re:What did you expect? (233 comments)

I haven't seen it, but the plot descriptions make it look like Tragedy.

about a year ago

Panasonic Announces an End To Plasma TVs In March

Bitmanhome Re:OLED (202 comments)

Organic doesn't mean alive, it means it was grown without pesticides and manufactured without preservatives.

about a year ago

Physicist Unveils a 'Turing Test' For Free Will

Bitmanhome Re:appearing to have free will (401 comments)

As I said, if one believes in the laws of physics (and as a physicist, I am inclined to do so:-) then everything is deterministic and free will in one sense cannot exist.

Strange way to begin .. if one disbelieves the laws of physics, they still continue to exist and function. And the universe is built on quantum mechanics, which states that everything is random. In which case free will cannot exist. But why is randomness even part of this discussion? Must a system be partially random to have any sense of free will? If a deterministic system lacks free will and a random system lacks free will, how can a combination of these ever have any kind of free will? Perhaps this sense of "free will" comes from somewhere else?

Are human[s] in any defensible sense what you seem to be asserting, semantic decision trees? Personally, I'd have to say no.

As a human yourself, of course you'd say that. But some people consider their computer to have free will based on the times it "chooses" to help vs. hinder. This is an illusion of course, because we know precisely how computer work. But it's understandable given the vast numbers of inputs that affect a computer's state. Perhaps a human's "free will" is equally an illusion?

For one thing, at the hardware level they are NNs, and NNs per se have no idea what the number "seven" is no matter how accurately they can identify it or what they are trained to do with it. Humans, however, can manipulate their OWN NNs to do computations based on the notion of "seven-ness" completely independent of its neural representation or lack (of a unique one) thereof.

This doesn't seem to follow. If humans are neural networks (I assume the meaning of "NN") and humans can be conscious of the meaning of "seven", then by definition neural networks can do the same.

At no point can any NN I've ever heard of be said to comprehend "sevenness".

Sure there is, you've just identified it -- it's your own brain. If you mean you've never heard of a *manufactured* NN with that ability, then that may merely point to the shortcomings of human engineering rather than any intrinsic problem with neural networks.

In the meantime, as I said, in an HI you are stuck trying to explain the decision either heuristically (which fails if you examine it too closely/microscopically) ..

I disagree. Every decision can be ultimately be traced to a fundamental desire that is not based on logic, but is coded into your organic being. You have no choice in these desires; some were programmed into you before you were born, and some developed as you grew.

But perhaps we argue the same point. What you call a "failure" would be decision that exists with no backing logic. But perhaps this "decision" is really just one of your core desires.

My dog is itching itself across the room. A potential decision looms ...

Ok, let's work through this.

... do I a) do something about it; or b) keep typing. Huge semantic trees open out from this simple binary choice, most of which ignore enormous parts of the phase space involved, such as doing neither and getting myself another cold beer instead or farting. The decision is not entirely semantic -- I'm not ever going to work through most of the complete decision tree, any more than a chess master actually thinks about all possible moves and all of the outcomes of all of those moves and (iterate to checkmate). I will prune that tree, instantly and without thinking. How I prune the tree is another decision, but it is not one I can make semantically, or I have a self-referential problem -- how do I decide how to prune the decision tree without considering all of the possible prunings, leading me right back to my original problem?

For some reason you've mystified the entire process of decision making when it's not necessary. Many parts of the decision tree have been worked through by your brain without your knowledge. The parts that were pruned "without thinking" were actually pruned by past thinking -- heuristics you've developed over your life and the dog's life. Chess players do the same thing -- pruning whole chunks of the decision tree based on experience with similar arrangements of the board. Your decision regarding the dog comes down to the weighing of a few desires:

  * Repugnance at getting involved.
  * Severity of the resulting skid mark.
  * Knowledge the situation will likely resolve itself.
  * Strong desire to continue writing.
  * Other desires as they impose themselves -- beverage, intestinal gas, etc.

And while the dog is here, let me ask -- do animals have free will?

Worse, the actual decision and all of the semantics I use to arrive at it are represented by ...

Knowledge representation in the brain is a completely different puzzle that's not relevant here.

One thing that makes my decision about the dog free is that it is made by my brain ..

Stop right there. The rest of your paragraph merely served to bury this point. You believe you have free will simply because the decision was made inside your own brain? Does this mean my computer has free will when its computation occur inside its own processor?

Can I explain all of this? Of course not ..

Why would you say that, especially just after the paragraph where you explained all this?

Part of the reason my own will is "free" is that my own actions come as surprise after surprise, even to me.

This is a strange revelation, and merely indicates how little you know about yourself. Or maybe it indicates how unstable your brain is. But maybe you should ask your wife how often your decisions surprise her.

It's "magic" where I am at once the man behind the curtain and the audience and manage to be surprised both ways.

If you consign free will to the supernatural, you will never come to any kind of understanding. It's not magic, there are rules, and the better you understand those rules the better you understand yourself.

I've adopted the hypothesis that free will does not exist not because I believe it, but because it's a more useful framework than any other. This should be obvious especially here, at the end of this long message, where we still don't have a definition of free will.


about a year ago


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