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Rolls Royce Developing Drone Cargo Ships

EnglishTim Re:and what about the welfare for the people autom (216 comments)

Just because occupations have popped up to replace these lost jobs in the past doesn't mean that they will in the future.

As machines become more and more capable, they can accomplish more and more of the things that previously only people could do, and will presumably tend towards being able to do anything a human could do. As we get closer to that point, it's quite possible there will be increasingly large sections of the population who find themselves effectively unemployable as there's very little they can do that cannot be done more cheaply by a machine.

It's nice to think that the new occupations will pop up to give us all something to do, but I think to believe that is basically an article of faith. I don't see any evidence that suggests it's guaranteed.

about 1 month ago

GameFace: Making a Virtual Reality Android Headset

EnglishTim It looks like it's using Oculus optics (14 comments)

The cups holding the lenses look *exactly* the same as the ones used in the Oculus Rift devkit. I guess it makes a lot of sense to use them in the prototyping stage.

about 2 months ago

Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July

EnglishTim Re:*Shrug* (304 comments)

From what I remember of the process it involves getting Kindle reader for PC, and then cracking the DRM on that. And what's Kindle Reader for PC based on? Adobe DRM.

Perhaps there's a better way now that cracks open the files directly on the device.

about 2 months ago

30 Minutes Inside Valve's Prototype Virtual Reality Headset

EnglishTim You can get a taste of it with Kinect + Oculus (59 comments)

I've been experimenting with using the Kinect for body positioning - allowing you to walk around a virtual room by walking around a real one. There are two big problems: First, the fidelity of the Kinect isn't great, so positioning is a bit inaccurate and gets jumpy with distance. Second, I had to make a cord bundle extension to give me room to walk about and you're always worried about tripping over it.

about 3 months ago

Is Europe's Recession Really Over?

EnglishTim Trouble in the UK (159 comments)

Recent figures suggesting (very) modest growth in the UK have been greeted with enthusiasm, but I still think as a country we're in trouble, and a big part of that I think is that wages have not in any way been keeping up with the huge rises in house prices over the last 20-30 years.

The government is encouraging banks to lend to house buyers by guaranteeing a portion of the mortgages, but it seems to me to just be encouraging another bubble.

The average full-time, permanent employee salary in the UK is around £24,500; the average house price is around £230,000 and rising; it'll be more in the South and less in the North, but even so, the average house price is nine times the average salary. It's just not sustainable.

about 8 months ago

USPS Logs All Snail Mail For Law Enforcement

EnglishTim Time for some SQL injection (324 comments)

... although it's probably a sufficiently old trick it won't work any more. :(

about 9 months ago

NTSB Recommends Lower Drunk Driving Threshold Nationwide: 0.05 BAC

EnglishTim Re:Incompatible (996 comments)

Is there any reason why you don't walk it? 1.6 miles is a pretty easy walk for an able-bodied person - it'd take about thirty minutes. Biking it would take a little under ten minutes.

about a year ago

Google's Nexus 4, 7, 10 Strategy: Openness At All Costs

EnglishTim Re:Too much sacrifice for openness (359 comments)

don't think its hardware. power off and power fixes hardware bugs? in what universe do you live?

The software runs on the hardware. If there's a hardware fault, the software may run incorrectly and find itself in a corrupt state. Turning on and off would reset the software state, thereby (temporarily) fixing the problem.

In your case, what if there's a fault in the touch sensor controller? Perhaps there's a counter that gets incremented with each tick and one of the bits in it is faulty and won't flip. After a certain number of ticks the counter might effectively reset rather than increment, which could force the controller into an invalid state which might prevent it from sending any sensible values to the operating system. A hardware fault that causes a software failure.

about a year and a half ago

Felix Baumgartner's Supersonic Skydive Attempt

EnglishTim Re:Hydrogen? (271 comments)

*heh* Nice troll.

about a year and a half ago

PETA Condemns Pokemon For Promoting Animal Abuse

EnglishTim Re:PETA kills more animals than anyone (418 comments)

I admit that it's possible that what they claim is true. However, given the record of the fast food, tobacco and alcohol industries of dishonesty when it suits their bottom line, I see no reason to consider that website a reliable source. Why would I? They have a history of dishonesty, why should I believe this is any different?

about a year and a half ago

PETA Condemns Pokemon For Promoting Animal Abuse

EnglishTim Re:PETA kills more animals than anyone (418 comments)

Ah. A website created by a lobby group for the fast food, tobacco and alcohol industries.

I think I'd rather side with PETA than with them.

about a year and a half ago

UK Broadband Plan Set To Clear EU Approval

EnglishTim Re:Sovereignty? (37 comments)

You know that we get to vote for our European MPs, right?

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Are The Days of Homebrew Gaming Over?

EnglishTim Re:Complexity (181 comments)

With respect, you can't possibly suggest that the Wii and 360 are using Cell processors! The defining characteristic of the Cell are the Synergistic Processing Units, which neither the 360 or the Wii have.

As far as I remember the aspect of the Cell design that Microsoft used was the in-order execution PowerPC cores, not the SPUs. The Cell was very definitely a custom processor - just because it has a couple of PowerPC cores in it does not make it off-the-shelf!

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Are The Days of Homebrew Gaming Over?

EnglishTim Re:Complexity (181 comments)

Er... I think it's a bit much to refer to the PS3's Cell CPU as 'off-the-shelf'!

Apart from a few niche PCI development boards, the PS3 was pretty much the only thing to use the Cell.

about a year and a half ago

Political Science Prof Asks: Is Algebra Necessary?

EnglishTim The real question is: (1010 comments)

... is High School necessary?

about a year and a half ago

Gamera II Team Smashes Previous Best Human-Powered Helicopter Flight Time

EnglishTim Re:Impressive engineering feat (118 comments)

I think if you went for a sprinter, a cyclist would probably be a very good choice.

I read that Chris Hoy can put out around 1000W for just over a minute. Obviously he weighs a bit more than the student in the film, but I'd imagine he'd have what it takes, so long as he could adjust to the riding position.

about 2 years ago

Losing the Public Debate On Global Warming

EnglishTim Re:The problem is chicken little (1181 comments)

2.) should we go dicking with things we don't have complete knowledge and control over. ..)

What, so digging up billions of tons of hydrocarbons and releasing them into the atmosphere isn't dicking around with things we don't have complete knowledge and control over?

about 2 years ago

MIT Prof Predicts the End of Disabilities In Next 50 Years

EnglishTim Maybe, so long as you're rich. (190 comments)

Today, something like 300 children die every hour due to malnutrition. Feeding the world's current population is well within our technical abilities, but the rich sections of the world (I'd guess that's most people on this website) are in general only prepared to make very minor sacrifices to help the poorer sections of the world.

By the year 2060 the world population will have probably more than doubled. I find it unlikely we'll even have worked out how to feed everyone by then, let alone cure them of their disabilities.

about 2 years ago


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