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Intel Core M Notebooks Arrive, Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Tested

Sycraft-fu For low power? None (56 comments)

AMD chips need a lot of juice for a given level of performance. Their Vishera chips that competes with Intel's high end desktop i5s in price and in some cases performance (depends on the benchmark, it is as fast in some, woefully slower in others) needs 220 watts to get that level of performance.

If you desire a power economical processor, Intel are your guys. AMD's architecture and lithography are just not up to Intel's level at the moment.

You also have to remember, with regards to lithography, Intel is WAY ahead of anyone else. AMD's chips are still 32nm, these new Broadwell chips are 14nm.

9 hours ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Sycraft-fu Re:No it isn't that we won't (447 comments)

I know only what you chose to write and you said you are "now my life is betting on it." If that's hyperbole, then that's kinda silly and dial it back. If it is literal, then my point stands.

2 days ago
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Samsung Shows 'Eye Mouse' For People With Disabilities

Sycraft-fu Re:Good for them. (17 comments)

Also sounds like it may be much cheaper, which would be nice. I have repetitive strain injury from computer use and while it is manageable, I'd like a way to be able to not use the mouse when possible. An eye mouse would work well, but they are too much money. However this sounds like it might be in the range of something I could afford, and use as alternate input.

3 days ago
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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting

Sycraft-fu It sounds like some of them changed testimony (1088 comments)

Now why they changed I dunno, but that can change things. Also there was supposedly physical evidence that contradicted witness statements.

However if you are interested, it sounds like the unusual step of opening up the grand jury records will be taken in this case. So, keep up with it and read the transcript when it is available, and then see what you conclude.

4 days ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Sycraft-fu No it isn't that we won't (447 comments)

But that we are so far from any kind of AI that worrying about what form it might take is stupid. Yes, there are lots of things that might happen in the far future. Until they are closer, worrying about them is silly. There have been stories from people who are all paranoid about AI and think we need to start making with the rules. No we don't, we are so far away we don't even know how far away we are. We also have no idea what form it'll take. May turn out that self awareness is a uniquely biological trait and we never make computers that are truly strong AI.

Also if you are betting your life (regardless of if this means an actual bet, singular investment of all assets, etc) on something far off, you are a moron. You have no idea when a technology will happen, if it'll even be possible, and if it is if it'll even be marketable. Want a great example? SED, surface-conduction electron-emitter display. Reasonably chance you've never even heard of it. Was a new tech from Canon, basically a flat, large, hig rez take on CRT. Offered extremely high refresh rates (and thus low blur) great contrast ratio, wide viewing angle, etc. Very exciting display technology lots of people looked forward to as an LCD alternative. Wouldn't displace LCD, but would be a better technology for many uses. It was real too, actual working sets were shown at CES in 2006.

What happened? Well as a result of litigation, the financial downturn, and the general market, they decided to pack it in and stop development. They shut down and liquidated that division in 2010, and there's been no further development. So despite it being real and doable, it didn't happen and almost certainly never will happen.

Now compare that to the concept of strong AI, which we have no idea if it even can exist, if it does what form it will take, and if so what technology will be required. Maybe not the best thing to be betting the farm on.

5 days ago
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Eizo Debuts Monitor With 1:1 Aspect Ratio

Sycraft-fu A lot depends on size of the monitor (329 comments)

The bigger it is, the wider that is useful. Basically you find that you need a certain amount of vertical real estate to work effectively. So on a small screen like a laptop, a 4:3, or even more square, monitor can be of use. However when you start getting large desktop displays, wide is very nice. Personally I like 16:10 displays for the desktop, in part because I find them aesthetically pleasing (likely because they are near the golden ratio) but also because for the large sizes I like (30" currently) it provides a good amount of vertical real estate, but plenty of horizontal to fill my field of view and allow for multiple things to be displayed at once.

For TV, heck I could go even more than 16:9 if such a thing were standard. I was always partial to 1.85:1 3 perf and 2:1 Superscope for movies myself.

about a week ago
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Microsoft Rolls Out Robot Security Guards

Sycraft-fu I imagine not (140 comments)

However the problem is that it can presumably notify security that you've done that. Given that they'll have full video of it, and know where the unit was, the chances of you getting caught are pretty high.

These aren't the kind of thing that would work well on their own out in the middle of nowhere but on a campus like MS's with human backup I imagine they are pretty effective. Rolling security cameras basically.

about a week ago
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Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X

Sycraft-fu They do in Windows (327 comments)

The generic MS drivers know how to see if the drive supports TRIM and send the commands if it does. That's the point of TRIM: It is an ATA standard command, so special software isn't needed.

In fact, in Windows all you use is the generic drivers. I mean you may install drivers for your SATA controller, but not for your drive. My laptop has a Samsung 840 Pro in it, with Samsung's Magician installed. However the drivers in use are disk.sys, partmgr.sys (both Microsoft files) and iastorf.sys (Intel's file). No Samsung provided drivers. Magician can directly send commands to optimize the drive if needed if the OS can't, but the OS sends TRIM commands no problem.

about two weeks ago
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Alleged Satellite Photo Says Ukraine Shootdown of MH17

Sycraft-fu Ok conspiracy 'tard (340 comments)

Or perhaps more likely "pro Russian shill" next time, spend a little more time doing research before you put together your bullshit theory. See you seem to have missed one little detail: This came from Russian TV. This isn't something that surfaced in the US, purporting to be originally from Russia, it was on Russian national television.

So, maybe think your bullshit conspiracy through next time,a nd make sure you know the sequence of events.

about two weeks ago
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US DOE Sets Sights On 300 Petaflop Supercomputer

Sycraft-fu On enough with the whining (127 comments)

I hate this attitude that if you don't have the top spot, you are crap. It is so silly the attitude that the US somehow lost something by not having the first spot on the top 500 list.

I mean for one thing, the Chinese computer is more specialized than the big US supercomputers. It gets its performance using Intel Xeon Phi GPGPU type processors. Nothing wrong with hat but they are vector processors hanging off the PCIe bus. They work a lot like graphics cards. There are problems that they are very fast at, linpack (which is what's used to test) being one, but others they are not as fast at. Many of the US supercomputers (like BlueGene/Q) use just standard CPUs, meaning their performance holds steady over more kinds of tasks.

Then there's the fact that while the US might not have the #1 spot they have the #2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10 spots. In other words, half of the top 10 computers. That is more impressive than having one really big system. Ya it's nice to have a huge system and some simulations need really big systems to do, but there's something to be said for lots of different research groups having access to high power computers.

Also there's the fact that linkpack isn't necessarily the best benchmark.

I'm happy that the US is looking to invest more in HPC because money spent on research is always well spent in my opinion. However let's stop pretending like it is some major failure that the US doesn't have the #1 computer. Big deal.

about two weeks ago
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Alleged Satellite Photo Says Ukraine Shootdown of MH17

Sycraft-fu People tend to believe their first media (340 comments)

I've seen the same kind of thing. I know a lady who's from Serbia. Very smart woman, and she's lived in the US for a couple decades, immigrated and become a citizen. However, when it comes to world news, she believes the Serbian media over all others. It's pretty bad too, it makes Fox News look credible (well almost) with the level of propaganda and shit. However, to her, that's the truth.

It seems a somewhat common thing that whatever you start getting your news from first is what sticks with you as the "true" news if there's disagreement later.

about two weeks ago
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Former Police Officer Indicted For Teaching How To Pass a Polygraph Test

Sycraft-fu For some reason (328 comments)

Geeks have real issues with the concepts of knowledge and intent mattering in the law. They think something is either ok, or not ok, and if it is ok it is ok in all situations. Of course that's not how the law work. Intent in particular matters a hell of a lot. Something can be illegal or legal just based off of intent, or can be a different level of crime. Likewise if you know you are helping someone commit a crime, that can get you in trouble whereas doing the same thing unknowingly can be fine.

It is complex, because it varies, there are crimes that don't require intent, or crimes where even doing it unknowingly will get you in trouble, but there are others that are not. It is complex with various shades of gray, which I guess is why geeks can't understand it. Many seem to be very binary thinkers and want absolutes in rules, which the law frequently doesn't have.

about two weeks ago
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Assassin's Creed: Unity Launch Debacle Pulls Spotlight Onto Game Review Embargos

Sycraft-fu Re:Quit buying games on day one (474 comments)

I think it's fine to buy them soon after release if you want them and can afford them (remember, to some people $60 for entertainment isn't a huge deal) so long as it has been properly reviewed and your research indicates it is a good game. There are plenty of games that launch strong, just as there are plenty that don't.

But never buy it before you can research if it is good, and if you are likely to enjoy it.

about two weeks ago
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Assassin's Creed: Unity Launch Debacle Pulls Spotlight Onto Game Review Embargos

Sycraft-fu You are completely correct (474 comments)

And I am one of many people who harp on the "Never preorder games!!" thing. So why do people do it? Two reasons:

One is they just get caught up in the hype. They are all excited and wanna have it as soon as possible. Silly, but human nature and it does happen time to time.

The other is that companies try to bribe you. They offer bonuses that you only get if your preorder, or that you have to pay for later. So there may be some day one DLC, but you can have it "free" if you preorder.

It is still, of course, and extremely bad idea to preorder and people should be talked out of it at every opportunity. Wait until it is out and reviewed, then decide if you want it.

about two weeks ago
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Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

Sycraft-fu Also how much similarity triggers things (320 comments)

There are only so many ways someone is likely to design some functions, particularly if the class demands particular formatting. So if having one function that is very similar or the same triggers it, then it is rather bullshit.

I could see this too. Where I work professors are extremely lazy and grade via script. They don't read the programs students hand in because that would be "too much work", never mind that in the arts and humanities professors have to read papers all the time. Then they usually use some kind of automated cheat checker program. Well, said checkers aren't something that just makes sure files are bit identical. They allow for various fudge factor. That means they can match even on things that aren't actually copies of eachother.

about two weeks ago
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Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Sycraft-fu Re:Ok but that's electricity, not energy (488 comments)

I chose 25 degrees just since it is standard temperature. Either way if you don't believe me, look it up, a significant amount of energy use by humans is temperature related and cold areas use more than hot areas. Saul Griffith has done some great talks on the matter.

I know that it is something of an article of faith that AC is the devil and hugely wasteful but that just is not the case. Heat pumps (that's what an AC is) are very efficient and getting better but they only work if the evaporator coil is warm enough that water doesn't freeze on it, precluding their use as heaters in any place that gets near zero. Because of their thermal efficiency compared to heaters and the fact that sorry, but cold places DO get colder than hot places get hot, even if you set 20 as the benchmark, people use less energy when they live in warmer climates.

about two weeks ago
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Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Sycraft-fu Ok but that's electricity, not energy (488 comments)

Guess what? Cold places use MORE energy than warm ones. While people like to hate on ACs as some excess, they are actually quite efficient. Since they move heat, they can move more energy than they use. A good AC can easily move 3-5 watts of heat for each watt of energy it requires to operate. No such luck with heating systems, they at best get you 1 watt of heat for each watt they take.

Then there's the issue of temperature delta. If we take 25 degrees (C) as a target room temperature, well then you can see why cold places have it even worse. The hottest inhabited places on Earth only tend to reach 40 degrees regularly and peak at 50 rarely. So a 15-25 degree delta from normal. The cold places? Hell, even a "mildly" cold place hits 0, and they generally drop a good bit below that. Denmark sees 15-30 degrees below zero. So a 40-55 degree delta. Of course the bigger the delta, the more leakage you have, the more energy you need, etc.

If you intend that heating energy to be renewable, that means no oil, gas, etc furnaces. You can use electric, so long as the electricity is from a renewable source. I guess depending on your definition wood might be ok too. That's about it, unless you happen to live near some hotsprings and can get some geothermal heat.

So re-run the energy calculation when all the district and local heating has to stop using anything non-renewable.

about two weeks ago
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Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Sycraft-fu Also batteries die (488 comments)

Remember we don't have battery technology that lasts forever, or really even for a long time. So you have to lifecycle those batteries, they will have to be replaced periodically. Probably once ever 5-10 years max. Well add in the cost of that now to the total cost. Also add in the energy required to create and dispose of said batteries to your calculation.

Ends up not being a great option with current battery technology.

about two weeks ago
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The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat

Sycraft-fu We see that problem with graduate students (438 comments)

Being an engineering college we see many Indian and Chinese grad students. In both cases we numerous students who have real difficulty with any kind of synthesis and application of knowledge. They want to memorize a bunch of facts and formulas and crunch numbers to get the result. Solving real problems is something they have a lot of difficulty with. In particular there's not a good concept of problem solving. If they don't know the answer to something they believe the solution is to seek the person that does, not apply problem skills.

It, unsurprisingly, comes from the elementary and undergraduate education they received. That is what learning is to them. It is a real issue since of course in real engineering, you don't get to work from a textbook.

about three weeks ago
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There's No Such Thing As a General-Purpose Processor

Sycraft-fu I's just a bullshit semantics game (181 comments)

Guy is trying to play silly distinction games. Really, everyone in tech understands what people mean when they say "general purpose processor." Yes, said unit may have some specialized circuits and such, but it is made to be good at dealing with all kinds of problems. Integer, FP, branching, linear, etc doesn't matter its design can handle them all reasonably well.

That compares to something specialized like a GPU. For certain kinds of problems, specifically single precision vector math with fairly consistent branches, it does amazing. However for other things, not as much, though it is turning complete and capable of anything. Still a true processor and not an ASIC that can't be programmed, but not general purpose.

Try to play semantic games with it is silly. Are there going to be cases where the line might be blurred? Sure, but who cares? That's how life is. Everything doesn't always fit in to neat little boxes. It is still a generally useful way of looking at things.

about three weeks ago

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