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Netflix Creates Qwikster For DVD Only Business

alder Re:Actual Post (481 comments)

I really don't know how someone can say/write that with a straight face.

It gets easier after only a couple of lattes...

more than 3 years ago

Among the Costs of War: $20B In Air Conditioning

alder Re:Interesting. (409 comments)

Efficiency is progress.

Efficiency as beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

more than 3 years ago

Oracle, Google Move To Streamline Java Suit

alder Re:Umm.. Streamline? (49 comments)

They are only marking the claims now.

more than 3 years ago

China Space Official Confounded By SpaceX Price

alder Re: Pricing (276 comments)

$49.5M at the end of 2009, taking 3% inflation into account, becomes $54M at the end of 2012...

more than 3 years ago

Fighting Ad Blockers With Captcha Ads

alder Re:No thanks (450 comments)

Even if these captchas actually turn out easier to use than the current ones?

- What color was the stone in the tiara of the little princess? (Click "Play another AD" if you cannot recall)

more than 3 years ago

Word Processors — One Writer's Further Retreat

alder Obvious... (391 comments)

perhaps I've a "less is more" bias

What about

cat < >novel.txt


more than 4 years ago

The Android Gets Its HyperCard

alder Re:Lingo anyone? (256 comments)

Haven't we already seen this dramatic arc with Director and Flash?

This is not the first technology that is reinvented because, IMHO, there are no people around who remember how and why it has already failed...

more than 4 years ago

Scaling To a Million Cores and Beyond

alder Re:Human brain != computer (206 comments)

How can we learn to throw a basketball into a tiny hoop from far away without having very accurate estimates?

The answer, IMHO, is in the question - "we learn". We do the learning until the brain remembers to link a visual pattern with a muscle activation pattern that gives a satisfactory result. The good bit in all this is that the pattern recognition fortunately is flexible enough to learn a few major patterns and be able to more or less accurately intrapolate and sometimes extrapolate to approach the goal in a somewhat different environment. When the matching->activation cycle "fails" brain learns (has to learn) a new pattern. Some learn it (the ball throwing pattern) quicker, some just cannot - their brain "machinery" is just not tuned for those tasks.

Think of any sport and just how many good estimates are done VERY quickly and pretty damn accurately.

Well, even though the result for some :-) who tries is "pretty damn accurate", for a lot/most it usually is not. Those who do it accurately learned certain patterns to consistently, more or less, recognize them, extrapolate, and execute the appropriate neuron firing patters to reach the goal.

The missing key here is probably this - while it looks the "estimate" is accurate, a brain does not really "know" where the target is. Unless another pattern is learned - match visual pattern with an "abstract" (for a brain) concept of a distance.

The information is never "lost" it's just unavailable for a time.

That would be really nice, but unfortunately it is lost forever and ever.

If it was lost you wouldn't have the "oh yeah" moments when you remember it or look it up again.

We are fortunate that (and for some "if") enough of a pattern remains to recognize the same or similar bits in the future.

A counter example: déjà vu - a brain pattern matching machinery becomes so thoroughly confused :-) that it "matches" an event that has not occurred before...

There is no real reason in the survival of the fittest terms for us to be able to accomplish such tasks. So those resources in the brain were put to use on other tasks like accurately processing visual and audio data

The keyword here is "accurately". It is simply not applicable at least not in a sense we used to associate with what machines are able to do. For our brain there is always a degree of uncertainty in the pattern matching. Sometimes the matching is so far from "accurate" that a matcher gets eaten :-)

more than 4 years ago

Firefox 3.6.4 Released With Out-of-Process Plugins

alder Re:UI Lag (261 comments)

open a Slashdot story with ~1000 comments and watch as the browser just stops dead in the water for 5-15 seconds while it renders the page

I'd try to disable /. scripts (if you have NoScript). And maybe FSDN too... AFACT, and it was my experience, that the lag is not a page rendering time, but a script on a page trying to connect to a slow server and that, unfortunately, in FF blocks page rendering.

This is not a win-win solution :-) Some page functionality will be lost. Arguably not a very important part of it :-)

more than 4 years ago

Parallel Programming For the Arduino

alder Re:Artists are NOT going to be programming AVRs (140 comments)

This flips a sensor that activates a camera ... The MCU parses the pixels ...

Or they attach a couple of (IR, ultrasonic, whatever) range/distance sensors and measure the size of what's coming in. Then that $1.59 should be just fine ;-)

more than 4 years ago

Chinese Researcher Says US Power Grid Is Vulnerable, Strategist Overreacts

alder Re:I'm also not sure how it's a big deal (203 comments)

The big mitigating factor of course is that China's own economy and foreign reserves depend on the health of the US economy.

It does. For now... "It's China's World. We're Just Living in It" - a recent Newsweek article - pointed out that China is forming the Asia-only regional reserve fund. Side-effect of China bankrolling it is that the deals are made now in yuan instead of dollars in that part of the world. The big question is this - how long will it take to transition from "depend on" to "one of the assets" to "why bother, lets collect the debt"?..

more than 4 years ago

Write Bits Directly Onto a Hard Drive Platter?

alder Re:If you have to ask, it's hopeless (578 comments)

if he already knows that stuff, and is really asking how to get MPLAB working so he can program his PIC, well yeah then he's well and truely lost.

The "request for information" about controlling "bits" on a platter also brought up a file system... along with the idea that it, the file system, controls positions of those "bits"... "Truly lost" would be a nicer outcome, I'm afraid it is much much worse than that.

However, and due to the lack of a useful information in the request this would be a very wild guess, maybe he did not really ask about "bits" and about positions of those "bits". Maybe the question rather was about the writing to the hard drive bypassing the file system and the cache. In this case he only needs to read about O_DIRECT or "raw devices" while they are still in the kernel. That is if he understands, or is able to find out, that one cannot and should not assume anything about the physical layout (number of platters, heads, cylinders and sectors) of a hard drive.

more than 4 years ago

IE 8 Is Top Browser, Google Chrome Is Rising Fast

alder Re:I downloaded Chromium a few days ago (319 comments)

Apparently, one of the absolute worst sites for the overall performance of Firefox is this one.

If you have NoScript in your Firefox, and it looks like you do, block slashdot.org from running its scripts. This will disable dynamic index - if you ever cared about that functionality), - but the speed of site rendering will return to the more or less expected level.

more than 4 years ago

Panel Warns NASA On Commercial Astronaut Transport

alder Re:How is it different (319 comments)

I don't see why shifting the managerial focus to commercial enterprise will do anything to advance pure science.

It depends on what your scientific endeavor is. Is it a science of space flight? Or is it a science that you conduct in space and you just need a ride to get there? You are absolutely correct if all we are talking about are different delivery mechanisms - conventional rockets, high altitude assisted launches, scram engines, The Elevator, etc. If those are the subject(s) of the scientific research, then definitely (IMHO) a commercial enterprise will not help you a whole lot (if at all) today.

However, if you send humans into space to do science in some lab up there, on a moon, on Mars, etc., then whoever delivers your scientists to the lab is not much more than a glorified taxi driver. Do you build your own car to commute to work? Actually, if I remember the history correctly, some people in the early days of automobile did just that - built their own cars. But nowadays if you do not have your own car you hire a taxi. So extending this analogy as far as I can ;-) Lockheed and Boeing are your local car/truck rental agency - U-Haul maybe ;-) or "Two Guys and a Truck" (because they actually deliver stuff to orbit, almost every other week). Alternatively you can hire a truck with a Chinese or a Russian or (some time later) maybe even an Indian driver.

It all depends on what your goal is...

about 5 years ago

Why Do So Many Terrorists Have Engineering Degrees

alder Re:Not so fast ... (736 comments)

I always heard "You can have it fast, good, or cheap, pick two"

And yet, while well known, it is a gross oversimplification. For instance, "fast, good, but expensive" is also known as the task of making a "baby in a month by 9 women" ;-) Unfortunately the solution of the "fast, good, or cheap" is much closer to 1 than to 2.

more than 5 years ago

Singer In Grocery Store Ordered To Pay Royalties

alder Re:I personally welcome the silence! (645 comments)

I enjoy some nice, well deserved and for now completely free silence

Sir, you, maybe without realizing it, are performing, non stop, the 4'33".

more than 5 years ago


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