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Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing'

dr.newton Re:Range? (52 comments)

A 5-foot wingspan on a quad allows for huge props. That can lead to very long flight times with a well-engineered drone.

My 3DRobotics Y6 can do 90km/h, even if only for 8 minutes on one battery. That's a range of 6km, including return flight. Range would be higher at a lower speed, as it's more efficient, although I haven't had the balls to send the drone that far away from me in flight to test it. I'd guess I could do 10km out and 10km back on a $75 battery if I had the nerve to lose sight of my baby for that long.

See http://diydrones.com/profiles/... . These guys hope for a 1-hour flight time out of a quad with 27"-29" props on a 12kg (26lb.) drone. That's a range of 25km out and 25km back at a speed of 50km/h, which is not that fast. They've done some math that leads me to believe they are at least in the ballpark. And these guys are hobbyists.

Not such a stretch to think a company like Google could cover some good distance with a quadcopter of 9kg (19lbs.). 16km (10mi), as you say, is definitely achievable with current technology, and battery technology is due for a drastic improvement, with all the resources being put into it by different universities and companies.

about three weeks ago
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Humans Need Not Apply: a Video About the Robot Revolution and Jobs

dr.newton Mechanical muscles vs. mechanical minds (304 comments)

That distinction reminded me of the Butlerian Jihad from Dune. The backlash against thinking machines caused humanity to destroy them and forbid their creation.

I always wondered how you draw the line between the two. Seems like the video is no advocating drawing a line at all, but instead just accepting that this will happen and planning for it, because "economics always wins".

Hard to argue with the prediction that most humans will be unemployable at some point in the future.

about a month ago
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DIY Dropbox Alternatives

dr.newton Re:That's not DIY! (188 comments)

I know, right?

He probably didn't even write the kernel his machines are running, or the compiler he used to build it (if he even compiled it himself)!

more than 3 years ago
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Google: Sun Offered To License Java For $100M

dr.newton Re:This judge mostly gets it (173 comments)

Agreed! I was surprised to see that the judge used those words, as I thought the question to be answered by a Sun employee not on Oracle's payroll was not "is fragmentation bad?", but rather "did Android fragment Java?"

From earlier in TFA:

Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's former CEO...testified that Android did not fragment the Java platform.

more than 3 years ago
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A Million Node Supercomputer

dr.newton Re:Build a mouse brain first. (116 comments)

Even if they fail to produce anything interesting, that in itself will be an interesting result.

There are likely a number of assumptions about intelligence as an emergent behaviour of non-quantum physical phenomena that could be invalidated by the failure of this experiment.

"Brains can't work according to such-and-such a principle, because if that were true, Furber would've succeeded."

more than 3 years ago
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RIM Struggles Continue

dr.newton Re:RIM Reminds Me Of Slashdot (197 comments)

I quite like Ars, but you can't trust them about anything that is related to Apple.

I like that on Slashdot it's more news and less opinion.

If this site just had the ability to collapse threads, so people could skip fanboy ratholes with a single click, it would be a big improvement.

more than 3 years ago
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Silverlight Developers Rally Against Windows 8

dr.newton Re:Evil overlord's minions demand more evil. (580 comments)

Built-in adaptive bitrate streaming probably made their lives a lot easier when developing a client. That's why so much video delivery is done through Silverlight - it's either that, HLS, or WebM.

However, it looks like HLS is the way of the future. Used (and developed?) mostly by Apple until recently, it's got some advantages (uses HTTP, so benefits from existing caching solutions and is accessible through firewalls), and Google supports it in Android 3.0 and later. Other companies that need to do over-the-top video delivery are also jumping on the bandwagon.

It looks like MS sees the writing on the wall.

more than 3 years ago
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Preliminary Benchmarks: Unity vs. Gnome-Shell

dr.newton Re:Or Xubunutu or Kubunutu (258 comments)

Posting to undo accidental mod.

For the record, I took the parent post as a joke. I think responding with humorous summaries of Ubuntu would be better than modding it Troll.

more than 3 years ago
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Linux-Friendly Alternatives To Skype

dr.newton Re:Self Profiling prophecy. (236 comments)

The Linux client and the Android client likely have no more in common than the OS X client and the Windows client.

It's more accurate to speak of Android and Linux as two separate platforms for Skype than to imply that Skype on Android has any impact on Skype on Linux.

more than 3 years ago
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Linux-Friendly Alternatives To Skype

dr.newton Re:Already Neglected... (236 comments)

I have felt the same way, but I think it's a blessing.

On linux, the UI has remained simple and usable, whereas on other platforms everyone gets to be guinea pigs in the develoers' horrible window-management experiments, and cruel abuse of white space.

more than 3 years ago
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The Psychology of Steam Wallet & Microsoft Points

dr.newton For once, not Sony (190 comments)

Sony actually doesn't have a similar system. There are two differences:

1. If your purchase is over $5, you can opt to be charged exactly the amount of your purchase.
2. I see prices in my local currency.

Back in the day when I thought Sony were trying to be the good guys with the PS3 (allowed linux without a fight, let us plug in regular USB peripherals, supported SD and CF cards, supported user-upgradeable hard disks) this was one of the things that made me glad I had bought one.

Seems things have changed a lot in 4 years, but they don't make it difficult to get to a zero balance in my PSN account (when I can access it at all ;) ).

more than 3 years ago
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The Saturn Fly-By

dr.newton Re:Wouldn't play (83 comments)

I find this as well - Flash Block for Chrome prevents me from playing embedded Vimeo videos until I "Always allow flash on this site", then it plays fine.

more than 3 years ago
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Nokia Shareholders Fight Back

dr.newton Re:Multi-year headstart (424 comments)

By your logic, Apple is silly to go with iOS against market leader symbian with multi-year head start. Or android for that matter.

Your analogy is only apt if you think MeeGo represents as much of an improvement over iOS and Android as they offered over Symbian when they were first released.

Do you believe this? If so, why?

more than 3 years ago
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Nokia Shareholders Fight Back

dr.newton Re:Overwhelmingly superior? Errm... (424 comments)

I'm not saying that MeeGo won't be a decent platform, but claiming that it will ovfer an "overwhelmingly superior experience" to the other market leaders who have multi-year head starts is silly.

Agreed. The entire strategy hinges on this, and if I were a shareholder (which I'm not) I'd be skeptical of the likelihood of this occurring.

I've used MeeGo on a netbook, and it's great; it would be interesting to see it come to phones, and more options are always better. But the odds of it becoming even slightly profitable for Nokia, let alone a major success, seem pretty slim.

The Nothin' But WP7 option looks like utter crap, the MeeGo option looks incredibly risky, but going for Android would allow them to start with a solid OS, and customize exactly as much as they wanted. You're allowed to differentiate in software much more on Android than on WP7 (even though so far people seem to prefer a stock Android experience). They could also keep a foot in the Symbian, WP7, or MeeGo camps this way, if they wanted to.

But maybe my sig should be "Just another arm-chair CEO."

more than 3 years ago
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BlackBerry Devices May Run Android Apps

dr.newton Not using Dalvik? (158 comments)

RIM had considered using Google's Dalvik, the Java software used in running Android apps, and decided against it for reasons including an ongoing patent dispute between Oracle Corp. and Google over the software, two people said.

Would a clean-room implementation of an interpreter to run Dalvik bytecode actually evade the legal issues with Dalvik itself?

Presumably they have licensed Java properly for their mobile devices. Are they just going to translate Dalvik bytecode back to Java bytecode, and run Android applications that way?

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft Vehemently Denies Google's "Bing Sting"

dr.newton Re:I agree (596 comments)

That is true. Bing did not use Google's ranking as an input, just the link that the user got from Google.

There is a distinction there, but not a difference in terms of whether or not Bing is piggybacking on Google's algorithms. Google found that link and displayed it to the user. Bing then knows that the link is relevant without having to actually find that out for itself.

If Google went away, Bing would be a worse search engine, because it is relying on Google to improve its own search quality. The reverse is not true.

more than 3 years ago
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Neal Stephenson On Rockets and Innovation

dr.newton Re:Engineering Culture (229 comments)

...engineers working in the space launch industry are resistant to change just for the shits...

You have an excellent rant, and I know there are many people who should read it.

However, it seems like a straw man argument here, as TFA did not say that "engineering culture" is resistant to change without good reason, just that it's resistant to change. You seem to agree with this assessment since your post gives many very good reasons why engineering culture should be resistant to change. Change is hard, and you need to do it right.

more than 3 years ago
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App — the Most Abused Word In Tech?

dr.newton Applications don't need to run locally (353 comments)

Just because the application is running on a web server somewhere, and not on your hardware, doesn't mean it's not an application. Applications that users access over the web are called, gasp, "web apps".

Also, a bookmark is not the same as a web app. "bookmark" is a term for a URL that probably begins with "http" and is stored by a browser (unless it's IE, in which case I believe it's "favourite" instead). Slashdot is not a bookmark, but you can have a bookmark for Slashdot. The things being called "apps" in this case are not the little icons, they're the things you access using the icons.

How did this make it to the front page of Slashdot?

more than 3 years ago
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Neal Stephenson On Rockets and Innovation

dr.newton Re:Odd, unsatisfying conclusion (229 comments)

Not everyone considers loss aversion a fundamental law of nature.

It doesn't matter how much we spent on that stuff. We should still be doing what makes sense for us here and now.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft Vehemently Denies Google's "Bing Sting"

dr.newton Re:I agree (596 comments)

The issue is not alleged copyright infringement. No one needs evidence of direct copying to make this a story.

The fact is that Google's search results are, albeit indirectly, an input into Bing's ranking algorithms. That makes it a less credible search engine, since to a degree they are piggybacking on Google's ranking algorithms, which work without using other search engines as input.

Statements like "but we got the data via opt-in customers" and "it's just one of many inputs" do not change the fact that Google's ranking is being used as an input to Bing's ranking algorithm.

more than 3 years ago

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