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The Connected Home's Battle of the Bulbs

hazydave Re:As one-way as X10 (176 comments)

The Cree 40W equivalent bulbs are $5. Cree has a special deal with Home Depot. They're great LED bubs, too. Cree is actually the semiconductor company, an early leader in GaN transistors and the related high power white LEDs. They barely get warm, a big improvement over earlier LED bulbs. Most of my fairly lar G e house is LED lit now. In the past four years, I've had one bulb die, an infant mortality.

And now they want me to replace these with wifi or zigbee bulbs? Maybe in ten years, once they work out some real standards. Ok, more like 20 years...

about 4 months ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

hazydave Re:Im all for human rights... (1482 comments)

Almost all religious belief is the result of cultural indoctrination. Exactly the same reason that the more religious a culture, the more they oppose free thought and free exchange of information. The very idea that another cultural normal is a valid way of life is poison to most religions.

about 4 months ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

hazydave Re:Im all for human rights... (1482 comments)

The same people who thought planets were wandering stars and the sun moved around the earth. None of this primitive dribble belongs in modern society. But particularly not when used to justify hate against a class of people. Thank God religion is a dying thing.

about 4 months ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

hazydave Re:Im all for human rights... (1482 comments)

Not to mention that being Gay is a real thing, while Religions are all a destructive pack of lies the primitives told one another to feel better about their lack of understand of things. Thousands of years ago. Religion serves no current constructive purpose.

about 4 months ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

hazydave Re:April Fools stories are gay (1482 comments)

Just curious, since you seem to be authoritative on the subject: just where in the Bible does Jesus speak out against homosexuality? I'm not asking about the whole Bible, after all, the teachings of Jesus went against many of the other things from the old testament. Just where Jesus makes this judgment upon as much as 10% of humanity.

about 4 months ago
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Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

hazydave Re:Seems reasonable (294 comments)

Letsee here. The Kurzweil model is suggesting that we can get to smart machines by way of brute force. Not necessarily the only way, but one that's hard to argue against as it's just extending today's neural net simulators to faster hardware. Using the open source NEST model, a supercomputer in Japan, the K computer, simulated a second's worth of "brain" activity in 40 minutes. That was a network 1% the size of human brain. So you'd need at least 240,000 times the CPU power to do this at 100% in realtime. Except maybe a few more zeros, since growing a neural network isn't linear, even if you're able to split off subsection for different work, as the brain seems to do. Sometimes.

So 2029 is 15 years away. If we take the erroneous but popular idea that Moore's Law is both a real law and directly about CPU performance (neither of which is true), that's a doubling of performance every 18 months. So by 2029, we only have computers 1024x faster than today's. But by 2045, computers will be a million times faster, at least based on these bad assumptions. So maybe we have a supercomputer than can run a human brain sized neural net in realtime. That get us Skynet by brute force, but not Commander Data. That's another 20 years off.

Of course, I started low... anyone ran run NEST. But it's by far not the most aggressive model. IBM built a more efficient model, modeling a whole artificial brain the complexity of the human brain on a Blue Gene/Sequoia Q supercomputer. It ran 1053x slower than realtime.... which suggests a realtime version might be possible around 2029. IBM actually say it might be as early as 2023, as they're building chips that implement their "neurosynaptic cores" in hardware. The model has over 2 billion neurosynaptic cores, and it's very intentionally designed to be a brain, though not a strict emulation of a human brain. There are dozens of projects around the world doing similar things. One team in Europe has a realtime honeybee scale brain running, and hopes to have a rat scale brain done this year. Another team has a non-realtime model similar to a cat's brain... can hatz cheezeburger?

So it sure looks possible to have Skynet by 2029. Self-contained thinking mobile machines, probably not for a decade or two beyond. And that's assuming no technological roadblocks in scaling our hardware. But also no huge leap away from the brute force approach. And no hardware design help from IBM's realtime brain of 2023. But of course, it won't even graduate college before 2030, assuming a few upgrades along the way. And a few years after that, we may not even understand the improved brain it's getting us to build for it...

about 5 months ago
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Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

hazydave Re:Computers are not intelligent (294 comments)

Yes and no. I studied this in college, five courses covering AI and related things, both from the CS and the Psychological perspective.

Computer Engineering has typically made AIs in a practical way: we're trying to build a machine that exhibits intelligent behavior. We don't begin to mean that it thinks, but rather, that it's capable of analyzing data and making decisions that we, as the real thinkers, judge to be the intelligent decision. That can be an expert system that passes a Turing Test or beats the Jeopardy champion, it could be a chess player that beats grandmasters, or a "smart" combine that can robo-harvest your fields using less fuel that a human would. No one's claiming any thinking here, but we all agree that the behavior is emulating intelligent human behavior.

In the Cognitive Psychology department, they're far more interested in modeling what the brain is actually doing. Using the open source NEST model, supercomputers have already run a brain of about 1% the capacity of the human brain. That's a brute force model, but still, way more powerful than an insect, no "magic spark" needed. And none ever will be. Life isn't magic.

about 5 months ago
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Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

hazydave Re:turing test (294 comments)

They still need a off switch. In most every scifi doomsday story, we seem to decide that off switches or plugs are unnecessary, maybe just a couple of years before the machines go sentient and run around killing everyone. It's probably even easier with the robots. The first several generations of thinking machines won't fit in a robot. So they'll be robotic drones, much like today's robotic drones, just driven by thinking machines. Over radio. Radio that we already know how to jam, even if we have at some point lost the ability to access said drones through the RF link.

about 5 months ago
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Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

hazydave Here's the thing (294 comments)

Kurzweil's smart machine predictions are, last I checked anyway, based on a rather brute force approach to machine intelligence. We completely understand the basic structure of the brain, as a very slow, massively parallel analog computer. We understand less about the mind, which is this great program that runs on the brain's hardware, and manages to simulate a reasonably fast linear computing engine. There is work being done on this that's fairly interesting but not yet applied to machine mind building.

So, one way to just get there anyway is basically what Kurzweil's suggesting. Since we understand the basic structure of the brain itself, at some point we'll have our man made computers, extremely fast, somewhat parallel digital computers, able to run a full speed simulation of the actual engine of the brain. The mind, the brain's own software, would be able to run on that engine. Maybe we don't figure that part out for awhile, or maybe it's an emergent property of the right brain simulation.

Naturally, the first machines that get big enough to do this won't fit on a robot... that's why something like Skynet makes sense in the doomsday scenario. Google already built Skynet, now they're building that robot army, kind of interesting. The actual thinking part is ultimately "just a simple matter of software". Maybe we never figure out that mind part, maybe we do. The cool thing is that, once the machine brain gets to human level, it'll be a matter of a really short time before it gets much, much better. After all, while the human brain simulation is the tricky part, all the regular computer bits still work. So that neural net simulation will be able to interface to the perfect memory of the underlying computing platform, and all that this kind of computation does well. It will be able to replace some of the brute force brain computing functions with much faster heuristics that do the same job. It'll be able to improve its own means of thinking pretty quickly, to the point that the revised artificial mind will run on lesser hardware. And it well be that there are years or decades between matching the neural compute capacity of the human mind and successfully building the code for such a mind. So that first sentient program could conceivably improve itself to run everywhere.

Possibly frightening, which I think is one reason people like to say it'll never happen, even knowing that just about every other prediction about computing growth didn't just happen, but was usually so conservative it missed reality by lightyears. And hopefully, unlike all the doomsday scenarios that make fun summer blockbusters, we'll at least not forget the one critical thing: these machines still need an off switch/plug to manually pull. It always seems in the fiction, we decide just before the machines go sentient and decide we're a virus or whatever, that the off switch didn't needed anymore.

about 5 months ago
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Sundar Pichai: Android Designed For Openness; Security a Lower Priority

hazydave Re:Disproportionate Malware (117 comments)

Non - technical users are only using Google Play, maybe Amazon, for their Android software. Of that malware, only 0.3% of it was ever on the Play Store, and in all cases quickly removed.

Freedom is risk. With Android, you are free to stay safe, or choose more freedom in return for less safety. IOS and the others only offer safety, including safety from yourself and safety from their perceived software competitors. Maybe that's ok for some people.

about 5 months ago
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Sundar Pichai: Android Designed For Openness; Security a Lower Priority

hazydave Re:Don't they know... (117 comments)

Most secure systems like this are assembled before applying power... that's how you put it together. When first powered up, the tamper detect mechanism is in place. And that piece of it is kept powered forever... lose power to the crypto engine, and the unit tampers. Once tampered, you have to reinstall the original software. So basically, even Boeing has no means of taking these apart without tampering them. If you had enough units to study and take apart, maybe you could, maybe not. The case itself can be a tamper trigger.

about 5 months ago
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Inside Boeing's New Self-Destructing Smartphone

hazydave Re:Larger security concern: (162 comments)

Probably running some variation of the NSA's SE Android. Pure SE Android only links to your company's secure server via VPN, using the strong hardware crypo, regular key rotation, etc. You have way bigger things to hack before you can even get to hacking Android itself.

about 5 months ago
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Inside Boeing's New Self-Destructing Smartphone

hazydave Normal stuff for a secure system (162 comments)

The article didn't say what kind of security they're offering in this phone. But any serious secure device is going to have tamper evidence and tamper detection, which will permanently brick the crypto engine if triggered. This is required for certain levels of FIPS, as well as Suite B or anything higher.

about 5 months ago
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Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

hazydave Re:Slightly biased... (487 comments)

Yup... Android owners only upgrade every two years. We're not crazy like iOS users, breaking contracts, buying $900 phones, because we can't stand not having the very latest. Sure, I'm typing this on brand new 12" tablet, but in general, I do keep these things 2 years. My PC gets upgraded more on a 3-4 year cycle all told, but that's also not necessarily a one - shot deal. For example, I upgraded the main system last summer, but kept the GPU from the previous incarnation. That'll get upgraded when I'm certain the upgrade will do me enough good to justify the price. I'm about 3-4 years on cameras, too.

Once the phone/tablet market slows down, and, well, makes indestructible devices, I expect the upgrade pace to slow significantly.

about 5 months ago
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Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

hazydave Re:So what? (487 comments)

2560x1600... a bit higher than my dual monitors on my high-end-ish PC (2560x1440, along with one 1920x1200). But of course, less actually usable space. Even as a big tablet, a 12.2" screen has its limits.

This is a good tablet. I bought one a few weeks ago at Best Buy in Delaware. The last one at a Best Buy in Delaware -- they had sold out of the 64GB version, as well as all of the 32GB 10" Notes. The pen is a big advantage in using the tablet for real work... I had it on a loaner Note 8, and I can't really go without. I'm pretty good wiht the 12.2" size, but I can see smaller people getting tired with one this big, used for reading or note taking.

about 5 months ago
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Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

hazydave Re:And yet apple sells more tablets than anybody (487 comments)

> Apple *DOES NOT BUILD ANYTHING* - they pay one of your white-label chinese manufacturers to build it for them as they are too incompetent to build it themselves.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, aka Foxconn. Of course, Foxconn makes about 40% of all of the consumer electronics on the planet. They also made some of Amazon's Kindle tablets.

> While Samsung, ASUS, Lenovo all build their own.

Samsung and Lenovo also make a large percentage of the components that go into their in-house manufacturered products; it's about 70% on the average Samsung tablet.

ASUSTeK Computer started out as a contract manufacturer for PCs, but they sold off some of their manufacturing business in 2008. The spinoff companies are Pegatron (PCs and components) and Unihan (casework and other mechanicals). They still do in-house manufacturing in several countries.

Of course, most of the other tablet makers also outsource their manufacturing or, like Google, the whole schmeggie.

about 5 months ago
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Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

hazydave Re:The year of the Linux Tablet (487 comments)

Apple doesn't care that much about market share. And that's not a new thing.

Look at the Mac PC. I mean, just face it, there are only so many people who are willing to pay twice as much cash to buy a laptop-for-the-desktop (iMac) or overpriced laptop. And yeah, I mean feature for feature... I bought one for my daughter, for college, a year-and-a-half ago. I actually got less laptop (less RAM, fewer ports, lower screen resolution, older Intel i7 chipset) for not-quite-twice the money. It would have been more than twice, but I bought a refurb, from Apple themselves.

So Apple's got about 5% of the PC market, but over 80% of the $1000+ PC market. That's a very good example of how they work. They're making 30%+ margins on Mac PCs, versus say HP, at about 5%. If Apple really cared that much about numbers, they'd have to drop their margins significantly to increase sales. In the short term, sure, they'd sell lots of Macs. But the cachet of that as an exclusive platform would fail, once it were just as cheap as everyone else. They'd need to sell about 30% of all the PCs on the planet, just to break even selling at HP's margins. And HP actually has high margins, compared to the ubercheap Chinese PCs at the very bottom of the market.

They've done basically the same thing with iPhones and tablets. The iPhone's market share is kept artificially high by the US sales model -- the average consumer doesn't see what they're paying, so they don't see the iPhone as being more expensive than other smartphones. Of course, it's a different market, but still changing... I don't think we're anywhere near the point of stability that the Mac vs. PC hit. You'll know it, of course, when smartphone news is as boring as PC news.

There is only one thing that would really bother Apple: a significant drop in iTunes revenue. That could lead to diminished support for iOS applications, and that's not the way you sell a premium priced product.

As of late last year, iTunes was still bringing in nearly twice as much of the green stuff as Google Play, despite Play having eclipsed iTunes in terms of total downloads. Now, sure, Google Play isn't open in as many countries as iTunes, but it's still an accepted meme that iPhone buyers spend more money on apps and media than Android users. So developers are going to support iOS, and they're going to support Android. Even if Android keeps improving, there's no reason to expect iOS to become a problem, even at lower market shares.

About the only real thing that could be a problem would be the emergence of a really strong other platform, something strong enough to replace Apple as #2. Does anyone really see Windows Phone, now essentially a Nokia proprietary OS, doing that anytime soon? No one else in sight even has a change... most of the other mobile platforms (FirefoxOS, Sailfish, Tizen, Ubuntu for Phones) are pretty much expecting HTML5 apps to be the norm, not much OS-specific development beyond embedded applications.

So Apple's optimizing profit, not market share, for the near to medium future. As long as that formula works, I don't think they're going to do much about their installed base. That's different than their worrying about not being a player at all in major markets. They want to be popular in China and India, not an also-ran.

about 5 months ago
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Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

hazydave Re:Insert "Hahaha - OH WOW" gif here. (487 comments)

Samsung isn't making their own OS. Tizen is a Linux Foundation project. Yes, it's supported by Samsung and Intel. Samsung and Intel are also the two largest contributors to Android, aside from Google. Samsung's using Tizen as a replacement for BadaOS. In fact, there are two official Tizen APIs: the BadaOS API (the official NDK), which was ported last year, and HTML5/Javascript/JQuery. Samsung sold about 10 million low-end smartphones running BadaOS. Sometime this year, they're expected to release Tizen phones into that same market, but so far, they only have a developer unit available. They're also using it in the next generation smart watch, and a digital camera. Other companies are looking at Tizen as kind of a competitor to QNX in auto entertainment systems.

The point of Tizen is the same as the point of FirefoxOS: sub-Android smart devices.It's also not entirely open source: the SDK, for example, is published under a non-open-source license from Samsung. Some other non-GNU-compatible licenses cover other parts of the finished OS.

about 5 months ago
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Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

hazydave Re:ANDROID != LINUX (487 comments)

The Android API/Java classes are properly termed "middleware", or alternately, an application framework (that's the term Google uses). And yes, it's a fairly portable application framework, which has been ported to run over QNX (Blackberry) and Windows (Bluestacks). You need Linux for anything written under the NDK, which is apparently less than 20% of the Android applications released.

The Android kernel was originally a fork of Linux, but it was merged back officially in Linux 3.3 I believe. Just that has made Linux a better platform for mobile devices. No to mention other mobile environments, like FirefoxOS, helping themselves to bits and pieces of Android as they see fit.

about 5 months ago
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Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

hazydave Re:ANDROID != LINUX (487 comments)

Except that DarwinOS isn't MacOS. You can't run MacOS applications on it.

AOSP is actually Android -- it runs Android applications. Yes, you will need to install the Google Play Library stuff to run many applications.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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Don't Get Started: Wifi Direct

hazydave hazydave writes  |  more than 2 years ago

hazydave writes "Wi-Fi Direct is coming.... but really, why? There's all this effort in the industry to create this new specification. But I don't think it really addresses the problem.

The goal, it is claimed, is that Wi-Fi Direct will make Wi-Fi work like Bluetooth. You'll be able to easily connect your smart phone, camera, printer, keyboard, mouse, and your toaster oven without any fussing. And they'll all start magically speaking the same language.

But dig a little deeper, and they seem to be solving the wrong problem. Sure, Bluetooth does this... any Bluetooth device can master a PAN, and talk to seven other devices. But that's not really the special sauce in Bluetooth — Profiles are what make Bluetooth work.

Wi-Fi devices don't naturally do this while PAN thing, and we don't want to change the protocol or hardware. So the brilliant solution here: every Wi-Fi Direct device will now be its own Access Point and Router. Really? Do I really want my keyboard, mouse, or toaster oven to run a Wi-Fi Access Point? Or even my Printer? Is this really a common problem?

I mean, sure, occasionally I'm caught in the wild without a hot spot. There are plenty of solutions for that, if you have a PC and just need things connected up over 802.11. But 99.9% of the time, I have Wi-Fi devices on the net already. I introduce my devices once, they're hooked up. I already have those passwords installed, remembered, etc. The connectivity just works. I don't have to go find my printer and introduce it to my phone or camera, they already know each other, and they're on a clear channel.

Do I really want additional APs magically appearing all over my home or office, competing for already crowded spectrum? Nope. Imagine the plight of apartment dwellers, already dealing with scarce clear channels, now dealing with multiple spontaneous APs from every toaster oven that happens to get near a smartphone. Do I want to trust that my printer's Wi-Fi Direct protocol doesn't open another avenue for evil into my network? It really doesn't seem to be needed.

And further, this really doesn't solve any problems. The trick isn't getting my devices connected, not even slightly. It's that whole "language" thing. When I first read about Wi-Fi Direct, I figured, oh, that's decent of them, they're adding a few Bluetooth-like Profiles to Wi-Fi. This would let dumb devices that can get on your net do seemingly smart things. So, for example, your camera could print directly to your printer. Or my smartphone and GPS get together about phone book sharing.

Sorry. That's not what this is doing. This is only about building little access points into every compliant device. And as a result, maybe deciding that 802.11 is a one-size-fits-all protocol. I'm actually kind of glad, for power and security reasons alike, that mice, keyboards, and other small things are on Bluetooth or some other protocol.

What do you all think?"
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Connectify Subverts Dorm Room Limitations

hazydave hazydave writes  |  more than 2 years ago

hazydave writes "Connectify 3.0 is a new version of an application that creates a virtual Wifi hotspot on a Windows 7 PC. When he made the Dean's List last fall, I set the previous version up on my son's PC, to let him hook up his iPod Touch or X-Box 360 via Wi-Fi. Looks like the Connectify people have realized this use, they say: "Many Schools and private institutions have restrictive limits on the amount of devices an individual can have registered to their wireless networks. In this day and age, these quotas are quickly exceeded by the wide variety of Wi-Fi enabled devices (such as smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and gaming systems) we use on a regular basis. With Connectify running on a laptop or desktop PC, you can circumvent these limits and securely connect any number of devices to your personal Wi-Fi network." For the kid, the dorms at Richard Stockton College allow only a single wired connection, and wireless routers or APs are specifically illegal. The new version has apparently been well tested with most gaming systems and other non-PC devices. They're also running a back-to-school promotion, complete with a marketing video and a discount on the "pro" version of the software. Worth checking out... hope the RAs don't start to get wise to it."
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