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45% of U.S. Jobs Vulnerable To Automation

mprinkey Re:oblig (625 comments)

I don't think that the author got it all exactly right, but your points are wrong. Business is driven mindlessly by ONE THING--maximizing profitability. The time will come...and right soon...when machines will work well enough to eliminate many existing blue collar jobs and a large fraction of low-skilled white collar jobs too. There is and will be pushback, in the form of higher minimum wages and requirements for health insurances. And all those pushbacks do is accelerate the process. We can likely thank China, India, and Mexico for providing cheap labor and forestalling the onset of this mechanization a decade or two. Had they not been there to take our manufacturing jobs, serious automation efforts would have started even in the early 90s. As greed is the only acceptable (and fiduciarily mandated) corporate ethos, we should expect corps to follow its guiding light to its logical end. As soon as Walmart can stock their shelves with a robot, they will. As soon as McDonalds can reliably serve food without a single worker on staff, they will. As soon as Fedex can roll a Google truck, they will. Human labor is viewed as a "commodity" and it reliably becomes more expensive with time.

I think the mistake that the author makes is that he assumes humans will be part of the machine. They won't. There will be strikes and protests and maybe even legislation, but those will only slow the pace of change, not stop it. The US and Western European economies will look quite different in 50 years. I doubt anything but boutique items will be made even in part by humans. Before then, we will all have to ask ourselves what we do with our time and how do we provide for our needs. The end of the story effectively contrasts two possible outcomes.

about a year ago
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More Encryption Is Not the Solution

mprinkey Re:quick key repetition (207 comments)

Replace the 100 million key dictionary with a PRNG seeded with a secret key, some time information, and source/destination ports and addresses. The NSA would have the PRNG, the key, and the seeding input from the packet. They could deduce the key without much effort and the keys would appear truly random to anyone without knowledge of the secret key, no matter the sample size.

1 year,19 days
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Making Your Datacenter Into Less of a Rabid Zombie Power Hog

mprinkey Re:Location Location Location (52 comments)

It is easier to just drill wells. Google geothermal heat pump.

about a year ago
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Motorola Developing Pill and Tattoo Authentication Methods

mprinkey How do you limit authentication?! (194 comments)

This idea is terrible. It is even worse than RFID credit cards. Since it has active electronics, I assume this is able to do challenge/response authentication, which is good. But how do you disable it? Somebody just "bumps" into you with a scanner and pays their dinner bill with your gut. At least RFID-chipped cards can be stored in a conductive pouch to prevent walk-by theft.

Whatever shape these new authentication methods take, they need to be at minimum:

(1) Challenge/Response based, and
(2) Momentary ON

Requirement 1 kills most biometrics systems. And Requirement 2 kills most implant/ingested systems.

about a year ago
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How Did You Learn How To Program?

mprinkey Re:Timex Sinclair 1000 (623 comments)

Yeah...TImex Sinclair 1000, a hand-me-down BW TV from my grandfather, and my old tape recorder. That was the beginning for me...back in 6th grade. I bought from Hills for $50, I think. I spend many hours on it...until the C64 and floppy drive came a few Christmas' later. I look back on those days and the oceans of free time I had...peeking and poking and disassembling code. I remember spending many hours typing in code from Compute! Gazette...that was all C64. And Transactor too.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Good Reasons For DRM?

mprinkey Re:Art doesn't need remuneration (684 comments)

As machines and computers do more and more of the work, will such a thing as work, as we know it, still exist in 50 years ?

Fixed that for you. The answer is no. My child will live to a see a very different world and economic reality.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Mathematical Fiction?

mprinkey Re:Neverness by David Zindell (278 comments)

This. The whole series is very well done and deeply engaging. But it is dense. It might be best described as fictional mathematical physics, but it is not your typical SF...even hard SF.

about 2 years ago
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Sinclair ZX Spectrum 30th Anniversary

mprinkey Re:My first computer (212 comments)

I had the Timex Sinclair 1000 as well, but not 16KB module. Paid $60 for it at Hills--I was in 6th grade. It learned quickly to be careful with my precious 2k of RAM, but I coded a fairly accurate image of the Space Shuttle and figured out how to make it "fly" across the screen. Hard to believe I have been writing code for almost 30 years!

more than 2 years ago
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'Twisted' Waves Could Boost Capacity of Wireless Spectrum

mprinkey Re:*Orbital* angular momentum (147 comments)

I think the key take-away is that there is another physical signal dimension to exploit--frequency, directionality, polarization, and now orbital angular momentum. They have demonstrated that they can distinguish between two channels on the same frequency using orbital angular momentum as the differentiator. So, OAM mode can be added to the tool kit. If they can distinguish among a few dozen modes and still allow beam forming, this could provide a huge benefit for cellular and other wireless networks. If they can distinguish among hundreds or thousands of modes, it could be truly transformative. It has been a long time since my EM class, but I wonder if similar mode discrimination could be applied to waveguides.

more than 2 years ago
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AMD: What Went Wrong?

mprinkey Re:Products (497 comments)

Sandy Bridge has fused multiply-add too.

more than 2 years ago
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NVIDIA Launches GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core GPU

mprinkey Re:fused off? Really?! (127 comments)

Probably referring to efuses that can be burned out on the die. These are common and allow CPU/GPUs to have unit-specific information (like serial numbers, crypto keys, etc) coded into otherwise identical parts from the fab. Video game systems like the 360 use them as an anti-hacking measure...disallowing older version of firmware to run on systems that have certain efuses "blown." Likely, there is an efuse for each core or group of cores. Those can be burned out if they are found to be defective or to simply cripple a portion of the part for down-binning. That is a practice at least as old as the Pentium 2.

more than 2 years ago
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Which OSS Clustered Filesystem Should I Use?

mprinkey Re:Offsite backups (320 comments)

Truecrypting external USB/eSATA drives are by far the better option. We also use normal 3.5" drives with external USB/eSATA docks. There are NO cheap tape solutions anymore. I'd further argue that what tape solutions exist are trumped by hard drive backup solutions for on-site backup--far slower and no more reliable than hard drives. Tape is dead. Anyone still using them is either leveraging a 5-to-10-year-old investment in a tape robot or is being sold a bill of goods by a vendor.

more than 2 years ago
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Looking Back On a Year of LibreOffice

mprinkey Re:It feels too heavy and old (242 comments)

I have to agree about the heft. But I prefer the "old" style interface. I had to install Office 2007 to interact with some clients and I am completely lost. I've been using word processors since the C64 days, but this is the first time I decades that I have stared blankly at a program and had to click on every menu/button/active splotch trying to find out how to turn on Track Changes.

Of course, people can get used to the interface and maybe following the mythical transition, I will be enamored with its interface glory. But it just seems different for difference's sake...like .docx and .xlsx where.

To the LibreOffice folks, you really need to do a top-down performance/memory analysis. I like it and will continue to use it, but I don't see why it needs to be the resource hog it is.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Clusters On the Cheap?

mprinkey Re:How many commenters have BUILT a cluster!? (264 comments)

The difference is even bigger than you posted! You made a math error on the Sandy Bridge FLOP calculation:

64 Sandy Bridge Cores: 8 FLOPS/Hz * 2.8 GHz * 64 cores = 1433.6 GFLOPS

48 Magny Cours: 4 FLOPS/Hz * 2.1 GHz * 48 cores = 403.2 GFLOPS

So, Sandy Bridge is roughly 3.5 times faster than AMD.

And the original poster commented that the application was parceling out data sets and crunching on the independently, so the application is embarassingly parallel. This design would be rubbish for any *real* parallel application, but I think it is optimal for OP's stated goal.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Clusters On the Cheap?

mprinkey How many commenters have BUILT a cluster!? (264 comments)

OK, I won't be too hard on the discussions above, but I read enough to try to give some real help to the OP. I get that this is basically an embarrassingly parallel application. So, that means a gigabit network is fine. That also means that single core performance is the ONLY indicator of the speed of the application. That means investing in anything AMD is a mistake. The best bang for the buck is quad-core Sandy Bridge CPUs. 4000 pounds is about $6300. I can build a quad-core 2.8 GHz Sandy Bridge node (2GB/core in a desktop case) for under $400 each. Cables, Gbit switch, and 15-16 nodes (60-64 Sandy Bridge cores total) will fit in the budget without too much effort.

OK...so, it isn't ECC memory. And it isn't general purpose. And it isn't going to run most parallel applications worth a crap due to the gbit network, but the point of building a cluster is to design it to match the application. 64 Sandy Bridge cores will run rings around any Magny Cores solution you can build for the same price.

more than 2 years ago
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Age Bias In IT: the Reality Behind the Rumors

mprinkey Re:C programmers? Wanted! (582 comments)

FORTRAN is not that uncommon, particularly among engineers.

more than 2 years ago
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Gitbrew Releases OtherOS++ PS3 Linux Dual Boot

mprinkey Re:Supercomputer? Really? (240 comments)

Not enough ram. The 8 cores are still four or five years old. And the most damning thing is the gigabit interface. That severely limits what real work can be done...embarrassingly parallel stuff like rendering, primes, SETI, or folding will work. But not comp chem or CFD. We haven't built a cluster using gigE for interconnects for 3 or 4 years. And when we did, we used multiple gigE links per node to try to keep up.

more than 3 years ago
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Help Build the World's First Community-Funded CPU ASIC

mprinkey OK, I'll Say It (140 comments)

This is stupid.

I am a big proponent of open-source software. I like the idea of being able to build my own versions of software, fixing bugs and adding features. I use it as a key component of my business. It is great. Moreover, most of the code that me or my employees write is or likely one day will be open source.

However...open hardware is a fundamentally different thing. No one has chip fabs in their basement. So someone will have to pay big money to make the masks and tape-out and test the hardware. Unless some major vendor picks up the design and mass produces it lots of 100s of thousands, the price per CPU is going to be stupidly more expensive than an off-the-shelf CPU/motherboard or embedded system. And, even then, you are probably buying an overpriced, underpowered CPU just because it is "free."

This is Stallmanism as its worst--"freedom" for freedom's sake without regard to functionality or practicality. Stuff like this casts a shadow of crazy.

more than 3 years ago
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Don't Expect an OpenOffice/LibreOffice Merger

mprinkey Re:It's just fine the way it is now! (192 comments)

If they want to change the name back to OpenOffice, great. But the 3.3.1 release of LibreOffice is quite nice. I've gotten sucked into a lot of document generation in the last few months and I've found it to be quite stable and usable, even when dealing with MS Office .docx and .xlsx files.

more than 3 years ago

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