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Comment Re:Fat Change (Score 2) 168

But the idea that a bipedal robot is going to be able to drive my work truck out to a remote & off-road site and go inside to replace a 9000 volt vacuum or climb up the 1800ft tower to find a loose hanger or air leak is almost as perposterous as the idea that we won't be using high power transmitters anymore. It just ain't gonna happen... And that's exactly why I left the datacenter to find a job like this one which requires hands-on skills.

There is a flaw in your vision of the future, let me explain:

If you watch old sci-fi, a dishwasher was a device with hands that poured soap onto dishes and scrubbed them. People imagined a clothes washer picked up the clothes and rubbed them against a washboard. Automated sci-fi planes had bipedal robots that sat in cockpits, automated sci-fi soldiers carried guns made for human hands. But we now know that this isn't how automation works. I work for a company that builds medical robots, and they do not look like people either.

At some point, some guy probably said "No robot will ever be able to unload these boxes from a truck, and take all the mixed-up samples from the box, stick on the barcode labels, look at each one to see if the liquid is right and if the caps are tight, carry it over to the centrifuge, and put the vials onto the vortexer, etc. That's crazy!" Well that guy doesn't have a job any more. We kinda joke that one day a microbiology lab will be a 5,000 square foot building with no human beings in it at all. That was considered skilled labor 10 years ago. Contrary to expectations, the cleaning staff will probably be the last ones to get replaced.

So lets look at your job:
* Drives truck: Already automated. (Tesla, etc.)
* Diagnose which part is broken: Somewhat automated.
* Orders appropriate part: Already automated. (Current project I'm on)
* Climbs up tower and replaces part: win.

You have me on that last one. Replacing parts still requires a human. For now...

Comment Something similar for artists (Score 1) 323

A few years ago there was a tool that did something similar for art: you drew a really rough line-drawing that just gave a sense of scale and position to each object. Then you labeled each object like "cheetah" or "motorcycle" and had one special label for the background, like "desert." Then it ran an image search: it would look for an image tagged with the same label, with roughly the same proportions as the outline. It auto-photoshopped it in, and viola! Instant art! One of the demo pictures was a cheetah chasing a motorcycle, and it was pretty good and kinda funny.

However, I notice that the art industry is largely unaffected.

Also, I don't think it is so easy to just "blur and sharpen" between two areas of code. Maybe something like "content-aware fill" would work here? ;-) Not likely.

Comment Re:The decline in online stores (Score 1) 183

Not always. But being made in the same factory doesn't mean it is the same product.

Here are some differences between the "real" product and the "after hours" product made in the same factory:
* May have lower capacity. Sometimes it labeled as such, but other times it is labeled as having the same capacity.
* May have skipped QA testing.
* Will not have a warranty. Sometimes they have no serial number, or they all have the same serial number.

Also, I can return a poor quality product to Best Buy more easily than some random Amazon or Newegg seller. And I can rate it poorly on Best Buy, thus discouraging future sales. But making a poor rating on Amazon against FlyByNightCompany74 won't discourage anyone. Once they rack-up enough bad reviews they drop the product and start a new listing for what is essentially the same item, or start a whole new seller.

Comment The decline in online stores (Score 5, Interesting) 183

I see a bit of a decline in online stores coming soon, not limited just to Amazon, because they have pushed the consumer too far. Here is why:

1. They are selling too much low-quality crud:
There are classes of items I can no longer buy online, because I have a 50/50 chance of getting a product other than what I actually ordered. Many e-commerce sites are copying the Amazon model of putting items on their sites, even if they aren't products the company sells directly. I can't buy USB cables, batteries, flash memory cards, or really any OEM parts online any longer. Even if the Amazon or Newegg store says it is an actual Samsung product, odds are good that I will actually get is a rip-off. I bought a rustproof aluminum part from Lowes, only to find it was actually iron so it rusted out. Now I find the same phony part at But it isn't actually a Sears product and it isn't in their stores.

2. They are no longer the cheapest deal in town
Several years ago I just went to Amazon for anything and everything, and just assumed it was the cheapest. That's no longer true. Even without shipping, I can usually find the item cheaper somewhere else. I'm even finding retail stores are competing positively on price. Now, this isn't true for electronics by any means, but see point #1 above. I'd rather pay $50 for 4000mAh a OEM battery at BestBuy than $10 for a clone that's 2500mAh but says 4000mAh on the case.

3. No longer tax-free
The tax-free days are over.

4. Shipping costs
Shipping costs are increasing.

Comment Details about the straw (Score 5, Funny) 102

The new straw runs Windows IoT embedded on an ARM Cortex A53 with 1GB of RAM. The straw contains 2 Festo 334-T3 pressure regulators that update 64,000 times per second to maintain an even flow of chocolate and shamrock. The embedded 802.11N connectivity will inform McDonald's immediately when your drink is done so it can automatically charge your credit card for another.

Comment Re:Never Fails (Score 1) 131

Isn't all that secondary to the fact that they can work any hours you want, at any location they want, they provide your own tools, and they can turn down customers? I disagree with your assessment that they cannot turn down too many customers. They can turn down as many customers as they want by not signing in to the app. They can't sign-in to the app, mark that they are open for business, then turn down customers. But that's just being an jerk.

There's lots of professions where the fees are fixed. Consider this: If uber added a bidding process, so that prices aren't fixed, would that be enough of a change that they are now contractors?

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