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* Posts by Charles 9

3600 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Ukrainian teen created in lab passes Turing Test – famous nutty prof

Charles 9
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OK, so perhaps we can agree that the Turing Test as we see it now is a little broad. Still it's an interesting step, and now that this step's been cleared, we can tighten the test: give it new conditions and call it the Revised Turing Test. Starting with the baseline of fooling at least 30% of the humans after a five-minute conversation, let's say we say the machine must simulate someone roughly analogous to the human (someone of the same age group and gender, so the program must be adaptable from person to person) with a comparable grasp of the human's language (this means the machine has to be able to understand language-based subtleties like puns). Perhaps in future revisions, we can include a requirement for using vocal communication and so on. So instead of dwelling on the past, we set ever-harder challenges for the future.

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I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

Charles 9
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Re: Took ages to convince my parents...

No, the out of the box settings ARE the optimal settings. Tweak ANYTHING and you'll only make it worse. Change it back to the original settings AFTER tweaking them and they still won't return to their original speed. No, you HAVE to nuke them from orbit. If nuking's not an option, I just declare the machine SOL. "That's as fast as it's going to go, it'll slow down over time, and not even nuking it will make a difference." I find Linux is a non-option because EVERYONE has some piece of software that MUST run on genuine Windows (WINE doesn't work on them), and they make THAT piece of software a prerequisite for a completed job.

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Verizon threatens Netflix in video lag blame game

Charles 9
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Re: A simpel Ping+TraceRoute solves it.

Verizon could counter the numbers are doctored and show THEIR OWN P+T logs that show THE EXACT OPPOSITE. Then it becomes a case of he said-he said, and the judge probably lacks the ability to figure out who (if any) is lying.

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Boffins: How to generate crypto-keys using a smartphone – and quantum physics

Charles 9
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Re: 10^18 times the life of the universe to crack?

Only thing is that half of a big fat number is still a big fat number: in this case, 5 * 10^17. It's like with those big lotteries. Sure, you slash the odds with each additional ticket, but the odds are still pretty crazy. And there's no easy way to reduce the all-important exponent to the extent that it becomes feasible within our lifetime.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bunkum: digital noise will adversely affect the randomeness

Actually, some random number generators RELY on that digital noise to produce entropy. These systems, however, recognize the potential for patterns which is why they tend to bleach the raw data to get rid of those biases. I've done this very thing using webcams, and while not all webcams are created equal, a couple different bleaching passes usually produces quite acceptable results.

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Charles 9
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Re: It may be random but is it unbiased?

Most random number generators that use real-world inputs tend to apply a little "bleaching" or "whitening" to the raw input to help trim out any unintentional biases. It's also possible to run the inputs through assorted randomness tests to see if the stuff passes muster.

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Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi! 3D HOLO-PHONE hinted in Amazon vid

Charles 9
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Re: re: 3D Holographic display

Last I checked, those holograms can't be done in arbitrary colors due to the nature of the diffraction gratings. That's why reflection holograms (which also rely on diffraction) show up as a rainbow of colors rather than in a fixed presentation.

@OrsonX; Pretty cute, actually. Though as someone else noted, that may not sound too safe. Plus there's the matter of atmospheric disturbances and so on. If someone can pull off this kind of trick in a vacuum (IOW, an approach that doesn't cook matter in so doing), then we might see better progress.

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Pixar frees its production-grade RenderMan software

Charles 9
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Re: The economics

Or they could be evolving to a module architecture the way Daz 3D is now. Their studio is free, but if you want to do anything serious with it, you're going to need one or ten different modules to go along with it...

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Glassholes beware: This guy's got your number

Charles 9
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Re: I wonder what this does...

After all, camera shades have existed long before Google Glass. Even a number of years ago, the kind of camera shades that could rival those specced in Transmetropolitan were around and required no networking (they used MicroSD). Completely self-contained and very hard to distinguish it as anything other than a pair of glasses. Fit them with prescription lenses and you can make a legal case for keeping them on everywhere (corrective lenses required for normal function), meaning someone can have a spycam no owner can force off. So what now?

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Google Glass? Feh. Behold Dyson's 2001 pocket 'puter techno specs with own 'Siri'

Charles 9
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Re: well very few products are competely new designs?

I thought the biggest problem was simulation sickness caused by the virtual scene moving but you not moving (basically seasickness in reverse).

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Charles 9
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Re: well very few products are competely new designs?

It's not like Sega was inexperienced in the 3D realm. Their Master System (aka Mark III) had shutter glasses as an expensive add-on that IIRC only really worked with two games. I don't think they feared stupid players but rather people unwilling to shell out.

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Congressman pitches bill to disarm FCC in net neutrality warfare

Charles 9
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Re: If this bill gets anywhere close to passing...

My guess is you're likely correct on that, but the true differences between elected Democrats and Republicans is very slim, the rest mostly a facade for the people they represent. They all more or less seem to obey whoever pays the most money bribing lobbying, with one member recently confirming what we already knew, regarding patent reform.

Thing is, the two parties cater to two different sets of "big business". That's why there are sides. On the Republican side are the old guard: companies like Comcast, CBS, and Time Warner, among others, who all benefit from the status quo since they produce content on traditional media. They're trying to borg the Internet by using their libraries of existing media as blackmail. On the Democratic side are companies like Google and Netflix, companies who are getting into the media business through new channels such as the Internet. They're trying to block the borging and marginalize traditional content by creating content of their own. Perhaps because they lack the muscle, but I'm surprised the new guard haven't tried to directly attack copyright terms as being too greedy. With that approach, they can get new fodder by liberating old "classic" content from copyright owners.

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Charles 9
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I don't think they care. Frankly, I think the real goal is to remove "common carrier" regulations altogether: not just on the Internet but in telephone, too. Remember, diehard Republicans are really Libertarian minarchists: they want as little regulations as possible and if you die as a result, well, Darwin ruled against you.

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Charles 9
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Re: If this bill gets anywhere close to passing...

Odds are the bill will be construed so as to bar the Internet (and perhaps even telephone) from being classed as a common carrier at all. For that matter, they may just remove the "common carrier" designation altogether and completely defang the FCC. Anything the FCC tried can be negated by the act, since the FCC's powers come from the Telecommunications Act, and as long as they're not retroactive, they can be applied legally.

But this bill will go nowhere. It'll likely never get through the Senate. Even if it did it probably wouldn't make it through Conference Committee, nor get passed AGAIN. Finally, President Obama would likely veto the bill, and neither house is united enough on this bill to override it.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Charles 9
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Re: In a perfect world...

Most mice have a wheel these days. That wheel acts as the third button when you push it in.

I recall that larger paper trays raise the risk of jamming because of the tolerances involved. If the feeder tray has no spring, then the pickup mechanism has to be able to reach lower while a spring-loaded tray needs to have a wider range of motion. Both of these raise the chances of the pickup going wrong, resulting in the dreaded paper jam. Enterprise printers are built for the higher work loads, yes, but they're correspondingly more expensive.

Is there reason you MUST use a genuine serial port. Is the timing or something else that tight that a common USB-to-serial adapter doesn't work?

I won't comment on network bridges at this time, but consider that negotiating the protocols you mentioned may involve necessary complexity that could be precluding the use of low-energy hardware.

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Charles 9
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Re: Anti-spam

But if you require stateful e-mail, you remove the ability to post anonymously, don't you? It's a tradeoff. Allow anonymous e-mail and you allow for spam. Don't, and you remove the ability to conceal one's identity when the need actually arises.

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Charles 9
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Re: an affordable, clever, home amplifier that "gets" the internet and Hifi

The problem with having stuff built-in is that tech moves on, leaving the amp behind. Keeping the music source separated from the amp gives you amp more life. It's like with the TVs. One of the request is a "dumb" TV with a lot of inputs. That way, if tech moves on, it should be able to keep up as long as the connections do.

BTW, I was thinking along the lines of digital uplinks to the amp. It may depend on the setup, but I think it's possible to send music from an Android through the A2DP profile to a receiver with minimal loss of quality because the music should be transmitted all-digital. The idea is let something else receive the music off the net or whatever and feed it to the amp in a nice clean format.

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Charles 9
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Re: Palm Sync

It got better with WiFi-enabled Palms since you didn't even need to cradle them to sync them. You can call a sync right from the program.

I think some analogut to HotSync is available for download on Android, but much like with different collaboration programs on Windows, there isn't one format to rule them all, and they're competing so will never agree to a standard.

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Charles 9
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Re: Passwords consigned to history.

Considering how prevalent physical identity theft is (get mugged, your IDs stolen), I don't think you'd want any kind of fob. And biometrics can't be altered in case someone manages to duplicate your bio-signature.

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Charles 9
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Re: Standard batteries

They've been doing that for some time (the Ryobi One+ series, for example). Thing is, for competition reasons, the battery packs aren't compatible between manufacturers. Plus, as power demands increase, battery packs get redesigned, creating planned obsolescence for the older devices.

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Charles 9
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Re: Keys.

For another, they all rely on electricity. Better hope they still work mechanically in case the batteries fail or the mains goes out.

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Charles 9
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Re: Free WiFi

It's not worth the cost when the police later come to investigate you because some malcontent wardrove you and used your "free" connection to commit some wire fraud or whatever.

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Charles 9
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Joke

Re: Emotion detecting jewlery

An iRing Mood, IOW?

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Charles 9
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Re: an affordable, clever, home amplifier that "gets" the internet and Hifi

I would think an easier solution for you would be to get a cheap Android tablet with WiFi and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth handles the music retrieval and playback, which you can then route via Bluetooth A2DP to the receiver.

OK, so it can't do more than two channels ATM, so an alternative would be an SFF PC (lower power) with XBMC installed on it to act as an HTPC unit, which you can then route to the receiver. I've tried using a Pi but XBMC on it still seems a bit sluggish.

Perhaps a decent Android device (tablet, set-top box) with an HDMI connection...

Point is, don't put everything in the receiver since things change. That's why most people stop using the "smart" part of their smart TVs.

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Charles 9
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Re: Voicemail sent to my mailbox as an MP3 attachment

I found Asterisk a bit overkill for my needs. A voice modem, vgetty, a simple Upstart script, and a follow-up shell script seem to do the job for me. I even route the voice messages to my e-mail.

And my service does have a Visual Voicemail. Whoever doesn't have it may wanna look into switching providers, though it should be noted this tends to be a premium feature, meaning cheap prepaid services usually won't offer or allow it via call forwarding.

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Charles 9
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That can get complicated, because the 9:30 stop may be time-sensitive, meaning if you miss the 9:30 stop, you may want to skip it instead of go to it next. Google Now is heading somewhere in that direction, though it raises privacy issues.

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Charles 9
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What kinds of systems do you use that don't agree on the Delete key above the left arrow (MacOS may use different nomenclature, but the key above the backslash/pipe generally acts the same as its PC counterpart, and both in turn mimic typewriters, so it's not that hard to acclimatize)?

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Charles 9
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I'd be for the first, if they can keep the power under control.

They're working on the E-Ink thing. Problem is that ink is the current state of the art has too low a resolution and too low a bit depth to make for a convincing image. Mirasol technology relies on a clever interferometry trick, but IINM can't readily do "half-on" color depth (the same problem e-Ink has). This hasn't been delivered simply because the tech isn't ready for prime-time yet.

Why would you want multiple e-ink pages? Doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose of an e-ink display? The flexible display I can go for, though.

I think true haptics suffer from a hard problem: reliably conveying an arbitrary sense of depth along the entire 2D plane. It's slightly similar to the volumetric display problem of projecting something seemingly solid into empty space.

VR will unavoidably cause Simulation Sickness at times because it's caused by the fact it's a simulation. If your eyes say you're moving but your ears (which hold your internal gyroscope) say you're not...well, get the barf bag ready.

I'll agree on Blender. I've been curious about 3D modeling, but have been turned off by Blender's complex interface. Why not take a cue from 3D map editors on how to better manipulate a 3D environment?

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Charles 9
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Re: EMP briefcase

I don't know if that's going to work. See, you forgot about the speakers, which emit EM as a matter of course (speakers rely on electromagnets to work), so it wouldn't be unheard of for the components in the boot to have EM shielding so they don't interfere with each other. Plus there's the matter of having an EMP device compact enough to fit into a briefcase.

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Charles 9
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Re: Household gear

What makes the audio-bomb cars so annoying isn't the music but the bass. They're literally blasting the air around them, shaking everything around them (exactly the intention—gotta be loud to be proud). So I don't know how you can cancel out what's basically a miniature concussion blast without either (a) doing the same thing back to them as anti-noise or (b) having so much insulation you would be too bulky to move practically. Much easier to prevent their sale and use (of course, in the US, that goes into freedom of speech issues).

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Charles 9
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Re: Platforms

Connecting social media together, I use google+ for pictures, my friends use snapfish, FB, and other services, why can we not pool across platforms, why do i have to download and upload,

Because they're competing against each other. Collaborating as you describe is like giving information to "the enemy". Never gonna happen as it would be against each company's fiduciary duty.

I have outlook for skype, google for android, whatsApp, lastFM etc etc why can i not manage my contacts in one place and have a single list of contacts with duplicates removed in all accounts.

Again, because they're competing against each other. That includes Google who's in the best position to unite the contacts, but since some of the apps you list are competing against Google...

Defo want a laptop i can use indoors and out where the battery lasts a full working day.

Depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to play movies on it all day, you'd be talking a battery so big it feels like you're back in the days of the suitcase computer. It's physics dictating this; live with it.

Defo want a phone with just an OS and let me decide what SW to install

You can rule out Apple and Google, then. We can pray for Sailfish, but then again, while Linux has made ground in the backroom, there still isn't a consumer-level Linux distro that can penetrate the mass market. Thus why Microsoft is still in control. IOW, the only companies that can penetrate that market can't be trusted to keep it clean.

If i buy a VW and Apple have shoehorned in their media services, i want use my Android phone in said car not an iPad and vicsa versa.

Only way around that is to not buy a VW. If Apple and VW have a contract, you have to take that into consideration. The contract makes it a Hobson's Choice: Take It Or Leave It.

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Charles 9
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To answer #8, YES. For the money Google makes for rich contact information, you couldn't pay them enough to stop. Plus there are genuine benefits to their crowd-sourced data (traffic maps, et al). So it's basically a deal with the devil with no way around it.

As for the permission, remember it's YOUR phone but it's THEIR app. And they wouldn't have published the app on Android without that level of control. The only way you're going to change the game is to basically make the Android app permission model toxic by either defecting from Android altogether or sticking to ONLY stock apps: not downloading anything. Are you prepared to go the long haul?

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Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the WORST

Charles 9
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Re: California drivers inept?

You want a REAL test? Try a major southeast Asian city, like Manila. There you have all the worst things you can imagine: impromptu roadblocks, snap constructions, flimsy guardrails, and roads filled with drivers who never seem to obey any kind of signage or road marking (probably because most roads, even multi-lane ones, are unmarked). Heck, good luck finding a traffic light. Oh, did I forget to mention all the different methods of transport that use the same stretch of asphalt, including pedestrians, bicycles, human- and animal-drawn carts, and all sorts of improvised vehicles that would be practically alien to any outsider?

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Charles 9
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Re: Of course it won't fly

The thing about trains and airplanes is that they have a lot attached to them and operate in environments where, if they fail, they tend to fail badly. In the actuarial world, that's called "low-probability, high-consequence". IOW, planes statistically are safer than cars BUT when a plane DOES go wrong, 9 times out of 10 it isn't pretty. Can you say the same about a car, even an automated one?

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Charles 9
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Re: Tell me I’m wrong.

But then, not even the ROADS obey the rules all the time. Think spontaneous incidents: unmarked holes in the road, kids or animals suddenly darting in front of you in a road with no swerve space, a tree begins to fall on the road (We can see the tree is falling and react before it actually blocks; how will the car hold out on something that irregular?), blackouts that take out the traffic lights or other situations where the traffic control isn't done by a machine but by a human using gestures or signs that may not even be well-coordinated.

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Charles 9
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Because of tunnels and urban canyons, GPS systems usually carry these neat little things called accelerometers. Any Android phone worth its salt carries a set, too. Even if the GPS signal is lost, the mapper can use the accelerometers to compensate until it gets the signal back. It's pretty old tech at that. Submarines have relied on similar tech for decades since any form of radio navigation falls flat underwater.

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Fuel for jets DOES grow on trees

Charles 9
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Re: Nah.

So if they have family across the ocean, they propose to just leave them to their fate and never visit them (because ANY form of transport to meet them will be fuel intensive, be it ship or plane)?

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Charles 9
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Re: Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

I thought the three rules of thermodynamics were (1) You can't win. (2) You can't break even. and (3) You can't quit.

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Charles 9
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Re: And the cost, in energy terms

Trying to learn more about it. Now, if the plant can be grown in land otherwise unsuitable for food crops, that's a potential boon. A smaller footprint on arable land at least opens the way for some give and take. I'm also particularly interested in the yield: particularly the average final product yield for a given area of land used to grow it.

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Charles 9
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But the article didn't completely answer the question. There are no hard numbers being bounced around. If you, for example, take one hectare of this plant through the fast pryolysis process being proposed, just how many liters of useable fuel will result? Because let's face it; flying is pretty fuel-intensive, to the point that weight is a constant consideration in terms of flightworthiness.

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Senate decides patent reform is just too much work, waves white flag

Charles 9
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Re: What happened to Principle and Common Law?

No, they just played the game to and used the rules themselves to change them. That's the thing about sovereign power: ultimately, the rules are only what you make it. Or as someone put it, "Ink on a page."

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Charles 9
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FAIL

Re: @Charles 9 - You want to reform?

It when they're under considerable pressure to keep up quotas or they get their budget slashed FURTHER. Put it this way, when you're faced with the prospect of being downsized down to just a yes man (or worse a yes-machine), and you're faced with a mountain of applications, all of which has to be done today, what choice do you have?

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Charles 9
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Re: You want to reform?

You realize the USPTO is one of the most understaffed bureaus in the American Executive Branch? If they're rubber-stamping stuff, it's because they lack the resources (both time and money) to do much else. And they STILL get chewed out no matter what they do. Frankly, a position in the USPTO is probably one of the more thankless positions in American government.

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Charles 9
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Re: ... !!! ...

Anyone interested in returning to Congress next January, that's who. These businesses are powerful enough that they can ruin any campaign that goes against them. Campaign restrictions don't bother them, as they have enough shills and shells to conceal their actions and enough palm grease to make anyone else turn the other way.

About the only way something serious will get done is if it hits a crisis level: as in people DIE as a result.

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Why are Fujitsu and Toshiba growing lettuce in semiconductor plants?

Charles 9
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Re: Can you even grow...

It would take a different setup than your usual kit, but there's not much preventing you from hydroponically growing potatoes and other root crops.

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Apple haggles with ISPs for fast lanes to its own websites – industry guru

Charles 9
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Re: Net Neutrality is a weird one

That's what I was trying to argue in my post above. It's a question of private rights vs. public fairness. Where do you draw the line?

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Charles 9
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Re: "...where private networks connect to public networks."

Public/private as in "Can anyone use the connection or not?" As in a privately- vs. publicly-owned company. Google's network is mostly private: for Google's use only. Meanwhile, consumer ISPs are by definition public.

Usually, a service open to the public is subject to fairness laws and such to prevent extortion and scalping. Now, where it gets interesting is when a private (for one's use only) net connects to a public one (that anyone can use).

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Charles 9
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I think where things get complicates is where private networks connect to public networks. Take Google. It has a private network through which most of its information flows. Google tries not to pass the data onto public ISPs until as close as possible. IOW, Google has its own backhaul, but to actually reach the users it still needs to interact with the last mile. Similarly, I think Netflix has contracted out a backhaul connection but still needs to negotiate with the ISP concerning use of the last mile.

Is Apple facing the same situation: trying to connect already-provisioned backhaul to the last mile? If so, how does this fit into the net neutrality debate given most of the networks involved are privately owned and operated. Where's the line between content segregation and overregulation of private not-for-lease lines?

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No such luck: Apple, Samsung say peace talks are off – way off

Charles 9
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Re: Not Cool

Besides, the costs of the lawyers are amortized over the millions of devices each company sells. They SOUND expensive until you compare them to their annual revenues (making it a case of millions vs. billions). For them, lawyers are simply The Cost of Doing Business (tm), and in relative terms not that big a cost at that.

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Net neutrality foes outspent backers by over three to one – and that's just so far

Charles 9
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Re: Similar but slightly different

The US knows that all too well. Infrastructure to the sticks is costly because the US is so damn big. Ever wonder why there are so many local monopolies when it comes to network infrastructure? It was because monopolies were the ONLY way to get SOMEONE to actually care about reaching them all the way in the Middle of Nowhere(tm).

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