* Posts by Bruce Woolman

16 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Jan 2008

AI can now animate the Mona Lisa's face or any other portrait you give it. We're not sure we're happy with this reality

Bruce Woolman

It is clear now..

All reality is virtual reality.

Not quite the Bake Off they were expecting: Canadian seniors served weed-infused brownies

Bruce Woolman

Eating too much cannabis often results in a very anxious uncomfortable disorienting protracted high.

Just ask columnist Maureen Dowd. Nasty trick to play on anybody... young or old. Very hard to gauge dosage in a brownie. Digestive processes potentiate the psychoactive compounds. Go easy with the edibles you space cadets.

You know the drill: SAP has asked Joe Public to name Munich arena so go forth and be very silly

Bruce Woolman

Will this work?

Oracle Arena. Just sounds better.

No big deal... Kremlin hackers 'jumped air-gapped networks' to pwn US power utilities

Bruce Woolman

Perhaps it is time all parties concerned engaged in cyber treaty talks

Hardware hacking. Election interference. We can give as good as we get in this regard and no doubt have done so. So can the Chinese, and the Indians. Even smaller states with talented computerists can engage at a high level. Moreover, this kind of interference can easily escalate into kinetic battle. It seems clear that some sort of systems treaty is needed lest something nobody really wants comes to pass.

There are very real and complex technical barriers to setting sensible limits and to getting verification, but sooner or later we must try. Technology is always way ahead of the law. But sooner or later we will need a body of international law to deal with this $#!+.

VW engineer sent to the clink for three years for emissions-busting code

Bruce Woolman

Unnecessary deaths?

Has anyone seen calculations concerning anticipated increases in air-pollution caused-morbidity and mortality resulting from this crime? Certainly a significant number people will have shortened lives because of VW's perfidy.

Amazing new boffinry breakthrough: Robots are eating our brains

Bruce Woolman

A corporate tax on profits is not enough. We need a robot tax

Automation, and now enhanced automation, brings higher productivity and higher profits...obviously. This kind of equipment needs to be taxed or levied in some way ... not depreciated like ordinary equipment. Progressive societies that balance the public good against corporate interests will, ultimately, have to milk the robotic cash cow for the sake of social stability. Bill Gates has already proposed this idea as a robot income tax.

Capitalism works. Corporate objectives and social objectives are often congruent. But we know from experience that capitalism left unchecked is flawed as a tool for promoting the general welfare. Which is what most of us care about. Unrestrained capitalistic institutions monopolize, pollute, and exploit people. Now they can discard people permanently -- those troublesome workers -- in exchange for tireless uncomplaining workers. A well-thought-out tax on the latter will slow the robot transition by reducing the profitability slope of automation. At the same time the funds realized in such a levy could be utilized properly to help contribute to social transformation; that is, for things like universal guaranteed resources and health care. And development of a more artisan-based human work culture. We can train makers, and more nurses and doctors and trainers and entertainers and story tellers.

Henry Ford paid his workers well at the outset because he understood they they would also be his customers. Robots wear nothing, eat nothing, drink nothing, watch nothing and they certainly buy nothing. Even the dimmest business people understand that they will need paying customers. As this trend matures values could very well change. And we may come to value human contributions more. Robots could well free us as was sometimes envisioned by the futurists of the past. Or if their introduction is pursued thoughtlessly they could lead to a huge class upheaval.

The choice is ours. Milk the cow or have it trample us to death.

Cosmic bonks, breakups led to birth of Saturn's moons as dinos died out

Bruce Woolman

"If only we had been around to see such a sight.." Well, we would not have been around much longer after we saw it.

Big mistake, Google. Big mistake: Chrome OS to be 'folded into Android'

Bruce Woolman

Turn the scope 'round the other way -- I would rather see a pure and secure Chrome Phone

A Chrome OS phone that can handle a well defined core suite of useful apps would be an easy sell -- especially for enterprise. But a Chromed Android OS on a laptop? Feh! I like my Chromebook. Android security is an oxymoron.

NERDS KICK PUPPY 'bot in brutal attack

Bruce Woolman

Creepy homicidal quadrupeds

There was one brief segment where two of the robots were pictured walking together in step. Suddenly I had a vision of about a thousand of these critters emerging over a hilltop at dawn armed with dual 50 caliber Gatling guns and RPGs. I mean, "Can't we all just get along?"

The hoarder's dilemma: 'Why can't I throw anything away?'

Bruce Woolman

I long for a proper place to hoard electronics

Since we move around the world a lot for work I have to curtail my electronics hoarding impulse somewhat. I think it is green to save old kit from the landfill. And it is satisfying to come up with a USB mini when the cheapo manufacturers these days ship printers etc without cabling. However this green glow is counterbalanced by the Brobdingnagian carbon foot print laid down by bunging it around the world. Also the older equipment does have great big sooty feet. This does not stop me from saving working gear, mind you. But I do get rid of some of it. I sort cables into plastic totes. One for analog cables RCA , speaker and antenna wire (icluding coaxial). Another tote for data and periferal; usb, hdmi, ethernet patch cables, parallel, rs232 (you never know) , Another for internal computer data. PATA, SATA etc. Another tote for DC power supplies and dc power cables. And finally another for mains including international adapters and extension cords all with various plugs: US, British (safest in the world) and European. Had some Aussie plugs and binned 'em. No chance of an assignment there again.

My favorite save involved an old box built for me by the Armenian Institute of computer Science. Top flight ASUS components for 1999. It just refused to break. It was used as a file server until I gave it to a center for disabled children in Tajikistan in 2011. It ran Ubuntu Linux and would not get infected like the hopeless unmaintained XP machines. This proved very useful to the project director as she could visit the site and not get her thumb drives polluted. I hooked it to an old printer. The kids could even play games on it. Things like this are what make it hard to cure myself of e-hoarding.

Meet the man building an AI that mimics our neocortex – and could kill off neural networks

Bruce Woolman

Companies should pay an earning tax for every robot. This tax should go into a fund to retrain people in jobs that only people can do. Mainly the arts and athletics. So in the future the robots will do all the work and the people will eat delicious robot-made tucker and put on plays for each other and write poetry to each other. We will all be good at sports and belong to many leagues. Everyone will know the Karma Sutra forwards and backwards... especially backwards. We will paint and declaim and write art reviews. Indeed the leaders of society will be the reviewers. It will be a world of poetry and abstract art and street theater. In short. The future will be an artsy fartsy LIVING HELL. Except for the Karma Sutra part, of course.

Comcast expands public Wi-Fi net using customers' modems

Bruce Woolman

Hey. Come on everybody. This is Comcast.

And it is going to be really really cool to share our bandwidth. Think of all the awesome people passing by your house who you will empower enable and facilitate with a part of your network. It is pure Comcast synergy! What, I ask you, could possibly go wrong?

Adobe's Creative Cloud fails at being a cloud

Bruce Woolman

Adobe's New Coke moment

Adobe can join MS in a huge software debacle. This play is not going to work. My guess is that they will roll back their nebulous ambition -- at least for a while. Adobe claim they won't add features to their boxed sets from now on. It's the cloud or nuttin'. I think a lot of creative people will start looking elsewhere. And especially after this confidence-crushing FAIL during the roll out of an already risky play.

Wark my mords....Reds will hole.

Ten ancestors of the netbook

Bruce Woolman

My EEEPC 900 lives in the kitchen

There, hooked to a pair of ten-dollar speakers, it serves as a wi fi appliance to stream radio. It is also the only computer I take on holiday these days. This because it has solid state storage. I can, and do, sometimes bung it into the checked baggage to simplify security checks. I upgraded the ssd, which was dead slow, and it dual boots XP and Linux mint. Both run with enough speed for a normal experience. Not true with the original ssd hardware, which was almost unusable. I tried traveling a few times with the old Samsung Slab, but found it to be inadequate. So the cheap little Asus joined me again. It fits into an important niche a tablet or a smartphone just does not fill comfortably. IMHO there will always be a market for a relatively small, inexpensive sturdy notebook. The history outlined in this well-researched article demonstrated that fairly clearly.

Remembering the Cray-1

Bruce Woolman

It took a human generation to get a Cray-1 to the desktop

In about 1992 I had a 486 with similar specs to the Cray 1. Albeit with only 32 bits. But fifteen years after that my desktop PC's frequency is over thirty times faster with 200 times more memory.

Still no love seat, however. And the office chair just doesn't cut it.

PS I had a friend who made a killing buying Cray stock. I unfortunately....didn't.