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Everything posted by atosniper

  1. atosniper

    Rise of the Robots

    What do you guys think about AI development in the near future, and pronouncements that 'the robots will take all our jobs'? There seems to be alot of noise about this recently. The title of this thread, for example, is stolen from a book of the same name published recently. It outlines how AI will transform the world in the next decade or so. That until now transformations have not led to massive unemployment, for example, farm work -> industrial work -> service work. However, the position seems to be that AI will become so powerful that humans simply wont be able to compete. There are ideas that the rich will effectively pay for most of us to receive a minimum income to live on. Those smart enough, or lucky enough could find work. I personally doubt the rich would be so willing to part with their money in such a way though. There is no such precedent in human history. Thinking about employment too; there are plenty of people of average or less than average intelligence. That might not be very nice to say, but the brutal truth is that it is true. Human intelligence has not seen any large increase at all for an extremely long time. Our brains are basically still the same ones we evolved to deal with mammoths and sabre toothed tigers. So how could humans possibly compete with AI, assuming it continues to rapidly evolve its intelligence. Self driving cars: they seem to have come a very long way in a short period of time. If they become ubiquitous, what happens to the large number of people employed in the transport sector? Some people answer: retraining. The problem is this is a solution that takes a great deal of time, money, resources etc. What if these people arent smart enough for the sectors open to them? It's rather disingenuous to tell a truck driver at the age of 40 to go learn high level maths and coding. And what if the AI takes those jobs shortly after... Are we destined for human/machine interface? Computers plugged into the brain (or some body part/s) to see some kind of meld between humans and AI? I find it hard to see how this can end well for the average joe... What do you think?
  2. I've got an old HDD that I want to wipe with magnets. What magnets should I use? TIA
  3. atosniper

    'Bots for kids

    Anyone have any recommends for robots for kids? Age of about 5, consider up to 8-10. I'd prefer if there was some kind of coding thing to go with it too, for the purpose of learning applied coding. Even if the coding is something like Mindstorms where you put the pieces together like a jigsaw. This is for my own child, not a class of children, although I dont mind suggestions applicable to either. Any other related ideas for learning coding or building bots in a fun way for young kids are most welcome! (I realise Google is my friend for this, but you know, this is a tech forum, and I figured someone might have a good idea or two. And we are trying to beat the bots, after all!)
  4. atosniper

    Excel, PPT, oh my!

    In some what of a connection to the other thread I posted recently about AI taking all our jobs, I was wondering what level of computing skills people are required to have these days for jobs. I live in Japan, and it always astounds me at the lack of computer literacy. Well, it feels that way, but maybe I'm just biased based on my own ability. I'm not trying to get a big head here because I'm definitely not a computer scientist or anything, I can say that I'm competent with the Microsoft suite - Word, Excel, PPT, and I am competent in C++, and okay in Python. However, people here, fairly often it seems to me, either cant use the Microsoft suite at all, or are barely competent in it. Not everyone, of course, I do know people who are far more competent than myself and use the programs daily. Anyway, I'm somewhat flummoxed when people here apply for a job with basically no computer skills when the job requires them. Does this happen in Australia these days? What is the average skill level like there?
  5. atosniper

    Kindle ordering - help pls?

    I have a conundrum. No, not that one... So I own an Amazon Kindle device (paperwhite). It is good. I read alot, and it has completely (well almost) converted me away from using paper books. The problem is the price of ebooks from Amazon. Please read on before making a judgement here. I am Australian, yet I live in Japan. I have a US Amazon account for my Kindle. My account address is my Japanese address, and my credit card is also Japanese. For reasons of contracts, distribution rights and other legal issues (I suppose, I have inquired but never received replies), the books I can view with my account set as described are determined by my Japanese residence. The prices are also set as such. For example, a new book called Uprooted by Naomi Novik (which I am interested in purchasing) is listed as $25 for the Kindle version, and only $15 for the hardcover. If I change my account setting address to a US address, then the Kindle ebook is listed as $11. Also, with my address set to a Japanese address there are some books that dont even appear in a search, for example most of N.K. Jemisin or Mira Grant's works are unavailable. It is very annoying. That said, until recently I believe Amazon have been setting book prices. This has meant that almost all the books I've wanted were under or around the $10 mark. Recently, perhaps around the beginning of this year, the problems with Hachette and other publishers lead Amazon to let many of the publishers set book prices. This has seen a big jump in ebook prices. Now many of the books are above, in many of those cases well above, the $10 mark. This problem though, largely seems to exist outside the US. If I set my address to a US address most of the books are still below $10. It is farcical. Does anyone have some kind of workaround for this problem? At first, I simply changed my address to a US address and ordered that way. However, after a few purchases I received a letter stating that my account address and my credit card address did not match and I needed to provide proof of my US address. It stated that if I continued to abuse this my account could be closed. One workaround that does seem to work, is getting a family member in Australia to gift me the book. However, this is quite an annoying process for said family member and requires relying on them, and while the book prices with an Aussie address are usually cheaper than with a Japanese address they are still more expensive than with a US address. I've considered adding money to my US account with gift cards I gift to myself, then use a VPN to make the purchase (maybe I dont even need the VPN if using money deposited in the Amazon account balance as any money in this account is ALWAYS used before a payment to a Credit Card). Any ideas on this? My last option was to simply pirate them. I dont really want to do that though. So any comments on the above methods? Any other ideas? I find this issue really frustrating.
  6. atosniper

    Excel, PPT, oh my!

    Thanks for the replies. It's interesting to get different views. I think perhaps the prevalence of mobile devices here is a factor in my perceived view of low computer literacy. For a very long time, Japanese people have used mobile devices, ie their phones, to connect to the net. Long before I was seeing a large uptake of mobile phones in Australia, the Japanese had them in quite the abundance. I remember it wasnt really till the advent of the iPhone that the Japanese seemed to lose their advantage in the mobile phone space. I know Japanese people who have used mobile phones forever, can use the 'net that way, yet basically have no clue when it comes to a computer. Just an anecdotal comment, in any case. MS. I've lived in Japan for a long time (the length can be counted in decades... O_o ). I have had associations with Japan since I was young, took classes in Japanese language during schooling in Australia too. These days I have a native-like proficiency, I suppose (you never really perfect a language though). Like most things, great efforts are rewarded by great progress. In terms of difficulty, Japanese is one of the more difficult languages to learn for people whose native language is English. If that needs qualification, well I have a Masters degree in Linguistics & Education...for whatever that's worth lol. Anyway, as I said, if someone was to put the effort in, they will make progress. I also think learning a language is a very good thing to do, at any age; even in, especially in, old age!
  7. atosniper

    Kindle ordering - help pls?

    Hmm, that is a good call, thanks, MS. I shall compare a bunch of prices. How good is Calibre? Will it produce a document that works flawlessly on my Kindle every time?
  8. atosniper

    Rise of the Robots

    Thanks for the replies. I read that link, Cybes. Interesting and scary imho. The author finishes with the line that self driving trucks should be awesome, that we should all receive some kind of living wage and pursue those lofty goals of the human race...whatever they may be? You're a 40 year old truck driver. You only graduated from high school and arent any kind of braniac. You enjoyed hanging out with friends and family and drinking beer on the weekends. That was your lofty goal. What lofty goal is such a person going to aspire to? I seriously doubt that any kind of living wage is going to be forthcoming, too. I think this idea is totally deluded. There's a graph in that article showing the income discrepancy since about 1970. If AI really does take off, the wealthy and corporations are going to hugely benefit. How could anyone be deluded enough to think they will just pay a whole mass of people to do nothing, or pursue their 'lofty goals'? Gina Rinehart, love or hate her, said not so long ago something along the lines of how she thought there were a whole bunch of lazy people and she had no problem giving them nothing. There are philanthropic wealthy people/corps out there, but I bet they are in the minority. I'm having a hard time envisaging a utopia out of this, more like a dystopia. Are we going to see something like that portrayed in the movie Elysium where the wealthy have a little enclave for themselves while the rest of us live in squalor? We, the masses, are basically living a serf, or worse, a slave-like, existence under the power of the wealthy. More like BSG where the machines (cylons) basically annihilate us? Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking are all worried about this problem. If you google, you can find info on this. If you cant manage this process, then you are already obsolete :P I also dont think an 'art' based economy is going to work. Check out a little video on Youtube called 'Humans need not apply'. (It talks about an 'art' based economy among other things) You bring up a good point about there being too many of us, Cybes. Think about this though: what do humans do when they live in poor conditions and/or not have much to do? They have more sex (which some might find a good thing :P ) but also more kids. So having a whole lot more people out of work and in poorer conditions could lead to even more meat based lifeforms. I want to be optimistic about this, but based on human nature and the deviation between the rich and poor and hollowing out of the middle class over the last 30-40 years, I'm having trouble.
  9. atosniper

    Code NDA?

    Thanks for replies about code in books and copyright. Now I have a new question. Let's say I was interested in purchasing a piece of code from someone. There is a Non disclosure agreement attached to it. I presume it is to stop sharing of the code. However, I dont have the exact wording of the NDA. Now, let's say that I dont fully trust the competency of the coder I'm buying the code from and want a third party to check the code. Could I do this? Or would I be in trouble for breaking the NDA? TIA
  10. atosniper

    Code copyright?

    Ok, thanks. I have a new question, kind of similar, in a new thread.
  11. atosniper

    Code copyright?

    Is the following okay for me to do? I own a book with some code in it. I wish to discuss the code and ideas behind it with a colleague, mainly for educational purposes. My colleague does not own the book. May I copy the code in my book and send it to him via email? The copyright in the book states: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the copyright holder, except brief quotations used in a review. TIA
  12. atosniper

    External HD?

    So I'm looking for an external harddrive to use as a backup for my data. I have an aging one that is about 6-7 years old and figured I'd better get a new one. Looking at about 1TB. Any suggestions for good ones? TIA
  13. atosniper

    Hire Older Programmer?

    Quick question: Would you hire an older programmer that is actually a new programmer? That is, someone in their early 40s who completed a computer science qualification (let's say Uni degree), and was now looking for a job without any experience.
  14. atosniper

    Hire Older Programmer?

    Well, smakme, the person in question is actually myself >_> I've been thinking about a bit of a career change, but dunno... Over the last couple of years, due to my main interest outside of work & family I've taught myself Python and (a version of) C++. I'm enjoying the programming aspects, and I'm becoming quite proficient, so... There is quite a bit of age discrimination in regards to employment here in Japan though, which is why I threw the question out there. Anyway, just something that's on my mind atm...
  15. atosniper

    Hire Older Programmer?

    Thanks for the replies. You've given me something to think about. Apologies for the vagueness. @Rybags: about age discrimination, is it illegal in Australia? It's been a long time since I've worked there. Here in Japan, I think it is illegal but would need to double check that. However, almost nobody, including government offices, seems to abide by it. For example, there are many job advertisements in many fields that clearly state they are only hiring younger than 35!! O_O Considering how quickly the population is aging here, and the largest population exists in the older groups, I wonder who will be employed in a few years if they keep it up.
  16. atosniper

    Ereader? Kobo?

    I bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite (Japanese vsn, as I live in Japan) a while back. It's nice. I am not intending getting rid of it. However, it has come to my attention that some books are not available to me as a Japanese resident. Something to do with 'open territiory' epublishing rights, I believe. The specific publisher is Orbit (Sci-Fi & Fantasy), owned by Hachette. Anyway, while they dont allow their books to be sold through Amazon to Japanese residents, it seems Kobo through Rakuten allows Orbit books to be sold to Japanese residents. So I am thinking of purchasing a Kobo. Does anyone have any recommendations? I only want something simple to read books on; I dont need nor want a tablet. I may have to take the Kobo/s sold by Rakuten though. I havent looked into any details yet. I thought I'd post here first to gather opinions. The other options for getting Orbit books are buying paper books or pirating. Both of which I'd prefer to avoid. Thanks
  17. atosniper

    The day the laughter died

    O Captain! My Captain! RIP
  18. atosniper

    DNS down over whole country?

    My ISP has a link up now describing things in a little more detail. It seems it indeed was a cyber attack! It was a DDoS attack against the DNS servers all over the country that began the afternoon of Thursday Japan time. (They might use the same DNS servers as MS suggests, but I dont know) They state that problems connecting to some sites still persist and they are working on a solution. Wow, that's quite nuts. It seems these days the internet is having one security crisis after the other... (that's probably just my recency bias though)
  19. This weekend in Japan it seems that most, if not all, ISPs in the country have had major problems with internet connectivity. They said it's something to do with DNS. I found that Friday evening some sites wouldn't load. I thought the problem may be at my end, so cut the power from the modem and router for a while, before turning it back on. No good. So I called my ISP and I couldnt even access customer service, they just had a repeating message that said they were having trouble and to stay tuned. The next day, Sat morning, things seemed to be okay. Then from lunchtime onwards, sites stopped working again. I called the ISP and this time I could get through. The guy I spoke to said the problem was neither myself, nor the ISP but with DNS servers (or connections?). He said that all providers in the country were having issues. He said there wasnt much to be done except wait. So I did, but it still didnt get fixed. There were a few messages about the problems on the ISP homepage, but nothing helpful. So I called again today (Sunday), and the guy I spoke to this time said the same thing about DNS, but helped me with a fix. I had to manually enter a DNS number to use on all my machines, and now the internet connects fine. Fingers crossed. He said they dont know the cause yet, but it's something to do with DNS. He said the ISP has been going insane all weekend with people calling in, businesses etc. I asked if it was something like a cyber attack (dumb question? I dunno) and he said he didnt know. Strangely enough, there seems to be nothing on the news networks about it. I would have expected something, because if all the ISPs are failing there's got to be alot of annoyed people and businesses. Also, the internet via my cell phone carrier (not wifi) seemed to work okay. This internet problem has never happened before, and I've been with my ISP for about 6 years now. So does anyone have any idea what may have caused this? I suppose I should ask about what exactly is DNS too... >_> Could the DNS going down be due to something like a cyber attack? Or is that really a dumb question... Cheers
  20. atosniper

    DNS down over whole country?

    Hmm that's weird then, right? If that is what DNS does, mapping, then doesnt that suggest that the whole internet (that is, all over the world) should be having issues? Instead of a single country. Also, I've not made any changes to my laptop and I've noticed that if I just keep hitting refresh on the url bar, even if the site doesnt load initially it eventually loads... Strange...
  21. atosniper

    (Public Announcement) Heartbleed bug

    So do we need to change passwords, or not?
  22. Hi I'm looking for an alternative for PS Elements, preferably free. I am not a pro, and want it for doing pretty basic stuff. Basically I'll be using it to create materials for class (teaching) on. So a bit of image editing will be required, and being able to do hand drawing using a stylus will be a plus as it will be installed on Surface Pro 2. I looked around and it seems GIMP is an oft recommended alternative. Go with this one, or any other opinions? Cheers
  23. I have an old XP machine that I was just going to ditch but then I thought I might install Linux. Do I need to delete everything from my machine first before installing Linux? I was originally going to run DBAN on the XP before ditching it. Should I still do this, then install Linux? Or can I just install Linux over XP, which effectively deletes XP anyway? Thanks
  24. atosniper

    Best "anti-virus" software?

    No Symantec (Norton).
  25. I live outside Australia. My young child likes some shows on the ABC website. We'd like to watch them, but can't... How can we watch them? Do I need to set up some kind of VPN? Are those even legal? (I'm not willing to torrent things btw, just in case of any such suggestions.)