Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:But surely... (Score 1) 309

That's not a typo mistake. Sure enough, you are not intelligent as you think you are.

Not being very smart, I'll have to leave this word salad up to others to parse.

This gives me an idea, though. Perhaps the dumbshit programmers at Apple and Google should offer separate modes for their mobile operating systems: beginner, normal, and advanced. Copious text bubbles and prompts to explain and confirm various actions in beginner mode, some swipe actions disabled. Normal mode is similar to what is delivered now. And an advanced mode with more swipe actions akin to how keyboard shortcuts are used in desktop applications.

The "send my voice" feature is an example of something that should not be enabled by default, given the half-assed way it's implemented. Unfortunately, the centralized Settings menu tree is another weak point of modern iOS versions. Bury it in Settings and it might as well be lost forever. IMHO it's time to start associating Settings / Options buttons with individual applications again.

Comment: Re:But surely... (Score 2) 309

It happened. I don't blame you, I didn't believe it either.

Of course I knew the mic button existed, I use it all the time to dictate text messages. And I sometimes hit it accidentally, being a klutz. But in past versions of iOS, it's always been sufficient to hit 'Done' to make the mic UI go away. It has never decided on its own that, since it didn't recognize any valid speech, I must have wanted to record and attach an audio clip.

Sure, it's a nifty feature, as far as features go, but the failings are obvious: it should have asked me to confirm the attachment, or at least given me some indication that an attachment was being created. To the best of my recollection, there was no indication of that until after it was too late to remove the waveform attachment. (I'd say there's a 5% chance I'm wrong about that, as I wasn't paying that much attention.)

Comment: Re:But surely... (Score 4, Interesting) 309

The other day I discovered a new iOS feature I had no idea existed. While sending a text to a customer, I hit the microphone icon by mistake. Another person in the (parked, idling) car was muttering about how the customer was a moron, which, although true enough, wasn't something I intended to include as part of the text. Not hard to see where this story is going, right? Well, it's even dumber than you're thinking.

I hit the 'Done' button to make the voice input UI go away, finished the text message, and hit 'Send.' As far as I knew, there was no danger that my friend's comment would be added to the text message. The car was too noisy and her voice was too low.for the speech recognition engine to understand, and in any event, the "moron" comment didn't appear in the outgoing text message. No problem.

Except what did appear in the text message, visible only after I sent it, was a small attachment balloon with a waveform. Apparently, iOS now sends the captured audio file as a binary attachment if it can't extract any recognizable speech.

So the obvious question is, what kind of drugs are these people taking? Is no one at a Fortune 500 company capable of thinking anything through these days? Do the programmers who think these features are "cool": and "awesome" not have managers with a three-digit IQ?

Fortunately for me, my phone lost its signal right about then, and I was able to kill the text app while it was still displaying "Sending." I knew from experience that iOS's text app didn't attempt to provide guaranteed delivery, and sure enough, when I restarted it, it had forgotten all about the message it was trying to send. So in a sense, I was saved by the same dumbshit programmers at Apple who tried to ruin my day.

It seems we have to adopt the same attitude around microphones that we normally apply to firearms. The gun is always loaded, and the mike is always live.

Comment: Re:So, pass the buck to government ... (Score 1) 214

Lightspeed was terribly careless when it came to dealing with regulation

Yeah, they should have hired at least one attorney or at least one engineer who could tell the MBAs, "No, we can't use internationally-allocated satellite-to-ground spectrum for terrestrial communications."

But it's a lot easier to blame the big bad gubbermint.

Comment: Re:Kind of.. (Score 1) 481

by Man On Pink Corner (#49000105) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation

But nobody would have cared if California had Oklahoma's population density. No harm would have been observed, certainly not at a scale that would prompt the creation of the Clean Air Act and a cabinet-level agency to enforce it. Mother Nature can absorb a certain amount of pollution of any kind... just not at California scale.

There are probably more cars in Los Angeles County alone (population 10 million) than in the entire state of Oklahoma (population 4 million).

*If it were just a local issue, then we could put 100 coal power plants in the middle of nowhere and it wouldn't matter. But ultimately they reduce the air quality everywhere over time.*

Quantity has a quality all its own. 100 coal plants is not a major problem for anyone not living next to one of them. 100,000 is everybody's problem.

Comment: Re:Kind of.. (Score 1) 481

by Man On Pink Corner (#48995529) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation

Even in the 70s, someone who was educated and understood the problem knew that equipment was required... Your father simply didn't care, or didn't know any better.

No, that's the whole point: the equipment was not required because there was no air pollution problem to begin with. We were saddled with a lot of superfluous emissions hardware in Oklahoma because it was needed in California.

The point of my CSB is that you can't possibly use your own preferences or localized requirements to gauge what's coming, or argue against it. Not in the car business, anyway.

You won't be putting a subway system into Dallas, it would cost a hundred billion dollars and still be poorly used, the city is too spread out. As it stands, we already have a multi-billion dollar light rail system that is poorly used and doesn't even run to half the city. The bus system costs just as much and is also poorly used...

What does any of this have to do with the subject under discussion?

Comment: Re:Kind of.. (Score 1) 481

by Man On Pink Corner (#48990471) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation

A lot of people have ideas that might work in 2 or 3 big cities, but for the vast majority of America, have no chance.

I'm reminded of the emissions-control laws of the early 1970s, in that respect. During that time, I grew up in a flyover state in the middle of nowhere. There was widespread resentment -- more like frothing-at-the-mouth fury -- that our vehicles had to have catalytic converters, smog pumps, and endless tangles of seemingly-unnecessary plumbing under the hood, when there was clearly no problem with air pollution within a thousand miles or more. My old man constantly ranted about how the government was destroying the automobile industry out of sheer bureaucratic stupidity. There was an underground cottage industry devoted to bypassing and removing emissions equipment.

Now, 40 years later, I can go down to my local Chevy dealer and buy a 460 HP Corvette that gets 30 MPG. Oops. Guess my old man was wrong.

The same thing's going to happen this time, down to the last chapter and verse. People like you and me will scream bloody murder, and then we will wake up one day and realize we were wrong.

Comment: Re:Kind of.. (Score 1) 481

by Man On Pink Corner (#48986893) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation

But not for me... Pride of ownership is a key point, having a nice well maintained vehicle that I worked hard for...

For the record, I'm with you 100% on that. I'm not personally going to like what I'm predicting, but I have no illusions that it won't happen exactly that way, because it makes too much sense in the vast majority of use cases.

Plus, my vehicle needs don't match most people's, I have a 7 person full sized SUV (Yukon XL) so I can haul the kids + stuff. JohnnyCab can't handle that.

Why not? There will be different levels of service, and numerous models of vehicles available at varying prices.

The rest of the objections people are raising go away when all of the autonomous cars are talking to each other and behaving as cooperative actors. On expressways, it will be only slightly more dangerous for a pack of "JohnnyCabs" to travel 10 feet apart at 100 MPH than it is for them to obey the current traffic laws designed for human judgment and reaction times. And on surface streets, traffic controls at intersections will be orders of magnitude more efficient.

It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river. -- Abraham Lincoln