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Comment My last 3 android phones have had this feature (Score 0) 63 63

Taking and transcribing voicemail? My last 3 phones, all Android and going back at least four years, have had this feature. Is Apple really that far behind, that this feature comes out as News, and what's more, implies that they invented it?

Christ, does anyone editing this site actually keep up with technology?

Comment Re:Shouldn't this work the other way? (Score 1) 189 189

things like the GHS hazard pictograms, DIN 4844-2, ISO 3864, TSCA marks, and similar such things seem like perfectly reasonable additions to Unicode

No they don't, because they are pictograms with very specific visual appearances. Such things don't belong in a character set, because things in a character set are characters. Glyphs (visual presentation of characters) live in fonts and each font designer is free to represent them differently, as long as they're recognisable. If every font has to represent things in the same way, then they don't belong in a character set, they belong in a set of standard images.

The other issue with this kind of cruft is collation. The unicode collation algorithm is insanely complex (and often a bottleneck for databases that need to keep strings sorted). Different locales sort things in different orders and most have well-defined rules for things that are characters. The rules for how you sort a dog-poop emoji relative to a GHS hazard pictogram, relative to a roman letter are... what?

Comment Re:This one simple trick ... (Score 1) 189 189

Being a character implies a bunch of other stuff such as different graphical representations (fonts) for the same semantic symbol and a collation ordering. This doesn't make sense for a load of stuff that's now in unicode. If these are meant to be glyphs with well-defined visual representations, then they don't belong in a font with their representation dependent on the font designer's whim. If they're not characters used in any language, then what are the collation rules for them? What order do dog-poop and contains-gluten sort, and how does this vary between locales?

Comment Re:That's lovely (Score 1) 532 532

The working class doesn't get to pick where they live. It's expensive as hell to up and move

I'm not totally convinced by this. The poorer you are, the less likely you are to own your own house. That makes moving a lot cheaper (selling a house is expensive, changing rented accommodation is inconvenient but not nearly as expensive).

Comment Re: Troll (Score 3, Insightful) 532 532

It's easy to retreat to a True Scotsman argument, but when it comes to political and economic systems there are very few examples of any ideology being completely applied. Not capitalism, not communism, not socialism. Most countries have a blend of several parts of different ideas. Claiming that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a shining example of socialism is about as accurate as claiming that the Democratic Republic of Congo is a shining example of a democratic republic. They may have the word in their name, but that's about it. Even the USA makes more use of Marxist ideas than the USSR did for most of its existence.

Comment Re:Then make the "aberration" return. (Score 4, Interesting) 532 532

It varies a bit depending on the relative scarcity of your skills and jobs. For someone with skills in shortage, job security isn't that great a thing, as moving jobs will typically involve a pay rise. For someone with fewer options, it's much more important because there's going to be a gap between jobs and they're not in a position to negotiate a better package. Unions were supposed to redress some of this imbalance: an individual employee may be easily replaceable for a lot of companies, but the entire workforce (or even a third of the workforce) probably isn't.

Unfortunately, unions in the USA managed to becomes completely self-interested and corrupt institutions. This is partly due to lack of competition: in most of the rest of the world you have a choice of at least a couple of unions to join, so if your union isn't representing your interests you can switch to another one. Partly due to the ties between unions and organised crime in the USA coming out of the prohibition era. Partly due to the demonisation of anything vaguely socialist during the Cold War, which reduced employee involvement in unions (and if most people aren't involved in the union, then the few that are have disproportionate influence).

Even this has been somewhat eroded by automation. If you're replacing 1,000 employees with robots and 100 workers, then a union's threat to have 600 people go on strike doesn't mean much and even when it does it's very hard to persuade those 600 that striking won't mean that they're moved to the top of the to-be-redundant list.

But, back to my original point: lack of jobs for life isn't the real problem. A large imbalance in negotiating power between companies and employees is. When employees are in a stronger negotiating position, companies will favour keeping existing employees because it's cheaper than hiring new ones.

Submission + - The Status of Moore's Law: It's Complicated

Iamthecheese writes: This 2013 paper on the status of Moore's law in integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing is still highly relevant. According to the article Moore's law has slowed (from doubling every 18 to 24 months to improving by a factor of 1.6) but the exponential improvement is still there.

Various components of lithographically deposited IC's shrink at different rates, and node size is becoming a marketing term rather than a description of chip feature size. GlobalFoundries, for example, is calling their 20 nanometer chips 14 nm because improvements in capability is equivalent to that degree of improvement in circuit size.

With AMD still very much in the running, keeping Intel on their toes with some very stiff competition I, for one, can't see but continued exponential improvement in the future, with all the miracles that may entail.

Submission + - Unicode consortium looks at symbols for allergies

AmiMoJo writes: A new preliminary proposal submitted to the Unicode Consortium suggests that specific emoji for food allergies should be added to the standard. The proposal (PDF), submitted by a Google engineer, is under discussion and may not be added to the standard at all but offers a peek into some useful new emoji. It suggests the addition of peanuts, soybeans, buckwheat, sesame seeds, kiwi fruit, celery, lupin beans, mustard, tree nuts, eggs, milk products and gluten to help those with allergies express them in shorthand.

Submission + - US Department of Defense shuns open source medical records in $4.3B contract 1 1

dmr001 writes: The US Department of Defense opted not to use the Department of Veterans Affairs' open source popular VistA electronic health record in its project to overhaul its legacy systems, instead opting for a consortium of Cerner, Leidos and Accenture. The initial $4.3 billion implementation is expected to be the first part of a $9 billion dollar project. The Under Secretary for Acquisition stated they wanted a system with minimum modifications and interoperability with private sector systems, though much of what passes for inter-vendor operability in the marketplace is more aspirational than operable. The DoD aims to start implementation at 8 sites in the Pacific Northwest by the end of 2016, noting that "legacy systems are eating us alive in terms of support and maintenance," consuming 95% of the Military Health Systems IT budget.

Submission + - China to Impose Export Control on High Tech Drones and Supercomputers->

hackingbear writes: Following similar hi-tect export restriction policies in the U.S. (or perhaps in response to the U.S. ban on China,) China will impose export control on some drones and high performance computers starting on August 15th, according to an announcement published on Friday by China's Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs. The ban includes (official documents in Chinese) drone that can take off in wind speed exceeding 46.4km/hour or can continuously fly for over 1 hour as well as electronic components specifically designed or modified for supercomputers with speed over 8 petaflops. Companies must acquire specific permits before exporting such items. Drones and supercomputers are the two areas where China is the leader or among the top players. China is using its rapidly expanding defense budget to make impressive advances in (military) drone technology, prompting some to worry that the United States' global dominance in the market could soon be challenged. The tightening of regulations comes two weeks after an incident in disputed Kashmir in which the Pakistani army claimed to have shot down an Indian "spy drone", reportedly Chinese-made. China's 33-petaflops Tianhe-2, currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, while still using Intel Xeon processors, takes use of the home-grown interconnect, arguably the most important component of modern supercomputers.
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Submission + - MORPHs Roam The Park Looking For Children To Play ->

mikejuk writes: Robots, taken at the widest interpretation of an active mechanism with some computer control, are getting cheaper all the time. This means you can start to think of using them for non-essential things like — fun and art. The MORPH — Mobile Reconfigurable Polyhedron — an octahedral robot has twelve actuated struts and moves by changing their length so as to overtopple in a determined direction. Let loose in a park a morph is free to roam around finding people to play with it. It resembles a mobile climbing frame and the idea that it might pursue small children and insist that they play with it is both amusing and spooky. Just wait until it manages to trap a small child in its actuators! See the video of it roaming a London park.
The current prototype is around 1.5 meters high and can withstand an imposed load of 30 kilograms and there are plans for a bigger version at twice the height. Now that will really be an autonomous roving climbing frame!
Let us hope it doesn't go rogue.
Just in case — I, for one, welcome our robotic climbing frame overlords...

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