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Submission + - Don't like telemarketers? Use a bot designed to waste their time (gizmodo.com)

Strudelkugel writes: Hanging up on annoying telemarketers is the easiest way to deal with them, but that just sends their autodialers onto the next unfortunate victim. Roger Anderson decided that telemarketers deserved a crueler fate, so he programmed an artificially intelligent bot that keeps them on the line for as long as possible.

Anderson, who works in the telecom industry and has a better understanding of how telemarketing call-in techniques work than most, first created a call-answering robot that tricked autodialers into thinking there was an actual person answering the phone. So instead of the machine automatically hanging up after ten seconds, a simple pre-recorded “hello?, hello?” message would have the call sent to a telemarketer who would waste a few precious moments until they realized there really wasn’t anyone there.

Comment Re:Windows Phone Keyboard (Score 1) 118

I find the Windows Phone's default swipe keyboard to be the best I have used. I find it marginally better than both HTC's swipe keyboard and also Google's keyboard.

Totally agree. I don't understand why they don't add the feature to the Surface devices, too. I use the full keyboard in a conventional fashion, but I have become so used to swiping short notes that I find it to be faster than typing.

Submission + - The First International Beauty Contest Judged By Robots (techcrunch.com)

Strudelkugel writes: Robots are starting to appear everywhere: driving cars, cooking dinners and even as robotic pets.

But people don’t usually give machine intelligence much credence when it comes to judging beauty. That may change with the launch of the world’s first international beauty contest judged exclusively by a robot jury.

The contest, which requires participants to take selfies via a special app and submit them to the contest website, is touting new sophisticated facial recognition algorithms that allow machines to judge beauty in new and improved ways.

The contest intends to have robots analyze the many age-related changes on the human face and evaluate the impact on perception of these changes by people of various ages, races, ethnicities and nationalities.

Comment Re:Driverless cars may be what China needs (Score 1) 37

Oddly enough I actually like the way they drive in China better than in the US. It's certainly true that Chinese traffic laws are more policy hints than laws, or so it seems, but Chinese drivers make maximum use of the roadway and gaps in traffic. For the most part, traffic keeps moving, but at slower speeds. In the US, people follow the laws so traffic flows faster. The problem with this is that when accidents do happen, they are usually at higher speeds and therefore a lot worse. I don't know how anyone could possibly drive in Beijing while being distracted by a phone. All the taxis I rode in were driven by people who had to be focused on the traffic around them. No way they could navigate it otherwise. For all of these reasons a self driving car that can navigate Chinese streets tells me the technology is advancing.

Chinese driving habits make crossing a street as a pedestrian a rather memorable experience. Good practice for getting used to self driving cars that slow down but don't stop when you are in front of them.

Comment Re:Better question (Score 1) 482

Because they require more service than an electric car, as the article mentioned. I don't buy the argument that electrics are too different from ICE cars Most car sales people don't know much about a full featured ICE car, either. Their primary objective is to sell you something on the lot, because it has a carrying cost. Better still, lease it to you or "help" you finance it and get you to buy an extended warranty. But the big money comes when you service it.

You can make an argument that having a lot of inventory is one advantage to the dealer system. But for the most part, I think car dealers are worthless and the process of buying a car is truly insulting, even with high end cars. My next car will be a Tesla or Uber or Lyft or some combination of the above. I'm done with ICE cars and the jokers who sell them.

Comment Re:WTF is with the US utility tie-in? (Score 1) 156

The problem here is that there's a low-grade civil war brewing in Crimea after Russia's invasion. Wake me up when/if the US has a similar problem. Zzzzzz....

I would not be too complacent about this. Clearly we are going to reasonably wonder "could it happen here?" and what would it mean. A valid concern, but the much greater issue as I see it is that it appears Putin has a new and serious challenge on his hands. How many more problems can Russia manage before something snaps? A breakdown in Russia could be a very big problem, especially if it is chaotic.

Submission + - Apple offers $50 off Apple Watch with any iPhone purchase in select stores (macrumors.com)

Strudelkugel writes: Apple has started a new limited time in-store promotion that offers customers $50 off an Apple Watch Sport or Apple Watch with the purchase of any new iPhone, including the latest iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the company confirmed to MacRumors. Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Hermès models are ineligible for the discount.

Submission + - Three counterintuitive scenarios for driverless vehicles (marginalrevolution.com)

Strudelkugel writes: The standard story is that traffic deaths will dwindle, cities will spread out magnificently, and you’ll all be reading Marginal Revolution on your morning commute rather than fighting the traffic. Maybe so, but what other options are at least worth considering, if only out of contrarian orneriness?

Comment Re:Let the Public Decide (Score 1) 439

My God Man! What you are describing sounds like a free market or something.

This is AMERICA!

Speaking of free market, how much longer until people don't need to own a car anymore? This is one of the promises of automation, but before that comes to fruition there will services such as Uber and Lyft that take the marginal car buying customer; people who live in cities. I would get rid of my car in an instant if I could. It's an expensive object and is parked most of the time. I share the opinion that dealerships are essentially worthless and provide the worst retail experience of all. But they will go the way of CDs. There will be a few dealers left selling specialty cars, but big dealers that exist today will be gone and no one will miss them.

Submission + - Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill (technologyreview.com)

Strudelkugel writes: When it comes to automotive technology, self-driving cars are all the rage. Standard features on many ordinary cars include intelligent cruise control, parallel parking programs, and even automatic overtaking—features that allow you to sit back, albeit a little uneasily, and let a computer do the driving.

So it’ll come as no surprise that many car manufacturers are beginning to think about cars that take the driving out of your hands altogether (see “Drivers Push Tesla’s Autopilot Beyond Its Abilities”). These cars will be safer, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient than their manual counterparts. And yet they can never be perfectly safe.

Comment The car is great to drive, but... (Score 4, Interesting) 222

I always wondered how the door handles would work after an ice storm or freezing rain. I've dealt with my share of frozen car door locks, but at least I could get the handle to move. I think the touch screen console was a big mistake. You need to be able to manage things like climate settings, radio stations, etc. by touch. Forcing the drive to look at a screen for mundane things was a bad idea. I don't own a Tesla, partly because they are so new and I don't like the design elements I mentioned. But I have driven one. There are very few other cars that are as much fun to drive.

Comment Re:My view of this (Score 2) 662



Wasn't there, don't know he people involved, so who knows what the situation was. What I don't like is the fact that Ahmed Mohamed didn't accomplish anything worth of presidential attention, yet he was invited to the White House. There are children who do far more interesting things. Let's not forget David Hahn. I think it can be said Hahn set the bar quite high for teenage science projects.

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