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Comment Re:Apple Music (Score 1) 461

No disrespect, but the music screen only has 5 unlabeled icons - the 3 for player controls are all pretty clear on what they do, which leaves you with the to go back to the playlist and the "dotted burger" (sesame burger? I dunno). I'm sure you're exaggerating the amount of time for effect, but I do have a hard time believing it took too much time to find it if you knew it existed already -- your options were extremely limited.

"[Knowing] it existed" I think is half of the issue with a lot of things, and I'm personally still not sure on the best way to introduce a new UI option to users. Forced tutorials, pop-overs, and so on are very annoying on first use and rarely give out the information that people want to know. But not having anything and no indicators of interaction also makes it really difficult, especially since manuals are so '90s and uncouth for modern software. But I think a lot of times the biggest issue is that you just don't know what your software can actually do.

"Intuitive" is kind of a crappy word to use for a lot of the UI things going on in programming these days, since a lot of the times I'm not sure what to expect when I want to do something. The burger button has become ubiquitous enough to know it's a general settings menu, but for the rest it's hard to really make any sort of analysis on "intuitiveness" since I think a lot of people just aren't sure what to expect. Like, using the music player on iOS as an example, clicking on the song title while on the "Now Playing" screen. This let's you rate the song, and I can't really say if that's intuitive or not, since I can't honestly say what I'd expect from clicking on the song title in the player. All other contemporary programs (iTunes, Media Player Classic, foobar, and others) don't do much of anything except toggle through information on some of them when you click the title, so really, I have no expectation when I touch something on the screen that I will be prompted to rate the song. Embarrassingly, this has left me with a slew of songs with ratings all over the place just because I either pocket rated or did so when I fumbled a touch and just didn't bother to go and correct it.

Touch, for as long as it's been around, is still kind of new territory for getting the most out of the UI/UX stuff, and because the means of interaction is so significantly different depending on the person (i.e., hand/finger size will determine your accuracy), it's far harder on a smaller touch interface to make a ubiquitous experience. With feature creep still being a thing, I think companies need to better audit their software and determine what needs to be introduced and what is fairly reasonable for the user to just play with and learn.

Comment Re:Most websites are funded by advertisements (Score 4, Insightful) 342

And most people don't want malware on their computers from malicious advertisements that slip through ad rings.

Advertising is currently positioned in such a way so as to be beneficial to the content creators and the advertisers, but not the users. You don't even really need to get into conversations about morality, ethics, intrusiveness, privacy, and so on when advertisements are a major means for malicious software to get on computers. With how fast the malware changes and evolves, most antivirus and anti-malware products can only respond after the fact, and these same products also are pretty bad about removing even relatively simple malware in its entirety.

Content creators should get funding; I don't think too many people truly disagree with that. But should you have to put your computer at risk to do so? Content creators are caught up in an arms race between the users and the advertisers, and as long as the creators are using the advertisers, the advertisers have no real incentive to listen to the consumers. Adblocking didn't come as a result of "man fuck ads in general", it came about as a result of ads getting overbearing, obnoxious, and dangerous. Advertisers' responses to this wasn't "oh, let's clean this up", it was "you thought that was bad? wait till you see this" and then they made ads even worse. It seems to me that advertisers are very clear that they don't care about what the user concerns.

Creators, on the other hand, are in a unique position to influence advertisers, and if they want to continue to have users visit as they do now, they will need to begin to publicly be advocates for users and work to change the status quo.

Comment Depends on your neighborhood... (Score 2) 151

Trick or Treating has just changed since when we were all younger. A lot of parents don't like the idea of kids going up to strangers houses anymore, much less in unknown areas or communities. I've noticed that in a lot of places I lived, most parents seem to prefer community events as opposed to the classic Trick or Treating, and you might just be losing all the kids to organized events instead. For better or for worse this just seems to be the trend, and you can try to buck it, but ultimately the kids are going to go where their parents let them.

If you're in a fairly tight knit community, it may be worth trying to organize something with the other members so that you too can participate a bit in the spooky festivities. For example, once place I was at had the main street shut down for about an hour or two and all the shops participated in Trick or Treating. A few neighborhoods also decided to do their own Trick or Treating as well, but no clue how well that went over. My apartment complex at the time made the pronouncement that the building was "opting out of" Trick or Treating, but someone just wedged the security door open and kids came anyways.

Comment Re: How about (Score 3, Informative) 237

Fortunately, there are almost no people like that in the US, despite fabricated horror stories by people with selfish political and economic motives

Do you live in a small town? Or do you live in a city and just never go outside? Or have you actually become blind to homeless people or the parts of cities in shambles?

East Coast, West Coast, all cities have parts that are either in dilapidated housing or have no housing at all. Even Minneapolis and St. Paul up north in MN have huge homeless populations as well as those without adequate housing amenities.

Comment Re:Isn't this really a problem of treatment? (Score 1) 233

Yeah, I want to echo this a bit. It was really jarring getting work in Russia of all places and right off the bat I make a fool of myself when I see that I get 30 days paid time off for vacation + select holidays; I asked how the available time off was calculated and the HR woman had no idea what I meant. I explained how my last job had vacation time generated based on the time I was actually at work and there was a cap as to how much vacation I could bank at any given time, and she really didn't understand it at all.

Comment Re:Broke the law of bribery (Score 2) 126

A kangaroo court is inherently unjust. There isn't one that is any less than the other, unless you're willing to say that some types of unfairness in the court are okay but others are not. Arguably, due to the way the corruption is open to the general public and not just the wealthy (as is the case in the US), the russian courts are more fair since everyone legitimately has the option to pay their way out. This is not condoning bribery, but we shouldn't point to someone else's shit to cover up the stink of our own.

Comment Re: Good News (Score 1) 187

I agree with you in principle, but I think you're missing that you're not all that important to advertisers as an individual. AT&T's actions are frustrating and dangerous, but they really aren't concerned about the buying habits of habitual ad-blockers. You are collateral damage as far as the advertising goes, not a "valued consumer". The people that these ads target are not you; you just happen to see them. There is a subset of people who do buy whatever junk an ad thrusts at them; if it's not you, then great! But the ads aren't gonna stop just because you aren't compelled by their random ads.

So it's great that you are incensed over this (and that's not being condescending, this is something people should be upset about), but as long as the general public has this feeling that ads everywhere are just fine without understanding the reasons why rampant ads can be bad, business will continue as normal.

Of course, even if the public got into ad-blocking on a large scale, that would just bring about the tech arms race between the very kind coders who work on adblockers and the advertising agencies.

Comment Re:We should believe this when... (Score 2) 81

I'd say you should read the article, but then you'd post complaining I owe you 20 seconds of your time back.

The article is incredibly shallow and leaves absolutely everything to be desired. There are no details on the attack, no explanation as to why government officials think it's Russia. In fact, as the result of either a confused spokesperson or poor journalism (both?), the article isn't even clear if the Government thinks it's government sanctioned or not.

The officials say its not clear whether the attack was sanctioned by the Russian government or conducted by individuals. But, given the scope of the attack, "It was clearly the work of a state actor," the officials say.[entire quote sic]

The article just lacks any substance whatsoever and the quotes from the government give no justification for the term "sophisticated cyber intrusion", as they stated.

You don't even need to bring biases and suspicion/distrust of the US government into it to question the validity of the article, as it says very little on its own. There are no facts presented, just claims by the US Government and some fun descriptions by a bored copywriter at NBC.

Personally, I believe it to just be a propaganda fluff piece; the word choices used are similar to statements made about Flame/Stuxnet and their kin when researching pointed the finger at the US/Israel. The article ends with some exaggerated description "...took the aggressive step of shutting down the entire Joint Staff unclassified email system", which is a weird way to say they took the system down for cleansing. The article plays up the sophistication of the attack to make it seem like a serious threat, only to slip in a sucker punch of "...but they didn't get anything important! Don't worry!".

Comment Re:Why stop there? (Score 1) 365

Keep in mind this often has nothing to do with any actual decision by the administrators/managers at the institution and everything to do with the financial/healthcare system provider. Healthcare in particular is plagued with lowest bidders trying to scam money out of the institutions from doctors and upper management that know nothing about technology and security.

At the end of the day, these decisions are the result of lazy programmers looking for a quick buck, not a conscious decision. The actual HIPPA document on security has no specifications on the passwords themselves, instead just practices about passwords. (i.e., there is no guideline on what a password should be. There are only guidelines about stuff like "reprimand employees who post passwords, require frequent changes, revoke passwords and tokens/keys upon employee termination")

Honestly, given that the trend is passphrase instead of passwords with length for strength, most people react a lot better and it'd be nice if companies took the time to do this. My last project at my previous work place was to help push through new requirements, and everyone loved it. Give people a strength meter and tell them the few forbidden characters and you end up with some really great passwords.

Comment Re:No kidding. (Score 1) 259

I would question your assertion on the native app; often times native apps are a second-thought, not a dedicated project, and unless the company has someone who is well versed in mobile development, it's usually a programming team's first and last foray into mobile design.

The truth is that not a lot of businesses/locations need an app - there's little to no functionality that can be obtained via the app that cannot be replicated in browser with a little bit of elbow grease, and the small benefits that an app can give are usually negligible when compared to, as Google put it in TFA, the "friction" of the mobile experience that interstitials cause.

Comment Re:Interlacing our knees (Score 1) 394

It's standard on most international flights outside of the US to have some sort of meal. Even my last relatively short flight from Amsterdam to St. Petersburg had two "meals" and snacks and drinks.

It's only when I've been flying within the US for long flights that they get stingy with the freebies.

Comment Both the submitter and WSJ got it wrong (Score 5, Informative) 230

The actual paper isn't about AI much at all as it is about making neural conversational models, basically, having the computer chat-back at you in a prompt and natural way. The conversations are less about the computer responding cognitively and more about responding human-like based on the speech patterns fed into it.

The researchers tested two types of datasets, an IT Help Chat Scenario fed with data from what I'm guessing are chat databases, and the second set was fed with conversations from movies as found from OpenSubtitles dataset (not sure if this is a relation to open

The machine took this vocabulary and then pumped out conversations, and the researchers just looked to see how the new sorting method worked.

I don't understand the linguistic terminology nor the modeling at all, but it seems to me that this is less about AI research and more about just getting bot to sound a lot more natural when they generate responses. I guess this eventually has AI implications, but the research paper itself never even mentions AI, nor does it seem like that's their focus. They're just working on speech, and the statements the machine regurgitated were tested not for cognizance or sentience but coherence. The machine spitting out something relatively snappy isn't the machine getting an attitude, it's the machine finding something relevant to the input that the reader takes as snappy. Such an event has no more significance than when people trained Cleverbot to respond to questions about Hitler with "Hitler did nothing wrong". This bot is no more snappy than Cleverbot is a neo-nazi.

Comment Re:Codeword (Score 5, Insightful) 479

As funny and nice as this would be, the inevitable leak is precisely why no such thing exists.

If the author is really in tech, they should know why trees exist and it's to keep Tier 1 questions from reaching Tier 2+ support. Programmers shouldn't be doing password resets. DBAs shouldn't be copy/pasting FAQs to users. Engineers shouldn't be telling people to "Turn it off/on" again, and so on. (Of course, if it's a small enough org there may be some "all hands on deck" events which occur that require everyone to field all questions).

The problem with having an auto-escalation path is that it allows problems that never should have escalated to get escalated. Yes, you may have a fairly specific problem that requires a T3 tech, but the T1 doesn't know that, and the majority of [Company]'s customers don't know that either, but every single other customer think's their issue requires a T3 tech. The scripts and the tree exist to keep some order and structure going. Think about it this way - suppose you were a business customer who had a T3 question - do you really want your call being queued up behind someone who insists that Internet Explorer is the only way to get to their email? When I managed a first response desk, we had people calling in for the Sysadmin, Enterprise Manager, DBAs, Senior Devs, pretty much every upper-level employee, insisting that "Only they can solve this". Most of the time it turned out to be basic desktop troubleshooting or password resets or just basic "how to" questions.

This is why a lot of the big businesses have empowered their T1 to basically send replacements without oversight. When I had Comcast briefly last year, I had a modem that seemed to be capping speeds. I waited out the script, and at the end of 20 minutes, there was a new modem sent to me via Next Day.

The problem in the question does not require escalation; It doesn't need a tech higher than T1, and it's not a matter of the T1's not understanding. To me it seems like the author is just impatient; if I were to expand on that, I'd also suggest they think they're better than the T1 and as such deserve better treatment.

Comment Re:Targeting helps make an ad good (Score 1) 231

I don't think anyone disagrees with this in principle, but targeted advertising assumes a lot of things, namely that the target is a heavy consumer.

My experience with targeted advertising is advertisements offering me things I recently purchased. For example, if I order a bike, presumably I'm going to have it for a long time - I don't need more ads offering me bikes at discount prices, as I already have one. If the advertisements were to go through and find local repair shops and help advertise their repair plans (which a lot of shops seem to do now), that would be convenient, along with a distance from my location so I have a relative idea of which I'd like to go to, but that's not really what ads seem to do. Instead, it's "We saw you bought X, here are more X you might want".

Or, if I search for an auto-repair shop, it would be nice to see specialties for each shop, location, etc, but that's not what you get with advertisements. For example, I'm in Russia atm and I just searched Auto-Repair - the ad which is served to me is FireStone, which would be okay if there were any actual Firestones in Russia.

This is my issue with targeted advertising -- it doesn't work as advertised. I'm told that the more I give it information-wise, the better it can figure out what to show me, but it never plays out this way. I'm shown things I've already purchased or things just plain not available. Never mind that the ads themselves contain no information that is worthwhile. With just this alone, there is nothing the targeted advertising offers me which is compelling to not block it. It's a wash for me, and with only that as considerations, I'm merely indifferent.

Real programs don't eat cache.