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Comment: Eye tracking + swipe? (Score 1) 552

by itamblyn (#47076845) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

On my android phone, I can type words by swiping between letters, rather than simply poking at them with my fingers. I'm amazed how well this tech works and how fast I can write with it.

I know that eye trackers exist (and that one can select letters by hovering over them) but does eye tracking + swipe exist? If it doesn't, it would be straightforward to prototype it easily (originally you had to buy it, but now it seems to be part of the main OS.

...actually, after a bit of googling it looks like others have thought of this:

Other human computer interaction options would be the various brain wave headsets which are now appearing (e.g. from google I see etc). They tend to be less accurate, but are probably useful for things like controlling the environment (lights on and off) etc. It wouldn't be difficult to interface them with some basic home automation hardware.

I would think that finding a mix off input devices would be ideal in terms of preventing fatigue.

Once a bit of time has passed, you might consider spending some time looking through the faculty pages at your local University's CS Department. Get in contact with them. There is a lot of work (and funds) going on into HCI right now. This seems like the type of project that would get a lot of support from graduate students and faculty.

Please come back to us with a follow-up post. Don't forget to include a fundraising link for equipment costs. I would certainly contribute.

Comment: If only there was a country to the North... (Score 1) 870

by itamblyn (#46580437) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate
If only there was a country to the North with which to compare. Minimum wage in Canada is north (heh :) of $10 everywhere except in Alberta where it is $9.95. I can assure you we do not have robot janitors and our coffee and fast food is served by humans. The economies and purchasing power of the two countries are similar enough it's a valid comparison. While there clearly must be a point at which labour costs outweigh purchase + operating costs of automated solutions, for the types of jobs being discussed here, the break point is not $10/hour.

Comment: S != T != E != M (Score 5, Insightful) 491

by itamblyn (#46345633) Attached to: Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?
A large part of the problem stems (heh :) from the fact that the disciplines are not interchangeable. Policy makers typically do not have backgrounds in _any_ of the fields, so they see little distinction between a computer science student, software engineer, math, physics, etc. While we can all agree that those disciplines are technical in nature, the fact is you do not learn the same set of skills. When employers say then need more STEM grads, they aren't looking for a generic chemistry or biology student. They want a C++ coder, or they want someone that can build an antenna, or someone that can operate a mass spec. The learning outcomes from different STEM degrees are vastly different. Notwithstanding issues related to wages, H1-B etc, the acronym itself is a big part of the problem.

Comment: I should be able to log in and out of Chrome (Score 1) 482

by itamblyn (#44499731) Attached to: Chrome's Insane Password Security Strategy

Currently I am able to log in and out of gmail on a friend's laptop without any (reasonable) fear that my email will keep living on that machine (and is unencrypted). Obviously keyloggers etc could grab my password, but let's assume I'm not _that_ paranoid.

I do not have this option with the Chrome browser itself. At best, I can log into Chrome (and am encouraged to do so at first startup) and at the end of the session, I can delete the profile (rm -rf .config/google-chrome). This certainly deals with the problem, but is pretty clunky. The should be a login / logout feature to the browser, not just my email.

Compare this to Chrome OS. Here the functionality is built in; you don't have to delete your user account at the end of every session. Encrypted files are stored on the local drive which you can then access the next time you log in. It's quick and painless. This needs to be built into the standard Chrome browser.

Comment: It wasn't just the Smithsonian (Score 1) 122

by itamblyn (#43552085) Attached to: Smithsonian Releases 128-Year-Old Recording of Alexander Graham Bell
From the article: "The audio was recovered by a team of scholars consisting of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicist Carl Haber, National Museum of American History curator Carlene Stephens and Library of Congress digital conversion specialist Peter Alyea, among others." See also here:

Comment: Re:Anti-competitve practices (Score 2) 96

by itamblyn (#40926929) Attached to: Google Unveils New Search Features, Including iOS Voice Search
I'm sorry, but no. That argument doesn't make any sense. Microsoft was forced into providing that nag screen simply because courts move slower than technology. Fighting against Internet Explorer was the tech world's bizarre attempt to show Redmond they couldn't push everyone (read Netscape) around. Somewhere along the way, someone got mad that they couldn't uninstall a piece of software which _they_ personally deemed to be unrelated to the underlying OS. Flash forward, and now companies have their entire business based solely around the browser. MS built Internet Explorer into the core of the operating system because they knew it was a big deal. Did you really have that much trouble downloading and installing another browser next to IE? Really?

Now, related to your arbitrary and questionable definition of a monopoly, are you actually telling us that in the old days there was no alternative to Windows (*cough* *cough* Macintosh)? There was "no choice"?? And you would also like us to believe that Apple doesn't own the tablet market today? Apple prides itself on having a completely closed ecosystem. If we follow their model of "don't allow applications which duplicate functionality", then IE should still be the only browser allowed on Windows machines...

The only reason they haven't been hit for anti-competitive practices is because their marketing department, including Jobs, have always made the company seem like the scrappy outsider. Google looked that way at one point as well. Apple's time will come. It's inevitable.

Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?