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The Slow Death of Voice Mail 237

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-the-tone,-please-hang-up-and-send-me-an-email dept. writes: Duane D. Stanford reports at Bloomberg that Coca-Cola's Atlanta Headquarters is the latest big company to ditch its old-style voice mail, which requires users to push buttons to scroll through messages and listen to them one at a time. The change went into effect this month, and a standard outgoing message now throws up an electronic stiff arm, telling callers to try later or use "an alternative method" to contact the person. Techies have predicted the death of voice mail for years as smartphones co-opt much of the office work once performed by telephones and desktop computers. Younger employees who came of age texting while largely ignoring voice mail are bringing that habit into the workforce. "People north of 40 are schizophrenic about voice mail," says Michael Schrage. "People under 35 scarcely ever use it." Companies are increasingly combining telephone, e-mail, text and video systems into unified Internet-based systems that eliminate overlap. "Many people in many corporations simply don't have the time or desire to spend 25 minutes plowing through a stack of 15 to 25 voice mails at the end or beginning of the day," says Schrage.

In 2012, Vonage reported its year-over-year voicemail volumes dropped 8%. More revealing, the number of people bothering to retrieve those messages plummeted 14%. More and more personal and corporate voicemail boxes now warn callers that their messages are rarely retrieved and that they're better off sending emails or texts. "The truly productive have effectively abandoned voicemail, preferring to visually track who's called them on their mobiles," concludes Schrage. "A communications medium that was once essential has become as clunky and irrelevant as Microsoft DOS and carbon paper."

Comment: Re:Why dashcams? (Score 1) 93

by nadaou (#48645227) Attached to: Seattle Police Held Hackathon To Redact Footage From Body Cameras

There is no need to [...] unless you have something to hide.

Now where have I heard that argument before...?

All the same, dashcams should be mandatory. They protect good cops while catching or putting a check on bad cops, and add an extra POV that neither the cop or the accused had available to them. Bonus witness.


Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans 335

Posted by Soulskill
from the guess-we're-back-to-coinflips dept.
KentuckyFC writes: The halting problem is to determine whether an arbitrary computer program, once started, will ever finish running or whether it will continue forever. In 1936, Alan Turing famously showed that there is no general algorithm that can solve this problem. Now a group of computer scientists and ethicists have used the halting problem to tackle the question of how a weaponized robot could decide to kill a human. Their trick is to reformulate the problem in algorithmic terms by considering an evil computer programmer who writes a piece of software on which human lives depend.

The question is whether the software is entirely benign or whether it can ever operate in a way that ends up killing people. In general, a robot could never decide the answer to this question. As a result, autonomous robots should never be designed to kill or harm humans, say the authors, even though various lethal autonomous robots are already available. One curious corollary is that if the human brain is a Turing machine, then humans can never decide this issue either, a point that the authors deliberately steer well clear of.

Comment: Re:If this were ten years ago, I would have (Score 5, Insightful) 268

by nadaou (#48360377) Attached to: GNOME Project Seeks Donations For Trademark Battle With Groupon

Hear hear. If one of the biggest and best known names in the FOSS world can't defend themselves from something so blatant it just encourages other big corporations from abusing smaller groups.

Red hat, we're looking at you to step up here.

The Systemd and GNOME3 toxic manouvers are irrelevant.

Comment: Re:Is the really that much of an issue? (Score 4, Insightful) 345

by nadaou (#48123815) Attached to: ChromeOS Will No Longer Support Ext2/3/4 On External Drives/SD Cards

Why bother developing, testing, and supporting a feature that few in their target market will ever use?

Because Google has a vested interest in the next generation of SD card not having patented and royalty incurring filesystem such as exFAT as the mandated standard. The more they can support TF card hardware spec instead of the SD card "experience" spec the better it will be for all of us. Except for Google's main competition in the laptop market that is.

As it stands now every smartphone with an SD card has as part of its manufacturing cost about $2 going straight to Microsoft for the privilege of using exFAT, because the SD standards committee in their wisdom decided that SD cards can't be called SD cards without it.

Comment: Re:Still not actually open (Score 1) 56

by nadaou (#48093957) Attached to: AMD Building New GPU Linux Kernel Driver To Unify With Catalyst Driver

> Do you really think last years video card can't support the newest
> version of DirectX?

I'm pretty sure that DirectX support is not that important for a Linux driver.

> Remember the Intel chips that you could upgrade by simply soldering
> 2 pins together? I suspect that THAT is what they are really afraid of.

And the tens, nay hundreds of lost sales that incurred?

> The mod community figuring out how to make upgrading less important.

Since most or many AMD graphics these days ship as part of an APU, I'm
also pretty sure there's more to the upgrade decision than just the

I'd really love the Catalyst driver to improve, right now the open source
Radeon driver is much more stable on my system but lacks full OpenCL
support. Anything which maximizes the open part of the driver and shrinks
the binary blob is a gain for all of us.

"The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was." -- Walt West