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Comment: "Smart" watch? (Score 1) 471

by singularity (#47873235) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

I suppose you could say I have one - actually I have three.

I started with a Garmin FR 405, got a FR60, and recently upgraded to an Garmin FR 220.

I am an avid runner, and they all track my workouts. The 405 and 220 are GPS watches. I have heart rate monitors (chest-strap, which I trust a thousand times more than a wrist-based solution at this point). The 405 was fairly large on my wrist, but the FR60 and 220 are actually reasonably sized.

They revolutionized my training when I started wearing them five years ago. I can get instantaneous feedback while I run, and I can track mileage and pace information over an entire season. I run faster now because of the Garmins, and my workouts are more intelligent.

Granted I only wear them while working out. I like not having to strap a phone to my body to get additional data, and I like that they are dedicated devices for the task. The FR60 goes months or years between battery changes, and the 220 can do a long weekend's worth of runs on a single charge. As just a watch the 220 can last weeks between charges.

The rest of them time I am content pulling my phone out of my pocket to check the time, see alerts, and so on. The Pebble is interesting (mainly because I see it as letting me know how important that last vibrate from my phone was), but I simply cannot justify it yet.

Comment: Re:Well at least they saved the children! (Score 1) 790

Based on some of the articles I have read, Google has thrown a lot of resources at the problem and now have hashes that are capable of identifying certain photos even if they have filename changes, resolution changes, and and so on.

It does not sound like too difficult of a problem - instead of relying on SHA5 file hash, run an it through a program that gives you an array of what the image would look like when displayed and then hash that. Use some margin of error to take into account compression, etc. and you could say with some confidence that one file is the image in question, even if the original JPEG is now a half-resolution GIF.

Of course having the resources to run that on every single image that goes through Gmail's servers is another issue entirely.

Comment: Re:A Progression of Complaints (Score 2) 190

by singularity (#47568061) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

Agreed - every complaint about self-driving cars has been for the migration time when there are both autonomous and human-driven vehicles on the roads.

When you take human drivers out of the equation, and autonomous vehicles are the norm, utilizing things like mesh networks to keep other nearby vehicles informed, all of the complaints suddenly disappear.

Autonomous cars might wait at lights longer, and stop for more yellow lights, but imagine a line of vehicles stopped at a light all accelerating at the exact same moment and rate. Imagine vehicles re-routing around an accident with correct ratios going to alternate routes so no one alternate route gets slammed, leaving other routes empty.

Comment: I worked in retail a long time (Score 2) 419

by singularity (#47557877) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

I worked retail for a long time, including an Apple Store. I cannot remember the policies at Apple when I was working there, but most places will not take a verbal approval code.

If the person on the other end of the phone (generally you get to them by calling the 800 number on the back of the card) has the ability to run the transaction, they have the ability to clear whatever prevented the card from going through the first time. They would have to - they have to clear the hurdle before they can run the transaction themselves.

So policy at most places is that the telephone operator clears the issue (usually it is a daily spending limit that card issuers never mention) and then the store runs the card again. There was no procedure for manually entering a verbal approval code.

My memory of Apple Retail (this was '04-'06), however, is that they had almost every contingency covered. The POS machines all had USB modems attached so that in case the Internet went down at the store, credit cards could still be processed. We even had the old CH-CHUNK imprint devices when everything went pear-shaped. I do seem to remember having the ability to enter a manual authorization code for a credit card transaction. It is Apple Retail - there are supposed to be no hurdles keeping a Specialist from keeping a customer happy.

Comment: Prequels seem to have missed the point (Score 1) 457

by singularity (#46945413) Attached to: Favorite Star Wars Movie?

[Note: Written as someone who really liked the original series, but merely watched the prequels.]

So you can largely look at the prequels (Episodes 1-3) as "The Downfall of Anikan". Going into the movies you knew the outcome (Anikan was going to be a Jedi, only to be turned to the dark side). They had three movies to show this.

The problem? The real turn seems to happen somewhere between the end of episode 2 and the beginning of episode 3, and it really is not that believable. So you have three movies to show me the downfall of a man, and you choose to largely have that turn happen in the time between two movies?

Comment: Clearly not the future... (Score 1) 276

From page 212:

Credit Cards With Intelligence? The Battelle Memorial Institute is studying the feasibility of a credit card with a built-in micro-processor. Such a card has already been developed in Europe, and will soon be tested. It is expected that intelligent credit cards will provide added security without requiring large computer networks.

Everyone who shopped at Target last fall saw how well that was implemented here in the U.S.

Comment: Re:Hmm (Score 5, Informative) 214

by singularity (#45352283) Attached to: What Apple Does and Doesn't Know About You

Where is the '-1, Factually Incorrect' mod when you need it?

1) Yes, all Apple devices now prompt for an AppleID when you first turn them on. There is a 'Skip' button that you apparently completely missed, though. It is not a hidden button.

2) Apparently you were unable to do a simple Google search to figure out how to create an iTunes Store account without a credit card. Apple has posted directions.

Or does reality not fit with the bad image you want to have of Apple?

Comment: Want readers? Specialize. (Score 1) 106

by singularity (#44403341) Attached to: News Worth Buying On Paper

Nothing annoys me more than trying to find news about something local and finding that the online local news source has covered their front page with (inter-)national news.

If your small-town newspaper has a website, remember that it is competing with CNN.com, BBC.com, nytimes.com, and everything else. Chances are you not going to do better international news than the "big boys". You are going to be carrying the same AP story as everyone else.

So where can you compete? The local news that CNN, et al, are not going to carry. Do not make your readers search your site just to get the local coverage they are looking for.

Places like WickedLocal.com (in Massachusetts) have it figured out, probably because most Massachusetts local newspapers did *not* figure it out. Patch.com is trying to do this on a bigger scale.

Comment: Software side... (Score 1) 272

by singularity (#42426547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Easiest Way To Consolidate Household Media?

A lot of people are talking about NAS devices and so on, but they all come back to "filesharing" as the software portion of their solution.

I use Plex to serve out media and love it. Transcodes a Blue-Ray rip to my iPad. I hit pause and bring the movie up on my television and start where I left off. You can run the server on a Windows machine, a Mac, or even some NAS devices.

I can be on the road and bring up any movie I have.

Client-wise they have iOS, OS X, Windows, and Android.

Comment: Re:dayummm (Score 1) 229

by singularity (#41513601) Attached to: Thanks For Reading: 15 Years of News For Nerds

I think you might be off by a factor of 10. I was definitely reading Slashdot for a while (month or so?) before signing up for an account, but I am not sure I remember a time before accounts. Maybe 1500 people signed up once accounts were created?

If I were at my home machine I could definitely figure out when Slashdot sent my "Welcome" message, but it was probably October of 1998.

The amount of time I spend on Slashdot has definitely decreased over the years, but I still load the homepage 2-3 times a day.

Happy 15th, Slashdot!

Comment: Re:obviously (Score 1) 429

by singularity (#39331193) Attached to: Have Online Comment Sections Become Specious?

Damn newbies...

ObTopic: I agree with a previous poster, that Slashdot's comment system is the worst, except for all of the other ones. I do not post nearly as often as I used to, but for getting a relatively informed take on tech stories? Slashdot is hard to beat. I still read 3-4 stories a day. This is probably down from my maximum back in the early 2000s.

I do agree that Slashdot (and similar comment websites) tend to have a major issue of groupthink. It seems that to have a reasonable discussion on the Internet you not only need a niche subject matter, but also a well-done comment and moderation system. The downside is that both of these requirements tend to encourage groupthink.

Oh, and get off of my lawn!

Comment: Re:Moderation system (Score 1) 763

by singularity (#37631784) Attached to: Help Shape the Future of Slashdot

My biggest pet peeve with Slashdot is that there is no "-1, Factually Incorrect" moderation. When I have moderation points I frequently have to use "Overrated" to fill that niche.

There are not a lot of times, but I have seen a comment that is simply wrong be moderated up (oftentimes a groupthink assumption that turns out to be incorrect).

I find the moderation system one of the best on the Internet. I wish when people had moderation Slashdot would ignore their preferences and instead show comments at "-1, Newest First" to avoid older, higher moderated comments from simply getting moderated even higher at the expense of newer comments that have not had a chance to get moderated up.

But that is just me.

And you should listen to me because I have a four-digit UID, damnit! And get off my lawn!

Comment: 50% Success Rate (Score 1) 244

by singularity (#31826398) Attached to: In the past year, I've filed Z bug reports, where Z=

I have reported about 8 or so in the last year. A few have been fixed (usually as a result of several other people reporting they were having the same issue). I had to fix a couple of bugs myself. The other half were never fixed. One I reported in a Bugzilla type database and within 24 hours it was marked as "Closed" without any comment from a developer. The next release of the software had the same bug. One I reported on a forum for a closed-source application and immediate a dozen or so other users agreed with me (it was a memory leak, causing a background daemon to consume 10-15MB of additional RAM each day it continued to run). The company representative said that they could not reproduce the problem.

Most recently I reported a bug in an exercise tracking piece of shareware. The software imports data from Garmin's software and is able to do a lot more with it. Due to what the shareware developer sees as a bug in the Garmin software, distance for a given activity might change a bit on import. This is fine, and the developer goes to great lengths to explain the discrepancy and why he believes his calculations are more precise. I agree with him and continue to use the software. I eventually realize, however, that while the distance changes and the activity duration (time) stays constant on import, the pace for the activity does not agree with the distance/time. I report this and the developer responds that his software trusts and uses the pace value passed on input, and says that users would bother him to see why the pace value does not match what is in the Garmin software. He explains a way to change the value manually and marks the problem "Resolved".

Note that one of my activities was off by over 40 seconds per mile. What should have been a 6:57 min/mile pace was marked as a 7:49 min/mile. This is a very large discrepancy.

Not very reassuring.

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