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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:Odd (Score 1) 335

by alcmena (#46330147) Attached to: Why Nissan Is Talking To Tesla Model S Owners
Mine says it has an 85 mile range on a full charge. However, I make it a point to reset the trip meter every time I charge it. One mile driven != one mile off of the distance countdown. That's probably the most annoying part of the car. I typically charge to 80%. I start with 75 miles. I drive 30 miles. And I end with 35 miles. It's the same commute day after day, and pretty much the same result. I've learned to expect it and pretty much ignore the "miles remaining".

Comment: Re:Odd (Score 1) 335

by alcmena (#46330079) Attached to: Why Nissan Is Talking To Tesla Model S Owners
I have a 2012 model and I tend to be closer to the 50-60 range, and my commute is typically 45-55mph on back roads. I live in FL so cold isn't an issue. Granted, I keep the charge at 80% to help the battery last longer, but even with a full charge, I think 80 miles is a fairy tail. The last time I took it to the airport (about 65 mile round trip, mostly freeway @ 65mph), it started with a full charge and made it home with 2 miles remaining on the indicator.

I don't say this to complain about the car. I actually love it. I've been to a gas station about 5 times over the last year. My average commute during my work day is 20-30 miles (depending on where I go for lunch), and a busy day tends to max out at 50 miles. I just recognize the limitations. My second car is a Prius and that's what we use for long hauls.

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: Re: Hey US... (Score 1) 650

by alcmena (#44387719) Attached to: US Lawmakers Want Sanctions On Any Country Taking In Snowden
Also, keep in mind that it is the debtor and not the lender who truly holds the power. Don't believe me? Look at the massive losses that banks took during the lending crisis. One single f--k you to the lenders and the lenders have lost their investment. Sure that causes losses for the debtor (see Argentina) but those losses are only real if the lender has the ability to force the issue. Most don't.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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