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Comment Voice Search on the Phone is Natural (Score 4, Insightful) 51

Voice search on the phone is natural. The phone is a device that historically is good at one thing, voice. Even though a modern phone has a decent keyboard input, t's still clumsy when on the go. When I'm out for a run or a ride and I want quick directions, or to dictate a note, send a text message, or check the train schedule, the voice interaction is vastly superior to wrestling my phone out of it's armband and typing something. The voice interaction isn't amazing, but it works about 80% of the time on the first try and that's good enough for me. I don't have to stop my workout and fumble around.

On the other hand, when I'm sitting at my desk I can, with two key strokes switch to my web browser and launch a new search tab. I can type about as fast as I can speak and my accuracy is probably around 95%; google makes up for the remaining 4% in spelling errors (searching for instead of ). I get better accuracy and less fumbling around if the room is loud. Also, in our quiet open-plan office I look like a total D-Bag talking to my monitor. That's a big plus. too.

The full-size keyboard isn't the end-all of interfaces, but for a desktop it's waaaay better than voice search. If voice search ever gets to the point where I can throw out a complex, natural language queries into the air a la ST-TNG, I'll switch. "Computer: Post a witty comment to SlashDot about voice interfaces and how bad they sucked in the naughties and teens"

Comment Re: That's only for Google-Brand Nexus devices (Score 1) 80

I find it funny you think your vendors are somehow required to push updates to your device. They're not.

Next time before you buy, check the support list of a custom ROM.

Don't buy any no-name chinese crapware, then install some other custom Android OS, and be done with it.

Vendors are definitely not required to push updates, but they probably should be. It is pretty irresponsible for vendors to continue selling phones with known vulnerabilities, or ignoring vulnerabilities and not offering patches.

This is not unlike an automobile firm allwoing known safety related flaws in their cars to persist because it is too expensive to fix them. I'm looking at you GM. In this case the "safety" flaws are not life threatening, but are a threat to our privacy and security. The recent StageFright bug is a good example. This flaw not only compromised the usability of the device, but potentially compromised users banking and credit information. Plenty of phones will NEVER get patched and users will continue to use these shitty, vulnerable devices.

This is partially Google's fault for making Android so mutable; it's crazy hard and expensive for manufacturers to keep up with patches and there's no incentive for them to do so. That's not an excuse for us not to hold them responsible. We certainly expect our cars to not explode in our faces throwing metal shards into our eyes and thorax. We should hold phone makers to the same standard. We should expect that known security flaws will be patched and not ignored.

Will this increase the cost of phones? Probably. But would you rather have a slightly more expensive handset that gets security updates, or use a phone that's woefully out of date. If you are in the latter category, you're probably reading this in Internet Explorer 5 on Windows XP and in for a shock when you open your retirement account and find a balance of $0.00. Or worse -$53,000.99.

Comment Re: Mostly pointless (Score 1) 80

You're better off installing Facebook and just putting a bookmark to the web page on your launcher.

+1 For you sir! is far superior to the shitey app. You can post pictures, message, and read all the wedding announcements and funny baby pictures without FailBook stealing your contact list, monitoring your location and generally being a douche. And to really put a cherry on top: it stops running when you're not using it! If you live and die by your FB messenger, this won't work for you, but if you actually want your phone to be a phone with some juice in the battery, this is the way forward!

Comment Re:settings menu (Score 1) 80

This is all great, but it's not exactly news. The most recent commit to that project is over six months old and the majority of the commits are from two years ago. I doubt it will work properly with KitKat or Lollipop. An alternative is Amplify. It isn't smart, but it does give you the power to suppress wakelocks at will. You can seriously børk up your phone with it, but that's all easily fixed.

Comment Re:This is good (Score 2) 76

I got in early on google talk from the USA and can dial for FREE any number in the US from my web browser. This beats Skype hands down. Not only has google offered this service for at least 3 years, but it's FREE. FREE. Skype is just painful and expensive.

Comment Re:This is good (Score 1) 76

It's amazing it took this long for MS to put out a truly cross-platform solution of Skype.

Keep waiting. There's yet another needless and painful UI change. There's no dial pad so you can only call people who are in your contacts list. Living abroad from the US, 90% of my Skype use is to call landlines in North America to deal with banks, government agencies and the like.

It seems like with every minor update MS somehow manages to obfuscate the UI and make simple tasks such dialing an actual number or removing or adding contacts difficult. Why do they need to keep making this useful application akin to gargling razors?

Comment Re:One (Score 1) 301

I'm sure there are PC laptops that have great track pads, but the software implementation is really a huge part of what makes a pad good. Features things like two-finger right click, and swipe gestures really make the pad great. The sensitivity and physical size and feel of the Apple pad are superior to most of the track pads I've used so far. At least most track pads have ditched the pad+two button design now.

Comment Re:One (Score 1) 301

I used to think all trackpads were terrible, then I used one that actually worked well and haven't used a mouse on a laptop since.

Which trackpad did you like? We give our staff the option of running windows 7 or OS X on their MacBook Pros at work. Most of the staff that uses Windows ends up plugging in a mouse because the track pad support for the Apple pad is AWFUL and generally busted. Under OS X the support is amazing. I think the Apple track pad is the best designed track pad I've ever used. The gestures are great and the *actual* tracking is excellent.

Comment Terrible "Article" (Score 4, Informative) 83

The "article" is three paragraphs and a few quotes full of FUD. There's no real information in there; it contains no good suggestions as to how to check for or deal with bios infections. It takes three clicks to get to a site that actually has some of the research, but that's just a static page listing conference topics. Don't waste another minute on this nonsense.

Comment Re:Best defense is not to care (Score 5, Interesting) 107

I suppose not caring works, but it seems like this is a great vector to turn hardware players into Zombies. If I were a criminal, I could think of a lot of things that could be done with even 1% of the world's internet connected players. Do you really want your Blu-Ray player to be part of a botnet sending spam or participating in denial of service attacks?

If for no other reason, think of the impact on your bandwidth and electric bill. I certainly don't want a house full of hackable hardware. When (if) the internet of things arrives without security and 10% of the fridges, air conditioners, electricity meters, washing machines, pet doors, TVs and driers are all hacked because manufacturers couldn't be bothered to secure them, I think you'll probably care. It will bring the interwebs to its knees.

Comment Re:Nothing New for Sony... (Score 5, Interesting) 391

This highlights the one and only problem with Sony: It is always too expensive.

I think the product longevity issue that Sony has *might* be a slightly bigger problem. I don't have any real data other than my personal experience, but I have owned a slew of Sony products and with the exception of our two Sony CRT TVs growing up, they have all shat them selves within 18 months. The two TVs we had when I was growing up lasted for over 8 years each. I think the second one needed to have a transformer replaced at some point, but that was about $20 in the early 90's.

Other than those two products, my personal experience has been awful. I don't think I ever had a sony walkman that lasted more than 6 months due to stupid things like belt clips that were TOTALLY inadequate for doing anything other than standing still. My Sony amplifier shat itself the same month the warranty ran out. The display crapped out and was eventually repaired by re-soldering and bending the PCBs. My Sony car stereo crapped it's display about a year after I bought it. No amount of blowing, hitting, or poking around inside could fix it. The digitizer in m Sony Clie (late Palm Pilot clone) shat its self a few weeks after the rotary encoder at the base of the display filled with pocket lint and stopped working. After the Clie disaster, I have refused to buy a Sony electronic device. I'm not going to get burned again.

Comment Re:Time to lose Daylight Savings Time (Score 1) 310

I live in Southern Norway and during the morktide (dark time) the sun doesn't rise until well after school starts even with daylight savings time. Sometime in early November is the last time you can see the sun before or after school. In North Norway the sun doesn't rise at all during the dark time. We've come up with good solutions like plastering kids with reflectors and teaching children to pay attention to cars. We also teach drivers that pedestrians have the right of way in intersections NO MATTER how STUPID they are acting. Though we still do the stupid DST dance, it really doesn't change much of anything. The sun goes away, the morning is dark and for the most part kids are pretty safe.

Comment Re:Time to lose Daylight Savings Time (Score 1) 310

Ever had to implement a timezone aware software application?

Ever had to deal with DST support in said application?

Thought not.

The suffering involved is reason enough for DST to go the way of the Dodo...

Making timezone calculations in an application is ridiculously painful even with helpful TZ libraries. In my last program I just decided to ignore DST in my calculations and just fudge everything. This is particularly annoying because it needs to calculate the time in New York, but the computer it lives on is currently in Norway and North America and Europe switch their clocks at seemingly random times each year.

For this particular program it doesn't matter *too* much, but it does lead to weird failures occasionally. Fortunately it's not in a production environment, it's just something that runs around the house.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval