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Comment Re:And AMBER alerts .... (Score 2) 199

And do what? Do you actually read the license plates of cars you pass? And even if you do would you recognize that it was the same as a random string of letters and numbers of your phone?

As for the children- don't get me wrong, if I hear a child screaming "Get away from me, you're not my daddy" or "help I'm being kidnapped" I'll intervene. Short of that- do you stare at every little kid you see to check if they match the very vague description sent to your phone? Do you know the number of false positives and wasted police effort you'd cause if you did?

Nope, the AMBER alert stuff is useless. There's a point in emergency weather notices and major traffic conditions (flash floods, closed roads from earthquakes/rockslides, tornados, a bridge has collapsed, etc). There's a use for presidential (hey, we're at war and China is launching aircraft at us, you guys on the west coast go hide). The amber stuff is just feel good uselessness.

Comment Re:Mass SMS? (Score 0) 199

You're perpetuating a fallacy yourself. They aren't building a system to do this- the system already exists. So those fixed costs are already paid for, and would be paid for regardless of this service because it provides other profitable services. So the marginal costs are all that matters, unless we get to the point where the bandwidth used by SMS is enough to require additional hardware to be built (which for SMS is never going to happen).

If they had another way to monetize that small amount of bandwidth used you may have an opportunity cost of using the bandwidth in this. But the fixed costs don't factor in.

Comment Re:you don't think people would check normally? (Score 1) 286

Ideas are easy. I've got dozens. Marketing is hard, it's why I'm not a millionaire. In this case I wrote the app for myself, after having an extended text conversation where a girl I really wanted to talk to was texting me at odd intervals while I was driving, forcing me to stop every two miles and pull over to respond.

Comment Re:how do you deal with homophones? (Score 1) 286

Agreed, its better not to text at all. You're at least somewhat distracted when you do. But lets face it, some people won't do that. My belief is to lower the danger as much as possible for those who insist on texting, and since you keep your eyes on the road I do believe its safer.

As for homophones- voice dictation software these days operates on a sentence. 99% of the time you can differentiate between those words based on context. For the 1% you can't, you flip a coin and possibly send the wrong one. Hardly the worst autocorrect mistake you'll ever make. I'd bet on making fewer mistakes with a readback prompt than you make in normal tapping.

Comment Re:you don't think people would check normally? (Score 2) 286

I wrote my own hands free texting app, that automatically determines when you're driving (based on speed). It solves this in a very simple way- after you speak your response, it repeats it and asks if you're sure you want to send. If you say no, it lets you re-enter your response. No need to look at a phone at all.

Cheap plug: Text Soundly is available at the Play Store here.

Comment Re:I tell them I feel the same way! (Score 1) 597

You're assuming the client wants to be involved that hands on. Most don't. They want to see a prototype every now and again and that's it- they don't want to be involved in every meeting about feature prioritization etc. Remember that this isn't their job- they have other things to do to actually make money.

And while developers lack knowledge of the target domain, the customer lacks knowledge of the software domain. Involving them in every decision just makes them feel stupid, clueless, and frequently they make the wrong decision. Its not as cut and dried as you'd like.

Comment Re:doesn't work (Score 1) 597

THat's the same with any methodology- if they want a change you scope it out and give them a number. Agile is no better or worse at it. If anything the numbers tend to be a bit higher because of the tenet of not working on anything that isn't needed immediately, whereas when you design up front you tend to design in some flexibility for likely future changes/usecases.

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