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Comment Re:Regression testing (Score 2) 124

Aaaand, unless you run ALL those data samples back through the system in front of a HUMAN, then you STILL have "no idea if what you are doing is improving the situation" at all.

Yes, you do. Have you ever used Siri? There are several places where you can reliably determine that recognition was successful, due to manual confirmation or subsequent actions. For instance, if I ask Siri to remind me to do something at 9 o'clock, it might ask me if I mean 9am or 9pm. Anybody who answers either way instead of cancelling is confirming that the initial recognition of it being a request for a reminder at 9 is correct, which can be recorded as a positive result without human intervention by Apple.

Apple can store this information for thousands of accents, and when they make changes to Siri's code, they can run them against these samples to confirm that they aren't, say, inadvertently breaking reminders for people with Brummie accents when they are trying to improve reminders for people with New York accents.

Comment Regression testing (Score 1) 124

If I were in charge of Siri, I'd do the same thing. That kind of real-world data is vital for regression testing. If you don't have a strong corpus of sample data, when you make changes to the code, you've got no idea if what you are doing is improving the situation for some cases, while damaging them for others. You would see people complaining about things like "Well Siri used to work for X query but now it doesn't". When you have this data, you can update the code, run the test suite, and see if it fails a large number of existing cases.

If Apple do anything to mitigate this, it will probably be some form of opt-out, but they are unlikely to make it the default, because I would imagine that building a corpus of representative speech from a thousand different accents talking about tens of thousands of different subjects is nigh on impossible otherwise, especially as jargon comes and goes so quickly these days.

Comment Re:Rubbish weapons (Score 5, Informative) 288

The weapons in the photos look scary, but I bet they'd be really rubbish in real life. For example, the club is made from a rolled up magazine and some Liberty statuettes. It is small, not very heavy, not very sharp, and would probably fall apart if it was used.

You'd be surprised at how effective seemingly benign things like this are. It sounds akin to a Milwall brick.

Comment Re:The King is dead (Score 1) 391

Back in 2008. if you told a group of guys with Windows Mobile phones that it would be dead from Microsoft-induced suicide by 2010, you would have gotten laughed at. The original iPhone was a dumbed-down crippled toy by comparison, and Android was just a whispered rumor.

That's revisionist history. Back in 2008, everybody I knew with a Windows Mobile phone hated it. The original iPhone might have had lower specs, but it made a quantum leap forward in web browsing and people liked using it. As for Android being "a whispered rumour", the G1 was already out, I owned one, and companies were very interested in writing apps for it at the time.

Comment Re:iPad (Score 1) 572

It's a very responsible attitude. Guests didn't click "I agree" to the privacy violations and you can't expect them to research all that stuff when visiting. You should do them a favor and set them up with a more respectful OS

Your ISP probably has privacy clauses in their terms of service. Do you make your guests read and agree to them, or is it only an issue when they use an OS you don't approve of?

Comment No need to panic (Score 3, Informative) 240

The only real bubble is that companies like Yahoo are willing to pay lots of money for one-app companies with very little tangible value. You should only really be concerned if your plan is to try to make money by creating your own app and selling it to a megacorp.

Where the money is for mobile developers is not making apps themselves, but making apps for businesses that want apps to further their non-app-related goals. It's similar to websites in the 90s - while a few outliers were people making money on websites they were building for themselves, most web developers were making money by building websites for companies to achieve their other business goals.

I've been doing mobile development for over four years now, and this whole time I've been expecting hordes of developers to descend on the market and give me a lot more competition. It doesn't seem to be happening - demand for mobile developers is still far outpacing supply. It will be a good field to be in for years to come. Eventually the mobile developer market will be saturated, but this took a decade for websites, and the people who were any good didn't care because they had the time to build up loads of experience and put themselves at the top of their field.

If you find that you do need to shift your career path, you can generalise quite easily - Java is still widely used in other areas such as server-side web development, and Objective-C will let you write native OS X applications. Generally speaking, if you can handle mobile development, you can handle desktop development with ease.

Comment Compensation (Score 1) 146

While Apple's terms are different from carrier to carrier, a major complaint from the European carriers is that Apple forces them to sell a certain amount of iPhones over a determined amount of time. If the carrier does not meet this quota, then they must pay Apple for the unsold devices.

The "compensate Apple" referred to in the summary appears to simply be that they need to pay for the devices they ordered even if they can't re-sell them to consumers. I know that the EU has strong protections for consumers being able to send goods back, so I would imagine they've got a case to be heard here.

However I have to wonder what the motivation is behind this. It's not like iPhones are sitting on shelves unsold and I don't see how a minimum order quantity is in any way unfair. The carrier knows that they don't have to push the iPhone on consumers and they'll sell their stock regardless. Is this a bargaining chip for other things, or do these factors have an effect on something in the pipeline?

Comment Re:not just ms, but apple too, and also linux-wth- (Score 1) 505

scroll-bars that stay in place, and not having to fucking scroll in order to see the scroll bars in the first place. That is a serious fail, imho, and enough for me to tell my parents not to upgrade their 10.6 machines up.

Seriously? System Preferences > General > Show scroll bars > Always. Problem solved, and it's a hell of a lot easier than answering questions like why Application X won't install, or remembering the UI for two revisions back when explaining how to do something over the phone.

Comment Re:Headline title is sensational (Score 2) 505

Some of the phones released this summer are already being promised to work with 9.0 which comes out next summer.

This is not that much different from Android updates.

I remember I bought a Sony Xperia Pro because Sony committed to upgrading all of their 2011 phones to Android 4.0. I waited over a year for that to happen, then finally switched to the iPhone a few months after Android 4.1 was released and Sony were still refusing to give any information on upgrades.

Promises of upgrades are something easily discarded in the phone industry these days. You have to look at the company's track record. Microsoft's isn't too great.

Comment Re:Eh, that's it? (Score 2) 619

EVERY Android phone has had better specs than the contemporary iPhone of the day. This goes all the way back to the original iPhone. The HTC G1 had more memory and a faster processor than the iPhone or iPhone 3G.

The G1 was released almost 18 months after the original iPhone - it wasn't a contemporary of the original iPhone, it was one generation later. And it may have had better specs than the iPhone 3G, but it was much slower - at the time, I had a G1 as my primary phone and my full-time job was developing for the iPhone, so I used both heavily every day. If the G1 had better specs, it certainly didn't show.

Comment Re:Singular vs. plural (Score 1) 40

IETester can and will render things differently to Internet Explorer. If you are using that to test, you aren't testing if your websites are compatible with Internet Explorer, you are testing if they are compatible with IETester. There is no point testing in something other than Internet Explorer if you want to know if something is compatible with Internet Explorer. Use the virtual images.

Comment Re:12 GB and requires Windows 8 (Score 4, Informative) 40

"These images are specifically designed to run on Microsoft Virtual PC, and may or may not work in other hosting environments." I'd assume that Microsoft Virtual PC is available only for Windows. Users will need to buy a copy of Windows.

ievms has automatically handled setting these images up under the cross-platform VirtualBox for years. Nevertheless, you were pointed at outdated tools. You should be looking at modern.ie, where Microsoft offer virtual images for multiple virtualisation systems running on Windows, Mac and Linux.

So in order to test on every browser without having to own multiple computers, one would have to replace one's current computer with a Mac (to be able to run Safari for Mac)

Doing a decent job of testing for web developers is expensive. Buying a Mac isn't a big deal. second-hand Mac Minis are cheap. It's the mobile devices you need to worry about - and no, something running on your computer is not an adequate substitute.

Comment Not useful (Score 2) 40

It was very useful for developers looking to support as many different users as possible

No, it was useful for developers looking to cut corners. Screenshots simply aren't a reliable way of testing something that the user will be interacting with. For instance, one particularly nasty Internet Explorer 6 bug made all the text on a page disappear - but only when the window was resized. There are some Android bugs where the tap target for links is different to where they appear on screen. Some Internet Explorer 8 bugs only manifest themselves while something is being animated.

Aside from the inherent limitations with a screenshot service, I've personally witnessed cases where this tool renders things differently to how a genuine browser renders it. It looks suspiciously like they were using a technique similar to IETester, because they got identical things wrong. A genuine copy of Internet Explorer 6 was rendering something one way, and this tool was showing Internet Explorer rendering something a completely different way.

The only reliable way of testing websites is with virtual machines. It's a little resource intensive, but it guarantees that you are testing with the actual browser and not with some Frankenstein reproduction, and it lets you replicate how a user actually uses the website - which is not by passively looking at it without any interaction.

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