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Comment Re: Why is Amazon/Alexa even saving recordings? (Score 1) 112

Not quite true. The hardware detects a simple sequence of phonemes that might be Alexa. It then wakes up some software to try to parse the word. The data might still be shipped off to the cloud service for spurious wakeups. Names like Siri and Alexa are intentionally designed to have sequences of phonemes that don't appear commonly in English to minimise this.

Comment Re: Why is Amazon/Alexa even saving recordings? (Score 2) 112

I don't particularly worry about Amazon intentionally violating privacy with Alexa, but when you have something like that it's a wonderful target. The mute button is entirely software, so there are all sorts of things that an attacker can do if they compromise either an individual machine or the Amazon software update server. For example, it would be a trivial patch to make it stream the audio to a different cloud service when you press the mute button. Those thousands of people working at Amazon on Alexa also make it relatively easy to sneak someone into the company to exfiltrate user data. Even if their software is entirely bug-free, what happens when someone manages to do a dump of everything that Alexa has learned about a few million users?

Comment Re:R&D (Score 1) 103

Apple does a lot of Research that isn't directly product-oriented, too; a quick look at their patent portfolio will show that.

Sorry, no. It may not be tied to products that they're currently shipping, but there's a huge spectrum between initial idea and final product, and Apple has far less investment towards the idea end of the spectrum than any of their major competitors. By the time you can patent something, it's already towards the product end (and have you actually looked at the Apple patent portfolio? They patented a more efficient take-away pizza box, for example, which doesn't really tell you anything about pure research spending).

But if you think that R that is D-oriented doesn't "count", you are nothing but an intellectual effete.

It doesn't count because it's playing accounting games. The line between development and product is very blurry. Apple classifies a lot of things are R&D that other companies count as product development. This inflates Apple's R&D spending on the balance sheet, but means that you can't really compare. R&D is a pipeline and things always have to start closer to the pure research end. Most of Apple's R&D is building on pure research done by other organisations. This has changed a bit recently (particularly in machine learning), but they're still a long way behind most other big tech companies on research spending. Microsoft, until they restructured MSR a year or so ago, had the opposite problem: they were spending over $5bn/year on research and turning very little of it into products. Neither extreme is particularly healthy for a company. You need the research end to feed the pipeline, but then you need the pipeline from research to product.

Disclaimer: I work in a university and collaborate with Apple, Google, and Microsoft on several projects.

Comment Re:Then 38,928 Incorporated Cities in US are "Smal (Score 1) 114

If NO ONE else were interested in servicing your entire town sure. Even then, this clause would apply if and only if they ONLY serviced your town and nothing else. Unless your town is 100 miles away from anything else, I don't see that being a real problem in Denmark.

Reno is not a bad example of a town literally in the middle of nowhere.

You would probably think of it as living on the Moon and net neutrality would probably be low on your list of complaints.

Comment Re:Mostly, send the snowflakes to Venezuela (Score 2) 191

> so in your mind, treating people the way you would want to be treated is fascism?

That is such a stupid way to put things. You have no idea how people want to be treated. You very likely couldn't handle being treated the way that that many of us would happily tolerate or even prefer.

That's not even getting into the interesting stuff.

You would melt into a puddle of goo if I applied the Golden Rule you.

Comment Re:Mostly, send the snowflakes to Venezuela (Score 2) 191

Oddly enough, one of the best teams I was ever on was a group where people didn't collectively have steel rods up their asses. It ran well and efficiently. Teamwork was excellent. The boss was demanding but did a very good job at cultivating talent being much more effective at genuine "social justice" than most people that like to whine about it loudly.

It actually worked better than a climate of terror inspired by threats of litigation.

Despite the apparent "evil locker room atmosphere", people didn't push individual tolerances too much. Any real nonsense would have been dealt with most severely. If there was a problem you dealt with it then and there.

This Uber situation is basic leadership fail rather than a lack of political correctness or decorum.

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