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Comment Re: Why is Amazon/Alexa even saving recordings? (Score 1) 101

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 1) 101

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) 101

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:It's just a power grab (Score 2) 86

Wait, do, do you think that an 80% failure rate is good just because there are courts with HIGHER rates?

Let me slow it down for you:

Only about 1.01% of the circuit court's rulings go to Supreme Court. By definition, these are cases that SCOTUS has looked at and seen enough of a problem that they granted a writ of certiorari. If they didn't see a problem, they'd just bounce it back.

So, of the 1% that goes to SCOTUS, 80% of those are overturned and 20% are affirmed. That means the true rate of 9th Circuit cases being overturned is closer to 0.8%, not 80%.

I mentioned Breitbart, because you will only find this spurious claim of "The 9th Circuit gets overturned 80% of the time" will only be found in websites that cater to alt-Right jackoffs. And they will never mention that the courts with the highest rates of being overturned are in solid red states.

Now, do we have some clarity on this issue?

You're still looking bemused. Let me put it more simply: 80% of the 9th Circuit's rulings are not overturned, you stupid sonofabitch.

Comment Re:It's just a power grab (Score 3, Informative) 86

Bwahaha, you mean the fucking Ninth Circuit? The one that, on appeal to the Supreme Court, gets overturned a whopping 80 percent of the time? Yeah, I think any court with that kind of failure rate should be disbanded, as well.

There's some supreme nuttery going on out in California these days...

I often see this repeated by people who don't know shit.

First of all, when the Supreme Court takes a case, it overturns the Appeals Court decision in over 70% of the cases. They only grant a writ of certiorari in cases where they see an issue and it usually means they will be overturned. And despite what you read on Breitbart, the 9th Circuit is not the most overturned Appeals circuit. Kentucky/Ohio/Michigan's 6th Circuit has that distinction with an 87 percent rate of being overturned. Then comes Alabama/Florida/Georgia's 11th Circuit with a record of 85 percent. But the fact is, if your case goes to the Supreme Court, it's odds-on that it will be overturned.

6th Circuit - 87 percent;

11th Circuit - 85 percent;

9th Circuit - 79 percent;

3rd Circuit - 78 percent;

2nd Circuit and Federal Circuit - 68 percent;

8th Circuit - 67 percent;

5th Circuit - 66 percent;

7th Circuit - 48 percent;

DC Circuit - 45 percent;

1st Circuit and 4th Circuit - 43 percent;

10th Circuit - 42 percent.

Comment Difficult material remains difficult (Score 5, Informative) 169

As I recall the biggest problem they had in making the stuff in the first place was constantly shattering the diamonds when they tried to shine light through them. Also, the breathless talk of this revolutionizing every industry under the sun is tremendously overblown. Right now these are laboratory curiosities, they may very well amount to nothing.

Comment Re:misread as cellulite (Score 1) 85

As I understand it phone fingerprint scanners don't actually look at your fingerprint. Rather they measure the capacitance over a series of fluctuations in the field density to make the "fingerprint". Or something like that. I don't know how many unique bits you can get out of that, but the danger of someone managing a false positive is reduced by simply locking it out after three failed scans and making the user type in their password instead.

Comment Re:Only Tech? (Score 1, Insightful) 140

The major headlines in America today (Feb 23rd) are not about war, famine, or plague, but about whether school restroom usage policy should be decided by the federal government, or left up to locals. I don't mean to belittle the issue, but that is hardly an existential crisis for humanity.

Yet it appears to be a focus of the current government.

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