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Comment I could build its equal in 10 minutes. (Score 1) 124

It only needs two features. First is to keep cutting people off mid sentence. If you are trying to say, "Send message to John Smith." I can have it cut people off before the name John Smith.

Then I can randomly have it just wait until the end and then say, "I can't find that person in your contacts, would you like me to search the local area for businesses of that name?" This is regardless of what their actual command was.

What I find interesting about Siri is that it so rarely gets what I am saying correct but when I insult it, it has got that right 100% of the time. "Fuck you Siri, you useless pile of shit." or any one of the zillion creative insults that I have thrown at it have resulted in some "If I had feelings, they would be hurt." So I know that it is not my microphone. It is the pile of crap just not getting what I am saying.

I am saying, "Call John Smith." or "Message John Smith" or "Read last message" or "Play audiobook, the John Smith Story."

I have a twenty minute ride home from work. I once spent the entire twenty minute ride home trying to send a message to someone that said, "I will be home in 20 minutes" (except that as I tried that number was ever growing smaller.)

Nearly the entire time it would just cut me off mid sentence. It would often be in the middle of my message. So it would end up saying "Would you like to send the message "I will"?" I was even trying to give it a run-on sentence such as IWillBeHomeIn20Minutes, so that it wouldn't pick up on a pause as the end. Then there is all the other bullshit that it sucks at. In the previous example it wouldn't confirm to whom I was sending the message. It would not allow me to change the message. So I started over and over just to see if I could get it to work. Yet as a confirmation that it was hearing me I would ask things like, "What is the second derivative of x^3+x^2+3x+9" and it would give me the correct answer.

Then after the map program nearly continuously putting me blocks from where I really am and thus giving me terrible directions in critical situations and then trying android's siri awesome equivelant, I switched to android.

On this note, I don't think that apple realizes how bad these missteps are getting. The fact that it took me 20 minutes to send no messages, the fact that it took me 20 minutes to remove that U2 bullshit from my phone, the fact that I can't remove BS apps from my phone, the fact that iTunes nearly always is jumping to music and movies (both on the phone and the desktop) when I am clearly not looking for either (such as when I am looking for a podcast). The fact that my mac pro(not macbook but my $6,000 dollar mac pro) is shoving iCloud down my throat. The fact that I can't repair half of this shit without using magic tools. The fact that little things like some extra memory costs about as much as a cheap version of the same device. All totals up to my typing this on a completely kick ass windows desktop that is presently charging my completely kick ass huge screened Android phone that I rooted and easily removed all the BS from.

While I am seemingly a single customer, I am also in charge of the purchasing for a large company. A company where I switched many of the execs and programmers to Apple. A switch that I am now reversing. Do I hate apple? Nope. The key is that Apple is no longer working for me, the devices that I bought weren't my servants, but little apple salesmen. Then there are things like XCode that was no longer really encouraging me to do things as a professional programmer, but trying to lock me into the apple ecosystem. Oddly enough this is why I originally left windows and microsoft. It was all about .net and getting me to become a sharepoint/MS salesmen. But now things like Visual Studio allow me to program for my Android and iOS just slick as can be. They are tools that work for me.

Can you imagine a carpenter who got a hammer that would only hammer mastercraft nails? Or a hammer that regularly missed the nail regardless of your skill with a hammer?

Comment This isn't only about money, but competition (Score 1) 302

The money will be a nice little blip in the various countries' economies. But it is not the important thing. The key problem that I have long had with these crazy tax situations is that if a UK version of say facebook, uber, snapchat, etc were to be born, it immediately will have to compete against a company that doesn't pay taxes. This lesser tax money has many benefits, the shareholders are going to be more attracted to the non-tax paying company, they have more money for acquisitions and R&D, and they have more money for marketing and political influence. Seeing that most European countries have fairly high taxes, this is a wildly unlevel playing field.

So while the finance types might be happy to see these billions show up in their coffers, it is far better that the various European countries might now see their own Apples, facebooks, and ubers. Companies that not only will pay local taxes, but hire scads of top locals, and often create the dreaded phrase, centers of excellence.

These things are far better than gathering a few extra scrapings from Apple.

Comment A much better approach (Score 1) 141

If the CRTC didn't see that their "flexible" rules weren't going to be abused to the limit they are either idiots or complicit. To show their metal they should now say the skinny package should provide good value and be no more than $20 per month everything included including local taxes. With a total charge not to exceed $240 in the first year. Plus no contractual lock in.

Then when the telcos catch their breath the CRTC could then tell them that this will be reviewed every 6 months and if the general consumer sentiment is negative then the offending telcos will be broken up.

Comment Re:Could possibly work with leadership reorg (Score 1) 205

If you look at the stories of any of the more infamous CEOs, they usually had the boards wrapped around their fingers. The whole shareholder voting thing is also pretty broken. Look at a disney vote to remove their leadership. Something like 99% voted to remove, ..... and nothing changed.

Then you get these family companies that go public, with the families owning 51% of the voting shares. You can have different class shares with one class having 100 votes per share an another 1 vote per share. Thus the family could own a few percent of the company and still dominate the voting.

Comment Not just the CEO, it is often a suble person to go (Score 1) 205

In many companies I have seen a much more subtle person who needed to go. The CEO was often a gungho type who pushed hard for progress and whatnot. But there was often one person who most people knew were sabotaging their efforts, that one person who everyone knew was keeping things down. That was the person who walked into the room and all conversations stopped, as they would use any spitballing conversations against you. Someone might say, "I should learn python" and suddenly that person was talking about how a certain programmer doesn't know one of the foundational languages. But on the other side programmers might be saying, we need to expose our software through a python API and suddenly this person was saying that exposing things was a huge security hazard. Even though this was all the competition was doing and customers were being lost.

Or another company where one of the senior managers had formed a little club. You were in and great, or you were out and shit. Highly destructive. Or the vague promise executive, who was always dangling imaginary carrots. Eliminating them would have made each of those companies a far better place.

Although I can name a couple of CEOs who's sudden departure would have been a prettywell instant party. Not metaphorically, but there would have been a huge blowout party where the employees would have gone so far as to all dress up like the departed CEO.

Comment This will beat Musk because of trust. (Score 1, Interesting) 244

While I admire Musk for what he is accomplishing, I would not trust him with my IP. I don't think that he would out and out rip anyone off, but the deal would probably be fantastically lopsided.

With Dyson, I get the feeling that he doesn't want to rip off any engineering types as they are his people. He probably knows all the stories of where the business type and the engineer with the brilliant idea meet and somehow the engineer still can't afford a good soldering iron, yet the business type just bought his second European Ski chalet, There is no money for some new lab equipment, yet the business guy's frat boy son was able to earn enough money in his part part part part time job in the company to buy a mid line new BMW before returning to his $60,000 year school, also paid for with his summer job savings.

While the typical engineering type usually does not have a pile of business sense they do know that when they venture into this area they are swimming with sharks. I think that many just keep their heads down and don't bother getting ripped off, or they try to do it on their own and don't have the business savvy to get anywhere.
Thus I predict that a venture such as this may very well have a very positive outcome as the solution is probably sitting in some engineers mind just waiting for him to bother brining out for us to enjoy.

One other bit is: Notice the word engineer, not the word scientist. Maybe he realizes that world is bound up tighter than most bureaucracies, that throwing money into that world is basically giving boomer senior professors some more money to explore some dead end idea they have been poking at since grad school in 1973,

Comment Long time OS X user soon to be windows user (Score 1) 599

For about the last 8 years I have been a OSX 10 user. At work I recently had to use Windows 10, and bingo bango I kind of liked it. Then I used Visual Source Safe and my life pretty much changed instantly. I will go to whatever OS has that awesome tool. I will continue to use Linux in a VM, on servers, and scurrying around inside robots, but for my desktop, Windows 10 is the name of the game. As I write this I am about to post my Mac Pro cylindrical computer up for sale. It is a kick ass little machine but just not part of my future.

For continued iOS deployment I will get a crappy little mac mini and occasionally test/deploy on that. I will probably even remote desktop into it and keep it in my closet.

Comment Why can't I get Pis for the stated price in Canada (Score 2) 134

If I go to buy a pi in Canada the $5 will be over $20 delivered, the $25 will be over 50(before shipping), and the $35 one will be $60+(before shipping).

The exchange rate isn't that great in Canada but it is nowhere that bad. This pretty much defeats the whole $5 and put it everywhere thing. What I am asking you is to prioritize deliveries to companies that will actually charge a reasonable price. A price that includes shipping. Then they have a habit of only having the "kits" in stock. This translates to paying another 40 for a crap SD card, a crap wall wart, and a crap case.

I would love to use some zeros robots and hand them to my kids to potentially destroy. But considering it is almost cheaper to by a crap laptop on the used market in Canada than a Pi this is just silly.

Comment I am turning traitor (Score 2) 316

If you were to bother to read my years of ranting against Microsoft and their complete neglect of developers you will be surprised by my next line. Windows 10 is pretty damn good, and Visual Studio kicks everyone else's asses. I have seen Windows 10 running well on machines that aren't a whole lot better than a raspberry pi, and Visual Studio has stopped being a vehicle to get me to force my customers into the arms of Microsoft by forcing MSSQL and sharepoint type crap down their throats.

It is like someone at MS woke up and said, "Hey maybe we should listen to our customers and stop focusing entirely on all this enterprise crap. Also maybe the developers out there are influencers vs a blip on the percentage radar. That said, I am still going to develop for linux as my primary server environment, but I can now do that from Visual Source safe. I can use git, I can use github, I can use gdb, and python.

I fully intend on using linux on robots and just about anywhere embedded, but my desktop is looking like I may very well return to Windows.

Most developers that I know are all saying roughly the same thing; developers who have usually apple and sometimes linux desktops.

I, for one, did not see this coming.

I still would rather eat shit than use .net though.

Comment The subtleties can kill seemingly perfect voting. (Score 4, Insightful) 219

Setting aside all the clear fraud, tampering, etc. There is also the possibility of fraud within the household. I can name piles of cultures where the man rules the house; full stop. Immigrants from these countries tend to congregate in communities in many countries. Thus the "man" of the house will do all the voting; can we guess where his voting will lay on the spectrum of women's rights, investigations into honour killings, curtailing of an oppressive religion, etc?

So in addition to all the wonderful possibilities for fraud and rigged elections, there is the simple disenfranchisement of entire groups.

Then we have bully voting. Quite simply an enforcer for some minor gang might show up at an apartment block and tell everyone that they vote in front of him and his men.

The above voting irregularities might not seem like much, except that so many elections are won by a percent or less. In the case of a local councillor or alderman a few hundred votes could easily flip the result of an election.

In a nation with a problem culture like one of the above. This could easily swing an election.

Comment KDE, the academic interface. (Score 1) 515

I always found the entire KDE culture to be academic. They always had laudable goals, but not the goals of the typical user. Of course some stuff was for the common user, but that tended to be something that Gnome and whatnot already had or were getting as well.

Also the typical KDE look was that of a Solaris machine from 1998.

The best I way I have described KDE to someone was, think of Mac OS X with all its swirls, shadows, blurs, and other flourishes and now think of the complete opposite. Very soviet, very "functional".

Yes, I know you could add these things but they weren't part of its heart and soul.

For instance, there are people at BMW who's job it is to work on the door-open-key-in chime. They work tirelessly to make it very BMW, very soothing, yet attention grabbing. This is what was completely missing from KDE. The art of a great UX. What they were trying to build was a great UI.

Comment PHP (Score 4, Interesting) 674

People crap on that language and, when I use it I usually violate MVC hard enough that it needs therapy. Yet, damn, I can pound out high quality products in that format like I am a programming firehose. I am talking products that make money and need little to no maintenance for years to come.

I can do python flask stuff that is technically cleaner, I could even do something super hardcore like a C++ we back end but for the easy homerun, PHP it be.

Obviously I am talking about the web.

Another dirty secret is that I do most of my stuff from scratch. Nearly every framework or great IDE extra out there I ignore. The whole storyboards thing in iOS, nope, Java on Android, nope, or just about any proprietary system that tells me how I should do something is a big fat nope. I find with most huge frameworks that I can knock of an almost fully functional prototype in no time at all, but then I start fighting with the framework and can never finish, 90% done and that is it.

By working with the fundamentals and good libraries, I start slow, and finish slow, but finish I do.

Comment Re:If it sticks it to the utiities I am in. (Score 1) 254

I could probably find 100 people more qualified to sit on the board of my local power company who would do it for the public good, if the company clearly existed as a public good. I am talking engineers, businessmen, scientists, etc. They would do it for little to nothing. What these people aren't is politically connected, and deep and corrupt relationships with the regulators.

Comment Re:If it sticks it to the utiities I am in. (Score 1) 254

I was actually thinking that 100k was my initial high water mark. Building a cottage soon, and it will be an end to end experiment in off grid. The idea is that it is to be something that largely doesn't tick off my wife. Thus with few exceptions it just has to appear to be completely normal and not need endless fiddling. My thinking is that by proper power flow management, it should be pretty good. For instance, pumping water out of the well into the attic during peak sun is the sort of thing that prevents the pump from turning on when it feels like it, which might be a bad time.

Then other things such as geothermal, lake water cooling, etc.

One interesting one my friend did was to put a series of air scoop like vents. They open and close as both temperature requires, but also opens and closes the vents that take best advantage of the prevailing wind. The same friend has an interesting furnace that he feeds long logs into. This would be a pain if his place weren't also insulated to an insane level. Thus one long log thrown into the chute will easily heat his place for a winter's night.

The key seems to also avoid two things: massive power hogs such as an electric clothes dryer which can drain a fairly robust set of batteries quickly, and to also avoid all the stupid little vampires such as xbox power brick.

But back to the point of this original article, with really great batteries that were cheap and plentiful, a cottage would be perfect as I am away from it for lengths of time where the batteries could nicely store a volume of power. This is both nice to have the solar not throwing away excess power, and that the occasional stupid load (operating powertools) can be accommodated.

The same goes for eventual home use. I suspect that if I had batteries that could cover something close to a week's normal power that it would smooth out my power usage/ average production to the point where I would need very little excess power generation, and little in the way of backup power generation.

My hope is that a combination of trailblazers and ever improving technology will mean that the moment the technology crosses the critical cost threshold, that all the bugs will have been explored by people like myself.

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