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Comment The problem is what you consider useful (Score 2) 110

When I can say from my couch "Alexa, make me a steak, medium rare, and bring me a beer, IPA" and a robot hands me a beer in 1 minute and a plate with a hot steak 18 minutes later, I'll give a shit and I think other consumers will, too.

Reasonable enough. Other than the stock capabilities (weather, time, shopping list, timers, alarms, "what's playing at the movies?", "what's the phone number for Tire-Rama?", oodles of music sent to the theater system), the only third-party capabilities we use regularly are:

o Adjust the lighting via TP-Link smart plugs
o Adjust the heating / cooling via Sensi smart thermostat
o Check Fitbit stats / progress

Is it worth $49 or so out the door, plus hardware cost for associated devices to be able to do all this without having to otherwise go and do it? Well, it is to us.

For instance, sitting in the theater, it's either get up, make a 20 foot walk to the light switch, flip the switch, a 20 foot walk back in the dark, and sit down again, or just say "Echo, Turn off the lights." Likewise, when the show is over, it's just "Echo, Turn on the lights."

But when it'll cook a meal, see it delivered to the table, even see that the dishes are washed... yeah, that's going to be a fine day. At consumer prices, I'd hazard a guess that's still five or six years off.

Comment Of course... (Score 4, Interesting) 73

Of course, if they hadn't been so greedy and stupid as to design a non-user-replaceable battery into the phone, they would have been able to simply send out a relatively low-cost component to the afflicted users, instead of incurring a 5.3 billion dollar loss and severely inconveniencing every one of their note 7 customers (at the very least.)

It was their insistence on screwing the customer with planned obsolescence that bit them. They deserved to be bitten.

As does any company that designs in a non-replaceable, limited-lifetime component — much less one that is non-replaceable, limited-lifetime, and potentially dangerous.

Comment Free software assistant... already exists (Score 3, Informative) 92

Free software assistant... already exists

http://mycroft.ai

They've got an RPi image you can download, slap on a card, and be up and running with a USB mic and something to handle the audio out.

Seems to me like the FSF should pay more attention to what is already going on.

Comment New senses? (Score 2) 134

Elliot Freeman, a cognitive neuroscientist at City University and the study's lead author, said: "A lot of us go around having senses that we do not even recognise."

It seems to me more like a short circuit between regions of the brain than a different sense. I wouldn't like to hear things that aren't there just because I'm seeing things. It's well known that there are substantial interactions between different regions of the brain, which is why for example we turn down the stereo while trying to find an address.

Comment Re:Some places are impossible. (Score 1) 53

Sounds like an awesome idea.

In the presence of a working public transportation system that actually met the needs of inhabitants, it might be. But we have that in maybe one or two cities in the USA, and actually, if you took the cars away the systems couldn't handle the load. Toll roads are harmful to business and individuals alike. We make use of the road network free to enable commerce and free travel.

I am an outspoken proponent of PRT and of ordinary rail for longer distances, but barring their existence, I'm extremely opposed to placing more restrictions on people's ability to travel. What year is it? Let's figure out how to let people travel efficiently.

Comment Re:Just what we need (Score 1) 119

For every (likely made up) story you have about how your father's uncle's brother's first cousin's roommate had a union job and it was full of lazy people

I had a student job with a community college while I went there only about a decade ago, while I uh, pivoted. And what I saw in the IT department was tragic. The primary system upon which the school depended was a HP-SUX quad Alpha, because that's what their software runs on. Then they replaced it with some ridiculously expensive many-way itanic box because that's what the vendor told them to do. On the old system, I got paid to implement ssh tunneling (with putty, naturally) to stop them from sending SSNs and other private student information across internet links in cleartext, because the sysadmin they were paying to do this stuff couldn't figure it out. Then I got paid to figure out how to implement ipsec on the new machine because the guy whose job that is couldn't manage that either. I was hoping to slide into that job but that guy bought a second Harley, and he had to stick around to pay for it. Or more to the point, so that the students and taxpayer could pay for it. He certainly didn't earn the money. My boss was quite competent, that was nice. My two coworkers were also competent, but lazy. I wound up doing job after job that they were supposed to do, because they didn't bother. One of them had severe short-timer's syndrome for the entire two-year span we were both there, with a countdown clock to retirement. He was a pro at stretching jobs out and making them take forever. He probably should have had a 75% pay cut.

Meanwhile, administrators have a different union from educators. This results in administrators and their favored assistants being paid dramatically more than the educators... you know, education? The point of the whole place?

I don't know if unions are as toxic in other industries as they are in education, but they're definitely a massive part of the problem with education today.

Comment Re:Progressive (Score 1) 796

You should watch the Netflix series about the 80s. For every awesome thing reagan did, he did a dozen bad ones and they point every one of them out.

I am left of left around this sideshow but look, that doesn't invalidate his point any more than his citations invalidate yours. Can't we just agree that Obama was a shit president, and that Reagan was also a shit president, and move on?

Comment Re:Not sure what to think.... (Score 1) 796

The fact is that there are some people here who sit some distance along the autism spectrum, probably more than a few people with Asperger's, who are neurologically wired to view the world in very narrow and rigid ways. They need to define gender in the simplest form possible, it's just the way their brains work.

They don't have to have any condition to feel that way except stupidity, which makes simple things seem complex, and which also leads to oversimplication of complex things.

Comment Re:Not sure what to think.... (Score 1) 796

A genetically defective evolutionary dead end.

I would argue that nature has been "trying" to make us hermaphrodites, and we've been resisting that by refusing to mate with them, or sometimes killing them when we find them. That person may be more highly evolved than you are. Doesn't it seem like a defect and drawback to have people have just one sex? It takes approximately 10,000 individuals to provide enough genetic diversity to maintain the species, because sex is a factor. How inefficient!

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