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Comment The apps are buggy (Score 2) 170

I used to use Google Assistant daily, and I liked it. Now I almost never do, because it is buggy, and it gets buggier with each release. It's highly accurate, *when it works at all*.

Voice recognition quality:
The voice recognition quality is stunningly accurate. It almost never gets things wrong. This is the hardest part, and they nailed it. But it seems like they had an intern write the rest of the code. Maybe it just wasn't exciting enough?

My Galaxy S5, in 2015: "Okay google" *beep* "Send a text to..."
My Galaxy S5, in 2017: "Okay google" (45 second delay) *screen flash* "Send a text to..." (15 second delay)
This isn't just my specific phone, because my wife has the same model, but with almost no apps installed, and it performs the same way.

Bad parsing code:
If you give Google assistant a command that is more that some arbitrary limit, like 256 characters or something, it gets stuck in a loop.
I say "Okay Google, send a text to Harold Smith, saying that ... 2 paragraphs of text..." Google shows me the exact correct text I spoke, in a text box, then promptly says "Who do you want to send this text to?" Confused, I respond "Harold Smith" then it correctly finds the contact, then says "What would you like the text to be?" I say the text, it transcribes it perfectly, then says "Who do you want to send this text to?"

Bad contact lookup:
I say "Okay Google, send text to Dad" then it says "I cannot find a contact named Dad." Then I open my contact list, and there is a single entry named "Dad" with a cell phone number on it. Same spelling, same case.

No retry logic:
Sometimes it tells me something like "I'm sorry, I wasn't able to contact the server, please repeat that again." Why would I have to repeat it? Didn't it just record my voice? Other times, it actually transcribes the text, then tells me it couldn't contact the server. Ummm.... what? And it does that even if the action is local and doesn't require the server, like running an app or adding an appointment to my local calendar.

Must look down at the screen to use it:
On my iPhone, it would repeat back to me the message and prompt me to confirm. With Google Assistant, I have to look down at my phone and read it. I used my iPhone to send voice texts while on the road. I can't do that with Google Assistant since the whole point is to not have to take my eyes off the road.

Poor app integration:
After I send a text, it isn't in my text history.

Comment I prefer duckduckduckgo (Score 2) 164

Since I am concerned that duckduckgo might leak search information, I prefer duckduckduckgo, which uses duckduckgo internally, but hides my searches even better. Should we ever find that duckduckduckgo is also storing personal information, we could always create duckduckduckduckgo, which would solve the problem once and for all.

Comment Anecdote about Western Union (Score 4, Interesting) 110

My mother-in-law got a phone call saying that she owed back taxes and would be arrested if she didn't pay. Now, this is a woman who has no income other than her pension. She went to a Western Union and tried to transfer money to pay the fraudster, and the agent refused to let her send the money. She was furious, and called my wife, who fortunately told her mom that she is an idiot who should thank the agent.

If this is the kind of fraud they are talking about, I sympathize with Western Union. How exactly do they determine what is fraudulent, and what should they do?

The ftc.gov filing says:

Western Union’s failure to comply with anti-money laundering laws provided fraudsters and other criminals with a means to transfer criminal proceeds and victimize innocent people

Can anyone post what those "anti-money laundering laws" say? I am curious how the average Western Union employee would really know if something is fraud, and deal with it.

Comment Re:An anecdote (Score 1) 87

You misunderstand the problem with printing.

Yes, the dot pitch will be very accurate. But the paper can shift, which is why any professional printing requires what is called a "bleed" area of 1/8 of an inch. It can also bend or stretch from heat or moisture. I just ordered prints from a professional photographer, and I saw more than 1/8" shift. The left-most wallet-size picture was missing the left part of the picture, and the right-most wallet-size picture showed more of the right side of the picture than any of the others.

This applies to machining parts as well Ex: Suppose one can machine a part to 1/1000th of an inch. But how accurately did I load the block of metal into the machine? Was the machine head mounted at a 0.01 degree angle, causing the part to be skewed? That slight angle could make a large part an inch off.

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 5, Insightful) 1544

The few Finns I've talked to seem rattled by Russia's annexation of Ukraine. Like Crimea, Finland was once a territory of Russia. So I expected that Finns would not be happy about having a US president that doesn't support NATO and has almost forgiven Russia for their acts in the Ukraine. Finland has been moving to join NATO for over 10 years.

Comment Why go public instead of notifying the FBI? (Score 1) 98

Surely the FBI is trying to find out the identity of the criminal who created this botnet. Why would Krebs go public with it, instead of going to the authorities? At the bottom of the article, it says "The FBI officials could not be immediately reached for comment." What does that mean? "could not be immediately reached?" Why was he doing this investigation alone? And why did the author of the botnet release the source code?

Comment Re:For all those calling for Snowden's pardon (Score 1) 797

Yes, Snowden did release documents on non-domestic surveillance. That was not appropriate and he should not be pardoned for that. He could be pardoned for charges related to the domestic surveillance documents he released. But I don't agree that Snowden released "a bunch of random documents" like Manning did. Manning literally grabbed every document he/she had access to, without filtering them at all, and gave them to a foreign organization. Snowden was deliberate in taking things that he thought were necessary to expose the domestic surveillance problem. Then he released them to an agency that he thought could filter them.

Comment Re:For all those calling for Snowden's pardon (Score 2) 797

I think Obama has it wrong.

Manning released a bunch of random documents, with no real political benefit to America. Snowden released targeted documents, which caused changes to the Patriot Act renewal, changes to public perception about the NSA, and changed the way the FISA courts operated. Snowden was a whistle blower, because what he did caused political and social change. Manning released private communications between ambassadors, which did nothing but embarass multiple nations. What good came from Manning's leaks?

Comment Re:Not sure what to think.... (Score 1) 797

Have charges even been filed yet against Snowden? I don't think the president can pardon him if they haven't been filed.d

Snowden is a far better candidate for pardon than Manning. Manning randomly released everything he/she could access, just for lolz. Snowden had a purpose, and laws and court cases were actually impacted by what he released. Public opinion changed. That's what makes someone a whistle blower.

Comment Re:Indiscriminate antibiotic use in farm animals.. (Score 1) 296

Prove it.

There is a misunderstanding here. They aren't talking about antibiotics used to treat animals for infection. Your knowledge is out-of-date here. Let me explain:

Commercial farms buy feed with antibiotics *in the feed itself*. They aren't doing it to treat disease, they are doing it because the antibiotics make the animals grow fatter, faster. I don't think it is entirely understood why. These people aren't "farmers" in the way that you describe farmers. These are heavily mechanised factories.

There's tons of articles on this topic. Try Scientific American for a start, since they cover the whole history of it. Searches for "antibiotics chicken feed" should yield some good results.

Comment Re:Doesn't line up with our testing. (Score 2) 164

If you load the machine down in any significant way- be it causing the GPU to kick in, or all the CPU cores to fire up- battery life drops to a measly 4-5 hours, sometimes as low as 3.

This is not a valid objection because, under full load like that, 3 hours is better than most laptops on the market right now. Most laptops with a GPU like the one on these machines, firing all cores, get an 1hr of battery life under that scenario. You just don't play games on the battery.

Comment Re:Does it really violate net nuetrality? (Score 1) 74

That's fine, so consider this: ATT & Verizon have bandwidth caps. If some sites are not subject to the cap, but others are subject to the cap, aren't they changing how traffic is treated/shaped? Once I hit my cap, the ISP is blocking some traffic, but not blocking other traffic. If there was no bandwidth cap, then there would be no need for zero-rating.

So even if this sounds like I'm splitting a hair, in practice, it has the same effect as traffic shaping. Maybe I can't stream Netflix over my 4G connection because I would hit my cap in a day or two. But if I could stream Amazon prime, then that would make me subscribe to Amazon instead of Netflix. That's exactly the kind of thing we are trying to prevent: the ISP deciding to shift the market by changing what people access.

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