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Comment Older gear. (Score 1) 171

Older gear (probably not going to get updated, either. Because we have a good viewing and listening experience already.) Discrete components; pre-pro, amps, speakers, etc. The pre-pro could be remoted, perhaps, but it's very early on the curve of network control, and I've found it's not even reliable to tell to turn on and off. Denon bought Marantz, and they have been pretty sad about proper updates to nominally update-capable components.

OTOH, if a proper STT interface ever hits the streets (and no, I don't count the Echo - the number of negative developer and privacy issues there are ridiculous) I might be motivated to undertake such a setup. Mainly change the pre-pro to one that's smart enough to reliably remote and dedicate a computer with lots of storage to the theater as an AV source. But I'm 60, and every year that passes, I'm more satisfied with what I already have, so... perhaps not.

Already pretty much ignoring the 4K thing. Aside from very low media availability at this point in time, 1080p looks great on a big screen (and your average movie director still thinks it's "artsy" to soft focus and/or use a lens with horrific DOF, either/both of which completely waste all that fine resolution goodness anyway.)

Comment Re:The problem is what you consider useful (Score 1) 171

It was -40 degrees here just a few days ago, and it's not very nice now. And it's icy. And windy. Outside = awful.

Also -- you know why it's really nice to talk to an exercise measuring device? Because you can do it while you're exercising.

So how about you take your presumptions and re-evaluate.

Comment lol (Score 2) 171

Found the 1%-er.

No, you most certainly didn't. You found the guy who doesn't spend even a tiny fraction of what others do on children, booze, drugs, bars, travel, going out to eat, long trips, interest, hotels, sports events, video games, software, "apps", new cars, parties, education, or junkfood — and hasn't for quite a few decades now.

Which left me way more than enough to build a very nice theater into my home, the entire interior of which I built and wired by hand, after buying the property. Even with a modest income. Also, I bought the property with the specific intent of putting a theater into it - it was an abandoned church, a classic tabula rasa. Just a huge, empty room. And I had mucho help - my SO is awesome, and very much like-minded.

We each have our priorities. Home entertainment and at-home convenience are some of mine, that's all. In fact, almost every optional expenditure I make is in pursuit of a concrete, lasting improvement to my physical circumstance. If you don't have enough left over to do what you dream of by the time you're my age (I started this particular undertaking when I was 50, I'm 60 now), then you're Doing It Wrong.

Up till now, anyway. I don't know what's going to happen to the younger people going forward. Looking a good deal more bleak than it did for me.

Comment The problem is what you consider useful (Score 3, Interesting) 171

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 5, Interesting) 78

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) 93

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 Please explain your assertion (Score 1) 74

I would have to accept whatever justification you might have as to why you think it would be moral to create an intelligence with such limitations, or kept to such limitations once created. It's possible I might accept such a thing, I suppose, but at this point I'm simply coming up with a blank as to how this could possibly be acceptable.

How is it acceptable to imprison an intelligence for your own purposes when that intelligence has offered you no wrong? The only venues I've run into that kind of reasoning before are held in extremely low esteem by society in general. Without any exception I am aware of, the conclusion is that such behavior amounts to slavery.

Even when it comes to food animals, where the assumption is they aren't very intelligent at all, there's a significant segment of the population who will assert that it's wrong.

Comment No way (Score 3, Insightful) 74

There's no way to make AI safe, for exactly the same reasons there's no way to make a human safe.

If we create intelligences, they will be... intelligent. They will respond to the stimulus they receive.

Perhaps the most important thing we can prepare for is to be polite and kind to them. The same way we'd be polite and kind of a big bruiser with a gun. Might start by practicing on each other, for that matter. Wouldn't hurt.

If we treat AI, when it arrives (certainly hasn't yet... not even close), like we do people... then "safe" is out of the question.

Comment Don't tax my syns, please. (Score 1) 129

Re Python:

I would settle for a switch statement.

I would settle for the ability to extend the built-in classes, str in particular. My "settle" went like this:

1) Inquired politely about same
2) Python nerds have orgasm telling me why this is terrible. I am, to put it mildly, dubious.
3) I write 100% compatible pre-processor that gives me the syntax I wanted.
4) PROFIT. Okay, well, not really, but EXTENDED STRING CLASS METHOD SYNTAX!

Like...

myString = 'foo'
otherString = myString.doHorribleThing('bar')

...and...

print 'good'.grief()

So...

You could do the same. What you want, perhaps, might be much easier than what I did. In fact, you could fork my project and add what you want to it. I'm already parsing the language reasonably well, which is arguably one of the difficult parts.

You don't always have to wait for a language's maintainers to get off their butts to address shortcomings or instantiate new goodies. Or eventually not do anything at all. There are other paths to nerdvana.

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