196 posts • joined Saturday 1st August 2009 18:31 GMT
Nothing worse than spending ages on an automated system while it figures out exactly what you want, then getting a generic how can I help you when a human finally answers. I strongly suspect it doesn't even alter who you get put through to in many cases.
So convoluted I thought I saw Amelia Earhart in there, indeed.
Lets be honest
We've been promised omnipresent computing is just around the corner for such a long time, in popular culture at least as far back as the computer in Star Trek TNG being available to answer every crewmember's slightest whim. We probably will have the capability to achieve this but is the consumer base really interested in it? There will always be gadget lovers who are willing to pay huge amounts of cash for a flash in the pan, like the VR goggles in the mid to late 90s, but chances are it just won't gain traction in the wider market.
Of course I could be wrong and this really could be the next big thing, but think how long it was after the first efforts at PDA/phone hybrids that smartphones really gained any noticeable market share. People just won't know what they're supposed to do with truly ubiquitous computing, they're perfectly happy pulling it out of their pocket when they want it.
I can't confirm this but it's more likely to be named after the Botany Bay on Earth, which the SS Botany Bay was itself likely a reference to.
Here's hoping the next season of Big Bang makes a nod to this.
Firstly it's worth pointing out that Google's spymobiles mount their cameras on poles. I haven't seen them myself so it may well be that they can see things from their elevated position which even a tall human would be unable to see. Secondly and perhaps more significantly there's Google Earth, which has reportedly according to a prior el reg article (can't be bothered to look it up) been used by police in a European country to plan their approach on a property to arrest someone during which process they discovered a quantity of narcotic plants in their back garden. That's good enough quality now to be a concern, and in years to come when they can increase the quality it will only get worse.
If anyone thinks Google wouldn't put up even higher resolution pics on Google Earth they're kidding themselves. Real time is another matter of course, but eventually I could definitely see the updates increasing in frequency.
Well noone made a fuss about the McDonalds Hamburgler way back when, though I was only a young kid so I might have missed it if they had. The sheer number of action cartoon licensed toys when I was a kid with some kind of guns was very high though, yet somehow everything in the cartoon seemed to fire lasers. Oh and fantasy cartoons like Thundercats (they carried swords damn it so I refuse to call it proper sci fi) and HeMan had plenty of melee weapons. Hell, when I was at primary school the school before the holidays let us all watch Star Wars which involved Luke's hand getting chopped off. (by let I mean forced us to watch, it took all my effort not to fall asleep)
Re:Another apocalypse in making
Then the solar system will become the opening credits to Third Rock from the Sun, complete with Saturn and Jupiter's rings gyrating like a massive hula hoop, and the occasional minor planet potted down a black hole.
Re: Oh, Battleship
Anyone who can resist the urge to shoot Rihanna is clearly a saint, and I haven't even watched Battleship to form that conclusion. If she emptied her gun, knowing Hollywood probably all bazillion rounds in whatever handgun she was using, then there's no doubt that the aliens were clearly far more advanced than any human in terms of morality.
Oh and we need an award for "worst 'original' series" and "worst adaptation". Twilight for the former, Battleship for the latter.
At 29 I remember loving all the marionette stuff while they were shown in the 80's, possibly early 90's too. I really do think he did a lot to get the science fiction ball rolling in general and I praise him for that, I also think the drydock/hangar for Stingray was a rather neat little system.
As I've grown up though I've begun to find most of the mechanical sequences showing the people and/or vehicles getting ready to be a little cringe makingly detailed, not to mention including a few too many twists and turns that just add complexity. Couches turning into lifts and hooking onto a miniature rail system are great ideas in their own way but depositing the pilot straight into their seat is just a little too much for my personal suspension of disbelief. I also have to admit his obsession with the covert side of the organisations to be a little over done in a lot of ways, I could give it to him in some of the shows certainly but in almost every show is just a little much.
Then again Star Trek did have all the deflector dish shenanigans...
That's got to be the first thing I've heard out of Dickens which wasn't wrist slittingly depressing. I guess even the miserable old sod was human after all.
I'm sure if they really cared that much they could install mobile phone jammers in the prison or something. I know it'd stop the staff and visitors from using them too but that's the price of security.
Like others I'm wondering what he might have plugged the USB cable into. I'd have thought one of those solar keyring chargers would be more help, but then they'd struggle to give a smartphone much juice at all.
Oh and the article forgot that the internet is also a way to access materials you probably can't access in a prison, namely pr0n.
Re: Moor accurate tiepin ...
More accurate hapticks doesn't necessarily mean people will pay attention to what they're doing while typing either. Just think of how many cock ups are made on a conventional keyboard. Still it's a nice addition for those of us who actually pay attention to what we're doing. (He says knowing there'll probably be an embarrassing typo somewhere in this very post)
Re: Tom Baker
I know he did the service where a voice reads text messages sent to landlines for a while, with the proceeds going to charity.
Is it just me or...
Shouldn't Google be doing this kind of thing anyway as part of its market research? Suspicious.
Okay so I'll be damned if I'll shake his hand now... I'm also a little concerned about the possibilities of rust or the mechanism just generally getting gunked up. Oh and don't go round for a meal if he's been serving the food, preparing the food or washed the pots before.
As for China, I doubt even if they did ever introduce free healthcare that the current thinking over there would permit such an expensive operation for someone of such little political worth to the state. Sad but probably true.
I'm just waiting...
For the lawsuits when people realise these things have ruined their eyesight. It's essentially like wearing a prescription not suited to your vision, eventually your eyes try to adapt to the glasses then you can't see properly without them. Trouble is sooner or later these'll probably go out of production, then they'll need to pay for glasses they might not have otherwise needed.
The kid's mother suspected he only bought the phone and tablet because he was nervous of being caught with that much money. He didn't necessarily go into the operation intending to buy an iPhone and iPad, if he was being pressured into a spur of the moment decision he didn't necessarily plan out what he was going to do with the money afterwards. A poor decision perhaps but if we allow people to be taken advantage of just because they're ill informed or absurdly naive we'd have people selling suitcases of bricks with "Macbook Air" scrawled on them at every street corner.
Lets be honest
They can't really do any worse than NASA. Great as Hubble is they haven't really achieved much else since the end of the Apollo missions, they're a collection of pet projects which might be useful one day with seemingly little effort made to push the projects along at any kind of reasonable pace. They spend years studying what kind of plants would be best for long term life support in space when we aren't anywhere near the kind of mission length they would be necessary for. While I'm not entirely sure either wa on Boeing I think the general concept here is good, so long as they don't over emphasise haste or cost concerns. I don't think either will be but if they decided to make it a first past the finish line arrangement then that would just increase the risk factor frankly.
Depending on the exact spacing and depth of the steps this problem can just as easily happen with wooden or metal slatted stairs, I knew of such staircases at secondary school and college and heard joking suggestions about looking up through the gaps though never knew of anyone who did. In the school it woud have been damned obvious anyway because under the stairs was visible through a large outside window. What can I say, teenage humour.
I wouldn't of course condone anyone actually looking up through the stairs in these cases, and perhaps extra steps to make certain line of sight doesn't work would be good, but ideally I don't feel the architectural principle should be sacrificed simply for something like this. There are times when short skirts aren't practical, windy days for example, this is just another one. If someone gets caught peeping by all means throw the book at them but don't blame the building design, blame the pervert, and if it's a big enough problem wear either a longer skirt or trousers if you're going into a location where upskirt peeping is a risk. I wouldn't expect a woman to cross a raised bridge prone to gusting winds in a short skirt either.
With mine you honestly couldn't tell, stupid grin is his default setting. Especially after headbutting my sister's fiance when they pop round to see him. Not that I told him off for it...
They still use cakes?
Last I heard of urinal cakes pubs were moving away from them due to theft, apparently it's possible to get high from them or something. Obviously this has either abated (hopefully people saw sense) or the US hasn't had this issue.
Re: Searching over the same field for 30 years?
Or perhaps they're a gay version of Howard and Marina from Last of the Summer Wine? What could be more innocuous than two friends innocently probing a field in search of ancient artifacts. And I don't mean Marina.
Much as I'm aware of the masses of ignorance on both sides of the pond they have a sort of valid point here depending on the circumstances. Even if stacked horizontally someone will have to pick them up at some point, if they don't hold it perfectly level or if they get jostled for any reason the blades could come loose and end up causing injuries to forearms, legs, feet, or any other body part in the vicinity. While in many cases the injuries may be relatively minor this cannot be guaranteed and would likely lead to a lawsuit, especially in the US, in either case this is not acceptable for packaging of a sharp object. Any idiot should know that sharp objects should be handled with care, this includes ensuring you don't place them in a container where they have a likely chance of falling out and landing on part of an individual.
Re:Hot earth chick
Methinks there's some fowl play going on there...
Ducks and runs for his coat.
I'm truly disgusted
I could cope with the peeing but World of Warcrap? If you're going to pee in a bottle at least have a decent reason, like the women in the house hogging the bathroom for 4+ hours at a time.
And to think I used to like Blizzard, at least so far as Diablo 2. I loved D2 but nothing since has made me give a damn.
Satellite != Moon
If a tiny rock got landed in Earth orbit it would technically be a natural satellite I suppose.
As for definition of a moon, well we called Luna a moon before we had any theory about it being blown off from the earth. I doubt the reason it forms matters so much as the orbit and size/structure.
Rubberised superglues are available, I believe there is one available called "filla glu" here in the UK that works fairly well. Significantly stronger than normal superglue, slightly more working time but not so long as to require you to hold the parts still for long, can fill gaps and is sandable.
Superglue is indeed catalysed by water, this does however weaken the bond noticeably and can release an amount of heat. I've heard anecdotal reports of people getting superglue on their fingers and feeling burning when they try to wash it off. I never experienced this with superglue myself, and the water does tend to make the resulting mess on your fingers more crumbly than it would be otherwise. Not something I will recommend to others though, I wouldn't like to risk being sued.
Two part epoxies like araldite take several minutes to set but remember they can take anything from 24 to 72 hours to completely cure. The longer the curing time however the stronger the bond generally.
If you ever need an overview of domestic adhesives you could do worse than try finding someone you know who assembles model kits, whether this is airfix type or wargames type. Polystyrene cement is only suitable for a certain plastic however so those working at a very basic level aren't much help.
I'll have to investigate Sugru. Depending on its properties it might be a viable modelling alternative to Araldite when working with resin miniatures.
Another vote for alternative format
I do not use Amazon's book service, I do not intend to use it. For me it's a more widely supported format like epub/pdf or get knotted.
I would have been happy to buy this ebook purely as a sign of support for BoFH, I could just as easily copy and paste the stories into a word processor myself for free and then convert them into a suitable format should I wish to. This format limitation however is something I find unacceptable. At the very least you could have released on iBooks as well, I know it's a lock in too but at least you could choose your poison.
(No the Kindle app on iOS isn't a suitable alternative to me, the app has no support for iOS' disability features unlike iBooks. The cheap Kindle device has no disability features and I refuse to buy the expensive Kindle just for a handfull of books I can't get from either iBooks or Audible UK)
I have to agree about the Earth-centric stories, I got fed up of those around the second series. About the same time I got completely sick of the story of the week format, the old stories had a lot more depth. You could actually appreciate them a lot more I found, not as rushed and more plot and character development.
As to companions I'm not sure I care much about them at all since the return. There were some good moments with Rose and Harkness in the first series back but Rose's chavviness did grate, and Donna Noble was just insufferable. I've seen interviews with Billy Piper though and she doesn't seem at all chavvy which surprised me, I think she could have done a lot better if they hadn't insisted on overdoing the cockney thing.
While there have been romantic entanglements in the past I think people were trying to point out that they were almost entirely sexless, maybe a product of it being partially aimed at children and the social norms of the time but at least there wasn't all the fawning and flirting there is in the recent series. I'll make an exception for John Barrowman because he was just hilarious, he somehow managed to deliver it completely straight (so to speak...) while still making you laugh yourself silly.
Re:Sit rigidly still...
You're assuming TV manufacturers give a crap about making a useable system, as opposed to adding a gimmick to encourage the gullible to buy the new products.
Now I'm not saying they definitely won't do a decent job of integration, it remains to be seen however. There is a definite risk that this may just be used as a half arsed marketing stamp. Like "multimedia PC" which translated as the computer had speakers, and possibly a CD drive.
Too stupid to wear a seat belt, works for an insurance company and now she's getting fake boobs? Damn it there was me almost curious what she was like, having a soft spot for scottish girls and everything, even with a triple-A figure. Ah well, guess nowhere has a 100% hit rate for appealing women.
No I'm not a perv, I'm a similar age to the girl in question... just a lot more grown up than most people my age, never mind this dippy bat.
Much as I hate civilian gun ownership
Believe me, I really do hate the idea of civilians owning guns for "self defence" but frankly this really isn't part of a doctor's remit. This is a social issue. While it is appropriate for a doctor to say "I recommend with your medical conditions you not own a gun" in the same way as "I recommend that you stop driving for your own safety due to your medical conditions" it really isn't down to them to tell people what to do about guns.
Now that isn't to say that noone should be doing this. The fact that doctors felt they had to shows how poor a job the authorities are doing in terms of educating the public regarding the risks of gun ownership and how to mitigate them. That still doesn't make it right for the doctors to push this agenda though, this is a political issue and for the most part health services should remain apolitical.
Shh, what Simon's really got set up... and this isn't for the ears of the lusing masses... is an accent recognition system which automatically identifies the caller's accent and adjusts the voice to the accent most calculated to make the least sense. Starting with a generic unintelligible accent in the greeting and gradually morphing it slowly so as not to draw too much suspicion.
That said I think I've heard a few systems like that on the telly before now. Some of the people they've had on the news for interviews are pretty shocking.
Re:Toy for posers
Or for people with disabilities, believe it or not but Apple's kit is great for people with disabilities thanks to features built in that noone else offers in that manner. As an example I'm visually impaired and my options for a portable device would be:
Laptop plus "screen reader" software for Windows, say £300 for a netbook plus £700 for a commercial screen reader (Narrator is the worst kind of crap)
MacBook Air with "Voice Over" screen reader built in, £850
"Notetaker", essentially a specially built PDA with integrated screen reader, £1,650
iPad, £500 plus the ability to actually access some of the apps
Android screen readers are available but presently the only ones worth using are commercial, plus require sighted assistance to install.
I imagine similar facts exist for low-vision users (built in magnification as opposed to paying extra, if a magnifier package is even available for the OS), along with many other disabilities which may struggle with conventional devices.
If I didn't have the need to balance accessibility (in the disability sense) with OS features I'd probably have gone for Linux given a free hand, I'm no Apple fanboy by a long margin. The simple truth is that Apple do accessibility right and for many people this makes a world of difference, many of us possessing a fair amount of technical knowledge.
On the other hand this doesn't change the fact that it's overpriced and underfeatured for users without such niche requirements.
In the interests of disclosure I'm using an iPhone but not an iPad, I decided that I don't presently have a requirement for an iPad nor any pressing need for any computing device I can carry with me aside from a phone. If I were still at college/university however I would have been yearning for such a device since I wouldn't need to rely on the crappy college/uni computers, nor fighting with the IT department to get the access software already owned by the institution installed on computers where I can use them and not to remove it whenever they change around the software available to that room or reformat the room as a substitute for defragging their old win 95 computers. (my old college used win 95 until at least summer of 2004, they claimed it was more stable than 98)
Re:A British Success
Not every company can be an Apple or a Microsoft. Just because they're filling a less lucrative role doesn't diminish from their achievements, quite the reverse. Saying they're not a success story is like saying a person is unsuccessful just because they're not a multi-millionaire CEO. ARM is still an important part of the global technology ecosystem, they're filling a valuable role which just happens not to require a monstrously huge company.
In fact not being a huge company is probably to their benefit in a lot of ways. It cuts down on beurocracy for starters.
Remember it includes damaged/faulty
If it includes damaged and/or faulty equipment it seems surprising that the NI and Welsh Assembly didn't have a single device listed, then again maybe they don't have so many to begin with. Given the sheer number of staff in the foreign office and the varied environments they work in chances are they're much more prone to damage or general failure, consider the implications of varying climates and potentially the shock from travelling in an area with poor road conditions. It's the UK-based groups I'm worried about with the amount of kit they lose. Then again maybe they've just seen the new version and want an upgrade...
I've nothing but sympathy for the guy but what the hell has the British company remark got to do with anything? I know that certain Australians still have resentment over how Australia was handled in the past, I can even understand that, but this is a completely separate issue which has nothing to do with the nationality of any company involved.
Agreed on making a softer approach first though.
Copyright is what they want to use blocking for?!?
I've been aware of this for some time and while I do think blocking is a crap idea I have to ask, why is it that this is coming up for bloody copyright? Surely if they were going to block anything it should be sites which promote terrorism, paedophilia, and anything else equally vile?
Blocking just isn't viable, even if it were though copyright should be the bottom of the frackin' list of things to use it for.
On the contrary. Politicians have a habit of paying attention to whoever gains the most media attention and/or whoever shouts the loudest. That's why gobby mums with no idea what they're rabbiting on about have actually influenced government policies and legislation so many times.
I wish for once a politician would come out and say "You're a minority group and you're talking bollocks."
If you're paying for 500 texts a month then start sending half of them through free internet apps then that's a win for the carrier, they're taking half the load with the same revenue. It's often still necessary to use normal SMS for people who aren't on such an internet based service or for relatives (parents for example) who don't even have a smart device.
While wifi is often used for these services remember also that when you're not at home or in a cafe/pub with free wifi, not these places that charge you for it like most seem to, you'll be paying data charges. Admittedly the data cost for a text message won't be high but if your device is constantly connected to the servers, necessary if you want to actually receive messages, then that will creep up. Same principle with push-based email.
Swings and roundabouts
Licensing the internet might have funded development of the standards more, maybe avoiding the crap that is flash. It would have crippled content generation and user adoptance however.
As to the iPhone angle, and? Like people above said it has good and bad points. I use mine for its disability related features ("Voice Over"), Windows Phone 7 won't support assistive software and Symbion is dieing even if it was very accessible with a £150 third party program. Android accessibility exists but I would need sighted assistance to set it up, plus the better assistive solution for Android isn't free either. The iPhone has it built in and can be turned on through iTunes. I also don't wish to mess with my phone too much. If someone has obscure requirements or enjoys coding their own additions then Android is of course great but it isn't for everyone.
The walled garden is a dubious practice, I have no problems admitting that. I don't like the concept of it. It does however make things somewhat easier for users who aren't as knowledgeable or paranoid, so long as it's vetted in a proper and fair manner. Whether Apple is doing this now and whether they will do so in the future I won't comment on since many people would debate this point.
Looks like Andrew's off on another right wing tangent. If all it cost to get multiple new pylon designs developed was £5K plus whatever it took to pay the wages for the people judging it then it's an absolute bargain. Commissioning a new design could have easily cost far more, plus how much does the average pylon cost? I don't have the figures for that last one obviously but I'm willing to bet that between buying the pylon and setting it up that £5K wouldn't get you very many of them. The companies entering got some advertising for their designs while the government got a chance to promote the idea of low-impact pylon designs at very low cost. As far as the public wallet goes this is a win in my book.
Now if you want to criticise the engineering go right ahead but for goodness sake stop banging on about the eco nuts. You don't need to be an eco nut to see that anything we can do to cut down the impact we have on the local scenery is a good thing. Why is it that you criticise the placing of wind farms on former beauty spots but don't consider the possibility of less conspicuous pylons a worthwhile goal?
Regarding the other posters here, I'm no engineer so can't really say too much. All I'll say is it's a good goal to have, we shouldn't sacrifice too much practicality for the impact reduction but if some of the designs have been decently engineered then it would be wrong to stick with the old design purely from nostalgia and familiarity.
Re:Perceptions are funny
Trouble is when there's that much propoganda flying around with little access to alternative viewpoints it gets increasingly difficult to tell which are true and which aren't. It would be easy to accidentally believe something was true when it wasn't, or even that it wasn't true when it was true and was particularly shocking. As an example if they reported on our phone hacking scandal their viewers might easily imagine it was being blown out of proportion and was one or two isolated incidents.
That's not to mention the people that will believe anything. Think of it as a country whose entire media is run in the vein of the Daily Mail, now that's scary.
Re:Driest part of the driest continent
I suspect that's referring to liquid water not evaporated water as in the case of humidity. Higher temperatures tends to make an area "dry" more by turning the liquid water into its evaporated form and thus raising humidity, it is well known that tropical regions are insanely humid and this makes it even harder for the body to remove excess heat.
For any Australians accusing the el reg team of being whiney I'll point out that adapting to unfamiliar conditions is difficult. I would invite any of you to try spending time in somewhere noted for its coldness such as Alaska in the US and see how much you complain. That's why people involved in sports and the like often arrive early to acclimatise their bodies to the environment, for people not in the peak of fitness as most of us aren't this takes a greater toll.
Put the passwords on a piece of paper in a safe, leave instructions for the safe in your will. You can then change it at your leisure, plus you have a small safe to store other valuables in.
Scary as those thoughts are there is also the reality of loved ones finding collections of kinky underwear or the actual toys themselves, irrespective of whether they were ever used or bought as a gag gift. I will confess to having a number of items I'd never, ever want family members to know about. Unfortunately the only way I could be sure of them not finding them after my death would be not to have them in life and that just isn't something I'm willing to give up.
That's not including the old fashioned home video sex tape of course, I'm sure that's traumatised more than a few people when clearing out their parents' stuff. Especially if they lost both parents at the same time.
Re:Just had to run out of the pub...
I'm sure our American brethren understand, though they're more used to being pissed on by a Bush... Sorry had to get that in there.
I loved this article and I can't even see the pictures, pure classic. (Yes I have a visual impairment, want to make something of it?)
As bad as the football incident is there isn't much that can be done going forward, I'm not convinced that there are even lessons that can be learned. Oh they might bring in guidelines about certain things but unless it resulted in a significant design change to the stands I don't think it's going to reduce the chances of it happening again in any meaningful manner.
The proposal regarding the rioters however is the worst kind of Daily Mail-esque drivel. If they can prove that anyone caused criminal damage, participated in assault or any other criminal act then just prosecute them. Removing their benefits is redundant if they can prove they were involved to a court's satisfaction, if they can't prove it to a court's satisfaction then this is punishment without due process and should be avoided at all costs. That's not considering the possible breaches of human rights legislation that removing benefits without due process could cause.
If someone were to make an E-petition to abolish E-petitions on the grounds that they're encouraging the voices of the narrow minded minority to be heard over the broad minded majority I'd be first in line to sign it. Not that the narrow minded minority, or the unintelligent and uninformed chunk of society that swallows whatever the Daily Mail spunks, need any encouragement.
I assume the author meant HTTPS prefix not suffix.
An interesting idea but might not be workable, it would be far too complicated and confusing for the average user. Somehow I'm not surprised the Electronic Frontiers Foundation is backing something like this.
Broader appeal than you think
For starters not everyone would want to get items delivered to their work place, even if it would be allowed. Especially if they work with nosey buggers. I'm all for high street shops letting you order and collect from the store.
It gives you the convenience of picking up the item(s) when you want, with the advantage that you don't have to search for what you want in the often confusing layouts of physical shops. You also have much less hassle with staff, you can just shove the order info at them and get out.
If the high street is going to continue in any meaningful way then shops selling items which you don't really get any advantage from examining before you buy will need to look seriously at this kind of model. If not then the high streets will be made up entirely of clothes shops, starbucks and macdonalds. No jokes about that being true already please, that's just infantile. Shops which sell entertainment products are particularly vulnerable since you can either order a physical copy to your house for little price difference (or sometimes less cost) than buying it from the physical shop, even after delivery costs, or else buy a digital copy for immediate download. Why suffer the noise, poor layout and general annoyance of going into HMV when you can buy it from Amazon or iTunes? Plus not having to worry about whether they have it in stock or having to order it in.
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