“I’m no sociopath. I always know what I’m doing is wrong. I’m just a guy who doesn’t like taking tests, doing work, or getting yelled at. So if you think about it, that makes me the sanest person here.”—Jeff Winger
I always thought that the keys to Muomar Gadaffi’s hold on power were simple; his ability to terrorize his own people combined with the oil-hungry West’s willingness to look the other way so long as Gaddafi kept the oil spigot flowing. But this article by Max Fisher paints a much more complex picture of the Libyan dictator. In contrast to his buffoonish public image Gaddafi emerges here as a crafty ruler who was skilled at playing his own people of each other and who manipulated and used the Western leaders who condemned him to maintain power. This article is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the turmoil in the Middle East and Gaddafi contributions to it.
“Fred Phelps does not believe what he is doing. This is a scam. It’s a business. They travel the country, set up websites telling you exactly when they’ll be there, and using the most inflammatory statements all over the place, just to get someone to violate their rights for profit. Then they sue the military, the police force that was to protect them, and everyone that is around them for money. This is a sham, and it is a trap to get people sued. Every member of his family is an attorney. Phelps does not break the law. What he does is try to make you break the law by trying to punch your sensibilities about everything you hold dear, and then sue you and everyone municipality around him to the max. This is a scam.”—
You guys realize that the Westboro Baptist Church just exists to provoke people and get them to assault its members, right? Ignorezies, Ignorezies, Ignorezies. Unless you’re the IRS. In which case, AUDITZIES.
About a week ago, I got an email from Barnes & Noble. It was the email described in this link. While I kind of resented having to opt out at all—how dare this bankrupt company sell my information!—it was a fairly painless process nevertheless. Just click on a button, give B&N your email, and confirm that yes, I really wanted to opt-out in a follow up email sent the next day. So at least that went well. (Also if you are former Borders customer who never got the opt-out email, the Slashdot story linked here contains direct links to the B&N opt-out page.
I’ve always felt that anything that requires you to talk to an inanimate object in a voice other than your normal one has a built in silliness factor which must be overcome. This is one the things that has kept from using Android’s voice control features and it’s the reason why I’m less than impressed with Apple’s new Siri personal assistant feature.
Siri has actually been available as an app for iOS for some time and is now being integrated directly into the iPhone. Naturally Twitter is going apeshit over it. But I’m still skeptical. Every voice command app seems expect you to talk—or rather they expect you to “enunciate”—in this weird, unnatural way that for me creates an annoyance factor which prevents me from really using these apps much.
And if you are Hispanic, and you have a lot of friends and family with Spanish surnames or have Spanish surname yourself, you can forget about pronouncing them in the way that you are used to if you want Android Voice Control or Siri on the iPhone to recognize them correctly. (Nothing beats speaking your own name into your phone and having it pull up a search for steel.) I haven’t checked but I’m guessing that this applies to other ethnicities as well.
All this voice control is starting to feel like a way to make up for the fact that Personal Information Management (PIM) apps all suck on modern smartphones. The calendars on the iPhone and on typical Android phones are pretty but they are light-years behind the PIM apps that the Palm Treo and its PDA ancestors had years ago. And while there are some excellent third-party replacements available, I miss having truly powerful PIM functionality baked into my phone from the start. Many modern phones don’t even have decent Memo or Tasks apps. A lot of basic usability has been lost in the relentless march of innovation.
I want to see PIM apps return to the heart of phone functionality. I want to see decent note-taking and text editing apps baked right into a phone’s ROM. I want to see a flexible To Do app that syncs to Google Tasks and Remember the Milk and which integrates tightly with the calendar. If a handset maker can build something like this into their phone and make it work as well as Palm’s PIM apps from almost a decade ago, they will have created something far more useful and productive than any voice control app. In fact something like this would make the voice control apps more useful by finally giving the users a reason to talk to their phones.
by a whoabot (706122) on 05:08 PM October 1st, 2011 (#37579730)
Sense versus reference, and synchronic versus diachronic.
So right now there is a group that is the top 5% of data users. They are the ones whose usage will be scaled back. Nothing about doing this implies that some other group who will later be the referent of “the top 5%” will also be affected. To illustrate, If I say that I am going to meet the judges of the Supreme Court, that can easily just mean I’m going to meet the 9 current judges; if there are successors, I don’t also have to meet them in order to make good on my claim.
Reply to This Parent
Re:Perfect Plan (2)
by Dunbal (464142) * on 06:37 PM October 1st, 2011 (#37580242)
You could also meet people who are judging the Supreme Court, discussing the building’s architecture, etc. and not meet any judges at all. This is why we need lawyers. On the other hand, this is why we should shoot lawyers.