Smart TV's are dumb

    Your TV Is Now a Computer, but Not in a Good Way by Alexis Madrigal @, Jan. 24. You don’t really own it, and it breaks in unpredictable ways.

    Reading this made arta want to rant in despair.

    This story brings back all kinds of nightmares for me, all the many frustrating aggravating and sometimes even frightening times dealing with PC's and their software in the 90's and cell phone cos. a decade ago and even MaBell in the 70's.... Why does this keep happening to us with each new technology change?

    How can we just say no until they are out of beta and looking for happy customers? Why don't vendors either offer replacements of old technology until the new is out of beta or at least offer to repair our old stuff when it breaks? Who in their right mind besides hobbyist geeks wants to spend their time on support forums? And why don't companies see friendly, useful, free support as a great product to offer? In this day and age when time is a most precious thing? The whole bigger market is always being held hostage to a tiny demographic that will pay for the newest thing in a keep up with the Joneses manner, only the Joneses are now geeky teen boys.

    I do not want a smart refrigerator, ever, not for the rest of my life. I will buy used, if old timey refrigerators are no longer offered. Already I will pay premium for a refrigerator that doesn't have a water source in the door so that it doesn't have to be hooked up to plumbing. I bought two small refrigerators rather than a big one so that I did not have to have water in the door that would break down fast and so that I did not have to have cabinets ripped out and rebuilt so a big one would fit.

    I don't even want power locks and windows on my car, I will pay premium price for windows that I can always roll down in 100 degree heat even if the power fails.

    I am not against progress, I think progress includes increase in quality of life and independence, not forced decrease in quality of life and dependence on entities who purposely hide from the consumer so that you will just buy another product.

    Another related thing. Among all the evils that one might argue about Amazon, I have experienced one very good thing. If you have a problem from a business transaction you have with them, and you call the number (which,  granted, is not prominently displayed, you have to Google to find it), you get a human on the phone with only a short wait and that human rectifies the problem. Customer service is a no brainer, Bezos made a fortune doing it.


    I've never had an electric window fail, and short of driving a car into a river, don't really see much need for a crank.

    Plus controlling more than 1 window in the car is nice.

    Power locks? also never (seldom?) fail, but if they do, the key fob also works old style manual way. Arms full of groceries, stick hand in pocket, push, open. Realize you forgot to lock the car? stick electric key out the 4th story window to car a block away, click lock. Go back to sleep. Forgot where you parked the car? click "open" and look for the car that lights up.

    Google "fix power window failure", 102 million links.

    I've had 2 with black car in Arizona sun, my 50+ year experience car shop guy said he sees these failures a lot with black cars, which get very hot when in the sun.

    Yeah yeah, blame it on "the blacks", I know where this conversation is headed.

    Interesting thermodynamics of heat dispersal.  The SR-71 was black. Why?  When an object becomes hotter than the surrounding air, a black surface radiates heat best.

    The SR-71 might melt due to the heat of air friction at high mach speeds, if it wasn't black.

    I don't really get this bit of evolution either.  I buy an ebook and I don't own the book, I own a revocable license to a book.  I stream my music, which means I pay to borrow it.  I stream much of my media, so I pay to borrow that.  It has some advantages over the old models, but I used to own my books!

    And how many hours per day are you watching that smart TV, and what is in that smart refrigerator?

    These tips—based on insurers using social media data to set premiums—are stunningly dystopian.

    — Karen Levy (@karen_ec_levy) February 1, 2019

    I figure that eventually the stats readout, which will inevitably be quite faulty and crash just as often, will still be a factor in whether you get that kidney transplant or not or whatever....

    P.S. I wouldn't worry about teh federal gummint, they'll still be struggling with Windows Vista. (Look at right now for example, they've lost a ton of immigrant children who are supposedly the enemy.) The states a teeny bit more advanced, but still will not know if you have like a bank account or driver's license in another state. And have no capability to connect to that Toll Pass account even if they wanted to. No it's the insurance people and even more so, the credit people, they will know everything, everything about the connected you. Accurate or not.

    There's a long tradition of these types of articles finger wagging at the terrible changes we see today. Exaggerating for effect and humor.

    There are fewer better poster children for shitty automation than self-checkout. I have literally never, as in not one single time, successfully completed a checkout at a self-service station in a grocery store without having to call a human employee over.

    I have often used self check out and rarely had to get help from the clerks in the area. They only seem to have trouble sometimes with loose vegetables. Everything prepackaged goes right through easily. There are too many clerks in the area with nothing to do that they bother me wanting to help. There's usually no or a very short line to use the self check out so it's much quicker.

    Eagles will save us!

    The Dutch Police have trained eagles to take out drones.

    — Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) March 31, 2019

    He he - you misspelled eaguls - he he...

    Btw they used eagles for recent Gatwick drone imbroglio

    Sorry, should be egulls. Kinda like emails but you use them to send messages when you're on a beach without internet access.

    Or to kill people, as shown in Hitchcock's documentary. Never doubt the ability of people to take good things and turn them bad. 

    Yup. Sure it starts with training eagles to attack drones. Then to attack drone operators. But the inevitable end result is all out interspecies war.

    The Fight for the Right to Drive

    The Human Driving Association hopes to pass a constitutional amendment for the age of autonomous vehicles.

    By  @ April 30, 2019

    [....] Last fall, the Philadelphia Navy Yard hosted Radwood, a car meet-up with a very different conception of the automotive future. The only cars allowed at Radwood are ones manufactured between 1980 and 2000. When I visited, early one morning, people had gathered around a red 1991 Volvo GL. The car was well worn from thousands of school drop-offs and soccer practices; its cracked leather driver’s seat still showed the gentle indent of its owner’s behind. Its most advanced technological feature was cruise control. Still, its hood was proudly propped open, in normcore glory. Speakers blasted the Talking Heads’ 1980 hit “Once in a Lifetime,” while, nearby, a man dressed in a nineties-style pink-and-blue windbreaker jumpsuit posed for a photo before a Volkswagen Westfalia. Other attendees cooed over a faded teal-green Ford Taurus, a twenty-year-old Mitsubishi Lancer, and a rusting Volkswagen Rabbit—the mundane cars that, in the previous millennium, had roamed the automotive landscape.

    Radwood was first held in San Francisco, in 2017; this year, it’s being held in around a dozen cities, including Los Angeles and Sodegaura, Japan. With their molded-plastic exteriors, aerodynamic spoilers, and pop-up headlights, many of the cars at Radwood share an aesthetic. What really unites them, however, is their status as relics. They hail from an era when engine controls weren’t fully computerized, and when cars could be fixed using hand tools. They represent a relationship to technology that has now vanished—one that privileges user involvement over convenience. “The majority of people who are fans of cars in this era want to be able to work on their own cars,” Bradley Brownell, one of Radwood’s co-founders, told me. “When you buy cars like these, you’re getting something rawer. Half of these don’t even have A.B.S.”

    In his book “Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work,” from 2009, the political philosopher and motorcycle mechanic Matthew B. Crawford argues that manual competence—our ability to repair the machines and devices in our lives—is a kind of ethical practice. Knowing how to fix things ourselves creates opportunities for meaningful work and individual agency; it allows us to grasp more deeply the built world around us. The mass-market economy, Crawford writes, produces devices that are practically impenetrable. If we try to repair our microwaves or printers, we’ll quickly be discouraged by their complexity; many cars produced today lack even dipsticks to check their oil levels. Driving the Tesla Model 3 has been compared to using a giant iPhone: instead of controlling the car directly, one seems to pilot it by means of a user interface.

    Many people, Crawford thinks, yearn to revolt against “the layers of electronic bullshit that get piled on top of machines.” Some of them attend Radwood. One twenty-six-year-old salesperson for a popular automotive Web site told me that he didn’t “want to be a test dummy for Tesla.” He owns a few pre-2000 cars, and sees them as valuable investments. At Radwood, he said, he had become a member of the Human Driving Association, an organization aiming to protect people’s freedom of movement and right to drive their own cars. The H.D.A. imagines a future in which, for safety reasons, human driving is made illegal. To prevent this scenario from coming to pass, it advocates [....]

    I guess this is proof some of the old ways were not exactly "user friendly"?

    Reminds me of the day I found a new Apple Lisa in the lab and tried to get it to work based on how an IBM PC worked... let's just say I'm glad there weren't any cameras, and a half hour/hour later I gave up, hoped I hadn't broken it.

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