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  • Self-driving machine learning at core of Apple's car ambitions, declares Tim Cook in inter...

    Every time I read about Apple + Autonomous Driving I'm reminded of this.
    Benedict Evans - Cars as feature-phones ( as its so easy to miss, I highlighted the most critical take away, it's worth reading twice

    "When I moved to Silicon Valley from London, in 2014, I bought a second-hand German car from 2009. The dashboard reminds me very much of using a Nokia in 2000 - it's perfect, and clear, and easy to understand, and there's no software at all. There are features, some of which are shown on a monochrome screen, and powered by firmware, but no software.

    Then, a few weeks ago, it needed to be serviced and the dealer lent me a brand new top-of-the-line version of the same model.

    This one was like using a Nokia from 2007 - they've added all the smart stuff, badly. There are so many buttons that even the buttons have buttons, and though each particular feature makes sense on its own, and might even be implemented quite well, when they're all added together the effect is absurd. My new favorite site on the internet shows this extremely well, if unintentionally. 'My Car Does What?' is a attempt by the car industry to educate the public about the safety features that have been added to their cars over the past decade or so (I saw it advertised on a video screen at a gas pump). Unfortunately, what it really shows is that a proliferation of features has overwhelmed the 'job to be done'.

    The job is to stop the car crashing (or rather, stop the user from crashing the car), but the implementation is 'give the user 37 different icons on their dashboard'. Indeed, it's not just the drivers that are confused - the dealers are too. One way to look at this is to say that the car industry is just bad at software and human-computer interface design. That is probably true, and often you can see the org chart in the dashboard layout, but I think it misses a deeper point - what's really happening is that an interface model has been overloaded to the point that it's becoming top-heavy, and needs to be replaced by a new one.

     The industry has added more and more features on top of the product: if you'd only added one, it would make sense for it to be a separate feature with its own button or light, but when you've added dozens, really, you need to invert the model and put all of them underneath. Like a melting iceberg rolling over, you need to invert the interface model. In computing, this is what happened with first PC GUIs and then smartphones - interface features that had been added to the top of the previous generation's interface disappeared underneath the new one. You need a new platform to build on. This is a common theme in many classes of device: you start with a product that has a few electronic functions added, and then those functions are delivered with chips, and perhaps they gain an interface and then a screen, and more and more functions (and probably multi-function buttons) - and then, somehow, you've built a little weird custom computer without actually meaning to, and all the little silos of features and functions become unmanageable, both at an interface level and also at a fundamental engineering level, and the whole thing gets replaced by a real computer with a real software platform. And this new computer is almost certainly made by a different company. You could see this problem very clearly at Motorola, which developed as many as two dozen 'operating systems' - for phones, pagers, satellite phones, car-control, industrial devices, chip evaluation boards and so on and so on, and picked them for each device out of a metaphorical parts bin just as you'd choose a sensor or battery or any other component. And boy, they really knew how to write operating systems - they had dozens! With, probably, 'millions of lines of code'.

    This was exactly the right approach in 1995, but in 2005, again, the whole thing collapsed under its own weight, because they needed software as a platform rather than as a one-off component, and instead they had a mess. In cars, part of this will be addressed by what's termed 'sensor fusion'. Rather than individual sensors triggering individual notifications, a car will have a single computer that takes input from all of the sensors on the car and builds a unified model of what's going on around it. (This is of course also a necessary building-block for autonomous cars.) We don't quite have sensor fusion yet, but Nvidia and others are now selling early versions to OEMs (including Tesla), each of which puts their own light layer of customisation and UI on top. So, instead of a sensor for the left blind spot, and another for the left passing warning, the car will know, at least in a crude, mechanistic sense, what's around it. However, though this might be a platform of sorts, it doesn't really change the interface problem at all - sensor fusion makes the sensors work together properly, but what should the car do with that? Should it show the same lights and sound the same warning chimes, just more reliably, with all the same buttons? A rich animation on your new fully-digital dashboard? Should there be a 'stick-shaker' that stops you changing lane if there's someone in your blind spot? What if you turn against the stick-shaker? Is all of this answered by more iteration of what car OEMs have already built, or does it call for a more fundamental rethink of the car UI?

    That is, again, how far can you keep adding stuff on top of the existing dashboard, and when do you need something new? And will car OEMs or their traditional suppliers be the ones to do this? A good 'Occam's Razor' for this, I think, is the Eric Raymond adage that a computer should never ask you a question that it should be able to work out for itself. These alerts and warnings, and all those buttons, are questions. And so, just as Windows doesn't ask you what sound card you have and smartphones don't ask you where to save a file or what your password is, what is a back-up warning but a question - do you want to stop now? Really, a car shouldn't have a back-up warning - it should just rubber-band to a halt. And that, in turn, is a step to autonomy - to level 3 and 4, the car that will try not to let you crash, and will increasingly drive itself. That is, the end-point is to have no interface at all. In a fully-autonomous, 'Level 5' car, with no steering wheel or manual controls at all, the only human-computer interface is when you say "take me home now".

    But most people in the autonomous driving field think that's at least 5 years away and more probably 10, or more. In the mean time we have a transitional phase, as you go from lots of warnings to one and you ask what fundamentally that warning should be, and as you sit in a car where you need to be in the driving seat and steering, mostly, or ready to steer, but the car might stop you, or drive itself. Something that drives itself until it doesn't can easily become dangerous. So, my struggle to turn off the HUD on my borrowed car might become something rather more urgent.

    This could, incidentally, be the best car opportunity for Apple. A car that you just tell to go home and forget about is Google's sweet spot, without much scope for Apple to add any unique insight as to how the experience should work. Conversely, a car that you still need to drive, somehow, but in radically new ways, seems like a fruitful place for thinking about how interfaces work, and that's Apple"
  • Apple & others back Google in opposing FBI warrant for overseas emails

    tbehunin said:
    I'm definitely pro-privacy, but this one seems a little different. Given a scenario where there was a US warrant for data extraction, the data center resides in the US, and the company in question (e.g. Google) would normally comply with the court order and hand over the data in in question, I'm struggling to understand how it would be any different when the data center is not in the US. If the data center and it's data is owned by Google, I don't think it matters where the data is physically located, right? Maybe I'm just a fuddy duddy...
    As I see it it's a question of jurisdiction the infrustructure in question is out of the FED's legal area of operation (America) thus it lacks the authority, just as the FBI can't get a warrant to search a house in China as they have zero authority there even if that house belonged to an American, what they were suppose to do is ask cooperation from the local authorities of wherever the data center Is, but J Edger's brats think they can do as they please in the name of Islamic terror 

    The real question is how much thought do these guys put on the consequence of these demands, coz you can bet you're mama's china ;)  that if such a thing ever prevailed other countries would do the same thing to American citizens would the FBI be cool with that ? 

  • Florida appeals court orders man to surrender iPhone passcode

    hmlongco said:
    What Apple needs to do is let the user setup a "self-destruct" passcode that, if entered, deletes user data for all/selected apps. (Tying this to a specific fingerprint wouldn't hurt things either.)

    Being able to delete selected applications or wipe application data is key, as typically you'd like the authorities to think they're looking at an ordinary phone, while in reality you've deleted all of the app data for Message or Facebook or Twitter or Mail, protecting that information and those communications and contacts.

    Everyone knows that
    That's tempering with evidence, at this juncture the phone is now the property of law enforcement, if you knowingly enter an incorrect passcode with the intention of destroying police evidence you will be convicted as though the original accusation was well proven thus adding what ever terms that particular crime carries in addition to doing the opposite of what the court ordered you do, remember its not a request, it's a demand that carries punishment if not followed to the letter that's why Apple can't refuse court orders, and can't mess with the information in their own servers because as soon as the order is rendered what ever is requested is thence owned by the authorities, well at least that's how it is over here
  • Apple TV+ subscriptions & ads predicted to generate $25 billion per year by 2025

    $30 Bln in traffic acquisition ? WHAT THE FUCK. #1 search engine #1 video platform #1 maps app, what the hell is Google spending $30 billion dollars on ? $14 Bln just on iOS, holy shit, wasn't it around $4 Bln max ? $14 Bln seems excessive to me, are these numbers accurate? I mean compered to Google, Yahoo, Bing and Duck Duck are all garbage, does GOOG really think people wouldn't notice the difference if all of a sudden all safari results poped up as Bing powerd Crap ? Yes sure many iOSers have strong feeling regarding Google but how many average joes and janes would stick to a product that was even 10% wost than what they are used to in the name of #"ScrewGoogleTracking", is that default really worth $14 big ones ? I'm having a hard time with this one.
  • Apple was both best friend & worst enemy of FireWire in tumultuous deployment history

    Aah yes the good-old days when you could just send Steve freaking Jobs a quick mail from you're gmail account to give him lip about his products, Ballzzzzz
    king editor the gratetallest skilxzuentropys
  • Editorial: More companies need to temper their Artificial Intelligence with authentic ethi...

    I'm not sure I agree with the assumptions that this article is based on. Could Apple have developed something like Voice Match to differentiate between less personal accounts, e.g. News or Apple Music without opening up access to contacts or calling? If the issue was privacy not technology then why wouldn't they at least start with those? This looks very much like retrofitting a privacy excuse that was never the main reason for HomePod's limitations.
    The article doesn't say that every  HomePod limitation is an intentional privacy-based decision. 

    However, Apple is also not racing to rapidly throw out ideas in the voice category because:

    a) it's not an amazon/google with surveillance/ad/marketing motivations
    b) it's not behind in making money in mobile
    c) Apple's huge business requires it to think about things before it deploys them to hundreds of millions of users
    d) as Lkrupp noted above, Apple is scrutinized in the media the way other smaller companies are not (Google, Facebook, Amazon)
    d) from your point of view but I've not seen anything to validate it
    Are you completely unaware of “antenna-gate” and signal attenuation on iPhone 4? Signal attenuation was nothing new at the time but it exploded when exhibited on the iPhone 4.  Heck, I even had a manual to a previous phone that had a drawing of a hand holding that model of phone and basically saying if held in that way the signal may be affected.  Nobody cared.  But when Apple released a phone that exhibited the same behavior as other cell phones it was suddenly front page, screaming headlines news.

    That’s just one example.
    Apple has around 30-40% market share in the US. I'd be surprised if it wasn't headline news. We have an inbuilt negative bias that the media exploits. Every big company makes headlines when something happens - Samsung's exploding batteries, Facebook's CA problems, Google's issues around diversity, tax avoidance, censorship, car crashes, demonitising some youtube channels, screw ups on messaging, email scanning, book scanning. And we are currently commenting on one of many articles about Amazon's Echo spying.
    Agreed, it's Apple loons who think that there actually are people who seriously dedicte their time and energy to hating and conspiring against a near trillion $ company. It seems DED can no longer write an Apple article without bringing up the same companies that aren't really even in any significant way directly competing with Apple. Google is a search engine ad company, Amazon is an everything online store, Samsung is the everything electronics and appliances store, Apple is the iPhone/computer company, in what universe can you reasonably equate any of these business models ? constantly implying that since Apple is the only one succeeding at the computer business (which is their model) means the rest are implicitly evil and out to exploit and harm people is ridiculous. Apple's moral stance isn't a virtue of bieng inherently "good" but a feature of corporate branding, if Apple really cared about the environment or privacy they wouldn't advertise to us so much about their efforts, but they do because as you can see by this thread it sell more iPhones, if it didn't it be out the window i.e China.
    gatorguysingularitymazda 3s
  • Apple, Google team on 'contact tracing' smartphone software to combat spread of COVID-19

    mazda 3s said:
    Sheesh, that didn't take long. Can't we all just drop the cynicism for just ONE day and appreciate that these two are working together for the common good? I mean, damn!
    This forum has become quite toxic I don't know when it was that to like Apple products means to mindlessly love Apple the megacorp and equally hating Google the megacorp , it's like Apple fans have become what Samsung fans were 6-8 yrs ago, :( . But that Apple/Google pic is unsettling though, could there be a more oddball coupling, why didn't they use the G logo ? This is unbalanced & seriously bad touching me all over :D
    avon b7muthuk_vanalingam
  • Apple Maps' Look Around feature works in three more U.S. cities

    That may be true, but street view is in 220 countries and territories, by the time Apple gets to that number "BAD GOOG" could have done pretty transitions on all 220 regions 3x over.

    The Googlers  though are focus no what's next https://blog.google/perspectives/jen-fitzpatrick/charting-next-15-years-google-maps/

     You would think with Google's lead Apple's first job to be done  would be getting its map to global coverage and parity as soon as possible and pretty transions last, but then if they can make a lesser product seem superior I guess job well done ?   :/
  • Samsung buys Harman for $8B in deal that could pave way for 'Apple Car' competition

    Hey sog's back, here we go, its been quiet and boring for far too long. It seems to be escaping most, the actual difficulty of building a car. As much as I loath Mask, he was right that Apple was late to the automotive industry, it's not that Apple can't design and build an electric car it's that if that's what you wanted to do, the car is the last thing to be build. Apple has no infrastructure they fully control as they would absolutely need to, like tesla. Now Apple has to build millions of very complex machines to sell in a markert they have zero relatable or cross applicable experience with, and no sence of what success Will be, spend irrecoverable billions on infrastructure that would need to be maintained regardless of the eventual success or failure of the venture. As nice as an Apple car might be I think the environment just isn't ripe yet, makes it kinda easy too because Tim never really said he was building a car,that was all the rumor mill, now imagine if Apple anouced things at R&D before they were ready for market release they'd be stuck.
    ration al
  • Apple having trouble syncing audio between wireless AirPods - report

    holyone said:
    flaneur said:
    holyone said:
    slurpy said:
    holyone said:
    lank said:
    This makes sense. I have hearing aids that work with my iPhone. They are great in many ways. But, this is one issue, since they have separate connections things can get a little strange "between the ears" at times when listening to sound from my iPhone. I thought this was why the Beats earphones have a wire between them when the AI review of the Beats earphones asked for complete wireless. Be careful what you ask for. I hope they have a good solution. Bless those Apple engineers.
    Yeah, the kind of hellish time those guys would be having if SJ was hearing this. heads would be rolling.
    Under SJ the white iPhone 4 was delayed pretty much a full year with near-zero explanation, along with many other delays.  Stop pretending like if SJ was in charge everything would magically work out like clockwork, or that employee's fear of him would magically solve the most complex engineering problems. 
    What ever man, fact, Tim decided to announce these things before they were clearly ready, they might be some understanding if these problems were after launch, technical glitches are nothing new to brand new products, even with the preceding yammering, it be nothing new and IMHO been better, but this is an internally detected corncerpt defect of a very fundamental function of the product, an issue that should have been first to be perfected and resolved before even considering an announcement, Jobs being so product obsessive would have better insured this, that's all I'm saying. No one claimed he was perfect and infallible but his absents at Apple, though it can't be helped, is sorely undeniable, R.I.P to the turtle-necked one.
    "RIP to the turtle-necked one." — Before you get all smarmy like this, consider that you don't know the facts about the delay. The WSJ story is ridiculous on its face, and the writer has no idea how the Airpods work. Gruber does. Read what he says.

    And what the hell does "his absents at Apple . . . is sorely undeniable" even mean? 
    It means that there is a very palpable and visible deference between Apple with Steve running things and one with out him, the man was the thread that stitched that place together IMHO and his absents there is something perceivable to me some how and I don't think I'm the only one, this isn't criticism to the current leadership as no one can replace the man, it's more saddened reminiscence and recognition of the prowess of Steve Jobs and this article just reminded me, and to be orhnest I'm not all that excited by these Air Pods, to me they seem to compromised for esthetic appeal, which I suspect is more to the delay than anything, they are too tiny, unessesarily, this design should have been generation two or three IMO
    Oh lord, the nonsense.  

    1) No, you're definitely not alone in saying Apple is doomed without Steve Jobs. See, that's why it's called a "troll trope" -- because it's used so often. Usually by low-count newbie, short-term posters to AI who phase in to say they're long time fans but apple sucks now, they're saddened, concerned, Steve Jobs would never, yada yada, and then phase out again. You are legion. 

    2) Your absurd judgment about a product you've never seen or touched let alone used comfirms your troll motivation. Thanks for the clarity!
    Lol, I'm the low-count newbie, short-term poster ? :p, unlike some who literraly never leave the basement, I don't have an opinion on every little thing that's posted here and I'm more hopefull to find some intelligent and reasonable discussions here but as of lately...., and quit frankly I got shit to do so, yeah, but thanks for you're very constructive and useful comment appreciate it as always