6 things I learned from riding in a Google Self-Driving Car – The Oatmeal

The unfortunate part of something this transformative is the inevitable, ardent stupidity which is going to erupt from the general public. Even if in a few years self-driving cars are proven to be ten times safer than human-operated cars, all it’s going to take is one tragic accident and the public is going to lose their minds. There will be outrage. There will be politicizing. There will be hashtags.
It’s going to suck.

The airline industry keeps reeling under onerous safety requirements, and the list keeps getting longer and longer and longer. This adds to cost, which the airlines then take out on us as they can barely stay profitable.

I’m not arguing for the wholesale elimination of safety requirements… but there has to be a balance so the airlines can profit while the population at large is actually able to afford traveling by air.

Will the safety requirements for self driving cars kill this nascent industry before it’s even born? After all, a car is far more personal than a plane. Technology will get there, soon. The problem is how much later society in developed countries will get there as well, followed — hopefully — not that much later by the rest of the world.

As for myself, I can’t wait.

Technological skill vs. Ego

The Phone Dragnet That Caught the World’s Top Drug Lord – Slashdot.
Anatomy of an Apprehension: The Three Keys to Catching El Chapo Guzman.

The first thing that popped into my mind was that most people purporting to be narcos will always use top of the line phones, usually iPhones. As cool as these things are, they are remarkably easy to poke full of holes if you’ve got the right toolset, just like governments do. That’s even before the arrest of a narco leads to government having physical possession of the device, and as we all know once someone has that, all bets are off.

It is specifically mentioned they were using satellite phones, all the more to avoid monitoring by Mexican carriers who deny any kind of monitoring takes place, but is widely rumored to be happening on a national scope. These phones are made for durability and reliability, not security, so the extraction of data was probably even easier.

The narco adoration of bling (their version of it) with expensive electronics (phones, computers, televisions, cars) is proving to be costing them victories, specially because most of the time they simply don’t know how how to use them.

Most of these people did not get any form of higher education. If they did, they did not learn how to use the technologies available to them properly. If they do know how to use it, they will usually stick to the most basic form of usage, as they do not care to learn more. Advanced functions like encryption would simply be done away with due to usage complexity.

Any sort of advanced usage would necessarily lead to the need of having a proper IT support staff, even if it’s just the one guy who fixes cartel computers. Having precisely such a thing would be completely out of the question, as then someone would have far more knowledge about a cartel’s operations than even the top boss does.

Another, more important factor, is ego. These people see themselves as guys who get stuff done, who want to be where the action is. To be left behind in a support role on a permanent basis is, put simply, inconceivable to them. Internal cartel divisions have started precisely because of this.

Hopefully now that el Chapo is back in custody, things will calm down… although it is very unlikely. One can only hope for the best.

ignore the code: Crappy Computers

So the sentiment that «entry-level» computers are good enough for casual users is exactly backwards: casual users are the ones that need high-end computers, while proficient users are the ones who can work around the limitations of low-end computers.

ignore the code: Crappy Computers. via Daring Fireball.

The man puts into words something I’ve attempted to explain, unsuccessfully, to anyone who asks me for recommendations regarding computers.

The question usually goes “What computer should I buy?”. When I answer they should buy a MacBook, they say I’m an idiot for suggesting they buy something that expensive. Then I tell them to buy a Thinkpad, and they think it’s ugly. Then they go out and get a cheap Dell, them come to me complaining it’s slow.

I’ll just give this argument, and hope the person is intelligent enough to catch the argument.

Please make this happen

A 12pt Font Should Be The Same Size Everywhere: Time to Get Serious About Resolution Independence.

I thought I was missing something fundamental in my computer experience. Turns out I am missing it not because of a lack of knowledge on my part, but rather because no one thought to solve it once and for all.

I’m looking at you, Apple. Make this happen. Please.

Agreed.A “gadgets off” policy means you will be paying attention to your surroundings. This means you will respond to them. Should there be an emergency, you may faintly remember the indications from the people working on the plane.When you don’t pay attention, you become the douchebag who doesn’t want to move because he’s too busy playing Angry Birds Space on an iPad. You become the idiot who is playing music so loudly through the headphones that everybody hears it.Having devices turned on through a flight offers people yet another chance to become assholes that get in other people’s way.

Opinion: Shutting down your gadgets at takeoff and landing: not such a bad idea

Of snobbish shops

Even though I wrote this a few days ago, I got pissed off again when I was translating this.

Two weeks ago I decided to get a new battery for my third-get iPod since the battery gave out a long time ago. This would be the second time I change it and judging by this situation, the last before I buy a more recent model of iPod.

The first time I changed it was after I found this place called D’Newton. This store prides itself in being the only authorized distributor of Apple products in the whole northwest of the country. This was as long as you could actually get to it, given they moved from Zona Río to Plaza Mundo Divertido and didn’t update the store’s website. The only way you could find out about their new location was by a simple sheet of paper taped to the door of their old location. When I went to their new location they had the right battery in existence so I bought it there and then. Changed the battery without too much problem and that was that for a long while.

This time around I went to the store and they didn’t have the battery in existence… but it could be ordered. I paid the required amount and was told they would have the battery next week. That next week I was told they still didn’t have it… but they would have it next week.

On Friday I called them up and was told all their providers had the wrong type of battery in stock and would have to wait at least another week. I was also told they had gotten a third-gen iPod for repairs and could sell me that iPod’s battery at a reduced cost and reimburse me the difference in cash.

So I went to the store… and was unpleasantly surprised when told they did have the new battery in stock but I would have to leave my iPod in for the night. I explained to the guy in charge I was told an iPod had been turned in for repairs and I was offered its battery at a reduced price.

This guy once again told me I would have to leave my iPod for the night because the technician had ‘lots of work” and it wouldn’t be ready right then. This is where I got annoyed… changing an iPod’s battery doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes and doesn’t require any parts to be soldered. And I’m not taking into account that they would have charged me for having the technician change the battery.

By now I’m showing my annoyance. I asked if they had the battery available so I could take it home with me. The clerk went to the technician and came back with the battery. He gave it to me along with my reimbursement and went home.

I get home, take my iPod apart… and turns out the damn battery isn’t the correct one. It’s too wide and won’t fit in the designated space inside the iPod.

The old battery is narrower and even leaves some empty space.

Here you can see how both batteries compare to each other, with the ‘new’ battery on top of the current battery.

The old battery on top of the new battery

Truth be told, I’m extremely disappointed with the level of service this store has given me. I’ll go later in the week to see what can be done about this; hopefully this mistake will be corrected without too many issues.

If anyone from Apple reads this, please take care who gets the privilege of being an “Authorized Distributor.” People who try to screw you at every turn, stores that close on Sundays — the only free day for many — and companies who believe themselves a government agency (or AT&T, Verizon) by giving you the runaround don’t really deserve the title.

I’ve gotten better service out in a street stall. Those guys will even tell you where they are on a determined day to keep you as a customer. You don’t want to walk the streets following the guy? At the nearest tianguis surely there is a stall that can help you get what you want.

De tiendas creídas

Escribo esto bastante molesto.

Hace quince días decidí comprar una batería nueva para mi iPod de tercera generación, dado que la batería ya había caducado hace mucho tiempo. Esta seria la segunda ocasión que se la cambio y a juzgar de esta situación, la ultima antes de que compre un iPod de manufactura mas reciente.

La primera vez que la cambie fue después de dar con la tienda D’Newton. Este lugar se jacta de ser el único distribuidor autorizado Apple en todo el noroeste del país, siempre y cuando hayas dado con el lugar, dado que en aquel entonces se habían mudado de Zona Río a Plaza Mundo Divertido y no habían actualizado su pagina web. Solo te enterabas por una misera hoja de papel pegada en la puerta del local en Zona Río. Al ir a su nuevo local tenían la batería adecuada en existencia y aproveche para comprarla. La cambie sin mayor problema y así duro durante un buen rato.

En esta ocasión fui a la tienda y resulta que no tienen la batería en existencia… pero la podían ordenar. Pague la cantidad requerida por adelantado y me dijeron que la tendrían para la siguiente semana. A la siguiente semana me dijeron que no había llegado el pedido… y que la tendrían a la siguiente semana.

Hoy viernes marque por teléfono y me dijeron que todos los proveedores tenían la batería equivocada y que tendría que esperar mínimo otra semana mas. También me dijeron que les había llegado un iPod tercera generación para reparación… y podían darme la batería usada de ese iPod a un costo reducido y reembolsarme la diferencia en efectivo.

Fui a la tienda… y menuda sorpresa me llevo cuando me dicen que tienen la batería nueva pero que tengo que dejar mi iPod para que se la cambien. Le explique a esa persona que tenían un iPod para reparación y me habían ofrecido la batería de ese iPod a un costo reducido.

La persona me dijo que tendría que dejar mi iPod hasta el dia siguiente por que el técnico tenia “mucho trabajo” y no estaría listo en ese momento. Es aquí donde comenzó mi molestia … reemplazar la batería de un iPod no toma mas de 10 minutos y no requiere soldar partes ni nada por el estilo. Eso sin tomar en cuenta que el cambio de batería realizado por el técnico tiene un costo adicional.

Ya molesto pregunte si tenían la batería para que me la llevara. La persona fue con el técnico y salio con la batería. Me la dio junto con mi reembolso y salí a casa.

Llego a casa, desarmo mi iPod… y resulta que la maldita batería que me dieron no es la correcta. Es muy ancha y no cabe en el espacio designado para la batería.

La batería anterior es mas angosta y hasta sobra un poco de espacio.

Aqui se pueden comparar ambas baterías, con la pila actual encima de la pila ‘nueva’

The old battery on top of the new battery

Francamente estoy muy decepcionado con el nivel de servicio que esta empresa me ha dado. Mañana iré a ver que se puede hacer al respecto; ojala y corrijan su error sin demasiados contratiempos.

Si alguien de Apple lee esto, por favor fíjense a quienes le otorgan el privilegio de ser ‘Distribuidores Autorizados’. Gente que te trata de fregar cada que puede, tiendas que cierran en domingo — el único día libre de muchos — y empresas que se creen agencia gubernamental realmente no se merecen ese titulo.

Me han dado mejor servicio en los puestos de un sobreruedas. Hasta te dicen en donde se ponen en determinado dia, con tal de conservarte como cliente. No quieres andar siguiendo al vendedor? En el tianguis mas cercano seguro hay un puesto que te puede ayudar.