What The Duck – Thoughts On Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence.   Human-programmed algorithms that are designed to allow machines to learn from the environment and improve the outcome of those algorithms over time based on what they learn.    It is a great idea and may will point to things like voice-enabled search technology and self driving cars as two indicators that true AI is not that far off.   I disagree.

Don’t get me wrong.   I love technology.   The hardware and software we use today is light years ahead of the gadgets we got to play with just a few years ago.   You can’t even compare what I started with back in the early 80s.   Fundamentally the same, but more different than alike.  And yes, computer “intelligence” is vastly improved over teletype terminal and punch-card days.

But it is far from intelligent.

Take auto-correct for example.   How many people do you know that actually use the phrase “what the duck” on a regular basis?   I personally  know exactly ZERO.   I know dozens of people that drop “WTF”.    Yet tens-of-millions of people type “what the fuck” into their phones daily while every predictive typing and autocorrect algorithm INSIST they meant “what the duck”.    No matter what you do it will replace that one important “f” with a “d” EVERY TIME until you employ human intelligence to forcibly override that behavior.

Those predictive and autocorrect algorithms may not be built on full AI stacks, but they have certainly been drinking from the same knowledge pool.    The fact that they may not be based on a true AI engine speaks volumes about how far we are from everyday usability of Artificial Intelligence and just how intelligent it really is.    In some very select applications it is astounding what AI can do, but in the real world it is far closer to that first “Lisa” chat bot than it is to Skynet.

Maybe there will come a day when autocorrect will stop being the punch line to millions of memes.    Maybe, just maybe, when that day comes I may re-evaluate Artificial Intelligence and start to worry that a sentient computer neural network, and thus Skynet, is not far behind.   For now, I’m not going to worry about it.

iOS (and now Android) Has A Better Keyboard

Did you know your iOS device can extend the keyboard you use to type just about everything?  Installing Google from the Apple play store allows you to activate Maps, Drive, and search from Google. What most people don’t realize is that it also allows you to activate the Gboard as another , and in my opinion better keyboard.   For all the cool stuff Apple has  done with iOS , the default keyboard is not on that list.

Install the Google app, go to general settings as Nd switch to the Google keyboard now you’ll be happy you did. Add emoji, use a Swype keyboard, add images, and yes search Google from a simple keyboard. Sweet!  

Yes you can even add gifs with a simple key press…

Ok, that may be overboard! Maybe.

Google’s great iOS keyboard is now on AndroiD

by Adi Robertson@thedextriarchy Dec 12, 2016, 1:11pm EST

http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/12/13922300/gboard-google-ios-keyboard-android-support

AsteroidOS Open Source Alternative To Androidwear

Androidwear has long been a second class citizen , especially when living on an iPhone.  Hopefully this open source attempt at a watch OS can help Android watches regain lost functionality and compete with the Apple Watch.

With Android Wear critical, open source AsteroidOS offers smartwatches a life line

Android Authority

Kris Carlon20 hours ago

Android Wear has been on life support for a while. We’re still waiting for the miracle cure of Android Wear 2.0, but the clock is ticking, the doctors seem pre-occupied and various relatives have already given up hope as smartwatches limp ever closer to the precipice. But smartwatches may just have a new hope: a new open-source wearable platform called AsteroidOS.

http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwlKnJ8TA

Configuring VirtualBox As A nginx RTMP Server

Intro

This is how I went about building a version of nginx that supports RTMP media streaming on an Ubuntu 16.04 VirtualBox.   It is not a simple plug-and-play exercise but anyone with basic Linux system admin skills can get this going.
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PHP Can (Still) Be The Worst At Object And Memory Management

More than 5 years after I first started delving into the PHP world thanks to client demands and our first foray into WordPress programming, one universal truth remains the same.   PHP is still one of the worst programming languages I’ve worked with when it comes to both object and memory management.    Yes, it has gotten a LOT better.   PHP7 is much faster and generally a superior code and object wrangler than many of its predecessors.

But, 5 years later, even with PHP7 at work, it can be absolutely horrid with memory management.    Case in point:  today I wrapped up nearly TWO DAYS of debugging and profiling a WordPress plugin that has been running on tens-of-thousands of websites without any complaints of memory consumption for 4 years.   But today, on my PHP7 development box, I re-discovered those old lingering issues with PHP.  The culprit?   Trying to access an array index for a named array that did not exist.

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