Technology Failures

I realize I am a bit late in posting this week but my mind has been on my research which isn't sufficiently mature to discuss here. Tonight my mind is on technology failures. I seem to be plagued with them at the moment. In fact I'm currently using my wife's machine to write this because my own laptop is in the shop getting a new motherboard. Initially they told me it shouldn't take more than 3 days to fix however when I dropped it off this evening they said it will probably be ready tomorrow, so that's a good thing. In fact even though my machine has had four failures in the two and a half years since I purchased it I have been extremely pleased with it. This stems from the fact that the OS is incredibly intuitive, mostly, and Apple is extremely efficient at fixing hardware issues.

I find myself a little less thrilled about my Galaxy Tab 10.1 lately. This is mostly because the E-mail and calendar clients leave a lot to be desired. This is partly the fault of the IT staff at the U. Recently they changed their security policy so as to require a great deal of security control over my tablet. I would understand this better if they weren't targeting Android devices alone. As a result of this policy change I decided to use Gmail as my U-mail client. While this works great from the Gmail web client it doesn't work as well from the Gmail Android app. Specifically it doesn't allow me to send E-mails via my U-mail account. With a little research I found a great number of people have the same issue and the "fixes" are kludgy at best and often ineffective as in my case.

The Google calendar app on the tablet has its own unique issues. First while you can add meetings via the app they are not sent back to Google. Secondly the calendar app believes the current time is seven hours earlier than is actually the case. You're probably thinking something along the lines of "well, just adjust your timezone." I thought of that and it actually corrects the issue. However it reschedules all meetings accordingly. Worse yet those changes get sent back to Google.

Truth be told, I bought the tablet to make it easier to carry and read the myriad papers I need to get through and it has served this purpose well. I'm not even certain where the fault lies, e.g. with Google or Samsung, since these issues only started occurring after the last update from Samsung.

Unfortunately the problems aren't confined to my personal machines. We just purchased two nice machines for the Algorithmic Robotics Lab. However one of them is suffering fromperformance issues for reasons we have not yet identified.

Don't get me wrong, all these issues are relatively minor and can be worked around. However we it makes me wonder about they types of errors that will arise as a result of integrating machine learning into our lives. I won't speculate as to what could occur. The list of possibilities is extensive I'm sure. Though I will say that I'm not talking about the robot apocalypse here. If you are concerned about such an event then I suggest reading the Willow Garage blog entry entitled Averting the Robot Uprising. Actually I suggest reading it anyway as it's quite humorous.

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