1. It’s a Nokia I’ve had for . . . 15 years? Something like that. I have a phone for phone calls; a camera to take pictures; a computer for email/internet/webauthoring. I see no need to have an all-in-one accessory.

  2. When I was still gainfully employed at Megacorp, they used to have a rule that you couldn’t have in your possession a camera without a special permit. That became more and more problematic as phones had them. They changed the rules so that you were forbidden to take photos without a permit.

  3. [Markus]

    But after you drove a bit the navigation system can guess that you are not plowing through front
    lawns and will correct your position

    How does a non-sentient machine ‘guess’?

    That was actually shorthand for what many algorithms do that operate with ambiguous data: They try to weigh the different inputs and try to “guess” the most probable status. Whether your camera’s auto-focus tries find the part of the picture to sharpen or your navigation system trying to extrapolate your position on the map. There are a lot of methods for this, for example fuzzy logic, simulated annealing, evolutionary algorithm, tabu search or neural networks (which are all the rage these days for “deep learning”). All are procedures to “guess” a relation using unclear data.

    Sure, the word can refer to the conscious effort to guess something, but we guess all the time, almost all automatically and unknowingly.


    P.S.: Also, you don’t need to be sentient to guess: Almost every higher life form has to make a multitude of decision every day, most based on unclear or contradictory stimuli. If they hadn’t mechanisms to guess, they wouldn’t have thrived for generations.

    P.P.S.: And yes, I do see the irony of nit picking about the meaning of a word drifting to something different and the using an anthropomorphize metaphor myself. We might have to escalate this to the language police and the grammar judges 🙂 Which might lang me in hypocritics jail.

  4. Markus, that question about how a machine can be said to guess was actually from someone else, and I quoted it in order to answer. My answer was that such ways of talking are extremely common and generally innocent.

  5. @Mitch4: Arrgh, I really shouldn’t try to post in a hurry.

    @Andréa: Arrgh! I quoted your text, and used the the next (related) comments sender’s name. My deepest apologies, I’ll try to attribute more scrupulously next time.

  6. @Mitch 4: Concerning the broadening of the term “GPS”:
    “Still, the broadening strikes me as pretty innocent.”

    Actually, you gave a good example how the shorthand “gps” now refers to at least two different things, all depending to the position of the device (i.e. navigation system to travel by and a “gps sender” which sends it’s position via a different transfer mechanism). While we use the same word for different concepts all the time, in this case it can be especially confusing, since many people get mixed up with “those technical details” anyway. This (as you might have guessed) is pet peeve of mine, your mileage may, of course, vary.


    (I better stop commenting now before I derail the comments too much and add some dumb spelling errors and miss-attributed quotes to the mix.)

  7. Now that I think on it, this phone is over 25 years old. Yes, really. My Airedale was in surgery, potentially a leg amputation (it wasn’t necessary) and she crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 9/14/01; I first had the phone so I could stay in contact with the surgeon.

  8. Winter Wallaby –

    I had a Blackberry Phone just before my current Android phone. I did not and do not make a lot of calls with the phone and at the time of the Blackberry it was still mostly an emergency phone for me. The phone function stopped working while we were in the middle of Walmart trying to call our doctor to correct a problem with a prescription. The rest of the phone’s features continued to work including Internet. Since I could not sync my Lotus Organizer with the Android I that I would have to get to replace it with (I phone being beyond the budget and of no help with Organizer anyway) I was debating about keeping my Blackberry and making Internet phone calls when I needed to make a call it as I did not want to lose the other features – especially Organizer syncing. This was decided a couple of days later when the Internet service no longer worked either. (I use the Palm Centro I had before the Blackberry as a PDA around the house and on trips and keep a second calendar on the Android to deal with getting what I want.)

  9. Andréa , I think I saw that joke not very long ago, but not sure if it was displayed as just text that way. Did you pick it up somewhere before posting to your site, or frame it up yourself? But yes, cute take on proverbial problems of aging.

  10. I’m sure the SNL skit, “Amazon Echo Silver” has been posted before, but here it is again.

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