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Google X Display Boss: Smartphones, Tablets, Apps Are "Mind-Numbing"

samzenpus posted 1 year,14 days | from the magic's-gone dept.

Google 157

curtwoodward writes "Stop drooling over that new iPhone. Put away the fancy tablet. Because the real hardcore nerds find that stuff 'boring' and 'mind-numbing,' says Mary Lou Jepsen, head of the display division at secretive R&D lab Google X. At MIT's EmTech conference, Jepsen said the next generation of 'moonshot' tech is much more exciting and interesting. That includes Google X projects like the driverless car, Project Loon, a stratospheric balloon-based wireless network, and Google Glass."

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Reener (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098629)

You had me until Google Glass. Until talking to yourself without a cell phone to your ear is socially acceptable, it's a niche gadget.

Re: Reener (3, Interesting)

andy_spoo (2653245) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098989)

It's when you see someone stroking the side of it (to go through menus etc.) that makes the wearer look real creepy, especially if they're concentrating on the screen and haven't noticed there's a child standing in the front.

Re: Reener (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099381)

Oh, they've noticed the child...why do you think they are initiating video recording?

Re:Reener (2)

TheLink (130905) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099067)

Things like Google Glass actually have potential for significant human augmentation:
http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3478821&cid=42956909 [slashdot.org]

Computers can do many savant-like tasks quite well.
Add wireless tech plus suitable infra and you have savants with virtual telepathic and telekinetic powers*.

* only in supported locations, YMMV ;).

Re:Reener (3, Insightful)

Dr Max (1696200) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099375)

As much as i think google glass is just an old concept re-done (poorly in my opinion) by a new company with a lot of fans. I don't think the article is commenting about what is socially popular (that would be smartphones and tablets), more about what are cool gadgets to the tech elite and the future. Personally I agree, as i don't give a flying fuck that your smartphone has a slightly larger screen, and a 10% cpu power increase so all of your apps can load a bit quicker; Robots that can drive any where in the world, on their own, are much cooler (as with most robots/AI, heads up displays that aren't complete crap, wearable flexible tech, brain wave monitoring, solar powered drones that can loiter at 50 000 feet for 7 years, the list goes on).

True... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098637)

True...

This just in (5, Insightful)

Aaron5367 (1049126) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098649)

Another manager says their product is really exciting and interesting and everything else boring.

This just in (2)

Narcocide (102829) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098657)

She's right about everyone else, but Google Glass is also boring [oculusvr.com] .

Re:This just in (2)

gargleblast (683147) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098981)

She had me until Driverless Car. I desire deeply to travel in one of those with my mind in a state of numbness.

Re:This just in (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099019)

Having to drive interferes with your ability to play with your iPhone and tablet. So hurry up already Google!

Re:This just in (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099039)

That's ok, download Dessert Bus for your phone

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100683)

Haha. "Dessert" bus. :-)

Re:This just in (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099865)

I desire to make a phone call, have it arrive within 10 minutes clean, take me to my destination and then allow me to forget it ever existed (screw parking), until I make the next call and wait 10 minutes (careful timing of making the call and walking to the pick up point could get that down to seconds).

As for google glass, yeah I want some privacy invasive freak jamming adds into my eyeballs in accompaniment with maximum volume screaming "BUY THIS", all at random intervals, trust Google when they jump in bed with ALEC, FUCK THAT.

Re:This just in (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098739)

Must be some competition with a cheaper, more acceptable networked cam tech on the way without the NSA aspect.
Time to hype the future and remind people of the global brand power.
'boring' and 'mind-numbing' seems to point to people not been full immersed in the daily use of the product and helping the revenue stream.
Boring means they are still using other products?
Mind-numbing means only the expected trendies who signed their digital habits away years ago are users?
Capturing the bottom 90% of the market will only get you mind-numbed users who need to be seem with the brands products.
So the brand needs to be seem with the top 10% and its not working out as predicated?

Re: This just in (2)

Camembert (2891457) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098853)

I am not so cynical. I think that is good that people are working on the next level of devices. Wearable computing will be very big, even if it may not be in the form of google glass.

Re: This just in (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,14 days | (#45100063)

The same people who worked with the NSA?

easy , just add more (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098669)

boob to the boob tube
blog to the blogtewb
huh?

Truth (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098673)

I looked at cnet.com a couple weeks ago and the whole site, almost every image on every story, was just a column of rectangle slabs, "mobile," "mobile," "mobile," and nothing else. All minor variations on the same thing. I'm sick of it.

Re:Truth (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099249)

Yes , I know what you mean. Im almost due for an upgrade on my smartphone (s3) and having looked at whats currently out there nothing excites me. Truth be told i use about 3 different "apps" daily and very occasionally play a game - but only if im very bored i cannot stand touchscreens for gaming.

Im considering just keeping the phone and switching to a sim-only tariff when my contract ends.

N

Re:Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099725)

Every writer on CNET is a slut for Apple products. If one of Apple's offices were accidentally locked for 2 minutes this morning, they would write about it like it was the end of the world, but was thankfully saved by a brave security guy who unlocked the door. And then they would talk about how original and innovative Apple is to employ someone with keys who can open any number of doors on the campus.

Re:Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100547)

Maybe the great mobile technology crash of 2013 is looming?

Overlooking an obvious fact (3, Interesting)

romit_icarus (613431) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098703)

It looks like she might have overlooked the glaringly obvious fact that the entire reason why Google X and her job position exist is because of "mind numbing" technologies that serve as ad serving platforms that get in revenue for Google. Ask her to get driverless cars, balloons and a headpiece to start generating income!

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098803)

Automated cars will be a big source of revenue for google. The cars will be in constant communication with google's datacenters to provide mapping data - not just GPS street coordinates, but detailed imagery and geometry from lidar captured previously by the Street View cars - plus road conditions gleaned in real time from tens of thousands of cars (down to the level of street light timing a few intersections ahead on your path). Google may or may not produce any cars themselves, but all the automakers will license their data streams. How many other companies have gathered street-level lidar and imagery on practically every street in the world and have the datacenters to process and serve it globally in real-time?

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (1)

romit_icarus (613431) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098839)

Automated cars will be a big source of revenue for google. The cars will be in constant communication with google's datacenters to provide mapping data - not just GPS street coordinates, but detailed imagery and geometry from lidar captured previously by the Street View cars - plus road conditions gleaned in real time from tens of thousands of cars (down to the level of street light timing a few intersections ahead on your path). Google may or may not produce any cars themselves, but all the automakers will license their data streams. How many other companies have gathered street-level lidar and imagery on practically every street in the world and have the datacenters to process and serve it globally in real-time?

I agree with you that automated cars are likely to be a source of revenue but there a huge slip between the cup and the lip, and the fact is that while these are good bets the surety that they will be profitable and financially sustainable is definitely not guaranteed!

airships (2)

crhylove (205956) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099545)

Autonomous solar power airships are a much better idea. Navigation would be easier and you end a lot of other driving problems on the way.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (3, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098873)

Oh goody. I can't wait to purchase one of these things. It's got all the tracking and remote control the wannabe KGB types running this country would want, google selling my location and destination information to all interested private parties, and it participates in the privacy rapage of anyone it happens to drive by.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098991)

For better and/or worse, collecting and aggregating data is becoming so easy (or practically unavoidable) that I doubt there will be much difference in privacy between manual and automated cars (i.e. if there is any, it will only be by virtue of regulation). Already today, at this moment, most drivers are tracked by the cellphones they carry in their pockets, simply by virtue of associating with the nearest cell tower so incoming calls can be routed to them, and this creates a record of where you go and how fast you are going.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (1)

epyT-R (613989) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099001)

Granted, but the current situation is under my control. The former is not.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099183)

As of October 2013, it is still legal to turn off you cell phone when driving.

Encouraged, even.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (1, Interesting)

MonkeyDancer (797523) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098919)

Driverless cars will not do very well in the winter. I live in an area where we can get snow 6 to 7 months out of the year. Snow on the car image sensors will make the car blind. Ice on the road will be nearly impossible for the car to distinguish. I wish I could be more optimistic but driverless cars will be as useful as google glass appears to be.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098975)

Car automation will have a lot of utility to a lot of people long before it is able to handle the worst winter conditions. But sooner or later an automated car with radar, IR, and visible light sensors ought to be able to see better than a person who only has visible light. (People may get IR heads-up-displays and so forth, but those sensors will be usable by AI drivers, too...)

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (2, Funny)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098995)

Humans will never be able to drive in the winter, because the windshield will be covered in snow so you can't see out. I'm not seeing how this problem is any harder for a machine, especially since you already rely on mechanical wipers to solve it for you.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099009)

Driverless cars will not do very well in the winter.

They'll drive better than people in the winter.

Snow on the car image sensors will make the car blind.

That's possible, but I suspect Google engineers would be able to rig up some sort of wiper system... Sarcasm aside, they'll be able to use far better snow clearing systems than we can now, with spinning lenses, lasers etc that would be impossible to implement with human drivers.

Ice on the road will be nearly impossible for the car to distinguish.

Road ice is clearly visible using infrared thermometry, but not in visible light. The car will see it more clearly than you will.

I wish I could be more optimistic but driverless cars will be as useful as google glass appears to be.

Both of these things are taking their first tottering steps down what looks like a very long path. They are enabling technologies that will change as our society works out how we want to use them.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099177)

who goes to jail when one of these cars kills someone?

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099199)

The person who is at fault or negligent, I presume.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099241)

Unless there is evidence of gross criminal negligence no one does. That's a strange question honestly. Not "Who is liable?" but "Who goes to jail?"? Jails cost money. They satisfy a primitive desire for retribution & justice where human error or malice have done harm but are not something that seems particularly relevant to what is essentially an industrial accident. That's like asking "Who goes to jail?" when your 401K takes a dip.

Not all unfortunate events require a crucifixion.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099295)

Its an interesting question ... It wouldnt suprise me though if these things are actually a lot safer than human drivers, as i understand it though law dictates e a human driver to be present "babysit" the controls in case anything goes wrong. Im not sure if this has ever happened. If an accident did happen I assume the person babysitting the controls would be responsible in the same way an driving instructor would likely be responsible if a learner driver caused an accident. I think as time goes on the tech from googles cars will creep into consumer cars and when accidents do happen it will usually be down to human error. N.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (2)

Dr Max (1696200) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099451)

The computers are already pretty good (google's car has driven well over a million miles now, and has only had one accident, which was the other car's fault any way). Now even if it's not better than the best human driver (which shouldn't be impossible, there are already lots of driving that a computer can do better like launch assist, abs breaks, Parallel parking, gear shifting as vw is down to 0.2 of a second or something now), it'll be better than the average driver that occasionally talks on their cell phone and changes lanes without indicating. I won't be paying my hard earned money on it till it can pick me up from the pub, and take my drunk ass home. However if you do get a driver assist (licensed driver still needed behind the wheel) car model, and the accident is the fault of the car, i think you can expect the car manufacture to pay up as quickly as possible to keep it quiet; we all saw what happened with Toyota and the accelerator with a mind of it's own debacle.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099263)

That's possible, but I suspect Google engineers would be able to rig up some sort of wiper system... Sarcasm aside, they'll be able to use far better snow clearing systems than we can now, with spinning lenses,"frikkin laser beams" etc that would be impossible to implement with human drivers. fixed that for you ;)

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099047)

Driverless cars will not do very well in the winter. I live in an area where we can get snow 6 to 7 months out of the year. Snow on the car image sensors will make the car blind

Tell that to me when I'm cruising for 16 hours on I-10 and rather be asleep the whole way.

    On a flip side though I'm thinking that the auto drive car would have no problem seeing the reflective squares they have for the snow plows to mark the roads or other cars even in low light conditions. Couple that along with GPS and being able to detect the car in front would make it well enough. May not guarentee you won't get stuck, but that is what high ground clearance, tires, traction control, etc is for.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (1)

DrXym (126579) | 1 year,14 days | (#45100307)

Tell that to me when I'm cruising for 16 hours on I-10 and rather be asleep the whole way.

You're living in cloud cuckoo land if you think a driverless car will arrive any time in the forseeable future will let you do that. I expect even if a car came with a driver assist mode to maintain distance and speed on a motorway that the driver would be required to be ready to take over with a split second's notice. Such a vehicle might even have to monitor the driver's alertness somehow so they couldn't fall asleep or otherwise not be ready to take over.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (2)

DrXym (126579) | 1 year,14 days | (#45100283)

Every single day I come across scenarios which would be intractible for a driverless car. Crossroads where the lights are out, blocked off lanes, trash or other debris in the road, narrow roads with parked cars, pedestrians striding out into the road, or looking as though they might but who are actually waiting for a bus, lack of road markings, accidents etc.

I don't consider a fully self driving is even remotely capable of coping with real life conditions. It's more likely that vehicles will gain advanced driver assist modes, which in some limited circumstances can do pretty much everything e.g. maybe a highway mode maintains a safe speed and distance, parking assistance, emergency halts / skid control - that sort of thing. But there will still have to be a sober, alert driver behind that wheel at all times. Completely autonomous self driving vehicles are still a pipe dream.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099059)

An the in-car navigation can serve up some sponsored search results, too. They could even make arrangements with radio stations to perform advert substitution - the station sends the time and duration of adverts to google, and when listening the car radio can transparently dub them over with new adverts custom-targetted at the car occupents. As those adverts are targetted, they'd be worth a lot more than untargetted broadcasts.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100023)

Automated cars wont speed or get tickets of any sort. This will cut the revenue to every city, state and county.

How long do you think that's going to be allowed?

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100317)

They'll just establish an automated car owner's tax. They'll find an excuse for it.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099723)

Don't be silly. Advertising is a noble pursuit and not at all mind numbing. After all, it's how Google makes most of its money so it has to be good.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (2)

trackedvehicle (1972844) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099883)

It looks like she might have overlooked the glaringly obvious fact that the entire reason why Google X and her job position exist is because of "mind numbing" technologies that serve as ad serving platforms that get in revenue for Google. Ask her to get driverless cars, balloons and a headpiece to start generating income!

She didn't say anything that would indicated that she overlooked what you mention. She stated her opinion about how cool the new technologies her group is working on, are compared to the incremental progress in tablet, mobile phone and apps development. Oh, you though she has a contractual obligation to be politically correct towards her employer? That may or may not be the case (I guess no), but it has nothing to do with whether she overlooked something.

You know, not always do people feel like kissing someone else's ass, when expressing an opinion. Sometimes people are, you know, genuine.

Re:Overlooking an obvious fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100661)

you don't understand research, do you?

Project Loon (2)

lxs (131946) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098707)

Are they cloning Sergei Brin?

Re:Project Loon (2)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098897)

Are they cloning Sergei Brin?

Damn it! Don't give them ideas.

Thanks for the Google ad. (4, Insightful)

doctor woot (2779597) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098709)

I'm sure glad, as a nerd, that Ms. Jepsen took the time to inform me there are projects in the works that I can get really excited about without actually telling me what they are, just after making condescending remarks aimed at consumer electronics and just before extolling the genius of Google's new cell phone that holds itself up to your face. Because I am a nerd these things really appeal to me. Thank you Ms. Jepsen and Mr. Woodward, you guys are really nerds like me.

Re:Thanks for the Google ad. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098867)

It MIGHT be easy to get excited about them.......if they ever released them for purchase by the public. I could see myself dropping a grand on Google glass.......

Re:Thanks for the Google ad. (1)

doctor woot (2779597) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098891)

Google glass is perfectly fine. But if her case is that consumer electronics get boring quickly, there's not much separating Google Glass from what's on the market currently.

Re:Thanks for the Google ad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099305)

Exactly. It's the rechargeable battery hassle threshold. The electronic devices utility has to justify the hassle of keeping it's batteries charged.

In the case of my Oculus Rift(which is a way more powerful device) I put it on less than once a week. If it was battery powered, the batteries would be dead and I would be wondering why I spent $300 on something that I never keep charged.

In the case of Google Glass(which I'm excited about) Google needs to be careful in their public relations management. It's not immediately clear how the glass will differentiate itself visibly in order to nurture multiple generations of device purchases. If these glasses cost $1000, they had better keep the new software plentiful if they expect to maintain the hype for the length of time you would expect a PS3 to entertain to justify that price. If a console or television can last 5-10 years between replacement cycles, Google glass will need some killer apps to keep it on people's face enough in order to justify the expense. Google maps and camera are the two obvious ones, but I'm really hoping they finally take augmented reality apps to the next level.

I needed augmented reality support for my android tablet today and couldn't get it. I was presenting a solid model in a conference room and the iPad version of eDrawings would have let me project it on to the table for geewiz points. eDrawings doesn't support augmented reality on android right now and that is concerning to me. That is the type of killer feature that creates new markets. It was frustrating to miss the boat because I'm on the Google ecosystem. They lost that battle to Apple, which was obviously disappointing.

If they fuck-up the implementation people will just default back to their cell phones for gps and digital camera functionality.

Re:Thanks for the Google ad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099835)

With only one screen, and putting it in the top right corner of your field of view, it's not very well designed for augmented reality. With any luck another company (maybe apple) will show them how to do it properly.

Google glass is a terrible design (2)

Dr Max (1696200) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099517)

Google glass is possibly the worst version of a heads up display i have seen. I love the idea of a hud but i wouldn't buy glass if it was $50. Give me a proper set of glasses that fold, with 2 screens for 3d, display in the middle of each eye for better augmented reality/comfort and clear and see through (we have this technology), oh and if you can squeeze it in, some kind of 'leap motion' like control input, so you can touch/gesture control the virtual image.

agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098713)

When it comes to smartphone apps, I couldn't agree more.

Useful = boring (3, Interesting)

fruitbane (454488) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098733)

She seems to be telling us that when technology finally becomes useful enough to be mainstream, it's boring. OK, fine, I can accept that, somewhat. But the point of developing something new and "exciting" is so that someday it will be mundane and boring. And when Google spends all their time on the new, that makes more room for others to innovate with the "old".

Re:Useful = boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098791)

Heck, I just want to know when I can rent a Google Drone.

It is mind-numbing, let's face it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098735)

The latest rectangular-slate form-factor toy pushing a few more pixels isn't changing the world in a substantive way. Arguably, such things aren't changing the world any more than the proverbial sugar water a la Steve Jobs.

But, those are the kinds of things that are tangible to the average consumer. As soon as the average person can go out and purchase Google self-driving technology for their personal vehicle, you'll see the appropriate level of excitement.

Re:It is mind-numbing, let's face it (1)

chromas (1085949) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098883)

Maybe not so much excitement. Our vehicles have already learned to maintain speed, enhance braking, honk-and-flash when the door is opened from the inside after the key's been out of the ignition too long, detect road obstacles and now can take over parking.

It's all incremental improvement, like the cinder-block-to-pocket-slate cell phone evolution.

Re:It is mind-numbing, let's face it (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099035)

Maybe not so much excitement. Our vehicles have already learned to maintain speed, enhance braking, honk-and-flash when the door is opened from the inside after the key's been out of the ignition too long, detect road obstacles and now can take over parking.

It's all incremental improvement, like the cinder-block-to-pocket-slate cell phone evolution.

There are already vehicle "autopilot" systems good enough to allow the driver to stop looking at the road some of the time. Radar-controlled cruise control plus lane keeping is enough to allow that. But it's not enough to prevent accidents caused by even slightly difficult situations. Several car companies have shipped "driving assist" systems which can do that, but they've deliberately kept them from operating with no driver input. [youtube.com] Ford, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have all stopped just before hands-off driving.

The auto industry recognizes that there is a "deadly valley" that begins when a vehicle "autopilot" is good enough to allow the driver to stop looking at the road some of the time. On the other side of the deadly valley is fully hands-off autonomous driving, which Google almost has now. We will see commercilaly successful systems on the other side of the deadly valley within the next decade.

Systems that operate in the "deadly valley" will make things worse, for obvious reasons.

She has a point (3, Interesting)

Camembert (2891457) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098745)

She has a point that it may be boring for intelligent engineers to work on yet another new, incrementally better iteration of a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Many consumerss, me included are not that in awe anymore of a somewhat better new generation of iphone, galaxy, ipad, thin laptop etc. They were very good before and are now a bit better. Hence her research might be interesting, but I am not sure that Google Glass will be the answer. Now I am not as cynical as many on /. - I think that moving towards near-invisible wearable computing is a very exciting next step and I am curious what she and companies like Apple will eventually come up with.

Re:She has a point (0)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098845)

A farm analogy: They have the sheep using the devices but the more lucrative critters have escaped to the forests. Something about the NSA truck pulling up one too many times.

Moonshot tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098759)

I don't know if I should be insulted or depressed that someone can bandy about "moonshot tech" in this day and age and not be referring to space exploration.

"bored out of her mind"?? (5, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098799)

A laptop is a TOOL. A cellphone is a TOOL. When you need them to be the entertainment in themselves you have issues.

“I interviewed a month ago a recent college graduate from Stanford—a mechanical engineering degree. She was already on her third cellphone or laptop and bored out of her mind,” Jepsen said. “She graduated in 2010. I think it gets depressing. It was so exciting three years ago.”

Three years ago your cellphone and laptop were "exciting", but now they are "boring"? If you are talking about building them - maybe. But using them? If the form factor of your computers and communication devices are boring you "out of your mind", maybe that's your problem more than the devices'.

Re: "bored out of her mind"?? (2)

Camembert (2891457) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098869)

Yes they are useful tools and at the same time it is good that these people are working on a fundamentally next level kind of tool.

Re:"bored out of her mind"?? (5, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098907)

A laptop is a TOOL. A cellphone is a TOOL.

Pop quiz, Mary Lou Jepsen is .........

Re:"bored out of her mind"?? (1)

adolf (21054) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098953)

Pop quiz, Mary Lou Jepsen is .........

a record-breaking American runner of African descent whose gender has been in dispute in the past?

Re:"bored out of her mind"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099127)

If you find form factor "exciting" then perhaps you are not a "real hardcore nerd", so just keep chasing the shinies?

Re:"bored out of her mind"?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100365)

A laptop is a TOOL. A cellphone is a TOOL. When you need them to be the entertainment in themselves you have issues.
 
You're right but millions of fanboys will claim you're wrong. We have a distinct and growing culture of end users (and not just nerds) who have invested themselves emotionally into the kind of technology they own more than what they're doing with the technology. This is a problem for culture but it is big business if you got skin in the hardware/software game.
 
Too many people think they're in the know because they can root/jailbreak a phone. They're the new generation of script kiddies and they're multiplying at a frightening pace. Ask them what they're doing with all this technology besides shouting down they other technology and endless selfies for Facebook and you'll hear the crickets.

Microsoft research all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098813)

Lots of smart people without focus producing nothing of much impact

Call Me Maybe? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098819)

Is she related to Carly Rae?

As others said... Google glass? (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098829)

Yeah, tablets and apps are not as impressive as people think. That said, google has given birth to some absolute duds.

Re:As others said... Google glass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098913)

True that, the tablets are barely usable pieces of crap with useless software. Why don't google make a good tablet with real software, they have the money and poeple. Once again tehcnology is left half-assed just because most just want to get as much money or apparently because it's too boring to finish it.

Re:As others said... Google glass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099599)

Yes, this, very much this.

Google Glass is a bunch of awful and missed opportunities all in one gloriously terrible package that makes people look like retard-magnets.
Simplest one is the fact that it is asymmetrical in the first place, it could easily been symmetrical and still flow over the top of glasses fine. Not to mention that symmetry would allow for far simpler electronics and if kept to the same compactness as the current system, even more so for a future / premium version, or extra battery, whatever.

THANKS GOOGLE. I ALWAYS WANTED TO LOOK LIKE A TOOL.
Hey, aren't they stealing Microsofts thunder here? "Now you are the tool."

Re:As others said... Google glass? (1)

Jeff Havens (2868493) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099741)

They give birth to a lot of duds but, in the process, they release a lot gems as well.

Re:As others said... Google glass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099795)

What amazing gems has google given birth to. Search was derivative, gmail was derivative, Android was derivative. They may be the best products in their space, but they're hardly gems. Google Glass was a new product category (in the Apple sense of the word, they existed before but never really commercially) and it's a dud.

The USE is what makes a device interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45098831)

It sounds like this Jepsen is more than a bit
full of her own importance in the world and that she
lacks a basic understanding of what actually makes
something interesting or boring.

Even a humble flash drive can be extremely
interesting.

If you don't believe me, ask Edward Snowden.

But more to the point, the world doesn't need more gadgets.
The world needs sources of energy which will not destroy the
only place humans have to live in the process of either harvesting
or using that source of energy. Compared to this, anything Google
is working on is a child's toy.

The future is, of course, Teledildonics (4, Funny)

mveloso (325617) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098885)

All that other stuff is bullshit. Once you combine teledildonics with direct brain stimulation, it's game over man.

Comfortably Numb, or Anesthetisensational?! (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098917)

What utter bull sack! I'll have you know I hand craft the kerning of my fonts with painstaking attention to detail, and sculpt those myriad of pixel perfect displays and animations a single frame at a time. When it all comes together right in some yuppie's eye, IT IS Exhilarating!

The only thing more exciting than building those big, beautiful, almost intuitive, displays is making the tools one uses to make them:
A P fucking I's!!!

Why, I once met a guy who helped standardize IEEE 1364...
That's Verilog to you philistines.
He was a veritable volcano of vivacity whose smile beamed with the brilliance of a billion bacon breakfasts.

The further down you go the more excited the turtles are!

Re:Comfortably Numb, or Anesthetisensational?! (1)

frank-the-fake (2850225) | 1 year,14 days | (#45100243)

beamed with the brilliance of a billion bacon breakfasts.

+1 alliteratively adventurous

Hey Google, Mrs. Jepsen: (1)

bmimatt (1021295) | 1 year,14 days | (#45098999)

Until you get us gravity-defying skateboards, I am not impressed.  Now, get back to work, troll some more.

What's Missing (5, Interesting)

The Cat (19816) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099041)

Visicalc was invented in 1979.

It was written by two hard-working geniuses who busted ass for months and months to get it to work. Visicalc changed the world.

The reason they were able to write this software is because the Apple II had the tools to do so. If you had an Apple II, you had everything you needed to develop new software for it. Same goes for the PC.

Mobile phones and tablets have no such tools. They are locked, proprietary devices forbidden to developers. They use locked, proprietary programming languages, obscure, flabby and inconsistent APIs and cannot communicate with anything but the "cloud."

They also suck ass as computing platforms. Their operating systems are shit packed on top of shit, and their hardware is flimsy plastic shit to go with it.

Mobile phones and tablets are fiddly little distraction machines that function as brightly colored noisy little pets. They are nothing more than over-engineered tamogatchis. They are useless for real work, especially compared to open platforms like the PC. At best, they are a good place to store phone numbers. They also give teenage girls a way to drain their parents' wallets by sending nonsense to each other 24 hours a day for $1500 a megabyte.

The "post-PC world" is a marketing slogan designed to get you back on the upgrade treadmill and wanting the next version of the device you bought last month.

The difference is mobile devices cannot replace or even occasionally substitute for the PC, because there is no mobile device software that even remotely compares to the world-changing technology the PC made possible.

What was the last "visicalc-level" software title developed from scratch? I'm going to say the last of them debuted in the mid 1990s. With the exception of FOSS, there hasn't been shit developed for any platform since. It's like the fucking software industry was unplugged in the late 90s. (Gee, I wonder why?)

The worst part is, anyone in their teens or early 20s right now is so distracted by Unity and HTML5 and Haskell and all the other flavors of proprietary dumbfuckery that they will never learn why things work on a computer.

And that's a fucking shame.

Re:What's Missing (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099089)

While I agree with you that developing for phones could me made more accessible, you can't say that they are *forbidden* to developers. I can't speak about iOS, but developing for Android isn't that hard once you know where to get the tools, even on Linux. You do need to have some programming experience beforehand though, because it can seem daunting at first.

Developing for the two major mobile platforms does not involve proprietary programming languages (there exist open-source implementations of Java and Objective-C compilers).

And the trend to hide developer tools in mainstream software/computing devices has been going on for decades. When was the last time Windows was bundled with an easily accessible programming environment? If I remember correctly, no programming tools were bundled with the Macs until the early 2000s, where they started bundling a Developer Tools CD. (Except for HyperCard for a couple of years.)

Re:What's Missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100851)

you can't say that they are *forbidden* to developers
I think his point is on the computer you can develop the same software and run it. There is very little like that on a tablet/phone. They are locked down. You can poke stuff in but you need a 'real' computer for that.

When was the last time Windows was bundled with an easily accessible programming environment?
I would have to say xp with qbasic and if you were real brave debug.exe. The good environments got too big to bundle in with the OS. So in the Mac case they shipped an extra cd and made it free. Which was way better than the usual 20k you had to drop per dev before that vs the 500 per dev in windows. MS went with 'here is a link download the free stuff'.

I was joking with my wife that I could make her a programmer in 2 days. With all the handholding going on I think I could pull it off :)

Re:What's Missing (1)

vastabo (530415) | 1 year,14 days | (#45100575)

If you had an Apple II, you had everything you needed to develop new software for it.

Looks like they used a Multics box at MIT. http://www.frankston.com/public/?name=ImplementingVisiCalc [frankston.com]

Mobile phones and tablets have no such tools.

Really?
http://developer.android.com/tools/sdk/eclipse-adt.html [android.com]
https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/IDEs/Conceptual/iOS_Simulator_Guide/GettingStartedwithiOSStimulator/GettingStartedwithiOSStimulator.html [apple.com]

Their operating systems are shit packed on top of shit

Rather subjective. They do quite a bit more than Apple DOS or MS-DOS ever did.

fiddly little distraction machines that function as brightly colored noisy little pets

Same as it ever was:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King's_Quest [wikipedia.org]

a way to drain their parents' wallets by sending nonsense to each other 24 hours a day

Ever use a BBS back in the day?

the world-changing technology the PC made possible

The PC made computing accessible to commonfolk where it was previously the province of large institutions. Mobile continues this trend.

With the exception of FOSS, there hasn't been shit developed for any platform since.

We invented a new platform. Web Applications and APIs facilitated by cheap, commodity hardware have changed the nature of human communications and learning in the last 15 years.

distracted by Unity and HTML5 and Haskell and all the other flavors of proprietary dumbfuckery

Huh? None of those are proprietary. If a young person chose to learn about and use Haskell, I think they'd be well-equipped to learn quite a lot about how computers work.

Re:What's Missing (3, Insightful)

minniger (32861) | 1 year,14 days | (#45100809)

Heh.

The everlasting rant of one generation of tech to the n+1 generation. I'm with you buddy. But I suspect we could hit the usenet archive and find something very similar to this, but from 1986. And then again in 1995 and again in 2002.

99% of people probably can't open the hood of their car without some help. Heck, it's been several years since I have.

I don't think we're seeing the end of the hard core nerds that make things work. We're seeing the expansion of the pool of people who are building things. Not all care about low level stuff. But they can build some really nice high level stuff, stuff that us low level guys will never bother with.

News; established not as exciting as bleeding edge (1)

GauteL (29207) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099103)

Tablets and smartphones stopped being exciting 3-4 years ago. Now they are reliable, established tech with minor improvements every year.

Every major technology goes through the same cycle; they start off as innovative, exciting and new (and scary to some), then they gradually improve and become reliable and established. Once your mother has startet using them, they are most definitely no longer exciting.

Luckily we live in an age where there's always another exciting new thing around the corner.

people are full-on-retards (1)

musixman (1713146) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099219)

I don't want electronics in my car... but I'm ok with increased gas mileage.

I don't want a computer to control my car... but I'm ok with Cruise Control.

I don't want a ticket when I text & drive.. but I'm gonna sue that MF who hit me while text'in.

I don't want to complain.. but I've got nothing better to do.

Mind-numbing has a few subtle meanings (1)

marienf (140573) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099253)

While I'm certainly one of those people that find it "mind-numbing" that someone would want to use tiny screens, tiny fiddly on-tiny-screen change-mode-every-3-keycaresses (can't make myself call *that* key-"stroke"s), wasting an entire hand holding the device, barely-past-modem-era-connections, modem-era-connection-reliability, etc.. in the first place, when large-screen laptops with decent keyboards and 100Mbit/s to the home and office are readily available, it can also be said that the only thing to be gained, in my view, the "mobile" aspect, reminds us of the *other* meaning of mind-numbing: It will numb your mind to be "online" and "reachable" all the time, because your mind *requires* being "offline" for its normal functioning.

https://neurowiki2012.wikispaces.com/Default+Mode+Network [wikispaces.com]

Now.. driverless cars may be a solution.. give you time to daydream so your DMN can function properly, unless you spend the time "being online".. But I'm not charmed by any of the other "moonshots", either. For Glass, it's a matter of being able to take it off, and not becoming a Gargoyle. And Loon.. Are "rural areas" then to be Google's "persplex boxes" as in

http://www.piers.org/piersonline/vol1/2k5hz_p638.pdf [piers.org]

to see if rural folk's albumin will leak out of their brains, as it did in the rats (sarcasm, but not quite crazy)?

-f

ClusterStack (1)

crhylove (205956) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099537)

I just want my phone, tablet, and i5 desktop to act as a cluster and share cycles and memory. This seems easier than most of Google's moonshots.

This passes for 'new and exciting'? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099575)

These are all really old ideas waiting for technology to make them possible, i.e. driverless cars and 'wearable' computers. Whether they're ever going to be practical or useful is another matter. The 'computer embedded in glasses' concept is something I've seen people working on 10 years ago, but even then I wondered, "who in their right mind would want to wear glasses unless they absolutely had to?"

I have to wear glasses - I can't drive, read, or carry out a host of other daily tasks without them. I've grown used to them (to a degree) but still hate wearing them for a variety of reasons:

1) Fragility: The only frames I haven't broken were made of titanium, but even then I've broken the lenses several times. Something perched on the front of your face is exposed to the elements - wind, branches and other obstacles, and even toddlers (who seem fascinated by glasses and like nothing better than unexpectedly whipping them off your face and throwing them on the ground). And plastic lenses is not an option - they're much lighter, but they will become scratched no matter how careful you are.

2) Weight. Any amount of weight sitting on the bridge of your nose is noticeable and irritating. The longer you wear them, the more irritating it becomes. And for reasons outlined above, plastic lenses are not an option (even wiping with an ordinary cloth causes tiny scratches from small particles of dust/grit), so you need the heavier, but tougher glass. Would I want to add a computer? And screen? And batteries? No way!

3) Cleaning. Glasses are a dirt magnet. Dust is readily drawn to the lenses. And flaking skin cells. And hair. Your skin constantly produces oils and sweat that readily spread to the frames. And environmental factors such as rain and wind-blown dust can quickly obscure your vision. Constant cleaning, i.e. many times a day, is a fact of life for glasses.

4) Skin irritation. For many eczema sufferers, anything pressing against your skin for an extended period causes swelling, itching, or splitting skin. I'm vulnerable to this where the frame comes in contact with my ears, and it's a constant source of irritation (especially in the peak of allergy seasons).

Would anyone willing expose themselves to this? Is this where you want to keep your 'wearable device'? Speaking as someone who has to wear glasses, it seems completely insane.

Re:This passes for 'new and exciting'? (1)

ledow (319597) | 1 year,14 days | (#45100503)

I'm a glasses-wearer. I need them all day, every day, have done since I was 7 and the teachers realised I'd just memorised the words of all the school hymns rather than try to squint at the OHP projected words on the wall during assembly.

Fragility was a problem for me as a kid. Once I stopped getting into fights in the playground and playing rugby in PE, the number of times I've broken them is minimal. If I did those things now, I'd buy proper prescription sports goggles. Instead I buy glass lenses with flimsy metal frames from the "cheapest" aisle in the opticians I could find, and even paid for "coating" (which wore off after about six months). That was back before I took a holiday in 2003. Still wearing the same pair and still have the same prescription sunglasses I bought at the same time, and still have the "backup" pair that I got the new lenses put into just in case I break them. All of them are just fine.

Weight isn't something that I'd worry about. Tech is getting lighter and glasses distribute weight properly if they are any good. I would have more problems with them slipping down my nose than them hurting me, but weight would barely figure (have you weighed the circuit board to things like RPi? It's miniscule even though that's orders of magnitude too large). Weight of batteries is the only problem, solved by the marvellous addition of a 10p bit of wire.

Cleaning - fair enough. I do wipe them clean every day or so, it takes a second and the bottom corner of your shirt/sweater. I actually wipe my smartphone clean of fingerprints much more often (and ironically use glass-cleaning cloths to do so). But in terms of anything serious? No, it's not a hindrance that any existing glass / sunglass wearer doesn't already deal with without thinking.

Skin irritation - put a sticking plaster (band-aid?) or similar plastic insulation on the arms or anywhere they contact. My father-in-law coats his with clear nail varnish when he buys them to stop the contact triggering his metal allergy. He has to re-do them about once a year, if that.

None of them are killer problems. Killer problems are really that you don't want to live in Star Trek where every moron is checking his email while he crosses the road, or is recording kiddies from the school gates, or whatever. In terms of practicality, a glass-mounted computer is pretty good - especially once you can get them with prescription lenses and the usual array of frame choices.

There's a lot to moan about regarding Google Glass. The fact that it's a set of glasses isn't really one of them.

Great! (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | 1 year,14 days | (#45099619)

Instead of working on mind-numbing and boring smartphones and pads, I'll work for balloon-based wireless transponders for those mind-numbing and boring gadgets.
Hurray!

Sooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45099755)

Bring it on Google! And stop just talking about it.

And no, I don't mean useless crap like the current Google Glass or copycat mobile OSes. Bring on the interesting stuff! We're waiting...

It's science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100137)

This "Frontiers in Science" article was bought to you with a grant from Google. We use corporate grants to provide you with unbiased, ad-free stories and so that we don't have to constantly beg you for money. ... except twice a year for two to three months at a time.

Anyone can play the boring game! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100559)

Google+ is boring and a deserted ghost town. Google glass is boring. (Has anyone come up with an application for it other than maps/geolocation yet?) Driverless cars are not practicable, but will be an interesting exercise in dynamic systems. (What happens when all cars in a line react to the same event and introduce non-linear dynamic chaos into the system? Probably worse than pile-ups we have now, because at least today's pileups stop the cars from moving.) Targeted ads are boring. (When I search for the band The Police, I am not interested in targeted ads for law enforcement degrees from diploma mills.) Google's new programming language is boring, because I can't even remember its name and I don't think anyone is using it.

Oh, I know - ChromeOS is exciting! It's a crippled Linux that violates the spirit of open software by creating a "cloud" based walled garden to take away users' freedoms! But it's cheap, so it gets a lot of news media coverage. None of the coverage mentions the freedom that ChromeOS takes away, and how it exploits open source software to produce something that is the antithesis of the spirit of open source software. Yeah, let's stick to boring.

Google Glass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45100599)

I'll believe "Google Glass" is actually something when more than just a select few can actually _buy_ it. I've been hearing about Google Glass for so many months and have to see anything I can actually buy I could puke.

Google Glass is see-thru vaporware...

What kills innovation? (1)

stevez67 (2374822) | 1 year,14 days | (#45100763)

Innovation dies when only those ideas, products, projects and initiatives which marketing departments identify as immediately exploitable for economic gain are considered.
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