The "Complexity Trap"

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A Norwegian grocery chain has made a quite funny commercial:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgJLpuprQp8

 

Some translations:

"Det enkle er ofte det beste" -> "The simplest is often the best"

"Tannlege" -> "Dentist"

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How true! Also, what happens with all these smart devices when the interwebs is not working?

The smart lamps in my house generally get switched on/off at the light switch. The novelty wore off pretty quick.

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Great commercial yes

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Kartman wrote:
The smart lamps in my house generally get switched on/off at the light switch. The novelty wore off pretty quick.
I haven't touched a light switch in months but when I last did it was because the internet connection was broken and Alexa wasn't listening at which point, surprise, surprise, the wall switch still works as a simple on/off ;-)

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Kartman wrote:
what happens with all these smart devices when the interwebs is not working?

Our Nest thermostat seems to keep going OK on "autopilot" ...

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My house has been talking to your house & they've decided to live together...they've listed the property & scheduled movers & ordered new furniture.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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david.prentice wrote:

Start is fine if you just want to run a ready-made example for a specific dev board.

 

If it is a different chip or a different board you get lost in the mire.

I ran into that problem a few months ago. I had a dev board with SAMV70 that I wrote a custom application for. Meanwhile a colleague designed a custom PCB with an SAMS70 which is virtually the same chip but lacks a few peripherals that we didn't want anyway.

 

"That's fine, I will just change the target MCU in the project and recompile" I thought.

 

How foolish of me.

/Jakob Selbing

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jaksel wrote:
I will just change the target MCU in the project and recompile

No, it doesn't work that way.

 

sad

 

When you create the project, it sets up a load of stuff based on the selected chip.

 

If you then just manually change the chip, it doesn't go back and re-do all that stuff for the new setting.

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jaksel wrote:
... SAMS70 ...
https://github.com/atmelcorp/atmel-software-package/blob/master/target/samv71/chip.h#L57

though the Atmel Software Package is more complete if the proof-of-concept was on a Microchip board.

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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awneil wrote:

jaksel wrote:
I will just change the target MCU in the project and recompile

No, it doesn't work that way.

 

sad

 

When you create the project, it sets up a load of stuff based on the selected chip.

 

If you then just manually change the chip, it doesn't go back and re-do all that stuff for the new setting.

Err, yes I know...

 

Well, to be honest it was not that much of an issue. Eventually I just created a new START project with the new target MCU and manually added all the software components again. It took me a few hours in total. I think I did some editing (copy-paste) directly in the START XML files just to speed up things.

/Jakob Selbing

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Yes - that's the way to do it!

 

Makes you really appreciate the benefits of modular, well-structured code!

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clawson wrote:

Kartman wrote:
The smart lamps in my house generally get switched on/off at the light switch. The novelty wore off pretty quick.
I haven't touched a light switch in months but when I last did it was because the internet connection was broken and Alexa wasn't listening at which point, surprise, surprise, the wall switch still works as a simple on/off ;-)

 

Some of my lights don't have switches.  But my X-10 controllers control them just fine, even when the space aliens have eaten my satellite internet connection (again).  None of it's voice-controlled, granted, and pushing buttons on the control boxes counts, I guess, as a 'light switch'. 

 

And no, I can't control any of them from my phone, and maybe I'm being a Luddite here, but I don't want to...  S.

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Scroungre wrote:
None of it's voice-controlled, granted,
Ay, there's the rub. Being a lazy fat bastard I like to be able to remain seated on the sofa and simply tell Alexa "turn down sitting room lights to 30%". Don't have to move, don't have to touch anything :-)

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I can't see any benefit in having to fumble with a phone & apps just to turn a light on or off as you enter/leave a room - seems like a switch is a far more simple & user-friendly option there.

 

I guess there's more appeal once you are actually settled on the sofa & feel the need to adjust the lighting.

 

But I certainly see the point of voice control ...

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Last Edited: Fri. Nov 22, 2019 - 09:48 AM
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awneil wrote:
But I certainly see the point of voice control ...
And that is the key thing. You've been able to get bulbs and thermostats and cameras and smoke sensors and whatever other IoT device you can think of that has been controllable from smartphones for years. But the thing that makes all the difference is Alexa (or, I imagine Google Assistant). These voice controllers (we have three: two "dots" and a "show") mean you can control stuff wherever you are. While most of the devices we have each have some kind of controlling Smartphone app (my tablet is now running out of flash there are so many!) the fact is that when out and about I tend to just use the Alexa app to change lights or whatever anyway.

 

One thing that irritates me is that there's a kind of Apple/Miucrosoft thing goingon in the IoT/Smarthome world in that Google and Amazon keep buying companies so some devices integrate better with Google Home/Assistant and some are better with Amazon/Alexa. Wish they'd just play the whole thing as an open market and let the good stuff bubble to the top whatever overall control system you have.

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clawson wrote:
These voice controllers (we have three: two "dots" and a "show") mean you can control stuff wherever you are

Presumably, you need a number of them around the house so that they can "hear" you wherever they are?

 

And, presumably, they can work out when several of them all hear you - and not go repeating the command ... ?

 

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Soon the automaton network will expand so you can control your neighbor's lights (only in emergency, mind you).

Then the govt will need to have access too (in case of emergency, mind you).

Then they will forbid you to drink more than 2 cups of coffee in the morning, or let you sleep past 9 (or they will alert your neighbors).

It will be lights out at 10PM, since your TV will be shut down for you.

If you resist these advances, a doctor will automatically be sent & prescriptions ordered for you.

 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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 ... and who will click the "I An Not A Robot" box for all these smart  devices ... ?

 

 

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awneil wrote:
And, presumably, they can work out when several of them all hear you - and not go repeating the command ... ?
An interesting point.

 

We often set cooking timers on Alexa like "Alexa, set chicken timer for 20 minutes" but the way Alexa works is that the timer only "belongs" to one of them - you can't set an alarm/timer on one then have it sound expiry on another so if you are moving from downstairs to upstairs for some reason you can't have the timer follow you. A neat solution we've found is that if you stand about halfway up our staircase and shout quite loudly "ALEX, SET A TIMER FOR 15 MINUTES" then both one downstairs and one upstairs can hear you and they both set it ;-)

 

Hopefully there'll be a firmware upgrade at some stage that adds "Alexa, transfer chicken timer to upstairs". (we already have them named "downstairs" and "upstairs" as one thing you can use it for is an intercom where you can say "Alexa, call upstairs" and "Alexa, answer" then talk between them.

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'Alexa! Not that chicken timer, the other chicken timer!'.

 

Maybe the AI will get to a point where Alexa will hurl back some abuse like "STFU I heard you the first time" or "get off yo ass and you turn on the chicken timer".

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I think the idea that really bugs me is that if I can control them from my smartphone, someone else can control them from theirs...

 

Oh yes, there's security of some sort or other, but recall you don't own nor control, truly, the device.  If Google is ordered by some anonymous law enforcement official to turn on all your lights (or anything else), Alexa is going to acquiesce.  At least with local pushbuttons I have some idea whose hand is pushing what button, and can enforce my own rules about who gets to push what.

 

Of course, if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear (*snort snort snort*).  One of the things my "fully-automated dream house" does NOT have is an internet connection for the household controls.  S.

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Kartman wrote:
Maybe the AI will get to a point where Alexa will hurl back some abuse like "STFU I heard you the first time" or "get off yo ass and you turn on the chicken timer"

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgpjJfJdsQY

 

" ...  demanded participation in the decision-making process and finally took to squatting in basements sulking"

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Last Edited: Fri. Nov 22, 2019 - 11:16 AM
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Scroungre wrote:
If Google is ordered by some anonymous law enforcement official to turn on all your lights (or anything else), Alexa is going to acquiesce

Maybe that's one advantage of Cliff's complaint in #66 ... ?

 

frown

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Kartman wrote:
STFU I heard you the first time
"Make it yourself!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYD5AG4RvHY

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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Alexa still has a lot to learn, which is partly why I'm not interested in any of this rubbish just yet.

 

clawson: "Alexa, set chicken timer for 20 minutes"

Alexa: "Are you sure? That chicken will still be raw, you'll need at least an hour"
 

Then I'll be interested.

 

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Alexa: " I'm sorry, Cliff - I can't  do that."

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEu4Iq5KL-Q

 

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Alexa, please check my program for any bugs

    The exterminator has been contacted & will be here wed at 3:30

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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N.Winterbottom wrote:

Alexa still has a lot to learn, which is partly why I'm not interested in any of this rubbish just yet.

 

clawson: "Alexa, set chicken timer for 20 minutes"

Alexa: "Are you sure? That chicken will still be raw, you'll need at least an hour"
 

Then I'll be interested.

 

we roast chicken breasts (about 3..4 per day) for all the cats we feed. 20 minutes is the perfect time for an average sized breast. As I've probably averaged about 3 breasts per day for the last 8.5 years I must have cooked, then hand shredded, something like 9,300+ breastsin this way so, trust me, 20 minutes really is about the right duration for a nicely moist chicken breast (has to be from Waitrose of course!).

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clawson wrote:

I've probably averaged about 3 breasts per day for the last 8.5 years I must have cooked, then hand shredded, something like 9,300+ breastsin this way

I'm truly gobsmacked. Oh to be a cat in Finchingfield !

 

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I built and installed a motion-sensed under benchtop lighting system for our kitchen so late at night enroute to bed one of us can enter the kitchen with empty cups in hands without having to struggle with an elbow to turn on the light switch. Works beautifully. Times out after 30 seconds. No phone/internet/alien needed.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Times out after 30 seconds. No phone/internet/alien needed.

Albert would be happy!

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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