Apple’s TV App Reveals its Plight with Television Industry

| Particle Debris

Page 2 – News Debris for the Week of December 12th

How AI Agents are Changing our Lives

AI Agent

You may have seen articles that poke fun at language translations from yesteryear. Sometimes by humans and sometimes by machine. Here’s an example, the original English.

“Pickpockets beware! Undercover police working in this area! In July three pickpockets received sentences of over four years!”

Translated into Spanish and back to English, it became…

The pickpockets are kept. Police of the inner deck that works in the area. In July three the pickpockets received prayers of the prison over of four years.

In fact, the classic (and often humorous) test of a computerized translation engine would be to translate some English text into a language that uses a different alphabet (Hebrew) or even one that’s pictogram-based (Japanese), and translate back to English, as in the above example. That’s a serious challenge.

However, significant progress has been made by Google in this area. For example, see if you can figure out which of these texts, translated into Japanese and back to English was the original and which was done by Google’s new AI driven translator.

1. Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai “Ngaje Ngai,” the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.

or …

2. Kilimanjaro is a mountain of 19,710 feet covered with snow and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. The summit of the west is called “Ngaje Ngai” in Masai, the house of God. Near the top of the west there is a dry and frozen dead body of leopard. No one has ever explained what leopard wanted at that altitude.

Did you spot the computer’s only error in #2?

Intrigued? Would you like to learn more about “How Google used artificial intelligence to transform Google Translate, one of its more popular services — and how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself.”?

This long but glorious article at The New York Times Magazine, The Great A.I. Awakening” will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about how AI is revolutionizing our society.

As an aside, how do companies train their AI system to do better with speech? See: “Why Google, Microsoft and Amazon Love the Sound of Your Voice.

All this is what Siri is up against.

More Debris…

One has to wonder what Apple’s Craig Federighi was thinking when he showed emojis during the Touch Bar demo on October 27. Several times, now, I’ve run across the Touch Bar being ridiculed as an Emoji gimmick. (Perhaps the laughter and notoriety comes first, then the serious uses later.) In any case, Anthony Frausto-Robledo goes ahead and asks the serious question: “Just An Emoji Gimmick?—CAD Developers Weigh In On Apple’s Touch Bar.

If you’ve been pondering a new 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, this review will either have you fuming or laughing….or something. “Apple 13″ MacBook Pro review: the best computer you shouldn’t buy.

PDFpen Pro 8.3 Touch Bar controls

Inventive apps will provide MacBook Pro Touch Bar support.

It seems that just about every Apple OS update has a crucial security fix rolled into it these days. macOS Sierra 10.12.2 was no exception. Pro tip: update now.

One of the challenges for Apple these days, I think, is that a very high level of technical development has percolated into Apple’s newfound competitors. That is, as Apple broadens its product line and moves into, say, AR, wearables and cars, it runs smack into companies that can effectively partner, combine their expertise, and give Apple some serious competition. See, for example, “BMW Hooks Up With IBM Watson For AI Car Research.

Neil Cybart does some really good analysis of Apple. In this case, he’s turned his attention to the Apple Watch. “The Elephant in the Smartwatch Room.” This article may change your mind about the Apple Watch’s future prospects.

Finally. this last week on TMO’s Daily Observations podcast, Jeff Gamet, Kelly Guimont and I talked about what Apple could do, next steps, to genuinely help families with their storage and backup issues. Jan Dawson has taken the discussion farther. “Tech Should be Helping Families.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.

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John Q
John Q

The music industry was reeling from Napster, and the rampant piracy of its product. It needed the iPod/iTunes and Apple to rescue its business by convincing people to pay for music again. Eventually, the industry came to regret to power Apple had amassed over music distribution via the iTunes Music Store. Jobs and the company could strong arm the music companies and artists into selling singles cheap, instead of expensive albums that only had a few good songs. But, it now appears that the music industry has at least pulled itself out of the ditch, by taking advantage of shifting… Read more »


There has been a lot of hand ringing here and on other sites and podcasts regarding the Apple TV’s non support of 4K TV. Comcast and many other high speed ISPs are imposing data caps that will handicap the streaming of 4K video. Here in the Chicago area the Comcast data cap is now enforced as 1TB. Streaming 1080 P Netflix, Hulu and MLB TV during the summer months put my data usage at 600GB for one or two months each and I’m not a heavy streamer. I also have the Channels APP and watch local TV via my own… Read more »