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Grrrr.....

Self-driving cars now have some company on the road.

A new self-driving truck, the Freightliner Inspiration, was unveiled this week in the Nevada desert just outside of Las Vegas.

The Inspiration can drive itself on highways, similar to an autopilot function in an airplane.

I have a prediction -- systems like this, and similar ones in cars that require the driver be able to take control back from the computer at any given point in time will increase the risk of serious multi-vehicle crashes rather than decrease them.

If you're going to wreck your car or truck the wreck you want to have, from a societal point of view, is the single-vehicle wreck where only the people in the vehicle are at risk.

In other words the guy who falls asleep at the wheel and dies in a single-vehicle crash takes all the risk of his conduct and all of the consequence; he hurts nobody else.

The worst case scenario is the one where due to your inattentiveness or whatever you wind up plowing into a bunch of other people, injuring or killing them.

I am quite-interested in a self-driving vehicle where I can literally get in the car and tell it to take my drunk ass home.  That's the only standard that works for such a vehicle; one where I can sleep, text, work on the computer or whatever without any requirement to take control of the vehicle myself.  Unless I am relieved of the legal liability for operation (and thus can be smashed, sleeping or whatever) then requiring me to be available if a dicey situation develops but am not in command at all other times means that I'm less-likely (more like not at all!) to be mentally processing the situation around the vehicle in the moments leading up to the dicey situation and thus the risk of that crash goes up, not down.

"Augmented driving" sounds great but it reduces the amount of mental acuity necessary to operate the car.  This sounds great in low-conflict situations where little acuity is necessary in the first instance, for example, cruising on a highway at 70mph.  However, if such augmentation means I am not paying attention to the road if a deer suddenly runs across it or a "gator" (blown truck tire) appears just over a crest in a hill right in front of me the odds of my not noticing that in time to react go way up compared to my being fully "in command" in the minutes beforehand.  As such these systems are likely to increase rather than decrease the risk of serious accidents involving multiple people and/or vehicles.

Purely warning-oriented systems sound great too (e.g. blind-spot detection) but as things stand right now I need to turn my head before changing lanes in order to know that the space into which I intend to move is in fact clear.  Less than perfect coverage by such sensors means that if I don't turn my head due to the BSM system I may run over a motorcycle.

Likewise, backup camera sound great and I like the ability to know exactly where my rear bumper is when backing into a tight parking spot.  But, if you try to use that as a replacement for your mirrors and manually clearing the sides with a turn of the head you will eventually clip someone or something on the side of the car due to not performing that basic act as a driver.

So yeah, bring on the automation.  But let's cut the crap about "safety benefits" until I can climb in the back seat and punch in a destination, leaving as my only remaining manual task refueling when the tank gets low.

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It has been 10 years now, more or less, that I have run with a hybrid infrastructure for email.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

I have "two worlds" in which I live when it comes to email -- mobile and not.  "Not" encompasses desktop and laptop type machines; real computers.  I have an utterly enormous store of emails, going literally back to the 1980s, in hundreds upon hundreds of folders.  I file things away and archive everything else on a calendar basis.  Yeah, it's a big hunk of data.  Yeah, I may never look at 98% of it ever again.  But for that 2% given how cheap disk is these days, and that I can store it encrypted at rest having access to it is very, very nice.

Well, phones don't get along with that paradigm very well.  Among other things the amount of data involved that they can potentially get to, and their rather foolish decisions on how to keep indices (or whether to at all!) along with limited storage capacity means that trying to point one of these things at a mail store like that is asking to blow it up.

Further, even when they allegedly comply with "open standards" like IMAP or sorta-open ones like Exchange, mobile devices often don't implement it correctly (e.g. "Delete" means "file in Trash", not DESTROY), and there's enormous risk involved in allowing a client that you do not trust 100% to have access to that big store of data -- if it gets hosed you're in a heaping lot of trouble.

So for the last decade all my incoming email has been "forked", with a copy going to a special "phone" account.  It's transparent to everyone on the outside but it means that I have to delete or file the emails twice, basically -- with the phone copy just being thrown away when I'm done with it.  I've lived with this because the alternative -- losing something I cannot afford to lose -- is simply not acceptable.

Through the years various devices have improved on multi-device access to contact and calendar databases, although I refuse to give any of that data to Google and similar -- I insist on running it on my own infrastructure for obvious reasons.  The capability to have a "one data store, many clients, all transparently able" has existed for that information for quite some time -- but not for email, at least not reliably.

Needless to say this is somewhat of a pain in the ass.  Start writing an email on your desktop and have it in "Drafts"?  Can't get it on the mobile, since it's not the same mail store.  Or the other way around.  Want to look up a sent email from "the other side"?  Can't do that either.

Today, this has ended.

Today, I have one device -- my BlackBerry Passport -- that has passed my testing to be trusted without the fork, which means I now have access to everything from everywhere, "deleted" emails don't really get deleted (they get filed instead as they should) and the archives, including what I send, get archived as they should too.

Yes, there are a few compromises. I have had to move some of my very old archive folders out of my primary working space, as there are still things that aren't done right with IMAP (for example); "Delete" still, to BB10, means delete rather than "move to Trash" or even better, move to a hierarchy of Archive folders by year or year and month.  Desktop clients have known how to do this for a long time and it's well past the point where mobile ones should know how as well.  As a result to maintain both compatibility and safety of my data I must implement and use a somewhat-cobbled together combination on the back end.

But BlackBerry is the first phone manufactuer that has made a device that can be put to work in this fashion and thus can be trusted not to trash your archives -- and incoming email.

Android's various incantations do not and Apple does not.

BlackBerry does.

Now maybe none of this matters to you, and in fact if you live in a world where you don't really care all that much about your email and the history it generates, along with the resource that provides to you when you need to go look something up -- this is something you shrug at.

But I live in a world where data that I want to keep has to be kept, and only intentional destruction should ever destroy it.

I've been testing the various releases available and 10.3.1 meets the requirements.  I assume 10.3.2 will as well, but the point here that bears noting is that 10.3.1 is in common and public release now.

Yes, you do need to know how to set it up and use it properly, but if you do -- the true unified view is now yours without exception.

Simply put, I'm impressed.

It's not quite 100%, but it's close enough -- and the remaining issues can be worked around.

BlackBerry folks.  Yes, there is a reason they're still around and there are still things their handsets do that nobody else does well, or even at all.

This is one of them.

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