Are Automotive Autopilots The Future Of Personal Travel?

Just for a change, let us venture away from the technology of personal computing and productivity, and into the automotive area. On-board computers have been getting smarter, just like hand held technology, so automotive manufacturers have had plenty of scope for adding new features like smart cruse control, automatic breaking and auto-park. Now those features have been taken a stage further so it is possible to see automotive autopilots becoming the future of personal transport.

Since it became known that Google has been using using driver-less cars for some time, a few things have happened. Firstly people have divided into two camps, those vociferously against the idea on all sort of grounds, and those for whom this technology could be start of the brave new world. Secondly, legislators have started to take notice. The US state of Nevada has set in motion Assembly Bill 511, which requires the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to write rules of the road for self-driving cars.

According to news announcements, Google’s fleet of six Toyota Priuses and an Audi TT drove more than 140,000 miles and almost all of them were on auto-pilot, though Google staff manned the cars but not the controls. The only incident occurred when a car driven by a person rear-ended one of Google’s cars. The trials were conducted with safety as paramount, and having informed local law enforcement, and each trip was preceded by a normally driven car recording the route to be traveled. Never the less this is a significant step forward in motor transport technology.

The knockers have had plenty of ground for resisting this particular advancement, including potential loss of jobs, issues of safety, challenge of unpredictable circumstance and personal resistance. One commentator puts it succinctly when he said (in the style of the American NRA) “You’ll have to pry my 5-speed manual transmission from my cold, dead hands.”! This attitude has been captured by marketing types, as one automotive manufacturer, Dodge, have even incorporated this resistance into their commercial for the new 2011 Charger, see below.

On the plus side, the expected advantages of this technology include potentially safer roads, less pollution, higher traffic density due to the elimination of human response times, and freeing up of personal time for the driver. It could even allow for platooning, which is a concept of grouping vehicles into platoons which decrease the distances between cars using electronic, and possibly mechanical coupling, as a method of increasing the capacity of roads. The idea is attractive to local government organizations responsible for roads as it does not require expensive road sensors to be be built into the carriageway, or special trackways like some earlier attempts at driver-less cars.

Whatever your point of view, this is a technology which has the potential to change the way we use the roads, and may make the future for personal transport completely different to everything which has gone before. Automotive Autopilots may be the future of personal travel.

For more on the subject of Google and their auto-piloted cars, see the following links:

If you want to see the 2011 Dodge Charger Commercial check out Dodge Rebels Against Robots in New 2011 Charger Commercial

IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice and SEO

There has been a few comments back on our post, from back in March, containing the quote from Ed Bott, who stated that “Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice“. One person, who we will not name, offered the comment that IE6 is the basis for a whole developer community, so recommending it’s discontinuance was irresponsible and unprofessional. Besides, the commentator sneeringly pointed out that “hundreds of people had used that expression in web commentary.

Ignoring the obvious response to the “whole developer community” thing, of course we immediately did a quick Google search on the expression, and sure enough there are good number of matches (408 exact matches at time of writing). Does this mean that a large number of people had come to the same conclusion and used the same expression spontaneously, or was there some blatant manipulation of the search ranking by unscrupulous Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts.

This also poses an interesting observation about the way the search engines, like Google, rank pages. If you search for the phrase Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice, the original page from Ed Bott appears fourth, and then does not appear again until page two; that is eighteenth in the results set.

At time of testing, the top three results, beating the original post, are as follows:

  1. LessThanDot (a phpBB powered Bulletin board)
  2. Integrity Technology Group (a Joomla powered site)
  3. A Twitter link (with the exact quote verbatim)

This is interesting, and shows just how important your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be. The Bulletin board beat the Joomla entry by having repetition of the phrase “Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice” twice in the body, plus a partial reference in the title.

The Tweet came an honorable third by repeating the exact quote, and due to the limited number of characters available had the highest match to “noise” ratio.

Could it be that “IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice” proposition, repeated often enough, could get you a top position regardless of the content of the surrounding article?

By the way to avoid this post jumping immediately to the top of Google simply by repeating the full phrase ad nauseum, we have deliberately shortened it to IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice. However human readers will be able to substitute the full expression unconsciously, and so allow us to sleep at night! The expression we have distilled down to is concise, accurate and meets the requirement for this exercise.

If you want to see for yourself, try the links below to search for the full expression:

As an intellectual exercise, we have dutifully entitled this posting IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice, and at the time of posting Google returns no results for the exact phrase “IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice”. Over the next few weeks we will keep searching for the expression and see how many web sites pick it up. Any that do repeat it in their content will become the subject of extra scrutiny to see if they are brilliant SEO expert who we need to model, or cheap rip-off sites to be added to our SEO blacklist.

IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice
If you are interested in playing the game, and contributing in some small way to the sum of human knowledge, click here to search Google for the exact expression IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice. Let us know what you think.

More on the fight against Leprosy

There is a new posting on the End leprosy Now website which outlines the effect of stigmatization on the efforts to end Leprosy. Check out The Stigma of Leprosy in India

We also came across a Research Article entitled Development and Validation of a Severity Scale for Leprosy Type 1 Reactions
The contributors conclude they have developed a valid and reliable tool for quantifying leprosy Type 1 reaction severity and believe this will be a useful tool in research of this condition. To read more about this research Click Here.

If you are interested in the campaign to End leprosy Now, please click on the link below and pledge your support.

Help to End leprosy Now