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This is my last column for The Wall Street Journal, after 22 years of reviewing consumer technology products here.为《华尔街日报》评测科技类消费品22年后,这是我的最后一篇专栏文章。So I thought I#39;d talk about the dozen personal-technology products I reviewed that were most influential over the past two decades. Obviously, narrowing so many products in the most dynamic of modern industries down to 12 is a subjective exercise and others will disagree.所以我想来谈谈过去20年我评测过的12个最具影响力的个人科技产品。很显然,从这个最富活力的现代产业所生产的五花八门的产品中挑选出12个,这是个很主观的看法,别人也许会有不同意见。Though most were hits, a couple weren#39;t blockbusters, financially, and one was an outright flop. Instead, I used as my criteria two main things.虽然大多数产品都一窜而红,但有几个却叫好不叫座,有一个更是一败涂地。在这里,我来讲讲我的两个标准。First, the products had to improve ease of use and add value for average consumers. That was the guiding principle I laid down in the first sentence of my first column, in 1991: #39;Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it#39;s not your fault.#39;首先,产品要能提高易用性,能为普通消费者增添价值。这也正是我1991年第一篇专栏文章中头一句话所提出的指导原则:个人电脑太难用了,这不是你们的错。Second, I chose these 12 because each changed the course of digital history by influencing the products and services that followed, or by changing the way people lived and worked. In some cases, the impact of these mass-market products is still unfolding. All of these products had predecessors, but they managed to take their categories to a new level.其次,我之所以选择这12个产品,是因为所有这些产品都改变了数码历史的进程,它们要么影响了后来追随而至的产品和务,要么改变了人们的生活和工作方式。在某些情况下,这些大众产品仍在释放影响力。所有这些产品都有“前辈”,但它们做到了将其所属类别提升至一个新高度。Some ers will complain that Apple is overrepresented. My answer: Apple introduced more influential, breakthrough products for average consumers than any other company over the years of this column.一些读者可能会抱怨说,苹果(Apple)产品出现的频率过高。对此我的解释是,在我撰写本专栏的这些年里,相比其他任何一家公司,苹果面向普通消费者推出了更多具有影响力和突破性的产品。 /201402/275310China Mobile, the world#39;s largest wireless carrier by subscribers, is feeling the pinch of increasing pressure from the Chinese government, which is striving to reduce the company#39;s dominance in China. 中国政府正努力削弱中国移动(China Mobile)在国内市场的主导地位,后者正日益感受到来自政府的压力。按用户数计算,中国移动是全球最大的电信运营商。The latest policy headwind is its talks with the other two state-controlled carriers China Unicom and China Telecom to set up a joint venture to build and manage telecommunications infrastructures in China. 中国移动面临的一项最新政策阻力是:该公司正与其他两家国有运营商中国联通(China Unicom)和中国电信(China Telecom)讨论组建一家合资公司,负责建设和管理中国国内的电信基础设施。The discussions-- likely directed by the government-- match with Premier Li Keqiang#39;s stated goals to reform state-owned enterprises by boosting competition. Bloomberg News中国移动一家营业网点中展示的手机。上述合资事宜可能由政府引导。中国总理李克强曾表示将通过提高竞争推动国有企业改革,筹建合资公司的举措与这一目标一致。While the planned joint venture could help enhance the sharing of resources and reduce the costs for future network expansion, dominant carrier China Mobile may lose its strength in network coverage as it is likely to share its extensive network with the smaller rivals, said analysts. 分析师表示,尽管计划筹建的合资公司可能有助于提高资源共享的程度并降低今后扩建网络的成本,但此举可能令占据主导地位的中国移动与规模较小的竞争对手分享其庞大网络,导致其丧失网络覆盖优势。China Mobile, which has reported declines in earnings, had a head start on speedier fourth-generation mobile services in China, hoping the new services would help fend off rising competition and help it regain growth momentum. 近期利润下滑的中国移动在发展高速4G网络务上拔得头筹,并希望4G网络能够助其应对日益激烈的竞争并重拾增长动能。Smaller rivals China Unicom and China Telecom operate on 3G mobile technology platforms that are widely used globally, which give them access to more popular smartphones. The two companies have sold Apple#39;s iPhones for several years but China Mobile only started offering them with the roll-out of its new 4G network in January. 其规模较小的竞争对手中国联通和中国电信采用了全球普遍使用的3G移动技术,这两家公司因此能够与更受欢迎的智能手机厂家合作。两家公司已经销售苹果iPhone数年,而中国移动在今年1月份推出其4G网络后才开始销售iPhone。The new joint venture could undermine China Mobile#39;s first-mover advantage in 4G services, analysts said. 分析师称,新合资企业可能削弱中国移动在4G务上的先发优势。#39;If all tower assets in China are transferred to this new company, it will help China Telecom and China Unicom to accelerate their 4G network rollout, #39;said Leping Huang, an analyst at Nomura. 野村(Nomura)分析师Leping Huang表示,如果中国全部通信铁塔资产均转移至这家新公司名下,那么受此推动中国电信和中国联通推出4G业务的速度可能加快。The number of telecom towers that China Telecom and China Unicom own is only equivalent to 28% and 46% of the towers that China Mobile owns, according to Nomura#39;s estimate. 据野村估算,中国电信和中国联通目前拥有的通信铁塔数仅相当于中国移动通信铁塔数的28%和46%。Analysts said an independent telecom tower company is a common business model in some countries like the U.S, India and Indonesia. A tower company typically will purchase or lease land, build telecom towers and lease the space in the tower to telecom operators. Telecom operators will use the space to install base station equipment they purchase from equipment vendors. 分析师称,在美国、印度和印度尼西亚等国,独立的通信铁塔公司是一种常见商业模式。通信铁塔公司通常会购买或租用土地,搭建通信铁塔并将通信铁塔内的空间出租给电信运营商。运营商将利用这些空间安装从设备供应商那里购买的基站设备。China didn#39;t have an independent tower company in the past. 中国过去没有独立的通信铁塔公司。As part of the government#39;s continued effort to promote competition, China Mobile has aly suffered from lower interconnection fees that smaller rivals pay for calls to the company#39;s network, beginning this year. Analysts said the savings from the interconnection policy will help fund China Unicom and China Telecom#39;s network upgrade and marketing efforts to further increase its mobile users this year. 中国政府一直在努力促进竞争,其中一项举措便是从今年开始下调中联通和中电信向中国移动付的网间结算费用。分析师称,中国联通和中国电信将利用这一政策所节省的费用升级网络、加强营销,以便今年进一步增加手机用户数量。They added that more policy headwinds are ahead for China Mobile in the coming years. For example, the Chinese government could gradually introduce mobile number portability which enables subscribers to retain their mobile numbers when changing from one carrier to another. This measure is expected to hit China Mobile badly as the mobile giant, with more than 770 million subscribers, controls about 60% of the mobile market in China. 分析师补充道,未来几年中国移动在政策上还将面临更多阻力。例如,中国政府可能逐步引入携号转网功能,即用户能够在更换运营商时保留原号码。预计这一措施将对中国移动构成严重打击,该公司用户数超过7.7亿,控制着中国移动通信市场大约60%的份额。China Mobile declined to comment. 中国移动对此不予置评。 /201405/294625Investors for years have been searching in vain for a formula to replicate Warren Buffett#39;s legendary returns over the past 50 years.多年来,投资者一直在寻找一套公式,以图复制沃伦#12539;巴菲特(Warren Buffett)50年取得的神奇回报,但都徒劳无功。The wait could be over.或许不必再找了。A new study that claims to have uncovered this formula was published last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. Its authors, all of whom have strong academic credentials, work for AQR Capital Management, a firm that manages several hedge funds and other investment offerings and has billion in assets.马萨诸塞州坎布里奇国家经济研究局(National Bureau of Economic Research)11月份发表一项新研究成果,声称找到了这套公式。论文作者都有深厚的学术资历,他们供职的AQR资产管理公司(AQR Capital Management)管理着多只对冲基金和其他一些投资产品,资产规模达900亿美元。The study#39;s authors analyzed Mr. Buffett#39;s record since he acquired Berkshire Hathaway in 1964. Their formula, which has more than a dozen individual components, comes in two major parts.论文作者分析了巴菲特从1964年收购伯克希尔#12539;哈撒韦公司(Berkshire Hathaway)以来的投资成绩。他们的公式含有十多个单项,可以归纳为两个主要部分。The first is a #39;focus on cheap, safe, quality stocks,#39; defined as those that have exhibited below-average volatility and sport low ratios of price-to-book value -- a measure of net worth. In addition, the researchers looked for stocks whose profits are growing at an above-average pace and that pay out a significant portion of their earnings as dividends.第一部分是“专注于便宜、安全、优质的股票”,即波动性低于平均水平、股价与每股账面价值之比(市净率,一种净值衡量指标)不高的股票。除此以外,研究人员还看好利润增长高于平均速度、相当大一部分利润当作股息派发出去的股票。The second part of the formula will raise eyebrows: It calls for investing in these stocks #39;on margin#39; -- that is, borrowing money to buy more shares than could otherwise be purchased. To match Mr. Buffett#39;s long-term return, the researchers found, a portfolio would need to be 60% on margin -- borrowing enough so that it owned 0 of #39;cheap, safe, quality stocks#39; for every 0 of portfolio value.公式的第二部分将会令人错愕:它要求用“保金交易”来投资这些股票,也就是借钱买股,买进的数量比不借钱能够买到的更多。研究人员发现,要达到巴菲特那样的长期回报,投资组合需要有60%的借入比例,也就是说,借款比例足以让每100美元的投资组合持有160美元“便宜、安全、优质的股票”。Andrea Frazzini, one of the study#39;s authors, a finance professor at New York University and a vice president at AQR, said the Berkshire portfolio has, on average, been leveraged to a similar extent through Mr. Buffett#39;s career.论文作者之一、纽约大学(New York University)金融学教授、AQR公司副总裁安德烈亚#12539;弗拉奇尼 (Andrea Frazzini)说,在巴菲特整个职业生涯中,伯克希尔投资组合的平均杠杆率一直与上述水平相当。It can be easy to overlook the extent of this leverage, since Mr. Buffett is able to borrow from other parts of his business. But that doesn#39;t mean the company isn#39;t still leveraged, Mr. Frazzini argues. According to its most recent annual report, for example, the total value of Berkshire#39;s holdings are double the company#39;s net worth, implying that its current leverage is about 2-to-1 -- somewhat higher than its long-term average.这样的杠杆率很容易被忽略,因为巴菲特可以从他公司的其他部门借款。但弗拉奇尼说,这并不意味着该公司就没有杠杆了。比如从最近年报来看,伯克希尔的持股总值是其净值的两倍,说明它当前的杠杆率约为2比1──比它的长期平均水平还要高一些。Employing margin can magnify profits, of course. It also increases potential losses when things go wrong. But note that the formula combines a heavy use of margin with stocks that tend to be much less risky than the market, so the net result can still be a portfolio that is no riskier than the market as a whole.采用保金交易当然可以放大利润。当行情不妙的时候,它也会增加潜在损失。但请注意,前面说的那套公式是将保金交易的大量使用同风险远低于市场的股票结合,所以综合来看的话,投资组合的风险仍然可以不高于大市。To be sure, a heavily margined portfolio will always run the risk of getting a #39;margin call#39; -- the need to come up with additional cash -- if its holdings fall too far. Berkshire Hathaway has been able to sidestep that risk over the last 50 years. Despite a heavily reliance on leverage, its worst return in any calendar year was a loss of 9.6%. And its book value has been less volatile than the Samp;P 500. Volatility is a common measure of a portfolio#39;s risk.无可否认的是,大量使用保金交易的投资组合始终存在收到“追加保金通知”的风险──如果所持资产跌幅太大,那么就要存入更多的现金。伯克希尔#12539;哈撒韦在过去50年里一直能够避开这种风险。虽然严重依赖于杠杆,其自然年度最差的回报率也就是亏损9.6%。而且其账面价值的波动性也低于标准普尔500种股票指数(Samp;P 500)。波动性是衡量投资组合风险的一个常用指标。One factor that is conspicuous in its absence from the formula is anything to account for Mr. Buffett#39;s significant investments in privately owned companies. But that isn#39;t necessary, according to the researchers, because the public companies in which he has invested have outperformed the private ones.公式中明显缺失的一个因素,是它没有解释巴菲特为什么大量投资非上市公司。但研究人员说,这没有必要,因为他所投上市公司的表现好于非上市公司。This is somewhat surprising, given that Mr. Buffett has often trumpeted his abilities to pick good managers. Yet the researchers nevertheless find that his #39;returns are more due to stock selection than to his effect on management.#39; (A Berkshire Hathaway spokeswoman said that Mr. Buffett declined to be interviewed.)考虑到巴菲特常常鼓吹他挑选优秀管理人员的能力,这一点多少让人吃惊。但研究人员还是发现,其回报“更多地源于选股,而非他对管理层的影响”。(伯克希尔#12539;哈撒韦发言人表示巴菲特不接受采访。)Lasse Pedersen, another of the study#39;s authors, a finance professor at New York University and a principal at AQR, stressed that Mr. Buffett still deserves plenty of credit. After all, he says, it has taken years for researchers to come up with a formula that, after the fact, does as well as Mr. Buffett has been doing for nearly 50 years. In addition, he had the discipline to stick to his approach through both thick and thin.论文的另一名作者、纽约大学金融学教授、AQR主要负责人之一拉斯#12539;佩德森(Lasse Pedersen)强调,巴菲特并非浪得虚名。他说,毕竟研究人员花了数年时间才总结出一套“马后炮”表现与巴菲特近50年投资成绩相当的公式。除此以外,他还拥有不论丰歉都坚守既定方针的自控力。Unfortunately, the investment formula that the researchers devised isn#39;t necessarily easy for individual investors to follow. It requires investing in a large and diversified basket of stocks, for example. Furthermore, adhering to the formula can be challenging for a portfolio that relies on margin.不幸的是,研究人员总结出来的这套投资公式散户应用起来不一定容易。比如它要求投资一大篮子多样化的股票。另外,对于一个依靠保金交易的投资组合来说,坚守这套公式也有可能遇到挑战。Nevertheless, it may be possible for you to at least partially follow the researchers#39; formula without actually resorting to borrowed money. If you have cash in your portfolio, for example, you could add it to the portion you aly have allocated to equities-achieving the equivalent of going on margin by, in effect, #39;borrowing#39; from yourself. This, of course, is what Mr. Buffett does by borrowing from other parts of his business.但是,你或许还是能够在不借钱的情况下至少部分地运用研究人员总结出的这套公式。比如,如果你的投资组合里面有现金,你可以把这些现金加到已经配置于股市的那部分中去。这在事实上是自己给自己借钱,也就相当于做保金交易。巴菲特从他公司的其他部门借钱,当然也就是这种办法。Even if you decide not to follow the researchers#39; investment formula precisely, this new study has important investment implications. For example, since the study#39;s authors find that Mr. Buffett#39;s record is due to #39;neither luck nor magic,#39; Berkshire#39;s performance need not suffer after Mr. Buffett retires -- so long as his successor is able to do just as good a job picking stocks.即使你决定不完全按照研究人员的投资公式去做,这项新研究也有着重要的投资含义。比如论文作者发现巴菲特的成绩“既不是因为运气,也不是因为魔力”,所以如果继任者的选股能力跟他一样好,伯克希尔在巴菲特退休之后的表现就不一定很差。That#39;s a pretty big #39;if,#39; of course, but the researchers#39; findings imply that a strict adherence to the same investment principles could, over time, do as well as Mr. Buffett has done historically.当然这个“如果”是个很大的假设,但研究人员的发现意味着,如果严格遵守同样投资原则的话,随着时间的推移,投资成绩是可以达到巴菲特的历史水平的。The study also holds out the tantalizing possibility that an investor following the formula can perform even better than Berkshire. That#39;s because, as Mr. Buffett has pointed out, his portfolio has grown so large that it will be difficult for it to perform as well in the future. In contrast, a smaller portfolio can profit from investing in stocks that are too small to make any meaningful difference to Berkshire#39;s bottom line.另外,这项研究也展示了一种撩拨人心的可能性:遵守这套公式的投资者甚至可以取得比伯克希尔还要好的成绩。因为巴菲特自己也说过,他的投资组合已经变得十分庞大,将来会很难拥有同样的表现。相比之下,规模更小的投资组合可以投资于因为太小、不足以给伯克希尔利润表现带来实质性改变的股票,从而获利。The following stocks from within the Samp;P 1500 index score favorably along each of the five dimensions that the researchers employ in defining #39;cheap, safe, quality stocks,#39; according to FactSet. The ratios of their prices to per-share book values are below average, as are their #39;betas#39; -- a measure of the extent to which their prices move in lock step with the overall market.据FactSet说,以下取自标准普尔1500种股票指数(Samp;P 1500)的股票非常符合研究人员在定义“便宜、安全、优质股票”时确定的五个维度。它们的价格相对于每股账面价值的比率低于平均水平,衡量股价与大市联动程度的“beta系数”也低于平均水平。In addition, these stocks are of companies whose #39;profitability#39; -- or total profits as a percentage of assets -- is above average, as is the five-year growth rate of that profitability. And, finally, these stocks are of firms whose dividends represent an above-average proportion of their earnings.除此以外,这些股票代表的公司“盈利能力”(总利润除以资产总额)高于平均水平,“盈利能力”五年增长率也高于平均水平。最后,这些股票所代表公司的派息额占其利润的比重也高于平均水平。Examples include drug retailer CVS Caremark; Devry Education Group, a for-profit education company; chipmaker Intel, Owens amp; Minor, a medical-supplies distributor; grocery distributor Spartan Stores; and Vectren, an energy holding company.这些股票包括:药品零售企业CVS Caremark;营利性教育企业Devry Education Group;芯片制造企业英特尔(Intel);医药用品经销商Owens amp; Minor;百货经销企业Spartan Stores;能源控股公司Vectren。Though there are no mutual funds that pick stocks according to the precise formula the researchers devise, several come close. One is offered by AQR: the U.S. Defensive Equity Fund, with an annual 0.51% expense ratio, or for every ,000 invested. Though the fund has a high minimum for those investing in it directly, it is available to investors through their financial advisers.虽然没有哪只共同基金是完全根据研究人员总结的公式来选股,但也有好几只比较接近。有一只是AQR销售的“防守型美股基金”(U.S. Defensive Equity Fund),年费率0.51%,即投资1万美元要交51美元的费用。这只基金为直接投资的人设定了一个很高的最低额度,但投资者可以通过他们的投资顾问机构来投资。Another fund that focuses on some of the same stock-picking methods is the DFA US Large Cap Equity Portfolio. It is available to individuals only through their financial advisers or certain retirement and 529 plans, and fees vary.另一只侧重于上述一部分选股方法的基金是“DFA大盘美股投资组合”(DFA US Large Cap Equity Portfolio)。散户只能通过投资顾问机构或某些退休金计划、529大学储蓄计划来投资,费率各有差别。The exchange-traded fund that perhaps come closest to following the researchers#39; stock-picking methodology is iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor, with an expense ratio of 0.15%. It invests in stocks with a high return on equity and stable earnings growth.最接近研究人员选股方法的交易所交易基金,可能是“iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor”。费率为0.15%。它投资的是净资产收益率高、利润增长稳定的股票。 /201312/270455

PATTON OSWALT, an American comedian, once told a story about a text exchange with his girlfriend. “I love you,” she texted. Mr Oswalt began to reply “I love you too.” Only the grouchy comic got as far as “I…” and the predictive texting program began to fill out the text based on his habits. “…hate…”, it provided. Mr Oswalt hit “send” before he could stop himself, and his poor girlfriend ended up receiving a rather offensive text.帕顿·奥斯瓦尔特是一名美国喜剧演员,他跟观众讲过自己与女朋友短信交流的故事。“我爱你”,女友在短信中写道。奥斯瓦尔特先生准备回复“我也爱你”。只有爱发牢骚的喜剧演员才懂得“我...”的句式效果,这时文字预测功能开始根据他的习惯自动填写短信,所写的内容是:“...恨...”。奥斯瓦尔特先生还没来得及反应,手一抖就按了“发送”键,结果他女友收到了这条冒犯意味十足的短信。Johnson would expect Mr Oswalt#39;s relationships to have moved on from such moments of communicative meltdown. Predictive texting was fairly new in 2009, when Mr Oswalt told his gag. But five years later, smarter and faster processors, plus better wireless broadband, have allowed smartphones to do much better at predicting what users mean, and what they are likely to say next. Apple has implemented new elements of language analysis and prediction in iOS8, its latest mobile operating system, for texting both with thumbs and with speech recognition.笔者约翰逊希望奥斯瓦尔特先生与女友的关系不要因为这种沟通失败而泡汤。2009年,奥斯瓦尔特先生向观众讲这个噱头时,文字预测还是比较新奇的功能。但是五年后的今天出现了更快更智能的处理器和更先进的无线宽带,使智能手机能更好的预测用户的心思以及下一句想要说什么。苹果公司为最新的手机操作系统IOS8提供了新的语言分析和预测元素,适用于手指打字和语音识别。Speech recognition relies on a big database of natural human English text. An unclear word can be disambiguated by the words around it, as the software tries to match a string of words to a string in its database. If the computer hears ;Four score and seven [mumble] ago;, it can scan its database and guess that the missing word is probably ;years;.语音识别技术依靠普通人类英语文本大型数据库。当软件听到一连串单词时,会从数据库中搜索与之相匹配的语句。所以当软件遇到一个发音模糊的单词时,可根据其前后其他单词来消除歧义。例如,当计算机听到“四十七[发音模糊]前”,它会搜索数据库猜测没听清的那个单词可能是“年”。In iOS7, the user had to dictate an entire passage, hit “done”, and wait for the (usually quite accurate) text to appear after a second or two. In iOS8, though, things get more interesting: the words appear nearly as they are spoken. The real-time appearance of each word allows the curious language pundit to peer into the software’s mind. I tried a deliberate “Four score and seven rrrrs ago.” Each of the first four words appeared almost instantly. After the rrrrs, the system paused for a brief moment, before offering “years ago” on the screen. The software clearly thought “hmm, rrrrs sounds like nothing in my database. But this ‘four score and seven’ is almost always followed by the word ‘years’, and the ‘ago’ seems to prove it.”在IOS7系统中,用户必须先口述一整段语音,点击“完成”键,一两秒后语音被转化成文字,准确率一般都很高。在IOS8系统中,该功能变得更为有趣:语音和文字几乎是同步的。由于每个单词可以实时出现,因此语言专家可以分析软件的思维方式。我故意说了“四十七rrrrs前”,前四个单词中的第一个单词几乎立刻出现。当我说到rrrrs时,系统短暂停顿后在屏幕上显示出“年前”。软件明显在想:“嗯...我的数据库中找不到rrrrs的发音,但“四十七”后面经常出现“年”这个单词,而“前”这个单词似乎明了这一点。To check my intuition, I tried “rrrrs” for “years” in several situations where ;years; is not the obvious word, including a classic line from ;Raiders of the Lost Ark;: “It’s not the years, honey—it’s the mileage.” The software returned things like “It’s not the errors honey it’s the mileage,” and “It’s not Thursday honey it’s the mileage.” The line obviously isn’t in Apple’s training text as frequently as “Four score and seven years ago.”为了验我的直觉判断,我在多个情景中将“年(years)”说成了“rrrrs”,在这些情景中单词“年(years)”并不是显而易见就能推测出来的,包括《夺宝奇兵》中的经典台词:“关键不在于车龄,宝贝,而在于行驶里程”。这时软件显示出的文字是:“关键不在于错误(errors),宝贝,而在于行驶里程”,以及 “关键不在于周四(Thursday),宝贝,而在于行驶里程”。这句话在苹果数据库中出现的频率明显不如 “四十七年前”。Another much-touted advance in iOS8 is predictive text for typing. When composing a text or e-mail, users see three words above the keyboard at any given time—the three words Apple reckons they are most likely to use next. As with speech recognition, the software must first be trained on a bunch of actual English text. But Apple also claims that the software learns from each individual user over time.苹果IOS8系统中另一个备受追捧的进步是打字预测功能。当用户在编辑文字或电子邮件时,随时能看到键盘上会浮现出三个单词,苹果认为这三个单词是你接下来最有可能用到的。与语音识别同理,这款软件也必须事先接受真实英语文本的训练。但苹果也表示该软件随着时间也会学习单个用户的使用习惯。iOS8 has had about a month to learn your columnist’s habits. At present, the three words Apple thinks Johnson is mostly to use to start a text are “I”, “The” and “I’m”. If that sounds depressingly ego-centric, remember that “I” is the most common word in spoken English. Pressing “I” reveals the three words most likely to follow “I”: “love”, “don’t” and “just”. Johnson is apparently not as disagreeable as Mr Oswalt.IOS8系统用了一个月时间学习笔者的习惯。现在苹果认为笔者在编辑文字时,开头最常用的三个单词是“我”,“这”,“我是”。尽管这种以自我为中心的感觉令人郁闷,但请记住“我”是英文口语中最常用的单词。在键盘上点击“我”会显示接下来最有可能用到的三个单词:“爱”,“不”,“仅仅”。笔者显然不像奥斯瓦尔特先生那般不友好。What is striking, however, is that though the software can pick words that are likely to follow the previous word, the trick does not produce great phrases. Repeatedly pressing the middle of the three choices on my phone results in令人惊奇的是,该软件能从先前出现过的预测结果中选词,但这种技巧无法产生令人满意的短语。在我键盘上重复重复点击第二个备选单词,结果产生下面的文本:“The day I have a great way of the year and the other hand is the only thing that would have to go back and I don’t think that I have a great way of life and the day I have to go back and the other hand…”我以一年中良好的方式度过了这一天(The day I have a great way of the year),另一方面(the other hand),这一天是我必须要回顾的(have to go back),我认为自己没有良好的生活方式(I have a great way of life),这一天是我必须要回顾的(have to go back),另一方面(the other hand)...Curiously, sometimes the system repeats its own predictions (“and the other hand” occurs twice). But sometimes it doesn’t (“I have a great way of” is once followed by “the year”, and the second time followed by “of life”). And if I clear the whole mess and begin again, repeatedly tapping the same button gives me a different string. What is going on behind the scenes is unclear. (Apple did not respond to requests to clarify.)令人惊奇的是,系统有时会重复之前的预测结果(“and the other hand”出现过两次)。但有时又不会重复(第一次出现的“I have a great way of”后面跟随的是“the year”,而第二次出现时后面跟随的是“of life”)。如果我删掉这些乱七八糟的文字重新编辑,然后同样重复点击第二个备选单词,产生的一连串单词会与上次不同。这究竟是怎么一回事我不得而知,苹果公司对于澄清此事的请求未作回应。When this new predictive feature was announced, a few observers harrumphed: offering the next potential word allows a writer to skip the work of choosing words. Well, to choose just one word: nonsense. At the most, iOS8 will allow you to avoid typing some fairly long but frequent words. But it’s not y to appease your boss, apologise to your spouse or do your homework for you. In 1965 Michael Frayn imagined automating journalism in his novel The Tin Men, automatically generating catchy headlines and composing predictable stories (like ones on the royal family) with a string of clichés. Fortunately, half a century later, we hacks must still be paid to string out clichés by hand.当这种新潮的文字预测功能刚问世时,少数观察人士曾对此嗤之以鼻:预测下一个可能用到的单词会让写字的人越过选词过程。只能用一个词来形容:荒唐。IOS8系统最多就是让你不必重复写出冗长又经常使用的单词,但它没想代替你去安抚你的老板,向你的爱人道歉,或者帮你做作业。1965年,迈克尔·弗莱恩曾在他的小说《铁皮人》中畅想过新闻工作自动化的情景:自动产生朗朗上口的新闻标题;编写可预测的故事(比如皇室故事);一连串的陈词滥调。幸运的是,半个世纪后的今天,我们这些拿工资的雇佣文人仍需亲手编写陈词滥调。 /201411/340516

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