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在智能时代,“傻瓜”一点也许更好
In an Era of ‘Smart’ Things, Sometimes Dumb Stuff Is Better

来源:纽约时报    2018-03-06 05:20:16



        It still feels magical to light up your living room by saying “Alexa, turn on the lights.” But with all the hype surrounding so-called smart things — everyday devices that are connected to the internet — it’s easy to forget that sometimes the dumb stuff is just better.        说一句“Alexa,开灯”就能打开起居室的灯还是让人觉得很神奇。但在所谓智能设备——能与互联网连接的各种日常设备——遭到大肆炒作的情况下,人们容易忘记,有时候傻瓜设备反而更好。
        Tech companies are adding internet connections to just about everything you can imagine so that they can be controlled with smart speakers or phones. Thermostats, surveillance cameras, mosquito zappers, coffee makers — you name it.        科技公司正在给你能想象到的几乎所有东西添加网络连接,这样你就可以用通过智能扬声器或手机控制它们。恒温器、监控摄像头、灭蚊器、咖啡机,无奇不有。
        And smart devices are becoming more popular. In 2017, 15 percent of American households owned a home automation device, up from 10 percent in April 2016, according to NPD Group, a research firm.        智能设备越来越普遍。据研究公司NPD集团(NPD Group)称,2017年15%的美国家庭拥有一台家用自动化设备,这一比例高于2016年4月的10%。
        But before we get carried away setting up the Wi-Fi connections on all our appliances, lights and fashion accessories, let me play Luddite for a second. Some of the most mundane devices are designed to accomplish a simple task extremely well — and in some cases they still execute those duties better than their high-tech brethren.        但在我们不由自主地为所有电器、灯具和时尚饰品设置无线连上Wi-Fi之前,让我先扮演一会儿反对技术革新的角色。有一些最普通的设备,它们的设计是为了出色地完成一项简单的任务,有时它们在执行这些任务时的表现依然胜过它们的高科技兄弟。
        So let’s take a moment to appreciate some of the best dumb things. Here are my top picks.        所以,咱们花点时间来欣赏一些最棒的傻瓜设备吧。下面是我的首选。
         A wristwatch vs. Apple Watch        手表 vs. Apple Watch
        The Apple Watch, by all measures, is a hit. The latest iteration of the Apple Watch, called Series 3, is fast, water-resistant and versatile with long battery life, making it a superb smart watch for tracking your fitness activity.        从各个方面来说Apple Watch都是热门产品。最新款的Apple Watch Series 3具备速度快、防水、功能丰富和电池寿命长的特点,这使它成了追踪健身活动的绝佳智能手表。
        Yet a normal wristwatch is still superior at one crucial task: Telling the time.        但普通手表在一项关键的任务上依然表现更好:显示时间。
        The Apple Watch’s screen wakes up when you tilt your wrist at an angle, which indicates you are trying to check the time. That helps conserve battery life. But any Apple Watch wearer is familiar with situations where this feature gets frustrating.        Apple Watch的屏幕在你把手腕倾斜到一定角度,表明你想看时间的时候会被唤醒。这有助于节省电池寿命。但所有佩戴Apple Watch的人都知道,这项功能在有些情况下令人心烦。
        While riding a bicycle, for example, you often have to let go of the handle bar and lift the watch toward your face to check the time. When you’re standing on a bus or subway train and holding onto a pole, it is difficult to tilt your wrist at the correct angle to look at the time. Or when you’re in a meeting and want to see if you’re staying on schedule, flicking your wrist isn’t very subtle.        比如骑自行车的时候,你常常不得不放开车把,把表举到脸跟前才能看到时间。站在公交车或地铁上扶着扶手杆时,很难把手腕倾斜到能看时间的正确角度。或者当你正在开会,想看看事情是否正在按时间表进行时,抬手腕的动作有些欠妥。
        Until the Apple Watch manages to constantly display the time without sapping the battery, a normal wristwatch is better for telling the time in all those scenarios. That’s why you’ll see me wearing a normal watch at work but an Apple Watch at the gym.        在Apple Watch能做到可以持续显示时间但又不损耗电池之前,普通手表在所有这些情况下都能更好地显示时间。所以你会看到我上班时戴普通手表,健身时戴Apple Watch。
        A car mount vs. a smart car console
        手机支架 vs. 智能汽车控制台
        Many cars are now equipped with a touch-screen on the console that essentially mirrors your smartphone screen. Android phone users get to use Android Auto, and iPhone users hook into CarPlay.        许多汽车现在都在控制台上配备了触摸屏,它大致类似于智能手机屏幕。安卓手机用户可以使用Android Auto,iPhone用户则可以接入CarPlay。
        These smart car systems are designed to seamlessly work with your smartphone. Plugging in an iPhone, for example, loads a screen of apps like Apple Maps, Apple Music and Apple’s podcast app, which you can then control on the console or with Siri instead of fiddling with your smartphone screen.        这些智能汽车系统旨在与智能手机实现无缝对接。例如,连接iPhone,就能在屏幕上下载苹果地图、苹果音乐和苹果Podcast等应用程序,然后就可以在控制台上或者通过Siri进行控制,而不必摆弄智能手机屏幕。
        The problem with this concept is there are a limited number of apps that work with these smart infotainment systems. For example, if on CarPlay you prefer to use Google Maps or Waze, you’re out of luck and are stuck with Apple Maps.        这一概念的问题在于,这些智能信息娱乐系统上能使用的应用程序为数有限。例如,如果你更习惯谷歌地图或Waze应用,那么很不幸,CarPlay上只能用苹果地图。
        In addition, if your smart car system needs a major software update, some car brands are lagging in allowing you to download and install the updates yourself. Instead, they require you to bring the car to the dealer and pay for the updates to be installed there. General Motors, for example, has for years declined to offer so-called over-the-air updates and will only say it plans to support them before 2020.        此外,如果你的智能汽车系统需要更新一个重要软件,有些汽车品牌不会立即允许你自己下载和安装更新。他们要求你把车送到经销商那里进行更新,而且需要你支付费用。例如,通用汽车(General Motors)多年来一直拒绝提供所谓的“无线升级”,只表示计划在2020年前提供这项支持。
        Using a phone mount is a cheap and simple solution that is far less frustrating. You just attach the mount to the dash, a CD player slot or an air conditioning vent, mount your phone and plug it into a power charger via the accessories port.        使用手机支架是一种廉价而简单的解决方案,而且远不会这么令人沮丧。只需把它安装在仪表盘上、CD播放器槽或空调通风口上,把手机架在上面,然后通过配件端口把它插到电源充电器上就行了。
        Voilà, your phone has become your infotainment system, capable of running your favorite navigation and music apps and using voice controls to place calls over speakerphone. The screen is large enough to clearly read maps, and you can update the operating system on your own. What more do you need?        好了,你的手机已经变成信息娱乐系统了,能够运行你最喜欢的导航和音乐应用程序,并可以通过语音控制来使用扬声器拨打电话。屏幕足够大,可以清晰地读取地图,而且你可以自己更新操作系统。你还有什么别的需求吗?
        An alarm clock vs. Amazon Echo Spot        闹钟 vs. 亚马逊的Echo Spot
        Amazon recently introduced the Echo Spot, a smart alarm clock with a touch-screen and the Alexa virtual assistant. A less desirable feature is a built-in camera for placing video calls.        前不久,亚马逊推出了Echo Spot,一个带有触摸屏和Alexa虚拟助手的智能闹钟。它有一个不太明智的功能,那就是用内置摄像头来进行视频通话。
        A camera on your nightstand that is constantly pointed at your bed? It’s like asking for your privacy to be violated. You might as well shop for your groceries in your underwear or post all your smartphone photos publicly on the web.        床头柜上有个摄像头一直对着你的床?这就像是要求侵犯你的隐私,类似于穿着内衣去买食品杂货,或者在网上公开智能手机上的所有照片。
        Amazon promises the camera software on the Echo Spot can be turned off whenever you aren’t using it. But it’s an obvious feature for hackers to target with malware.        亚马逊承诺,Echo Spot上的摄像头软件只要不用就可以关闭。但它显然是黑客可以用恶意软件攻击的对象。
        So if your primary goal is to have a device that wakes you up on time to go to work, just get an old-school alarm clock.        所以,如果你的主要目标是有一个能按时叫你起床上班的设备,那就买一个老式闹钟。
        A kitchen timer vs. Amazon Echo
        厨房计时器 vs. 亚马逊Echo
        One of the most common uses of Amazon’s Echo is to set a kitchen timer. Just say “Alexa, set a timer for 80 minutes” while you’re busy chopping vegetables.        亚马逊Echo被用得最多的功能就是设定厨房计时器。在你忙着切菜的时候,只用说一句“Alexa,设定一个80分钟的计时器”。
        But there are reasons a cheap kitchen timer can be superior.        但一个便宜的厨房计时器更有优势也是有原因的。
        Cooking timing can vary depending on your heating element, among other factors. So if you have to check your food for doneness and change the kitchen timer, an old-school timer — either the analog variety or the type with a digital time display and two or three physical buttons — can be easier. It simply dings or beeps when the time is up and it’s quicker to add or subtract a few minutes by turning a dial or pressing a button or two.        烹饪时间会因你的加热设备及其他因素有所不同。因此,如果你要看食物的成熟度来调整厨房计时器,那么老式的计时器——不论是指针计时还是有电子显示屏和两三个物理按键的那种——都会更好用。时间到了,它就“叮”一声或发出“滴滴”声,转动刻度盘或按一两个按钮,就可以很快地加减几分钟。
        You can also constantly see how much time is left on the timer, whereas with the Echo, you have to open a smartphone app to see the remaining time or ask Alexa to tell you how much time is left. Over the long term, using a smart speaker as a timer gets tedious.        你也可以随时查看计时器还剩多少时间,而在使用Echo时,则必须打开智能手机应用来查看剩余时间,或是让Alexa来告诉你。从长远来看,用智能音箱来做计时器会有些繁琐。
        A piece of paper vs. a tablet
        纸 vs. 平板电脑
        When people buy new iPads or Amazon Fire tablets, they often give their older tablet a second life by designating it for the kitchen. There, the ancient tablet gets mounted to the refrigerator with a magnet and becomes a glorified recipe reader.        当人们购买了新的iPad或亚马逊Fire平板电脑,往往就会把老平板发配到厨房里让它重获新生。在那里,老旧的平板电脑被磁铁吸在冰箱上,成了一个光荣的食谱阅读器。
        Having tried this experiment, it’s a hassle. You often have to clean the tablet after smearing food on the screen. The battery eventually needs to be recharged. And if you want to double or halve a recipe, you have to do some mental math, which makes multitasking more challenging when you are busy in the kitchen.        经过尝试,这是一件麻烦事。你得时常清洁弄在平板电脑屏幕上的食物。电池终归需要充电。并且如果你想把菜谱的分量加倍或减半,就需要进行一点心算,当你在厨房忙碌的时候,这就让一心多用更加困难。
        Printing out or jotting down a recipe on a piece of paper is just simpler. You can easily scribble additional notes, like changes and improvements to the recipe. Assuming you have decent handwriting, it’s easy to read the steps and ingredients.        用纸打印或记下一份菜谱会更加简单。你可以轻松记下附加的笔记,比如对食谱的调整和改进。如果你的字还不错,阅读步骤和原料是很轻松的。
        And if it gets covered in food, you can just throw it away.        而且如果它沾上了食物,还可以直接丢掉。
                
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