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Comment Re:It's...a staff pick. (Score 2) 50

Kickstarter is not one of countless organizations that do this, they may very well be the single LARGEST organization that does it, and we expect more from the big guys than the little guys.

Oh, unlike Vimeo ($40 mil annual revenue in 2013), Hulu (worth multiple billions of dollars), Powell's (market cap ~320 mil) or Redbox (tough to tell actual value of Redbox, but let's assume it's a few bucks north of nothing, shall we?), all hits that come right up on a quick Google search for "staff picks"?

And if you want to expand past the strict verbiage of "staff pick", there's the New York Times Editor's Choice list, Amazon's Editor's Picks, Google Play's Staff Picks, Apple's Featured Apps...

I mean, rail against staff picks on general principle, certainly. No problem whatsoever with that, even if I don't agree that it's a big problem. But don't pretend that this piece is is anything other than a hit piece/author's grudge against Kickstarter here.

Comment It's...a staff pick. (Score 5, Insightful) 50

When things are chosen by a "staff pick", the staff of a particular organization picks things they think look interesting. That's...the whole deal.

It's not a subjective process. It's also not a new process. Your local book, record and video stores, back when such things still existed, did this. Your local liquor store does this. This has concept has been around for ages.

The only thing that Kickstarter has to do with this entire concept is that they're one of countless organizations that do this.

Comment Re:Could someone ELI5 how Macbooks retain value? (Score 1) 434

On the Cube what was the problem other than being expensive? Obviously it inspired the design of the Mac mini.

In addition to being expensive, it had problems with overheating (recall it was a fanless design) and the acrylic case had a bad habit of developing cosmetic hairline cracks early on. These problems hit early and hard and got lots of press. They fixed the problem with the case, but the heat was still an issue; at any rate, it was too little, too late.

That said, they learned from these mistakes. The Cube was effectively an early predecessor of the (very successful) Mac Mini.

Comment Re:Could someone ELI5 how Macbooks retain value? (Score 1) 434

While HP appeared to continue dumping crappy products 7-8 years ago, it's competitor Lenovo has done a bang up job for a little more money.

7-8 years ago, yes. Apple released the Toilet Seat in 1999, and the Cube in 2000. That's another 15-16 years for those products alone, years before IBM sold their laptop business to Lenovo.

Back then, the design efforts of most other computer manufacturers focused on "how can we most efficiently construct and customize our machines?" You'll recall that Dell was doing some really clever stuff in terms of streamlining the manufacturing process, in particular; lots fewer screws, lots more quick-release tabs and easy-connect parts. This did wonders for manufacturing costs, and is what catapulted them ahead for a time--but they, like pretty much every other PC maker, were focusing on "how do we make what we already have cheaper/easier to build". They were chasing the margins. Eventually, the margins became too thin, and the big producers imploded in a hail of flimsy cases, cheap components and margins that you'd cut yourself on.

That's why I say that Apple had a big head-start. Today, lots of PC makers are making some pretty hefty investments in the same sorts of quality and novelty design areas that Apple has been doing for ages. They're still at a disadvantage, though, because it can take a long time and a lot of money to build up a solid in-house design group, and few companies share Apple's luxury of mountains of cash money lying about to do these sorts of blue-sky experiments with their production lines.

Comment Re:Could someone ELI5 how Macbooks retain value? (Score 4, Interesting) 434

There was a time I understood this during the PPC era of mac, but now that macs run on commodity, non specialized CISC based x86, I have no idea why they retain their value. A lot of PC makers are starting to make machines that look *almost* as nice as a MBP. My HP Envy Beats laptops have a nice aluminum case.

One reason is that they've poured a lot of effort into materials design, visual design, and industrial design, and have been doing so for years. We laugh at the Toilet Seat, the Cube, and various other goofy flops they've had in their history, but it demonstrates a) just how far back their design efforts go, and b) just how much they've learned since. A lot of other companies are getting into this now, but Apple has a pretty big head start, and they're not showing any signs of abandoning this practice any time soon.

Comment Re:LG G4 (Score 1) 208

Apple ... realized that the vast majority of people did not buy spare batteries for laptops ...

Bullshit. Gross gooey bullshit. Apple found it easier and more profitable for THEM to make the batteries non-replaceable. They relied on idiot fanbois to keep buying their shit anyway, and on regulators not to give a fuck about doing their job and keeping waste minimized by REQUIRING all batteries in all consumer goods to be replaceable.

Sure, because even though swappable batteries are bigger, heavier, more expensive to make, compromise the strength of the laptop's chassis, require more moving parts, need to use contacts, and still need to be bought from the manufacturer at a stupid high premium (or at Joe's U-Test-Em Fly-By-Night Battery Emporium dot com, if you're feeling brave,) by GOD they're user-swappable, and THAT, my friends--THAT is the thing that REALLY. MATTERS.


Comment Re:Add-ons (Score 5, Interesting) 208

It's interesting how, the same way we are going back to the old concept of mainframe with the cloud thing, we're also making our "mobile" phones wired again.

I mean, if you think of a smartphone as a souped-up cell phone, then yeah, you're gonna be charging a whole lot more. Alternatively, if you think of a smartphone as a stripped-down Internet-connected laptop you can carry in your pocket, then not so much.

A smartphone is only a phone these days in the sense that one (or honestly several) of umpteen different apps it has allows you to make telephone calls.

Cell phones were never meant to be computing devices. They were mobile telephones with some truly horrid additional functionality bolted on top (the most successful of which was texting, which was simply horrid experience on a numeric keypad, T9 or no.)

We're not re-wiring our mobile phones. We're stratifying our computing across devices, and relegating telephony--a formerly essential function that used to require a dedicated device--to the status of a supplemental application that we tend only to use on our more mobile computing devices, if at all.

Comment Yes (Score 2) 217

This is a good idea; a deeper understanding of the various roles around you can only improve your own work.

Similarly, coders should be able to:

  • Read (and write!) a project proposal
  • Successfully explain their work to a room full of non-technical people
  • Interpret a project plan and identify risk points
  • Understand an annual report
  • Grasp basic employment law

Specialized skills are substantially enhanced by a broader understanding of the organization as a whole.

Comment Re:Goodness (Score 1) 307

Perhaps all of that was an attempt to motivate at least a lukewarm response to the obviously coming problem so people wouldn't end up running around with their hair on fire later.

Oh I get that, I'm just saying that years of teeth-gnashing and arm-flailing has had pretty much the opposite of the desired effect.

This has been pitched as a dire and urgent danger for ages. The IPv4 address exhaustion problem Wikipedia article is nearly nine years old, for crying out loud.

This will get sorted out like pretty much every single other technical capacity issue gets sorted out: once the pain and cost of not acting becomes prohibitive, people will act, and it will cease to be an issue.

Comment However Shall We Figure This Out? (Score 1) 342

This it perhaps the first severe accident of this kind in a western factory, and is sparkling debate about who is responsible for the accident, the man who was servicing the robot beyond its protection cage, or the robot's hardware/software developers who didn't put enough safety checks. Will this distinction be more and more important in the future, when robots will be more widespread?

Folks, there exists an entire and oft maligned profession that is dedicated to figuring just this sort of thing out.

This isn't some big unsolved existential question. It's a fairly dry exercise in interpreting and applying precedent in new ways. Humans are actually reasonably good at sorting out how to deal with the legalities of new things.

UNIX is hot. It's more than hot. It's steaming. It's quicksilver lightning with a laserbeam kicker. -- Michael Jay Tucker