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Comment: Re:It is hard to know what to think (Score 2) 153

by swb (#48922533) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

It feels strange that Apple is making such a profit with a rather smallish that may be 12% of the market and no particularly eye-popping new products since the Steve Jobs era, just a series of well-engineered refinements.

I think you underestimate the "eye-popping" value of the 6 Plus screen size among consumers. I've owned every new iPhone since the 3GS and despite waiting a couple of months after the release date, still had a backorder time of 6 weeks when I ordered a 6 Plus. That hasn't happened for any other model.

It may not have been an eye-popping change in absolute technology terms or geek credibility, but what would be and would consumers care? There's too many constraints on size and battery life for more much more than incrementalism.

Plus I think all smartphone vendors want to maintain the current niche paradigm for these devices -- the consumer understands the "role" of the smartphone in their larger electronics ecosystem.

I think it will take someone willing to gamble on the idea of a dockable phone that can be used with KVM as a PC and/or tetherable to a "screen only" tablet to really shift the paradigm a lot. Apple could do it since they control the whole ecosystem but likely want to protect their product segments from sales loss, x86 is too power hungry and Windows failed on RISC and with Metro.

Google seems likely since they aren't specifically tied to given CPU and so much of Chrome is web-focused. Maybe Project Ara is sort of the start of this to sort out the modularity aspect so that you can assemble an Android/Chome system from parts or dock components with other components.

Comment: Re:inflation embiggens numbers (Score 3, Informative) 152

by afidel (#48922029) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

No, this is really an absurd profit, Standard Oil's net profit from 1882 to 1906 was $838,783,800 equal to roughly $22B today, so on an inflation adjusted basis Apple's quarterly profit was nearly equal to the majority of the lifetime profits of one of the classic robber baron trusts.

Comment: Re:Change for change's sake (Score 4, Interesting) 120

by afidel (#48921581) Attached to: Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Slew of Enhancements

The problem is the previous build was visually different while being MORE functional, this build is less functional if you have 19+ years of Windows experience. The previous build had the Windows 7 Start Menu with the addition of a live tiles dock area to the right, it added new useful functionality to the familiar and functional paradigm, the new build is basically a shrunk version of the Start Screen with all the crap that entails and which the majority of users have derided as being less functional on desktops (still the VAST, VAST majority of Windows machines). We had actually started plans for a Windows 10 rollout to our enterprise based on earlier tech preview builds, but those are now on hold and will be cancelled if they don't reverse the insanity. We can just keep using Windows 7 for the next 5 years.

Comment: The Toffee Approach (Score 2) 57

by SuperKendall (#48919545) Attached to: Inside the Largest Virtual Psychology Lab In the World

Why not let abuse take place online in virtual environments?

Because it sucks and leads to much more offline abusive behavior by otherwise good people after they have been repeatedly harassed.

Instead, this psychology of banning and throttling likely leads to more offline abusive real-life suffering.

The opposite is true. Because the natural abuser is inclined to fight through any system thrown at them, throttling and other attempts drain their energy more than simply letting them post would, leading to more relaxed (or at least less) behavior offline.

Not to mention, we all know that trolls online are probably losers who would never in a billion years have the nerve to say or do anything offensive offline...

Comment: MDisc (Score 1) 234

by bill_mcgonigle (#48918659) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

Asking myself the same question, I went with MDisc technology, in the BluRay capacity, in addition to my hard drive backups. MDisc uses an inorganic pigment as opposed to the organic dyes that are common on CD/DVD/BluRay recordables (and degrade over time).

I'll do an MDisc burn every year and move it offsite, to keep with the 4TB ZFS drive I rotate offsite weekly. The MDisc won't get my mp3 or mp4 files, but the stuff I can't recreate.

My best idea currently is to write PAR files of loop-back mounted LUKS volumes and include the PAR software source and ISO of the distro on the disc, in case I need the data in 20 years (emulators should be readily available for 2015 hardware).

I needed a BluRay writer anyway, so I went with this LG and it's been a great drive so far, and at the right price point for me.

Comment: This incident seems fishy (Score 2) 217

by swb (#48916383) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

The NY Times' article on this said a "government employee" (no name, no affiliation) had come forward to claim the drone and said he was flying it recreationally and that the Secret Service had interviewed him and said that all evidence indicated this was the case.

This seems odd -- who flies a drone recreationally in the vicinity of the White House at 3:30 AM? Or anywhere in DC for that matter. And a government employee? If you were a government employee, wouldn't you generally choose to avoid flying your drone around ten zillion government buildings

Why was he identified as a "government employee"? How likely is that the Secret Service is going to just accept a "oops, my bad" explanation?

Something about this seems off.

Comment: Re:Lagrange points? (Score 1) 121

by afidel (#48916297) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

The other major problem I see is that this thing will have so many holes in it within months that there will be significant distortion to the image. Perhaps they'll use a self-healing material? In fact a quick google shows these students are working on testing such a material on a micro-sattelite.

Comment: Re:Success! (Score 0) 88

by bill_mcgonigle (#48915879) Attached to: FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems

Until the fines are set to a level to remove all profit and THEN put a punishment on top, large business will continue to flout the law because it's more profitable.

You're absolutely right on the theory, but then take the next step to recognize that it's the purpose of government to ensure their profits and help them take money from us (in addition to the FCC taking money from us directly and giving it to the telco corporations).

This is evidenced by these fines never having been at a level such as you describe and, more recently, the move to no-plead agreements between prosecutors and corporations. You'll be shouting from your wheelchair in a retirement home that the government should increase fines on corporations to be proportional to their income, unless the fundamental bases of the system are changed.

Of course, if you do something wrong on the scale of millions of dollars of damage, you go to prison. If a corporation does something similarly wrong, they pay out some pocket change. Because "corporations are people, my friend."

Comment: How about a shotgun? (Score 2) 217

by swb (#48915537) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

A shotgun firing light shot (like #9, commonly used for skeet) can powder a clay target but quickly loses energy.

Where I used to shoot clay targets they had a duck tower, basically a target thrower mounted on tower of 25' or so. You'd shoot the targets from various stations around the tower. The idea was to simulate shooting flying ducks, so everyone shoots up at a steep angle.

Back out front of the clubhouse you would occasionally hear pellets hitting the metal roof of the building and once in a while feel one hit you. It felt like someone had tossed a small pebble in the air, almost not noticeable. The max shot they allowed was #7.5 target loads which is what we used on games with the most distant targets like the duck tower. #9 was better for skeet because of the short ranges and larger shot pattern.

I know people who have been hunting pheasant (relatively more powerful loads, like #4 shot) and been downrange of other hunters and hit by shot loads fired into the air. I forget what the distances where, but they described it as feeling like a light rain.