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Comment Re:exactly this. (Score 1) 248 248

I'm not sure it's necessary to have all your friends on the same service, but the more services they're spread across, the more accounts you have to create and maintain, the more places you have to check, the more sites you have to log into, and the more mobile apps you need to install if you want to stay on top of everything.

Comment Re:I don't get it,... five a day? (Score 1) 325 325

$2.42 per 400-calorie bottle so $12.08 a day,... cooking my self I can manage a (I hope) tastier alternative for less,... What is the gain in using this?

Well, you don't have to cook a meal yourself, so that's one benefit. Also, if we can assume that it is actually a "balanced meal" it does mean that you don't have to figure out or plan a balanced diet. The fact that it's liquid means that you can just gulp it down-- no need to silverware, no crumbs, no need to chew even. The fact that it is in an individual bottle that doesn't need refrigeration means that you don't have to mix it, and you can just grab a bottle, throw it in a bag, and go.

In short, it's very convenient. It's not the cheapest option or the tastiest option. But if you're someone who doesn't have the time or inclination to think about meals, and just wants balanced nutrition without spending any time or energy on it, then you're the target audience.

Comment Re:Answering calls? (Score 2) 66 66

Then there are the speech patterns advertisers and political wheedlers commonly use. Siri could even feed you through a "translucent" piece of the caller's spiel overlaid by its own "Shall I take this call?"

This reminds me of Grand Central, the service that eventually became Google Voice. It had features where you could say, for example, "Right now, if someone in my family calls, route them them directly to my cell phone. If one of my work contacts calls, route them to my work voicemail. If an unknown number calls, ask them to leave a voicemail, but let me listen into the the voicemail and I'll decide whether to take the call."

I think it was a great feature set, but it was probably too complicated to be workable for most people. It'd be nice if Apple (or someone else) could work out a way to do this in a naturalistic way.

Comment Re:exactly this. (Score 1) 248 248

And wouldn't app interoperabiility would probably make your privacy "the weakest in the chain"/"the weakest installed"?

Potentially, yes, in much the same way that your email is only as secure as the least secure recipient. I'd count that as "an issue to be worked out" rather than "an unavoidable problem that makes the idea inherently unworkable."

Also, doesn't that make it where every single feature needs to hit critical mass independently... after all, how do I see your pictures if I need to install an app to do so? What about dueling options fragmenting the market?

There are already dualing options fragmenting the market. You have Google+, Facebook status feeds, and Twitter all serving roughly the same purpose, though with no interoperability. If you want to post something so all of your friends can see it, you'll probable need to set up accounts on each of these services, and repost it for each service. You may be able to find an app that would do it for you. What I'm suggesting is that it would be better if you could choose to use Twitter or Facebook or Google for that purpose, based on features, security, or other benefits of that service, rather than having the service tied to a particular userbase (e.g. choose twitter because you think it works better rather than having to use Facebook because you want to reach Facebook users.)

You bring up apps, but ideally you'd have an API/protocol that separates the apps from the service. I can access Gmail using Google's Gmailapp, or using any other app that supports IMAP. I'm suggesting that there should be a standard set of IM/Messaging protocols, for example, so that instead of being forced to use Facebook's Messenger app for Facebook's Messenger service and Google's Hangouts app for their Hangouts IM/Messaging, you should be able to use the app that you like best with the service that you like best.

Comment Re:exactly this. (Score 1) 248 248

Or they should have done what I'd still like to see them do: Build a series of stand-alone web applications with open APIs that interact well together, but can be mixed-and-matched with different services.

Google is one of the few companies with the clout and resources to open the web back up again. We've been moving more and more toward closed/proprietary interactions. Compare Twitter with email, for example. I don't need a Gmail account to email with Gmail users, because email is an open system and other people can set up their own email servers that can communicate with email. Twitter, on the other hand, for whatever APIs it offers, does not allow you to set up your own Twitter server, creating your own Twitter accounts that Twitter (the company) does not control. If you want to participate in Twitter, you need a Twitter account with the original Twitter service.

So with this contrast in mind, I think we need someone to develop protocols, APIs, standards, encoding formats, and whatever is involved to make these services more like email. I think Google should make identity management services, status update services, messaging services, photo sharing services, etc., all of which are open in the way that email is open, instead of closed in the way that Facebook and Twitter are closed. They should all work well together, but give you the option of using an alternative for any one of the services without everything breaking, (e.g. use Google status updates and identity management, set up your own server for messaging, and use Instagram for photo sharing in a way that they can all inter-operate well).

If Google could do this, they could position themselves as a way to exit the bullshit of our current social media infrastructure without losing the functionality you've relied on. I think it could be a good strategy at this point.

Comment Answering calls? (Score 3, Interesting) 66 66

It sounds like they're really just talking about transcribing voicemails, but by saying that Siri will "answer calls", it made me wonder if there might be a future in Siri (or something like it) replacing phone tree systems with something a little more intelligent. For example, could you have a system that didn't just look for certain keywords, but ask the caller what kind of issue they're calling about, and then route the call appropriately. In some cases, Siri might route it to a live phone operator, in others she might automatically transcribe the caller's statements and route it to the right person's email, or attach it to the correct trouble-ticket. Maybe if the system were smart enough, it could even prioritize incoming calls, or interrupt current phone calls, (e.g. "Excuse me Mr. Nine-Times, but there is an urgent phone call from one of your most important clients. Can you take the phone call right now?")

I hadn't really thought about that before, but it seems like a market that could really use a better solution. Phone trees suck.

Comment Re:exactly this. (Score 2) 248 248

You mean like Facebook and Orkut did?

Facebook didn't have to compete with Facebook. I mean, Friendster and MySpace existed already by the time Facebook opened up, but they were crap. There wasn't a huge, successful, entrenched player already holding most of the market. Plus, Facebook started by targeting a specific market (colleges), so while it was limited at first, it was still capturing huge numbers of young people.

Orkut? Well, it never seemed to really catch on here in the states anyway, and it's shut down now, so whatever they did, it didn't really work out. Still, launching an invite-only social network in 2004 was a far different beast than launching one in 2011.

But seriously, those were due to scaling concerns.

Even if that was genuinely the reason they did that, which I somewhat doubt, it was still a stupid marketing decision. It would have been better for the story to be, "People are so excited about Google+ that the service is crashing under the load of so many users," instead of "Google+ really performs well when I load the page and look at... an empty page because nobody is on Google+."

Comment Re:exactly this. (Score 5, Insightful) 248 248

There was never any room for Plus. instead of recognizing a subset of users who enjoy social media and offering a better product, Plus focused on offering the same product. Then, when it didnt become an instant sensation, they threw a tantrum and made all users social media users by embedding Plus into everything that google did.

I actually think a big part of the failure of Google+ was something that, in hindsight, looks so small that a lot of people forget about it: When Google+ launched, it was a limited invite-only service.

Google had previously had good experiences with that sort of limited/phased rollout, particularly with Gmail. The fact that it was hard to get an invite helped generate hype for Gmail, and I suspect they were hoping that creating the same kind of artificial scarcity would help Google+ accounts to become equally sought-after. And it worked, for a little while. There was a brief period of time where lots of people wanted account, and they were nearly impossible to come by.

However, whereas Gmail users can continue to communicate with people who use other Email providers, the utility of having a Google+ account is directly related to having all of your friend on the same social network. Because of this, in hyping the service by limiting the availability of accounts, Google was shooting themselves in the foot. At the time of greatest hype, right when the early adopters and people who are social networking hubs would be most eager to try the service, they either weren't able to get an account, or else they got an account only to find that their friends couldn't get an account. In the very important window of time between when Google+ was launched and when people had made up their minds about it, it had already earned a reputation as being "possibly potentially good, but useless because no one is on it."

And that narrative just stuck. A social network with nobody on it is of no use to anyone, so the narrative became a self-fulfilling prophesy. Nobody ever bothered using Google+ because everyone already knew that nobody used it. As Google started to realize it was a failure, they then tried to force people to use it by linking it with all of their other services, but they should have known better. The harder they tried to push people to use it, the more of a backlash it created.

Remembering back to the time, there were a lot of people who had become frustrated with Facebook, and I think that it would have been possible to get a substantial user base simply by offering a viable alternative. Unfortunately, Google tried the wrong marketing strategy, generating hype by limiting availability, and it backfired spectacularly.

Comment Re:Not sure I understand.... (Score 1) 170 170

If you argue that something is useless or inferior to an alternative, then you need to prove that it is that for everybody, not just for some people.

No I don't. I don't have to prove anything in this discussion, because I'm posting on an Internet message board and voicing my opinion. When I'm trying to get published in scientific journals, or if I'm on trial for something, those are the times I need to prove something.

And in this case, I'm not even arguing that nobody should buy an XBox. I don't care what people do, and if the XBox is, for whatever reason, more convenient, by all means go buy one. I don't care very much what some random asshole on the Internet buys. You could go buy yourself an XBox for every room of the house, and hey, it's your money, you can do that. I'm still aloud to post on the Internet that it seems excessive and stupid.

As far as whether streaming PC games to your XBox is a good idea, my guess is that the experience won't be great for twitch games, but if it's a good enough experience for you, then again, by all means, have at it. I'm not going to be an asshole and claim that you have to prove that's the best choice for everybody.

At the same time, if what you really want is a method to stream your Steam games to your TV over your home network through a set-top box, I would guess that there are cheaper solutions than the XBox. You don't even need something with much 3D rendering performance to stream video.

Comment Re:Not sure I understand.... (Score 1) 170 170

Let me do the same: No, it wouldn't.

Yes, it would. Gee, this is fun. Now your turn.

There are plenty of massively powered existing PCs not hooked up to the living room TV

And there are plenty that are. And there are plenty of people who don't hook it up to the TV because they don't want to. And there are plenty of people who buy more than one computer, understanding that it's "redundant hardware", because that's what they want to do. In fact, that's what you're doing if you buy an XBox when you already have a good gaming PC anyway.

And why are you getting butthurt because I don't want to buy an XBox?

suppose you have some awesome ... gaming PC, do not want to put it in the living room, want to use [it] ... in to your living room. How do you propose solving this conundrum in the easiest and cheapest manner?

Well the easiest and cheapest option is to quit being such a particular whiny bitch, and either play games in the game room or move your gaming rig to the living room. That's easy and cheap. It doesn't give you every little thing your heart desires, but it sure keeps things simple. All of the other solutions are going to have some trade-off between "cheap and easy" and "works well".

Comment Re:Not sure I understand.... (Score 1) 170 170

Buying an XBox would still be redundant hardware, for the most part (excluding exclusive games). Also, at least for me, my office computer and my gaming PC aren't really redundant. For my office/productivity use, I'm content with an older computer with an integrated graphics chipset. It's not a gaming PC, but it's fast enough to open web pages.

Comment Not sure I understand.... (Score 4, Insightful) 170 170

I'm not sure I understand why this would make steam machines useless. The main value of a steam machine, as I see it, is that it allows you to have the convenience of a console in what is essentially a generic gaming PC. That is, it has a controller and a GUI aimed at connecting it to a TV and not using a keyboard or mouse, but it's not a locked-down console. It's just generic hardware that will play all of your PC games, and those games don't become obsolete and unplayable when you upgrade to the next generation.

The article says:

if you can use your Xbox One to play your PC on your TV, then your Xbox One can use Steam and effectively become a Steam Machine.

So what they're saying is, if you have a PC running Steam (which is really all a "Steam Machine" is) and an XBox One, then it's kind of the same as having a Steam Machine. Yes, it is... because you're starting with the scenario where you have a Steam machine. It's like saying, "There's no reason to buy a car, since if I already own a car and I buy a bicycle, it's like owning a car!"

Look, you shouldn't assume that I want an XBox. I can get a PC with better graphics and avoid being locked into Microsoft's ecosystem. I can install game mods, my games don't all go unnecessarily obsolete with every new generation of PC, Steam often has very good sales, Steam doesn't make me pay a monthly subscription for online services, and I can use that PC for other things if I like. To me, the only thing that would want me to buy a console at this point is if there were an exclusive game that I really wanted to play, and I've found that I can live without it. I don't want an XBox, so it doesn't make sense to me to say, "If you buy a Steam machine and an XBox, then it's like having a Steam machine!" I'll just buy a Steam machine, thank you, even if it's not a branded "Steam Machine".

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 1) 515 515

They seem to think it is doing "something". Exactly what, may be in question. 8-)

From what I read back when the last time this was a story, a few people were saying, "It seems to be generating thrust, but on the other hand, the amount of thrust we're measuring is basically within the margin of error, so... we need to keep testing this."

Comment Re:Not the best summary... (Score 1) 195 195

That is included in the phrase of "those who cannot get vaccinated".

So in your head, some people who got vaccinated should be included in the classification "those who cannot get vaccinated. Well that says a lot about the strength of your argument.

Measles vaccination is a non-issue and non-risk. Using it to advance the principle that government can force people to inject stuff against their objections by exaggerating and fabricating numbers like "killing 3 million people" as if they had anything to do with measles is outrageously dishonest and deceptive.

I didn't claim that measles would kill 3 million people. I was using simple math to point out that "a small percentage of the population" might still include a whole lot of people.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann