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Comment: Re:Many small solutions through a day (Score 2) 126

by Dixie_Flatline (#49548053) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

Separate money from wallets? Bring smiles to Apple fanbois faces? Usher in a new wave of corporate privacy invasion?

Christ, this is so obnoxious. Look, just because you don't have a use for this watch, it doesn't mean NOBODY does. Your implication is that this watch is literally useless except for making people that buy Apple products feel good.

First of all, it actually has functions that people theoretically feel useful. There are certainly Android Wear and Pebble owners that have similar functionality that feel that those devices fill this need. So as long as the Apple Watch does at least as much as those watches do, there's utility to some people. Even if all it does for someone is tell the time, $300 is not even close to the high end of what watches cost.

But it's also jewellery. People wear that stuff for lots of reasons. Do you understand how insanely dumb it is to buy a mechanical watch except as jewellery? They're not terribly accurate timekeeping devices. But they look good, and there's a aesthetic value to knowing that what you're wearing is mechanical and hand crafted. It's over $5000 for a Rolex STEEL wrist band. But you're not here criticising the idea of all luxury watches in general, or even all Smartwatches, just the Apple Watch.

You finish by saying that it's about the lock-in, but that's a ridiculous complaint. You think someone buying the first-gen Apple watch is the kind of person that is normally so capricious about their tech decisions?

What you don't like is that Apple made it and that other people like it. Just say that out loud and move on. Or don't comment at all. I think we can all safely assume by now that when Apple makes something there are a bunch of people that don't like it, so let's all pretend that you've said your piece and not use up the space from now on, hmm?

Comment: Re:Solution looking for a problem? (Score 1) 126

by Dixie_Flatline (#49547957) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

To me, every 'smartwatch' has to pass this test: would I wear it if all it did was display the time? Does it look and feel good enough? After that, the $300 is either easy or impossible to justify. I'd wear the Apple Watch. I'd wear one of the Withings Activite watches.

I will probably get one once I feel like the first-gen problems are worked out.

Comment: Re:Solution looking for a problem? (Score 3, Insightful) 126

by Dixie_Flatline (#49547759) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

I don't think it can solve any problems for you--if you're overwhelmed by notifications, your watch will just be a new point of contact for your frustrations.

You need to consider what's actually worth being notified about. I have a personal email account and one that I use to sign up for forums and get shipping notifications sent to. Only my personal account displays notifications, and I have a few people on my email VIP list. I switched my other mail account to sound notifications only. That way I know something happened and I can check it when I care.

At first it really feels like I'm missing things, but it actually worked out really well. Start with the assumption that nothing is worth as much as your time, and turn off every notification. Then add them back in one by one if you think it saves you more time to know that information immediately rather than once every hour or so.

Comment: Re:Pioneers get arrows in back (Score 1) 137

Joanna Stern of the Washington Post did a full EKG test with a bunch of fitness bands and a Polar heart rate strap. The fitness bands were all terrible, and the Polar Strap was pretty much spot on. Her testing of the Apple Watch seemed to indicate that it was within about 5 beats or so of her Polar-measured HR. It's by far the most accurate wrist-mounted HR monitor that she tested.

Comment: Who gets fired? (Score 1) 325

by Dixie_Flatline (#49539351) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

The highest level person that explicitly signed off on the strike should be fired. That's not the president--he authorises programs like this with the intention that they're carried out properly. (Whether or not this is an action the USA should be taking is a matter for elections.) If something goes wrong, someone should be punished for their incompetence. It can't be the lowest level person, because they're not the one calling the shots--it has to be someone high in the chain of command. Only explicit accountability can keep this sort of thing from happening again, assuming that this program must continue at all.

(I'm all for banning this sort of thing, but let's be real. Of course, if we're being real, we probably won't hear about this ever again.)

Comment: Re:$892,000 houses for the poors (Score 1) 536

Since we already know it's an area for rich people, it's likely that the land costs drive the price of the project up. Besides, if they're meant as rental properties, the idea won't be to get the money back immediately; the rental income and the theoretical dividends that it will pay back to the community will cover the costs in the long haul. Normally, the city would front some of that cost because there's value in that sort of diversity, but perhaps Lucas is shouldering a bunch of the costs that the city/developer normally would.

Comment: Being able to filter results (Score 1) 271

by Dixie_Flatline (#49501729) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

So say I'm searching for something with really common words in it. I can't think of anything specifically right now, but this is my most common search failure.

I get back a bunch of results. They have all the words I'm looking for, but they're all about two or three more popular topics. I'd like to be able to select a search result and tell the engine that results like this are incorrect for some semantic reason. Maybe it's a band name and I'm looking for a book titleâI should be able to say I don't want anything related to music. No bands, albums or songs. I'd be willing to tag results with some context to provide hints to the algorithm.

Things like 'windows' tend to mess up results; Google assumes that I either mean the Microsoft kind or the house kind, but sometimes I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with a particular application window. I run into this sort of thing surprisingly often.

Comment: Re:Pioneers get arrows in back (Score 1) 137

Yeah, and Microsoft and Blackberry had phones YEARS before Apple did. Just because you've been doing it for a long time doesn't mean it's better than what Apple's done. Just because Apple's been working on it for a couple years doesn't mean it'll be perfect out of the box. This is a first generation product, and it suffers from everything a first gen does. Nobody escapes that.

Apple nailed a couple things with the watch, from all accounts. The watch looks good--which is critical if you want to sell it to non-nerds, the HR monitoring is good, you can use it with Apple Pay. Give it a couple years. All sorts of tech needs to advance and have something like this watch driving it to be good at exactly what they need.

Comment: Re:Overrated (Score 5, Insightful) 200

by Dixie_Flatline (#49423047) Attached to: Snowden Demystified: Can the Government See My Junk?

Oliver is a master of taking a terrible, boring and critically important subject and making it palatable. Net Neutrality, predatory lending--we've seen people cover these topics for years and get no traction. But John Oliver keeps us watching for the whole thing.

I find it sad that nobody knew who he was to begin with. I do, and I live in Canada. I think it's a really important piece of news. But then again, I'm a nerd, and I'm bombarded with this information, relatively speaking. I guarantee my non-geek friends only have the most meagre understanding of who he is.

Snowden's information is important, and he has the right idea of what should be done with it. But John Oliver is one of the best ways to communicate the information. He managed to get Snowden to summarise things into really relatable chunks of data--it was brilliant.

Comment: Re: Yawn (Score 1) 94

Until I started using nintype, I couldn't find a single swiping keyboard that was faster or more accurate than tapping each letter. I used at least 4 different keyboards and they were all terrible. (Nintype lets me swipe and tap in the same word; it's a far better implementation of a swiping keyboard. And as far as I know, it's still only officially on iOS.)

I think the iPhone 6 is too bigâI think all 5-ish inch phones are too big. I have a 20cm handspan (8") and long fingers. The ergonomics are terrible. Even with the reachability feature, I find it incredibly irritating to reach the top far corner. Apple had the ergonomics of small devices entirely right, the problem is that most people prefer seeing more over better ergonomics.

Anyway, you don't find value in Apple products and that's fine. But many of us appreciate the design decisions they make. Don't try to pass of their work as merely being about marketing and high margins. I like their products better for HCI and quality reasons. I've used a nexus 4 and 5 and Samsung S5 and found them all sorely lacking. Just because you have some beef with Apple doesn't mean they don't actually make good stuff.

Comment: Re:Easy as 1-2-3 (Score 1) 269

by Dixie_Flatline (#49338211) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple

The reality is that those things are actually becoming less important for the consumer market. I hate to be of the '8GB should be enough for anybody' ilk, but for the kind of things that people are actually doing, that's probably true.

Think of it this way: the Macbook is the laptop you should be recommending to MOST people that ask you for advice. You only deviate from that advice if they have some sort of restriction or requirement. There are times where you might want to recommend the air, and for nerds you should recommend the pro. But the stock Macbook is going to be my recommendation every time without any extra info.

Similarly, if you need something with upgradable RAM, you're simply not the market for a Mac Mini anymore. I had my Mom buy a new Mini last year when her old one kicked it. She will never need to upgrade the RAM. For the things she does (playing MP3s, watching YouTube, email) the machine is vastly overpowered for her needs. That they make it in very few configurations is less of an issue because it's reached appliance status. You may as well complain that your fridge doesn't come with an upgradable cooling unit and spare bays for future extensions. It's just not that sort of tool when you're talking to most people.

For my part, I'm still on an early 2009 iMac with a 2013 Mac Mini that runs headless. 8GB of RAM really IS enough for 100% of what we do at home. I'd only want more RAM because it's one of those things that it's always nice to have more of just so you don't have to care about what's running, but it's not really necessary. I'm already running a lot more things than I need to.

Comment: Re:Eat less than you burn (Score 2) 496

by Dixie_Flatline (#49327745) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

Ugh, one of the things that I hate about BMR calculations is that they always seem to think that you're going to have an active job AND be an athlete when you get to high activity levels. I've got a sedentary job, but I'm an active competitive swimmer.

And then not all exercise is created equal. I burn more calories training 6 hours a week as a swimmer than I did training 10-12 hours a week as a cyclist. Part of it is just biomechanical efficiency--bikes make everything easier--but there's actually an effect of being in cold water 6 hours a week that's not insignificant. Not to mention I have more muscles being active while swimming than when I'm cycling.

But I guess at this point, I'm actually beyond using these estimators. I've got good direct estimates of power and calories while I'm on the bike, and my swimming is just more than that. Now I just eat to keep up and stop feeling hungry.

Comment: Re:Is the smartwatch fad stillborn? (Score 1) 60

I think they're nice looking watches, but I'm not enthralled by them, certainly. I'm more actively looking at the Withings Activite Pop and Garmin VivoActive because I'd like to have swim tracking, and I'm willing to put up with an ugly (or at least not-pretty) device to get it.

But I'm almost 40 and I'm having trouble figuring out what's actually cool any more. ;)

Hacking's just another word for nothing left to kludge.