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Comment: Re:How thrilling... (Score 2) 53

by Dixie_Flatline (#47516133) Attached to: Amazon Fire Phone Reviews: Solid But Overly Ambitious

I think the specs race is basically over. Apple's specs allow them to make a fast phone in a small body with relatively good battery life. Android phones are generally made with the same 'generic' parts, and have comparable battery life by virtue of having a bigger case to cram a battery in. But all told, the phones are pretty close together, no matter what tricks each company is playing. (And I would argue that battery life is becoming a more dominant spec request as time goes on. I'd much rather have a longer lasting battery than a bigger screen, for instance.)

At this point, it comes down to being able to differentiate on things other than specs. The Android space is crowded. At the flagship level, everything is pretty close to everything else. Samsung is being reined in a bit on its Android modifications, so what we're looking at now is a bit of a race to the bottom on price.

So the specs for the Fire may be 'tepid', but they're probably not actually bad in any relevant way. The phone will hold up for at least a couple years. Amazon's only chance for their phone is to provide a compelling ecosystem, and they don't actually need to be the leader of the pack on specs to do that.

I don't disagree that this phone isn't actually that compelling, but it's not the specs that are sinking it. It could have top-of-the-market parts in there and you'd still shrug at it because the OS and Amazon integration just aren't good enough. The device just has too few merits to warrant much attention, in my opinion.

Comment: Re: Ridiculous! (Score 4, Insightful) 588

by Dixie_Flatline (#47463121) Attached to: Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

Nice to see the fake nerds are out in force today.

Apparently none of you whiny children has ever heard of Beta Ray Bill, an orange skinned alien that was considered worthy of wielding Mjolnir (though he eventually ended up with his own hammer, Stormbreaker). He was Thor. He's a goddamn dude from another planet, and you're complaining that Thor can't be a woman?

Thor in Norse mythology never fought the fucking Hulk or ate shawarma at a local restaurant either. Or lived in the USA. The story is MADE UP. The Marvel version is twice as made up. Try to get a grip. The story goes wherever it needs to.

Beta. Ray. Bill. Get with the cannon, fakers. Or shut the hell up. Both are good.

Comment: Re:Same old discussion (Score 2) 129

by Dixie_Flatline (#47400189) Attached to: Android Wear Is Here

My fundamental objection to these devices is that there isn't enough of a UI change to fit the form factor they're on.

One of the reasons Windows Mobile was kinda lousy was because they tried to shrink a desktop OS down onto a phone (and now they're making the same weird mistake by scaling a mobile OS up to the desktop). Fundamentally, these are different things, so they need different ways to interact.

These watches seem similar. A mobile OS that's been massaged a bit, but realistically makes more sense on your phone than on your wrist. Watches were (are) great for the amount of information they deliver in the time they deliver it. That is, a small snippet of info, delivered incredibly quickly. Your interaction with it is minimal. For a few things, like meeting notifications, maybe these smart watches make sense. But for emails or texts, they fall down a bit in my mind because you need more information than is readily absorbed at a glance.

One of my other problems with them is that except for notifications, they don't really make you any faster. Assume that you get an email, and your watch lets you know. From the demo slides I've seen, the watches let you see some information, delete the email, open the email on your phone, or start composing a reply--also on your phone.

For the last two operations, you have to pull the phone out anyway; I'm not sure what you get by starting to open them while you're still staring at your wrist. Deleting the email from your watch is potentially useful, but that's a bit of a stretch; I don't think I've ever seen an email that it's urgent to delete.

So, yeah. The problem isn't with any of the things you mentioned, the problem is that I think we're still trying to figure out exactly what the watch could possibly be used for, and basing the operation on the operation of a completely different device with a wholly different interaction model and parameters.

Comment: Re: Okay, so this has what to do with fracking the (Score 2, Insightful) 154

by Dixie_Flatline (#47388053) Attached to: Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking

You know what 'fracking' refers to, right? Hydraulic fracturing?

The rocks are being purposely stressed by high pressure liquids and crack under the pressure, releasing oil/gas that was previously trapped and irretrievable.

So what this has to do with fracking is that they thought that just pumping fluid back in would hold things up, but clearly that's not true. The integrity of the final rock/fluid combination is inferior to the original. Old wells were like sticking a straw in a drink and sucking it up. It's not really the same (though old oil wells have been known to sink and collapse as well, so it's not like that was risk free either).

Is it a real problem? Well, I don't live there, so I don't know. I don't think it's wise to tinker with geology that we clearly don't understand well yet, however.

Comment: Re:Not just Android (Score 1, Informative) 112

by Dixie_Flatline (#47383501) Attached to: Android Leaks Location Data Via Wi-Fi

It's marginally more relevant that Android does it. There are a lot more Android devices than portable Windows and OS X devices that actually move around. (That is, not even the full population of laptops is necessarily being moved from hotspot to hotspot; I know plenty of people that have laptops that stay at home and are just for portability around the house.)

Anyway, the headline is reasonably sensational, but not false, and the summary clarifies. I've seen a lot worse (bad headlines, worse summaries; etc.) pretty much everywhere that ever posts a headline.

Comment: Re:OR (Score 1) 579

by Dixie_Flatline (#47371269) Attached to: Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

It's not just lack of driving ability, it's about lack of driving RESPONSIBILITY.

The bigger your vehicle is, the more care you need to exercise and the more training you need. You're responsible for everything around you. While I appreciate the notion of personal responsibility for safety, there's only so much a pedestrian can do when the lights are in their favour. Looking both ways doesn't help when someone in a car decides that they want to go and don't appreciate the amount of damage they can do simply by moving.

Comment: Data generator, not data viewer (Score 1) 427

by Dixie_Flatline (#47327911) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

Frankly, I'd like it to be more like the crop of data acquiring bands that we see right now with a small time display, and that's it. I'd like it to capture a lot of health data (HR, distance travelled, etc.) and it should sync with my ANT+ bike equipment (cadence monitor, speed, power, everything) and act as a proxy to my phone and feed my phone data.

Look, the phone is the thing with the screen that you actually want to look at. A watch face is too small for anything except small bites of information except the time and the date. The new Withings Activite watch actually looks pretty good; no digital display at all. The battery lasts a year. It tells you if you're meeting your daily goals and basically nothing else. But it captures data. THAT'S useful.

I'm never going to read email on my watch that's coming from my phone; how could that possibly make any sense? MAYBE I wouldn't mind a sort of morse code vibration to it that tells me if I got a notification by text, mail or other.

Part of the problem with the current crop of smart watches is they haven't thought about what kind of information is appropriate to display on a screen that small. A watch is meant to be GLANCED at, not stared at. Information has to come in digestible, atomic chunks. We can process the relative position of two arms on the face very quickly, but an email or text requires a few seconds of reading, particularly if the font is small or the words have been forced to be wrapped.

We need to rethink data display before we can make use of these devices. Right now, it's the wrong data for the form factor.

Comment: Re:Observations and measurements disagree (Score 1) 188

by Dixie_Flatline (#47315835) Attached to: The Higgs Boson Should Have Crushed the Universe

See, this is what I thought as well. The Higgs was well predicted and made sense in the standard model, and our measurements at the LHC seem to back up what physicists were speculating. On the other hand, BICEP2 is a much newer result and there's considerable controversy about whether it's a real result or a mistake.

So why would you automatically jump to the conclusion that the HIGGS was the problem? You've already got the other half of the equation under review. Shouldn't we wait to see if the BICEP2 results make any sense first?

I suppose from a theoretical point of view, it makes sense to resolve these conflicts ahead of time, but given this apparent contradiction, doesn't it seem even more likely that the BICEP2 results are probably wrong? I would say this is another signal that the observations aren't what they thought they were.

Comment: Re:When will the left ever learn? (Score 1) 538

by Dixie_Flatline (#47298269) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

It is not, and has never been, a democracy. It's a Constitutional Republic. As far as I know, there's no such thing as a true democracy in the world. 50% + 1 doesn't exist in Western society, and for good reason. It's the fact that we theoretically elect skilled and educated representatives (ha!) to understand the complexities and repercussions of things that countries DON'T have an FBEA.

But aside from that, I agree with you.

Comment: Re:Apple Actually Cares About Privacy (Score 1) 323

by Dixie_Flatline (#47233077) Attached to: iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

No, that's not what I'm saying. Apple is out there to make money, and I said they will when they can, but Google is simply not making money if you don't give useful information to them so they can advertise to you. Samsung makes money on the S5 they sell you, but Google doesn't make much, if anything. The Nexus 5 is so heavily subsidised I'm sure it's not really making a profit if you turn off internet access on it, but most people don't want to buy a device like that so it can NOT connect to the internet.

So it comes down to who has the incentive to take your information and do something with it. Apple? Not really. They've got some money, and they'll make a bit more on the app store, but the app store is probably has a smaller margin than the hardware. (It's effectively just a way to make something mildly profitable that gets you to buy the DEVICE, not the other way around.)

Samsung has less of a dog in this hunt, too. They use Android to give them broad-based appeal, but they make money on the phone. If you buy the phone from them and toss it in the drawer, I'm pretty sure they don't care. They're already on the way to the bank.

Google is the only one that isn't asking for your money because they want the information that makes YOU valuable.

Apple and Samsung are less likely to want your data because frankly, getting useful data is kind of hard. Google is big and they've got infrastructure in place to deal with it; realistically, they're one of the only companies that can really turn your data into good money.

Comment: Re:Apple Actually Cares About Privacy (Score 4, Informative) 323

by Dixie_Flatline (#47202629) Attached to: iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

Apple doesn't care as much about profit after the fact because they got 45% off of you as soon as you bought their phone.

Even if you turn off every function on your phone--including the phone--and kept it in airplane mode the whole time like some sort of absurdly expensive iPod, Apple already made a profit.

Apple cares about your privacy insofar as it allows them to put a bullet-point on the box that they can use to distinguish themselves from Google's model. Google needs information to make a profit. They make virtually no money off of Android itself; that's why buying a Nexus is so cheap.

Essentially, Apple can afford to be stingy with information, and can afford for YOU to be stingy with YOUR information. Google can't.

I'm sure Apple will turn your information into profit if it can, don't get me wrong. But it's not their primary business model. As long as the phone costs a lot of money, you can count on them being less interested in what you have to offer after the sale.

Comment: Re:Security (Score 1) 323

by Dixie_Flatline (#47202567) Attached to: iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

The users that know about this kind of security and understand it are already the kind of people that this false sense of security doesn't work on. The people that aren't aware of this, or that don't understand it when you tell them are the people that are protected--they have no idea that they need to do anything, and couldn't even if they did know. Their false sense of security comes from not knowing that they need to protect themselves at all.

Increasing their security has knock-on benefits for the rest of us.

Comment: Re:It true !!!! (Score 0) 711

by Dixie_Flatline (#47158891) Attached to: Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'

How are they locking you in, exactly? If the functionality doesn't exist on another platform, it doesn't exist on another platform. That's not Apple's fault. Media is pretty transferable. If you're talking about apps and the sunk cost of purchases, that's true no matter what platform you're moving from.

Apple doesn't control enough of my data to really lock me in, and it looks like people can move pretty freely from Apple to Android (and vice versa)--many Android users tout that ease of movement as a reason to move away from Apple, in fact.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan