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Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 1) 557

by Dixie_Flatline (#47663073) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Diversity has its own rewards, particularly when the goal of your company is to provide the best experience, not just to provide some fungible good. (That is, oil from one well is just as good as oil from another--and who gets that oil out of the ground is irrelevant.)

Apple makes products for humans. All humans have different experiences. To provide the best experience to customers, you want the broadest appeal possible, and for that you need the broadest input possible. You need to pare those inputs down into something concise and usable, but good ideas come from anywhere and anyone, and it's not the sort of thing that's immediately quantifiable. My female colleagues are just as capable of coming up with good ideas as I am, and they'll come up with different good ideas based on their own unique perspective on the world.

In design and science, you want to avoid echo chambers as much as possible. Affluent white male is a particular kind of echo chamber. If the company were all black women, that would be a different kind of echo chamber that would probably also have issues. (I'd like to see what that came up with, though, for the sake of variety.) This is also why I'm a big fan of interdisciplinary science, where you see physicists crossing over with biologists, or artists working with mathematicians.

The issues start a lot earlier than the hiring process, so you're right: people need to be encouraged to join in early on. We need to impress on women and minorities that it doesn't have to be an old boys club, that they can also excel in the fields, and that when they get hired, they'll have a safe, friendly environment to work in. I don't know that we're succeeding particularly well at any of those things. (That said, I don't think schooling in NA is succeeding at much of anything any more. The system is anachronistic and organised for a different era.)

Comment: Re:How about some real number? (Score 1) 557

by Dixie_Flatline (#47662875) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White this a real comment? Like, am I missing a hidden sarcasm tag somewhere?

Women are discriminated against. That takes a lot of different forms: lower pay, lower hiring rates, more workplace harassment. As it happens, taller, whiter men also tend to make MORE money than their shorter, fatter, more coloured counterparts. This isn't because they do better work necessarily, and their cost isn't the consideration--this is just discrimination at work.

Comment: Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 220

Actually, the actual news is, "we made our phone not look at all different...from other phones".

Seriously, Samsung needs to stop spending so much on advertising and buy a design team. Sony and HTC have their own (very nice) looks, I think. I'm an iPhone user, and this new Samsung looks like a bigger version of my iPhone 4.

Comment: Re: Laugh all the way to the bank (Score 1) 83

Because that's not how it works. And if those companies are successful by using technology that Microsoft invented or has acquired patents for, I'm not sure why you think the legal system shouldn't apply to them. If they can't succeed without Microsoft's patents, it implies they have some value, even if Microsoft hasn't been able to leverage that value. If they don't want to pay, they can invent a way around Microsoft's patents.

Comment: Re: Laugh all the way to the bank (Score 1, Interesting) 83

Whether you think Microsoft's position is meritless or not, Samsung entered into a contract with them. They didn't ask a court for a legal opinion, they just stopped paying. You can't make unilateral decisions like that. They know they're stuck and the courts will reinstate the payments, but their long-standing MO is to do something illegal and then keep other companies tied up in litigation until the point is moot or the other side has run out of money. I'm not even just talking about Appleâ"they've done this as long as they've been around.

Microsoft's success or failure in the market isn't relevant, and neither is your position on whether they're deserving of the patents that they hold. They own the patents, they're not latent trolls (in the sense that they're making devices in the space where they hold these patents), and the legal system works like this right now. Maybe at some other time and place Samsung would be in the clear both legally and morally, but they're sure not right now.

Comment: My four year old phone is slow, news at 11 (Score 1) 281

My iPhone 4 is slow. That's not ACTUALLY a surprise. There was a time where I was on an upgrade treadmill with my PC. A new video card here, a new processor there. Then a full MB swap, more RAM...every year, something else would get replaced. Progress marches forward.

PCs eventually reached a bit of a plateau. Unless you're playing really intense games, you're not going to notice that your machine is old and slow. A four year old PC does most of the basic tasks asked of it, because those tasks aren't terribly hard anymore, and you've already got a lot of RAM and a 2GHz CPU.

But mobile devices are just starting to reach that plateau. Putting more RAM in a phone makes a difference, but they haven't been loaded up from the start because of size and power restraints. Every year sees a small advance in battery tech and low-power computing. So my old iPhone 4 is well behind that curve. That's how things go.

A four year old Android phone is going to have the same issues, assuming we can put aside the question of whether it's getting updates at all.

This is one of those cases where I don't think the manufacturers have a particularly malicious intent. My iPhone 4 is slower compared to the day I first got it, but it does SO much more, and it does those things a lot better than it used to. My experience is richer, even if I have to wait an extra second or two for certain tasks to complete.

Comment: Re:Rubbish (Score 1) 342

Revenue Neutral Carbon Taxes seem to be working in British Columbia.

People are using less fossil fuels because, yes, they're more expensive. That's the point. They've found other ways to get things done.

To me it makes sense to use taxes to discourage things you don't like, like excessive carbon usage (and we all have to pay for it down the road; not charging the tax is just kicking the can down the road to the people that are children today). Use tax breaks to encourage things that are good. So don't tax income as much. It's good if you're out making money. You can make estimates and balance the two. People will naturally tend to not spend as much on the things that cost more, even if they'd be even if they kept their usage levels static.

Comment: Re:How thrilling... (Score 2) 58

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) 590

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.

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.