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Comment Re: Legal requirement? (Score 1) 337

As I already commented, it's about "supply and demand" insofar as Musk knows there is more demand than cars he's likely to be able to manufacture, so he can get away with dismissing customers like that. But I don't think that was the reason for the cancellation itself.

I'm not sure what the remainder or your paragraph has to do with "supply and demand" though, unless you're saying that you can dictate to your customers because there's more demand from them than you produce? I'm not in your industry, I wouldn't know.

No-one's claiming that Musk doesn't have right of refusal. However, if he does do that for what some may consider personal or petty reasons- which he's entitled to do- others are still free to point out or criticise that. Also, we're talking about cars here- pretty expensive ones outside the price range of anyone who isn't at least moderately "rich" by US standards, but still just cars and not stupidly-rich-Saudi-Price-only-five-were-ever-made-price-level ones either.

Comment Re:Bet Alsop isn't used to being fired (Score 1, Insightful) 337

Musk could have played along with this sort of ruse, or just flipped him off. So he flipped him off. Brinksmanship is a game the rich can play.

That was kind of my point, though. I just see another rich and powerful guy who took some not-entirely-unwarranted criticism very personally (#) and being in a rich and powerful enough position, took his petty revenge against another sort-of-but-nowhere-near-as-rich guy. I appreciate that it's sometimes nice to see the stereotypical "arrogant BMW driving tosser" get their comeuppance and that Musk's fan following might be inclined to see it that way, but I'm pretty sceptical.

There's nothing to indicate that he was doing it for the reasons you gave nor protecting his employees from the customer from hell as others suggested.

On the contrary, it sounds like he knew he had more than enough fawning customers to fill his order books such that he could get away with this- and I suspect the endless adulation may have made him less tolerant to any form of criticism. But that in itself doesn't make Alsop the entitled-customer-from-hell as some seem to think.

(#) If the criticism was taken as personal, it was as much because Musk presents himself as the "face"- as well as the owner- of the company. I don't see that the criticism was excessively personal beyond that.

Comment Re:Legal requirement? (Score 4, Insightful) 337

So if Musk has any reason to believe based on this guy's behavior that this guy will be harassing his employees, he actually has a legal obligation to kick this guy to the curb.

Yeah... no. I don't honestly see anything so far to indicate it was coming anywhere near that, let alone approaching the point where it would become a legal issue.

Can't predict what the guy would be like in the future, but a bit of slightly (at most) and not entirely unwarranted entitled-rich-guy criticism doesn't suggest that so far.

Let's be honest; Musk responded that way because he could get away with it, but it doesn't mean he was doing it for legal (or noble) reasons, just that he was in a position where he could afford to do that in response to something that obviously got under his skin.

Comment Re:Bet Alsop isn't used to being fired (Score 3, Insightful) 337

Stewart lead with an "overly harsh personal response" and was met with a prompt ending of a business relationship.

I'd be inclined to agree with Racemaniac that it didn't come across as overly harsh. Nor did I consider it overly personal.

Was this the whining of an entitled rich guy? Perhaps a little- I won't entirely dismiss the possibility, but I'm not entirely convinced; it was undeniably critical, but he still obviously had enthusiasm for the product.

But regardless- and correct me if I've misunderstood your intent here- your response comes over as a variant of the "people exercising their rights in a free market == no right to criticism".

Musk is- of course- entitled to cancel this guy's order (i.e. end the business "relationship") for pretty much any reason not prohibited by law, but that doesn't excuse him from being criticised for doing so, especially if it appears petty to some.

In all honesty, Musk comes across as no better than, (and just as entitled as), the guy making the complaint. He knows he can afford to be dismissive of a few of his rich customers for somewhat petty reasons if they say something that stings him personally, even if it's somewhat justified. He's got a product with a lot of buzz surrounding it, for which there's likely to be more demand than availability in the foreseeable future.

The fact that Musk can get away with being dismissive and petty doesn't change the fact he's being dismissive and petty, though!

He doesn't strike me as "one of us but with more power" telling a spoilt rich customer where to go (to the cheering of the crowds enjoying their vicarious revenge.) Rather, he comes across as someone stung by (not entirely warranted) criticism, prickly enough to take it even more personally than it was and in a position where he didn't have to take that sort of crap from some uppity customer, then dismiss it with mild contempt not-really-masquerading as feigned disinterest.

(Disclaimer; if anyone is going to take this as a defence of entitled rich tossers, you don't know me very well. I'm just not buying that the customer was quite as bad as he's made out nor that Musk is any better.)

Comment Re:C'mon Microsoft! WTF? (Score 1) 720

Just let users, especially Windows Pro users on older hardware, have a reprieve. Make it a year. Make it two. I don't care. But YOUR CUSTOMERS need the option to permanently stop the incessant nagging. You owe them THAT MUCH RESPECT for their business.

It says a lot about how far Microsoft's relentless and utterly shameless attempts to pressurise and browbeat Windows users into upgrading has distorted the debate when it seems like the reasonable thing to do on their part would be to "give" legitimate, paid Windows 7 users a "reprieve". From an update they explicitly don't want (and which might damage their computers' performance) and as if MS were the ones who had the right to force that onto people but can choose- out of the goodness of their hearts- to give these Windows 7 users a *temporary* reprieve of a year or two before they're once again forced onto Windows 10 on *their own* computers- which might not then support their hardware or programs.

Or they might simply not *want* to use Windows 10. *That* in itself is perfectly reasonable, even if expecting MS to support it forever wouldn't be.

Not intending this as an attack on the OP so much as on how MS's behaviour- and the increasingly ludicrous means required to get round MS's brazen attempts to spy on users and bully them into upgrading on *their own damn machines*- has become normalised in a way that would have been unacceptable even five years ago.

Comment Re:Shocking (Score 3, Interesting) 182

I've noticed the exact same thing. I'm a rocket scientist IRL, over educated in the technical fields, strong interests in traditional nerd culture etc, but not so interested in the new geek stuff like comic book movies. I haven't even seen the new star wars.

There are a lot of people like me who feel coopted out of the culture they grew up with. I feel like I'm living n a cargo cult culture. It' difficult to discuss ideas because the broad and deep technical background is no longer there.

Shame I don't have mod points to help the person who already voted you up, as this is bloody perceptive stuff. Everyone's a bloody "geek" nowadays.

There's actually nothing wrong with being interested in some of that stuff, but just because you know how to install apps on your Android phone and know who Alan Turing is- without having any real interest in any of his actual work- doesn't make you a geek in the same sense as him.

I commented just yesterday that although people nowadays are generally *much* more tech-savvy in general than they were- say- ten or fifteen years ago, most people don't seem to know or care what a basic term like "digital" actually means. That's a synonym for online, or high-tech, or something, isn't it...?

There's a guy I know at work who ticks way, *way* more of the stereotypical "geek" boxes than I do- something I've actually joked to him about. He spends lots of time playing World of Warcraft (I haven't been into computer games for the better part of 20 years), was (genuinely) excited to see the new Star Wars film (never cared about Star Wars that much myself) and apparently collected overpriced plastic anime figures at one point. (Don't think he still does as much, but then he's in his mid-thirties and in a steady relationship now). He's also pretty outgoing and far more socially skilled than I am, (#) especially in the "one of the lads" context. (He also has tendencies bordering on the neddish when drunk). He hasn't shown any signs of being interested in science or any of the "hard" traditional geek interests- as opposed to technology- itself.

But he's not fake- he genuinely is into all that stuff. It's just that a lot of those "geeky" interests, as they've become adopted by more people, have ceased to be the signifiers that they used to be, either of deeper interests, or of personality type.

To be fair, even in the past, I doubt it was ever as clear cut as the stereotypes imply (even in the early 90s I knew a guy at school more skilled with computers than myself who was also sociable, outgoing and into the rave scene in a way that I wasn't). But it's probably even less so today.

Then again, I've come to realise that I'm not remotely a "true" geek in either the old "true" sense nor in the modern superficial sense and have probably been guilty of self-stereotyping and thinking I knew myself more than I did. So maybe I'm not the person I should be comparing others to, regardless. But that's another kettle of fish.

(#) It could be argued that the social skills- or lack of- aspect is somewhat more to do with "nerd"-ism rather than geekism. But there's nothing more geeky *or* nerdy than getting obsessed with the difference between those terms, so who gives a toss? ;-)

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 169

No, just a plain old 1050- I didn't have that much disposable income. It was still bloody good at the time, because Dixons (UK retail chain) had a bundle deal which included an 800XL and the 1050 drive for £120, less than the Spectrum (a generally inferior machine) was selling for on its own.

'Course, by that point, the becoming-dated Spectrum was continuing to sell on the fact it had a *huge* established base of software, whereas the 800XL... didn't, so much.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 169

I had the tape deck for the Atari, and it was nothing but a trail of tears.

Yes. The tape interface on the Atari 400 and 800 and their descendants was particularly slow, even compared to the Spectrum and C64.

I suspect that this is because- while it was ahead of its time enough that it could compete with later competitors like the C64- it came out in the late 70s when memory sizes were much smaller. The load speed wouldn't have been an issue given the small size of programs able to fit into the 8 KB of RAM they launched with. (Quite good for the time; the 400 was originally only intended to have 4 KB).

Unfortunately, they didn't improve it on the later models, such as the 64 KB 800XL. I had an 800XL, and even programs designed to fit into 48 KB could easily take over 15 minutes to load! :-(

I suspect they didn't upgrade it for the "XL" models because by that point the US market was becoming primarily disk-based. Unfortunately in Europe, tapes were still common until the 8-bit market died in the early 1990s. I had a disk drive with my 800XL, but lots of games were tape only. Uuuuurrrrrgh!!

Eventually discovered a good program that was able to transfer most games to disk, but not before enduring years of PITA slow loading from tape, complete with "LOAD ERROR- TRY OTHER SIDE"!

Not that this was a problem with cassettes themselves- as they were never originally designed for that- and I guess when disk drives were very expensive, they were the only way of cheaply storing data. But while I'll cut cassettes a lot of slack, I'll never get nostalgic for loading from tape.

Comment Re:Very few mediums die completely (Score 3, Interesting) 169

I think he knows what you mean, he's just making a point about the irritating habit of using "digital" as a synonym for downloads and streaming and- even more irritatingly- implying that CDs and DVDs somehow aren't "digital". (Compact Discs were originally marketed using the fact they were digital- it was arguably the biggest selling point, and is even included in the bloody logo!).

I've commented before that I'd expect this kind of annoying use of language in the mainstream press but that you'd expect better from Slashdot which is- or was- a site for genuine geeks interested in the underlying science and technology and not just the superficial "boys toys" aspects (#), but apparently not.

(#) It's my belief that despite the fact people are apparently *much* more tech-savvy than they were even 15 years ago, people's understanding of (and interest in) the underlying fundamentals- such as what "digital" actually means- isn't actually that much better when it comes down to it. Yeah, every man and his dog is obsessed with his smartphone in a way that only marginalised geeks were with technology back in the day- but while they know how to use the Android interface, do they actually understand even at a basic level how the underlying technology (e.g. the Internet and computers) work? They know how many gigabytes is a decent amount for what they want to use, but do they understand what a gigabyte- or rather a byte- actually is? I suspect most people don't. Anyway, as I said, I expect that from the mainstream media, I expect better from Slashdot contributors... except I don't any more. :-(

Comment Re:I was never meant to be good (Score 1) 400

Back in the day, when Lucas was just a filmmaker, Star Wars was conceived literally as "a cowboy western in space". It was SUPPOSED to be action-packed and a little cheesy

As far as I'm aware, it was heavily influenced by the original Flash Gordon and similar serials from the 1930s- apparently Lucas originally started out trying to get the rights to remake Flash Gordon. You can even see signs of this in the stylised screen wipes, which a lot of people now associate with Star Wars and don't realise are an obvious homage to the use of those wipes in those old serials.

(The final script also apparently owes a lot to the 1958 Japanese film, The Hidden Fortress).

Regardless, whether or not its influences count as "cowboy western", it was undeniably influenced by- and to some extent meant as a modernised version of- those old pulp fiction serials, regardless of whether or not some people take it a little too seriously.

Someone made the perceptive comment that whereas the original Star Wars trilogy was influenced by all those old films, the problem with the prequels was that they were influenced by Star Wars.

Well, that and (a) the fact that George Lucas was by then so powerful that no-one was able to stand up to him in the way they did on the original films (i.e. no-one to say "you can type this shit, but you can't say it" or change the famous Leia/Solo "I know" exchange) and it seems clear that most people think Lucas's work strongly benefited from having to accept such external input and collaboration. And (b) The fact that the prequels- what I saw of them- seemed more po-faced and aware of their own (inflated) "seriousness", aside from the designated- and maligned- comic relief.

Disclaimer: I was never a rabid fan of the originals anyway, and I always found C3PO (who I keep wanting to call CP3O) a bit annoying too. But I can see why people like them on the original level they were intended, and I can understand why some people might take them more seriously than that... I just don't necessarily agree that it's entirely justified. :-)

Comment Re:funny and sad (Score 2) 412

It would be hard to argue that Apple's decision to leave out the floppy drive didn't cause the situation we had 5 years later.

It wouldn't be hard to argue that at all! (#)

As I said, CD writers were already getting cheaper by the late 90s, and Apple can hardly claim credit for hastening their adoption since they didn't even include one.

Yes, the 1.44MB floppy format's capacity was already outdated and starting to look badly out of sync with the sort of file sizes and uses common by the late 90s (cf. the rapidly-growing capacity of hard drives, and the amount of data already-widespread CD-ROMs could hold). The pressure for a replacement was already there in the PC market, the only problem was that no realistic alternative at a practical price had received universal adoption by then. Apple's abolition of the floppy didn't provide a solution at all, it only forced their users to buy external floppy drives.

At best, as the other guy suggested, Apple provide a marginal level of forward pressure to something that would have happened anyway.

If anything, what Apple *do* deserve some credit for is encouraging the adoption of USB, whose time had- or should have- arrived by then. And even that was available in PCs at the time- the one I bought 3 or 4 months before the iMac came out included USB, the problem was that it wasn't that well-supported, and there seemed to be no hurry to do so. So maybe they helped that- and it could be argued, indirectly helped the adoption of USB pen drives several years later- but even that was by forcing the issue (i.e. abolishing legacy ports), and I suspect that USB would have taken off eventually anyway. At least in that case they included a realistic alternative, unlike with the abolition of the floppy.

(#) I think your nickname gives away your slightly partisan nature :-)

Comment Re:funny and sad (Score 1) 412

Apple has always been doing stuff like this. I remember when they removed 3.5" floppy drive [..] Cue a lot of companies having to buy external floppy drives at ridiculous prices.

Don't know if you were thinking of the original late-90s iMac, which Apple made a big hurrah about not including a floppy drive. Except that- for all its archaicness- there was still no universal affordable alternative to the floppy (#), which is why almost every bondi blue iMac you saw had a external floppy (in matching colours) hanging off it anyway!! (Ironically far less tidy and aesthetically pleasing than having it built in like the CD reader would have been).

Had they done that five years later, yeah, it'd have been more sensible. Circa 1998, it was just a contrived anti-feature that gave Apple a "we're so futuristic" selling point anyway, one that fanboys still trumpet today.

(#) CD writers were starting to come down in price quite fast by the late-90s, but they still weren't cheap enough at that point to be included as a default option, which would explain why Apple didn't even include one! The Internet (which IIRC was one of their suggestions for transferring files) was still 56kbps dial-up even for most people that *did* have it, and far from everyone did back then (remember that the other person you wanted to exchange files with would *also* need Internet access). Pen drives weren't even around then- Wikipedia claims that the first ones came out in 2000- and would take quite a bit longer to reach dirt-cheap floppy-replacing affordability.

Comment Re:The usual suspects (Score 1) 108

Crap brands who bought the name of a previously respected company, e.g. Polaroid

Interestingly, the "Polaroid" camera listed there (the Polaroid 300 / Polaroid PIC-300) is actually just a *Fujifilm* Instax Mini 7 camera. That's right- the only camera Polaroid now sell that uses anything like the traditional Polaroid film technology is actually one made by Fujifilm (who licensed the patents from Polaroid)!

The current owners of the Polaroid brand *do* appear to be treating the instant photography line with a little more respect than the previous owners (who cancelled the original Polaroid film cameras- the only non-licensed thing they did, as even "their" digital cameras had simply been licensed-out rebrands). But outside that, they're still continuing the habit of whoring out the Polaroid name to random third parties for rebranding cheap tat no-name electronics, such as LCD televisions. In fact, in the UK, they're actually letting the supermarket chain Asda use it (in effect) as an own-brand for audiovisual products.

So, yeah, the Polaroid name *is* being used for random tat, but in this case, the "Polaroid 300" is actually just a rebranded Fujifilm model that gets decent reviews. Though I'd probably just go for the Fujifilm one myself anyway.

Comment Re:Pick one... (Score 5, Informative) 20

So is it Britain or England? I'ts not 'rocket science' guys.

As the other guy said, Britain or England are both correct, since England is a part of Britain and despite their position quite some distance from the mainland, the Scilly Isles are still considered part of England.

As a nationalistic Scot, I dislike when "England" and "Britain" are used interchangeably, and the headline/summary discrepancy does smack of that being the reason- however, since it was still technically correct I wasn't going to make a deal of it until you made that comment.

(You can stop reading here if you don't want a confusingly-detailed breakdown of the various terms. Just at least do me a favour as long as I have to remain technically British and don't assume "English" and "British" are synonyms! )

FWIW, if one wants to start nitpicking, the term "Britain" on its own isn't really well-enough defined in modern usage to argue over- beyond the fact it definitely *isn't* synonymous with "England". Generally "Britain" tends to be used even by people here as synonymous with the political state of the United Kingdom (i.e. the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"). "Great Britain" is the geographic term for the main island including Scotland, England and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, hence the full name of the UK. Meanwhile, the "British Isles"- a geographic term- includes the island of Ireland (part of which is of course an entirely independent country), along with some others such as the Isle of Man and the aforementioned Scilly Isles. (Some people in the Irish Republic dislike the term "British Isles", which is understandable given the use of "British" above).

What's really going to bake your noodle is that whereas the Scilly Isles are considered part of England, the Isle of Man, despite being a British crown dependency roughly the same distance from the mainland, isn't even technically a part of the United Kingdom itself... :-/

Actually, now that I've looked into it, the Channel Islands (i.e. Guernsey and Jersey) are also considered a part of the "British Isles"- a nominally geographic term- despite the fact they're far closer to- and more obviously associated with- France. One might suspect they were only counted as part of the "British Isles" for political reasons, since they're British crown dependencies, albeit not a part of the UK itself (like the Isle of Man).

Comment Re:Blinders Much (Score 1) 103

TWX: "Betamax" probably encompasses more than simply the end-consumer tape. "SuperBeta" is a common commercial standard...

Farmer Tim: The format used in broadcast was called Betacam (replaced by Betacam SP, Digibeta, Betacam SX and HDCAM in the same physical format, all incompatible with Betamax)

Indeed... came here to say this, want to say it again in bold text as people keep getting it wrong anyway.


Ahem... thank you. :-)

Anyway, minor credit to the GP for at least not *quite* repeating this fallacy in its usual form, but yeah, he's still wrong in confusing Betacam with SuperBeta, a marginally-improved and mostly-compatible version of the consumer format.

TWX:much in the same way that "SuperVHS" was a common commercial standard


Jeez, I'm taking that "minor credit" back! ;-) SuperVHS was a consumer format... where did you get this (mis-)information?!

Apparently they tried creating a professional format called "M" which used the VHS cassette design but- like Betacam- had a much higher tape speed and entirely-incompatible recording format compared to its consumer sibling. Apparently it flopped and a later version called "MII" enjoyed moderate success at best.

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