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Comment: Re: Article is trole. (Score 1) 300

by bmo (#49794083) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

You can thank Steve Jobs.

He was adamant that Flash should die in a fire, and IIRC, he disallowed Flash support for iOS. He did what everyone else wanted to do but were afraid of pissing off the customers who just "had to have their youtube." This triggered the exodus from proprietary video on the Web.

I'm not an Apple fanboy. The only Apple thingy I owned was an iPod 5 Video. The following iterations are impervious to Rockbox, so I've never bought them. But I give credit where credit is due.

Side note: Silverlight was so much better. It performed better in a Windows virtual machine on Linux than Flash did natively on any platform. Unfortunately, it too was closed and [soupnazi] "no silverlight for you" [/soupnazi] if you use Linux, like me.

HTML5 is good enough. At least it's a standard.


Comment: Re:Android to iDevice (Score 1) 300

by Solandri (#49791215) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier
TFA is standard pro-Apple hit piece reasoning. First they trumpet that Apple has the biggest market share (for touchscreen smartphones, for tablets, etc). When Apple loses that, they trumpet that Apple has the biggest revenue in that market. When Apple loses that, they fall back on trumpeting that Apple has the biggest share of profit. All the time making it sound like Apple is the one which is winning when by most measures Apple is in fact losing (Google Play store revenue passed iOS App store revenue last year). Q42015 financials were also skewed in Apple's favor because their latest phones were released just before, while no major Android phones were relased

As for profits, Android smartphones had $2.4 billion in profits on 205.6 million phones shipped during 4Q2014 . That's $11.67 profit per device, which if you figure an average Android phone costs $300 is just under 4% margin. The PC industry operates on pretty much a 3%-5% margin (aside from Apple - theirs is usually close to 25%). HP's margin was 5%. Lenovo's margin was 1.8%. Dell was usually around 5% before it went private.

Basically, Android's profits are completely normal for a consumer electronic device made of commodity parts. The only thing that's noteworthy is Apple's weirdly distorted finances, where their marketing and cachet allows them to sell the same commodity parts at huge markups. Another way to look at this is that Apple made $18.8 billion profit on 74.5 million phones in 4Q2014. If you bought an iPhone last quarter, your Apple Tax was $252.

Comment: Re:faster than light never violates Relativity (Score 1) 188

Except that according to general relativity, gravitational _waves_ also are limited to C. As long as people confuse the current state of the system and what are basically "phase velocity" of changes in that state with the limitations of the "group veolocity", which is limited to C, we'll continue to see this sort of confusion.

Comment: Article is trole. (Score 0, Troll) 300

by bmo (#49789843) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

Article is obviously written by an iOS fanboi.

The reason why people switching coming from Android is because the rest of the pack is simply too small.

Microsoft powered phones don't exist in the real world. I have yet to see one. They are apocryphal.

Before I get piled on by Softies, I have to point out that your fearless leaders ignored the smartphone market until it was too late. The "let the other guys do the pioneering and go in later to use dodgy tactics to muscle into the market" doesn't work all the time. And this time they ceded the market to everyone but them.


Comment: Re:An aid or a barrier? (Score 1) 104

GP makes a good point though, and actually both IT and the business often perceive the IT department as "plumbing". Something that just has to work: the plumber keeps the toilets from getting clogged, and IT keeps the servers from being owned. If that is how IT sees themselves, they'll become a "no" department with no added value.

If a business guy tells you: "I need an FTP server", your answer shouldn't be "no way in hell", but "what is it you really need?". Understand what their business need is, then offer your expertise to set up the right technology for the job to meet that need. And it goes further: if you understand their business, you can take the initiative and bring new tech to their attention and show them how it will help them to do things better, faster or cheaper. Many IT departments don't do that often enough or well enough.

Comment: Re:Welcome to outsourcing (Score 1) 104

That's a very good observation, and I suppose that in some cases the strict and deliberate split of Business and IT was done to keep departments from going off and setting up all manner of rogue IT projects. I have seen other specific measures being taken to prevent just that sort of thing. However, I see the exact same organisational trends in companies that profess to continuously improve their ways of doing business through innovative IT. In those cases, the downside is very real, and as far as I can see not very well understood or even recognized. Big IT-driven change projects and pilots of innovative technology are enthusiastically started, but fail to deliver the potential business benefits because of a lack of IT knowledge of management on the steering committee, and because of a lack of intimacy between business and IT.

I'd argue that there are still big gains being made with new IT; the need for continued innovation is still there. For starters, replacing traditional inventory and accounting with computer based solutions hasn't been a big bang where all the benefits were realized in a short time. These things evolved from basic isolated solutions, adding bar codes and inventory tracking, automated warehouses, JIT logistics, ERP, standardisation in integration tech that allows easy outsourcing of payroll and other business processes, etc. And this process continues. My current client suffers from the stuff I described above, but that doesn't mean that all their projects fail, and we've seen some significant tangible benefits coming out of the use of mobile devices, new ways of learning and providing support, a shift to SAAS, virtualisation, web-based solutions (thin client), and they even still develop some bespoke software that gives them a real competitive edge. They go for "commodity tools" in the sense that their strategy is to "buy not build" where possible, but the stuff they buy is being improved upon all the time, and even SAAS solutions do not free you from having to have at least some knowledge of IT when rolling them out into the organisation.

Keep in mind that innovation doesn't mean operating on the bleeding edge of tech or inventing your own stuff, in most cases it means adjusting your organisation and the way you do business to take advantage of advances being made in tech that is already available as "boring" commodity software or services.

Comment: Re:Welcome to outsourcing (Score 1) 104

This. Also, here's a telltale quote:

The report says that given the low levels of digital knowledge and skills outside of IT [..]

When I first started working, IT was more closely interwoven with the business functions. Gradually, IT was separated into its own department, parts of it were outsourced, and the work was more compartimentalized (moving from individual generalists to fully interchangable specialists). To be sure this has had positive effects: in my own experience the level of professionalism has gone way up and there are far fewer ninja projects and hobby departments. But the downside has been that IT has lost touch with the business almost completely, and the amount of red tape is staggering.

Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 61

by Bruce Perens (#49787045) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Russia would like for us to continue gifting them with cash for 40-year-old missle motors, it's our own government that doesn't want them any longer. For good reason. That did not cause SpaceX to enter the competitive process, they want the U.S. military as a customer. But it probably did make it go faster.

Also, ULA is flying 1960 technology, stuff that Mercury astronauts used, and only recently came up with concept drawings for something new due to competitive pressure from SpaceX. So, I am sure that folks within the Air Force wished for a better vendor but had no choice.

Comment: Re:What a guy (Score 3, Insightful) 374

by bmo (#49786339) Attached to: Obama Asks Congress To Renew 'Patriot Act' Snooping

When Palin was selected to be McCain's running mate, she had the highest approval rating of any of the 50 governors.

The only surveying company to come up with that is some podunk company in Alaska. Just because it's on Wikipedia doesn't mean it's meaningful.

Then the left wing media went to work and convinced all the mindless cretins like yourself that she was the devil incarnate.

She is the epitome of someone who is both stupid and suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. Her speeches are pure fucking word-salad. They are unlistenable, because they contain not just no information, but rather /negative information/. I cannot stand to listen for more than 20 seconds at a time. To make me actually listen to a whole speech would entail something like what happened to Alex in "A Clockwork Orange." After which, you would have to commit me via an IEA to a mental hospital.

"Grow a brain."

You forgot the "Morans."


Comment: Re:Someone Please Provide a Better Explanation (Score 1) 376

Modern dishwashing detergents (and sensor based cleaning cycles) require some amount of gunk on your dishes to function correctly. In trying to meet environmental requirements over not using certain chemicals, they have switched to heavily enzyme based mixes that require some food and grease to actually do anything. Additionally, to save water, they have implemented sensors that run the cycle just until the dishes are clean and then stop--only if most of the dishes are already too clean, the sensor will end the cycle too early and the few really dirty dishes won't be fully cleaned.

Most dishwashers still let you specify a Quick/Normal/Heavy clean instead of sensor...but it negates the energy savings. On the detergent way around it, enzymes are the way of the future.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 156

by Solandri (#49784873) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Will Technology Disrupt the Song?

Corporations will continue to make boatloads of money, artists will continue to sell their work for a song.

That's what I don't get. We already have the infrastructure in place for artists to "make it" on their own - no record label company needed. A friend of mine put a few of her self-produced educational videos on YouTube hoping for some publicity - maybe someone at a TV station would see them and pick up the series or offer her a job. Instead, the videos grew insanely popular among parents. The YouTube revenue was more than enough to fund production of the video series she'd been hoping a TV studio would bankroll. And now she's one of YouTube's biggest producers. Her YouTube revenue exceeds her (lawyer) husband's income, and he's taking more and more time off his law practice to help with her video and website production.

But so many aspiring musicians seem to think the only way to succeed is the "traditional" way - sell their soul to a record label who will take 90% of what they earn, and charge them another 8% as production expenses. Organic publicity on YouTube and social media is free (assuming people actually like what you produce). Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play take a 30% cut, which while I still think is excessive is a helluva lot better than the 95+% a record label will take. The only hold the record labels still have is on radio, which is declining in popularity. The record labels are this generation's buggy whip manufacturers - don't chain yourself to them. The Internet removed one of the biggest impediments to publicizing virtual media like music - production and distribution. Take advantage of it if you're an aspiring musician (or video producer).

Comment: Re:Hobbit (Score 2) 270

by bzipitidoo (#49783825) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

I think you don't give Mars dreamers enough credit. It's fun to think about, and do a bit of handwaving, but most everyone realizes colonizing Mars is an enormous challenge. Obviously, the first European colonies in the Americas were much easier. They already had breathable air and a tolerable climate. Life was already firmly established, all the colonists had to do was harness it. Even so, many colonies failed.

On Mars, we have to start life from scratch. One problem that as far as we know Mars does not have, is hostile natives. The absence of that petty little problem is no compensation for the huge problems we would have to solve to build a sustainable colony on Mars. We aren't capable of doing it now. That list of obstacles to setting up a steel foundry isn't even among the main problems. Can we establish an ecology? What about ionizing radiation, how do we handle that?

It's possible we may conclude that even if we can do it, Mars isn't worth inhabiting. Really, why inhabit Mars? By the time we can do it, we could probably also inhabit space for indefinite lengths of time, and if we can do that, why not head out of the solar system? Seems likely there will be many planets that are much better than Mars. Mars then is mostly an experiment, a trial. Where is humanity going? Are we headed towards a blissful future of peace, all our critical problems solved? If yes, how long can it last, millions of years? We may need 100,000 years to send a colony ship to another solar system. We have no civilization that has come anywhere close to lasting such an enormous length of time. But we can dream.

Comment: what job offers? (Score 1) 203

I've had interviews go wrong many times, for dumb and dishonest reasons. It comes down to the fact that the employers weren't actually interested in hiring, had too many candidates to consider. So they hoke up an excuse that you don't have enough experience in a bunch of narrowly defined areas, and you're out. Deep down they know perfectly well that you could do the job. But they manufacture some desired experience that you supposedly lack, and start thinking of you as a liar for even applying. Never mind that the whole hiring process is packed with deception from start to finish. Of course you should never outright lie, but spinning and twisting the facts is fine, even encouraged. They focus on superficial skills and miss the big picture. Overqualified is another fun reason for rejection. Why would an employer ever want to reject a candidate for being too smart? Yet a PhD is typically seen as a negative. The standard excuse is that the employee will get bored and leave, as if there aren't hundreds of other more compelling reasons anyone might leave. More like, there's a good deal of prejudice against geeks and nerds and smart people in general, which has been getting worse in recent years with the upswing in anti-intellectualism. When a job application takes a turn like that, when they start hunting for excuses not to consider people, you know the employer wasn't serious.

So I'm skeptical of this push to get more people into CS. On the one hand, maybe there should be a 4th "R", 'rogramming. Maybe programming is such a fundamental skill that it should have a place in elementary school. But with all the noise over H1Bs and the demonstrated facts that many employers really don't value, like, or trust engineers as a whole, not just the individuals among them that aren't competent, it's hard to be sure. They know they have to have some engineers, but they don't have to like it, and many don't. Very tiresome having to always watch your back, be ready to defend yourself, and not give them any openings they can use to drum you out. However, this attempt to reach people when very young is such a long play, beyond what such short-sighted companies can conceive, that perhaps it is genuinely meant.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.