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Comment: Really depends on the subject matter (Score 5, Informative) 415

If you're reading fiction, get a Kindle or other e-ink device, because these guys have the advantage of being lightweight, have long battery lives, and "disappear" when you're reading. You just read and read and can enjoy yourself.

If you're reading non-fiction, especially non-fiction with charts, graphs, and the like, get a tablet. They support more advanced features with ePub.

Finally, the device in many cases also ties you into a store. If you're just interested in loading up your own PDFs, you have free reign to select any tablet. If you want to read books from the iBookstore, you have to go with the iPad. If you like the Kindle store or the Nook store, you can choose most tablets OR their own tablet offering.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 4, Insightful) 270

by EggyToast (#39985661) Attached to: Facebook Is Killing Text Messaging
I believe that is the point -- people are choosing to use other forms of messaging and finding that they're as good, if not better, among their contacts compared to SMS. As such, they are saving themselves the unlimited texting fees.

An unlimited texting plan on AT&T is $20/mo, and on Verizon, the $5/mo tier only gets you 250 messages. The $10/mo plan gets you mostly unlimited texting. So, people are deciding "hey, everyone I text is on FB, and I can ping them on their phone the same way. Plus I can ping people who don't even have phones and are sitting at home."

So, it's more flexible, and it's cheaper. People then drop their unlimited data plans (which are add-ons and not part of the contract structure), which eats into the planned revenue for the carriers. What's worse, the carriers have no plan to recoup this fee once it's gone. They'll need to make up the shortfall by increasing data plan costs.

Comment: Re:Fever? (Score 1) 692

by EggyToast (#37214318) Attached to: Acer CEO Declares a Tablets Bubble
What's neat is that you've found a great use for the device even without a lot of the things that make it really uniquely different from desktops and laptops. Personally, I think of tablets as an incredibly social computer. Look how many people easily pass around iPads, or will hold one and poke at it while another person is standing or sitting right there. And with the screen, there's no question of weird viewing angles, unlike many laptops, so it actually feels like a shared experience.

What I think is even more neat is how a single device can play multiplayer games. That's unheard of in the current PC/Laptop marketplace, where you can put a computer on a table and have 2-4 people playing the same game. Part of it is the ergonomics -- it's much easier to share a single "slate" compared to a folded laptop -- but it also has to do with the new OS. That's the real reason that the iPad and non-Apple Tablets are succeeding at all; they're not trying to be laptops. They're saying "I am a device you poke at, and that means I do different things. Therefore, I will have a different interface, different applications, and different outputs."

That's really neat! And it's what was needed all along to create a thriving tablet marketplace. Not just "Windows with touchscreen support," because, honestly, no one gave a shit about touchscreen support. That's why all previous Windows tablets failed.
Education

The Stanford Class That Built Apps and Made Fortunes 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the right-time-right-place dept.
The NY Times has a story about a group of students who took a 2007 course in app development at Stanford that turned out far better than any of them expected. Quoting: "... by teaching students to build no-frills apps, distribute them quickly and worry about perfecting them later, the Facebook Class stumbled upon what has become standard operating procedure for a new generation of entrepreneurs and investors in Silicon Valley and beyond. ... Early on, the Facebook Class became a microcosm of Silicon Valley. Working in teams of three, the 75 students created apps that collectively had 16 million users in just 10 weeks. Many of those apps were sort of silly: Mr. De Lombaert’s, for example, allowed users to send “hotness” points to Facebook friends. Yet during the term, the apps, free for users, generated roughly $1 million in advertising revenue."

Comment: Re:Degrees (Score 1) 380

by EggyToast (#33941466) Attached to: What If We Ran Universities Like Wikipedia?
A counter-argument to you could be that this university could have *some* tenured professors, but then we end up back at the beginning -- some tenured professors doing long-term, deep research, and some adjunct professors that often have real jobs, perhaps teach more classes, etc. (In other words, I agree with you)

I think the idea overlooks the purpose of higher education. While some argue that it's just like a vocational school, universities still exist largely to further knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Journalists, op-ed columnists, and parents may complain that universities are not preparing people for the workplace with their classics degrees, but the university would say "we may help people develop to become better employees, but we are not a four-year job-placement service."

I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about with the "Business School Product" stuff, though. People who complete MBAs at actual universities get a good education that's much more than widgets and sales (I just finished an MBA at a top university). Yes, there are more MBA degrees from fly-by-night online universities, but just like other degrees, where you actually go to get the education counts for quite a bit. For example, scientific research out of Princeton is useless because it's an undergraduate-only program -- there are no grad students or post-docs working on serious research for serious science journals.

Comment: Re:I agree, but (Score 2, Interesting) 437

by EggyToast (#33682010) Attached to: E-Books Are Only 6% of Printed Book Sales
This is a crazy idea, but maybe people like both? I prefer books on my Kindle but I'm not going to avoid a book I want to read because it's not available -- I'm going to get it from the library. Maybe that's not the solution that reluctant publishers want to hear, though...

Still, I agree that I'm not sure what the point of this original post is. A new technology doesn't sell as well as an equivalent, older technology? I'd argue that books are a bit different from movies or music in that books actually physically contain the story -- there's no extra layer of technology involved in enjoying them. That's probably never going to go away, unless paper becomes precious (in which case we have a lot of other things to worry about!). For those with a little extra money who prefer e-ink, though, why not sell them an e-book version of a story? A publisher should see each sale as pretty much the same thing.

Comment: Re:Figures don't lie (Score 1) 547

by EggyToast (#33662794) Attached to: Xbox Head Proclaims Blu-ray Dead
I agree with you, and the fact that broadband speeds have remained relatively flat in the US are another argument against streaming taking over. People buy blu-ray for the HD video and audio; streaming can't even offer surround sound currently. I like getting Indie movies and DVD-only movies via streaming, from Netflix -- because it's a free addition to my account with them.

The Xbox heads and the Apple heads talk about how streaming is going to be on top -- are they talking about buying a movie from iTunes but accessing it from your Xbox? Or buying it from Amazon and getting a free download to your iPhone? No, they're talking about locking in the consumer to their platform. Of course they're going to talk about the death of their competitors.

What, we expect them to say "Streaming is great for a select few, but it isn't a good way to make money and is limited by factors outside of our control." C'mon, they're in PR!

Comment: Re:After how long? (Score 4, Interesting) 206

by EggyToast (#33611006) Attached to: Security Concerns Paramount After Early Reviews of Diaspora Code
Yeah, they've only focused on the "fun stuff." Or rather, it sounds more like their purpose was "Facebook's so annoying to use. Let's make one that works like we want!" without really caring about the backend stuff. Maybe they assume that the "open source community" will do all the backend stuff for them -- even though they're the ones getting paid?

Comment: Re:This is mostly true (Score 1) 366

by EggyToast (#33232674) Attached to: Video Quality Matters Less If You Enjoy the Show
I think people will still enjoy a good movie, but this sounds so binary. "Do you enjoy this movie? Y/N" And then reduce the video quality and ask again.

What about taking everyone who enjoyed the movie and then showing it to them at a higher quality? "Do you enjoy this movie more now? Y/N"

I know for my favorite movies I'm excited when them come out on Blu-Ray because it means I get to enjoy them that much more. I don't overlook the cinematography because of the poor reproduction from DVD or streaming or broadcast TV -- I revel in the extra details. For example, Fargo is a pretty good movie; I hear it was popular when it came out. On Blu-Ray, you can see details like the fact that Buscemi's character hasn't shaved in days, something you miss in the smoothed-over DVD release. Maybe that doesn't matter to the general public, but as a cinephile it's the little details that really suck you in to a film.

Comment: Re:Maybe if they charged sane prices (Score 1) 414

by EggyToast (#33139140) Attached to: Barnes and Noble Bookstore Chain Put In Play
Without Barnes & Noble, though, there's more opportunities for small indie bookstores. If there's a B&N around the corner, why go to an indie with a smaller selection and cat hair? But if the only alternative is buying online, indie stores become much more viable -- especially since indies can stock used books, something which B&N and Borders doesn't. Without B&N it also means that it becomes viable for other non-book stores to sell books. Many coffee shops sell a few CDs -- why not add a small book section? As long as people read books, there'll be places to buy them.

Comment: Re:'limousine liberalism' (Score 1) 589

by EggyToast (#33105348) Attached to: Electric Car Subsidies As Handouts For the Rich
Right, it's slightly myopic to complain about how these cars and incentives are created for wealthy individuals, considering that electric cars are only really useful in the US if you own another [gas-powered] vehicle. If incentives encourage people to buy one of these as a secondary car, rather than an otherwise equivalent gas car, then it's done its job.

Comment: Re:Vectrex (Score 1) 492

by EggyToast (#33064238) Attached to: Our Video Game Heritage Is Rotting Away
I don't think they need to be on a pedestal, but I do think the ability to play them as they were released is important, even if it's just as a "museum arcade" type of thing. We don't use lead-acid batteries but seeing the bulk of them and how people wired up electrical circuits 100 years ago is absolutely worth preserving. Same with old computers that used vacuum tubes; they're woefully slow but it's a part of our technological heritage.

Not to mention that merely talking about old games -- 3 lives, no ending, wave after wave of bad guys -- doesn't sound like much fun. Yet playing them is still oddly addicting, even for people who pick them up for the first time. I think the actual original is more informative for "how things were" than an emulation, because the emulation just looks like a crappy modern game. The old game cabinets, overlays, screens, and boards are much more illustrative of the past than a little blob of code that accomplishes the same thing.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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