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Comment: The Apple Product Cycle (Score 4, Interesting) 221

by Foggiano (#30644620) Attached to: Apple Orders 10 Million Tablets?

So we're at the first step in the Apple Product Cycle? It's nice to see we're right on track.

As an aside, I think it makes lots of sense for Apple to produce a tablet product, but I can't imagine them actually producing 10,000,000 of these things for launch.
First, it's a ridiculously high number, far exceeding the number of iPhones sold in a year and coming close to the number of all types of iPods combined.
Second, I doubt Apple would ever allow any of their new products to be overproduced. Artificial scarcity only adds to the perceived desirability of Apple products, driving the hype engine even more.

Comment: Re:Stupid prices (Score 1) 827

by Foggiano (#29027883) Attached to: US Cell Phone Plans Among World's Most Expensive
Finland is very highly urbanized. Most of the population is clustered in the south of the country near Helsinki in a relatively small geographic area, while northern Finland is mostly empty. Population density is a poor metric for judging the amount of wireless infrastructure needed for such types of population distributions. See also: British Columbia.

Comment: Re:Stupid prices (Score 1) 827

by Foggiano (#29027549) Attached to: US Cell Phone Plans Among World's Most Expensive

Ugh, I see this idea brought out any time someone talks about comparing European and US population density statistics, and it's entirely misleading. It isn't population density that matters in this case, it's percent urbanization. If the population of a country is very highly concentrated in a few central areas, with large amounts of relatively uninhabited space, this will skew your population density and give a very false sense of what kinds of environments people live in. In short, your own argument is weakened by the use of an ill-fitting statistic. You're trying to convince us that Finland is very sparsely populated, which is simply not the case. It is highly urbanized with lots of empty space.

A perfect example of this is British Columbia. The total population of BC is 4.4 million or so, and the total land area of the province is 925,000 square kilometers. That gives a population density of 4.7 inhabitants/sq. km. By this metric, British Columbia is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the world, on par with Montana or Wyoming in the United States. Of course, what this doesn't tell us is that nearly 50% of the entire population of BC lives in the Vancouver metropolitan area, with a land area of about 3000 sq. km. The typical British Columbian lives in a highly urban environment, not the middle of the tundra, as the population density implies. The same argument holds true for Finland, where nearly 1/3 of the total population of the country lives in around Helsinki, and for almost all the rest of Europe, where there is very little suburban-style living compared to the US.

Wireless infrastructure costs decrease dramatically as the population becomes more centralized because you simply don't need to build as many towers, and coverage extends farther because of the relatively flat geography of Finland (and most of western Europe, for that matter). Just slap one up in the middle of your quaint European village and you're good to go, complete with electricity and connectivity.

Contrast this with the costs of building a tower to effectively cover sprawling US suburbs or every 20 miles along a freeway in the middle of nowhere in the western United States and you'll see that a good deal of that price difference is indeed justified and not just a product of greedy and incompetent telecommunications companies.

Comment: Re:Research and Development driven by commerce (Score 2, Insightful) 253

by Foggiano (#28150265) Attached to: How Common Is Scientific Misconduct?

I don't quite see how you came to this conclusion, especially given the text of this article. The authors were specifically looking at misconduct in research published in peer-reviewed journals. The vast majority of material published in these journals originates from universities, not industrial research and development.

I would suggest, in fact, that misconduct is probably at least as common if not more so in a university environment than in an industrial one. Tenure-track professors are under enormous pressure to publish and their research projects are operated in an essentially unsupervised environment. The graduate students and post-doctoral researchers who actually do the lab work are generally in no position to correct or even be aware of misconduct by a professor, and are also under the same kinds of pressure to produce results in order to succeed. Couple this with the fact that much research is esoteric and funding, time, and interest to reproduce others' results is nearly non-existent and you have an environment ripe for scientific misconduct.

In the very least, in industry, you're constrained by reality. If you say you can make a product and you can't, there is an economic penalty (and potential loss of employment) which encourages conservatism and honesty in research. In academics, a paper containing falsified data published in an obscure journal which no one reads is still a publication that you can add to your c.v. and really, who will ever notice?

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City Uses DNA To Sniff Out Dog Poop Offenders 252 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-bite-out-of-crime dept.
An Israeli city is using DNA analysis of dog droppings to reward pet owners who clean up after their pets and punish those who don't. A six-month trial program launched this week, in the city of Petah Tikva, to tackle the dog mess problem in a high tech way. The program asks dog owners to take their pets to a veterinarian, who then swabs its mouth and collects DNA. The city will use the DNA database it is building to match droppings to a dog and identify its owner. Owners who scoop up their dogs' droppings and place them in specially marked bins will be eligible for rewards of pet food coupons and dog toys. Those who leave the poo on the street face fines. I wonder what sin you had to commit in a previous life to find yourself the official dog poop examiner of Petah Tikva, Israel.
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Slashdot's Disagree Mail 426 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the unsubscribe-me dept.
Everyone likes to belong to something. Whether it be for fun, a sense of belonging, or a need for attention, a group gives you a feeling of solidarity. Surrounding yourself with people that share common goals and ideas can be comforting. Sometimes however, you realize that you hate the people you've surrounded yourself with. Your religion doesn't allow you to read anything that has profanity or you've subscribed to Slashdot thinking you could learn more about hockey. This week's collection is composed of people who don't want to play, read, or be associated with us anymore. Read below to find out how bad they want out.
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Dolphin Inspired Mini-sub 181 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the expensive-toys dept.
What do you get the millionaire in your life who has everything? How about the Seabreacher mini-sub. Described as a dolphin-inspired cross between a jet ski and a submarine, the Seabreacher has a top speed of 45mph above the waves and 20mph below them. The two-man £30,000 craft is 15' long and its design makes it self-righting. Strangely, this doesn't come with a laser package.
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User Charged With Taking ISP Tech Hostage 327 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-kidnap-or-not-to-kidnap dept.
User AttheCoalFac pointed us to an interesting tech support story from Canada. Halifax actress and playwright Carol Sinclair was arrested and is now facing criminal charges after a repairman says she threatened to hold him hostage until he fixed her Internet connection. Mrs. Sinclair denies the allegations and says that she merely stated, 'I don't want to hold you hostage, but would you mind hanging around until the other technician arrives so that the two of you can sort it out.' She was arraigned in Halifax Provincial Court Friday and is now free on conditions including that she have no contact with the repairman or any employee from her ISP. Having a lot of experience on both sides of this issue, I'm not sure who I'm cheering for.
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Bottom of the Barrel Book Reviews — Special Operations Team Raptor 85 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the could-be-worse dept.
If you like stories about maverick billionaires, cliche mercenaries, government sponsored super hero teams, leading edge technology and the ultimate evil of an alien human resources dept. then Special Operations Team Raptor The African Incident, by Daniel A. Dawson, just might be for you. Weighing in at a mere 103 pages, SOTR will only waste a few hours of your life. While it may be as fresh and creative as a crafts class at summer camp, it's not a complete waste of your time. Keep reading below to see if your mom would like it as much as your macaroni art.
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Slashdot's Disagree Mail 354 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the teach-me-something dept.
There is an old Japanese proverb that goes, "Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher." This week's mail is all about teaching. Whether it is about the seriousness of psychic ability, a short history of trolls or explaining how much free time and malice your dad's attorney has, these people just want to impart information. If what they sent me is any indication, they had a lot of sick days. Click on the link below to become enlightened.
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Slashdot's Disagree Mail 264 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-cool dept.
In this week's Disagree Mail, I try to show the range of messages I get. It's not all angry or insane, sometimes it's sent to us for no apparent reason. We start off a little mad, slip into a whole bunch of crazy and finish with someone who has a complaint about racism at his favorite restaurant. Read below to get started.
Government

British "X-files" Released to Public 231

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the insert-mark-snow-score-here dept.
Smivs writes "Britain's Ministry of Defence has just released files regarding investigations into UFO sightings between 1978 to 1987. Over the next three or four years, 160 files will be handed over to the National Archives. The first group of eight files, one of which is more than 450 pages long, is available today. The Guardian newspaper details many of the events in question, some interesting and many just bizarre. A similar release of UFO files by France's national space agency last year attracted more than 220,000 users on its first day, causing it to crash. To avoid such problems, the National Archives is using an external hosting company which can add extra capacity as needed to handle the web traffic."
The Internet

English Wikipedia Gets Two Millionth Article 125

Posted by kdawson
from the tracking-the-milestone dept.
reybrujo writes to inform us of a milestone for the English-language Wikipedia: the posting of its two millionth article. At the time of this posting there is uncertainty over which article achieved the milestone. "Initial reports stated that the two millionth article written was El Hormiguero, which covers a Spanish TV comedy show. Later review of this information found that this article was most likely not two million, and instead a revised list of articles created around two million has been generated, and is believed to be correct to within 3 articles. The Wikimedia foundation, which operates the site, is expected to make an announcement with a final decision, which may require review of the official servers' logs."

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