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Comment: Re:Black pest 2.0 (Score 3, Insightful) 197

by swb (#47978257) Attached to: CDC: Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million In 4 Months

I think there's some disturbing parallels to the zombie/ebola outbreak scenario.

The movie "Contagion", while kind of lame, sort of came close to delivering it. 28 Days Later wasn't bad, either, but a little too zombie-like to be "realistic."

It's not hard to imagine a real pandemic where there's a disease with a very high mortality rate, a long incubation period before debilitating symptoms occur but a very short period before obvious but benign symptoms occur that make the infected easy to identify.

I could see a situation like that being a lot like a zombie outbreak -- the infected know they are infected and likely to die but have several weeks without symptoms that make them unable to cause havoc. At some point those infected would probably start to react/strike back at the uninfected as the uninfected pulled back and stopped wanting to have anything to do with them.

Comment: Re:Phone size myopia (Score 1) 247

by swb (#47978107) Attached to: Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

I've bought new releases because I always wanted a faster phone, my wife gets my year old model (making the annual upgrade marginally more justifiable) and "because I work in IT" (hey, my wife buys it..)

But this time around money is a little tighter and the only feature I really cared about was phablet-sized screen, and wouldn't you know it, Apple delivered.

I do think the smartphone as a concept is kind of running out of meaningful upgrades of any type. CPUs are plenty fast, screens are crazy high resolution and LTE speeds can often beat random wifi connections.

Someone is going to have to bite the bullet and start making dockable smartphones that can drive laptops/desktops or something really a bigger leap.

Comment: Re:Solution (Score 1) 274

by swb (#47976813) Attached to: To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

It's usually not worth it on small purchases, but with bigger ticket purchases I will often ask for a cash discount. Sometimes they counter for less than 3% and then I just lay down a credit card and say "No, thanks, I'll take the credit card points". Some are smart enough to give me the 3%, but I'm more than happy to have them eat the 3% and take the points.

Comment: Phone size myopia (Score 2) 247

by swb (#47973363) Attached to: Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

They haven't released numbers yet, but the press reports seem to indicate that the 6 Plus demand is outstripping supply yet the chorus of people who think that even the 6 is too big let alone the 6 plus is as loud as ever. I think this is an interesting dichotomy.

I think the 6 Plus is fine -- I find more screen better than less screen, even if the increased size limits one-handed usage. I don't think there's an "ideal" size for any phone unless you toss in some usage requirements, like one-handed use or pocket storage complaints. I know some people who would use a full-size iPad as a phone if they could because none of the one-handed use or pocket issues apply to them. I think it's just a matter of personal preference.

I do think it's interesting that Tim Cook's Apple is responding to market demand instead of imposing a Jobsian design fascism. I also think that for a decent chunk of people, the 6 Plus is meant to take over some of the things they'd use a tablet for. I'm mostly happy with my iPad 3 (even with iOS8), but I think with a 6 Plus I'll reach for it less and put off upgrading it until it runs out of iOS updates.

And I think a lot of people who want both but can't swing it financially will find a 6 Plus a reasonable universal device. This is what surprised me about the 6 Plus release as I'm pretty sure it will eat into iPad Mini sales and even some full-size iPad sales.

What would be nice and I don't know if we'll ever get there for lots of reasons (technological and sales/marketing) would be a watch-sized device becoming the root device with the phone or tablet being the kind of screen/user interface, tethered to the phone for network access. That way you could pick your "phone" based on size preference, or none at all if all you wanted was bluetooth audio and phone calling.

Comment: Re: Trolls are bad people (Score 1) 236

by aardvarkjoe (#47970227) Attached to: Friendly Reminder: Do Not Place Your iPhone In a Microwave

What if I dressed up as a doctor, had an air of gravitas, videoed from what looks like an ivy covered university and gave terrible terrible medical advice about Tylenol maximum dosages?

Not really the same thing, as that could cause death (or death-like symptoms).

Or if I dressed as a garage mechanic used all kinds of mechanical words and gave horrible advice such as sugar in the gas tank eliminates the squeal when you hit the brakes?

This falls under the category of life lesson. Just like the iPhone trick.

Comment: Re:Potentially very useful (Score 1) 37

by swb (#47968511) Attached to: New Long-Range RFID Technology Helps Robots Find Household Objects

Won't someone require a verification of ID tags against actual equipment serial numbers in a case like this, at least for some statistically significant portion of the equipment list?

Otherwise, you're just inventorying ID tags which could be stuck to anything. Now if they could manage to integrate the tag into the system somehow, although you'd have to define what the system was, otherwise you kind of get into a Theseus paradox situation.

Which makes me wonder how many empty computer cases have been "inventoried" even though there was functionally no computer inside.

Comment: Re:Ageing can be seen as a treatable disease. (Score 1) 460

by swb (#47967531) Attached to: Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

I like the multigenerational family setup, although it could have some annoyances (will I really have to listen to my dad's ideas on how I am supposed to mow the fucking lawn forever?).

The biggest problem is that employers don't want to give you time to manage the lives of your children, let alone elderly parents.

Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.