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Comment: Plastic Metal (Score 1) 220

by MaWeiTao (#47662997) Attached to: Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

I don't get the obsessive appeal of phones with metal shells. Every iPhone I've ever seen that's led a life case-free really shows it's age, with all kinds of scuffs and obvious wear. The wear on plastic phones is far less apparent because the scratches don't show nearly as much.

I suppose excessive wear plus for the device maker as a motivator to get consumers to upgrade on a regular basis. It certainly helps that your average stupid consumer equates cold metal with luxury.

Comment: Re:Strategic coverage (Score 1) 150

by MaWeiTao (#47601307) Attached to: Japan To Launch a Military Space Force In 2019

Regardless, visit Japan and you'd never know their economy had been stagnant for over two decades. I'd take that kind of stagnation to American "growth" any day. They may be running a huge deficit, but at least the money seems to be used more productively than it ever is in the US. I'd love to see the kinds of massive infrastructure projects they undertake introduced over here. Stimulus spending in America consists of pointless and useless beautification on some stretch of road, not a new bridge link to cut travel times by half and foster local development.

I've suspected that their economy has stagnated because Japanese companies have expanded as far as they possibly can. The only way to rekindle growth is to engage in the kind of ingenuity and risk taking which Japanese may not be capable of. I certainly don't think this is something the government can fix. It's either that or US-style cost-cutting and layoffs. Although, while that would give the illusion of growth in the short term it would also gut their core competencies.

Comment: Re:News source (Score 1) 165

by MaWeiTao (#47532885) Attached to: Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

I agree with you on everything exception your mention of Democracy Now. They definitely cover some legitimate stories and they haven't been commercialized, but they're clearly pushing a particular worldview and appealing to a certain demographic in very much the same way as Foxnews. Just because you happen to agree with that particular perspective doesn't mean that they aren't biased.

Comment: Re:What's the point (Score 3, Insightful) 353

by MaWeiTao (#47409731) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

You've posted twice about the supposed wonders of the NHS, but the reality doesn't seem to corroborate your claims. There are numerous reports about the massive financial crisis the NHS is facing. Evidently the problems are the worst they've been in a decade, resulting in significant layoffs and that 44% of hospitals will end the year in deficit. The fact that the things were bad only a decade ago seems to imply that the system has always had a problem with sustainability.

Sustainability seems to be a significant problem with socialized healthcare systems the world over. That's where the problems arise. Americans are hit with the cost of healthcare up front, Europeans pay for it indirectly via high taxes and other compromises. You'll likely be hit with a huge bill in the US, but at least if a doctor spots something of concern you'll be scheduled for tests the very next day. If they find a problem you can be in surgery the following week. In Europe you end up on waiting lists and hope things don't get worse before you get treatment. Unless you're wealthy, then you can pay for prompt care, which ironically causes the same economic divide people complain about in the US.

There are other more subtle problems I've personally observed in Europe in Asia. Doctors are overburdened and relatively underpaid. So I've found that they tend to gloss over issues and don't really spend enough time evaluating a patient's condition. These and many other problems are the sorts of things you only really start noticing when you've lived in a country for any length of time. I've noticed that immigrants to the US always complain about the cost of healthcare. Until they start noticing those subtle differences, the extra effort American doctors put into patient care, prompt treatment and a general sense that everything is handled more thoroughly.

At the end of the day, healthcare is a massively complex and expensive beast. I've yet to see an implementation that comes close to solving most critical issues.

Comment: Re:Political/Moral (Score 1) 305

by MaWeiTao (#47359929) Attached to: How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?

The problem with Occupy Wall Street was that instead of being about real and legitimate problems it turned into a bunch of self-centered brats bitching about things like college loans. Idiots stormed a Bank of America branch at one point demanding something like college loans being forgiven. If they have an issue with the cost of eduction they should have gone to the source, protest the universities themselves for their wasteful spending and exorbitant tuition. Instead, Americans have this irrational loyalty to the college they attended and are far too comfortable with the idea of credit. Just think, the very thing they were demanding, easy credit, was one of the bigger sources of economic trouble.

Comment: Re:No one will ever buy a GM product again (Score 1) 307

by MaWeiTao (#47180961) Attached to: GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

I'm pretty sure this engineer is actually a middle manager. This falls under his area of responsibility because it's not upper management's responsibility to worry about such granular details. That said, a big problem with corporate America is that middle management is not measured by actual performance and productivity. So this guy solved the problem in a way that probably looked good to the higher ups because he wasn't causing disruption. Honestly, he likely didn't care either way; all he wanted was a secure paycheck and to be out the door at 5pm sharp.

Comment: Absurd comparison. (Score 0) 433

by MaWeiTao (#47065425) Attached to: U.S. Drone Attack Strategy Against Al-Qaeda May Be Wrong

This is a ridiculous comparison to make. Corporate executives don't have to worry about a missile being lobbed into their BMW on their morning commute. Middle managers also don't have to worry about being caught up in the collateral damage.

There are legitimate arguments to be made against drone strikes, but I struggle to see how it isn't effective. Al-Qaeda clearly been forced to change the way it operates. That big open air meeting they held in Yemen, in broad daylight was their attempt to pretend that they're not intimidated. The fact that a drone strike followed the release of that video shows the reality of the situation they face. If nothing else, it brings the same level of fear to these terrorists that they inflict on their own fellow citizens.

Comment: Re:Climate change is for pussies. (Score 1) 258

by MaWeiTao (#46991503) Attached to: What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze?

I work right on the water, in a location that's indicated on that map to have experienced over 4ft of inundation. Maybe those figures actually represent deviation from normal high tide and not actually inundation. While there was indeed flooding around here it didn't exceed 12" and only affected a few waterfront areas. Go a few hundred feet and there was no flooding at all. The flooding also didn't persist for the duration of the storm, instead receding once the tide went out.

I'm not suggesting that the rising sea level isn't a problem. I'm suggesting that it isn't the urgent issue it keeps being presented as. The rise is so gradual that people will almost certain adapt long before it could turn into a critical problem. As it stands, in a few residential neighborhoods affected by flooding some have moved out and others have taken measures to defend against flooding.

This is the sort of thing we're going to see increasingly around the world, and eventually some of these spots may be completely given up to the sea. However, for the most part it's not going to occur at a frantic pace that would pose a humanitarian nightmare. People will simply adapt or move.

The problem with some aspects of trying to take action now is that it's too soon to even know how we should be responding. It's the typical nonsense I face with management. They're so frantic to get started on a project, to do anything, that we end up wasting an inordinate amount of time and money simply fixing problems caused by rushing. And in many cases the original goals go unfulfilled anyway.

Comment: Re:Memories do decay upon recall (Score 1) 426

Is it that retrieval alters the memory or your processing of the retrieved memory that alters it? That's an important distinction.

I would propose that the original memory isn't altered at all, but that new experiences and thoughts get layered on top of it. The original memory, when retrieved gets inextricably tied to all that and thus distorted. If you were able to store a memory that is unlikely to be tainted in this manner, unique smells and flavors come to mind, I imagine when it's retrieved years later it wouldn't be distorted at all.

Comment: Re:Where's Waldo? (Score 1) 126

by MaWeiTao (#46928845) Attached to: Skepticism Grows Over Claims That MH370 Lies In the Bay of Bengal

It is newsworthy, but not to the extent that is merits the constant coverage CNN has been giving it.

But it's easy to see why they're stuck on this particular story. It garners ratings but requires minimal financial and personnel commitment on CNN's part. There's nowhere to send reporters but the local harbor to pointlessly demonstrate some bit of tech. They could send reporters to Malaysia, but why bother when other news agencies are doing the real work for them? The fact that it's politically neutral is another bonus. So there's not much left but to endlessly speculate.

There are other stories that offer much more substance and are far more relevant to us. They also require a lot more work on the part of real journalists. Unfortunately, there's no room for those people because we need to pay for presenters who are borderline celebrities. That and the talking head format has gotten far too prevalent for it's own good.

Comment: Unrealistic expectations. (Score 1) 302

by MaWeiTao (#46835491) Attached to: Consumers Not Impressed With 3D Printing

I believe that 3D printing will eventually be ubiquitous. However, we're talking about something that's at least a decade or two off because not only does the technology need to mature but a whole infrastructure needs to arise to support it. Certainly, these machines will need to evolve beyond spitting out relatively rough hunks of plastic. The suggestion that the lack of a "killer app" is a major stumbling block to adoption is almost comical.

The article seems written by someone who lacks fundamental understanding of the technology and so holds unrealistic expectations. Unfortunately, this mentality seems pervasive as far too many people believe that the instant they hear of a new technology it's ready for mass consumption.

The reality is that many consumers struggle to set up a mere ink jet. They muddle through applications like Word and PowerPoint, using a fraction of available functionality. They need to call an electrician to replace a light switch and AAA to mount a spare tire. In light of all that, what hope in hell do they have of manipulating a 3D model, preparing it for printing and then assembling it?

Some day, the technology will likely affect the lives of nearly everyone. But I can't imagine it will happen in the way some people seem to be envisioning it.

Comment: Re:Apple is on very shakey ground (Score 1) 386

by MaWeiTao (#46833123) Attached to: iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

You're wrong.

Apple's business hasn't been based on breaking new ground. Others, Microsoft and Google, are the ones breaking new ground. This risk with that approach, however, is that you're often bringing to market a product that's half-baked, either because the tech is in it's infancy or there's a lack of exposure to that particular type of device.

What Apple has been the master of is identifying a unique niche where there's a unfilled demand because existing products are subpar. But they don't just rush in to fill that vacuum. They wait for the dust to settle, for the tech to reach sufficient maturity. Other companies often predate Apple in the introduction of new technology, but they rarely implement it as effectively. My impression is that they're stuck in iterative mode. They're stuck trying to beat everyone to market and rely on subsequent models to address outstanding issues instead of considering a device as a holistic package and maximizing refinement.

That last bit is reflective of the important of integration, and it's really the most critical. It's the thing that really attracts consumers. Apple successfully removes most of the obstacles that have traditionally hindered user experience in that particular space. The ability to identify technology and successfully exploit it is part of that.

What Apple has done is impressive, but they are able to take this approach only because others have broken ground first.

Comment: Tacky solution. (Score 1) 204

I think the idea of still having a horses in the midst of a busy city is ridiculous.

That said, the proposed alternative is cheesy. I really struggle to understand the American fixation antique reproductions. It's ironic that in Europe, where cities are much older than NYC, a similar concept would look sleek and futuristic.

I'm also struggling to understand why this thing is so big and heavy. It's at a point where you might as well just take a double-decker tour bus. It's likely also the safer alternative.

Comment: Easier said than done. (Score 1) 312

by MaWeiTao (#46782149) Attached to: Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

Any solution that's good for your health is going to cut into productivity. What companies are trying to do is find a solution that helps but doesn't disrupt that productivity. Unfortunately, I just don't think that's possible.

Currently, I've got a coworker who walks at a specialized treadmill, designed for office use, nearly all day long. Great for her, but all she does is read and type on her computer. There's some work you just can't be moving to do effectively. I design, requiring precision and focus. I can't stand or walk while I work. But my workload is such that I can't talk long breaks throughout the day.

A sensible approach might be several long breaks throughout the day. But the problem is fitting those in to a work day. I wouldn't want my work day to get longer. Sure, if you're single, it's easy to just lengthen your workday but fit in numerous breaks. However, not everyone has that freedom or desire. I want to be home with my family at a reasonable hour.

I think we need a more fundamental shift in corporate mentality. There's this persistent attitude of rushing to wait. Jam in a ton of work into a compressed timeframe only to have it languish once it's complete. On the other hand, there does need to be some kind of balance. You can't just have employees sit around doing nothing. Although, sometimes I feel like that's all that happens with so many of my clients.

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. -- Jerome Klapka Jerome

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