Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Why bother? (Score 1) 163

by Powercntrl (#49754887) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

Really, the only advantage to a dumphone is the inexpensive cost to replace it, should it become lost or broken. Most non-contract wireless providers with a "bring your own phone" option are perfectly happy letting you use a cheap plan on a modern flagship smartphone, so being a Luddite won't save you much on your monthly wireless bill.

Regarding battery life, the main reason smartphones don't have the endurance of dumbphones comes down to how people use them. If you turn off mobile data, WiFi, Bluetooth and background app refresh, even an iPhone 5 can go a week on standby. You could also just buy an extended battery, portable USB pack, car charger, solar charger, etc.

I suspect this is more about longing for the "good old days" when people didn't expect you to be reachable through e-mail and at least 3 different social networks. Sorry, but using a dumbphone won't bring those days back.

Comment: Re:Markets, not people (Score 2) 612

by Powercntrl (#49706573) Attached to: The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks

Next thing you know, they might develop big machines to replace covered wagons and plows. Then where will we be, when all those teamsters and farmers are put out of work?

It actually is pretty tough to make a living as a small farmer these days.

A functioning society requires jobs that pay a livable wage to people who, for whatever reason, aren't cut out for collage. These are the jobs that are rapidly vanishing, due to automation.

The industrial revolution brought high atmospheric CO2 levels, the likes of which haven't been seen on this planet in over 20 million years. There's no avoiding it, "progress" always comes at a cost.

Comment: Move over swatting, here comes Yik Yakking (Score 1) 254

If the police are actually responding to crap on Yik Yak, it won't be long before someone gets their jollies sending the police on wild goose chases. Of course, it isn't like it's easy to pick up a cheap burner phone, hop on an unsecured WiFi network and fake the phone's location. Whoops.

"Tomorrow at noon this place burns to the ground. I'll be driving a hot pink Tesla Model S, come at me, pigs."

Amusement worthy of 4chan ensues.

Comment: Re:Gamechanger (Score 1) 514

by Powercntrl (#49595813) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to put solar panels on my house and stick it to the man and all. I just don't happen to have $30K laying around.

If you have access to grid power, photovoltaics are just a piss poor investment. Sure, there's the "going green" aspect of it, but ultimately it's still just an investment - you're spending money now in the hope of making more of it back over a period of time. You'll likely do better investing the same amount of money in the stock market and leave the electricity generation to the people with the big cooling towers.

Comment: Re:What is the obsession with tattoos... (Score 1) 403

by Powercntrl (#49588729) Attached to: Tattoos Found To Interfere With Apple Watch Sensors

Perhaps it is just the way my brain is wired, when I see a tattoo my brain instinctively registers it as "damage" and that the person may be injured or ill. Certainly others must have the same instinctive reaction, yet it seems even more people are doing that these days.

Trypophobia is a real thing, so it isn't far off to imagine the sight of a tattoo evoking a similar reaction in some people.

Comment: Re:Not every tattoo (Score 1) 403

by Powercntrl (#49588653) Attached to: Tattoos Found To Interfere With Apple Watch Sensors

Not all tattoo inks are created equal. Many practitioners use ink from botanical sources.

Obviously, non-GMO botanical sources, otherwise they're not hipster enough.

Somewhere at a Chipotle, there's a hipster who can't order his non-GMO burrito with his Apple watch, because his tattoo is interfering with the security features. Oh, the irony.

Comment: Re:No wifi, less space than a Nomad, lame? (Score 1) 74

by Powercntrl (#49534061) Attached to: Apple Offers Expedited Apple Watch Order Lottery To Developers

Yeah. Must be the buyers who are braindead, not people like yourself (and CmdrTaco) who can't see what Apple actually does bring to the table.

I fell for the hype and bought a first generation iPhone when Apple knocked $200 off the price. Because, what do you know, at the time they weren't actually selling like hotcakes.

Let's not forget, back then it didn't run apps, couldn't record video, had no stereo bluetooth, didn't do MMS and maxed out at EDGE speeds (when even dumbphones were beginning to ship with 3G). The battery life was lackluster, the reception and call quality was abysmal. Sure, mobile Safari was pretty awesome at the time compared to the competition - when it wasn't constantly crashing, that is.

Fast forward to today and while my phone is still technically an "iPhone", it bears only a superficial resemblance to the original model that I frequently found myself cursing at, back in the day. The battery life is tolerable, reception and call quality is excellent. The screen size has been increased and the pixel density has doubled. The cellular data connection is faster than my cable modem at home. Web pages render in the blink of an eye and Safari only seems to crash on me once in a blue moon. I don't feel like I'm missing out on any essential features - stereo bluetooth, MMS, front facing camera, 1080p video recording, the gang's all here. Heck, it even has a feature of dubious value which I don't even use - a fingerprint reader.

The Apple Watch could have some potential, but you'd be idiotic to believe that potential will be realized on first generation hardware. I've been burned enough times on first generation Apple products (Mac Mini, iPhone and the iPad) that I've decided to sit this one out. But hey, the way I look at it is: the idiots buying this thing today are subsidizing the development costs of the future model I might someday actually want.

Oh, who am I kidding? I loathe wearing a watch and I don't need one to tell me to look at my phone. The damn thing may as well be a pocket pager, for all intents and purposes.

Comment: Re:Why all the complaining? (Score 1) 112

by Powercntrl (#49533335) Attached to: Google Launches Project Fi Mobile Phone Service

This deal is good for some people, not good for others. If you think it'll work for you, sign up, if you don't, then don't. It seems more than a bit of a stretch to proclaim that the plan is a colossal failure because it does not meet your particular needs.

Don't know if you missed the part where it requires a Nexus 6. Due to Sprint being one of the network providers, it's also very likely to continue to be limited to "approved handsets" only, going forward. So, even if you think this is a great deal and the plans are up your alley, you still also have to want/already own a Nexus 6.

Personally, for my usage, Cricket's $35/mo plan is still a better deal. Plus, it runs on AT&T's network and I can use any unlocked GSM phone I want.

Comment: 2 words: Government Auction (Score 1) 325

by Powercntrl (#49487443) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan

Sell the iPads at auction and sue the 3rd party software vendor for failing to deliver on their promises. Not sure if the news article is just daft or the school really thinks Apple should take back 120,000 used iPads because of what amounts to a case of very late (the article says this project started in 2013) buyer's remorse.

Comment: Re:flippers (Score 1) 290

A million eBay traders; riiiiiiiight.

The people who make moronic comments about flipping hard-to-get gadgets on eBay have clearly never sold on eBay. Very often, the winning bidder turns out to be a non-paying deadbeat or a scammer, and then you're stuck waiting a few days on eBay to refund your end-of-sale & listing fees or arguing with PayPal. Even if you manage a successful sale, eBay takes 10% and PayPal takes somewhere around 2.9%.

As the Apple Watch comes in more combinations than a bag of mixed nuts, I doubt there's as much flipping potential as say, a phone that's only available in 3 different colors.

Comment: It's about time (Score 1) 86

by Powercntrl (#49279131) Attached to: Nintendo Finally Working On Games for Smartphones

For the current generation of very young kids, their first taste of video gaming is Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Candy Crush, Temple Run and the like, played on their parents' mobile devices. They're not going to ask for a Nintendo when they're older; they'll ask for an iOS or Android device. The days of selling "kiddie" handhelds with QVGA screens and $40 games are numbered. I'm just glad Nintendo has finally decided to start rolling with the tide, rather than face being washed under, like Polaroid.

Comment: Re:This ex-Swatch guy doesn't have a clue (Score 5, Interesting) 389

And back in 2007 you'd be telling us the iPhone would present no threat to BlackBerry. And before that you'd have told us that the iPod would pose no threat to other mp3 players. The sheer amount of fault predictions that Slashdot nerds have made about Apple are hilarious.

You're revising history as much as Apple revises their products. A $599 phone (with no subsidy discount), locked to one carrier, that can't run 3rd party applications, doesn't support MMS, has poor call quality and no 3G support was no threat to Blackberry. A $399, Mac-only, MP3 player that lacks USB was no threat to other MP3 players.

The iPod didn't become a genuine threat to competitors (and a runaway success) until hell froze over and Windows support was added. The iPhone didn't become a threat to competitors until Apple allowed AT&T to subsidize it. By the time the products had overcome their respective major roadblocks to widespread adoption, the current versions resembled their initial predecessors in name and physical appearance, but most of the missing capabilities the nerd peanut gallery derided them for, had been addressed.

If anything, this is a cautionary tale that while the Apple Watch may eventually be yet another blazing success story for Apple, the model that goes on sale on April 24th will be nothing like the updated version that catapults it to mainstream popularity. Of course, it could also flop. As they said on Mythbusters, "failure is always an option." Either way, it will be an amusing show, and I'm sure plenty of people will have their own revisionist history to write when it succeeds or fails.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov