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Comment: Worry only when they stop (Score 1) 119

by RubberDogBone (#49228661) Attached to: CIA Tried To Crack Security of Apple Devices

The big news is not that the CIA was trying to break in. Hearing that they were trying means they still needed to get in.

Its when you STOP hearing they are trying. Because the only time they STOP trying is when they have in fact achieved their goal. These are not people who give up when it's too hard. They never quit. Unless they've won.

Comment: Too many unfixed things (Score 2) 172

by RubberDogBone (#49222959) Attached to: Google Announces Android 5.1

Lollypop has so many GUI issues, and none are addressed.

For example, the stock appearance of the settings menu with ultra bright white background cannot be changed. So if you open Settings in any kind of dark place like a movie theater, your car at night, or a bedroom, you eyes GET BLASTED BUT FULL ON ULTRA BRIGHT BULLSHIT that cannot be toned down. Compare to 4.2 and before where the menus where white text on a gray or black background. Worse, there is no way to change this. You are stuck wincing if you need to use the menus in the dark. And you lose all ability to remain private or avoid disturbing others.

The automatic dimming feature -which you might suspect would fix this complaint- does not actually work. In a bright environment, auto dimming dims the screen to unusable. And in a dim environment, it actually makes it so dim you can't see to undo it. But if you turn it off, you get BLASTED by that damn GUI with all it's bright white crap. Auto dimming USED to work.

The "battery is fully charged" info box appears even when the screensaver is running, and you need to do that because the super bright menus and status bars now leave significant image ghosting on the screen. For the first time ever on a mobile device, I have to run the multicolor screensaver AND a burn-in removal app periodically just to remove the hole in the screen where the status bar normally appears. Again, the issue is the overall brightness of the GUI contrasting with the rest of the visual elements.

Those things plus apps crashing, loss of root, needing to be rebooted twice a day which takes about three minutes before the desktop is actually working and usable, awful plummeting battery life, sluggish performance trying to open the dialer -Look, I hate Lollypop. 4.2 and 4.4 were very good versions. I expected better from 5.0. I expected more of the same Android UI. I got some misguided experiment in casual blinding.

For me, iOs is not an option. But instead of feeling like a big Android fan and supporter, I feel like I am getting shafted, And without root and access to the bootloader, I can't even DO anything about it. I am stuck with this thing rather than being a fan in love with it.

Maybe the S6 will be decent and somehow manage to fix these things but nothing I've read mentions any GUI fixes. I'm not sure Google even wants to fix it. Afterall, they have had years to fix the contrast problem in Gmail -look at your inbox from more than few feet away and see if you can tell read and unread messages based on color. Pretty much cannot because new messages are in not very bold black over white and read messages are a slightly less black black over almost the same white. There is almost no contrast difference. You cannot tell at a glance what is going on. This problem is awful on desktop Gmail and only a little less awful on mobile mainly because you are obviously closer to the mobile screen.

Google supposedly has GUI scientists and such but they don't see to put any thought into these things. It is frustrating. Yes I will keep using Google. They are wiring my neighborhood for Google Fiber so, yeah, I am on board. But I may not be using any Android devices by the time they get to my house this year.

Comment: Re:Sony doesn't care for electronics for a reason. (Score 2) 188

by RubberDogBone (#49099127) Attached to: Why Sony Should Ditch Everything But the PlayStation

The ups and downs of movies and TVs can't be used, rationally, to support a company like Sony. Sony Pictures is only as good as their last blockbuster, or perhaps their next. But in between those are lots of films that lose money even before Hollywood Accounting(TM) takes over. There are no guarantees. And it only takes one or two expensive flop movies (and Hollywood is paved with the carcasses of such films) to ruin a studio.

TV is the same: ratings, networks, fickle viewing habits make it very hard to look at TV series as a reliable and steady source of revenue. Some years might be good, but many will be bad.

Sony got into making movies because they thought it would be cool to see the Sony Pictures logo before a movie you play on your Sony DVD player and watch on your Sony TV connected to your Sony home theater. It is cool for the executives. But nobody else ever gave a damn. And if nobody cares, why bother owning a movie studio?

Comment: Predicted end (Score 1) 188

by RubberDogBone (#49098871) Attached to: Why Sony Should Ditch Everything But the PlayStation

One of Samsung's most important motivating goals has long been to utterly destroy Sony. They saw Sony not only as a competitor but also as a representative of a super-successful Japanese company in a country where Japan is viewed very bitterly and resented. Samsung resented Sony. Samsung made it their goal to kill that company, and it can be argued the have done exactly that, though certainly not alone. The end result is the same: Samsung is a household name across the globe, with a huge variety of products of all types.

And Sony? Aside from the PlayStation, they are largely a runner-up in most of their product segments. If Samsung wanted to challenge them on gaming, they could probably go to Microsoft and write a check for the Xbox division. But there is no need with Sony so weak everywhere else. The battle is over.

Sony still does OK in some audio lines. Their headphones are not bad. And their car audio is relatively good. That said, I am about to install my third Sony head unit in five years, because they are not durable. But they are cheap and forced other brands to bring in more features at lower price points. Sony used to bring this kind of pressure to bear in their other electronics lines. Not so much any more.

And my old Playstation first gen still works great. It happens to be the same age as my girlfriend. She thinks it's an antique (as am I for that matter, being more than twice her age) but nobody can pry her PS4 out of her hands. Don't try. I have.

Comment: Re:What if they'd stuck with it? (Score 1) 294

by RubberDogBone (#49000963) Attached to: Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy

Sears and Kmart have been shooting themselves in the head for decades, particularly in IT related things.

in 2001, Baseline Magazine did a superb review of the KMart IT called "How Kmart Fell Behind" It still exists on Google cache. Reading that, it is clear the company was hopelessly lost even then and had no hope of ever recovering.

In the battle between Walmart and KMart, Walmart won but most people see only low prices and stores everywhere. But the real secret was in the IT behind Walmart. They embraced IT, leveraged it in every possible way, supported it, endorsed it, and updated it relentlessly to manage inventory and operations in a true model of efficiency. At the same time, KMart, did almost nothing. IT didn't matter to them. They didn't understand it, didn't get it, didn't use it. Had no inventory control, literally had no idea what was in each store. "But unless management pays attention, the data is worthless. "Because they didn't believe the system, they had trucks, and trucks, and trucks of inventory just sitting there.""

That Baseline article is like a obit written before the person dies. It's all there except the date of death.

Comment: TechAmerica (Score 1) 294

by RubberDogBone (#49000755) Attached to: Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy

Not mentioned too often (or at all; I've not seen it mentioned even once) is the story of Radio Shack's experiment with a chain of stores called TechAmerica.

TechAmerica was like a giant RS plus the parts aisles from a Frys, plus audio, ham radio, kit stuff, science toys, books, cable, computer parts, you name it. Maybe 40,000Sq feet. The one near me was half of a former discount store so quite large.

Anyway, TechAmerica had three stores in Colorado, Arizona and Georgia. They were great for hobbyists but there were problems. One was pricing. They expected people unsure what the store was about to be happy paying premium prices. And of course the hobby types already knew where to get cheaper parts and batter deals so they didn't like the prices either. Two, it was stocked with what seemed to be an idea that all they had to do was put stuff on the floor and it would sell, which wasn't the case. You know, spools of wire might sit for years. This is fine if you expect that. But bad if you want SKUs to move weekly.

The third problem was RadioShack itself. TechAmerica was created around 1999 or so right at the dawn of the e-commerce boom. RS didn't have a competent online presence (and never got one) and looked at TA to be their online fulfillment spear. It was a disaster.

Had they let TA bloom and find its own way, it might have worked. They were unique places where you could go buy all the neat stuff a normal RS would not have. Well, provided you didn't mind paying extra for it. You could get computer parts too, except more costly than anywhere else.

These stores would have been great for the Maker movement except they were 13 years too early and overpriced. And they didn't have 13 years to wait for a movement to spring up .

After about two years, 2001 or so, corporate threw in the towel. The TA stores were renamed to "Radio ShackDOTcom" around 2001 and stuffed with crappy even more RS merchandise. The hobbyist angle was dropped. One of these RadioShackDOTcom stores was even in the same strip of stores as a normal Radio Shack which did more sales that the old TA.

The whole TA project was scrapped and forgotten. RS largely forgets that they ever existed.

Comment: Re:Copyright is Now Perpetual (Score 1) 227

by RubberDogBone (#48986701) Attached to: Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP

Wow I had someone on the brain there.

First paragraph should read ...this attitude that the first person to find something (much less actually invent it) means something.

Then I mean to say....

We encourage by practice and by law the idea that the first human person to find something or see something is the owner and has all rights.

Comment: Re:Copyright is Now Perpetual (Score 1) 227

by RubberDogBone (#48986693) Attached to: Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP

Absolutely true. But we humans have this attitude that first to find someone (much less actually invent it) means someone.

What will happen the first time we run across a territory or an object or a process that another intelligent race already has? Why of course we're going to grab all their stuff and attempt to patent it! We'll rename their planet and everything on it, usually with NEW as the prefix. Qrendorch is not a good name for a city. Call it, New Paris! Or New New York. Or New Venice.

That thing you use to turn on the anti-grav food cooker? We'll rename that the iCooker. And FUCKING SUE ANY ALIENS WHO SAY OTHERWISE!

Seriously, our system currently has no ability to handle ideas that come from outside. We encourage by practice and by law the idea that the first human person to find someone is the owner and has all rights. We are going to show up on some alien world and stick flag in the soil and ignore anything and anyone who might object. They might not like us very much once we are done copyrighting and patenting their whole world, in the name of Weyland Yutani or some other company.

Comment: Infinite times infinite is macaroni and cheese (Score 2) 226

by RubberDogBone (#48944873) Attached to: There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

This idea that every possible choice I make spawns a whole other universe where I made a different choice has always seemed ludicrous. This sort of thing implies that my choice of every word in this sentence causes a universe -a whole universe with planets and black holes and telemarketers and tofu- to pop into existence, just because I decided to use 'tofu' earlier instead of using "marmalade" or some other word.

This means either the theory is wrong, or that causing a universe to exist is completely trivial and of no particular meaning. Which in turn implies that THIS universe that we live in is just a casual happenstance of some being's choice. Which means the big bang and everything else that we know and that every human being has ever known about anything is just absolute pap.

That may be the case but it's easier to accept the theory is just wrong.

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 0) 237

by RubberDogBone (#48925805) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

Excellent summary, and it points to a couple of the flaws with the Fermi paradox, all based on our own existence.

One, it assumes that advanced civilizations would either not know how to defend against a GRB, or would have no defense against it. A sufficiently advanced civilization, may, in fact, have ways to survive GRBs. Fermi assumes all would be as weak as we are and just drop dead. Is that a safe assumption?

Two, Fermi and basically all other astrobiological research areas focus on the idea that life exists only on planets, generally single planets similar to our own existence in this star system. However, a sufficiently advanced civilization would likely have more than one "home" world and may even inhabit constructed environments such as star ships or artificial planets. Humans even now strive to make these sorts of habitats and our science fiction is crammed full of such things, where the residents have no actual home world and spend their existence on a constructed vessel of some type. Despite embracing this in works of fiction and in our imaginations, we exclude this possibility from the search for life and from things like the Drake equation and Fermi's paradox. We're busy looking for microbes on Mars, not an artificial planet or large ship or Dyson sphere.

If in fact advanced civilizations are able to migrate and move around as they wish, or at least have multiple home worlds, they could certainly anticipate and potentially avoid GRBs or at least the terminating impact. Indeed it could be argued that any civilization that could NOT survive a GRB, would not deserve to be deemed advanced.

Comment: Fear! (Score 3, Insightful) 468

by RubberDogBone (#48911711) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Let me get this straight.

Cops have guns, shotguns, assault rifles, armored tanks, armed robots, tasers, pepper sprays, billy clubs, body armor, police shocks, police engines, police cars, police radios, helicopters, and the power of law behind them.

But they are afraid of an app.

Comment: Re:"The" black box ? (Score 4, Interesting) 95

by RubberDogBone (#48789181) Attached to: AirAsia QZ8501 Black Box Found

Wish I had mod points, but then I would not get to say Bravo for nailing it.

AF447 was clearly CFIT. Nothing stopped the crew from preventing the crash except their own belief that they knew better than the systems they relied upon basically ALL the other time they were flying. But once, over the ocean and in a storm, they knew better.

I never understand how drivers flying heavys suddenly think they can do the seat-of-the-pants thing like they're flying a barnstormer, much less at the very moment when all their skill needs to come to play. But it happens. AF447 was not the first time raw ego flew into terrain and it won't be the last, unfortunately.

This Air Asia plane probably broke up in weather from the sound of the wreckage. Why it didn't do more to evade the weather is going to a good question. Boxes will tell the story.

Comment: The POINT went right over your head (Score 1) 182

by RubberDogBone (#48772367) Attached to: Four Facepalm Bugs In USPS Label-Printing Site

Of COURSE their system is broken! You missed the point entirely.

The purpose of ANYTHING the USPS does is to get you to come to a branch and stand in line. Essentially they want you to be so frustrated and give up that you come stand in line. So they can try to upsell you on stuff you don't want, mainly because you might be weak after spending an hour in line and just agree to whatever is suggested.

This is why the USPS has carefully removed nearly all the stamp vending machines they used to have in every Post Office lobby, why they got rid of the automated mailing kiosks (and those that remain are often broken and simply tell you to go stand in line), and at the same time, they have cut back on the number of clerks working so the line -which you pretty much HAVE to stand in- is as slow and long as possible.

Where a retail store would offer options to customers, open more lines, stay open later in the day or on weekends, the USPS steadfastly does exactly the opposite. The lines are long. YOU HAVE TO STAND IN THEM and forget picking up mail after work. No. You have to take time off. Sucker.

Compare this to Fedex: Their online shipping system is just amazing. And it works. And it's simple. They will come get your package or, at least in town, I can drop it off at their facility as late as 10:00 at night and there's never a line. It just works.

They just added a print kiosk to their lobby so even if you don't have a printer, you can still prepare the entire shipment ahead of time and just scan a QR on your phone to pull up the label, print it, stick it, and done. It's awesome.

The USPS, forget it. I stood in like there yesterday for 40 minutes while the one clerk working argued with a customer about a PO box issue. Nobody opened a second line although there were plenty of clerks standing around behind the counter and a line of customers that grew and filled in behind me, probably 30 deep.


So yes the website is broken. Come stand in line. THAT is your fix. Where is my consulting fee?

Comment: ASCAP/BMI (Score 1) 180

by RubberDogBone (#48687701) Attached to: Sony Accused of Pirating Music In "The Interview"

Normally a standard ASCAP/BMI license would cover using a song like this in a TV show. I don't know how movies handle licensing but supposing it is the same, then Sony has to attribute the song (and supposedly is IS listed in the credits roll), cut a check to the copyright holder and performer, and then cut a check to ASCAP or whichever company is doing the rep for the song. End of issue.

And by TV standards, which again may not be the same as in movies, the production does not need permission to use the song. They just need to properly credit the work and pay the fees. And then the artists won't actually see any money but that is a whole other story.

Sony was probably looking at $50,000 for using this song legally. If they did not in fact pay that fee, it will cost more now.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.