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Comment: Re: Competition (Score 1) 53 53

I think that competition is coming in the form of Apple, who it seems is poised to compete with Google's search, in addition to their maps service.

I'd be okay with that, but in order for that to be accurate, Apple would have to open up - Apple Maps on Windows Phone and Android, an actual search engine that's usable through a web browser, and presumably, iAds to fund these projects - technically not truly necessary, but I don't see the bean counters being willing to spend iPhone stipends on a project where they're not at least recouping their costs.

Apple competes well on its own platforms, but amongst the reasons why Google is Google is because it's neigh impossible to find one's self on a platform that doesn't provide some form of access to Google services. Microsoft is getting much closer to this level of ubiquity. Apple doesn't appear to be trying.

Comment: So, where's she getting money? (Score 4, Informative) 368 368

Assuming she's for real in this respect, I appreciate her concern for her comrades in the industry. However, She's pulled her music from Spotify, and now she's pulling it from iTunes. So...she's living off Pandora royalties and CD sales? I mean, the album has been out for quite some time, so she's made most of her millions off it at this point anyway and this is more grandstanding than anything else...but if it were a new release, would she really be this adamant about giving up iTunes revenue, even if it spent a bit too much time in the 'Accounts Receivable' column?

Comment: Slashdot User vs. Average User (Score 4, Insightful) 424 424

Average Slashdotter: Knows precisely what is being searched for, knows it's a bit obscure, knows how to spell, and knows that queries for such a thing are going to require the human to adapt to the technology - if required or possible, might be willing/able to provide an actual SQL query. More likely to run some form of ad blocker, and even if they don't, is much more likely to distinguish an ad for a search result, and not click on it.

Average User: Can't tell Google from Trivoli (or whatever flavor-of-the-week ad-serving Google clone is going around), can't tell an address bar from a search bar, can't tell a sponsored result from an organic listing, can't pass a seventh grade spelling test, asks Google questions as if it is a human and will provide human answers, and is probably looking for the same thing everyone else is looking for.

You're Google, and you're trying to make money. Who do you optimize for?

It's a pretty sucky time to be a techie. *toddles off to IRC and Usenet*

Comment: Re:Entrepreneurs are not business people (Score 4, Informative) 151 151

no, most of these ideas are about as stupid as buying a Palm Pilot in the 90's and spending an hour a day inputting data into it to save an hour organizing your day. or they try to copy some existing business model under some cool hype and don't deliver

Spoken like someone who missed a lot of what Palm brought to the table at the time, and whose first PDA was an iPhone...

1.) Taking time to input data has always been a part of a pocket reference. If you were carrying around a Day Timer, you were doing data entry by hand to create your schedule. If you were carrying around a pocket Rolodex, you were adding contact names and numbers with a pencil. Palm took about the same amount of time at worst.
2.) Palm facilitated data entry by syncing with Outlook (for those who had existing data) or Hotsync Manager (for those who didn't) and allowing all of that data to be stored and backed up.
3.) It did seemingly trivial things like "sort alphabetically" - it's maddening to open a pocket phone book and be out of room to add a new person where they belong. Similarly, A Palm that was kept for 3-5 years (back then, they were, in fact, kept that long) was pretty close in cost to replacing a DayMinder annually - those things are NOT cheap.
4.) Alarms when things were coming up. A pocket calendar didn't chirp an hour before an event.
5.) Multiple calendar views. Wanted to see your paper calendar at a weekly level? Hope you bought it that way!
6.) Trading contact information by holding down the 'contacts' button and lining up the IR sensors. To this day, I've only seen weak attempts to recreate this - Bump, QR Codes, costly NFC tiles...nothing beat the simplicity of line up. hold one button. done.

Trivial as these things are to us now, the days of doing these tasks on paper saw them as a much bigger leap, because they were problems that went from 'unsolved' to 'solved', rather than 'solved' to 'optimized'. Also, keep in mind that battery life was measured in "weeks".......

Comment: Re:$15/month for one channel? (Score 2) 39 39

Sure, it's HBO, and sure they have some stellar in-house programming; but it's one channel. People who are dumping their $60/month (and up!) cable TV plans aren't likely to pay $15 for one channel.

Two genuine questions here. First, if a disproportionate reason why a person has cable at all is for HBO, then $15/month is less than what they're paying for HBO + everything else, so it may well be worth it. How many users fit this particular category?

Second, how much of HBO's back catalog is included? The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Dead Like Me are all still highly regarded series that have a good amount of rewatch value. HBO has also produced a wide array of well produced documentaries. Yes, everyone says "zomg Game of Thrones and True Blood!!11" because they're trendy at the moment, but if HBO Go gives on-demand access to virtually every piece of HBO produced content, in 1080[i/p]...that may well be a worthwhile number.

Bonus round: Once all the major draws have been binge watched over the next year, the dropoff rate will likely be noticeable, for the very reason you specify.

Comment: Re:Good Grief (Score 1) 39 39

Sure they could have screwed it up more. They could have mentioned that Alpha Centaurians have invaded Duluth, and are transforming Minnesotans into angry Communist half-snake half-jelly fish chimeras who chant "Serve the giant penis god!"

Now THAT would be a screwed up writeup!

And equally as newsworthy.

Comment: Re:Easily fixed (Score 1) 90 90


That's why Tesla is failing so badly. They treat customers like rational human beings and don't give "incentives" and "cash back" and "0% financing".

And I guess that means that before coupons were invented, every company simply failed.

You missed the key word: RETAIL. Tesla isn't a retail store. Tesla is a vertical market - they sell their own product in their own stores, and their product is relatively unique that they have additional liberties as a result. JC Penney doesn't make their own clothes, they sell other people's clothes for more money than they spent on acquiring them, and those same clothes are also being sold by other retailers. It's a completely different ballgame.

Comment: Re:Easily fixed (Score 4, Insightful) 90 90


J.C. Penney tried this. It's become a textbook case study in retail management as to how not to run a retail store. Unfortunately, the "feeling of getting a bargain" is a powerful psychological motivator to purchase; treating customers like rational people is not.

Comment: Re:Malthus Will Sort It Out! (Score 1) 692 692

Trying to force more people to live in the absence of resources? You're basically still killing people, you're simply distancing yourselves from the act and washing your hands of the responsibility. Maybe the person who dies will not be the one who can afford longevity treatments; more likely it will be some poor bastard with a different skin color and hat in some distant foreign land. This doesn't seem to worry the people who believe that bearded men live in the sky.

The people who actually believe in the bearded man in that lives in the sky are indeed concerned about living conditions in the third world. That's why they're building wells, providing medical assistance, and working to end child sex trafficking. Admittedly, I don't have a faith based charity off the top of my head that deals with food specifically, though I'm sure that some exist. Point is, the Christians on the receiving end of your condescension certainly exist...but the Christians who are actually working to combat poverty and poor living conditions in the third world are too busy addressing those problems to try and market themselves at a volume that can be heard above the Westboro Baptists.

On the whole, it would probably be more humane to just have everyone in the world play Russian Roulette once a year and thin the herd by 1/6th annually. Oh, wait, that would offend the people who believe that bearded men live in the sky.

Two things here. First, your condescension is misplaced. I don't see how believing that life is valuable is somehow an undesirable trait. Don't get me wrong, I understand that it's common for Christians to place more value on a fetus than a death row inmate, but the abstract concept of "life is sacred" does not seem like a terrible stance to have. That being said, let's roll with your idea for a minute, and have an annual "Russian Roulette Day", where everyone has a 1/6 chance of being shot, because resources. Is it not advantageous for society to keep alive a doctor who won the lottery and heals the poor for free? Is that person truly an equal loss to society than a convicted serial killer? Either we run the risk of losing 1/6 of our core human infrastructure, or we start issuing 'exemptions' for world leaders and decorated veterans...and everyone else with money and/or connections to get on that list. As an added bonus, we know that the drug lords and mobsters aren't going to show up for Roulette Day, so a decade of this plan, and chaos starts getting ever closer to actually happening.

Better yet, don't kill anyone, and incentivize population control. Oh, wait, that would offend the people who believe that bearded men live in the sky.

While sure, many of the people who have absurdly large families are also devoutly religious, that doesn't necessarily make it a direct comparison. I'm fully aligned with the concept of removing all government-based fiscal incentives for having more than three children - got a fourth? Great. No tax deduction after the third, and you pay for schooling out of pocket. If you can pay for 'em, you can have 'em, but if someone is going to get offended by the requirement that the money come from somewhere, that's not something that religion alone is responsible for.

Maybe the best strategy is not to play the game (i.e. let people die naturally)? Even now we can prolong life medically for people that are effectively invalids and/or in chronic pain, but to what advantage? Many of them would be happy to be allowed to pass away. When medical care rises to the level that these people actually want to continue living, then maybe we can talk about longevity.

Death is not a bad option, really.

Personally, I'm with you on that. Plenty of people disagree with me, but I do believe that people should be able to make their own decision to pull their own plug if they want to - and can reasonably prove that they are competent enough to do so out of their own free will without coercion or duress, then go for it. Now, the problem of course would be truly proving it. If medical bills start piling up to the point where insurance is about to run out, and the person makes the choice to die for the purposes of not passing the cost on to their children...is that 'duress'? Those kinds of situations tend to get messy, but I'm speaking in the abstract here for a reason.

Comment: App Permissions ring hollow (Score 4, Informative) 83 83

The App Permissions seem to be missing the crucial ability to deny internet access to an app. There are apps where network data connectivity is the problem. Similarly, I wonder if Google will have this permission setting capability on its internal applications. I know that I have a rather tightly worn tin foil hat when it comes to Google and the information they get, but the Xprivacy 'deny' list on my phone is a mile long, and that's with most of their apps frozen or forcibly pulled out, I find that Google's data access on the platform demands a tight leash, leading the 'privacy' and 'permissions' charge to ring of hypocrisy - "we'll make sure that only we have your location" doesn't mean much to me :/

Comment: Re:The future of MIDI (Score 4, Insightful) 106 106

so how about we knock off this feature creep shit already in favor of real battery life.

With that mentality, we'd all be using phones with low-rez, monochrome screens, non-touch (button) interfaces and GPRS data capability. Hell, yeah -- I want my Nokia 8290 back! Best phone ever!

No, with that mentality, we'd have things like

  • Phones that aren't anorexic, instead being willing to be a bit thicker and sport two days' worth of battery life.
  • Phones with physical keyboards. Nothing wrong with Swype or Swiftkey, but if there's a market for pseudo surround sound in a phone, you can't tell me that having a keyboard like the Blackberry Curve or HTC Rhodium doesn't have a maket.
  • Phones with intentionally lower DPI, for people with less-than-perfect eyesight that still want to use their phone.
  • Phones with a better ability to leverage integrated storage
  • Phones with screens designed to be user-replaceable

And that's just off the top of my head of hardware-based changes that end users would be much more likely to want, and would not negatively impact battery life.

Comment: Re:The guy is full of himself (Score 1) 147 147

Wedding and event videos fall squarely in this category. No bride will be okay with spending $1,500 for a Vimeo link.

And a bride can't use a USB drive (which hold much more than a DVD and can be copies far easier)? If the requirement is that they must have a DVD, a Pro can get a USB/Firewire/TB one.

I comprehensively covered this earlier in the thread, but it's not just the drive - it's that video format support isn't exactly a guarantee, and that USB flash drives are signficantly more expensive than a single DVD (and most 32GB flash drives are, at best, at cost parity with a single Blu-Ray disc). Yes, external burners are basically the answer here, but the problem here is that the newer Mac Pro units seem to have quite the laundry list of requirements of external hardware as opposed to even the previous design.

Just because we don't burn mix CDs anymore or use them for backup devices doesn't mean that the optical drive is dead. It's a niche, but it's not dead.

I never said that there was absolutely ZERO need to use discs. I said most people don't use them these days including pros. So why include it? I saw MBs with printer ports more than a decade after you could buy a printer than needed that port. Also lots of them have PS/2 connectors still.

For Pros that do need a burner tend to use more professional ones than you can get in a computer. Dedicated duplicators are more common with pros than a computer burner.

In context, MB = MacBook? I'm not sure, but I'd argue this point regardless. I worked at Staples in 2002, and that is when printers tended to be hybrid, having both parallel and USB ports. So, let's assume that 2002 was the last year that retail printers used parallel ports, and 2003 was the year of USB exclusivity on the printer. Your 'decade after' mark means that Macbooks should have had parallel ports in 2012, but my research indicates that no Macbook (i.e Intel-based Mac) has ever had a parallel port; even my HP dv9000 series laptop from 2006 was all USB. As for dedicated duplicators, they're great, but they still need an initial burn somewhere. While I know that there are models out there will allow one or more drives to be used directly from the PC, many pros I know did the initial burn from the computer, and then a one-to-many duplication on a standalone unit. I'm not saying that that's the only way to do it, but I am saying that there's still a good reason to have just the bay available.

...and Apple was rather widely panned for doing so at the time. This was in large part due to the dearth of an alternative storage medium being included - you were either getting files around with a 56K modem, a USB ZIP drive, a USB Floppy drive, or VERY expensive 16MB flash drives that, in many cases, had slower write speeds than actual floppy disks. Floppies were passe, no doubt, but Apple should have been putting CD-RW drives in the iMac long before they actually did.

I don't know when you were around computers but Apple removed the floppy with the first iMac. And it had a CD-ROM as most other computers. It was years before CD-RWs much less blank discs were affordable. USB sticks were then becoming the standard for replacing floppies. Maybe on PC they lagged behind for years as it took PC manufacturers a while to embrace USB.

I was most certainly around during that time, and like I said - many people who bought the early iMacs were unhappy with that design decision. CD-RW drives were expensive around the very-first-gen models, but PCs started shipping with them as standard fare around that time, making the price of external drives go down pretty quickly. Blank CDs were $2-$4 each, but 4MB flash drives and CompactFlash cards were $40-$60 each; it was a long time before cost-per-megabyte of USB flash drives were favorable to optical media at the 650MB mark.

You also need storage space. HD video, art assets, high resolution multitrack audio projects, and CAD drawings aren't exactly compact forms of data, y'know.

And what stops you from using an expandable RAID network drive from a Mac Pro? Nothing. The problem with using the computer as the storage space is that you will constantly run out of physical space quickly.. And it does not lend itself for collaboration well.

That problem isn't nearly as much of a consideration when a trio of 4TB hard disks can be used as a RAID5 internally. Yes, archiving will need to be done in some form on a somewhat regular basis, but not on a per-project schedule. You're right that it doesn't lend itself to collaboration well, but collaboration isn't always an endgame, either. Moreover, technologies that are involved in sharing files that quickly between multiple computers get extremely expensive, extremely quickly, and don't scale down well to single-computer situations - even a Synology box costs a few hundred dollars, and you'll need to use one of those Thunderbolt ports for an ethernet adapter to handle the iSCSI traffic. External hard drives are a bit better of a bargain in those cases, but I'll be honest that I have no idea as to how well Apple supports RAID5 on a set of USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt disks.

That's a rather broad brush to paint with, especially since disk I/O over the LAN starts hitting a ceiling pretty quick. This would be easier to swallow if there were a PCI Express slot to add a 10GigE/Fiber/Infiniband card, but they did away with that, too.

That's why you don't run the files from the network. You bring them to your machine and use the PCIe SSDs as your workspace which is many times faster. Then you check them back into the network. Just like code. As for PCIe slot, Thunderbolt encompasses PCIe and USB and video.

Earlier, you were suggesting exactly that. Moreover, code gets big, but video gets bigger, faster. I'm sure that many coding projects end up being tens of gigabytes' worth of code and assets, but most of the things I see on Github are not.

That number is so small that there's an insignificant market for storage devices that can connect to them, right?

I assume by this statement you missed the point completely. I never said that no Pro ever needs storage. I said that for Pros (like a Pixar animator), they don't archive their work files on their personal workstations. They check out a file, bring onto their machines, then check it back in when they are done.

Pixar, and companies that have more than a handful of Macs and Mac users, will have some sort of EMC/3Par/NetApp/Equalogic system in place, simply because the number of jointly shared assets, and the space they require, will easily hit the internal disk ceiling you're talking about. I'm not talking about that kind of scenario, I'm talking about the kind of scenario where 8-12TB of available storage is a practical amount to have. Across Apple's product line, external drives seem to be becoming an ever more necessary add-on purchase, while the number of ports into which to plug them is dwindling.

And it makes more sense for Apple to make them an online-only product rather than waste shelf space on them in the store, right?

I also never said that online was the only option. That is your lack of understanding. I said "network" meaning corporate or local network. Many companies invest in things like RAID servers. And individuals can buy smaller versions of these.

The original statement made was: "the need to have personal drives only comes from a small percentage of pros". My rebuttal was that if higher amounts of storage weren't that big of a deal to the Apple market, then Apple wouldn't have several square feet of shelf space dedicated to external storage devices, and Promise and friends wouldn't be selling Thunderbolt RAID arrays for a thousand bucks a pop. 256GB of storage is plenty for the Apple users who spend most of their time on Facebook and iTunes and iPhoto, but those are not the users to whom the Mac Pro is marketed. Those for whom the Mac Pro is marketed, should not, in my opinion, be relegated to having to spend several hundred dollars on external storage solutions when PCs at 1/5th the price pack a terabyte as standard equipment with room to grow.

Comment: Re:The guy is full of himself (Score 1) 147 147

Wedding and event videos fall squarely in this category. No bride will be okay with spending $1,500 for a Vimeo link.

And cheap USB2 keys that hold a couple hundred times as much data as a DVD don't exist. Nope, they do, and are far more convenient and resilient to damage than optical media.

You're right, they do. And let's even assume that I found somewhere on the internet that had some sort of packaging that resembled a DVD case, enabling this particular flash drive to be artfully labeled as the wedding video. What format do you suggest I provide the video in? .mp4? It's a fairly common format, generally well supported, but am I certain that the drive itself will be able to handle the throughput of a high bitrate video? Will the TV (or device connected thereto)? Or will there just be a whole lot of stuttering throughout? If she plugs it into her computer, will that play it back? Windows 8 might support .mp4 natively, but Windows 7/Vista/XP do not. Should I include a VLC installer for her? I don't know what OSX supports out of the box, but I think Quicktime plays it? Should she update Quicktime? What if she wants to bring it to her parent's house to see it - are her parents likely to have a Smart TV, or some other device with a USB input that reads .mp4? .MP4 may be the closest thing for compatibility, but no menus and awkward chapter authoring become a problem. .MKV solves those problems, but now we're playing compatibility roulette all over again. With a 64GB flash drive, I certainly could provide multiple formats, one with menus, one high-bitrate .mp4, one for the iPod, a Quicktime version, and even an MPEG-1 to be absolutely certain it'll play on something. Well, now I've spent $20 on a single flash drive for this bride, and increased my render time by a factor of five.

Or, I can, y'know, give her a DVD. I've yet to know someone who doesn't have the means by which to play back a DVD. If I'm feeling adventurous, I can ask her if she has a Blu-Ray player, and give her one of those. Still cheaper, still simpler, and still more reliable than gambling on a particular video format.

You also need storage space. HD video, art assets, high resolution multitrack audio projects, and CAD drawings aren't exactly compact forms of data, y'know.

Use the local SSD as a buffer for high speed work. Copy from network to local, work, upload back. Clear space, move to next job. If you require high speed links to large disk, use thunderbolt to add dual 10GbE for iSCSI or dual 16Gb fiber channel.

And how is that a better workflow than having one's data locally available on an internal hard drive? It's sure as hell more expensive, and the copy in/copy out plan is what one would generally have to do in that case, but it shouldn't be necessary. It's easily a half-hour each way - a half hour spent working around a technological shortcoming that is only there for design reasons.

That's a rather broad brush to paint with, especially since disk I/O over the LAN starts hitting a ceiling pretty quick. This would be easier to swallow if there were a PCI Express slot to add a 10GigE/Fiber/Infiniband card, but they did away with that, too.

False. See links above. Thunderbolt IS PCI Express. It's on a cable instead of a slot. Whoop de do.

That's indeed a fair point. It's entirely possible to go down that road, but now we're talking a storage array that costs more than the Mac Pro itself. Even the Thunderbolt RAID bays I've seen have cost several hundred dollars, and that's without drives...but I will indeed concede that it's possible. That's a large part of my point though - the standard-tower-style Mac Pro, while not Johnny Ives' vision of beauty, was at least highly functional and expandable. Having a small internal RAID meant "spending ~$450 on three hard disks, connecting the SATA connectors, and spending 20 minutes in Disk Utility", not "spend $900 on a Fiber connector, and then another $7,000 on a PowerVault, to add a decent amount of storage to a $3,000 computer".

I'll agree that the GPU situation in the current Mac Pro is rather underwhelming, and a product of a design decision rather than making available options to the "Pro" customer. However, the GPUs are mounted with BGA connectors, and it would be feasible for someone to use a logic analyzer to figure out which pins on the connector are PCI express, which are DisplayPort, and which are power allowing for someone to make a 3rd party GPU upgrade card (if they could make it work with the thermals), but the market would be so small that nobody would ever turn a profit at it.

Well, if someone were to use a logic analyzer to determine which pins of a Thunderbolt cable were PCI Express, so that they can solder up an off-board, wall-powered GPU, that would only run at PCI x4 speeds (ironically, I'd argue that the thermal portion of the equation would be the easiest to solve)...well, someone smart enough to do that is smart enough to use Windows competently :-).

Comment: A tool - any tool - used well, furthers a goal (Score 1) 327 327

Powerpoint isn't bad, people just don't know how to use it. Let's go back to 2007, when one of the most well-known Powerpoint* presentations was given: https://www.youtube.com/watch?.... Take a look at Steve as he's presenting. He's glancing back at the screen, from time to time, usually after his slides have advanced. The changing of the slides doesn't affect the flow of what he's saying; it underscores it at just the right time. It's mostly pictures; there are fewer than ten words on the screen at any given point, and not a bullet point in sight. The graphics are large, clear, and immediately relevant. There's no crowding on the screen, the text has a high contrast with the background, and there's nothing to distract the viewer from the presenter. Steve practiced what he was going to say, how it was going to be paced, the sequence in which points were going to be given, and designed his slides accordingly.

This was an excellent presentation for a reason - it's abundantly clear that countless hours went into every second of its exposition. This was no night-before job, with copy/pastes from Wikipedia, and low-res pictures from Google Images, being given by a presenter who was on a red eye flight three hours before he gave it, who is giving the talk having only practiced the first half just once, without an audience, much less a critical one. No, Steve knew that he had a presentation to give, so he was preparing it for quite some time.

The fact of the matter is that Powerpoint* wasn't relevant in this speech - it was the fact that it was a highly polished presentation, from a talented orator and presenter, with lots of practice, and a set of slides that were clearly designed by someone with a graphic design background. Every once in a while, you'll come across someone who is giving a presentation with a similar focus on design and implementation, who has taken their task seriously and practiced accordingly. Most of the time, they get all the time, focus, and attention to detail as a final paper in Freshman Comp, due the day after Memorial Day and read aloud half hungover - because that's how much priority the presentation itself is given by the presenter.

*Yes, it was probably Keynote.

In case of injury notify your superior immediately. He'll kiss it and make it better.