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Comment: Re:Um (Score 1) 54

by _xeno_ (#48275581) Attached to: Charity Promotes Covert Surveillance App For Suicide Prevention

As I understand it, the issue is this. I make a Twitter account. (I dunno why I want to call them "feeds.") I mark it private, which means that only people I allow to follow me can see it. Then, someone else downloads this app which then shares my private Twitter feed to the app makers without my permission.

So let's say Alice makes a Twitter account, and marks it private. She allows Bob to follow her. Bob then downloads this app, which can then see her tweets as she's allowed Bob to see them. Alice is willing to let Bob read her tweets but doesn't want them shared with other people, and Bob presumably doesn't realize he's violating her privacy by downloading the app.

At least, that's my understanding of what people are upset about.

Comment: Re:Bleh (Score 2) 335

by _xeno_ (#48272351) Attached to: How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

I'm pretty sure that is Nerval's Lobster's job. I really wish Slashdot would at least mention that the link is to a news site run by their parent company. I mean, they always used to when linking to things on SourceForge or ThinkGeek.

Sure, once you've been around here long enough, you'll learn that Nerval's Lobster == Dice news story and Bennett Haselton == verbal diarrhea, but it would be nice if the editors would at least pretend at being professional.

Comment: Re:I really don't understand smart watches... (Score 1) 335

by _xeno_ (#48272259) Attached to: How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

Running, for one. Not having to carry a phone is useful. Yes, there are hundreds of fitness trackers. Why not a multi-purpose tracker that also lets me reply to the wife?

Unfortunately as other people have pointed out, you do need to carry the phone. Which has already killed the Apple Watch for one runner I know. She was really excited about the idea of being able to leave the phone at home while running while still having access to things like a GPS logger and her calendar.

Then I pointed out that would only work if she only ran in like a 40 foot bubble around her phone. (And that we don't know what happens without the phone and what the range really is.) The discovery that the watch doesn't have a GPS in it basically killed her interest in it. If she has to carry the phone anyway, why bother with the watch?

But you're right, if the Apple Watch was basically a tiny phone you could use from your wrist without requiring you to also be carrying the phone, that could be a great product for runners. Hell, if it had a GPS and just synced via your phone while it was in range, that would probably be "good enough" for a ton of runners.

As it is, its dependence on the iPhone for GPS and the fact that we don't know exactly how well it degrades without the phone basically kills its usefulness for runners.

And, of course, for those of us who don't go running and instead spend all our time sitting on our fat asses, I still haven't figured out a reason why we'd want an Apple Watch.

Comment: Re:So.... (Score 3, Informative) 582

by _xeno_ (#48240871) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

It sounds to me like he was watching this documentary I recently saw on TV, Person of Interest, which is about the dangers of AI run wild...

(I think the character who created the AI on Person of Interest has said something almost identical to Elon Musk's quote from the summary. The latest episode has a throw-away line about how many iterations it took before his AI stopped trying to kill him.)

Comment: Re:results rather lame (Score 3, Insightful) 47

by _xeno_ (#48228193) Attached to: Google Search Finally Adds Information About Video Games

Since you mention it, if you search for "Doom", you get (amongst others):

Doom (Video game)
Developers: GT Interactive Software
Designers: Tom Hall, Shawn Green, John Romero

Doom (Video game)
Developer: id Software
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

So I guess John Carmack never did exist.

And, yes, "Doom (Video game)" appears twice. The second one is actually "Doom 4."

Comment: Re: Did they make money on Surface? (Score 3, Informative) 117

Honestly, that's because that's what it is. It makes a much better competitor to the MacBook Air than the iPad. (The price point doesn't help it either.) It makes a fairly lousy tablet, and it suffers from the general Windows 8-ism of "throw absolutely everything we can think of into it at once."

It's a multi-touch tablet. With an optional-but-not-really keyboard-touchpad cover. And a front and rear camera. And a pen that doesn't attach anywhere. (Fun game: in Surface ads, watch for them to produce and disappear the pen. It comes out of nowhere and disappears to nowhere.)

It runs a laptop OS (and runs it well, mind you) and therefore picks up some annoying laptop-isms: by default, unlocking requires your Windows password. (You can, thankfully, enable a PIN to unlock.) Like a laptop, it enters hibernation mode and then requires a couple of seconds to wake up if you leave it alone long enough. It also takes a couple of seconds to wake up from sleep (not hibernation).

As a small form-factor laptop, it works quite well. As a tablet - well, Windows 8.1 turns out to make a lousy tablet OS.

Although I find that using touch on desktop apps works surprisingly well. The handwriting support is also fairly good and you can get away with using just the pen in a surprising number of desktop apps.

It honestly isn't a bad whatever it is. It's just that it isn't really a good tablet.

Comment: Re: Did they make money on Surface? (Score 4, Informative) 117

I'm not sure the Surface Pro line is really competing with the iPad, though. I mean, according to Microsoft themselves, a Surface Pro 3 is equivalent to a MacBook Air.

(Disclaimer: I own a Surface Pro 3. They're probably right to compare it to the MacBook Air and not the iPad. I know everyone hates the "tablet UI" on the desktop but even with the Surface Pro 3 their tablet UI is still pretty terrible. I pretty much never leave the desktop. On my tablet. The few tablet-style apps I've tried for the Surface has all been terrible. It really does make a descent small Windows laptop, though!)

Comment: Re: Non-story? (Score 1) 112

by _xeno_ (#48226265) Attached to: AT&T Locks Apple SIM Cards On New iPads

How does that work when you're off the LTE network, though? LTE coverage may be generally "OK" where I live near a major city, but I know that my brother who uses Verizon frequently finds himself on whatever Verizon calls their CDMA data service when using data. (I think it's just "3G" but I don't remember.) Do you need a special CDMA card too or does it all use the same SIM card? I'm assuming it all uses the same SIM card? Or do the new iPads just not support CDMA at all?

I'm genuinely curious, I have no idea how the CDMA to LTE transition works. Not that it really matters to me since I'm currently on AT&T, but my family all uses Verizon and I have no clue what's going on with Verizon's transition to LTE.

Comment: Re:Non-story? (Score 0) 112

by _xeno_ (#48226097) Attached to: AT&T Locks Apple SIM Cards On New iPads

Well, yes, but generally you buy the SIM through them and not through Apple.

Apparently with the new iPads one of the new features is that they come with "Apple SIMs" that instead of being a SIM provided by the cell provider are a SIM Apple provides. (Unless you're using it with Verizon, in which case you have to use a Verizon SIM. Except I thought Verizon and Sprint used CDMA which required something other than a SIM. Or maybe 4G LTE changes that. I haven't a clue how it works, other than for the longest time in the US if you wanted to use the same phone and change providers you could only do that between AT&T and T-Mobile and then even then you often couldn't because they didn't use the same bands.)

So, er, anyway. It's a story because it means that AT&T and Verizon are basically preventing one of the major new features on the iPad from working, which ultimately doesn't really matter because for the most part you can't just buy data a-la-cart in the US anyway so it's not like you're likely to be switching providers enough to make being able to keep the SIM useful.

Comment: Re:Just keep it off the servers.... (Score 1) 347

by _xeno_ (#48213163) Attached to: The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

Wait, really? When I took a trip to Australia, I wound up getting a Japanese car from the car rental and was constantly turning on the windshield wipers when trying to signal.

Driving on the left? No big deal. Remembering where the turn signals were? Took the entire trip.

Of course, when I got back to the US and into my own (Japanese) car, the first thing I did after starting it was turn on the windshield wipers to indicate I was turning left out of my parking spot.

Comment: Re:We need a whitebox mobile device. (Score 1) 81

by _xeno_ (#48205499) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Founder Demos Touchscreen Display For DIY Kits

You mean something like Project Ara? (Actually, Project Ara's website sucks, try the Wikipedia page on it instead.)

People are working on a modular cell phone. Not open hardware, necessarily, but something which you can upgrade piecemeal. I don't think anyone's managed to create a real marketable solution, but - well, there are companies working on it.

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