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Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-look dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Many of us have griped for years about Roku's retro one-dimensional user interface. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the new Roku 3 model, the Linux-based media streaming player is getting a two-dimensional facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones. Current Roku users, who will now begin suffering from UI-envy, will be glad to learn that Roku plans to push out a firmware update next month to many earlier models, including the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, and Roku Streaming Stick. A short demo of the new 2D Roku menu system is available in this YouTube video."

Comment: Japanese web forms do this (Score 1) 256

by amake (#39626813) Attached to: IT Calls of Shame

Possibly the *only* thing that Japanese web services do better than US ones is offering ZIP code-based lookups for pre-filling as much of the address as possible. I suspect that the following factors have helped make this a nearly ubiquitous feature:

1. Addresses in Japanese start "general" and move toward "specific", e.g. ZIP > Prefecture > city > neighborhood > building. US addresses follow the opposite scheme.

2. The Japanese post office supplies relevant ZIP code data for free. I don't think they offer paid lookup services so you have to roll your own, but it's fairly trivial.

3. Japanese address input can be more cumbersome than other languages. If your address includes uncommon characters then it can be a pain to input them.

4. Japanese web users are (I feel) less savvy and need more hand-holding.

Comment: Re:Ever been to Tokyo? (Score 1) 242

by amake (#33040868) Attached to: The Puzzle of Japanese Web Design

It's a common passtime for frustrated language learners and bewildered outsiders to claim that Chinese and Japanese would be better off without hanzi/kanji. Unfortunately, your argument is based on nothing but hyperbole and a false sense of superiority.

The Japanese writing system is one of those monolithic, looming monstrosities of inefficiency and folly that make you question how it could ever have evolved

Ignoring your "folly" troll, your first problem is a lack of reasonable definition of "efficiency" for a writing system. Yes, it takes longer to learn kanji/hanzi than most phonetic alphabets, but you make up a lot of that time with benefits such as instantaneous understanding of novel words (because you know the component characters). I frequently come across e.g. technical terms that are self-explanatory in Japanese, but are gibberish in English without a background in Latin and/or Greek.

Or would you care to measure "efficiency" as "expressiveness per unit length of text?" In that case, Chinese and Japanese absolutely destroy English.

In Japanese, kanji help the eye parse text by indicating word boundaries. That's why reading all-hiragana children's books is an exercise in frustration (despite the fact that they add spaces between words when usually there are none).

As others have noted, Japanese has a high frequency of homophones that kanji are useful for distinguishing between.

Widespread use of computers has made kanji/hanzi more accessible. Computerized input has made previously-obscure characters much more common. While I don't have data to cite here, I suspect overall kanji literacy has increased over the last few decades.

I'm sure I could come up with more, but I'll stop here.

Basically, these "I don't like kanji" whines are old hat, and really serve no useful purpose. Chinese and Japanese writing systems work just fine as-is for the people who actually use them. The only people arguing for getting rid of hanzi/kanji are non-literate people who don't really have a dog in the race to begin with. And if you're a native English speaker who really wants or needs to learn hanzi/kanji, you absolutely can. I did.

Comment: Re:How about reduce their hours by 20% instead... (Score 2, Informative) 284

by amake (#32415150) Attached to: Foxconn Workers Getting Raise With Apple Subsidies

Peter Hessler covers this very well in Country Driving. Young migrant workers flock from the poor inland regions to the coasts looking for factory work. They want to work as much overtime as possible 1) because they want to earn as much money as possible as quickly as possible, and 2) because they are far from home and aren't interested in spending time or money on leisure (their "real lives" are back home, and they've come out solely to work).

Because of this, jobs offering more working hours and less vacation are desirable from the workers' point of view.

You can argue that this situation is problematic; it exists because wages are too low and there's an oversupply of labor; without these issues, individual workers would have more leverage to secure a decent living wage without having to work ridiculous hours. But given the current reality, the fact is that massive overtime is not only common, it's sought after.

Comment: No, "the" is not filler. (Score 1) 698

by amake (#32273456) Attached to: ACLU Sues To Protect Your Right To Swear

"The" is not just a filler word. Articles "the" and "a" serve to determine the specificity of the noun they precede. "The girl" is a known, specific girl who has already been identified within the flow of conversation. "A girl" is an as-yet unspecified girl who is newly being introduced to the conversation. "Girl," with no article whatsoever, is likely to be interpreted as a proper noun of some sort.


The Death of the US-Mexico Virtual Fence 467

Posted by Soulskill
from the virtual-fences-make-virtual-neighbors dept.
eldavojohn writes "A couple of years ago it was announced that the Boeing-built virtual fence at the US-Mexico border didn't work. Started in 2006, SBInet has been labeled a miserable failure and finally halted. A soon-to-be-released GAO report is expected to be overwhelmingly critical of SBInet, causing DHS Chief Janet Napolitano to announce yesterday that funding for the project has been frozen. It's sad that $1.4 billion had to be spent on the project before the discovery that this poorly conceived idea would not work."

Byte your tongue.