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Comment: Re:"Smart" is a misnomer (Score 1) 86

by fermion (#47962045) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Alternate Software For Use On Smartboards?
Honestly, Smartboards in modern use case is a scam. It is essentially a big mousepad. The reason that most people buy it is because they do not understand basic computer/physics/electronic stuff. I am serious here, some don't understand that they can project on a normal whiteboard. Now one can use a smartphone as a remote mouse to control whatever you want to better than the board.

About the only reason that the smartboard is useful is because administrators like teachers to stand in front of the class and pretend to teach. Although writing on a slate or ipad and having it show up on the board can be better, the teacher standing in front of the room is still seen as the old fashion as the better solution.

If I am honest, though the smartboard software is bloated, there are some things it does very well, although it is still better to not use the smartboard. There was a time when the board itself was interesting to kids, but now they all have smartphones.

So to answer the question, if there is not something in the software that you absolutely have to use, like the math symbols, then don't use it. Download mobile mouse or something like it to control the computer. There are many drawing apps that will allow you, or any student, to write. I have a slate.

Comment: Re:No issues here (Score 2) 337

by fermion (#47959803) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?
I find it to be a bit slow on my 5. It is very slow on my old iPad. This, I think is normal, and it has gotten faster since I upgraded.

As far as the updates, most applications seem to update when a new iOS comes out. I have not seen an inordinate number of updates. As the Apps have to not only deal with a new OS but also new screen sizes, Apps that are not written to run on many screen sizes will obviously have to be updated.

My problem is that Apple is reintroducing the cloud disk service, a la iDisk, but it is not going to available on mac until the next MacOS, which is not going to be available for at least a month. Those who upgrade when they upgrade their phone will lose access to data on the Mac. There does seem to be some feature bloat at the expense of efficiency.

Comment: Re:Me too. (Score 1) 370

by fermion (#47954869) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple
you would be more expensive because you would not be manufacturing at the same scale. If you are making 10,000 widgets, and it costs $100K to set up and $10 to make, that is $20 a widget just to make. If you are manufacturing a million, that is $10.10, and probably much less due to other discounts.

We see this in other industries. The F150 is now aluminum, which required not only the entire production line to be redone, but also supplied of aluminum to be created. This is only profitable because Ford sells about 10,000 of these trucks a week, and that is a number that has been falling since a high in about 10 years ago, though in recent years the sales have increased.

Comment: real use case (Score 1) 236

by fermion (#47953755) Attached to: Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5
To upgrade my phone to IOS 8 I had to free some space. This basically involved deleted some Apps that I never use that were taking a great deal of space. I don't buy apple movies because they can be only played on apple devices, so the majority of data is music, most of which is stored on the cloud, and photos. I know people have almost no music on their devices, but stream everything. To be honest, streaming has meant that many people do not have to deal with the hassle of local storage. Though we can get into a philosophical argument, the fact is that I do not store as much on my mobile devices as I once did. Even my laptop now has less stuff on it. As to why there is still a 16GB model, that is obvious. Apple needs an entry level device and is not willing to enter the cut rate phone market. Amazon has done this with a 99 cent 32GB model and at $99 64GB model. Obviously they are hoping customers buy the 64GB model even though what is essentially $100 for a 32GB upgrade is essentially highway robbery. Some will do it even though the pricing structure provides little value. Most cell phone companies do this. Apple, being a premium device, is just a little more aggressive.

Comment: Re:Why is Alibaba selling IPO in USA? (Score 4, Interesting) 188

by fermion (#47952067) Attached to: Why a Chinese Company Is the Biggest IPO Ever In the US
The story is the owners want to maintain control, even if they do not maintain a controlling interest. They set up a shell company in the cayman islands which is nominally linked to the profits of the actual company, and as far as I can tell are in fact selling shares in that shell company. So the company that is being purchased in not in china, and the business model will probably be international.

As far as why this is allowed, it is a lot of money. The banks and firms who are managing the IPO are US and will make a lot of money. The persons and firms who are allowed to buy or are given the stocks will make a lot of money when they resell the stock, either immediately, or in a few months when principles are allowed to resell stock.

It seems that the sale is on shaky ground, given that the Chinese government can likely do any number of things to make the shell company worthless. I think what some may be hoping is that the Alibaba can quickly expand out of china and preserve value as a worldwide conglomerate type thing. At a basic level this is further indication that there is a lot of capital out there, and for some reason the people who have it think it is better to risk it on the occasional potential high return scheme than use it to build long term infrastructure. I guess no matter how much money one have, one always is susceptible to a get rich quick scheme,

Comment: Re:Thoughts (Score 2) 153

by fermion (#47942263) Attached to: Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State
My thoughts are there must have been a reason that dealers franchises had to be protected from manufacturers. I suspect there were issues, and that is the reason in the vast number of cases, except for fly by night 'seen on tv' junk we as retail consumers tend to buy retail, not direct from the manufacturer. I have bought or been involved in buying a fair number of cars in my life. I never felt the dealer was pushing me to buy a car I did not want. I have generally gone in knowing the car that I want, and the back and forth is which car that is available is the car I am willing to plunk done some cash for. I suppose some people go into to buy a car that they have no interest in, and the dealer gets them to buy it, but I don't think that is the general case. Making money off service and not the car is no issue to me. That is how we keep cars affordable. It is called competition. What Tesla wants to do is charge an arbitrarily high price for a produce, like Mont Blanc. I am not a greedy person and have never been unwilling to pay for good service. Likewise is a car comes with a good warranty I know that there is a good chance the car is good, and a dealer network means I can get warranty repair. I am not saying that Tesla is not a good car, but if the car needed a repair not under warranty, and it cost money, and it was less than three years old, it is not a good car. There are a lot of cars that have limited production run. The Lotus Evora has production runs of about 2,000 a year, but I can go down the street right now to my car dealer, lay down $100K, and get one. A 2013. So Tesla is not unique there. I suspect that the franchise laws will change, and that Tesla will be able to sell direct. I also suspect that Tesla has spent too much time with the lawyers, and cheating tax payers out of 1.5 billion, and not enough time innovating, so they may not be able to bring the 25,000 electric car to the people, which is what we need. As it is the Asian car manufacturers are shipping real cars right now that get over 50mpg in the real world. Not all electric, but electric is simply a means to an end, not an end to itself.

Comment: Re:As a hobby yes, as a job NO (Score 1) 230

by fermion (#47940561) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?
Of course Astrophysics, even as the bastard child of real physics, is still very hard. Most people who are in it have had some major training and degrees by the time they are 30. Also, if you are like me you are probably making some good money after 20 years of work. I could probably go to a research job, learn what I needed to learn, but would probably me making half of what I do. I love research, but like the cash as well, and can do fun stuff occasionally and as a hobby. That said there seem to many contribution amateur astronomer make to the science. IT is a very general term, and can mean anything from repairing computers to writing web pages to developing analytical algorithms in C, but maybe there is something you could contribute to on that side, or a job with a firm that does work that might be an intersection of the two.

Comment: Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (Score 1) 950

by fermion (#47928087) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children
Really it is true. The GOP in the US base most of their policy on religious and military views. For instance, GWBush used an expansion of the military to employ the unskilled and uneducated. He then used Homeland Security. If you are not actually basing your economy on a educated workforce, and maintaining control through religion, then any kind of secular education is a bad thing.

Comment: Re:Consumer feedback removes need for certificatio (Score 2) 139

by fermion (#47914165) Attached to: Uber CEO: We'll Run Your Errands
This is quite a piece of idolotry. Let us start at the end first. For many jobs no one requires a certified plumber or electrician or anything. There is no requirement to get such a certification. For certain jobs it is a requirement to get a permit, but that is to protect lives. OTOH I am sure you would no problem if your family died because the water heater exploded or the house caught on fire because of the work of a plumber or electrician was faulty, because, after all, she had good recommendations from people who had no expertise in critiquing the actual work. In any case, such requirements as the exists, are demanded not by government but by bankers, insurance companies, and general sane people who do not want to die because the invisible hand, or magic ratings, or whatever, was a substitute for competence. It is intersting that th.s hair brained scheme was introduced after the previous hair brained scheme, to force some Uber drivers to work at or below cost, failed. You see some of the driver took the capitalistic idea of better service leading to more profits seriously,So they only wanted to serve the high end clientele, and invested resources to do so. But Uber told them they could not limit themselves to high end customers, and said if the drivers did not pick up any customer that Uber sent, they would be out of the network. This was absolutely Uber's right to do, after all the contractors could just leave, but I think it speaks to an issue with capitalistic fantasy. At some point the people who are taking a cut of everything the workers do, will want an increasingly large cut to support their increasingly inefficient operations, and to do that they will begin to compete on price instead of service. The contractors, as individuals, can make that choice on a case by case basis. Corporate, however, seeing only a lack of funding for their cocaine habit, are only able to make drastic decisions to increase funding for said habit. In any case, the Uber drivers still had the ability to strike, so they did, and Uber relented.

Comment: Re:Isn't it just "sapphire"? (Score 1) 207

by fermion (#47904975) Attached to: Sapphire Glass Didn't Pass iPhone Drop Test According to Reports
When I hear the term glass I think of a fused or amorphous material rather than a crystal form. Sapphire, like many other material, is synthetically created as a single crystal as a substrate for RF and IC applications, which is different from the glass use in optical applications.

Comment: Re:Nobody wants this (Score 5, Insightful) 326

by jimhill (#47900017) Attached to: Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

Seriously, fuck this guy. His next step since he can't get anyone to buy his product voluntarily will be to explain to some legislators over dinner (his treat) and maybe a round of golf (ditto) why it's a good idea for them to mandate it. One way or another, our boy Scotty gonna get paid.

Comment: Re:Special pleading (Score 1) 104

by AlecC (#47889407) Attached to: UK Ham Radio Reg Plans To Drop 15 min Callsign Interval and Allow Encryption

Which shows that the word is undefined. But I would expect, whatever the actual details, "hardcore" means unsuitable for broadcast TV. I would agree that GoT might be defined as porn, but is being broadcastable automatically makes it not hardcore. My definitions would not include anything transparently consensual as hardcore, but explicit portrayal of sex is porn. But the "hard" in "hardcore" implies some level of violence or coercion.

Anyway, I introduced the word into the conversation, and what I means was the sort of non-consensual violent porn which I think would be damaging to children. Whatever the words used, there are some extreme images which are capable of damaging children. While I accept that consenting adults should be able to access such stuff via moderately protected channels on the internet or similar, they should not, as the OP suggested, be transmitted free to air on any wavelengths the transmitter chooses, including those already in use for domestic TV. There is a need for a regulator of some sort - though the rulebook for that regulator is not obvious.

Comment: Re:Efficient modulation (Score 1) 104

by AlecC (#47889281) Attached to: UK Ham Radio Reg Plans To Drop 15 min Callsign Interval and Allow Encryption

Of course. But the OP was suggesting people should be free to do whatever they wanted - which would include using bandwidth wastefully and overwhelmingly (i.e. at high power). Hence the need for some form of regulator to enforce the use of efficient modes, and power levels no more than necessary, not as the OP implied at complete liberty.

I agree that modern technology makes possible a greater variety and greater number of uses of the available bandwidth. All the more reason for a good regulator to share it efficiently

Comment: Re:Special pleading (Score 1) 104

by AlecC (#47888973) Attached to: UK Ham Radio Reg Plans To Drop 15 min Callsign Interval and Allow Encryption

No, I would not describe reasonably consensual sex of the sort required to make children as /hardcore/ porn. Hardcore porn probably requires strange ustensils, use of bodily orifices in ways that do not lead to reproduction, often blood, pain or simulated pain, obvious coercion.

Children, not having yet developed the sexual drive, do not understand the motivation for sex. However, I do not think that seeing normal consensual sex, which I would describe a porn but not hardcore porn, would be seriously damaging to children. But the violence, simulated or real, common in hardcore porn is very frightening for children who do not understand the world but know that they are weak, uninformed and defenceless. I would ezpect it to be seriously traumatising for a majority of pre-pubescent children,

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr