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Comment: Google seems kind of serious about this (Score 2) 21

by swb (#47736267) Attached to: Google Announces a New Processor For Project Ara

I think the Ara concept is pretty interesting, even if it doesn't seem too practical relative to today's integrated handsets in terms of size.

It's nice to see Google kind of pushing the envelope on this, it sounds like it could (finally) lead to the kind of modularity that more seamlessly and easily bridges handhelds, laptops and desktops with a single device.

Comment: Re:You're paying for the interface (Score 1) 66

by swb (#47734557) Attached to: Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

I agree for the most part about even tablet apps not being "big buttons" but I think it's not quite as bad as you think.

Phones are a misleading example since the small size of the phone screen usually begs for small controls to fit as much info/functionality on one screen. I think most iPad-specific apps (or the iPad version of a dual platform app) usually have bigger controls and text than the iPhone specific version.

Plus, there's always the "zoom" accessibility feature or using an iPhone-specific app at 2x if possible. They're both cheesy ideas, sure, but the accessibility zoom is easy to use and basically magnifies everything for you.

Besides, for the most part we're only talking about basic apps you could reasonably use while driving, like Pandora, which really don't require that much button pushing.

Comment: Just buy a tablet for the car? (Score 1) 66

by swb (#47732521) Attached to: Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

Is it me, or does it almost seem easier to just buy a damn tablet for the car and leave it there?

Big screen, easy to read maps, audio via BT, ALL my apps, not just those that someone has deigned to be OK for in-dash display (either because it passes some lame "safety" filter and/or because they have paid money to Apple/Google to get the car-integration bit enabled in their app profile).

My phone will supply the internet connectivity if I feel like shaving bucks off the cost of a model with a LTE modem/plan.

The only nuisance factor would be in-car BT telephone calls, but I'm assuming most cars can handle switching BT sources so I might have to hit a couple of extra buttons to switch BT between phone/tablet to make/take a call.

About the only bad thing is having to install a mount for the tablet (less of an issue if you go with a "mini" sized tablet) and/or the risk of getting your tablet stolen when the car is broken into, although less of an issue if you stash it out of sight when parking in riskier places and just leave an empty mount that says "not in the car".

Comment: Touch/button interaction? (Score 1) 66

by swb (#47732437) Attached to: Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

Will VNC intelligently handle touchscreen integration? I'd like my device on the car display, but I'd like my device on my car display, along with touch screen access (and integration with other physical buttons).

But of course all of this is a solved problem as of years ago, but vendor lock-in attempts and technology "innovation" has kept this from happening.

Comment: Re:What BS (Score 1) 159

by swb (#47721481) Attached to: Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills


Companies are merely looking to gain a set of benefits -- mobile communication and availability -- without paying for any of it.

The benefit from their perspective is two fold -- not only are you underwriting a significant cost for them, a device, a phone plan, you're doing it on a personal device, which presumes that you're also providing them with a communications availability that they get without any additional wage compensation.

The problem with it being "industry wide" means that they are no longer competing with each other in terms of a defined workplace compensation, so you really can't shop around in terms of finding a job as to who pays for what, they all just assume you're going to provide it for them and it stops being even something you can negotiate.

Given the chance, employers will always want to provide for employees like they're contractors (ie, nothing) but control them like they were slaves (ie, everywhere).

FWIW, it's easy enough to add an additional email account but I draw the line at importing a security profile on my personal device. If they want/demand that they need to provide a complete device. I will no more allow them to put security controls on my personal device than I will allow them to install security controls on my house.

Comment: Now just force society to accept transit limits (Score 1) 274

by swb (#47714759) Attached to: Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

Right now society (jobs, business interactions, legal obligations, etc) are generally structured around the common denominator of automobile transit. Your boss expects you to get to work around the basic parameters of what you can do in a car.

It's great to eliminate the car at some municipal level, now make "the bus didn't show up" or "there were no Uber/Zipcar/Car2Gos available" as some kind of universally accepted, legally unchangeable excuse for missing work, a court appearance, daycare pickup, etc.

One of the problems with the "yay, no cars!" world is that the rest of the world goes on making assumptions about people moving about that are based on the ability to get from point A to point B in a car.

Sure, in some places like NYC, a subway glitch will usually be accepted (in fact, I think they have a process for issuing excuse notes) and when I worked in a downtown office where there were a lot of bus riders, weather problems with the bus were generally not questioned or a cause for action.

But generally speaking society as a whole just assumes you're at fault.

Comment: Magic government security tools (Score 1) 146

by swb (#47714655) Attached to: Researchers Find Security Flaws In Backscatter X-ray Scanners

What's worse about this is that the government buys into these security technologies as if they were magic, both financially and from a security perspective, treating them as if they were prima facie proof of guilt/innocence.

Yet at the same time they classify the technologies, prohibiting anyone from gaining any information about them or validating whether they work. The cynic of course knows this is just to hide their failings for political and commercial reasons "to prevent terrorists" from exploiting them.

Comment: Re:Turkey, ha! (Score 4, Interesting) 170

Your explanation is extreme, but Turkey is very much a wild card in the current scheme of things.

Erdogan's Islamist politics alone make Western powers nervous after years of dependable pro-Western/anti-Islamist governments, enforced as needed by the Turkish military.

Throw in Turkey's desire to play a leadership role in the Middle East coupled with the fact that what we call "the Middle East" was basically territory of the Ottoman Empire through about the end of the 19th century and it's not hard to see the guys who move around chess pieces on maps get a little curious as to what's happening there.

Comment: Re:What constitutes sexism? (Score 3, Interesting) 717

by swb (#47702877) Attached to: News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

IMHO, a lot of academic radical feminism borders on misandry.

There are arguments to be made about gender imbalances in every society, but radical feminism often takes it to such an absurd level that I question when it stopped being a legitimate cultural critique and started being the expression of individual emotional imbalance.

Comment: Mostly trouble-free (Score 1) 303

Which is kind of the problem, because it is trouble free so it's kind of easy to get complacent about them.

I kind of wish they would create cumulative update bundles that could be installed the old way or to machines with limited online capability. It's just not practical to track individual updates and I've found third party software that creates offline repositories to be kind of hit and miss.

Comment: Re:Dead as a profit source for Symantec, well, ... (Score 4, Interesting) 331

by swb (#47688261) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

I have a small client that hasn't run anything more than Microsoft Security Essentials for three years, mainly because they don't want to spend the money.

So far, I've only had to rebuild about 3 PCs in that time frame due to infection. They also got hit by crytolocker but at a weird time where it just made sense to reload the share directories from a recent backup because there hadn't been any changes to worry about between infection and last backup.

The controller feels that this is more or less an acceptable trade-off over time -- my labor cost to rebuild the PCs vs. the ongoing cost of AV.

Money doesn't talk, it swears. -- Bob Dylan