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Comment: Re:India as an advanced country? (Score 1) 171

by bittersdotter (#40876435) Attached to: India Plans Mars Mission in 2013

On the other hand, the argument is presumably that a mission to Mars is probably more of an inspirational drive for upcoming scientists and engineers than building a boring old sewage system. If the figure quoted is truly correct, it's probably worth risking what is in the order of ~0.01% of GDP on something likely to spur a new generation of scientists and engineers and hence economic growth in the long term.

Comment: This is the thing... (Score 1) 198

by bittersdotter (#40117091) Attached to: Free News Unsustainable, Says Warren Buffett

Paying for well-researched, intelligent, original analysis is one thing.

Unfortunately, the example that much of the written media is currently setting is to present articles predominantly of these forms:
- vacant churnalised reproductions of press association reports;
- advertorials disguised as news articles ("Recent research suggests that 3 out of 4 women prefer to receive chocolate for their birthday.... According to recent research commissioned by the Deliciously Chocolatey Chocolate Company Inc, which sells chocolate by the way, women like chocolate for their birthday.")
- misrepresentations of scientific research which is available for anybody to read, albeit possibly behind a paywall, in the original journal in which it was published, or possibly free of charge by e-mailing one of the researchers for a copy of the manuscript.

If it comes to the point of PAYING for this content, how strong is the motivation? What guarantee is there that paying will lead to better journalistic content?

Comment: Hence the need for moderation (Score 1) 663

It's easy for any test to fall into this trap of being so entrenched in trying to test for a particular piece of regurgitated knowledge that the wood is obscured by intervening trees.

This is one reason why any Test That Matters should not be just devised and then thrown out into the wild without further recourse, but rather should be followed up by appropriate examiners'/moderators' meetings that discuss the types of answers that were received in practice and make appropriate changes to the mark scheme.

It doesn't particularly matter in the grand scheme of things that the occasional cock-up is made in devising questions. What is a little odder in this case is the apparent lack of a procedure to recognise and correct for those cock-ups. There's far less shame in saying "Yeah, at the examiners' meeting we realised that question was nonsense so we discounted it in students' final marks" than saying "Crap meaningless question? Move along now, I see no problem here!"...

Comment: "USA + Canada" = "around the world"? (Score 2) 193

by bittersdotter (#39493283) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Sues Apple Over iPad Marketing

It's not 100% clear that the regulator will have a case on the specific point mentioned-- it is factually correct that the iPad connects to 4G networks. Whilst on one level you might argue that this is playing on public ignorance as far as the *domestic* market is concerned, the iPad is clearly also a product specifically designed with travel in mind. So advertising on the basis of a feature that works somewhere internationally, albeit not domestically, could be argued to be legitimate and that it is up to the consumer to recognise that some features will be relevant specifically to international use.

[If you do decide that this advertising is misleading enough to censor, then you also have the problem of where you draw the line. What about a camcorder advertised as having a "500x digital zoom", but only a ~500 pixel vertical resolution?-- like 4G connection compatibility in Australia, the feature advertised is technically useless but the claim is still arguably technically accurate. If a computer is advertised as having a quad core processor, is the onus on the consumer or the advertiser to be aware/point out that little software will actually benefit from all 4 cores...?]

On the other hand, you could perhaps get into a semantic argument about whether "around the world" is a misleading label for what actually amounts to "the USA and Canada".

Comment: Re:Technologically computer != conceptually comput (Score 1) 255

by bittersdotter (#39405539) Attached to: New iPad Jailbroken Already

And I'm saying that's not how Apple intends it to be conceptualised.

Of course they don't, that would interfere with their business model.

Yes. But it's arguably a business model that works because there's an appetite for that model among some percentage of consumers.

Apple definitely intends to replace the PC for most people with the iPad.

I don't know if that's exactly true or not. What is undeniably true is that they're advocating the notion that the iPad/iPhone is no longer a "secondary" device to the PC. Maybe that amounts to almost the same thing. But... I still say, so what? Maybe for most people, the iPad is the type of device that is actually more suited to them than a traditional PC. For me as a developer, devices like the iPad will inevitably be "secondary" devices and I will probably always need a genuinely general-purpose computer. But I accept that I'm probably not most people.

The issue is that Apple is the 800lb gorilla in the market, and can have an impact on the market beyond just their user base. Both MS and Apple are pushing locked down devices to the exclusion of more open devices, and are aggressively attacking the more open option in an effort to drive it out of the market entirely.

Well, inasmuch as they're actually sharing the same marketplace, I assume that Apple, MS and all other manufacturers are aggressively striving to drive each other out of that market, whether their respective devices are open or not. I'm not sure that Apple and MS are specifically colluding just to wipe out open devices or that they could even do so if there is demand for open devices. I don't quite share your vision of doom and gloom on this-- if you want a device to run an open source operating system and completely free and open software, I don't see such devices about to disappear. But that device may not be an iPad or your washing machine.

Comment: Re:Technologically computer != conceptually comput (Score 1) 255

by bittersdotter (#39403741) Attached to: New iPad Jailbroken Already

On one level, saying "why has Apple locked down my iPad so I can't run whatever code I want?" is a bit like saying "why has Krups locked down my coffee maker so I can't use it as steam energy source to power my lights?" or "why has Bosch locked down my washing machine so I can't control the RPM of the centrifuge for analysing soil samples?".

This is a phenomenally stupid analogy.

It's a stupid analogy if you see an iPad as being "a normal multi-purpose computer". And I'm saying that's not how Apple intends it to be conceptualised.

Then surrender your PC and cease visiting Slashdot at once. Locked down devices like the iPad are the antithesis of everything that has led up to it.

But that's the thing-- I don't see an iPad as being in the same category as a PC (or at least, I don't think that's the way Apple is selling/inviting its core customer base to conceptualise it).

So you're terribly biased.

Yes :) But my point was that I'm a developer, so not adverse to hacking around with things per se. But if I chose to go down a non-standard route of development/deployment of my apps, I don't see it as a failing of Apple not to support that and accept that I would then be "on my own".

But what about open source and free software developers, who don't want to pay someone $100 and beg them permission to make their software available?

Then the iOS platform isn't designed for them. There are other platforms that are more suited to that model of development.

What about the end user that wants to use some software that Apple, for whatever totally arbitrary reason, has deemed unworthy?

Again, I completely understand that some people will want that type of open device. What I don't personally share is the belligerence to spend energy on circumventing the iPad's controls rather than just buying a different, more open device in that case.

Comment: Technologically computer != conceptually computer (Score 2) 255

by bittersdotter (#39397187) Attached to: New iPad Jailbroken Already

On one level, saying "why has Apple locked down my iPad so I can't run whatever code I want?" is a bit like saying "why has Krups locked down my coffee maker so I can't use it as steam energy source to power my lights?" or "why has Bosch locked down my washing machine so I can't control the RPM of the centrifuge for analysing soil samples?". The iPad is a consumer device sold with the purpose of performing particular functions specified by the manufacturer who will support and guarantee it for that purpose. If you want to hack around with it in order to make it perform some other function, then that is (arguably) your prerogative. But it's not necessarily a failing of the manufacturer not to have facilitated your hacking about.

Now, the situation is admittedly a little more complex in the case of an iPad because, just like your DVD player, graphic calculator, electronic keyboard and various other devices, you might argue that what you have is *technologically* a multi-purpose computer. But that doesn't mean that *conceptually* it is intended to be a multi-purpose computer. The distinction is maybe just a bit more blurred with the iPad than with other devices.

Personally, I don't really see the grand purpose of jailbreaking an iPad. After spending a day battling with my PC over the graphics driver being incompatible with the bluetooth driver or the antivirus not being able to update because of too many flibbles in the patch server or the printer software exiting unexpectedly because I waited the incorrect number of milliseconds before pressing the "Scan" button or whatever other spuriosity one might encounter in the course of an average day's computing, I'm quite happy to sit on the sofa with my iPad at the end of the day and have an hour or two away from that nonsense. That's what it was designed for. I'm quite happy in the knowledge that if I really wanted a tablet for "hacking about" or doing something that the Apple-approved iPad software doesn't do, then I could have bought something else instead.[*]

And I suspect that most iPad users fall into that category.

Now, Apple probably don't care terribly much that jailbreaking exists, provided that-- just like using your washing machine as a centrifuge for your home-grown chemistry lab-- it clearly has the perception of being "a bit of unsupported hackery that the user makes a conscious decision to indulge in". If it became so mainstream that it prevented Apple from selling the iPad fundamentally as a "consumer ecosystem" as intended, then they might care more.

[*] P.S. I should say that I am also a programmer and have a few iOS apps in the App Store. But even as a developper, I don't find the idea of "going through a manufacturer-approved procedure to develop for a particular device" as being terribly terribly shocking-- especially when (unlike, say, console manufacturers) Apple actually make the procedure very accessible to small developers.

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