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Comment Re:Nokia has great packaging too! (Score 2) 639

On the contrary - it could be argued that Apple's entire success as a company is due to their packaging on all levels - packaging features, packaging software, packaging hardware, packaging services, packaging their brand. Nokia's problem is that their good packaging tends to stop at the box.

Apple packaged the original iPod by taking mature features that already existed in other music players in the marketplace, and wrapping them together in a more attractive product, with a slick design and lots of storage. They packaged OS X by taking an established operating system (BSD) and throwing some pretty on it, some of which was innovative, but most of which was simply combining existing ideas into an attractive package. The iTunes store was only notable because they negotiated slightly more flexible DRM terms and didn't close down in 2 years leaving its customers in the cold, like so many predecessors. The iPhone packaged the PDA and phone in a smoother and more attractive way than other products had done before, even though there are few truly unique features in it that were not also being implemented in some form by its predecessors and contemporaries (including Android, which also started in 2005.) And throughout all of these product launches, they had the marketing muscle to successfully focus attention onto the shiny and away from the omissions.

This is not to denigrate Apple's success, because they seized upon a truth that eludes many companies - packaging matters, as much or more than the product itself, and if you can consistently combine great packaging with good products, it doesn't matter where the functional ideas came from originally. Sometimes the packaging is the innovation.

Comment Re:You are lucky. (Score 1) 1003

Counterintuitively, emissions are generally much worse with modern motorcycles vs. modern cars. In most cases, the only green benefit it gives you is roughly double gas mileage, but even that doesn't makes up for the increased harmful emissions. Motorcycles are not the green machine you think they are. There was a whole Mythbusters episode on this awhile back.

Comment Re:Unstable (Score 1) 729

What's wrong with Ubuntu for servers?

Nothing. I'd wager parent is just venting because of some strange issue he ran into. Our Ubuntu production servers have proven more reliable than our Fedora servers. No big difference though.


Verizon Changing Users Router Passwords 545

Kohenkatz writes "I have Verizon FIOS at home and my Verizon-supplied Actiontec router had the password 'password1' that the tech assigned to it when he set it up three years ago. I received an email from Verizon that said 'we have identified that your router still had a password of either password1 or admin1 and we have changed it to your serial number.' I checked and it actually had been changed. I believe this to be in response to the Black Hat presentation about the hackability of home routers. I am upset about this because Verizon should not have any way to get into my router and change the settings, especially because I own the router, not them! I looked in the router's settings and I see port 4567 goes to the router and is labeled 'Verizon FIOS Service.' Is this port for anything useful other than Verizon changing settings on my router? What security measures does Verizon have to protect that port from unauthorized access?"

First Membrane Controlled By Light Developed 33

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt: "A new membrane developed at the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics blocks gas from flowing through it when one color of light is shined on its surface, and permits gas to flow through when another color of light is used. It is the first time that scientists have developed a membrane that can be controlled in this way by light."

Are Googlers Too Smart For Their Own Good? 307

theodp writes "If you're a mere mortal, don't be surprised if your first reaction to Google Storage for Developers is 'WTF?!' Offering the kind of 'user-friendly' API one might expect from a bunch of computer science Ph.D.s, Google Storage even manages to overcomplicate the simple act of copying files. Which raises the question: Are Googlers with 'world-class programming skills' capable of producing straightforward, simple-to-use programming interfaces for ordinary humans?"

Record High Frequency Achieved 141

eldavojohn writes "Researchers at UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science managed to push our control of frequencies to another level when they hit a submillimeter 324 gigahertz frequency. As any signal geek out there might tell you, this is a non-trivial task. 'With traditional 90-nanometer CMOS circuit approaches, it is virtually impossible to generate usable submillimeter signals with a frequency higher than about 190 GHz. That's because conventional oscillator circuits are nonlinear systems in which increases in frequency are accompanied by a corresponding loss in gain or efficiency and an increase in noise, making them unsuitable for practical applications.' The article also talks about the surprising applications this new technology may evolve into."

Blizzard Hints At New StarCraft, Launches Burning Crusade 319

Game Developer Blizzard Entertainment's long-anticipated expansion to World of Warcraft has gone live. Initial impressions are ... not available, since all 8 million players are currently in the Outlands. I'll take that to mean the servers for the most part have not melted yet. At a Burning Crusade launch party, a Blizzard exec revealed we may see a new StarCraft game very soon. But today is all about WoW. If you're not playing, and want to live vicariously, check out WarCry's extensive preview of the expansion. You could read designer Jeff Kaplan's comments on new features at FiringSquad, or Shane Dibiri's talk of inspiration at Next Generation. One new expansion a year, eh? Some folks are already looking to the future, where we probably won't see WoW on consoles, but may see it with security dongles. 0.1% of the Earth's population can't all be wrong.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly