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Comment Not One UI To Rule Them All (Score 2) 337

It's fairly well known that the cores of iOS and OS X (no slash, please! :-) ) are the same. That's not really the issue here—it's the problems with the differences between the optimal UI for a keyboard-and-mouse-based (or whatever pointing device you prefer) interface and the optimal UI for a touch-based interface.

But while I agree that it would be foolish to try to make a hybridized OS, I could see there being a device that works both ways, a few years from now, by being an iOS device when it's on its own, but when plugged into a special dock, it would become, essentially, the CPU for a monitor, keyboard, and mouse/trackpad/whatever that you have plugged into said dock...and the OS that displayed on that monitor would be OS X, not iOS.

Then you'd easily be able to access all the same documents, media, bookmarks, etc without even needing to sync them through iCloud, because they'd all literally be right on the device.

Now, I don't insist on this prediction by any means. I do think it would be a believable way to do some kind of convergence without the (IMNSHO) ugly compromises required of a convertible device like the Surface, though, and rather cool to boot.

Dan Aris

Comment Re:The liberals are in fact aiding the moslems ! (Score 1) 965

How could you let this thing happen in your religion? How can you be a member in the same club as these fuckers?

I'm not sure that either of those is actually a fair question to ask anyone.

Just as a thought experiment, imagine that there were several groups of militant atheists out bombing churches, mosques, and synagogues around the world, claiming that they were doing it because they were atheists, and all religious people needed to drop their delusions or die. How would you justify being "a member in the same club" as people like that? How would you answer, "How could you let this thing happen in your group?"

The former question is assuming that just because they happen to share some relatively broad affiliation (and yeah, "Muslim" is a truly absurdly broad affiliation; there are more Muslims than there are Chinese people in the world), they can somehow prevent these people from doing terrible things and claiming they're doing it in the name of that affiliation.

The second is assuming that because these things are being done by what are, if you do the numbers, really quite tiny splinter groups of the main affiliation, that all 1.6+ billion other Muslims would renounce their religion and...I dunno, turn atheist?

Basically, what, exactly, is it that you expect the 90+% of all Muslims who don't know any Islamist terrorists, and don't know anyone who knows one, to do about this that you or I couldn't do just as easily?

Dan Aris

Comment Money doesn't go "poof". (Score 1) 674

But what would be the incentive at that point to earn $1M or more per year?

Flip that around: What's the justification for anyone making more than $1 million per year? At least when there's a large percentage of the population attempting to subsist on jobs that pay less than $20,000 per year.

No one in their right mind would want a salary or CG or anything in income that would put them in the $1M+ category--that's just signing up for 100% confiscation. So instead of getting $600B more in taxes, you lose $300B, because all those people will rig their incomes to be $999,999 or less, so there won't be anyone paying that tax.

So, what, you think that money's just going to vanish into thin air?

If the owners of a company are looking at a 100% taxation on incomes over $1 million per year going into effect in the near future, they're not just going to take the money that they would have spent on those salaries and burn it. Some of it they'll just stash, but I bet you that any business owner worth his salt is going to try to grow the business. Hire more staff, add more production, try to grab more market share. Because even though they might not be able to increase the amount of tokens they walk away with at the end of the year beyond what they're going to make this year, they're still going to be competitively-minded. They'll still want to "win", and if they can't stack their tokens higher, then they'll want to increase the size of their empire, or the number of people who say they prefer their brand.

And when they're spending the extra several million dollars on salaries for more people, that generates more payroll taxes, and when they spend it on equipment, that generates more sales taxes, and when they spend it on improving their infrastructure, that increases property value and thus generates more property the government's going to be getting more money out of them one way or another.

Unless they just decide they want to cut off their own noses to spite their faces, and just stash the money somewhere. Then they're not giving the government more, but they're also not gaining as much for themselves as they could be.

Dan Aris

Comment Not thinking it through (Score 1) 674

(why work if you can get money for free?)

This is a linchpin of your entire argument, and I do not believe it stands up to basic scrutiny.

First of all, I don't think anyone's proposing a basic income that would put someone who does not work for a living at a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. Particularly in its early stages, I would expect such a provision to net you about what you'd get working full-time for minimum wage—which, right now, is somewhere between $15k and $20k per year.

I dunno about you, but if that were my "basic income," I'd still feel a need to work for a living. It would be a huge relief to know that I had that safety net—that if I lost my job, I'd still have that much guaranteed to me—but I would have no desire to rely upon it as my sole source of income.

Second of all, even if the basic income amount were enough for you to live at a level you were content with (and note that that would have to include any discretionary spending you wanted to indulge in, like travel), I know a lot of people who would just never be happy without some kind of meaningful work to do. Sitting at home doing housework, watching TV, or surfing the web would get old for some of them within a month or two, for others no more than a few days.

Third, one thing that prevents a lot of people from getting work is the fact that they don't have enough money to, for instance, own a car to commute in. Basic income would go a long way to ending homelessness, and allow people who want to get jobs, but can't get together enough money to look presentable for a job interview, or even travel to a job interview, to do so.

Beyond these basic points, it's also important to consider the ways in which basic income would change the shape of employment. Liquidity in the labor market would skyrocket, for one thing. If the consequence of quitting your job because you hate it, or standing up to an abusive or negligent employer, is no longer "homeless within 6 months, dead within a year", a lot more people are going to be willing to do that. This shifts the balance of power hugely away from employers and toward employees, compared to where it is now—especially when you consider that there will, in all likelihood, be a fair number of people who do voluntarily leave the workforce entirely to live on basic income. Furthermore, part-time work starts to look significantly better when you don't really need the money that working an extra hour or three a day gets you. So not only are you much more likely to get a job that you actually like (assuming you're bright enough to have gained the skills to do such a job), you get to have more leisure time to do the other things that you really enjoy. And if you don't care about making most people's lives better...then just consider that there are probably a dozen other ways in which the fundamental shape of things will be changed by implementing a meaningful basic income, so assuming that it would be impossible to pay for because "no one would work if they got paid for living" is just lazy and unsupportable.

In the end, it's quite possible that basic income would provide a net boost to the number of people employed, and nearly certain that it would provide a net boost to productivity.

Dan Aris

Comment Re:Nice advert. (Score 1) 508

Not when it first appeared, whereupon it was fully expanded and took up the entire front page. And also had red instead of the usual green trim.

AFAIK, the red just means you're seeing it when it's barely past preview status—many stories show up on my feed that way for a few minutes, then after the next auto-refresh, go to green.

I believe it's a more common thing for subscribers to see, as a sort of "early access" type of deal, but since I've never subscribed, I can't say for sure ;-)

Dan Aris

Comment Re:Market share != $$ (Score 1) 209

Maybe because some money is better than no money. Foreign companies likely don't think the way US companies do: these days in the US, if a large company can't be #1 or #2, with an insanely-huge profit margin, they just throw in the towel and go chase after something else (usually failing, whereas they would have made a lot more money just sticking in there and making lower profits as #3, #4, or #5). In other countries, they don't always have this mentality. What's wrong with being #5 and making a small profit while your employees have good jobs and your executives have handsome salaries? Maybe the shareholders won't like it as much, but who cares; if you're a large enough company, you shouldn't need outside investment anyway.

Also, these other companies could be taking the long-term view: it's better for them to hang around and outlast the others, and wait for them to make a misstep, or for people to get sick of their high prices.

I'm not criticizing the idea of being further down the chart than #2. I actually think that's a very healthy thing to have—which is why I think the way things currently operate is a bit skewed. Because when you think about a chart with #1-5 on it, you generally think that maybe #2 is, say, 20% less in profit than #1, and then #3 is around 20% less than #2, and so on. But that isn't what we're seeing with the smartphone market right now: #1 has something like 80-85% of the profit, #2 has 14-19%, #3-5 share the last %, and everyone else (and there's a bunch of them) are losing money.

It just seems to me that there is, in fact, a market for a smartphone that costs somewhat more, but is well-designed, robust, and (though I personally am fond of their products) not Apple. (And not Samsung, either.)

And again, I'm not intending to express strong criticism of the commodity phone makers here—really more a sense of bafflement that there's essentially no one filling that space and making a profit by doing so.

Dan Aris

Comment Market share != $$ (Score 5, Interesting) 209

The article does mention, toward the end, the common problem all of these low-cost handset makers have: ZTE has expanded its US marketshare by 50%, but only seen its revenue increase by 4%.

Apple is making plenty of money on smartphones. Samsung is making some money on smartphones. Everyone else is either barely scraping by, or losing money on the category.

Really makes you wonder why they do it sometimes...and why none of the other smartphone makers even seem to be trying to crack the actually-making-money part of the market.

Dan Aris

Comment Re:A comparison would be good (Score 1) 319

Is this true even if your IP address isn't associated with a valid pay TV subscription?

Seems to be for me. I haven't had a cable TV subscription for nearly 4 years now (since I last moved), and I've barely missed an episode.

You can even watch it without ads with Adblock in Chrome, or by downloading it with youtube-dl. (I'm sure there are other ways that work, too; those are just the ones I've used successfully.)

Dan Aris

Comment Free Speech > Profit (Score 3, Insightful) 363

Just goes to show that as much as big companies and wealthy individuals would like to change that—and have been trying very hard over the past few decades to do so—profit is still not, in fact, more important than free speech. Or the Constitution, or people's lives.

Let's just hope we do see more cases like this. Laws like that are a terrible perversion of the American legislative system.

Dan Aris

Comment Different people are different. (Score 1) 397

No one wants to hear it, but we're healthiest eating raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts/seeds/legumes as well.

It's not that no one wants to hear it, it's that it's crap.

Sure, those things are generally healthy for us to eat, but different people's bodies need different nutrients, based on everything from what their evolutionary heritage is to what their gut flora are like to the kind of work they do all day. Some people need significant amounts of meat in their diets. Others need a lot of rice.

There is no One True Diet that's perfect for everyone and will solve all people's health and weight problems, and the sooner the world realizes this, the better off we'll all be.

Dan Aris

Comment Worshiping the status quo (Score 1) 305

Everything bumps but CS and IT, for some reason, have refused to do that.

I think a lot of it is due to something I was observing just the other day: Americans, by and large, seem to feel that the way things are now (or were at some idealized point in the past 50 years) is The Way It Was Meant To Be—not just a good way, but the divinely-intended end result of all of history. Thus, changing things from that point is not only a bad idea, but to some extent, impossible. It's just not something that their brains can even conceive of.

Unless, of course, the things you're changing are in an attempt to bring about the End Times. Then it's totally allowed.

(Though this statement of the problem does make heavy reference to believing in a divine plan, I've seen the same sort of mentality in people who weren't particularly religious. They just still couldn't wrap their brains around the idea that the way things are wasn't the way things would/should be forever.)

Dan Aris