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Comment: Like the first product in a class in the hands of (Score 3, Insightful) 283

by iamacat (#48212135) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

Sounds good! Newton was commercially available, has a loyal fan base and inspired successive generations of more polished and popular products, including Palm and Apple's own iPhone. True, there is no guarantee that just because you release an early adopter product, you will reap most of the benefits when technology matures. But not being on a lookout for new things guarantees slide into irrelevance, like Kodak or Borders. Besides someone got to do it.

Comment: Difference with any code obfuscation? (Score 1) 113

by iamacat (#48195977) Attached to: Delivering Malicious Android Apps Hidden In Image Files

Can this circumvent permissions of the calling app? If not, this is just another demonstration that arbitrary turing-complete code can not be automatically validated. One can also load Javascript into a WebView and enable it to execute arbitrary Java code through a reflection-based bridge. I am not sure what is the proposed solution.

Comment: Lost me because of Java (Score 2) 155

by iamacat (#48191097) Attached to: GNU Emacs 24.4 Released Today

IntelliJ code inspection and refactoring features are so great that it's worth sacrificing power tools like apply-macro-to-region-lines. Maybe theoretically some of these things could be configured in Emacs, but work to discover the packages and create/learn keyboard shortcuts is too much for my patience. It would help to have "emacs distributions" with task specific documentation for particular use cases.

+ - LTE Hotspot as the only cellular service? 1

Submitted by iamacat
iamacat (583406) writes "I am thinking of canceling my regular voice plan and using an LTE hotspot for all my voice and data needs. One big draw is ability to easily use multiple devices without expensive additional lines or constantly swapping SIMs. So I can have an ultra compact Android phone and an iPod touch and use one of them depending on which apps I fell like using. Or, if I anticipate needing more screen real estate, I can bring only a Nexus 7 or a laptop and still be able to make and receive VoIP calls. When I am home or at work, I would be within range of regular WiFi and not need to eat into the data plan or battery life of the hotspot.

Has anyone done something similar? Did the setup work well and which devices/VoIP services did you end up using? How about software for automatic WiFi handoffs between the hotspot and regular home/work networks?"

Comment: Re:Yeah, Apple is doomed. (Score 1) 328

by iamacat (#48183093) Attached to: Despite Patent Settlement, Apple Pulls Bose Merchandise From Its Stores

Apple's very survival can be traced directly to accepting an $150 million investment from Microsoft. Success of iPad and subsequently iPhone is a direct result of porting iTunes to Windows and opening app store to 3rd parties. Today's market cap of Apple is in no way related to decision to break ties with Bose, or Fitbit. My bet is that in long term cumulative consequences of these decisions will place Apple back into the spot before Steve Jobs came back. It will be them against the world, and the world will win.

Comment: Benefits and safeguards (Score 3, Insightful) 312

by iamacat (#48183029) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

For most users, complete privacy from all internet services is not an option. When you enter a query into a search engine, you are providing the server with knowledge of your often very private interests. Your IP address and cookies make it easy for anyone determined to discover your identity as a person.

So the first question is, do you directly benefit from your personal information being collected and retained? In case of a search query, collecting it for the purpose of showing search results is obviously necessary. Long term retention in the form that can be traced back to you is murky. Forwarding it to Apple seems unnecessary and I hope that the company provides an explanation.

As far as safeguards go, it's reasonable that available information is provided to authorities with a subpoena which is narrowed down to minimum required for investigation. Like a list of queries with specific, obviously incriminating keywords made in the last month.

But the notion of complete anonymity is about as practical for most people as living in the cabin in the woods. As a matter of principal, I don't think either should be made illegal. But most people will not be happy with the results, and most crooks will be too dumb to follow these lifestyles so strictly that they don't slip up and get caught.

Comment: Shortsighted (Score 1) 328

by iamacat (#48181429) Attached to: Despite Patent Settlement, Apple Pulls Bose Merchandise From Its Stores

The primary focus should be on driving people to your stores and selling products with are your core competency. It's understandable that an Apple store will not sell Windows laptops or Android phones. But they should absolutely have a decent choice of keyboard, mice and headphones. If not, people who simply want a Mac with different keyboard will go to shop in Best Buy rather than Apple Store. But there, core Apple products will be presented side by side with with competition and without regard for complete experience that Apple wants to create for customers. While I am there should I pick up an $99 Android tablet for kids to watch Netflix rather than spending $399 on an iPad mini? Hmm...

Comment: You are overestimating collective intelligence (Score 1) 369

by iamacat (#48181275) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

The way it always goes down:

PM: We have to unify iOS and OSX experience
UX, working on a nice 4K monitor: Oooh. Looks pretty!
Developer: whatever, I have a deadline to meet

Rare developer with some UI taste starts a flame war on the mailing list, followed by a thread of me toos and managers explaining some of the factors behind the decision but not really listening to feedback.

It's not even a horrible process. If UX was forced to redo the work, their heart would not be as much in it as the first time around. At minimum, the product would be delayed or released with more bugs. It's just a sad fact that collective intelligence is much less than a sum of individual intelligence. Therefore products have to become mediocre in order to gain more features that only a big team can implement.

Comment: Save your ire for iOS (Score 1) 229

by iamacat (#48146739) Attached to: The Subtle Developer Exodus From the Mac App Store

On Mac, Apple's Mac Store is just one of the choices. As such, requiring sandboxing is a defensible position. They are basically saying that they guarantee maximum amount of damage that can be done by certain category of apps. If yours requires full root access and installs device drivers, this doesn't make it a bad app. It just can not be effectively reviewed and determined safe in a realistic amount of time.

What most developers are missing is general shift to mobile, freemium model and need for creative advertising to stand out. In most cases, it makes sense to have an iOS/Android/Web app before a Mac app (and I trust you know Windows still has a higher market share). Users should also be able to find your app useful at free level before being expected to spend money.

Then, if you can explain to users why extra functionality can not be achieved on mobile or web, you will have no problem having them find you on Mac App Store or any alternative store like Amazon. Microsoft Office, Adobe products and many other big names are not on Mac App Store. They do fine.

Comment: Personalized vs generalized (Score 1) 261

by iamacat (#48134089) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Google Block Spam In Gmail?

With your own spam filtering, you decide what is the acceptable false positive rates, which spam-high country domains you never get legit e-mails from and so on. With public services, same filter has to work for millions of users. If you are diligent about reporting rather than ignoring spam, you will probably get better results. But still not as optimized for you personally as filtering that you setup yourself.

Comment: Focus on education is heartening (Score 1) 146

by iamacat (#48131247) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Sales Approach 4 Million

For the first time in ages there is a computer that comes bundled with Mathematica and has shortcuts to programming IDEs on desktop. Contrast this with what modern mainstream OSes and even Linux distros like Ubuntu come bundled with. Even being 40 years old, I am tempted to learn how to make these cools 3D graphs and drive some from some simple sensors attached to GPIO pins. Say graph of daylight and its changes over seasons. For kids I think it makes a huge difference what you put in front of them and iPads fail pathetically in promoting actual learning.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.