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Comment: Because... (Score 1) 152

by mitchell_pgh (#45587467) Attached to: Patent Battle May Loom Over 'Copenhagen Wheel' Electric Bike

I think they made the video to look like it's for hipsters to mask that the system doesn't look great. I realize I'm burning a few Karma points here, but I'm really not interested in a bike with a big white (or red... or whatever) back wheel that screams "hey, over here... big lazy nerd coming through! "

I've been looking at buying an electric conversion kit for my bike for ~24 months. My requirements are:
- Be under $700 for the conversion kit
- Look like a normal-ish human would ride it on a regular basis (ie. inconspicuous)
- Have a battery that can be replaced/swapped

I've discovered that there are few options out there that meet my most basic requirements. I've been considering building my own electric bike from components. As for the battery, I plan on hiding it in an old-timey leather pannier that will also house a recharging unit that I can take off and recharge at work. I believe you would REALLY need to look at the bike to figure out that it's electric... and that's what I want.

Comment: Re:Let's be clear (Score 2) 278

by mitchell_pgh (#44905139) Attached to: Ballmer Admits Microsoft Whiffed Big-Time On Smartphones

I respectfully disagree with your use of the word "toy" when referencing the original iPhone. Apple, like a few others, simply understood the mobile experience users wanted when using a mobile communication device.

This argument goes beyond an iPhone. We really need to fire up the Way-Back-Machine to 2001 with the release of iTunes and the iPod (remember "Rip Mix Burn"? I sure do!). Apple used their "Software/Hardware" formula to build a truly unique ecosystem that really took off in 2004 with the release of iTunes for Windows. When 2007 rolled around (the launch of the iPhone), they already had millions of loyal iPod users that were hooked on the simplicity of the Apple ecosystem. They also had an e-commerce solution that made sense (for the most part). Apple simply built upon their success: iTunes -> iPod -> iTunes Music Store -> iTunes Store -> iPhone -> iApps -> iPad

Microsoft was simply unable or unwilling the make a true iTunes competitor, which made them unable to move to the next step and create a viable iPod/iStore/iPhone/iPad competitor. Also, their various DRM solutions were flat out confusing. They didn't negotiate the big music deals Apple was able to negotiate, and by the time they figured out that they missed the boat, others had already capitalized on the missed opportunities.Google did exactly what Microsoft wanted to do (control the Operating System), but Google trumped Microsoft by offering the OS as open source to the manufacturers, expecting the make up for that with their App store.

In many ways, I feel sorry for Microsoft. They do a number of things well, but it's clear they aren't able to deliver a viable mobile solution without cutting their ties to manufacturers, which is problematic.

Comment: A few flaws in the author's reasoning... (Score 1) 275

by mitchell_pgh (#43003009) Attached to: Human Rights Watch: Petition Against Robots On the Battle Field

The author gave the following reasons against autonomous war robots:

|| Robots possess neither common sense... ||
Me: This is true, but isn't that the point? Someone behind the curtain has common sense? For example, the current generation of drones in use aren't intelligent, but the people flying them are making the decisions (or rather, their superiors). We need to separate the ED-209 vs. drone conversation as I'm pro drone, anti-ED-209 style military robot.

|| 'real' reason ||
Me: See above. Our current drones do have "real reasoning" aka, there is a real human operating them.

|| any sense of mercy ||
Me: Actually, "mercy" can cause problems. Offering mercy, only to have that terrorist return (with additional knowledge). Also, wouldn't an operator show more mercy with a drone? AKA, if they "kill" the drone, nobody dies. I see this as a Win/Win for the use of drones.

|| nor — most important — the option to not obey illegal commands. ||
Actually, this is where you lost me. Our current generation of drones are scrutinized in a number of ways. Everything is recorded, the operators are in direct communication with their superiors and their peers (other operators), and the fog of war is very different. I could argue that the "illegal commands" could actually be reduced. What's more likely, a person under the stress of survival making an illegal/horrible decision or the person sitting in an air conditioned building operating a robot 7000+ miles away making an illegal/horrible decision, when being recorded?

All that said, there is something very real about us having real humans on the ground in many places. That said, if we could minimize human casualties by implementing limited drones, why wouldn't we do that?

Comment: Complicate? (Score 3, Insightful) 200

by mitchell_pgh (#41530677) Attached to: Apple iPad Mini Could Complicate Things For Windows 8 Tablets

I would argue that it does considerably more than simply complicate things. The iPad mini will show that Apple can create and expand upon a range of high quality devices on what is essentially a single platform. It's all about the ecosystem that you can buy today vs. Microsoft's ever persistent promises of a better tomorrow. While that may be an oversimplification, most end users just want something that works, looks great, and makes their lives easier. Currently, I don't see that with Windows outside of the traditional desktop experience.

Comment: With ONLY AT&T (Score 2) 754

by mitchell_pgh (#34805858) Attached to: Apple Pulls VLC Media Player From AppStore

We need to remember, it's Apple on AT&T vs. Google on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and just about everyone else. I think you are going to see a sea of people go with the iPhone once it is available on Verizon.

Also, Android is the less expensive option. There are regular 2 for 1 deals... and also crazy 29.99 deals with Google. You just aren't going to see that with the iPhone.

Comment: Who is surprised? (Score 4, Interesting) 148

by mitchell_pgh (#34791148) Attached to: Mac App Store Apps Already Hacked

I don't think the goal of the App Store was to provide an impervious DRM store solution. We have known for years (and many vendors will tell you) that is an unrealistic expectation. Apple simply wants a revenue stream where people can easily purchase and install licensed versions of software. As a store, they should try to disrupt all illegal sharing to the best of their ability. Don't be surprised if the 1.1 version of all the software requires a license check. I'm of the opinion that they are going to use the same "we'll annoy them to death" method they have used for the iTunes store which has proven to be a good business model. Sure, you can usually find cracked free stuff, but you must be willing to hack your system or jump through hoops to make it work normally... but it's always one update away from not working.

The older I get, the less I like to jump.

Comment: Re:Now that's just stupid. (Score 1) 555

by mitchell_pgh (#33575958) Attached to: UK Teen Banned From US Over Obscene Obama Email

With all due respect, I don't agree. The teen seemed to have threaten the President (Bush/Obama... I would have the same opinion) which in this country is a federal offense.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000871----000-.html
If I threatened the leader of another country (even if I was a teen... and drunk), should I really be surprised when they don't grant me permission to visit? If our federal agents can click a button and keep someone that has been confirmed as threatening the President, out of the coutnry, why wouldn't they? In this silly case, sure... and Obama would probably echo that. But let the kid appeal the decision or ask for reconsideration.

Comment: FUD? (Score 1) 443

by mitchell_pgh (#32746886) Attached to: The State of iPad Satisfaction

Slashdot Wrote:

There were are few places where they were critical--the majority for instance, aren't happy with Apple's App Store approval process.

The question asked:

Apple permits distribution of iPad applications only in its Apple Store, and rejects applications for a variety of reasons. What is your opinion of this approach?

The response:
~43% It's not a problem at all
~42% It's a minor problem
~12% It's a major problem
~4% It's unacceptable
~1% No opinion

This question seems incredibly flawed. The "at all" in the question would be a big red flag in my book. There are clear advantages and disadvantages to the App Store, but the fact that so many people (over 80%) said that it was either no issue "at all" or it's a minor issue... says volumes.

Comment: Re:Just hilarious (Score 1) 339

by mitchell_pgh (#32722024) Attached to: Leaked MS Presentation Shows App Store Plans For Windows 8

The end user may not agree.

I'm not sure I would hate having a central repository for all Macintosh applications (as long as freeware was still free, as with the Apple Store).

It sure would simplify things (trusted, signed source)... again, from an end user's perspective.

I'm sure every software programmer (minus Apple) would disagree.

Comment: It's somewhat expected. (Score 2, Insightful) 436

by mitchell_pgh (#32663850) Attached to: Developers Expect iOS and MacOS To Merge

I believe Sasser sums it up rather nicely: "I could see a gradual, slow merger between iOS and Mac OS X styles and approaches," he said. "It doesn't make sense for them to be developing two of everything, one good, one not as good--two calendars, two address books--it's got to merge somehow."

Apple should learn from Microsoft's mistake of trying to have two rather diverse platforms (Windows and Windows mobile). Granted, Microsoft seems to be moving in a better direction these days with their mobile platform, but they could have been much further along if they would have used this method.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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