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Comment: Apple and Proprietary (Score 1, Interesting) 184

by poemtree (#49254985) Attached to: Why Apple Won't Adopt a Wireless Charging Standard

Let's just dispense with the "Apple does proprietary connectors to charge royalties and profit!" line. Let's ignore for a minute the fact that modern Macs (including the new USB-C sporting MacBook) have zero "proprietary" connectors on them. And let's ignore for a minute that Apple was the greatest early champion of USB, Ethernet, and WiFi. When Apple does do a home-grown connector, say FireWire for example, it is because they have come up with something better than anything that exists in the market. This was even true of Lightning, which arrived years before USB-C, and was so much better then any small form-factor USB connector. Often, as in the case of FireWire and Mini DisplayPort, Apple either made them available for anyone to adopt as standards or added to an existing standard. And let me just throw this in here preemptively, because I know someone will bring it up. Thunderbolt was developed by Intel and adopted by Apple, so it is not proprietary. Any PC maker can adopt Thunderbolt, and it is inexplicable so few have.

Comment: Re:Wonder how many incidents are accidents... (Score 1) 445

Spoke to a friend of mine who is an air traffic controller. He says that laser incidents are primarily reported by helicopter pilots, and rarely by commercial jet pilots. He pointed out that jet aircraft flying at cruising altitude and speed would be nearly impossible to track from the ground with a handheld laser, although there are lasers available with beam ranges that could easily reach them. Tracks with what others said here, helicopters fly lower and slower, and have significantly more glass surrounding the cockpit.

Comment: Re:Wonder how many incidents are accidents... (Score 1) 445

It's just a silly sig, riffing on my favorite Arthur C. Clarke quote and my platform of choice. The truth is, when I discovered the Mac in 1990, it was magic to me. The sig may come off as a fanboi-ish, but I have always said that if anything better than Mac OS comes along, I would switch. Nothing better has come along. BTW, this has been my sig since I joined /.

Comment: Wonder how many incidents are accidents... (Score 1) 445

by poemtree (#46221015) Attached to: FBI: $10,000 Reward For Info On Anyone Who Points a Laser At an Aircraft

These lasers are often marketed as "great for sky pointing", and indeed a tour guide used one for that legitimate purpose on my recent trip to Puerto Rico. I am sure there are dumbasses purposely doing this to low-flying aircraft (during take-off, approach and landing), but I wonder if pilots are also reporting lasers that are unintentionally pointed in the vicinity of aircraft during legitimate ground uses. And yes, I will be buying mine before they get banned...

Comment: Divorce... (Score 1) 682

by poemtree (#44993783) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

My son got an iPod Touch when he was 4, for the express purpose of FaceTime with me and his grandparents. He doesn't see me daily due to a divorce. I set up the device with favorite contacts and a few games for him. He can't take it to school, and FaceTime requires WiFi, so he pretty much just uses it at home. He brings it in his bag when he travels between my house and my ex-wife's house. He is 7 now, and I can't see that it has affected him adversely. He gets good grades, reads, plays outside, has friends, etc. He probably uses the iPod Touch less than I played Atari when I was his age.

Comment: Forget patents, about blatant cloning... (Score 1) 1184

This isn't about patents and conceptual design and innovation. This is about blatant copycat ripoff knockoff cloning, right down the the boxes the products ship in, the 30-pin dock connector, and the identical wall wart. Samsung's infringing products are no better than street corner Gucci knockoff handbags. Samsung has no shame, and neither do consumers who reward Samsung by buying their Apple knockoffs. Because Apple is rich and makes cool stuff, it's best for consumers to let companies who can't or won't invest in their own innovations shortcut the R&D process by merely copying Apple's successful and popular products? I like EFF in general, but was pissed off by their Robin Hood argument that Apple shouldn't be allowed to be the only one to benefit from their inventions, as it would stifle innovation which hurts consumers. Apple doesn't want or need to stifle legitimate innovation and competition, they are big enough, rich enough and smart enough to respond in kind with innovation of their own. Apple wants to stifle clones and knockoffs. Inferior products designed to look just like superior products implies to the consumer there is no difference. Yet the consumer who thinks there is no difference ends up with a fake, imitation product that does not compare to the real thing, and dilutes the value of the copied product. This harms consumers. This verdict puts copiers on notice; design you own stuff, don't use Cupertino like your personal R&D lab.

Comment: A remembrance... (Score 1) 1613

by poemtree (#37622342) Attached to: Steve Jobs Dead At 56

I came to Macintosh post-Steve in 1990, though my Mac Plus still had his signature inside, I only knew him as the founder that had left. Mine was a world of Scully and Spindler and Amelio. I became a Mac tech support professional during this period, and it has remained my career to this day. When Steve came back in 1997, it was a pivotal time early in that career. My second employer had decided to abandon Macs, but wanted me to stay on as a PC tech, and Apple wasn't doing so hot.. I was intrigued though by the plans to use NeXTstep as the basis of the next Mac OS, so I actually bought a used NeXT Color Turbo Slab with the 21" NeXT Color Monitor and NeXTstep 3.3. The first time I turned on that 5 year old machine, it felt like I had jumped 10 years into the future. I knew then, I would remain a Mac tech. I left that job for one supporting Macs again and never looked back. Over the remaining years, I read everything I could find about Steve and came to appreciate his unique genius. Thank you Steve for making my career and passion possible.

Comment: iPhone isn't innovation... (Score 1) 354

by poemtree (#35654828) Attached to: Ma Bell Stifled Innovation, AT&T May Do the Same

I know AT&T doesn't make the phone, but they were the ones willing to take a chance with Apple. Now, the iPhone has defined what is a smartphone. AT&T had to work with Apple to support visual voicemail. Their Mark the Spot app let's me give them real-time field reports on dropped calls, weak signal, no data, so they can improve the network. As far as competition, Apple has redefined the carrier relationship, taking much of the carriers control from them. I would like to say Android follows this trend, but it doesn't. I think carriers see Android as a way to wrest control back. I am betting my LTE iPhone 5 next year makes carriers interchangeable, and I am betting Android ends up more like Linux than Windows.

Comment: Poem for Jack... (Score 5, Interesting) 84

by poemtree (#33327550) Attached to: Jack Horkheimer, 'The Star Hustler,' Dies At 72

...that I wrote in 1993, haven't felt this way since Sagan went...


Incandescent night and still
amazing the number
of stars
you may see
in L.A., D.C., New York, N.Y.

Ocean City, Md., on the shore once
again the stars
few yet there
visible through the orange
haze of street light, parking lot.

Just twelve miles from here,
Assateaque, the whole
of the Milky Way
spilt into view—
crystalline, star–bloom.

Drive twelve miles more, find
the radio–array
at Wallops Island
sees stars—in remote
minor galaxies—already nova

in Roman times, a million light–
years won't show
for 998,000
more here, who then
will see a star explode?

Did Edison foresee the death
of night, forgotten stars?
Jack says
no one looks up anymore.
"Keep looking up. Keep looking up!"

Perhaps some day the power out
a whole grid gone down
a city will
reignite that ancient
pinhole nuclear fusion–light

so bright, so brilliant
that despite the ache
in our spines
we crane our necks
to look up, stare, configure.

Comment: Hedge your bets... (Score 1) 835

by poemtree (#29362489) Attached to: Does Your College Or University Support Linux?

Some initial info....

I am an IT manager of a group supporting faculty and staff of a large university in Washington DC.

Last year, over 70 percent of new students in my university brought Macs to school. We haven't seen hard numbers on this year's freshman class, but we expect Mac use to increase linearly as it has over the past 3-4 years (especially since Intel Macs).

This year, more than 50 percent of faculty who were eligible for a new computer chose Mac.

Linux users are blocked from using the VPN which controls access to the WLAN.

The main driver of faculty and student Mac choice in our surveys has been security (perceived or real) and flexibility. Faculty want the ability to run the OS best suited to the task. One Stat professor uses mostly Unix apps in Apple's X environment, web/email/Word on the Mac, and a few Win-only apps in XP on Parallels. Another prof in Physics triple-boots Ubuntu, Mac OS and XP on a MacBook Pro. A significant number of Mac users run XP in Parallels or Fusion. Several profs only run XP on their Macs, preferring the Apple hardware, and hedging they might use the Mac capability in the future.

To me, as someone who switched majors 4 times, and took tech electives despite my English major, the flexibility of a universal computing platform capable of running the two major desktop operating systems (one of which is Unix-based) plus Linux means all your bases are covered. Setup Mac OS and sandbox Windows and Linux in virtual machines, then use whichever OS best suits your current need. If you find later that you are mostly using Windows, or mostly using Linux, set that OS up as a default boot on its own partition.

Admittedly, you can do all I describe on a PC sans Mac OS, but even if you feel you will never use Mac OS, discounting the possibility that you might need or desire it in the future is shortsighted given Mac OS's current growth vector, especially in education. A less capable PC doesn't even necessarily cost less. I just the other day spec'd a Dell Vostro 13" against a 13" MacBook Pro and the Dell was $50 more.

So, again, hedge your bets. Buy the computer that can do Mac OS, Linux and Windows and use whichever OS you need when you need it.

"Most of us, when all is said and done, like what we like and make up reasons for it afterwards." -- Soren F. Petersen