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Comment: Re:Globalization (Score 3, Interesting) 163

by rsborg (#47793427) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

I would imagine it is laying groundwork for tax inversion.

I already replied in this argument, but this is probably the most insightful comment I've seen on this story. Setting up a very good reason why they should relocate their HQ for tax purposes (i.e., privacy of their files) seems a good PR move to offset any public outcry.

Comment: You're paying for the interface (Score 1) 76

by rsborg (#47733191) Attached to: Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers

Is it me, or does it almost seem easier to just buy a damn tablet for the car and leave it there?

The problem is, as is usually ignored by most /. geeks, interface. I already use my smartphone in a bracket on the car - and despite the tablet having larger touch surface, the problem is essentially the same - I want an interface with *big ass buttons* and voice control and preferably physical dials the the like - because I don't want to muck around with even a single more tap than needed.

Sure, I could replace my Prius console with a far more functional tablet, but unless it's designed to be used by a highly distracted user (i.e., Driver), it's neither safe nor fun to do so.

Regarding mounts - this has been absolutely awesome - and even works with my iPad mini:

I took it on my europe trip - worked on every car I was in, and it's super-light, portable, and I stuck the metal plate to the *inside* of my case so not only is it not marring my phone, it's not even visible.

There are other brands that target the same space apparently, too:

Comment: and when the UX fails? (Score 1) 199

by rsborg (#47673853) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

No one reads documentation.

When the UX fails, the role of documentation is to be there to prevent the user from quitting in frustration (and turning to a competing product).

I do think a rich user community forum and/or wiki can supplant most of the need for documentation (e.g. most open-source projects), however, all features of a product should have some basic documentation (e.g.: command-line usage --help).

Extensive documentation adds a lot of "drag" to a product - this is both good and bad, but where doc can't be updated, the user should *at least* know how stale it is.

Comment: Apps as media - parallels to iTunes (Score 1) 249

by rsborg (#47673705) Attached to: Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

Apple's current approach seems to parallel what they're doing with iTunes which really favors the labels over the artists. What they should look at is, instead, creating a community for social discovery and interaction - in short, what Amazon has done a fairly good job of (all review systems have faults and can be gamed, but it's clear that the average App Store review is generally of a lower quality than your average Amazon product review).

While I do like seeing "featured" stuff, I also like seeing what others buy based on what I bought, and whether there are any reviews.

Part of this may revolve around making reviews more seamless [1] while also putting down the ban-hammer on apps that have fake/bought reviews.

Also, I'd suggest Apple also adopt a "return period" - they support this for some jurisdictions (S.Korea? HK? I forget).

Absent this kind of reform, the App Store is simply a device for pushing the interests of publishers, not developers, let alone users.


Comment: Re:One word: PDFLib (Score 1) 132

by rsborg (#47628347) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

The trouble I can see with PDFLib is the stupid "per machine" licensing. Per machine licensing for a software library is ridiculous - the description of the license on their website pretty much rules out using it in any situation other than some sort of central PDF processing behemoth service.

Clearly you haven't dealt with Oracle's licensing, compared to that, PDFLib is highly liberal stuff. They even give you one machine free (dev box).

Comment: Re:Your next supercar. (Score 4, Insightful) 138

by rsborg (#47529271) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

Your next supercar will be ugly as hitting your father with a sweaty sock, but really efficient because, as we all know, people buy supercars for their efficiency.

Let's turn it around - *some* or "a lot* of people who buy super cars (especially of the electric variety) buy cars for their efficiency (speed/mileage).

a) not all or nothing - a big enough niche where you dominate (and erect defenses from encroachment) will provide a solid business model and sustainable profits.
b) speed requires efficiency, unless you plan on putting rocket fuel into your afterburner.
c) I always thought dimples were sexy on a girl, why not a car?

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 2) 176

by rsborg (#47521067) Attached to: Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

Why is this comment rated so low? If anything, having such a politically invested person on the board of directors really does say something about Dropbox and their views on privacy and security (yes, I do think the same about Apple and Al Gore - his values did seem to align with the company's).

Ever since 1Password moved to iCloud sync, I've stopped using Dropbox for even stashing an encrypted file. For everything else there're more targeted cloud services.

Comment: How do you measure "good"? (Score 2) 285

by rsborg (#47504491) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

If teachers' unions ever agree to let teachers be paid based on how good they are - rather than just by seniority - you might actually see more attractive salaries for good teachers. You might also see more bright people interested in taking up the profession if they knew they could make a better living doing so.

The problem is in the measuring of "good" - this is realistically best measured in terms of outcomes - i.e., the better a student does a the end of their scholastic engagement, the teachers involved should be rewarded. Problem: this takes long-term thinking and doesn't profit private interests.

Some teachers had a profound impact on my education. I spend the majority of my educational years in US schools, after immigrating here. The impact could not likely have been measured within the year. You would have to have looked at my performance at the end of several years, or my matriculation out of the school to accurately see what those experiences did for me.

However then you run into the problem that a similar students in similar classes with perhaps abusive home environments, or being unlucky enough to live in more dangerous neighborhoods (gangs, drugs) who might have completely different scores - so you'd need to also cross-correlate with socio-economic factors to get a true view (i.e., factoring out economic standing, and possibly more uncomfortable factors like ethnicity and type of household like single-income vs. dual, vs. single-parent, etc).

All this shit is hard. And doesn't profit those who want to cash in on the education cash cow. So it's never going to happen. But it should.

Comment: Seconded (Score 1) 205

by rsborg (#47503335) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

In Japan, Toyota sells a hybrid minivan (the Estima) that uses the Prius drivetrain and is based off the (discontinued in the states) Previa styling:

Most of these vans get less than 20-25 MPG, so an offering that gets 40 MPG city (or better) would surely be more compelling than a gimmick megaphone. Hey Toyota, about get your act together and bring your superior automotive technology to the USA instead of this kind of stuff.

I've been asking Toyota for years. That said, I finally caved and got a non-hybrid Sienna, and it gets about 20mpg combined average. I'd kill for that Estima to be sold here even if they did mark up for adding a hybrid drivetrain.

Comment: Re:Mission creep. (Score 1) 285

by rsborg (#47503247) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

Yes, the kids love them and yes, they probably do have educational value... but look at the mission creep. The district becoming its own ISP next? Can of worms.

Public funding for education going into internet bandwidth for widgets... well, it takes a bridging argument to say that's a good thing.

How would you feel if the school district made money off this venture thereby lowering tax burden or removing the need for "school foundation" donation culture? I, for one, would love that.

E Pluribus Unix