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Comment: Re:USB 3 (Score 1) 159

by sjbe (#46834303) Attached to: Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector

Just for reference: Apple computers (including notebooks) provided at least 7W per Firewire port.

IMO it should be possible to power an entire laptop with a USB (or equivalent )cable. We need a commonly accepted data cable that can deliver data at speeds similar to Thunderbolt or USB 3.1 and also be able to carry enough DC power to power a reasonably powerful laptop or desktop PC via a single port.

Comment: New product introduction pace (Score 1) 326

by sjbe (#46834095) Attached to: iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

they do not go and create new markets on their own like Apple used to (at least they don't do it any more)

"Don't do it anymore"? Dude, the iPad was introduced in 2010. While others introduced tablets before that, nobody took the market seriously until Apple jumped in. Apple introduced the iPhone in 2004, and the iPod in 2001. How frequently do they have to create multi-billion dollar businesses from nothing for you? Apple has started or at least popularized at least 7 major businesses that I can think of (personal computers, graphical operating systems, desktop laser printers, mp3 players, smartphones, tablets, app/music stores) plus a number of smaller spinoff businesses. There aren't a lot of other companies with a comparable track record of hit products. If they go another few years before without a hit product then sure, let's wonder what's going on. But Apple has a track record of making big new products about every 5 years or so. Let's postpone the funeral for a least a few more years.

(For the pedants out there I'm fully aware that others usually created the technologies Apple works with - that's why I said they've started/popularized the business rather than the technology)

Comment: iPod Classic vs ... (Score 1) 326

by sjbe (#46833819) Attached to: iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

Clearly, you don't understand the use case of the iPod Classic: an order of magnitude more storage than a 32GB cell phone is hardly made redundant.

As the capacity of smartphones gets larger the number of users of the iPod Classic is going to drop. My smartphone has 64GB and that is more than adequate to store my entire music collection. If I need more space to store something then I have a 2TB portable hard drive. There are some people for whom the iPod Classic makes sense but the number is steadily shrinking.

The shuffle is more redundant, even if you can personally find a case where you like to use it.

The use case for the shuffle is primarily exercising. Running with anything much larger is pretty annoying and one doesn't need an entire music library or a screen for a 30-60 minute workout.

I'm still amazed that Apple, of all companies, is the one that's still actually catering to that segment. I haven't seen another HDD-based music player in years.

Not really that shocking. Most of that market segment has gone the way of the dodo and unsurprisingly the dominant product in that market (the ipod classic) is the last player standing. It doesn't cost Apple much to keep making them so it remains a smallish but profitable business for them. I expect at some point they'll pull the plug but the margins are good, the unit volume is adequate and it doesn't require a lot of management attention.

Comment: Re:Original iPads Work Well ... (Score 1) 326

by sjbe (#46833695) Attached to: iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

Keep deluding yourself that glued together devices will have better lifespan.

You may be right but what is your evidence that glued i-devices don't last? Just because you bought something else which works well find doesn't constitute evidence for or against the longevity of iPads. Lots of glued products last just fine so what are you basing this assertion on?

Comment: Apple opportunities (Score 2) 326

by sjbe (#46833259) Attached to: iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

BTW the only things left to them in my opinion are:

There are plenty of potential big products out there. That's not the problem. The problem for Apple is the law of big numbers. There are a relatively small number of products with enough market to move the needle once you are Apple's size.

1.) Live Television

Tough nut to crack like you said but I would have said the same thing about music a few years ago. I'd give Apple as good a chance as anyone. The market is big enough but it's unclear where the business opportunity lies. Lots of entrenched players and a byzantine market structure.

2.) Replacing the iPod Mini with a watch that syncs to your iPhone.

I think you are on the right track but the opportunity is bigger if you think of it more broadly. Think device and sensor integration. Right now devices do a rather poor job of talking to each other, even Apple devices. For instance I should have access to all my files, data, music, settings, preferences, video, address book, etc on each and every Apple device I own. It should be completely seamless. Right now it's still too spotty and device dependent. The market opportunity for that is huge for Apple and it keeps people in their ecosystem.

3.) Pull a M$ and try to merge there desktop class and tablet class together.

This is already happening to some degree and logically it makes some sense. I think MS did a hack job of it but they did establish that the concept is feasible. Apple has already started to make iOS and MacOS overlap and Google is doing the same thing with Android. It doesn't necessarily have to be a single code base but the code bases should work smoothly together if they can't be merged. Frankly I think laptops and tablets are going to converge much like PDAs and cell phones over the next few years. Right now they are separated due to the state of the art in technology but those barriers will disappear largely in a few years. Not sure how it will play out but it will be interesting to watch.

4.) Virtual Reality

I presume you are thinking of something like Occulus. I've worked in my day job with immersive VR tech and I just don't see a big enough business opportunity there to get super excited if I were a company the size of Apple. Games has some market potential (overestimated I think but some) but what else? Most uses are pretty niche. However I do see a huge opportunity in augmented reality and geolocation which isn't all that far removed in a lot of ways.

Other potential big opportunities?
1) Automotive systems are a big opportunity and car companies aren't very good at the sorts of products Apple makes.
2) Payment systems are a huge opportunity. I could see smartphones making inroads into some of what we use credit cards for now.
3) Location based services - a lot of the money in smartphones is probably going to be here. Big fight with Google on the horizon here.
4) Buying other companies - Apple has a TON of cash. They could easily buy their way into markets.

Comment: Re:Good enough technologies (Score 1) 159

by sjbe (#46826045) Attached to: Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector

By that logic, FibreChannel and Ethernet also were for the same purpose as USB and FireWire.

FibreChannel and Ethernet are pretty narrowly purposed towards networking. In theory they could be competitors to USB and Firewire and Thunderbolt but in practice they generally are not. You can do things like drive a monitor over Ethernet but people rarely do so. Similarly you can connect to a network over USB or Firewire or Thunderbolt but in practice people rarely do. Thunderbolt on the other hand is being aimed at video and storage much like Firewire is/was. USB overlaps with those use cases fairly heavily. Virtually everyone has USB storage and USB monitors have become a thing. I have a USB monitor I use fairly often and it works great.

FireWire 400 still kicks USB 2.0 ass when it comes to sustained transfers rates.

Which matters not one tiny bit to most users. The few who need the modest advantages of an old version of USB over an older version of Firewire have it available to them. The number of use cases affected is pretty much the very definition of niche.

You cannot run video and Ethernet simultaneously over USB.

Then I must be pulling off a miracle because I'm doing EXACTLY that as I type this. I have a USB 3 docking station that runs gigabit ethernet, drives two 1080p monitors and handles my keyboard, mouse and an external hard drive. All through a single USB connection. Works great and the bandwidth has not ever been a problem for anything I've needed to do. I could do the same thing using Thunderbolt but it would cost me a LOT more money to do it plus I'd still need USB for the mouse and keyboard.

Again, USB and TB overlap in functionality but are not direct competitors.

They overlap rather heavily in functionality though Thunderbolt is technically far more appropriate for video. Video is the main current source of distinction between the two. For most other uses (storage etc) the differences matter far less to most people. However the latest incarnations (3.0 & 3.1) of USB are fast enough that they can do video too for the most common use cases out there. Thunderbolt is technically better but there is a strong chance that won't matter any more than it did for Firewire. Anywhere USB and Thunderbolt compete I don't think Thunderbolt will fare well even though most of us would probably prefer it.

Comment: Re:Use cases overlap heavily (Score 1) 159

by sjbe (#46823711) Attached to: Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector

You mean like audio engineers, DJs, musicians, et al?

Yes. That is the very definition of niche. We're talking about a tiny fraction of a single percent of users who would ever care about the amount of latency in a sound card. Hell, the number who even know what the word latency means is probably in the low single digits.

USB has a crapload of overhead that makes it cheap to produce

Which 99.9% of users do not care about at all so long as their device works. Only engineers and geeks like (I presume) you and me give a shit about the overhead. It simply does not matter as long as it works. To use an analogy, sending a file via email entails a vast amount of overhead compared with FTP. Nobody cares. They send the file via email because it works and costs them less (in time mostly). Same here. Almost nobody cares how much overhead USB has. They care whether their data gets from point A to point B when they need it there.

Comment: Re:Good enough technologies (Score 2) 159

by sjbe (#46823581) Attached to: Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector

The problem is that even many slashdotters think they were for the same purpose when they were not. For many years both existed because FW was the better technology for Pros

They were for transporting data and/or power ergo both USB and Firewire were for the same purpose. The use cases for each overlap heavily - so much so that there is effectively little difference for all but a few users. Firewire was used for some niche purposes (video and ipods mostly) because USB initially wasn't fast enough. Once USB 2.0 came around 99% of the use cases where Firewire held a meaningful advantage evaporated. It only continued to be used because it has enough of an installed base in video cameras that a small number continued to bother. Even Apple eventually dropped Firewire for their i-devices in favor of USB.

Again they don't have the same purpose and this isn't a standards battle

It most certainly is a standards battle. Both are cables that transport data and/or power and mostly to the same devices for the same purposes. The technical differences between them are irrelevant from a user's perspective so long as they work. I'm typing this on a laptop that is driving two 1080p monitors, a docking station, a keyboard, a trackball, gig-ethernet all from a single USB 3.0 cable. The only extra power required is for the monitors, dock and the laptop which Thunderbolt can't supply either. Only a tiny number of people actually need the extra capabilities of Thunderbolt for their actual real-world use.

You are focused too closely on the technology and not on the actual function it serves. Data is data and power is power and users don't care how or which cable gets it from point A to point B. They do care whether it works and how much it costs. As long as USB can accomplish the same tasks at a lower cost (which generally it can) then Thunderbolt isn't going to expand beyond a small niche no matter how much better it is technologically. USB has WAY too large an installed base to go away and the advantages of Thunderbolt (which are very real) are to date insufficient to displace USB significantly.

TB however has the advantage of being a universal laptop connector so can be used by consumers too.

USB effectively serves the purpose of "universal laptop connector" well enough for most people. I see no credible argument that Thunderbolt is going to displace it from that role. Even Apple - the biggest supporter of Thunderbolt by far - includes USB on all their computers so it's not like USB is going to go away. If USB gets fast enough, most of the use cases for Thunderbolt that currently exist independent of USB will vanish like a fart in the wind.

Comment: Use cases overlap heavily (Score 1) 159

by sjbe (#46822251) Attached to: Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector

If I want low latency high quality audio card, I'm not plugging it into USB.

You and the 5 other people that care about that.

They're two different use cases.

Yeah see, they really aren't. You're not thinking of the problem in the abstract. They both transport some amount of data and/or power from point A to point B. How mechanically it gets there is something that the user generally doesn't care about and shouldn't have to. Yes there are some advantages to each one for certain use cases but most of the functionality overlaps heavily. Most people are eventually going to go with the more widely accepted standard and that is USB.

Thunderbolt is likely to remain a niche just like Firewire and SCSI before it. Great technologies that will lose the standards battle to a cheaper good enough technology.

Comment: USB 3 vs Thunderbolt docking stations. (Score 1) 159

by sjbe (#46822199) Attached to: Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector

I do the same thing with a USB 3 cable. I drive two monitors, an external hard drive, keyboard, trackball, a USB 3 hub and gig-ethernet. Could do a printer too. All by plugging in one USB 3 cable. My laptop has USB 3 and doesn't have Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt is external PCIe. Don't knock it until you realize how useful it can be.

Technologically Thunderbolt is great. Problem is that only Apple supports it in any meaningful way and USB 3+ is generally good enough for most people.

Comment: Good enough technologies (Score 2) 159

by sjbe (#46822161) Attached to: Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector

No they are not. They overlap in functionality but they are not the same.

Same argument was made for USB vs Firewire and we know how that turned out. Firewire was objectively better in a lot of ways but USB won because it was cheaper and good enough. Nobody except Apple supports Thunderbolt really so even if USB 3/3.1 is flawed I think it is going to win that standards battle.

Yes it does support uncompressed video but how well it does so far does not seem as though it is as good as TB.

Doesn't have to be "as good as" it just needs to be good enough. USB is a great example of a "good enough" technology. It's not perfect but it generally gets the job done and everyone has it.

For most consumers, USB 3.1 will be fine for most applications. For professionals, they are likely to get TB devices for their needs.

In the short run you are probably correct. In the long run I think Thunderbolt is likely to be a niche standard like Firewire.

Comment: Double standards (Score 2) 159

by sjbe (#46821883) Attached to: Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector

1) Power and data do not belong on the same connector or cable.

Bullshit they don't. Power and data should be on the same cable unless there is a compelling technical reason for them not to be. A big part of the appeal of USB is specifically because it can carry both data and power over the same cable. Why on earth would I want a separate power connector if I don't have to have one?

2) Extra pins cost more up front, but make backward compatibility less of a pain down the road.

Extra pins are not usually the problem when it comes to making a serial connection faster. Your point is valid but universally so.

Even as shitty and useless as it started out, USB has put all of these to shame.

USB carries both power and data on the same cable and recent versions have more pins than the original. Want to try that argument again when you have set your double standards for Apple vs everyone else aside?

Comment: False dilemma (Score 3, Insightful) 460

by sjbe (#46810303) Attached to: Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

I don't know how or where this "grow or die" idea began, but it's just plain wrong.

It's not grow or die. It's grow or lose investors. If I own a company (I'm a shareholder) and want a return on my investment the only way for that to occur is for the company to grow. In fact it has to grow faster than the rate of inflation or I will be losing money. The company has to engage in profitable activities sufficient to generate a return for investors. If the future value of risk adjusted cash flows is lower than another potential investment then the company will lose investors because they will put their money into the other investment.

You can't have infinite growth within a finite market.

I've never seen a company experience infinite growth or anything close so that's kind of a meaningless statement. You can however have substantial growth rates for a long time both for a company and for a market. There are companies that have grown by 10%+ per year on average for decades.

Every young man should have a hobby: learning how to handle money is the best one. -- Jack Hurley