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Comment: What's old will be new again.. (Score 3, Insightful) 276

by xtal (#49664813) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Future of Desktop Applications?

Eventually people will get fed up with paying $4.99 in perpetuity to a dozen or more vendors, and we'll have single pay licensing again. Legislative changes relating to data protection will complicate cloud migration for some professions, and I imagine state spying is starting to have economic impact.

I've seen the cycles too; the difference there is a legion of programmers and a even bigger pile of code out there. Computers (hardware) are also trending to very low cost now as well.

Software trends to zero in volume as there's no marginal cost; I'd expect more and more core functionality to be free. This has already happened to some degree in the Apple ecosystem, and Microsoft is bundled with everything.

Another prediction: More and more functionality will come bundled into the OS, and you can factor on paying a subscription for it (or the fee when you upgrade).

You want to jump on the next big rage? Nice, clean applications, web based or not, devoid of crapware and malware and in-app-purchases and ads that do what they're supposed to, cleanly, nothing more, and easily connect together through standard interfaces. It's almost like someone built something like that before.

On the other hand, no application is complete until it has an email client..

Comment: Re:I'm all for DD (Score 1) 312

by xtal (#49640933) Attached to: Defense Distributed Sues State Department Over 3-D Gun Censorship

This isn't about plastic f'ing guns.

The mill they're making is designed to turn pieces of high grade billet (commonly available) into real, functioning, accurate gun bodies.

You could always do this, but it required investment of time to gain the required skill. You also needed at least a $2500 mill and some brains.

Things change when it's a $500 box you put metal in and a weapon comes out. You can do that with a specialized gig and inexpensive stepper motor drives.

3D printing metal technology is advancing on a near daily basis.

Interesting times.

Look for laws controlling ammunition to be more popular.

Comment: Depends how you evaluate the curve (Score 4, Insightful) 425

by xtal (#49619609) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

If you're looking for people who generate a profit from their time, the curve is almost certainly U-shaped based on my now not-so-light 30+ years in the trenches.

Why is this any different than the population of other skilled professionals? You will see the same curve for musicians, for example; it's not necessarily about being able to eventually get the skill, but it's about doing so in a reasonable efficient amount of time proportional to the effort expended.

In terms of actually learning, the guy probably has a point - eventually, I could learn to play the violin - but having tried, I'm never going to do it professionally.

Ask me to develop OMAP firmware or drivers, otoh..

Comment: Remember kids, sync to cloud. (Score 1) 489

by xtal (#49437115) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"

Don't turn it off, either, until the event is long over.

I've had police in my face before, and there is no democratizing tool quite has powerful as a lawyer on retainer and/or a recording device.

Tools like Meerkat and other live streaming services are going to change the world, and not necessarily in the way their authors intended.

Comment: Mass unemployment (Score 5, Insightful) 477

The #1 job for men in the United States is.. driving a truck.

It pays well.

Those two things make it ripe for disruption as there is a clear economic incentive; autonomous trucks don't need to stop. It's not clear even if you'd ever have to turn them off, save for regular maintenance. That is a huge economic motivator.

Trucks also follow well defined routes that are easier for the autonomous systems to deal with right now.

The Teamsters will of course freak out; but change, it is a comin'.

Comment: Way to piss off customers, Apple. (Score 2, Insightful) 193

by xtal (#49369915) Attached to: If You Want To Buy an Apple Watch In-Store, You'll Need a Reservation

Yeah, I see this going well.

This runs contrary to any experience I've had with Apple, especially in their retail stores. If I can't walk in and try something without booking an appointment, it'll be awhile before I get around to buying one.

Boo, hiss. I hope they get an earful over this.

Comment: Stop being employees (Score 0) 292

by xtal (#49217975) Attached to: Do Tech Companies Ask For Way Too Much From Job Candidates?

Seriously, if you know your stuff, it's a sucker play.

If you can hack, learn to hack the system, man.

Build a network of customers slowly, deliver what you say you will, on time, and your dance card will be filled in no time. Dividends are paid out at substantially lower tax rates than salary in every part of the western world I'm aware of.

This is an answer. It's not the answer a lot of people want to hear, but it certainly addresses most of the challenges.

Ultimately, the companies can't be doing so bad with their model, because stuff gets done, and they make money. If they don't, they go away, and new players step in.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Comment: Just buy Facebook (Score 2, Insightful) 146

by xtal (#49163943) Attached to: Google+ Divided Into Photos and Streams, With New Boss

Accept it, too little, too late, y'all missed the party.

Google Chat is still vastly superior to Facebook Messenger, but I'm using GC less. The killer is GMail; without it, I'd be almost migrated out of the Google ecosystem.

Rock, hard place. I won't even start on Apple.

What to think different? Open up your APIs again, the cool ones, make it easy to use Google for the infrastructure on third party apps, don't screw over the small guys who join in. ..and stop forcing the damn tie in, all that does is make people ANGRY.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake