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Comment Re:Apple really needs someone to say "no" (Score 1) 366

The MP3 player I had at the time was superior to the iPod in every single way. It just wasn't marketed as well. It was far easier to use, easier to move music on to and off of, and had a larger capacity.

I don't believe you. I was around at the time. I saw the other MP3 players and how they worked, and there were reasons why it was so much more successful. Competitors of the time were cheap quality, poorly designed, and needlessly complex. You might have thought it was "easier" in some sense like, "I can sync music to it by writing my own scripts!" or something, but Apple made a design for how the thing functioned that most people could use without even thinking about it.

And in a sense, you're right. It was about marketing. But not in the sense of "it's all hype", but that it's wasn't about having powerful technical specs or having the longest feature list. It was about designing a device for which there is a market. MP3 players were gimmicky toys for early adopters until Apple found a design that was useable.

Comment Re:Apple really needs someone to say "no" (Score 1) 366

Considering that modern Apple products (from the early iPods on up) have had horrific user interfaces that are extremely hard to use by comparison to their competition,

Sorry, but you're simply wrong about that. The UIs may not be to your liking, but they've been easier to use for most people, and generally considered better by experts. And even if "most people" can be wrong and "experts" are full of crap, I've been using Mac, Windows, and Linux for a few decades, and I know my judgement is solid. I'm not a weirdo or a fanboy. The original iPod was better than the MP3 players of the time in almost every way, OSX has been less frustrating than Windows in a million ways, and the iOS UI blew the doors off of anything else available in 2007.

But really, I wasn't even just talking about the UI. I was talking about the design. And in a sense, you're right, it's about marketing, but evidently you don't know what marketing is. The field of "marketing" includes making sure that you're building a product that there's a market for. It includes saying, "This iPod prototype is too big. People won't want to carry that in their pocket." And you're right, that was Steve Jobs' brilliance. He could look at a product as a whole and say, "This is a pretty good product, but this isn't a great product that people will love, so it's not good enough."

Comment Re:Apple really needs someone to say "no" (Score 4, Insightful) 366

Yeah, supposedly that was one of the important roles that Jobs played. Someone would bring him a new product or design, and he'd say, "Nope, not good enough."

And importantly, his view of what was "good enough" was often based on how pleasant or annoying it would be to use the end product. It's something missing from a lot of technology companies. It's common for companies to focus on having the longest feature list, the best technical specs, or having some new cool trendy gimmick. Jobs seemed to really think about, "This feature is cool, but what happens when I actually try to use it? Will it work well, or will it be annoying? Even if it works well, will it make my life easier and better, or will it be useless?" If it's annoying or useless, it just doesn't go into the product.

I don't think that's exactly an Apple problem. It's more of a technology problem that Jobs used to keep Apple away from. Even without Jobs, Apple still isn't as bad as the rest of the tech industry.

Comment Re:This is what TV viewers wanted, free from packa (Score 3, Insightful) 390

Can't help but notice the dislike of the "single producer streaming source" essentially conflicts with the quite-recent desire for "ala carte" cable without enforced packages.

I think you might be misunderstanding the complaint about wanted "a la carte" cable. The precise problem isn't that they have too many channels available to them. The problem is that the price of cable packages are high and rising, and people are saying, "If I'm paying $120 for 500 channels with thousands of shows, but I only watch 20 shows on 4 of those channels. Why can't I save some money by only getting the shows and channels I want?"

So now the content owners are saying, "Oh, you want a la carte, do you? Ok. We'll take those 20 shows that you want, put them each on a different streaming service. We'll charge $10/month for each service, and then in order to justify that price, we'll pack the service with a bunch of other shows that you don't care about. That's what you want, right?"

But no, having a la carte cable wasn't the goal, it was the means. The goal was to save money without losing access to the shows they want to watch. The idea was that maybe they could save money by sacrificing access to the crap they don't want. It doesn't help to give them a new distribution model that finds a different way to bundle crap we don't want, that ends up costing even more when you add it all up.

Comment Re:they remember the womb, emotionally and literal (Score 1) 288

A new born who isopneing its eyes imediatly, grabbing for the fingers of his mother and smiling, making noice and trying to communicate: most likely is fully consciousness. You might _believe_ otherwise, but you don't _know_.

To the extent I don't know, you also don't know. Neither of us will ever fully know, in the same sense that I can't know if you have any consciousness now, or whether you're some kind of automaton that gives the appearance of consciousness.

However, insofar as we can know, we know that a newborn opening its eyes and grabbing fingers is not consciousness. There are basic instincts and sentience, but not consciousness.

Comment Re:I don't understand. (Score 1) 320

Yeah, I'm just saying that for that purpose, you could possibly have a single button that's not used for any other purpose except that one, and then design the OS to respond uniquely to that key so that no other application could intercept it. Since it's not going to immediately reset your computer, there's not really a need to make it hard to press.

Comment Re:they remember the womb, emotionally and literal (Score 1) 288

You can not test consciousness.

By that logic, then certainly nobody should claim that their babies have consciousness. You also can't claim that anything doesn't have consciousness. A rock could have consciousness-- we have no tests that can determine that it doesn't.

But we can test a lot about how people are processing and understanding things by testing their reactions. From that, psychologists have a decent understanding of what babies can and cannot understand, and essentially, they don't have the tools to understand anything or think about much of anything. They don't have the ability to attach significant meaning to stimuli.

Lots of people have subtly different meanings in mind when they use the word consciousness, but most of those meanings somehow include the to interpretation of stimulus to attach meaning, and development of some kind of understanding of themselves and the world. Very often, it includes some kind of abstraction that provides a generalized narrative or theory about one's own existence and place in the world. That is, it's not just being able to understand individual an stimulus, but to contextualize all of stimuli into a story about who you are, where you are, why you're here, and what you should be doing.

Babies absolutely cannot do that. We know enough about how babies brains work and what they're capable of understanding to know that 100% of human newborns do not have consciousness. Unless there's some weird mutant psychic genius baby that's been covered up by the Men in Black or something, absolutely zero newborns have consciousness. Now, if you just mean "conscious" as in "awake and responsive to stimuli", then sure, lots of babies are conscious for large periods every day.

Comment Re:I don't understand. (Score 4, Insightful) 320

Yup. Back in the days when Ctrl-Alt-Del did an immediate soft reboot of your computer, it was really smart to not have it be a single button. Not only was it not a single button, they chose keys that were all over the keyboard, making it very difficult to press them all accidentally. If you slipped and mashed your hand down on the keyboard, there's no chance you'd just happen to hit those keys.

Now, I don't know. What does it do? It opens the login screen if you're in a domain? It brings up a menu to bring up the task manager, I think? Those things could be a single button, but at the same time, I don't think we need to cram a new button onto keyboard designs just for that.

Comment Re:they remember the womb, emotionally and literal (Score 1) 288

No, I was right the first time. We don't have examples of newborns who come into the world with anything approaching adult-like consciousness and awareness.

Some may be more aware than others. I'm sure that's true, to some limited extent. But no, there aren't babies popping out of the womb with a solid understanding of the world around them. It just doesn't happen because it's not possible.

Comment Re:they remember the womb, emotionally and literal (Score 1) 288

What many call "consciousness" is probably mostly just the brain focusing attention.

I think that's sort of... I don't know... begging the question? Your explanation seems to be reductionist. "Oh, that consciousness thing? That's just signals int he brain." as though to dismiss an attempt at a more holistic explanation.

On the other hand, the way you're saying it is that it's "mostly just the brain focusing attention." First, it's mostly just the brain focusing attention? Whenever someone says anything is "mostly just" anything, I feel like they're probably trying to hide something. Like if you handed me a beverage and I asked, "What's in this?" and you responded, "Oh, it's probably mostly just juice," I wouldn't find that answer satisfying. What else is in it?

But back to why I said it was kind of begging the question: It's mostly just the brain focusing attention? What does that mean? What is the brain doing when it focuses attention? At least how I'm thinking about this at the moment, something would need some level of consciousness in order to have attention, let along focus it. Consciousness would be the precondition necessary for attention, and therefore consciousness can't be defined by being "probably mostly just focusing attention".

Does that make sense? So for example (and this isn't the best example, but I'm just making something up), you need some kind of computer to access the Internet, right? So let's say I'm a time traveler from the past and I didn't know what computers were, or anything about them. I ask you to define what a computer is, and you say, "Oh, well a computer is probably mostly just when you access the Internet." Yeah, it makes a certain kind of sense, but there are several problems with this explanation. First, if I don't know what computers are, then I don't know what the Internet is either, so your explanation didn't actually explain anything. But second (and maybe more importantly), it's wrong. That's not what a computer is. You need computers to exist for a while before the Internet was possible, which is already a big clue that computers involve a lot more than just accessing the Internet.

Like I said, it's not a great example, but I'm hoping it makes my point a little more clearly. In order to focus your attention, you first need sentience, awareness, the ability to direct your attention, and some kind of motive force to cause you to direct your attention. On top of that, you'd need the ability to focus, which implies not only directing your attention, but tuning out other things that would draw your attention away. Even then, it's not clear that having the ability to focus attention is sufficient for consciousness.

And then also, you're talking about the contrast between "consciousness" and "unconsciousness", which implies "awake" vs. "asleep". I don't think that's really what we're talking about here. I think the discussion is about when a baby becomes a conscious being, i.e. when its development reaches a point where it has a level of "consciousness" comparable to an adult person. That's a tricky question all by itself, because it's not even completely clear that adults generally all have the same level of consciousness. We've never really settled on an explanation of what we're talking about when we say "consciousness", let alone how we would go about measuring it.

However, it takes a while for kids to develop a coherent concept of reality. They don't even start with a sense of object permanence.

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