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Comment Re:Legalise drug trade (Score 2) 627

I completely agree, but the real magic is that Mexico wouldn't have to dump more money into their policing if they legalize. Legal drug trade wouldn't generate any more violence than legal bubble gum trade. The people who are currently hanging bloggers up on bridges would simply starve to death alone after legalization. None of their skills adequately prepare them to conduct profitable legal business, and all of their connections and power are derived from their massive income. It's so ridiculous that these drugs are illegal in both the US and Mexico, and I can't figure out why first world countries have consistently failed to change their policy in their regard. In fact, I've always vaguely suspected that the drug cartels themselves are stuffing the ballots in favor of continued anti-drug legislation and politicians who support such legislation.

Comment Re:Prices and locked down? (Score 1) 154

Excellent, succinct assessment. I truly wish I had mod points for you. This needs to be said. In fact, because Luddites like the grandparent keep posting and getting modded up, this apparently needs to be said over and over again. A few additional points:
  • *Of course* there is a market for this. Why would people want to carry multiple tools around with them when one will do, especially when those tools share almost all the same components?
  • If you are playing games so much that you can't make a 911 call for your mom, maybe you should learn some self control and not play until your battery is dead every time.
  • You can get bigger (both in size and capacity) batteries for almost every interesting smartphone. I'm sure this will be no exception.
  • The current market has shown that games don't have to have "even halfway decent graphics" to be fun or popular. I'll bet strongly that Sony tries to push into the casual game market with this device.
  • Battery technology is getting better little by little. At some point, the size of phones will stabilize (if it hasn't already), and the improvement in battery technology will seen directly in our phone's uptime.
  • It is possible to play games on a phone while it is connected to power (though perhaps inadvisable since batteries are more likely to explode while charging).

Comment Re:Phone-y (Score 2, Insightful) 124

Why do people keep saying this? And why does it get modded up each time? Can we acknowledge that there are Luddites in the world and not have to broadcast their viewpoints every time?

Let me give a contrasting view - just about the only thing that I don't want my phone to be is a phone. I hate blocking, synchronous communication - it is wasteful and inappropriate for the large majority of communications that I do. Generally, if I want to engage in such communication, I will attempt to do so in person.

Additionally, I am excited about the prospect of Android actually getting decent games for a change. Even if this phone is a fake (as the vast majority of Slashdot patrons believe it to be), I think great things are ahead for Android gaming. Frankly, I would love an Android handset with a fold-out gamepad, and the fact that this [fake?] phone is getting press is an indication that I am not alone.

Seriously dude, buy a Nokia 3310 and stop bothering us with your anti-technology sentiments. This a site for geeks, and we by-and-large like powerful personal electronics - most of us has been wanting communicator badges, tricorders, and PADDs since we first saw Star Trek, so how much more would we like something that combines all of those?

Moreover, even if we didn't have a fascination with such things, why in the world would we want to carry around 5 separate devices? Do you really want to lug around a phone, a Gameboy, a cassette Walkman, and portable TV, and a PDA everywhere you go? Are you that guy who hates Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, and DVD-ROM drives because "you like your computers to be computers" and "your TVs to be TVs"?

Comment Re:Who's technically literate at PC-Pro? (Score 1) 702

You posed three separate questions:

Do you think everyone should be able to build a computer form [sic] components

Most people who use computers should at least be vaguely familiar with the inside of theirs. They don't necessarily have to be able to build one from scratch, but they should at least be able to add some memory to it. In this same way, I think that anybody who owns a car ought to be able to change their oil or put on a spare tire, even if they inevitably get somebody else to do it. It's about understanding the tools you use everyday.

Do you think everyone should be able to ... write a simple program

Yes. At the very least, people should be able to create a simple web script. In many ways, it goes a long way to understanding what's actually happening when they use the web, and can often make them significantly more savvy, secure and successful on the web. Keep in mind that back in the day (the 80s), most computer users were at the very least familiar with the programming environments.

Do you think everyone should be able to ... debug a make files

No. The minutiae of refining programs or build processes is too esoteric. That would be analogous to me trying to fix odd wind resistance patters in my car. Debugging make files simply isn't essential to understanding the computer and why it runs.

It wouldn't take me long in looking at your life to find something you are not literate at. Being a Linux geek type, I'd look at cooking first

Of course, there are things about which I am not literate. However, I try to understand the tools and processes that I count on every day. Because of this, I maintain that people should know how to cook. I do. My engineer friends all do. In fact, some of the best cooks I know are engineers. As with cars and computers, people should feel free to end up not doing it (get married to somebody who likes it more, or just eat at restaurants). However, all people should understand the basics of cooking because we all eat.

Most people are good at the areas they need to be, and the areas that interest them.

Yes, but people need to be good at using the tools on which they rely everyday. If you go out looking for a home, it is insufficient to say "I'll leave the process to the experts" (assuming the home is a major expense for you, as it is for the overwhelming majority). Rather, you need to go out and make a budget (a good one). You need to research home prices, interest rates, financing options, escrow accounts, tax incentives (or lack thereof) and you might even need to talk to your boss and make sure that there isn't a large round of layoffs about to hit in 3 months. You simply have to know things, whether those things interest you or not.

For instance, I bought a house in the recent past. During the process, I researched everything so thoroughly that I could run all the numbers myself and didn't really need to rely on either my real estate agent or mortgage broker for any information whatsoever. Now, in the course of helping me get my house, they probably performed a lot of tasks that I was neither certified nor qualified nor capable to perform. However, when I finished, I thoroughly understood all the fundamentals of the process.

Comment Re:W00t (Score 5, Interesting) 302

Linux sound works perfectly for me now that Pulseaudio is stabilized.

It has certainly gotten better, but there are still plenty of issues with audio in Linux, at least out of the box. Some of them are driver related, some are still PA related, and some are related to poor default Alsa configurations. I can give several current (Ubuntu 10.04) examples of audio issues in Linux.

  • Some HDMI sinks tend to run at 48khz regardless of the source frequency (another poster here mentioned the 48khz madness). Moreover, Alsa doesn't seem to re-sample the audio properly by default in these cases, creating the chipmunk phenomenon. I'm fairly sure this is an Alsa-script fixable issue.
  • In certain situations, applications seem to lock the sound device causing all kinds of consternation. This shouldn't happen (software mixing ought to always kick in). This is most likely because those applications don't use Pulseaudio (which isn't yet appropriate for all tasks, and probably never will be). As with above, I'm sure this can be fixed with Alsa magic, but it shouldn't have to be
  • M-Audio 2496 internal audio card doesn't play well with Pulseaudio (to be fair, I last tried this with 9.10, never with 10.04). Apparently, it didn't have the kinds of Alsa controls that PA expected.
  • When plugging external speakers into my laptop (a TimelineX), the sound on the internal speakers would turn off, the but the external speakers would not get the sound. Eventually fixed by upgrading to 10.10 alpha.
  • As another poster mentioned, getting s/pdif to work properly is often non-trivial. Alsa is pretty good about offering raw access to the sound card controls, but it isn't always obvious what combination of control settings are compatible with digital audio out. In some cases, it is a single switch, but in other less fortunate cases, 3 or 4 controls need to be set properly before it will work. To make matters worse, there isn't a lot of documentation about what settings will work properly with a given audio interface. Usually, it's 15-20 minutes of forum reading before I can find some obscure reference to the information I need.

Comment Re:Gir's Analysis: Doom, Doom, Doom (Score 1) 298

Does it share anything with their desktop OS?

The Silverlight and .NET frameworks, for starters. Even if it didn't share anything with the desktop OS, there is likely still value in making people think it does.

At this point (especially on a phone), the Windows brand has negative value.

Certainly, the 'Windows Mobile' moniker on a phone is kind of like the 'Titanic' moniker for a boat or the 'Hindenburg' moniker for a dirigible. That being said, I don't think the 'Windows' brand as a whole has "negative value". It is the most widely deployed desktop OS in the world. As I said above, there is some utility in making people believe that it shares traits in common with the desktop OS. This might lead people to assume that, for instance, there will be strong integration with the Desktop (something most smartphone users appreciate). It might also lead people to assume that, as smartphones go, the device will have a shallower learning curve for those familiar with the Windows series of desktop OSes. As far as I can tell, this is false; but since when do marketing departments care about truth?

Comment Re:Gir's Analysis: Doom, Doom, Doom (Score 1) 298

Zune integration is 'killer' you say? That's going to do it, huh? Well, everybody who owns a Zune now has the option to integrate it. All five of them.

Hah, that reminds me of a quote from Chuck:

Chuck: "Morgan, hey, uh, buddy do we carry any Rush CDs in the store?"
Morgan: "No need, I got 'em all on my Zune"
Chuck: "You have a Zune?"
Morgan: "Are you kidding me? No, no, I'll grab my iPod"

Comment Re:'Bout time (Score 1) 917

I don't have enough data to say whether the iPhone4 is within an acceptable tolerance of reliability (given its possible use as an emergency phone). However, I am convinced that there is a threshold at which an apology is quite appropriate.

However, right now cell phones are still considered something of a luxury item.

Smartphones are certainly a luxury item. However, IIRC, cell-phone penetration worldwide is around 50%, almost as high as the percentage of people who have access to running water. That makes it pretty close to essential in my estimation.

I've been happy with it, but i'm trying to be objective about the issue. I just don't see this issue being that big a deal.

Normally, that's all that would matter. If the customer is happy, everybody's happy. However, I am convinced that a lot of Apple customers have a hard time seeing past the beauty of their products down to the inner flaws. Anyway, enjoy your bumper.

Comment Re:'Bout time (Score 1) 917

Many phones would fail to work if you were under water or underground (hey, it's an emergency). Many networks would fail if everyone around you was also trying to make a call.

The majority of emergency calls are not being placed from within the apocalypse. I'm going to take a wild guess and say the majority of emergency calls are for health reasons ("I/My-Spouse is having a heart attack and/or can't breathe"). In that situation, roughly one person on average will be calling, and he/she will be neither underground nor under water. Second place is probably car accidents. In a car accident, there will likely be more than one caller, but usually not so many that a tower could fail. And again, it is not likely that any of the callers will be underground or under water (unless the accident took place in a tunnel).

I don't believe it's even recommended to rely on cell phones in an emergency so i don't believe that argument has much weight. If you are in an emergency and call 911, consider yourself lucky that any phone got you the help you needed.

Home land lines are disappearing quickly, as are phone booths (and for that matter, phone booth occupying superheroes). So basically what you're saying is (or will become) semantically identical to "I don't believe it's even recommended to rely on emergency calls". It's a total bummer if you're right.

Comment Re:'Bout time (Score 2, Insightful) 917

You make it sounds like they created a product capable of killing people when the accelerometer sticks.

Funny that you reference something that turned out to be a non-problem to defend the creators of an actual problem.

It's just a toy for gadget whores.

But they don't market it that way. They claim that the iPhone changes everything. So, their customers believed them and care whether it works properly.

(i don't want to hear the argument "what if someone needs to call 911 and only have their left hand available to hold the phone")

I'm sure you don't. I wouldn't want to lose a debate either. The fact is, the hand with which you hold your phone is probably not the first thing on your mind when you're making a 911 call. Sometimes when there is an emergency, you need to be doing something with your dominant hand (right hand for most people) while you talk.

In reality, there are all kinds of reasons that an unreliable phone is a bad thing, not just edge cases like 911 calls. But hey, at least Apple cared enough to hold a press conference and point their finger at other companies.

Comment Re:Evangelicals require more than others (Score 1) 961

But they are still dependent on Evangelicals for their vote.

Perhaps, but this is changing. PewForums (where you got your data) shows a 5% shift towards the democratic side between the Kerry and Obama elections. Regardless, PF doesn't show statistics on the "Christian Right". These are the real people that you should be targeting (as I've said before). They are basically the Christians who believe they have the right to wield their numbers to create a more Christian state, a position I and many other Christians disagree with.

McCain flipped on ... this is called an abdication of principles, or a sign that you didn't have any in the first place.

And I don't disagree, but again, you have failed to show how this is different than 95% of the other politicians out there.

do you believe a woman's body belongs to the government?

Once again, you are completely mischaracterizing the argument. I suspect you are doing so purposefully to get a rise out of people. I know a lot of pro-lifers, and none of them believe this.

when do you think a fetus has the rights of a human being?

This is the real question.

If you say the second after an egg is fertilized, I call bullshit

Call it all you want, but drawing a line is exceedingly difficult. I'm not trying to espouse one view over another here, but suffice it to say that the argument doesn't deserve the one-dimensional framing that you give it.

If the Republican party really cared about preventing abortion, they'd make condoms and day after pills free.

Perhaps, and if the Democratic party really cared about the environment, they wouldn't fly in jets and use so much hair spray. Politicians are almost all liars and hypocrites. So, what's your point? Also, for those who believe that personhood is established just after conception, day after pills won't solve much.

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