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Comment Re:Banned from Google? (Score 1) 350

I meant it the other way around: Small and/or obscure online-focused news publishers which currently languish in the shadow of the big established players could suddenly find themselves on the front page of Google News - and other aggregators - if the big brands really were to refuse Google unpaid access to their content. They would practically be handed enormous market shares for free over night.

Comment Re:Banned from Google? (Score 1) 350

The danger in this is that a concerted Google boycott from established news outlets may well provide an incredible opportunity for businesses who actually "get" the Internet but were previously drowned out by big name publications to reach a huge audience with virtually no competition. Would they really risk that?

Comment Re:Want versus need (Score 1) 403

Stupid here, thank you very much. The reason why Ballmer is wrong is the same one is the same why you are wrong:

With the "classic" device categories PC and laptop it is down to features, price and personal preference which manufacturer and form factor you choose. Virtually any X86-based 'user-facing' device can be bought with MS Windows, some come with OS X, almost none is restricted to those two. Tablets on the other hand come with a specific kind of baggage: the ecosystem that its manufacturer sold you with it. Things like Ubuntu's Nexus installer aside, once you break a certain 'surface layer' of generic usage - web browsing, gaming, watching YouTube etc. - an iPad simply is no replacement for an Android device if your requirements are only satisfied by such one, which in turn cannot replace a Windows 8 tablet if you happen to need a Windows device. (Windows RT tablets, on the other hand, could possibly be replaced even by a brick.)

Comment The high and low (Score 1) 700

Herman Kahn's On Thermonuclear War has taught me more about our social fabric than six years of study in the Humanities.

Samuel Shem's The House of God filled in the gaps Kahn left. Yes, it is pulp fiction in its most base sense. But it is, in the same base sense, true.

Neither book made me throw my plans over board and steer into a wholly different direction, but between the two of them I found a new perspective on my profession and confirmation for choices I had made.

Comment Re:No.. (Score 3, Insightful) 496

Tablets are a fad that will go the way of the netbook, and faster.

I strongly disagree:

  • A netbook is a laptop whose display is too small and of too low a resolution to do anything but the simplest tasks on, whose keyboard is too compact and cramped to comfortably type more than a few paragraphs on and whose hardware is so lacking in performance that few applications run sufficiently fast on it. Gaming is pretty much impossible due to the low graphics performance. There are only two advantages over a full-blown laptop: portability (smaller size, lighter weight) and battery time.
  • A tablet on the other hand is not a crappy underpowered shrunk laptop. It is a wholly different category of devices, with its own paradigms, goals, compromises. Clam-shell docks and keyboard folios notwithstanding, tablets are meant to be used for two things: communicating and consuming. They may well extinguish the netbook market and capture those would-be laptop owners in the low-end market who never needed a full-blown laptop in the first place for a bit of web surfing and e-mail usage, but they are no laptops. And, by extension, no desktop replacements, either. The laptop and desktop market will in all likelihood shrink considerably, losing a good part of its lower end. But it will be a cold day in Hell when it goes away entirely, and it will certainly not be replaced by anything that resembles today's tablets.

I am just waiting for the Transformer Infinity's price to come down a bit, then I will order one, with the keyboard dock. Not as a replacement for but as a complement to my desktop and laptop. I will use it for taking notes during lectures, as a portable media player on standby duties, and - if I can get over my aversion to not having a physical book in front of my eyes - maybe for reading during commute. I will still write my thesis papers on my desktop, I will still code on my desktop, I will still game predominantly on my desktop - that is what it is designed for, after all. But that does not devalue the additional options a tablet offers me.

Comment Re:Just a higher tech version of what cops already (Score 2) 180

Ok, so first, if the crime doesn't happen, how do you know you prevented it? Maybe it just didn't happen.

You look not at one single crime but at the crime rate for a specific location and crime category. If the rate decreases after you start your prediction-based policing and the crime rate for this category does not increase in another area during the same time (interestingly this is one step proponents of public video surveillance very often happen to overlook), then your approach very likely has prevented such crimes in the targeted area.

Comment Re:Correct (Score 1) 87

Here in Germany every single "terrorist" put on trial since the German Autumn has been revealed to have had contact to at least one state agency, from state and federal police to the Verfassungsschutz (part of the intelligence conglomerate) to our two secret services, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (foreign intelligence) and Militärischer Abschirmdienst (domestic intelligence), including being funded, trained, "led". At the same time this happened right under the noses of all the aforementioned agencies. They cannot protect the public from three lowlives. But they can combat terrorism. Yeah, right.

In all seriousness: On the list of threats to my life, freedom and livelihood terrorism does not even make the top twenty.

Comment Re:So you're telling me (Score 1) 308

Having one offline client allows you to
  • search across all your e-mails at once,
  • manage one address book with all your contacts,
  • create and manage filter rules - often in ways that the dumbed-down web interfaces do not support - in one place,
  • use such "advanced" features as multiple identities for one account,
  • handle attachments in a sane way, often with integration to the local file system,
  • read your mail even if the Internet is unavailable - I have a local mail client on my smart phone precisely for this reason,
  • use all kinds of encryption or cryptographic signatures (I have not seen this in any web mail interface to date unless done in a browser addon),
  • use addons or extensions for specific needs that no commercial web mail provider would dream of implementing (mailing list management etc.).

Just off the top of my head.

Comment Re:Probably won't hurt anything......for now (Score 1) 378

[...] unless you host your own email server, you're relying on someone else to store your email anyway. Why not use the web interface? [...]

  1. Multiple accounts: I have 6 different e-mail accounts - private, work, university, volunteer organisation, throw-away account for online forums etc. Now I could use 6 different provider-offered web interfaces, each with its own set of issues, each with its own way of setting up filtering rules, or I could use one single offline client which allows me to search messages across all accounts, offers me one place to set up rules, offers me one spam and malware filter setup, offers me one single place to manage backups...
  2. Features: Not every web interface offers comprehensive folder management, multiple identities, fully configurable message lists... And no provider-hosted interface that I know of lets you install any kind of extensions or plug-ins if you need them. Mailing list managers come to mind. The majority of users will not need this, of course, but it is not an unheard-of requirement, either.
  3. Offline availability: Not that important anymore today on the desktop, but I do not always have internet connectivity with my laptop or phone.
  4. Usability: RoundCube is about the only web-based mail interface I find tolerable. Provider-offered interfaces universally suck for me. Yes, that includes GMail. Every one of them wants to be special by throwing all conventions out the window, most of them include more or less obnoxious ads, and many of them are quite clearly targeted at the "Internet = typing what I want to do into the Google search box" level user, hiding any "complexity", ie. every useful feature beyond opening a message and replying to it, behind a layer of utter retardation.
  5. Attachment handling: Sucks on almost every web interface I have used so far, with GMail being the one tolerable exception.

Comment Re:Probably won't hurt anything......for now (Score 1) 378

Sure. Unless you need any form of shared or synchronised address book. They never managed to get LDAP address books fully supported, and no word is out yet on any serious attempt to include CardDav and similar more modern replacements. By now it is not "merely" the corporate world that needs this: With people switching between their smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops sharing basic information like contacts, appointments etc. seamlessly across all devices is not just a nice-to-have. And Thunderbird is sorely lacking in this regard.

Comment Re:Not very new. (Score 3, Interesting) 754

It depends very much on the individual kindergarten or school. The "Montessori way" is often fundamentally misapplied, resulting in kids that essentially do whatever they want whenever they want in whatever pace they want, which translates to an almost non-existent education. There are a few really good such schools, but I for one would rather not take that chance.

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