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Comment Re:Defeating the Tablet (Score 2) 93

There are a lot of iPad accessory options out there but they don't turn the device into a laptop, or into something like a laptop. Even if someone uses a keyboard to write emails once in a while they don't likely use the keyboard for Web surfing, reading maps, or for any of the many other tasks to which a tablet is better suited than a laptop. Also I think you are severely overestimating how popular these accessories are compared to the iPad itself. Frankly it's nice that the iPad is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of usage scenarios, unlike a laptop.

I'm sort of sad to see so many Slashdotters responding so poorly to tablets, which are the most important development in computing in a decade. We ought to be leading the charge forward and demanding tablet casemods and overclocking. Instead we are whining that a screen attached to a keyboard via a hinge is the One True Way. Laptops were designed for office work and they do not make very good home personal computers.

Comment Re:I hate it when people say things like: (Score 4, Informative) 273

God dammit, Slashdotters are so dumb about corporations and how they work. Even if you're anti-corporate you ought to know a handful of things about your enemy.

Suppose you are a corporation with basically one physical asset: a $10 billion TV factory. Raw materials and labor go in one side, and finished TVs come out the other. Let's even ignore R&D and marketing.

What you'll learn very quickly is that you can't really control the price that you sell the TVs at. Since you have competitors also making TVs, and there is only so much demand for TVs out there in the market, you're constrained. Maybe some of your competitors can build TVs cheaper than you because their labor is cheaper, or they have a better factory, or whatever. Maybe everyone expects huge TV sales due to some new technology and the sales never pan out, and there are just too many TVs in the market.

So your brilliant idea is to shut down the factory the moment that you can't sell the TVs for more than the cost of making them. In the real world it isn't always so simple. If you completely abandon the TV market, you'll have to sell your $10 billion factory even though nobody wants a TV factory right now -- you'll be lucky to find a buyer at $1 billion. If you decide to sit on your factory (still paying for maintenance, security, property taxes, etc), you'd have to get rid of your employees to really save money, and then you'll need months of lead time to re-hire people if the market picks up again. Not to mention that you'll lose your position in the marketplace -- everything from distribution contracts to your mindshare will evaporate. Nobody really wants to buy or distribute a TV from a company that only makes TVs some of the time.

There is always a point where keeping things running isn't the best decision, especially if you think the market will never come back (the buggy whip situation). I'm just saying that the point where you start selling things for less than it costs to make them isn't always the time to abandon production. Sony will be happy that it kept its TV division running if the R&D guys can come up with some new feature that everyone actually wants to buy.

Bottom line: yes it's possible that they really are losing money on each TV. Depending on how you interpret the mysterious future, they might lose even more if they stopped making them.

Comment Re:Questions about this device (Score 1) 274

Not sure that the keyboard dock will prove that popular with the general public. It's almost forgotten now but Apple sold a keyboard dock accessory for the original iPad on release day. They don't bother to make it anymore due to low sales, but the iPad is still compatible with Bluetooth keyboards (as it always was). The general public hasn't had much interest in that either, though a small Bluetooth keyboard plus a small iPad stand is occasionally useful for sending email or using SSH while traveling or whatever.

Comment Well, let me help you out (Score 1) 214

Twitter is for things you like. If there's a local restaurant you like, maybe they will send notices of their daily specials now and then. If there's a musician you like, maybe they'll let their followers know that tour dates have been announced or that their new album is almost out. Going to a convention? The convention feed might let you know when event schedules change. Maybe a columnist you like will make occasional points that supplement their regular writing.

"But we have email!" I guess you are saying. Ever subscribed to an email newsletter from a restaurant? You'll get 5MB PDF coupons, only good on Wednesday afternoons, as likely as not, and good luck with the unsubscribe. Twitter guarantees that the messages will be small and it's always easy to unsubscribe.

Don't know why it's so hard to understand -- there isn't any other service that's good at this.

Comment Re:Price Weighted Average (Score 1) 218

That's not true; the Dow is even simpler than you are implying. There is no weighting at all applied to the individual stocks in the index, so it's incorrect to say that they weigh "each stock price with a factor". Instead, there is only one factor (the Dow divisor) for the entire index. All the share prices are simply added up and then divided by the divisor.

When AAPL was added to the Dow, the Dow divisor would be adjusted to account for the difference in price between AAPL and whatever it replaced, but that's it. So it's completely incorrect to say that a 5% change in Apple's price would have the same influence as any other company. In fact a 5% change in a high-priced stock would have much greater impact on the Dow value than a similar change in a low-priced stock.

Yes, the DJIA really, really is that bad of an index.

Comment Re:Yeah well... (Score 1) 279

Apple pretending that they had no intention to allow apps on the early iPhone was obviously misdirection in retrospect. At the time they were having enough trouble making the software work at all without crashing, and they didn't want developers/users to avoid it while waiting for the bright app future. Sort of a counter to the Osborne Effect.

Comment Re:Meanwhile (Score 2) 204

Yeah but, on the other hand, talking to hackers, even information security experts, isn't really good enough. There are too many opinions out there and not enough facts.

The first problem is that we don't have any sort of useful objective metric to compare the security of various operating systems. "Number of vulnerabilities found" is unfair to the popular ones. "Severity of the worst vulnerability found" is useless because everyone has remote root exploits found from time to time.

And even an objective metric doesn't measure what really matters: the threat ecosystem. Windows had lax security for years, even years during which the Internet was common, and nobody cared much. But this lax environment bred an ecosystem of hackers, and especially criminal hackers, dedicated to compromising Windows machines for profit. Then Microsoft was asleep at the switch for a while and allowed this problem to grow out of control. Melissa should have been a gigantic red flag but they pretended that it wasn't their problem and that everyone should just buy a virus scanner.

Once this sort of problem has taken root it is very difficult to eliminate. Once there was a large group of intelligent, highly-motivated individuals with experience in breaking into Windows computers, they weren't going to disappear just because Microsoft released some patches. It took a substantial security effort over many years and even still the Windows-based criminal community is likely to be much larger than the OSX one or the Linux one or the iPhone one, even by proportion to user base (although I am not aware of any actual surveys).

Even if OSX were easier to break into in an objective sense, these people have experience with Windows and they're probably not eager to switch to a new system. So Apple has an easier time of things and this could remain the case for a while as long as they are aggressive about going after new threats. I do think they are correct to recommend against virus scanners in general, since foisting the problem of security off on a third-party (and usually an incompetent one) only masks the real problems.

Comment People overestimate "business" (Score 1) 267

Come on! Everyone's talking about the BlackBerry as being good for "business" but nobody's talking about the elephant in the room: the "business" world is stupid!

Business is always focused on the wrong features, and stuck on consensus ideas and "best practices". Business is about being afraid of what will happen if you don't "control" your employees' phones. OMG maybe they will install Angry Birds!

Those of you who work in an office, look around. Look at your desk phone -- isn't it a piece of crap? Can you believe how badly-designed the interface is? Are you even allowed to set up your own speed dial? How about your furniture -- do you realize how expensive it all was? Would you make those choices with that budget?

The newsflash that's hitting the business world now, and why they are abandoning the BlackBerry, is that if a phone is designed to be usable the employees will be able to "manage" it themselves. "Cool" things like smooth scrolling, animations that communicate to the user where things came from and where they're going, etc are all more important than whether you can set your lame email signature policy from a central server.

The truth is that people used to think everything business did was "cool" and the hottest word in computing was "enterprise". No more, thank the stars.

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