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Comment Re:Help us Google Fiber! You're our only hope. (Score 5, Insightful) 568

I'd say the monopolies need to end. They were granted at the time to encourage investment (ha!) and a return on for the rolling out of services. We are a decade past this in much of the urban landscape, but they actually want caps on these pokey little connections they have deigned to give us. Fibre Optic is nearing doorsteps, finally, in my neighborhood and all they have to offer is 24Mbs... Really. That's the best you can do AT&T? This doesn't sound like investment, it stinks like milking a geriatric cow.

Comment Re:Release Date??? (Score 2) 95

If there's no release date and price what is the purpose.

The purpose is science, so we know how things work and what we can do. Technology you can personally leverage comes later. ALWAYS. You think the transistors on the ICs, and the ICs themselves, sprung into being in the first microprocessor systems? No, they were lab critters and no more than that, well prior to the 4004 and successors. Crude, hacky looking things of no direct use to anyone. But now look at them.

I agree it's tantalizing to see and hear about such tech and not be able to use it, but this is the process, and there is no alternative that's obvious to me, nor apparently, anyone else.

Comment No meh here (Score 4, Interesting) 95

Call me when a supercap has anything like the energy density - by any measure of cubic or weight - as a battery. Till then, they have only niche uses.

The thing is, there are many applications where space and weight aren't an issue, but lifetime and power sourcing are. For instance, I have lots of room -- going ten X on the space involved isn't a problem for me in any way, but it'd be awesome to have a reliable, high-power capable storage system to replace the batteries I'm using now, which (a) aren't going to last very long and (b) are severely limited by comparison in terms of the maximum current that can be drawn from them.

The real problem is just an engineering one: we need some standard systems to give us usable energy in standard ranges (12vdc and/or 120/240vac) from ultracap stacks. There's nothing hard about that, it's a market and demand issue, no more. Given the demand, designing the hardware is a doddle.

And of course it's worth noting that UC size is going down while power is going up. Most likely, at some point they will cross the battery line, and that's the time to buy stock in whatever UC company pulls it off.

Plus, instead of poisoning the environment with a dead battery, you can will your UCs to your kids. :)

Comment Re:Enough already! (Score 1) 222

The problem with skeuomorphism is that the familiarity is often misleading or at best limiting

"often" is not "always", and that destroys the argument against skeuomorphism without even requiring you to prove your assertion of "often." Sorry, but it's BS and it's been BS all along. Familiarity can be a great thing, a significant assist into the how and why of something. Radio dials. The play, pause, rewind, record, FF, and dub interface of tape machines. The phase display of a radio-teletype scope. The hands and dial of a clock. The zoom, focus and objective controls of a microscope. The doors and windows of a home in the context of an alarm system. And so on, for a *really* long time. Even switches, buttons, knobs, meters and indicators fall into this cleanly.

The answer to "when is skeuomorphism not appropriate" is "when it isn't, otherwise, it is." It's not "never."

For example a skeuomorphic address book would look like an actual book, but not really work like one. You can fold the corners of real pages down to act as bookmarks, then turn the book sideways to find them.

Both of those could easily be software features. Pfft.

You can't search a real book by entering search terms, so there has to be a non-skeuomorphic text entry box with a magnifying glass, a symbol that represents searching even though it is rarely used for that purpose.

A magnifying glass represents looking closer for details otherwise not visible, something it is always used for and a very nice symbol for searching. "Find a specific word in all these words"... now with a magnifying glass, "find a detail in all these details."

It's just a mess.

No. It's not a mess. Your objections, full of holes and very weak, remind me of an interior decorator holding his hands to his cheeks while complaining that the coffee pot doesn't match the drapes. You have shown you are not qualified to judge these things; users can manage just fine. Also, it's REALLY annoying to have all this time spent on an absolute non functional set of changes when actual UI fails persist like lack of nested folders, inability for one app to work with another apps files, etc. The former is a flat out stupidity, the latter a UI design error putting security over functionality at the user's deep expense. THAT is a mess. Flat objects instead of the UI we already knew? That was just dysfunctional and stupid. Also, the new UI is ugly. Which I suppose we should have seen coming, given the bewilderment that led to the whole design change.

Comment Re:Particularly the Mac Pro (Score 1) 471

Optimally designed? They went from a machine that could run eight monitors to one that can, as near as we can tell from the marketing materials, do three; one where all your hardware was safe in a strong case to one that's going to require desk-turds all over the place; one where the basic system is barely functional due to minimal storage on board, as compared to the previous incarnation which could carry multiple terabytes in various formats.

I waited a LONG time for a new Mac Pro, and now it looks like the previous generation was by far the best. Near as I can tell, the engineers were drunk when they came up with this weird new design. The idea of scattering more hardware all over my desk is a complete non-starter for several reasons, and the machine can't even do what the previous generation could. Pffft.

Comment Make your own Kool Aid (Score 1) 222

I'm not saying Apple's alone in this (that was someone else), I'm just pointing out how Objective C can relate to lock-in.

Certainly using any OS's unique APIs can bind you tightly to that specific OS.

However, there are also lots of APIs that are the same, or so similar that dealing with them generally doesn't lock you to anything. The standard C library, for instance, contains lots of useful stuff, most of which works as designed on all major platforms (Windows, OSX, linux), and you can often leverage that without any significant lock-in with the exercise of a little care. Some things -- like fork() -- you need to know where and how the differences affect you, but mostly there's a uniform set of tools.

In my case, I've found it absolutely worth my while to avoid vendor specific APIs as much as possible, and write my own stuff. Not only because then I can move it around (which I do... I write for multiple OS's, often within the context of a single project), but because unlike an OS vendor, when I find a bug, I fix it instead of sitting on it for months or years. So I have lots of graphics stuff, list handing code, memory allocation code, threading code, etc. that I use.

For instance, one recent project was a library that contained a suite of live, non-destructive image processing code for DSLRs. It was designed to leverage multiple cores and give the user control over various aspects of that. I leveraged POSIX threads instead of the OSX API for threading; works great, and runs on multiple platforms, which it would not have if I had stuck with the OSX Objective C API.

Then there's QT, which provides a uniform (if somewhat busted) API that hides the OS underneath, and gives you a pretty good degree of platform independence in doing so. Sadly, QT is just as prone to leaving serious bugs in versions and blundering forward without fixing them (ever) as are the major OS vendors. So again, building your own code instead of using the provided APIs can save you.

It's a matter of time on the one hand, and of craftsmanship on the other.

Comment Re:Fuck You (Score 1) 222

From my OSX shell, result of "uptime":

22:14 up 29 days, 18:22, 4 users, load averages: 0.15 0.15 0.10

Hardly even trying. Last reboot was probably a result of an upgrade from Apple. System crashes are so rare I can't even recall one. App crashes, yeah, sometimes, perhaps once every couple months or so. Depends on the app.

Comment Re:Enough already! (Score 4, Insightful) 222

Any "computer art professor" that teaches which style is "superior", as opposed to "how to do" any style you are tasked to implement, isn't worth the time spent with them.

The issue of replicating physical interfaces is not, and never will be, cut and dry. Some physical interfaces are highly refined and functional, and abandoning them leads to problems (look at a modern audio system as compared to, for instance, a late 1970's Marantz. Now try to turn up the midrange, or route one recording input to a recording output, assuming your modern hardware even has them.)

There are some excellent UI design guidelines out there. Like, don't constantly show and hide interface elements, it fouls up muscle memory. But "bury everything in menus" is a total newbie suck move, and "remove all familiarity" (which is what the rabid anti sku folk are saying, really) is also a suck move.

Change and so forth in moderation, see?

Comment Cellular contracts (Score 1) 127

And how do you switch to another cellular provider without incurring penalties?
Actually, I'm wondering if this could be used as a basis for terminating contracts. I'd love to dump my provider (Virgin, a subsidiary of Bell) if I could due to this bullshit.

I've heard that when services are greatly changed the ability to terminate a contract is possible. Anyone know if this counts?

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