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Comment Re:Nice, now why (Score 2, Interesting) 314

Because the same company, Verizon in this case, also has to service the non-high density parts. Yes, they have different pricing for different areas. But the probably can't/don't want to price it too differently.

85% of the American population lives in, or near, a densely populated urban area. Over 21 million people live within short driving distance of New York City. 17 million live in and around Los Angeles, 10.8 million around Chicago. . . and you get the idea. Most Americans live in population density very similar to what we see as Europe's 'high density', more than enough to pay for the relatively few who don't.

There is only one reason why US broadband sucks: we have telecom monopolies which are federally-mandated through lack of oversight. I live in NYC, surrounded by the equivalent of one quarter of the entire UK population, and have, essentially, two options for broadband. I can either get Time Warner's offerings, or the offerings of a provider who pays Time Warner to use their lines, or I can have Verizon's offerings, or use a provider who leases Verizon's lines. That's it: two, in a place with an average of 27,000 people per square mile. And if I want a blazing 3 Mbps, I'd better be willing to dole out $50/month.

It's not about the tech, it's not about the density. It's about unregulated corporate greed. If you don't believe me, look at the outcry over even the idea of net neutrality.

Comment Re:Tablets are dead (Score 3, Insightful) 401

At the moment. But will Apple really be able to carry the momentum once people start realizing theres nothing really -great- about the iPad?

The very same thing was said about the iPod and the iPhone, and look where they are now.

The era of the geek driving computer development is dead: people want easy to use features, and Apple is giving it to them. The era of clock speed, bus speed and VRAM capacity being important for selling computers is over as well. These things will still matter for select user bases--programmers, gamers, scientific use, graphic design, audio/video and other--but, for the vast number of average computer users for whom web, email, music, word processing and simple video are all that's really important, the iPad and its children are the future.

It will be interesting to see what people are saying about the iPad this time next year, when Apple's sold 25 million of them.

Comment The Linux Revolution never happened (Score 1) 742

I think one reason is all of the extravagant promises made for Linux--the nth Year of Linux on the Desktop--never happened. Linux didn't make any serious inroads into Windows or Mac market share, and, in fact, OS X has been the OS which is steadily gaining share. Millions of users didn't throw up their hands in frustration and switch to Linux desktops, and on and on. Even worse, the future of app development now seems to be remain on Windows and OS X, and the mobile web: iPhone/iPad/Android, etc. And, while the Andriod OS is based on Linux, it's owned by a consortium of large corporations, and is definitely not an community-based, open source project. So, what is to attract young developers to Linux? Where are the jobs?

That said, I think it's important to draw a distinction between the technology of Linux and cultural aspect of Linux. The technology has clearly been a success, as its domination of the server space, and Android, shows. But that doesn't necessarily translate into a larger societal effect, and that's what I'm getting at. There has been no explosion of the user base, and therefore no need for a huge increase in needed developers. I don't think Linux is going anywhere. But I also don't see the Linux user base expanding and driving the need for more developers and, more crucially, I don't see Linux driving the creation of a lot of jobs to draw younger developers into the fold.

It's easy to sit back and blame younger developers lack of skill. But, if you were coming out of college with a CS degree, and needed a job, what would you do?

Comment Re:May be a good time to discuss alternatives (Score 1) 289

Very true. For those of us who make our money in print production, Photoshop is (unfortunately) absolutely necessary and an amazing tool. The program's abilities really are infinitely deep.

However, for 95% of the people out there, Photoshop is like driving a Ferrari a mile to get milk: lots of snorting, engine noise and wheelspin but, in the end, a lot of wasted effort.

This leads to another problem: because I spend all my image editing time in Photoshop, I have no idea what to recommend to people who need to do much simple editing. If you're on OS X I know iPhoto does some basic brightness/contrast/color balance stuff, but that's about it.

Comment Re:That's it (Score 3, Insightful) 503

What for? The iPad is little more than an iPod Touch that won't fit in your pocket, and the market will judge it accordingly. Apple had an opportunity to redefine the tablet computer market, and they decided to waste it by offering us yet another box to run their apps.

It's official: The Slashdot Inverse Rule of Success is now in effect. Expect the iPad to sell 10 million in its first year.

And I'm not kidding. The Slasdot consensus is so wildly out of touch with market success it has become and inverse barometer.

Comment Re:Average users don't WANT control (Score 1) 1634

The masses, as you call them, are NOT sheep, and the idea there exists a difference between sheep and shepherds is one of the reasons Slashdot and geeks are so comically bad at predicting market success and failures.

The large mass of average computer users do not want to know how their computers work: they just want them to work. This is not a sign of inferior intelligence, but a choice where to put time and effort. I will bet you the mass of Slashdot users can't cook a good meal, or make their own bread, or change their own brakes, or drive a manual car, or do their own drywall work, or write their own music. All these, too, are choices: spending to choose your time making your own computers instead of making your own food, for instance, doesn't make you a better person than someone who can't figure out an error message but can cook a great four course meal. And that idea--Geek Macho--is one of the reasons many seeming great technological ideas never get anywhere, while Apple, which understands what average computer users want, goes from strength to strength.

Or, put more concisely: holding your users in contempt because their likes and dislikes don't match yours is the quick way to bankruptcy. Similarly, holding users in contempt because they prioritize their lives differently than yours is a way to avoid honest discussion and jump straight to reinforcing your own prejudices.

Comment He forgot about heat (Score 1) 361

And thermodynamics, specifically the need to dissipate the enormous amount of heat produced by a spacecraft into the thermodynamically-inefficient medium of space, changes things.

For one, there's no stealth in space. The heat from the shuttle's main engines can be seen from Pluto, ~5.4 light hours away. This means that any reasonably powerful ship will be seen days and even weeks before it comes into contact. Given that engagement ranges probably won't be much further than one light second, due to sensor lag, there's no sneaking up on anyone, so the shape of your spaceship vis a vis radar stealth doesn't matter.

This also impacts tactics. Since you will see your enemy coming from a long way and, as mentioned in the article, operating in planetary systems means predicable orbits and vectors, tactics becomes something akin to submarine warfare: lots of long distance shots with guided weapons, and lots of math to figure out firing solutions.

Third, because of the need to dissipate lots of heat into space, any sizable ship will need a large amount of highly vulnerable radiator area. Sufficiently damage a ship's radiators, and you effectively shut that ship down, as it will need to power down to avoid blowing up.

Comment Re:ok (Score 4, Insightful) 203

The bigger issue here is the narrow definition of "innovation"* so often used at /. and other tech-centric places, in which innovation only means innovation in a strictly technological/programming/hardware sense of the word. Behind this conceit lies the assumption that the only innovation which matters is purely technological innovation, and all of the other aspects, including making these innovations easy to use and accessible for wide range of people, are looked up on as somehow less than.

Hence the constantly renewing Year of Linux on the Desktop, which ignores the fact even the best-packaged Linux distros are at best a mixed bag when it comes to usability. Hence the constant claims that the iPhone/iPod will soon fall from its perch because its focus is ease of use and accessibility and not "innovation". Hence the boiling down of the wide variety of things which must go into a successful product as "cool" or "marketing", etc.

Apple's particular current genius lies in its ability to take technology and package it for use by a wide variety of people who don't care about the technology per se, and a big part of this is the iPod Touch/iPhone's UI, which makes it so easy even your grandmother can tweet away to her heart's content. And I think the reason Apple catches so much flack here, and elsewhere, is that by giving the "sheep" access to the technology, it take away from the n3rd world the special acclaim they have given themselves for having access to that technology.

That thought aside, the fact that so very few tech companies are able to do what Apple does should tell you how incredibly difficult it is to do, and why it is as innovative as any other tech achievement. Microsoft has, quite literally, money to burn and the best they can do is constantly bandage over the larger usability nightmares in Windows and Windows Mobile. Palm had to almost die before they came up with WebOS. Gnome and KDE have a (relatively) large installed base and access to talented people and the best they can come up with is a model which, sometimes, is easier to use than Windows. YOur average cel phone UI is a nightmare of menus, submenus, confusing icons and deeply-buried features. And on and on.

Making technology easy to use is incredibly difficult and every bit as innovative as writing a new OS or designing a new chip. And, while Apple has made, and will continue, to make stupid decisions, when it comes to what they do, they do do it so very well.

*There is a further conceit here, as to the true nature of innovation. There seems to be the idea that "true" innovators are the geniuses who come up with a wholly original idea, develop that idea, get it to market and retire to sleep on a bed of money. Look at this history of technology and you will see that almost never happens. Almost every innovation you can think of is either an improvement on an earlier idea or a new combination of previously established technology and ideas. Henry Ford, to pick one at random, didn't invent a damn thing. He took the idea of assembly lines and interchangeable parts from weapons manufacture, combined it with a newly available urban workforce and clever marketing (any color you want as long as its black) which was actually based on sound logistical planning, and created the modern car industry. It's the same with the computer industry. Progress is the story of incremental improvement and assembly of ideas and not sudden advances out of nowhere.

Or that's my $0.02

Comment Re:In technology... (Score 1) 475

Either way, time will tell.

Slashdot really needs a "-6, Wishful Thinking" tag for comments about Apple's coming, inevitable decline.

Apple is an enormously successful company, which sells computers and handhelds which run OS X, which more and more people like to buy. It's hard to figure out which one of those facts pisses off Slashdotters more.

Comment Re:How come it's only in Japan (Score 5, Insightful) 884

. . .they just don't want the same thing as us.

True, and there are things about Japanese culture which make their cel phone market very different from ours. One of the biggest things is the way in which the Japanese commute to and from work: Japan has a much higher use of public transportation than does the U.S., and the Japanese are heavy users of rail travel. This means, according to the last figures I checked, the average Japanese working person has an hour commute to and from work which is, essentially, free time. Contrast this to the U.S., in which the majority of people drive to work.

To me, this explains a lot of the Japanese demand for the use of video and TV on the cel phones, and from the cel phone networks: they have the time and inclination to use those services. Contrast this to the U.S., in which people have to (supposedly) concentrate on their driving; we have lots of talk radio here, something to listen to during that commute which requires no hands.

Add to this all of the other commuting the Japanese do via rail and you have a market which just doesn't exist in the U.S. I think this holds true in Europe as well, which also has a higher incidence of public transportation use than the U.S. We drive here, a lot, and that niche just doesn't exist. Most Americans get their online TV and video either at work or at home. Which is to say that population and work patterns influence technology adoption and use as much as, or more than, GUI design and technical achievement.

At least that's my theory.

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