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Comment Re:Why survey the scientists? (Score 3, Informative) 109

At IBM, the patent attorneys aren't a part of the process for approving patents. Rather, depending on the division, there is a panel consisting of various representatives from the department. Some are engineers, usually one is an attorney. Inventors pitch their idea and the panel asks questions and decides to either ask the inventors to return with more details or additional information or may approve moving forward. Usually, the next step is to pass a search of prior art. Only then is the disclosure rated "file," where the inventors can start working with an assigned attorney to prepare the actual application. In some divisions, the panel may be just a few people, but always predominantly from the scientist/engineering side, not the legal. Legal is usually just one representative, providing guidance so no time and money is wasted on ideas that fail basic patentability criteria. A key consideration through all this is how important the idea is to IBM business. Another consideration is how discoverable the idea is. If it's too hard to detect whether or not someone is violating the patent, it's not worth going through the process. Ideas that relate to an upcoming product tend to be prioritized over those that are just potentially connected to product. This is based on going through this process a few dozen times when I used to work there.

Comment Nothing Apple itself hasn't said (Score 3, Insightful) 144

The story attempts to suggest that this is a way to get around Apple's walled garden. On the contrary, this is a fully supported system that Apple has promoted many times. They always say there are two ways to develop apps: an open HTML5-based web app method and the curated App store. What's the news here other than showing people the showcase itself?

Comment Re:A lot of press about nothing (Score 1) 507

These are pretty much my own thoughts. I'm finding the phone to be better than others I've had, including the 3GS. An Achilles heal isn't always a deal killer if the positive tradeoffs are large and the issue is so easily avoided. Indeed, the vast majority of iPhones I encounter are in some sort of case, which means that most such owners will never encounter the problem at all. The real problem with this entire incident is really Apple's defensive reaction rather than the phone itself. I hope they contact Consumer Reports to attempt to duplicate the tests.

Comment Apple's submission tools aren't static (Score 1) 461

Everyone who's had an app pulled from the store has known beforehand that they were doing something risky and were counting on using public opinion as their insurance policy. The prohibition against using private APIs is right in the developer agreement and Apple's submission tools have become increasingly sophisticated so that some apps that made it through at one point are now being flagged. There's no risk of doing this by mistake as Apple's API docs are extensive. If you don't see the desired class documented there, it's not intended for your use and you probably reverse-engineered the OS to find it in the first place.

Comment Re:Doubly unreliable (Score 1) 484

And the fact that almost nobody suffers from inappropriately-tripped liquid sensors in the wild makes it self-evident that the sensors aren't so sensitive as to not be able to handle the common scenarios that you mention. I haven't heard of a wave of Seattle residents flooding the local Apple stores with concerns. At the same time, I haven't encountered any consumer electronic device that can handle repeated dense condensation while in operation or which doesn't have a related warning. So, having a sensor that will eventually begin to turn red after many cycles of repeated moisture exposure makes sense, if tuned to correlate with actual likelihood of malfunction.

Comment Product-customer fit (Score 1) 1634

99% of the computing activity that goes on daily is information and media consumption, not creation. First and foremost, we surf the web and, along the way, watch photos or various media clips that we encounter. Gone are the days when a computer meant something used for word processing or writing a spreadsheet. While we still do those things in similar absolute amounts, the sheer number of *other* things we use our computers for has dwarfed these activities to the point where there is a large market for a machine optimized primarily for consumption. The netbook was aimed at this catagory, hence its name. A key to success is that such a device needs to be able to do rudimentary creation or at least editing. Again, witness the netbook. The keyboard is cramped and the screen is small, but this is fine for occasional road-warrier-style editing while mostly being used for reading email and internet surfing. The iPad fits this niche very well, with a much slicker and more intuitive UI. Why must it be labeled and treated as a general purpose computer even though almost none of its customers would use it as such even if it were so capable? Tech journalists treat every product as if it's intended for their personal use. As for the app store, Apple's centralized control has thus far resulting in only a literal handful of highly-desired apps being rejected and not made available. A handful out of more than 100K. This is an exceedingly small fraction, with almost zero impact on how anyone has used their iPhones and iPod Touches unless Google Voice is your raison d'etre. Improving usability by a few percent while opening up the floodgates to a far larger share of malware might not actually be the right tradeoff for the majority of customers who, again, are using the device for consumption and will likely never even buy more than a handful of apps to supplement the build in apps. There's no slippery slope here because the same model wouldn't be tolerated on a Mac. Once those who'd be better served with an iPad are taken out of the equation, the remaining Mac customers buy these machines because they actually create content, need choice and see a net benefit to having control vs. having to search many stores for the app they need and police for malware. Indeed, since the software used for most purposes tends to have already been largely standardized (Office, iLife, Photoshop, Final Cut, etc.), most users don't actually even exercise that much choice at this mature point in the product lifecycle, tending to prefer to stay compatible with the knowledgebase that exists for these dominant products.

Comment Re:Is there the checklist for why this won't succe (Score 1) 353

The only reason bad tends to win is because out of the entire range of things to do, there are more bad things than good. Someone bad thus has many more options open to them, whereas a good agent needs to avoid things that do harm, by definition, and thus faces more constraint. It's the same reason the universe moves toward greater entropy, but with actual disorder replaced by social/cultural/moral/ethical disorder.

Comment Re:This has nearly nothing to do with click qualit (Score 2, Insightful) 198

This test is the result of the combined hardware-software system that results, at the end of the chain, in the API providing the app with a position. This is what the test ought to show. It doesn't matter if Apple's hardware or software takes the credit for the improved positional accuracy since the end result is what counts. What it does mean is that if the benefits stem from the post-touch processing in software, Android ought to be able to make the required changes to improve things. Until then, though, this is a test of how things currently stand (for what it's worth ... I agree that there could be different algorithms at play for resolving distinct touches or identifying the targets of those touches compared with line-drawing accuracy).

Comment A fabricated summary (Score 1) 450

This flat out lying on Slashdot for the sake of pushing politics has to end. Anyone can read Obama's executive order. It's on the White House website. All it does is give INTERPOL the rights from the 1945 International Organizations Immunity Act. Previously, there were some exemptions placed on INTERPOL that the new order removes. It grants nothing beyond the original 1945 act, however, which is completely different from diplomatic immunity. The article summary is flat out sensationalist nonsense.

Comment Re:Not news (Score 1) 684

What a load. Walk into an Apple store one day. Apple makes most of its money by making a closed system of tied hardware-software systems that tend to just work as intended without the need for a lot of user training, hacking or other special tweaking. Such systems happen to also be hacker-unfriendly and to sometimes lag behind in features. However, given that Apple explicitly advertises itself as such, there is no deception here. Indeed, the "bad" is on the tech blog community which has purchased Apple products despite the knowledge that it a controlled, closed system and then has bad-mouthed Apple because it isn't open. As for DRM, not that there were no legal music distribution services involving all the major labels until iTunes. This is because DRM was the technology that convinced the labels to finally allow for mass digital distribution. Even today, all subscription-based services use DRM, all of which are non-Apple. It's convenient to forget history.

Comment Fishy numbers? (Score 2, Interesting) 173

Something seems strange with these numbers. My i7 920 system, overclocked to 3.2GHz, draws 95W at idle (monitor excluded). This is based on the APC utility that monitors my UPS unit into which my computer is plugged. This is with 6GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and a silent ATI 4670 card. Now, my GPU draws much less than the test system. However, the 60W difference between Nehalem and Lynnfield seems odd since that would means that my system would drop to 35W idle with Lynnfield!

Comment Re:Question for the CC pundits (Score 1) 1100

There is no ideal temperature and the concept is irrelevant to the climate change discussion. Throughout history, the planet's changes have generally occurred on time scales representing hundreds of generations even to the least rapidly reproducing species. That means that life was able to adapt and optimize itself gradually. During those periods when change was very rapid, mass extinctions ensued. Right now, climate change is occurring alarmingly fast, meaning no change for natural processes to reestablish equilibrium. Plus, human civilization is dependent on things changing slowly. Entire countries cannot simply uproot themselves and move elsewhere if rain patterns shift. Cities can't easily just relocated from coastlines that might be moving inland. Regions with economies that depend on their climate, such as those that produce specific crops, will find change wrenching. The end result will be a great deal of money spent on adapting, with a lot of suffering and warring along the way.

Comment Re:Cut Out The Middle Man (Score 1) 364

Not only isn't it sad, but it addresses the core problem that has always led people to denegrate Microsoft - the need to saddle each version of Windows with legacy support. This is a key source of bloat and stability issues and the lack of needing to support businesses in this way has always been a key advantage enjoyed by Apple. The future of legacy support is virtualization and Microsoft is taking the absolutely correct step here.

Comment Re:Dying industry (Score 1) 269

You're a bit out of the loop. State sponsored? They've been financially self-sufficient for some time now. No tax subsidies are involved. Nor are they a monopoly, other than getting to use "United States" in their title. They face competition from at least 3 other delivery services and end up cheaper than all of them.

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