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Comment Re:in before the idiots (Score 1) 165

Unlike, for example, Japanese, which has entire verb classes dedicated to the deference of women and underlings to the male/ boss.

Uh, as a student of the Japanese language, I understand that there are varying degrees of politeness, but it has less to do with gender and more to do with "rank". So you speak differently to your superiors and they speak differently "down" to you.

In terms of genders, I think Japan has come quite a ways in terms of making women more "equal". There are still obvious gaps: wages for women are generally lower than men but it doesn't seem women mind this. I think it is still very common for women in Japan to stop working when they have children. The man however will continue to work to support the family. That's a fair trade if a woman doesn't expect to be working once she enters "family" life.

There are still some customs we would consider sexist here in the west. For example female office workers are often referred to as "OL" which is short for Office Lady. OL are expected to make/serve the tea in the office if they are present. But there are many other differences that really set Japanese work environments apart from western style work environments. The most notable is the priority of the "group" instead of individual.

In terms of language however, the honorifics aren't necessarily specific to gender, more ranking.

If you really want to see retardedness in terms of not only "rank" but also gender, you should try South Korea. Not only do you get the awkward language with "rank" expressions built into it, you get it at the fun level of age. That is if someone happens to be older than you by a year, you must address them differently. So before you can even talk to a random person, the first question you have to ask is "how old are you?" Add on top of it that they're heavily influenced by christianity and have a history of unwanted occupations by other countries, well, you've got a ton of bitterness and strangeness built into that kind of culture. Not saying that they're bad people, but it can really be hard to understand or deal with their culture at times.

Consider this: in South Korea, appearance is so important that it is fairly common for Korean families to provide plastic surgery as a "gift" for their daughters once they graduate high school.

But even for both cultures, I don't think either is oppressed at the "gender" level. Women in both countries seem very content and expressive with their lives. In fact, Japanese men are trending "down" in terms of dating women. There's a phenomenon called "grass eaters" going on. That is men that don't actively see women because they think it is too much hassle.

Finally in Filipino culture, there is some of this "genderness" and "ranking" built into the language. While it isn't at the general "he/she" level it is more at the family level. Any older sibling must be referred to as "kuya" for older brothers and "ate" (pronounced ah-te) for older sisters. This expands not just to your immediate family but also to any relatives and anyone considered a close relative (may not be blood related). There are many of these respectful expressions notions. For example any woman of roughly the same age group as your parents should be referred to as "aunt".

If you were to compare languages, I would say English is still the king of shedding gender and politeness. He/she still exists but that's way simpler than knowing all of these cultural/ranking specific terms. Even "Mr/Ms" is starting to go away as well as "m'am" and "sir".

Comment Re:High Speed rail (Score 3, Informative) 709

I like airplanes. I really do. Someday I'll fly one myself. But beyond that, air travel has it's own set of problems. Each airplane "ride" has this annoying process called "boarding and deplaning". It's the whole reason why you have to show up 1 hour early to the airport, and while your flight arrives at maybe 2pm, it still takes you 30 minutes to be on your way out of the airport. And that's all IF things go smoothly. Chances are a bag gets lost, somebody holds up the security line, etc.

No matter how hard you try, you can't argue against that. A transfer in a large sized airport will need at least 1 hour to make it assuming things go well. But usually you plan on a 2 hours between transfer just incase you're delayed for whatever reason. It doesn't matter where you are, this seems to be the norm all over the world for air passenger travel.

A train transfer on the other hand can be as short as however fast you can run to the next train. There's also none of that take-off and landing stuff. You can even line up outside the door as the train comes to a stop. A ticket purchase can also be made minutes before the actual departure. It is quite a trip to see a good working train system in action. I recommend it. We don't have much of it here in the states.

Now on the to the cost. There are certainly a lot of dumb reasons why the California HSR project is getting inflated. It basically boils down to two groups that I'll call "Not in my backyards (NIMBY)" and "Please in my backyard". The first is easy to explain, but it is mainly rich people and people like yourself that think the project is useless. So these people band together to prevent any meaningful progress happen. I'd say their strategy is akin to that of the GOP's strategy in congress (whine as much as possible so that nothing gets done). Rich people obviously don't want the project because it will change their communities along the proposed track lines. People like yourself don't want it because you don't think it is economical.

The strange thing is the farmers and small towns along the valley DO want the train. In many studies when HSR is built, small towns that get a trains stop actually see population and economic growth due to more people having access to the town. So this becomes a lot of bickering and whining for stations, some which may not even be worth the hassle in the initial segment.

Finally there's a lot of freight companies and FRA standards that make absolutely no sense. Not only does this affect HSR, but it also affects local passenger rail services. Our passenger rail trains are generally overweight due to "safety" rules enforced by the FRA on minimum weight.

So if you combine all of those factors, what we have is a lot of unnecessary needs to address factors just so that everyone in their municipality or interest can benefit. That means unnecessary tunneling where it is perfectly viable to be at grade. Unnecessary extra tracks. Unnecessary stations. Unnecessary train specifications.

But of course people like you have to make this political, make it black-and-white. "There is no viable HSR system" is obviously not the case when the rest of the world continues to expand passenger rail services. This project is obviously overweight, I agree with that, but let's at least understand what's wrong rather than fill it up with logical fallacies. It's quite obvious that's how many things are working out in this country. Everyone seems more interested in throwing up own straw-men rather than working together to do what's reasonable.

Fun observation, the interstate highway system is probably the most expensive public works project in history. Should that have been considered a boondoggle? From wikipedia: "The initial cost estimate for the system was $25 billion over 12 years; it ended up costing $114 billion (adjusted for inflation, $425 billion in 2006 dollars) and took 35 years."

If I had to run the project I'd certainly look at implementing a shorter initial segment with less opposition. LA-Vegas would be quite profitable in my opinion. If it was only CA, perhaps SD-LA would be a possibility despite both cities being car centric.

I also wouldn't mind more local passenger rail investment instead of HSR. But nobody seems interested in public transit either. Arguments against public transit are usually "it stinks" and "there's crazy people", yet in normal circumstances, public transit works well in other countries because the "normal" people outnumber the crazies and they have sane cleaning procedures or culturally enforced rules (mainly don't be a douchebag on the train). Meanwhile we seem to be perfectly happy to have people that are clearly not qualified to drive a car on the road every minute of the day. So instead of communicating directly to the other person, now you can scream at your windshield and drive like an asshole.

Comment Re:Except they already DO! (Score 1) 800

"It'll make you look like an IDIOT if you talk to your phone!" "Nobody will want to use THAT!"

I'm not going to talk to my phone for the same reason I don't call people or even pick up their calls at times; text messaging is far more convenient and private than any voice conversation.

When messages come in as text, I can read and consume them in an order that best fits my schedule. I also read much faster than someone can talk. The most annoying thing at work is older folks that like to leave 2 minute long or longer voice mails. If you have that much information to tell me, send me an email.

Voice communication is also known to be ambiguous at times even between humans. It is the entire reason why we have detailed conversations and go back-and-forth on subjects. Meanwhile a text and computer interface is accurate. There are many cases where I don't want to deal with the ambiguity of language or making something/someone understand. I know what I want to do and if there is a formal and clear interface for doing it, then lets use that.

There are only a few cases where voice commands to a computer make sense. One case is driving. Most people probably have enough brain capacity to have the phone do something for them while they're driving. Siri or something like it would be good for that.

Comment Re:What a stupid us of statistics (Score 1) 770

My Nexus one doesn't do some of the things you claim. My clock is always accurate and I never had a problem with the phone switching off of wifi to 3g/2g.

The headphone jack can get a little finicky but I don't use it much. Bluetooth dock I don't have. But I do sync with bluetooth. Sometimes the phone won't sync. Haven't figured out if it is the phone or the car. I'm always on vibrate so I don't know if I've had the ringtone issue. The launcher does have issues and I'll force close it and let it restart. The screen locker can have issues but I think it is tied to the launcher having issues.

Comment Re:Two-handed phone? (Score 3, Informative) 246

NOT targeting the majority with your latest and greatest phone a wise move?

No sane business plan ever targets "the majority". That's an excellent way to set yourself up for failure. Every marketing strategy first targets a very small group and then new strategies are created to target the next group.

For example, even the first iphone targeted very specific users. Later it expanded with each iteration. The first iphone didn't have 3rd party app support and the iOS App Store wasn't available yet. It wasn't until 1.5 years AFTER the initial announcement of the first iphone that the itunes App Store was released.

The basics in marketing are to come up with a marketing strategy that will succeed in a specific target market. Make your target market everyone and you're guaranteed to fail.

I mean, this thing is meant to be THE Android Smartphone by Google(TM).

The nexus phones are Google's way of pushing the Android market where they would like to see it. You can think of it as "seeding" the competition.

For example when Google released the Nexus One, it was the first phone with Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor. During this period, many manufacturers were trying to build the cheapest Android they could get away with so most of the phones came with slow processors and minimal RAM. Google didn't like that, and had the Nexus One built. With that came other "fast" phones (for the time) like the HTC Incredible which shared specs with the Nexus One VERY closely. That wasn't a surprise considering that HTC also manufactured the Nexus One. Immediately following this, all the other manufacturers followed up with their own offerings with similar or better specifications.

Sometime in the future, perhaps Google will start to compete with their own hardware. But at this point, I don't think that is their primary goal. The primary goal is to push the Android market forward. Secondary would be making money on the hardware since they already are the source for the OS.

As The Onion headlined a few days ago: "Last American Who Knew What The Fuck He Was Doing Dies". How apt.

You do know that The Onion is 100% satire? You've lost a lot of credibility with that kind of statement.

Comment Re:Release the Kraken! (Score 4, Insightful) 262

If everyone eventually ends this evil little war in a compromise, the consumer will win. I just hope all sides lose massive amounts of money in the process. Unfortunately, the lawyers will get rich(er).

I don't understand how you come to this logic. Previously nobody was actively attacking each other with patent suits, Apple let the cat out of the bag, and now pretty much every player now has an extra line item called lawyer-ing up on their expense sheet as well as all future requirements having an additional risk item called "patent violation risk". Any engineer knows that the more requirements you tag on, the more expensive the product will get. But this one is a double-whammy because not only does the engineering team have to design in attempts to avoid/develop patents, but now the lawyer team gets bigger to defend against patent attacks.

All this means is delayed products, less freedom for companies to develop products, and more stand-offs between companies. The consumer is never going to benefit. The products will be delayed or put off of the market. The next generation products will be more expensive. All future products will come with their own awkwardness just because of these patent wars.

Consider this. The top two manufacturers for cameras, Canon and Nikon, don't name their "modes" identically though they should. Canon labels shutter mode "Tv". Nikon labels it "S". Additionally, the exposure bias meters are opposite. Nobody shares lens mounts. Each mfg makes their own. The result? You buy into a set of lenses and if you want to switch you have to sell all of your gear and go buy into a new set of lenses.

Macs and Windows PCs had the same awkwardness too. ctrl+c for windows. cmd+c (alt key location for PCs) for macs.

You can see this sort of non-sense going on everywhere in new technology. ebooks: Amazon kindle's only do kindle drm formats and pdfs, everyone else has their own drm format. All of the streaming video content services and random support with tvs and tv boxes (roku, boxee, apple tv, etc).

It's a giant mess and the consumer definitely isn't winning. The consumer was in an awesome position back when we were still using vhs and cassette tapes. You could take that stupid tape and a gazillion different devices played it from that giant boom box, to the school's cheezy tape player, do your car radio. Same with vhs. These days? Fuck you.

Apple knows this and they're trying to corner the market while they can. They don't want a race to the bottom but that's exactly what would benefit the consumer the most. While they certainly aren't the only company attempting this (sony and bluray, amazon and kindle, etc) they're certainly one of the most significant (ios apps).

Comment Re:Tax planning and rich people (Score 1) 2115

It's not about paying for what you use - it's about paying for what Government wants.

While you do have a point, I'm not sure the government can make it any more fair in this regard. Additionally, you're not just paying for services on the mainland, you're also paying for government protection of it's citizens via foreign relations and military. As long as you claim to be an American citizen, you're going to be paying American taxes.

How are they not paying for road upkeep - they pay fuel costs...

Actually there is a good amount of data showing that current gasoline taxes are not high enough to pay for road maintenance. So road maintenance gets delayed and that's why we have crumbling roads, bridges, etc. The reason why this is is because the gas tax is flat and hasn't been adjusted for quite a while. So while costs keep going up due to inflation, the gas tax covers less and less. Technology is also getting more efficient so people can actually buy vehicles that consume less gas for the same distance traveled (thus lower tax revenue).

Comment Re:"May cost"?? (Score 2) 591

Oh, I like this. Let's just redefine "desktop" to mean something else where linux happens to dominate and we'll say "the linux desktop has arrived!!" By that logic I can redefine BSD to mean OSX and OSX to mean iOS and now that iGadgets are so popular the BSD desktop has arrived!

Of course it is all nonsense. By desktop we mean that PC that most office workers are forced to use. We mean the UI that those workers are forced to use. We mean the software platform and training everyone is put through. That "check point" on the average office worker's resume that says "knows how to use 'x' software". That software is currently called MS Windows and MS Office except in some major software houses where users are technical enough not to need training (think Google). But go to any non-technical company like say a company in the finance industry, or a paper pushing agency. MS Windows is everywhere. MS Office is everywhere.

That's not to say that integrators have taken Linux and developed their own product based on Linux. That is quite true as well! But remember, these are specialized applications. I'm not going to call the point-of-sale computer and software I saw at the local supermarket a "desktop" even if I very well know it had Gnome behind it.

Comment Nonsense (Score 2) 364

It would only be anti-competitive if Google search was bundled and the ONLY search option provided. But that isn't the case as illustrated with Verizon Samsung Fascinate.

The phone does not use Google as its default search. And it doesn't utilize Yahoo! either. No, the Fascinate search engine defaults to Bing. Bing is used for the homescreen widget. It is defaulted to in the browser. It is present across the device... and there's no way to choose a different search engine. Like, you know -- Google. When we pressed Verizon reps about this, they let us know in no uncertain terms that the stock engine is Bing without a second choice.

Comment Re:Just a game (Score 3, Informative) 897

Yes. Also 54 seemed kinda high so I looked into it and it looks like CAFE still uses outdated MPG ratings which are different from what goes on the current EPA sticker rating. Turns out the way they are rating MPG for CAFE standards is about 20% over current consumer EPA ratings.

So while CAFE will be 54mpg, for the rating system consumers see will probably be closer to 54 * 0.80 = 43mpg.

In my opinion, the current EPA rating is still a little optimistic so real world drivers will probably only see 35-40mpg with current driving habits.

Comment Re:No big surprise... (Score 1) 566

I call anecdotal bullshit. I've seen plenty of friends with iphones that have cracked screens, dying screens, or buttons that don't work. I also have a friend that is a loyal Apple customer (stood in line just to buy his iphone 4) go through two iphone 4 phones for overheating issues.

Comment Re:This is a bad thing? (Score 1) 250

This article is just more worthless speculation. Bluetooth and NFC serve totally different purposes. The primary purpose of Bluetooth is tethering of devices wirelessly. The primary purpose of NFC is a "wireless key".

Probably some of the best implementations of NFC are already available. One example is hotel room card keys. Instead of a physical key, you get a card. The card conveniently unlocks your hotel room door.

Another good use for NFC is public transit ticket readers. Instead of purchasing a ticket, you just recharge a card. The card works just like the hotel key card except you tap it on subway ticket gates. The gate connects to a database and updates your card balance.

In both of these instances security requirements are low because (connection) speed is more important. For example say you lose your hotel key card. The back up security in this instance is to deactivate the existing key card and assign a new one. This is actually much more convenient than hiring someone to walk up to the physical lock and replace it with a new one.

Bluetooth is totally different. You DON'T want your phone to be syncing with every potential bluetooth device within 10 meters. You only want bluetooth to sync with trusted devices.

But of course this article will generate lots of comment traffic and lots of misleading comments that automatically get modded up just because it's about Apple.

Comment Re:This is why trying to save people is a bad idea (Score 1) 461

You're solving the wrong problem.

What typically happens in impoverished nations is people have too many babies. The extra babies creates more demand for food until there's not enough food to feed everyone. Since there isn't enough food, someone starves.

So if you just let people starve, this cycle will happen over and over again because you're just letting the resources dictate population. Since the birthrate goes uncontrolled, the population will grow till the food supply can't support more people. But since everyone needs to eat, most of the resources go back into food so the top demand item is always food and most of the population just works to grow food.

If you want to solve this problem, the solution is in controlling the birthrate. When you control the birthrate, you can actually reduce or stabilize demand for food. Since there are fewer people to feed, the extra resources can now be poured into luxuries OTHER than food.

Comment Re:I wonder what would happen (Score 4, Informative) 279

Actually the populace can reduce the effectiveness of a trademark by genericizing it. If everyone from your grandmother to your 5 year old nephew began using "app" and "app store" as everyday jargon, the trademark would be genericized and has reduced legal protection.

So if you want to annoy Jobs and co, all you have to do is start referring to any software as an "app" and any outlet that sells software as an "app store" regardless of if it is or is not owned or run by Apple.

Some examples of companies that suffered from this effect are the term "googling" instead of "searching" and use of "kleenex" instead of "tissue".

Comment Re:Maximize (Score 2) 1002

It isn't just maximize. It is also because certain apps and even websites are designed to take up your entire screen, and the DPI or pixel density on current displays is abysmal.

If documentation on a webpage is taking up my entire screen in order to be usable, I have to keep switching back and forth in order to get work done. If the IDE is designed to take up my entire screen, now anytime there is testing I have to switch back and forth to understand what's going on.

Pixel density comes in because it limits the size of the fonts we can use. Anything lower than 8pt or 6pt becomes too pixelated to be readable. Yet my smart phone has a dpi about 230dpi and I can read much smaller fonts with ease. Meanwhile my current 17" monitor at work only has 90dpi!

If you want to easily increase productivity, give everyone 2 monitors. Not just the devs and engineers, but also the accountants. Being able to read two full size documents of anything whether it be a spreadsheet or a page of code WILL increase productivity.

The excuse against multiple monitors is ridiculous. In the past a single 17" CRT used to cost $300 in 1990s dollars. These days a 19" LCD monitor can be found for $110.

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