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Comment Re:akin to.... (Score 1) 69

It must be a uniquely American thing to equate massive levels of attention with good service. As a Brit now living in the US, all the unwanted interruptions you get when you're just trying to enjoy a slow, peaceful restaurant meal really took some getting used to.

I'm American, and have only lived in America, and I really hate this practice too. Drives me nuts.

A couple years ago, I lived in northern New Jersey where there's a bunch of Italian restaurants. At one, that looked family-owned, it was totally overstaffed, with some Italian-looking waiters, but a Mexican guy who I'm not sure what his position was other than "waterboy". He came around every few minutes to refill our water glasses, even though we had barely drank any water. It was the most annoying over-service ever. One of my guests (an older guy who speaks some Italian) tried thanking him with "grazi", and the guy corrected him with "gracias". My guest then asked him if this was an Italian restaurant or a Spanish one. I didn't go back to this place.

Anyway, you're completely correct about them seemingly deliberately waiting until your mouth is full of food to come over and ask "How's that tasting for ya?" and also clearing the plates before you've even finished. This stuff is epidemic.

Honestly, eating out in America is really not a fun experience. Just like going to a movie theater. Better just to buy your own food at a supermarket and cook it yourself, and watch a movie at home. America's a good country if you want to make good money and stay at home all the time to enjoy it with a big house, and come and go in a nice car (and you're healthy...). If you like going out a lot to restaurants, cafes, movies, etc., it kinda sucks.

Comment Re:Funny thing is (Score 1) 69

No, Ebay is like being at a flea market. Amazon makes it much less obvious who you're dealing with when it comes to their "affiliates".

With Ebay, for instance, it's very easy for me to click one button and only look at sellers in the US or in North America. Can't do that on Amazon; I have to wade through all the Chinese sellers and can only tell something is shipping from China by looking at the estimated delivery date. Heck, on Ebay I can even filter items by the geographic distance from myself: if I want to buy an item that's within 25 miles, I can filter it that way.

With Ebay, you *know* you're dealing with some other seller (because Ebay doesn't sell or ship anything at all, they're just a website), and that policies and reputations can differ greatly. With Amazon, you really don't. It's a big mess. Is an item being sold to you by Amazon itself, by someone else but fulfilled by Amazon, or by someone completely independent? Are returns for a product free or not? It completely varies. But finding this stuff out isn't that easy.

Comment Re:Money on the table (Score 1) 310

Apple doesn't make and sell most of those accessories so they are giving any profits from them to others.

It doesn't work that way. Big American companies aren't like Asian conglomerates that have divisions for all kinds of different stuff; they focus on just a few things, and maximize the profitability of those things. If something isn't profitable enough, it gets cut.

Most likely, these accessories just don't have enough profit involved for Apple to feel it's worth it. For some small company, it is.

Apple could charge a (bigger) premium for the bigger battery and increased durability

Not very many people are willing to pay that much of a premium for these things. Even worse, they can get these things as add-ons from 3rd-party sellers, cheaper than what it'd cost from Apple, which has to have huge profit margins.

Apple could sell to market segments they currently are ignoring.

Which ones? These people are going to buy iPhones no matter what. They aren't missing out on any customers. Apple customers aren't like customers for other things, where they compare the features, prices, reliability, etc. and make a balanced decision. With Apple buyers, they have an emotional connection to Apple so that's what they buy, no matter what.

You seem to be assuming that Apple is like other companies, such as car companies, which have to worry about losing their customer to competitors. Apple doesn't.

The market segment exists for smartphones with bigger batteries and/or more rugged construction. That's not really a debate.

People who prioritize these things over "I love Apple!!!" are not Apple customers. They're going to get some other device that suits them better and doesn't cost as much. People who care about these things are obviously practical, and that means they won't be interested in an overpriced fashion statement.

If they fail to address these market segments then their competitors will sooner or later.

Their competitors can't put Apple logos on their stuff, or run iOS on their devices. Their competitors aren't Apple. Apple's customers are not going to defect because a competitor makes a device with better specs; if that were true, Apple would already be out of business because there's already much better phones than theirs out there, for less money.

People will not stick endlessly with Apple products if they can get better options elsewhere.

Yes, they will. At least for a long time, unless Apple *really* screws up, but it'll take a long time for them to trash their reputation that badly.

We've already seen that when Apple almost died prior to the return of Steve Jobs.

It took a long time for the glow to fade before Jobs came back. And they're arguably doing a much better job now than they did under Scully.

Yahoo!

Yahoo Open Sources a Deep Learning Model For Classifying Pornographic Images (venturebeat.com) 66

New submitter OWCareers writes: Yahoo today announced its latest open-source release: a model that can figure out if images are specifically pornographic in nature. The system uses a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning, which involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data (like dirty images) and getting them to make inferences about new data. The model that's now available on GitHub under a BSD 2-Clause license comes pre-trained, so users only have to fine-tune it if they so choose. The model works with the widely used Caffe open source deep learning framework. The team trained the model using its now open source CaffeOnSpark system.
The new model could be interesting to look at for developers maintaining applications like Instagram and Pinterest that are keen to minimize smut. Search engine operators like Google and Microsoft might also want to check out what's under the hood here.
The tool gives images a score between 0 to 1 on how NSFW the pictures look. The official blog post from Yahoo outlines several examples.

Comment Re:Makes perfect sense (Score 1) 310

Samsung is far-and-away the leader in that technology, and has the Patent Portfolio to prove it. So, they have had a merry old time, DENYING Apple their AMOLED parts (or pricing them so they are deliberately out-of-the-question).

How do you expect a supplier to act when you sue them for something as stupid as rounded corners? They brought that on themselves.

Comment Re: Makes perfect sense (Score 1) 310

They actually design for their own designers and engineers.

Designers, not engineers. Engineers are generally practical and only care about something being well-designed (from an engineering standpoint: robust, reliable, etc.), easy to manufacture, etc. It's the "designers" who come up with things like where buttons should be, and tell the engineers to make it work. The designers only relent if the engineers can't physically make it work.

Now you might have a point with your bit about the 5 Series saving space inside the device with a questionable design decision, but here again, it's the designers who are to blame, because they're the ones who demanded the thing be so small/thin/whatever in the first place. If only engineers were driving the design, the device would probably be significantly larger, have an easily-removed back panel, have a giant battery, and all the parts inside would be easily replaced for easy serviceability.

Basically, if you want to see what devices would look like if true engineers made all the design decisions, go look at military hardware.

Comment Re:Makes perfect sense (Score 1) 310

I don't love Apple either; I find Android to be far worse as well.

I used to use iTunes on my work MBP -- I now use it on my personal MBP. Cost of switching is more then just a new phone. iOS is "good enough."

If Apple would ever pull their head out of their ass and allow jailbreaking and an USB port I wouldn't have any issues.

Why should they "pull their head out of their ass"? Suckers like you are happy to throw piles of cash at them for their overpriced, handcuffed items (iPhone and two MBPs in your case, plus an assertion that iOS is "good enough" and the cost of switching is too high). If Apple has zero risk of losing you as a customer by not allowing jailbreaking, not having a USB port, not having a headphone jack, or any other design decision they may make, why should they bother listening to your concerns?

Comment Re:Makes perfect sense (Score 1) 310

I buy very few apps don't and I don't use iTunes ever. I don't need a bigger or better screen. Battery life is not a concern.

So you don't use any of the fancy features on an iPhone, yet you're willing to pay a gigantic premium to have an iPhone?

You're like all those old people who buy an extremely powerful $100k luxury car and then drive it 20mph under the speed limit a few times a month.

I agree with the other poster: you'd be better off with a Windows phone. They're dirt cheap, they allegedly work quite well for the limited things they do, but they have no apps, but you don't care about that anyway. And they have headphone jacks too.

Comment Re:Makes perfect sense (Score 1) 310

Exactly. On Android, there's no shortage of ways for me to do what I want to do. I can pop out the SDcard and put it in my PC and write to it directly. Or I can use a USB cable and connect that to my PC, and use the "adb" utility to "adb push" files directly into the filesystem. Or I can use the SDcard as I said above, but use rsync to synchronize the files on my phone with those on my PC. Or I can use various GUI file management software. I'm not required to use any particular software at all, especially not bloated crapware from the phone maker.

China

The Smog-Sucking Tower Has Arrived in China (vice.com) 110

Jamie Fullerton, reporting for Motherboard:Daan Roosegaarde reached into the pocket of his suit jacket, pulled out a plastic bag filled with black powder, and waved it around. "This is Beijing smog," Roosegaarde said, before gesturing to the seven-metre tall, gently humming metal tower we are stood next to in the Chinese capital's art district, 798. "We collected it from the tower yesterday. Incredibly disgusting." Dutch designer Roosegaarde's smog souvenir may be disgusting, but it's the byproduct of an invention that he has touted as a potential alleviator of China's pollution problems. His "smog-free tower" sucks air, filters it with ion technology, with Roosegaarde having explained: "By charging the Smog Free Tower with a small positive current, an electrode will send positive ions into the air. These ions will attach themselves to fine dust particles. A negatively charged surface -- the counter electrode -- will then draw the positive ions in, together with the fine dust particles. The fine dust "is collected together with the ions and stored inside of the tower." With the dust collected, the tower then spews out cleaner air through vents, creating a "bubble" in the area surrounding it that contains, according to Roosegaarde, up to 70 percent fewer pollution particles than the pre-cleaned air.

Comment Re:Makes perfect sense (Score 1) 310

That's only a problem at the extremes. In my household we have 3 Galaxy S4/S5 devices, all now 2-3 years old or so. No signs of burn-in. However we also aren't heavy users of a particular game. AMOLEDs work great as long as you have typical usage patterns for a phone (i.e., don't look at the same thing for hours straight). It's not much different than the old CRT monitors: people talked about burn-in there too, but the only time people really had a problem with it was when they did something extreme, such as using the CRT on an industrial or business computer that had the exact same image on the screen all day long, never turning it off or varying it much. This generally isn't a problem with phones. Plus, not many people tend to keep phones more than, say, 5 years anyway, since they're handheld mobile devices and tend to get beat up from handling.

Comment Re:Peak thinness? (Score 1) 310

The market CLEARLY exists and I think Apple is leaving money on the table by ignoring it.

BS.

Anyone who wants these features is just going to buy some add-on accessories to give them these features. Either way, they're going to buy an iPhone, no matter how well or how poorly it satisfies their desire for these features.

So how is Apple "leaving money on the table"?

It's very unlikely Apple would make enough profit by having an additional phone model for these people to justify the expenses involved (engineering, inventory, etc.). It's costly for companies to have more versions of a product, so it's only worth it if it brings them more customers. This isn't going to bring them more customers; it'll just split their existing market, and it's unlikely they'd pay enough extra for the bulky model to make up for this, when they can buy 3rd-party stuff that adds these features for less.

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