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Comment Re:Doesn't even compete with the iPad 1. (Score 2) 521

In the past, I always knew Apple had come out with a great device when people tried to disparage it using checklists of features that it didn't have. The fact that the roles are now reversed and people are doing it regarding a potentially competing device is a sign that Amazon has a serious challenger to the Apple iPad on its hands.

I wouldn't consider most of the things you listed dealbreakers except than perhaps AirPlay, which Amazon could always add later via a software update. The storage capacity and battery life are a bit lame, but livable. Amazon can always bump those up later.

Comment If there is one thing lawyers are good at (Score 1) 496

It's protectionism. Lawyers control the law, and thus are quite capable and willing to ensure the law is written to stop anything from encroaching on their revenue stream. It's too bad really, because the law is very much like a programming language, and writing software to process it is quite feasible.

Comment Re:Another visitor! (Score 1) 344

As a side note, the VHS and Internet were "legitimized" by unsavory elements of society.

Ah, the old "VHS beat Betamax because it had porn" canard! Haven't heard that one in a while. Google a bit and you'll find quite a bit of discussion on Snopes, The Straight Dope, and elsewhere about it. Bottom line is that there is no real evidence to support that notion, while there are plenty of other (well-documented) reasons why VHS won the war.

Comment Re:Can't fix stupid (Score 1) 314

This is another area where Apple gets it right. Their dialogs (even the default ones in the built-in frameworks) have descriptive labels like this:

You have unsaved changes, are you sure you want to quit?
"Don't Save" "Cancel" "Save"

Instead of the usual way which is like this:

You are about to quit. Are you sure you wouldn't rather not leave documents not non-unmodified?
"OK" "Cancel" "Huh?"

Comment Re:The tech wasn't the issue though (Score 2) 428

I did a simpler but similar analysis when the iPod first came out. I considered these three factors:
  1. Size / weight
  2. Price
  3. Storage capacity

At the time of the original iPod, you could get devices that beat it on one or even two of those points, but you could not get one that beat it on all three. The iPod was (I believe) the first device to make use of 1.5" hard drives. Until then your only choices were flash storage, which was small but at the time had very little capacity, or 2.5" hard drives such as the Archos players used, which had lots of storage but were big, heavy, and ate battery. The 1.5" drive from Toshiba was a way to hit a size / weight / storage capacity niche that had never been achieved before.

And that's not even taking into account the factors mentioned such as the fast data transfers via Firewire or the click-wheel UI (which was a breakthrough in usability at the time even though the original iPod was mechanical unlike the later touch-sensitive models).

Comment Re:Don't mention Kinect please. Ruins MS bashing. (Score 1) 648

No one dare suggest Microsoft is losing the smartphone/tablet/desktop wars to Apple and Linux because they were busy slaughtering Nintendo and Sony.

A company with the resources of Microsoft should be able to do both.

Not to mention that, of the two, the mobile market is a vastly better prize. The set-top box and TV game console markets are tiny compared to the market for desktops and laptops, which is again dwarfed by the mobile device market. If MS really did choose to win the game market at the expense of the others, it was a monumentally stupid decision, not that I believe for a second that that was actually their plan.

Comment Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (Score 3, Insightful) 235

Oh and I have to mention that HP's decision wasn't necessarily a bad one given the trends that were happening in the mid-to-late 1990s. The big story in everyone's minds was that expensive UNIX workstations were on the way out, to be replaced almost overnight by cheap commodity PCs running WindowsNT (don't laugh, it was the first "Windows" to be taken seriously). SGI pretty much lost their entire hardware business that way. HP was just trying to save themselves from that fate by hitching their future to what looked to be the industry's dominant player.

Comment Re:The processor that sunk HP's UNIX line (Score 3, Insightful) 235

Not that I'm a big fan of Carly, but you can't necessarily blame her for that. The decision for HP to go with Intel's fancy new solution was made in era of Lew Platt being CEO, well before Fiorina took over. I was at HP in the mid-90s and recall seeing roadmaps that showed HP's UNIX solutions all being based on the super-amazing upcoming new Intel architecture well before the end of the decade. PA-RISC was old and busted, and Intel had the new hotness just around the corner. The suits just couldn't say enough about what an unstoppable juggernaut Intel's new baby was going to be. According to them, it was going to solve everything, do everything, and pretty much take over the world.

I left in 97, but I am sure those roadmaps had to be quietly adjusted each time Intel's new chip was delayed (over and over). It was well past 2000 when the thing finally came out, and in the end, it was a huge disappointment (dare I say disaster) after PA-RISC had been sailing along smoothly for so long. The perf was terrible, the instruction set was a mess, and pretty much the entire industry did their best to avoid it. I'm surprised it took this long for Intel to throw in the towel on it.

PA-RISC really was a great series of CPUs. It's a shame it had to die. At one point I believe it actually surpassed the (at the time) much-vaunted DEC Alpha as the fastest thing on the market, if only for a little while. Itanium seemed designed solely to kill off the x86 CPU clone market. Intel came up with a completely new instruction set, and patented it so there would be no clones. Actually making a good chip did not seem to be a consideration.

Good riddance to Itanium, and a bittersweet farewell and R.I.P. to PA-RISC.

Comment Re:construction of the enterprise (Score 1) 320

Oh and about the sonar: If you bounce a laser of a window any singal you put on the beam will be dopper modulated by the vibrations on the glass. You can listen to sounds inside from miles away. This would actually work better in space then in air and it's not "science fiction" Microwaves work too. there have been cases where this was done 20+ years ago.

I was about to post that. But then I thought "aw, let's not ruin the armchair skeptic's fun". :-)

99% of the time when people try to pick apart the physics of a movie they just end up making themselves look dumb.

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