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Comment But I have a routine . . . (Score 1) 370

Everyone gets used to doing things a certain way, and gets irritated when things are improved.

An example among data-entry types is being able to use keyboard shortcuts vs having to use a mouse, It slows them down to have to use a mouse.

Another is the Microsoft Ribbon, where people had the old menu system totally memorized, and suddenly couldn't find anything because it had been "improved" and "re-arranged for you convenience". Instead of making it an option that you could toggle, it was a mandatory upgrade.

This is totally irritating, especially when the new version has improvements that are geared to the enterprise, or software profit margins. I have talked to too many people who would routinely tell me this. This is a minor point of contention.

I still have an old computer that works just fine thank you, and run an old word-processor without a lot of this extra fluff. Heck, George R. Martin uses an old dos word processor because it is more convenient for him.

In this context, I am reminded of the old video about choices in spaghetti sauce. turns out, that in the world of spaghetti sauce, there is no one perfect spaghetti sauce, despite decades of advertising to the contrary. The truth is that there are many perfect spaghetti sauces (chunky, vegetable, extra spicy, etc) and you get more sales by catering to the individual tastes of people. Which is why we now have multiple varieties of sauces, etc on the shelves these days.

You can watch the full video here:

Large companies like MIcrosoft are still in pursuit of "the perfect software" or "the perfect user interface" when they should give users options and choices when it comes to user interfaces and performance behavior. There is no one best interface, etc. just like there is not one best spaghetti sauce. While there should be an update for security reasons, etc. what does that have to do with the sort of an interface a person likes?

Similarly, there can be genuine product improvements when you do things a certain way, but also it is merely the pursuit of the cool and novel vs actual improvement. I upgrade systems because I need a certain functionality, and sometimes it is a royal pain when I cannot

I am a constant crank about software as a service. Especially if I can do what I need and keep a system running well for many many years, so that it is cheaper than paying a yearly fee.

Comment Re:Which supercomputer? (Score 4, Interesting) 79

Alnico magnets are awesome as pole pieces in pickups for electric guitars and basses. This year I started winding my own bass pickups, after testing many commercial pickups to get a sense of how the physical parameters affect tone. I can tell you that the kind of magnet you use makes an obvious difference to the sound of the instrument. It's not just about the net strength and geometry of the fields. Alnico magnets - but not ceramic, nor Nd - get eddy currents induced inside them from the vibrating strings, and this affects how they sound. I wonder whether Co2MnTi would also have these. I get the impression it's not a proper homogeneous alloy, so maybe not. Still, more info and a comparison field strengths would be useful. To a musician, a new type of magnet might be something like a newly discovered species of aromatic fruit: You immediately wonder what new aesthetic experiences it would allow for.

Comment Re:Sledgehammer approach. (Score 5, Insightful) 163

I can break into your house because it's not secure enough. Is that OK too?

If the house has already been taken over by a criminal gang, it's a different matter. That's a better analogy with a lot of these insecure IoT devices. They aren't just sitting there innocently; if they're vulnerable to being shut down by this malware, they're also vulnerable to being taken over by botnets. This is not just a theoretical worry; some of the big recent DDOS attacks have been by IoT device botnets.

Comment Re:Sometimes (Score 3, Insightful) 421

Even if the customer is legitimately throwing a tantrum, there are still better and worse ways of responding. The company in this case could have continued trying to help in the hopes of fixing the problem and getting the guy to change his review. Or it could have been polite about offering a refund, waiving restocking fees, etc. Throwing its own tantrum in response to a customer tantrum is neither productive nor likely to generate good publicity. Instead, it's likely to make people think the customer may have been on to something with his complaints about poor support.

Comment Re:Brave and bold is fine... (Score 1) 240

And maybe expandable. It's neat when they can package everything into a nice tiny case, but the whole elegance factor is ruined when the only way to add stuff is in clunky external boxes. How about making sure there's plenty of free expansion slots and hard drive spaces so people can add stuff inside the original case?

Comment Re:Poor business (Score 3, Insightful) 395

Of course this shows another important point with reviewers: it's important to read the actual review rather than just the star rating. A good reviewer will explain not just whether they like a given movie (or book, album, etc.) but also why they feel that way. Even if your tastes differ from theirs, you can often get a good idea of whether you'll like something if you can see what they like and dislike about it in detail. Sites like Rotten Tomatoes give you the advantage of aggregating multiple reviews, but that comes at the expense of eliminating everything but the bottom line number.

Comment All communication is monitored (Score 4, Interesting) 188

There is literally no way you can communicate with another person where you can be assured that your communication is not monitored. Even face-to-face communication in code is compromised, if the other party is compromised. Cell phones only work by collecting a lot of data about the caller and the caller's recipient. If CBS is only now figuring out that D.C. is a hotbed of cell data leakage, they are fantastically bad at their jobs.

Comment Re:In other words... (Score 3, Insightful) 93

Just make sure that hub isn't plugged into a computer, since the stick could have a malicious data payload. Note, though, that the same company that makes the USB Kill Stick also makes a plug in surge suppressor that protects USB ports against the Kill Stick. I'm sure they're planning on selling them to people like law enforcement who have to worry about malicious hardware.

Just remember, the only people who win in an arms race are arms manufacturers.

Comment Re:There can only be one response. Get a Rope (Score 1) 542

I challenge anyone here to name a remake that was better than the original.

Ben Hur (1959) springs immediately to mind. A number of movies in various comic book franchises would probably also qualify. Does anyone really think the Adam West Batman movie was better than the Tim Burton version? (I can get that some people might prefer the Tim Burton version to the Christopher Nolan version, though that would be more of a judgment call.)

It's also good to remember that the whole reason people tend to do remakes is because the original was good enough to be worth copying. With the possible exception of movies based on an original work in another medium (book, play, graphic novel, etc.), nobody is going to bother making a remake of a stinker. They're going to pick the stuff that was great and successful to copy, which inherently disadvantages the remake because it's being compared to something good.

Comment Re:Some Solar, with a gravity battery? (Score 3, Insightful) 270

There is no reason to do that.

Sure there is. Farmers, especially ones in areas where water is the limiting factor in how much they can grow, are worried about losses to evaporation. Those losses can be minimized by irrigating at night, when it's cooler and water evaporates more slowly. Depending on the economics and the water supply, it may make sense to adopt a more expensive irrigation strategy if it conserves water.

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