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Comment Re:I don't get it... but maybe I'm not supposed to (Score 2) 116

As a game developer, I'll tell you honestly that in theory, Nintendo is right. Powerful consoles need huge pipelines. Games for XBox 1 and PS4 take hundreds of people to make, and every time the power goes up, our team sizes scale up accordingly. Game engines don't magically provide content on their own. Marshalling data into memory takes a non-zero amount of time. We need more animations, bigger textures, and more people working on AI, trying to make it seem better. (Spoiler: all AI in games is mainly smoke and mirrors; there's very little 'AI' going on there because it's wholly impractical.)

So making smaller games that play better on more limited consoles is a perfectly reasonable way to go. Indeed, we can see that when it comes to mobile platforms--platforms that are inherently more limited--Nintendo does very well. They've managed to keep that business going even in the face of the smartphone revolution that everyone thought would wipe Nintendo out.

The problem is that for the last couple generations, Nintendo hasn't provided a very compelling experience for developers OR gamers when it comes to their home consoles. A less powerful console is fine, Mario games can be great, Zelda is an excellent IP, etc. But you have to sell enough consoles to make it worth the while of 3rd party devs to come on board, and you have to make good tools for them to make games. I haven't personally worked on the Wii or Wii U, but I haven't heard anything good about those dev environments. (By comparison, I loved working on the PS4 and the XBox 360 before that. The PS3 was a complicated mess, and the XBone had terrible dev tools at the beginning.)

Anyway, the premise itself isn't incorrect, but Nintendo's execution of it hasn't been great. Nintendo should be leveraging its nostalgia value as hard as it can to get consoles out the door. Bundle Mario or Zelda in the box, make old Virtual Console games cheaper, whatever. Just get the consoles out the door. I *personally* think that the Switch looks ideal for me; I want to be able to play on the TV sometimes and in the bedroom sometimes. But if you want to attract the bulk of gamers, you'll need a solid 3rd party effort, and the only way to solve the chicken and egg problem of no games means no sales means no devs means no games is to bootstrap it yourself with your own great IP and marketing power.

Comment I suspect numbers are stable (Score 4, Insightful) 485

I can't really back this up with any data, but it's my speculation that all the people that NEED PCs are still getting them. What we're seeing in the area is that people that never actually needed everything a normal PC offers have migrated to phones and tablets. If you're just doing email and Facebook, a desktop machine is overkill, but there was no other choice for a long time.

There will always be programmers working on these sorts of "open" machines. We need them for academic and industry work and there's not any way that's going to change. Apple itself will always be a maker or a purchaser of those sorts of machines themselvesâ"OSes can't be made on heavily restricted machines.

Comment Re:What do you know. (Score 1) 246

That would have been NICE of them to do. But I hardly would say the test was invalid.

These aren't scientists on some sort of fact-finding mission, trying to root out the causes of hardware behavior. They're writing consumer reviews, using default software (which in this case is actually software MADE by Apple). Why exactly should their testing protocol require them to check 3rd-party software's performance (which, if it came out more poorly, would probably receive complaints from Apple fans -- "Why didn't they test it with default stuff?").

I've got a quibble here. They're writing consumer reviews, as you say, but they're disabling the cache, something that users don't do. And do they want to give the best user-facing test or not?

Either they want to do the best possible test that gives the most accurate results and give the best advice or they don't.

As for my conspiracy theory, CR has been in a bit of decline for years for the same reason that most older media has been. Their model doesn't work as well as it used to with the abundance of free, excellent reviews online.

I'm not really intent on deflecting blame from Apple, I just don't like Apple being blamed for the wrong things. I think there are more pertinent problems with the MacBooks Pro, and it was obvious from the outset that CR had done something goofy. They were literally the only testing site that found massive problems with the battery life, and they didn't sit down and go, "Gee, I wonder why Ars Technica didn't mention the battery life was awful?" It's an absurd attitude to take.

Comment Re:Falling sales not a huge surprise (Score 1) 336

The same battery life is due to a slightly smaller volume battery, obviously. Apple has targets for battery life, and all they've ever tried to do is hit them. This is pretty well known. They appear to aim for about 10 hours of usage, and a CPU that's more efficient for clock is going to get better battery life all things being equal, but Apple took battery out to make space for other things. That's how it goes. (A word on whether people care about the speed of the processor: obviously they do, but it's a bit hidden. My iPhone 6 isn't going to run the newest apps as well as the 7, which is just how it goes. Applications will inevitably consume all available resources, and people will notice when their phones seem to be behind more than they'll notice that the 7 is ahead. That's as it should be.)

The iPhone 7 camera is better no matter which model you look at, even before you get to portrait mode. The standard 7 has optical image stabilisation, which is important. The 2x zoom on the 7 Plus may be a gimmick, but it's a real optical zoom. Portrait mode is definitely something of a trick and a whole lot of fakery, but the actual hardware is actually better.

Whether or not the iPhone 7 ends up being more compelling to the customer isn't really the argument that I'm making. The original claim is that it was 'barely different', and that's *not true*. There are very few shared parts between the 7 and any of its predecessors. You can measure the ways in which the iPhone 7 has changed; these are empirical facts, not subjective evaluations.

Again, Apple may be failing to make a compelling case to why you should upgrade, and perhaps their priorities are misaligned with what the market desires. But to say the phone isn't different isn't true.

Comment Re:What do you know. (Score 1) 246

I visit basically the same dozen or so sites every day, with a few random ones thrown in there from links from twitter or facebook.

There was BOTH a bug in Safari AND a problem with the testing protocol. That is, the test was made by lazy people that don't ACTUALLY want to simulate what a real day is like, they want to reload a few sites over and over and pretend that that's what people do, and it's not. The fact that they're lazy isn't actually the reader's problem.

If they had a more representative test, Apple's bug wouldn't have mattered. Moreover, they should've tested with another browser to see if the results were replicable there. I understand that other browsers are bad with battery, but they should've verified their experimental setup.

But this got more clicks, right? Releasing a test that's OBVIOUSLY broken is more interesting than going back and verifying that you did everything right, or asking Apple what's going on. Consumer Reports is already apparently having trouble staying afloat with places like The WireCutter cropping up.

There are plenty of gripes about the new MacBook Pro, but this particular problem is more on Consumer Reports than Apple. Apple can walk away saying their hardware was perfectly good all along, and CR is going to have to issue a retraction and update to the test.

Comment Re:Falling sales not a huge surprise (Score 1) 336

The 7 is demonstrably better in every single metric than both the iPhone 6 or 6s. The processor isn't just a little bit faster, it's a lot faster. It's not just faster, it's more efficient per clock cycle. Meanwhile, it has twice the storage regardless of selected tier, gets the same battery life, unlocks faster and has a better camera. The outer casing on the jet black models may scratch more easily, but it's grippier, so you're less likely to drop it without a case.

The only thing that you might be able to mark as a regression is the loss of the headphone jack, but that's pretty subjective.

See, the problem with complaining about it being 'barely different' is that it seems to largely hinge on the aesthetic, which people complained changed TOO MUCH before. "Why can't Apple just leave things alone? This design is great!" Now it's, "God, this looks a lot like the last one. Apple has lost its touch!" Apple will never win that stupid war, because someone will always complain.

There are lots of problems with stuff coming out of Apple; I think leaving the Mac Pro to languish for over 1000 days is a travesty. The Apple TV has failed to be compelling in a lot of ways, and the design of the remote is ridiculous. Dropping their Pro line of creative apps was a huge mistake. My list goes on for a while too. But I think it detracts from the argument when we claim things like the iPhone 7 isn't different and isn't better. Maybe they've failed to make the case for how much better it is, but that's on their marketing department.

Comment Re:But why? (Score 2) 336

Tim Cook has made demonstrably more money for Apple than Steve Jobs technically did. Now a lot of that is carrying on momentum, but Cook isn't exactly driving the company into a ditch. He's been CEO of Apple for more than 5 years, and those have been 5 really exemplary years. Look over the last 5 years of product releases and see how much great stuff has come out of them.

When you take the long view, years like this aren't actually terribly relevant. Whether Apple continues to innovate and make big things is a long term question, and a few quarters of *slower growth* doesn't necessarily presage a huge failure.

Cook doesn't need to 'seriously step up his game'--Apple is the biggest, most successful company in the world right now. There are bound to be times where they stumble and are only slightly more rich than everyone else. Cook DOES need to be careful that he's thinking about the company's future, that the products in the pipeline are where the puck is going to be, not where the puck is right now, and that they don't get complacent just because they ARE so large. Maybe he needs to shorten Jony Ive's leash a bit or give C-Fed more resources to crush bugs in iOS/macOS, I'm not sure. Either way, I don't think you can make that assessment right now.

Comment Re: Software quality is my biggest disappointment (Score 1) 293

Oh, his one is easy: iOS is seeing more problems because it's incredibly complicated. Way more than MacOS has ever had to be, I reckon. It has to do the job it does within some fairly tight constraints (by modern standards) without draining your battery instantly or swapping or anything like that.

macOS is seeing trouble because they've moved a great number of programmers to iOS. I think they're simply seeing throughout problems. Good OS programmers aren't exactly cheap or abundant, so bugs that would've been caught and fixed previously languish for longer than intended.

This is largely speculation, but from what I've read and heard, that shift in resources did actually happen. It would explain a lot.

Comment We could use a little more automation, if you ask (Score 1) 370

At least, as long as banks keep writing the software they do.

My bank's records of my purchases isn't updating today. This is one of the biggest banks in Canada. Transactions don't update properly over the weekends or holidays. Why? Who knows? Why has bank software EVER cared about weekends? What do business days matter to computers? And yet here we are. There's no monkey to turn the crank on a holiday, so I can't confirm my account activity.

Comment Re: Misleading? (Score 1) 214

You know that other Bluetooth headphones exist, right? Apple even sells other models in their own stores. I have a $25 pair that I've owned for a year that I like a lot, that I use with my iPhone 6.

If you search for Bluetooth earbuds on Amazon, you're buried in choice. If AirPods are selling wellâ"and right now we have to take Cook at his word, as the CEO of Appleâ"it's not because people just can't find anything else.

Comment Re: Apple's recent performance: Let's review (Score 1) 214

I own Bluetooth earbuds. They cost me $25CDN on Amazon. I like them a lot.

I own an iPhone 6.

Apple owners don't NEED to buy the apple earbuds if they don't want to. There are plenty of cheap options. If people are buying these, it's because they think they're worth the money. (For completely wireless earbudsâ"without a cable connecting both sidesâ"they're actually price and feature competitive, in addition to being easier to pair. There's no such thing as cheap earbuds in this category.)

Comment Re:hyberbole (Score 1) 284

I think the current problem with Twitter is that its own executives don't understand how it works, and refuse to TRY to understand how it works.

It's not like people aren't using the platform and don't find value in it. Twitter could long ago have inserted small ads into the stream, like Instagram has, but I guess that never occurred to them? They shut down the 3rd party client ecosystem, which was shutting down the ecosystem of people that were MOST excited about using Twitter. Clever. They didn't deal with harassment or give people tools to manage their experience for a long time, and even now those tools are kind of lousy. People have found other methods of making sure they don't have to hear constant haranguing from assholes.

That said, it's still possible to curate a really good stream (or several) of people worth listening to. I follow cycling and swimming and politics on twitter. I set up lists of people that I like hearing from. I chat with friends and share links. It's a really convenient service.

But Twitter management has squandered it. They want the service to be stuck in 2006, never progressing, sticking to an ideal that probably never really existed. They had the chance to be Your Identity on the Internet (what's easier than a single @handle?), but I think that ship has sailed.

Comment Re:Because Use Cases (Score 5, Insightful) 766

Uh, I have 23 tabs open in one window and 39 in another (Vivaldi). I have a dozen open in MS Edge. Lots of them are work related or reference tabs. My Vivaldi tabs are things that I'm reading or things that I always keep open.

I'm not unusual. When I walk past other people's machines, everyone has dozens upon dozens of tabs open.

I get that I'm a huge nerd and that my use case is often niche, but browsers are just as much work tools as entertainment tools these days. It IS a useful test case. Hundreds of tabs is maybe pushing it, but it's definitely conceivable.

Most of the webpages that I have open ARE static content--they're a news story or a review or something that doesn't immediately need updating. It makes it much faster to load. Only a few things like Reddit or Facebook need a lot of refreshing.

Comment Re: im afraid not (Score 2) 492

They did no such thing. In editorials they may have supported Hillary, but their excessive attention on some emails that were much ado about nothing, and their utter failure to cover anything even remotely policy related (do you remember reading stories about the candidates' positions on climate change? No? Me either) were effectively an abdication of their responsibility to report responsibly on anything.

Trump played them--he was good ratings, and they need those now. Now they can bleat about how awful a president he is, giving them guaranteed revenue for the next 4 years as they play the conscientious objectors.

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