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Comment Re:Targeted Demographic=Narrow Market (Score 1) 203

I don't think narrowing the demographic is a strategy for malls. I think it's just attrition. It's delaying the inevitable, of course.

I don't fully know how to explain malls declining. The obvious answer is Amazon.com and maybe that's pretty much the sum of it. But there's a social aspect to malls that you can't get from online shopping. And who likes socializing more than impressionable teens?

TV is a different story. Streaming is just a better way to watch. I keep an antenna around just for the shared-experience stuff like the news or special events. As with malls, I think the diminished offerings on TV are determined by their remaining viewers, not the other way around.

Now if you want a case where I feel the product itself whittled the audience down to a premium niche, take arcades. For a long time arcades thrived on single-coin currency. In the 80s one play was one quarter. Then their crowds were thinned by home video game systems. So what did they do? Doubled the price, and doubled the coins needed to play. This is the exact opposite of the proper reaction. When there's downward pressure on prices due to competition, the correct response is to decrease your prices, not increase them. And don't give me any stories about recouping costs, because there's no fixed cost for a gaming session. They needed more people in the door, not more money per play. I'm sure the manufacturers drove this, but I don't know the whole story. All I know is, no one seemed to have the willingness to go against the trend. But among the few arcades that still exist in my area, guess what they typically are? Nickel arcades or straight-up free play with a cover charge. Pretty much what they needed all along.

Comment Re:No complaints (Score 1) 262

Numerous companies have done play testing, and despite the console players getting all the aim assistance, etc. available on the console, even mediocre PC players will still mop the floor with them. The difference in controller speed and precision really is just that dramatic.

I hate controllers, but the last two Call of Duty games on PCs have added the stupid aim assist for controller users, and it's actually competitive. Those people have gotten pretty good with their silly controllers now that there's pro leagues and whatnot. They still need the aim assist training wheels though. Some people say the assists are stronger on PC, but I wouldn't know.

Comment Re:Failure of imagination (Score 1) 370

You must admit that *some* things are different. Conglomeratization may make it difficult to create new jobs, as smaller businesses have trouble competing with the mammoths. Globalization may send more jobs offshore until our standard of living has leveled off with the rest of the world. It's not inconceivable that we'll end up with a much larger number of unemployed people, with AI being a significant contributing factor. It's not a certainty, but neither is your scenario of the status quo. Just because it happened that way with the industrial revolution doesn't mean it will happen that way again.

Comment Re: Not Causal (Score 1) 311

Agreed. Bluetooth has been around forever, and yet we still have tangly cords everywhere like it's 1988. BT manufacturers need to step up their game in terms of usability (pairing, latency), and consumers need a push toward our inevitable wireless future. Removing the jack helps with both. I think courage is actually a good word for it. They knew the backlash was coming. Nexus 6P user here.

Comment Re:Easy. (Score 1) 637

Yep. If (for various reasons) your password manager isn't able to help you enter those random character strings, you'll be hating life. Especially on a mobile device. It has to be somewhat practical or people understandably won't do it. If it's not practical and they do do it, it can create an entirely new problem that's almost as bad as getting hacked: Losing access to your own stuff.

I prefer these rules of thumb, after you identify which services "matter" (have sensitive info or can be used to access other services):

  • Don't re-use passwords
  • Choose passwords that are extremely unlikely to be in a dictionary
  • If you use a formula, don't make it obvious
  • Consider using reminders rather than facsimiles
  • If you use physical or digital reminders or facsimiles, don't put them in obvious places

Even these rules of thumb are too much for most technophobes. For some people this might be best:

  • Don't re-use passwords
  • Have your granddaughter choose crazy passwords for you
  • Write them on two separate pieces of paper and keep them somewhere safe

Comment Totally normal (Score 1) 141

The times are changing. Why not try everything? It's all free to try if not free outright, and it's just as easy to procure the software as it is to read an article about it. So of course this won't have the commitment we're used to on older platforms. There's no barrier to participate. No financial commitment, and no difficulty finding and installing the software.

Comment Re:As a tourist... (Score 1) 653

I'll readily agree that he worded it poorly and I disagree with much of the premise, but... Is the punishment in line with the offense here? He spoke his mind out, something Americans seem all too eager to do and say they have a right to, and then the backlash was not only severe, but persisted for years down the line and probably will for years further. That's a bit much, don't you think? That you can essentially destroy your life in a single act, one that is neither immoral nor illegal?

Not much empathy going around eh? I'm always trying to catch myself before grabbing a pitchfork, because I fear one day I may do something stupid and end up on the wrong end of them. Internet justice can be an awful and uncontrollable thing.

Here I risk going off topic. Degree of malice is not always an accurate predictor of outcome or punishment. Either of the two can fly off the charts with little predictability or justification. A bus driver has a mellow job in most cases, until one of their little errors has big consequences and people die. Recall one of your own fender benders or near misses, then imagine the same thing happening while driving a bus, and you'll probably see that you might not have fared any better. And it's not like we compensate bus drivers for the risk of failure we are heaping upon them.

So don't be too quick to judge. And respect those whose jobs have a high degree of personal risk, not just to life and limb but also to reputation.

Comment Re:it was just too long (Score 1) 175

The only part of the movies where I thought they captured that was in the opening scenes of the first Hobbit, where the dwarves come in one at a time, and then start singing while they clean the kitchen. So lighthearted and fun.

Yep, that scene was pretty well done.

To me, The Hobbit's flaws were just a magnification of flaws that already existed in the LOTR movies:
- Everything looked fake
- The pacing was always off. Either rushing through moments that should be awe inspiring, or dragging out moments that either shouldn't exist (because PJ invented them), or were boring filler (eternal battle scenes, interpersonal relationship drama).
- Trying to make everything epic. What ruined the soundtrack in LOTR (and The Hobbit), for me, was the fact that it never shut up. Not every scene requires grand accompaniment.

There was never a focus on doing these movies right. It was always about doing them big.

Comment Re:Companies don't get it.... (Score 2) 474

Agile: A form of development co-opted by management and companies to micro manage you at every possibility, without actually establishing any direction. Yes, I know this is not how it is supposed to work, but after being in many companies doing it, it is all too often done this way. Everyone gets creative about 'what they did yesterday', and 'what they will do today', yet we still don't have a clear direction on 'what the heck we are doing'. That gets frustrating.

I'm with you on every point except your agile comments. Yes many companies get it very wrong, but many companies get waterfall just as wrong. For me, coming from a massively waterfall environment to an agile environment has dropped my stress level considerably. Here is how agile (Scrum, specifically) is supposed to benefit you:

  • Gives you clear short-term (one sprint) goals.
  • Divides work (backlog items, tasks) into manageable chunks.
  • Offloads vague, stressful long-term goals to the Product Owner. They are responsible for measuring velocity, and planning accordingly. They are responsible for cutting features in order to make a deadline.
  • You commit to two weeks worth of work. The work is not committed on your behalf, and you can and should refuse unrealistic goals for each sprint.
  • Gets management out of your face. Want to know my status? Attend the standup meeting. Want to know our status? Look at the burndown chart, or ask the Product Owner.
  • Allows room for input on and interpretation of requirements. "Acceptance criteria" bullet lists are intended to give you just enough requirement detail, but not so much that stakeholders are attempting to be engineers.

If you have been using Scrum, it sounds to me like your group is in desperate need of retraining. You need an effective Scrum Master, an effective Product Owner, and team members who understand Scrum.

Comment Re:You're opening the door to your competitors... (Score 1) 294

Exactly. Not only are existing competitors like Amazon catching up, everybody and their dog seems to be starting their own streaming service. That means more competition for content licenses, and less buying power for Netflix. This is also why every streaming service, including Netflix, is trying to build up original content libraries. They may not want to be just another streaming channel, but I think they realize there's no other choice. So they'll try to be the best at that.

Comment Re:Equality (Score 1) 490

Both genders should have the same opportunities. They don't necessarily have the same interests.

However misguided, I think people are just trying to reduce the pressure everyone puts on young girls to pick interests that fit into their stereotype. It's a goal you can only chip away at. There's no way to quickly rewire all of our cultural tendencies. Maybe girl-focused STEM toys are a bad idea, maybe not. You could argue that they bridge the gap between what we traditionally pressure girls to play with and what we traditionally pressure boys to play with. Maybe that's progress.

What we really need is an evil mad scientist to use robots to raise human babies in isolation, and observe which toys / roles they gravitate toward over the years.

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