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Comment Re:I always use my home as an example (Score 1) 97

"The other one is an unfounded and as-yet unsupported belief that autonomous vehicles will eliminate traffic deaths and accidents."

Not eliminate. Reduce.

It's a reasonable expectation I think. Long term, anyway. Autonomous cars probably aren't going to speed, run red lights, try to beat trains to level crossings, etc, etc, etc. Yes, there will be a large number of accidents -- some serious, some fatal -- while the cars learn to recognize open manhole covers, moose, hand lettered signs that say "BRIDGE OUT". But learn they will.

It'll be interesting to see how "Silicon Valley" folks handle a domain where they are successfully sued for the damages caused by their screw-ups. Because they ARE going to be sued. And they are going to lose a lot of those suits. My guess is that they are not going to like it.

Comment Re:Stagnant? (Score 1) 124

I was just looking at this article which points out that Apple's R&D has gone up many times over since Job's passed on...

The thing is, that's usually a bad sign. It means that your development teams are growing very quickly, which has two effects:

  • The median age/experience level drops precipitously, resulting in poorer output quality.
  • The amount of effort required to maintain the products designed by more people grows by the square of the number of people involved.

Eventually you reach a point where every additional person makes the product worse or more delayed, rather than better or faster. These days, I keep getting the feeling that Apple passed that point a while back, and they just haven't noticed yet. This is one reason why innovative ideas almost invariably come from small companies, not big ones.

The other reason is that the larger Apple grows, the harder it will be to innovate, because the breakage caused by doing so will become an ever bigger problem as the code base increases in size. At some point, it will be necessary for Apple to start over from scratch—probably by buying a company that creates some innovative alternative. At that point, it will have fully become Microsoft or IBM. And that's okay. Eventually, somebody else will come along and become the next Apple. It's the circle of life.

Comment Re:Sterilized long ago (Score 2) 174

In our solar system only moons are tidally locked to planets, but no planets to stars.

Mercury comes pretty close with its 3:2 spin-orbit resonance. It spins 3 times for every 2 orbits. That's close enough to being tidally locked that the difference is mostly moot from a "cooked on one side" perspective.

Comment Next up... (Score 1) 142

Coming next: Facebook tests out modal popup windows as a means of delivering the content - aka ads - people really want to see, rather than wasting their time taking them directly to things like profiles, pictures, or their wall.

And as a bonus, pop-under porn ads, so you can enjoy one last bit of joy from Facebook while desperately trying to close out of your browser as the boss approaches.

Comment Re:A minor ephiphany (Score 1) 319

Well, I'd probably use csv. But few folks outside of IT have any idea what it is. And, in fairness xls does allow formulas and allow plots to be specified. If your journal publishes other kinds of papers besides those dealing with lengthy lists of gene codes, maybe xls is a suitable one-size-fits-all data archive format ... maybe ... I guess ...

Comment Re:The game needs more stuff to do (Score 1) 186

That's exactly what would NOT work here as you're supposed to play in a setting that's recognizably your own town/city/island.

Taking things a biiit too literal here, friend. Who says "your own town/country/planet" doesn't belong to "Dainisekai zone"? Or if it offends you that much, call them "leagues" - Up to CP500, you will only see and battle "shojo" league players.

However they frame it, Niantic has a really, really simple way to segregate players by skill, thereby keeping it fun for noobs and old-timers, fun for casuals and hardcore grinders. Hell, under that model, they could even allow "cheaters" (or even rurals) to play in their own league, rather than outright banning them.

Comment A minor ephiphany (Score 5, Insightful) 319

Without diminishing the other comments, it crossed my mind that the issue here is probably not whether Excel was used in the research. It's one of getting backup (supplementary) data into publishable form. That'd occur after the authors(s) had written their paper using their normal toolset for their work and gotten the paper through review. At this point, they are supposed to package up their data in some format dictated by the journal they are publishing in. Apparently .xls is an acceptable format -- which is not irrational. The format is documented and widely supported.

Anyway, the authors are just cleaning up and getting on with their lives -- cleaning the glassware (if any), paying any bills, archiving their data and scripts, returning borrowed equipment, etc. They are going to convert their data to .xls using whatever quick and dirty tool they can find. I doubt they are going to type tens of thousands of genome codes in manually. They'll use some tool they got from a buddy or write something themselves in Perl or Python or whatever scripting language they know. And they'll check the output to make sure that Excel loads it and that it's about the right length and that the first page or so and the last page look reasonable. And off it goes.

I don't think most folks outside of IT (and probably most in IT) are all that aware of Excel's flaky and sometimes bizarre data conversions. And, assuming that there's an unambiguous one to one translation between gene codes and excel mangled gene codes, this probably isn't a big deal. Anyone using the archived data will scratch their heads, maybe ask around, figure out what's happened, fix the data, and get on with THEIR research.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 319

"...scientists are too fucking stupid to use Excel properly."

So, who, other than you of course, is Excel's target audience?

I can tell you, it's not me.

I'm only willing to fight with Excel/Open Office when I wand to do plots. And that's only because gnuplot is even more obtuse than the spreadsheets.

Comment Re:There is no "removing" of anything... (Score 3, Interesting) 369

If the new phone doesn't have a headphone jack, it'll be all over the Internet. There will be almost no way to avoid knowing that the iPhone 7 doesn't have a headphone jack.

That's not where the user impact comes in. Most people don't use headphones constantly. They use them occasionally. And they will think to themselves, "That's not a big deal." Then, at some point in the distant future:

  • They're at a friend's house and want to play some song. Their friend has an Android phone, and a stereo with only an 1/8" plug.
  • They're out somewhere and think, "I'd like to listen to some music while I walk from A to B" and then realize that their Bluetooth earbuds aren't charged.
  • The stewardess tells them that they can't use wireless headsets (that's a per-airline policy decision) and offers to sell them a headset for $3, but oops, no adapter.

And so on. And suddenly, what seemed like it didn't matter suddenly matters, and you have a pissed off customer.

Comment Re:Fix Apple (Score 1) 369

Apple will do no fixes of anything until it learns its lesson with very bad iPhone 7 sales because of the removal of the 3.5mm audio jack.

What would be worse for Apple would be if they don't lose sales, because there's definitely a non-negligible percentage of their customers who will be negatively impacted significantly by removal of the headphone jack, and if those folks buy the phone anyway, then they're going to end up with a bad impression of Apple products, and Apple will lose them as customers. In the long run, Apple should hope that they lose those sales, because at least they'll have a chance to make up those sales by releasing a future generation that isn't missing critical features.

The ultimate destruction of Apple as a brand of amazing hardware will come if they ship a device without a headphone jack and 30% of their users don't realize how much they'll miss the headphone jack, buy the phone anyway, and then start trash-talking their new iPhone on social media before switching (permanently) to Android. If Apple ships this product, I may start doing covered calls on my Apple stock to limit my losses. As a user, this is just a big annoyance, and I'm hopeful that they'll pull their heads out of their a**es before I'm due for a new phone. But as an investor, this is absolutely terrifying, oddly reminiscent of the period where a certain Pepsi exec was running the show.

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