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Comment Re:The World is not entirely filled with idiots (Score 4, Informative) 582

Failure doesn't stem only from bad design. What happens if there's a slight clog in the 3D printer's extruder that creates a bubble or weak spot hidden within a part? A larger company engineers the manufacturing, not only the part, to be reliable, and does quality-control checks along the way as well. The equipment for such checks isn't practical for a consumer doing a one-off.

Comment Re:iOS 5 apps can't easily run on iOS 6? Huh? (Score 5, Insightful) 334

this has nothing to do with backward compatibility, this is a solid case of "I don't want to pay you for features that my customers need, and I can't provide decent replacement, but my users will buy my stuff anyway, so why bother"

No, it has to do with Google putting restrictions on the use of map data, including not allowing turn-by-turn navigation. Apple knew that it couldn't have a core feature of its product permanently beholden to a competitor and the restrictions it might impose down the line. So, realizing that bringing maps in-house would not get any easier down the line, it decided to rip off the band-aid now. Every other smartphone platform has done the same. Microsoft uses its own maps. Nokia owns Navteq and Google we all know about.

Comment Re:Does there need to be an app for everything? (Score 1) 233

iPhone didn't support 3rd party apps for its entire first year. In fact, Apple's argument was that web apps using exisiting HTML5 technology made more sense. But users kept complaining about the lack of support, spawning jailbreaking and the Cydia store. So, Apple introduced the App Store with the iPhone 3G. Sometimes the market speaks and it wanted native performance.

Comment Re:the 'Steve Jobs would be appalled' hypothetical (Score 1) 244

There are plenty of things that demonstrate that Steve Jobs was human and didn't have perfect taste. Approving the fake wooden iBooks bookcase. Bringing in swatches of Corinthian leather to meeting and insisting that the "Find My Friends" UI replicate the look. And this: In one article, Jolie O'Dell opined that Apple's use of a multicolored logo was an aesthetic gaffe marking the post-Jobs decline of Apple. Sounds good, except that Apple also used a flashy, multicolored logo at the original iPad unveiling. Misguided predictions like this are easy but usually short on research.

Comment Re:Either way its wrong (Score 2) 308

But they're not. There's no transfer of ownership. You get to choose if you want to take advantage of the huge exposure of the iBooks Store. If so, you use Apple's free tool to create an interactive book format that works there. If not, don't. In either case, you can take that same content and use another tool to format it for a different store without restriction. The only thing you can't do is have your cake and eat it, too: take Apple's free tool and use it to create content for a competing store. It's a restriction on the tool use, not on the fate of your content.

Comment It's *common*, not unheard of. (Score 1) 308

There are many, many software packages that restrict the use of their output. Look at the license of the Home & Student edition of Office 2010: you can't use the output for commercial purposes. Same with many packages that come in a free and for-pay version: the free version is non-commercial. The only difference here is that Apple hasn't (at least yet) offered a for-pay version without the restriction. Also consider that business tools are commonly used to restrict distribution as well. Amazon won't allow your book to be part of the Kindle Lending Library if you sell it elsewhere, and that's for the *content*. iBooks Author only restricts the the formatting of the content into a particular output format. There's nothing wrong with a company investing in producing a tool that didn't exist before and which creates interactive eBook output that can't be created easily elsewhere and which can't even be display with full fidelity elsewhere and deciding that it doesn't want to put this tool out there to the advantage of competing stores. Why would a for-profit company do such a thing?

Comment Re:Yeah...but (Score 5, Interesting) 1303

First, Apple is only a case study in this story. The facts apply to just about all electronics products. Further, Apple doesn't boast about this. They audit the suppliers and factories that do work for them and publish their results, with goals for how to improve. They are now a member of the Fair Labor Association. Finally, the article doesn't say that US jobs are lost due to standard of living. Paying Chinese workers American wages would raise the cost of goods only about 25%, according to the article. The situation is far more grim than this. Rather, the U.S. no longer has the dense congregation of many places of manufacture that all tie together into a big supply chain web. The construction of manufacturing capacity sometimes begins even before a contract is actually awarded, just in case, and is subsidized by the government. Further, the U.S. lacks the numbers of workers with the engineering skill that these factories tend to employ: somewhat higher than high school but not a full four-year B.S. degree. We therefore can't easily mobilize and structure a sufficient (in both numbers and skillsets) labor force on short notice. The article states that China could amass the required talent for a job in 15 days that would take 9 *months* in the U.S.

Comment On a good course (Score 1) 503

Tesla is following its plan nicely. Knowing that developing the initial platform technology would be expensive, they started with a car that people are typically willing to pay a lot for: a high-performance roadster. Next, they are approximately halving that price while increasing the versatility to expand the potential market. There are many cars in the price range of the Model S that sell well to upper-middle-class customers, especially those that can serve as a primary vehicle such as this 5-door. The work on the Model S will ultimately allow Tesla to bring down the cost of the next model still further with a more mass-market vehicle. Each step furthers the technology and brings in revenue to fund the next step.

Comment Re:Just curious? (Score 1) 365

No more so than making assault illegal is a violation of your personal right to punch someone. Personal liberties stop where they infringe on the rights of others. Plus, noone is being held down at needle point, just being denied privileges that they can be replaced with private sources. When an individual forgoes a vaccine, they're increasing the chance that you and I will encounter and be infected with the disease (since vaccines aren't 100% effective and since prevention is a combination of reducing exposure and boosting immunity).

Comment Re:Before You Commericalize Space Flight... (Score 1) 152

It makes far more sense for private industry to focus on where they can make money - transporting cargo such as satellites into orbit. That is, they become orbital trucks. This frees up NASA to work on visionary projects that aren't currently commercially viable: we the people funding, though tax dollars, the learning necessary for our long-term futures.

Comment Re:Uh... (Score 2, Informative) 396

How you do pay "a lot more" for an iPad? A 10.1" Galaxy Tab is the same price as the iPad as of this moment on a reasonable site such as And that's without Apple's excellent customer support (phone and retail store), without the ability to extend the warranty an extra year and without the high resale value which reduces total cost of ownership considerably.

Comment Let's just assume all bloggers are correct (Score 1) 422

An individual site doing its own investigation and coming up with a conclusion that they don't know exactly what's going on (and even stating that their speculations don't fully make sense) is hardly a reason for people to get all upset. Withhold judgment until there's an actual story to judge.

Comment Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 861

Those food scraps in the landfill become permanent volume. Ever higher mounds. At one point, the Fresh Kills Landfill near where my folks live was the largest manmade object in the world. The small amount of attrition that occurs is into methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. In contrast, composting breaks down the food into constituent organic components, some of which become soil enrichers and come of which are turned into CO2 (which is released back into the air from which it recently came and so isn't a net climate change contributor). What would you rather have? A big, permanent pile of stuff taking over your land and releasing undesirable gases or a much smaller static pile that gives off helpful-to-benign byproducts? Put another way in terms of purely animal matter, would you rather that all the dead creatures of the earth pile up until we're hip deep in them or that they break down naturally for their materials to be reused?

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