Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment But without GIGO capability. (Score 1) 36

The problem with this computer that you wear on your wrist is that it doesn't do most things that I expect my computer to be able to do, is even worse for input than a phone, and the couple of things that it does do very well (tell time, show notifications, fitness tracking) are better done on a watch, a phone, and a fitness tracker.

My analog wristwatch is very highly legible, silent, accurate, and can withstand the elements and dives up to 300m. It is always visible, can be easily glanced at by someone across the table if they need to tell the time, and it rarely, if ever needs any kind of attention.

When I get a notification on my phone, I look at it, tap the notification, and can act immediately.

Get a notification on a smart watch and you have to look at it, then take out your phone, tap the notification, and act on it. The smart watch adds an unneeded extra step.

Fitness tracking was supposed to be the "killer app," but fitness activities are often both rough-n-tumble and happen outside in the elements. For that you want the cheapest, simplest device possible so that when you inevitably have to replace your destroyed one, you're not paying through the nose again (not to mention also losing your timekeeping for the period during which you are replacing it).

All this plus they are very high maintenance, needing to be charged all the time, limited in life span, and needing software updates from time to time, as well as the often finicky pairing with a phone—and the fact that there's not a single thing that I regularly do with my computer (or even phone) that I'd like to try doing on that tiny screen—and the fact that you can't even hack it to be used for low-input/low-output situations (say, embedded applications—not to mention the ridiculous cost)—and it's just not much of a wrist computer either.

Nope, I'm just gonna stick to my regular wristwatch, phone, fitness tracker, and computing devices. If I need mobile computing, a 5" Android display, octo-core CPU, and 32GB storage are already more than cramped enough.

Comment Yes, but that's the point (Score 3, Insightful) 99

She received threats from Getty about not paying for using the images... which SHE HERSELF had taken and placed into the public domain.

None of this would have happened if someone hadn't decided to go after licensing fees for images that were taken from the public domain. Yes, they're free to sell what's in the public domain if someone is willing to pay for them, but the images are in the public domain. To go after people for using the images that Getty/Alamy themselves pulled from the public domain, and demand payment whenever they see those images used... is slimy.

Comment Speaking as a 17" MacBook Pro user (Score 1) 315

with no apparent upgrade path in the future, I'm more interested in the hardware. I can run Linux easily enough, though I'll miss some key applications that I use for work rather badly. But what I'll miss more are the ergonomics.

In particular, the entirely clean and corner-free outer casing (this is underrated—it means less potential for cracks due to corner impact and much less potential for snags on, say, soft bags and carriers that end up breaking plastic widgets of some kind off); the all-metal construction (worse for small impacts, yes, but holds up much better to wear and tear over time); the clean, distraction-free front (yes, unlike some other people, apparently, my mind does get cluttered up by clutter, and the Macbook Pro machines are so detail-free on the open side that the screen is the only thing to really look at); and most of all, the keyboard. Oh, how I'll miss the keyboards on the unibody Macs. As someone that types >100wpm, the low-key-travel, high-tactile-feedback Apple keyboard of recent years is the best I've ever used, bar none. PC keyboards make me very, very sad when I have to use them—squishy, low-feedback, high-key travel, slows my typing by at least 10-20wpm and slows my accuracy as well.

I'm worried about replacing OS X when I have to upgrade, but I'm even more worried about finding comparable hardware and ergonomics.

Comment Three things, two related to culture and one econ. (Score 1) 587

(1) There remains a culture of "high techism" in the U.S. by which all things electronic are seen as important, professional, and premium. This is buttressed by the fact that many of our thought and industry leaders are associated with high-tech and Silicon Valley. So in the absence of other forces there remains a presumption that a coder is by nature an "elite" person and deserves respect and pay in kind.

(2) There remain significant cultural differences between U.S. employers and qualified workers from beyond U.S. culture that are taking time to overcome. The greatest of these are qualitative, i.e. how to balance the productivity/high-quality equation. Overseas workers are more often accustomed to working toward the "productivity" end of the equation, while U.S. workers understand that inside the U.S. employers are often looking for "high-quality" and "creativity." There is an argument often made around here that non-U.S. workers are inherently lower-quality and less creative, but from what I've seen this is bunk. There is just a cognitive hump to overcome for non-U.S. workers—perhaps a bit more learning and a shift in expectations about what leads to firing vs. promotion in this marketplace.

(3) Cost of living is higher in the U.S., particularly in the areas where high-tech is centered. So there is a commensurate increase across the board in salaries and salary expectations for these areas, not just in tech.

Comment IANAP, but (Score 1) 46

given the properties of light photos, the nature of color, and the relationships between color as a perceptual phenomenon, photons, and objects of this scale, I would have imagined that "color" (as in natural color, i.e. color in the conventional sense and its relationship to perception and human anatomy) is not a terribly meaningful of important concept at this scale. Am I wrong?

This is color used as an unrelated tool—applying color to enhance, essentially, actuance. Yes?

Comment Agree, the Tab S line are the best tablets yet (Score 1) 127

produced. And there has been nothing worthwhile since then. I had to replace my Tab S 8.4 with a recent-model iPad Mini due to work (needed particular apps that were iOS only) and I hate it, it feels like it's years behind.

I think the market is being misread. Apple is falling, yet everyone is still following Apple's lead (and moving away from very positive differentiation) as though Apple were still king. There devices were awesome in the '00s. Now they're stale—and rather than step into the gap, Android makers and Android itself have been working very hard to copy the staleness.

Comment The OS needs to improve. (Score 1) 127

Everyone who is going to get one now has a tablet for simple media consumption tasks, and most tablets out there are fast enough to do the job (my kids are still using their years-old original Galaxy Tabs—which show no signs of quitting—to browse the web and do homework). The same malaise that infected the PC market has hit tablets—the only real target segment is upgraders, and most users don't see a reason to upgrade.

What's missing from the tablet experience continues to be the ability to effortlessly create content and manage multiple applications and files well. Tablet makers are loathe to have users deal with "files" on their machines, I realize, but for most workers and creators, work is done in files. My suspicion is that one way to drive a round of upgrades is to produce a fast, light tablet with long battery life that makes real work easier to accomplish on a tablet. It can be done now, but it feels cumbersome. You do it because you have to—the tablet is light and has a long battery life, so it's what you brought with you—but you're aware of the trade-offs.

Give me back better task/window management and the ability to work with and think in locally stored files (i.e. any application supporting a particular file format can load it if you have it, without the weird mix of apps that only support one or another cloud storage service) and I'd upgrade in a moment, because a tablet would finally be a laptop replacement.

Surface comes close, only the UI still isn't good enough and the battery life isn't there, and it's too "heavy" in general terms (not just weight). Some UI innovation with a less involved architecture (i.e. iPad hardware, but with UI innovation to enable laptop-like work more easily) and a whole bunch of laptop owners will get one to replace their laptops with something that's just as good but with much longer battery life and much lower weight.

Comment Wow, very similar to me. (Score 1) 319

For mobile work I use an early 2011 17" with matte screen. It's now 1TB SSD + 1TB SSHD (removed the optical drive) and 16GB RAM, and I do end up paging rather often. I do marketing work for a dot-com and these days, and in the modern world that involves big data hosted on Amazon, extensive analytics, lots of R programs to cook the data, video production, lots of photoshop work, and many, many browser windows open at the same time.

I use gfxSwitcher to try to exercise some control over the graphics system and SMCFanControl to keep the fans running at 6k RPM because I know this machine's days are numbered due to the infamous AMD GPU mainboard heat issue (all of the 2011 MBPs with integrated AMD chips will eventually die due to a failure of the soldering on the GPU resulting from heat).

I was actually hoping it would die last year because Apple was replacing mainboards on these machines for free (official policy) until the end of February this year due to the problem—but they were just NOS mainboards, no actual fix for the long term issue, so while they might have extended the life, they didn't solve the problem definitively. None of these will be running in another 10 years, zero of them.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do when this machine goes up in smoke. Most of the features I care about are gone:

- More RAM? Nope.
- Integrated ethernet port for gigabit? Nope.
- Ability to install extra storage? Nope.
- 17" display? Nope.

It looks like when this machine goes south, I'll be back to Wintel hardware (running Linux) for my portable computing.

Comment You're wrong. (Score 1) 232

You're looking at the stagnating iOS years on, rather than at what Apple did during Jobs' tenure.

I was a Palm user when the iPhone was released, and I thought I was totally satisfied with my Palm devices (which I'd been using for years) and that the premium for an iPhone was pointless. I poo-pooed the iPhone until the 3GS was released and I finally tried one. I was blown away. Full web browser, lots of useful apps that installed *over the network*, fast and complete WiFi support to enable this, large capacity to hold lots of songs and images, a camera capable of producing large images, the list went on and on. It was a HUGE step up from other things in the market at that point. Apple had taken half-measures scattered throughout the phone ecosystem and brought them all together as full "best of breed" measures in a single device. This is what the Jobs Apple excelled at.

NOW iOS is stale in comparison to Android (see my post above), and that's the problem with Apple and why they are rudderless without Jobs, but early on this was simply not the case—the iPhone was remarkable when it was introduced.

I'm a technology early adopter (not necessarily an Apple one) and this happened several times with Apple products under Jobs:

- MP3 players. I'd had several MP3 players prior to the introduction of the iPod, but the classic iPod blew them all out of the water. Far faster, large screen enabling actual navigation of your music library, capacity to hold thousands of songs (rather than just a couple dozen), played just about any MP3 file you could throw at it rather than requiring you to use their own encoder (or, in the case of Linux users like myself at the time, carefully curate and tweak command line for Lame to create files that the device's bandwidth could handle). The iPod was simply far more functional that other MP3 players at the time.

- iPad. I'd used other tablets for years: Vadem Clio, Hitachi eSlate, Fujitsu Stylistic, etc. They had compromised battery life, a resistive touchscreen, an OS that was difficult to work with, had dog-slow processors and little memory, could not run a full web browser (in the case of the CE devices), required desktop sync or a desktop environment, were heavy and difficult to hold for long periods of time and/or to carry around, etc. iPad was hand-holdable, had massive battery life, did not require desktop sync or that you run a desktop environment that suffered as a tablet, and was generally the device I'd been hoping for for all those years as I struggled to make previous tablets work. Again, the iPad was a tablet done *right*, rather than making me buy the "promise" but suffer through the compromises.

- OS X. I switched from Linux. Why? Because OS X gave me a *nix command line environment and infrastructure, robust stability, support for high-end hardware, *and* off-the-shelf retail purchases of software and devices without having to recompile code or worry about compatibility. It's still the only OS that does this.

Jobs had a talent for spotting technologies that were essentially at the "proof of concept" stage but were making headway in a few tiny niches, and were already being sold to (dissatisfied) consumers and riddled with compromises, and getting his team and company to engineer their way around and through those compromises to realize the technology in consumer-ready, appliance form. Other companies released Ford Model T cars (hand-crank start, too many levers to micromanage mechanical functionality, counterintuitive and dangerous gearbox, rotten ride for grandma) and Jobs could look at what was there, spot the potential, and then put his team to work on a car that could be started from the passenger compartment, manage the obvious parts of its own mechanical operation, that had a safer gearbox that matched the way that people think and expect machines to work, and that let grandma work on her knitting in the back seat without poking herself.

He was masterful at (1) identifying potential in new tech that was either failing in the marketplace or had already been dismissed, (2) seeing why this new tech was flagging, and (3) managing his team to solutions to the obvious problems, so that previously taken-for-granted limitations and complications were removed, (4) all within the realm of consumer budgets (even if at the high end of these). He was also very adept at (5) bringing lots of different technologies of this sort together in a single device or system, with all of them significantly improved, i.e. using lots of disparate tech in combination to solve the problems with each and multiply their effect.

This is the "vision" that people talk about. He spotted this stuff, recognized which limitations weren't as obviously necessary as people imagined, and could find a path to release with much upgraded and/or improved design specs, when everyone else thought it was impossible, and maintain the determination and optimism to keep the business afloat and the team working toward the goal in the meantime. These are not small things.

To me, that is innovative, it's just innovative at the process end, rather than at the "invention" end of things. Jobs was process innovator and a UXD innovator, not an inventor.

What Apple lost with Jobs was this vision to see where (a) potential is hidden and (b) the real UX problems lie with high-potential tech.

They are back to being in the business of "accept what already exists and the taken-for-granted limitations, then iterate with evolutionary improvements over the release cycle." They are consciously trying to innovate at the other end, but they are back to releasing half-baked new tech at the essentially proof-of-concept that really only appeals to niches willing to nurse it along. In short, they're just like all the other tech companies again. They are no longer the company that plucks tech that previously only geeks were capable of using or saw the purpose of, then perfects it beyond all expectation and gets mom to buy it for grandma for Christmas, as was the case with the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.

The Apple Watch is their only post-Jobs attempt, but Cook called it done long before Jobs would have, and the result is that Apple released a product like the Vadem Clio or Fujitsu Stylistic of old that I mentioned above—appealing to a few geeks, but niche, limited, hard to use, and with a small (and often frustrated and product-abandoning) audience in the end.

In short, Apple has become another HP or Compaq once again, just like they were before Jobs came back. They take existing product categories and tech limitations and parameters for granted, build "one of those" to have it in their product line up, release, and hope to compete on build quality alone. Just like they did in the late '80s and early '90s. History says this won't work for them. They have more cash this time, but they're still in a losing position right now.

To maintain the brand, they need to find another person who adopts relatively immature tech that the public doesn't know about, and that those who do know take for granted as niche and limited, and then organizes Apple's huge resources and brain trust to realize them as far less limited consumer devices that work better, and with fewer limits, and more conveniently, and more user-centricity, than was previously imagined to be possible.

Until they find such a person, I'd be short Apple.

Comment This is too bad. (Score 5, Informative) 204

I live in a GF area and love it. There are three tiers, 5 Mbps for $0 (yes, free broadband), 100 Mbps for $70, and 1 Gbps for $90. They have been absolutely bulletproof, the speeds are for real when tested, and the online system and the way that it integrates with their WiFi router is awesome.

I have had multiple providers over the years, including Comcast and Verizon, and Google Fiber's product and service are easily better than the others.

If Google can't make this work, there may be no hope for anything better for a long time to come. I just hope I don't lose it here!

Comment Yup. Apple products used to be focused around (Score 4, Interesting) 232

enabling the user to do things they otherwise wouldn't know how to do or be able to do. Since Jobs left, they've steadily slid into the old game from the '90s and '00s that the tech majors (HP, Compaq, and so on) used to play—"innovation" becomes another word for "throw gadgety gimmicks at the wall and see what sticks," but without well-thought-out reasons why users might want the device, or an understanding of the ways in which UX friction impacts the device's usability.

Compared to the rest of the marketplace and competing products at the time, the original iPhone, the original iPod, the original Intel Power Macs, the original LaserWriter, the original Macbook Pro models, the original iPad, etc. were all towering improvements that enabled users far more than competing products did.

Now, the trend is the opposite.

On the consumer end, iOS phones and tablets feel arbitrarily constrained next to Android
Current Mac OS machines are generally limited in serious software and upgradeability again relative to Windows machines
On the pro end, Apple's application ecosystem is weak once again compared to pro-level Windows applications ...and so on.

It used to be that you paid a premium for Apple products but got much more or at the very least something highly differentiated for your money (esp. in the cases of early iPods vs. other MP3 players, iPhone 1 vs. other smartphones, iPad vs. other contemporary tablets, etc.).

Now you pay a premium either for less or for something that is largely undifferentiated (and often negatively so in the minor differences that do exist).

It hasn't always been the case that you're simply paying double for brushed metal and a glowing Apple logo, but it certainly feels that way now. People still want to pay for quality (hey, the aluminum case and better QA are nice), but now they have to consider the tradeoff—I can pay a lot more and get a nice metal Apple device, or I can pay a lot less and get a phone that's more configurable and flexible.

That's my own feeling, anyway. I'd love to have the nice finish of an iOS device, but even if there was price parity I couldn't give up the flexibility of Android. I don't want to be tied down to Apple's visuals, Apple's icon positioning, Apple's version of KHTML, Apple's take on the (non-)filesystem and so on. I love Mac OS as well, or at least I have done since OS X, but the new Macbook Pros are limiting and I'm seriously considering getting a Windows laptop for my next purchase, just so that I can access hard drive, memory, and so on.

Apple has begun to fetishize itself, rather than fetishize overall UX.

Comment I feel the same way. (Score 1) 269

And the question wasn't addressed in the video.

Can this function like a normal tablet? Will I be able to remove the controller modules and carry it around and read email, use Chrome and Google Now and Microsoft Office apps and snap photos? Or is this a dedicated gaming machine that's just modular?

If the latter, I wouldn't buy it. If the former, I'd buy it to replace my current 8" tablet, as a tablet PLUS gaming experience. But I need a tablet, and I don't want to have to have TWO tablets just to get slightly better gameplay on one of them.

If it's a one tablet concept (would have to be Android, I assume, to have the ecosystem) then great. If it's just a game console with fancy industrial design? Pass. I have good enough gaming on my current tablet.

Comment Don't confuse the worst and the best. (Score 1) 97

"[F]raud, cheating, plagiarism, etc." in *low-end* research, which we also have in spades in the U.S. and in the West more generally (it's really bad in a lot of the also-ran European countries). At the top end, Chinese research is every bit competitive with other players in serious global research, and they have more resources available to them, which they can apply to problems without nearly so much systemic overhead thanks to their particular governing system.

Comment *Because* the put it in an otterbox. (Score 1) 121

I don't use protectors of any kind, but I knew more than just a couple middle-America, middle-class folks who ALWAYS get the hardest, most solid-looking case they can find (irrespective of whether these actually help or which cases perform best). Why? Because their phone is one of their largest investments and a critical piece of everyday tech that they want to protect.

They appreciate the thinnest phone possible precisely because *after* they put it in an Otterbox it will still be manageable, whereas when they had an iPhone 4 or whatever, the Otterbox made it significantly thicker than an old Nokia candybar.

Slashdot Top Deals

Real programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC after reaching puberty.