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Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 399

The problem with engineers and scientists is it's pretty easy to get stuck on details. (Feature lists, etc). It's the strength of Apple's marketing that has made then a success. People buy the iPod vs. potentially better players because they know that the iPod exists, and they know the exact colors that are available for the nano.

Not only that, but looking back at Apple advertising (not the Mac vs. PC stuff, but stuff really associated with products), they probably got the Ph.Ds of advertising. For example:

I. iPhone commercials which in a minute or so:
      A. Teach how gestures work. (To the layperson, gestures only became "intuitive" after the commercial showed them in use.)
      B. Show core features of the phone, such as email, gaming, calls, mapping, photos, screen unlock, accelerometer.
II. iPod commercials. (at least the early ones. Current ones are more along the lines of Cola commercials reminding that it still exists and there is yet another yearly upgrade.)
      A. Brief glimpse of iTunes, drag and drop play list.
      B. Firewire syncing play list in a very short amount of time.
      C. Scroll wheel and how to use it.

I just don't see other competing devices advertised as widely or as well.

For example:
I. Other cell phones
      A. It's the carrier advertising the phone, and they only focus on carrier specific features like # of SMS, # of minutes, weekend/evening minutes, rollover.
      B. Hardly ever shows the phone in use, so people are forced to waste time researching what the phone can do.
II. Other media players
      A. I don't see Zune commercials anymore. And the ones they had were shitty. I didn't know the details of their subscription model until that one person I know who has a Zune mentioned how the subscription plan worked. (10 songs permanently gifted per month) And since "squirting" was supposedly the killer featuer, it should have been a centerpiece in all of the initial Zune ads. And if the feature wasn't really advertiseable, then they should have never ever mentioned "squirting" until it could be advertised.
      B. Does anyone else advertise?

As much as I like to trash talk advertising and sales people, I believe Apple's success boils down to smart advertising of reasonable products. A lot of other companies forget to tell people what the hell they're delivering, and they need to find marketing people who can come up with competitive advertising.

The Courts

Submission + - Third Level Domain Legal Issues

MikeB writes: "This is my first post ever, so please excuse any etiquette errors. I have a question for the lawyer types.

My company is looking into third level domain names (i.e., and has raised the issue of using trademarked (or otherwise legally protected) names in that third level slot. Our intent is to use the model numbers of the hardware that our software works on in the thid level area to specify a landing page for each model. Since those model names/numbers are owned by a separate company, does that open us up to legal ramifications if that company decided to press charges? I checked with Network Solutions ( and they told me that there were no legal ramifications, but I wanted to check with the larger community.

So the main question: Do we open ourselves up to legal attacks by using the aforementioned names in the third level domain slot of our company's website? Thank you for any help you guys can give."

Submission + - What's it like for a developer to go into sales?

An anonymous reader writes: I've worked for a single, very large technology company since graduating from college in '89. My degree is in Computer Science, and I wrote everything from embedded machine code for big iron to applications with Smalltalk. I'm still in development, but since'99 my programming tasks have been replaced by project management, some customer-facing work (technical-ish presentations, demonstrations, training, etc), helping our marketing people position my team's work, and other things that programmers generally don't like to do.

I find that I enjoy the broad, technical perspective that comes from working in the field, and I'm thinking about moving out of development and into technical sales. Moreover, I've interviewed several techies in my company who are now in sales and all tell them they love it. Several have reported that a techie can make more money in sales. But I have several reservations: I am an introvert and a full day of face-time can really sap my energy, many sales people I've worked with are "sharks" (which I simply cannot be), and I don't like the idea of putting part of my salary at-risk.

Are you a former developer who went into sales? If so, what were your experiences like from a professional and personal perspective? What advise would you give to a developer considering a new career in sales?
Operating Systems

Submission + - Will cell phones need DST patching?

An anonymous reader writes: With the impending daylight savings time shift on March 11th, are cel phone carriers and manufactureres providing updates for their devices? Palm and RIM have both released updates for their devices, but what about J2ME based phones? Pretty much every phone on the market includes J2ME, as well as limited calendaring functions. Is there anyway to update these? Will carriers "push" out necessary updates? or are consumers stuck scouring the web for this type of information?
Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - when Macs break writes: "I have long been a staunch supporter of Apple and Macs, bordering on but not quite a fan boy. My recent experience with trying to bring them into my department at work has been dissapointing. We had a Mac Pro (the big quad processor monster) die after four days. Ok, it happens, everything else has worked flawlessly. I even delt with the inevitable teasing about the siny new Mac being a lemon.
Well after almost four hours dealing with Apple Care, three hours dropping off and picking up my computer at different stores as per thier instructions trying to get this done quickly... I am beginning to wonder if Apple really wants business customers to rely on these machines. Much as I may dislike Dell like the rest of you... when my Linux box died it was fixed in four hours and I spent maybe 20 mintes of my time setting up the repair. I have spent seven hours of my time so far on this Mac and it still will not power up. Is this just me or have other people lost critical business machines to the depths of Apple Care inefficiency and lack of business level support?"
NES (Games)

Submission + - Which NES Clone?

NiK0laI writes: Hello everybody, my girlfriend recently pulled my old NES out of the closet to play some games from my vast collection. I had replaced the ZIF connector on it a couple years ago and it was working fine, however I haven't touched it in a over a year. She plugged it in and it no longer works. My question to everybody is: Does anybody have any experience with using one of the clones on Ebay? If so which one is the best? Thanks, your help is appreciated!

Submission + - Legal Home Media?

SuperCharlie writes: "I am in the process of setting up a home media center where all my movies, music, etc.. can be streamed throughout my house. I think there could be a real market for this where I live and would like to take the final solution on the road in my backwoods part of the world and try to sell it to house builders for doctors, lawyers and the likes. The sticking point I am running into is the media, specifically, movies. Sure, you can stick a DVD in, share it and be on your way, but most people have libraries of movies that even a decent sized jukebox can't hold. How can I provide a *legal* digital version of a users movie collection?"

Submission + - Recommended Reading for Software Engineers

Tokimasa writes: "Over the past few months, I've been gathering the "recommended reading" for software engineers that I've found across Slashdot and some other sites. So far, here is my collection, ordered by author:

Brooks, Frederick P. The Mythical Man-Month.
DeMarco, Tom and Lister, Timothy. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (Second Edition).
DeMarch, Tom and Lister, Timothy. Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects.
Hunt, Andrew and Thomas, David. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master.
Johnson, Jeff. GUI Bloopers: Don'ts and Do's for Software Developers and Web Designers.
McCarthy, Jim and McCarthy, Michele. Dynamics of Software Development.
McConnell, Steve. Code Complete (Second Edition).
McConnell, Steve. Rapid Development.
Norman, Donald A. The Design of Everyday Things.
Raymond, Eric S. The Cathedral & The Bazaar.
Weigers, Karl E. Software Requirements (Second Edition).

First, would you recommend any other "must-have" or "should-have" books? Second, what order do you recommend reading the books in to get the most out of them (ie — do any books build on content in another book)?"

Submission + - Best "Plan B" career - IT, programming, or

An anonymous reader writes: What would be the best field (and sub field) for a 38 year old to start studying (both self-study and a few classes) in his spare time as a back-up plan in case of a forced or voluntary career change? Which of these types of employment opportunities would have the least problems with hiring a 40-year-old "entry level" candidate. Which has the best starting salaries, and which have the higher salary caps?

Now that I have children, I'm more concerned about long-term job security as well as the size of my salary. I just recently made a push and finished up a bachelor's degree in physics. I went with physics because that was what I started with 20 years ago and would be the quickest to complete, and a science degree is good to have in my current career in the environmental testing lab industry. I kind of got stuck in the testing lab industry when I dropped out of college for financial reasons, but I never intended to make it into a career. I just kept getting pulled back in.

In my current career my salary is probably pretty well capped at $60K, even as a supervisor and technical expert, and the number of positions available dwindle every year. I hear about people in IT and software development getting starting salaries of $50K right out of college, and there always seems to be jobs available. I do have an aptitude for computers and programming, but most of my knowledge and experience is pretty basic and out of date (I haven't done much object oriented programming, for example).

Submission + - Driving Simulators with Real Maps?

K'Lyre writes: "Why are there are no driving simulators that take advantage of the vast amount of map information available to let the user travel along any road they wish? Is it the marketability of such a venture? The vast amount of information it would need to include? This is one of the types of games I dreamed of when I was little. What's the big hold-up?"

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