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Comment Re:Fingers crossed (Score 3, Interesting) 116

There is a free service called NoMoRobo that implements a massive cooperative blacklist on a grand scale. I use it on my Comcast phone (requires multiple ring). One of the few workarounds for tele-scammers is to falsify caller id with a random number in the victim's area code and exchange. Most telemarketers who call me are dumped by NoMoRobo after the first ring, but once in a while I see what appears to be a local call from an unrecognized number. Any number I don't recognize ends up in voice mail, which is where telemarketer calls go to die.

Comment Re:Great (Score 1) 300

Apple needs to rediscover the wisdom of Frasier Crane: "If less is more, just think of how much more more would be."

They need to do a serious re-think about the missing ports, crappy Intel video, soldered RAM/SSD, glued batteries, etc. Apple has effectively discontinued the MacBook Pro and renamed a slightly beefed-up MacBook Air to take its place. If they're going to abandon the Pro market, they should at least be honest about it.

Comment Re:Exaggerate much? (Score 2) 168

Not an exaggeraion, IMHO. The impact of patent abuse is a lot worse than a few cases you hear about. It's the cases you DON'T hear about, where the mere threat of a bogus patent lawsuit is enough to suppress competition and prevent new products and services from reaching the market. This ruling in this case does not provide a universal solution to the problem, but it's a good start.

Comment Re:Battery life is not the real issue (Score 3, Insightful) 254

You are correct about managing battery charge level, power drain, depth of discharge, etc. But it's not easy to get 4 solid years of service out of ANY battery in a portable electronic device. Does it happen? Sure. Reliable? Depends on who you ask. 1000 cycles is about 3 years of everyday use, maybe 4 years of Monday-Friday use. Managed batteries work reasonably well on phones. Then again, phones take a beating; the average user can be expected to lose or break their phone before the battery dies. Most laptops are not subject to that much physical abuse. I'm OK with a phone that lasts 3-4 years, but I expect more out of a well-maintained laptop.

Apple seems to think that battery lifetime is good enough to limit the number of in-warranty replacements, while not so good as to extend the useful life of the product beyond 4 years. They may be right, but I'm not so sure a 4-year disposable laptop is worth what they ask for it.

Comment Re:Battery life is not the real issue (Score 1) 254

Although I agree with everything you say, people might eventually accept USB-C and maybe even the touch bar. I can easily do without both, so I won't be buying either one.

For quite some time, manufacturers have been trying to figure out what they need to add in order to get customers to accept the next price increase - or to slow down commoditization and price warfare. There is only so far they can go with size and weight before the entire market consists of small/thin/flimsy devices with fewer ports than they had before. Time will tell if consumers are smart enough to avoid planned obsolescence.

I suspect Apple is going to learn some expensive lessons before they rediscover the value of durability and product lifespan. A computer that nobody buys has an effective thickness of 0mm and a retail price of $0, with a profit margin of 0% and $0 projected revenue.

Comment Re:Battery life is not the real issue (Score 3, Interesting) 254

Even if people are dumb enough to buy laptops with irreplaceable batteries/memory/storage (as marketing research suggests they are), competitors will be quick to point out why that's not such a hot idea. Three years from now, AppleCare will be running out on these machines (assuming everyone is smart enough to buy extended warranty coverage). At that point, customers will be howling about how their investment decision worked out. I can get 3 years out of a mid-grade Windows or Linux machine and spend a lot less. Or I can go with a top-of-the-line machine and get 4-5 years. If Apple wants to sell disposable hardware, they need to price it as such.

I wouldn't be too surprised to see a state (maybe California) require a consumer warning label about computers with no serviceable parts inside. If it breaks out of warranty, repair is impossible. Most customers don't realize they are buying a disposable computer. Let's see what market research says when the warning labels start to appear.

Comment Battery life is not the real issue (Score 4, Insightful) 254

Battery replacement is. After a few years, battery life will be half of whatever it started with. At that point, the MBP and its irreplaceable batteries can never stray very far from the charger. Users might accept that, as many people don't depend on the battery all that much. The ultimate deal breaker is soldered SSD. When that fails (and it will), the computer is junk.

If Apple offered a MacBook Pro with HALF of the current battery life, HALF of the memory, and HALF of the storage capacity, but made the components replaceable, they would sell a lot more of them, even if they were TWICE as thick.

Comment Obsolete before it was built (Score 1) 277

The parent article says this is for street lights. Problem is, nobody needs a solar road to do this. Companies are selling solar-powered street lights that have a PV panel on the same pole as the light. Each unit operates independently, so wiring is limited to the panel and the pole. Maintenance is a lot easier than trying to swap out part of a road (assuming the other engineering problems can be solved).

And for $5.2 million, I doubt the solar road will pay for itself before it needs to be replaced. Investment fail.

Comment I guess they are still trying to find a way to... (Score 1) 307

Solder the RAM and SSD into a desktop configuration, while removing as many ports as possible. Seriously, they have to either keep wired Ethernet, HDMI, and USB 3.0 for the next generation of desktops (tacitly admitting it was a mistake to remove them from the MBP), or build a Thunderbolt 3 iMac and see if anyone wants to keep playing the dongle game. They can't use size and weight constraints as an excuse for diminished connectivity and planned obsolescence in a desktop machine. And they'll have to do something to support modern video processors. Nobody is going to pay a premium price for a desktop with as many limitations as the latest MBP.

Comment Dual SIM cards are for international travel. (Score 1) 127

US carriers often claim they have global coverage, which often turns out to be a Byzantine system of insane surcharges, marking up a foreign carrier's service by quite a bit. You REALLY don't want most US carriers for your cell service when traveling to other countries. A dual-SIM phone solves that problem, but only if you can positively disable the unwanted SIM card to avoid the unwanted surprise surcharges. Of course, you could just turn off your beloved iPhone and use a local cheapie phone for travel, but I can see why Apple wants to discourage that.

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