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Comment Re:Was Obvious from the Start (Score 1) 308

The story is that no-one, including Apple, has figured out how to keep improving smart watches with new features or longer battery life. We seem to have hit the limit after two generations, so it seems unlikely that they will achieve mass market appeal any time soon.

I think it's just too soon to say that. We just hit the second generation Apple Watch, and as I pointed out there are reasons why they probably shouldn't want to make massive improvements in the second generation. Chips keep getting smaller, more powerful, and more efficient. Batteries are continuing to get better. There's no reason to think we've "hit the limit" and won't see further improvements in the future.

To keep the phone market going Apple has to have a big bit of "innovation" every year, a reason to upgrade.

That's not really true. Apple releases a new model every year, but their only introduce a new major revision every other year. Part of what my post was trying to point out is that this is upgrade cycle is intentionally set to the same upgrade cycle that most people have for their phones (cell phone contracts tend to be 2 years, so people tend to buy new phones every 2 years). The big question here is, how long does Apple think that people will generally want to hold onto their watches before upgrading to a new model. Every two years? Maybe three? Their research might say it'll only be every five years, and if so, we can probably expect that Apple might provide minor revisions every year, but only release major watch revisions every five years. (I suspect it'll be longer than 2 years but less than 5)

Comment Re:Ummm... (Score 1) 68

HBO and Disney in particular are both large enough to succeed with their own app.

Simply having a back library isn't enough. They have to have a war chest big enough to crank out a decent amount of quality new material, rivaling Netflix's, for many consecutive years for people to begin to take notice.

Sigh. It's almost like your reply isn't even to my comment.

Netflix has the branding (that people understand the meaning of. Yes, HBO and Disney have strong branding, but not as streaming platforms) and the cash stream.

Consumers may not be geniuses, but they can understand that Disney and HBO have video, and that it could be streamed to them. They already had to figure out that they could stream Disney's content from Netflix.

I think multiple giants combining forces (basically to create the original Netflix experience all over again, with a great back catalog and very low prices, but also publishing newer seasons of their popular shows fairly aggressively) is the only viable short-term threat,

The immediate threat to Netflix is that the distributors are not renewing their licenses to stream content through Netflix, whether because they're getting more money out of Amazon or because they're taking it to their own platform, or perhaps streaming is only cannibalizing their DVD sales. Whatever the reasons, Netflix already has to deal with the fact that their library is shrinking.

In addition, there's another clear way they can have their lunch eaten by competitors. Amazon is partway there already: when you watch video on an Amazon Fire TV device, and you have a Netflix subscription, you're offered the opportunity to watch content on Netflix. The next step is to unify the listings into one app, and I predict that Amazon will be the one to bring us that, too. That's going to require giving the user a little more control over search, but they'll still find ways to force recommendations on you — and no doubt, to autoplay them too, just like now, to inflate statistics.

Comment Re:Ummm... (Score 1) 68

more, the likes of Disney, Warner, HBO, and pals want it dead, and refuse to grant them content licenses. It isnt that they dont want to stream it to you, the media holders wont let them. Get it right.

Yes, and it's suicidal of them. There's no going back to pre-Netflix ways of distribution (unless maybe they make DVRs even more convenient and powerful, with remote sharing and stuff, which isn't something the advertisers particularly want to see happen) and nobody wants to maintain 10 different accounts to find stuff

Too bad, they're going to have to anyway. That's the model we're moving towards, and even if it fails, inertia will take us in that direction for some time. HBO and Disney in particular are both large enough to succeed with their own app.

Comment Re:But what is a lie? (Score 2) 171

When I tell stories I want to be detailed; but I have learned that people don't want the full story and prefer summaries. Summaries so short that I more or less have to reinvent the scenario in order to get my point or question out and paid attention to.

No. If you are having this problem, either autism is a lot more subtle than I thought, or you are just bad at summarizing. I have noticed that most people are very bad at this. I am not very good at it myself; I have a tendency to give a whole lot more detail than is absolutely necessary, which turns people off.

Since it's not the complete truth; it's a lie

That is not how it works. Here's how it actually works: let's say you didn't do something because of some other thing, which was foisted upon you by some other person. When someone asks you what happened with doing the thing, first you just say "I didn't do the thing." Then they ask why not and you say "Well, this other person interfered." And then when they ask how, then you get to tell them the next part of the story: They interfered with "action". Oh really? How did they "action"? Well, they did this and this and this thing (only give the names of the things the did.) Then if they ask for more detail on those things, you give the detail.

Remember playing Ultima back in the day? You'd talk to an NPC and they would give you a sentence or so with some keywords in it. Then you'd use one of those keywords to get more information. This is how people actually talk! Well, to be fair, a lot of people don't talk this way. They talk like they do in J-RPGs where you get a wall of text (press X for more...more...more...) and that shuts people down because it is not particpatory. If I want a wall of text, I'll pick up a brochure.

Lying isn't black and white

Yes, yes it is. What you say is either true or not. That's black or white, period the fucking end. There are many, many ways for a statement to not be true, and only one way for it to be an unbiased description of what happened — don't say things which aren't true.

You have to interpret how much and what information a person is looking for.

That has nothing whatsoever to do with telling lies. If a story changes because you're summarizing it, you're shit at summarizing.

Comment Re:They didn't raise the price (Score 1) 187

Whilst I understand the logic behind your pedantry, I actually disagree with you. Why?

Because Microsoft never changes prices in the other direction on things like this when following the UK pound - when it was $2 USD to the pound back in about 2007 we sure as hell didn't get an 80% discount on stuff compared to where we are priced now.

So I actually think it is a price increase, precisely because Microsoft has never followed the pound - following the pound implies that these price changes will fluctuate up and down, but I'd wager this price increase isn't reversed when the pounds fortunes improve.

I think this price increase is absolutely justified given what we have done to our country and currency, however I also think cuts are justified when the pound is strong, and yet we never get them. In fact, only a couple of years ago the pound was back up to 1.70 - 1.80 USD and yet we never saw a price cut then.

Comment Re:resistance is futile (Score 1) 187

The whole point in the EU was to share wealth and bring all countries up to the same level so that the continent could move forward together.

It was a noble and sane idea, the problem is it's been rushed, which is why the euro has struggled, because as you say they pushed ahead with it long before that cross-continental equalisation of wealth and productivity had occurred.

So you're somewhat right and somewhat wrong, there was nothing wrong with the idea per-se, just the way it was implemented. I think some naively hoped that pushing it through would somehow speed up the process, but like many processes in economics and nature alike, you just can't rush these things. People are impatient, and that's where it all went horribly wrong.

Comment Re:resistance is futile (Score 1) 187

Even some of the most hard-right Brexiteers such as Daniel Hannan who has a massively long history of xenophobia believe that immigration shouldn't see greater control.

You're right, it really is only the genuinely far right fringes that are pushing that idea such as Jacob Rees Mogg and Nigel Farage. Even the hard-right aren't keen on the idea because they know we're so economically dependent on it.

Honestly, I suspect Farage admitting the whole NHS £350million was a lie within 2 hours of winning the referendum would've been enough to make people realise what they've done was stupid - the real peak realisation will be next summer when all the chavs realise they can no longer afford to go to Benidorm, but hey-ho, May seems intent on making a point now. I can't tell if she's grossly inept or if she's calling the far-right Brexiteers bluffs by showing them what happens when they get their way. Either way it's a dangerous game.

Submission + - Google Research Suggests President Did Kids No Favors By Banning Daily Tech Time

theodp writes: Exploring racial and gender gaps in computer science learning that Silicon Valley says explains its low percentages of women and minorities, Google offers up new research — a "Little Data" survey of 1,571 U.S. students in 7th-12th grade — that suggests students are unlikely to grow up to be CS cowgirls and cowboys without daily use of computers at home. "Black (58%) and Hispanic (50%) students are less likely than White students (68%) to use a computer at home at least most days of the week," explains Diversity Gaps in Computer Science: Exploring the Underrepresentation of Girls, Blacks and Hispanics [curiously, no survey results are provided for Asian students — the most successful AP CS group]. "This could influence their confidence in learning CS because, as this study finds, students who use computers less at home are less confident in their ability to learn CS." In a 2015 interview, President Obama explained that he had encouraged his two daughters to learn to code, although they hadn't taken to it the way he’d like. "I think they got started a little bit late," the president conjectured. "Part of what you want to do is introduce this with the ABCs and the colors." But if Google's research is to be believed, could the First Family's famous ban on tech time during the week have had something to do with his daughters' failure to embrace CS?

Comment Re:resistance is futile (Score 1) 187

All trade deals that had any impact on British sovereignty had to be agreed by Britain anyway - see the current CETA debacle as an example, where one tiny little irrelevant region in Europe can crush an entire treaty.

So your argument is incorrect, there's no difference in the decrease in sovereignty, Britain was always part of negotiations and acceptance anyway, the difference now is we're negotiating from a much weaker starting point - we only have 65million people instead of 580million people. That necessarily means we're going to have to accept more compromise in favour of the larger parties (i.e. US, China, etc.) than we did before because we need the deals more than they do.

The idea Britain can bully other countries into trade deals that suit us is a naive and ignorant hangover of British imperialism where there's a view that we somehow still control half the world and can somehow still bully other countries to our whim. We can't.

Comment Makes some sense (Score 4, Interesting) 171

This might possibly make some sense of my general view that I have about lying, which is that it's not quite as simple as "honest people" and "dishonest people". I'm sure there are some people who are truly dishonest, in that they've thought very clearly about what the truth is and are being intentionally deceptive. However, I know a number of people where I'd be more inclined to say that they're just not really thinking about it.

That might sound weird or a little nonsensical, but what I mean is, there's a certain level of mental activity to "be honest". It's not just about the courage to voice your opinion, but also whether you go through a certain kind of thought process. To give a common example, if you ask your coworker, "How are you doing?" there's a decent chance that person will say, "Good" without even thinking about it. They might be miserable, but it's not necessarily an intentional deception. Maybe you're just being polite, or you don't want to share. Or maybe you're just responding because that's the proper conventional response to the question.

To give a slightly more complex example, if I ask what your favorite movie is, you might just say "Pulp Fiction" even though that's not your favorite movie. Maybe it's a movie that came to mind that you liked. Maybe it was a movie that your decided was your favorite movie well over a decade ago, and you've just used that as your answer when people ask, even though there are other movies you like better. Or maybe you said "Pulp Fiction" just because you thought it was a good answer that other people would agree with.

I used to think that it was as simple as "being honest" or "being dishonest", but I've realized over the years that a lot of times, we just end up giving whatever answer is quick and easy, or the safe answer that won't cause trouble. Some people do it more than others, and I've known a few people for whom communication isn't really about conveying information, but more about social maneuvering. And I don't even mean that it's malicious, since it may be as innocent as just saying whatever will get you to like them and make everyone get along. I think it's not even necessarily an intentional deception, but instead it's more like they're not even thinking about the truth content of their answer in the context of "true" or "false", but more like "achieves the desired effect" or "doesn't achieve the desired effect".

So I'm rambling a little, but I wonder if the amygdala has a role in the evaluation of truth content. If my general thought is correct, it'd be reasonable to think that there's some part of the brain with is being under-used in people who "end up giving whatever answer is quick and easy".

Comment Re:of course the do! (Score 5, Insightful) 68

Netflix knows exactly what people want

Also, they're in a position to care about what the viewers want. The TV networks, meanwhile, are built to care much more about what advertisers and their clients want.

You might expect it's the same thing, since advertisers will want whatever people will watch. However, there are some subtle differences that have big effects. For example, they don't like controversy, so while they're trying to get a big audience, they're also making sure they don't ruffle anyone's feathers. If they're trying to get Walmart or Chick-fil-a advertising money, then there'd better not be anything in the show that could be considered anti-Christian or pro-homosexuality.

There's also a tendency to look for shows that will hit certain demographics who are thought to be likely to buy specific kinds of products. So, for example, a children's show might get cancelled in spite of critical acclaim and high viewership, if it turns out that kids aren't buying the toys and merchandise associated with that show. Two shows with similar budgets and viewerships might have very different fates, depending on whether the viewing demographics are expected to have a lot of disposable income, or to correlate with products that the advertisers want to sell. So networks are going to focus on making teenager shows to market Clearasil, and they need old-man shows to market Viagra. If you're their target demographic that's considered a desirable market, then they're not particularly trying to make shows for you.

There's also another similar problem that that Netflix avoids by having an on-demand viewing model, as opposed to having shows compete for a time slot. On network TV, a show might be making enough money in order to pay for production and make a profit, but it might still be cancelled if a network thinks that another program would make more money in that time slot. This was one of the rumored reasons for the cancellation of both Firefly and Farscape, for example.

All of this is why you see a lot of cheap reality TV that appeals to the lowest common denominator. It doesn't much matter whether the show is good or whether there's a substantial audience on the edge of their seat waiting for the next episode. Networks are just looking for cheap, uncontroversial programs that will make it easy to sell advertising.

Comment Re:Was Obvious from the Start (Score 3, Insightful) 308

the Apple Watch 2.0 only really offers waterproofing. no real advances that people would dump another $350+ to replace their 1 year old Apple Watch 1.0

I think this really needs to be taken into account in the whole discussion. The big story is that Apple Watch sales are down from last year?

You have to figure that a large percentage of people who wanted Apple Watches bought them last year, when they were first released. Most people don't usually replace their electronics after only a year. Even with cell phones, they wait 2 or 3 years, and that's about as frequent as it gets. Given that smart watches are mostly being used as watches and to display notifications from your cell phone, it seems possible that the smartwatch upgrade cycle will be less frequent.

Also, the "Series 2" model is ultimately a minor upgrade. It has GPS in the watch, which may be important to some people. It's waterproof and the old one isn't officially waterproof, but was still more water resistant than advertised. It's not thinner or lighter, the battery doesn't last longer, and it doesn't even look different. Some people will want to upgrade after only one year, but I wouldn't expect most Series 1 owners to think it's worth buying a Series 2.

Given that, I would assume that there'd be a big spike of sales when the Apple Watch was first released, followed by a few years of diminishing sales. I even had a theory (which so far has worked out) that Apple would avoid making a lot of small incremental changes every year. Given the novelty of the product, some people probably held off buying it the first year because they wanted to see if the following year's model would show substantial improvements. Now that we've seen only minor improvements for Series 2, that may have lead some of those people to go ahead and buy one, which may explain why their sales aren't even worse.

My basic theory is that Apple has a cycle in mind for how often they'll release major updates with major design changes, and it's basically on the same time frame that their marketing experts tell them that people will be willing to buy a new smart watch. I don't know if that's 2 years or 4 years, but it's not going to be 1 year.

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