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Comment Apple as example: Not by accident ... (Score 1) 78

Apple learned a long time ago ... in the System7/7.5/8/OS9 days ... that if you want third parties to develop on your platform, you need to stand back and let that happen. They have introduced software (much of which is cited in the summary) to fill holes in the ecosystem, but they are pointers to lead third party developers to create something better and sell it.

They learned that lesson because they sometimes did step in and kill interest in developing for the Mac (more so with OS9, but the lesson stuck).

iTunes is a little different, in that it's a gateway to Apple income, so updates concentrate on that area, but it's wrong to expect it to be a state-of-the-art audio application. iTunes actually has no audio abilities; it uses QuickTime and Core Audio (built into the OS itself), and both are usable by any third party developer to make their own audio related apps.

When there was a glaring hole in the software ecosystem (Keynote, etc) Apple built a simple but functional app to be included with the OS It was never as functional as Microsoft PowerPoint; it was never intended to be. It was a kick in Microsoft's pants to keep developing PowerPoint for the Mac.

The point is the lack of feature enhancement is not by accident; it's deliberate. Apple wants developers to develop for the Mac, and they've learned that one way to do that is to leave room for 3rd Party Developers to fill in the void themselves.

Comment Re:Capitalism of exploration (Score 1) 403


<quote><p>Productivity and "working more" are not the same thing.</p></quote>

<p>This poster was replying to a post that tried to imply that europeans were just more efficient. Also, one common thread you hear is that productivity starts to fall as hours increase. This poster was saying that for the USA, even working more than other people we still seem to have the most productivity per hour worked. I think it still wouldn't hurt to try to reduce the number of hours worked but to be working the most hours per week and still have the most productivity per hour is actually kindof impressive.</p></quote>

I would suggest that we don't actually know what "productivity" actually is. Not that we don't have figures to represent productivity, or that we haven't established categories of economic data that we use to generate productivity estimates ... we have and do all these things.

But it's a measure of something that changes depending on what you are measuring, and what you choose to measure often comes down to what you do in the first place. A nation that has a large agricultural economy will choose to use different parameters than a nation that has a large automated manufacturing sector, and one that has a large fundamental industrial capacity (steel making or shipbuilding, for example) a different set again.

The problem, of course, comes when you throw these various economies together and compare them ... the set of parameters you measure become prejudicial, benefitting one economy over another, leading to a "better" number for one compared to the other.

So, productivity numbers are generally useful but specifically useless. You can use them to establish baselines and glean trends that are useful to a certain extent, but to compare two different economies the value becomes diluted and of dubious merit.

Maybe Germany might find productivity values useful in making economic goals for the future, to assess where it should be putting it's assets for competitive advantages versus the rest of the world, and the US might find similar value in similar fact gathering, but comparing Germany to the US, it becomes much more difficult to come up with a set of measurable criteria that doesn't favour one over the other, because they are significantly different economies structurally.

I remember in the 1990's if you were to compare productivity figures for various nations worldwide, they all came down to a single metric ... the adoption of computers in business and industry.

I have no doubt that adopting computers were important factors in how efficiently work got done, but it's absurd that a single metric represented the entire picture. The result was Productivity figures that said one economy (the US) apparently became many times more productive than any other economy on Earth, overnight.

Plus, and I say this as an Economics major in college, anything that involves an economist is tantamount to guessing.

Comment Re:What have they got to show for it? (Score 1) 403

<quote><p>And you are better off for it. Sure I'd love to slash the military budget to 1/10th its current size and bring all our armed forces home for pure defense purposes, but Europe has done a piss poor job of showing that it is willing to fund the military presence needed to ensure stability. So we do that. You're welcome, and STFU.</p></quote>

America cannot "slash it's military budget to 1/10th" and "bring all our armed forces home" and expect to maintain it's profits from trade. No nation has ever earned money from foreign trade without a strong military presence; one goes hand in hand with the other, and a failure to maintain the military side of the equation inevitably leads to the trade income disappearing, having been taken over by a foreign rival who understood the necessity for military might abroad.

Some might assume that the US, with a falling manufacturing base, no longer has a robust international trade to protect. They would be wrong.

Although things like machinery or textiles or electronics may no longer be large parts of the export pie, the US has robust trading products such as agriculture, software, fast food franchises, entertainment, and even sports to offer in international trade, and in essence, all these products are equivalent to manufactured goods which, although certainly valuable commodities, are old economy products. Despite all the advantages a manufacturing export economy offers, it is important to realize there is more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak.

Another might suggest that maybe others should step up and provide "their share" of the military resources the US has deployed internationally. Regardless of what that should involve ... allied nations do deploy troops and assets in shared geopolitical conflicts now, but the US media can't sell news of non-American troops in, say, Syria so it's little wonder the average US citizen has no idea to what extent allied nations do share objectives and absorb the consequences of being in action ... the point is it's not these short term deployments that matter when it comes to trade; it's the military bases worldwide, and the naval assets that support those bases.

These represent long term, relatively fixed costs that cannot be reduced to any significant level without jeopardizing their very existence.

And when one nation closes a base, or moves out of an anchored position somewhere on the planet, another nation is always eager and ready to move into the vacuum created. And that is how the world's larger trading nations grow their domestic economies.

Comment Re:What have they got to show for it? (Score 1) 403


<quote><p>Of course. I forgot that Europeans were able to prevent Russia from moving in all by themselves. Oh wait. No they didn't. Russia moved in and installed puppets in all those Eastern bloc countries and the other European countries did nothing. The US was tired and left Europe to do something and Europe failed</p></quote>

<p>If by "Europeans" you mean Nazi Germany, then no, they had a treaty with the Soviet Union.

If you mean other major European powers, well, they were more concerned about Nazi Germany at the time.

In the period of 1918 to 1940, there was no real U.S. military presence in Europe.

I think we all agree that it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the USA into WW2 - otherwise they would have been quite content to sit it out, like they did most of WWI.</p></quote>

And the US was so reluctant to get involved in WWII that even after Pearl Harbour, wherupon the USA declared war on Japan, the vote to declare war on Germany was defeated. It was Germany whom, after waiting about a week for the US to act and realizing it wasn't going to happen, declared war on the US.

Comment Re:What have they got to show for it? (Score 1) 403

<quote><i>When you retire, you're not out buying new Tesla's or a new phone every year, you don't really need to....having things paid off and money in the bank, and with age, your "fun" needs decrease really, no kids to take care of, etc. That's pretty easy in most parts of the US.</i>

  Or buying a new Tesla ever.


Now, I can't remember who did it or even when I read the summary, but in a survey of US millionaires, there were some consistent traits that stood out against the common practice of those who had net worth less than $1 million.

One of those traits was the Millionaires bought (gently) used cars, the poorer Americans bought new cars.

Comment Re:Smoking electronics != EXPLODE (Score 1) 126

<quote>Can we pretty-please, with sugar on top, not refer to: Explode? As an old electronics guy who has seen more than his share of fried electronics, the word "Explode" does not compute with low-voltage electronics. Smoked? Burned? Yes! Explode? No!!!</quote>

So all the failed electrolytic capacitors you've ever encountered just sat there, sharing cigarettes?

Comment Re:They should bring back the replaceable battery. (Score 1) 126

<quote>Then someone with a bad battery can take it out for flights and such.</quote>

They don't design in replaceable batteries precisely because there is a fire hazard potential. (There is also the issue of fitting everything in the planned case dimensions, but that simply illustrates that there is more than one reason).

Users inevitably purchase the cheapest replacement they can find, which are of questionable quality, and are the most likely to explode or burn up. If you look at the history of defective batteries causing fires (SONY, Toshiba, IBM/Lenovo laptops, iPods, etc) it's a rouge supplier, a counterfeit, or a cheaply priced 3rd party replacement that is the typical cause.

Comment Re:What about autocorrect? (Score 1) 55

The FIRST thing you do, when you get a new "smart" phone, is turn auto-correction off.

About a month later, you will discover you never needed it in the first place. Plus, you will never have have to deal with people who mis-interpret your meaning in your text communication, as the improperly spelled uncorrected version of whatever you were trying to say will be instantly recognizable by whomever is reading it for what it was supposed to be, because as humans we are very, very good at that.

Why would anyone want to substitute a perfectly spelled and completely out-of-context substitution, unless, of course, you consider communication to be a skill valued lower than dirt.

Comment Re:Texting isn't typing (Score 1) 55

The keyboard layout of a modern computer / laptop is based on the typewriter key layout. The interesting thing is the that layout was deliberately crafted to *slow down* type speed, as the typists of the day (a hundred years ago) would type faster than the machines could render the text, leading to jamming. So, not only do I not believe that any voice recognition software can keep up to a touch typist, it's probable that with different key layouts (which exist, I know, but no-one actually uses them) a touch typist could type well beyond the common 40~60 wpm many of us can manage easily, and the somewhat less common 80~100 wpm some are capable of, and kick this Voice Recognition "breakthrough" all over the block. And how much do you want to bet that a new keyboard, throw in some training hours even, would cost less than whatever hardware and software and training hours this is going to require?

Because a touch typist never looks at the keyboard but always at the output (versus a touchscreen virtual keyboard user, who almost always will be continuously switching his or her gaze from the keyboard to the output, back to the keyboard, etc) corrections take as little as a fraction of a second and even amongst those whose typing speed is less than 40 wpm, not much longer. The old "thousand monkeys"(1) could probably beat someone making a correction on a virtual keyboard because the software interface, as clever as it may be, is clumsy as hell and that is probably as advanced as it's going to get without live editing with a stylus and text recognition that actually works.

Which brings us to ...

I first used text recognition software twenty years ago. It worked about 95% of the time, and you had to make tedious corrections on the rest. Two decades later, we have computers that are maybe a thousand times faster, and who knows how many hours of software development invested, and it works about 95% of the time, and you have to make tedious corrections on the rest. To me this pretty much establishes this is an application of technology that is un-solvable, or at least un-solvable until we are past the point where we have moved on and no-one needs it to work.

Voice recognition seems to me to be just a fancy variation of the same thing, with the same fundamental flaws, designed to fleece people out of the funds in the software budget.

(1) "If you gave a thousand monkeys a thousand keyboards and waited long enough, they eventually would produce the complete works of Shakespeare."

Comment Re:akin to.... (Score 1) 120

<quote><p>Sure its faster when you finally get to the table but that time saving is lost waiting for the table. Thats another wierd US thing, the belief by businesses that its OK to keep people on hold on the phone forever (due to unusuaslly high call volume) or waiting in the entryway for 30 minutes before you even get answered/seated. I bet you never had to wait 30 minutes to get a table in Italy.</p></quote>

Yes, this is one of the bigger differences I noticed when visiting or living in the US (I'm from western Canada) is that people in the USA think nothing of lining up at checkouts or waiting for a table in a restaurant. Back home we tolerate three deep at the grocery store and 10 minutes at the restaurant, but anything longer and we will just leave the cart of groceries to rot and walk out, or just walk period.

I realize it's just a cultural thing, but it's quite obvious if you're used to something else. Now, in southern Ontario they are more like people in the US as far as waiting for service goes, so sometimes you see chains that have moved out west that are clueless to the difference, and they fail.

Comment 100% of my spam is purchase-related (Score 1) 120

I have a host of eMail addresses and aliases ... roughly 10 are in common use. I don't get a lot of spam, because I have never given out or published my eMail addresses willy-nilly ... there were times, ten years ago, when a dozen messages a year were the norm for me, today it's about five messages a week. One eMail address is used exclusively for purchases via PayPal and my two Amazon accounts (I have a US and Canadian account with them) and since I am an electronics hobbyist, there are a fair number of small purchases from Japan, the People's Republic of China (PRC), Hong Kong, and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

100% of my spam messages are addressed to this same address. I get zero spam to any of my other eMail addresses, which are used regularly.

My guess is many of these small Asian operators are using bogus or obsolescent versions of Windows to run their operations, and are regularly pwned, and are unaware of the situation themselves.

Comment Why would you buy a Samsung Appliance? (Score 1) 164

Samsung's home appliances (refrigerators, freezers, stoves, washing machines, dryers) have an absolutely horrible reputation for reliability and worse, for indifferent or non-existant service and repair. A few exploding washers is probably the least of the problems you could expect.

Comment Re:Restart the elections, primaries and all. (Score 1) 199

<quote><p>No, I am not new to the process and I know that there is always accusations of fraud real or imagined and such. One major difference though is this time we have lots of PROOF involved in it.</p><p>Them trying to accuse Russia is just a scapegoat at this point of them trying to misdirect from the volume of stuff coming out at this point that they can't rightfully deny.</p><p>I am one to definitely advocating to restart the process with the level of crap that has happened this cycle and the level of proof that has come out as the end results of this election may very well have been tainted already due to this just from the primary results already. To just suck it up and move on is to just let the damage persist that you clearly have evidence of.</p></quote>

There has always been "lots of PROOF", as you put it. Lincoln's people fixed the primary. Kennedy was elected in the closest election (at that time) in US history, where if in Illinois and Texas 22,000 voters had gone Nixon, he would have won. Yet, in certain districts of Chicago, more people voted for Kennedy than the total population, eligible and non-eligible voters combined, in the district.

And so on ... I just picked two easy ones. There are more; in fact there are multiple proven, to use your phrase, examples in every single Presidential election, period. It is so far from new to have "proven" fraud in 2016 that it's not only not surprising, it's a given.

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