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Comment Re:A car from the guy who brought us the Apple Wat (Score 1) 140

Since iPhones have a much larger market share than OSX devices your point is moot. But don't let that stop you from blabbing on about it. Or the fact that Apple has sold more iWatch products than all other smartwatches combined.

(a) iOS market share is around 30% c.f. 70% for Android - and these days, that Android figure includes a lot of high-end phones from Samsung et. al. Apple could probably double their target market by supporting Android. On what planet does that not make sense?

(b) Most of the competing smartwatches suffer the exact same drawbacks as the Apple Watch: high price, poor battery life, normally-off emissive display, too bulky/delicate/expensive for sport. The FitBit (not a full smartwatch - but nails the most compelling use case of smartwatches) outsells the Apple Watch by a factor of two.

Of course, the iPod, iPhone probably ended up selling more Macs... but they did that indirectly, by promoting the brand, despite being supported on PCs. If Apple think many Android users are going to by a Watch plus an iPhone to link to it - or even look at a Watch if it doesn't work with their phone - then they're holding it wrong.

Comment Re:A car from the guy who brought us the Apple Wat (Score 1) 140

I'm no fan of smart watches but is there really anything wrong with the Apple watch aside from the fact that the whole concept is a solution to a non-problem?

They're a great solution to the problem "I have spare money that I want to spend on an expensive, impractical gadget".

Main problems (shared with most high-end smartwatches):
1. Short battery life: Fail to put it on charge at night and its useless the next day, something that's most likely to happen when your routine is disrupted, e.g. by travel, which is just when you're most likely to need a smartwatch.
2. Normally off OLED display: strictly for people who don't remember why the LED digital watches of the 1970s were such an amazingly bad idea.
3. Obligatory XKCD reference. Seriously - this. I've got a phone with accurate time that can be in my hand in 2 seconds, one-handed. It's barely less convenient than a watch, especially a dumbwatch on which I either have to press a button, invoke Siri or strike a mail-order-catalog "I am now looking at my watch" pose to get the display to turn on.

Practical upshot: forget the "smart" bit - it doesn't even do the "watch" bit properly.

Main problem not shared with other smartwatches: it only works with iPhone. If you use an Android phone, don't bother. Anybody think the iPod would have been the success it was if His Jobsness had stuck with the original, Mac-only version? Or if the iPhone had required you to own a Mac?

The only smartwatch that appeals to me remotely is the Pebble range, because they have vaguely credible battery life and always-on reflective displays (but they look awful). Those seem like absolute, bare-minimum requirements for a smartwatch to me.

Comment Re:Apple's on the wrong road (Score 1) 140

...well, they had no experience or support structure in phones, either, yet managed to get the carriers dancing to their tune.

Also, their competitors here are going to be Tesla and (maybe) Google rather than GM or BMW.

Some big auto makers have already reduced development in EVs or have decided to market them in only certain markets.

Bit like Xerox in the 1980s not really trying to push GUIs, local area networking and desktop publishing because it didn't fit their ossified business model, then?

Even Tesla is finding out how difficult it is to make cars, and sell, service, and deal with liability and safety.

Odds are, Apple will have the car rolling off existing production lines in China, avoiding Tesla's production woes, and they have plenty of cash to set up infrastructure - you'd probably use existing independent repair shops for your service network. They have lots of lessons - good and bad - to follow from Tesla.

The liability issue is Telsa trying to run before they can walk with the "self driving" feature, a mistake that is easily avoided. Its not even clear yet whether the Apple car is going to be EV, self-driving, neither or both. Sensible thing with self-driving is to start with 'personal mass transit' schemes in business campuses, airports, theme parks etc. and work up.

Sure, the Apple Car is high risk, but the EV is in just the sort of state that the PC, MP3 player and Phone markets were in when Apple stepped in. Meanwhile, the PC and Mobile market is mature and saturated and won't be offering huge growth prospects any time soon - Apple may not have come up with any genius innovations in the last few years, but neither has anybody else.

Comment Re:Stop calling it "Autopilot" (Score 2) 297

The term "autopilot", as the majority has come acquainted with it, originates from the areoplane industry.

No, the term "autopilot", as the majority understand it means a device that pilots a plane automatically so the pilot can take their hands off the controls. They've seen it in films - documentaries even (I saw an A380 pilot filling in a checklist while his plane flew itself across the atlantic on TV just the other day). If you're lucky, they don't think it involves a humorous inflatable pilot dummy. Whether or not the pedantically correct aviation industry definition of "autopilot" matches this is irrelevant.

Like it or not, idiots who ignore disclaimers on systems called "autopilot" put other people in danger. Auto-drive shouldn't be publicly available till its ready to be used autonomously. (Also, we've been well-trained to ignore disclaimers & warnings - there are pages of them with every product we buy).

Comment Re:"The pound dropping" (Score 2) 197

The pound is above the lowest point just after the Brexit vote - and pretty much stabilized.

It's still at its lowest point for years but hey, yes, a low pound is swings and roundabouts for the economy as a whole... and the FTSE 100 index just had a little wobble because of the shock of calling it wrong (and traders who predicted the wobble won big). The FTSE 250 which includes more UK-focussed companies is still down a bit - but, hey, it'll be back after a few weeks of normal trading. So, panic over, Brexit isn't going to harm the economy.

One small problem...

Brexit hasn't happened yet!

Now, I hate to be all hysterical and put that in bold, but I think its generally accepted that evidence of the effect doesn't usually turn up until after the cause. I know that the "Remain" campaign told us all that a giant hand would reach up and snuff out the sun the moment the ballot was counted, but those clowns were part of the problem.

So far, we don't know when Brexit will happen or even if it will (I don't thing the government can just ignore the vote, but they could water it down to some token change in relationship) it we don't know on what terms, and what wonderful deals we'll be able to cut with India and China: the UK is not allowed to start negotiating other trade details outside the EU until we leave (and some in the EU are claiming that we can't negotiate trade deals with the EU until we've left, although I suspect that will get talked out). The important decisions - whether City institutions will be allowed to continue clearing in Euros, whether whatever trade deals we cut with the EU will be enough to keep companies like BMW/Mini and Nissan investing in manufacturing plants in the UK etc. are yet to be made.

Its kinda like that day about 15 years ago when the Euro was first launched and the world didn't end - obviously all the concerns being discussed then about all the mismatched economies, some of whom had fudged the entry criteria, were wrong, yes? (Now, putting some clear blue water between us and the ticking timebomb that is the Euro is one area where I do sympathise with Brexit - although the disadvantage is that we're about to give it a good solid kick and we're not quite at safe distance).

Comment Re:Driver assistance system or autopilot system ? (Score 2) 485

Most people understand "autopilot" to be something that keeps an airplane flying in a straight line.

Rubbish. Most people probably think "autopilot" means that inflatable doll in the movie Airplane. I'd fully admit that I've got no idea precisely what a modern autopilot can and can't do or what the rules are for using them - what I do know is that (a) pilots are much more thoroughly trained and monitored than car drivers, and are more likely to follow the rules when flying on autopilot and (b) planes fly for thousands of miles on pre-set courses without passing within a mile of other traffic, and its probably safe to take your hands of the stick and rest your eyes for a moment.

...and autopilots on boats are partly there to enable you to take your hands off the rudder and do important things including looking out for other boats & obstacles - not enjoy a movie. Again, it relies on things not happening to quickly. If you're in the middle of the atlantic hundreds of miles from shipping lanes then you might even catch some sleep.

There's a reason why planes and boats have had autopilots since forever, but not cars.

There's really no equivalent for a car, where (with the exception of a few areas with arrow-straight deserted roads) you are continually passing within feet of other vehicles & pedestrians and need to be ready to make a split-second decision. There's no real equivalent of autopilot - you can have "driver assist" or, when its ready "full self-drive" but pretending that there's anything in between is dangerous.

A pilot watching Harry Potter while flying on autopilot may or may not be a bad pilot - I don't know the rules. A driver watching Harry Potter on "autopilot" is an organ donor.

As for the fatalities/mile thing - this facility has only recently become available, so give it time for people to become complacent.

Comment Re:F you. Win10 is spyware, not a security update (Score 1) 443

Fuck you for trying to blame this malware on "IT security people". It's precisely the opposite of eveything we do.

I apologise for unintentionally conflating actual IT security experts who understand what they're doing as opposed to the people who actually make and implement IT security policy in large organisations. If you work somewhere where the two are the same, kudos.

Comment Re:That's the whole point! (Score 5, Insightful) 443

the problem is that the whole point of automatic updates is to keep those users up to date who otherwise would go "I had never heard of security updates and no one ever asked my if I want those updates".

...and you've demonstrated the issue right there by conflating "updates" and "security updates".

Last time I looked, although XP may be risky, using a properly patched Win 7 or 8 isn't a significant security risk, whereas installing any significant OS upgrade without proper testing, planning and backup is an unacceptable risk for people using their system for anything more serious than Minesweeper. Automatic updates should be reserved for urgent security updates of the "imminent remote pwnage" kind - anything less should be advisory & accompanied by warnings to back up and schedule the update for a 'quiet' time.

So, yeah, by abusing the automatic update process (and doing their best to prevent users from keeping it disabled) Microsoft is being hugely irresponsible and endangering the security of users' systems.

There's a problem with IT security in general in that those responsible treat security as an end in itself, and never weigh the benefits of their security measures against the potential loss and disruption caused by the "security measures" themselves. I'm not saying people should be complacent - just prioritize a bit.

(Plus, I really wish I could explain to the IT people at my employer why they shouldn't make their warning emails about phishing attacks look exactly like the sort of phishing attacks that they are warning against...)

Comment Re:The mother of invention... (Score 1) 771

How long before there is a Kickstarter to build an adapter that plugs into the Lightning port and provides Lightning pass through and a 3.5 headphone jack?

You're assuming that Apple won't produce a 3.5" adapter itself. They already sell a device with that functionality that solves the "listen and charge" problem at home - although obviously you'd want something a tad smaller on-the-go.

Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 152

Drivers can't handle simple left/right turns so they're trying out these annoying "roundabouts" here in the US, do you really want the average driver to have a FLYING vehicle?

I think we're really talking about quieter and easier-to-fly helicopters and light aircraft that you can also drive to the airfield - for the sort of people who already fly around in helicopters or light aircraft.

At worst/best, the guy who buys the flying car is the guy currently trying to park his Audi in your tailpipe because you're trying to overtake a horse box without going more than 20mph over the limit. There's a reassuring thought...

they're trying out these annoying "roundabouts" here in the US

I love that the US is introducing roundabouts just as, here in the UK, more and more roundabouts are getting traffic lights (or even being turned back into regular junctions) because they can't cope with the traffic. OTOH, a roundabout is probably preferable to the US's obsession with the automotive poker game known as the 4-way stop, and they do help replace fatal T-bone collisions with a lot of minor low-speed shunts.

Comment Re:Jeremy Clarkson lampooned the vehicle (Score 1) 596

Except that he was driving the thing on a track at the time, and trying for "best time" laps.

So? This was a Tesla Roadster - a luxury sports car sold largely on the grounds of its performance (which, ISTR, Clarkson did say extremely nice things about). If you are are in the market for a $100k roadster then you might very well plan to drive it to the occasional "track day", spend an afternoon doing power laps, and drive back.

After all, you've already got the Range Rover for shopping, the Bentley for holidays and you just bought little Sebastian a BMW 3 series to get to his lectures... (or, at lest, if you're watching Top Gear, that's your fantasy for 60 minutes). That's certainly the basis on which Top Gear consistently "reviews" cars. They've also been known to point out how many sets of $1000 tyres some supercars vaporised in the course of a track session, how often the car needed filling up while racing the train between London and Cannes, and mocked the compexity of starting the engine on a McLaren, so its not like anything that runs on dead polar bears gets a free pass.

Certainly, taking your Tesla to a track day is a more plausible scenario than wanting to use a Reliant Robin as a re-usable spacecraft (although, hang on, Elon Musk...).

Comment Re:The Numbers Just Don't Work (Score 2) 1052

If there are 150M American adults eligible for this, and you pay them each $2000/month, that's $300B per month. Over a year, that's $3.6T.

No, its not going to cost that much because if you introduce UBI you raise income taxes so that, above a certain income threshold, what you gain in UBI you lose in tax. Preferably, you integrate UBI with the tax system so that most of UBI money never changes hands. The trick is tuning the tax system so that people in the transition from 100% UBI to 100% wages always have an incentive to earn more. But then (a) most countries already have a sophisticated redistributive tax system with various rates and thresholds and (b) existing welfare schemes already create "poverty traps" whereby people lose more in benefits than they would gain from a job, usually because of multiple, inter-dependent welfare schemes that suddenly cut off.

You're right, though - you can't just drop UBI into an existing system on its own and expect the invisible hand to sort everything else out - you have to consider the effect on everything - taxation, housing policy, healthcare, immigration, education. Lots of government intervention required - but then most countries (including the US) already have lots of government intervention, and it isn't going away. Remember - any government assistance to workers on low wages is an indirect government subsidy to businesses paying low wages.

NB: Welfare budgets are already a big chunk of GDP although its hard to find clear figures that unpick what we actually mean by "welfare". Certainly not your 20%, but that was a massive over-estimate anyhow. In the UK, this site puts "social security" at 6% GDP - that doesn't include the health service but might include other irrelevant things.

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