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Comment Re:That's Interesting & Irrelevant (Score 1) 51

My picture was nice too, but they had system boards that shouldn't have made it through basic inspection, and of course the mechanical design was absurd. Since there was no provision for mounting the system boards in a conventional way I have to conclude that the sloppy construction at least was by design.

Now as for whether LeEco build quality will be better, worse, or the same, I have no opinion. I'm just reacting to the notion that Vizio makes a quality TV. In my experience it doesn't. Your experience doesn't negate that, because the tough thing isn't turning out quality units, it's turning them out consistently. That's why it's called quality "control" or "assurance".

Comment Re:RIP (Score 4, Informative) 51

Errr... the build quality for Vizio TVs is dreadful. I had one fail twice in the warranty period and then of course immediately after the warranty expired.

Opening the thing up the mainboard of the device was fastened to the backlight panel chassis with packing tape. I'd never seen such shoddy construction, not to mention the very poor quality of the boards themselves.

In general I think the idea of "smart tvs" is bad for the consumer economically. On top of that selling our viewing habits a profit center for Vizio on their already crappy throw-away TVs. And to add insult to injury, the UI for most smart TVS is just terrible. I replaced the Vizio with a Samsung, not because I wanted another smart tv, but because it was cheap. Not only was the search function hopelessly broken, the damn thing interrupted stuff I was watching on Netflix or Amazon with service change bulletins for Samsung services I neither subscribed to nor used. How could any UI designers be so damned stupid.

But you almost can't get a smallish HD TV that's not "smart". I ended up with a Hitachi "Roku TV" which is just a plain old TV with a Roku stick stuck in one the HDMIs. I'm much happier with Roku's UI and service, but if I wanted to I could just pop the Roku stick out and have a plain old TV.

Comment Re:They did the same thing for dual booting Linux (Score 1) 377

I still dual boot -- but I almost never use Windows, which is kind of the point. I don't use it enough to justify paying for a virtualization compatible license, and it's just a static waste of resources to boot in Windows to run Linux under a VM.

I suppose one solution for those instances where you have to boot Windows yet also access stuff in your Linux partition is to use raw partition access in a virtual machine and serve the data over a virtual network server. I know it's possible but it's been so many years since I've had to do it I couldn't comment on how other than to say read the virtualization platform documentation.

Comment Re:The Verge is 100% wrong (Score 1) 56

History has also shown us that most new ideas fail. Even good ideas.

I agree that the idea of accessories per se, attractive as it is to me, isn't enough to make a product a success these days. However I should point out that back in the day of PDAs it was normal for mobile devices to have a CF or SD slot that could also be used to add features. This was in the day when mobile devices didn't have cell data connections, GPS or even wi-fi, and it was quite common for people to add memory cards, wi-fi, bluetooth, and GPS. I have a box full of accessory cards in my attic.

Handspring, a company that made Palm Pilot clones, initially did very well with their Springboard modules which allowed you to add any kind of functionality to the base system, just like what we're talking about here. Then a few years after introducing the Springboard module Handspring stopped making PDAs altogether in favor of what was then called a "converged device" -- aka a smartphone -- without the slot. It's all about timing; Handspring was perhaps a little ahead of the curve on convergence, but a lot of manufacturers were getting pushed that way because of falling hardware retail prices made it attractive to put more stuff in the base device to keep the price high.

The standard inclusion of GPS + Cloud + Camera + Bluetooth built-in means that there really isn't a need to physically connect a device to a mobile device. The only exception is battery; there is a real need for a more elegant and secure way to extend the operation of a smartphone than plugging it into a powerbank via USB.

But I may be wrong. Maybe there's a compelling use case for a modular architecture that I just haven't thought of yet. That's why I like to see vendors trying something different, although I usually expect them to fail. I've watched tech long enough to realize that success isn't just about an idea being right, it has to come at the right time.

Comment Re:Old stuff "discovered" by the ignorant (Score 1) 504

While I don't necessarily disagree with you, let me point out that orthodox economic models are also based on assumptions that are not entirely true. For example you don't necessarily assume that any one agent (e.g. the central planner) has all the information relevant to making decisions, but you do assume that all relevant information is available to parties making decisions about transactions they'll take part in. That's not true, but it's close enough to being true that the models have practical utility. Oh, and there's the bit about people being rational in their decision-making.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 504

Because believe it or not, while working sucks, not working also sucks. You don't know how much you get out of work until you don't have it anymore, and I mean stuff beside money: social interaction, purpose, challenge, someplace to go and someplace to look forward to take a vacation from.

In Sweden they're offering an intriguing compromise: work less, or more precisely work for fewer hours, which isn't precisely the same thing.

Comment Re:What a mess (Score 1) 455

You know, taking the dichotomy you propose as accurate, I'd go with the sleazeball hands down. You might not like them but you can work with sleazy people if you know what they are. They are simply pursuing their self-interest and respond predictably according to realistic calculations of where that lies.

A narcissist on the other hand you can't work with on the basis of realism because he's not rooted in the real world. He operates in a fantasy world. A sleazeball won't act in a way that harms himself but a narcissist, while every bit as self-oriented and deceptive will, and then go looking for scapegoats, even when that does more damage. A sleazeball only scapegoats when it's to his advantage.

So would you rather deal with someone who is rational but selfish, or someone who is unpredictable, self-destructive and selfish?

Comment Re:Anything incriminating? (Score 4, Interesting) 455

I was a Sanders supporter, and I'm neither surprised nor particularly upset. You have to be realistic. Hillary has been active and well-known in the party since 1974, when she rose to prominence as a whip-smart young staff attorney of the Children's Defense Fund. She's spent the last forty years, building contacts and networks in the Democratic party, including nationally as first lady for eight years and with nearly successful presidential run that took her across the entire country. She has a massive rolodex, war chest, and ground organization.

Bernie Sanders only joined the party in 2015. That the DNC was less than perfectly impartial towards the two won't come as news to an Bernie supporter, but to be frank the idea that long-time party insiders and activists would treat someone who joined the party last year the same as someone who's been a big deal in the party for decades is simply unrealistic.

Comment Re:What is the appeal of these things? (Score 1) 129

I think you think the text is too small because you haven't actually used one. I have, and I'm almost 60 years old and need bifocals. I generally can't read ingredients on food or vitamin packages without glasses, but I have no difficulty whatsoever with reading calendar notifications or caller ID on a smartwatch without glasses. Would I want to read a book or webpage on one? Nope. But for notifications the text size is plenty big for me, and I have weaker-than-average eyesight.

Likewise it's not particularly uncomfortable to wear a watch, or hard to remember to put one on. Some folks with ADHD might have problems, because they're always misplacing things and many of them have comfort issues with things like t-shirt tags which most people don't notice but they find distracting. But most people don't find watches uncomfortable or hard to keep track of.

This is just the usual problem with managing the tech adoption curve; the point where you've saturated the early adopter segment. There aren't new features coming in to entice thosee early adopters to upgrade and there aren't enough people on the penumbra of the early adopter community that they become hip. And there isn't really a killer app yet, unless it's fitness tracking which can be done on cheaper devices. That's the only reason I don't wear one anymore; there aren't any that are as good at fitness tracking as a fitbit, so I'd be paying more and getting less for my main use.

Comment Re:New Chrome looks terrible on OS X (Score 5, Insightful) 67

Why not use OS X's built-in widgets for tabs, arrows, etc.?

Is it more important for your browser to be consistent with the other apps on your desktop, or to be consistent with the browser across different kinds of platforms? The answer won't be the same for everyone, but what we're seeing now is the endpoint of process that Microsoft feared with Netscape back in the 90s: the marginalization of desktop operating systems as platforms.

Back in the 90s if your browser looked dramatically different from the way other Mac apps looked, users would have howled in protest. Now most people would agree that it's more important for a website or app to look consistent across different devices and operating systems. For many users it wouldn't matter very much whether they're using Windows, MacOS or Linux, were it not for the fact they're locked into MS Office.

So there's nothing "wrong" with OSX's built in widget set, except that it serves Google as a browser-centric company better to standardize the experience across host OSs.

Comment Re:What is the appeal of these things? (Score 1) 129

You missed the point. For most people's its not about adding functionality, it's about adding convenience. Doing the same things you could do with a phone, but with less bother. If you receive a lot of phone calls, most of which you ignore, or if (like me) you tend to put a lot of notifications in your calendar, a smartwatch adds a considerable level of convenience, although obviously you *could* haul your phone out of your pocket a dozen times a day, look at it then put it back. If you have to check the time frequently, or time things frequently, you obviously could use your phone, but a cheap digital watch is more convenient. If you don't need to do any of these things more than once or twice a day it's really difficult to add another device to the mix and increase convenience.

Since adding any device necessarily adds some inconvenience, we're in the complicated realm of user trade-offs. That's a tough problem, because to the mix of things like battery life, legibility, user interface you also have comfort and style. All the offerings on the market are marginal in at least one or two of these areas, so it's a tough sell outside the early adopter market. The trick for the long-term success of this product category is to keep offering early adopters enticing upgrades, long enough for someone to develop a really compelling device, the way that "converged devices" sputtered along for years until Apple introduced the iPhone. Can it be done? I don't know.

The one thing that smartwatches add these days that doesn't really work with smartphones alone is fitness tracking, but that's a niche market. Some people like me obsessively collect data and wear them 7x24 except for occasional recharges -- which I can do with a Fitbit surge because its battery lasts for multiple days. So for people like me you can't beat something like a Fitbit surge and going smartphone-only doesn't work at all, so where a solid reliable market for fitness trackers. The danger for the smart watch product category is that high-end activity trackers will evolve into smart watches, which is why recent smart watches all have multi-axis accelerometers and heart rate sensors. But they're also slightly more expensive, and certainly more complicated than the need to be for fitness tracking.

Comment Re:Amazon is awesome for knockoffs! (Score 5, Insightful) 342

Drop the tax rate and compete.

Actually net US corporate taxation is lower than most of our competitors. Yes, we have higher rates but those are offset by many more exemptions and exclusions. People who point to other countries want to adopt their rates but not their rules; adopting both would result in higher tax revenues and more incentive to shelter income.

We are getting one upped by others because they know how to compete - we don't.

It's not know-how. Primarily it's low wages. China has a per-capita GDP of $15,000, vs. $57,000 for the US. China's median private sector salary is $4,755 per year, vs $42,233 for the US. It's even lower What's more income inequality is greater in China than it is in the US. There are 21.6x fewer people in the top decile by income in China than there are in the bottom decile; that figure is 15.9 for the US. This basically means your work force is poor, and legally prevented from unionizing. On top of that regulations are spottily enforced in China if at all. All the complexity of environmental, worker and consumer protections go away if you're willing to grease a few palms. In business this is we call a no-brainer deal.

The irony is that culturally speaking the Chinese people hate the idea of corrupt officials. But they live in a system we're they're not only not allowed to vote, they're not allowed to know or publicize unflattering news. So going by the example of the country we have the greatest trade deficit with, the way to compete is to suppress wages and unions, provide a system of graft as a way to get around environmental and safety rules, take away individual voting rights and freedom of information, and basically run the place so that business owners (for a price) have their interests set above everyone else's.

OK, copying our #1 trade deficit partner turns out not to be so attractive. Well, who's #2 on the list? It's the European Union, where wages are high, regulation is high, bureaucracy is high, worker and consumer rights are high, and income inequality is low.

Hmm. Interesting choice.

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