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Comment Re:Same goes for eye glasses (Score 1) 698

Which is why you can buy a pair of cheap glasses from lens crafters for FAR less than that. In fact glasses are like any other fashion accessory, the consumer pays more for the name, the perceived style/value and modest exclusivity. You couldn't be more off the mark in your comparison.

If anything you could compare hearing aids to something like excessively expensive audiophile stereo equipment. I'm sure that there are advances made through R&D but the real question is: Is the current march of progress worth continuing? Would the consumer benefit more from slightly better technology or significantly lower costs? If these manufacturers significantly cut their R&D operations or if a start-up business was able to license last year's tech like a "generic" the prices could drop significantly. Ultimately the cost comes down to recouping / funding future R&D, not the actual manufacturing and material costs. There is plenty of room for prices to go down if the improvements made year over year are not worth paying for.

Comment Re:javascript vs flash (Score 1) 468

OK, I'll bite...

I am in no way a virtual machine expert and I have not done any research surrounding the flash VM implementation. But I do know that things are nowhere near as simple as you are suggesting. The two most important things seem to be startup time, and performance relative to native code. Do not assume that simply because flash is precompiled into byte code that it is somehow faster relative to native code. Each of the top performing JS engines in three of the major browsers (ff, safari, chrome) seem to have their own unique implementations but some of them definitely rely on byte code compilation and hotspot detection (safari) while others are implementing native compilation (chrome and ff).

There is a massive amount of performance competition happening in the JS VM space, this competition drives innovation and performance improvements. As I said before I don't follow the flash VM, but I do know that without competition it is entirely up to Adobe to drive itself to innovate and improve flash performance and I can't say that I've been terribly impressed with Adobe's performance in any of it's products. This really is a general problem when you have a single vendor technology and no competition in the space.

IMO Adobe would be far better of embracing their roots as a tools company and build tools to support HTML5 while working with the browser development teams to detect and improve performance. If they spend the rest of their days fighting the HTML5 trend they will eventually be left behind. I'm not about to suggest when that will happen, but that day will definitely come.


NZ Draft Bill Rules Out Software Patents 194

Korgan writes "In what must be a first in the face of ACTA and US trade negotiations pressure, a Parliamentary select committee has released a draft bill that explicitly declares that software will no longer be patentable in New Zealand. FTA: 'Open source software champions have been influential in excluding software from the scope of patents in the new Patents Bill. Clause 15 of the draft Bill, as reported back from the Commerce Select Committee, lists a number of classes of invention which should not be patentable and includes the sub-clause "a computer program is not a patentable invention."'"

Comment Re:Is this a joke? (Score 1) 434

As someone who has done a minuscule amount of patent work I can confidently tell you that none of what you are describing is the actual patent. The ONLY aspect of a patent that is truly relevant is the information described in the "claims" section. The rest of the patent application is a setup to make those claims. If it isn't in the claims it isn't something that can claim to be patented. I haven't read through the entirety of the patent, but you might consider the fact that this was filed in early 1995, it isn't some new thing...and judging by your user id I might describe you as a new thing. If you want to lay some blame here you might point out that due to the rate of innovation the duration of software patents is ludicrous.

Comment Re:Maybe, maybe not. (Score 1) 198

Let me just preface this by saying I'm currently an iphone 3G owner and, unless apple pulls multitasking out of their ass with their next OS / device release my next device will be running android.

I know that it was a bit of an exaggeration. However, I would assume, based on the test results, that your nexus one would have the least frustrating experience of the android based devices. The droid on the other hand looked particularly bad. However, it does demonstrate a certain lack of polish / focus that is often paralleled in the PC manufacturing market where apple certainly wins in terms of polish and quality.

Since you have a nexus one, let me ask a question about it's polish. Are you experiencing what several other people have complained about? The row of buttons seem to have their target area simultaneously too small and too high so that if you press anywhere below dead center on the button it just doesn't register the button press, or have those been anecdotal problems?

My iphone is certainly not frustration free, but the vast majority of my gripes fall back to "intentional" design decisions based on developing for a limited resources device. Most of which center around the lack of multitasking and slow app loading.

Comment Re:Maybe, maybe not. (Score 2, Insightful) 198

I think your comparison is a little off. If you look at the differences between these devices I would say it's closer to comparing a modern optical mouse to an old ball mouse. From my experience there is absolutely a difference between those two devices when browsing the internet or performing any other precise task. Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but I always though "gaming-grade" mouse and surfaces were akin to putting v-tech stickers on the side of your car.

Comment Re:new to customer service (Score 3, Insightful) 329

Now I'm certainly not calling for blood, and normally I'm not one to flame bait....but if the question is...
"Why are so many people using it if the service isn't 'good enough'?"

The answer could certainly be...
"Because they are a monopoly."

Of course the other answer could be...
"Because no one else has anything better."

Comment Re:The straight dope (Score 2, Insightful) 329

I'm sorry, perhaps I'm just a bit dense, but what is the benefit of a "ubiquitous file system" that is largely targeted for server infrastructures. Generally speaking I agree that parallel efforts to accomplish a similar / identical task can be deemed wasted efforts on some level. However, that trend is pretty much the standard for all open source projects? Linux vs BSD, WebKit vs Gecko, mysql vs postgres, php/perl/python/ruby the list goes on and on. There are a multitude of reasons projects (corporate backed or otherwise) choose to go their own way. In some cases I'm sure there are benefits to universalizing implementations of certain technologies (perhaps huge projects like gcc), but specifically server grade file systems? I just don't see what the big deal is. Yes ZFS has a large feature list, but clearly if there are patent concerns it's probably for the best that it didn't end up in the Linux kernel (or in OS X).

When I hear that people are working btrfs I don't think "Oh no, this will only lead to server file system adoption fragmentation". Instead I think "that sounds like an interesting project for someone, I'll be sure to track it's progress and I look forward to seeing the benefit of it someday". When I heard that ZFS was not going to be merged into the linux kernel I wasn't particularly concerned. I'm sure that it provided useful features, but I'm also sure that there are a lot of intelligent people working on linux who could come up with something similarly useful if they felt it was worth while. Like I said, it's entirely possible that I'm missing the boat here, please feel free to correct me.

Comment Re:usury. (Score 1) 789

I am definitely not going to outright disagree with your comment. Apple has been notorious good at convincing developers to use the new APIs with each new OS X release. This is different from saying Apple doesn't support 10.4, the issue is that developers have been lured by something in 10.5 that makes supporting 10.4 more difficult.

This is kind of a double edged sword. Arguably, as an operating system developer they are in the business of providing new (better) developer tools with each iteration of the OS. The return on that investment is that developers use those new tools to make it necessary for consumers to buy that new OS (see your comment). The fact that they need recurring revenues means that they can either charge the developers, you or both. Right now apple runs the path of charging the consumer and gives away the developer tools (yes I know I'm ignoring the fact that they make money on the hardware as well). The point is, either your hardware is outdated (according to Apple) or you are unwilling to purchase a newer copy of OS X which will allow you to run the latest greatest apps. Also, while 10.4 is clearly not that old, it was first released about 4 years ago and hasn't had a minor point release in about 2 years. Developers only choose to maintain support for the older version of an operating system if there are users for it. If I had to take a guess I'd say people willing to pay for something still running 10.4 represent a very small majority.

The iPhone is a slightly different beast. With each new revision of the hardware they provide new features (3G, GPS, Compass, improved camera etc). However, they also continue to release new software updates for the various phones they release. Thus far the OS releases have been as much about user facing features as they have been about developer APIs. Since they have a recurring revenue model (by getting a slice of the AT&T monthly contract) they are able to subsidize the software development and can continue to make money from the app store by keeping as large an install base as possible. At some point they will see less value in supporting the old versions of the iPhone (because less people have them) and as a result they will choose not to support those devices with the new update to their operating system.

The question that remains to be seen is just how long they are actually willing to provide software updates to previous versions of the iPhone. Much like the primary OS X development, at some point the old phones simply won't be able to keep up with the OS upgrades or the cost to maintain support for them will overtake the profits that can be seen from the app store. At that point support will be dropped for those older phones. Fortunately the first two revisions had identical CPU and RAM specs, so they probably won't drop the original iPhone until they drop the current iPhone 3G. If I was being optimistic I'd say that we'll probably get another 3 years of OS upgrades for these devices. Though, I'd guess the differences between each upgrade will probably not be very substantial since with version 3.0 the vast majority of people's prayers have been answered.

Comment Re:So much hate... (Score 1) 619

It can be argued that sending MMS is not particularly useful since you are in charge of your own actions and, as you said, you can just send an email. However, not supporting incoming MMS does make the device more frustrating to use.

I'm sure not every single person you know is technically inclined. I have one friend who insists that sending a message as MMS is more reliable from their phone even if they are just sending text. I can argue with them all I want, but when I get an MMS from them that is just a link, a login and a password to some awful AT&T site I am definitely irritated.

In the end there is little reason not to support MMS. At this point it is a standard in the mobile world. While using email is a reasonable work around, this is a software problem which should not require a work around at all. The only argument for not doing it is that good developers at apple are a limited resource, in which case they should be listening to their users. My guess is that MMS, despite not being at the top of yours, is at the top of a lot of other people's lists.

Comment Re:Skype over 802.11? (Score 2, Informative) 619

I currently use fring on my iphone to skype out when I'm on an 802.11 connection. The app is free and just uses standard skype-out billing if you are calling a normal phone number. It supports a variety of voice chat options (skype, msn, generic SIP and google talk...sorry no yahoo yet) integrated into a single interface. My only complaint (working for an IVR company) is that it doesn't currently support DTMF (touch tones) like the normal desktop skype client. Hopefully it will also take advantage of the new push APIs to support an always on mode...that would really make it shine.


Submission + - Kernel 2.6.20 released!

lo7k writes: The long awaited linux kernel version 2.6.20 was just released. With virtualization enhancements like KVM integration and Playstation 3 support this is really something we want to see in our favorite distros.

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