Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Only from Apple (Score 1) 146

You: "Only from Ford is a $27k car considered 'lower end'."

Me: "Yeah, but that's the lower-end *Taurus*. Ford sells cheaper cars. You can get a Fiesta for $14k"

You: "I didn't say that the Taurus was their low-end car. I said lower end."

Me: "Yeah, but lower-end *Taurus*."

You: "Exactly. Lower-end."

Me: "What the hell are we talking about now?"

Comment Re:Only from Apple (Score 1) 146

It's not their low-end laptop. On the other hand, their low-end laptop is $999 (or $1300 if they discontinue the Air), which still isn't cheap. On the third hand, shop out a similarly spec'ed laptop (with of a similar size, weight, screen quality, etc.) from other vendors, and if you can find something, it'll probably be similarly priced.

Comment Re:Bye, MagSafe (Score 1) 146

PreviouslyApple claimed the macbook air was too light for the magnets to separate, but i don't think that argument applies for the heavier macbook pro.

The new Macbook Pro is about 0.06 lbs heavier than the Macbook Air.

Still, I essentially agree with you. Magsafe is great, and If they're going to make the Macbook Pro so it only has 3 ports on it, I'm not sure I like the idea of using one of them for power.

Comment Re:The few Web 1.0 Sites. (Score 2) 27

I agree with your sentiment, but not your conclusion. That is, Yahoo doesn't inspire disgust or outrage for me. I don't hate Yahoo the way I hate some companies. The feeling that Yahoo inspires in me is something more like, "meh." It's the site that was part of the early web, and then became one of those lame portals, along with such stellar inspirations of "meh" as AOL and MSN, that you might find some piece of semi-malware switched your homepage to.

However, I don't think that means the brand is worth salvaging, specifically because the brand inspires a sense of "meh". If I hear Google or Apple is about to introduce a brand new product, my expectation is that it's probably going to be something interesting. Even if Twitter announced that they'd be introducing a big change, I'd be curious and want to find out what it is. If Yahoo announces big changes coming, I expect that they're going to be shuffling around their existing semi-competent me-too products-- like maybe they're going to have a new theme for their portal, or their webmail will introduce "labels", or something similarly uninspired.

Maybe I'm wrong. I know people have a good association with Yahoo Finance. Do people still use Yahoo webmail or Yahoo Messenger? Is Yahoo Answers used for purposes other than trolling? Are there other services that are popular that I've just lost track of?

Also, and admittedly I'm just basing this on my own perceptions, but I don't think "Yahoo!" is a very good name for what they're trying to be. Sure, it's kind of fun, but it would be more appropriate branding for a Flash game website or something of that kind. If you'd never heard of the company and it were just being introduced today, I don't think "Yahoo!" would be considered a good choice for a web portal, news site, or a tech conglomerate. It's too playful and not serious enough. Verizon already owns AOL, and I think the name and branding for "AOL" is going to play better in this day and age, and I'm not sure it makes sense to maintain both brands.

On the other hand, it's not clear to me what Verizon wants from these purchases. It might be less about what companies like AOL and Yahoo can provide, and more about trying funnel the people using them as an ISP to content they own and control.

Comment Re:of course the do! (Score 1) 77

Sort of. It wasn't that they didn't "want an expensive show", but that Farscape's time slot had a good enough lead-in (which I believe was SG1 at the time) that they could put something cheap and crappy into the time slot and still get decent ratings. Not necessarily great ratings, not even ratings as good as Farscape, but good enough that the savings in making a cheaper show would still make the time slot more profitable overall.

This is a fairly common thing. Let's say you have a popular half-hour sitcom at 8pm, and another popular one at 9pm. You might think that the smart thing is to put a 3rd popular show at 8:30, so that you'd really lock people in, but if you pay attention, that's not typically what happens. Instead they put a weaker show (or a new show they're trying out) into the 8:30 slot, since they know that being sandwiched between two popular shows will mean it gets pretty good ratings, even though it stinks. Basically, a lot of people will watch a crappy show because they're too lazy to change the channel.

So that was the rumor on what lead to the demise of Farscape. It was getting good enough ratings to make money, but SciFi thought the time slot had good enough shows around it that they could fill the slot with a cheap crappy show, and people would still watch it.

Even if that's not really what happened to Farscape (and who really knows?), the point remains that the way advertising and time slots work have an influence on the kinds of programs that are produced. As DVR and streaming services have become more common, some of those effects are probably becoming less pronounced. In a service like Netflix (where their original programs aren't aired on broadcast TV at all), these kinds of considerations shouldn't have any effect at all.

Comment Re:Was Obvious from the Start (Score 1) 325

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 Makes some sense (Score 4, Interesting) 185

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) 77

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) 325

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.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 573

If women choose not to go into computing fields, why should they be forced (or even encouraged) to do so?... How about letting people pick the field(s) they want to go into without telling them what they "ought" to do based on a pointless metric or percentage?

My brain jumped to a few different places when I read these questions. The first is, in pushing for greater inclusion of women, I think there's an implication or assumption that women would like to get into these fields, but are not able to. It doesn't really seem true to me, but maybe some people have other experiences? My experience has been that most of the places I've worked (admittedly doing support, not programming) would have loved to hire more women, and made efforts to do so, but very few women even sent in resumes. But like I said, it's possible that some women could tell stories where they felt discriminated against.

The second thing that went through my head was, it does seem fair to ask the question, "Why are there so few women in tech?" Even if the answer is that women aren't generally interested, it only raises the question, "Why not?" Some people might not like the idea that there's a innate/genetic reason for it, but it also might have to do with our educational system, or something about how technology managers work. It may be a larger societal message, where we're telling women that they're not going to be good at that kind of job. If we had a clear understanding of why women weren't pursuing those kinds of careers, we would then be in a position to say, "That's fine, and not something we want to try to solve." Not knowing what's going on or why, I don't think we can say that it's not something fix. It may even be that women are seeing a problem in the industry that's harming all the workers, and it's a thing that men are just more willing to tolerate. If so, fixing that problem may benefit everyone.

The last thought I had might begin to answer your questions more directly: When you want to hire people who are good at a job, it's good to attract everyone you can and maintain a large and diverse talent pool. It increases your chances of finding the people you need. I'm not even talking about anything related to social justice, but just the practical matter of trying to hire people. You want a big talent pool. As people are fond to point out, it also potentially drives down the cost of labor, but it also increases the changes of finding someone with the exact qualities and skills you're looking for.

Slashdot Top Deals

Do molecular biologists wear designer genes?