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Comment Re:It's not apple this time! (Score 1) 134

You have a really good point & it's something I was considering while making my original post but couldn't address it concisely so I left it out. So here's my non-concise ideas on that.

My general take is that WP & the Amazon phones seem to be something more akin to the iPhone: an attempt to make an integrated hardware/software device (or at least one built to strict standards) that has a real distinct brand & tie in to the related manufacturers universes (or more cynically, walled gardens). Andriod, for better or for worse, seems to be a lot more decentralized which probably appeals to the device makers like Samsung whose main interest is moving handsets, not creating a "wonderful" experience for the end user.

So my comparison with Apple, MS, and Amazon was assessing the battle for their respective Universes & Apples dominance in that regard.

However...I see in hindsight that Google _absolutely_ has its own Universe that Android most certainly is a big and successful part of it: Search, Mail, Mobile Devices & Personal data / advertising. It's a mutually beneficial relationship w/ the handset makers because Google wouldn't care about hardware revenue and Samsung etc. don't really have a stake in those other "interests" of Google. It seems obvious that this partnership is a productive one for both sides & would be successful. I guess I just didn't notice it at first because of the divorce from hardware.

Maybe this is exactly why MS bought the handset division of Nokia. Playing the decentralized, hardware agnostic, Google-style game hadn't panned out, so making their own handsets is a further step in creating a competitive platform to Apple's. It may well work out for them over time.

That leaves Amazon's phone, essentially a branded/crippled Andriod, worst of both worlds and, to me, likeliest to fail due to lack of purpose.

Comment Re:It's not apple this time! (Score 2) 134

You can knock Microsoft and Amazon all day long for their phones not taking the world by storm, but I think that actually sells short the remarkable phenomenon that is the iPhone & associated Apple universe. One of the takeaways here for me is that it truly is almost impossible to break into the smart phone market this late in the game given what Apple has done - at least here in the US.

To see MS & Amazon, who have generally succeeded and overpowered rivals for many years, fail to make a true dent in the smartphone market is a real testament to Apple's success; Apple really did raise the bar that high. As you pointed out the Amazon flop is in marketing... exactly where Apple does not flop. You would think a good device would be its own marketing but I think that Apple has shown the device and the marketing are one and the same. And maybe what Amazon is learning is that this isn't like the kindle (good device on its own) but requires ramping up the marketing BS by a million fold.

For the record, I am a disillusioned former fan of the AppleVerse so I am cheering for anyone to bring legit competition, even if paradoxically it's those other well-known foes of competition: MS & Amazon

Comment Re:Not worth it (Score 4, Insightful) 161

At first I wanted to write off your post as just typical, cynical slashdotterism. But I re-read it and - well, I realize that you are probably right, particularly in the IT field (it could be argued that if you want to work in academia, school names _do_ matter).

Reading your post carefully, I see you aren't saying that "college is worthless, blah blah blah" but rather that the differences between the universities for undergrad ain't what they used to be. As another commenter here noted (paraphrasing) information has been liberated by the Internet so University isn't the only way to attain subject matter knowledge anymore, closing the gaps between schools.

However, I continue to believe that if a person goes through 4+ years of accredited university experience, learns how to follow directions, learns how to deal with smart people & foolish people, and discovers that they have a passion for something (be it computer science or otherwise) is a person better prepared to be effective in the working world than otherwise. And if that's university's main benefit, then dammit I guess I have to agree that it matters less where you do it.

Grad school is probably a different story but for undergrad & the kind of jobs you will be getting with an undergrad degree - I think you got it right.

Comment Re:yet if we did it (Score 1) 463

Totally true & in this case I think we all believe that the cyclist's death was accidental. However I think the issue here is the injustice in failing to hold the officer accountable. I think it's fair to interpret that piece as the result of systemic problems (i.e. cops being above the law / held to different standards) vs. the actual accident.

Comment Re:Where are these photos? (Score 4, Insightful) 336

Really good points, all - it's not like someone broke into these people's houses & took pictures of them in the nude unawares. However... I don't think that the "victims" here are necessarily freaking out that the pictures exist or are worried what the public will think of their naked bodies (as you pointed out they are mostly beautiful anyway). I think that they are trying to treat the stealing & dissemination of stolen images as a crime, which it is.

So while I agree that the best solution to keeping your nudie pics off the web is to not take them in the first place (as Joshua would say: "The only winning move is not to play") , I am all for treating it like a crime and following up even if your actions end up Streisand Effecting your photos in the process.

Comment Re:Love Free Offline Nokia Here Drive+Maps (Score 1) 67

The built-in maps do work just fine, however there are no spoken "turn-by-turn" directions anymore. In earlier versions of Windows Phone there was support for this, but no longer. The Nokia app has it & that's about the only reason to use it.

I guess the other handy feature of the Nokia app is that you can change the perspective to a "driver's view" vs. overhead map view, kinda like what you see on TomTom or Garmin.

Comment Re:Not funny (Score 1) 375

Yep - you are completely correct: a lot of bad decisions are made as a result of just drawing a line in the sand. However, there would be even more bad decisions if we had no line or, worse yet many lines for many people for many things.

It would just be too complex to have individual cutoffs for all the many things you allude to (voting, criminal offenses etc.) By betting on the average, we take the simplicity is a tradeoff. There isn't a realistic way to accurately gauge exactly which individuals are fit to do what. I'm pretty sure 18 is based on some actuarial data that says "it ain't perfect but it should work in general".

Oh, and at least in the US - 18 is considered the age when you are useful enough to fight in the armed services. So we changed the voting age from 18 to 21 as well, because after after sending kids who were 18 to their death in Vietnam without giving them the right to vote out the leaders who were sending them was rightly seen as an injustice.


Submission + - Kinect comes to the browser ( 1

mikejuk writes: DepthJS is a simple idea. A browser extension for Chrome and Safari that lets you talk to Kinect using JavaScript. This makes it possible to write gestural interfaces for webpages using nothing but HTML and JavaScript — which is easy!
Looking at the video of it in action you have to think that carpal tunnel syndrome is about to be replaced by a new aliment!

Submission + - Groupthink vs. no cultural idioms

michaelmalak writes: "When I showed my 7-year-old daughter the opening to Laverne & Shirley, she got a kick out of it and said, "wow, does momma know about this?" I had to explain, "of course, everyone watched the same TV shows because there were only three channels". A CNN story notes a similar thought in There will never be another Oprah with "because her program premiered in pre-Internet and largely pre-cable times. So there wasn't a whole lot else to watch." Having personally railed the past two decades against the negative effects of television, especially groupthink, I am wondering whether we are giving something up, namely cultural idioms. What better way is there for one geek to communicate to another about the other's misguided sense of risk and payoff for a proposed course of action that with "I find your lack of faith disturbing"? Overall, the negative effects of television outweigh the positive, but where is the balance point? And, more importantly, is there some way in the post-television era to both gain the benefits of cultural idioms that in some way enhance our language while avoiding groupthink?"

Comment Re:Skype just works (Score 1) 281

Microsoft's existing Voice over IP product, Lync (and OCS before it) both work by using voice over port 443. By default, they will try to use encrypted UDP. But if UDP is blocked, it will fall back to encrypted TCP over 443. Skype works similarly and won't pose any new problems for MS that they haven't already addressed with Lync and OCS.

Comment Re:level (Score 1) 456

The unfortunate thing is that apart from science, classes to teach basic computing skills and the computer lab, there's little reason to believe that technology is going to solve any problem that most students are likely to have.

Easily the most insightful comment in the thread... wish I had mod points.

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