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Comment Re:A small consolation (Score 1) 69

So I read a rumor (sorry, no link) that indicated they're not going to kill Hangouts, but they are trying to simplify their offerings. Right now, they have a few different applications that are doing text messages (SMS), IM, voice calling, etc. Supposedly they're going to expand Hangouts and try to turn it into a unified business communications platform similar to Skype for Business. Then they're going to have a few consumer-grade apps, e.g. Google Voice plus a messenger app similar to Facebook's.

I have no idea if that's true, whether the rumor was created by someone with inside knowledge, or whether it's pure speculation. Years of tracking Apple products have lead me to be interested in but doubtful of all rumors.

Comment California driving Californians out of California (Score 1) 373

If it weren't for the latest tech bubble keeping them afloat, California would be completely screwed.

California has:

* High state income taxes, and overall it's one of the highest taxed states in the country.
* Over $1.3 TRILLION in government debt, much in underfunded public employee union pension obligations.
* A regulatory and legal climate that stifles growth and drives businesses out of the state to lower tax, lower regulation, lower cost states like Texas.
* Schools that are some of the worst in the nation.
* Some of the worst roads in the nation, despite having some of the highest gas taxes in the nation.
* Widening income inequality, driven by coastal elites enacting policies that make it increasingly difficult for the poor and middle class to earn a living in California.

San Francisco is an extreme example of the case, since their land use regulations are even worse than the rest of California, and their rent control policies make it so hard to evict tenants that building owners choose to let properties remain vacant because it's all but impossible to kick a tenant out if you want to sell the property.

People can't afford to live in San Francisco because the city and state governments have made the decisions that make it impossible for them to live there.

Comment Re:Fingers crossed (Score 3, Interesting) 120

There is a free service called NoMoRobo that implements a massive cooperative blacklist on a grand scale. I use it on my Comcast phone (requires multiple ring). One of the few workarounds for tele-scammers is to falsify caller id with a random number in the victim's area code and exchange. Most telemarketers who call me are dumped by NoMoRobo after the first ring, but once in a while I see what appears to be a local call from an unrecognized number. Any number I don't recognize ends up in voice mail, which is where telemarketer calls go to die.

Television

3D TV Is Dead (cnet.com) 397

While Samsung dropped 3D support in 2016, LG and Sony -- the last two major TV makers to support the 3D feature in their TVs -- will stop doing so in 2017. None of their TVs, including the high-end OLED TV models, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows. As a result, 3D TV is dead. The question is no longer when (or even why) 3D TVs will become obsolete, it's will 3D TVs ever rise again? CNET reports: The 3D feature has been offered on select televisions since 2010, when the theatrical success of "Avatar" in 3D helped encourage renewed interest in the technology. In addition to a 3D-capable TV, it requires specialized glasses for each viewer and the 3D version of a TV show or movie -- although some TVs also offer a simulated 3D effect mode. Despite enthusiasm at the box office and years of 3D TVs being available at affordable prices, the technology never really caught on at home. DirecTV canceled its 24/7 3D channel in 2012 and ESPN followed suit a year later. There are plenty of 3D Blu-ray discs still being released, such as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," but if you want to watch them at home you'll need a TV from 2016 or earlier -- or a home theater projector. Those market trends are clear: Sales of 3D home video gear have declined every year since 2012. According to data from the NPD Group, 3D TV represents just 8 percent of total TV sales dollars for the full year of 2016, down from 16 percent in 2015 and 23 percent in 2012. Native 3D-capable Blu-ray players fell to just 11 percent of the market in 2016, compared to 25 percent in 2015 and 40 percent in 2012. As for whether or not 3D TVs will ever become popular again, David Katzmaier writes via CNET, based on his own "anecdotal experience as a TV reviewer": Over the years, the one thing most people told me about the 3D feature on their televisions was that they never used it. Sure, some people occasionally enjoyed a 3D movie on Blu-ray, but the majority of people I talked to tried it once or twice, maybe, then never picked up the glasses again. I don't think most viewers will miss 3D. I have never awarded points in my reviews for the feature, and 3D performance (which I stopped testing in 2016) has never figured into my ratings. I've had a 3D TV at home since 2011 and I've only used the feature a couple of times, mainly in brief demos to friends and family. Over the 2016 holiday break I offered my family the choice to watch "The Force Awakens" in 2D or 3D, and (after I reminded everyone they had to wear the glasses) 2D was the unanimous choice. But some viewers will be sad to see the feature go. There's even a change.org petition for LG to bring back the feature, which currently stands at 3,981 supporters. Of course 3D TV could come back to life, but I'd be surprised if it happened before TV makers perfect a way to watch it without glasses.
Communications

5G Internet is the 'Beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution' (cnbc.com) 142

Next-generation 5G mobile internet technology marks the beginning of the "fourth industrial revolution," the chief executive of Turkey's leading telecoms player told CNBC on Thursday. From a report: 5G is viewed as a technology that can support the developing Internet of Things (IOT) market, which refers to millions -- or potentially billions -- of internet-connected devices that are expected soon to come on to the market. Kaan Terzioglu, the chief executive of Turkcell, which has a market capitalization of $23 billion, touted the potential of the technology, saying that while 4G revolutionized the consumer market, 5G could transform the industrial space. "I think this is the beginning of the fourth generation of the industrial revolution. This will be the platform linking billions of devices together," Terzioglu told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Turkcell has been working on 5G technologies since 2013 and this week completed a test in partnership with Ericsson, using the next-generation internet.
NASA

Earth Hit Record Hot Year in 2016: NASA (news.com.au) 266

Earth sizzled to a third-straight record hot year in 2016, government scientists have said. They mostly blame man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino, which has since disappeared. From a report: Measuring global temperatures in slightly different ways, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that last year passed 2015 as the hottest year on record. NOAA calculated that the average 2016 global temperature was 14.84 degrees Celsius (58.69 degrees Fahrenheit) -- beating the previous year by 0.04 Celsius (0.07 degrees F). NASA's figures, which include more of the Arctic, are higher at 0.22 degrees (0.12 Celsius) warmer than 2015. The Arctic "was enormously warm, like totally off the charts compared to everything else," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, where the space agency monitors global temperatures. Records go back to 1880. This is the fifth time in a dozen years that the globe has set a new annual heat record. Records have been set in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010 and 2005.

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