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Comment Re:What is the appeal of these things? (Score 1) 127

These always struck me as a fad waiting to die, but I'm not trying to be the usual Slashdot curmudgeon, so I'll ask: what are the killer features of a smart watch?

The best my buddy could come up with who bought an Android one was some mumbling about how its more socially acceptable to glance at texts on your wrist, than to take your phone out.

Killer features would differ from people to people, but this is what I'd love to see assuming the technology were to exist at an affordable price (affordable price, subjective, I know):

e-mail/sms/jabber/slack/infrastructure-devops notifications (be them sound or vibration) - if I need to reply I pull my phone or go to a computer, but at least I'd like to be notified without me having to pull my phone to read (yes, affordable laziness is bliss.)

fitbit-like capabilities to monitor my physical activity and sleep patterns.

pre-programmed purchasing buttons (think Amazon Dash) for common/recurrent items.

pre-programmed ordering buttons in some type of logistics/supply chains

baby/toddler tracking within a given radius.

discrete weather monitor showing chances of rain or heat or whatever.

traffic alerts.

job search alerts (or any type of alert feed that you might be interested.)

product scanners at a warehouse or store.

Killer features, I think, will revolve around very specific, repetitive, utilitarian tasks. I do not see smart watches taking off as general media consumption devises (not even for music), but as devices that provide convenient and inconspicuous notification of events as well as means to trigger recurring processes.

And that is the key, I think. I don't see smartwatches taking off as media consumption devises, but as programmable notifiers/triggers.

Obviously we can do the later now with smartphones, but a smartwatch is more convenient. It would not work in isolation, but in tandem with a smartphone on a personal level (or as part of a much larger system.)

Comment Re:Fishy case (Score 1) 115

OK, I know this business, and I can tell you that the contractors supporting the system are doing so with minimum personnel, so that can't be it. Maximum of 500 people involved in dev and support, and probably less. The system itself is not useful to a general purpose user. Let's assume 50,000 people ever touch it, that's probably a generous estimate. I imagine if we saw their usage data, it would be in the four figures, not six.

LOL, no. The minimum personnel is only used when the money begins to dry. Contractors will attempt to put as many bodies as possible and rake the hours. I've been in this business, too, and I've seen this unfold (with predictable results, mind you.)

Comment Re:What is the appeal of these things? (Score 1, Interesting) 127

I think that they're a fad in the same way that 1990s smartphones were a fad: the technology to build good ones doesn't exist yet. A watch needs to have a battery that lasts long enough that I never accidentally forget to charge it and end up with it not working (my current one is on its second battery and the first one lasted about 5 years) and be light enough that I don't notice that I'm wearing it. I have both of those from a Skagen watch, but if I could keep those requirements then I'd find it very useful to have things like my day's calendar sync'd to the watch, to be able to use it with Bluetooth for two-factor authentication, to be able to use something like Apple Pay and leave my wallet at home, and so on. Make it a quarter the current thickness and make the battery last a week and I'll happily buy one, but that isn't possible yet.

The same thing was true of Smartphones. It was obvious before the iPhone that there were a lot of useful things that a Smartphone could do, but until LiIon batteries, low-power WiFi chipsets and screens improved to a certain point, the downsides outweight the benefits. The difference between the iPhone and the Apple Watch is that the iPhone was released at precisely the time when the technology made it possible to build the useful thing, whereas the Apple Watch appears to be 5-10 years too early.

Comment Re:Hell No (Score 4, Insightful) 333

1) Chances are that "counterfeit" was made in the same factory line as the "real" one.

There have been a lot of cases of third-party batteries being made to significantly lower standards. Often the counterfeit ones are the QA rejects from the real factory.

2) Nikon wouldn't know if you you were using the "real" one or not.

LiIon batteries must communicate with the charger, some communicate things like serial numbers so they can tell it's a fake. A common failure mode is for the battery to expand significantly, at which point it may be difficult to remove it from the camera without causing damage that was obviously not done by the battery and thereby invalidating your warranty.

3) Relying on corporations to be sympathetic is pretty comical. Nikon doesn't care about you.

He's not relying on their sympathy, he's relying on consumer protection laws (you do have those in your country?). If I buy a battery from manufacturer A and put it in a device from manufacturer A, and it destroys the device, then it's clearly the responsibility of manufacturer A. If you buy a battery from A and it destroys a device from B then you're likely to have a lot of effort proving responsibility, and that's assuming that A is not some fly-by-night operator and still exists when you hit the problems.

Comment Re:Cutting corners (Score 4, Insightful) 333

As I understand the term, it's only a knockoff if it's attempting to portray itself as a different company's brand. Supermarket own brand ketchup is not a Heinz knockoff, even if it's made in the same factory with the same ingredients, because it's got someone else's name on it and isn't trying to pretend to be Heinz ketchup.

If the shoes cost $20 to make and you can get shoes for the same quality as Nike and manage to sell them for $40, making $20 profit on each one, then you shouldn't worry about putting your own brand name on them. You'll get good reviews and the value of your brand increases. The problem is when you make an inferior product and put someone else's name on it, because then you get the benefit from their reputation and they pay the cost when their reputation suffers because of the substandard goods.

Comment Re:Result of brexit? (Score 1) 153

Intel doesn't sell SoCs that anyone else puts accelerators on. They tried, but no one wanted to join in. Intel doesn't sell anything comparable to an M or R-profile ARM core, which is well over half of all ARM cores sold. Actually, that's not true - they sell a load of M-profile ARM cores, but only inside other products.

Comment Re:Who? (Score 1) 153

Kinda make you wonder why Apple didn't do this first really.

Because if Apple bought ARM, then everyone else would start looking very closely at other CPU vendors. A lot of the value of ARM comes from their size: they're not big enough to be a threat to any of their partners, but they're big enough that they can act as independent mediators between their partners. The ARM ecosystem is valuable because a lot of people contribute to it but no one really controls it (ARM Holdings controls the ISA).

If Apple bought them, then they'd suddenly stop being independent. At that point, MIPS (owned by another UK company) would suddenly look very attractive to companies like Qualcomm, Broadcom, Samsung, and so on.

Comment Re:added benefits (Score 1) 1124

There have been a few studies recently (including one that was a /. front page) that link crime to perceptions of unfairness (which is not the same as inequality). People are far more likely to commit crimes against people that they feel have benefitted from an unfair situation that has harmed them.

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