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Comment I guess if your definition of success (Score 1) 125

is screwing your customers, then ok. Personally I prefer companies that make lots of great products and sell them for barely any profit so I get to have great stuff for less. A company with huge profit margins is a company that is charging more than they have to.

If you are an investor, liking a company to make a high profit margin makes sense, though I still have to question it in the case of Apple since they hoard the cash rather than pay it out as a dividend. However if as a consumer you applaud high profit margin you are silly.

Comment Re: Obama has no right to do this (Score 3, Insightful) 445

You can't vote without a voter registration card or some other proof of who you are (e.g. an electric bill), and you can't vote unless you have at some point properly registered to vote, which you can't do without a SSN. So for illegals to vote, they would have to either commit outright identity theft to register fraudulently (which they screen for and actively remove when found) or steal somebody else's mail and vote in his/her name (which would likely be discovered when that other person went to vote).

In short, the absence of strong evidence supporting such a claim is, in this case, strong evidence of the absence of such fraud.

Comment Re:*** INFINITE FACEPALM *** (Score 0) 89

The only way they could have designed this to be more of a meme is if they made it an 'Internet of Things' device, and made it 'wirelessly charging'.

Wireless charging actually would have improved the design considerably. Use a coil of wire wrapped around the center shaft and jacket the whole thing in epoxy, then build a vertical tube that inductively charges all the smart umbrellas that people put into it (and tolerates dumb umbrellas).

Comment Why not eliminate the Sherman Antitrust Act, too? (Score 5, Insightful) 158

By that same standard, the Sherman Antitrust Act, which was designed to prevent precisely the same sorts of abuse that Net Neutrality laws prevent, is also an impediment to innovation and doing interesting things, if by interesting things, you mean using bundling to drive your competition out of the market and creating an oligopoly of content providers owned by the same folks who own the pipes (i.e. the exact opposite of what the Internet was intended to be).

Comment Apple told is they do! (Score 2) 334

Seriously, that seems to be the extent of the logic some of the manufacturers use. Apple has/had an obsession with thin, Apple did well, therefore we need to have an obsession with thin.

Personally, I say fuck that. Phones have gotten anywhere from thin enough to too thin. I had a Note 3 for a few years, which I was completely fine with in terms of thickness. However I recently got an LG G5 which is just slightly thicker, and I actually like it better. The slight extra thickness, combined with rounded edged, makes it really comfortable to hold. Of all the smartphones I've had it fits in my hand the very best. I think they've got it pretty close to perfect in therms of thickness.

Oh and it manages to have a removable battery, headphone jack, and SD card so that's nice as well.

I get annoyed with the worship of the cult of thin. I understand the interest back in the day, I had an early Windows CE smartphone which was a massive brick and ya, I wanted something smaller. However we have gotten to the point where they are plenty thin enough and going thinner is less ergonomic, not more.

Comment Re:I beg to differ (Score 1) 161

And statistics begs to point out that one special-snowflake outlier doesn't make the conclusion worthless.

It's not one outlier. They're analyzing the data wrong.

In my personal experience, I ran out of new movies to watch on Netflix after a few months, and began binge watching TV shows because there weren't enough movies on my list to be worth the hassle. I have watched approximately zero movies in the last year. This experience is echoed by everyone I've talked to.

So when they say that users watch about 1/3rd movies regardless of the depth of their catalog, what they really mean is that even though new users run out of movies to watch earlier, there are more new users coming in. As long as that is true, and as long as the old users don't cancel because they've run out of things to watch, they're good.

The bigger problem is that Netflix keeps dropping TV shows while I and members of my family are still watching them. I find it quite alarming how quickly I'm running out of things to watch, because the depth of their catalog (even in TV) is getting so shallow so quickly. At the current rate of decline, I'd give Netflix six months at most before I drop my subscription entirely and switch to one of the other providers temporarily until I run out of stuff to watch there. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Comment The problem is (Score 1) 113

None of that makes alternate media any better. There's nothing wrong with pointing out the problems media has. Indeed it is healthy and necessary as the only way we can hope to improve it is to point out the problems and demand that they be improved upon.

The issue is that is not what many of the people who call themselves skeptical of the media are doing. Rather they seem to be taking the view that MSM is bad so that means whatever alternate media site they read is good and accurate all the time. They'll be critical of CNN or the New York Times often to an unreasonable degree, but then accept without question or analysis things from Brietbart or Infowars.

That is completely silly, of course. The idea that because a site is not "mainstream" they must do a good job reporting is bunk. Being "alternate" is no guarantee of any sort of journalistic standards, or any process to try and combat bias. On the contrary, many explicitly have a viewpoint they are pushing, to try and capture a certain part of the market.

That really is why most people like them, and dislike more mainstream sites. It isn't that they are actually critically evaluating the news's failures, rather it is they disagree with what they are saying. So they find another site that says things they agree with, and they decide that means they must be telling the truth. They aren't actually doing any critical analysis, just trying to find places that say things they agree with.

It is like a person who is skeptical of a diagnosis from a doctor, but will unquestioningly accept the diagnosis of a homeopath.

Comment Re:There was nothing to catch (Score 2) 284

Much like testing for certain medical diseases, sometimes you can only determine a cause by exclusion.

  • A phone that is turned off is consuming no power, so the failure cannot plausibly be caused by an excessive rate of discharge or by external heat (e.g. being too close to a hot GPU).
  • A phone that is not charging is adding no power to the pack, so the failure is probably not caused by an excessive rate of charge or by overcharging.
  • Multiple battery manufacturers use different battery chemistry and different designs, so the failure cannot plausibly be caused by dendrites or other similar failures. Also, the failures don't occur with those same batteries in other devices, which eliminates the batteries themselves as a likely cause.

When you eliminate the impossible, what remains are failures that can occur even with a battery that is neither charging nor discharging. The most likely causes, then, involve some form of physical damage.

LiPo packs change size during normal charging and discharging just a bit. That's why there are tolerances build into the design. With insufficient tolerances, bad things happen (TM), and even if the tolerances are sufficient to avoid self-puncturing at their maximum size, it is possible that flexing the case in just the right way while the pack is maximally swollen could still puncture the pack. So this is at least a plausible explanation, whereas most other theories aren't.

With that said, even if we assume that these folks are correct, it does not absolve other aspects of the design. Not all failures have only a single root cause. For example, IIRC, overcharging a LiPo pack can cause unusual levels of battery expansion from hydrogen buildup, which when combined with normal levels of flexing in a case that has insufficient tolerances, would result in the pack perforating and venting with flame.

Comment All the new high end ARM CPUs do (Score 1) 76

My phone (LG G5) supports it because it has a Snapdragon 820. That's great and all, but there aren't a lot of devices out there that are so new. So no real point in Netflix supporting it. They'd need to wait a few years for enough people to replace their hardware with new units.

Comment Also nothing supports it (Score 4, Interesting) 76

I mean the newest devices support it in hardware, but it has to be a very new chip to have H.265 support. The vast majority of devices in use don't. For computers you could do it in software but that isn't ideal, since H.265 decoding is rather heavy so you'd hit the CPU pretty hard, whereas hardware accelerated H.264 would hit it almost not at all. For mobile/embedded devices though it just won't work. Too CPU intensive to do in software, so people need a new device.

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