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Comment Re:Grab a snack...this may take a while. (Score 1) 1634

Wow, you are so clearly not the target market.

So you're telling me I'm going to spend at minimum $500 on a device that is just as locked down as an iPod Touch or iPhone?

Doesn't seem like you should spend any $$ on this, as it clearly isn't suited to your needs.

Secondly, it is completely devoid of ANYTHING...no external ports (except when using dongles hooked up to the 30-pin connector...huzzah for accessories :/), no flash support

Yeah, it's too bad there aren't any accessories that are made to use the dock connector. No flash support is a no-brainer (slow, crashy, controlled by a 3rd party), and for someone who cares about "openness," I'd think impetus to move away from a proprietary format would be a good thing.

Third, what exactly are you getting for that price? Let's look at the fully loaded 64 gig/3G-enabled version. For roughly $800, you are buying a locked-down device with zero expansion options, zero USB ports or flash card readers, and no way to upgrade. For $800 you could put together a full-blown gaming computer or buy a REALLY nice laptop...hell, you could even buy a used tablet convertible and get the benefits of a tablet AND a laptop! But no, with Apple you get a locked down non-widescreen non-expandable device.

I always am amused by these kind of 'but you could get a kickass desktop for that price' comparisons. It's not a computer, it's not intended to be a computer, much less a 30 pound anchor of a gaming rig. It's intended to be a media consumption device. An incredibly light, thin, long battery life, natural interface media consumption device. Repeat after me, this isn't a general purpose computer.

Apple should have included a stylus with the system. Think about the people that use Wacom tablets, like the Penny Arcade guys or countless other digital graphic artists/designers. If Apple had included a stylus and well-designed software, this thing could be used as a portable Wacom tablet. Digital artists would have MURDERED each other for a chance to buy this thing had they included a stylus. Nope, that's a whole 'nother market Apple shunned with this thing.

Seriously? A Wacom tablet? That is the big market that you think they missed?

Honestly, my biggest issue with it is the fact that it uses the iPhone operating system. By keeping it locked down like that, they have severely limited the appeal of this thing

As pointed out numerous times, by using the iPhone OS, they have made this an appliance, not a general purpose computer. You want a general purpose computer, this is not it. Whether the public at large wants a computer or a media consumption device remains to be seen, but based on the iPod Touch's success, it seems like the latter has a market.

they should have either ported over OSX (which would work GREAT on a tablet with minimal interface changes) or just built a new operating system from the ground up.

Do you get that all computer OS's have been designed for keyboard/mouse input, and not finger input? There is a dramatic difference in the rules that guide design for those two totally separate cases. Moving OSX to hardware that uses fingers and not mice would fail about as badly as moving Windows to hardware that uses fingers and not mice. Here is where I note that Apple *did* write a new operating system (not from the ground up, but pretty significantly) designed for finger input: the iPhone OS.

But no, they decided to put on a velvet glove and slap the shit out of their customers...and they'll buy it! They are so focused on the fact that the hand has a velvet glove they are ignoring the fact that they are being slapped by it!

You are not their target market. I'm sorry you feel physically abused because a company decided to make a device you don't find appealing. It seems odd, though, to presume that everyone has your particular desires for a slate-shaped-opensource-hackable-usb/firewire/eSCSI/SATA-Wacom laptop computer.

Basically, this COULD have been an amazing device...but regardless of what they did right, Apple made some unbelievably stupid decisions that puts it firmly in the "what's the point" category for me.

Emphasis on the "for me" part.

It is also worth mentioning that if this tablet had been announced with all the same features (both missing and included), but it had a Microsoft or Google logo instead of an Apple logo, people would be treating it like the plague. Fanboyism is a terrible disease.

Actually, it's not worth mentioning. You seem to suffer from a common disease here on /. , inverse-fanboyism. Notable features include: insistence that Apple products succeed only due to a logo/marketing/RDF; a lack of awareness that the general public not only doesn't need the latest, greatest technical features, but frequently prefers simple usability (*ahem* No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.); a nearly solipsistic need to believe that your particular list of desires is the only one that matters; and an amazing ability to define a fanboy as "someone likes something you don't."


Comment Re:Is LaTeX worth it for humanities/soc. sciences? (Score 1) 328

For citations, there is Bibtex. I haven't used Zotero, but it's at least better than the experience I had of using a really old version of EndNote.

Well the experience of using a recent version of EndNote is also much better than using an old version of EndNote (which I suffered though as well). It really has become incredibly slick & easy to use in the last couple versions. Being able to connect directly to PubMed (for biosciences), search and then directly import references from pubmed is a *huge* timesaver. It works as you describe bibtex, inserting the citation & creating/updating the bibliography on the fly in any style you can imagine (or define).

I actually ended up writing the text of my thesis in Word solely to have the ability to use EndNote as a reference management system. Once the text & refs were done, though, I used Pages to actually do layout as Word sucks balls for that. The latest EndNote will integrate directly with Pages, though, so that problem is no more.


Comment Re:Eh (Score 1) 519

What a large swath of middle-of-the-road customers and long-time PC owners really want is a Mac with a decent video card (possibly upgradeable), a desktop-size fast hard drive (easily upgradeable), and RAM slots that are also easy to get to.

A system like that would satisfy almost everyone who doesn't like the Mac mini's lack of expansion options

It would rock the world and probably be more popular than either the iMac or Mac mini combined.

For the life of me I can't fathom why they continue to ignore the mid-range consumer that wants flexibility without having to buy a Mac Pro. It would really be a hit and there really is a market for it

Hm, should I believe that a random dude on a high-end nerd site has a better idea of what the computer mass market is rather than a company that is currently selling 2.5 million computers a quarter? I wonder what the difference in actual market research budget is between the two.

I think they just don't want to deal with supporting the technical problems that might arise from people expanding their systems. They want their more popular "consumer" items to be confined to a small number of configurations that are easier for AppleCare technicians to support.

That doesn't pass the smell test. Given that AppleCare has to support Mac Pros, the number of configurations doesn't appear to be a problem.

Perhaps it is just that Apple has determined that the number of people who refuse to purchase a Mac due to lack of upgradability is actually pretty small. Crazy idea, I know.


Comment Re:Interesting... (Score 1) 242

It's possible (but I am not sure--perhaps a biologist here can confirm) that some of the activation mechanisms are actual mutations rather than the removal of inhibitory substances on the chain.

As a biochemist, I can say that this kind of pathway is one I've never heard of. Mutation (and DNA damage of all kinds) is something that a cell tends to avoid at all costs, a large amount of cellular machinery exists for the purpose of fixing such damage, or causing the cell to go into programmed cell death if need be. It *is* possible, but it seems unlikely that nature would choose such a dangerous mechanism that it spends a lot of time trying to prevent as a regulatory system.

The best explanation I've seen is that of in utero environmental changes (prenatal experience). It's clear that environmental stimuli affect all kinds of biochemical interactions (gene activation, protein production, cytokine production, small molecule production, etc etc). That such changes occurring in a mother will also affect offspring in utero is not particularly surprising. It is also consistent with the effect being unrelated to upbringing (that having other mothers raising the 'smartened' pups still shows an effect). The observation that this effect disappears over time, also suggests a non-genetic basis. TFA doesn't mention this as an explanation, and I can't get to the original papers, so it's possible the researchers dismiss this for some unmentioned reason.

Simply put, if you bathe an embryo in SmartJuice, then it'll develop under that influence. When you remove the SmartJuice by being born, the influence will still have an imprint, even though the mouse is not producing it's own SmartJuice.

It's still cool, if not quite 'Lamarckian.'


Comment Re:That is, as the Brits say, bollocks (Score 1) 951

If you want to believe in creationism, go crazy. I don't care. You are free to have that opinion. If you want to accept evolution, likewise, have a field day. I, again, don't care about your personal thoughts. It has no impact on me and you are free to disagree with my own.

Except that it does end up having an impact on you. When three serious Presidential Primary candidates do not believe in evolution, there is a problem. When you have people in positions of political power who deny the basic tenets of science, that will most certainly impact public policy, and therefore you (and more importantly, me). Belief in religion is one thing, but when 'faith' substitutes for rational examination of evidence, that is a problem. You wouldn't want gov't funding bridge-building based on those who believe that angels hold up bridges. Same thing with science.

What does impact me is the annoying ongoing battle, with minimal relevance to society as a whole, is this idea that 'everyone must think what I think'.

What does impact me is the annoying ongoing battle, with huge relevance to society as a whole, is this idea that we should revert to pre-Enlightenment thought.

If you believe in religion and consider it on an entirely separate plane from science, fine...but that is decidedly not what creationism is.


Comment Re:Peoples Republic? (Score 1) 609

Well, I'm gonna go with "RTFA" on this one.

I RTFA, but outside of the general "cold dead hands" sentiment, I don't see where the actual, meaningful improvement of not doing this comes from. Regulations like this are really not very difficult to write or enforce (not to 100%, but pretty close...).

We could make an "actual and meaningful improvement" towards reducing government waste and expansion by not doing this.

Unless you consider, like I do, that an important part of government is to reduce the amount of toxic shit I have to breathe, bathe in, feed to my kids, etc. Then you don't consider environmental protection to be 'waste.'

If you really feel the need to rein in the negative externalities from electricity use, then tax electricity use more. At least then you can use that tax revenue to do something constructive.

I would *love* to do so. A carbon tax or cap and trade system would easily obviate the need for these kinds of regulations. However, in the current political climate, those are not something that can be enacted with the ease or speed of the efficiency requirement proposal. I do not think it is worth waiting around for such to come to pass when there are perfectly reasonable (albeit minor) steps than can be taken. Governing is in large part pragmatism, and in this case (as with vehicle emissions, as with refrigerator efficiency standards) CA is on the side of good.


Comment Re:Peoples Republic? (Score 1) 609

If the power were being generated by wind, solar and perhaps nuclear power why would having a more inefficient television be harmful to the environment?

Well if I could fly a unicorn to my cloud castle in the sky to see if any rainbows needed a hug, then it wouldn't be. However, neither yours nor my situation is real.

And as for global warming, it's debatable that something needs to be done about that.

Whether the earth is flat is also debatable. Just because something is debatable does not mean either side has a strong argument.

As for taxes being raised, I think it's time the government cuteir own waste. If their too inept to manage their own budgets they have no right coming to the people demanding more money.

Which waste would that be? Do you have any actual areas of improvement that are meaningful, or is this just another "government suxors" screed of ignorance? I hear so many people spout off about gov't waste without actually knowing anything about it. It seems to be just one of those things that everybody "knows," without really knowing anything at all.

I look forward to more energy efficient products, but I don't want the government cramming them down my throat.

As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, energy efficiency is not a very easy number to get at, and so it is generally not factored into purchasing decisions for many products (like TVs). What I don't want being crammed down my throat is preventable pollution due to a populace too ignorant to make decisions with regards to efficiency.


Comment Re:This is exactly what we need. (Score 3, Interesting) 609

I think you think I'm more of a troll than I actually am...

Well I just think you are placing way too much faith in market forces to deal with negative externalities.

I'm not old enough to have bitched about all of those things

But your logic is the exact same that was used by those who did. All the examples are ones where the effects of producers actions made stuff cheap(er), and harmed the environment and people. The constant cry of 'government shouldn't meddle in the market' is a little hard to take philosophically, and extremely hard to take pragmatically (financial industry bailout much?)

Usually the problem with those negative examples is that someone freaked out about something (global cooling! global warming! global climate change! financial crisis!) and decided that SOMETHING needed to be done NOW.

I'd submit that the problem is more that something bad for people/environment is happening, and though the gov't is finally get around do something about it, the industry that is going to be effected tried its damnedest to minimize the effectiveness of the regulations. Care to give any examples that exemplify your assertion?

That's exactly what I classify this as: a half-baked short-term solution that won't do anything in the long run.

Right, like raising CAFE standards didn't do anything in the long run. Or increasing refrigerator standards didn't do anything. Or limiting tailpipe emissions didn't do anything.

Energy efficiency is one the best examples of where government regulation can, and has, made verifiable improvements in real, meaningful areas.


Comment Re:"using a lot more fossil fuels than they save"? (Score 1) 685

All of which is moot unless you are buying incandescent bulbs that were *not* made in China (or wherever the CFLs were made). It is a silly argument on the face of it, the kind of contrarian knee-jerk that you really should consider before voicing, and certainly before submitting as an article to a public forum.



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Feed Court gives Vonage perma-stay, ok to sign up new customers (engadget.com)

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

This morning a judge for the US Court of Appeals handed Vonage the best news it's heard in weeks: a permanent stay on the previous court's decision that put a stop to new customer sign-ups during the appeal process of its ongoing patent lawsuit with Verizon. We ran through Vonage's pity plea the other day, and while we're not sure if its sad state of affairs or the potential shadiness of Verizon's patents prompted the judge to give Vonage a new lease on life -- Vonage calls it "business as usual" -- we do know that Vonage isn't out of the woods by any means.

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