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Comment Term limits (Score 1) 61

Limit them to a single term in a specific office.

A nice idea but then you end up with a bunch of people in office that don't even know where the restroom is much less how to get anything done. If someone is doing a good job I'm fine with them serving more than one term. However I don't think they need to serve more than 4 terms in the House, 2 terms as president or two terms as Senator. Churn just for the sake of churn is pointless. But I don't think we need people serving in congress for multiple decades either.

But, we can start by removing party affiliation from the ballot.

Will never ever happen. Waste of time to even ponder. HOWEVER it would be possible to eliminate gerrymandering which would have a similarly positive effect on turnover and in keeping extremists out of office.

Comment Re:Why haven't we done Voyager 3 and 4? (Score 1) 61

Just give NASA the money, and let them decide who is best to deliver.

As much as I like and respect the folks at NASA, I wouldn't hand ANY government agency a blank check or leave them to do whatever they want with the money. Money corrupts and the good folks at NASA aren't immune. I trust NASA more than most but not that much. That said you do have a valid point that Congress is getting in the way too much. How to solve this I'm not sure. I do think increasing NASA funding and keeping them focused on science, exploration and advanced technology research would be hugely worthwhile.

Comment Can't versus shouldn't (Score 2) 60

I like it because it reminds me that technical and scientific progress cannot be stopped by morons just saying "it'll never happen".

That's quite a different breed of moron from the ones who say "it should not happen". Think stuff like stem cell research, teaching evolution, etc.

There also is a difference between saying something wont happen soon or won't happen in a particular way versus saying it won't happen at all. For example renewable energy very clearly won't replace most fossil fuels for the next several decades at least. That's a very different statement from saying it "cannot" replace fossil fuels and different still from saying it "shouldn't" replace fossil fuels for many applications. I think that renewables will replace much of our fossil fuel use eventually. I just don't think it will happen as fast as we might hope it would. I'm skeptical about the rate of adoption, not whether it will or won't happen.

I am routinely skeptical about overly optimistic predictions, unrealistic economic expectations, incomplete analysis, etc. That doesn't mean I'm skeptical scientific and engineering progress in general. It just means that I think the person has some of the specifics wrong on a particular topic.

Comment Even pros don't tinker with every possible menu (Score 1) 158

Professional photographers change their settings regularly. So do advanced hobbyists.

There are hundreds of settings on an SLR camera that even a pro photographer isn't going to touch routinely if ever. And there are settings they do use with some regularity that are hard to get at and/or difficult to customize. The fact that they've learned to use a crap interface with the greatest possible efficiency doesn't change the fact that it's still crap.

Nobody else needs a DSLR, so this is a complete non-problem.

How does this excuse having a terrible interface? Even if only pros used it a better interface benefits them most of all. Furthermore what you think non-pros "need" is irrelevant and arrogant. A well designed interface will work well for pros and hobbyists alike.

Because I need to be able to change the setting quickly, and also while holding the camera with both hands.

So make the settings that need to be changed fast easy to change fast. They've done some of this but they refuse to finish the job. Sometimes you do need to change things quickly, that is true. That doesn't describe a very substantial proportion of the menu options. Probably >80% rarely if ever get touched even by the pros.

I might need to change the setting faster than I can get my phone out of my pocket.

There are a lot of features you could not possibly change faster than the time it takes to pull out a cell phone that given that they are buried in a menu somewhere. I'm not suggesting everything be offloaded but I think it's pretty safe to take something like the filename formatting out of the camera menu. You're not going to change that in a hurry. And frankly the argument that every feature of a camera needs to be in a menu just doesn't match reality. NOBODY needs every possible feature of the camera on the little screen. NOBODY is going to change a lot of those settings "quickly while holding the camera with both hands". Some they will. Most they will not.

Comment Consistently bad (Score 0) 158

The menus on Canon cameras are actually one of the best features and one I tout when people ask me for camera suggestions. Every Canon digital camera I've owned since the late 90's, whether various models of point and shoot, or five different dSLR models (including the 5Dmk3) has a menu system consistent with the other models.

Consistently bad interfaces are still bad interfaces. I own a Canon camera (among others) and the interface is not meaningfully better than the one on my Sony or my Nikon. They all have some strengths and lots of weaknesses. The fact that they are consistent across their platform is what I consider a basic requirement. It's kind of like getting excited because all of Apple's products share a consistent interface? They'd be idiots if they didn't do that. But that's not my point. My point is that their interface is just bad. It's awkward, inefficient, unintuitive, and ugly. I could live with ugly if it was efficient but it isn't. Consistency is nice but there is a lot more ground to cover to make the interface good.

Comment A faster horse (Score 1) 158

The camera manufacturer will typically give at least two shits about what professional and semi-pro photographers think.

If anything they care a little too much. They're afraid to try anything wildly new. That's the problem. It's like the old Henry Ford line "if I asked my customers what they wanted they would say 'a faster horse'". Companies need to listen to their customers but even more so they need to figure out what customers actually need rather than what they say they need. Most people are actually rather bad at designing work flows that are different than what they are accustomed to. Sometimes that is fine but to really progress it is necessary to take some risks and try some new things that might or might not work.

Comment Checklist marketing (Score 1, Interesting) 158

What kind of menu do you want? There is a lot of information and settings that have to be presented to the use

There really isn't. Not on the camera itself anyway. 95% of the menu setting never get touched or get set once and never touched again so why do they need to be in a crappy interface at all? One could remove most of the menus on any given camera and nobody would even notice because they never get used. Those "features" exist on the camera because it provides a checklist for marketing purposes, not because it makes a better product.

Canon does a pretty good job at it on such a small screen, IMO.

Why do many of them need to be on the small screen in the first place? You are going to interface the camera with a computer at some point so why not offload the menus for the rarely/never used settings to a PC or tablet? For the interface itself take some design cues from touch interfaces like on smartphones for crying out loud. They don't give it a moment's thought. Make it seamlessly work with PCs and tablets with zero headaches. Right now it doesn't. I just bought a camera a few months ago and the software to talk with my smartphone sucks and getting it to work with my PC was needlessly painful and still doesn't work great. I disagree that Canon or anyone else does a "pretty good job" of it on the camera screen and even the bits they do well could be better. I think they put in the minimum amount of effort and the results show it.

Comment Good design is better than workarounds (Score 1) 158

Then set up the MyMenu section and add what you want.

How about the designers of the camera doing a decent interface to begin with instead. You are suggesting a workaround to a stupid system. I prefer that the system not be stupid in the first place.

My question is, will this finally drive some of the MK II prices down?

Unlikely but a good interface probably would capture some amount of market share for the first company to get it right. Since camera buyers tend to be sticky to a particular platform it seems like it would be a worthwhile way to grab market share

Comment Features you don't need (Score 0, Troll) 158

The menus are fine. If you know what you're doing you won't be using them much anyway.

The menus are NOT fine. They are terrible. If they aren't any use then they should be removed. If they are of use then they should be efficient and functional and easy to understand. Now I understand that many people need different features, which is fine but that doesn't excuse having a shitty interface for them. If it is used incredibly rarely then offload it to a tablet or a PC or (heaven forbid) a phone. Let people load the menus they actually need and want on to the phone and put an interface on the camera that doesn't suck.

Just because you have trained yourself to utilize a bad interface doesn't magically turn it into a good interface. You're just making the best of a bad design.

If you're using the menu too much you're doing it wrong.

Wrong. If the menu isn't useful then it was designed wrong. A feature that isn't efficient is a bad feature.

Comment "That's the way we've always done it" is idiotic (Score 2) 158

The menus basically have to be where they are now, because old photographers expect the MS-DOS menu experience

"Have to be"? Baloney. They don't have to be anything. Who gives a shit what the old timers expect. Give them something better than what they expect. The camera manufacturers have just been lazy and can't be bothered to invest the money into designing a decent interface because they know theirs is as "good" as anyone else's and they have people locked to their platform via hardware.

That argument is the "that's the way we've always done it" argument which drives me absolutely bananas. If they had tried a bunch of stuff and that proved to be what worked best then fine but they haven't done that. NOBODY has done that. They just do a minor iteration on an interface from the 1990s that wasn't good then and still isn't good.

And, for reals, out in the field that paradigm is often the one that works best.

How would you know? Nobody has tried anything different. It works but that doesn't make it good, efficient, or pleasant to use. Camera companies trap photographers to their line of hardware and so they don't need to care that the software interface is shit since they know they aren't going to change platforms.

As for the colour scheme, I guess it's for readablity under adverse conditions (pouring rain).

Beyond whatever is necessary for function I couldn't give a tinker's damn about the color scheme.

Comment Menus on cameras are terrible (Score 2) 158

Have they made changes to the 1980's menu system for example?

That would be shocking if someone actually fixed that problem. I have yet to run across a camera menu (Canon or otherwise) system that doesn't make my eyes bleed. While I'm not a pro photographer by any means I've handled enough cameras across enough brands to realize the menus are pretty much universally shit. Just horribly designed with terrible interfaces. Buried settings with little rhyme or reason to them, clumsy navigation, poor descriptors, idiotic menu choices, etc. I'm not looking for pretty - just efficient and functional. Haven't found one I like yet. The cameras I've tried haven't nailed the collaboration with smartphones, tablets or PCs either. You can get them to talk but it's super clumsy and annoying. That should be basic by now but they haven't figured it out.

Comment Apple support (Score 2) 222

I see someone's dealt with Apple's "support". It's never Apple's problem. It's always "you're doing it wrong".

Hogwash. I've had two iPhones replaced by Apple in the last 5 years. One for cracked screen - small crack in upper right corner they indicated was a known design issue, replaced for free. The other was for a camera that wouldn't focus for some reason, also replaced for free under warranty. I'm under no illusions that if I threw my phone on the ground or dropped it in the toilet that they would replace it for free (that would be my fault) but they've been nothing but courteous and helpful when I've needed it. They asked if I had dropped the phone but when I answered no they did not pursue the matter further. I've never once heard an Apple representative tell anyone "you're doing it wrong" *in person* and I'm quite confident you haven't either.

That alone is why I'm done trying to deal with Apple. The high prices and poor quality just further cement that decision.

High prices? Sure. Poor quality? There are a lot of things I could critique about Apple's but as a general proposition hardware quality is not among them. They are well made and widely acknowledged even by their competition to be well made.

Comment The common denominator (Score 4, Insightful) 222

And soon to be a fifth, all in under two years. This last one only lasted about three weeks.

If indeed that is true I think the problem is most likely you, or more accurately something you are doing. While Apple does have issues with devices from time to time, the probability of a single person have 5 failed iPhones in two years due to (conveniently unspecified) quality problems is remote to say the least. I've known of people to break that many phones in a similarly short time span but that was a user error problem. If there was evidence of Apple having widespread quality issues I'd be the first to pile on but I just don't see the evidence for it here.

Comment Government (Score 1) 347

You talk as though there was one government instead of a lot of somewhat disjointed agencies and departments.

Shorthand way of communicating the concept. Most people understand this just fine. It's a part of the government and they are trying to do something to make their life easier at the expense of civil liberties. If another part of the government fails to stop them (like Congress or the President or the Secretary of Homeland Security) then they are tacitly endorsing the actions of this agency.

And those are separate from Congress and the Judiciary.

Of course they are. US Customs is a part of the Dept of Homeland Security. But it IS a government agency and therefore referring to it as "the government" is entirely accurate if a tad sloppy. It is entirely within the power of Congress to stop these actions. If Congress fails to do so then Congress is endorsing these actions so in that sense the government is effectively a single entity.

Comment Perjury (Score 2) 347

How would they prevent people from using sanitized "fake" accounts? Seems a pretty obvious work-around.

The point would be that if you lied about it and they find out later they have extra ammunition to prosecute you with. Basically either you give up private information or they charge you with perjury if they catch you hiding information. Either way you lose.

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