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Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

American AC in Paris Re: It's the OS, Stupid (251 comments)

Apple didn't develop it. They bought NeXT, which had adapted it from Mach.

NeXT was a l--o--n--g time ago, man. Things have changed since.

...and as I recall, the guy who founded and ran NeXT was someone who not only was an Apple founder but came back to Apple later, as well. Ended up being pretty important at Apple, too, I think.

No, no, his name's right on the tip of my tongue...give me juuuuust a second...

about a week ago

iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

American AC in Paris Re:I just want the new Nexus. (222 comments)

There are three professions where being untruthful is the key to success: Lawyers, salespeople, and marketing. All three are hired to portray their client in the most favorable light possible, and the very best ones lie through their teeth. The worst of these three are the marketers because they have legions of psychologists and scientists trying to figure out the best way to lie to people.

Yes! You're both presenting a perfectly defensible argument against marketing and reinforcing my original point! Because geeks tend to abhor marketing, we dismiss its significance, and are perennially gobsmacked as to why an intrinsically emotional, manipulatable species is so susceptible to emotional manipulation.

So long as humanity is what it is, reason will only ever get you so far. You either need to blow the doors off with a staggeringly amazing thing, or come to terms with the fact that every single entity who might care about your thing has feelings, and bending those feelings in your favor can work wonders.

It's not all bad, though; emotional manipulation works under much the same constraints. Unless you're a Level 80 Snake Oil Salesman with a hat full of luck, you're going to have a very hard time making your thing last if it doesn't live up to the hype--and your reputation will suffer for it.

about a month and a half ago

iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

American AC in Paris Re:I just want the new Nexus. (222 comments)

The only real feature of note was Apple Pay, which might finally make NFC payments take off in the US. It's been a technology that should have hit it big a couple of years ago, but has never seen much consumer buy-in for some reason.

It's pretty straightforward, to my mind. With the exception of all but the most staggering technological advancements, widespread adoption of new technology typically requires:

  1. a sound implementation,
  2. a robust support infrastructure, and
  3. an effective marketing campaign.

Geeks, for a variety of reasons, tend to respect the first, grok the second, and abhor the third. I personally believe it's what drives our perpetual cycle of incredulity on this subject--because we so detest the last part of this equation, we refuse to see its importance in getting all those squishy, distracted, emotional bags of water to adopt cool new stuff.

NFC has never had the effective marketing campaign in the US, and only kinda had the support infrastructure. The iPhone has incredible inertia on the marketing front, and Apple have clearly done the legwork on building a good starting lineup of financial institutions and retailers for Apple Pay. It remains to be seen whether this'll be sufficient to make NFC catch on, but it's easily the closest we've come to covering all three of the bases above.

about a month and a half ago

NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload

American AC in Paris Re:Why do we do these things? (109 comments)

I am not saying there's no advantage to space exploration, but I simply wonder why we continue to do these things yet we have a very big [budget] deficit. Why?

Apart from knowledge of how space works, what has the ordinary American gained from the billions spent on the space program? Can anyone point me to any tangible or intangible goods resulting from space exploration?

Because each time we overcome a monumental challenge for the first time, we expand the frontier of human knowledge and endeavor.

As our frontier expands, that which was undone becomes possible; that which was possible, replicable; that which was replicable, automatable; that which was automatable, trivial; that which was trivial, obsolete.

Just over a century ago, tinkers managed to propel a glorified kite a few feet through the air. The tangible benefit of this flight of fancy is that today, we complain about the comfort of the seats in mass-produced aircraft that can send us around the globe for a historically infinitesimal cost in time and money.

Seventy years ago, the US government was one year into the construction of ENIAC, one of the first general-purpose digital computers ever created. Upon its completion two years later, it would occupy 680 square feet, require the power of roughly six modern households, process up to 500 operations per second, and spend roughly half its time being repaired. The tangible benefit of this monstrosity is that today you likely carry, on your person, roughly 25 million times more computing power than ENIAC. It is quite likely that use the bulk of this computing power primarily for your own personal entertainment.

45 years ago, after years of research and significant government funding, ARPANET was launched. Not many people expected it to be of any significant practical value; in fact, the first message ever sent over ARPANET only managed to deliver two characters before crashing the entire network for an hour. The tangible benefit of this boondoggle is that today, we have the Internet, the direct descendant of ARPANET.

about 3 months ago

Goodbye, Ctrl-S

American AC in Paris Re:I'd rather not use (521 comments)

a text editor that is so error prone that *needs* to autosave constantly("continuously"). Or software in general, for that matter.

You've got it backwards--it ain't an error-prone text editor, it's an error-prone human. Even conscientious, process-driven users make stupid mistakes and forget to save their work (especially when they're on a roll.) This protects us from ourselves, not the machines we're working on.

Now, you may be among that handful of people who never forgets to save--in which case, I congratulate you on being in one of the outlier cohorts that software engineers really shouldn't ever spend their time worrying about. :D

about 5 months ago

Report: Samsung Building VR Headset For Its Phones & Tablets

American AC in Paris Timeline (49 comments)

Year 1: "You guys, this is even better than [current industry leader]'s tech! Amazing!"
Year 2: "Hardly anybody who has updated to version 5.4 still bleeds from their eyeballs. [current industry leader] hasn't updated their tech for months!"
Year 3: "Samsung is the undisputed leader in virtual reality headsets! They've shipped five times as many units as [current industry leader], and there's no stopping this tidal wave!"
Year 6: "Hey, you should really check out the high-end Samsung VR units. They're every bit as good as [current industry leader] nowadays."

about 5 months ago

The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

American AC in Paris Re:Driverless Cars Are Boring (255 comments)

So they drive like I do. Safely. I have zero tickets. I've never even been pulled over.

Those "laws" and "signs" aren't arbitrary guidelines out to ruin your day. If everybody would actually follow them then accidents -

Hold on, another point here. The word accident is bullshit. Accidents imply that the situation was unavoidable. 99.999% of vehicle collisions are entirely preventable by simply following the rules. (Properly maintaining your vehicle is part of the law too)

Oh, I do--haven't had a moving violation in 7+ years, back when I was younger and stupider.

That said, I got nailed by a car that decided to try to make a right turn through my car last November. I was in the right lane, going the speed limit, didn't have anyone in front of me, and even saw the other driver overtaking on my left--but there was no way on this green-and-blue earth I could have reacted any faster than I did. A robot -probably- could have, and may well have saved the annoyance of having to go to a body shop to have the other guy's insurance fix it.

From my own perspective, I'm hard-pressed to see how I could have avoided this collision. And frankly, it doesn't really matter that the other driver could have--that doesn't do me a whole lot of good. I don't get to pick and choose who drives next to me.

about 5 months ago

The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

American AC in Paris Re:Driverless Cars Are Boring (255 comments)

You're, uh, kinda preaching to the choir. I'm a speed-limit, right-lane, two-second-rule kinda guy.

about 5 months ago

The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

American AC in Paris Driverless Cars Are Boring (255 comments)

There was an article a short while ago written by a journalist who rode in a driverless car for a stretch. There was one adjective that really stood out, an adjective that most people don't take into consideration when talking about driverless cars.

That one word: boring.

Driverless cars drive in the most boring, conservative, milquetoast fashion imaginable. They're going to be far less prone to accidents from the outset simply because they don't take the kind of chances that many of us wouldn't even begin call "risky". They drive the speed limit. They follow at an appropriate distance. They don't pull quick lane changes to get ahead of slowpokes. They don't swing around blind corners faster than they can stop upon detecting an unexpected hazard. They don't nudge through crosswalks. They don't cut off cyclists in the bike lane. They don't get impatient. They don't get frustrated. They don't get angry. They don't get sleepy. They don't get distracted. They just drive, in a deliberate, controlled, and entirely boring fashion.

The problem with so, so many of the "what if?" accident scenarios is that the people posing said scenarios presume that the car would be putting itself in the same kinds of unnecessarily hazardous driving positions that human drivers put themselves in every single day, as a matter of routine, and without a moment's hesitation.

Very, very few people drive "boring" safe. Every driverless car will. Every trip. All the time.

about 5 months ago

Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets

American AC in Paris Re:How do you pull over a driverless car? (626 comments)

Would it pull over if it sees the blinking lights / siren behind it?

Probably, yes--after all, a strobing emergency light is fairly easy to detect, and as automated cars grow in number, you'd likely see more elegant mechanisms for alerting driverless vehicles of the presence of emergency vehicles. I'd imagine that manufacturers would keep some form of the "big red button" emergency stop button we've seen in a number of prototypes, as well.

Could you spoof it with a bunch of blinking xmas lights on the side of the road?

Unless you have some pretty heavy-duty strobing Christmas lights, probably not. That said, there'll probably any number of ways you could spoof the behavior of an official vehicle. In doing so, though, I'd imagine that you'd fall afoul of the same impersonation laws that exist and work quite effectively today.

about 5 months ago

Adobe Creative Cloud Is Back

American AC in Paris Re:Creative Suite Six will be Adobe's XP (74 comments)

Don't overlook Flash--the development tool, not the plugin environment. Flash CC now does a decent job of exporting timeline animations to HTML5 without the overhead of converting to video. It's quirky, and there's still a lot more they can do there, but I suspect Flash-the-authoring-environment will continue to be the 800-pound gorilla in the web animation department for some time to come.

about 5 months ago

US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe

American AC in Paris Re:Frequent hurricanes? (627 comments)

Actually, the Dust Bowl was mostly caused by human actions, but please don't let _facts_ cause you to pull your head out of the sand.

Oh, sure, next thing you'll be trying to tell us that we're going to have a massive, multi-year drought because some East-coast scientists say that farmers are planting their crops wrong. You:

1. Clearly know nothing about farming,
2. are obviously a shill for the Roosevelt administration, and
3. want us to throw out generations of farming wisdom and spend huge amounts of money on a problem that doesn't even exist.

Only an idiot could look at the past decade of incredible crop yields and scream that everything's going wrong. Get off the telegraph, moron.

Josiah H. Blough (Dust-Bowl-skeptic)

about 6 months ago

Anti-Virus Is Dead (But Still Makes Money) Says Symantec

American AC in Paris Makes sense (254 comments)

When the back door was made of cloth and paper, there wasn't much sense in trying to fool the user guarding the front gate. Now that we've locked that down with a steel door and a proper deadbolt, it's a lot easier to try to sneak past the guard--and it's a lot harder to upgrade a guard than it is to upgrade a door.

I think we're entering a period where forensics and an effective legal apparatus are going to become the primary means of defense.

about 6 months ago

US and UK Governments Advise Avoiding Internet Explorer Until Bug Fixed

American AC in Paris On it! (153 comments)

Downloading Mosaic as we speak!

about 6 months ago

Google Using Self-Driving Car Data To Make Cars Smarter

American AC in Paris Re:Still waiting to see 3 things (174 comments)

When the computer is good enough that you haven't had to do any driving in the past 3 months, how much are you really going to be paying attention when something goes wrong?

I'd suggest that once this is consumer-ready, the vast majority of "something goes wrong" scenarios where the car doesn't know what to do would fall into one of two categories:

  • "I don't know what to do, therefore I will come to a complete stop (and pull over to the side of the road, assuming I can identify a safe path);" or
  • "If I can't react adequately to this situation, there's very little chance that you, meatsack, would have done even half as well as I can manage right now."

These things'll never, ever be perfect. They will almost undoubtedly reach a point where they're at least an order of magnitude safer than humans, though. That'll be more than good enough for most people.

about 6 months ago

Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

American AC in Paris Shock (467 comments)

In case y'all hadn't noticed, our community is rife with hazardously inflated egos. This is a natural extension thereof.

about 6 months ago

First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

American AC in Paris Re:Just use headlights (187 comments)

Those of us who don't live in cities have been driving fine at night without streetlights forever.

Of course, y'all have significantly more accidents than us mollycoddled city slickers, so you may want to reconsider the use of "fine" in this context.

about 6 months ago

Lies Programmers Tell Themselves

American AC in Paris Re:gotta love a site... (452 comments)

that does not work _at_all_ if you have a halfway decent content- and tracking-blocker installed

...well, once you've blocked the content, and once you've blocked the tracking, there's not much left to work with, yeah?


about 7 months ago

Lies Programmers Tell Themselves

American AC in Paris The Whopper (452 comments)

"Well if you let the programmers run the show, things would be so much better."

about 7 months ago

WV Senator Calls For Ban On All Unregulated Cryptocurrencies

American AC in Paris Re: Well, we're at the fighting stage I guess (240 comments)

Monetary policy is all but moot for people who simply have no capital to spare. Deflationary currency isn't going to do any better than inflationary currency + investment on this point.

The other thing -- and I am surprised you did not touch on this -- is that a deflationary currency is anti-consumerism. Why buy something when saving that money makes it worth more in a year or ten?

I touch very greatly on this. It's anti-consumerism and anti-investment. Why waste money upgrading or properly repairing the combine in the field when you're better off just letting that money enrich itself over time? Sure, you might get a better crop yield, but then again, you're sure to see your money increase in value, so just kinda run things by the skin of your teeth, and only spend when it's absolutely, entirely necessary.

You end up with a society where the people who can afford to not produce do just that: they live entirely off the fact that their money is going to be worth more tomorrow than it is today. Their lives are enriched by very literally doing nothing with the enormous wealth they have, whereas the people who actually are doing the work see their incomes steadily drop and reap virtually no deflationary benefit, owing to their near total lack of wealth.

A deflationary monetary policy, by its very definition, rewards people for hoarding their wealth instead of investing it in a productive fashion. Classes calcify; the wealthy take no risks and become wealthier as a result, and the poor have to make ends meet with an ever shrinking portion of the total wealth of the society, because the majority of money is locked away and earning value for itself. There is ample historical precedent for this. It almost always ended badly.

And with bitcoin, you keep your own coins, you don't deposit them in a fractional reserve bank that uses it to stimulate business.

...and yet we have all these exchanges for Bitcoin cropping up everywhere. It's almost as if there's inherent and significant value in institutionalized finance even in the Bitcoin world. It's almost as if banks actually provide an array of useful services that people are willing to pay good money for. As if most people acknowledge that yes, I could simply carry a wad of legal tender around on my person, but this bank over here enables me to transact my business so much easier and in so many ways. Odd.

This is what the Earth needs. We cannot go on consuming our childrens' futures. We must end our senseless consumption in the name of "progress" or the Earth will lose enough of its ecological web that we can no longer survive. Some say it is already too late. I maintain there is hope but we must adopt a more sustainable civilization or we will perish.

Oh wait, so your recommended vector to ecological stability is through a generations-long process of grinding productivity down via deflationary monetary policy? That is inane. After singing praises--lower costs for food! Greater saving! Helps the poor save!--you're now going to turn right around and sing the praises of how it naturally destroys productivity.

There exist far more direct, far more effective, and--despite the fact that we currently have a snowball's chance of getting them enacted--far more realistic and implementable ways to improve and protect the ecology of our planet than convincing everyone to throw sand in the gears until things eventually fall apart.

At the end of the day, the biology of deflation means our money more closely matched natural systems governed by scarcity.

You wish to align to a state of nature. On this, I will defer to Thomas Hobbes:

"In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, not culture of the earth, no navigation, nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

The life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. This is the direction you think we should move.

about 8 months ago



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