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Comments

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This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

BigZee Re:It was a "joke" back then (268 comments)

You're pretty much spot on here. The keyboard would have needed a stylus no thicker than a pin. Surely anyone could see that the picture is intended to be a metaphor.

yesterday
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

BigZee Re:McCarthy the Playmate? (582 comments)

I think she might have had a brain transplant at some point.

2 days ago
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Wozniak To Apple: Consider Building an Android Phone

BigZee Re:Fuck Android (249 comments)

This sounds an awful lot like the arguments I heard in the early 90s on open systems vs proprietary. Your points are all valid but do they make the iOS platform sufficiently better for it to carry on? Given that Android is actively developed, just how long are the advantages you describe going to be an issue?

For now I see Android competing with iOS but I do think it's just a matter of time before there will be no advantage for Apple to continue developing their own OS. Woz is right, Apple could easily find themselves in the same situation as Blackberry and they need to be ready to deal with it.

about 2 months ago
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Samsung's First Tizen Smartphone Gets Leaked

BigZee Re:Perhaps they can pull this off... (153 comments)

This isn't really that surprising. Whilst I realise that Samsung runs a half-arsed app store, it doesn't seem particularly serious to me. In practice therefore, Samsung only make money from selling you the phone. Once that's done, all they have are obligations from a support perspective and those cost money. When Apple sell an iPhone, they will make money from every app you buy. Consequently, they have an incentive to provide updates etc. I don't think Apple actually show any more loyalty than Samsung, it's only about money.

about 3 months ago
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The Human Body May Not Be Cut Out For Space

BigZee Re:KISS (267 comments)

Whilst I appreciate the point you make, at some point we're going to want to send people to the planets. Exploration has been done quite well by robots so far. However, if it's for more sophisticated exploration, or colonization, we will want to send people. The problems have to be solved. In principle, many of them are, the problems are generally cost and a bit of time to develop, Nothing I've read says that these problems are insurmountable.

about 3 months ago
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Apple Devices To Reach Parity With Windows PCs In 2014

BigZee Re:Units sold or already out? (511 comments)

I have to say, I'm always surprised that people complain about Betamax tape length. I had both 3 and 4 hour tapes and I expect that if Sony had continue development, I would have had LP and even EP modes. Whilst I do realize that very early on there was a length issue, this was not the case for most of the life of the product.

With respect to VHS being 'open', that wasn't the case either. I'm pretty certain that every VHS recorder sold included a license back to JVC. Now, it's true there were far more manufacturers of VHS recorders but Sony was not the only company to produce Betamax machines. Sanyo and Telefunken also produced them and there are probably others I'm not aware of.

There are far too many myths regarding this sort of thing, each markets had different issues. The practical reality was that Betamax probably was a better product in many respects, certainly the majority of Sony machines were built as premium products. Also, Betamax generally had features before they appeared on VHS (shuttle search, peep search HiFi - not just stereo - sound). However, none of these were enough of a factor in it becoming dominant. VHS, with more manufacturers was often a product you could find cheaper and still had enough features. Although you can have a long argument about picture and sound quality, if Betamax was better, it wasn't enough to make enough people choose that product.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life Organization With Free Software?

BigZee Re:Or, stay low tech ... (133 comments)

Thanks to all who suggested to stick with notebooks. I've been doing the same for many years but found it more useful to use the page-a-day diary as it has some relatively intuitive indexing built in. It's possibly because of this advance that I would like to move to something electronic. I can certainly appreciate the benefits to the traditional approach, it has worked well for me and clearly works well for many others. However, I do feel that my notes would become more useful to me, particularly as I want to try and use GTD, if I can use electronic mechanisms to integrate them into a number of different tools.

about 3 months ago
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New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason

BigZee Re:If they are SO REALLY CONCERN about religion .. (674 comments)

Although I can't remember specifically which Middle Eastern country it was, one of in Richard Dawkins documentaries he did go and speak to some people. I think it was either Palestine or Israel.

about 4 months ago
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The Burning Bridges of Ubuntu

BigZee Re:So we should ditch Ubuntu and then (346 comments)

This is a particularly good point.

To use windows as an example. You wouldn't expect the usage of windows to change that much during your usage of a particular version. XP, probably my favorite (if such a term can be applied to windows), stuck with basically the same layout in terms of desktop, menus and directory structures. It never evolved substantially throughout its life. Ubuntu on the other hand (and a whole host of other GNU/Linux based distributions), can change it's look and feel substantially between different versions (ie, every 6 months). I don't think that windows would have been a success (in commercial terms) if it changed so much so quickly.

Whilst I accept that there are very good reasons to move forward, the issue I see is that not enough effort is put into keeping existing users happy. We want to keep up-to-date but we don't want our experience of the system to change too much. When Ubuntu was still using Gnome 2, you got a fairly nice progression. Gnome 2 improved but did so quite slowly. You also got a chance to say yes or no to wizzy 3d effects. I, and I suspect many others were happy with a slower improvement and this is probably better than the occasional but much bigger jumps that MS would have done with windows.

about 5 months ago
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PlayStation 4 Released

BigZee Is this news? (294 comments)

Do we have reports of other PCs being released? Where's the latest posting regarding a new Dell laptop?

about 5 months ago
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Britain's Conservatives Scrub Speeches from the Internet

BigZee Re:And let's not forget why: (234 comments)

You can always tell when a politician is lying, his/her lips move. They would have said anything to get elected. Whilst I accept that the world is not static and that pledges such as these cannot always be honored, you do feel that there was little intention to keep to them. The problem is that they're all at it. No wonder we distrust politicians so much, they really are lying to us about these things all the time.

about 5 months ago
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Sony Issues Detailed PS4 FAQ Ahead of Launch

BigZee Re:No media server support upsets me (312 comments)

I think it's simply because this function is built into modern TVs. When the PS3 was launched, there was no such thing as a smart TV so being able to stream on the PS3 was a useful feature. Sony just decided to remove an unnecessary piece of s/w from the system.

about 5 months ago
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Panasonic Announces an End To Plasma TVs In March

BigZee Re:Betamax (202 comments)

Whilst I can't comment on the political issues around the success of betamax, I don't think people manage to compare the situation very accurately. Sony continued innovating with betamax for quite some time and were often first to market with features. All betamax videos had excellent shuttle search function, due to the fact that the tape could remain spooled. Whilst VHS would do this eventually, it took some time. When I first had a VHS video, it seemed like it was constantly spooling and unspooling the tape. Another feature I liked from later models was peep search. This allowed the recorded to start playback of a tape whilst you were doing a ff or rew. I had a VHS that could do the same thing but it took about 5 seconds to spool the tape before it would show a picture. Sony also allowed you to put index points on a tape, very useful when you had 3 or 4 TV episodes on a tape. Betamax was the first to introduce hi-fi (not just stereo) sound. In general, betamax offered features that were ahead of VHS or never available on VHS. I feel I should point out as well that an L-500 tape was a two-hour tape and an L-750 was a three-hour tape, at least that's what I had in the UK. Quality wise, whilst I would generally agree there wasn't a lot of difference between the two, I would still say that at any one time, a new beta was better quality than the equivalent VHS. One last thing, I saw Sanyo and Telefunken betamax players.

about 5 months ago
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Toyota's Killer Firmware

BigZee Re:If there's no human fall back, I'll never trust (610 comments)

Whilst there are many aspects about the film I, Robot that I have problems with, this very issue is covered when the female scientist is scared because Wil Smith decides to take manual control of the car they're in.

about 6 months ago
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Toyota's Killer Firmware

BigZee Re:Self-driving cars will come with an EULA (610 comments)

This is how the world will end. People frightened or otherwise wary that they won't be able to do anything without falling foul of an EULA.

about 6 months ago
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Can Nintendo Survive Gaming's Brave New World?

BigZee Re:Nintendo is here to stay! (277 comments)

There's no doubt that Nintendo have made a few mistakes with the Wii U. For a start, they needed a better selection of games available at launch. The top tier games (such as Pikmin 3 which is brilliant) have only recently started to appear. Whilst I understand that Nintendo would want to launch a range of games over several years, there has been too long a wait to get to games such as Mario Kart and a new Super Mario game.

However, Nintendo have shown with the Wii U that they are still prepared to take risks when it comes to their offerings and try to develop new ways to play games. I can't yet be sure that the Wii U controller is the best way to play a game because I don't think there have been games out yet that really exploit it but at least they're trying.

Sony and MS however could not have come out with more vanilla consoles. Both are basically glorified PCs. Whilst I'm sure there is some business logic behind this, I would like to know where the next generation of cell processor is? Where are the new and clever control mechanisms? Sony would seem to be churning out a slightly modified dual shock (presumably so you can't use your old ones) and MS are basically using Kenect again. So, PCs and the same controllers that were used before.

For me, I've yet to see anything from Sony that will let them loose my credit card details again. From MS, I get the impression they're not interested in attracting new gamers, they want new customers to use all the non-gaming services as all the existing customers are assumed will want to convert.

about 6 months ago
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Autonomous Cars Will Save Money and Lives

BigZee Re:So what'll we do with half a trillion dollars? (389 comments)

I think the money saved will be lost elsewhere. Like it or not, a large part of car ownership is aspirational. This move will make your car more like a utility and you'll probably replace it less often as a consequence. After all, what's the point of having a high performance engine if your computer is going to pull away from traffic lights in an economical way. That's not to say I don't think this is a good thing, it will make roads much more safe. However, the concern I have is regarding regulation. If there is an accident, who is liable? You, the guy who serviced the car, the company that built it? And thinking along these lines, who will be authorised to service the car and what controls will exist to prevent people using the car if it's not serviced or not serviced by an approved service company?

about 6 months ago
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Scientology's Fraud Conviction Upheld In France

BigZee Re:One Down (321 comments)

There are a number of issues with other religions. Fundamentalism often means that there is more likely to be violence. I'm not sure I've heard of fundamentalist Quakers but I suppose it's possible. The issues that normally come about are because of very strict adherence to your own belief and the in inability to tolerate anyone who does not conform.

With respect to your comment on Communists, this reminds me of something Steven Weinberg said (although I heard it first from Richard Dawkins) - "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion". The point of this is that the communists that killed religious people were not doing so because of a religious belief, they were simply bad people. When a scientologist does something bad, they may or may not be a bad person but its possible that they feel compelled to do something bad as a consequence of their belief.

about 6 months ago
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Why Are Some Hell-Bent On Teaching Intelligent Design?

BigZee Re:I disagree. (1293 comments)

There's a reason why this sort of belief only dates back so far, It's because of the discoveries of science. You go back more than a hundred years (and definitely before Darwin) and people really didn't know how old the world (or universe) was. As science has revealed that the earth is far older than the bible would have you believe, so Christians (and I presume some others from other religions) have become less comfortable and started to become more vocal.

about 7 months ago
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Jonathon Fletcher: The Forgotten Father of the Search Engine

BigZee Re:Short memories (95 comments)

I can remember using an application that consolidated results from several engines so that you got results that were a bit more relevant.

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot. Organise my work load

BigZee BigZee writes  |  about 4 months ago

BigZee (769371) writes "For many years, I've used a page-a-day diary as both a planner and a method for taking notes. Whilst not perfect, it's proven to be an approach that's worked fairly well for me. Conscious of the limitations, I want this to become more electronic. In principle, I want to be able to use by Nexus 7 for this function. There are some limitations. My workplace uses MS Outlook. However, I am not able to use Evernote (or similar) on my workplace machine. This limits possible integration along the lines proposed with GTD.
What I want is to be able to take notes that are organised by date as well as being integrated to a calendar (preferably Google). Additionally, I want to be able to prioritise my work along similar lines to GTD. I'm not averse to spending money for the right s/w but prefer to use free s/w where possible. Can anyone suggest what could be used?"
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The Ponds to leave Doctor Who

BigZee BigZee writes  |  more than 2 years ago

BigZee (769371) writes "Terrible news for Doctor Who fans everywhere, the Ponds (Amy and Rory) are to be written out of the series during the 2012 season. Although Steven Moffat has commented that change is an important part of the series, it's still going to be sad to see a character such as Amy being written out, particularly as her character has added a great deal to recent Doctor Who lore. Details are yet to be revealed but the end is said to be 'heartbreaking'. Could this be yet another unfortunate ending for an assistants time with the Doctor?"
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