×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

DerekLyons Re:Tablets (277 comments)

On the one hand, after using a tablet for a while, you will very quickly realize that a larger monitor, a keyboard and a pointer that doesn't involve touching the screen are all very desirable things to have. Sure, you can add these peripherals to a tablet, but if you are going down that route - essentially chaining yourself to a desk again - the limited processor and storage of the tablet and it's higher price means it makes more sense just to buy a proper PC.

While a larger monitor is desirable for some tasks, that's not true of all tasks. And even with a keyboard and a mouse, a tablet is a hell of a lot cheaper and more portable than a laptop. *And* at need it can be used without these things. With a laptop or a PC, you're always tethered to a flat surface (even if it's just one to park your butt on while you balance the laptop on your lap), with a tablet you have a choice. And I don't think you've used a recent tablet, they're much more powerful and have much more storage than you seem to think. (Either that, or you've made the all-too-common mistake of thinking that since a tablet doesn't work for you, it doesn't work for anyone else either.)
 

Tablets are wonderful little machines for two sorts of people. First, those who aren't heavy computer computer users; the grandmothers of the world who check their email once a day. The tiny screen and on-board keyboard are no major inconvenience because they don't use either enough for it to become a significant problem. The small form factor means the tablet is easy to tuck away when not in use (unlike the big bulky computer which dominates whatever corner it sits in) and its uncomplicated OS makes it easy to use. The other group are people who want it solely for media consumption, whether that takes the form of watching a movie, listening to music, reading articles on the web or playing uncomplicated games. Some of this latter group will also have a proper computer and use the tablet as a supplementary device.

Not really.
 
Tablets are becoming wildly popular for photographers who shoot "tethered" (I.E. using a computer to control the camera and to view both the live output and the resulting photograph). They're lightweight and can easily be carried and set up outside the studio. Even inside the studio, they offer setup and arrangement advantages over a PC or laptop. Even when not shooting tethered, you can use Wi-Fi to send the pictures to a tablet for immediate backup to a hard drive. A photographer friend of mine is experimenting with using them to immediately display pictures taken at little league games and take orders and payment then and there. (They've been using a trailer equipped with generators, laptops, and printers to do this. A tablet lets them increase the number of sales points at very little additional cost.) If I'd had broadband last weekend (rather than being limited to Wi-fi, or if Wi-Fi had been available), I could have posted *edited* high resolution (12MB+) images to the web right from the con floor ten feet and five minutes from where they were taken - using my sub-$200 tablet.
 
They're also showing up in all kinds of places that in the past would have required more expensive or custom hardware had it been possible at all. A cafe I ate at over the weekend used one as a replacement cash register. The business my wife works at is looking at using them to allow salesman to be able to configure and customize motorcycles 'on the fly' on the sales floor rather than having to drag the customer to a desk or into a cubicle/office. Etc... etc..
 

But the idea that the tablet was going to supplant the computer - and all its sales - is patently false. Its niche are users who either didn't really need a computer, (or needed it so rarely that they saw no need to upgrade regularly), or people who considered it an entertainment device that they expected - like a TV or game console - to last far longer than Apple's usual product cycle.

Tablets are increasingly useful for all manner of tasks, both as a portable peripheral for more powerful machines and in their own right. Only a fool would look at what has happened to the power and price of every other piece of consumer computing hardware and proclaim "the tablet endeth here, it's not now actually useful and never will be".
 
While /. has been poo-pooing tablets as only useful for "grandmothers and media consumers", they've very quietly been growing in power and dropping in price. The little Dell Venue 8 ('droid, not Pro) that I bought a couple of weeks back has damm near the power of the low end desktop PC I bought a little over a decade ago. (It sure as hell blows away the low end laptop I bought a year later.) If you're not a high end gamer, that's a lot of power and not a lot of weight. It's taking a few years for the revolution to gain steam - but it's no longer on the horizon, it's here. They're now powerful enough for all kinds of tasks they previously could not accomplish, and cheap enough to encourage more people and businesses to tinker and take risks. Those old enough will recall this happened with the PC. Not so old, and you might recall this happened with laptops, cell phones, and smart phones too. None of them started out being relatively inexpensive, useful, and ubiquitous. Hell, over my own lifetime I've watch basic four function calculators go from being an expensive niche product, through ubiquity, and into extinction.
 
I can't help but wonder how Slashdot would have treated the laptop twenty years ago. (Actually, given how they've treated portable music players, smartphones, and now tablets, I have no need to wonder.) For a place that's supposedly filled with tech enthusiasts, knowledgeable, and smart people... Slashdot is remarkably short sighted, close minded, and unimaginative when it comes to dealing with tech meant for the masses rather than the soi-disant "elite".

3 hours ago
top

Previously Unknown Warhol Works Recovered From '80s Amiga Disks

DerekLyons Re:Amiga Floppies (140 comments)

A modern PC's power supply will burn out long before a 25-yr old Commodore power supply will.

Nonsense. Back in the early 90's I sold consumer electronics for a living, and we did a brisk business in aftermarket and grey market power supplies for various Commodore machines - because the stock power supplies burned out with depressing regularity and stock replacements were expensive and difficult-to-impossible to obtain from official sources.

4 hours ago
top

WhatsApp Is Well On Its Way To A Billion Users

DerekLyons Re:What?? (112 comments)

I'm one of them. Back when I set up the plan, unlimited texts added ten or twenty bucks (I forget which) a month to my bill. It was and is cheaper to spend twenty cents each for the couple of dozen texts I send/receive each year.

Not everyone with a cell phone is addicted to text messages.

yesterday
top

Asteroid Impacts Bigger Risk Than Thought

DerekLyons Wikipedia - the last defense of the clueless. (149 comments)

Ah yes, the old "I'll quote Wikipedia because it'll make me look smart" trick. Except it doesn't when you're a clueless idiot and you're quoting it to someone who does know what he's talking about.

yesterday
top

Asteroid Impacts Bigger Risk Than Thought

DerekLyons Re:Wrong Number on Little Boy (149 comments)

Fat Man didn't do less damage because it was dropped off target, it did less damage because the geography was different - the narrow valleys that Nagasaki was built in/around limited the spread of the blast wave and sheltered much of the city from the thermal effects.

yesterday
top

Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones

DerekLyons Re:so much negativity (133 comments)

I'm sure there will a lot of entrepreneurial folks who will set up shop to assemble this into a nice package for your customization. Just like the PC era.

Christ almighty, I can't imagine a worse thing to happen. Back in the day, probably 90% of my time spent helping less tech oriented people with their computers was spent fixing the screwups of those fly-by-night white box "entrepreneurial folks"... (Maybe one out of ten was actually anything even vaguely resembling competent.) Everything from fixing up fucked up OS and application installations to replacing cheap-ass hardware with something decent. There's a reason why 90% of the desktops sold today come from the manufacturer pre-configured and the fly-by-night "entrepreneurial folks" are all but extinct. People want the gear that they spend good money on to Just Work.

yesterday
top

Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones

DerekLyons Re:Wait, what? (133 comments)

Google is sure enough that it'll come to market to announce a release date. A vague one, true, but it's now an upcoming product rather than a research project that may or may not go somewhere.

They've released a Module Developer's Kit and held a developer's conference. They have prototype hardware and a version of Android that supports it due mid-May.

Yeah, it's not like they've created projects and products a dozen times before that looked like the Real Thing - only to languish in development hell for months or years, and maybe even being eventually cancelled. Seriously, save me the fanboy crap. "Prototype hardware"? You *must* be on drugs... crude nonfunctional models aren't prototypes by any useful or reasonable definition of the term.
 

I'm not sure what else they can do besides actually sell you the finished product.

Then frankly, you're a clueless idiot, or a clueless drooling fanboy. (Which amounts to the same thing.) They could have functional hardware. They could have manufacturers lined up. They could... well, any number of things that will occur to you when you come down off of whatever you're smoking.

yesterday
top

Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones

DerekLyons Wait, what? (133 comments)

From TFS: "Now that Google's modular phone effort, Project Ara, looks a bit less like vaporware"

Wait... what hallucinogenics is "anymous reader" overdosing on to come to the conclusion that Project Ara "looks a bit less like vaporware"? It's nothing but a bunch of sketches, pretty graphics, cheap models, and vague design concepts. It's practically the very effin' definition of vaporware.

2 days ago
top

Google: Better To Be a 'B' CS Grad Than an 'A+' English Grad

DerekLyons Re:So sick of Google This Google That (351 comments)

So, you are saying, two competing companies doing about the same thing. One quits the business, the other goes on to be HUGELY successful, and I'm the idiot for calling the quitting company's manegement idiots?

Yes, you're an idiot. Because you have completely failed to grasp that while the two companies 'were' doing 'about the same thing' at one point - that didn't last long. The hugely successful one ended up finding success by doing something entirely different.
 

You may have missed what I wrote: "Google sells ads, nothing else even comes close on their books."

I didn't miss it all, I merely explained what you were too stupid to grasp.

2 days ago
top

In a Hole, Golf Courses Experiment With 15-inch Holes

DerekLyons Re:The pace of life has changed (403 comments)

The pace of life has changed. That is the issue. Young people, who've been reared on dizzyingly fast-paced entertainment such as first-person shooter games, are not thrilled at the idea of racing at five miles per hour (or sometimes less) in a sailboat for four hours. Nor do they find it exciting to play shuffleboard or do golf. By the standards of today, those sports are boring.

You've pretty much hit the nail on the head here, and pretty much every other comment on this article can be modded '-5 completely irrelevant'. Where you miss is that it's bigger than just the pace of the games - it's also the costs of the hobby, the space taken up, and the time to master. Since they opening of the console gaming and PC era, generally the society wide interest in any hobby or activity that isn't on the computer/console or can't be picked up for the cost of the latest hot title or mastered in a few evenings has been waning.

3 days ago
top

Google: Better To Be a 'B' CS Grad Than an 'A+' English Grad

DerekLyons Re:So sick of Google This Google That (351 comments)

In 1999 Fast Search and Transfer was neck and neck with google for speed, volume, and accuracy. The board at FAST were idiots and said there was no money in search and basically stopped trying and let google win.

From the fate of other 'search' companies (some of which were very good), I'd say the board at FAST were correct - and that you're the idiot.

Google isn't a multi-billion dollar company because they're exceedingly good at search - they're a multi-billion dollar company that's exceedingly good at delivering advertisements (only a fraction of which are on their search pages).

3 days ago
top

'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars

DerekLyons Re:Not so fast, Thermodynamic laws are pesky thing (174 comments)

Any energy you manage to get, will be lost someplace else because you put these devices in the heat flow.

You sir, are ignorant as fuck. It's a sad comment on the state of affairs that a clueless bullshit comment like your could be moderated informative.

We've been extracting energy from waste heat, without incurring extra losses, for over a century now - it's been a standard practice in steam engineering since the 1800's. In the same way, if you put these devices in an IC engine's exhaust you can recover energy that would otherwise simply be vented into the atmosphere without incurring any losses "someplace else".
 

Don't let them fool you with all this "waste heat" garbage, at least until you understand the Thermodynamic laws that govern all this and can explain what a heat engine is.

Before cautioning others to educate themselves, first pull your head out of your own ass and educate yourself.

about a week ago
top

How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

DerekLyons Re:Eyeballs did not find bug ... (582 comments)

Straw man.

Sadly, straw men dominate this discussion. Thank you for seeing them for what they are.

about a week ago
top

Ubisoft Hands Out Nexus 7 Tablets At a Game's Press Event

DerekLyons This news how? (43 comments)

From TFS: "You can see how it would be viewed with skepticism; after all, these are the individuals who will give Watch Dogs a review score, which many gamers rely on to help them make a purchasing decision."

Come on, we're all adults here. We all know the industry gives perks to reviewers in exchange for favorable reviews. This is just more blatant than most.

about a week ago
top

How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

DerekLyons Re:Wat? (582 comments)

"The problem here is that people have been using the argument that Open Source is better because these issues can't happen "because" of the visibility."

No, just no. No one with any sort of a clue ever argued these issues cannot happen with Free Software.

No, they haven't made that claim in so many words. But they've sure as hell implied it for years now. That's the whole line of thought that Raymond's statement (quoted in TFS) is based on.

The amount of backpedaling and smoke blowing in this discussion awesome.

about a week ago
top

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

DerekLyons Re:Most unlikely technology in 1981: Handheld GPS (275 comments)

That's the OP's point - you're missing my point, which is that it's not really so unfathomable at all. By 1981, we'd already in less than a decade gone from pocket calculators being expensive rarities to being practically given away in breakfast cereal. LORAN was already widely available in a compact box. Etc... etc... By 1981, the accelerating pace of technology was already clearly visible to anyone who was looking. (Which I was at the time.)

What I missed/didn't grasp the full import of is that between 1981 (the year of my high school graduation) and 1991 (the year of Desert Shield/Storm) GPS went from being a highly classified piece of military hardware to a handheld commercial unit. There were actually more units in the civilian world than in the Army. (Folks were actually buying handheld GPS units at sporting goods stores and sending them to soldiers in the field because there was a shortage of officially available and issued GPS units!) But given the rapid advance of IC's into the civilian/commercial world, I shouldn't have been surprised at all. (OTOH, the full story of the DOD's role in developing IC's wasn't fully known/grasped at the time.)

about two weeks ago
top

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

DerekLyons Re:Most unlikely technology in 1981: Handheld GPS (275 comments)

I always thought the most unlikely technological development in my lifetime was the handheld GPS device. It would be "most unlikely" because it required tremendous, simultaneous, and largely unforeseen advances in several different technologies, each of which was hard to predict in 1981.

Yes... and no. In 1981, the pieces and precursors of pretty much everything on your list was already in place. Very little of it was available down at Radio Shack, granted, but much of it was already in use (at a minimum) by the military.

about two weeks ago
top

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

DerekLyons Re:Sci-Fi? (275 comments)

Especially when you consider, science has a hard time predicting future trends and technologies, yet Science Fiction seems to have been fairly accurate in predicting, if not outright influencing, future technological trends.

Certainly, if you cherry pick the hell out of the (tens of?) thousands of "predictions" made across the last century or so... science fiction seems remarkably prescient. In reality, the picture is much bleaker. In reality, science fiction is not much better at predicting the future than a million monkeys pounding away on typewriters.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

DerekLyons hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

DerekLyons has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...