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Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

Dixie_Flatline Re:Isn't it odd? (417 comments)

It was the Dad's idea. It says it right in the summary. He thought of it.

about a week ago

Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Dixie_Flatline Re:Stupid (557 comments)

Diversity has its own rewards, particularly when the goal of your company is to provide the best experience, not just to provide some fungible good. (That is, oil from one well is just as good as oil from another--and who gets that oil out of the ground is irrelevant.)

Apple makes products for humans. All humans have different experiences. To provide the best experience to customers, you want the broadest appeal possible, and for that you need the broadest input possible. You need to pare those inputs down into something concise and usable, but good ideas come from anywhere and anyone, and it's not the sort of thing that's immediately quantifiable. My female colleagues are just as capable of coming up with good ideas as I am, and they'll come up with different good ideas based on their own unique perspective on the world.

In design and science, you want to avoid echo chambers as much as possible. Affluent white male is a particular kind of echo chamber. If the company were all black women, that would be a different kind of echo chamber that would probably also have issues. (I'd like to see what that came up with, though, for the sake of variety.) This is also why I'm a big fan of interdisciplinary science, where you see physicists crossing over with biologists, or artists working with mathematicians.

The issues start a lot earlier than the hiring process, so you're right: people need to be encouraged to join in early on. We need to impress on women and minorities that it doesn't have to be an old boys club, that they can also excel in the fields, and that when they get hired, they'll have a safe, friendly environment to work in. I don't know that we're succeeding particularly well at any of those things. (That said, I don't think schooling in NA is succeeding at much of anything any more. The system is anachronistic and organised for a different era.)

about two weeks ago

Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Dixie_Flatline Re:How about some real number? (557 comments) this a real comment? Like, am I missing a hidden sarcasm tag somewhere?

Women are discriminated against. That takes a lot of different forms: lower pay, lower hiring rates, more workplace harassment. As it happens, taller, whiter men also tend to make MORE money than their shorter, fatter, more coloured counterparts. This isn't because they do better work necessarily, and their cost isn't the consideration--this is just discrimination at work.

about two weeks ago

Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

Dixie_Flatline Re:Who cares? (220 comments)

Actually, the actual news is, "we made our phone not look at all different...from other phones".

Seriously, Samsung needs to stop spending so much on advertising and buy a design team. Sony and HTC have their own (very nice) looks, I think. I'm an iPhone user, and this new Samsung looks like a bigger version of my iPhone 4.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Files Legal Action Against Samsung Over Android Patent Dispute

Dixie_Flatline Re: Laugh all the way to the bank (83 comments)

Because that's not how it works. And if those companies are successful by using technology that Microsoft invented or has acquired patents for, I'm not sure why you think the legal system shouldn't apply to them. If they can't succeed without Microsoft's patents, it implies they have some value, even if Microsoft hasn't been able to leverage that value. If they don't want to pay, they can invent a way around Microsoft's patents.

about three weeks ago

Microsoft Files Legal Action Against Samsung Over Android Patent Dispute

Dixie_Flatline Re: Laugh all the way to the bank (83 comments)

Whether you think Microsoft's position is meritless or not, Samsung entered into a contract with them. They didn't ask a court for a legal opinion, they just stopped paying. You can't make unilateral decisions like that. They know they're stuck and the courts will reinstate the payments, but their long-standing MO is to do something illegal and then keep other companies tied up in litigation until the point is moot or the other side has run out of money. I'm not even just talking about Appleâ"they've done this as long as they've been around.

Microsoft's success or failure in the market isn't relevant, and neither is your position on whether they're deserving of the patents that they hold. They own the patents, they're not latent trolls (in the sense that they're making devices in the space where they hold these patents), and the legal system works like this right now. Maybe at some other time and place Samsung would be in the clear both legally and morally, but they're sure not right now.

about three weeks ago

Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

Dixie_Flatline My four year old phone is slow, news at 11 (281 comments)

My iPhone 4 is slow. That's not ACTUALLY a surprise. There was a time where I was on an upgrade treadmill with my PC. A new video card here, a new processor there. Then a full MB swap, more RAM...every year, something else would get replaced. Progress marches forward.

PCs eventually reached a bit of a plateau. Unless you're playing really intense games, you're not going to notice that your machine is old and slow. A four year old PC does most of the basic tasks asked of it, because those tasks aren't terribly hard anymore, and you've already got a lot of RAM and a 2GHz CPU.

But mobile devices are just starting to reach that plateau. Putting more RAM in a phone makes a difference, but they haven't been loaded up from the start because of size and power restraints. Every year sees a small advance in battery tech and low-power computing. So my old iPhone 4 is well behind that curve. That's how things go.

A four year old Android phone is going to have the same issues, assuming we can put aside the question of whether it's getting updates at all.

This is one of those cases where I don't think the manufacturers have a particularly malicious intent. My iPhone 4 is slower compared to the day I first got it, but it does SO much more, and it does those things a lot better than it used to. My experience is richer, even if I have to wait an extra second or two for certain tasks to complete.

about three weeks ago

Lawrence Krauss: Congress Is Trying To Defund Scientists At Energy Department

Dixie_Flatline Re:Rubbish (342 comments)

Revenue Neutral Carbon Taxes seem to be working in British Columbia.

People are using less fossil fuels because, yes, they're more expensive. That's the point. They've found other ways to get things done.

To me it makes sense to use taxes to discourage things you don't like, like excessive carbon usage (and we all have to pay for it down the road; not charging the tax is just kicking the can down the road to the people that are children today). Use tax breaks to encourage things that are good. So don't tax income as much. It's good if you're out making money. You can make estimates and balance the two. People will naturally tend to not spend as much on the things that cost more, even if they'd be even if they kept their usage levels static.

about a month ago

Amazon Fire Phone Reviews: Solid But Overly Ambitious

Dixie_Flatline Re:How thrilling... (58 comments)

I think the specs race is basically over. Apple's specs allow them to make a fast phone in a small body with relatively good battery life. Android phones are generally made with the same 'generic' parts, and have comparable battery life by virtue of having a bigger case to cram a battery in. But all told, the phones are pretty close together, no matter what tricks each company is playing. (And I would argue that battery life is becoming a more dominant spec request as time goes on. I'd much rather have a longer lasting battery than a bigger screen, for instance.)

At this point, it comes down to being able to differentiate on things other than specs. The Android space is crowded. At the flagship level, everything is pretty close to everything else. Samsung is being reined in a bit on its Android modifications, so what we're looking at now is a bit of a race to the bottom on price.

So the specs for the Fire may be 'tepid', but they're probably not actually bad in any relevant way. The phone will hold up for at least a couple years. Amazon's only chance for their phone is to provide a compelling ecosystem, and they don't actually need to be the leader of the pack on specs to do that.

I don't disagree that this phone isn't actually that compelling, but it's not the specs that are sinking it. It could have top-of-the-market parts in there and you'd still shrug at it because the OS and Amazon integration just aren't good enough. The device just has too few merits to warrant much attention, in my opinion.

about a month ago

Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

Dixie_Flatline Re: Ridiculous! (590 comments)

Nice to see the fake nerds are out in force today.

Apparently none of you whiny children has ever heard of Beta Ray Bill, an orange skinned alien that was considered worthy of wielding Mjolnir (though he eventually ended up with his own hammer, Stormbreaker). He was Thor. He's a goddamn dude from another planet, and you're complaining that Thor can't be a woman?

Thor in Norse mythology never fought the fucking Hulk or ate shawarma at a local restaurant either. Or lived in the USA. The story is MADE UP. The Marvel version is twice as made up. Try to get a grip. The story goes wherever it needs to.

Beta. Ray. Bill. Get with the cannon, fakers. Or shut the hell up. Both are good.

about a month ago

Android Wear Is Here

Dixie_Flatline Re:Same old discussion (129 comments)

My fundamental objection to these devices is that there isn't enough of a UI change to fit the form factor they're on.

One of the reasons Windows Mobile was kinda lousy was because they tried to shrink a desktop OS down onto a phone (and now they're making the same weird mistake by scaling a mobile OS up to the desktop). Fundamentally, these are different things, so they need different ways to interact.

These watches seem similar. A mobile OS that's been massaged a bit, but realistically makes more sense on your phone than on your wrist. Watches were (are) great for the amount of information they deliver in the time they deliver it. That is, a small snippet of info, delivered incredibly quickly. Your interaction with it is minimal. For a few things, like meeting notifications, maybe these smart watches make sense. But for emails or texts, they fall down a bit in my mind because you need more information than is readily absorbed at a glance.

One of my other problems with them is that except for notifications, they don't really make you any faster. Assume that you get an email, and your watch lets you know. From the demo slides I've seen, the watches let you see some information, delete the email, open the email on your phone, or start composing a reply--also on your phone.

For the last two operations, you have to pull the phone out anyway; I'm not sure what you get by starting to open them while you're still staring at your wrist. Deleting the email from your watch is potentially useful, but that's a bit of a stretch; I don't think I've ever seen an email that it's urgent to delete.

So, yeah. The problem isn't with any of the things you mentioned, the problem is that I think we're still trying to figure out exactly what the watch could possibly be used for, and basing the operation on the operation of a completely different device with a wholly different interaction model and parameters.

about a month and a half ago

Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking

Dixie_Flatline Re: Okay, so this has what to do with fracking the (154 comments)

You know what 'fracking' refers to, right? Hydraulic fracturing?

The rocks are being purposely stressed by high pressure liquids and crack under the pressure, releasing oil/gas that was previously trapped and irretrievable.

So what this has to do with fracking is that they thought that just pumping fluid back in would hold things up, but clearly that's not true. The integrity of the final rock/fluid combination is inferior to the original. Old wells were like sticking a straw in a drink and sucking it up. It's not really the same (though old oil wells have been known to sink and collapse as well, so it's not like that was risk free either).

Is it a real problem? Well, I don't live there, so I don't know. I don't think it's wise to tinker with geology that we clearly don't understand well yet, however.

about a month and a half ago

Android Leaks Location Data Via Wi-Fi

Dixie_Flatline Re:Not just Android (112 comments)

It's marginally more relevant that Android does it. There are a lot more Android devices than portable Windows and OS X devices that actually move around. (That is, not even the full population of laptops is necessarily being moved from hotspot to hotspot; I know plenty of people that have laptops that stay at home and are just for portability around the house.)

Anyway, the headline is reasonably sensational, but not false, and the summary clarifies. I've seen a lot worse (bad headlines, worse summaries; etc.) pretty much everywhere that ever posts a headline.

about a month and a half ago

Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

Dixie_Flatline Re:OR (579 comments)

It's not just lack of driving ability, it's about lack of driving RESPONSIBILITY.

The bigger your vehicle is, the more care you need to exercise and the more training you need. You're responsible for everything around you. While I appreciate the notion of personal responsibility for safety, there's only so much a pedestrian can do when the lights are in their favour. Looking both ways doesn't help when someone in a car decides that they want to go and don't appreciate the amount of damage they can do simply by moving.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

Dixie_Flatline Data generator, not data viewer (427 comments)

Frankly, I'd like it to be more like the crop of data acquiring bands that we see right now with a small time display, and that's it. I'd like it to capture a lot of health data (HR, distance travelled, etc.) and it should sync with my ANT+ bike equipment (cadence monitor, speed, power, everything) and act as a proxy to my phone and feed my phone data.

Look, the phone is the thing with the screen that you actually want to look at. A watch face is too small for anything except small bites of information except the time and the date. The new Withings Activite watch actually looks pretty good; no digital display at all. The battery lasts a year. It tells you if you're meeting your daily goals and basically nothing else. But it captures data. THAT'S useful.

I'm never going to read email on my watch that's coming from my phone; how could that possibly make any sense? MAYBE I wouldn't mind a sort of morse code vibration to it that tells me if I got a notification by text, mail or other.

Part of the problem with the current crop of smart watches is they haven't thought about what kind of information is appropriate to display on a screen that small. A watch is meant to be GLANCED at, not stared at. Information has to come in digestible, atomic chunks. We can process the relative position of two arms on the face very quickly, but an email or text requires a few seconds of reading, particularly if the font is small or the words have been forced to be wrapped.

We need to rethink data display before we can make use of these devices. Right now, it's the wrong data for the form factor.

about 2 months ago

The Higgs Boson Should Have Crushed the Universe

Dixie_Flatline Re:Observations and measurements disagree (188 comments)

See, this is what I thought as well. The Higgs was well predicted and made sense in the standard model, and our measurements at the LHC seem to back up what physicists were speculating. On the other hand, BICEP2 is a much newer result and there's considerable controversy about whether it's a real result or a mistake.

So why would you automatically jump to the conclusion that the HIGGS was the problem? You've already got the other half of the equation under review. Shouldn't we wait to see if the BICEP2 results make any sense first?

I suppose from a theoretical point of view, it makes sense to resolve these conflicts ahead of time, but given this apparent contradiction, doesn't it seem even more likely that the BICEP2 results are probably wrong? I would say this is another signal that the observations aren't what they thought they were.

about 2 months ago

Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

Dixie_Flatline Re:When will the left ever learn? (538 comments)

It is not, and has never been, a democracy. It's a Constitutional Republic. As far as I know, there's no such thing as a true democracy in the world. 50% + 1 doesn't exist in Western society, and for good reason. It's the fact that we theoretically elect skilled and educated representatives (ha!) to understand the complexities and repercussions of things that countries DON'T have an FBEA.

But aside from that, I agree with you.

about 2 months ago

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

Dixie_Flatline Re:Apple Actually Cares About Privacy (323 comments)

No, that's not what I'm saying. Apple is out there to make money, and I said they will when they can, but Google is simply not making money if you don't give useful information to them so they can advertise to you. Samsung makes money on the S5 they sell you, but Google doesn't make much, if anything. The Nexus 5 is so heavily subsidised I'm sure it's not really making a profit if you turn off internet access on it, but most people don't want to buy a device like that so it can NOT connect to the internet.

So it comes down to who has the incentive to take your information and do something with it. Apple? Not really. They've got some money, and they'll make a bit more on the app store, but the app store is probably has a smaller margin than the hardware. (It's effectively just a way to make something mildly profitable that gets you to buy the DEVICE, not the other way around.)

Samsung has less of a dog in this hunt, too. They use Android to give them broad-based appeal, but they make money on the phone. If you buy the phone from them and toss it in the drawer, I'm pretty sure they don't care. They're already on the way to the bank.

Google is the only one that isn't asking for your money because they want the information that makes YOU valuable.

Apple and Samsung are less likely to want your data because frankly, getting useful data is kind of hard. Google is big and they've got infrastructure in place to deal with it; realistically, they're one of the only companies that can really turn your data into good money.

about 2 months ago


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