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NZ Traveler's Electronics Taken At Airport; Interest in Snowden to Blame?

The Phantom Mensch Chromebook For This Situation (453 comments)

Would a chromebook make a good travel laptop for this sort of situation? Let's say you have two Google accounts, one with a bland public persona and one with any sensitive information you care to work with. Delete your sensitive account from the machine before you transit through customs and add it back when you get to a safe(ish) network. Keep all your data in the cloud.

I wonder what Chrome OS does with local files of deleted users?

about 4 months ago

How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix

The Phantom Mensch Re:Every print magazine left. (385 comments)

I'm not sure I'd right off the USPS. Their parcel business seems to be growing rapidly, with very competitive prices for small fixed price boxes.

I think the big shopping mall anchor stores (Macy's, JC Penney, etc) are all likely to fail in the next 20 years. Sears is already a dead man walking, Penney's is close and the others are living on borrowed time.

about 5 months ago

Crowdsourcing Failed In Boston Bombing Aftermath

The Phantom Mensch The Reddit/4Chan crowd needed more data. (270 comments)

The combined Reddit/4Chan photo collection was pretty crappy and lacking in metadata. The website from which the pictures of the two high school kids that got "fingered" by Reddit was very upfront about stating that the picture of the two of them from Page 1 of the NYP was taken 3 hours before the bombing. Photos from the same source closer to the time of the blast don't show them or the bomb in place yet. This could have been used to discard them as subjects if that info was more widely known.

The police/FBI had a huge advantage in that they had all relevant surveillance camera imagery plus everything 4chan had, plus more, including the eye witness reports of the surviving victims. They were probably able to correlate that imagery to cell tower call records and narrow down what phoes were in use right there and then, including the bombers.

about a year ago

If I could change what's "typical" about typical laptops ...

The Phantom Mensch I'd Go With Lighter Weight (591 comments)

After using a Samsung Chromebook for my casual evening browsing habits for a few months I find myself loving the light weight. A 3 pound laptop is something I can keep in my lap all evening comfortably, without wishing I had a desk to throw the thing on to give my legs a break.

1 year,15 days

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

The Phantom Mensch Re:270 mile range seems good (525 comments)

You could tow a trailer with a big battery pack in it. Or call for the roadside delivery of one if you're dead.

about a year ago

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

The Phantom Mensch Re:The masses have changed. (525 comments)

Buy a $20K financed over 5 years and put anything left over into the kids' college fund is how it really works.

about a year ago

CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S

The Phantom Mensch Re:For the life of me (525 comments)

It has the potential to be much cheaper once the startup costs are payed off. Just consider the parts count in an internal combustion engine vs. an electric motor driven by batteries. It's at least a 100:1 difference.

Also, think about all the service calls you won't have to make for oil changes, air filters, fuel filters, spark plugs, and so on. And 5 years down the road you might get to retrofit your car with a battery pack that doubles your range.

about a year ago

Google Now Boasts World's No. 2 and No. 3 Social Networks

The Phantom Mensch Re:And if you weight it by value... (150 comments)

Facebook is where my relatives post updates. Google+ is great for information from Google related products like android and chrome os. I tried sharing some pictures on Google+ and while the picture sharing is/was better than facebook I don't think anyone saw them.

about a year ago

Reasons Behind the Demise of Kodak

The Phantom Mensch Re:Pretty simple (200 comments)

I think it's fair to say that Kodak adopted digital imaging about as well as Xerox adapted all of the ground-breaking technology out of Xerox PARC. That is, not well at all.

Many people say they should've gone into the camera business but I don't think that would've worked. Not many American companies can compete in the world of consumer electronics these days and the digital camera business is mostly a consumer electronics industry.

Maybe they should've tried to create the iTunes and iPod of photography. Take your pictures with whatever camera you want, but if you want to make your pictures look their best plug them into the eKodak kiosk or iKodak software for your home computer and we'll make them look better, and allow you to share them with Granny online or send her some pretty photo albums. Sort of iPhoto meets Flickr meets Facebook.

more than 2 years ago

High School Reunions — Facebook's Newest Victim?

The Phantom Mensch Re:Awkward reunions replaced by awkward friend req (168 comments)

I haven't got that many awkward friend requests. Once I got a few HS friends I surfed through their friend lists for familiar names and made some selective friend requests. But I also just surfed through a lot of HS acquaintance info pages and photos to get a sense of what they're up to.

Sadly, the "girl that got away" has never shown up on FB or at the one reunion I attended. Forever a mystery I guess.

more than 2 years ago

High School Reunions — Facebook's Newest Victim?

The Phantom Mensch Re:Who even gives a shit about high school anymore (168 comments)

Not everyone gets to go to a college where they "really" have fun and make friends. Some save money by going to community college during the best party years and then have to get serious when they finally go to a real school.

Some just never make a connection in college. I went to a big state school and had a great time, no regrets really. But thirty years later I have a dozen facebook friends from HS and only 1 from college, and that one is pretty tenuous.

more than 2 years ago

No PDFs, No Co-editing On Underwhelming Apple iCloud

The Phantom Mensch Re:I don't get Apple (189 comments)

The interface to the iPhone is via iTunes. I tried to put a pdf on my wife's iPhone for her because she couldn't figure out how and I couldn't figure out how to do it via iTunes either. Finally, a friend with an iPhone told me the easiest way to do it is to email it and use the phone to grab the emailed file. Doesn't Apple think that people use their phones for anything but listening to music and looking at photos? Oh yeah, there are all sorts of apps, but how does anyone who works for a living get business related stuff on and off the phone?

This was one of the "features" of iTunes that Apple put in place to placate the piracy crazed record labels. Dragging and dropping MP3s from computer to iPod and back again through the file system was regarded as a piracy enabler and the record labels wanted to at least keep it from being so easy that any 13 year old noob could do it. That is, after all, their target market. Apple went one step farther and extended that process to every kind of file on the i[Pod|Phone|Pad]. Then as the iTunes market matured they've been relaxing those restrictions just a bit.

more than 2 years ago

So Far, More Than 50,000 Kindle Fire Pre-Orders Per Day

The Phantom Mensch Re:Nearly an impulse buy at this price (291 comments)

I spose the other tablet manufacturers need to do a better job of marketing. Archos has had several 7" and 10" tablets in the $200 to $300 range, and the B&N Nook has been out for a year at a similar price point (and I suspect the Fire is a direct response to the Nook)...

I think all the Archos products got bad reviews, in the "wrong touchscreen technology, slow processor, last years OS and no Apps store" level. The Fire doesn't have all those strikes against it. The Nook Color needs to be hacked to be a full featured tablet and that shuts a lot of the market out.

more than 2 years ago

Wiki Editor Helps Reveal Pre-9/11 CIA Mistakes

The Phantom Mensch Re:So what is new? (176 comments)

The most unlikely part of the planted explosives theory is that the demolition charges could've survived the plane crashes and ensuing fires without any malfunctions. Remote controlled, wired or wireless demolition charges don't do very well in really hot fires. The wires lose their insulation and short. The explosives themselves melt and/or catch fire. If there are wireless receivers involved they are susceptible to all kinds of fire damage and radio transmission interference problems. And videos of the collapse of WTC 1 and 2 show very clearly that the collapses started exactly where the airplanes struck, so the hijackers would have to have aimed exactly where those indestructible demolition charges were planted, on different floors on each tower, for some reason. It just strains credulity way too far.

more than 2 years ago

Apple To Start Making TVs?

The Phantom Mensch Re:Makes sense? (313 comments)

Maybe Apple just hasn't looked at the home theater market that much, beyond trying to build an iTunes store for it through the AppleTV.

But technical challenges? Really? If a mouse and keyboard vendor like Logitech can make a halfway decent IR remote like the Harmony a big league player like Apple can do it better. I suppose the big challenge is making an XBox360 or PS3 work too? Really mind blowing challenges there I'm sure.

more than 2 years ago

Apple To Start Making TVs?

The Phantom Mensch Re:Makes sense? (313 comments)

I think you're dead wrong about the user interface. Apple could improve on the general home theater experience in many ways and make a huge impact on the market. Imagine if they make a TV user interface that'll control an entire home theater setup, one that'll put the Logitech Harmony and the equivalent to shame. Apple is definitely capable of doing this, and it's a market that is looking for a better solution. This is Apple's kind of niche. It would also blow the Google TV out of the water, since a complete home theater controller that also happens to bundle a movie and TV show on-demand service would be several steps beyond Google TV.

Apple also has the money and visibility to make deals with the ISPs to allow their content to flow at full speed, or to lobby Congress for neutrality laws to ensure that it does. Hulu and Netflix don't have that kind of visibility.

And Apple can

more than 2 years ago

More Users Are Shunning Facebook

The Phantom Mensch Re:Facebook Kryptonite: Parents (411 comments)

I friended my daughter as soon as I joined. She is 13 and didn't make a big deal about it. I also friended two of her old friends just because I was a newbie and hadn't put much thought into it. It's very obvious to me which friends don't have their parents on facebook. They're the ones that don't think twice about what dumb or obscene things they post.

If I knew their parents better I'd drag them to a computer and walk them through the crap their kids are spewing on facebook.

If future employers are really going to look at your facebook page using some advanced data mining app that finds all the dirt about you the best thing you can do is act like everything that goes there will be read by your parents.

more than 2 years ago

How Watchmen Killed 'R'-rated Fantasy Movies

The Phantom Mensch Re:Good? (771 comments)

The problem is that Watchmen was a comic book story for adults, more or less. But adults expect a comic book movie to be a comic book movie and Watchmen was an anti-hero story with a high level of complexity.

If it had been promoted as a serious movie it might've sold a bit better, but in the end it was promoted as a comic book. My 8 year old got a Watchmen poster in some sort of promotional giveaway. Has he ever seen it? Not yet. I was a bit intrigued about it myself based on the cast and the promise of some good old fashioned nudity but I waited until it hit Redbox.

I thought it was...OK.

more than 3 years ago

An Open Letter To PC Makers: Ditch Bloatware, Now!

The Phantom Mensch Re:Money (609 comments)

The iMac I bought 2 years ago had trial versions of their iWork suite (Pages, Keynote, Numbers). I think this meets the dictionary definition of bloatware, though not nearly as annoying as a Windows box with a web browser loaded with 16 useless toolbars and a nagging virus program subscription.

more than 3 years ago

Woz Misquoted About Android Dominating iOS

The Phantom Mensch Re:Apple vs. Android. (251 comments)

Is exactly the same battle as Apple vs. Microsoft a decade ago. And Apple will lose again for the same reasons: Inflated price, locked platform, and developer exclusion. Woz sees the obvious. Jobs apparently does not.

I keep hearing this argument that it is the same, and I don't see it at all. First and foremost Apple is not charging premium prices. The iPhone 4 retails for the same price as the comparable Android phones. OK, instead giving you a micro SD slot for expansion capacity they've given you a solid Gorilla glass and stainless steel phone body. It's a trade-off. At the $99 level they're selling the iPhone 3GS which is very competitive if not better on specs than what you can get elsewhere.

This is nothing like the Mac vs. PC market in sales price.

The applications market is again different. Apple still has the dominant applications market position and the easiest one to navigate. Android has great potential but it isn't winning the race yet and may never get there.

more than 3 years ago


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