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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

jeffmeden Re:Where are the buggy whip dealers? (539 comments)

The old Henry Ford saying goes (not that he necessarily said it) "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses".

Of course faster horses weren't an option. And what were the early cars, other than bare-bones "horseless carriages"? It's not as if the Model-T was a Ferrari in an age of wagons.

Consumers almost always choose "cheaper" when the price is significant. Designing the cheapest possible car, within the confines of the engineering of the day, seems like an obvious choice, and basically what they did.

That's based on the premise that the model T was less expensive than a horse (even after a few years of TCO) yet, they weren't... Consumers could have kept using horses, but chose to switch to cars in huge numbers because of other advantages (they could do things like travel farther distances, ignore daily maintenance, etc) that were not really obvious at the time. Sure, it's easy to look back and say "of course the car was popular, its *the car*" but that was not a sure statement in 1908, otherwise Ford wouldn't have been the only one in the USA doing it so cheaply/successfully for the better part of 10 years.

2 days ago
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

jeffmeden Re:Where are the buggy whip dealers? (539 comments)

What specifically do you think was the "wrong question" and what do you think would be a "right question"?

To be true the issue is that they were inadequately specific questions and of an inadequate variety for regression, on top of a heaping dose of selection bias. Since you didn't post the questions, only the answers, I will go ahead and Jeopardy! it... "What is your Age?", "what is your gender?", "do you prefer slide-keyboards or virtual keyboards?", "essay portion worth 2/3 of your final grade".

Then there's the premise in your comment that the survey was "seeking out respondents who had used both a phone with a slideout keyboard and a phone with a virtual keyboard" which tells me that your survey may very well have gone in front of 10,000 respondents and found the 49 that even knew what a slideout keyboard was, skipping past the 9,951 that had never used one and were quite happy with their virtual keyboards. This is a bit of selection bias which will skew your statistics to the point of worthlessness.

2 days ago
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

jeffmeden Re:Where are the buggy whip dealers? (539 comments)

What I wrote was: "Obviously that's too small of a sample to be very precise about the percentage of users that prefer slide-out keyboards (apart from the fact that Mechanical Turk users are unrepresentative of the general population in several ways), but it does mean that the near-extinction of slideout-keyboard phones in retail stores is probably not in proportion to what people actually want."

i.e., it was just a quick and dirty survey to show that the proportion of people who want slideout keyboard phones is not zero, like the stores are pretending that it is.

Don't use Mechanical Turk as a crutch; it's not that far from representative, and nonrepresentative samples are often just as useful, thanks to regression. The real problem is that you asked all the wrong questions. I suggest, if you want to gain *any* sort of ground on your quest to shake up the cell phone industry from the ground up by revealing what you think customers really want, is to read the Freakonomics books, and follow that up with a (well thought out) question to the authors. This sort of thing (mostly the situation where you insist on one thing via all available observations, when the opposite is true) is right up their alley. If you still think you are sitting on some sort of secret, start your own handset company, and get rich off of all the customers that are apparently being ignored.

2 days ago
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

jeffmeden Re:Where are the buggy whip dealers? (539 comments)

I thought sales would be huge because people like horses more than cars. Somebody please help!

The old Henry Ford saying goes (not that he necessarily said it) "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses". Point being, you never know what a consumer will do (even if you are that consumer) when presented with a new/different set of choices. Consumers are flocking away from physical keyboards when given the choice. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer thinner phones (since no matter how much more you charge, you can't get a slide out keyboard phone to be nearly as thin as one without) so when presented with the choice, they gladly give up the keyboard (if they ever wanted it) for a thinner phone.

2 days ago
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

jeffmeden Come on (539 comments)

Jesus this submission is so sad. Bennett, you overlooked the #1 rule of consumers... FIRST IMPRESSION IS EVERYTHING. If someone sees a lineup of ten phones in a showroom, nine of them thin and svelte and made of nice tightly constructed materials, while the tenth is twice as thick in order to accommodate the keyboard, they will immediately gravitate away from it. Yet, you overlooked this obvious decision point. Add to that the other rather obvious trend of smartphones: everyone wants to be Apple. The more your phone looks like an iPhone (to hell with what the courts think, amiright) the better it will sell. A slide out keyboard? Steve Jobs would come back to life as a zombie and have a personal sit-down to fire everyone at Apple if that ever happened. He would even skip eating their inferior, clunk-loving brains out of principal. So there you have it, please take a few more minutes to think through your next submission, and maybe you will actually have something insightful to say.

p.s. onscreen keyboards really do work great if you give them a chance. machine learning techniques by Google and Swype are getting pretty good at learning how and what you type, to allow for very fast and reliable input under even less than ideal conditions.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

jeffmeden Re:5 options (112 comments)

I guess one more... try to access it directly from the USB using a computer and special drivers and software designed to reflash a non-booting tablet... (ie. rooting your system).

Access via ADB doesnt require root to get to the point where you can confirm/deny the existence of functioning memory. It looks like the Transformer line has an out of band update method by installing a microSD card with the flash zip, and doing a startup with certain buttons pressed. If it can be coaxed through this process (even with a dead screen) it would wipe any previous user data. Watching the device state via the USB port and ADB would be helpful to know if the device is likely to respond in that kind of scenario.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

jeffmeden Does the PC connection work at all? (112 comments)

Do you get the ADB device to register if you plug it in to a PC via USB and turn it on? That would be your only hope to wiping it assuming the screen is damaged but the SoC/flash still works to some extent. Also, have you tried opening it up? A similar thing happened to my Nexus device, and after popping the back cover off it turns out that the drop caused the battery to slide to one side, and come unplugged. Relocating the battery, adding a little more double sided tape, and snapping it all back together had it good as new in under 5 minutes.

2 days ago
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How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

jeffmeden Re: We can't live without these things? (212 comments)

Because NASA isn't in charge of the energy sector? They monitor and advise. DOE via FERC is in charge of the electrical sector. The ES-ISAC, run by the FERC-appointed ERO, NERC, and the regional Reliability Coordinators (PeakRC in the western US, formerly the WECC RC).

More to the point, there are NERC standards being developed which deal with geomagnetic disturbances. A TPL and EOP standard: http://www.nerc.com/pa/Stand/P...

The bigger issue is cost. We can prepare for anything, but at what cost? Are you ready for your electricity rates to double to cover a 12% chance in the next 10 years? It's a tough balanacing act.

Why would rates double as a result of putting into place a plan (and probably a few layers of communications systems on top of already existing infrastructure) to mitigate the problem before it starts? Oh right, because we would have to pay for a team at NASA, a team at FERC, a team at each of the regional ISO, etc. to all do the same thing? Ugh. Put NASA in charge, they got us to the moon damnit. If rocket scientists cant fix it, no one can.

about a week ago
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How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

jeffmeden Re:FUD filled.... (212 comments)

Roll eyes and move on. I'm sorry you don't know how nuclear power plants work, nor how solar flares cause damage, but get with the program, son.

Critical electrical components in nuclear power plants are more than sufficiently shielded from electrical spikes, and EMPs don't cause magical explosions. Nor, if a melt down were somehow to occur, an explosion an expected outcome.

Actually professor you might want to take a second look at those figures. A nuclear plant relies entirely on *already produced electricity* for safe operation. With a normally functioning grid, this is not an issue. Take that out of the picture (in a scenario like a CME hit) and it will have to fall back on site generators (the local turbine generation is likely to go down with the grid) which hopefully will have been isolated from the effects of the CME and can be instantly switched in to the site system to take over and shut the plant down. However, if any of those switching components went bad during the CME hit, it could be hours before they are repaired, which starts to push the cooling safety margins to the limit (the plant is, after all, still producing heat as if it had a job to do). There are certainly good disaster plans in effect at nuclear plants for situations similar to this, but do you really want to test them all at once? There are bound to be holes. Mushroom cloud style explosions are out of the question, but we know from experience with Fukushima that all kinds of bad things can happen (including lots of little explosions of errant hydrogen) when plants go dark and can't be shut down safely.

about a week ago
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How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

jeffmeden Re:We can't live without these things? (212 comments)

Really? This would be devastating? We can't live without electricity, electronics, water pumps? It's amazing we're here today!

Yes, it very likely would. All those urban areas that grew as big and relatively healthy as they did, thanks to clean water and efficient sewage systems? If that wasn't brought back online, fast, they'd start moving toward their pre-sanitation population levels. The hard way.

Same would apply for agricultural areas and yields that depend on powered irrigation. Unless that was brought back online, and quickly enough to avoid damage to the crop, you'd see yields plummet toward historical levels, with population following suit shortly thereafter. Very unpleasant.

Hopefully there would be enough enough backup systems to restore function relatively quickly; but if not things would be unlikely to go well.

Generator-powered factories producing generators would suddenly be very very valuable.

The real question we should be asking is; why doesn't NASA have the authority to order a nationwide grid shutdown in the event that one of their several satellites dedicated strictly to predicting and identifying solar disruptions actually works and warns us before it happens? We have spent billions on this already, why not put that to use instead of fear mongering about how long it would take to manufacture a bunch of high voltage transformers?

about a week ago
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Social Security Administration Joins Other Agencies With $300M "IT Boondoggle"

jeffmeden Re:Missing Key Information (142 comments)

Until the vendors who are building this system get their company name in the headlines, the status quo will continue.

The other key information is this: The SSA has 65,000 employees and is in charge of a staggering $736B per year (as of 2011, and it continues to rise). And we are here having a pissing match about all the reasons that $300M is too much to spend on the system that is supposed to make sense of over 300 million "customers" (1 dollar per customer?) One half of one percent of their annual budget is too much to get this right? Most corps spend upwards of 10% of their annual revenue on IT, and surely the SSA is not most corps but the scope of what they do is really impossible to underestimate so a project in the hundreds of millions shouldn't make anyone flinch.

The real missing key information is exactly why this kind of story is surprising, on any level, to anyone? My gut says it's the fake shock of someone who would protest anything that came out of the SSA.

about a week ago
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Social Security Administration Joins Other Agencies With $300M "IT Boondoggle"

jeffmeden Re:hire the girlsgonewild.com team, they can scale (142 comments)

These government agencies need to hire some developers for whom a few million hits is just another day. Something like girlsgonewild.com gets more traffic than healthcare.gov, and handles it with two well-configured commodity servers.

Something tells me that with girlsgonewild.com, the "interaction" is mostly "client-side" so the, er, "workload" is actually minimal. And the use case count, I believe, still stands at 1, and they are at best appealing to exactly half of the US population. It's a bit different than a place like the Social Security Administration, an org that has taken on the unenviable task of managing retirement and disability insurance for *every goddamn american* which is a pretty ludicrous scope. If raw horsepower were the issue, yes bring in outside help. The real problem (or at least one of them) is that of all 65,000 employees, many of them have a specific task since the aforementioned scope is so grand. Try finding a way to economize when you are basically building a system for a small clerical office, and then doing it about 15,000 times with each iteration just different enough from the last to require constant rewrites.

about a week ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

jeffmeden It's a brave new world (368 comments)

"What was the experience of riding a bicycle has become the equivalent of traveling by jumbo jet; replete with the delays, inspections, limitations on personal choices, and sudden, unexplained cancellations — all at a significantly higher cost."

You can't exactly get everywhere you need to go via bicycle these days. Blame globalization.

about a week ago
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Researchers Design Bot To Conduct National Security Clearance Interviews

jeffmeden Re:First question (102 comments)

"Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of the United States..."

Whoopsie, wrong questionnaire.

Here is the form you were looking for: "are you or have you ever posted to Slashdot as Anonymous Coward? Ok next question: Are you or have you ever browsed slashdot at -1?"

we have a subversive on our hands!!!

about a week ago
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Why Are the World's Scientists Continuing To Take Chances With Smallpox?

jeffmeden Re:Game theory (190 comments)

I don't accept that throwing them away (the ones we know about) is the only counter. Hell, we can spare a few grams of payload and put one in space.

And wind up with *super*smallpox? Good fucking plan, Einstein!

Actually, good fucking plan. Let's do it.

about a week ago
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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

jeffmeden Re:Don't buy cheap android (290 comments)

but any other area where the experience is worse than stock android of the equivalent version just seems weird.

Where do you think Samsung and LG stick all the junior devs and QAs? And then pull them off the moment they start making better design choices, to go work on more lucrative projects? Yep, the shitphones. The only choice with the bottom of the barrel phones is to go directly to stock android (which is pretty easy if you have an hour or so to kill and can follow basic instructions) so for Bennett to spend so much time wondering out loud why cheap phones are cheap is the weird part. How about an article on the cheapest phone you can turn into an AOSP/Cyanogen handset with good results? Nah, why bother; that would't start a flamewar!

about two weeks ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

jeffmeden Re:Wait for it... (752 comments)

I'm not sure. It was at 32000 feet when they last had contact, which means it wasn't quite at cruising altitude, but it was still several miles up. The 777's cruising speed is mach .84, about 630 MPH. I'm not going to do the math (i'd love it if one of you aerospace guys would, especially since we know where it landed and the last known altitude and the great circle between Schipol and Kuala Lumpur), but I think it would be safe to say that on the ascent it would be going about 350-450 MPH. I can't see terrorists getting their hands on that kind of hardware. Both Ukraine and Russia on the other hand...

FWIW the last flighttrack data showed a speed of 490 kts (564mph), altitude of 33,000 feet (a common cruising alt if there is turbulence at 35k+) Lat 48.088 Lon 38.6359.

about two weeks ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

jeffmeden Re:FBI crime prediction (435 comments)

How about they actually solve a murder, rape, or kidnapping once in a while? 35% of murders don't get solved

The second sentence contradicts the first. They do solve murders quite often; 65% of the time in fact.

Its actually more nuanced, only 2/3rd (65%) of all murder cases nationally see a single *arrest* which is to say that they have a decent suspect in mind. Not every arrest turns into a conviction, naturally, so the actual "solved" rate is much lower, below 50% for a lot of places. Here's a recent stat to help you plan your next murder: "In 2008, police solved 35 percent of the homicides in Chicago, 22 percent in New Orleans and 21 percent in Detroit. Yet authorities solved 75 percent of the killings in Philadelphia, 92 percent in Denver and 94 percent in San Diego." As you might expect, areas with lower murder rates overall saw a higher solve rate.

about two weeks ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

jeffmeden Re:don't drive with nobody in it? (435 comments)

Plus, it really eliminates the need to own so many cars. The car can do multiple duty, and borrowing a car is much more practical when it can pick you up at your door (whether it is shared between neighbors or is actually a taxi).

Parking becomes much easier to optimize when cars can drop and pick people up anywhere, and park themselves. There is no need for parking locations to be within a short walk of every destination.

You can also split up cargo vs personnel transport. Passenger vehicles could be smaller and optimized for passengers, with cargo vehicles being big boxes on wheels. You could take a bus to the grocery store and send your 12 bags home in a cargo vehicle while you take a bus back, or a 1-person car, etc. People don't need to own a vehicle large enough to make that trip they make once a month - they can rent for that.

Endless possibilities for transportation when you don't need people in the loop.

You hit on the solution to the very problem. To operate in passenger-less mode simply require that the car be reciving destination instructions from an approved souce (such as some big, audit-able company) who would be a fair bit less likely to greenlight rolling-bomb commands on their cars.

about two weeks ago
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Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

jeffmeden Re:Overreaction (265 comments)

I don't see how this is any different from our current rich/poor housing divide.

Clearly, it's the part about the dome... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00...

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Motorola sticks to guns on locking down Android

jeffmeden jeffmeden writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jeffmeden (135043) writes ""These aren't the droids you're looking for" proclaims Motorola, maker of the popular Android smartphones such as the Droid 2 and Droid X. At least, not if you have any intention of loading a customized operating system, according to Motorola's own Youtube channel used to show off upcoming products. Motorola:"@tdcrooks if you want to do custom roms, then buy elsewhere, we'll continue with our strategy that is working thanks." The strategy they are referring to is a feature Motorola pioneered called "e-fuse", the ability for the phone's CPU to stop working if it detects unauthorized software running. More information available via a story at Android blog site AndroidCentral"
Link to Original Source
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Hosting Provider The Planet offers 500 free hosts

jeffmeden jeffmeden writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jeffmeden (135043) writes "The folks over at The Planet are into recycling, but are giving it quite a twist by putting 500 retired servers back into use for the first 500 developers to come to them with a worthy idea. A nice server and 10mbit of bandwidth are up for grabs, apparently perpetually (or at least, we would hope, until the idea starts turning a profit). Data Center Knowledge describes it this way: "The program, known as Sand Castle, was conceived by Chairman and CEO Doug Erwin of The Planet. The company has a stockpile of recycled servers that are no longer being used by its dedicated and managed hosting customers, but still have useful life." Additional info available directly from The Planet."
Link to Original Source
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Smartphones receive holy blessing

jeffmeden jeffmeden writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jeffmeden (135043) writes "Plow Monday is normally for blessing laborers and their tools; as the name suggests it is aimed at those that work the land. A church service in London, England Monday decided to go after a more modern audience: office workers and their modern communication gadgets. From the Times article: "The congregation at St Lawrence Jewry in the City of London raised their mobiles and iPods above their heads and Canon Parrott raised his voice to the heavens to address the Lord God of all Creation. 'May our tongues be gentle, our e-mails be simple and our websites be accessible,' he said.""
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft order to pay $388 million in patent case

jeffmeden jeffmeden writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jeffmeden (135043) writes "BusinessWeek reports today that Microsoft suffered a loss in federal court Monday. The judge rendering the verdict ordered Microsoft to pay $388 Million in damages for violating a patent held by Uniloc, a California maker of software that prevents people from illegally installing software on multiple computers. Uniloc claims Microsoft's Windows XP and some Office programs infringe on a related patent they hold. It's hard to take sides on this one but one thing is certain, should the verdict hold up it will be heavily ironic if the extra copies of XP and Office sold due to crafty copy protection end up not being worth $388 million."
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AMD semiconductor sales fell 22% for 2007

jeffmeden jeffmeden writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jeffmeden (135043) writes "TGDaily is reporting that the new numbers from the semiconductor industry are in, and AMD has dropped 22% in sales for 2007, ranking them #11 worldwide. This is likely the result of a major push by competitor and #1 ranked semiconductor supplier Intel, which has been aggressively producing dual and quad core chips. This is a major turnaround for AMD, who up until now had been making steady progress in winning market share away from Intel."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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-1 overrated

jeffmeden jeffmeden writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Last week a few of my extremely accurate and well on-topic posts relating to the X-box got moderated, from the 1 which i post at, to 0, due to a -1 overrated. What tool motherfucker mods a comment at 1 'overrated'??? for extremely valid posts??? if you have something against me you better say it, hiding behind mod points will get you nowhere (i can post way more than you can mod, i guarantee). that's all.

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