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Comments

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Kano Ships 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits

laird Re:TV as monitor (50 comments)

Or you can buy a Raspberry Pi and an SD card, download the software and books for free, and stop whining (parent poster).

yesterday
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Kano Ships 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits

laird Re:What a scam (50 comments)

The kit is for people who want a computer, keyboard, software pre-loaded on an SD card, book, etc.

You're expected to plug it into a TV that you already own, which is why they don't include a monitor.

You can also just use the software. It's a free download (http://www.kano.me/downloads) and all of the source code is on GitHub. Heck, they even let you download the content of the books for free.

So the premise is that if you want the physical stuff (Pi, keyboard, books, software on SD card) it's $129, and if already own the physical stuff you can download the software and instructional content for free. Given that they invested a lot of effort into creating the instructional environment and the content, it's pretty good that the give it all away. But their goal is to educate kids, not to make a lot of money.

So how exactly is it a rip off? You're too lazy to download the software and books they give you for free, so you want them to package everything up for cheaper than $129? Really? Do you think their work is worth nothing?

yesterday
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Kano Ships 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits

laird Re: Man, you guys were ***LUCKY*** ! (50 comments)

The US has no real industrial/education policy, just quarterly ROI targets, so we destroyed our space program, manufacturing capability, etc., because it was in the short-term ROI interests of various corporations.

On the flip side, we accidentally made the internet, so roughly half the people on the planet have access to virtually limitless knowledge, empowering anyone to do amazing things. That's good.

yesterday
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

laird Re:Because... (252 comments)

The question isn't whether "mainstream" users buy midrange computers - of course they do, since that's the definition of mainstream.

The question is whether a faster CPU has significant benefit in the things that mainstream people do, so there is a real value to them in a faster and faster CPUs. These days, the CPU is rarely the performance bottleneck - for mainstream applications, more RAM, SSD, faster network, longer battery life, screen resolution, etc., are all of more value to users. So if you're going to spend more to make a "better" device, faster CPU isn't an obvious choice, because the faster CPU means higher cost, shorter battery life, etc., so users might well be much happier with a slower CPU but better battery life, lower cost, etc.

Yes, if a faster CPU didn't cost more, and had no other impact on the device, of course everyone would like a faster CPU. But in the real world, putting a 6 core i7 into a watch would be stupid. :-)

yesterday
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

laird Re:Battery life (252 comments)

I hope you're right. But battery density really hasn't improved ever - they're the same as they were decades ago. All of the reduction in cell phone battery size has been due to reduced power consumption. A huge factor is improved cell tower penetration. The smaller the cells, the closer the antenna, so transmitting takes less power (half the distance = a quarter the power). And the protocols have been designed to be more power efficient, and the CPU, etc., has gotten smarter, allowing the parts of the phone not in use to power off. So they've done wonders in reducing power consumption. But if something could improve battery power density the way CPU speed has, that would change everything!

about a week ago
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

laird Re:Maybe (252 comments)

Look at it this way - since Apple is the only company selling iPhones, once the display is so good you can't see the pixels there's no rational reason to make the resolution higher as that just increases costs and slows performance with no benefit to the user, and Apple's all about optimizing user experience. In the Android market, there are a bunch of manufacturers all losing money trying to compete in a cut-throat market, so somebody's going to push the screen resolution just so they can put a bigger number on the box and try to get sales that way. And most consumers won't realize that they're buying pixels they can't see, and getting slower performance and shorter battery life, because the manufacturer sure isn't going to put that on the box.

Phones aren't just about specs. Anyone can put a bigger display on a phone - that's easy! The challenge is in making the right tradeoffs between screen, battery, CPU, GPU, camera, etc., to give the best user experience balanced with battery life and size. And Apple is great at making those tradeoffs, because they can apply resources to do "impossible" things, like buying 10,000 CNC mills to mill their phones' "unibody" frames from solid metal in mass production, when any sane phone company would use injection molded plastic because that's cheap and easy. So Apple changed the rules, and makes phones that no other manufacturer can physically make, and they got people to care about it because it lets them make phones that are beautiful and slim. Ditto the innovations in the glass, display, etc. That's not to say that the other companies don't innovate - they do, but they tend to do less interesting, more incremental stuff, like pushing clock speed or screen resolution up a bit, and they leave most of the R&D up to Google and Intel.

about a week ago
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

laird Re:Please... (252 comments)

That's true of everything but minimal food and shelter.

But people use their phones a lot more than any other device, other than perhaps a car or shoes, so it's rational that they want to optimize them.

about a week ago
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

laird Re:Because... (252 comments)

Nobody's saying that innovation should stop, just that CPU is "good enough".

Faster CPU is not the only possible innovation, and not increasing CPU speed does not mean "status quo". If the CPU is fast enough for mainstream users, innovation can apply to other aspects that people actually care about, like camera quality, battery life, voice quality, data speed, waterproofing, improved functionality, screen quality, ... you name it!

about a week ago
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Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

laird Re:Yes and yes... (261 comments)

To state the obvious, if people didn't think that 16 GB was enough storage, they'd buy more of the models with more storage.

Surprisingly large percentages of smartphone buyers only install a few apps and no media. They apparently talk on the thing! :-) For them, paying more for more storage would be a waste of money.

Look, if people want what you don't, that doesn't mean that they're all deceived and "fleeced", it means that most people care about things you don't care about. I had an engineer who reacted to the iPod Nano launch with the verdict that it was "stupid" and that nobody would buy one because the price/storage ratio was terrible, and it couldn't store all your music, after which the Nano rapidly became the best selling MP3 player of all time (at the time). Because what people cared about wasn't storage, or cost per GB, it was convenient access to some music, and a nice looking, durable, easy to use device.

about two weeks ago
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Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

laird Re:Because of Apple engineering (261 comments)

If most users are buying 16 GB phones and are happy with that, why would Apple add more storage to the base model? Instead they can take the dollar or two saved and use that to pay for the improved camera, glass, etc., which people might care about more.

about two weeks ago
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Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

laird Re:Yes and yes... (261 comments)

Best selling means that most actual consumers think that 16 GB is enough. That means that while _you_ want more storage in a smartphone, most people don't. That doesn't make them wrong. :-)

about two weeks ago
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

laird Re:So then they get another warrant ... (504 comments)

You can sue anyone. That person might end up winning the lawsuit, but that doesn't mean that they weren't sued. And beyond that, they had to spend time and money to defend themselves, so it's not at all reasonable to pretend that if they won the lawsuit it was identical to it not happening.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

laird Re:Sanity... (504 comments)

Particularly given the FISA Court's nearly 100% history of agreeing to anything requested by the prosecution, it's comforting that the ultimate control over data privacy doesn't rest with the courts. If the judiciary were truly independent, as they much more used to be, I'd be more comfortable trusting the courts to balance the interests of the prosecution and the accused.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

laird Re:Parallax. (425 comments)

Apple's using "thin" as a measure of engineering excellence. That is, they are engineering all sorts of tricky things, like special display stacking and chip arrangement techniques, in order to make their phones ever thinner. And, of course, thinner = more elegant, lighter and more convenient.

It's a bit like how Intel focused on clock speed as their key goal, and spent a fortune optimizing their clock speeds (with chip design tools optimized for clock speed, etc.).

In both cases, people who didn't care about that metric saw it as wasted effort, and argued that the companies were being stupid. But in both cases, by focusing on a clear goal they focused their engineering teams on, and delivered, ever improving products, and they gave consumers something that they cared about, even if the people doing the complaining didn't.

about two weeks ago
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Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

laird Re:Parallax. (425 comments)

Apple never ships technology first - they take emergent technologies and push them into the mainstream. 3" floppy disks, mice, GUIs, USB, LANs, networked printers, MP3 players, DVD burners, smartphones, digital music stores, tablet computers, etc., all existed before Apple's versions, but they generally kinda sucked to use. Apple took the technology, make it more usable, and delivered it in mainstream consumer devices. So now they're trying to do the same thing with digital wallets and smart watches. Do you really want to bet against them?

With Apple Pay, the current digital wallets really suck, and Apple's got all the right players aligned, with what looks like great usability and security, so it might really win big.

With the Apple Watch, Pebble and Google have decent products, so it's not as clear a path to success - I'd bet that Apple makes a good business out of it, but don't dominate.

about two weeks ago
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AT&T Proposes Net Neutrality Compromise

laird Clarity is required (241 comments)

This proposal just serves to muddy the clear definition of the role of an ISP, and they can then use that ambiguity to create problems and extract more revenue by charging to fix their problems. It's critical that there be a clear definition of an ISPs role in the network, and the IETF has maintained those clear distinctions for decades now. Let's not let the business deal-makers muck things up!

about two weeks ago
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Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

laird Re:For Guys Who Are About 40th in Political Contri (531 comments)

Perhaps you should have done more research than 5 seconds in Google.

Democrat donors are at the top of the list of reported donations because they are more likely to report their donations. The whole point of how the Koch brothers route their money, and money funneled through their network of PACs, "think tanks", etc., is to hide the fact that they are funding it, so that their organizations all sound like "independent" supports of the Koch agenda. So they route it through "non-profits" or by providing non-cash benefits (e.g. providing a free vacation / educational conference), and of course pumping a fortune into "independent" issue campaigns, which are unregulated and whose funding sources are largely unreported. And, of course, the un-reported money flow is much larger than the reported money flow.

And you really can't equate the two.

In terms of assets, the Koch Brothers have 20x as much as Soros. So that's not even close.

And in terms of tactics, the Soros' political donations are well documented and transparent - be is open about what he supports, and he lobbies and promotes it in an open fashion. The Koch Brothers' money flow is generally hidden, and goes to subversive organizations like ALEC that literally write legislation, give it to legislators, who they give free vacations and political donations to, and has them pass it, sometimes literally in the middle of the night behind locked doors so nobody can see what they're doing. So you can't equate their tactics.

about 1 month ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

laird Re:Simplier solution at the carrier level (233 comments)

All the law does is increase the cost/effort of reselling stolen phones. It's impossible, as with any security measure, to prevent anything 100% of the time. But if you make it more complex/expensive, it discourages the attack because criminals will move on to easier/more rewarding targets.

about a month ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

laird Re:Can we opt out? (233 comments)

The law doesn't give the state the ability to do a remote wipe, it gives the *owner* that ability. See the difference?

about a month ago

Submissions

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Prosthetists Meet Printers: Mainstreaming Open-Source 3D printed Prosthetics

laird laird writes  |  about three weeks ago

laird (2705) writes "Prosthetists Meet Printers: Mainstreaming Open-Source 3D printed Prosthetics for Underserved Populations

Crowd-sourced collaborative innovation is changing the face of modern medicine. e-NABLE, a global online community of humanitarian volunteers is leading the way by designing, building and disseminating inexpensive 3D printed prosthetics. Come join the e-NABLE organization and thought leaders in medicine, industry and public policy for a ground-breaking, industry-defining event at Johns Hopkins Hospital that will include the delivery of donated prothetic hands to children with upper limb differences.

We will unveil the new e-NABLE 2.0 hand, developed by Ivan Owen, Peter Binkley and Frankie Flood – the world’s first crowd-sourced, crowd-developed prosthetic that incorporates the collective intelligence, learning and experiences of e-NABLE’s online global community, parents and children who are using the devices themselves.

Anyone is welcome to attend.

Come learn about the future of 3D printing technology and the medical field, why the prosthetics industry should welcome this technology and get more information on policy issues and the upcoming FDA regulatory workshops in October.

You will have the opportunity to learn how to create a device, meet vendors and get information on various 3D printers and will get to witness children receiving their first 3D printed hand devices created just for them by our e-NABLE volunteers.

We are making history and changing lives. We invite you to join us!"

Link to Original Source
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$1B of public domain research released to public!

laird laird writes  |  more than 5 years ago

laird writes "Wikileaks has released nearly a billion dollars worth of quasi-secret reports commissioned by the United States Congress. The 6,780 reports, current as of this month, comprise over 127,000 pages of material on some of the most contentious issues in the nation, from the U.S. relationship with Israel to abortion legislation. Nearly 2,300 of the reports were updated in the last 12 months, while the oldest report goes back to 1990. The release represents the total output of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) electronically available to Congressional offices. The CRS is Congress's analytical agency and has a budget in excess of $100M per year.

Although all CRS reports are legally in the public domain, they are quasi-secret because the CRS, as a matter of policy, makes the reports available only to members of Congress, Congressional committees and select sister agencies such as the GAO. Members of Congress are free to selectively release CRS reports to the public but are only motivated to do so when they feel the results would assist them politically. Universally embarrassing reports are kept quiet."

Link to Original Source
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Are Content Delivery Clouds the next step of CDNs?

laird laird writes  |  more than 5 years ago

laird writes "Is the Content Delivery Cloud model the next step after CDN's? "A Content Delivery Cloud is a system of computers networked together across the internet that are orchestrated transparently to deliver content to end users, most often for the purposes of improving performance, scalabaility and cost efficiency. Extending the model of a traditional Content Delivery Network, a Content Delivery Cloud may utilize the resources of multiple CDN networks as well as end-user computers ("the cloud") to assist in the delivery of content." With coverage, research and commercial services emerging, is the Content Delivery Cloud coming sooner rather than later?"
Link to Original Source
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http://www.wired.com/software/webservices/news/200

laird laird writes  |  about 7 years ago

laird writes "Faced with a surge in network usage, internet service providers are grumbling about rising traffic levels. ISPs say the looming growth of true peer-to-peer applications threatens to overwhelm them. Some ISPs have even started sniffing out P2P traffic on their networks and curbing it, either slowing file sharing to a trickle or bringing it to a halt.

Responding to this adversarial relationship, some P2P companies are adopting a posture of engagement with ISPs, and have formed a new industry working group to help broker relationships that, they say, will enable ISPs to better manage and distribute traffic loads on their networks.

The P4P Working Group consists of content-distribution-technology providers like BitTorrent, Pando Networks, LimeWire and VeriSign's Kontiki, as well as broadband companies like Verizon and AT&T, and hardware makers like Cisco Systems. There are close to a dozen members so far. The P4P operates under the guidance of the Distributed Computing Industry Association, a group that wants to foster legal peer-to-peer content distribution.

P4P's plan: Get ISPs and P2P-technology providers working together, to ensure that P2P traffic continues to flow and that users of P2P technologies don't overload ISPs' networks with too much sharing."

Link to Original Source
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laird laird writes  |  more than 7 years ago

laird writes "The principle of voting in the United States is that votes are cast in secret but tallied in public.

This principle is incompatible with the current practice of using voting systems whose inner workings are trade secrets owned by the voting-machine vendors. Those same vendors pay for their systems to be tested, and the results of those tests are also trade secrets — you guessed it — owned by the vendors.

Full article at http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?sto ry_id=3234 ."
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laird laird writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Laird Popkin writes "Pando Networks, known for integrating BitTorrent into email with a slick little, consumer-friendly client (and tons of very fast Linux servers), has extended its software to support web and RSS publishing of large files. TechCrunch has a nice writeup. There's more technical information about Pando at Pando's tech site."

Journals

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Just found journal

laird laird writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I just found the journal system here on Slashdot. Is it clever or over-reaching? Given that people build reputations on Slashdot, it kinda makes sense. Though if you host your life on Slashdot, well, I guess that says something too...

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