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Apple's Chinese Suppliers Accused of Causing Significant Environmental Damage

name_already_taken The problem is Chinese business culture (346 comments)

I don't know how Apple's standards compare to the EPA standards, but much of this would be illegal in this country and it wouldn't really be up to Apple to police it.

It's illegal in China too!

The cause of this problem is nothing to do with Apple, Western consumers, or anything else outside of China.

In China, pretty much everything is illegal. They have laws against everything you can think of, including adulterating milk with melamine to produce false test results. The problem is that you can't do anything in China without getting permission from the government. Businesses that actually comply with all the Chinese regulations go out of business very quickly because their competition is willing to gain an advantage by cheating - i.e. bribing officials, whatever.

The culture that has developed under this situation is such that nobody complies with regulations in China. It is simpler, faster and cheaper to pay bribes and to lie about compliance.

Once in a while, they'll do something that results in people getting hurt or killed, like the melamine in the milk. The government will round up the head of the milk company and execute him, but nothing really changes that will make their food supply more trustworthy or safe.

I have seen photographs of raw materials processing plants in China spewing huge clouds of colorful smoke into the air. It looked like a movie special effect. The same type of plant in a modern country like Brazil, for example, is three times the size of the Chinese plant - 2/3 of the Brazilian plant's volume is dedicated to equipment that captures the harmful byproducts given off by the process and prevents them from getting out into the environment. This is why the Chinese shut down a fair portion of their raw materials and manufacturing industry just prior to the Beijing Olympics - to allow the pollutants to dissipate and raise the air quality for the games.

I know of at least one manufacturing plant in California that can demonstrate that they are actually discharging air that is cleaner than the intake air. They are required to meet environmental standards, and they do it. In China a similar plant would just pay off the inspector.

Short of customers such as Apple stationing full-time inspection crews all the way down the supply chain (pretty much impossible), there's not much they can do. I have also seen pictures of expensive Italian quality control equipment in Chinese plants - everything in the plant looked dirty and worn, but the quality control equipment looked brand new. It was in place so they could pass their quality certification audit but it wasn't in normal day-to-day use, and nobody at the plant actually knew how to use any of it!

Frankly we're lucky Chinese products aren't falling apart or killing people all the time. Go on Youtube and look for Chinese car crash tests if you want a real eye-opener.

Almost any product made in China carries the risk of poor quality, false components, or pollution at some point in the supply chain. It's not an Apple problem. It's a China problem.

more than 3 years ago

Ugandan Seeks To Build Backyard Space Shuttle

name_already_taken Re:Top Gear Top Tip: (136 comments)

Had it not failed to separate from the large fuel tank, then they might have had a chance.

The RC Reliant glider model, while not exactly making a smooth landing, wasn't going very fast when it hit the ground.

After the perfect separation of the SRBs you might suspect that it was rigged to fail, for television.

more than 3 years ago

Could PSTN Go Away By 2018?

name_already_taken Cat5 or just 4 pairs with RJ45? (305 comments)

Interesting; my office phone has cat5 coming out the back, which has been the case anywhere I've worked for a few years now.

But is a VOIP phone, or just an analog phone with an 8-conductor cable?

I've done all the phone work for the little company I work for for the past 20 years, and helped some other companies with their systems. RJ45 plugs and cables were often used with the old analog key systems and PBXs, long before VOIP came around. You can't tell what communication method the phone uses by looking at the plug. A lot of the newer business VOIP phones look very similar and to the user appear basically the same as the analog systems that went before, as those analog systems had become pretty advanced.

more than 3 years ago

Apple To Start Making TVs?

name_already_taken Nice try, but no cigar. (313 comments)

Price doesn't matter. iTards will buy anything if it's shiny and white.

Wait a second, stop right there.

The Apple TV is shiny and black .

On top of that, it's $99. I don't think you can buy any other similar device for $33 to $66, and there isn't a "I want to pay even more money" button on the Apple Store website, or do you expect us to believe that people wander into Apple's retail stores and try to haggle the price up?

If you're going to troll, at least try and be informed about the subject.

more than 3 years ago

Unlocked iPhones in US For $649

name_already_taken One minor advantage (334 comments)

Small correction: Same technology, different frequency band.

Since it doesn't support T-Mo's 3G bands, there's not much point to it unless you'll be doing a lot of international travel. If it's only going to be fully functional on AT&T, you may as well go for the contract, since you won't be saving any money on service.

I have an unlocked iPhone 4, on T-Mobile's US service.

Edge is slow, but it's very reliable and doesn't use much power. Sure, I'd like to have 3G speed but I guess I'm not really missing it much since most everything works acceptably on Edge (no Youtube, but again I don't think I'm missing much there). I have had other 3G phones, and and I have a 3G iPad on AT&T, so it's not like I don't know the difference. The lower monthly cost and better customer service from T-Mobile outweighs the speed deficit for me.

The one advantage is that I can use the "Personal Hotspot" tethering feature on the iPhone to share the connection without incurring an additional $20/month charge as I would on AT&T. Phone service is already too expensive (and yes I get the irony that I'm talking about a $650 device).

more than 3 years ago

Chinese Paper Warns Google May Pay Price For Hacking Claims

name_already_taken Oh puh-leeze (165 comments)

Somehow I picture the executives at Google, and US State Department officials having a good laugh over this one.

Nobody outside of China believes the type of propaganda crap spewed by Chinese newspapers.

more than 3 years ago

Google WebRTC: Can It Replace Skype?

name_already_taken Just costumers? (199 comments)

it's all irrelevant, as long as those loss leaders bring costumers to revenue/profit generating products.

I bet they also appreciate the customers who work outside of the theatrical clothing field.

more than 3 years ago

Google WebRTC: Can It Replace Skype?

name_already_taken That doesn't mean they're going to open FT up (199 comments)

Steve Jobs said it at the WWDC keynoe when it was announced in June of last year: "We're going to the standards bodies starting tomorrow and we're going to make FaceTime an open industry standard."

All that means is that FaceTime's protocols will be open - so anyone could build their own implementation of a FaceTime client or a FaceTime server (presumably it needs one).

It does not necessarily mean that Apple's FaceTime system will accept connections from non-Apple FaceTime clients, or that Apple's FaceTime clients (the FaceTime app on OS X, or FaceTime on iOS devices) will connect to non-Apple FaceTime servers.

Which is too bad, really. I hope they do fully open it up to outside use, but I doubt it.

more than 3 years ago

Unabomber Property Up For Creepy Online Auction

name_already_taken None of those things are private (109 comments)

I am disturbed by this as well. Unless Ted Kacynkski signed a waiver to allow the government to auction off what can be considered private records, I don't see how the government should be allowed to do this. Selling off other property to pay restitution to his victims, I don't have a problem with.

As long as you're not a criminal, you don't have to worry about it too much. The government can't take your stuff away and sell it unless you cause them to by, for example, mailing bombs to innocent victims.

None of the items mentioned can be considered private records. Driver's licenses, birth certificates, deeds, and academic transcripts are publicly accessible anyway, even before they become evidence in a criminal trial.

The other items became public information or government property once they were entered into evidence in the court proceedings against him, unless Kaczynski's attorney won a court order to have the evidence sealed or to have the items returned to him - which he didn't.

more than 3 years ago

Testing Geiger Counters

name_already_taken Would you rather have the extra radiation or not? (277 comments)

Pretty typical logic, Occupational Exposure limits are very tight in the US, but diagnostic exposure limits are very loose. It's kind of schizophrenic for us working in dental offices where we're limited to an exposure of about 1/10 on the job of what we get as a patient from the same machines.

Not really, unless you believe that individual patients should really really be x-rayed every year*.

*which seems like in most cases it might just be a way to pad their bill.

more than 3 years ago

Lego Super-8 Video Projector

name_already_taken Most frustrating show ever (66 comments)

The show being projected is: Gerry Anderson's UFO (TV series 1970–1971) Episode 12 The Psychobombs http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0735638/

Was there ever an episode of UFO where something actually happens?

I've watched a bunch of them and it's always just one or two things happening, never a complete story. So unsatisfying given the work that went into the visual look of 1969's version of 1980.

I wonder why the shirts made of string never caught on.

more than 3 years ago

Poor Picture At Your Local Cinema?

name_already_taken Theater sound is very often subpar (178 comments)

The picture quality is often poor too.

Because you don't have a 100ft wide screen with more than 7 channels (movie theaters have many more channels than 7).

I bet you also listen to your iPod rather than going to see a musician live...

Since your technical arguments aren't valid you throw in an ad hominem attack. I guess you're not going for any positive moderations, and that's ok.

Turns out you don't need a 100ft screen if you sit closer to it - like you can in your own home. We have a 108" picture from our projector and it is a better picture than I've seen in a number of the local theaters.

The number of channels is irrelevant if they are not set up properly. Even as recently as a couple of months ago I've sat through muddy sound in a theater. It's not like I live out in the middle of nowhere either, there are a lot of theaters in the area so you'd think they'd want to stay on top of their game to compete with each other.

Pretty much all decent modern surround sound receivers will do automatic calibration - if the theaters did this too, we'd probably be much happier theatergoers. My receiver supports 11.2, which is in fact more than 7 channels, and it wasn't expensive. Our low frequency setup is the envy of our audiophile friend, and it wasn't expensive either.

As it is now, we only go the theaters as a social occasion with friends.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Proposes Smaller SIM Card Design

name_already_taken Not a single product; good design a la Dieter Rams (198 comments)

2. Sealed batteries, smaller sim cards and the like are critical paths to Apple's future product plans.

So what sort of future product would cause a problem with current products having replaceable batteries?

It's not a single product that would be hurt by those things - it's that they are anathema to Apple's design principles.

The guiding set of principles at Apple are a constant movement towards Dieter Rams' ideals of "good design".

  • Good design is innovative.
  • Good design makes a product useful.
  • Good design is aesthetic.
  • Good design helps us to understand a product.
  • Good design is unobtrusive.
  • Good design is honest.
  • Good design is durable.
  • Good design is consequent to the last detail.
  • Good design is concerned with the environment.
  • Good design is as little design as possible.

Good design means eliminating parts that the user interacts with (the battery cover, physical controls, etc).

Good design requires reducing parts count where practical - the battery cover, the battery connectors, the casing a replaceable battery must have, for example. I have a first generation iPhone in my pocket which is still on its original battery, so I'm not too worried about the difficulty of replacing it. I'd rather have a physically smaller phone or a better camera in the same-size phone than a replaceable battery.

Any time a designer adds yet another button, or another removable part, they're moving away from that ideal of "good design".

Now, wether you agree with that philosophy or not is up to you and there are a wide range of products on the market if you don't - you aren't required to buy Apple products to fulfill your needs or wants. The idea that Apple can lock down the entire market is a fallacy often professed by anti-Apple trolls in these discussions.

Of course, Jonathan Ives is just copying the old Braun products

, but that's not such a bad set of products to copy.

more than 3 years ago

Japan Says No To PlayStation Network Restart

name_already_taken When it's not a legal service (146 comments)

Can someone remind me how can a government say "no" to someone operating a legal service again?

When it looks like you're operating it in a way that does not comply with all of the laws.

You can read into that the Japanese government believes that PSN is not a legal service in Japan if PSN does not protect the privacy of the users.

more than 3 years ago

Dutch Provider KPN Under Fire Over DPI

name_already_taken Why can't they come up with a unique acronym? (77 comments)

The equipment vendors are aware that "deep packet inspection" has negative connotations, and at least some of them are now using the term "traffic and policy management" or TPM.

Doesn't that sound nice and innocuous?

Great. Nobody would ever confuse it with the other TPM.

You'd hope these acronym buffoons would eventually try Googling their three-letter combinations to see if they've already been used in the computing field.

more than 3 years ago

Sergey Brin: Windows Is "Torturing Users"

name_already_taken You may be doing that more often than needed (645 comments)

I've had Windows XP for almost ten years now, and I don't have to "manage" anything. Every year or so I wipe the drive with a fresh XP-CD install, and need to reinstall my favorite programs, but that would be true of any OS, whether it's Mac, Lubuntu, or Chrome.

Seriously? Do you really need to?

I've got a Windows 2000 install that's still going strong at 10 years old, and a couple of XP installs well over 5 years old. We even have a couple of Linux systems that have been running continuously longer than you keep Windows XP around - we only had to restart them during a UPS replacement. The Mac OSes only get upgrades (which counts as an install, I guess) when The Steve unveils a new version, so the system OS install I'm using right now is however old 10.6 is (about a year and a half). I have an install of OS X 10.5 on a PPC Mac at home that is still working just fine after 5 years.

So, this begs the question, what are you doing to screw up your XP installs in a year?

Even my boss, the resident malware catcher (seriously, I think he actively tries to get malware on his system) is using a three year old install of XP.

I think you'd be safe to extend your reinstall interval.

more than 3 years ago

Developer Blames Apple For Ruining eBook Business

name_already_taken All sellers charge a markup, not just Apple (660 comments)

Apple requires you to charge the same price in-app that you do elsewhere. You can't just do the logical thing and add 30% to the price to cover the Apple overhead.

That's the same retail price - not the wholesale price.

Don't retail outlets charge a markup too?

Surely Barnes & Noble is getting some cut of the $5 they charge for a magazine. Might even be more than 30%.

Wouldn't you expect that Amazon make a profit on things sold via their website?

The only difference is that we can all see what Apple's cut is.

more than 3 years ago

A Court's Weak Argument For Blocking IP Subpoenas

name_already_taken This is a prime example (220 comments)

This is a prime example of why people without legal training should not attempt to critique court decisions.

Words that mean one thing to lay people mean something else to the courts.

On top of that, couldn't this have been summarized in some compact format so that readers know if they want to read the entire wall of text or not?

more than 3 years ago

Signs of Dark Matter From Minnesota Mine

name_already_taken Re:Science is good (158 comments)

Patents aren't generally enforceable against basic research unless the research is actually making and selling something.

more than 3 years ago

Signs of Dark Matter From Minnesota Mine

name_already_taken Population growth = more raw materials needed (158 comments)

Whodathunk ?? This is 2011 already !!

How do you think we get stuff? Magic? Recycling yields less that 100%, so as the population grows, we need to get more stuff out of the ground.

more than 3 years ago


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