Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!



Are Tablets Just Too Expensive?

noewun No. (549 comments)

This has been another installment of simple answers to stupid questions.

more than 3 years ago

Verizon Speeds Up FiOS To 150Mbps

noewun Re:Nice, now why (314 comments)

Because the same company, Verizon in this case, also has to service the non-high density parts. Yes, they have different pricing for different areas. But the probably can't/don't want to price it too differently.

85% of the American population lives in, or near, a densely populated urban area. Over 21 million people live within short driving distance of New York City. 17 million live in and around Los Angeles, 10.8 million around Chicago. . . and you get the idea. Most Americans live in population density very similar to what we see as Europe's 'high density', more than enough to pay for the relatively few who don't.

There is only one reason why US broadband sucks: we have telecom monopolies which are federally-mandated through lack of oversight. I live in NYC, surrounded by the equivalent of one quarter of the entire UK population, and have, essentially, two options for broadband. I can either get Time Warner's offerings, or the offerings of a provider who pays Time Warner to use their lines, or I can have Verizon's offerings, or use a provider who leases Verizon's lines. That's it: two, in a place with an average of 27,000 people per square mile. And if I want a blazing 3 Mbps, I'd better be willing to dole out $50/month.

It's not about the tech, it's not about the density. It's about unregulated corporate greed. If you don't believe me, look at the outcry over even the idea of net neutrality.

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft's Touted iPad Rival Courier Becomes Less Than Vapor

noewun Re:Tablets are dead (401 comments)

At the moment. But will Apple really be able to carry the momentum once people start realizing theres nothing really -great- about the iPad?

The very same thing was said about the iPod and the iPhone, and look where they are now.

The era of the geek driving computer development is dead: people want easy to use features, and Apple is giving it to them. The era of clock speed, bus speed and VRAM capacity being important for selling computers is over as well. These things will still matter for select user bases--programmers, gamers, scientific use, graphic design, audio/video and other--but, for the vast number of average computer users for whom web, email, music, word processing and simple video are all that's really important, the iPad and its children are the future.

It will be interesting to see what people are saying about the iPad this time next year, when Apple's sold 25 million of them.

more than 4 years ago

Why Linux Is Not Attracting Young Developers

noewun The Linux Revolution never happened (742 comments)

I think one reason is all of the extravagant promises made for Linux--the nth Year of Linux on the Desktop--never happened. Linux didn't make any serious inroads into Windows or Mac market share, and, in fact, OS X has been the OS which is steadily gaining share. Millions of users didn't throw up their hands in frustration and switch to Linux desktops, and on and on. Even worse, the future of app development now seems to be remain on Windows and OS X, and the mobile web: iPhone/iPad/Android, etc. And, while the Andriod OS is based on Linux, it's owned by a consortium of large corporations, and is definitely not an community-based, open source project. So, what is to attract young developers to Linux? Where are the jobs?

That said, I think it's important to draw a distinction between the technology of Linux and cultural aspect of Linux. The technology has clearly been a success, as its domination of the server space, and Android, shows. But that doesn't necessarily translate into a larger societal effect, and that's what I'm getting at. There has been no explosion of the user base, and therefore no need for a huge increase in needed developers. I don't think Linux is going anywhere. But I also don't see the Linux user base expanding and driving the need for more developers and, more crucially, I don't see Linux driving the creation of a lot of jobs to draw younger developers into the fold.

It's easy to sit back and blame younger developers lack of skill. But, if you were coming out of college with a CS degree, and needed a job, what would you do?

more than 4 years ago

Star Wars To Air As Animated Sitcom

noewun Breaking: Lucas continues to milk old franchise (268 comments)

In other news, water wet and sun bright and hot.

When Star Wars came out, I thought it was the most amazing movie I'd ever seen.

I was nine years old.

Having watched it as an adult, I've realized it really is quite bad. Unfortunately, Lucas hasn't gotten that memo. . .

more than 4 years ago

20 Years of Photoshop

noewun Re:May be a good time to discuss alternatives (289 comments)

Very true. For those of us who make our money in print production, Photoshop is (unfortunately) absolutely necessary and an amazing tool. The program's abilities really are infinitely deep.

However, for 95% of the people out there, Photoshop is like driving a Ferrari a mile to get milk: lots of snorting, engine noise and wheelspin but, in the end, a lot of wasted effort.

This leads to another problem: because I spend all my image editing time in Photoshop, I have no idea what to recommend to people who need to do much simple editing. If you're on OS X I know iPhoto does some basic brightness/contrast/color balance stuff, but that's about it.

more than 4 years ago

Bill Gates Responds To Apple iPad

noewun Re:That's it (503 comments)

What for? The iPad is little more than an iPod Touch that won't fit in your pocket, and the market will judge it accordingly. Apple had an opportunity to redefine the tablet computer market, and they decided to waste it by offering us yet another box to run their apps.

It's official: The Slashdot Inverse Rule of Success is now in effect. Expect the iPad to sell 10 million in its first year.

And I'm not kidding. The Slasdot consensus is so wildly out of touch with market success it has become and inverse barometer.

more than 4 years ago

iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward"

noewun Re:Average users don't WANT control (1634 comments)

The masses, as you call them, are NOT sheep, and the idea there exists a difference between sheep and shepherds is one of the reasons Slashdot and geeks are so comically bad at predicting market success and failures.

The large mass of average computer users do not want to know how their computers work: they just want them to work. This is not a sign of inferior intelligence, but a choice where to put time and effort. I will bet you the mass of Slashdot users can't cook a good meal, or make their own bread, or change their own brakes, or drive a manual car, or do their own drywall work, or write their own music. All these, too, are choices: spending to choose your time making your own computers instead of making your own food, for instance, doesn't make you a better person than someone who can't figure out an error message but can cook a great four course meal. And that idea--Geek Macho--is one of the reasons many seeming great technological ideas never get anywhere, while Apple, which understands what average computer users want, goes from strength to strength.

Or, put more concisely: holding your users in contempt because their likes and dislikes don't match yours is the quick way to bankruptcy. Similarly, holding users in contempt because they prioritize their lives differently than yours is a way to avoid honest discussion and jump straight to reinforcing your own prejudices.

about 5 years ago

PhD Candidate Talks About the Physics of Space Battles

noewun Re:He forgot about heat (361 comments)

Then you will easily be seen as an area much, much cooler relative to the star.

more than 5 years ago

PhD Candidate Talks About the Physics of Space Battles

noewun He forgot about heat (361 comments)

And thermodynamics, specifically the need to dissipate the enormous amount of heat produced by a spacecraft into the thermodynamically-inefficient medium of space, changes things.

For one, there's no stealth in space. The heat from the shuttle's main engines can be seen from Pluto, ~5.4 light hours away. This means that any reasonably powerful ship will be seen days and even weeks before it comes into contact. Given that engagement ranges probably won't be much further than one light second, due to sensor lag, there's no sneaking up on anyone, so the shape of your spaceship vis a vis radar stealth doesn't matter.

This also impacts tactics. Since you will see your enemy coming from a long way and, as mentioned in the article, operating in planetary systems means predicable orbits and vectors, tactics becomes something akin to submarine warfare: lots of long distance shots with guided weapons, and lots of math to figure out firing solutions.

Third, because of the need to dissipate lots of heat into space, any sizable ship will need a large amount of highly vulnerable radiator area. Sufficiently damage a ship's radiators, and you effectively shut that ship down, as it will need to power down to avoid blowing up.

more than 5 years ago

Apple Newton vs. Apple iPhone

noewun Re:ok (203 comments)

The bigger issue here is the narrow definition of "innovation"* so often used at /. and other tech-centric places, in which innovation only means innovation in a strictly technological/programming/hardware sense of the word. Behind this conceit lies the assumption that the only innovation which matters is purely technological innovation, and all of the other aspects, including making these innovations easy to use and accessible for wide range of people, are looked up on as somehow less than.

Hence the constantly renewing Year of Linux on the Desktop, which ignores the fact even the best-packaged Linux distros are at best a mixed bag when it comes to usability. Hence the constant claims that the iPhone/iPod will soon fall from its perch because its focus is ease of use and accessibility and not "innovation". Hence the boiling down of the wide variety of things which must go into a successful product as "cool" or "marketing", etc.

Apple's particular current genius lies in its ability to take technology and package it for use by a wide variety of people who don't care about the technology per se, and a big part of this is the iPod Touch/iPhone's UI, which makes it so easy even your grandmother can tweet away to her heart's content. And I think the reason Apple catches so much flack here, and elsewhere, is that by giving the "sheep" access to the technology, it take away from the n3rd world the special acclaim they have given themselves for having access to that technology.

That thought aside, the fact that so very few tech companies are able to do what Apple does should tell you how incredibly difficult it is to do, and why it is as innovative as any other tech achievement. Microsoft has, quite literally, money to burn and the best they can do is constantly bandage over the larger usability nightmares in Windows and Windows Mobile. Palm had to almost die before they came up with WebOS. Gnome and KDE have a (relatively) large installed base and access to talented people and the best they can come up with is a model which, sometimes, is easier to use than Windows. YOur average cel phone UI is a nightmare of menus, submenus, confusing icons and deeply-buried features. And on and on.

Making technology easy to use is incredibly difficult and every bit as innovative as writing a new OS or designing a new chip. And, while Apple has made, and will continue, to make stupid decisions, when it comes to what they do, they do do it so very well.

*There is a further conceit here, as to the true nature of innovation. There seems to be the idea that "true" innovators are the geniuses who come up with a wholly original idea, develop that idea, get it to market and retire to sleep on a bed of money. Look at this history of technology and you will see that almost never happens. Almost every innovation you can think of is either an improvement on an earlier idea or a new combination of previously established technology and ideas. Henry Ford, to pick one at random, didn't invent a damn thing. He took the idea of assembly lines and interchangeable parts from weapons manufacture, combined it with a newly available urban workforce and clever marketing (any color you want as long as its black) which was actually based on sound logistical planning, and created the modern car industry. It's the same with the computer industry. Progress is the story of incremental improvement and assembly of ideas and not sudden advances out of nowhere.

Or that's my $0.02

more than 5 years ago

iPhone Owners Demand To See Apple Source Code

noewun Good luck with that (298 comments)

Microsoft will produce Windows source code before this happens.

more than 5 years ago

MIT Axes the 500-Word Application Essay

noewun 500 words is considered long? (441 comments)

Suddenly I understand why so much sci fi written by engineers reads like someone reciting the minutes of that last IEEE meeting.

more than 5 years ago

Apple Dominates "Premium PC" Market

noewun Re:In technology... (475 comments)

Either way, time will tell.

Slashdot really needs a "-6, Wishful Thinking" tag for comments about Apple's coming, inevitable decline.

Apple is an enormously successful company, which sells computers and handhelds which run OS X, which more and more people like to buy. It's hard to figure out which one of those facts pisses off Slashdotters more.

more than 5 years ago

Why Japan Hates the iPhone

noewun Re:How come it's only in Japan (884 comments)

. . .they just don't want the same thing as us.

True, and there are things about Japanese culture which make their cel phone market very different from ours. One of the biggest things is the way in which the Japanese commute to and from work: Japan has a much higher use of public transportation than does the U.S., and the Japanese are heavy users of rail travel. This means, according to the last figures I checked, the average Japanese working person has an hour commute to and from work which is, essentially, free time. Contrast this to the U.S., in which the majority of people drive to work.

To me, this explains a lot of the Japanese demand for the use of video and TV on the cel phones, and from the cel phone networks: they have the time and inclination to use those services. Contrast this to the U.S., in which people have to (supposedly) concentrate on their driving; we have lots of talk radio here, something to listen to during that commute which requires no hands.

Add to this all of the other commuting the Japanese do via rail and you have a market which just doesn't exist in the U.S. I think this holds true in Europe as well, which also has a higher incidence of public transportation use than the U.S. We drive here, a lot, and that niche just doesn't exist. Most Americans get their online TV and video either at work or at home. Which is to say that population and work patterns influence technology adoption and use as much as, or more than, GUI design and technical achievement.

At least that's my theory.

more than 5 years ago

Google Earth 5.0 Silently Changes Update Policy

noewun This decided the issue for me (535 comments)

Saw the message on the install screen, clicked cancel, and I won't install it.

more than 5 years ago

WISPS Mean Cable and DSL Aren't the Only Choices

noewun Re:They work well too (256 comments)

Yes most people on the east and west coasts have multiple options:

SOME people have options. I live in Manhattan, which means either Verizon or Time Warner owns all the infrastructure underneath me. Because of this I only really have two options for broadband. One is DSL through Verizon or through another provider which leases lines from Verizon and the other is cable through Time Warner or another provider which leases from Time Warner. And, remember, this isn't just a city on the east coast, this is the biggest, most densely populated city in the country in which two corporations control all of my broadband choices and make sure that no matter which one I choose, I will pay a premium for my service.

I actually get my DSL through Earthlink, as I've been with them forever and have had the same email address since ethernet packets were made of steam and pigeons. But I also know that I'm paying ~$40.00 a month for 3.0 Mbps, and that if there were true competition I would have a lot more choice for less money. Now, if I want to ditch my email address and go straight to Verizon I could probably pay less, but I like my email address. And, since there's no competition here my only other choice would be cable, and Time Warner is many things, but a good deal for consumers isn't one of them.

So, while I may agree with you in theory, in practice I know that corporations only give their customers a break when forced to by law.

By the way, if you want fast last mile here, your only choice is FiOS through Verizon. Their installation techs are horrible (I know someone who needed six visits just to get it working), you don't get anywhere near the speeds promised and it's very expensive.

more than 5 years ago

USB 3.0 Is Ten Times Faster; Get It In 2010

noewun Re:And how much cpu power is needed at that speed? (280 comments)

USB 3 will do at least 200mb/s sustained.

And Vista is the fastest, easiest to use operating system ever, and 2009 is the year of Linux on the Desktop.

USB 2.0 was supposed to do 480 Mbps sustained, but you're lucky if you get 20 MB/s sustained. Given Intel's track record, I expect USB 3.0 to, maybe, be as fast as Firewire 400 for sustained transfers. There's a reason my TB backup drive is Firewire 800.

about 6 years ago



CEO of RIM can't decide if iPhone is "dangerou

noewun noewun writes  |  more than 7 years ago

noewun (591275) writes "Looks like Jim Balsille, co-CEO of RIM, can't get on message. According TFA, "[t]he co-CEO of Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the popular line of BlackBerry email devices, said in an interview at RIM's Waterloo headquarters that he's not losing sleep over Apple's efforts to upend the wireless market in much the same way as its wildly popular iPod music devices changed the way people acquire and listen to music."

Then, a few paragraphs later, he "is also intensely critical of what appears to be an effort by Apple to wrest control of the customer experience in the consumer market. For example, the iPhone is being sold through Apple's own stores, instead of strictly through AT&T Inc., which signed an exclusive U.S. deal with the computer maker. The phone is free of AT&T's logo and software and is tied closely to Apple's iTunes music store, which is where subscribers will need to go to activate their phones and browse rate plans.

"It's a dangerous strategy," says Balsillie. "It's a tremendous amount of control. And the more control of the platform that goes out of the carrier, the more they shift into a commodity pipe."

So, it's not a threat, but it's dangerous? Maybe this is CEO Speak for 'Competition? Waaaaahh!'"


Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?