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Comment Re:I'll be skipping this generation ... (Score 1) 146

I've got a 2011 MBP getting close to its last legs (it suffered a few accidents thanks to four legged hellbeasts), and I've pretty much decided my next computer is going to be a used 2011 MBP as I'm not interested in buying something that requires me to drop an extra $25 for the ability to plug a USB 3 or 2 device in.

That will be my strategy as well, assuming my mid-2012 MBP doesn't hold out. Buy a used mid-2012 model to replace it, and hope Apple produces another laptop that I'm willing to buy within the next 2 to 3 years.

Comment Re:I'll be skipping this generation ... (Score 2) 146

Don't hold your breath.

Yeah, I know. I'm not particularly hopeful either.

On the other hand, in two to four years we may be seeing Micron's 3-D Xpoint memory moving into the high-end prosumer market. So maybe, just maybe, Apple will market a 13" laptop with several TB of memory before the end of the decade. If I can just keep the current laptop going with an SSD upgrade, I may be able to make it.

Comment I'll be skipping this generation ... (Score 4, Insightful) 146

I've got a mid-2012 13" MacBook Pro that's been my workhorse. Between media files and virtual machines, I'm using about 850 GB of a 1 TB hard drive. At my current rate of data expansion, I'll probably break the 1 TB barrier in the next year or so.

After seeing today's product announcements, it looks like I'll be buying a Samsung 2 TB SSD for my current machine instead, given that the cheapest 2 TB configured MacBook Pro would be a 15" edition at $3800. There is no longer a 13" model to replace what I have.

I've been a loyal Apple laptop buyer for 15+ years, but the wheels have finally fallen off the wagon for me. I don't need a laptop thin enough to shave with. I want something that will allow me to upgrade the SSD at the very least. And no more Magsafe adapter? I can't count the number of times the Magsafe has saved me from damaging my laptop, not to mention the insanity of having only USB-C on a supposedly professional model.

So what's the alternative? A Dell? An HP? A Surface? Every bit as bad, or worse. Who would have ever imagined that the entire laptop market would have either cost-cut or over-specialize itself into irrelevance for professional users?

All I can do is wait and hope that the next iteration of MacBooks will provide a return to sanity.

Comment Re:Reality (Score 5, Informative) 92

If you cut a line of any kind or interrupt service without calling first, you pay. Google needs to learn how to get along with everybody else.

Funny, Comcast never seemed to be particularly concerned about their service being interrupted before Google Fiber arrived in Nashville.

A year ago, my Comcast service would often drop out dozens of times a day (confirmed by my modem logs). Calls to Comcast service got me nowhere. You know what finally fixed my Comcast service? When Comcast ran brand-new cable throughout my neighborhood while in mortal fear of Google Fiber.

Comcast doesn't care if their service works or not. They certainly never seemed to care in the past 10 years, at least until Google Fiber came to Nashville. I never got a dime of reimbursement for all the times my Internet or cable TV quit working. And now they moan and groan about possible interruptions due to Google Fiber installing their own equipment? Laughable.

But here's the most important point: Nashville residents simply DO NOT CARE about the lawsuits. They expected legal action, and they still overwhelmingly told the Metro Council that they wanted Google Fiber. The Metro Council has gotten the message loud and clear, and the city is not going to back down.

Comment Re:In all fairness (Score 1) 254

In all fairness, for self-driving cars to live up to the claims that proponents are making, they can't do this.

If Google Maps isn't sending drivers the wrong way down that street, I doubt very much that the car's software would make that mistake.

Since that the car had a driver in it, I'd be willing to bet that the vehicle was under human control. But even if it wasn't, the software will be fixed, and no Google car will ever make that mistake again, whereas you can be quite certain that human drivers will continue to occasionally drive the wrong way down one-way streets.

Comment Look at the economics (Score 4, Insightful) 186

It's pointless to talk about creating an open-source version of Siri or Alexa unless you can explain how you're going to also create and maintain the server-side infrastructure needed to make it work. The Siri and Alexa interfaces may run on a client, but they're brain-dead without the server farms of Apple and Amazon behind them.

A similar example from the not-too-distant past: Aaron Swartz's download of a significant chunk of the JSTOR database. Those JSTOR articles wanted to be free, right? And they were set free - copies of Swartz's JSTOR download were available in a multi-GB torrent on several sites. Swartz's entire rationale was that those articles should be freely available to everyone.

So where is the free, open-source version of JSTOR today? It doesn't exist, because building and maintaining a server-side infrastructure that makes that database useable costs money ... which, of course, is why JSTOR required a subscription fee.

Solve out the server-side economics, and you have a shot at building an open-source Siri. Until then, you're better off putting your open-source efforts into client-side applications.

Comment The answer is obvious ... (Score 1) 201

If you want to reduce binge drinking, lower the drinking age back to 18 in the U.S., before MADD started us down this road in the name of "think of the children!".

In my undergraduate days in the 70's, beer and occasional wine were staples at college parties, starting from the moment you were a freshman. Going to the hospital with alcohol poisoning was almost unheard of. You simply couldn't drink enough beer or wine to do that without puking it up. Those rare cases when it did occur were because of "hunch punch" parties using grain alcohol or vodka.

Raising the drinking age to 21 has not significantly affected the percentage of 18-to-20-year-old drinkers. The same percentage still drinks as it did 30 years ago, but instead of drinking a few beers in the open, and maybe getting sick to your stomach because you had too much, you knock down a fifth of hard liquor in your room, out of sight. In my day, the juniors and seniors watched out for the new drinkers if they had too much. Nowadays, the juniors and seniors are just part of the problem.

MADD can pat themselves on their backs all they want, but they have only somewhat reduced one problem (underage drinking and driving) while enormously increasing another (binge drinking and alcohol abuse), not to mention the effect of teaching an entire generation of young people that laws are written to be ignored.

What I will be curious to see is what happens 20 years from now when autonomous vehicles have made DUI an obsolete crime. (It's already happening with ride-sharing services - the percentage of young adults with driver's licenses has been steadily dropping.) I look forward to the day when 18-year-olds stand up and demand their rights as legal adults, and put an end to MADD's moralizing hypocrisy.

Comment Re:Can't Subscribe (Score 1) 204

Basically this. It's more about the sluggish speed of Google's rollouts - they give competition plenty of time to cut prices and increase speeds before Google's available, and most people won't switch if they can just stick with their existing service and get, what many consider, the same thing.

They should have been far more aggressive in getting their service in as many places as possible.

I still believe Google will make it to my city... sometime in the year 2546, if my calculations are correct.

In Nashville, Google is being blocked by Comcast and AT&T who are stonewalling on moving their cables out of the way on NES utility poles. It's not that Google doesn't want to offer service, they literally can't because they can't run their cables.

What Google underestimated was how much of a fight the entrenched monopolies would put into keeping them out. Most of my neighbors would switch to Google Fiber tomorrow, if they had the choice.

Comment Re:Six million soon-to-be-unhappy Comcast customer (Score 1) 141

Sure, there may be some unhappy DSL customers remaining to poach, but thanks to their legally-regulated monopoly, Comcast's own service is unreliable, awful and badly, badly overpriced too.

There is one exception - when Google Fiber comes to your city, and then suddenly it's a whole new Comcast.

Google Fiber has only begun to deploy here in Nashville, and already Comcast has run new cables on the utility poles in my neighborhood, and offered everyone a no-contract $139 / month Xfinity X1 package with 300 Mbps service. Before Google Fiber, my Internet dropped out a couple of dozen times a day. Now it's rock solid. Phone support is still abysmal, but I can go to the local Xfinity store and actually have someone competent address any problem I might have. Plus, I'm paying less per month than I did before I upgraded.

Of course, I'm still going to switch to Google Fiber once it gets to my street. For now, it's just a matter of getting the best bang for the buck until I can rid myself of Comcast forever.

Comment Re:It Literally Does *WHAT*?? (Score 1) 34

You realize that fsn was a real file system viewer from SGI - right?

So in other words, one bad interface leads to another?

But thanks for the link ... I had no idea that someone at SGI actually created that mess. I thought it was some studio executive's twisted idea of what a computer GUI was supposed to look like. No wonder SGI went bankrupt. :-)

Comment Re:It Literally Does *WHAT*?? (Score 1) 34

This is what happens when Wikipedia has high school kids write their press releases, and Slashdot editors don't care enough to read them before re-posting.

Having looked at the website, I was thinking, "This is what you get when someone who watched 'Jurassic Park' years ago and thought the ridiculous 'UNIX interface' was fascinating winds up with too much time on his or her hands."

Comment It does change the way you think (Score 4, Insightful) 399

Those incessant political Facebook posts have certainly changed the way I think.

First, they have changed my opinion of many of my Facebook friends due to their endless attempts to shove political arguments (of all persuasions) in my face (thank God for the "unfollow" button).

Second, they have changed my opinion of Facebook and social media as a whole. Social media continues to devolve into more yelling, screaming, threats, trolling, guilt by association, and mob justice. And what makes it bad for Facebook is that the harder they try to "fix" things, the worse it becomes.

I learned long ago to be extremely careful about discussing politics or religion, especially with friends. I sincerely wish more people would take that lesson to heart.

Comment Re:Captain Obvious (Score 4, Informative) 160

"Turns out it is very expensive to run wires -- or in Google's case, fiber optic cables -- to each and every house that wants service. "

Here in Nashville, the rollout has been hampered by Comcast and AT&T dragging their feet to keep Google Fiber off of utility poles. Dig a few feet anywhere in Nashville, and you'll soon hit limestone, so Google has to use NES (Nashville Electric Service) poles to run their cabling through residential neighborhoods.

The problem is that AT&T and Comcast are already on those poles, so Google has to tell NES which poles they need to use, NES sends a request to Comcast and AT&T to move their cables a few inches to accommodate the Google cable, and Comcast / AT&T send out workers to move their equipment. You can probably guess how slowly Comcast and AT&T act on those work requests. So far Google Fiber has only reached a few buildings downtown, and a couple of public housing projects.

So now Google Fiber is pushing for a "One Touch Make Ready" ordinance, which will allow them to move Comcast and AT&T's cables out of the way themselves, using a contractor approved by NES (the same contractor used by Comcast in many cases), in order to expedite the installation process.

There's going to be a public hearing on the ordinance in the Metro Council tonight. The rumor is that if the ordinance passes, Comcast and AT&T may sue the city next. On the other hand, the ordinance has a huge amount of public support. It should be interesting to see how it plays out with the members of the city council.

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