* Posts by Ari 1

50 posts • joined 13 Nov 2009

Move over, Mythbusters: Was Archimedes an ancient STEVE JOBS?

Ari 1

definitions can matter

The point with that definition is that innovation (and what the actual word contains) is not magically creating something new without any prior influence, but rather creating something new that may be heavily based on prior work and the innovation may lie in some small detail such as how it is made, the exact configuration, or even for what use it is made.

Thus, figuring out that the basic design of a crossbow could be scaled up with the materials that you have access to and using that as a stationary or dragged heavy weapon.. well.. that is a definite innovation even though there is nothing absolutely new there. It's basically just a big crossbow. But it is still new (and an innovation) if ballistas haven't been made before. Nothing new, yet ALL new! No new components, yet a completely new object. Like an iPod...

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Ari 1

"You keep usinig that word. I do not think it means what you think it means!"

"You keep usinig that word. I do not think it means what you think it means!"

in•no•vate (ˈɪn əˌveɪt)

v. -vat•ed, -vat•ing. v.i.

1. to introduce something new; make changes (often fol. by on or in): to

innovate on another's creation.

v.t.

2. to introduce (something new): to innovate a computer operating system.

3. Archaic. to alter.

[1540–50; < Latin innovāre to renew, alter =in- in-2 + novāre to revew, v. derivative of novus new]

in′no•va`tor, n.

in′no•va•to`ry (-vəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i) adj.

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How to destroy a brand-new Samsung laptop: Boot Linux on it

Ari 1

Re: NO problems with old Samsungs

And isn't that mainboard problem because of the flex of the phone? That gives the phone that plasticky feeling and seriously detracts from perceived quality, and puts additional strain on the mobo and all soldering.

Sometimes the perceived quality indicates the real quality. The components are great, but they seem put together in a way that seriously reduces the quality.

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Worst broadband notspots in the UK named and shamed

Ari 1

UP TO X speed...

My connection is 10/10, but funnily enough I've been getting up to 95/17 Mb/s

Of course, that is NOT in the UK..

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Apple unveils tightened Mountain Lion requirements

Ari 1

Re: Well done Apple

your serial number will give you the month of manufacture (if you input your serial number into a box on the "internet". Google is your friend here)

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IT guy answers daughter's Facebook rant by shooting her laptop

Ari 1

title

re: how is this different to hitting it with a hammer

well... this is a better visual demonstration and probably MUCH more satisfying. And I don't own a gun or even particularly like guns.

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Ari 1

bringing guns to a carpetbomb fight

See, the gun laws were enacted when government oppressors would have been using guns as well. The guns won't protect you against government oppression now; they have microwave weapons, tanks, rocket launchers, B52s for carpet bombing...... your 45 magnum is going to feel VERY inadequate...

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Ten... all-in-one inkjet printers

Ari 1

If it were that simple.

1.You upgrade your OS.

2.You buy a new computer with a new OS.

3.You wish to use your printer with your other computer as well (which has a different OS or a different enough version of the same OS that the driver can't be installed).

All these scenarios mean buying a new printer for no reason other than manufacturers being annoying. I'm not even a super open source guy (even go so far as to use a Mac most of the time), but offering open source drivers is a good thing for everyone. You can bet your ass that if I have a printer from one manufacturer that stops working because of driver issues, then I'm not buying another printer from that manufacturer to replace it. In fact, I'll buy something that is really well supported by open source and has available drivers for most operating systems (that shows that the manufacturer takes this stuff at least a little bit seriously, and that workarounds should be available).

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Apple pulls 'intifada' app

Ari 1

FOX?

http://www.reghardware.com/Design/graphics/icons/comment/trollface_32.png So, Apple will be pulling Fox news apps? Those incite hatred and violence against anyone who isn't a heterosexual white middle class american male (or Sarah Palin)..

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Apple iMac 27in

Ari 1

modularity? Computer says no

I sold a bunch of computers a few years ago and didn't see people upgrade their machines much. There is a group of hardcore gamers who upgrade theirs, the rest usually don't try to upgrade until there are no parts available for that mobo anymore (changes in sockets, gpu slots etc.). By that time they usually need a new mobo, CPU, GPU, RAM... Sure, some then upgrade their towers but most people simply buy a new one. They can, however, use their old monitor. Usually a crap 17" with glacial response times and all that, but that does save money.

I'm aiming for an iMac myself.

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Apple pilfers rips off student's rejected iPhone app

Ari 1

stating the obvious

Syncing over wifi. hmmmmm.... what would be an obvious name for that? Wifi Sync? YUP...

What about an icon?

Hey, I know, what about taking the old "sync" logo (which was used for syncing all kinds of devices to a Mac) and putting a wifi symbol in the centre? What? The "sync" logo was used many years earlier by Palm and others? Then it's a generic symbol for syncing. The wifi symbol is a generic symbol for wifi.

Ohhhh, some clever kid combined those obvious symbols and coloured it blue? Well tough titty.

This is an obvious and requested feature (an idea) and ANYONE can make it without any moral qualms. The icon is as generic as they get. Even so, Apple's version looks more like their own old sync icon than this kids icon.

Move along, nothing to see here.

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Explosion in iPad factory kills two, injures more

Ari 1

Real working conditions

I've worked in pharmaceutical manufacture, and dust cloud explosions are a real danger (just like in grain silos and other such places).

If the right dust/air ratio is achieved then all it takes is one spark and BOOM. Really nice knowing that the rest of the factory is full of flammable and explosive chemicals. If the alarm goes then it is a bit of "run Forrest, run".

The solution is to wear grounding straps when working in these conditions, but these are uncomfortable and get tangled, especially when more than one is working in the room. Then you have to disconnect, untangle and connect again. Did you manage to build up some static charge? Bzzzt....BOOM!

This is a sad manufacturing accident. Horrible. And fairly probably has nothing to do with bad conditions of any sort. This is just a hazard when work which throws up fine grained dust.

Think about another aspect: Most of the techno stuff in your home has components which were made in China. Foxconn has come under scrutiny and Apple has run reviews of the practices surrounding the manufacturing of their gear. The workers on the Apple product lines have received raises and their working conditions are under scrutiny. This is a GOOD thing. Most other companies can do whatever they goddamn well please while staying under the radar. Foxconn can't, and Apple can't. Those conditions are not yet good enough, but they are way better than the norm over there. Have you heard from other companies who also use Foxconn or other offshore manufacturers? Is YOUR company of choice actively monitoring their supply line for working conditions?

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'Upgraded' Apple iMacs lock out hard drive replacement

Ari 1

information toaster

For a regular user, a computer is basically a toaster or microwave oven that shows information instead of toasting bread or heating food.

Seriously, how many of you know what components are inside a microwave and how they interact (I bet precious few know what the "power" setting actually does, how it modulates the power). Okay, some may know that a magical device called a magnetron has something to do with it (seeing as how we're all a bunch of nerds), but how many understand how the magnetron actually works (hmmm.... is that a traffic increase on howstuffworks.com that I see?).

More to the point, does it help?

Up to a point, maybe (understanding the power modulation lets you heat the food without getting that disgusting microwaved surface texture, if you have the patience). But most people won't care for those little differences, and they shouldn't have to. They spend their days perfecting their skills as auto-mechanics, doctors, store attendants, or possibly rocket scientists. The computer is a tool to use to reach a goal such as assisting with their jobs, relieving tension through playing a game (or hardcore pornography...).

The regular user only wants an information access and manipulation tool. Getting it in one package, working, with enough of everything to run well is all they care about. 1GB RAM Vista (or 7) machines are NOT what people want. Cables and crap? nope. Upgradeability? Some people THINK that they need/want that. Usually so that they can buy a wildly underspecced machine with the aim of upgrading it in a year or so. They come back in two or three years, by which time the CPU socket on the motherboard they bought isn't supported anymore, so no new CPUs are available, but I can sell you an old one which is 15% more powerful, on the cheap. That still leaves their computers as old and weak, often with cheap PSUs marginal HDDs and such. The upgrade bill (with work) is half the cost of a new machine. Possibly more.

This is not economical for most users. Results in horrible computers, a horrible user experience, the user can never do what they WANT to be able to do because even when new their machines are horribly underpowered due to their misguided attempts at saving money. I'm not saying that cheaper machines are inherently bad, only that for the general user they are usually bad. I run a 9 year old small form factor machine (Shuttle) running Linux, and it runs great AND is pretty. My mother runs a computer that is at least twice as powerful and hates every minute of using it because it won't support what she's trying to do. Cheap machine, didn't listen to advice...

Face it. The only people for whom easy upgradeability is really an issue is a few nerds like us. We are something like 2-5% of the market. And at least a part of these nerds are experienced enough to rip apart even the toughest all-in-one. I mean, hell, we change our own iPhone/Android phone screens. I've replaced capacitors in two failing Samsung LCD monitors.

We, the tinkerers and nerds, will fiddle with stuff no matter what, and figure it out. The rest of the users would be best served by a decently powerful all-in-one. What Apple have done well is market their particular AIO machines as being much more than good enough for any normal user. Those users want an information tool into their home, and think of it like their food cooling device (fridge), their food warming devices, their audio/video playing and displaying machines, and their transportation machines.

Users are task focused, that is, they want to complete tasks of their own choosing. They have no interest in the process that makes that task possible, only whether the task is or is not possible (a binary approach to understanding the problem).

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Woz snubs Paul Allen, praises pea soup

Ari 1

no innovation

The problem is that if there is no protection of inventions/patents then most companies would be content to wait until someone else spends a fortune on research, then have a small team of engineers take one device apart and clone it. Thereby they can sell the same device for half price because their R&D was two guys for a week, while the company that invented the technology spent two years and a lot of people on the tech.

Innovation CAN BE very expensive, and there has to be an opportunity to recoup costs. The chance of failure when innovating is already very high, and the costs of failure are also high. For every innovative product that makes back the R&D budget there are many, many that fail or don't even reach production. The people sinking money into risky ideas have to see a chance for profit.

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Natty Narwahl: Ubuntu marine mammal not fully evolved

Ari 1
Linux

not bad, but needs work

I just upgraded to Natty, and must say that I like the direction in which it is heading.

That said, there is clear room for improvement. Some behaviours are strange, and consistency is seriously lacking.

The Unity concept seems somewhat undercooked.

It doesn't properly show what is going on (programs starting and such) and the way in which All Programs are displayed MUST be fixed. Control panel has to be integrated properly, and default behaviour for the file browser shortcut on the launcher is very strange. The file browser shortcut is named "home" yet its behaviour is identical to that of the Finder on Mac; it starts a finder window if none is open, if one is open it makes that active. The problem is that the behaviour on Mac isn't really that nice AND that the name "home" suggests that the home directory should be opened. A more sensible behaviour for that shortcut (with that name) is to start a file browser window in the home directory if no file browser window is open with that directory being displayed.

I can't drag folders onto the launcher... The drag/move function on the launcher is weird (having to drag an item off the launcher and into the launcher in another place). I get the reasoning, but it isn't intuitive or particularly nice.

And a bunch of other niggles.

All those negatives aside, the upgrade went fine (except having to click a "continue" type button a few times during installation. Please have those at the beginning and/or end of installation so the installation can be started and needs no revisiting).

The system worked nicely, all hardware worked perfectly, my programs work without a hitch, most defaults were good and it didn't mess with my custom stuff. Looks good and is a step in the right direction. This can become a distro which I can teach my grandma to use, yet I can use it for myself for most of what I need to do on a second computer (as well as my scrap-built kids computer) which resides in my living room.

It took me a couple of minutes to find some stuff (control panel and such) and figure out the UI, after that I've had no problems. I didn't read any tutorials or help docs, but just explored.

That said, I think that an "All Programs" shortcut with a visual menu with apps grouped into categories AND a search feature would be nice. The little plus sign thing just doesn't cut it.

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Eight... spatial soundbars

Ari 1

single speaker unit....misnomer

Calling something like the Yamaha a "single speaker unit" is quite off the mark.

As it contains 16 precisely placed and angled speakers, a microphone (for setup) and some clever electronics it can easily ask for 700 quid, because it sounds as good as other 700 quid systems after they've had some serious setup-love. The funny thing is, the Yamaha only needs a single button push for all that complicated setup.

Of course if you think that surround means buying a Logitech 7.1 system and plonking the speakers wherever is convenient then you've kind of missed what surround (or even stereo) is about. For spatial accuracy the speakers must be placed correctly, with room acoustics and all that crap taken into account. Setting up a simple pair of stereo speakers can easily involve playing around with location for a few days. And I'm NOT an audiophile, this is just to get a good and precise stereo image out of decent-ish speakers used for mixing music (nearfield monitors). Even cheap plasticky speakers can be improved by good placement, but in the end they'll always be crap.

180 quid is where decent speakers start, and toys stop. Unless you just want sound to emerge from an old transistor radio with a single crackly speaker, which is a perfectly valid approach. But if movie surround is the issue, then it's hard to beat the Yamaha soundbar without a lot of effort.

(I used to sell this stuff, older models, and was always blown away by the quality/ease of operation.)

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Icelandic todger museum acquires human hampton

Ari 1
Badgers

answer

...does it matter whether it's really worth it?

You're going! end of discussion. Whether or not the museum itself is interesting it's one of those things that lets you disgust your mates with the stories...

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Steve Jobs screws my wife (out of $944)

Ari 1
Jobs Halo

iWork - theregfore iAm

Funny (if a tad useless) article.

On the iWork issue:

I use iWork a lot, mostly Pages and Keynote, but Numbers as well and must say that I've not hit any particular problems.

True, if you want to export a Word file (.doc) then you have to.. export. And the program is laid out differently to Word and uses a completely different UI approach. Very Apple like in that controls are close at hand (NEVER in menus three deep and dialogue boxes) and drag and drop really works properly (haven't used the latest Word enough, but the older versions haven't exactly been lovely to work with)

The ONLY key thing you need to know is that a floating palette called the "Inspector" is the key in all three programs. It's accessed from the tool bar and is marked with a little blue "i" icon (like an information icon of some sorts. BAD Apple!). The inspector holds most all controls in a tab system.

The only thing that bugs me is that reference programs don't work with Pages because Apple haven't provided't an API for that. Only Endnote has been made compatible. This is annoying.

Pages is a Word replacement.

Numbers is great for those that need tables, linked tables, and good looks but is not a full Excel replacement.

Keynote takes Powerpoint by the balls, rips 'em off and force feeds them to Steve Ballmer. Just WAYYYYY better.

The floating palette concept of the "Inspector" can be criticised, but at least it's not a ribbon which takes the top 1/3 of the screen on a laptop which already has the working area way too low for ergonomic purposes (due to the screen and keyboard being stuck together)... The ribbon is one of the silliest UI idea of the last few years and Microsoft should know better (no matter whether the interaction of the ribbon is good or bad, just the ergonomic downside is a killer)

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Steve Jobs vindicated: Google Android is not open

Ari 1
Linux

errrr

not really... the reason iFanbois comment on the "open" problem is that the silly iHaters have been touting the magical openness of Android as the reason why it's so much better.

The better educated ones admit that the user experience is still somewhat rough around the edges, with weird behaviours and inconsistencies billed as features rather than bugs. "But at least it's 'open'", they say.

Apparently not...

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Apple MacBook Pro 15in

Ari 1

hmmm

I just realized; my "late 2006" model MacBook Pro has the same vertical resolution, on a 15" screen... That is, IMO, on the lower side these days. On a 17" screen that would be pure awful, blocky and nasty.

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Ari 1

Bad example, bad comparison

That's not a very good example to compare against. A 17.3" screen with 1600x900 resolution? That's bargain bin trash...

Can you give us real world battery life on that thing? Less than the Mac? Oh... no dual graphic cards that autoswitch to conserve energy AND a 17.3 inch screen to light up.. ok.

Also, fitting the components within a bigger chassis is easier. Dropping the pitch of the screen significantly reduces a part of the cost, and gives an indicator towards the cost saving measures taken in other parts of the device.

I seem to recall a story about people complaining about the 27" iMac being expensive, but a closer examination showed that if you wanted the same quality screen (IPS) in that size you could also buy a hard drive and a keyboard before hitting the price of the complete iMac.... The quality of each component counts.

Don't get me wrong, I really like ASUS. I used to sell and service their machines and if I were to buy a computer for Linux or, against all odd, Windows, then ASUS would be among the first I would examine. Relatively cheap, and extremely good for the price.

Just a crap comparison.

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Debian 6: Have your Debian and eat your Ubuntu too

Ari 1
Linux

misunderstandings about UI design

"If you really don't care how many pixels are which shade of grey, then Debian works just fine."

This reeks of a misunderstanding of what UI design is which is all too common among techies. What the Ubuntu team have been doing DOES result in more polished skins, but much, much more importantly they've been making the UI more consistent, making behaviours more logical and making defaults more sensible.

Making the whole package more attractive is also an issue, but that's more done by graphical designers than UI designers (preferably a collaboration)

Ubuntu's UI work travels upstream to Debian as well, and has contributed to all pretty much versions of Linux with a GUI.

Remember, Windows looks more shiny than MacOS or Ubuntu, yet MacOS is easier to use in pretty much all cases, and Ubuntu easier to use in very many... It's not about the textures and gradients, it's about behaviours..

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In defence of Comic Sans

Ari 1

not all bad..

Comic Sans isn't particularly beautiful, but neither is it amazingly horribly ugly. It's just kind of okay-ish, if somewhat awkward in some places (the capital i, for instance).

The problem is much more with how people use it. The font has been used for speech bubbles (ok), text documents (not ok, I'm a cognitive scientist and will fight anyone to the death who tries to claim that comic sans is ok for a full document), greeting cards (usually not ok, "sorry your mum has died" for instance. Just use a pen to, well, WRITE the letters yourself) and warnings/notices ("caution, high voltage", no, just NO).

You're always communicating a message, When you use a green background and red text you're saying "DO NOT READ THIS DOCUMENT", when you use the wrong font for the purpose you're saying "I'm not a professional", "I don't care whether I get this message across", or "hello, my name is **drooool**, asl?"

Knowing when to use a serif or sans serif, or whether to use a formal or informal font is important for actually getting the message across in many cases. Showing that you want to get the message across show either your interest in your correspondent, or your professionalism. Sometimes Comic Sans is perfectly acceptable, but most often it is not. If in doubt then select a mainstream serif font such as Times New Roman. Sans serif fonts can be hard to read when used for multiple lines of text or long lines of text, serif fonts become messy at small sizes/long distances. Arial and Helvetica can be excellent choices for posters and such. If you're not an expert on fonts then the above is most of what you need to know.

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HTML5: An antidote for Apple App Store-itis

Ari 1

my complaint on "groks" is of a different nature

my complaint on "groks" is of a different nature:

Google "groks" the web so much better?

Google Wave!

Google have shown themselves to be great at search and advertising. Other things have mostly suffered from "almost great" syndrome. Almost great just doesn't cut it when the competition IS great.

No, dear author, I think you rather underestimate people's willingness to pay for software that pretty much "just works" and be able to get professional quality applications.

And for the other linux geeks and their suppositories (sorry, repositories); YES, the repositories are old news, and YES they are very, very good when you can get what you need. If you need an IM client, a database management tool (for OSS DBs) or an administration tool then it's great. If you want a tool that comes with a 500 screen long man page, then you're also in luck.

IF, however, you want video or sound editing tools that do not make you long for DEATH (I mean for real AND efficient editing and production of A/V) then you're shit out of luck. EASY TO USE. GOOD LOOKING.

And no, OpenOffice cannot be fixed by slapping a new coat of paint on it. Neither can most of the other applications. Good looking is designed along with easy to use, and easy to use comes early in the development process. Trying to do it afterwards is like putting lipstick on a pig.

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Ari 1

Yup

Doing business is expensive.

Remember that up to/around 50% of the sticker price of a shrink-wrapped program bought in a store goes to the store itself. Then there's sales tax. Shipping costs. Customs (if manufactured in another country). Storage costs, then you have a publisher and finally you have a developer...

(If you've worked at a computer store and the markup was less than at least 50% (I know I showed a 100% markup) then your store was probably buying from a local "super" store at "wholesale" prices, or from a local wholesaler or distribution centre, That extra middleman took the rest of th 100%markup)

A $50 program earns the developer maybe $5-$15.

That is MUCH less than 70% of the final price. Which is why developers see no problem in selling titles for $10 which are usually sold for much more; this is the price that the title is worth to them. They may even be getting MORE per copy, and selling much more copies at the lower price.

So the Apple store (or others like it) is a brilliant deal for those who can make software worth owning, as it cuts out quite a few middlemen.

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Beastly Android will batter Apple's iOS beauty

Ari 1

like on the desktop?

From the article "it's just a matter of time before Google's "open and free" approach to handset manufacturers and carriers wins out."

Like Linux has won out on the desktop?

(Gates and Jobs both have angel and demon versions. Tux needs a happy version and a sad version)

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The Mac that saved Apple (and Steve Jobs)

Ari 1

iMac didn't start the internet revolution

iMac didn't start the internet revolution.

What it DID do was let non-techies go to the store, come home, connect their computer and connect to the internet.

Anyone saying "yeah, but Win95 could also do that" obviously doesn't remember Win95 properly, or is a complete tech head who does not understand why grandma and grandpa don't understand TCP/IP.

Yes, you could get a Win95 machine connected in seconds. Around 3600 of them. Because first you needed to put the beige under the desk and monitor on top of the desk, then crawl underneath (very many people have bad eyesight and can't read the backplates on most older BeigeBoxes, modern ones are generally much better) and try to appease the spaghetti gods, hoping that everything was connected correctly (most users have NO idea what all those different cables do or whether they can be connected wrong). If (praise the FSM) everything was connected correctly you could start up the machine and start setting up the comms software, that takes an experienced person about 5-10 minutes, and THEN you can connect to the internet. 3600 seconds is still "in seconds". It IS better to group it into minutes or even hours, but....

The iMac, OTOH, could be set up by my grandmother (assuming she could lift it). Everything clearly marked, lift and put on table, connect keyboard, mouse, connect net cable and power. All these connections are done up on the table where it's visible. Power on. Select. Connected.

This is a huge difference, especially as a non-techie could set up an iMac than an expert could set up a typical Win95 (or 98) machine.. I mostly used Win95 (and 98, and XP) but even at the time I could see the attraction.

The design... Love it, loathe it... doesn't matter. It has become iconic and has clearly influenced modern design immensely. It's just interesting to see that this is what the design department came up with when they were offered a chance to be creative. The same people designed all those bland machines that Apple was churning out at the time. Seems like the only thing missing was some vision at the management level, as the design talent was already there. Jonathan Ive was probably thinking that he needed to get out of that dead end job before everything would go titsup. Then things changed ;)

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WTF is... up with e-book pricing?

Ari 1

don't mind paying, but being ripped off!

I buy electronic books, and I have absolutely no problems with paying fairly for a product. A new book CAN be more expensive than an old one.

But selling the e-book at a higher price than the hardcover is a clear rip-off and just dishonest towards customers.

Look, publishers, it's not complicated. E-books should be around 10-20% cheaper than the currently cheapest paper version you're selling. Cheaper because the customer gets less value for money (no collectability, no resale value), but so little lower because you can charge for convenience.

If I had to walk to a physical bookstore to get my e-book then it would need to be 50% cheaper than the paper version because you wouldn't be providing me with the convenience, which is a real addition to value. The price would have to be cut to match the lower value of the product.

But, ok, got it?

at least 10% cheaper than the cheapest currently available version. So if the hardcover is $20 then the kindle version should be $18.

If the paperback is $6 then we're talking about just over $5 for the Kindle version.

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BOFH: Pain fear games

Ari 1

I second the friday joy

I look forward to this silliness and wait for Friday :)

This one had me worried, but the ending cleared it up.

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Steve Jobs no longer Eggman as Beatles hits iTunes

Ari 1
Jobs Halo

Visionary!

I am always astounded by Apple's ability to turn anything into an event which the press lap up.

This is truly visionary and revolutionary (no, not the Beatles on iTunes, but rather the amazing manipulation of expectations and image).

Shit, they actually ADDED something to their STORE? Who'da thunk it...

Score yet another media coup for Apple..

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Shut up, Spock! – how Battlestar Galactica beat Trek babble

Ari 1
Paris Hilton

Thanks

Thanks for this enjoyable article.

Paris, 'cause she'd have been first out of the airlock if I was in charge!

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Jobs' Lion to marry Mac OS X and iOS

Ari 1
Linux

hell yeah

Like Linux, except even easier to use, prettier and with paid, professional applications.

I know Ubuntu has a paid application as well (see what I did there) and will readily confess that this is one of the main features which I have coveted from Linux for a while.

Somebody mentioned "like debian has had for 10 years"..

Well... yeah, kinda, sorta...

The full APT-get (or Synaptic if you want to use something graphical) isn't really all that nice and usable. Sure, it is REALLY flexible and twenty five colours of awesome, but it's neither nice nor easily usable for novices (or pointy haired bosses who might otherwise buy your application) mainly due to it being quite cluttered and confusing with less than helpful explanations (is this a program or a library? Which version of what do I take. Crap, I need to...).

Ubuntu software center is almost amazingly good, they just need one or two more versions to take it to incredible quality, and Linux in general is just getting to pretty nice to use for most day-to-day tasks.

But Apple will steal the thunder...

Tux 'cause Linux ain't all that bad

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Pupils find teacher's abuse images

Ari 1
Thumb Down

that goes against all research

Research strongly suggests a negative correlation between sex crimes (rape, child abuse etc) and porn.

That is, where porn is available, these crimes are fewer. Of course, as many areas where porn is banned are also not known for the excellence of their legal systems we might have problems sampling advanced data, but one of the studies used states in the US where laws were changed, tracking the before and after statistics.

That particular study is:

Diamond, M. (2009) Pornography, public acceptance and sex related crime: A review

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

So, as long as he had not shown any tendencies towards actually abusing children he was probably safer where he was. Now the man has almost nothing to lose, no job prospects and such. He's probably WAY more dangerous BECAUSE of the measures taken by the state.

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Head App Store plod punts farts 'n' wiz

Ari 1
Terminator

dear sir, I am infuriated

dear sir, I am infuriated at your insinuations..

No, actually, I found your post rather amusing (even as a bit of a fanboi). The puritan attitude of Apple towards the appstore is annoying, and I'm speaking as a parent.

Ok, so I'm in Sweden where religion is mostly ignored and much, much less fear of the human body is evident. Heck, nudity is even considered NORMAL here in quite a few different circumstances, that's how freaky we are ;)

T2 because of all the nudity!

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Ballmer's 'lost generation' note finds resonance

Ari 1

agreed

you mean the hard work they put into making sure that everything works just right (usually without ANYTHING flashy happening), making sure that all visual elements guide the users attention towards the control to what needs to be done (again without flashy or flashing modal dialogs as much as possible/sensible) and all that.

Making sure that networking and mounting external stuff is perfectly done without the user having to fight the system at all and then making sure that there is an internal logical consistency so all these behaviours seem to fit together conceptually so as to minimize the cognitive load of the user when performing routine tasks.

Yup, that's just sticking a flashy UI on top of BSD... those monkeys you refer to (or should refer to) just don't seem to realize that most people just want to be able to do STUFF on their computer. They don't enjoy cleaning the registry or trying to get the home network to function. Or connect at a LAN (which bugged my Windows using buddies no end, I set up, stuck in the wire for better latency than wireless, and started playing. About half of them messed around for between 10 minutes and an hour, then they could also ALL play..)

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Ari 1

need to do better?

Well here's one nice thing. Whether I choose Linux, BSD or MacOS I don't have to struggle to get a "real" OS.

With windows I have to make sure that the version I purchase isn't some funny joke version without any tools or systems required for real work.

For a regular user (not us nerds who hang around here) who just need to be able to complete tasks X, Y and Z this is a major issue. I was a computer retailer when Vista came out and saw the utter confusion of most customers, some of whom opted to buy a Mac instead.

As a usability expert I feel comfortable in saying that MacOS X is by far the least shitty OS on the market with stuff like Ubuntu coming in a distant second place. Win7 is less awful than Vista but still suffers from incredible problems just in the configuration of the computer itself (which is the OS part which I've conducted usability studies on).

For expert users CLI's are fastest, most efficient and most flexible. A good CLI is a big issue, which gives Unix based OS's a huge leg up on windows. Not just the quality of the CLI, but also the ubiquity. Someone who has used BASH on the free Ubuntu can use it on MacOS and all the other Linux, Unix and BSD systems (as your CLI of choice can be used on most of those systems). Importing those CLI's onto Windows is not a natural thing to do as Windows handles directories, mount points, networks and other things differently to everyone else.

2
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UK.gov sticks to IE 6 cos it's more 'cost effective', innit

Ari 1
Troll

snifff

with a piss stain down the front and your bum showing out the back..

3
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Ari 1

train wreck is inevitable

..You're absolutely right.

On the other hand, NOT upgrading will just make the problem worse. These agencies have to access each other's stuff, as well as work with outside vendors and agencies. They need to add capabilities all the time. Are new systems being installed and money being wasted on making them compatible with last centuries standards/equipment?

Or even worse equipment being selected because nothing of decent quality works with the old custom apps being used? In your Customs/lobster case this might also be a huge issue. Is your shipment taking a few days extra because the new scanning equipment can't work with the old database. Or even worse, because a known issue with a ***king webbrowser stops officials from accessing the records through the custom made web interface. Crash boom bang...

It's usually less expensive to have a sensible upgrade policy and avoid vendor lock-in as much as possible. I am by no means a freetard, but open standards seem to be a better bet in most cases. Supporting correctly formed html would be a good start.

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Ari 1
WTF?

Control panel? for the love of all that is holy!

In many respects I find Win7 much better than XP, but the control panel is abomination!

They took the worst configuration panel on the market (from WinXP) and seemingly did everything they could to decrease the usability.

I've done a usability study on a limited part of the old XP control panel (apart from having been a computer repair monkey for a while) and can tell you that a regular user can't use it. I've informally recreated a small part of that study on Win7 and the results were hopeless. Relatively easy on MacOsX, mostly doable on Ubuntu. But the most widespread OS is also the least usable when changing very basic settings.

How does this happen?

3
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Binatone Binatone SpeakEasy Mobile

Ari 1
Alert

Incomplete..

Hi guys, A for effort, but for this kind of review I would recommend getting someone who knows the field of usability, at least consult with a usability expert, preferably someone with some experience in designing for people with diminished ability.

Two example problem areas.

Soft keys (changing function of keys depending on mode) is not a simple interface design. That goes for the Beafon, where illogical behaviour which we, the younger generation, have become used to. What I refer to is using the "call" and "hang up" keys for accessing quickmenus. This functionality will only cause confusion. As there is nothing that suggests this may be the intended function of the keys it must be considered likely that elderly users will hit these buttons by mistake and not know how to get out of the menus.

Picture this: gramps is a little senile but loves getting calls from his grandkids, you call him, he answers, you chat, you hang up. Then HE tries to hang up. Then he wants to call someone. But he's in a menu which popped up.

This is not sensible behaviour even if we are used to it.

The rubberized keys on the Binatone needed higher force, high enough that someone with arthritis would have problems? Is the stability of the rubber keys an issue for the same user?

You need help with this sort of stuff, give me a shout, we can work something out.

0
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Ubuntu's Lucid Lynx: A (free) Mactastic experience

Ari 1
Thumb Up

Installed the final release yesterday

Installed the final release yesterday, I've been using Beta2 since it came out.

Two niggles, I have a problem with my TVtuner card which I haven't bothered to figure out, and Skype doesn't work properly with my webcam unless I start it by preloading v4llcompat, which is unnecessarily confusing. Also, skype's menus don't support the new colour scheme.

Hopefully, skype will be fixed soon, and I will work out the TVtuner crap.

In other respects I have been pleased with 10.04 (from beta2 onward). Doesn't beat my Mac for ease of use (or stability) but beats XP like a british MP in a BDSM dungeon.

The ease of install of these latest Ubuntu releases is quite amazing, and is a huge change from the bad old days of Linux where you had no idea whether basic components like mouse, keyboard and video adapter would work without hours or days of tinkering (an old Debian springs to mind).

Real effort has been put in here and the Ubuntu team deserves praise

0
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Mini Desktop PCs: Best Buys

Ari 1

Agains the mac mini

Would have been interesting to see the MacMini compared against these machines. It would probably run much nicer with MacOS, but for the benchmarks you could use windows (or if benchmarking software is available which runs on both)

0
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Cops raid Gizmodo editor in pursuit of iPhone 4G 'felony'

Ari 1
Flame

come on...

Calling Apple tech support does not constitue a reasonable attempt to give the phone back to the owner. The owner (or caretaker) has been calling the bar repeatedly to get it back. The "finder" has been into the owner's facebook account, knows his name, can contact him easily.

And this is not a found item. It is an unattended item. If you leave your jacket (with wallet and id) unattended for any period of time, is it mine to do with as I please?

NO

It is YOUR jacket, left unattended. If I take it, use the stuff in it, take your money and THEN bother to look at your address I am a crook. If I then give you conditions as to how you can get it back (you can only get it back if you do X) then I am possibly a blackmailer.

If I decide to take it apart at the seams (corrr, what's this thing made of), then I am willfully damaging YOUR property.

There is a specific law in California stating that for found objects, reasonable attempts must be made at returning them to the rightful owner. When you've already (illegally) accessed the owner's facebook then you don't have much defense left.

That's even apart from any trade secret laws which apply in California.

Giz seems guilty of crimes (and tactlessness, stupidity, and lack of morals) and will get what they deserve.

3
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Steve Jobs and governator tout transplant reform

Ari 1
Terminator

Your liver

MAN: Hello. Uhh, can we have your liver?

MR. BROWN: My what?

MAN: Your liver. It's a large, ehh, glandular organ in your abdomen.

ERIC: [sniff]

MAN: You know, it's, uh,-- it's reddish-brown. It's sort of, uhh,--

MR. BROWN: Yeah,-- y-- y-- yeah, I know what it is, but... I'm using it, eh.

ERIC: Come on, sir.

MR. BROWN: Hey! Hey! Stop!

ERIC: Don't muck us about.

MR. BROWN: Stop! Hey! Hey! Stop it. Hey!

MAN: Hallo.

MR. BROWN: Ge-- get off.

MAN: What's this, then? Mmh.

MR. BROWN: A liver donor's card.

MAN: Need we say more?

ERIC: No!

MR. BROWN: Listen! I can't give it to you now. It says, 'in the event of death'. Uh. Oh! Ah. Ah. Eh.

MAN: No one who has ever had their liver taken out by us has survived.

MR. BROWN: Agh.

ERIC: Just lie there, sir. It won't take a minute.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

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NASA flying car engineer shoots down Reg coverage

Ari 1
Paris Hilton

puffffffffffffff (in?)

I'm an ex-commercial pilot, and have learned a little about flying characteristics, ease of control, mechanical complexity, aerodynamics, mechanics and engineering (have done some extracurricular activities such as extra courses and taking part in building real airplanes),

As for the arguments.. The good doctors letters and quality of arguments are not up to par for a undergraduate. I should know, I enrolled in university at an old age and any time I try that sort of evangelical bullshit my professors scold me ;)

The mechanics and physics (including battery tech) are way out of what is truly possible now, especially considering the short battery life. Even with a doubling of power from the batteries you get limited to maybe 20 minutes of flight (take-off and landing take disproportionate amounts of energy, the climb also uses a lot more than cruise).

These 20 minutes of flight (with magic future batteries) include the take-off and landing. Unless he can solve all stability issues and all navigation issues this wouldn't work as anything other than an interesting toy.

Real airplanes (private flight in VFR) have to land with at least 45 minutes fuel remaining (contingency fuel), although I'm not sure that applies in USA, it does apply pretty much everywhere else.

Commercial flights need quite a bit more.

See any legal problems there?

I do.

20 (I'm being generous here) minutes total energy vs minimum of 45 minutes of fuel after landing. That equals -25 minutes of legal fuel on take-off. Which is not legal.

Even if it were legal, this kind of margin for error, or lack thereof, is unacceptable for this kind of critical applications. Unless the battery tech improves about 20 fold (twenty fold) this will remain an obsessed engineers pipe dream.

Paris, because she would buy his arguments.

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US Navy SEALs' new airlock minisub - made in Blighty

Ari 1

that depends

that depends.

The worst places you can have an electrical fire are any time you are in an enclosed vehicle in a critical environment.

Electrical fires in space stations, airplanes, submarines, ships. In this order.

These are some of the scariest/most lethal emergency situations you can find yourself in.

And seeing that these energetic battery packs are most likely to fail if there is an electrical problem (thermal runaway due to problems with discharge/recharge) I must say that I would prefer the tube launch to mechanics I don't trust.

1
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Ari 1
Flame

good old fashioned british know how

...is scary, IMO.

I've had some experience dealing with british built technology and the attitude of some modern engineers from UK.

Suffice it to say I have had some problems, especially with electrical things and water. Like, a complete lack of understanding to the fact that if electrics are not properly sealed but should be used in any weather they tend to stop working if water gets into the circuits.

And opening the box up, drying it out and then filling it with grease is not a solution, it's a stop-gap measure at best.

This matches the reputation british cars (and other mobile machines) have had for a few decades.

Now, this sub has to be POWERED by electricity and should work in SALT WATER... I can imagine a few problems there. My trust in the brits does not cover this, although the mechanical designs, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics etc. can be brilliant.

Do. Not. Let. Them. Touch. The. Electrics/Electronics!

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5

Samsung's Galaxy stuck in history

Ari 1
Jobs Halo

coulda, shoulda..

coulda, shoulda

....bought an iPhone.

Seriously, with all the bitching Apple gets for each of their transgressions Samsung should get clobbered for this. Except not that many actually bought this device, or like it. It seems like people are putting up with these devices as some sort of ideological statement, as an anti Apple statement, or in the hope that it will get a bit more usable with future upgrades.

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5-megapix 'iPhone 4' set for June?

Ari 1
Pint

wow

..I mean, you guys are just not getting it.

Apple sells relatively expensive hardware. Yes

Apple often trails others in specifications. Yes

Apples products still work more smoothly than the competitors. Yes

The iphone is no exception. I've used one, and it's.. a phone. It's also a surprisingly easy to use PDA type device with all functionality well thought out. It really perfects what Palm was doing before Palm dropped the ball. Simple, usable, powerful (in use). A windows mobile device is none of those. An android device is a few of those, but doesn't come close, yet.

I recently got to play with two models of HTC phones, one a HTC Hero, the other a HTC Magic (android OS).

Both were more powerful than the iPhone. Both had much better specs and a better camera. Both owners wanted my iPhone. The owner of the Magic had switched from a iPhone 1. He expressed his disappointment and wished he had bought an iPhone 3GS instead of the HTC unit.

That was due to little things. Clunky interface, weird and inconsistent behaviour, annoying music player behaviour and a selection of other things.

Personally I found the Magic to be nice, but unpolished. The Hero just sucked balls.

And the stupid "idiotPhone" type comments above just show a lack of understanding. Thanks to attitudes like that we still have atrocious interfaces like in The GIMP. Yes, it is powerful. Yes it is almost enough to replace photoshop. Yes it completely sucks because the developers don't think that serious work in interface and usability design matter. Unusable, but powerful, mess. Another example of "the interface is good enough for our engineers so it must be good enough for our customers" is Windows Control Panel. Doesn't matter which version, and Win7 is also included.

The reason people pay more for an Apple product is that the engineers at apple, the designers, and Jobs, are all insane on the details. These details mean that the everyday experience of using apple products is just that little less frustrating.

I used to be a PC technician and bought myself a mac to try out. I now get shudders of annoyance when I need to fix my old XP machine. XP will be replaced by some Linux distro soon. Even Ubuntu is usually more usable than XP (except when you have to compile drivers from source)

Now for a beer

5
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Britney's Twitter feed hacked again

Ari 1

dyslexia?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/coat_32.png

I think Britney's just a little dyslexic.

You see, she meant to say that she was celebrating St.Lucia's day http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Lucy's_Day and then went on to advertise her belief in Santa.

Which actually wouldn't be all that surprising

Mine's the one with the spell checker in the pocket

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