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Warning: contains cynicism. I applaud the article, Jeff, and mainly agree, but I'm not sure why this is all so surprising. We the people demanded all these things - isn't this what we wanted? The whole point of app stores is (and always was) to create walled gardens & fragmented experiences. You don't see Apple going 'ok, maybe we should make everything open & available'. You don't see Apple users going 'oh, you can get that app on your Android too? Great!'. Their business model hinges on hooked fans and consumers/businesses being wedded to the iOS platform. Heck, Microsoft only started theirs (late) because they can see $$$. Captive market on proprietary hardware that has to rent my stuff year on year? Yes please, where do I sign! As for apps that are mostly just crappy renderings of web pages, well again, that's fragmentation for you. Why pay over the odds for four, possibly more, native development teams all creating the same UI widgets and tie yourself to a whole bunch of platforms, when everything can be done badly (but usable enough!) in HTML5? Now your crappy web experience can turn up everywhere! Why are we surprised that most apps suck? Everyone has been told 'you, my son, go make an app! there's gold in them thar Angry Birds' and in truth, most people are awful programmers, awful designers, and even worse customer service people. This is akin to back when people suddenly could make web pages: 'oh, look at my site on Geocities' and it's an abomination primarily in pink... Free to download, free to play, free to use, there's no such thing as a free lunch - the result? Drowning in thousands of mediocre identical apps all trying to extort or scam you. The world wide web already did apps better, with better search engines to find them, and no need to extort the user when you click on a link. The worst you might get are adverts, and there are browser add-ons for that. It's hard not to argue that the app markets just aren't very mature and everyone is trying to cash in while they can. There might be diamonds in all that muck, but it's not worth wading through to find them. I'll be using my phone for... phone calls.
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2014 on App-pocalypse Now at Coding Horror
Charles Dortworth: "Just because he was able to view the documents on JSTOR and other areas doesn't mean others were allowed to do the same. He's just a thief who got caught" People keep using the term thief in this case. Copying is not theft; even in the US where various lobby groups are pushing hard for the two terms to be conflated in a legal sense, courts have ruled this not to be so. In the UK it has been explicitly ruled that information is not property. Copying can be construed as illegal in various jurisdictions; it can be viewed as infringement of others' rights to make money from a given piece of information; regardless nothing is directly stolen. That it is not theft does not necessarily make it right, but that's a matter for the context, which is why we have legal systems in the first place. Considering that JSTOR settled with Aaron, Aaron returned the items copied without distributing them when requested, and JSTOR even went so far to publish 4.5 million articles freely in a remarkably coincidental move after it dropped charges against Aaron (and before he died), I think you're skating on thin ice, colloquialisms or not. Of course, it's easy to defame the dead, especially from the safety of anonymity.
Toggle Commented Jan 23, 2013 on The End of Ragequitting at Coding Horror
A thought-provoking piece. Assuming for a moment that I am reading correctly, I applaud the courage to state that you considered suicide, and rejected it. However, I would add my reiteration to those who have already stated it - true depression is a clinical brain-chemical-related condition. It is not 'having a bad day'. It is not something that 'just gets better with willpower'. It requires at least medical consultation, if not treatment, to correct the imbalance. Seek help. In the more general case, I am always in two minds about such articles & events, as it highlights that we (whichever community 'we' represents) trumpet about given incidents as though they are unusual. Most often, these events highlight endemic or systemic problems; they are not aberrations per se. They happen all the time quietly to other less visible people, in whatever country they happen to live in that has the problem being highlighted. In that regard I wish the US luck, as it's not really something the rest of us external to the US can assist with, other than moral support. I think there's a healthy balance in our lives where we ask 'Should I really be doing this? Is this healthy for me?'. Sometimes the answer is no; that's not rage-quitting. Rage-quitting is typified by an immediate angry response, not a considered decision.
Toggle Commented Jan 22, 2013 on The End of Ragequitting at Coding Horror
I would say the era of the typical user is over, not the PC. What will change is a segmentation of the majority of users who consume their 180 characters of content, and users who actually use technology to create. In other words, those of us who develop technology will have to consider different kinds of users in a wider context (if we don't already). CAD for example is increasingly relevant and becoming even more resource-hungry. Content creators for that space aren't going to move away from desktops. I defy the average consumer to model their kitchen (realistically & with some precision, not blocks in Sketchup) on a tablet. Now, if we have a greater merging of more input devices with tablets, then we may see something more interesting. I still think that tablets are often too small, and until the current crop of technologists & designers are retired with arthritis & myopia, they won't appreciate how challenging tiny buttons and tiny (relatively speaking) screens can be.
Toggle Commented Oct 1, 2012 on The PC is Over at Coding Horror
This discussion feels rather akin to discussing the quality of Bluray encoding whilst ignoring the capabilities of your television. The best encoding or lossless storage in the world won't help if your playback equipment is introducing all sorts of noise, clamping and/or artefacts all by itself. The same can be said of the choice of encoder and the material given to it - any resampling needs to make sure it avoids clipping, normalising, or any other common older tricks to reduce file size or you absolutely will create noticeable differences. The correct assertion is to encode to the quality of your intended playback equipment & scenario, with the right encoder (configuration) for the job. That is why, as the linked Neil Young article states, encoding for recording is done at 24-bit - because in recording you need to fully capture the signal without guessing the 16-bit range in advance. That said, this test is deliberately goading the tester to find differences, and as the same article highlights, the human brain is great at hearing things that aren't really there when it's looking for them. I notice with interest that the audiophile discussions revolve entirely around the 20Hz - 20Khz range because that's what the ear hears, whilst completely forgetting that we are not just our ears. Has anyone done any studies on the sub/super-sonic effects on the physical body and how that may or may not influence the listener? I could easily imagine that an orchestra might produce e.g. 4Hz waves that might affect the physically present listener that a filter would entirely remove. Of course, that might be a good thing (3Hz being known to induce resonance in the stomach)! Regardless I'd certainly rather have a lossless file so that I can choose to encode it to my hearts content for the right situation, to the file format that my given player supports.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2012 on The Great MP3 Bitrate Experiment at Coding Horror
It's an interesting article, but I'm not convinced. Ignoring the current leveraging going on around the environments that these new devices exist in (because that's arguably a separate though important discussion e.g. I'd never buy anything from Apple), tablets & phones only augment the tech landscape. They don't replace it. We're still going to have servers and all that that entails. We're still going to have legions of workstations for content creation. We haven't even begun to see the effects of long term PC use, let alone heavy phone & tablet usage. How long before we see the next set of health effects of working too long around a cramped too-small tablet trying to type long documents for example? 'oh but I use my iPad for everything; I bought it instead of a PC'. Maybe they'll call it iPad Shoulder to match the Nintendo Thumb. It's lovely that the iPad has that resolution - but is there any user value to it? Communication is still more important than watching high resolution Youtube of a cat. Hasn't the entire crux of the article been that the tablet & phone aren't aimed at general purpose computing, but email, browsing, what 'the general public' want? Beyond occasional hits like Angry Birds, the gaming market is still firmly on consoles & the PC and for some good reasons. So I'm still not sure I see what the benefit is beyond the wow cool & current gadget factor. I applaud the innovation and maybe it will drive something by itself, but I don't think the average consumer (which in fairness doesn't really describe Apple's target market anyway) would be that concerned. If I were a betting man, I'd still look to the mobile phone market first simply because more people care about making phone calls than having some very expensive paperweight that has a bigger display, and more people will be able to afford one GSM SIM than two (and so they're going to have a phone first either way). Internet access just isn't as ubiquituous as people like to claim, either. I don't think these devices are 'there' yet. When cheap tablets are being given away in third world countries to help jumpstart their access to the Internet (which happens with PCs), then we're in the post-PC era. I'm not even going to touch on things like the reuse/recycle value of a general purpose PC vs the number of locked mobiles & tablets that get thrown away each year because the new big thing is out.
Toggle Commented Mar 20, 2012 on Welcome to the Post PC Era at Coding Horror
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Mar 6, 2012