Is this guy some sort of idiot? The evidence says yes.
What’s a bit strange is that people are even looking for it in the first place.
While early PCs had dumb power switches that unceremoniously cut the power to the machine, the use of electronic power buttons—buttons that can tell the operating system to perform an orderly system shutdown before killing the power—have been a feature since the introduction of the ATX specification in late 1995. Any system on the market today can be shut down by pressing the same button that you used to turn it on. On the face of it, at least, this should make the on-screen button fairly unimportant.
I can think of dozens of scenarios (not all of which I will list) that this dumbass apparently can’t imagine where having a software power switch is far better and easier than having to find the physical power button each time. To wit:
1) The machine is in a cabinet where getting to the physical power button is incovenient.
2) The machine is in a locked kiosk for public use.
3) The household has lots of kids and/or cats and the physical power button is disabled in software to avoid being accidentally turned off once booted.
4) The user is handicapped and is physically unable to reach the button.
5) The PC is in another room, and is remoted into.
You get the picture. This idiot Peter Bright (I guess it is opposite day, as “bright” he is not) seems to be unable to conceive of any use for an operating system, or any way or reason for using it, that he has not personally taken part in.
People like him are why I sometimes hate being associated with IT.
We had the internet, but we were too stupid to keep it.
Apps aren’t the only thing killing it, but that’s a big part. I fucking hate apps. Hate using them, hate how limited they are, how slow they are and how they are designed for 3-year-olds.
But that seems to be about all people can handle. When we all go extinct, I hope some smarter species rises in our place.
The collapse of Jared Diamond.
Another one — along with Malcolm Gladwell and Jonah Lehrer — I thought was bullshit long before anyone else seemed to catch on to the scent. I don’t know exactly how I tell — reading scientific papers with their (justified) hedging and uncertainty, versus the stone certainty of people like Diamond helps immunize one from being duped, even if not an expert in the field.
As I am an expert in no field nor do I wish to be (it limits creativity and flexibility enormously), having reliable heuristics for judging validity and relevance is important.
There was a post on Making Light recently about how everyone has a superpower. If I had to list one, I’d say it is being able to look at a massive amount of data (whether a book, some numbers, it really doesn’t matter) and say, “That doesn’t look right.” Often without being able to articulate why. And then being right about that incorrectness at far better than the rate of chance.
Diamond, Lehrer and Gladwell immediately set off that detector in me, with Lehrer making it go off like the foghorn of a steamer ship.
I agree with some of this piece, but this portion is fundamentally wrong.
My point was if his products and business models were so great, he could succeed on his own, by attracting private capital.
Almost nothing actually innovative attracts private capital. The internet, for instance, never would’ve amounted to anything if we’d had to depend on private capital to fund it as the returns were 20-30 years in the future. For a private company, anything more than 2-3 quarters away is also known as “eternity.”
Private capital only attracts to what is already nearly-sure to be profitable, for the most part. It’s not some magical arbiter of what is actually a good idea, especially for society at large.
Why do people insist on believing that against all evidence?
There’s hardly a worse feeling than firing someone you like.
I’ve had to do it several times in my career and it is a dreadful thing to have to do. When I worked as night shift supervisor over 10 years ago now, there was someone who was just a pleasant person, kind, punctual and enthusiastic, and someone who obviously really needed the job, too.
I worked with her for weeks and weeks, even staying late to help her out. She was just too slow, though, and too inflexible to really do the work. I couldn’t cover for her any more, and I had to let her go. One of the worst days of my working life, I think; what made it worse rather than better is that she hugged me in thanks as I walked her out the door. I appreciated being thanked for helping her, don’t get me wrong, but I felt like a devil walking back to my desk.
I have no problem firing terrible people, though. I kind of enjoy it. Canning someone who was harassing women at work was pure fun.
Strangely enough at the same job I nearly got fired myself for refusing to let someone go who while also slow was the most accurate person at any job I’ve ever met. I’d give her the most complicated, insanely unorganized tasks imaginable (as that’s the way they came in) and she’d do them with no issues and no questions — and unlike anyone else who did them (including me), they were 100% correct at the end.
Unfortunately, literally the day I left as team leader, she was let go and the department’s quality never recovered after that.
This rent vs. buy calculator from Trulia contains some pretty dubious assumptions in its calculations, making it mostly invalid unless you go in and change quite a few things. And even then, there are some costs that the majority of people will pay that are large and completely unaccounted for.
Basically, don’t trust it at all.
The calculator makes an assumption of a 20% downpayment. Most people receiving a mortgage will not be able to come up with this and thus will have to pay PMI.
Also, the utility costs are defaulted to $100 additional month. This more realistically is $200-$500 a month, depending on where you live, the weather, and how large your house is. Many people in Michigan and similarly cold areas even in relatively small houses pay $500+ a month for heating oil or propane alone from October to March. This is assuming that most people are coming from an apartment or townhome, which is more realistic than whatever Trulia is assuming to generate $100 extra a month.
I am nearly-reflexively against home ownership, but that doesn’t make me wrong or Trulia’s accounting correct (as it is really, really not).
It also ignores harder-to-quantify costs like how difficult it is to move if you own a house and can’t sell it, which this being tied to a house appears to lead to higher unemployment.
And there is also the fact that though many people have homeowner’s insurance, this often does not or refuses to cover truly catastrophic repairs that can run sometimes into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In other words, your risk goes up greatly from owning a house. And of course there is the risk of a precipitous decline in the housing market that could leave you underwater for a decade or more. (And don’t tell me that can’t happen again. It will happen again.)
None of this is factored into Trulia’s calculations.
If you want a house, sure, go ahead and buy one. But understand the real costs first.
My mind boggles at all the user-hostile unusable software released lately.
Even in Mac OS — which I like — some of the decisions are frankly fucking stupid. Such as not having scroll bars. Or having tablet-style scrolling on a non-tablet device. By not having any scroll bar, it is impossible to easily determine where one is on a page. If it were not possible to return to having scroll bars, I could not use Mac OS. That is how much I depend on their presence.
The new Google Maps is also nearly unusable. There interface is much slower. Icons are cryptically unlabeled. Previously-available options are removed, with no replacement.
As quite a few people have pointed out, even if only 10% of your user base uses a particular feature, it’s often not the same feature that each 10% is using. Designers and developers seem not to have a firm grasp on this as the way they compile their usage stats usually is not designed to suss this out.
And of course no matter how much designers claim they are using stats, they often implement what they think is “cool” regardless.
That’s completely ignoring what I think is the largest factor in these user-hostile decisions, which is the increasing authoritarian mindset of our society that influences every milieu.
Here’s a post examining the true cost of bandwidth in a worst-case scenario, using as an example a very-expensive 14,000-kilometer undersea cable. I like these worst-case scenarios as they illustrate just how much we are being overcharged for much, much cheaper (by about two orders of magnitude) over-land fiber (on the back end, not to the last mile).
1.9 cents per gigabyte on a very expensive system. Remember that we already baked in a 200% profit margin. But even if you want to get greedy and mark that up an additional 100%, it is only 3.8 cents per gigabyte.
In other words, bandwidth by the gigabyte is incredibly inexpensive. Pennies per gigabyte. And that is on one of the most expensive systems we can imagine.
What’s amazing is that even if you bake in a 300% profit on the most expensive long-haul imaginable, the actual cost is still only around 2-5% of the overage charges ISPs want to rake in per extra gigabyte.
In other words, a co-op ISP could charge $20 per month for 50mbs symmetrical and make a tidy profit for re-investment in future upgrades. And don’t tell me it’s impossible as other countries and their ISPs already do just that. A 1Gbs connection (20 times faster than the 50mbs link) in Sweden for instance is around $25 per month.
This has to be one of the dumbest articles I’ve ever read, about how supposedly getting rid of net neutrality will help underdogs.
It shows an extensive and willful misunderstanding about how bandwidth works, how peering works, how cheap data actually is these days for ISPs and how that cost is falling all the time.
If you haven’t worked in this area or done extensive research about it, you shouldn’t really be allowed to write about it. The problem is that most people don’t seem to realize just how very very cheap bandwidth — yep, even to the last mile — is.
I know because one thing I used to do for a living was to bring in that bandwidth as needed. I know exactly how much it really costs.
And it’s getting cheaper at something like 5-10% per month, and has been since the late 1980s.
So know that when ISPs moan and complain about how much it costs to stream House of Cards realize that per subscriber ballpark it costs (total, including last mile) somewhere around 1/4 to 1/2 a cent per gigabyte these days. That’s including all infrastructure costs. Every last one of them. And that is in a high-cost, for-profit ISP. A co-op ISP might be able to do it for somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/16 a cent per gigabyte.
What the article doesn’t mention — as the writer is absolutely clueless — is that many ISPs have turned down or refused to put in Netflix’s caching boxes at crucial bandwidth provision points (the technical details of which I won’t go into here) to essentially make that traffic free to them.
So it’s their intransigence and not any form of undercapacity that is causing problems.
Of course that is only one issue with that very dumb, very under-researched piece of tripe.
And of course I always like to mention the $200 billion the broadband providers stole from the taxpayers, providing nothing in return.
Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable.
This will be disastrous for the open and free (what’s left of it, anyway) internet in the US. Comcast has data caps, too, and this will make it all the more likely they will get smaller.
Wherever we live next we should make sure it’s not in a Comcast service area. And of course it will sail right through the FCC review.