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  • More USB-C speed won't fix users' problems with cables

    Users just shouldn't have guess about it, or attach a home-made label to each cable, telling us what it's capable of when we've forgotten the specifics a month after we've stored it. Over the years, the spec has expanded so much, I've purchased a cable tester and identifier to be sure that what I've bought is what I got, and to guarantee my own labels are accurate.

    Until then, users need to stock up on cable label stickers -- or that aforementioned cable spec tester.
    I don't have a USB cable tester. I can recognize the Thunderbolt symbol but would someone else rummaging through my rat's nest of cables? This is a key point for Joe Consumer and it's not just applicable to USB-C.

    HDMI cables are the same deal. I bought probably six or seven 4K HDMI cables and two 8K HDMI cables and I labelled them immediately after I received them. Joe Consumer isn't going to do that. They are going to just use whatever cable is the right length, the nearest one first.

    There's a tradeoff here between convenience, compatibility, and better performance in terms of device ports and cable connectors.
  • Meta closing down Facebook Gaming iOS app in October

    emttim said:
    “However, in a time where internet use as a whole is decreasing…” 
    I did a search for this and found no reference to this. I’m interested in knowing more. Source?
    It depends on what context and timeframes are being compared.

    Recent surveys show that people are spending less time daily on their devices now that shelter-in-place orders have been lifted and people are leaving their houses to return to a greater variety of activities, including many that don't involve being on the Internet.

    If you compare average Internet usage today from ten years ago, yes, the usage went up. But if you compare average Internet usage today versus a year ago, the usage went down.

    Gaming focused services like Steam have metrics that show how many people are playing on their platform, which titles, purchases, downloads, concurrent players, etc.

    Of course a company like Meta will know how much time is being spent using their services (Facebook, Instagram, Oculus Quest 2, etc.). That's what they do: track your activity so they can sell it to advertisers.

    For Meta, it's not just how much time is being spent on their platforms but what percentage of total device usage is being spent on Meta platforms. If total Internet usage drops 10% but Meta platform usage drops 20%, that's a big problem for Meta. That means that people are spending more time elsewhere (YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, Discord, whatever) and Meta has lost marketshare.

    If you look at hourly or daily graphs, you'd see peaks and valleys in the usage curves. The heaviest traffic days for app stores are December 25th and 26th in countries that observe the Christmas holiday because people are downloading new software for the gifts they've just received.

    In a similar way there's heavy telephone traffic on New Year's Day and it's harder to get a restaurant reservation for Valentine's Day dinner or Mother's Day brunch.

    From an app activity tracking standpoint, it's probably easier for Meta programmers to have fewer data sources (various Meta apps) versus one app that tracks everything you do with their platform.
  • Updated HomePod, new HomePod mini rumored for early 2023

    mike1 said:
    Oh Please. What would I connect with a wire anyway?! Wait, I found a Discman in a drawer with a headphone jack. Maybe I can use that.
    You might make an argument that leaving out Bluetooth was wrong, but a wired input? Nope.

    The audio quality from the line out jack on the Discman's rear is better.

  • Updated HomePod, new HomePod mini rumored for early 2023

    AppleZulu said:
    You might look into JBL, Harman/Kardon, Kipsch, Sony, Bose or some other brand for what you want. 
    ... knowing that those fine speaker brands might not make listening to NPR Radio much better...

    They might make Sir Georg Solti's landmark recording of Wagner's Ring Cycle more enjoyable. An AM radio broadcast of the ballgame? Perhaps not as impactful.

    The biggest problem here is that there are some people on the Internet who don't understand that there are many usage cases and that different people will do different things for different reasons. And that some people will do lots of different things with one device. They only accept their own sole usage case as the sole valid one.

    Some of the discussion in this thread seems to be indicative of this extreme myopia, pretty commonplace online and seems to be happening with more regularity these days.

  • Apple radically cuts down on acquiring firms for technology and talent

    melgross said:
    JP234 said:
    Growing earnings organically by making great products that everyone wants, rather than buying other companies? What a concept! Too bad some other S&P 500 corporations haven't learned this lesson. The great Magellan Fund manager Peter Lynch had a name for growth by acquisition: "Diworsification."
    Do you know what type of companies Apple buys? Other than two exceptions, it small, usually unknown companies with some software if hardware that Apple needs for their products. It’s almost never to buy an actual product. The only time Apple really did that in a big way was buying Next and Beats. Otherwise they bought small software companies for their software, but totally changed for their use.
    Apple didn't buy NeXT for the hardware which was discontinued in 1993 (the company renamed from NeXT Computer to NeXT Software) -- three years before Apple's acquisition. The acquisition was primarily for engineering talent and software IP. Some NeXTSTEP concepts ended up in OS X but the hardware certainly wasn't the reason.

    Note that there was a mysterious two-year delay between OS X Server 1.0 in 1999 and the initial desktop OS X release in 2001. There were persistent rumors that the delay was caused by a Jobs-enforced internal mandate that OS X run on x86 hardware. In 2006, Apple made the transition to Intel CPUs, presumably because they had been running OS X on x86 for years.

    It's highly disputable that Apple bought Beats for the hardware either. They really bought it for the brand/market presence to compete with Samsung for the youth market. Dr. Dre's name and likeness was worth way more than the hardware. Heck, Apple recently killed off the arguably best Beats hardware product: the Pill speaker.