Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 23rd Apr 2013 22:35 UTC
Apple "Apple just posted its hotly-anticipated Q2 2013 earnings, and the company posted a profit of $9.5b on revenues of $43.6b, compared to $11.6b in profit on $39.2b in revenue this quarter last year and $13.1b in profit on $54.5b in revenue last quarter. That's right in line with the company's guidance from last quarter. Most importantly, iPhone sales are fairly flat year-over-year. Apple sold 37.04 million in Q2 2013 versus last year's 35.1 million, a modest growth of seven percent. iPad sales for the quarter were 19.5 million, up a massive 65 percent from last year's 11.8 million, but the average selling price (ASP) dropped fairly steeply year-over-year, likely due to the introduction of the cheaper iPad mini."
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RE[4]: It's a funny old world
by Neolander on Thu 25th Apr 2013 09:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It's a funny old world"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

I believe "dumber" is tech jargon for "easier" and "more user friendly".

It means you don't have to be very smart to use something, even "dumb" people can now too.

I beg to differ. At least when I use the "dumber" word myself, it specifically means "increased newbie usability, at the expense of power user usability".


As an example, if you provide a GUI alternative to a CLI system administration tool, and then stop supporting the CLI tool, I could call your software dumber, because it is easier to discover software features but infinitely to script them out. In this case, you have moved from something that was usable by a group of users and unusable by the rest, to something that is usable by another group of users and unusable by the rest. So in the end, little has been gained.

To the contrary, if you take the time to extract an interface-agnostic backend from your CLI administration tool and build both a CLI and GUI front-ends for it, then you have a net usability gain: new users have it easier, and seasoned users are not left out in the cold. So such software would not deserve the criticism of being dumber, in my opinion, and yet it's easier to use for newbies and power users alike.


Another example would be overuse of animations. If a mail client started to throw windows randomly throughout the screen, it would make life easier for newbies, because they'd have something to distract them from the pain of learning a new OS, but also make life harder for power users, because it would also distract them in the work which they are doing, which becomes the only thing that matters at that level of expertise. So I'd call that dumb.

On the other side, mail software which would give status information more visibility than through a tiny status bar, without resorting to such childish and distracting tricks, would on its side not qualify as dumber as far as I'm concerned. It improves usability for everyone, without discriminating between different levels of user expertise.

Edited 2013-04-25 09:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: It's a funny old world
by MOS6510 on Thu 25th Apr 2013 12:50 in reply to "RE[4]: It's a funny old world"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I was being a little bit sarcastic, but I do think there is some truth in it.

Regarding OS X, I think OS X 10.8 can do what 10.1 could and much more. So I don't think it can be called dumber or more limiting.

As over time a lot more features have been added I'd even say it's less easy to master/use than it used to be in the early years.

I agree that removing powerful features and replace them with more limited GUIs can also be called dumbing down, but from my experience when something becomes more user friendly people are quick to play the dumb card.

If OS X dumbs anything down it's the user who has to know nothing about computers, kernels, drives, file systems, etc... to use the computer. When I used Linux I knew every bit of hardware my PC had. I have no idea how many Ghz my iMac CPU is clocked at. I do think it has 8 GB of RAM, although I'm not 100%. Don't know about the graphics, sound or network controllers.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: It's a funny old world
by Neolander on Thu 25th Apr 2013 17:49 in reply to "RE[5]: It's a funny old world"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Okay, here's my rant regarding what's wrong with OSX today.

I would say that the user-facing part of OS X did start to go in a pretty awful direction from Lion onwards. From an explosion of ridiculously over-the top animations and real-world visual metaphors in Lion, combined with a disjointed file saving experience between Apple and non-Apple software, to Mountain Lion's "Gatekeeper" that makes decentralized software distribution a power user feature....

Then the ecosystem around the OS is getting pretty rotten too. When official Apple retailers are not even allowed to own or sell OS X installation discs or pen drives for professional reasons, you know that something is smelling bad. The gradual shelving of any kind of hardware serviceability also feels worrying. More and more, Apple are tightening their grip on users. They want these to rely on them, all the time, for every task, and only them, and they hide their actions towards that goals in the middle of heaps of unnecessary fluff. I don't think that's a healthy attitude for a platform owner to take.

The official justification for this Orwellian behaviour is that it helps newbies. They don't have to learn about what differentiates shady software from regular one anymore, because Apple will take care of that issue for them. They don't have to take the time to find a cheap replacement battery for their laptop anymore, because they'll need to go to Apple for the repairs anyway. And so on.

Myself, I call it official dumbing down for the barely hidden officious sake of ever-increasing platform lockdown. And that's why myself, as someone who cares about controlling the machine rather than falling under its control, I'll stick with Linux for now, even if it means having to know about silly trivia like which GPU is in my computer. While looking for a better solution in the long run, if possible.

Because as you say, with Linux you are still getting a bit controlled by the machine, only in a different way. Here, it's because of technical limitations stemming from developer incompetence, rather than ethical ones stemming from a conscious will. There are many things which I still have to deal with on Linux, that I shouldn't need to care about. The good thing is, incompetence-bound problems can be solved, so I'll continue to look for a solution to these other problems even if I have to create it myself.

Edited 2013-04-25 17:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2