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How Not To Launch a Gadget

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the i-would-not-like-to-subscribe-to-your-newsletter dept.

Businesses 160

An anonymous reader writes "Starfish sells itself with this slogan: 'The next biggest thing is the next smallest thing: The world's first ever interactive iPhone and iPad mirroring device on your wrist.' The reality is that building products is hard. Building products with amazing feature sets is harder still. And, as the old saying goes, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. From the article: 'On Thursday morning when the show floor opened, Starfish’s booth was completely empty—no product, no marketing materials, not even any people. Come Friday, various permutations of representatives appeared at the booth intermittently. ... Saturday arrived, but the watch didn’t, at least not at first. After hourly promises of its imminent arrival, a single prototype of the Starfish watch appeared sometime before 1 p.m. My colleague Dan Moren got to the booth before I did, and the Starfish device wasn't working then. It had apparently worked, briefly, in some sense of the word "worked," when a reporter for TUAW visited the booth. ... The sole representative at the booth when I returned wouldn't give his name. What information he did give me didn’t mesh with what [the CEO] had told TUAW. ... "Why did he send you to man the booth if you can’t answer questions about the watch?" I asked the rep. "I’m done talking to you," he said, as he moved to position himself directly in front of my face. His expression had gone from brusque to combative. "Did you hear me? I’m done talking to you." My accompanying colleagues and I took the unsubtle hint. We left the booth.'"

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Weird (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42803769)

I thought that 3D printing meant we just press a button and out pop freshly printed ICs and PCBs and fully programmed FLASH memory. Almost as if ... the real world isn't a fantasy.

Recipe for disaster ... (0, Offtopic)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#42803959)

If you think 3D printing can solve everything, you will be in for a very big surprise !!

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804015)

I bet with a 3d printer I can print about what you have in mind....

(of course a wood lathe should work too, provided you don't mind splinters)

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804067)

Tell it to the freaks who wildly exaggerate 3D printing every day!

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 2 years ago | (#42804313)

It will take time but I can see printing out circuit boards after 20-30 years of material science and studies.

Before that though I can see a 3D printer that prints gaskets, o-rings, etc's other on demand. Eliminating the need for companies to stock them. After that will come aluminum, nickel, steel and zinc parts,screws, nuts, bolts primarily single piece of metal options.

Complex parts will take longer, but you get those two and industries will be transformed.

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804333)

"Eliminating the need for companies to stock them"

Yes, and replacing it with raw feedstock (shelf life?) and a machine that will break down (remember how we are all against mechanical things on slashdot?) and inferior products. Wow, what a glorious future that awaits us.

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (1, Offtopic)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 2 years ago | (#42804517)

you can already order a huge number of expensive things custom 3d printed in a vast array of metals and have them mailed to your door. I personally have purchased a set of gaming dice 3d printed from stainless steel. The same company will print in various plastics, silver, gold, or even glass and ceramic. Anything you design that will fit the dimensions their hardware can print, you can order. (they may have a ban on sexually explicit items and weapons, i've never checked). Based on that, I think the idea of printing a working circuit board is more like 5-7 years out, on an experimental scale, and 10-15 on a 'I designed this board, and they printed and mailed it to me' scale.

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805003)

And why is this better than "I designed this board, and they made it the same way we've always made boards and they mailed it to me"?

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#42806715)

And why is this better than "I designed this board, and they made it the same way we've always made boards and they mailed it to me"?

because you can make every part snap fit..

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (2)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 2 years ago | (#42805157)

You can already get "quick turn" circuit boards in a few days from real board houses.

I don't see 3D printing speeding it up any, especially when the boards produced may not be continuity tested or have 94V-0 approval.

Besides, once you make the board, it needs to be populated, soldered, functional tested, and possibly safety tested (hipot).

Slowing it down can save money - standard turn & assembly may take a few weeks, but the cost may be 1/100th of quick turn (economies of scale, no expedite charges, standard freight instead of expedited...).

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805493)

I personally have purchased a set of gaming dice 3d printed with stainless steel.

FTFY

It's a small but important distinction. The ability to print stainless steel would be revolutionary, while the ability to powder cast has been around for millennia. A hyped convolution of the mold making process is not going to change much besides the number of shitty knives and dice in pawn shop display cases.

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (3, Funny)

Custard Horse (1527495) | about 2 years ago | (#42806439)

Yes but these dice were *3D*, can you imagine such a thing? 3D gaming dice - the possibilities!

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (1)

Maxx169 (920414) | about 2 years ago | (#42806769)

Mmmm 3D printed D3...

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (3, Informative)

Niedi (1335165) | about 2 years ago | (#42806543)

I personally have purchased a set of gaming dice 3d printed with stainless steel.

FTFY

It's a small but important distinction. The ability to print stainless steel would be revolutionary, while the ability to powder cast has been around for millennia. A hyped convolution of the mold making process is not going to change much besides the number of shitty knives and dice in pawn shop display cases.

It is indeed possible to print IN stainless steel, titanium etc.... Using a technique called selective laser sintering, fine metal powder is selectively melted/fused by a high power laser, allowing you to directly print custom parts from metal.

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#42806719)

I personally have purchased a set of gaming dice 3d printed with stainless steel.

FTFY

It's a small but important distinction. The ability to print stainless steel would be revolutionary, while the ability to powder cast has been around for millennia. A hyped convolution of the mold making process is not going to change much besides the number of shitty knives and dice in pawn shop display cases.

you seem to misunderstand the possibilities with expensive equipment on the market..

http://www.shapeways.com/materials/steel [shapeways.com]

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805169)

Wake me up when I can 3-D print some pussy and fat line of cocaine.

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805179)

It will take time but I can see printing out circuit boards after 20-30 years of material science and studies.

I would agree that is likely. I think one of the main impetus' will likely be security (both DRM and physical device protection and obfuscation).....and they probably won't be called "circuit boards" when you print it all in one mass (we may stick with "chip").

Before that though I can see a 3D printer that prints gaskets, o-rings, etc's other on demand.

We already make gaskets and such with 3D printing and I see no impetus to make that process more expensive and of less quality. They will increasingly be laminated into place using cheaper, simpler, and more automated methods but the process will be much closer to how we form them today than what is known as "3D printing".

After that will come aluminum, nickel, steel and zinc parts,screws, nuts, bolts primarily single piece of metal options.

I don't see this happening before we develop "mass effect" fields, though do not be disappointed. Only realize that all these things are already being made with 3D printers that are designed for efficiency over customization.

Re:Recipe for disaster ... (1)

voidphoenix (710468) | about 2 years ago | (#42805755)

It will take time but I can see printing out circuit boards after 20-30 years of material science and studies.

Before that though I can see a 3D printer that prints gaskets, o-rings, etc's other on demand. Eliminating the need for companies to stock them. After that will come aluminum, nickel, steel and zinc parts,screws, nuts, bolts primarily single piece of metal options.

Complex parts will take longer, but you get those two and industries will be transformed.

Gaskets and o-rings are already doable today, with some limits on materials. Metal is doable today, like that lady who got a 3d-printed titanium jawbone replacement.

hmm. . . starfish. . . (-1, Offtopic)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#42803909)

does that come in chocolate?

Re:hmm. . . starfish. . . (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#42804201)

Yes, but you have to wash it down with hot dog flavored water.

Also, you have to listen to shrill, horrible music.

Re:hmm. . . starfish. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804311)

Yes. The inspiration came from having their heads up their asses.

Re:hmm. . . starfish. . . (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805245)

I've never been a big fan of butt fucking. Too tight, too smelly. You've got a pussy just two inches away (and if she's on the rag, go for a titty fuck or hummer).

Fake Product, Real News? (5, Insightful)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 2 years ago | (#42803973)

Unfortunately, so many companies have bought into the idea that hype - any hype - will lead to funding, which will lead to product development .... which will lead to the product that was being hyped.

And we keep falling for it ... *sigh*

Re:Fake Product, Real News? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42803997)

Sometimes funding is enough to keep the hypers happy.

Re:Fake Product, Real News? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#42806575)

> And we keep falling for it ... *sigh*

Well, stop it. We don't keep falling for it. You lot need to be more cynical!

Captain Obvious strikes again (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42803985)

Having people who have terrible people skills represent your interests usually ends badly. Just ask the LAPD. Or [hated political group]. If you can't manage that, at least bring scantily-clad women to the party... nobody expects them to answer questions about the device, and as a bonus, you'll get a lot of pictures of it. This isn't rocket science...

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (4, Insightful)

Macgrrl (762836) | about 2 years ago | (#42804035)

If you can't manage that, at least bring scantily-clad women to the party... nobody expects them to answer questions about the device, and as a bonus, you'll get a lot of pictures of it.

Even in jest, can we not continue to perpetuate this as a good idea for tech expos. And people wonder why it's hard to get women interested in IT.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (3, Informative)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | about 2 years ago | (#42804097)

If you can't manage that, at least bring scantily-clad women to the party... nobody expects them to answer questions about the device, and as a bonus, you'll get a lot of pictures of it.

Even in jest, can we not continue to perpetuate this as a good idea for tech expos. And people wonder why it's hard to get women interested in IT.

If it weren't for the fact that it works, it wouldn't be perpetuated.

Lowest common denominator love socially-acceptable bags of fat.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (3, Funny)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42804451)

Quite, nerds would never show an interest in a computer game or new electronic gadget unless there's a young woman in a short dress in front of it.

It's a wonder anyone ever visits websites that aren't porn really.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1, Offtopic)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42805765)

have you watched modern US style TV lately?

I took a long break from TV and recently had a look again (was traveling and so was hotel bound and resorted to looking at what's on, these days).

its really IQ-insulting in every single way. very hard to find anything that could keep my interest and didn't talk down to me or assume I was a neanderthal.

TV has gone to hell and shows no signs of reversing the trend.

this is a fair yardstick to compare where our 'attention span' sits. and its not a very flattering statement to what the media thinks the US viewers want.

internet for the populous is not much different.

dancing pigs will always have a market...

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806467)

There's some good stuff out there. It's rare, pretty much all of it is on AMC, and it's fiction only (Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Mad Men). Also, Netflix has House of Cards, which is surprisingly good.

Other than those I'll agree, TV is uniformly awful.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806891)

Probably explains the Brony phenomena. That My Little Pony cartoon originally intended to help sell girl's toys is just as if not more intellectually stimulating than what's on live TV right now. There's definitely more cleverness involved than what one would expect. (And I suppose if you're sleepy and close your eyes, the main voice actors could be considered a bit of phone sex. lol)

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 2 years ago | (#42806843)

It's not that nobody would demonstrate interest in the device if there wasn't a pair of tits in a tight dress demoing the device, it's that the common person - nerds included - are more likely to at least take a look at an unknown product from an unknown company if there is said tits + short dress pictures. What other incentive would they have when the company is (basically) just selling yet another futuristic vaporware?

Unless the product or company is known and can muster interest on the strength of their brand alone, they need something - anything - to gain them eyeballs. Something like a pair of breasts on an attractive woman is going to be a fairly easy and inexpensive advertising campaign. (For instance, the "BSD Girl" pictures from what, 12+ years ago? Those are still traveling the Internet. So much so that they've become a convention meme for attractive women. And I dare say that I'd wager money on at least a couple lonely geeks risking their hard drives for the lustre of tight red spandex.)

It's a wonder anyone ever visits websites that aren't porn really.

I imagine that for every normal page that's loaded in a tab at home, there are 2 pages of porn loaded. That'd just be a guess.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805237)

I cite the American Economy as an obvious reason why that's not necessarily How Shit Works.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804101)

Sorry to break it to you, but sex sells. Always did, always will.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

Monstr (31035) | about 2 years ago | (#42804319)

If you can't manage that, at least bring scantily-clad women to the party... nobody expects them to answer questions about the device, and as a bonus, you'll get a lot of pictures of it.

Even in jest, can we not continue to perpetuate this as a good idea for tech expos. And people wonder why it's hard to get women interested in IT.

Perhaps we could increase the percentage of women interested in IT by having scantily clad men at the booths as well. This works on two fronts (or "y fronts" as I prefer to say) - it turns off some straight guys while attracting some women.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (2)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#42804879)

It is a small vocal set of women that don't like scantily clad women almost as much as men do. By using booth babes, you attract both genders.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (4, Funny)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 years ago | (#42805025)

Yes, but one of the genders is ready to kick your podiums over, throw coffee into your routers, and strangle various exhibitor functionaires with Cat6 after they set fire to your expensive literature.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805341)

Yes, but one of the genders is ready to kick your podiums over, throw coffee into your routers, and strangle various exhibitor functionaires with Cat6 after they set fire to your expensive literature.

And the other will just stand around, scratching and belching inappropriately.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805575)

You don't want those people as customers anyway. High complaint raito. Higher support costs.

I see.. (2)

slashmojo (818930) | about 2 years ago | (#42806789)

you've met my wife!

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#42806207)

Scantily clad women are a staple of car shows and tech shows. Both have a mostly male attendance. Most of the tech/electronics related trade shows that I have been I think there were far more women working in the booths than that there were women amongst the visitors.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (2)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#42805083)

Which is exactly the reason why we don't see scantily clad males in booths. They scare away your clientele.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

Mark Hood (1630) | about 2 years ago | (#42806423)

I bet there's a HUGE amount of publicity for the company that has stereotypical 'gamer guys' in speedos cavorting in front of their booth...

Imagine a half-dozen tubby, hairy guys in tiny shorts posing in front of the latest gadget or game.

You're welcome.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#42806515)

Oh man! Nightmares will haunt me for a long time now. I do not thank you, unkind sir. ;)

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42804819)

Even in jest, can we not continue to perpetuate this as a good idea for tech expos. And people wonder why it's hard to get women interested in IT.

Speaking as a woman in IT, I don't mind. Girls demoing products are not even in the same league as me; They're not going back to work as network admins, programmers, etc. They're there to look good and by extension make the product look good. To me, it's no different than being a cheerleader for a sports team. Would I do it? Probably not. Am I going to judge another woman who does? No. I've met enough aggressive feminists in college that bitch and moan about the objectification of women and get angry when I point out they're just enforcing a different set of values on others. Whether it's a bikini or a burka, the message is the same: You have to conform to others' ideas about your femininity. And that's not cool. If we're a free society, then every woman should feel free to define that for themselves... and if they want to be a cheerleader for Tech Product X, I say, "you go girl." Just don't ask me to do the pom-pom thing... it's not my thing.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805115)

Girls demoing products are not even in the same league as me; They're not going back to work as network admins, programmers, etc.

Oh, you never know--maybe they're doing shows while temporarily unemployed as a database admin, or maybe they are comp sci majors trying to pay back their scholarship debt a bit earlier, and actually write emacs macros in their spare time. Yeah, yeah, one can dream.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805243)

You understand that you are a guy, right?

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806071)

You understand that you are a guy, right?

Seriously best comment ever

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1, Troll)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#42805703)

If we're a free society, then every woman should feel free to define that for themselves...

Is that what you think 'scantily clad booth babes' are? Its free women deciding for themselves how to define their femininity? Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.

I'm finding it hard to swallow that there are any women out there looking to define their own femininity for themselves who ended up deciding that the best way to express their femininity is "scantily clad booth babe"

I'm pretty confident the women who have that option open to them aren't doing any lofty self-definition. Its a paycheck. And its better hours, working conditions, and pay than their other options.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (4, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | about 2 years ago | (#42805767)

Of course it's about a paycheck, any idiot knows that. So do you get to make decisions for yourself about what is and is not acceptable for you how you make a paycheck? If so, then so should these women, for themselves.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#42805997)

If so, then so should these women, for themselves.

Sure, but lets not pretend they are "defining what femininity" is for themselves.

So do you get to make decisions for yourself about what is and is not acceptable for you how you make a paycheck?

No not me personally, but as a society yes, that's precisely what we do. For example, we set safety regulations even though there are plenty of people who would take a job that did not meet those safety standards. Should we let companies exploit that too?

We also prohibit many forms of sexual harassment now that many women used to endure. I suppose they were they just "expressing their femininity" when they chose to continue to work feed and support their families instead of making a stand about what they wouldn't tolerate in the workplace.

Recently some countries are starting to regulate models to promote better body image for regular women, and prevent the models themselves to subject themselves to starvation and other self abuse to attain the "desired weight".

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42806387)

Sure, but lets not pretend they are "defining what femininity" is for themselves.

Yes. Let's not let them talk about it. There's a woman here telling you that you're wrong, therefore she must be crazy and thus ignored. Listen asshat, when I say defining it, I didn't say it's easy. I didn't say that it was right. I didn't even comment about the social acceptability of it. What I said was: It's up to me to say what it means. And if I decide it means running around in a miniskirt and pom poms, well... screw you. If I decide it means putting on a burka and hiding my face and body from the world, screw you too. In fact, if I decide it means nothing at all, you guessed it: Screw you.

Your opinion, sir, is simply not relevant. If a woman has the choice, then she is free. It is when we stop having choices that there's a problem, and your attitude, expressed by putting it down to "as a society" to avoid taking responsibility for it, is what causes the capacity to choose to diminish. Women have bodies. They're not shapeless automatons, but beautifully curved, soft, and all of that. And why shouldn't they be allowed to revel in that?

It only becomes a problem when other people's sick notions of what 'normal' should be draws others into the kind of behaviors you describe. And nobody is immune to that, not even you, Mr. I-Ask-Myself-Every-Morning-Who-The-Tiger-Is. We all have to deal with our own body image issues, men, women, human. That's just how it is.

But as long as you have the freedom to choose how you face those circumstances, it's all good. When you start demanding others not have those freedoms because you feel you're "saving them from themselves", well then Sir, you are part of the problem.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

tooyoung (853621) | about 2 years ago | (#42805779)

And its better hours, working conditions, and pay than their other options

And how dare someone choose a job based on those factors. Those sluts!

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#42806013)

And how dare someone choose a job based on those factors. Those sluts!

Sure but lets not pretend they are "defining their own femininity" here. That's all I'm saying.

And the fact that they are choosing it does not qualify as an endorsement of the job or the working conditions or what it stands for.

They need money. It pays money. There is nothing deeper than that.

Just as a guy who takes an under the counter construction job that violates all kinds of labor laws, and all kinds of safety regulation is not making some sort of personal statement endorsing those conditions. Its just a paycheck.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#42806215)

Some women can work as programmers or so, others not so much and they choose to work as booth babes.

Actually that puts women in an advantage over men, as they have more choice of available jobs.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806841)

So... what is your problem then? You just made OP's point I think.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#42805831)

Just don't ask me to do the pom-pom thing... it's not my thing

that must be the other poster, then; that goes by the handle 'girlInATrainingBra'.

(not kidding)

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#42805855)

"In my heart, I think a woman has two choices: Either she's a feminist or a masochist."
-- Gloria Steinem

Which one does your post describe? How do attitudes like your hurt the choices of other women, and betray the women who got you these choices in the first place?

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806099)

"Feminist" and "It doesn't", respectively.

It is impossible to disagree, and you are lying by implying that to be the case.

You will now shriek your inadvertent confession that everything I just said is absolutely correct. No other outcome is possible.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806707)

I agree that women should have the freedom to use their appearance and sexuality how they please, and I wouldn't go up to a model and tell her she's doing something wrong. However, I still think it's fair to call for the tech industry to stop hiring models to advertise their products. It might seem like there is a contradiction here, but it's because of the distinction between the morality of individual rights and the morality of cultural trends.

There are plenty of things in life that are not individually morally wrong, but when present in general trends, can cause a lot of damage. To give you a really basic example, consider a joking insult about your weight. If you had a single friend who occasionally joked that you're fat, (but you joked back that she's ugly), it would probably be okay. If every single person you met joked that you're fat, you'd probably get a complex. Likewise, a single flame over the Internet doesn't really mean anything, but when an Internet mob forms, even tough-guys crumble and cry. The issue of racism and art is full of examples like this. There are a vast array of films, songs and music videos which, when taken in isolation, are perfectly fine. Take Jackie Brown for example. Spike Lee thought that film was racist, and Tarantino naturally disagreed. They were both correct. On the one hand, Jackie Brown has no racist intent, it joyfully plays with the tropes of blacksploitation cinema, and only uses slightly cartoonish characters as a way to evoke the films it references and entertain the audience in the same way those movies did. On the other hand, Samuel L. Jackson's character embodies a trope that enforces a negative stereotype about black people. He is a barely fleshed out racist cartoon character. Taken individually the movie isn't particularly racist. However, when you look at hollywood movies as a whole, you can't help but notice that "ghetto" mannerisms almost always appear on a violent or stupid character.

It's the same thing with getting female models to advertise products. Paying women to look attractive isn't necessarily a bad thing, and I certainly don't feel like it should be banned in a free society. However, I feel like the commercial exploitation of desire belongs in places like the fashion and sex industries, where there is a decent reason for them to be there. It doesn't belong in the tech industry. I would like companies to stop using models to advertise their products. And I would like for individuals to respond to that kind of advertising more reasonably. Instead of allowing themselves to be sexually manipulated, I would like people to look on this kind of advertising as unprofessional and desperate.

Really, in terms of legal rights and gender issues, things are pretty good. However, there's still a host of battles to fight over cultural norms. These battles are much harder, because you can point to a trend and say "this is wrong", and people can look at each individual case and say "well there's nothing particular wrong about this one" and other people can say "stopping people from doing this would be wrong" and they'd all be right. Worse still, you will get people who campaign about cultural trends using absolute moral terms, which actually damages their own cause. Aggressive feminists have done this to you over the issue of objectification. You now think of objectification as a non-issue, even though it is still a real problem. Would you really not prefer it if female sexuality was used a bit less in advertising, if movies had more genuinely smart or complex female characters or if there were fewer computer games where men are covered from head to toe in armour and women look like two beach balls on a matchstick in a shiny bikini? In an ideal world, art containing hypersexual female objectification would still exist, but it would be kept away from developing minds and would be balanced out by hypersexual male objectification and more complex realistic representations of women.

Honestly, I wish more smart people were able to see that there are still massive problems with our culture and its representation of women. It's bad now, but can you imagine what's going to happen in ten or twenty years when CGI becomes truly indistinguishable from reality? The images of sex and beauty that we get bombarded with these days are fairly divorced from reality now, but in the future they will have absolutely no relation to reality. If the trend continues, eventually the fashion industry will make it so that no-one finds anyone attractive any more and everyone will hate themselves. Although I suppose that might help with objectification, since everyone will be considered ugly, and the only attractive women will literally be (c++) objects.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806915)

Amém to that bitch ;)

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804839)

Regardless of what anybody wants, IT is currently a male-dominated field. Therefore, marketers will use women if it helps sell their product. OTOH, this doesn't seem to keep women out of a field. For example, in medicine, 80% of practicing physicians are male. Thus, pharmaceutical companies often have former cheerleaders or similarly attractive women go to physicians' offices to sell their product. However, medical students are now mostly female (~52/48), so apparently this practice didn't stop women from entering the field.

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805329)

How about some well-hung gentlemen wearing crotch-less chaps?

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806463)

and how excatly are scantilly-clad women on booths in any way limited to tech expos and/or IT?
They are omnipresent on occasions ranging from car expos, medical expos and holiday maker expos to boat shows. And there's plenty of women working in those industries.

and yet any time I mention RMS... (1, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 2 years ago | (#42805029)

...and his lack of personal hygiene, confrontational nature, total lack of empathy or ability to understand or identify with any viewpoint except his own, complete obliviousness to how he comes off to others (remember the pages-long travel missives?)...

...I'm modded "flamebait" or "troll." Heaven forbid there are people who point out the man's numerous flaws. Ordinarily it'd be ad hominem, but he's a spokesman and figurehead, which makes every single one of the points above completely relevant.

Re:and yet any time I mention RMS... (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#42805857)

If only people didn't do so every time a comment of his is brought up for the sole purpose of derailing any actual useful discussion. It's done deliberately to drive discussion into the ground and ensure that a possibly useful conversation does not take place simply because there are people far more concerned about spreading hatred of the man than doing something useful.

he's a spokesman and figurehead, which makes every single one of the points above completely relevant.

Only in the context of discussing him in his role of "spokesman" and "figurehead." Not "any time RMS is ever mentioned."

Re:Captain Obvious strikes again (1)

r33per (585447) | about 2 years ago | (#42806603)

This isn't rocket science...

I thought Rocketry was an engineering subject.

OMG! (1)

hduff (570443) | about 2 years ago | (#42804099)

iPhone-ista Outrage!

Another Kickstarter failure (5, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42804165)

Surprise, surprise. It was funded, at least in part, by Kickstarter. Kickstarter businesses, by definition, are almost always going to be the worst of the worst simply because of the nature of funding. The company founders couldn't borrow the money, they couldn't get anybody to invest, so they ultimately end up on Kickstarter, begging for handouts from the clueless general public. Of course, some Kickstarter projects are run by intelligent, capable people who use Kickstarter because some kind of principles that they may have, but the vast majority of the projects are there because the owners didn't have any other options.

Personally, I see it as a real karmic kick in the ass to the people starting these "projects" every time one falls over. Inevitably, they're people who think they've got the next idea for the next big Apple accessory, but they pooh-pooh the mundane details of engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution, all of which they look down their noses at (an attitude often espoused by Slashthink, too). As an actual business owner, that provides actual services for people, and deals with actual, physical products, I have to smile every time I see one of these holier-than-thou fools fall flat on their proverbial faces because they can't figure out the nuts and bolts of running a business.

Running a business is hard. It's very hard. Coming up with an idea for some new gee gaw is about 1% of the effort required to do something like this project. The other 99% is the fun, yet very difficult business-y stuff that these kinds of people try to ignore.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (4, Informative)

mcl630 (1839996) | about 2 years ago | (#42804285)

According to TFA, they are *going to* use Kickstarter to fund the project. It's not even on Kickstarter yet.

With the bad press, they'll have a really hard time raising those funds (assuming people take the 2 minutes to actually google the company before giving their money).

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (3, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42804599)

Surprise, surprise. It was funded, at least in part, by Kickstarter. Kickstarter businesses, by definition, are almost always going to be the worst of the worst simply because of the nature of funding.

So what you're saying is the nature of the funding determines the quality of a venture? Not the product, not the experience of the people running it, the funding source. Why not check the tea-leaves or the entrails of your pet chook?

The company founders couldn't borrow the money, they couldn't get anybody to invest

Assumption. it is not necessary to seek other types of funding before going to Kickstarter

begging for handouts

It's not a hand-out when you're getting something in return. I guess companies like Rockstar and Bioware are asking for handouts when they offer pre-orders too?

from the clueless general public

Unlike you educated business types. Glad to see elitism is alive and well.

Personally, I see it as a real karmic kick in the ass to the people starting these "projects" every time one falls over.

You enjoy seeing other people fail because they didn't sell their soul to a banker to finance a new idea. Gotcha.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (2)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#42804919)

As much as taking joy in other people failing makes him an ass, he did not say that the nature of funding determines the quality of a venture. He said that the quality of the venture determines funding.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806859)

No, he quite literally said that anything from kickstarter was doomed to fail.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804639)

I disagree with the assumption that company founders choose kickstarter only after they couldn,t borrow the money or get anybody to invest - frankly, kickstarter is easier that the traditional methods of fundraising. It allows you to raise funds from potential customers, people who want the product, rather than investors, people who want to make money off the product. Kickstarter investors don't need to know how much money the product will make to make a good choice, just whether or not they want it to be made, and they can tailor their investment to their own financial capabilities and desires for the end product.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (2)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#42804653)

This has nothing to do with Kickstarter, yet.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#42804777)

Kickstarter businesses, by definition, are almost always going to be the worst of the worst simply because of the nature of funding. The company founders couldn't borrow the money, they couldn't get anybody to invest, so they ultimately end up on Kickstarter, begging for handouts from the clueless general public.

Just scratch the surface a little bit, and you'll find that 99% of the kickstarters projects that get funded in the first place are started by people that already have a very large audience and an existing reputation of some kind.

Now I'm not saying that the clueless general public won't invest in those types of projects, but generally speaking, the clueless general public tend not to invest in a project unless many other people have invested in it already. That's why having a core audience that already believes in you is crucial in getting the initial momentum going. Kickstarters is definitely not as easy as you think.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (1)

Tauvix (97917) | about 2 years ago | (#42805203)

I will say that having stayed away from most technology related kickstarters that I've actually had really really good luck with the board games and RPG modules. I've backed about 20 projects, and received the items so far from about a third of them. The games I've received have been good quality and generally lots of fun. Of the remaining 2/3 a few are late, but have been very upfront about unexpected delays and what they're doing to resolve problems. The remainder are still being very communicative, but haven't passed their due dates yet.

That's not to say that I haven't funded some technology based projects, but they've all been from reputable companies that I've already known (Double Fine, for example), or people I've been able to research and see that they are reputable.

Would it surprise me if one or two of the projects I've backed failed? No, or perhaps a little, but that's more because I feel the law of averages has to kick in eventually.

But ultimately, you're correct when it comes to hardware or other technology based kickstarters. Most people don't know what it takes to bring a new gadget to market, or build a new video game, or other software. And the people who back them probably know even less. At the end of the experiment, I expect that you're going to find that funding will almost dry up completely for the Next Big Thing In Personal Gadgetry, after so many people get burned repeatedly, but the game, art, clothing, music, etc. projects will continue on. Relatively small projects where the amount of money raised is in the small thousands, if that much. Maybe tens of thousands if it's really popular (board games tend to reach this point if they show well on boardgamegeek.com).

On the other hand... There's a sucker born every minute, and if people keep not doing their research, they're going to end up backing crappy, ill-managed projects.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (1)

Roogna (9643) | about 2 years ago | (#42805647)

On the flip side, the Pebble watch (http://getpebble.com) was also funded on Kickstarter, and last news I saw said that the first batches were arriving for backers.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806431)

Kickstarter businesses, by definition, are almost always going to be the worst of the worst simply because of the nature of funding.

If you must say 'by definition' then at least use it for something that is, in fact, by definition definitively defined otherwise it just looks like you couldn't come up with a proper argument. I fund very few Kickstarters and have a real doubt about many; certainly some will be because no formal lender would touch the idea. However I know plenty who are using Kickstarter because of other reasons. It can act as pre-sales and publicity, it can 'involve' buyers in building a community, it allows them to maintain full ownership, it allows more flexibility and it's simple.

I looked at releasing a product via a Kickstarter. I could fund it out of my own money but using Kickstart provides numerous other benefits, as mentioned above. In the end I decided the product category I was considering was over-saturated on KickStarter and the likely return on the time required wasn't justified.

Re:Another Kickstarter failure (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#42806535)

kickstarter is better than selling shares or borrowing money.

however.. it seems they got some sucker to give them some cash on the basis that they're going to get more cash on kickstarter..

Blowing smoke? (3, Funny)

Media_Scumbag (217725) | about 2 years ago | (#42804207)

A device called "starfish" [urbandictionary.com] turns out to be vaporware? Color me surprised.

creeper (2)

Georules (655379) | about 2 years ago | (#42804263)

Am I the only one a little concerned by how intent Lex Friedman (author of TFA) was on getting information from the representative that clearly didn't know anything. He took pictures of the booth while he waited around for the CEO to show.

He does seem to want to MAKE the story (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804357)

Without being so annoying as to be told to f-off, he wouldn't have a story. So he does seem to be trying to get a reaction.

As it is, it's just a product planned for launch that wasn't ready to launch. Well that's same as usual for new products. Once you realize the guy there isn't a rep with any knowledge, hassling him for knowledge you know he doesn't have, is designed to illicit a negative response.

Perhaps it was a slow show and he had no story.

Re:creeper (1)

Rizimar (1986164) | about 2 years ago | (#42805199)

Considering this was a booth for what sounds like an interesting product, it's perfectly reasonable to expect someone or something to be at that booth to illustrate what it is, exactly. Having an empty booth is a waste of floor space and of people's time.

Re:creeper (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805337)

It's a /booth/ at a /show/. How the heck is it creepy that the guy watching the chairs of the no-show company has people viewing the show ask him a lot of pointed questions?

So no, I'm not concerned at all. Starfish hyped a product for the public market, and rented a frigging booth at Macworld. And, holy cow, Lex Friedman "Senior Writer, Macworld" took time try to find WTF was up. No, it'd be a concern if that didn't happen. Good for Lex.

Seriously, why are you bothered by that? Please expand.

Was it this: "who clearly didn't know anything"? Rubbish. He knew something, right or wrong. He's taken the public seat, and I don't mind reporters trying to get something other than his personal script out of him. They'd be bad reporters if they didn't.

1. Don't call it starfish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804381)

Starfish? Really? I bet their product umm... stinks. It probably comes in Zune brown too.

What Nobody likes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804421)

is a tattle-tell

Looks like a wannabe Pebble Watch (1)

DaTrueDave (992134) | about 2 years ago | (#42804729)

Now the Pebble has definitely caught my eye as a way to put your phone on your wrist like this: http://getpebble.com/ [getpebble.com]

Re:Looks like a wannabe Pebble Watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804767)

Yes, and the Pebble actually exists!

Re:Looks like a wannabe Pebble Watch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804961)

Now the Pebble has definitely caught my eye as a way to put your phone on your wrist like this: http://getpebble.com/ [getpebble.com]

A remote screen for your phone, so you don't have to go all the way over to your pocket? That's pretty gay.

the finer print: the above comment is owned by slashdot. slashdot is entirely responsible for it.

Just sayin' (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | about 2 years ago | (#42804931)

Looks awfully like this here thing http://getpebble.com/ [getpebble.com] but I was only going off the look from the photo in the first link. Still, it's a poor showing on their part to not have anything to ...show. I hope Pebble goes better, or at least something decent in both price and and function.

Also, if they were rude, you should have just gone away - don't give them the time or exposure; just let them be dicks and lose everyone's respect.

"Did you hear me? Iâ(TM)m done talking to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805081)

So what's the legal definition of assault? Was he just threatened?

What's new about this? (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#42805375)

What's new about a wrist phone? Swatch had the Swatch Talk wrist phone [gizmodo.com] in 1998. Samsung had one in 2001. If you want one right now, there are several on Amazon. [amazon.com] They're cheap, too; well under $100 for an unlocked phone.

There's even a full Android device in a watch size announced. [neptunepine.com] This thing can supposedly make phone calls, shoot video, browse the web, get your location, etc.

Looks very much like a MetaWatch SDK (1)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | about 2 years ago | (#42805505)

Looks very much like a MetaWatch [metawatch.org] SDK to me. Anyone with some programming skills can slap together something like that -or something that actually works in some way- for $200.

I expected even less (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805551)

from starfish since they're a company who's website is a facebook profile...

Bye bye (5, Insightful)

scotts13 (1371443) | about 2 years ago | (#42805631)

"Did you hear me? I’m done talking to you."

And thus, with nine words, a company dies. They clearly have no manufacturing capability, little-or-no software development capability, and have done no market research. The have a half-baked idea, and a part of a marketing plan. Probably saw a piece of existing hardware, and figured they could customize it to do something different - and were wrong. There have been successful products that launched way too soon, but not with THAT kind of press. Done for, now.

The more interresting question is? (1)

Casandro (751346) | about 2 years ago | (#42805819)

How can a company be _so_ ignorant of it's own abilities.
I mean the main problem is getting a proper case and interfacing with iOS. The rest is just a wristwatch sized computer with Bluetooth. Give a good engineer some time and it'll find a way to resize the screen. It probably won't be perfect, but hey what do you expect?

The problem inside those companies is that three problems come together.
First of all, you have people to stupid to realise that they are wrong.
Second, the people who know a bit more, don't interfere with bad decisions for various reasons.
Third, people who actually know what they are doing will be worn out struggling against the idiots and simply leave the company.

Granted, this is an extreme example, but it happens quite often. There are 'idiot companies' out there. They are the ones thinking that OPC is a good idea. They are the ones basing their company on some VBA scripts.

In lighter cases you get all those little gadget which require you to have some complex software products to use them, and which will end on the dump once installing the software is more effort than the device is worth.

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