As Seen on SlashDot
May 17, 2005 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Is he or isn't he? Slashdot member claims to be an Apple employee and posts detailed commentary on Apple's strategy and product plans, including information about unreleased products. He speaks with authority and seems to know what he's talking about. Apple does not sue Slashdot or fire any of its employees. Slashdot members debate the implications.
posted by alms (29 comments total)
He speaks with the same pseudoinformed tone as the fellow who runs the Mac OS Rumors site. My guess is that he's a fake.
posted by AlexReynolds at 5:29 PM on May 17, 2005

As a former Apple employee, dunno. I like his posts and haven't seen anything clang yet.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:29 PM on May 17, 2005

Well, apple would also need to supena google, in order to get this guy's IP address. It would be a pretty major undertaking.

That said, the mac community is rampant with speculation, and it always has been. It really amazes me, it's almost like "product fanfic". I have no doubt that the mac community is capable of producing someone who could make these guesses (indeed, the poster mentioned that other users already guessed what he was "going" to say).

the guy who got busted gave out very spesific product details on something that no one would have expected apple to come up with (some weird DJ mixer with an iPod interface(?!)).


Oh, and I love the comment of another /.er saying "you must be steve jobs, because you said the same things he did!"
posted by delmoi at 5:30 PM on May 17, 2005

Maybe it's that stoned girl from the ads a while ago? : >
posted by amberglow at 5:38 PM on May 17, 2005

He did say the MTBF of the hard drives of the ipods was mesured in hours. Unless he means " thousands of" hours he's full of crap.
posted by delmoi at 5:41 PM on May 17, 2005

delmoi: No, not mtbf but "constant use". Video streaming does sound pretty wearing on such a little sucker. I could see an iPod hd melting after 5 days of *continuous* reading.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:48 PM on May 17, 2005

Heywood Mogroot: I could see an iPod hd melting after 5 days of *continuous* reading.

Tell me, where did you get your crystal ball? what exactly do you base this "vision" on?
posted by delmoi at 5:55 PM on May 17, 2005

Tell me, where did you get your crystal ball? what exactly do you base this "vision" on?

the way the little fucker skips when I jog with it perhaps.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:04 PM on May 17, 2005

Bullshit. Toshiba and Sharp (amongst others) make laptops with the same 1.8" drives. I can't think why they'd be less reliable than 2.5" laptop drives. Toshiba say 300,000 hours for both.

(iPods do have high HD failure rates, but that's mainly because the enclosure is too flimsy to protect it, not from use)
posted by cillit bang at 6:07 PM on May 17, 2005

It'd probably overheat.
posted by bitpart at 6:27 PM on May 17, 2005

People claiming to be something they're not on the internet? Impossible!
posted by spazzm at 6:43 PM on May 17, 2005

So, if Apple's not suing to stop him then what's up?

Maybe Apple's marketing folks are starting to tap into the mystique and use it?
posted by fenriq at 6:50 PM on May 17, 2005

Mr. Kottke had an entry on this, based on this post at bblog. bblog also has a recent post on ASOT.
posted by bitpart at 7:03 PM on May 17, 2005

A link to a thread on slashdot.
Best of the web.
Who woulda thunk it.
posted by nightchrome at 7:10 PM on May 17, 2005

metafilter has just made one slashdot troll very, very happy.
posted by sien at 7:17 PM on May 17, 2005

I wouldn't say that he's a troll. He says some reasonably interesting things.
posted by bitpart at 7:35 PM on May 17, 2005

threshold=1 on SlashDot? Are you insane, man?

For those not savvy to Slashdot/Slashcode, use this modified URL to see the best* of the Slashdot comments, usually just a dozen or so per thread. It changes SlashDot from a weary collection of losers into a somewhat interesting selection of losers. Most important, if there's a debunking comment out there it'll rise to the top.

* may not be any good, especially if you don't also derate comments marked as "Funny" by a bunch of socially retarded adolescents
posted by intermod at 7:43 PM on May 17, 2005

Cringely comments.
posted by tellurian at 7:59 PM on May 17, 2005

tellurian, that was a FPP earlier this week, and I'm pretty sure we all agreed Cringely wouldn't know his ass from a hole in the ground.
posted by keswick at 8:13 PM on May 17, 2005

He wasn't reffering to the hard drive's MTBF, but to how long the battery will last if the hard drive is accessed constantly. If you plug a 3G iPod (Which can't charge over USB) into a computer via USB alone while fully charged, the battery will last 15-20 minutes, tops. The way iPods last 10 hours is by buffering and caching, only spinning up the hard drive for a few seconds when a selection is made. This is why skipping through songs while on shuffle absolutely kills the battery life.

A video iPod would need a big fucking battery to spin up the hard drive constantly, not even taking the screen backlight into consideration. Those 'personal video players' only last 3 hours or so playing video.

'As seen on TV' probably isn't an Apple employee. He hasn't actually revealed anything that a reasonably intelligent person couldn't figure out on his/her own.
posted by blasdelf at 10:26 PM on May 17, 2005

The first link posted above by bitpart has is a reference that ASoT has a BA in physics, but the link that supports it is a slashdot post of him debating the technical merits of Battlestar Galactica. This post disqualifies him from being any sort of bigwig at apple; those types of guys do not engage in this type of fappery in public forums.

When he says "These are the things you guys need to be paying attention to. Not the product releases. The lawsuits. That's where you'll find the clues." it leads me to believe that he is not even an employee, just an apple watcher. He is describing a method for getting scoops on apple that an insider would not need or respect.
posted by Osmanthus at 12:09 AM on May 18, 2005

He wasn't reffering to the hard drive's MTBF, but to how long the battery will last if the hard drive is accessed constantly.

As Seen On TV:
"There's basically no way for the iPod to play that without constantly keeping the hard drive running, and that will burn out the drive very quickly. Seriously, under constant use, the iPod hard drives' life spans are measured in tens of hours."

The real reason the iPod doesn't have video playback is that PortalPlayer haven't integrated it into their chips yet.
posted by cillit bang at 3:09 AM on May 18, 2005

Hang on, I take that back. The new 5022 (as used in this year's iPod mini) apparently as MPEG4 video decoding. Expect a iPod with video playback of some kind soon.

(cf. The chip in the original iPod mini, the 5020, which supported photos, TV out, and color screens, 9 months before the iPod photo)
posted by cillit bang at 3:24 AM on May 18, 2005

If they wanted small screen playback they'd get it sorted. I have 176x220 videos running in perfect quality on my smartphone, with a battery life of about 7 hours in constant use (5 days occasional). Movies are about a megabyte a minute - sometimes more.

Given that it's only 100g, I'm sure a higher res (320x240?) player wouldn't be too hard to achieve given specialist hardware. It doesn't need to be super resolution, unless you have a tv out.
posted by Mossy at 4:07 AM on May 18, 2005

As to the hard drives: 2.5" hard drives do *not* last under constant access situation (this is changing, with the building of server-class 2.5" HDDs for blades and the like, see the WD Raptor drives for an example.)

Notebook hard drives are designed to be small and consume as little power as possible. They can't handle continous seeks. When run under thier design parameters, which is about a 35% duty cycle, they run for thousands of hours. Put one running a busy database, and it might not make it a week.

I'd suspect (I haven't read datasheets) that the 1" drives in the iPods are of the same class. Futhermore, when you look at the tricks Apple uses to extend the battery life, you can see how they would work perfectly with a low duty cycle drive.

There are legions of equipment that can be divided into "production" and "hobby/prototype" ranks -- and the primary dividing line is the duty cycle. A 200A arc welder for the home might cost a third, and weigh a quarter, as much as a welder for the shop -- but it'll be rated with a 40% duty cycle, whereas the shop welder is built with 100%. So, if you weld solid, all day, with the home unit, it fails quickly. The shop unit keeps going.

Why build things this way? Cost is a big factor. There's more to life than MTBF. Notebook drives need to consume less power, and deal with shocks more often.

People looking to buy tools that last forever go buy the stuff made for working pros. Those tools, treated right, do last. The cheap stuff for the homeowner who's going to put up a few shelves doesn't -- but the homeowner doesn't want to spend $400 on a screwgun, so the $70 one that won't stand up to constant use is a good buy for him.

I know a couple of people who put up Mac Minis as mailservers. Both of them had to replace the hard drives. Both of them, being smart guys, realized this wasn't Apple's fault -- if they'd used the computer as a desktop, they would have been fine. But under a heavy mail load, the drives failed.

They replaced the drives (One with a raptor, the other rigged an external 3.5" drive.) Both systems are running well now.
posted by eriko at 4:52 AM on May 18, 2005

I stopped reading Slashdot comments years ago. Its like opening a box of oreos where every other one is a dud.
posted by furtive at 5:09 AM on May 18, 2005

The idea that any media company's high-level execs spend their time posting on Slashdot about "720-by-486 anamorphic" amuses me.
posted by runkelfinker at 5:21 AM on May 18, 2005

This guy sort of reminds me of Samir Gupta, a man who has been trolling Slashdot for YEARS, first claiming to be a Sega employee, now claiming to work for Nintendo. Before Slashdot he trolled usenet - ten years ago. His claims of inside knowledge usually never pass any scrutiny, though he's gotten better recently.
posted by zsazsa at 6:03 AM on May 18, 2005

The canonical example of Eriko's comments on duty cycle, above, in my experience, is SCSI vs IDE hard drives. People often look at the relative prices of those drives, and can't understand why the SCSI can be 3 times the price, for 70% of the capacity.

It's because the SCSI drive is built to spend it's entire rated MTBF *working*, at full tilt. I think I've had 3 or 4 SCSI drive fail to outlast the machine they were in, in 15 years professional experience in the small-business systems gig. We lose an IDE every couple months. Mostly Maxtor.
posted by baylink at 1:27 PM on May 18, 2005

« Older The dear green place?   |   The Little Prince in a 100 Languages Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments