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Comments

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Is the App Store Broken?

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:Developers, developers, developers! (151 comments)

Sorry, but I just don't see any of those things you cited as any sort of game-changer. They are just incremental, evolutionary developments, not radical ideas that will move or create entire markets and lifestyles the way the original iPhone or iPad did.

The entirely new MacPro... is a moderately powerful PC in an awkward form factor.

The Macbook retina... is a computer with a high-resolution display but only a small physical area.

The iPhone 5S including a shift to an entirely new CPU architecture... is a smart phone that can run some apps.

An new iOS operating system... is a disaster that looks like it was designed for use in kindergarten.

An entire web / mobile based office suite... is so significant that I hadn't even registered that it was available yet until you mentioned it, probably because the whole idea of running an office suite on a touch-based mobile device is daft.

So sorry again, but I stand by my previous comments. These things might be decent technology, at least in some cases, but they just aren't anything special, and it was the anything-specials of the Jobs era that made Apple what it is today. If your hardware is no longer a radical advance over what everyone else offered, you need something special in the software instead, but the App Store has... awkward ports of puzzle games with crazy expensive in-app purchases. Oh, and iFart apps.

5 hours ago
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Is the App Store Broken?

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:Obvious solution. (151 comments)

That's an amusing but perhaps slightly ironic comment. One of the few places left in mobile app development where someone new could really win big would be releasing a killer business app. If you could do it on the BB platform as well then they would probably throw their substantial resources behind you, because it would be in their interests to rejuvenate their platform on the back of your success.

9 hours ago
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Is the App Store Broken?

Anonymous Brave Guy Developers, developers, developers! (151 comments)

Yeah, hate that $13 billion *developers* have made so far.

That's rather like judging the profitability of web development by how much money Facebook make. The total market value is vast, but extremely concentrated on the success stories and with massive variability.

This was entirely predictable as soon as Apple allowed user expectations to settle on buying any app, no matter how useful or entertaining, for almost no money. I'm actually a little surprised that it's taken so long for the exodus to really get going, but I guess as long as Apple's own fortunes were improving and thus the market for iOS apps was getting larger, a lot of developers held out hope that they hadn't really picked the wrong strategy.

Now that Apple's own iOS strategy is looking tired -- I can't remember any exciting new product since Jobs stood down, and iOS 7 seems to be competing with Windows Vista and Windows 8 for the "most unimpressed user base in recent computing history" award -- I suspect all but the bravest app developers or those who already won in the gold rush are checking where the exit is. And thus the vicious circle will strengthen, unless Apple can pull some sort of remarkable rabbit out of the hat to re-energise their once fanatically loyal customer base pretty soon.

9 hours ago
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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:The Alliance of Artists should lose this suit (283 comments)

Thanks. I hadn't noticed that the Lords was sitting for a little longer than the Commons before the summer recess.

I'm glad to see some progress here, though it's depressing that the parliamentary debate has still been framed almost exclusively in economic terms with little advocacy for those who just want to enjoy works of art (you know, "the people"). The speech by Baroness Neville-Rolfe introducing the debate was one of the more reasonable I've seen, at least acknowledging that copyright does have to be a balancing act if it's going to command any respect and does have to keep up with changing technology. Clearly most of her peers don't see this as anything other than a change in the law that might cost a business money and should therefore be rejected in their mind, with not a single word from some of them acknowledging that the status quo might not be appropriate or in the best interests of the people of this country. At least the final person to speak, the Earl of Erroll, managed to get some common sense onto the record on behalf of the other 99%.

Some of the speakers also seemed to think this is the end of the debate, when to many of us it is at most a baby step toward making IP laws fit for purpose in the 21st century. Writing as someone who makes a living creating knowledge works that are protected by copyright and runs multiple businesses using various commercial models, I don't recognise much of what they claim the "industry" wants, nor do I expect any of my businesses will lose a single penny of revenue as a result of any of the proposed changes.

It's also sad that they seem ignorant (wilfully or otherwise) of the fact that these new rules will be almost meaningless for many types of work as long as technical protection measures are allowed to override them. What is the point of creating an exception to something otherwise prohibited by law if you're just going to let it be trivially prohibited in some other way anyway? They even acknowledge this themselves in another context, when talking about contract override. And then they amusingly suggest that the current situation "risks the law falling into disrepute". I'm pretty sure the law on copyright has been in disrepute for several decades by now.

::frustrated::

yesterday
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Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:The Alliance of Artists should lose this suit (283 comments)

In the UK there is still no private copying exemption from the Digital Economy Act and other related copyright law, despite recommendations to do so.

There was supposed to be some progress on implementing this very recently, but it seems to have faded out for reasons I haven't yet been able to identify. I couldn't find any relevant Parliamentary debates over the past few weeks and the House of Commons has now risen for the summer and won't be back until September, so maybe they just ran out of time to schedule it. However, I'm not sure whether the House needs to be sitting for the remaining work to be completed or whether the primary legislation has already been set up and it's just ministerial decisions now.

yesterday
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Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus

Anonymous Brave Guy Sorry to lose feature phones (149 comments)

I'm actually quite sad to read this. I have little interest in so-called smart phones. I have computers and tablets for running serious software and for web browsing. I don't use a lot of cloud services like those hosted by Google and Facebook, and I have little need for the kind of software that exists only as a smartphone app.

So, for many years, I have just bought a cheap and cheerful Nokia feature phone. They invariably have good battery life compared to any smartphone. They are much smaller in my pocket. They run reliably for their entire useful lifetime, without breaking or shifting everything around arbitrarily during some dramatic firmware update. They don't come with the same level of creepware that smartphones from all the major brands now do. I can buy one for next to nothing at any phone shop, without signing up to pay half my salary on a phone plan with a multi-year lock-in to the same network. And they still let me do what I actually need a phone for: pushing a couple of buttons and then talking with someone, or maybe sending the occasional text message.

I realise that smart phones rule the universe these days and I'm some sort of technological Neanderthal (aside from all the other bleeding edge tablets, computers and software I work with everyday, obviously) but I for one will miss Nokia feature phones. I guess I'll go back to hoping for a resurgent BlackBerry that at least has a business focus and therefore something resembling security and not assuming I want a Facebook icon on my home screen that can't be deleted.

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

Anonymous Brave Guy And then the next step is... (183 comments)

Meanwhile, someone who isn't Google and doesn't have offices in the EU will surely make up a page of links to this information. If the page generates traffic, someone will pay for add space there.

And then the next logical step is for the EU to impose some sort of sanctions on the infrastructure and payment services involved if any of them have any connection to the EU -- just as the US government has done with things like DNS and payment services that are conveniently within its jurisdiction.

I'm not sure I like where this is all going. I'm sure we can all agree that overall the Internet has been a great advance for humanity, and in recent years governments from all over the world have presumed to carve it up and control it in their own interests, almost invariably to the detriment of people somewhere else (or, in some cases, their own people).

However, we are going to have to confront some difficult philosophical and ethical differences sooner or later, because clearly we also can't have a situation where the Internet is somehow above the law, but we don't always agree on what that law should be. Frankly, the US government have been throwing their own weight around for years, and Google have been doing things that push the boundaries of typical European legal and ethical standards for a long time too. Neither has shown any particular concern or remorse about the effects of their actions abroad, and neither has suffered any significant negative consequences so far, with the possible exception of the Snowden fallout. Sooner or later the rest of the world was going to push back.

In as much as this marks a change in the general acceptance that the US can export its laws and ethics but won't be subject to anyone else's, that is probably a good direction to move in. It will force the issues of Internet governance and extra-territorial law enforcement into the open, where at least we can scrutinise and debate them honestly, instead of everyone's government doing sneaky things often without much public scrutiny and often because of coincidences involving which infrastructure happened to fall somewhere they could get at it.

3 days ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:If you can get a devkit, that is (368 comments)

I don't disagree in general, but please remember the original context here was whether going it alone as a start-up might be a liability if Big Players declined to let you into those programmes, i.e., we are talking about precisely the situation where the platform maintainer might not have that implicit interest in your success.

The key difference IMHO is that I don't need Microsoft to care about me. I can write Windows-based software and sell it to Windows-using customers with no help from Microsoft except selling us Windows and any related tools in the first place, and all three parties win on the deal. If I want to sell an iPhone app, my entire revenue stream is entirely dependent on Apple, and Apple are not known in these parts for the care with which they examine new apps or the caution or neutrality they exhibit when banning something they decide they don't like.

about a week ago
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VP Biden Briefs US Governors On H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

Anonymous Brave Guy Might that still benefit the US another way? (224 comments)

No... The H1-B program is a way of making people more successful in their home country not to bring that knowledge and talent into the U.S. on a permanent basis.

As an outsider with no bias here, it occurs to me that the above is probably in the long-term interests of the US as well. India is a big place, with lots of people, many of whom today are struggling with things we take for granted in the West. Helping to improve things like education standards and technological advancement potentially develops a vast export market for US products and services in the future and/or a mutually advantageous trading partner.

People often look at international aid schemes as charity, and support them on that basis, but the truth is that there is often a level of "enlightened self-interest" behind government support for those schemes, because things like global security and having stable economies in your trading partners are in everyone's interest. Much the same arguments could be made, as I understand it, for the US H1-B programme.

about a week ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

Anonymous Brave Guy Re: Just let me do brain surgery! (368 comments)

Programmers are just cogs in a machine nowadays.

Code monkeys are, and that's the way that managers who hire code monkeys like it.

There are plenty of programmers out there creating interesting and useful new software, and plenty of customers/clients willing to pay serious money for the value that software offers them without all the unnecessary bureaucratic overheads and middle management crap.

If you are a good programmer and professional in your general conduct, you owe it to yourself not to be a code monkey for anyone, IMHO. You have to be really, really unlucky with the time and place when your current gig(s) run out not to have better options in 2014.

about a week ago
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'Just Let Me Code!'

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:If you can get a devkit, that is (368 comments)

If you're developing on a platform as developer-hostile as that and you're locked into it so your business can't port to other platforms if necessary, I would submit that you have bigger strategic problems and long-term risks than merely being a small company. An arrangement like that is an axe hanging over the head of almost any size of company and you have absolutely no control over when it might fall.

(No, I don't develop iOS apps or write console games, despite occasionally getting enquiries in those fields, and this is why.)

about a week ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:I won't upgrade. (681 comments)

HP don't seem to have ditched Windows 8 in the UK, at least not for consumer machines you buy in stores. (Source: Multiple friends and family have recently been in the market for laptops and we looked at several HP models via multiple suppliers. I can't comment on what their on-line or business sales are doing right now though.)

about a month ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:I won't upgrade. (681 comments)

I do think they care about hardware OEM's shipping old versions of their OS.

That seems to be one area where Microsoft have actually been successful so far. I know a handful of friends and family who have bought new desktop/laptop PCs since Windows 8 was released. The ones actually running Windows 8 are those who didn't have a reasonable alternative, because what they bought came with version 8 preinstalled by the manufacturer and for one reason or another upgrading to Windows 7 wasn't a practical option. Several of them have been extremely vocal about their views on Windows 8, which are typically not things you would repeat in polite company, but buying a good laptop that even has the option of Windows 7 preinstalled instead of 8 now seems very difficult, at least here in the UK.

about 1 month ago
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That Toy Is Now a Drone

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:It flies like a drone, it watches like a drone. (268 comments)

I didn't say I couldn't see a reason, nor did I say they should be outlawed. I just said if they're outlawed for everyone else for whatever reason, no-one should get a free pass just by claiming they're somehow in a different category.

about 1 month ago
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Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car

Anonymous Brave Guy Tired? (131 comments)

There is already technology available in some high-end models that will monitor the driver and take steps to warn them if they appear to be losing concentration. That technology is surely going to save lives sooner or later, given the amount of road accidents caused by tiredness or falling asleep at the wheel.

I'm as concerned about creepy surveillance and illusory security as much as the next geek, but image recognition technology does have positive applications as well.

about a month ago
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That Toy Is Now a Drone

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:It flies like a drone, it watches like a drone. (268 comments)

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you -- in fact, I suspect from your choice of phrase that we would very much agree on the basic principles of how laws should work -- I'm just saying the law should apply equally to everyone. If certain areas are acceptable for this kind of hobby, they should be acceptable for other similar "drone" flights. Equally, if for whatever reason certain areas are not acceptable in law for general "drone" flights or if the default in law is that these devices aren't considered acceptable but they are then allowed under specific conditions, the same rules should apply for hobby aircraft with similar characteristics.

about a month ago
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That Toy Is Now a Drone

Anonymous Brave Guy It flies like a drone, it watches like a drone... (268 comments)

I'm sorry for those losing out here, but I also don't see why they should be allowed to operate unmanned aerial vehicles with surveillance capabilities any more than anyone else.

about a month ago
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MP Says 'Failed' Piracy Warnings Should Escalate To Fines & Jail

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:Why not? A crime is a crime (135 comments)

They're saying after you've been accused x times, you go to jail. I think they missed a few steps.

And for that reason alone, there is absolutely no chance this is going anywhere.

No British government is actually going to pass a law saying you can be sent to jail without having your day in court less than a year before a general election. They get enough flak for pushing in that direction with terrorism-related laws that are only used against a tiny number of people in practice, because of the principle and the risk of later abuse, and that's a subject where a significant fraction of the population will give them a free pass for one reason or another.

Even if some British governments might try anyway, the current administration is a coalition, with a junior partner desperate to prove they are still politically relevant in the face of potentially being wiped out for a generation at the next election. A juicy civil liberties debate would play right into their hands.

And even if they did somehow manage to pass such a law, the chances that it would stand up to the inevitable human rights lawsuit the first time anyone actually tried to use it are slim to none.

This is almost certainly just a relatively unknown MP trying to make a name for himself in the run up to the aforementioned general election. In this case, he's pandering to potential donors from Big Media, possibly because there are finally some changes coming into force that make copyright laws (marginally) less anachronistic in the UK and Big Media inevitably don't like them (despite having managed to water them down to being almost meaningless anyway).

about a month ago
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A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:Plus bonus.... (501 comments)

We'll, I'm glad someone got it... :-)

about a month ago
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A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls

Anonymous Brave Guy Re:Plus bonus.... (501 comments)

*rimshot*

about a month ago

Submissions

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YouTube blocking premium music videos in UK

Anonymous Brave Guy Anonymous Brave Guy writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) writes "What happens when the might of Google clashes with the might of Big Media? We're about to find out: after failing to negotiate a licensing deal with the PRS (one of the UK's collective licensing bodies for music), YouTube has simply pulled the plug, and as of 6pm Monday, premium music videos will start disappearing for visitors from the UK. From the BBC article, it seems the PRS asked for an unspecified but large increase in the royalties, and when Google worked out that they would actually be losing money on the service at that price, they firmly declined. The PRS has asked YouTube to reconsider as a "matter of urgency"."
Link to Original Source
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Virgin's demise: illustrating the problem with DRM

Anonymous Brave Guy Anonymous Brave Guy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) writes "The BBC have an interesting article up today about the demise of Virgin Digital, which has offered music on a monthly subscription system, and how this is leaving their customers in a jam because they signed up to a DRM-based subscription service. This is no doubt not a new concern to many here, but it's the second real-life example of such a service folding within a matter of weeks, and interesting that a well-regarded mainstream news source is now openly condemning DRM and vendor lock-in, and advising people to avoid such services."
Link to Original Source
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Anonymous Brave Guy Anonymous Brave Guy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) writes "The BBC reports that CD-Wow, the third largest on-line music retailer in the UK after Amazon and Play, has been found in contempt of court for selling illegally imported CDs into the UK. Describing the verdict as "CD woe", the company claimed that all they were doing was bringing CDs into the UK that had been legitimately purchased from the big media companies elsewhere, with any breach of copyright down to human error, and that "At a time when the record industry is losing vast revenue to piracy, it seems ludicrous that they can set out to destroy a section of the market that is actually making them money.""
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Anonymous Brave Guy Anonymous Brave Guy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) writes "The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, a large-scale, government-commissioned review of the current IP framework in the UK, has today published its final report. The report itself doesn't seem to be available yet, but the government's response (which includes a summary of the Gowers recommendations) is contained in the pre-budget report, linked from the same site.

Highlights include: proposing much stronger enforcement/penalties for infringement of IP rights, possibly including a fast-track litigation process and up to 10 years in prison for on-line copyright infringement; introducing a "private copying" exception to legalise format-shifting; and a recommendation that the European Commission should not extend copyright protection in sound recordings and performers' rights any further than the existing 50 years.

The government seems to be endorsing the Gowers recommendations pretty much in their entirety, and in particular has acknowledged the recommendation on not extending copyright terms via the European back door."
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Anonymous Brave Guy Anonymous Brave Guy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) writes "It looks like Tesco, the UK's biggest supermarket, is planning to take on software giants like Microsoft with a new range of cheap, own-brand software covering office apps, photo editing and more. Tesco's Daniel Cook said, "When it comes to software there is little choice and prices are high. Our new range of software changes this." There's no sign yet on Tesco's web site, but an October date is mentioned in the BBC article. Sounds like a good time to be buying sell options... But in which company?"

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