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Apple Devices To Outsell Windows For First Time Ever In 2013

Anthony Mouse Re:The King is dead (391 comments)

It's perfectly legal and non-monopolistic to tie a base product with add ons and consumables. So long as there are other viable choices of system.

Are you sure about that?

about a year and a half ago
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Apple Devices To Outsell Windows For First Time Ever In 2013

Anthony Mouse Re: The King is dead (391 comments)

If Porche starts selling cars with a digital lock on the gas cap that only pumps at gas stations that pay Porche a third of their revenue can unlock, you can bet there is going to be antitrust scrutiny for tying. Especially if "Porche" has close to 50% of the installed base of cars.

about a year and a half ago
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Obama and Romney Respond To ScienceDebate.org Questionnaire

Anthony Mouse Re:Here be no surprises (608 comments)

If they have a mortgage, then they don't own the house, and it is not included in their net worth.

The equity in the house is included. If they've lived in the house for 25 years then they very nearly own it (but still have to pay a huge chunk of their after-tax income every month for the remaining payments). Throw in a retirement fund marked "do not open until age 65" and a college fund for the kids and you can easily have $1M in assets without actually being able to spend any of it.

Anyone with a net worth of over $1M should not have to choose between buying clothes and going out for dinner.

And yet it happens every day.

more than 2 years ago
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Samsung Unveils Windows Phone 8 Device and Android-Based Camera

Anthony Mouse Re:Android Based Camera (179 comments)

It looks like it's a proper camera, with proper optics

But it also seems like they're missing the point. OK, so actual photographers need better optics than you find in the typical phone. So why don't they just make a phone designed for photographers, which includes a camera with better optics and a more professional photography UI?

Or to put it a different way, this interesting product is conspicuously missing the ability to make cellular voice calls for no apparent reason.

more than 2 years ago
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AMD's Next-Gen Steamroller CPU Could Deliver Where Bulldozer Fell Short

Anthony Mouse Re:AMD's in deep trouble with Steamroller (161 comments)

I believe the point is that an OpenCL transcoding algorithm running on a typical GPU will make doing it on a CPU look silly and pointless, so who cares how fast the CPU can do it when you're going to do it on the GPU anyway?

more than 2 years ago
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Who Cares If Samsung Copied Apple?

Anthony Mouse Re:The Chinese... (544 comments)

That seems even less coherent. All you're saying is that you can have a patent system that allows anything to be patented. It has nothing to do with the makeup of the economy. If the economy is manufacturing-oriented then you could just as easily have patents on manufacturing methods, manufactured products, etc. And if the patent office granted patents of the same breadth and quality as they do software patents then you would have people with patents on "method of affixing one material to another" running around suing the pants off of anyone who dares to manufacture a product using nails, adhesives, zip ties or rubber bands.

more than 2 years ago
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Who Cares If Samsung Copied Apple?

Anthony Mouse Re:The Chinese... (544 comments)

Now you're just playing the sleight of hand where you classify everything that isn't physical as "intellectual property." Copyrights and patents don't play a dominant role in the jobs of an insurance adjuster or a nurse etc., notwithstanding that their work product isn't always "tangible."

more than 2 years ago
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Entangled Particles Break Classical Law of Thermodynamics, Say Physicists

Anthony Mouse Re:Would not one have to spend energy... (222 comments)

According to TFA, the particles are already in an entangled state.

That seems very "Hydrogen Economy." You can get energy from Hydrogen, but only if you "somehow" already have Hydrogen. Where do we get a continuing supply of entangled particles without expending energy?

more than 2 years ago
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Algorithmic Pricing On Amazon 'Could Spark Flash Crash'

Anthony Mouse Re:Falling to near zero?? (274 comments)

That's a nice theory, but only applies to stupid sellers. Smart sellers realize that if they can bury their competitors in the short run, they can reap monopoly profits in the long run.

Not exactly. For one thing you're assuming high barriers to entry. It doesn't do any good to bury your existing competitors if new competitors spring up the second you raise prices back out of the loss-making range.

In addition to that, it's more about power asymmetries than smart and stupid. Suppose there are two identical sellers. If one of them starts selling below cost, you say they're the smart one because they'll drive the other one out of the market and then have a monopoly. But if the other one is "smart" too then they'll be doing the same thing, and all you'll end up with is both sellers playing chicken until one of them stops being so "smart" and in the meantime they both make losses indefinitely.

The only way that strategy works for one of the sellers is if that seller has more resources than all the others and can hold out until after every other competitor has long since sold off their facilities and fired all their employees. Even then you can't really raise prices that much once you have a monopoly unless there are high barriers to entry (like in telecommunications), because the second you do there are new entrants who want a piece of the action.

This is why Walmart is so successful: The model isn't "sell below your own cost to drive out the competition," it's "sell near your own costs forever but have sufficient economies of scale that your sale price is near or below your competitor's cost," which allows Walmart to capture almost the whole market and make up for the low margins with high volumes.

more than 2 years ago
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Wil Wheaton: BitTorrent Isn't Only For Piracy

Anthony Mouse Re:Not quite (354 comments)

That would only be true if the most popular files are pirated, if the most popular files were legal that'd skew it the other way. So for this to even be an argument the figure has to be >50%, but possibly higher than it should have been.

I'm not sure how you come to that conclusion. For example, suppose there are a hundred million files, a million are pirated and have on average a million downloads each, whereas 99 million are legitimate and have on average a hundred thousand downloads each. 1M * 1M = 1B. 99M * 100K = 9.9B. So in this example, only 1% of the files and ~9% of the downloads are pirated, but using this study's methodology the false conclusion would be that 100% of them are pirated because the pirated ones comprise the entire top 1000.

And this is in the nature of what actually happens, because Hollywood films are popular -- you can pretty well expect that The Dark Knight is going to get a hundred million downloads, but that tells you nothing about the potentially quite large number of legal downloads available which are still getting 100K or even 10M downloads but not enough to make it on the list of "most popular" files.

You don't show that a better study would come to a different result, you just claim the proof is so weak it's worthless.

That's what debunking is. You show that the conclusion doesn't follow from the premise. If you want a different, actually valid conclusion then you have to run the study again with better assumptions.

What you're doing is assuming the conclusion without proving it and then, when someone points out that you haven't proven it, retorting that they haven't proven the contrary. You're the one asserting that 99% of BitTorrent is piracy, so where is your proof? We've already established that the nonsense study is not it.

more than 2 years ago
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Wil Wheaton: BitTorrent Isn't Only For Piracy

Anthony Mouse Re:Not quite (354 comments)

And since you want to play the wikipedia game, anything you say to make this article invalid is [citation needed], no arguments of your own only reliable third party sources.

I guess you missed the link in your own article that debunks the study? Cliffs notes version: They only looked at the files with the most seeds, which already skews the results, and pirated stuff has a huge list of fake seeds to screw up lazy anti-piracy enforcers, which means that choosing the torrents with the most seeds invalidates the entire study because the ones with the most (fake) seeds are the pirated ones.

I would also add that relying on 'this one public BitTorrent tracker we found somewhere' is not statistically valid, because it's just one tracker. You have to get a statistically valid sample of all the trackers or you can't conclude anything. For example, if they included these these trackers instead, I would expect different results -- and by failing to consider them, they naturally get totally invalid numbers.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Tells Siri To Stop Recommending Nokia

Anthony Mouse Re:Not just Apple (337 comments)

Basically every review of the device on a respectable site points out that the hardware is slow, the OS makes terrible use of screen real estate and it doesn't run anywhere near the same number of apps as Android and iOS. These are not characteristics of "the best smartphone ever." Moreover, the only way you get from one to the other is by feeding the WA algorithm a bunch of additional spam reviews paid for by Microsoft marketing money.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Tells Siri To Stop Recommending Nokia

Anthony Mouse Re:Not just Apple (337 comments)

You must be joking, right? The only reason the phone even gets reviewed at all is that Microsoft is schlepping it all over the place trying to get people to pay attention to it. For example, compare the number of reviews of the Lumina to the number of reviews of the N900. Yeah, that's what I thought.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Tells Siri To Stop Recommending Nokia

Anthony Mouse Re:Not just Apple (337 comments)

I'm not sure how much of a "win" a site that claims "Firefox 5" to be the best browser can really be considered.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Tells Siri To Stop Recommending Nokia

Anthony Mouse Re:Not just Apple (337 comments)

What concerns me more is that Apple deliberately made Siri less-useful to the owner.

This is one of the situations where Apple really ought to be taking a page from Google. The problem in this case is that Siri is returning a nonsense answer as a result of Microsoft's astroturfing and marketing attempts to try to make Nokia not feel as lonely at the bottom of the market share charts.

The "right" way to fix that is to make your search algorithm less susceptible to slashvertizements and spam reviews. The stupid way is to change the single result someone pointed out to you and let the device continue telling people that snake oil cures cancer and plants crave Brawndo.

more than 2 years ago
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Wozniak Calls For Open Apple

Anthony Mouse Re:No one at Apple listens to that Steve anymore (330 comments)

That's because you misjudge what people mean by "design" -- Apple's goal is to make products that make you say "wow" rather than (necessarily) products that stay with in spec and achieve six nines of uptime, keep working after you accidentally sit on them, or never break or spontaneously combust in normal usage. And it's pretty much always been that way. The failure rate of the power supplies in "mirror door" PowerMac G4s was something preposterous like 50%, but they sure were pretty.

It's way more important to Apple that people think it's cool than that it actually works; if something doesn't work, you fix that in the next generation (and then have entirely different problems).

more than 2 years ago
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Oracle Not Satisfied With Potential $150,000; Goes Against Judge's Warning

Anthony Mouse Re:Plagiarizing Yourself? (234 comments)

He wrote it for Sun/Oracle while working for Sun/Oracle, hence the copyright lies with Sun/Oracle.

Lies. This is from Groklaw's coverage of his testimony:

Q. You left Sun and joined Google in 2004. What did you do at Google?
A. I ported existing Google infrastructure that was primarily accessible from C++ so that it was accessible to Java. I joined the Android team in December 2008 or January 2009. Android had already been released, and phones were in the market.

...

Q. Do you know of the existence of other rangecheck() functions?
A. Yes, there's one in arrays.java. I wrote it. [Timsort: from Tim Peters, and originally in Python. The Java implementation was a port.]
Q. Where did you get the Python version of Timsort? Was it open source [this was 2007, pre-Android]?
A. Yes, Guido [van Rossum] pointed me to it, it's under a permissive open-source license.
Q. What did you want to do with your Java Timsort?
A. Put it into OpenJDK (an open implentation of the SE platform).
Q. Who controlled OpenJDK?
A. Sun.
Q. How does someone contribute to OpenJDK, and had you done it before?
A. Yes. [Discussion about source repositories, and Doug Lee at Oswego, NY].
Q. If you worked for Google, why would you contribute to Sun's JDK?
A. Java is important to me; it's given me a lot.
Q. Why did you use the same rangecheck() function in Timsort as was in arrays.java?
A. It's good software engineering to reuse an existing function.
Q. But why use the exact same code?
A. I copied rangecheck() as a temporary measure, assuming this would be merged into arrays.java and my version of rangecheck() would go away.
[Discussion of Timsort dates and Android work dates.]
Q. Was Timsort accepted and added into OpenJDK?
A. Yes.

In other words, a Google engineer, working at Google, wrote a function and contributed it to Java (for free). Now Oracle is trying to sue over it because of that copyright assignment, and claiming that the freely contributed code is hugely valuable and that the contributor therefore owes them big money for using it. Even if this is technically legal for them to sue over, Oracle really deserves to DIAF over this.

more than 2 years ago
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Facebook Announces App Center

Anthony Mouse Re:They announce this now? (81 comments)

Buying listed shares isn't about fast growth for the majority of investors (which are institutional investors such as pensions and insurance).

Investing into listed shares is about the portfolio, not individual shareholdings. The objective for the portfolio is the specified combination of risk & return. People tend to say it's about maximising return for a given level of risk, but that's not really true because what they tend to actually be looking for is, say, coming out 10 years later with something approximating an 8% annual return - which is a lot more like minimising risk for a given level of return.

I understand that. What I'm saying is that Facebook is in a precarious position right now. They don't have a lot of growth potential, but they have a lot of risk e.g. if Google+ takes off, or Apple starts a social network, or some startup comes along and eats their lunch. They're in a market where fortunes change overnight. And with that level of risk, you would expect to at least have a high level of growth...but they're already big. So you end up with a stock which is high risk without high growth.

Of course, if you believe the efficient market hypothesis then it doesn't matter, because the market will value the shares consistent with their risk adjusted return. But the efficient market hypothesis only works if people disregard it... and more to the point, the amount of hype behind the Facebook IPO is epic, making it more likely that the company will be overvalued.

FB has some attraction even if it's just to hedge against your big Google holding.

Sort of... the trouble is that Google is fairly diversified (search, maps, docs/drive, gmail, YouTube, Android, Google+, etc.), so anything that seriously hurts them is likely to be a general industry-wide phenomenon that would hurt Facebook just as much if not more.

All that said, I'm not saying that Facebook is guaranteed to die off in short order. If they end up worth a few times as much in five years as they are now, I wouldn't be particularly surprised -- but if they're worth less than Myspace in five years, I wouldn't be particularly surprised either. The point is that there is a lot of risk, and not necessarily a lot of upside -- if they grow significantly it will have to be by entering new markets, and they haven't proven that they can execute on that.

more than 2 years ago
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Facebook Announces App Center

Anthony Mouse Re:They announce this now? (81 comments)

Operating systems, internet file systems, chat/presence, search engines... they are all platforms.

But they aren't the same kind of platform. An operating system provides a wide diversity of things to developers: Filesystem access, threads and locking primitives, networking support, a GUI framework, etc. Things that get ingrained deep down in the fine details of a piece of software. And Windows does all of those things using very different APIs than any other operating system.

Facebook doesn't have that level of breadth. User authentication is a single thing that can easily be cordoned off and made modular, so that you can support multiple authentication methods -- which is generally what your users will want anyway, because in many cases people don't want their "real name" associated with every single thing they do on the internet.

Notice that I'm not saying that Facebook is useless. You can use their APIs if they're useful (though again, you risk pissing off your users who don't want separate aspects of their lives correlated like that). But they're nothing special. The platform isn't what provides the value, it's the users. And the users can move to a different platform very quickly under the right circumstances.

There are really only two ways for Facebook to avoid this. The first is by being The Best Social Platform, permanently, and never letting anyone else offer anything they don't. Which is fine so long as they can keep it up, but it isn't really their strong suit; it took Google implementing circles to get them to do something similar even though the idea is totally obvious and incredibly useful. Which leaves the other alternative, going Full Evil and trying to be Microsoft, creating a bunch of proprietary standards that only work with Facebook, intentionally coding malformed implementations of open standards, etc. But I find it hard to believe that would work in the long term: Look at where it has gotten Microsoft. Still huge, but slowly dying and with everyone hating them and cheering their demise. And at the same time, because of Microsoft, everyone is now wary of New Microsofts and not having this happen to them by foolishly embracing non-standard proprietary technologies. More than that, it's questionable whether Facebook has enough market power to get away with it -- if they start locking everything down and pissing people off, I imagine Google+ would be happy for the new converts.

more than 2 years ago

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