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HBO To Offer Online Streaming Without TV Subscription

AudioEfex "A Song of Copper and Fiber" (139 comments)

Wow, HBO wasn't whistling Dixie earlier this year when the new season of their most popular show was premiering and they insisted they were working diligently on making their content more available, between the Amazon deal and now this.

The reason is simple: because Game of Thrones.

While it's still not hitting Sopranos in traditional ratings, between the HBOGO and DVR ratings it's estimated it's audience right up there with the largest scripted TV network show right now (beating BBT) - if you factor in pirating it's easily the most watched scripted television show currently in production worldwide, period.

Not only that, but the merchandising is making HBO a bundle right now - they can afford to take this route. Truth be told, I doubt the cable companies cared much - HBO is a huge PITA for them post-GoT, because folks sign up for three months just to watch it then drop it, and they clog the phone centers with "retention" calls to a huge degree trying to worm free HBO out of them for whatever complaint (which usually gets you 3 months, same length as a season).

I'm not a white hat, but I'm not a "download everything free mwhahahaha world owes me anyway" type either. That said - this pretty much takes any "valid" excuse away from pirating the show - and those that still do so are really crapping on the content. I know it won't change most, or even many, folks doing this - but if ever there was a time to support something financially, it's here. The money paid to HBO for subscriptions pays for these shows and keeps them on the air. There are no commercials, no subsidizing with other network divisions, etc. - this is as "real" and direct as it gets for directly supporting traditional content.

FWIW, this was my final impetus. I've been ready to dump cable for two years now (and if you knew how much I love TV you would find the notion itself shocking), but in the end, it was ease of access to HBO, Dallas on TNT (which just got canned), and Nick at Night - besides the "it's already installed" convenience factor - that are why I hadn't cut yet. With HBO accessible on it's own, Nick at Night isn't going to cut it for $150/month. All told, once I get alternate internet, Hulu, HBO, TiVo, etc. I'm going to be paying more like $80 a month for content, which is just fine with me (especially since I can cut those bills if need be or desire wanes much easier than just having to get rid of everything like you do with cable).

So props to HBO for taking the leap - I'll be signing up on day one.

about a month ago
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Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed

AudioEfex Re:Apple = cash cow for scumbags (304 comments)

I am impressed. It takes a real cocky idiot to anonymously scold and swear up a storm telling folks to RTFA when they apparently haven't RTFA themselves. Go back to iMore and get your tongue back under that troglodyte Rene Ritchie's seeping nut sack - the one he has left misses you.

about 2 months ago
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What To Expect With Windows 9

AudioEfex Re:The Year of Windows on the Desktop (545 comments)

You do realize desktop Linux distros have been unbelievably easy to install (or even run from a Live CD) for the last decade or so don't you? Nobody has been "forced" into using Windows just because it happened to ship as the default for a very long time.

That's like telling someone that "a space shuttle is really easy to use, someone on the ground actually presses the "launch" button for you!"

Sure, automated initial installs have been all wrapped up in little wizard-like packages. That's not the point, it's the ongoing installation and management of packages and versions and such that you have to keep up on.

I get Linux, I do. I have used it on spare PC's before. But I just don't have time to use it on my main machines, because while I'd love that much time to tinker around and do all kinds of clever things with it to hone it to be the ultimate OS for me - I just don't have that kind of time to spend on it consistently. You have to "keep up" with Linux as a hobby way too much for folks that just need to get tasks done on a PC when they sit at it (especially with tablets in the picture, as for a lot of us we spend a lot less time tied to larger machines since we do a lot of consumption that way now).

It's one of those things that I'm glad it's there, I wish I had time - and maybe someday, but since I don't install crap on my PC and I don't go to sketchy websites (well aside from this one LOL), and I take a modicum of security precautions, I do OK with Windows. I never have to ask if I can run something on my machine, why I buy a product that can connect to a PC via USB or network (camera, Blu-ray, etc.) I never have to wonder if the driver software will work for me or if I'll have to spend hours hoping to get it working with whatever I can scrounge up, I never have to search out solutions around how to do what I want, etc.

In the end, yeah, Windows, yuck, but deal-able, and it's really disingenuous to pretend that because they have dumb downed the initial install package to Windows levels, that the actual ongoing user experience of Linux is nearly that plug and play for most folks, so to speak.

about 2 months ago
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How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

AudioEfex Re:The fantasy of the "rogue" that was right. (770 comments)

Notice how all the verifiable data that we have since the first models started this hoax have failed?

.

No, I don't notice that. Care to be more explicit?

Manhattan isn't underwater, nor does it appear to be in any danger of being so for quite some time, for one. (The height of the water level around Manhattan has gone up about a foot and a half since the mid-19th century when we started keeping track of it. This can largely be attributed to development since then such as deeper shipping lanes, etc. - i.e., we put a lot more shit in the water now than we used to - well, less untreated shit shit, but more of everything else.)

The Climate Change promoters were telling us in the 90's and even into the 00's that by now, we'd be close to losing the city.

Get those troll mod fingers ready (I have excellent karma, I can take it - and every troll mod vote when someone mentions the obvious on this topic is understood to be "that person has a really good point that I wish wasn't true" - just like true faith believers): the scientific community of 2014 is to the scientific community of 1955 as the Republican Party of 2014 is to the Republican Party of 1955.

'nuff said.

about 2 months ago
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Buenos Aires Issues a 'Netflix Tax' For All Digital Entertainment

AudioEfex Re:35% is high, yes, but ... (165 comments)

Countries that charge a higher sales tax/VAT often get many more services for their taxes, however. A least in Europe. For example, I'm fine with a 20% sales tax if it buys everyone healthcare. The US would be far better off under a much more sales tax oriented system, to begin with (as we have no national sales tax, period, only by state).

Of course, you don't tax necessities like that (the basics, food, clothing up to a certain amount, etc), but beyond that - if you can afford a $4000 TV, you can afford a $4800 TV. If you can buy a diamond ring for $10,000, you can afford $12,000. It's a more fair system to pay for things, where you don't tax folks as much for working as for spending.

Now, of course, that's in a relatively more ideal world where we aren't spending trillions of dollars on the useless drain of a war industry it would actually be used for, so in this case I think it doesn't matter how they get the money out of us because it's not being used to improve our lives or our country anyway.

about 3 months ago
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TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

AudioEfex Re:Truly the best scams (251 comments)

True, but the gap of "standard knowledge" isn't as bad as it used to be. At least it's getting better. If any message has gotten through, it's been not to give out information to an unknown phone caller. I'm sure it must work sometimes or they wouldn't be doing it, but since email spam has been largely eliminated from most end-user experiences, it seems going back to the phone scams is a bit too late because folks are going to click on an email link much more readily than give out any info to an unknown phone caller these days.

I have a friend in her 50's who's parents are in their late 70's, and they just got one of these calls last week. To give you an idea of their technical proficiency, they still use AOL mail (and Facebook is too difficult for them to use). The caller wanted their windows installation ID. They kept them on the phone for like 20 minutes - while they used their other phone to call Microsoft, LOL. The scammer gave up when they realized what was going on, and they never gave them any personal info. So, even they knew something was "wrong" and didn't fall for it. That's just one anecdotal example, granted, but again these are the very folks that they are trying to get who have wised up and are especially vigilant about phone callers in particular (organizations like AARP are actually really good at educating folks about not falling for scams).

The funny (sad?) part was the parents understood exactly what happened during the attempted scam (bad guy trying to get their computer info), but what they didn't understand was why Microsoft didn't seem very interested in "getting 'em" after the fact - they wanted to fill out a report about the scam, etc., and MS basically said "you did the right thing, thanks, /click" - they just didn't understand why MS wasn't going to investigate further, call the phone company to get records, etc. That was the only difficult thing for them to understand and had to be explained to them, LOL. So even though they may not totally get the larger view of the picture, they knew not to give out any information which was the important part.

about 3 months ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

AudioEfex Re:Nerd Blackface (442 comments)

The S was a typo in BBTS though, should have just said BBT. My autocorrect fixed it to BBTS, as in Big Bad Toy Store, which is an online shopping site. As you can see, I'm a geek, among those that should be "offended" at BBT but I am not. :)

about 4 months ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

AudioEfex Re:Nerd Blackface (442 comments)

Local Comic Book Store.

about 4 months ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

AudioEfex Re:Nerd Blackface (442 comments)

Oh please. I don't think many of you have ever seen a sitcom before.

Sam Malone had a sex addiction problem. Monica Gellar had severe OCD. Roseanne had anger management issues.

That's what's hilarious about the folks who cry about BBT - they take it so seriously because it hits a lot closer to home than they would like folks to believe and they simply don't have the ability to laugh at themselves.

Did folks criticize Mary Tyler Moore Show for not being an accurate enough representation of life in a network news room? Probably, if they worked in one and didn't have a sense of humor.

As to TFA, I'm very glad for them - they earned this - this show is going to bring in billions because of the syndicated deal, the hell is merchandised out of it as well (I was at a LCBS yesterday and they had an entire section of BBTS merch), and they are getting a small cut now. Is everyone on TV overpaid to some extent, sure. But comparatively, these are not outrageous salaries, particularly in this current climate of a hit TV show being as rare as it is, particularly on networks. If the entire industry is going to rake in such money, I'm glad that the folks in front of the camera who are largely responsible for my enjoyment of the show as opposed to executives who just sit and approve shit.

about 4 months ago
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Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

AudioEfex Re:Worst Response of all Time (176 comments)

It's not stupid; it's just a fact. Obviously they can't do any of that crap if they can't decrypt your data, but that's fine by me.

Exactly. Gotta love the knee-jerk, I can't have a logical thought because I'm just so ready to rant about "the man" bullshit. Especially since it sounds like it's coming from someone who doesn't even use or understand the service.

Dropbox is file storage, plain and simple. I use it to make a few music files and some reading material available across my devices. That's it's main function, to store/share files.

All that other shit he is talking about that encryption won't work with is all fluff and ancillary stuff - I name my files properly, for example, so I don't need them to search within them for me. The service works just fine with encrypted files - you just can't use the fancy doodads that you don't really need anyway.

I applaud him for being honest - if this was certain other companies they'd be telling you "oh trust us. It's secure!" He's being honest - it's a dumping spot for files, if you want encryption, BYO.

Christ some of the folks around these parts don't know their heads from their asses - use the words encryption or privacy and they don't even listen or understand wtf is being talked about they just automatically jump to tired fear mongering rhetoric. Just like the folks who take rifles strapped across their backs to Starbucks - I want to say, WTF are you so scared of? And if you do have something to be scared of - stay the fuck home, or in this case, don't be a complete retard and use a "cloud" service to begin with.

about 4 months ago
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Dropbox Head Responds To Snowden Claims About Privacy

AudioEfex Re:umm duh? (176 comments)

Yeah, uh, because all "cloud" services aren't inherently ridiculous for anyone to consider secure or anything...

about 4 months ago
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Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

AudioEfex Re:"Compatible" (94 comments)

Well that's great and all that you are a proud illegal freeloader - and that's what it is, freeloading on folks who actually pay for the content - if no one paid for it, it wouldn't be made. You are welcome.

about 3 months ago
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Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

AudioEfex Re:this is great news! (94 comments)

Oh god I love this "streaming is the future" nonsense.

Once data caps hit the US (and we know they are coming, the ISPs have already installed the backbone to make it happen, it's just a matter of pulling the switch - some have already been "testing" it, like Comcast) every ISP is going to follow suit rather quickly, and when folks who are now clogging up over half the Internet traffic streaming will suddenly drop like flies.

This is the "golden age" of streaming - it ain't gonna last long. I get it, it's convenient - but it's simply unable to continue on this trajectory. I personally rarely do it because no matter what resolution you are streaming at, the compression is so high that it cannot even compare to Blu-ray. Same with the illegal downloads - if you think a two hour film in true HD quality and sound can fit in a couple of gigs, you don't know wtf you are talking about. I guess if you sit and watch movies on a laptop it's good enough, but on a decent sized TV? Might as well watch DVD quality at that point, even if the file is supposedly running at 1080p.

When you add to the quality issues that the content providers have such scattered libraries and they can take any of it away at any time, I'm very happy with my "antiquated" physical media - so be nice to us that buy it, because once data caps come in you'll be coming to folks like me to borrow discs halfway through the month when you binge watched something on Netflix and ate your monthly data allowance up with a couple of weeks left to go before you get your fresh sip of bandwidth.

about 3 months ago
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Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims

AudioEfex Re:Privacy is dead (175 comments)

I'm sorry but anyone who is idiot enough to have an Android phone and DOESN'T know that of course since you sign into your Goggle account with it the same damn data sharing is going to happen just like wherever you use their services on any device is, well, an idiot. The question is, though, what harm comes from that - and that's up to each user to decide when they choose to use it or not. Since users sign up for and consent to the service - I see why it takes an actual technicality like this to make it actionable (even if it does highlight the often absurdity of our legal system).

Basically, I know it's all cool to get all up in arms about this stuff and the principle, etc., but the truth is - if you are going to use a single commercial device to access your entire data "life", and if you use Google services in particular, you know what you are getting at this point. It's those ads that pay for Goggle to give so many of it's services away for free. It may be wrong, it may be right, it really doesn't matter because it's the very definition of "it is what it is". It's the price you pay for using a "smart" phone because you won't find one that doesn't have privacy implications. As a user you decide - is the convenience/cache of owning one worth it? If the answer is no, go get yourself a "feature" phone burner and replace it once a month, or however often your paranoia leads you to do so - and don't access any data services on it.

My guess is, 99% of the folks who are going to make comments about this and bemoan privacy have smartphones - they are not necessary, they are a convenience/luxury - one that I use, but if I really was so concerned I wouldn't have one, or use Goggle's services - much less an OS designed by them - or iOS and their Cloud shit, etc. It's a trade off of modern life, if you want the cool toys, you can't play anonymous secret super agent spy. (Which leads to the "what are you doing that makes you think anyone gives a fuck" question, but that is a separate issue entirely.)

about 3 months ago
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Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

AudioEfex Re:Yep, how the music industry was killed... (192 comments)

That actually isn't what Happend at all. You need to go further back than 1998.

Not to mention that your prices are way off - someone like Madonna gets $4-5 bucks an album, and that's the super-high end.

Cheap singles are nothing new. Singles drove the industry from the 60's through the 80's. Then labels slowly stopped releasing singles, forcing folks to buy an entire album for one song. This really hit the mainstream when Britney Spears first album, "...Baby One More Time". The title song was a huge radio and MTV hit, but it was unavailable as a single, and was only available when they finally dropped the album, forcing folks to buy the whole album to get the song (with the album filled largely with filler like "Email My Heart"). This resulted in an instant #1 album.

By holding back singles, they forced folks to spend much more on albums, which became standard practice - and it's no coincidence that this coincided with the rise of Napster because it was the only way folks could just get one single song without spending $15-20. It was a direct response to taking away choice from the market place.

There is a lot more to it before and after, but that's the basic gist - how the labels basically created the whole download environment by manipulating the market just as the technology became available to circumnavigate the entire thing. Since then they have played catch up and obviously largely lost in the long run.

This is also why your average AAA-list concert act sells tickets starting at $150-300 - because the record companies don't get a cut of that, and it's where they make the bulk of their money. Not that it hasn't always really been that way, of course.

about 4 months ago
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Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs

AudioEfex Devil's Advocate (140 comments)

While I'll agree that largely they are going to be ineffectual anyway, I don't think we help the cause with the current "copy/paste this as your comment" mentality. Just go to any of those public comments sections on the government sites and a massive majority of comments are identical, usually a complete set, one each of a pro and a con argument that someone just simply is told to copy/paste to "help the cause" from whatever side sent them. I just cringe when they also contain awkward wording, or even spelling/grammar errors in the original text - that of course propagate to every single one that someone pastes in. There are so few original comments it all just looks like PR/social media campaigns, not citizens giving actual, thoughtful comments.

That said, again, yes, I'm sure a lot of folks don't want to waste time because they don't think it matters any way, and it probably doesn't - but like I said, it doesn't help the cause or likely make anyone monitoring/reviewing them pay attention when they have read the same exact comment worded the same exact (often poor) way hundreds or even thousands of times. It's not a vote, it's an invitation to comment - but we treat it like one.

about 4 months ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

AudioEfex Re:Dumb dumb dumb advice... (280 comments)

As I said above... But even if it is truly encrypted - have you never heard of the very time-tested wisdom against putting all your eggs in one basket? To paraphrase a movie quote many around here are surely familiar with, "One password to screw them all..."

about 4 months ago
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Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

AudioEfex Re:Dumb dumb dumb advice... (280 comments)

You trust one of those absurd "password keepers" and think that making a risk assessment on low-danger websites where no harm could come even if someone did by remote chance try to break into your account is stupid?

If you are one of the password zealots, using one of those "hey stuff all your passwords into one convenient app!" programs is simply the dumbest thing you can do. It's akin to taking every object you own with any value, including all your cash, important papers, SS card, etc. out of your safe or safety deposit and just leaving them in a cardboard box, putting it in one storage shed outside your home, and "securing" it with an off-brand padlock on it you got 2 for 1 at the dollar store. If someone does break into it, by breaking just one lock, you've just given them everything you own of any value.

Now THAT is stupid.

Particularly the phone app based ones - most of which backup to "the cloud" - please, seriously. They are all written by unknown companies that I'm sorry, I'm not willing to trust the most essential data I have to, much less allow them to back up. But even if you disable that (then when you drop your phone and it busts you are fucked), or use a desktop version (lot of good that does on the go), they still make no sense whatsoever. Even if it's a "known" brand - still absolutely frigging retarded. It's amazing how many folks see the promise of encryption and think it's safe - unless you are decompiling the source code, you have no idea you can even trust that. But even if it is truly encrypted - have you never heard of the very time-tested wisdom against putting all your eggs in one basket?

It makes perfect sense to reuse the same password, or very close, for stupid sites where there really is little risk to begin with. Every fucking thing you do on the Internet requires a login these days - "Oh noes! Someone hacked into my Pollstar.com account, that doesn't even have my real name attached, and signed me up for concert date notifications for Taylor Swift to my dummy email account!"

You need your strongest password for your email (which is the key to many site password resets), and hopefully you are smart enough to have multiple throw-away email addresses for low-priority stuff (which you can conveniently forward, or, as I do, just have multiple accounts on your phone or tablet device). Next you need to have decently strong passwords for your financial sites, depending on what they are. But beyond that - even for things like your cable company - not much someone can do, even if they break into it, that can't be undone, aside from pay my bill for me (and if anyone wants to do that, shoot me a message, I'll send you the damn password). My payment info is saved, but it's ********** out, someone can't glean the number from logging in as you. Someone can play a trick and upgrade your service I guess? I'm sure the world's foremost hackers are right on that one.

Like everything, there is a middle ground. You just need to make a reasonable risk assessment by site. I basically have three tiers - one, strongest for email/financial, two, semi-reused for things like paying my cable bill or light subscription maintenance, etc., and three, reused for stupid sites that shouldn't require a login anyway, or where the data is completely inconsequential (the aforementioned Pollstar, etc).

But I sure as fuck am not going to put ALL of them into ANY app or single program - there are backdoors built into routers these days, you expect some start-up (or even established) "password keeper" doesn't have that possibility? I am concerned for your common sense.

about 4 months ago
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

AudioEfex Re:We're sorry he so faithfully followed instructi (401 comments)

That is *exactly* what would have been happened. Companies call them "missed opportunities". This is an internal culture/training/systemic issue, not a rouge agent. Unfortunately, it's likely only that agent that will suffer.

While I agree the whole thing was ludicrous, but one thing that stuck with me when I first heard about this was the recording - it's not legal everywhere to record a call without letting the party know (it varies wildly by state), and even if the other side notifies you they are recording (like most customer service) I think in some places it would have to be notified on both sides. Not a big deal, just something that made me think. I also find it a little odd that they had a recorder hooked up - I have one I use for occasional phone interviews with subjects, but I don't have it hooked up all the time.

Again, probably nothing to that - and in any case, it's an issue Comcast should be held to address internally regarding retention, no excuses for that, but if can't shake the nagging "this is very convenient, isn't it?" questions, either.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

AudioEfex Should be asking other questions (509 comments)

What does she want to do. It's fine if she doesn't know yet, too many kids are forced into a box too early, but those are the types of questions you should be asking her. What is she good at? What are her hobbies? There may be jobs she doesn't even know about that may relate to them that you can help her discover. Picking a profession is not something really that should be done on statistics/probability.

That said, of course it's good to reign in certain things - there aren't a lot of jobs for underwater basket weavers. But, you could suggest offshoots of that - either a basic business degree to run her own shop, or something in textiles/manufacturing. But it's always best to go with what she likes and/or is good at as a starting place - vs. figuring out what has the least amount of risk and going for it no matter what the profession is.

This is where those "aptitude" tests that you take in high school might be helpful. I'm sure there are equivalents online, or her school might still offer them. I'd never use them as a sole resource, but they can help you find things that may not be obvious. In high school one of the careers that mine said was "law enforcement" which at the time I laughed at - yet now, in my mid-30's - I suddenly found myself working in a different field in the private sector, but as a financial investigator. Something to those tests, I think.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Popular shuttered torrent site Demonoid returns

AudioEfex AudioEfex writes  |  about 6 months ago

AudioEfex (637163) writes "Demonoid has emailed all registered users that it is back online — at it's original site — in a new "cloud based" back-end. There have been various attempts in the past (including one accused of simply being malware,), but so far this appears to be the original site admins and a legitimate resurrection. User registrations are also open at this time, but as a semi-private tracker, it's unknown how long that will continue."
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First Post-Amazon Comixology Change Takes Bite Out of Apple

AudioEfex AudioEfex writes  |  about 7 months ago

AudioEfex (637163) writes "Comixology announced to customers via email early this morning the retirement of their iPhone/iPad app, and the immediate release of a replacement app — that does not feature in-app purchases. This was effective immediately, and although you can still access the original app, and your already purchased books, IAP has been disabled (even for "free" titles). Purchases must now be made at the main Comixology website via Safari. As a bonus, the email states there is a $5 credit on the account for those that transfer over.

This change was not unexpected (Audible, another Amazon company, does the same thing to avoid the Apple cut IAP requires), but it does seem to have happened with little fanfare. I know that's pretty much the only thing I use iTunes gift cards folks give me for, so I'll have little to spend them on now. I'll still use the app, but might not make so many "impulse" buys because of iTunes credits I may have. Will this change how you use Comixology?



Dear Comics Enthusiast,

We have introduced a new comiXology iPhone and iPad Comics app, and we are retiring the old one. All your purchased books will be readable in the new app once you've downloaded it and taken the following steps:



In the original Comics app, log into your comiXology account.

Sync your in-app purchases to your comiXology account by tapping the Restore button on the Purchases tab.

Download the new comiXology app. This will be your new home for downloading and reading comics.

Start shopping on comixology.com. New purchases will appear in the "In Cloud" tab in our new app.

"

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