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Comments

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Antitrust Case Over, Microsoft Ties IE 10 To Win 8

CSMatt Re:Who cares? (519 comments)

Because MS will use the default nature of their browser on their 90% market share to push users to their web portal (bing)

IE does this already, and it doesn't seem to be doing much to eat away at Google's usage share. At any rate, why not complain that Firefox is pushing Google as the default search engine, maintaining Google's enormous usage share of search engine traffic? Google could use the competition, and nothing stops users from entering "google.com" in the browser, as I imagine the tech illiterate were doing all along.

Because the vast majority of users don't know there is a choice, they will effectively be rendered into using MS other service offerings artificially.

Um, no. This isn't 2001. IE usage share is dying, and fast. Everyone but the most tech illiterate at least knows about Firefox and Chrome, and more than likely knows someone who is using either browser, if they aren't themselves. All the while IE still came preinstalled with each copy of Windows, just as it had since 1996, and Windows usage share hasn't changed enough in the last decade to attribute this to more OS diversity. At this stage, you have people using IE either because they don't care what browser they use, actually prefer IE, or are forced to use IE because of corporate intranet or specific Web site issues. Only the last one concerns me, as it artificially forces a choice of Web browser.

This will make it artificially easier for MS to compete in areas outside of their core in spite of any quality failings of these other products. In short it allows MS to compete effectively even if their product offering is vastly inferior to the competition.

IE9 is actually a really good Web browser, far better than the previous IEs. I have no reason to believe that IE10 won't be equally as good. Microsoft's IE team actually seems to care now about making a decent Web browser, since they know that they can't just ignore IE anymore in the face of Firefox and Chrome competition, despite IE's continued status as the default Web browser (see above).

Thus MS can basically avoid any standardization, provide a crappy product and still drive their competition out of business, all without having to invest any significant capital in R&D. In short, in the end it is all the things that antitrust was designed to prevent because it is the consumers who ultimately get hosed.

Microsoft tried this, and it worked for a few years. Then Firefox came and crushed them. Now Chrome is crushing Firefox and IE. All the while regulatory bodies were nowhere to be seen. Microsoft's own incompetence did them in.

Also, in retrospect, IE was Microsoft's only real bundling success with Windows. Let's look at what else they've thrown in:

  • Windows Media Player: had a good run, but it's lack of MP3 support for years made it lose out to Winamp, and later iTunes.
  • Windows Messenger: AHAHAHAHAHA
  • Outlook Express/Windows Mail: I don't have any real stats here, but from my observations most people with a real need for a mail client usually turn to the full version of Outlook first. Everyone else uses a webmail service of some sort. In any case this isn't even part of Windows anymore.
  • Windows Movie Maker: Fair enough, this one did really well with amateur YouTubers. If anyone else used it, I haven't noticed. This one is also no longer included with Windows.

If this were 10 years ago, when IE ruled the land and locked everyone in with no hope of an end in sight, I would have agreed with you. But times have changed, and IE has been dethroned. Not even Microsoft's old tricks are going to get it back to 90+% usage share again.

more than 2 years ago
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Antitrust Case Over, Microsoft Ties IE 10 To Win 8

CSMatt Who cares? (519 comments)

Before the Slashdot crowd starts getting all fired up about history repeating itself, how Microsoft is the Great Satan, blah blah blah, let me be the first to ask, right now, in 2011:

Why does this really matter anymore?

First off, every OS nowadays comes with a Web browser. Indeed, we have reached the point in computing history where the OS is severely crippled if it didn't come with one. For all the IE hate that gets thrown around, how else are you going to download Firefox, at the very least? Mac OS X comes with Safari, which you can't remove. Many free software distros come with a browser (although I will concede that removing these are easier). Every mobile OS comes with a browser. Hell, iOS not only bundles Mobile Safari, but forbids you from any alternatives due to Apple's policies on not duplicating native features (and no, Opera Mini doesn't count).

Second, true IE removal hasn't been possible since Windows 95. De-selecting IE, as the article mentioned, only hid it from access. The only way to truly rip it out of your system would have been to use something like 98lite or XPlite, and then you would have to deal with all of the incompatibilities that followed. A number of applications on Windows assume IE is there, and actually removing the Trident engine from the OS will make you unable to use both Windows and third-party software that needs that component. Microsoft couldn't offer a true IE removal tool if it wanted to, because it would be accused of breaking both Windows and third-party applications that use the Trident engine.

Third, this should have been obvious from the moment Microsoft announced that Metro apps would use HTML5 and JavaScript. How exactly do you plan on running something in HTML5 and JavaScript without a rendering engine? So naturally disabling IE is going to disable Metro - there is simply no other way to run Metro apps. With that line of thinking, you might as well expect to run JARs without the Java VM installed.

The real concern with this news is:
1) How will this affect the security of the OS (as we're back to things like IE exploits affecting Windows itself, although reason 3 made that obvious anyway)?
2) Is Microsoft going to exert pressure on OEMs again to not bundle Firefox or Chrome with their computers?

If Microsoft makes it hard to get Firefox, Chrome, or another browser preinstalled on an OEM machine, then one can argue that there's an antitrust issue. Otherwise, this is just the logical conclusion of the path Microsoft chose for itself (Metro is the future, etc.) as well as everybody else more or less already doing the same thing.

more than 2 years ago
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Mozilla Foundation Releases Firefox 7

CSMatt Re:Rrecent Add-on Incompatibilities (452 comments)

Since the new "major version release" change, every time I've updated Firefox, I've had to fuss with incompatible plugins.

Interesting. I just updated to Firefox 7 and Flash, Java, etc. all work just fine.

Oh wait, you mean extensions. Yeah, I had to disable one.

about 3 years ago
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Mozilla Foundation Releases Firefox 7

CSMatt Re:Fail (452 comments)

Mozilla has let people turn off the smart location bar since Firefox 3.5. Preferences > Privacy > Location bar > set to "History" or "Nothing"

about 3 years ago
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Linus Torvalds Ditches GNOME 3 For Xfce

CSMatt Re:Change for the sake of change? (835 comments)

Actually Torvalds was a KDE user for a long time, and regularly criticized the GNOME developers for their UI decisions. However he hated KDE 4 so much when it came out that he switched over to GNOME.

more than 3 years ago
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Is YouTube Launching a Netflix Competitor?

CSMatt Re:Didn't think I'd champion Silverlight... (162 comments)

But YouTube's "buffering" and Flash problems are worse for me than Netflix has *ever* been in streaming content. I can watch a movie in HD and if my connection starts to suck, the movie starts streaming at a lower quality in order to keep playing. Flash can't do that, and YouTube can't do that.

Comedy Central's player does this, and it's in Flash.

more than 3 years ago
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YouTube Now Transcoding All New Uploads To WebM

CSMatt Re:Copyright issues? (267 comments)

One thing I've been thinking ever since I joined YouTube HTML5 preview, is: do they know how much easier it is to download their videos when playing them back in HTML5? I know that one can also extract Flash video in one way or another, but with HTML5, at least on my setup - Firefox 4 on Ubuntu 9.10 - all it takes is choosing "Save Video" in context-menu. Voila - you can now have whatever you like on YouTube for your own private viewing.

Sure, if you use the base video tag the browser offers an option to save the video, but no "professional" rollout of HTML5 video I've seen does this. They instead offer their own players that don't allow saving.*

Also: YouTube converting everything to WebM doesn't mean everything will play back natively. Remember Flash has committed to VP8 support in the future, and YouTube isn't offering videos with ads outside of Flash. I also wouldn't be surprised if licensing issues even prevented some ad-free videos from being shown in HTML5.

*YouTube does have a "Save Video as..." option in their player but it just links to a rickroll.

more than 3 years ago
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FSF Suggests That Google Free Gmail Javascript

CSMatt Re:i guess that was a sanctioned comment (413 comments)

If you dont trust gmail, dont use it.

That was easy enough back in say 2004 or so, but in today's world not having a GMail address doesn't mean you are "safe" from GMail. Nothing stops other people from e-mailing you from their GMail addresses, so having any conversations with them is going to result on your mail being stored on Google's servers, most likely forever, regardless of whether you like Google or not.

This leads to "Well, just flat out refuse to reply to GMail addresses." Except that GMail allows both e-mail forwarding and forging the From headers of another address, so you could be talking to a GMail user and not even know it.

more than 3 years ago
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Firefox 4, A Day Later

CSMatt Re:Jesus Flipping Christ... (435 comments)

I have yet to see any content I couldn't view for lack of having silverlight.

Netflix.

more than 3 years ago
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Anonymous Goes After GodHatesFags.com

CSMatt Re:They Do It for the Lawsuit Settlements (744 comments)

That's why Phelps' gang is pumped full of lawyers trained at "Liberty" "University", the Christian crusade madrassa.

Right. Which is why WBC didn't protest at Jerry Falwell's funeral. Oh wait, they did.

No one on the Christian right supports WBC. Even if they agreed with WBC, they have everything to lose by associating themselves with these people. WBC isn't even associated with any Baptist organization. They stand alone.

more than 3 years ago
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How Hulu, NBC, and Other Sites Block Google TV

CSMatt Re:Take a lesson out of Google's/Facebook playback (338 comments)

What I'd like to see Google announce tomorrow --
Okay NBC, Hulu, etc. our new policy: we won't index sites which decide to arbitrarily support devices due to "incompatible business models" ..

And then in one week:
"NBC, FOX and ABC sue Google for inducing copyright infringement due to Google's removing of Hulu, leaving TV viewers with only the links to infringing copies."

more than 3 years ago
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Ray Ozzie's Departing Memo a Warning To Microsoft

CSMatt Re:Where would we be without Microsoft? (345 comments)

Actually I think the market for home computers would be more like the market for game consoles were it not for IBM and Microsoft.

more than 3 years ago
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Google Warning Gmail Users On Spying From China

CSMatt Re:GPG encryption (215 comments)

As for the webmail part, that could be actually doable it the decryption is actually done on the client side :
- the webmail servers stores and transmits email in encrypted form
- the javascript running on the reciever's Firefox does the decryptions
- as such no un-encrypted copy exists anywhere on the web
- the key remains locally stored and accessed only by the locally running Javascript. Not uploaded.
- as a bonus, as the Javscript is delivered in plain text, users can run checks to be sure that nothing shady happens (like the local app using the local GPG service to decrypt the messages, but then uploading them back to the mail server).

And herein lies the problem. The whole point of Webmail is that you can check your e-mail anywhere you can access a Web browser, be it your computer, a friend's computer, a public computer, a Web kiosk, etc. There are only two ways GPG can work with Webmail:
1. Storing the keys on the mail server, allowing the possibility of e-mail provider snooping.
2. Storing the keys locally, which requires hauling a flash drive everywhere, and assumes that you even can use flash drives with the client computer. Also things like FireGPG require specific browsers with these addons installed. If the client machine doesn't have it, a portable copy must be on the flash drive, which complicates things further because the portable app must be for the client's OS and the client must allow executable code.

1 requires ultimate trust in the provider, which is what everyone not using GPG for all correspondence is doing now. It provides privacy for the transmission from the source server to the destination one, but that's about it. 2 requires portable storage of both the keys and possibly the browser, severely limiting where one can check mail, or at least making it so inconvenient that most people won't even bother with the system.

about 4 years ago
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DuckDuckGo Search Engine Erects Tor Hidden Service

CSMatt Re:Duck Duck Go should be avoided - Here's why (87 comments)

To get out of the database you're supposed to go to the site and basically beg to be removed. On principle there was no way I was going to stoop to this level so I just told my users the story and to uninstall the Duck Duck Go toolbar. Everything was fine after that.

How exactly is telling Duck Duck Go that your site was incorrectly blocked such a bad thing? So they screwed up. Instead of telling them of the problem and at least giving them the benefit of the doubt that despite their best intentions the reevaluation did not work as advertised, and that they will genuinely try and fix it as well as ensure that their system doesn't allow this to happen again, you immediately tell your visitors that Duck Duck Go is crap*, and not even bother to try and sort out the matter privately?

If I was running the engine I'd certainly want to know when a false positive happens, and the chances of me finding out through your site or this post are basically slim to none. I don't even know what your site's URL is, so this post doesn't help much either.

*I apologize if this wasn't the wording you put in your site. Again, I have no leads on how to access it to find out myself.

about 4 years ago
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Google Warning Gmail Users On Spying From China

CSMatt Re:Pretty Good Privacy? (215 comments)

Yeah. Let me know when their use is simple enough for 95% of the populace to handle, and when Webmail access that is independent of the browser/computer they are using and isn't implemented at the ISP level is possible.

It's not so simple and clean-cut as you make it sound. If it's an extreme hassle to remain secure and/or private then most people won't bother until it becomes easier. And even then you have to get them to care without sounding paranoid.

about 4 years ago
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Steam Client for Mac Launches, Linux Client On the Way

CSMatt Re:What to do (572 comments)

("hacking" in a multiplayer game is nothing but being a jackass)

I would tend to disagree. Hacking a multiplayer game only crosses the line when it is done without the consent of everyone who would be affected by it. Certainly those who use hacks to give themselves a personal advantage at the disadvantage of everyone else are scumbags who take the game way too seriously, but starting a game where the explicit purpose (and this is stated up front to the other players) is to play around with the game and see what it is capable of is, in my opinion, perfectly fine.

more than 4 years ago
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Steam Client for Mac Launches, Linux Client On the Way

CSMatt Re:What to do (572 comments)

even for the net only and DRM part - Steam has put out notices in the past that in the event that the steam network was to go away they would push an update removing the need to auth on the client so that it wouldn't stop working..

Right, like how Microsoft patched the Xbox 360 so that Xbox games could now work over Xlink Kai as compensation for axing the original Live service. Oh wait...

Yeah, I know. Valve is not Microsoft. But I wouldn't put so much faith in what ultimately seems to be nothing more than an unenforceable promise. And besides, if Steam's ownership changes hands, there's no guarantee that this promise will remain.

more than 4 years ago
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Court Allows Unmasking of P2P Downloaders

CSMatt Re:How to erode Copyright+patent law (244 comments)

I think both approaches are the wrong way to go. Civil disobedience only works if you can get an immense, passionate group of people to partake in it, and do it in such a way as to attract others to the cause. As it stands, most people don't care enough about this for it to actually be a viable form of protest, and those who do are small enough that the public will turn a blind eye to them. More importantly, it is worth noting that this can easily backfire and cause lobbyists to simply push for even harsher laws to combat it, now that they can play the victim even better by pointing to these people as the justification for more regulation.

The hard-lined opposite approach won't work either. Again, because the majority of people aren't passionate about this, they will simply shrug it off and get used to it, whether that is in the form of accepting the new laws or just moving to more covert methods. Furthermore, we already know that Edgar Bronfman isn't (publicly at least) going to give his kids any slack if they are found to be infringing, so what makes you think that any other executives or politicians you mention are going to act differently?

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Wallpaper upload site faces DMCA trademark claim

CSMatt CSMatt writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Free Culture News writes "Desktop Nexus, a wallpaper sharing site that you might recall was threatened by Toyota over user-created wallpapers a while ago, has received a trademark claim under the DMCA. Hanson Beverage Company, through the firm Continental Enterprises, sent Desktop Nexus a DMCA notice about wallpaper featuring Monster Energy Drink. After a second notification and a list of three more wallpapers flagged by the company for removal, Desktop Nexus removed the wallpapers. Before the second notice, Desktop Nexus asked for clarification on what actions the company was to take, as the original claim was not clear. The reply, which came after the removal of the wallpapers, claimed that trademark law, not copyright law, was the rationale for removal. The legality of this move is quite questionable, given that the DMCA is designed to deal with copyright infringement and not trademark infringement."
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Songbird 1.0 released

CSMatt CSMatt writes  |  more than 5 years ago

CSMatt (1175471) writes "Songbird 1.0, the free software cross-platform media player, has just been released. Songbird's features include smart playlists, Last.fm scrobbling, SHOUTCast support, the ability to play DRM-encumbered media using iTunes or Windows Media Player for authorization, and mashTape, which allows you to browse news, Last.fm biographies, Flickr photos, and YouTube videos related to the artist currently playing. Songbird can also be customized with third-party add-ons. The 1.0 release includes GStreamer support across all platforms (previous releases for Mac OS X and Windows used VLC for playback), mashTape improvements, and a new add-on updater."
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Tennessee passes law mandating campus filters

CSMatt CSMatt writes  |  more than 5 years ago

CSMatt (1175471) writes "Last week, the RIAA celebrated the signing of a ridiculous new law in Tennessee that says: "Each public and private institution of higher education in the state that has student residential computer networks shall: [...] [R]easonably attempt to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the institution's computer and network resources, if such institution receives fifty (50) or more legally valid notices of infringement as prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 within the preceding year." While the entertainment industry failed to get "hard" requirements for universities in the Higher Education Act passed by Congress earlier this year, the RIAA succeeded in Tennessee (and is pushing in other states) with this provision that gives Big Content the ability to hold universities hostage through the use of infringement notices. Moreover, the new rules will cost Tennessee a pretty penny — in the cost review attached to the Tennessee bill, the state's Fiscal Review Committee estimates that the new obligations will initially cost the state a whopping $9.5 million for software, hardware, and personnel, with recurring annual costs of more than $1.5 million for personnel and maintenance."

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