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Pirated Android App Shames Freeloaders

Francis Re:Android Security Model (519 comments)

Ah, I see, thanks :)

Under Android, can you selectively grant an app rights, or is it an all-or-nothing kind of thing?

For example, suppose an app wants permission to send texts, as well as access to your GPS location. Can you grant it rights to send texts, but not to access your GPS?

more than 3 years ago
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Pirated Android App Shames Freeloaders

Francis Android Security Model (519 comments)

I am not very familiar with Android, but does it really just let any app you install to send texts to your contact list? If this is true, I don't like Android's security model.

In iOS, an app cannot send a text message, and I like it that way. When an app tries to do certain operations, such as access your current location, you are prompted to grant the app permission, which you can choose to deny in many cases. I like this also.

I like my apps properly sandboxed.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Outs Anti-Jailbreak Update

Francis Re:Patches for Jailbreakers (429 comments)

UPDATE: PDF Patch is now available directly on Cydia.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple Outs Anti-Jailbreak Update

Francis Patches for Jailbreakers (429 comments)

For jailbreakers who want to be safe and keep their jailbreak, search for "PDF Loading Warner" in the Cydia store. It's a pop-up that will warn you if Safari is attempting to load a PDF, so you can cancel it if you're not expecting to be viewing a PDF.

For iPhone 2G and iPod Touch 1G users, there's no Apple-approved solution to the PDF exploit.

The jailbreak community is working on an actual PDF patch to fix the exploit. This could be the only solution for iPhone 2G/iPod Touch 1G users, to jailbreak their device and install the patch.

It's in test phase now, but you can get a copy: http://twitter.com/saurik/status/20958834996

more than 4 years ago
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Pointing Stick Keyboard Roundup

Francis Re:Ouch (195 comments)

I found a "replacement nib" pack for Lenovo Thinkpads for a dollar. There's actually 3 different shapes that you can get, maybe one's more comfortable for you?

I have no opinion on these sellers, but they have a picture of the 3 different types:
http://www.6store.net/other-accessories/328/
http://www.machinaelectronics.com/store/buypart/Lenovo_Thinkpad_R61_E/91P8421

(PS. What the heck are you doing that you give yourself a blister on your trackpoint? I personally have never had a problem, nor has anyone I know who uses a Thinkpad. They're standard issue at work, so I actually do know quite a few people who use them.)

more than 4 years ago
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How Do You Handle Your Keys?

Francis Multiple Sets of Keys depending on Transportation (763 comments)

I have multiple sets of keys, and I only take one, depending on what transportation I use when I leave my house. For example, when I bike to work I have one set of keys that have my bike lock and my office keys. If I'm taking the car, I've got another set of keys - I have keys to a friend's house who I only visit when I drive, and I don't need the front door house key because I'm coming back in through the garage. When I go running, I take just the front door and the mail key.

Sounds like that might be something that would work for you :) I bet you don't visit the same places when you've got your bicycle, your motorbike or your car :)

more than 4 years ago
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OnLive Remote Gaming Service Launches In June

Francis Re:Not the point of onlive (316 comments)

I've never claimed that OnLive doesn't have any drawbacks or limitations. That would be silly. What it gives you is a different set of advantages and disadvantages from building your own gaming rig.

As for your example, it's difficult to give it any weight, because all the numbers are made up. You could just as easily have said, "But what if in 4 years, Crysis $n+1 comes out and brings up some crazy new concepts that make me have to play it with a 50 foot draw distance?" That would suck no matter what resolution or framerate you get.

As for the console example, yes, that's always been understood that consoles provide good gaming value compared to building a dedicated gaming PC. That's one of the reasons I have a PS3 and no PC Gaming machine. But! Don't forget in your xbox 360 example, if you want to play over the Internet, that'll be an extra $50/year.

But, like I said, there's advantages to the OnLive setup over traditional console or PC gaming. I'm not saying it's better, or it's for everyone. It's up to you to make that decision given your personal circumstances. All I'm saying is that $15/mo is not an unreasonable price to pay for the service.

more than 4 years ago
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OnLive Remote Gaming Service Launches In June

Francis Re:Not the point of onlive (316 comments)

Well, my main point was the flexibility and security of the solution, but okay, let's look at your example.

Let's assume your $600 PC is good for 4 years. Per month, that's only $2.50 cheaper than OnLive. And at the end of 4 years, I'm not completely convinced it will be able to keep up with the modern games. To use your example, when Crysis came out, new-ish gaming rigs were struggling to keep up, forget about base 4-year-old gaming rigs. OnLive (if they do it right) will make sure they have hardware capable of keeping up whatever game you want.

Now, like anything new kind of system, there's advantages and disadvantages. I'm noticing that most people on Slashdot seem to be focusing on the negatives. All I'm saying is that $15/mo is not an unreasonable price to pay for the service.

more than 4 years ago
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OnLive Remote Gaming Service Launches In June

Francis Not the point of onlive (316 comments)

You're missing the biggest point of onlive - they maintain the gaming machines for you. Instead of you having to upgrade your computer every few years, and having to live with a sub-par gaming machine towards the end of its effective life cycle, onlive's servers will be continually upgraded to keep up with the games.

So now you can game on your netbook, your Mac, your TV or even your cellphone.

There's inherent advantages to this approach - you don't have to worry about downloading/installing games, hardware specs are always properly matched, you can play the same game, pause and restart from different terminals, you can share replays with your friends, etc.

But one of the biggest things is that since all the gaming code runs at the server end, this will almost eliminate cheating. No more aimbots, wallhacks, network hacks, etc. It's all just mouseclicks and video.

You'll have to decide if $15/mo is worth it for you, but I think the charge is reasonable given what they have to support. You definitely get more for your money than a subscription to XBox Live.

more than 4 years ago
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Tethering Is Exhilarating (With the Nexus One)

Francis Re:iPhone Tethering (211 comments)

According to this CBC article last year, Canadians have among the most cellphone rates, and home broadband rates.

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/08/11/canada-cellphone-rates-expensive-oecd.html

I don't have any data to back this up, but I do believe that most European nations have better coverage *and* cheaper rates than in the US. I believe this is doubly true in developed asian nations, such as Japan.

more than 4 years ago
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Tethering Is Exhilarating (With the Nexus One)

Francis Re:iPhone Tethering (211 comments)

I have a 2 year contract, I pay $64 for 450 anytime with rollover, 5000 minutes (3.5 days!) nights and weekends, 200 text, unlimited data, free nationwide long distance.

I don't know about you, but the biggest thing for me is the no long distance charges. I move around a lot, and it's hugely liberating to not have to wonder if you're in your calling area before you pick up the phone, or where your contacts are.

In the US, most people don't even bother to change their cell numbers when they move because everyone's got free long distance anyways.

more than 4 years ago
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Tethering Is Exhilarating (With the Nexus One)

Francis Re:iPhone Tethering (211 comments)

You can still use .mobileconfig files on the latest 3.1.3. Just use the iPhone Enterprise Configuration Utility (official download from Apple site). I used it to change APNs in order to get PPTP VPN working.

Is there a tutorial or something available for how to use this?

The ones I've read are very long and involved, and involve jailbreaking:
http://www.redmondpie.com/fix-iphone-3.1.2-tethering-and-visual-voicemail-vvm-ows754/
http://www.redmondpie.com/enable-tethering-on-iphone-3g-3gs-3.1.2-firmware-eqw846/

more than 4 years ago
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Tethering Is Exhilarating (With the Nexus One)

Francis Re:iPhone Tethering (211 comments)

I like this "move to Canada" idea of yours, but I'm not a big fan of "Sign a contract with Rogers". 3 year contract AND no free nationwide long distance calling AND relatively small data AND not as many minutes AND no rollover.

Canadians really get screwed on their wireless bills :(

more than 4 years ago
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Tethering Is Exhilarating (With the Nexus One)

Francis Re:iPhone Tethering (211 comments)

Are you sure about this? I believe that to enable tethering on an AT&T iPhone, you either had to:
  1) Jailbreak and install some stuff
  -or-
  2) Use a .mobileconfig file to change your settings, which would only work on OS3.0. Since Apple stopped signing OS3.0, you can no longer downgrade your OS to 3.0 if you have a 3GS iPhone. The only way to downgrade to 3.0 is if you had SHSH on file somewhere, which you had to do before Apple stopped signing OS3.0.

If you know how to "easy tether" your iPhone without jailbreaking, please post instructions, I'm curious.

more than 4 years ago
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What Has Your Phone Survived?

Francis Re:dropped it in water (422 comments)

That is pretty impressive, especially with the potential water damage and stuff. Here's an ad documentary on the making of the Nexus One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1sz5c-R9h0

This one shows the physical tests they did on the Nexus One, like tumble and drop tests. I was pretty impressed. I am certain my iPhone wouldn't survive these.

more than 4 years ago
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OnLive One Step Closer

Francis Great concept, can't wait to try it (175 comments)

Great concept, I can't wait to play with it in person :) A few thoughts:

I'm a little skeptical about how robustly it will perform, but I am sure they will have a chance to prove their technology soon. I'm sure everyone who's played online has dealt with lag spikes, just due to random congestion, noise, route changes, that sort of thing. It seems that this system will be much more sensitive to those kinds of network delays.

One thing that they didn't talk about was really how high latency-sensitive games fit into this framework. I'm talking about timing games, such as Guitar Hero, or games that need twitch reactions like Street Fighter. Players of these games frequently complain about latency that happens between the console and the display, nevermind the the latency of a network. (HDMI decoding delay has made playing these games kind of a pain on some HDTVs) Anecdotally, I notice that in these kinds of games, delays around 5-15ms delay can make a huge difference.

Even still, I think a lot of action games can be very successful on this kind of system. Platformers (like Super Mario, Little Big Planet) and driving games do involve real-time reaction, but the way we play these things, our actions are more predictive, than reactive. ("I'm running towards the edge of the roof, and I'll get these in about half a second, so press jump.... now!") In these kinds of games, our brains sort of "build in" the latency into our actions, so we're not as sensitive to them.

One point that I think they should have emphasized is cheat prevention. On many PC games, there's trainer's, aimbots, all sorts of cheats that make playing on public servers very suspect. With this system, they're reducing everything down to just control input and video output, so the opportunity to cheat in a game is significantly harder.

I have a funny feeling that the monthly subscription fee will be something more than I'll want to pay. They have to deal with the cost of maintaining high-end gaming servers, and what I'm sure will turn out to be an enormous network bill. I'm sure it will be reasonable, because in their model, instead of maintaining my own high-end gaming PC, the burden will be on them to keep the hardware up to date. It will just be more than I want to pay.

more than 4 years ago
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Treading the Fuzzy Line Between Game Cloning and Theft

Francis Ketara (makers of Aquatica) have apologized (235 comments)

I haven't seen this mentioned yet - Ketara, the makers of Aquatica, have credited Jason Chen, creator of flOw, with the concept. On their website, they explain that they intended no disrespect, and have apologized for it. They viewed Aquatica as a fan remake.

Because of the controversy it caused, they have removed Aquatica from the app store - it is no longer available.

http://www.ketara.ca/aqua.html

about 5 years ago
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iPhone Game Piracy "the Rule Rather Than the Exception"

Francis On the Pinch Media Report (268 comments)

The way the numbers are reported is a bit misleading. “Of paid apps that use Pinch Media’s services, 60% have been pirated. Of those pirated apps, 34% of all installs are the pirated version.” This means that maybe only 20% of installs are pirated. Those numbers are actually really good for software.

The way the first picture is reported is also misleading. It’s titled, “Application Piracy is Global” and then it shows a graph of jailbroken iphones. Jailbreaking is not the same as pirating. Jailbreaking is what you need to unbind an iphone from the app store, and the first step to unlocking an iphone. Since iPhones are were not sold in China until just recently, almost all their iPhones have to be imported from other carriers, so it is no surprise that an abnormally high percentage in China are jailbroken.

Judging from the graph, it appears that roughly 10-15% of all iphones have been jailbroken. “About 38% [of jailbroken iphones] have used a pirated application.” “34% of all installs are cracked” This means that roughly 4-6% of iphone users have ever used a pirated application. And yet somehow, those 4-6% of iphones account for 34% of all installs? I’m a bit skeptical.

“Pirated apps on jailbroken iPhones crash more, which may be why they’re used less.” I’m really skeptical about this interpretation. That graph is really really zoomed in. Crash rates for pirated applications appear to crash only 0.5%-1.3% more sessions than a regular app. That’s fairly rare. That’s like one in every 80 to 200 sessions results in an “extra” crash.

This blog post is either really poorly written or the author has an intentional bias that they want to express.

On a related note, I hope this gets more app developers to make “lite” versions of their software so people can try them out. The conversion numbers are much better than the alternative.

about 5 years ago
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Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control?

Francis Re:Trade (1040 comments)

I'm not sure where you're getting your information from. Canada generally has a very moderate and long-range economic policy, especially compared to the US. Canada "relies" on the US in the same way any two trading nations rely on each other. In fact, you could argue that the US relies on Canada more than the converse.

The US and Canada are both each other's number one trading partner. I've never understood why not many people in the US seem to realize this. The trade balance between the two countries has long been that Canada exports more goods to the south than the opposite. In this way, you could argue that the US depends on Canada to sustain itself than the converse. For some reason, I rarely hear journalists in the US mention this, but Canada is even America's #1 supplier of oil. More than Mexico, more than Iraq, more than Saudi Arabia.

As far as Canada's economic policy, it's always been very moderate and stable. While the American economy is more prone to boom and bust cycles, Canada is a bit more stable. When it booms, it's not as big in Canada, and when it busts, it's less harsh. This is just intelligent economic policy - the government and the central banks should always seek to grow the economy in a robust and stable way.

more than 5 years ago

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