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Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

KevReedUK Re: What about other devices? (418 comments)

to an arguably lesser extent Android (in that case there is a separation - the phone is made by Samsung, HTC etc, the OS by Google, so the argument that they're integrated is weaker).

Depends on where the court considers the finished product to end when it comes to the OS, I guess... How many handset manufacturers in the Android arena release their phones with just the reference Android OS? To date, I haven't seen a single one (barring the "Nexus" branded ones, although even they do seem to deviate somewhat from the reference OS) that doesn't come pre-installed with a customised version of Android. That customisation may be as simple as chucking a few bookmarks into Chrome, or throwing the odd skin on an app/ wallpaper on the "desktop", but it's still a customisation that could potentially be considered to make it a distinct version of the OS, thereby strengthening the link between the OS and the hardware manufacturer. This is even more the case where the hardware manufacturer does its customisations, then the network (Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, EE, whatever) do a few more customisations on top of that. At this point, are they bundling someone else's work with their product (which your theory says is the infringing act), or are they bundling their own work (albeit a derivative work) with their product (which you seem to be suggesting would be OK.)?

4 days ago
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Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

KevReedUK Re:What about other devices? (418 comments)

Right now they "force" everyone buying a PC to get Windows, and they're able to do this by unfair OEM licensing schemes and as their position as the monopoly player.

There are so many things wrong with this statement...

1. "unfair OEM licensing schemes"

Really? When did the planet where life is fair blow up and scatter its people across the galaxy and why did so many of them land here?

2. Monopoly player?

So Apple is out of business and no longer selling a Mac? I can't build a PC or order one from Dell without Windows and put Linux on it?

MS has a lot of market share, they don't have a monopoly. I know several people who own Macs.

The meaning of Monopoly, at least in legal terms, appears to have changed from the traditional meaning:

"The only player in the market"

to a somewhat more nuanced:

"The player, or co-operating cartel of players who have such a grip on the market that no other potential (or existing) player can be expected to have a reasonable chance of entering (or effectively participating in) the market".

This does not mean that all potential or existing players in a market should be expected to achieve parity, or be capable of it. What is important is the exclusion of ALL other parties from having the potential to effectively participate in the market. There is also the matter of related markets and the practice of players forming cartels where they essentially carve the larger marketplace up into smaller specializations and agree to split control of them such that each has a market that is "theirs".

As things stand at present, in the desktop market, there are two main commercial players, MS (Windows) and Apple (OSX). Both seem to have slightly different target markets, so aren't really considered to be in direct competition for the most part (when was the last time you heard about Apple trying to get a Mac on every desk in a large company, outside of the creative industries?). There is, however, enough of an overlap (Windows in some creative companies and OSX in an increasing number of homes) that neither can effectively be accused of dividing the market between themselves. This leaves the fight as being essentially between Microsoft and Linux. Granted, Linux is a very fragmented proposition, as competition goes, so you're not really comparing like with like, but it can be argued (and appears that it often has been successfully before the courts) that Microsoft's grip on the market, in particular via its commercial agreements with its OEM partners, has meant that whilst it is POSSIBLE to get a PC without Windows on it, it is sufficiently more difficult to do so, to the extent that they have an unfair commercial advantage over their competitors.

They may not be the only player in town, but to the average user, they might as well be. It is largely for this reason that they are regarded, including by several judiciaries, as monopolists.

Although... IANAL, and this is just my understanding of the matter...

4 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

KevReedUK Re:Windows the phone or OS? (352 comments)

The aim was to do away with the mindless tautology of referring to a Windows Phone Phone. An Android Phone is called such, because the OS is called Android, not Android Phone, therefore, technically, until this move is completed, we should be referring to WP-based handsets as Windows Phone Phones. This simply allows you to drop the first "phone" when referring to them.

4 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

KevReedUK Re:Nokia Lumia Windows Phone (352 comments)

The headline says they're replacing "Window Phone" with "Windows", but this is totally wrong.

They're replacing "Windows Phone" with "Microsoft Lumia", and dropping the Nokia name completely as fast as possible.

WRONG. They're doing both.

For the OS itself:
Windows Phone => Windows

For the hardware:
Nokia Lumia => Lumia

4 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

KevReedUK Re:They may not know any better (352 comments)

...Microsoft is afraid to cut the old stuff loose. MS can never progress if they aren't willing to let the past go.

If they did make a complete break with the past code-base and did a complete redesign from the ground up, as you seem to be suggesting, how would you propose that legacy apps continue to run on it?

It would appear, from the tone of your comment, that you are suggesting MS's answer should be "F@#k 'em"!

If they were to take your suggestion, they would kill one of the biggest drivers in keeping MS entrenched in businesses. They may have made some pretty questionable moves over the last few years, but an all-out bid for suicide doesn't quite seem to be part of their game-plan.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that such a long-lived code-base could do with a complete rewrite to make it easier for them to support and build on going forward. They are, however, in the unenviable position of having a significant portion of their customers dependent on legacy applications that work only because the code-base is so long-lived and backward compatible.

Do you remember, for example, when Vista came out and a major component of the NT security model was updated (i.e. it actually started to have something resembling one with regard to what privilege levels an application could run in), killing the ability of many applications to run/install? At least there it was a new feature that had been added and could be turned off that was causing the programs not to work. How much worse do you think it is going to be if your proposed full rewrite broke a wide range of popular legacy applications and the only way to get them to work was to wither replace them, or downgrade back to an earlier version of the OS?

4 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

KevReedUK Re:Unified Kernel (352 comments)

The issue with NT's kernel isn't that it's huge, it's that it's bloated.

If you're not talking about size the what do you mean by "bloated"?

I think the point he was trying to make was:

Large and useful != bad thing

Large and mostly full of useless crap = bad thing

4 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

KevReedUK Re:KIlling off the Microsoft Store Name Too (352 comments)

The name "windows phone" was hard enough to google for without a lot of noise, "lumia" is super easy to search on, but just "Windows" will make searching the web for windows-phone specific information essentially impossible.

Product names that are so generic that you can't easily search on them piss me off. Don't these companies know how the internet works?

Would I be safe in guessing that you didn't include the quotes when you put it in the Google search bar/box? Have you considered whether this might be your problem, not Microsoft's? Or are you suggesting that Google should perhaps automatically assume that when Windows and Phone appear side by side in search terms, they should enclose them in a set of quotes and combine them as a search phrase invisibly/dynamically, but not do the same for other comparable two-word combinations?

4 days ago
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Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

KevReedUK Re:KIlling off the Microsoft Store Name Too (352 comments)

Well, this.

"No, sir, this is the windows, that doesn't run windows apps. Well, I mean it does, but only the new, Metro, I meant Modern Interface (or whatever MS rebrands their interface to this time). To run old windows apps you'll need a different kind of windows."

I guess someone at MS thought that after using FUD on Linux and seeing it's success they should try go and FUD themselves in hopes of having the same effect.

Except this is not truly a Microsoft or Windows issue, it's largely an architecture issue, and won't be solved unless they decide to drop RT (and thereby ARM support). Doing that would kill them in the smartphone arena, as the number of x86/ x86-64 CPU-based handsets is small enough to count on just one hand in most markets. It would also seriously disadvantage them in the tablet market, as the same dearth of x86-based devices exists here, too.

It has ever been thus. Compile for one architecture, and it will run fine on that, but not on others. Anyone here remember Windows NT on lpha? You could run applications compiled for it, but not those compiled for x86. The reverse was also true (no lpha-compiled apps on x86).

You cannot blame Microsoft for third-party developers compiling their apps only for the x86 architecture and therefore those apps not being available on/ compatible with the ARM-based installs of their OS.

If more developers of software for Windows ported / cross-compiled their apps for both the x86-based (let's use the terminology you seem to be hinting at and call it "Full Windows") and the ARM-based (Windows RT) platforms, this discussion would not be happening.

I would agree that they could do a better job of differentiating Windows RT based devices from x86-based Windows devices to make it more immediately apparent to end users, but is that not ultimately the hardware vendors responsibility (except where Microsoft/Nokia is the hardware manufacturer, too)?

4 days ago
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Device Boots Drones, Google Glass Off Wi-Fi

KevReedUK Re:Breaking the Law... (184 comments)

Article is referring to a device that can kick devices off ANY network, not just the operators own. If you have the ability to kick one of my devices off of MY network, how is that NOT a violation of 47 U.S.C. Section 333, and how is my device being on MY network an infringement of the CCAA?

IANAL, and am in the UK, so this is a genuine question!

about a week ago
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Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

KevReedUK Re: Feminism (1134 comments)

I, for one, share your beliefs on the subject. I do not, however, refer to myself as a feminist, but rather as an egalitarian. The reason for this distinction is that, rightly or wrongly, feminism has become associated by many (especially those too lazy to consult a dictionary) with female supremacy. The extremist views, statements and acts over the years by some who have claimed to be acting in the name of feminism certainly hasn't helped, neither has most of the press, which will report on such matters without clarifying the inappropriate use of the term feminism /feminist. It is also fair to say that it's not just the sexes that I think should be equal, either. Hence my use of the term egalitarian.

about two weeks ago
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How Game Developers Turn Kickstarter Failure Into Success

KevReedUK Re:Most of the failures never would've made it. (30 comments)

Yeah, but he had a cute cat. Maybe the backers just wanted to make sure it remained fed for the forseeable future...

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

KevReedUK Re: It's still a good idea!!! (331 comments)

Your analogy can be taken one step further, too... Bulletproof vests do sod all to protect you from knife attacks, either. Similarly, AV is competent (at best) in protecting you from some kinds of threats, but useless in protecting you from others. In fact, it could be argued that it's worse than useless, as it gives the user a false sense of security.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

KevReedUK Re: AV is dead. (331 comments)

OK, so we should use the word "malware" instead. Just remind me again how many outside the IT industry use that word, though. To nearly all users, virus is not a subset of malware, it is a synonym.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

KevReedUK Re: Shift from blacklists to white lists (331 comments)

Bulls#1t!!! Whitelisting may deal with 0-day viruses, but 0-day exploits in legitimate apps is a whole different proposition.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

KevReedUK Re: Sandboxing (331 comments)

Except that saying that in an open system it's the user's responsibility to stay safe would need to include some form of sanctions for those situations where the user is putting not just themselves, but others, at risk. Sure, the malware may only INFECT their machine, but many malware variants can AFFECT other machines too. Take, for example, CryptoLocker and its variants. An infected machine can encrypt any documents it can see, not just those stored locally. If you're on one of your proposed "safe" systems, but you access the same file-shares that an "unsafe" machine uses, just because you are safe from being INFECTED, doesn't mean you aren't AFFECTED when the user on the unsafe machine gets hit by a CL variant and encrypts your whole document store.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

KevReedUK Re: Sandboxing (331 comments)

That WAS his point! He was saying that your censorship analogy is on a par with money you can have a little, or a lot, of either. Both are situations where you have it. Whitelisting is a binary situation where it's either on or off.

I would, however, counter this with the situations where you say whitelisting only applies to those applications that are installed in the user's profile. In such a scenario, you could say users cannot install apps anywhere other than in their profile without privilege escalation, then apply whitelisting to the profile's apps, whilst still allowing sanctioned apps, I.e. those installed outside the profile, to be run. Technically, this would still be whitelisting, with sanctioned apps dynamically included in the whitelist by virtue of their installed location, but many would argue that this is not true whitelisting. Perhaps this would qualify as the greylisting option you were looking for? (Already possible under MS Windows, by the way).

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

KevReedUK Re: Switch to linux / OsX. (331 comments)

Actually, there is more to it than just market share. It's a combination of market share, proportion of that market share that is logged into via interactive sessions and the perception of a predominant lack of technical abilities (OK, not just abilities... A suitably sceptical/paranoid attitude also falls within this category).

Simply put, it's easier to write malware to do things when a user runs it than it is to get the malware in through an exploit and get it to run itself. You therefore target not the platforms with the most installs, but the platforms with the most interactive sessions. To target more specifically within this group, you then consider which platform's users are more likely to be susceptible to social engineering.

This is likely to be the main reason that Windows is the preferred target platform for most malware. Arguments about the sheer volume of Linux servers on the net are somewhat moot when you consider the rarity with which a "typical user" logs into them interactively.

Truth is, without users, PCs are largely useless. As such, the most effective form of malware prevention (removing the user) is impractical. Moving to a different platform will only work until the tipping point is reached and your new choice of platform has an equal or higher proportion of less-technically-able users in interactive sessions than the one you moved from. As such, the only long-term solution is to upgrade your users. Best of luck in achieving that!

about a month ago
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The Man Responsible For Pop-Up Ads On Building a Better Web

KevReedUK Re: Who freaks who out? (135 comments)

They put about as much consideration into it as you put into paying for your tripod hosting!

about a month ago
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The Man Responsible For Pop-Up Ads On Building a Better Web

KevReedUK Re: Not sure I believe him... (135 comments)

I would think that the server-side perl bit was probably to detect/analyse the content of the referring page so that the ad presented was, at least tangentially, related to the page that "launched" it. Otherwise, the ad would have had to be specifically selected by the code inserted into each launching page (a heck of a lot of work). Other alternatives would have been to either use the same, static page for all, or randomly select the target ad, both of which are likely to eliminate any chance of the ad being even remotely related to the content of the launching page.

That all being said, although I work with some very smart coders, I am not well versed in programming. As such, the assumptions on which the above is based could well be far off the mark!

about a month ago
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The Man Responsible For Pop-Up Ads On Building a Better Web

KevReedUK Re: Not sure I believe him... (135 comments)

In other words, this was a giant leap in the direction of those who would previously have been considered as their customers (those publishing sites via the "free" hosting) essentially being transformed even further into the product to be sold to their real customers (the advertisers). Sure, banner ads meant that this was already the case, but it's hard to argue that this didn't make matters worse.

It can be argued that they did this as the only way to keep their service "free", but it could equally be argued that making funding through advertising so much easier has eliminated the incentive for the industry to think outside the box to find a better way. Are we really expected to believe that, without pop-up advertising to promote psychological separation between the advert and the page, all the advertisers would have fled the industry and free hosting would have simply ceased? I may be overly idealistic, but I prefer to believe that, if advertising revenue had dropped to near zero, the industry would have found another way to achieve it.

about a month ago

Submissions

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How long now...?

KevReedUK KevReedUK writes  |  more than 6 years ago

KevReedUK (1066760) writes "Our "Friends" over at ZDNet appear to be eulogising over the upcoming death of physical media sales. In their article here they refer to the noticeable drop in physical sales of albums whilst digital sales continue climbing (albeit at a reduced rate).

Normally, this would be a case of "Nothing to see here...", save for their assertion that one of the key reasons for the music industry's slowdown is piracy. Is it just me, or is this a bit of a stretch?"

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