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10-Year-Old iTunes DRM Lawsuit Heading To Trial

Mr_Silver Didn't this help the demise of music DRM? (246 comments)

The lawsuit accuses Apple of violating U.S. and California antitrust law by restricting music purchased on iTunes from being played on devices other than iPods and by not allowing iPods to play music purchased on other digital music services.

Unless I'm mistaken, wasn't this also the cause of the eventual death of DRM?

The music industry didn't like Apple's desire to sell every track at the same price (instead preferring to charge higher for more in demand music) - yet found themselves in the uncomfortable position of not actually being able to do that on competing stores thanks to the very DRM (they insisted on all content having) not being compatible with iTunes.

I can't help wondering what would have happened if the same situation had also been played out with video and eBooks...

about two weeks ago
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Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC

Mr_Silver Windows Media Center support? (313 comments)

What I'd like to know is whether or not this means we don't have a install a codec park (like Shark007) just so we can get support for all the common video formats in Windows Media Center.

Talking of Windows Media Center, does Windows 10 actually improve on this awesome (but sadly neglected) piece of software - or are they going to squander the opportunity again like they did with Windows 8?

about three weeks ago
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BT Blocking Private Torrent Sites?

Mr_Silver Re:BT? Sky? (80 comments)

What the fuck are these things? Am I supposed to know software/brand/product/service names off the top of my head?

Ever thought about using your favourite search engine to look them up?

There are plenty of non-USA based readers here who have to do that whenever a USA-centric article appears (which is often).

about three weeks ago
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UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

Mr_Silver Re:The answer is...virtual credit cards (307 comments)

"this will be only used if the guests do not show up"...well, I created a virtual VISA with 5 EUROS. First thing my parents heard from the idiots "Your VISA card is not working".

Hotels typically do a pre-authorisation on your card which essentially checks to see if the card is active and that you have enough balance to cover the amount they are pre-authing. It does this by placing a hold on that amount until the transaction is settled or the authorisation falls off (usually a couple of days, but could be longer)

Since you only loaded on 5 euros, it'll naturally fail if they attempt a pre-auth above that. People who hand over a card to a hotel with not enough money on it are commonly trying to rip the hotel off.

TLDR; version: The hotel weren't "idiots", you just didn't understand how card payments work. Next time, create a virtual card with enough funds to actually cover the bill.

about a month ago
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Facebook Wants You To Vote Tuesday

Mr_Silver Not that influential (165 comments)

Back in 2011 we had a vote in the UK as to whether we would switch our voting system from "first past the post" to "alternative vote".

Although my Facebook feed was absolutely riddled with people proclaiming their support for AV and no-one for FPTP (and a quick straw poll of my work colleagues suggested the same for them) that wasn't reflected in the results which were that 68 per cent voted No (to AV) and 32 per cent voted Yes.

Facebook may have influenced some people to go out and vote, but it certainly didn't seem to reflect how the country voted as a whole.

about a month and a half ago
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MPAA Bans Google Glass In Theaters

Mr_Silver Re:Anyone still going to the movies? (357 comments)

Waiting half an hour to buy a ticket for about ten bucks, then suffering for 3 hours in 100+ degrees heat to ensure you need to buy something to drink, sitting and standing in the leftovers of the previous show and getting to choose to either not understanding any dialogue or getting a tinnitus from explosions and music (or rather, having that choice being made for you)...

I went to see Gone Girl in a UK cinema a couple of weeks ago. Ticket and food purchases were quick (although shockingly expensive), there was no queuing, toilets were clean, cinema was warm and clean, patrons talked quietly until after the adverts ended, no-one's phone rang, no-one took out their phone and started browsing facebook, no-one talked over the film and the volume was set at a comfortable level.

The only time I've had a bad experience was twice and I go to the cinema about twice a month. One about 3 years ago where the air conditioning was going nuts and it was way too cold and one about 9 years ago where some kids talked throughout the film.

Why is the cinema experience in America so utterly miserable?

about a month and a half ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

Mr_Silver Re:Touch ID for $100?? (355 comments)

Does the Touch ID imply that it also has an NFC chip for ApplePay? (Apparently it does, and the iPad Mini 2 doesn't.) That's an odd thing to leave off the comparison chart.

This was mentioned in the keynote. Although they both have Touch ID, neither of them come with NFC.

As a result, they'll only support half of Apple Pay. That is, they'll support purchasing things online from retailers, but not contactless transactions at physical merchants with a contactless terminal.

about 2 months ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

Mr_Silver Re:Touch ID for $100?? (355 comments)

If there was anything else worthwhile, wouldn't apple be boasting about it rather than us having to wait for a teardown?
I am convinced that Touch ID isn't worth $100 to me...

I don't remember Apple talking very much about internal memory on an iPad - mainly because it means nothing to the average customer.

As a result I'm hoping that the Mini 3 has 2GB compared to the 1GB inside the Mini 2. That way Safari can manage to open 2 tabs without having to force a reload (so losing your buttons and form fields) when you return to a tab.

about 2 months ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

Mr_Silver Touch ID for $100?? (355 comments)

If you look at this comparison chart you can see that the iPad Mini 3 is exactly the same as the existing iPad Mini with Retina Display (now called iPad Mini 2) with the exception of two things:

  1. It's got Touch ID
  2. It's $100 more expensive

I'm not entirely convinced that Touch ID is worth the extra $100. Hopefully the IHS teardown will indicate if there is anything else of value between the two.

about 2 months ago
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Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

Mr_Silver Silly design decision (425 comments)

Does anyone know of any iPhone 5/5S users who complained that their phone was too thick?

I see no reason why Apple felt it necessary to slim the device down even more - when they could have just had the same thickness as the 5/5S resulting in no silly bulge for the camera.

Plus, they could have put a bigger battery in the case and maybe get an hour or so extra time out of the thing. Which I can imagine would be a lot more useful than shaving a couple mm off an already perfectly slim enough phone.

about 3 months ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Mr_Silver Re:Incredibly bad live stream (730 comments)

Whoever was in charge of the live stream are a bunch of amateurs, incompetent idiots and should be fired, publicity shamed and never hired again.

According to this article there were a number of issues which were all caused by Apple rather than Akamai:

The bottom line with this event is that the encoding, translation, JavaScript code, the video player, the call to S3 single storage location and the millisecond refreshes all didn't work properly together and was the root cause of Apple's failed attempt to make the live stream work without any problems. So while it would be easy to say it was a CDN capacity issue, which was my initial thought considering how many events are taking place today and this week, it does not appear that a lack of capacity played any part in the event not working properly. Apple simply didn't provision and plan for the event properly.

I don't know enough about streaming to comment on the validity of the assertions made.

about 3 months ago
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Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet

Mr_Silver Re:It is time someone belled the cat. But wish.. (187 comments)

There was a very nice system, including PIN numbers to manage the POS terminals. Way back when stock trade was 49$, it was 25 cent per transaction irrespective of the size of transaction. This should have become zero. But that is not what happened.

The 25 cent transaction fee is charged by the acquiring bank, not Visa and Mastercard - whose fees for debit are typically 1 cent per transaction as they are a volume based business.

The reason that acquirers charge is because they incur costs associated with that transaction (including, but not limited to, interchange fees). If they didn't charge, it would fail as a viable business model.

Pre-paid cards still have to use Visa or MC to get the request for the money from the acquirer (who has the relationship with the merchant and typically provides the terminal) to the card issuer (the bank that supplied the pre-paid card).

Regarding AppStore vs MC+Visa, in order for Apple to be able to accept payments directly they would have to get an e-money licence so they could issue virtual debit or credit cards for use on their phones. By doing so, they'd still need the rails that Visa and MC provide - unless they really want to get into the business of connecting themselves to all the banks worldwide (aka becoming a payment processor).

about 4 months ago
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Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It

Mr_Silver Re:Funny thing about email (232 comments)

This is Europe.
There _is_ no unpaid overtime!

I've worked for UK, Spanish and German companies and and sure there is, it's done all the time. Often when you work longer hours in the day and do the odd bit of work at the weekend.

If people check their mail during vacation, they are working, and they have to be paid and their vacation is still due an they can sue the company when they leave (or not) to get payment for the missed holidays or weekends.

IANAL but I believe that only counts if they specifically ask you to check your email. If they don't and you go ahead anyway, then you won't get paid for it.

I always leave my blackberry at home when I go on holiday.

about 4 months ago
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Add a TV Tuner To Your Xbox (In Europe)

Mr_Silver Re:Better than doing this on a smart TV? (81 comments)

4. EPG being as inaccurate as the ones you get on a flat screen TV one.

This is a good point. Even though DVB-T/T2/S (not sure about C) can provide EPG data, Microsoft get their EPG data from third parties. This is a good thing because you get 14 days worth of data and extra meta-data associated with the program listing which allows them to do some quite nifty functionality.

Unfortunately the data is often wrong and (in the UK at least) the series link data is either not there (so you cannot record the season of a show because it thinks it's a one off) or on every single instance of a show meaning that you end up filling your HD with hundreds of repeats.

There is even a hacky bit of vbscript which is designed to attempt to delete any duplicate recordings, it's that bad.

http://www.fourteenminutes.com...

about 4 months ago
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Add a TV Tuner To Your Xbox (In Europe)

Mr_Silver Re:T vs T2 vs S (81 comments)

Whoops misread the article and thought it said DVB-S not DVB-C.

DVB-C is television content through a cable. It's popular in a large number of countries and, for the UK, would be how Virgin Media would deliver their content.

Having said that, I'm not entirely sure whether or not you would be able to use a DVB-C tuner to get Virgin. The majority of people I know use a STB supplied by Virgin (which, in the past couple of years, has been a rebranded TiVo). Someone else with more knowledge than me will probably be able to confirm.

It'll be interesting to see how many tuners you get. If it's only one then you'll only be able to watch one channel and you'll only be able to record another if it is on the same multiplex. So if BBC1 and BBC2 are on the same multiplex then you can record one and watch the other - but you wouldn't be able to record BBC1 and watch ITV since they are on a different multiplex.

If they are serious about providing a good STB experience (and they are part the way there because Windows 7 Media Center and a DVT-T2 tuner blows most of the STBs I've ever used out of the water for experience and, sadly, cost) then they really need to be offering a dual tuner.

about 4 months ago
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Add a TV Tuner To Your Xbox (In Europe)

Mr_Silver T vs T2 vs S (81 comments)

DVB-T is OTA SD television content branded as "Freeview". You get over a 100 channels but, to be honest, only about 30 of them are any good. There are all the major stations (BBC 1 and 2, ITV, Channel 4 and 5), their additional channels (BBC 3, ITV 2 etc), some +1 hour channels and some Freeview only channels. Whilst these are all subscription free, there is a small amount of subscription content and it's not essential to subscribe to these. You don't get many of the Sky channels.

DVB-T2 is the same as T but with the inclusion of 10 or so (I can't remember the exact number) HD channels. It's branded "Freeview HD". Again, subscription free for the majority of the channels. It's nice to watch Top Gear in HD.

DVB-S is the same as T2 but, I think, has a few more HD channels. It's branded "Freesat" and requires the installation of a satellite dish on the side of the house - which often fails the WAF test. It arrived before Freeview HD and so was the first way to get HD channels, although I'm not sure whether that really is the case any more.

For those that are wondering, "YouView" is actually a STB with a DVB-T2 tuner and a range of additional catch-up and VOD services bolted on.

The majority of people will probably get DVB-T2.

about 4 months ago
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AMD Prepares To Ship Gaming SSDs

Mr_Silver Gaming? (110 comments)

Seems odd to call them "gaming SSDs" when they sound like just really fast SSDs. I'm actually surprised they are marketing them that way - especially since they'd reach a wider market if the didn't just target gamers.

Plus are games really that much faster? When I bought my Samsung 840 I put everything on there. However as soon as I found out that the load times in HL2 weren't noticeably different (probably because the longest part of the "please wait" wasn't disk access) I quickly shifted the entire "steamapps" folder to my HDD.

about 4 months ago
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City of London Police Take Down Proxy Service Over Piracy Concerns

Mr_Silver Re:Not a private police force (133 comments)

The City of London Police Force is not a private police force, its a public body that receives government funding and is the same as any other police force in the UK, bar the fact that it doesn't have an elected police commissioner.

It's far more insidious than just the fact it doesn't have an elected police commissioner and it most definitely is not the "same as any other police force in the UK".

http://www.theguardian.com/com...

about 4 months ago
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City of London Police Take Down Proxy Service Over Piracy Concerns

Mr_Silver Re:Nor Private Police (133 comments)

The City of London Police is overseen by an elected body and funded through taxes. It is not a private police force. I think that was just a transparent attempt to sensationalize a news story.

It's a police force controlled by private businesses and backed by the government.

http://www.theguardian.com/com...

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

Mr_Silver More than 8 minutes (401 comments)

...but not before the customer service representative pressed him for eight solid minutes (audio) to explain his reasoning for leaving "the number one provider of TV and internet service in the country"...

Slight correction: the customer service representative pressed him for a further eight solid minutes.

He'd already been on the call for ten minutes before they started the recording!

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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City of London Police take down proxy service over piracy concerns

Mr_Silver Mr_Silver writes  |  about 4 months ago

Mr_Silver (213637) writes "TorrentFreak is reporting that the City of London Police (a private police force in government-backed livery with an authority that does not go beyond the corporate-controlled City of London area — so not to be confused with the Metropolitan Police) has seized control of a number of domains including Immunicity, a general proxy server that was set up as a censorship circumvention tool. This appears to be their next step after placing banner adverts on websites."
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Fake XBox rumour causes tech publications to do everything, except apologise

Mr_Silver Mr_Silver writes  |  about 2 years ago

Mr_Silver writes "At 1:41am today (GMT) a gamer with no ties to Microsoft released some bogus rumors to some gaming and tech blogs about the next Xbox console. By 9:58am it was being reported as fact by Pocket-Lint followed shortly by Yahoo, CNET, and Gizmodo (amongst others). However as Harry Marks points out, the number of those that actually apologised for failing to perform the most basic of fact checking were few and far between. The moral of the story? Until Microsoft and/or Sony announce something, don’t believe even the most reputable gaming sites."
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HTC flip-flops over Gingerbread for Desire

Mr_Silver Mr_Silver writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Mr_Silver (213637) writes "Yesterday HTC posted the news on their Facebook page that Desire users would not get the Gingerbread update because their engineers said that it didn't have enough memory to handle the updated OS and Sense UI. Unfortunately very few people believed the reason (considering the success that Xda developers have had in doing just that) and less than 24 hours later, HTC retracted their claim and promised to provide Gingerbread for the Desire. If you don't like visiting Facebook then The Register provides the details."
Link to Original Source
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Times UK paywall loses 4m readers, makes money

Mr_Silver Mr_Silver writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Mr_Silver (213637) writes "TechCrunch is reporting that The Times (a UK based newspaper, owned by News Corporation) lost 4 million readers since introducing the paywall in June 2010. However this isn't bad news as Erick Schonfeld speculates that their revenue would have increased from $200,000 to $800,000 per month thanks to the reduced visitors generating 2 to 4 times more revenue in subscription fees than the ad revenue ever did. Looks like a paywall could be a viable business case after all."
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Vodafone UK upsets mobile content developers

Mr_Silver Mr_Silver writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Mr_Silver (213637) writes "In a story on Techcrunch, Vodafone UK's content adaptation engine (which reformats HTML for small screen devices, such as mobile phones) has started causing problems for developers who rely on the user-agent and ua-prof headers to do the reformatting themselves or send specialised content for that device. This chorus of disapproval is being lead by Luca Passani who develops WURFL. You can find several threads on the Vodafone Betavine portal from people expressing their frustrations over the policy."

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