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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Mr_Silver Re:Incredibly bad live stream (729 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 a week 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 two weeks 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 2 months ago
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Leaked Build of Windows 9 Shows Start Menu Return

Mr_Silver Re:oh, please, it's never "leaked" (346 comments)

It's always, without exception, a strategic move by the PR department, to encourage public chatter about some product.

As someone who actually had a product (they owned and managed) leak, I can tell you that it is never "always" a strategic move.

This might be orchestrated by the Microsoft PR team, but please don't assume that every leak is.

about 2 months ago
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Want To Ensure Your Personal Android Data Is Truly Wiped? Turn On Encryption

Mr_Silver Meanwhile in iOS land (91 comments)

In iOS, when the factory reset is performed the key is removed so when the phone is reset and tied to a new account a new key is generated which is unable to access the old content. I'd rather the content was erased first, just in case some exploit is uncovered that can get at that key, but it's better than what Android has.

To expect an Android user to know that they must first encrypt the phone then do a factory reset if they want their data actually erased is absurd. Does Google not share the same view as the public on what the phrase "factory reset" actually means?

This (along with the all or nothing approach to app permissions) is something Google's PHDs really need to sort out.

about 2 months ago
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Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Mr_Silver Re:smartwatch (381 comments)

I'd like a very *simple* smart watch...

* Simple caller-ID and memo display, programmable shortcut buttons, nothing else.

* Very long charge life comparatively (2 weeks would be okay) and/or very easy charging (put it on a charging pad).

Closest I can think to those requirements are the Casio G-Shock Bluetooth models. Two year battery life and notifications for most of the common things you'd want. A comparison chart can be found here.

Unfortunately they don't really go so well with a suit - although I don't suspect that will be a problem for the majority of Slashdot readers.

about 2 months ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

Mr_Silver Isn't this obvious (502 comments)

It also features a built-in headphone amplifier, beamforming microphone, a multi-core Sound Core3D audio processor, and various proprietary audio technologies.

If you need that kind of stuff then, sure, it's probably a good investment.

I don't and, as a result, haven't bought soundcard since 1996. The ones that came with my various motherboards have been just fine.

about 2 months ago
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Apple Hires Away TAG Heuer's VP of Global Sales

Mr_Silver Re:What's next (67 comments)

The laptops you mentioned aren't selling well because consumers are repelled by Windows 8, the design of most Windows laptops right now is dreadful, and Apple's marketing is ferocious.

Sales of computers running Windows have been in decline for may years now. In April, IDC reported that world-wide shipments of laptops and desktops fell 14% in the first quarter from a year earlier. That is the sharpest drop since IDC began tracking this data in 1994 and marks the fourth straight quarter of declines.

Even if all the issues you identified were resolved, I don't believe that it would reverse that trend.

about 2 months ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

Mr_Silver Doesn't make much sense (681 comments)

One of Microsoft's main goals with Windows 9, the next major version of Windows, is to win over Windows 7 hold outs

If you're a true Windows 7 "hold out" then you won't be moving to a new operating system until that goes out of extended support in January 2020.

Working on one new update every two years, once extended support ends then it'll probably be Windows 11 that Microsoft will want those hold outs to move to, certainly not Windows 9.

about 3 months ago
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$200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?

Mr_Silver Interesting you say that (252 comments)

Whilst it might not be for everyone, here I am sitting at my PC looking at my Computer Science books (purchased between 1995 and 1998) and I don't think I've opened any of them in the past 10 years (looking at you "Unix System Programming" by Haviland and Salama, reprinted in 1994).

If I get a DRM free digital version after the course has ended and the pricing is right, then this might actually be more useful than a pile of dead wood taking up space on my bookshelf - most of which is probably long out of date.

about 4 months ago
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iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

Mr_Silver Re:Better tablets out there for your money (386 comments)

There are much better tablets out there for your money.

The problem with all the other non-Apple tablets is that they insist that 16:10 is the perfect aspect ratio because it means that there are no black bars when watching video.

Unfortunately it completely ignores the fact that doing anything in landscape at that aspect ratio means that whenever the keyboard pops up, you lose almost half of the screen. Given a choice between that and some black bars (which I already get on my TV), I'd rather deal with the black bars.

I'd love an Android tablet the size and aspect ratio of the iPad Mini, yet (like high specification handsets with a screen size below 4 inches) no-one in Android land wants to make it.

about 5 months ago
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WhatsApp Is Well On Its Way To A Billion Users

Mr_Silver Re:What?? (116 comments)

Very cheap almost to the point of being free.
Text messages are already free.

They may be for you, but they aren't for everyone. The USA != The World.

- 1:1 and group chat support.
Already do that with regular text messages

SMS doesn't support group chat. Messages to more than one person are sent individually, there is no way for the recipients to see all the people who were messaged and therefore there is no way for them to group reply.

- Picture and content sharing.
Already do that with regular text messages

You might want to read up on the specification for "regular text messages". SMS has no provision for much beyond simple plain text messages.

- No additional fees when you're roaming.
"Roaming" doesn't really happen in most of the modern world

Again, the USA != The World. If I go from France to the UK or USA then I'm roaming.

Like I said, it's a small niche, and it's shrinking rapidly as more and more people just get unlimited texts.

A one billion person niche that isn't solved just by a bunch of unlimited text messages.

about 5 months ago
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WhatsApp Is Well On Its Way To A Billion Users

Mr_Silver Re:What?? (116 comments)

It seems like the only point is to get around the few remaining billing plans on the planet that don't have unlimited text messaging.

This comes up every single time something is posted on Slashdot about WhatsApp.

Lots of people have packages with tonnes of text messages making them, essentially, free or very low cost - however SMS doesn't do anything beyond 1:1 communication in plain old text. So picture sharing and group chats are out.

MMS can do that, but it's often excluded from SMS packages - so after a few messages it can start to get rather expensive. Even more so when you are sending these things to different countries.

iMessage can do that too and it's nicely integrated into iOS. If your friends aren't using iOS though then it all falls down.

So, combining these all together gets you the following wish list:

  - Very cheap almost to the point of being free.
  - 1:1 and group chat support.
  - Picture and content sharing.
  - No additional fees for sending worldwide.
  - No additional fees when you're roaming.
  - Not tied to users of one operating system.

WhatsApp (and the like) fill this gap.

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 a month 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 a year and a half 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 3 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 6 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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