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Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

QuasiSteve Re: [s]Parallax.[/s] Perspective (35 comments)

You're thinking of perspective - and you'd need a very odd angle and wide angle lens to hide it. Here's a more realistic side shot which is already fairly up close and wide angle:

I don't think most people are particularly going to care (unless the protrusion is likely to make the phone wobble when set down somewhere), but it's slightly humorous to see Apple editing it away / leaving that ring off for product shots / conveniently leaving it out of product renders.
( Or, if you're still convinced that they didn't edit it away, they at least went to the trouble of trying to hide it without making it seem like they're trying to hide it. )

19 minutes ago

Quickflix Wants Netflix To Drop Australian VPN Users

QuasiSteve billing address checks? what checks? (94 comments)

credit card billing address checks it already runs

What checks are those? Just the regular payment ones to prevent CC fraud?

As far as I know, Netflix doesn't particularly actively use the billing address to restrict services to a particular region - they use IPs for that. That's why for any country where Netflix launches a service that differs from the U.S. one (fewer titles, episodes released much later, etc.), you'll find tutorials popping up on how to get yourself a VPN service that has U.S. IP addresses and even VPN services advertising themselves (directly and indirectly) as being perfectly suited for the job. Hell, you'll find those tutorials for countries where Netflix hasn't even launched at all, and I'd imagine there's tips for U.S. users on getting a VPN to enjoy some foreign titles not available there, too.

Josh Taylor (ZDnet article author) basically has the right idea, but is targeting the wrong people. Yes, geo-restriction is "a form of old-world trade protectionism that is an anachronism", but rather than complain that Quickflix wants others to play by the rules that they're legally bound to, he should complain that Netflix is playing loose with those rules without letting them go entirely. Netflix should offer up the same content everywhere without the need to use a VPN, if they're effectively allowing it, knowingly and willingly, anyway.

2 hours ago

Intel Releases SD-Card-Sized PC, Unveils Next 14nm Chip

QuasiSteve Re:Arduino Compatible (47 comments)

Haha - you're absolutely right! Not sure why I had 'bricks' on the mind :(

about a week ago

Intel Releases SD-Card-Sized PC, Unveils Next 14nm Chip

QuasiSteve Re:Arduino Compatible (47 comments)

Correct - though that's only one option. You can also plug it into other boards (termed 'bricks', so Arduino has Shields, BeagleBone as Capes, and Edison has Bricks). SparkFun - next to Adafruit probably the best-known company for this sort of thing - has got a bunch of bricks plus the Edison available for pre-order starting today:

Among those is the standard Arduino form factor breakout out of Intel itself, but also a brick for an Arduino Pro Mini form factor, and a bunch of more generic bricks like accelerometer/gyro, GPIO, (tiny) display.

I do wonder why there doesn't appear to be a sound brick.. seems like an oversight especially when they've got everything else required to make a tiny little portable gaming unit.

about a week ago

Apple Denies Systems Breach In Photo Leak

QuasiSteve Re:At the risk of blaming the victim... (311 comments)

I'd imagine that most of them really didn't want that stuff leaked - or they'd just leak them, themselves, in a coordinated manner.

Of course now that they are out, most of them will be working with their PR agent(s) to put as positive a spin on it as they can - be that to be indignant, outraged, shrugging it off, claiming it's not them, thinking of how they're going to put themselves in a PSA about password security so that their idolizing fans don't make the same mistake, etc.
And, yes, some of them will probably come out of this better.
But that doesn't mean that this is what they wanted all along.

about two weeks ago

New HTML Picture Element To Make Future Web Faster

QuasiSteve Re:Kodak had the right idea decades ago (161 comments)

There's also progressive JPEG - pretty much the same effect, you'd end up displaying a low-res/blurry version of the image first that gradually refines to a higher resolution version, building off of the earlier lower resolutions.

about two weeks ago

Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

QuasiSteve Where we're going, we don't need rules... (312 comments)

I'm not so sure that's right. I'm certainly not equating the two here, but certainly there's a comparison to be made with e.g. Time4Popcorn.

Time4Popcorn effectively aims to play in the market of non-interactive entertainment delivery (films and TV series, mostly), but its developers - and certainly its users - have no interest in wanting to play by the existing rules (i.e. having to license the content at great cost, and only after spending weeks if not months of being unable to license it at all).

I don't think there's a great many people suggesting that it, and other such upsetting technologies, be required to play by the rules. If anything, they see these technologies as being instigators of having those rules changed, if not abandoned altogether.

I see Uber and the like as being in the same vein - and while Germany, London, whatever ends up 'banning' these services, I'm sure they realize that it's not going to stop then and there, and the rules will eventually have to be adjusted.

about two weeks ago

Google Introduces HTML 5.1 Tag To Chrome

QuasiSteve Re:srcset attribute (94 comments)

This allow to change the img source according to media queries, which is not possible using CSS

Could you explain this in more detail?

I thought it was perfectly possible to have an @screen CSS with one image source, and an @handheld CSS with another image source?

( Not to mention the 'device-pixel-ratio' tricks. )

In addition, while sub-optimal, servers themselves can already send different media based on the request headers; isn't that how the whole 'mobile vs desktop mode' in smartphone browsers works (or rather, is supposed to work) anyway?

about two weeks ago

Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

QuasiSteve Re:Her Videos Are Shit (1262 comments)

I think that in the case of e.g. Wolfenstein, you're right, there's a storyline (well.. sort of) that is written for a particular character.. but that's mostly the character's background/mindset/etc, and not so much its looks.

I just think it's silly to expect developers to build games that always take a specific set of players preferences into consideration over another.

This is why I mentioned that they should leverage the technology that they're already using and come up with a unified way to re-use assets. This doesn't require customization options in-game at all - all it needs to be able to do is load a mesh, associated texture maps, and skeleton parameters, and it should be good to go, regardless of whether that game is an army warfare game, an RPG, etc.

about three weeks ago

Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

QuasiSteve Re:Her Videos Are Shit (1262 comments)

Movies and games are intrinsically different, though. You also have no control over the protagonist's actions.

Perhaps the easiest way to make this obvious is to ask you to watch one of the 'no commentary' playthroughs of a game. I think you'll find very quickly that you'd be wondering why the player didn't check out a certain room, why they shot a person and alerted a bunch of their buddies when they could have just snuck past, etc. etc.

Note that almost hidden in that very paragraph is part of the realization that it's different - you'd be wondering about the player, not about the character. Even if, during a movie, you wonder why a protagonist did / did not do X, you're wondering it about the protagonist, and not the screenwriter / director / etc.

As for whether or not it's appropriate for any type of game - no, probably not. That is why I did limit it to at least humanoid type games, limiting one to a humanoid type skeleton. If somebody wants to drop that inside the model of a penis because they're 14 and think it's funny, they should go for it (and get banned for violating the rules if it's an online game, most likely). If they're playing a game where they're a snake, then obviously the humanoid skeleton simply wouldn't apply.

So within the genre of having humanoid type characters - which is the vast majority of games - what element of customization do you believe would be incompatible with, say, a Battlefield type game? If you think that some players would wear fur coats over bikinis while wielding a gun.. well they're just making themselves a bigger target, aren't they? ;) But if you think that some players would choose to be a bit more on the L4D Coach side of physique mesh, or that a player might choose to have that shirt texture buttoned all the way up to the top because they want to show a little less cleavage...well, I'm not sure what would be wrong with that.

about three weeks ago

Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

QuasiSteve Re:Her Videos Are Shit (1262 comments)

Just because she shares some of the traits that she discusses as miss-ification (I don't remember the term she used - watched it a long time ago; the bow in the hair being ubiquitous is hilarious though), doesn't mean she's undermining her argument.

That's the same silly observation-jump-to-conclusion people make about e.g. those who are part of Greenpeace driving cars, taking flights and having their main fleet be diesel engine ships, and thus should not be taken seriously on their talking points on pollution.

Specifically, she chose to wear make up and wear earrings - for whatever reason. In the case of a game character, that choice is made entirely for you.

Now, do I think that every game should have a characters with complete customization options? Well, actually, yes. Why not. In fact, it would be about time that the game industry picked up on the Wii's 'Mii' construction and allowed gamers to play with their own humanoid avatars in any game so that people can design their own characters to their heart's content, or have it designed professionally for them. The technology has been there since games started using skeletal systems instead of rigid pre-defined poses.

But assuming that's not within budget constraints, there's at least little to no reason to always put a bow on a cartoonesque character to indicate it's supposed to be female, or to give more human-like characters large breasts, a voluptuous behind, and skimpy clothing - just like the male characters don't always need to be six pack buffs with a 5 o'clock shadow and a deep-but-not-too-deep voice. If that's exactly what the game calls for (hello, Mortal Kombat), fine. Otherwise, spice things up, keep things interesting, and stop reinforcing the stereotypes that the games industry has, even if the criticism comes from somebody who may very well embody that stereotype.

about three weeks ago

Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

QuasiSteve Re:A limit is a limit (475 comments)

I'm pretty sure people wouldn't argue with that stance and are almost certain to come to the same conclusion.

It's just such a shame that some people on the road believe they are in a perpetual state of potentially being run over by a semi.

about a month ago

World's Fastest Camera Captures 4.4 Trillion Frames Per Second

QuasiSteve Motion Picture Camera? (94 comments)

designed a motion picture camera which is capable of ... 450 x 450 pixel pictures

I guess if you're targeting a 320x240 device, that counts... otherwise, not so much.

( 450x450 is still pretty impressive at that frame rate. )

about a month ago

Google Reader: One Year Later

QuasiSteve 'Social Media' and APIs more likely to kill feeds (132 comments)

Google Reader was merely the most popular 'client' app - its disappearance wouldn't spell the doom of feeds (RSS/atom/whatever), and here's why: practically all the major publishing apps have RSS functionality built-in.
Do you use Wordpress? You probably have an RSS feed whether you're aware of it or not.
Using phpBB? You probably have an RSS feed.
Started a subreddit? It comes with a bunch of feeds.

Now try to get an RSS feed for, say, .
Or how about an RSS feed for ?

facebook still offers an RSS for timelines, but you'll have to get it first as it's keyed.
twitter doesn't offer an RSS at all, you'll just have to use the APIs (and you'll need to authenticate even if you only want public read access, so you'll have to register, too). And don't think about trying to offer an API-to-RSS bridge, Twitter doesn't take kindly to such awesomeness;

These 'social media' platforms of course want you to stay inside their boundaries. If you want to know what @Whoever is up to, you'll just have to view twitter or, better yet, 'Follow' that user and make sure you've got yourself logged in on as many devices as possible preferably with the official twitter apps.

So what happens when a company no longer regularly posts their news or blog posts via their regular content delivery, and instead takes to twitter / facebook? The feed dies out. Sure, it's still there, and maybe once in a blue moon some new content does pop up on there.. but for that same content and everything else you'd be interested in, you'll just have to check them out on facebook and/or twitter.

It's only when companies start realizing this shift - and, again, they might not even be fully aware that they're offering a feed in the first place - that they might try shutting it down for fear of not reaching the right viewership (in the way they want, including the possibility of deleting a post that they later regret).

At least feeds will remain as the premiere way to deliver podcasts (hacked on as they are) ... until some sort of social podcasting platform emerges as the de facto standard and requires you to use their website/proprietary apps.

about 2 months ago

NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

QuasiSteve Re:Not about consumption, but about sales (532 comments)

For instance, the local mom and pop store could not sell a 44 ounce soft drink, however the local 7-11 (convenience store) could sell it without any problems.

A local mom and pop store could also sell them just fine.

the ban only applied to businesses under the auspices of the health department*

If the mom and pop 'store' was actually a small local food joint (including, say, an establishment that sells giant sugared-up bubble teas), you're absolutely right. But then, they're already subject to a whole slew of different laws.

So you'd really have to question how 7/11 with their soda dispensers etc. are categorized as merely a convenience or grocery store, when in the element of providing beverages effectively 'to go' they're not all that different from, say, a McDonald's. Not so much a problem with this law, as it is with whatever law governs business categorization and how that affects what other laws are applicable.
( Note that 7/11 could still sell their half gallon bottled products, regardless. )

* From a BBC article. You can read the full definition in the actual health code (as long as it isn't changed after the ruling):
Page 38.

New York City Health Code



81.53 Maximum Beverage Size

  • (a) Definition of terms used in this section.
    • (1) Sugary drink means a carbonated or non-carbonated beverage that:
      • (A) is non-alcoholic;
      • (B) is sweetened by the manufacturer or establishment with sugar or another caloric sweetener;
      • (C) has greater than 25 calories per 8 fluid ounces of beverage; and
      • (D) does not contain more than 50 percent of milk or milk substitute by volume as an ingredient.
        The volume of milk or milk substitute in a beverage will be presumed to be less than or equal to 50 percent unless proven otherwise by the food service establishment serving it.
    • (2) Milk substitute means any liquid that is soy-based and is intended by its manufacturer to be a substitute for milk.
    • (3) Self-service cup means a cup or container provided by a food service establishment that is filled with a beverage by the customer.
  • (b) Sugary drinks. A food service establishment may not sell, offer, or provide a sugary drink in a cup or container that is able to contain more than 16 fluid ounces.
  • (c) Self-service cups. A food service establishment may not sell, offer, or provide to any customer a self-service cup or container that is able to contain more than 16 fluid ounces.
  • (d) Violations of this section. Notwithstanding the fines, penalties, and forfeitures outlined in Article 3 of this Code, a food service establishment determined to have violated this section will be subject to a fine of no more than two hundred dollars for each violation and no more than one violation of this section may be cited at each inspection of a food service establishment.

about 3 months ago

NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

QuasiSteve Re:The Sugary Slope (532 comments)

The analogy doesn't entirely hold. Analogous would be if they put extra taxes on sugary soft drinks, put warning labels on the bottles/cups, and banning their consumption in public places.

Vice versa, the analogy would be that places that sell cigarettes can only sell the filter-less cigarettes in packages of 10, forcing those who want to buy more cigarettes at a time to buy two packs.

( The analogy doesn't quite hold as cigarettes tend to be consumed over a longer period of time, rather than gulped down in one sitting at a restaurant/movie theater, say. )

Though this bit off of wikipedia makes me curious:

In the United States of America, the quantity of cigarettes in a pack must be at least 20.

I guess that was enacted to keep cigarette companies from dropping 2 out of a pack without people really noticing while still paying a similar price. I can only imagine there's strict rules on length and diameter, too.

about 3 months ago

NYC Loses Appeal To Ban Large Sugary Drinks

QuasiSteve Not about consumption, but about sales (532 comments)

If people want to smash down 44fl oz of sugar like that then let them. If you need to regulate that

But it wasn't going to regulate people drinking 44fl oz of whatever, or even 16.5fl oz

If a patron wanted, there was nothing stopping them from buying, say, 3 x 16fl oz drinks and gulp that all up. Alternatively, there was nothing stopping them from getting one 16fl oz drink and going for refills.

This was entirely on businesses, disallowing them to sell anything over 16fl oz.

Changing it to say that they wanted to prohibit people from drinking more than that certainly incensed people who are against government intrusion into personal affairs - but that really only helped the case of businesses who would rather sell you one bigger drink of which more is likely to just get tossed anyway or drank because people didn't want to toss it so they drank more than they actually wanted, than that they sell you a smaller drink and then have more people realize that they really don't want any more than that.
There's a reason that the other party was "the American Beverage Association" and not, say, the ACLU or some rights group that defends individuals' personal freedoms (rather than business' freedoms).

That's what the goal was, which as a side-effect may have been that people would drink less of it - but if they really wanted to, they could always go and drink more.

Well, that and of course tell people what to eat, when to eat, and how to eat. /sarcasm

So if there's any argument to be had, it should be about whether businesses should be free to serve whatever size drink they damn well please, no matter the content (aside from those regulated already, like liquor).

about 3 months ago

Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

QuasiSteve Re:Predictable (484 comments)

Sorry, AC, but unfortunately that's not how it works.

You basically pay taxes on line items. Those line items get there through politicians. Those politicians get there through voting.

The paying taxes part? That brings no sway. I mean, you can try to pay less taxes arguing against certain line items - and undoubtedly just find yourself paying even more taxes or getting incarcerated - but that's not going to help.

You voting for politicians can help - but I realize that this choice is fairly limited. Simplifying that choice a bit further, you've got candidates A, B, and C. A is pro-DRM, B is on the fence, and C is anti-DRM but also doesn't stand a snowflake's chance in hell of actually getting voted in.

And that's where lobbying comes in. Lobbying can sway candidate B either which way. More lobbying can even make candidate A change their mind.

That's how you get line items changed, and thus change where taxes are going.

about 3 months ago

Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

QuasiSteve Re:Predictable (484 comments)

"the demands of the highest bidding lobbyist".

If we truly believe that - and I'm not saying there's reason not to - then why don't people unite and form their own lobbying group?

Hollywood (well, TV/Movies/Music industry) spent ~$110M in 2013 on lobbying (figures may vary depending on source - all hover around the $110M mark). At least the above-the-table stuff.

People are fine with paying $10/month for, say, Netflix.
Q4 2013 Netflix subscribers (U.S. only): 33.1M.

That's $331,000,000 every month or $3,972,000,000 every year. That's ~4 BILLION. Not just this year. Next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, etc.

Now, what do you imagine $4B/year in lobbying politicians can do for you? Buy some laws that make it legal to download movies? Buy some laws that make it illegal to add DRM? Sway the spirit of existing laws to make remote-DVR type setups (such as Aereo and the ill-fated Zediva) legal?

The people would be the highest bidding lobbyist - by a huge margin. If one truly believes that the highest bidding lobbyist is who forms the laws or at least sways the spirit of the laws, then the logical thing for people to do would be to band together.

But that requires far more effort than scrolling to the latest recording of one's favorite show on Netflix / HBO.

about 3 months ago

$500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter Scam Unfolding Right Now

QuasiSteve Re:so how is Kickstarter not liable? (448 comments)

The basic defense from them is.. how ARE they liable?

Kickstarter's claim is that they're merely providing a platform, that they conditionally charge for the use of that platform, but that what it's actually used for is not really any of their concern. They also carefully word that backers aren't really investing, that they're basically just throwing money at a person at the hopes of getting something - while at the same time saying that getting that something is required, but that they're no party in it and that backers will just have to fall back to plain ol' contract law with the contract being between the backers and the project creators.
( Also keep in mind that recently they actually dropped a bunch of their rules - though that's more from pressure of other crowdfunding sites and all the bad press Kickstarter has gotten lately for actually policing their rules, than that they wanted to. )

I can think of 3 lawsuits that have happened that involved KickStarter in one way or another:

1. Hanfree - a sort of iPad stand, in which a backer who also happened to be an attorney sued on principle because the project creator burnt through the money (on what? no idea), stopped communicating, and then buggered off. I don't think Kickstarter was named as a defendant. If I recall correctly, that lawsuit also went nowhere fast because the project creator defaulted into bankruptcy.

2. The WA AG's case (complaint handling) against a project creator. That's ongoing, but as far as I know Kickstarter hasn't been named a defendant there either.

3. The 3D Systems case. This was a patent case brought against Formlabs, but initially also named Kickstarter as a defendant because Kickstarter took a 5% cut and promoted the project through their site. Kickstarter was later dropped as a defendant, however.

So I'm afraid your 5-step program probably isn't going to work on account of Kickstarter absolving themselves from any responsibility, and apparently having the law on their side (until proven otherwise).

On the up side, your 5-step program really only needs to be 3 steps.
1. post not entirely obviously crap Kickstarter but just something that's popular.. like wallets, multitools, iThing covers, 3D printers, custom pens, etc. for which you already know there exists an eager audience.
2. make goal (helps setting it to a realistic level)
3. run off with the money aka profit!!!

Or even two steps, if you don't mind setting up a crowdfunding website and going head-to-head with Kickstarter/indiegogo/rockethub/etc.

about 3 months ago



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