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Comments

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iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:One simple reason for this (235 comments)

That certainly seems logical for music and movies and the like; but it seems like Apple is playing close to the limits with software: you want your complements to be cheap, if you have any say over the matter; but you don't really want them to feel cheap; because they are still a part of using your product.

The distinctly flea-market atmosphere of the app store leaves a bit of a smell on the overall quality of using iOS. Arguably, the same issue is becoming apparent on the hardware side for Microsoft and Intel. MS didn't design and release the 'Surface' just because they though that their OEMs were doing a wonderful job in selling their OS in the tablet market, and Intel basically started their whole 'Ultrabook' thing as a "Damn it guys, why can't you release a competent macbook air?" shove to the PC market.

To the degree that they can do so without changing the feel, Apple is better off with cheaper complements (particularly for things like music and movies that are already made and released for other platforms and it's mostly a fight over the third party's margins on ITMS, not the overall production values); but you can only push your complements so far before they start to suck more.

3 hours ago
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iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:One simple reason for this (235 comments)

Oh, I have no interest in defending Apple's status as good value for money(sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't, if your desires don't match their preferred configurations, they are very unlikely to be). Aside from that being a tedious argument (and my being one of the people who Apple isn't interested in serving), it's orthogonal to my intended observation:

In the PC hardware market, and now in the 'app store', it is very easy to buy less product than you actually need/want, especially if you don't have a clear idea of what that is, or you want something that happens to be early on the chopping block when it's cost-cutting time. This makes people who aren't clear on what they want, or who suffer from excessive time discounting and fall for low introductory pricing (see also, 'No money down!' and 'free with 2 year contract!'), unhappy. If it gets especially severe, even people who are clear on what they want can suffer, because the features they want suffer a vicious cycle of reduced marketshare, increased prices because of lower economies of scale, and further reduced marketshare (seen many 16:10 monitors recently?).

It's interesting to see this happen in Apple's precious little 'App Store', since they have very tight control over its terms(they could, say, have refused to add in-app purchases) and only jailbroken devices and developers can even execute software they don't approve, so there are no commercially relevant 3rd party channels. Even in the face of substantial pressure, they've always been aggressively against it in hardware, and yet they sit and watch it happen under their very noses in their own walled garden on the software side.

It's also somewhat interesting in comparison with their handling of books, music, and video. Set up an illegal cartel with all major book publishers in order to fix a higher sale price; but voluntarily set the minimum price for software at free or 99 cents, rather than higher? It's a curious difference.

3 hours ago
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Microsoft, Google, Others Join To Fund Open Source Infrastructure Upgrades

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:Game theory in action (73 comments)

My impression (given that they also dedicate a certain amount of time and trouble to hunting bot-herders and assorted similar types) is that Microsoft takes an interest in things that facilitate malware distribution, since their customers often take the hit (not necessarily because of an MS zero day; lots of systems running well behind on patches and users clicking on trojans and merrily executing them, along with anything Adobe or Java related).

An issue that causes lots of accounts to be compromised on various popular social networking and email type sites? That will mean tons of particularly convincing malware links getting sent out to people's entire contact lists.

4 hours ago
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Microsoft, Google, Others Join To Fund Open Source Infrastructure Upgrades

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:Ah industry initiatives. (73 comments)

It's conceivable that it's just a fit of temper (team OpenBSD certainly did not sound happy about what team OpenSSL had been up to); but it's also quite likely that they are doing it this way because they want it to happen. You can contribute something; but if the maintainers don't accept it, it just sits there. If you and the maintainers disagree on some important points, or they have a strong NIH attitude, this condition may continue indefinitely. If you fork, it's your problem now; but you do get to accept your own preferred solution.

4 hours ago
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Microsoft, Google, Others Join To Fund Open Source Infrastructure Upgrades

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:Short sighted hindsight (73 comments)

Most likely because their motivation is the (belated; but logical) recognition that it's cheaper to support OSS projects that you use than it is to bear the risk of having them fail or maintain a full in-house fork all by yourself. It's not really a fund dedicated to 'more and better OSS generally'; but an attempt to share (to some degree) the cost of improving and maintaining the stuff that they already use or already depend on in some way.

4 hours ago
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iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:One simple reason for this (235 comments)

Apps are becoming progressively worse, not better, over time. In the early days there were a lot of cool apps written by people who just wanted to write cool apps for a cool new tool.

Now with the preverse incentives of the app market, the app store is saturated by apps trying to squeeze a maximum amount of money for a dwindling amount of useful application.

Ironically, that's basically the same squeeze that Apple has traditionally profited by avoiding in the hardware market:

The customers says "I want a cheap computer!".

Apple says "No, you want a low price tag; but the computer you want actually costs $1000, no less."

HP/Dell/Acer/etc. says "We got the price down to $300! 1366x768 is 'HD', right, even on a 15 inch screen?"

In a great many cases, Apple has been correct: users shop for price; but getting the price they want also involves getting a product that dissatisfies them, often in a series of unpleasant surprises over time. They do give up serving some customers by refusing to hit lower price points(oh, you wanted to get an i3 rather than an i5 or i7 and spend the savings on a better GPU? That's too bad.); but they force their customers to buy what they suspect is the product they actually want, rather than the price they actually want.

In the app store, of course, you have the same knife-fight-in-a-telephone-booth margins, and this has led to exactly the same gnawing, incremental, suck. Sure, everything is Free! or Only 99 cents!; but the amount of sheer crap and apps that spring a series of disappointments and annoyances and nickle-and-dime attempts on you is really grating.

As with hardware, this ultimately makes people less happy. The demands of 'app' pricing are such that it's very hard to actually move units if you just let the user pay once, upfront, and then live happily ever after; but a dollar worth of software isn't going to be pretty unless it either sells a zillion units(since copying is more or less free, though support isn't), or it actually has a hidden higher price tag, which is a dirty and unpleasant game even if you would have been willing to just pay that much upfront.

It would be interesting to know how the story went inside Apple HQ as they added things like in-app purchases, set minimum prices/price increments/etc. for the store, and so on. Did they fail to foresee the problem? Saw it coming but figured that so long as their platform and hardware remained nicer it wouldn't hurt them since it would happen to the competition as well? Felt forced into it? (if so, by Android? by online/partially online stuff that got money out of users on the desktop/browser side and offered free mobile clients? by concern over some other potential competitor?)

4 hours ago
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iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:Well... (235 comments)

I suspect that attrition is markedly higher on phones, given how much more time they spend being incautiously handled while out and about, that has to help. The cell-contract-upgrade churn probably doesn't hurt either.

5 hours ago
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iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:I never thought I'd live to see the day... (235 comments)

...when the public is calling for larger cell phones.

A wise man once said "The greatest thing about smartphones is that you don't have to use them for phone calls." Once you start down that path, you really wish they had a proper screen.

5 hours ago
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Band Releases Album As Linux Kernel Module

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:I kinda like it (120 comments)

I'd argue that cassette deserved to die; but for the same reason that it previously deserved to live:

Cassette tape was always the shitty compromise format; but that meant that it had to have compensating virtues: vastly more compact and cheap than reel-to-reel, substantially more compact and portable than vinyl(and a lot more writable, on nearly anything capable of playing it, notably unlike vinyl or even CDs until burners became cheap substantially later); and cheaper, more widely available, and better adopted than any of the minidisc flavors. The fidelity was pretty dreadful, rewinding was a nuisance, and unwinding damaged tape trapped inside the playback mechanism was worse; but if you wanted something writable and portable, there wasn't too much else to be had.

Now, of course, We Have The Technology, and you can get all of tape's virtues with none of its vices(a $10 mystery-brand "MP4 Player" with an eccentric and poorly localized interface will probably treat you better...), so I have no idea whatsoever why anybody would touch one, except to get something on it into a saner format before it rots; definitely not a medium that inspires nostalgia; but 'cheap, convenient, awful' is exactly the sort of technology that keeps the world running, and tape once was that. Now it's not.

5 hours ago
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Band Releases Album As Linux Kernel Module

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:GPL? (120 comments)

The GPL only applies to distribution. AFAIK you can install any software of any license of your liking in your computer.

Kernel tainting isn't a legal thing, it's one of the kernel sysctls(the 'tainted' section). One of the ways to cause nonzero taint is with a non-GPL kernel module; but various other categories of "If you are doing one of these things, we don't want to hear your damn bug report because it is likely to be hopeless and/or not our problem" also have taint codes.

You are still free to do things that taint the kernel; but if something has a taint code, there is a strong suggestion of 'not recommended, on your own head be it'.

6 hours ago
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NYPD's Twitter Campaign Backfires

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:At least it wasn't goatse (153 comments)

...well, there were batons.

Justin Volpe, formerly of the NYPD, already has that one covered. So egregiously that he even went to jail, in an atypical twist.

yesterday
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Mobile Game Attempts To Diagnose Alzheimer's

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:not really far fetched at all (21 comments)

A simple matter.

You simply affix an xbox headset to the subject. If they look vaguely confused, you use the general population baselines. If they start reflexively screaming obscenities and accusing the diagnostic team of cheating, you use the gamer baselines.

yesterday
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OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:Too good to be true? (175 comments)

Oh, I'd certainly be in favor of such a feature, and I'm a little surprised that none of the 'throw things at the wall until some of them stick' Android vendors seem to have tried it; but I'm just not wildly optimistic. On the low end, they just use junk, on the high end they love that SKU tiering ability, and none of the mobile OS vendors seem particularly enthusiastic about the fact that local storage even exists, since it inconveniences their assorted 'cloud' nonsense and sometimes adds little slots to the otherwise sleek-looking handsets.

yesterday
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NYPD's Twitter Campaign Backfires

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:Some of these are overreaction (153 comments)

The nice thing about the knee-pin move is that, while it lacks the drama and blood of a good mag-lite to the face and thus plays comparatively well for the cameras, there is a relatively thin line between 'pinning' and 'compressive asphyxia'. Just a matter of how much weight you put on that knee...

yesterday
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NYPD's Twitter Campaign Backfires

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:If they were interested in upholding the law... (153 comments)

There are plenty of good cops out there, but by not punishing the bad cops it makes them all look bad.

Does it merely make them look bad? A bad cop is a more dangerous criminal than most of the people the cops are there to deal with. If the 'good cops' aren't enthusiastically hunting them down, I'd say that they are ineffectual at best and complicit at worst, not merely sullied by unfortunate proximity.

yesterday
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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:The world needs plumbers too (350 comments)

The tricky bit is that 'stability and job security' are apparently bad for shareholder value or something, so people hunting it are racing against (generally successful) attempts to crush it like a bug and bring in the temps and subcontractors and offshore peons and whatever else seems handy.

This doesn't make their dumb plan any less dumb; but the number of good plans that they passed up to chose that dumb plan is something we are actively whittling away at.

yesterday
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OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:Too good to be true? (175 comments)

I certainly wouldn't doubt the use of non-upgradable internal storage as an effective price discrimination and margin padding tactic; but there is the issue of flash and controller quality.

If you are running something nearly the weight of a full OS (and a RAM constrained one that spends a lot of time killing processes and trying to reload them before anybody notices), you want good performance from your flash and controller (consider the user happiness that the first gen Nexus 7 created before it gained TRIM support and the flash was fragmenting and I/O going to hell). That costs more per gigabyte, more in line with what a decent SSD would (which still isn't all that much, these days; but it's a bit steeper than a basic SD/SDHC card).

If you just want bulk mostly-read storage, lousy flash doesn't matter nearly as much.

Unfortunately, there really isn't a terribly elegant way, and mobile OSes tend to adopt the 'the filesystem doesn't exist if we don't show it to you' theory of UI design, in any case (unless you have onboard/SD to serve as an obvious boundary) to present multiple flash subsystems of nonuniform performance to the user, even if some of them really would be better off with 16GB of bat-out-of-hell flash and 128 or 256 of cheap as chips stuff for their media storage and playback.

Maybe we'll see some of the stuff designed for server and SAN use, with the assorted designs for using faster devices to increase the overall performance of a larger pool of cheaper storage, make it down to phones at some point; but until that happens, non-uniformity is unlikely to be a crowd pleaser.

yesterday
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ARIN Is Down To the Last /8 of IPv4 Addresses

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:1/8 and 240/8-255/8 (263 comments)

285 million addresses reserved for no compelling reason. sure, let's push onwards to ipv6, but saying "our hands are tied" when over 1/16th of the entire space is still available is a bit irritating.

Would you want to be the guy who pokes every existing and legacy system that makes stupid and/or dangerous assumptions about reserved blocks being reserved permanently? You'd hope that that wouldn't be an issue; but finding out could be exciting indeed.

yesterday
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ARIN Is Down To the Last /8 of IPv4 Addresses

fuzzyfuzzyfungus Re:Phase Four!?!? Oh noes (263 comments)

Hey, now that Intel is trying to sell quarks NICs, we could be looking at a real crunch in the IPv6 space... (and, at a tray price of over $9/unit, large atoms and even most molecules becoming enormously expensive.)

yesterday

Submissions

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Massive DMCA takedown of anti-Scientology videos

fuzzyfuzzyfungus fuzzyfuzzyfungus writes  |  more than 5 years ago

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) writes "The EFF reports that an entity by the name of American Rights Counsel LLC issued a massive number of DMCA takedown notices against youtube videos critical of Scientology. No word yet on who American Rights Counsel LLC is, or is working for, but I think we can all guess."
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1975 Wavemate Jupiter II Schematics

fuzzyfuzzyfungus fuzzyfuzzyfungus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) writes "I've been forced to clean up my underground lair and I have unearthed a number of historical curiosities. Most notably a Wavemate Jupiter II computer, floppy disk peripheral, and full schematics. I've hit google and there seems to be almost no information about these things or the people who made them. Any chance that somebody here was connected to that system's history? Would people be interested in the documents if I were to digitize them?"

Journals

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WaveMate Jupiter II and Parts: Who wants some?

fuzzyfuzzyfungus fuzzyfuzzyfungus writes  |  more than 4 years ago So, a while back, I got my hands on a Wavemate Jupiter II. Vintage 1975, wire-wrap cardcage construction in a 4u rackmount case. Unfortunately, I am now moving, and don't have the space or time to hang onto this rather charming object.

I feel really bad throwing away a computer older than I am, so I'm looking for a good home for it. System includes the Jupiter II, the external dual 8 inch floppy drive, and a whole bunch of system schematics and documentation. Both pieces of hardware power up; but only one of the power supplies is good(the power supplies are interchangeable). It is heavy and probably a bit fragile, so local(Boston, MA area) pickup would be best.

If you are interested, leave a comment. If you know anybody who might be interested, have them leave a comment. If you aren't local; but are just that interested, we might be able to work some sort of shipping out, though it isn't my preference(a "no Nigerian princes who need my help to get US 20 Million out of the country" rule is naturally in effect).

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