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China Gives Microsoft 20 Days To Respond To Competition Probe

nabsltd Re:And well they should. (66 comments)

But in the end, many companies will choose to foot a larger bill if they can budget for it in advance. "We will need $100,000 for Office licenses" often sounds better than "We didn't budget for it, but it turns out we need $30,000 for various unforeseen development expenses."

It also rarely matters what the total cost turns out to be, but rather the per-seat cost.

If you can get a big enough volume discount, $200 or so per seat doesn't look bad considering that it's a purchase (Office doesn't require yearly fees), and you get a lot more support overall (both official through MS and various help web sites).

4 hours ago

Reported iCloud Hack Leaks Hundreds of Private Celebrity Photos

nabsltd Re:Where are these photos? (226 comments)

Some are freaking-out though, or at least their publicity management people are. From what I gather, someone started tweeting they were fake, and apparently the more were released to prove they weren't.

If all the leaked photos are very "private", then I suspect they are fakes.

On the other hand, if there are lots of "boring" pictures, too, it's likely they are real.

6 hours ago

Comcast Training Materials Leaked

nabsltd Re:McDonallds should sue ... (251 comments)

Buy a Winegard 8800 and a Boost XT preamp, and that distance should be no problem.

I have an 8800 (and a 4400) and a low noise pre-amp on each. I didn't say OTA TV was's actually quite good. Some signals are so strong that the antenna pointed 90 degrees from the source still gets a signal well over 24dB C/N. On the "proper" antenna, signals can hit 30dB C/N.

But, DirecTV still has fewer dropouts than even the strongest channels, since multiple reflected signals can wreak havoc, and stronger signals are often affected even more. I can't control airplanes, moving trees, or other intermittent reflectors, and these happen far more often than really thick clouds, so OTA fares worse than satellite.

2 days ago

Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

nabsltd Re:I seem to remember... (275 comments)

And indeed, your usage is typical of any Google Drive user, right?

For phone access, yes, since there are no ads even on the Google-supplied app. The same applies to the custom app for Windows, Mac, etc.

For web access, there aren't currently any ads on the Google Drive page, so, yes, for now. And, if Google changes this, there is always AdBlock.

2 days ago

Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

nabsltd Re:customer-centric (396 comments)

But if it was an American, residing on European soil, there would be extradition procedures to follow. And those would involve having the local (EU) police generate their own warrant and make their own arrest based upon a formal request.

If you had followed this case, you would know that this is exactly what the US tried to do.

The US asked an Irish court to issue a warrant to force production of the data. The Irish court refused to issue the warrant. So, the US issued a subpoena to Microsoft, who rightly told the US that although the data was on a Microsoft computer, the data was owned by a customer of Microsoft, therefore a warrant would be required. The US court then issued a warrant for Microsoft to produce the data. Microsoft refused, noting that the data was in a foreign country, and warrants are only valid when issued by a court that has jurisdiction over the location of the requested object/data/person. No US court has jurisdiction over Irish soil, thus we end up at today's story.

The actual point of Microsoft's appeal is that the US wants to have a court to be able to issue an order that has the all the advantages of both a warrant and a subpoena, while ignoring their limitatations. The problem with this is that subpoenas are allowed to be fairly vague and apply to anything that is "owned" by the target of the subpoena, regardless of where it is located. Warrants, OTOH, can force the target to hand over something they don't own but over which they have control, but can only request very specific items/data, and have to be issued by a court that has jurisdiction over where the item/data is located.

2 days ago

Microsoft Releases Replacement Patch With Two Known Bugs

nabsltd Re:Why are they hiding information? (138 comments)

A short description of what the patch actually is intended to do would not kill Microsoft. I shouldn't have to go hunting for that information if I want it.

In addition, if you have set Windows Update to "download but not install", then it is possible that you don't have Internet access at the time you are thinking of applying the already-downloaded patch.

3 days ago

Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

nabsltd Re:Can we get a tape drive to back this up? (315 comments)

And LTO is far more reliable than a SATA hard disk.

It depends on what you mean by "reliable". Able to withstand impact, yes. Able to keep bits intact when stored as they should be...both LTO6 and disk are about the same.

This is because the bit error rate on LTO6 is so high compared to something like the Oracle T10000C tapes. Statistics say you would need two copies of everything on LTO6 to make it as likely to not lose data as a single copy on T10000. We had to do the analysis on the best way to back up 12PB of data, and T10000 won if you were starting from scratch. Since the client already had LTO6 drives (and the silo), that tipped the scales back, but they still have to make two copies and send one offsite to meet the reliability requirements.

5 days ago

Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

nabsltd Re:I seem to remember... (275 comments)

Google offers its storage space in return for serving you ads when you use their services.

I haven't ever seen an ad when accessing Google Drive.

I don't see how they can ever serve me an ad on my phone since I use a third-party file manager app that uses the Google Drive API to seamlessly integrate GDrive to my phone file system. On the PC I use a web browser, which can be protected by AdBlock if they ever do start serving ads on the Google Drive page.

about a week ago

Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

nabsltd Re:Why such paranoia ? (299 comments)

Imagine if some poor schumck recorded video on his smartphone of that cop in Ferguson shooting that kid. They'd brick the phone immediately, eliminating the video, and only leaving the schumck's word that he had the video.

How is this any different from the police taking the phone and erasing the video? In order to get the information they need to "brick" the phone, they'd need to look at the phone, thus they would have it in their possession and could do anything nefarious that they chose. The only situation where the government shutting down an individual phone remotely makes any sense is if they believe that phone is a required part of a "people are going to die" plot.

The real problem with a mandated remote kill switch is that every script kiddie on the planet would want to break into whatever controls sending out the "kill" order so they could entertain themselves. With current systems where whatever method I choose to have this functionality is not known, and there are a great many options, it's far less likely that somebody will wipe my phone just for "fun".

about two weeks ago

Comcast Training Materials Leaked

nabsltd Re:Just doin' business (251 comments)

Upselling doesn't occur until their issue is resolved and the call is on track to end.

And that's still a problem. If I call to have a problem fixed, then that's all they should do. The dozens of ads per day they insert into the video, the 2-3 pieces of snail mail I get per week, and the annoying calls that I can't stop because I have a "business relationship" with them are more than enough "upsell" for me.

Luckily, my providers (DirecTV for video and Verizion FiOS for Internet) don't do any a lot of this crap (DirecTV does insert a lot of ads for themselves). The only "upsell" I get from a support call to either one of these is a "is there anything else I can help you with?" at the end. I don't get any snail mail ads from either one, and neither call me. DirecTV tells me about new services by messages that appear on my STB (not intrusive...must be accessed manually via a menu choice), and at least one of which I have purchased.

about two weeks ago

Comcast Training Materials Leaked

nabsltd Re:McDonallds should sue ... (251 comments)

TV antennas have worked since the 1940s. With the digital switchover is the 2000s, people even further out can get a digitally-perfect picture in higher quality with less artifacts than any cable or satellite provider offers.

I have several antennas (pointed at different cities), and so I can say with a lot of knowledge that you are generally wrong. I'm less than 30 miles from one set of towers and about 40 from the other, and I have far fewer dropouts from DirecTV than from antenna. Not that there's a lot on either, but OTA does have more uncorrectable errors over the long haul. For people farther away (but still in the same DMA, and still needing to get their signal from the same towers), it's even worse.

As for picture quality when there are no errors, DirecTV isn't a noticeable dropoff, now that every OTA station has at least one sub-channel.

And you probably have several times more TV channels available to you than you would expect, possibly several good ones that are not even carried on cable.

There are OTA sub-channels not available on satellite, but many of them are available on the local cable provider (Comcast). I do watch some of these channels quite often, and they do offer programs I can't get anywhere else. That said, if I only had OTA, I wouldn't be able to watch most of the shows that I actually like.

about two weeks ago

Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

nabsltd Re:nuisance fee (376 comments)

So The ISP has a choice of caving to their demands and getting a kickback or fight a costly battle that they may or may not win.

Or, the ISPs can support being re-classified as "common carriers" by the FCC and then the DMCA requirement goes away, so Rightscorp wouldn't have any leverage of a lawsuit.

about two weeks ago

Babylon 5 May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

nabsltd Re:This was the best... (252 comments)

I can only assume you've never watched "Sons of Anarchy," or, for that matter, "The Shield.",/quote>

No, I haven't, but I'm willing to bet that nobody killed off had front of show "star" credit. A quick look also shows that most of the deaths in both shows appear to be near the beginning/end of seasons, which almost always means that the actor was moving on to something else, and the death was just written in.

about two weeks ago

Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

nabsltd Re:3dTV is a flop? (197 comments)

what is the remote like?

If you have more than one component in your configuration, you almost certainly need a universal remote, so the TV remote doesn't matter that much.

I've used the same remote through 2 TVs, 3 receivers, 2 DVD players, several media players, cable and satellite STBs, and even my HTPC.

about two weeks ago

Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

nabsltd Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (197 comments)

In any event, preexisting surround systems were not really designed with classical music in mind. The rear channels are low-resolution, which is a problem for classical works (e.g. Stockhausen's Carré, Langgaard's Music of the Spheres, even some Bach organ recordings), as some performers are placed behind the audience and they really need to be heard in the same high resolution as the ensemble coming from the front channels.

Modern loss-less multi-channel codecs (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA) have full-resolution in all channels, so software isn't a problem.

As for hardware, it is true that many installations use smaller speakers for the surround channels, but this does not mean they have generally lower resolution for the vast majority of the audio spectrum. Smaller might limit bass response, but much of the truly low bass is essentially non-directional and is handled by subwoofers instead of the surround speakers. Even so, it's not that hard to add one or two more subwoofers to restore the tiny bit of lost directionality from having only one.

Everything I noted applies only to home installations...professional installations almost always have all the required extras to make the surround channels the equivalent of the front.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Black Tuesday Patches Bring Blue Screens of Death

nabsltd Re:Phew. (179 comments)

You'd think the guys at M$ had already done that. Isn't that why you pay the yearly extortion fees?

Nobody pays Microsoft any money for OS updates as long as the OS is in general support.

about three weeks ago

New NSA-Funded Code Rolls All Programming Languages Into One

nabsltd Re:stupid argument (306 comments)

CSS & HTML5 ***are*** code languages for programming machine behavior

CSS & HTML5 are data that is interpreted by a computer program. They are not "code languages". The rule of thumb is that without some sort of control structure (if/then/else, loops, etc.), it's just data.

For HTML, this becomes obvious once you see how many real languages (JavaScript, PHP, ColdFusion, VisualBasic/ASP, etc.) have been created to overcome its lack of control structures.

about three weeks ago

Babylon 5 May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

nabsltd Re:This was the best... (252 comments)

That's not true. Off the top of my head, MASH killed Henry Blake, and that was probably the first time a major character was killed off in a major series (other than a cast member dying).

In the case of McLean Stevenson, he quit the show, and instead of just writing his character out, they killed him. This is no different from any other show where the actor's off-screen circumstances (death, etc.) caused the show to have to write around it.

On B5, however, characters that you grew to love (like Marcus) were "dead men walking" from the first second they appeared on screen, because that's what JMS had already written. AFAIK, B5 really was the first to kill off characters as part of the planned plot where the actor had front of the show credit. It's still rare today partially because those actors get paid more money because of union rules, and partially because studios and networks want a more stable cast they can sell to advertisers. Mostly, the "planned deaths" are a supporting character. Person of Interest is one of the few recent shows I can think of that killed off a truly major character, and didn't do it at the end of a season.

about three weeks ago

Babylon 5 May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

nabsltd Re:...but there are already films (252 comments)

The whole point behind babylon 5 was the huge story arcs...two great ones. I will watch the movie...but I don't care like I would about a series.

Perhaps a B5 movie could be a launch for a B5 multimedia universe like the Marvel Universe. The tie-in between the theatrical movies and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show is excellent.

Sci-Fi, fantasy, and comic book are excellent genres for a character-driven TV series with tie-in theatrical movies for the big events that need that kind of FX budget. Even some action/adventure could benefit from this. Imagine a "James Bond universe" where the TV series doesn't have Bond in it very much at all. It could still be very fun, and build up the plot to a movie.

about three weeks ago

Amazon's eBook Math

nabsltd Re:I've got a better modell (306 comments)

FWIW, I haven't been noticing stuff like that in what I've been reading, and I'm a pretty good natural proofreader. Perhaps we've been reading books from different sources.

My most recent example of something any editor should have caught is in the new Jeffery Deaver (The Skin Collector).

In it, a book is identified by a scrap of a page, primarily because the hero knew the font was Adobe Myriad, based on the shape of certain letters. Anybody at all familiar with actual print books (like an editor) would know that Myriad would never be used as body text since it is a sans-serif font, and a really good editor would check the claims about the "slanted 'e'" and discover that the font has no appreciable angle to the horizontal strokes.

For repeated character description, look at Command Authority by Tom Clancy, and search for "Midas". We are constantly reminded that this is the code name for a character named "Barry Jankowski", and often when we are reminded, we also get a repeat of something else, like his rank, skill set, former postings, etc.

about three weeks ago



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