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Ford Dumping Windows For QNX In New Vehicles

realinvalidname Re:Hope there's an upgrade (314 comments)

Exactly the same experience in a brand new 2014 Fusion, with the latest Sync software, and an iPhone 5s running iOS 7. The endless "indexing" (can take up to an hour, happens every time you add new music or podcasts), and the screen getting stuck on a "Please Wait" message when trying to browse music. I've also had it just drop the USB connection and switch to radio or Sirius for no damn reason. A lot better in our 2011 Edge, but I can see why Ford wants to drop this turd. Microsoft has hurt them dearly.

about 7 months ago

Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters

realinvalidname The "orderly transition" (424 comments)

So, I attended the Streaming Media West conference last month, and one of the things I came away with was how the existing players (Hollywood, cable companies, etc.) are adamant about ensuring an "orderly transition to IP-based delivery." That is an exact quote from one of the over-the-top (OTT) sessions I went to, where over-the-top refers to content delivered over IP directly to the user from someone other than the broadband provider (e.g., watching a movie from Netflix instead of from your cable company's video-on-demand service).

This is very much the point of the "TV Everywhere" systems by which you login with your cable or satellite credentials in order to watch cable/satellite content on a mobile device or set-top box (iPad, Roku, etc.). It's basically a rear-guard action against the cord-cutters: we'll let you watch the same content on any device, provided you pay the same price for it. Keep paying your cable bill, even if you don't watch cable.

I wrote a long blog about the show here. But taking it back to the Comcast / Time Warner deal, the competitive issue is not in individual markets (where, indeed, there's usually only one cable company), but in the power of a combined Comcast / Time Warner to keep creatives in the old system, by using caps, throttling, predatory pricing, and other dirty tricks to hamper genuine Internet TV.

Presumably, once the Justice Department comes to understand the antitrust implications of this deal, they'll immediately launch an investigation. Of Apple.

about 7 months ago

Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters

realinvalidname Re:Cellular is the business model (424 comments)

Right now, only ONE cable company is allowed to operate in any one area. Which means they cannot compete with each other.

I believed this to be the case too, but was corrected on a Streaming Media forum a few months back, and was informed that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 eliminated exclusive cable franchises (or, more accurately, empowered the FCC to overrule such arrangements granted by municipalities). Of course, by 1996, the US cable TV build-out was more or less complete, so there's little opportunity for an upstart to begin laying cable and competing.

about 7 months ago

Ohio Attempting To Stop Tesla From Selling Cars, Again

realinvalidname Text book case of rent-seeking (387 comments)

In public choice theory, rent-seeking is spending wealth on political lobbying to increase one's share of existing wealth without creating wealth. The effects of rent-seeking are reduced economic efficiency through poor allocation of resources, reduced wealth creation, lost government revenue, national decline, and income inequality.


about 7 months ago

The Geek Group's Hacker-Oriented High Voltage Lab In Michigan Damaged by Fire

realinvalidname Re:There was another odd fire in Grand Rapids (65 comments)

Yeah, but the fire department attributed the ballpark fire to a work crew knocking over a space heater, starting a fire, putting it out, and then walking away, exacerbated by the sprinkler system being turned off. That's not mysterious so much as it is just plain foolish.

about 9 months ago

The Geek Group's Hacker-Oriented High Voltage Lab In Michigan Damaged by Fire

realinvalidname Grand Rapids? (65 comments)

As a Grand Rapidian geek, I had no idea we had something like this in town. I must check this out once they're back on their feet.

about 9 months ago

Stephen Elop Would Pull a Nokia On Microsoft

realinvalidname Google better hope that MS doesn't abandon Bing (292 comments)

There was an interesting piece a few months back, What if Microsoft exited the search business?, arguing that the abandonment of Bing would lead to a near-immediate antitrust action against Google, either from the FTC or as a private action undertaken by Microsoft itself.

It may be that Google needs Bing to hang around as plausible competition the same way that Microsoft needed Mac OS to soldier on in the late 90's as a putative competitor to Windows (and remember, Microsoft was still found to have engaged in illegal monopolistic practices anyways, something that Microsoft arguably never recovered from).

about 10 months ago

Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System

realinvalidname Finally? (80 comments)

Just started getting into Roku programming in the last month, and I kind of like the ifPosterScreen's "arc-landscape" 1-D metaphor — for small numbers of objects, it's easier to see the selection when it's placed front and center (as a result of your right-left arrowing) than to just put a little highlight box around it like AppleTV does. CoverFlow does nothing for me on iOS or (especially) Mac, but on Roku it seemed to work pretty nicely.

And it's not like this is the only menuing system available on the Roku SDK. Many apps with a large amount of content -- your Netflixes and Crunchyrolls and what have you -- use a 2D grid of horizontally scrolling lists. I think this is the ifGridScreen, but I haven't used it myself yet, so I'm not sure.

Anyways, this didn't seem like something that desperately needed to change, but I assume they know what they're doing. Roku's picking up steam and they're going to be fine. Would be nice if there were a real YouTube app for it, but I suppose we can't have that until Google gives up on the GoogleTV fiasco.

about a year and a half ago

ITU Approves H.264 Video Standard Successor H.265

realinvalidname Missing the forest for the trees (182 comments)

Barely a word about the actual nature of the codec in the summary, but lots and lots and lots about patents.

about a year and a half ago

User Tracking Back On iOS 6

realinvalidname Re:Context, please (188 comments)

Good point. Here's a solution: create a CFUUID, write it to the Keychain. Keychain data survives wipes.

about 2 years ago

User Tracking Back On iOS 6

realinvalidname Context, please (188 comments)

Any app with an internet connection can track you without your knowledge simply by phoning home with some sort of unique identifier, like a UUID. The only way to not be tracked by apps is to turn on Airplane Mode and never turn it off.

The problem with the UDID was that it was visible across all applications, so that multiple apps that tracked a user via UDID could correlate their results. For example, imagine app A phones home with just your contact info, and app B phones home your porn-browsing history. If they both use the UDID, and I have access to the data supplied by both, then I have the names and addresses and porn-surfing history of anyone who uses both apps. If they use different IDs, then this kind of correlation is not possible. Granted, the IDFA is like this in that it's cross-app, but it can be turned off by the user, as described in the article, which was not possible with UDID.

The "hand in the cookie jar" stuff is typical lazy Apple bashing, but sites gotta get their hits somehow, I guess.

about 2 years ago

Samsung Expected To Sue Apple Over iPhone 5 LTE Networking

realinvalidname Collateral damage (283 comments)

I bet carriers like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon -- all of whom have invested heavily in building out their LTE network and also are heavily reliant on iPhone to attract and retain customers -- are going to be in love with Samsung after this.

about 2 years ago

US Congress Probes iOS App Developers On Privacy

realinvalidname Tell you what (52 comments)

As soon as Congress balances the budget and brings the troops home, then we'll talk about micro-managing mobile app developers.

more than 2 years ago

Why Can't We Put a BASIC On the Phone?

realinvalidname Attention Old People (783 comments)

Today's BASIC is JavaScript. And it's already on all the mobile devices. Even evil control-freak Apple's stuff. Young people already know this and do not need your Commodore/Apple/Atari nostalgia trips.

Also, parachute pants are no longer a thing.

Please update your expectations and wardrobe appropriately.

more than 2 years ago

Dennis Ritchie, Creator of C Programming Language, Passed Away

realinvalidname Using C again, and grateful (725 comments)

For me, the remarkable thing is that while Paul Graham wondered aloud about the hundred year language, the one we'd be using a century from now, he completely overlooked C and how long it had already remained not just relevant, but dominant. C was released in 1973, meaning it's nearly at the end of its fourth decade, and it's number 2 (and gaining!) on this month's TIOBE chart (from their summary: "Java lost almost 1% of its popularity in September. If this trend continues, C will be number one again next month."). Put another way, C is 38% of the way to a century of dominance, and there currently few if any signs of its imminent abandonment.

ESR once referred to C's "austere elegance" as something C++ lacks, and I think that neatly pins down what I like about C. I've personally been reintroduced to C over the last few years by the lower-level Mac and iOS frameworks (notably Core Audio), and it's truly nice for doing things like signal processing, where the formality and fussiness of higher-level languages and frameworks would just get in the way.

Also, trashing Steve Jobs doesn't help celebrate Dennis Ritchie's accomplishments, so can we drop that from the thread?

more than 2 years ago

Are Bad Economic Times Good for Free Software?

realinvalidname You guys remind me of Linus... (357 comments)

...Van Pelt, from "Peanuts", sitting out in the pumpkin patch every Halloween, convinced that his sincerity will be rewarded by a visit from the Great Pumpkin.

I didn't think that anyone was seriously predicting the "Year of the Linux Desktop" anymore, which ran its course as a failed prediction about five years ago, and became tiresome even as a joke a couple years after that.

The flat line that Adobe cited in giving up on AIR for Linux tells the story of Desktop Linux's stagnation over the last few years pretty succinctly, and there were plenty of recessionary years in the last decade that should already have provided ample opportunity for cost-conscious users to switch. Hasn't happened, and there is no plausible reason to think it will now.

more than 3 years ago

Sun CEO Explicitly Endorsed Java's Use In Android

realinvalidname Not the whole story (204 comments)

It's unfortunate that Schwartz's blog is gone, and that ZDNet didn't drill down a little more carefully to check dates on things. I was working with Sun on the site at the time, through a contract with O'Reilly. As I recall, the story is actually somewhat worse. The rumor mill reported that Android would be using Java, and Schwartz went off half-cocked and praised Google for the "Java/Linux platform". Writing for, I said "But I didn't end up putting this on the front page, because I just couldn't source the Java angle well enough (no offense, Jonathan, but you did say ZFS would be on Leopard...)." (that's the current editor's headshot on the page, not me, BTW).

Not too much later, Google laid out the details of Android, including the Dalvik VM, which meant that Google was only using Java the language (which it didn't have to license) and not Java the VM (which it would have had to). What I heard through the back channel was that Sun was pissed, believing it had been stabbed in the back. This made for a very awkward scene at Sun's mobile-focused "ME Developer Days" a few months later in January 2008: the Sun people had clearly been told to not talk about Android or acknowledge it in any way, which led of a few awkward moments of dancing around the elephant in the room. The first night of the conference, the Java Posse stopped by for dinner, and upon seeing Dick Wall (who at that time worked at Google), the first thing I said to him was "man, are they pissed at you guys."

Relevant dates and links:

  • November 5, 2007 - Google announces Android, doesn't mention Java
  • November 5, 2007 - Later that day, Schwartz posts blog praising Android as "Java/Linux platform"
  • November 12, 2007 - First release of Android source, Dalvik revealed. This blog, written that day, has a pretty good explanation of the fast one Google pulled on Sun. "How did Google manage to get Sun to license off a platform that could very well kill their own? Turns out, they didn’t: their move was even smarter than Sun’s."

Anyways, assuming my recollection of events and this timeline is accurate, Schwartz's blog should not be taken as an indication that Sun knew about and approved what Google was doing with Android. What it does prove is what a lot of people knew then but wouldn't say: Schwartz was a clueless loud-mouthed buffoon who happily fiddled away on his blog as SUNW burned.

more than 3 years ago

Wikipedia Adds "WikiLove" For Newbie Editors

realinvalidname How soon (225 comments)

until someone marks the "Love button" for speedy deletion?

more than 3 years ago



Telltale making episodic Strong Bad game for Wii

realinvalidname realinvalidname writes  |  more than 6 years ago

realinvalidname (529939) writes "Sam & Max makers Telltale Games have announced "Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People" for WiiWare, in partnership with the fictitious Videlectrix. From the press release: "'Telltale has been rejecting my ideas for green text adventures for years,' laments thousandaire gadabout Strong Bad, 'but we finally reached a compromise with this puffy 3D point-and-click-em-up adventure. They claim all the coding was done with green text, so I guess that's pretty cool.'" The first installment of the five episode series will launch on WiiWare this June."
Link to Original Source

Ron Paul Raises $3.5 Million In One Day

realinvalidname realinvalidname writes  |  more than 6 years ago

realinvalidname (529939) writes "The AP is reporting that Presidential candidate Ron Paul raised over $3.5 million online Monday, a record for a Republican. The push was part of a campaign surge tied to Guy Fawkes Day. From the story: "Fawkes was a British mercenary who failed in his attempt to kill King James I on Nov. 5, 1605. He also was the model for the protagonist in the movie V for Vendetta. Paul backers motivated donors on the Internet with mashed-up clips of the film on the online video site YouTube as well as the Guy Fawkes Day refrain: "Remember, remember the 5th of November."""

realinvalidname realinvalidname writes  |  more than 7 years ago

realinvalidname (529939) writes "The San Francisco Chronicle takes Jack Thompson and Dr. Phil to task for blaming video games for the Virginia Tech shootings before perpetrator Seung-Hui Cho was even identified. "Last week's unfounded attack on gamer culture would be far less frustrating if it weren't something that happens at least once a year. Imagine how ridiculous it would seem if cable news interviewed alarmists who blamed professional wrestling or game shows (two things that Cho reportedly did enjoy in college) for a massacre before a suspect was identified.""


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