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Nintendo Posts Yet Another Loss, Despite Mario Kart 8

rsmith-mac Re:I owned a WiiU for 1 month..... (149 comments)

Confirming the above.

Also, I'm not sure what exact problem the GP ran into with their Pro Controller, but at least in 2014 the Wii U can be started and controlled completely from the Pro Controller; no gamepad is required for the menu system. (Though games can still require it)

9 hours ago

Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

rsmith-mac Monopoly Claims Are Only A Cover Story (107 comments)

Unsurprisingly, the monopoly claims are only a cover story for other policy issues with China. As TFA even points out:

China confirmed it is investigating whether Microsoft Corp. broke its antimonopoly laws, the latest sign of growing commercial and policy tensions between the U.S. and China that are roiling technology companies in both countries.

The investigation represents a new friction point between the countries following disclosures about U.S. National Security Agency surveillance and revelations of hacking of U.S. networks by China's military.

"There's a digital Cold War going on between the U.S. and China," said Alvin Kwock, an analyst with J.P. Morgan.

"The Chinese government has seized on using the [antimonopoly law] to promote Chinese producer welfare and to advance industrial policies that nurture domestic enterprises," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents major U.S. corporations,wrote in an April letter to federal officials.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, they likely would have been better off actually breaking the law, because at least that would result in a trial over the truth (and some ill-gotten gains in the process). Instead, because this is a political maneuver by the Chinese, Microsoft is being used as a scapegoat here. Any resulting punishment for Microsoft will be based on the state of Sino-American relations and whether China wants to harm the US by proxy. Which given how things currently stand, MS is looking rather screwed.


Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

rsmith-mac Re:Anybody know? (232 comments)

Would the developer/publisher have a 'clean' version that is then put through some sort of SecuROM conversion step, or would you have to go further back, and deeper, into the development process to cleanly rip it out?

It's enough of a pain in the ass that it's not worth doing another build without SecuROM, especially since they'd also need to do another QA cycle to make sure they didn't break it for paid customers. It's far easier to just distribute the last version as-is and generating extra keys to hand out as if it's a regular paid copy. In other words, you are correct: "as little effort as possible was put into modifications for the new distribution".

3 days ago

Comcast Carrying 1Tbit/s of IPv6 Internet Traffic

rsmith-mac Re:IPv6 routers (146 comments)

Apple Airport Extreme. They have supported IPv6 very well for years now.

about a week ago

Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

rsmith-mac Re:At fucking last (194 comments)

No, since Firefox is currently limiting the use of this plugin to WebRTC - which basically means it's not available for anything actual users want to do, such as watch html5 video.

Thankfully, that is incorrect. The OpenH.264 decoder can be used for HTML video elements. Though the last I heard Mozilla is still working on AAC audio licensing.

Firefox already supports H.264 for the video element using platform codecs where they are available, but as noted in my last blog post on the topic, not all OSes ship with H.264 included. Provided we can get AAC audio decoders to match, using Cisco's OpenH264 binary modules allows us to extend support to other platforms and uses of H.264.

about a week ago

Intel Launches Self-Encrypting SSD

rsmith-mac Re:My SSD already encrpyts its contents (91 comments)

Exactly. Mainstream PC SSDs have been self-encrypting for a couple of years now; in Intel's case they've supported full disk encryption since the SSD 320 released in 2011. This is both to allow the easy use of encryption on the end-user side (ATA password), but it also makes it easy to wipe the drive without immediately zeroing out pages, as you have noted.

about a week ago

NVIDIA Launches Tegra K1-Based SHIELD Tablet, Wireless Controller

rsmith-mac Re:SHIELD, SHIELD, SHIELD (42 comments)

NVIDIA likes naming their mobile stuff after comic book heroes and related paraphernalia.

Tegra 3: Kal-El
Tegra 4: Wayne
Tegra K1: Logan
2015 Tegra: Parker

SHIELD was the codename for their first handheld gaming console, and they just sort of stuck with it.

about two weeks ago

Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

rsmith-mac Re:Propoganda machine (752 comments)

Ditto for Gannett, who operates a number of newspapers and their associated websites. Their Facebook-driven comment system has plenty of similar comments from posters who have their location as being in Russia, with those comments being highly up-voted.

about two weeks ago

Aereo Embraces Ruling, Tries To Re-Classify Itself As Cable Company

rsmith-mac Re:It's only fair (147 comments)

If those folks could just pick up a cheap Areo subscription

There won't be any such thing as a cheap Aereo subscription though.

Once Aereo starts paying broadcasters their requested fees their product will cost as much as any basic cable subscription, because the bulk of the cost of the service is the content, and Aereo needs to cover service costs and make a profit on top of that. Aereo's entire business plan (from a revenue standpoint) was based on using OTA provisions to cut out the content costs, making their only cost the service itself. The SCOTUS ruling has put an end to that.

Aereo can "win" in as much as they may be able to force the networks to negotiate with them, but that's it. And TFS got something very wrong here: the 1996 cable reforms mean that the rates are de facto set by the networks and not the government. The older statutory royalties provisions will not apply here; for various reasons this is not how business is done today, and every last cable company is now paying rates set by negotiations.

Consequently Aereo's backup plan of simply paying less than the cable companies for the same content will also fall flat on its face. They are going to pay full price, the same as anyone else, and they're going to need to find a way to structure their business around it to make it viable. Otherwise, to invoke XKCD, this is the copyright equivalent of thinking you can protect a laptop from the government with encryption. Aereo will simply get wrenched; this isn't a battle that can be won with legal tricks, as evidenced by the SCOTUS ruling.

about three weeks ago

YouTube Introduces 60fps Video Support

rsmith-mac Re:Like it matters (157 comments)

Only 1080p videos support 60fps. Presumably Google's logic is that if you don't have the bandwidth to support 1080p, then you also don't have the bandwidth to support 60fps.

about a month ago

YouTube Introduces 60fps Video Support

rsmith-mac Firefox + 60fps = No Go (157 comments)

Unfortunately YouTube's 60fps support pokes a pretty big hole in the current state of Firefox.

To play back 60fps videos you need to be using the HTML5 player and stream the 1080p version. The Flash player will not work here.

The problem? Firefox doesn't support Media Source Extensions, which is what YouTube uses for DASH adaptive streaming. Mozilla's developers are working on the matter, but only for WebM for now. H.264/MP4 MSE support will have to wait.

The end result is that 1080p60 playback works great on Chrome, Safari, and even IE11, but is all but useless on Firefox.

I don't want to slag the Firefox devs too badly (hey, it's a free browser), but once again FOSS orthodoxy is getting in the way of practical feature development. H.264 support took an embarrassingly long time to come, and now Firefox is the only browser that that can't play back 1080p60 on YouTube.

Between this and their constant attempts to turn Firefox into a Chrome-alike, it's getting harder and harder to justify using Firefox.

about a month ago

After 47 Years, Computerworld Ceases Print Publication

rsmith-mac Re:A more contemporary example (105 comments)

I remember watching cnet on television back in the mid 1990's. When it went off the air in in favor of an all web media outlet, I thought it was the end and was actually kind of depressed. It turned out television was limiting and now cnet probably makes more money from me browsing their site then they ever did with television advertising.

Yes. But technology has never been the same without Desmond Crisis, Richard Hart, Sofie Formica, and especially John C. Dvorak's silly little "Try It, Buy It, Skip It" reviews.

Though we could have done with less Ryan Seacrest. He was annoying, even in the 90s...

about a month and a half ago

Researchers Find "Achilles Heel" of Drug Resistant Bacteria

rsmith-mac Re:Easier (106 comments)

Stop disinfecting and over-cleaning everything. Remove the Purell crap

Purell is alcohol based (good ole' ethanol). That has nothing to do with antibiotics and the antibiotic resistant bacteria in TFA.

about a month and a half ago

IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

rsmith-mac Re:Some questions (465 comments)

Please provide a list summarizing what other data was irretrievably lost in the computer crash. If the loss involved any personal data, was the loss disclosed to those impacted? If not, why?

The data was obliterated, not taken. Any personal data is gone, and disclosure implies a scenario that didn't happen. In other words no one would be impacted. Keep in mind that this was a personal laptop and not a server.

about a month and a half ago

Average HS Student Given Little Chance of AP CS Success

rsmith-mac Re:Really? (293 comments)

That falls under "'born, not made". You're either born to good parents or you're not.

about a month and a half ago

AT&T Says Customer Data Accessed To Unlock Smartphones

rsmith-mac Re:Not doing it right (65 comments)

Credit checks for post-paid accounts.

about a month and a half ago

AT&T Says Customer Data Accessed To Unlock Smartphones

rsmith-mac Oh fudge (65 comments)

SSNs? Oh fudge.

It would be nice to get more details about this than what's available in TFA. Was this only accounts in California, etc?

about a month and a half ago

Nintendo To Split Ad Revenue With Streaming Gamers

rsmith-mac Re:screw that (110 comments)

It's not as reasonable as it gets. Plenty of other companies are ecstatic with the free publicity of gameplay videos and do not attempt to take any of the ad revenue. That's why it was seen as ridiculous that Nintendo took the stance that it did.

By modern standards Nintendo is an odd duck. Some of the things they do is outright antiquated (and I don't mean just videos) and some of the other things they do are weird. With that said, Nintendo markets differently and their customer base is wider than just "core gamers", so what works for the latter isn't necessarily the right move for Nintendo.

Since starting with Nintendo Directs, Nintendo has started doing a lot of low-key publicity on their own. The Directs are chock-full of gameplay footage (especially near launch time) and Nintendo frequently posts additional gameplay videos. Furthermore Nintendo seeds the press with review copies of games weeks in advance, and lets those reviews be published well before a game actually launches. This means that those reviewers have also put out their gameplay videos well in advance, and have had plenty of time to put them together.

This is massively different from how many other publishers handle promotions, as Nintendo is far more "open" than most publishers. Take the just-launched Watch Dogs for example: not only did Ubisoft primarily focus on cinematic trailers, but they gave reviewers a relatively short amount of time to work on their reviews and didn't allow reviews to be published until after the game shipped. I'd prefer not to be cynical, but when Ubisoft says that it's their most pre-ordered game yet, it's not a big leap to suspect that they are withholding information because it would hurt sales. Which makes reviews and gameplay videos all the more important, as this information isn't otherwise being volunteered in a timely manner.

The point of this being that while the "free publicity" angle can definitely help companies and buyers, the games that benefit the most are the games where the publisher is "closed" and withhold information, followed by indie games where they just outright lack promotion. Nintendo doesn't fall in to either of these categories; they have plenty of promotion and they demonstrate gameplay in a relatively transparent and open manner. Which is not to say that Nintendo should discourage these videos, but it's hard to imagine they gain much from them.

about 2 months ago

HP Delivers a Big-Name, 7-inch Android Tablet For $100: Comes With Compromises

rsmith-mac Re:Error Message (182 comments)

They're aware (one of the editors replied on Friday). However it's a long weekend in the US, so don't expect anyone to be around to replace it until Tuesday.

about 2 months ago


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