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Comments

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Windows Phones Getting Buried At Carriers' Stores

spisska Re:MS can fix that easily... (412 comments)

It isn't 1995 any more, and these tactics are not going to work today. Ten or fifteen years ago, MS had the ability to bend the market to its will. But they don't any more. That is, if they try to make corporate mail incompatible with non-Win phones, it won't make people buy Win phones; it will make them dump MS mail systems.

more than 3 years ago
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Windows Phones Getting Buried At Carriers' Stores

spisska Re:Windows Mobile (412 comments)

All you have to do is look at the stories MS plants in the press. They're never about the current products, which have invariably failed to live up to expectations, but always about the next generation, which will be the coolest, most awesomest thing ever.

Just look through the comments here. Nobody is even trying to claim that WP7 comes close to iOS or Android (although before lauch there were plenty of such claims). Instead they're all claiming that the next iteration will be the killer.

This is the same song MS has been singing since the '80s, and it's really not a surprise that people have finally quit listening.

more than 3 years ago
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Windows Phones Getting Buried At Carriers' Stores

spisska Re:Windows Mobile (412 comments)

The've got a staggeringly large R&D budget, but they've also got shockingly little to show for it. The fact is that Microsoft isn't, and has never been, particularly good at innovation. They're always trying to solve yesterday's problems, and have no real concept or imagination about what comes next.

more than 3 years ago
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Exciting Kinect Stuff Already Coming Out

spisska Re:Microsoft didn't get it (200 comments)

I tried to allude to the Zune with the 'Plays for Sure' comment -- I think it's important not just to point out MS' failures, but also what happens to people who get in bed with Microsoft.

And the potential list of world-changing developments that completely failed to change anything would just be too long.

E.g. The ribbon, tablets, WinCE, WebTV, MSN, Windows ME, Vista, the list goes on and on and on.

Anybody remember their Smart Watch?

more than 3 years ago
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Exciting Kinect Stuff Already Coming Out

spisska Re:Microsoft didn't get it (200 comments)

Selling to everyone is ALWAYS more profitable than locking it down. Only mentally retarded Low IQ Business degree holders and IP lawyers think the first is the most profitable.

Accountant: We're losing money on every unit we sell.

PHB: That's okay, we'll make up for it in volume.

more than 3 years ago
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Exciting Kinect Stuff Already Coming Out

spisska Re:Microsoft didn't get it (200 comments)

Exactly. I'm starting to dislike this narrative that has developed here, namely that MS doesn't know what it has and that they're going out of their way to stop people from hacking it.

But that certainly does appear to be the case, even though the Kinnect is sold with a healthy margin -- I recall seeing a hardware breakdown that suggested a build cost of around $55 to $60.

1. [...] Its just that MS isn't in the 3D video space and aren't trying to sell 3D video software for movie production or whatever.

A bit odd, considering Apple has been so successful at it. Microsoft's MO has always been to copy others' successes, particularly Apple's. Maybe they've just failed at this more spectacularly than they've failed at their other attempts to copy. (Hows that 'Plays For Sure' thing working out?)

Which is to say that despite years of effort and tens of billions in R&D, they're no more than marginal players in most of the 'spaces' they try to enter. It's all OSs, office suites, and business backends, and the clock is ticking in each of these areas.

I'll give you game consoles, although it will take several more generations of Xbox before the billions in development are paid off. Anyone other than MS, however, would have considered the Xbox project a failure years ago.

2. From what I've read from the guy who built the first drivers, there isn't any crypto or other tricks to stop PCs from communicating with the Kinect. Its just a plain jane USB device.

They're not interested in you buying their hardware without their software any more than you buying a white-box PC without a Windows license. I'm not sure their tactics from the '90s will work again.

3. At the end of the day the interesting parts of the Kinect are its software. If you wanted a stereo camera or something that could do 3D depth, there are items like this in the 3D space that do a hell of a lot more than VGA resolution.

Sure, but not in an off-the-shelf package that costs $200.

4. MS is monetizing this technology again in Win8. Gestures are built into the OS, etc. Its not like Kinect doesn't have a future on the PC platform as a commercial device.

Hee hee. I'll never get tired of Microsoft shills harping on the supposedly great stuff we'll see in the next edition of whatever. I don't know of any company ever that has so consistently over-promised and under-delivered -- and that behavior goes back to MS-DOS 1.0.

Remember how Longhorn was going to, like, totally change everything? Remember how WinFS was going to be revolutionary? Heck, remember how in the early '90s we were all going to be controlling our computers with voice commands?

It's coming in the next version of Windows, and it'll be, like, the most totally mind-blowing thing you've ever seen! Really soon now! Promise!

You should be happy with how many people hate Microsoft. Nobody will hate them when they are no longer relevant, and I don't reckon that's more than about five to ten years away.

more than 3 years ago
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Windows Cluster Hits a Petaflop, But Linux Retains Top-5 Spot

spisska Re:Won't somebody please think of the licensing co (229 comments)

Just like a jet-engine is a great way to power a huge aircraft, no so great for powering your lawn mower or chain saw.

Maybe you don't have a jet-powered lawn mower, but maybe you're just not that serious about your yard work.

more than 3 years ago
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Windows Cluster Hits a Petaflop, But Linux Retains Top-5 Spot

spisska Re:About hardware, not operating systems (229 comments)

No one anywhere, except in your imagination, said Windows wasn't *able* to run on the extra nodes.

I figure it was because the testers couldn't afford the licensing fees.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Unlocked Phones Don't Work In the US

spisska Re:Why should they? (442 comments)

There's a bit more to it than that. If you travel in Europe for business, you're going to be visiting different countries. They're all on the same GSM standard, but roaming and out-of-network rates have traditionally been extortionate.

When I lived there in the late '90s, early '00s, I knew plenty of people who carried multiple phones -- one with their primary number, another with their 'other network' number, and sometimes a third that they could swap pay-as-you-go cards into when travelling.

When I lived in Slovakia there were two carriers, one owned by Orange the other by DT (later T-Mobile). All outgoing calls were metered. Calls in-network were reasonable but out of network -- i.e. from Slovak T-Mobile to Slovak Orange, cost something like five times as much. Calls elsewhere in the EU could approach 20 times as much.

The carriers didn't want to sell unlocked phones, but that's what people demanded. Generally you couldn't buy an unlocked phone from a carrier, but if you already had one, they were happy to sell you a SIM.

Everybody age 16 to 25 either could unlock a phone themselves or knew someone who could. Everyone knew someone that age. Also, most people who wanted one bought an unlocked phone from sources other than the carriers.

Plus, it was much more common for people to buy the phone and use a pay-as-you-go service rather than get a subsidized phone as part of a fixed contract.

The carriers wanted a long-term plan system like exists here but the market wasn't interested, for many reasons including those mentioned above.

But if it cost a US user 20x as much to call someone in another state, things might have worked out differently.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Unlocked Phones Don't Work In the US

spisska Re:Yeah right. (442 comments)

Oooops. change mini- to micro-.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Unlocked Phones Don't Work In the US

spisska Re:Yeah right. (442 comments)

My HTC Hero (CDMA) has a goofy shaped mini-USB port, but a standard mini-USB cable works fine.

I was really impressed with the charger design. There's no transformer at all -- just a wall socket adapter that collapses flat, with a removable piece for changing socket type. USB cable plugs into that; the other end (modified mini-USB) plugs into the phone.

more than 3 years ago
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UK Reviewing Copyright Laws

spisska Re:Great (179 comments)

That's because 30 tones [sic] of cannabis is nothing.

By my calculations, that's a year's supply for over 120,000 heavy dope smokers, or a month's supply for 1.5 million.

There may be plenty more coming in, but it's hardly a trivial amount.

more than 3 years ago
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UK Reviewing Copyright Laws

spisska Re:Great (179 comments)

The cost of hiding from law enforcement and dealing with police raids/theft/etc is included in the current street price.

Economically speaking, that is risk, and as you note, it's already factored into the cost.

If cannabis was legalized tomorrow prices would drop by a non-zero amount.

Probably. After all, if the risk is reduced, you'd expect to pay a lower premium for it. Like how an older driver with a clean record and sensible car pays less for insurance than a 20 year-old with a new Corvette.

On the other hand, while living in Europe, I didn't notice a significant difference in cannabis prices in places where there was less risk (e.g. Netherlands) vs significantly more (e.g. UK, Austria).

It's partly a question of risk premium, but it's also partly a what-the-market-will-bear issue.

What's a gram of medical skunk go for in CA? How does it compare to the mentioned street price of about $17/gram?

Agreed that we need laws to protect property rights, but not business models.

By business models, think specifically about finance. It's nasty and heartless, but the fact is that modern society is only possible with finance.

But if a borrower is under no legal obligation to pay back a loan, there is no finance, and by extension, very little business.

The marriage between big business and government is destructive to society and hinders economic growth by propping up failed business models [...]

As easy as it is to hate big business and government, we do actually need both.

That is not to excuse Hollywood for trying legislation as a solution to an obsolete business model, or to excuse tariffs in protecting certain agricultural sectors.

But we simply couldn't have a society of such prosperity and material comfort without large businesses willing to assume the long-term financial risk, and a government with laws that protect not just property but investment.

more than 3 years ago
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UK Reviewing Copyright Laws

spisska Re:Great (179 comments)

Name one "business model" that isn't artificially supported by laws?

Drugs?

You'll note that even the biggest busts, e.g. the seizure of 30 tons of cannabis last week in San Diego, seem to have no effect whatsoever on either supply or pricing.

You'll also note that organized crime and violence go hand-in-hand because criminal groups have no other means other than loose, mafia-style collusion to resolve disputes.

The fact is that we want laws to protect property and business models. If you disagree, I suggest moving your business operations to Mogadishu.

more than 3 years ago
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Pay Or Else, News Site Threatens

spisska Re:Clueless (549 comments)

It's working at the moment, but every headline is follwed by:

"This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:"

The really wonderful thing is that each 'post-protected' message also has buttons to share the link via email/facebook/digg, etc. Fantastic.

about 4 years ago
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Microsoft Is a Dying Consumer Brand

spisska Re:those who don't remember the past... (585 comments)

All private entities initially dismissed the Internet. Hell, when Jobs visited PARC he didn't even get the point of networking. Seemed trivial and dumb to him. [...]

No.

Jobs left Apple in 1985 to start NeXT computers. From their first model in 1988, all NeXTs had built-in networking. This was the late '80s, when pretty much no one outside of university computer departments and research labs had ever even heard of the internet, let alone had any idea what it was.

about 4 years ago
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Microsoft Is a Dying Consumer Brand

spisska Re:Really??? (585 comments)

Rolls-Royce? They are a luxury brand dominating a niche market with a good margin and good capitalization. While they may have a small part of the general market, they have a large share of a niche market.

Not really, and certainly not at the time. There was a bidding war between BMW and VW in 1998, but not because of RR's success -- they were in fact in serious danger of going under.

RR had gone from a company with virtually sole-ownership of the ultra-luxury car market to an old firm, struggling to adapt, and squeezed on all sides.

Neither VW nor BMW were at all interested in RR's technology (much of which they already provided), margin (which was small-to-nonexistent), or market share (which was tiny, even for the ultra-high end market).

They were both interested because of the name, i.e. the brand.

We are not talking about the value of a brand but rather whether a brand is "dying", and the measure of that is the brand's market share.

No. A brand is dying as its market loses faith, trust, positive association, etc with that brand. A 'dying' brand is simply one that is losing its cachet within its market.

It's not really that important when you're an effective monopoly, like Comcast, or when you're cheaper than everyone else, like WalMart.

But when you're trying to sell consumer electronic gadgets into a very crowded market, and they're not the best, nor the most attractive, nor the easiest, nor the cheapest, nor the most capable ... all you really have going for you is the brand.

This seems to work well with Sony TVs, for example, because they still have quite a good reputation for TVs.

MS has no (nor deserves any) good reputation for consumer devices -- the only decent one they've made is still billions in the hole.

about 4 years ago
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Microsoft Is a Dying Consumer Brand

spisska Re:Maybe Microsoft is different? (585 comments)

Microsoft Surface is a device that actually made it through to a limited release and it seems like it should have had some potential but apparently they didn't end up knowing exactly what to do with it and who to market it too.

The Surface is a very good example of the company. MS decided to play with multi-touch control, so they build huge machines costing $20,000 and up, for a potential market of a couple dozen.

Apple decided to play with multi-touch control, and they came up with pocket-sized devices costing a few hundred dollars for a potential market of hundreds of millions.

It's not that MS can't innovate or that they're not doing clever things. They've just never had any imagination at the management level, and that's been such a deep part of the culture for so long that I don't see them breaking the mold.

The only thing I find surprising about MS being declared 'dead' as a consumer brand is that anyone thinks otherwise.

about 4 years ago
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Microsoft Is a Dying Consumer Brand

spisska Re:Really??? (585 comments)

[...] It is about whether or not "Microsoft is a dying consumer brand" and when it comes to brands market share == life or death.

No. Comcast has enormous market share, but as a brand they're nearly worthless. Ever hear someone speak positively about them?

Rolls-Royce has a miniscule market share, but that didn't stop VW from offering over $700 million for the brand in 1998.

The value of a brand is difficult to quantify, but doesn't have much to do with market share at all.

about 4 years ago
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How to Heartlessly Arbitrage Used Books With a PDA

spisska Re:Nothing shameless (445 comments)

[...] The sales are designed as a way that people without much money can buy books to encourage reading.

No. They're sold to clear shelf space for new books.

Thrift stores are often charities, designed for pretty much the same purpose. Neither is set up so some douchebag can make a profit off of them.

Yet people do, all the time. You can comb thrift stores and often find items priced well below their market value -- everything from knick-knacks and gewgaws to records and vintage clothing to antiques.

The thrift store moves their merchandise, gets their income, and frees up space for new inventory. The educated buyer takes advantage of the margin to make a profit. No problem.

It's the same with library/used book sales. Any decent used book shop will have a number of volumes bought from library sales. How is that different? Are all used-book vendors also douchebags?

What about interior designers who sell books by the square-foot for decorative purposes? Where do you think they get their books?

Besides, libraries (and thrift shops) generally have barely enough manpower to accomplish their primary purpose; they certainly don't have enough to research and catalog every item they have for the after-market -- which is quite different than the cataloging they do for the library/shop.

If it really bothers you so much, I recommend you volunteer for your local library to look up and price appropriately every book in their next sale. It will take you much longer than you think, and most likely will result in an overall reduction in fundraising.

about 4 years ago

Submissions

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spisska spisska writes  |  more than 7 years ago

spisska (796395) writes "This looks preliminary but genuine. Poster muslix64 at doom9 has put up links to BackupHDDVD, a tool to decrypt a AACS protected movie. The program is written in Java and seems to work by retrieving encrypted keys from memory. Windows-only at the moment, but since it's Java-based, ports should not be difficult.

The post includes links to source and executable [alternate download site] as well as video of the program in action. It's not quite the death of AACS yet, but a significant first step. Congratulations. The paint on the prison isn't even dry yet and there are already holes in the wall."
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spisska spisska writes  |  more than 6 years ago

spisska (796395) writes "According to Internetnews.com, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) is set to recommend decertification of direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines in its 2007 Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines.

These guidelines are produced by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and NIST, and while voluntary, are meant to indicate what sorts of election hardware and systems are recommended to ensure compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and subsequent receipt of gobs of Federal HAVA money (see tables I and II for payments allocated in FY2004).

Under Federal law, the NIST Director is charged with chairing the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), which assists the EAC in setting the standards for HAVA compliance. NIST's main beefs are that "DRE vote totals cannot be audited because the machines are not software independent", meaning that "there is no means of verifying vote tallies other than by relying on the software that tabulated the results to begin with."

NIST will also recommend against machines using paper rolls for voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT) under the reasoning that 1) the machine records votes sequentially on the roll, which is a threat to voter secrecy; and 2) the rolls can easily malfunction, fail, or be otherwise unreadable — which is a particular concern in places like Illinois, where the VVPAT is the ballot of record in case of dispute. If a recount is required but VVPATs are damaged or unreadable, then it is impossible to comply with state laws regarding recounts.

Thank you NIST. Better late than never."
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spisska spisska writes  |  more than 8 years ago

spisska (796395) writes "FTA: "Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe. [...]

"This is not a guide for wusses whose aim is merely to wipe out humanity. I (Sam Hughes) can in no way guarantee the complete extinction of the human race via any of these methods, real or imaginary. Humanity is wily and resourceful, and many of the methods outlined below will take many years to even become available, let alone implement, by which time mankind may well have spread to other planets; indeed, other star systems. If total human genocide is your ultimate goal, you are reading the wrong document. There are far more efficient ways of doing this, many which are available and feasible RIGHT NOW. Nor is this a guide for those wanting to annihilate everything from single-celled life upwards, render Earth uninhabitable or simply conquer it. These are trivial goals in comparison.

"This is a guide for those who do not want the Earth to be there anymore."

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