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Comments

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How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture

tlhIngan Re:Business class is a misnomer (145 comments)

You're stil going to get to the same place at the same time as the other passengers.

Not in the same shape though.

It might not impact you much if you are going to one conference, but if you fly to multiple destinations within a week, it will build up. Your back/joint pain, stress level, lack of sleep will show. It might mean that you will save 5k on the boarding passes of your exec but then pay millions for the bad decision she makes.

It doesn't have to be multiple flights. Just one is enough - let's say you book a meeting a couple of hours after the plane lands, on a flight from Seattle to say, Singapore. That's a 19 hour flight.

I can tell you most people (ignoring jet lag) would need a day or so to recuperate and such. You really want said exec worrying about that pain in the back when discussing the finer points of a contract? Or being unable to sleep except in fits, completely dead tired and having to negotiate?

And sometimes schedule demands make the extra layaway day impossible. Enough so that companies that do send their employees on long transcontinental flights often allow the upgrade - a fit and refreshed individual is able to get to work immediately, versus wasting a day of hotel, salary, expenses, etc., just to save the plane ticket.

4 days ago
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Illustrating the Socioeconomic Divide With iOS and Android

tlhIngan Re:Screenshots are built into Android (161 comments)

There's no "app" for screenshots because it's built into Android itself, and has been since 4.0 (which was released many years ago). It's volume down + power button. Just Google for "Android screenshot".

And until late last year, you could get brand new Android phones with Gingerbread on them. Even older than ICS.

Assuming users all have ICS+ phones is not a safe assumption. At least Gingerbread users are unlikely to be accessing the Google Play store, so developers don't need to concentrate on it anymore. (The Google Play survey only covers phones that accessed the Play Store the past 2 weeks or so, so those ancient phones are not something developers need to worry about).

about two weeks ago
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TCP/IP Might Have Been Secure From the Start If Not For the NSA

tlhIngan Re:Chose something fast enough (149 comments)

This is a classic solved problem in computer science: chose an algorithm that you can support in the generation of machines you plan to deploy, even if it's slow in the lab.

Yeah, and now computers are so fast, that the encryption is suspect.

Think about it - GSM has been around for 20 years and its encryption has been hacked.for the past half-decade, if not more. And why? Because back then, the encryption was pretty much unbreakable with equipment of the day and implementable on hardware available at the time. These days the computers are much faster and encryption hardware available that easily breaks it in real time.

TCP/IP is what, 30 years old now? Any encryption it specifies as mandatory would be equivalent to plain text now.

Fun Fact: OSI is actually a networking stack. It's not just the 7 layers you see on a networking chart. It was actually a real to life stack. And in the 80s, government computers were specifying OSI networking capability as a requirement.

So why didn't it succeed, and why is the only artifact we have that 7 layer model? Well, TCP/IP was written by a few scrappy people at DARPA. OSI was a consortium of dozens of companies all trying to get their own piece of the pie. Naturally, OSI's design by committee really lead nowhere as companies fought to have their own thing in the stack.

In other words, TCP was "good enough" and out there and working. OSI was complex and growing and being fought over. It got so bad that the OSI group imploded on itself. And TCP kept on trucking.

about two weeks ago
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GameSpy Multiplayer Shutting Down, Affecting Hundreds of Games

tlhIngan Re:The Cloud! (145 comments)

No matter who it is, how long it has been around, or what the service is... if it is a cloud service it will one day go away.

Actually, it's not just the cloud, it's Real Life(tm) too.

That coffeeshop you buy your java brew from may decide one day to stop serving it at all. Or it may close up shop. Or it may change owners and molest the brew to something vile and undrinkable.

The Cloud is not much different than anything else. Your favorite store might change hands, close down, stop offering the goods you want, etc.

Anything you buy from others is subject to shutdown. While unlikely, your ISP might decide to close up shop and stop providing internet service to you. Or your colo provider may not be able to renew its lease and have to shut down.

Yes, some of these companies have been around a long time, but remember they're survivors - thousands of other companies have came and went.

The oldest company in North America is the Hudson Bay Company (now a Canadian department store, formerly a fur trading business). Doesn't mean it'll be around tomorrow, and for every company that's been in business for 340+ years, millions of others have been started, closed and so forth.

Cloud companies are just the same - another service that can be here today, gone tomorrow.

about two weeks ago
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Russian GLONASS Down For 12 Hours

tlhIngan Re:How does this affect dual-system chipsets? (148 comments)

Newer phones have location chipsets that support both GPS and GLONASS. Do they figure out automatically that the GLONASS information is bad and switch to using GPS exclusively?

Given GLONASS is really only complete above the Russian Federation and spotty everywhere outside it, a dumb navigation chip would use GPS outside of Russia and GPS/GLONASS inside because it can't acquire a complete GLONASS lock outside.

A smarter chip may use whatever GLONASS satellites it does see to aid in reception, and the error would probably result in the software rejecting it as a whacked out satellite. (It happens on GPS as well - sometimes they screw up so the receivers know to discard the data received from a malfunctioning satellite). In this case, it would've seen the GLONASS was returning a nonsensical result and mark it as a bad satellite.

I've noticed much increased performance since I upgraded to a phone that uses both systems, especially in cities with a lot of tall buildings like NYC and Chicago.

Most likely your phone can properly extract the GPS data from the phone network via assisted GPS. In this case, you only need to see one satellite and the cell tower supplies the other satellite information.

Also, your new phone may have more sensitive electronics and more often than not, its wifi supports location assistance using wifi triangulation.

All that would combine to give you much faster acquisition than just pure GPS alone.

Both Google and Apple support WiFi location - Google is probably more question-response, while Apple sends you information and then a bit more to cache to lighten server loads. (That cache was the cause of the whole "iOS is tracking me" deal way back in IOS 4 because everyone believed Apple was getting the location data and stuffing it in the file, instead of what really happened in that Apple send more data for the cache in your phone to save data.

about two weeks ago
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Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done?

tlhIngan Re:Wear the tin foil hat (303 comments)

It will work well enough until NoScript becomes prevalent enough that sites will realize that all they need to do is host the advertising/tracking scripts on their own domain.

Which is better than the alternative, which is all your information is sent straight to Google. Because now if the ad is hosted locally, there's less correlation between a particular user and the websites they visit.

Right now, visit /. and say, reddit, and Google gets pings from your browser on both sites. Via cookies and other mechanisms, Google can conclude you are the same user (especially if you're logged into Google when you visit both sites). But if /;. hosted the ads, and reddit hosted the ads, then it would take both sites to share their logs with each other and even then it's hard to conclusively determine if it's the same user, since cookies shared with /. are not available to reddit except through an external third party site (like say, Google).

So if the information gets siloed, it's a lot harder to positively track you. After all, with NAT, it could be you're hitting /. while someone else hits reddit. While if it's right now, Google can easily say it was you that visited both because you logged into Google, or Google Ads/DoubleClick/etc tracked the cookie you have.

about two weeks ago
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Bunnie Huang's Novena Open Source Laptop Launches Via Crowd Supply

tlhIngan Re:Holy smoking wallets, Batman! (88 comments)

Commercial hardware assembly is hard - not to mention that since you're selling something you take on a bunch of liability as far as product quality goes regardless.

it's actually quite easy. So easy actually.

If you want to talk about contract manufacturers, they're more than happy to assemble your hardware for you - including going from parts to finished product in the box (most CMs offer pick and place at a minimum, testing as an option, and final packaging and assembly as an option after there).

CMs are well used to small runs (you almost always go local for that as the big CMs like Foxconn and Flextronics are meant for dealing in the 10,000 quantity to millions), and they're very helpful in guiding you through the build process and ensuring everything is there.

What CMs will not do is redesign your product to make it easier to manufacture - if your product requires a million steps to assemble, they'll do the million steps (and charge accordingly). Which is why most designs go through another design pass called "Design for Manufacture" which seeks to redo the design taking into account what mass manufacture needs - sort of like replacing fiddly cable assemblies with flex or ribbon cables, switching out dozens of boards to a single PCB, simplifying the case design so it auto-aligns the board and components within, etc.

Computer hardware assembly is a little more scattered, but given the number of whitebox PCs made in little mom and pop computer shops these days, also not a big deal.

about two weeks ago
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Indie Game Jam Show Collapses Due To Interference From "Pepsi Consultant"

tlhIngan Re:We are the geeks, we are not tools for non-geek (465 comments)

That "pepsi consultant" can go eat shit and die - if he or she thinks he/she can push geeks to do whatever he/she likes.

Well, if the event was sponsored by Pepsi, yes. That's generally one of the conditions for sponsorship.

Otherwise the event will probably either not happen because there are no funds to organize it, some other sponsor is found (to which one has to follow THEIR rules), or some other form of fundraising is determined.

It's why sites like Wikipedia don't do advertising - because they refuse to abide by any sort of rules a sponsor might want to impose, and while it's possible there are few who are willing to sponsor anyways, the numbers are far fewer, and the money small enough that it's not worth the bother.

The fallout from this will likely be minimal unless Pepsi sponsors a large number of them - generally the event there is dead, but others will remain unaffected.

Plenty of blame to go around - Pepsi for being so demanding, the organizers for not reading the contract close enough to see what restrictions on sponsorship were, and developers for not asking questions about the sponsorship (and probably letting the "cool, I'm on TV!" factor play an excessively large rule)

about two weeks ago
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Vermont Nuclear Plant Seeks Decommission But Lacks Funds

tlhIngan Re:If you take the profits (179 comments)

What it really sounds like is the State of Vermont & the NRC made some poor assumptions about decommissioning costs and didn't require the operator to set aside enough money over the last 42 years.
Irrational public opinion has nothing to do with this, even if Entergy wasn't shutting the plant down because of profitability concerns.

No, it's not the NRC or Vermont's fault. The plant was life-extended another 20 years. Entergy however sees it as uneconomic, so they applied to Vermont and the NRC to approve an early shutdown.

The decommissioning fund was expected to grow another 20 years to be sufficient, but since the plant was closed early, it doesn't have enough money.

Entergy is 100% at fault here because they want to close it early.

It's really along the lines of you saving for retirement until you're 65, then at 45 declaring you want to retire early. Well, your retirement fund (decommissioning fund) was planned out for you retiring at 65, not 45, so now there's going to be a shortfall, obviously.

Should the taxpayer be forced to fund your retirement because you decided to retire early and your savings are short?

No, because it's purely a choice to do it early - you could very well continue to work until 65 and realize your retirement plans, just like you could operate the power plant until it's time to close it down, contributing to the decommissioning fund the extra few years.

Especially since circumstances like cheap natural gas aren't sudden overnight events - natural gas prices have been falling for over a decade or so after peaking.

about two weeks ago
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Should Patients Have the Option To Not Know Their DNA?

tlhIngan Re:Op Out Knowledge? (157 comments)

How many diseases are there where the chances of getting it can be increased or the symptoms worsened by psychosomatic influence, yet which CANNOT be prevented or mitigated with advance knowledge? Not a hypothetical question, I honestly don't know.

Probably every psychosomatic disease out there. It doesn't matter what disease, just knowing the symptoms will often produce symptoms of the disease, even if the person doesn't have it.

Like WiFi radiation "poisoning" (substitute smart meter, cellphone, etc). Advanced knowledge tends to bring out the symptoms, and for all the testing available post symptoms, it's impossible to distinguish (as far as tests go, the people reporting "radiation sickness" really ARE sick!). Only a true double blind test can reveal it's really psychosomatic.

about two weeks ago
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Subversion Project Migrates To Git

tlhIngan Re:April Fool's! (162 comments)

Apple seriously uses Outlook Exchange for their mail servers, though.

[Archer]You can just say "Exchange"[/Archer]

And the iCloud is stored on Azure. The whole "Onion or Reality" test can be difficult in tech these days.

Well, given Apple's not exactly a well known entity in the MTA market, or in the cloud computing market, I don't see the big deal that they're using Exchange and Azure.

They're both good products run by people who know what they're doing. At least, know more than Apple on those topics. And neither is something Apple wants to get in and support directly. I mean, yes they could do it, but I suspect that Microsoft simply does it better and probably more securely than Apple on their own.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Experiences With Free To Air Satellite TV?

tlhIngan Re:April First????? (219 comments)

Where's the flood of April First stories? Do I have the date wrong? Is the lack of them the joke? Am I not getting the jokes?

That is the prank.

about three weeks ago
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Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

tlhIngan Re:What society really needs to do (518 comments)

What society really needs to do is admit that some people are simply unfit to be in control of a vehicle and deny them a license.

What does this have to do with the fact that rear cameras help eliminate one of the biggest blind spots in modern vehicles?

Sure, if you drive a small car, it's not a big deal (you only have to worry about kids and toys that are really short). But given the rather massive blind spots present in American's most favorite of vehicles, the SUV, it's rather essential.

And from the driver's seat, looking out the rear window, a tall SUV has one HELLUVA big reversing blind spot. Especially with the C pillars and everything else.

Nevermind pickups or other vehicles.

about three weeks ago
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DVRs Used To Attack Synology Disk Stations and Mine Bitcoin

tlhIngan Re:Why is anyone surprised... (75 comments)

This suggests that this malware has been around for a long time, dating from back when it was worth mining Bitcoins with a low end CPU. Three or four years maybe.

Uh, why is CPU mining pointless today? Because the returns are so low?

Yes, the returns are very low. However, they're non-zero. So if you can find a pile of computing devices that you can use for FREE, even if you only earn 0.001 BTC a day, that's still a positive ROI for you.

Now couple that with millions of PCs, routers, DVRs, etc., and suddenly 0.001 BTC per day per device on average is not too shabby anymore. Even 0.000001 BTC still makes it worthwhile.

Remember, the cost of the equipment, electricity, etc is FREE to the miner.

Hell, there are plugins to Unity (the game engine) that does Bitcoin mining for developers to release free-to-play games, as well. (Presumably for both computers and mobile devices, so no, the game is not heating the CPU because its got awesome graphics and play, but because it's mining behind your back).

The ROI of CPU mining is high when the I is low

about three weeks ago
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Judge Overrules Samsung Objection To Jury Instructional Video

tlhIngan Re:Bad law... (232 comments)

Look at Koh's previous decisions against Samsung. Denying perfectly good evidence, ignoring serious problems with jurors, and now this. It makes sense in that light.

What selective memory. Koh has ruled against Apple many times as well. Of course, Apple haters generally tend to ignore that inconvenient fact. It's just selective bias taking place.

Of course, it also doesn't help that Samsung's lawyers tend to be inept and miss long-held deadlines for a lot of things. Or that Samsung's lawyers have revealed to Samsung executives protected (i.e., lawyer's eyes only) information.

So Koh also rules for Apple because she herself gets annoyed at the tricks Samsung plays in her courtroom.

Lets see how might the video not be biased. Oh, it has laptops and desktops from various manufacturers, *INCLUDING* Apple.

Samsung's problem is well, their products are generic looking. Apple decided to go away from beige boxes and design some rather unique looking items.

It's no wonder Samsung objects, because their products look like every other object out there in every way, while Apple, due to Jony Ive, manages to stick out. (Which is why Apple is Apple - their designs are generally such that they aren't generic, but noticeable).

about three weeks ago
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Supreme Court Skeptical of Computer-Based Patents

tlhIngan Re:It's not software patents (192 comments)

The biggest problem here isn't the question of software patents. It's patents on things that are obvious, or are an obvious progression from something that's already common (eg. taking the manual process of balancing a checkbook and having a computer perform the exact same steps). It's just that software is the field where it's taken root the most, I think because people treat computers as some sort of magic that transforms the ordinary into something extraordinary.

Actually, you know, in the 19th century, the patent lawsuits were flying even more vigorously than they are now. In fact, in the field, it got so bad that it was impossible to create the device.

No, it wasn't a matter of licensing, but a matter that you couldn't build it because the patents were so broad and even worse, they overlapped! And no one was licensing to competitors, so everyone was suing everyone else. And yes, we had NPEs (non-practicing entities, aka trolls) as well.

The device? The sewing machine. Everyone was suing everyone else, and patents were granted that were overlapping. So if you managed to license one, someone else with the exact same thing would sue you. Heck, the only real difference was back then, the inventors held onto their patents and did a lot of the suing.

The end of the 19th century nearly brought a halt to the sewing machine. Until the companies got together and simply bought up every patent around from everyone. Literally buying the peace.

about three weeks ago
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Smartphone Kill-Switch Could Save Consumers $2.6 Billion

tlhIngan Re:Go to hell (218 comments)

Remote wiping is already possible. What they want is centralized control over the functionality for governing purposes. We're not idiots. Well... not all of us.

Possible, but doesn't' prevent resale. And the same ability to remote wipe can be used to remote kill like how Apple does it.

Someone steals your cellphone, you remote wipe. However ,that someone has a wiped cellphone they can fence to someone for a hundred bucks, still, while you're out the cost of a replacement.

On iOS, you remote wipe, that device is useless. You can fence it for parts, and I'm sure iFixit and others will gladly accept it, but they don't pay too much for non-functional hardware.

Effectively, it's completely useless to steal a cellphone because it can't be used - you can't even use it as an iPod Touch or anything that just merely lacks cellular functionality (say with IMEI blocks). Pretty much the value of an iPhone or iPad or iPod Touch (with iOS7) is $0. Because once wiped, they're nothing more than a pretty piece of aluminum-wrapped glass.

Any idiot who buys a stolen iOS device will find out shortly that they got scammed.

And even Apple refuses to help you until you can convince a court to force them to unlock it.

Right now, steal someone's Galaxy S4 or Nexus 5, and you have a nifty Android phone that still works. Sure the user's data is gone, but you picked it up for $100 off contract. Which makes them still lucrative to thieves who can make an easy $100 off it.

about three weeks ago
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What Apple's iWatch Can Learn From Pebble

tlhIngan Re:Three keys (97 comments)

It must work stand-alone: if I'm lugging my phone around with me why would I want a miniscule third-rate smart-watch?

If you're "lugging" your phone around you probably need to update your phone.

Sorry, wrong. Modern phones are pretty damn big, which is probably why smartwatches exist to begin with.

People want big screens, but then they try to use them and realize that they're completely impractical for anything other than a mobile entertainment device. As a mobile communications device, unless you're sitting down, they're impossible to use.

I tried. My friend got a Nexus 5. First thing I did was the usual way I use my phone - single handledly. It was a disaster - even with relatively huge hands, I can't reach all 4 corners. And Android (and iOS, for that matter) doesn't have guidelines that say you should put all the UI controls on one corner of the screen for single handed use. So the inability to use it single handed means I can't use it while I'm out and about without finding a spot to put down my things so I can use both hands to use the phone.

The smartwatch came out from this inability to quickly answer phone calls or do text messages while on the go because you need both hands to use the @()#&%@ phone.

Of course, Samsung likes to mock the fact that the iPhone screens are small, without mentioning that their phones are completely useless for single handled on-the-go mobile use.

Then again, I suppose it's a good way to do snatch and grabs - with a user's hands concentrating on the phone, that shoulder purse or murse is a much more attractive target, since it'll take a good 4-5 seconds for the ex-owner to deal with their phone.

about three weeks ago
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Samsung SSD 840 EVO MSATA Tested

tlhIngan Re:Any anti-Crash & Burn circuitry? (76 comments)

The best part of using SSD's? You learn to make your backups religiously, because they will die and they will die fast. I have some very long-lived SSD's in production (SLC) but each one that I've had fail (I have a stack of about 20 on my workbench which may or may not go back for 'lifetime warranty' claims - do I really want replacements of crappy SSD's?) has gone from perfect to unreadable in minutes.

The main reason why SSDs fail is due to sudden power loss causing a massive corruption of the FTL tables. It's why some come with capacitors - so they can sync the on-media tables with what's in the RAM cache on sudden power loss. There are mitigation techniques that are possible as well that allow for sudden power down without losing data. In fact, the modern SSD is faster than the interface it's on, so compromising performance for data safety is doable.

After all, once you're around 500MB/sec, you can't go faster. If the flat out rate is 750MB/sec, no one will see it, so give up 33% of that speed for data safety so you'll still see 500MB/sec at the interface.

As for your pile of dead drives - chances are a good chunk o them, if they've still got life in them, can be used. Their tables are corrupt, so you should try a ATA Secure Erase (in anything but a Lenovo system - go figure, but Lenovos do strange things). We've used it to recover an SSD in a dropped laptop that shattered to a million bits (which was on and doing stuff).

Most good SSDs respond to typical power down commands as a request to sync data - i.e., when a hard disk is issued the spindown command prior to system turn off, it syncs the cache to the platters, parks the heads, and shuts down. Doing so is far safer on the hard drive than a straight power down (less mechanical wear - a sudden powerdown switches all the platter spinning energy into the voice coils, which flings the heads to the parking area violently. It's why a soft spindown rating on a hard disk may be 50,000+ load/unload cycles, while a emergency spindown is only 10,000 or less).

Likewise, smart SSDs do the same thing - they see a spindown command and use it as an opportunity to sync the tables to media, and then report to the host that they're ready to be turned off.

We used the hdparm method of sending the ATA Secure Erase command to the drive, it works, takes about 5 minutes and recovers and SSD to the condition it was in before failure. The only thing is that previous wear doesn't reset (of course), but the drive is still as reliable as it was brand new - just because the tables were corrupted once doesn't impact a thing after a secure erase - it's basically used to recreate brand new tables.

about three weeks ago
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Samsung SSD 840 EVO MSATA Tested

tlhIngan Re:It's all about the IOPS... (76 comments)

Judging by this, the speed is about the same as other comparable SATA III SSD's, with a little bit of a boost but nothing dramatic.

You know what the problem is? SATA3 is too damn slow. Yes, a modern SSD has hit the SATA3 bandwidth limit of 6Gbps.

The interface is now the bottleneck - something that hasn't happened in disk storage systems for a long time - it took SSDs to actually saturate a SATA3 link with a single drive, and SATA3 was created with SSDs in mind. And we've hit the limit again, far before SATA4 is even a draft.

It's why we're having PCIe SSDs that easily get 750MB/sec reads and writes.

IOPS is where we can improve.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Titanfall: No Day One DLC, Microtransactions or Season Passes

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a month and a half ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "With big game releases come the usual trail of nickle and diming — from day one DLC, microtransactions, and season passes to get future maps. However, Respawn Entertainment, developers of Titanfall and Microsoft's heavily promoted next-gen Xbox One title (although also available two weeks later on Xbox360), has firmly stated there will be NO day one DLC, no microtransactions and no season passes. No paying a dollar for a pistol — you'll just have to fight your way through and earn it. What you get on the disc is everything — no paying for maps already included. Of course, this doesn't rule out future DLC, like additional maps, but it appears that everyone gets the same content on release day next week and no spending money to get upgrades without earning them."
Link to Original Source
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Google Admits G+ Created To Mine More User Information

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 2 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "In an admission not unexpected, Google admits to using Google+ as a means to gather more user information. Linking together various Google services to help keep track of your activities across the Internet, it's seen as Google knowing more about you than Facebook (and presumably to use the majority marketshare of advertising to sell you product). Google does not fear a mass exodus, believing that the more people want to use your products, the more you can get away with."
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PS4 vs. Xbox One - PS4 Users View 3 Times as Much Porn

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 4 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Well, one metric is in. If you want porn, apparently the PS4 is the machine to buy. SugarDVD, the Netflix of porn, reports 3 times as many PS4 users used its console app over the Xbox One. While it's tempting to guess that the PS4 sold 3:1 over the Xbox One, actual figures don't agree. SugarDVD CEO anticipates the numbers to change, as the Xbox One "offers a more seamless an interactive experience". One theory to the difference is the PS4 is aimed at hardcore gamers, while the Xbox One is aimed at more family pursuits."
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Valve's Steam removes its first game

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 4 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Today marks the first day that Valve has removed a game completely off its service. Order of War: Challenge has been not only removed from the service, but it is the first to be removed completely from a user's library as well. Previously, when a game was removed from Steam, it was just removed — as long as a local copy exists in your library, you could always play it, back it up, reactivate it, etc, (similar to Apple's iTunes and App Store — it may be gone, but as long as a copy exists, it'll work). Now it appears that Valve has actually gone the next step alongside Amazon and Google and removed games from a library."
Link to Original Source
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A new way to monetize mobile apps - Bitcoins

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 5 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "App developers have long struggled with ways to make money from their apps — from selling them outright in the app stores to liberal use of in-app purchases and in-app advertising. The problem with in-app ads is obvious — for those on Android, it's the ridiculous amount of permissions required to support it. For those apps that use the Unity framework, Icoplay introduces a new way to make money — Bitcoins. Their Icominer plugin for Unity turns spare CPU cycles of a user's device into mining Bitcoins. It transparently works in the background and promises to not interfere with general gameplay. Unmentioned though is the impact to user's battery life and drain on system resources, especially given how iOS7 now (and Android always) supports full multitasking with background support. The plugin is still in development, and is supposed to cost around $80."
Link to Original Source
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Apple converting trial and pirated iWork, iLife and Aperture to full versions

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 6 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "One aspect about the new OS X Mavericks release was that all Apple produced software was to be downloadable and updatable through the Mac App Store. However, this has the obvious implication of what happens to users who bought the software before Mac App Store? Initial reports showed that the Mac App Store scanned your hard drive for the apps and offered to associate it with your Apple ID, and that the scanning even found trial and pirated versions and upgraded those to fully licensed versions. Even more interestingly, this is not a bug, and it appears Apple is turning a blind eye to the practice and giving away copies of iLife, iWork and Aperture to users who own trial or even pirated versions of the apps. Apple has also recently stopped providing downloadable trial versions of iLife, iWork and Aperture from their web site."
Link to Original Source
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Samsung Fudging Benchmarks Again on Galaxy Note 3

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 7 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "A few months ago, Samsung was caught gaming benchmarks on the Galaxy S4 (International version). They would lock the GPU at a higher-than-normal frequency when certain applications were run, including many popular Android benchmarking programs. These had the expected result of boosting the performance numbers. This time, the Galaxy Note 3 was caught doing the same thing, boosting CPU scores by 20% over the otherwise identical LG G2 (which uses the same SoC at the same clock). Samsung defends these claims by saying the other apps make use of such functionality, but Ars reversed-engineered the relevant code and discovered it applied only to benchmark applications. Even more damning was that the Note 3 was still faster than the G2 when run using "stealth" (basically renamed) versions of the benchmarking apps which did not get the boost."
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Despite global release, Breaking Bad heavily pirated

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 8 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "One reason that many people pirate TV shows is "it's not available in my country until months after it airs". Which is why the second episode of Breaking Bad's final season was aired globally within a few hours of each other yesterday evening. Despite this, many users still decided to download it than watch it when it aired locally. Australia users we the top, perhaps because it was on FoxTel. This was followed by US and Canada (who obviously got to see it when it aired), and the UK where Netflix had it within hours of the US premier. Fifth on the list was the Netherlands, where it had aired hours before the US premier on a public channel. It's obvious that despite the global release, the show was headed to top its previous highs in number of downloads. Could this spell the doom to future global releases, since the evidence is people just pirate them anyways?"
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Federal Judge Declares Bitcoin a Currency

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 8 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "An East Texas federal judge has concluded that Bitcoin is a currency (can be used as money) that can be regulated under American Law. The conclusion came during the trial of Trendon Shavers, who is accused of running the Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) as a Ponzi scheme. Shavers had argued that since the transactions were all done in Bitcoins, no money changed hands and thus the SEC has no jurisdiction. The judge found that since Bitcoins may be used to purchase goods and services, and more importantly, can be converted to conventional currencies, it is a form of currency and investors wishing to invest in the BTCST provided an investment of money, and thus the SEC may regulate such business"
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Google Play Downloads Beat Apple App Store

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 9 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "With Android devices outselling iOS ones 4-to-1 or more, it should come as no surprise that Google Play downloads exceeded Apple App Store downloads by 10% in the second quarter of 2013 for the first time since the stores were established 5 years ago. No reasons were given for why Android (which has been outselling iOS since 2010, if not earlier) took this long to overtake iOS in downloads."
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Microsoft allows indie self-publishing, debugging on retail Xbox One

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 9 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Microsoft was the last platform manufacturer to require that all games go through publishers, a much hated policy. Indeed, their approval process was one of the harshest around. But taking a page from Apple, Microsoft will allow indie developers to self publish, and allow retail Xbox One units to serve as developer consoles. Previously, self-publishing developers were relegated to the "Xbox Live Indie Arcade" section, as well as developer consoles often costing upwards of $10,000 with special requirements and NDAs. This puts Microsoft's Xbox One more in line with Apple's App Store, including Microsoft's new promise of a 14-day turnaround for approvals. Microsoft's retail debug console system is to work similarly to Apple's — that is, to run pre-release code, the individual consoles used have to be registered with Microsoft."
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Apple renews contract with Samsung over A-series processors

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 9 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "In an interesting move since Apple decided to partner with TSMC a few weeks ago, the Korea Economic Daily is reporting that Apple has re-signed a contract with Samsung to produce the A-series chips Apple uses to power its iPads, iPhones and iPods. TSMC is still to produce chips for Apple, though Samsung is poised to take over from 2015."
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DMCA Safe Harbor May Not Apply To Old Copyrighted Works

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "On Tuesday, the New York appellate court denied Grooveshark the DMCA safe harbor protection on songs like Johnny B. Goode. What happened was due to an oddity in the law, the DMCA does not apply to state-licensed copyrighted works (those copyrighted before February 15, 1972). What happened was Congress overhauled copyright law to make it a Federal matter, but all works prior to that date still come under common-law and state statutes. The end result is that Grooveshark does not have DMCA safe harbor protection for older works and may be sued for copyright infringement (barring other agreements, e.g., UMG and YouTube), even though they fully comply with the DMCA otherwise, taking down copyrighted materials. Grooveshark is a "music locker" service allowing users to upload music for others to listen to."
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Apple Did Not Censor Comic - Comic Distributor Did

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  1 year,7 days

tlhIngan (30335) writes "A few days ago, Slashdot reported Apple banning sale of Comic Book Apps over gay sex images. It turns out that Apple was not the one behind the move, but that Comixology was the one who declined to publish it for iOS over fears it would not be allowed by Apple. In a blog post by Comixology, they stated that they were contacted by Apple who said that the content was fine. Saga #12 should be up in the iOS comic apps shortly."
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Bitcoin Goes Mainstream - Investments Banks Take Note, Offer Derivatives

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  1 year,7 days

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Bitcoin has reached a new high, where even the average Joe can now have them in their portfolio. Ars Technica reports on new forex markets, derivative offerings and investment bank holdings related to Bitcoin. Depending on your view of derivatives and their role in the financial crash, you will soon be able to trade in Bitcoin futures (and possibly options), hedge funds, and other interesting financial instruments centered on the currency. Whether or not these new investment options will stabilize or destabilize the currency even more is up in the air, but it might be an interesting take on what caused the crash of 2008. On an unrelated note, the Winklevoss twins (of Facebook idea fame) have stated they own approximately 1% of all bitcoins (approximately $11M) out there, stored on flash drives spread around the world."
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The Apple Shop forced to change its name

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan writes "The Apple Shop, in Norfolk, UK is a little corner store that sells apple products. Not Apple products, but apple products, in this case, cider. However, it's been forced to change its name to the Norfolk Cider Shop. However, the name change did not come from any lawsuit from Apple (the Cupertino one, that is), nor has there been any evidence that Apple (Cupertino) knew about them. Instead, they're changing their name because their phones have been ringing constantly from people seeking help with their Apple (Cupertino) products. Apple (Cupertino) opened an Apple store in 2009 in the nearby (larger) town of Norwich."
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Android App infects PCs running older Windows

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan writes "In an interesting turn of events, a couple of apps found the Play Store was found to contain a payload designed to infect the SD card and thus infect any older PC when the Android device was connected in drive mode. It doesn't appear to be designed to infect the Android device itself, just install an old exploit on the SD card that will infect the PC when connected. It relies on AutoRun, which while disabled in all modern versions of Windows, may still be on by default on older versions."
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CyanogenMod Android ROMs accidentally logged screen unlock patterns

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year and a half ago

tlhIngan writes "Heads up CyanogenMod users — you will want to update to the latest nightly build as it turns out that your unlock patterns were accidentally logged. The fix has been committed and is in the latest build. While not easy to access (it requires access to a backup image or the device), it was a potential security hole. It was added back in August when Cyanogen added the ability to customize the screen lock size.`"
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Why Apple Replaced iOS Maps - Turn-by-Turn Voice Navigation

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year and a half ago

tlhIngan writes "So why did Apple decide to ditch the (working) iOS maps app with one based on their own data (despite having one more year to the contract)? It turns out to be turn-by-turn voice navigation. It wasn't a feature in the original Apple-Google licensing agreement, so Apple went back to Google to renegotiate what has become a top-tier feature on Android. Apple wanted it. In return, Google wanted increased branding in the maps app (Apple refused) or to integrate Lattitude (Google's FourSquare competitor), to which Apple refused as well. As a result Apple was forced to seek other sources in order to obtain this feature."
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Apple v. Samsung: Appeal blocks lifting of Galaxy Tab ban

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year and a half ago

tlhIngan writes "Oops. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 was found to be non-infringing in the recent Apple v. Samsung case, and as such, the ban on its sale should be lifted. However, because Samsung has appealed the ruling Judge Koh cannot lift the injunction, even though she wants to. Because the appeal is before a different court, her court no longer has jurisdiction to lift the injunction and thus cannot lift it until jurisdiction has been returned back. Note that is applies to the old Galaxy Tab — Samsung has since released a new model that is not covered by the injunction."
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