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Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code

tlhIngan Re:Let's see the list of spyware (48 comments)

Let's see this list of spyware. Will Google kick them out of the Android store? Will the FBI prosecute the developers for "exceeding authorized access" under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act? If not, why not?

Easy, the summary says they analyzed the top 50 downloaded apps. So your list of spyware will be those.

As for Google, well, Google owns online marketing advertising market, so those apps really are helping Google in the end...

1 hour ago

Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

tlhIngan Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (445 comments)

He's being a bully, pure and simple - using his popularity to shove around others. That should not be tolerated, full stop.

If it was pure abuse. maybe, but history if full of abusive assholes who did amazing things, purely because the abuse isn't by some ignorant asshole, but one who actually knows what they're talking about.

Now, if there's something you don't know about, being abusive is just being abusive. But if you do know your shit inside and out, being abusive can get your point across.

Steve Jobs, Theo De Raadt, and Linus Torvalds are basically the few who are abusive assholes, but everyone also knows that they do know what they're talking about. (In Job's case, the RDF is basically a mirror that says "is that REALLY the best you can do? You can't do it any better if you tried?").

Oh yeah, it's a terrible environment - there are plenty of people who packed up and left Apple after meeting Jobs (many really good people too). Just like there's plenty of kernel devs put off by Linus, and likewise for OpenBSD. Unfortunately, the truth is, they do get results.

And no, MBA types, you can't do it. Only a very limited few can be assholes and get away with it. Chances are, if you're not one of the three people I listed (of which one is deceased), you won't succeed.

1 hour ago

Nasty Business: How To Drain Competitors' Google AdWords Budgets

tlhIngan Re:Simple, block all ads (83 comments)

You (and Greyfox) do not seem to understand what Google Ads are. They are, for the most part, not the display advertisements one tends to see on websites. Instead, they are textual only and associated with search or with websites that open up space on their site for text ads.

Ad Blocking software allows them to show and always has. And that is because they are unobtrusive and not annoying.

No, those are the Google-braned ads. Google Ads encompasses ALL of Google's ad products. Including most of the malware laded ones since well, Google owns like 98% of the online ad market.

And Google distances themselves for some reason - Google owns AdMob, DoubleClick and many other "irritating ads" and "malware ad" networks. And other than Google, I haven't seen a Google text-style ad in ages. (And surely not ones where Google pretends to be part of the search results).

There's no difference anymore, because Google owns it all. Sure they don't WANT you to know that, but all those ads you see in apps and on websites are almost all by Google or a Google-owned company.

Any marketer worth their salt knows why Google doesn't put their branding on DoubleClick and AdMob, but they also know that those are the kind of ads Google makes most of their money on.

2 hours ago

Bose Sues New Apple Acquisition Beats Over Patent Violations

tlhIngan Re:Bose is worried (141 comments)

Bose and Beats are both highly brand-focused. Bose targets the more mature quality-seeking crowd, while Beats targets the bass-hungry and fashion-conscious youth. There's some overlap, but generally I'd say their targets kept competition to a minimum, and they've pretty much cornered those targets

They're both over-EQ'd POS. Beats are for bass. while "no highs, no lows, must be Bose".

The only thing is, the markets are different - Beats are for the young "trendy" kids who listen to nothing but bass-heavy music (typically called rap). You know, the kind who come down the road and you can hear them blocks away because the windows on the stores are rattling.

Bose is more for the middle-aged family. You know, the kind where the wife generally runs things and she sees a traditional stereo or home theatre system with its big ungainly speakers and big black boxes, or she sees a Bose and it "sounds good enough" but damn it looks good.

Of course, at least the Bose does sound better than the beats any day of the week. (Heck, I saw a Instructable a few years back turning a Bose headphone into a Beats one. Probably the best sounding Beats on the planet).

Ironically, Beats probably do sound better than what Apple currently calls a headphone.

2 hours ago

How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

tlhIngan Re:FUD filled.... (210 comments)

A CME is not an EMP event.

CME are dangerous because the stream of charged particles interacts with Earth's magnetosphere. The interaction causes the magnetic field to vary, and the changing magnetic field as everyone knows results in induced currents. Earth's magnetic field is weak, but the charged particles cause it to vary, and because of the variance, long lines (like power transmission lines) are the ones most affected.

Or telegraph lines, where the operators suddenly get shocked when the induced currents cause a large potential difference to build up (voltages of 50+V during the Carrington event).

Now, the problem is that the grid has enough circuit breakers to actually handle this - they're sensitive enough that disruptions will cause them to open. The issue is that once you start having grids, loads and generators islanding themselves, it causes further disruption down the line. Like the blackout of 2003 where one power generating plant caused the whole east coast to lose power for 3 days.

Having the grid shut down - it might actually be difficult to restart it since it's never happened before.

2 days ago

Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

tlhIngan Re:What?!? (860 comments)

So any online criticism of any company has to be a "happy" criticism? The "truth" is no longer welcome? What a screwed up world.

Or you find a more appropriate time and place for it. You can exercise your free speech rights in front of the TSA agent, but don't be surprised that your bomb joke got taken literally and you find yourself in a holding cell.

I suppose part of the problem is the immediacy of it all - people use twitter on every thought without thinking things through - basically thinking if you don't say it in front of a person's face, they don't know. I'm fairly certain he would've gotten kicked off had he simply said it aloud rather than cower behind a tweet.

Same effect. The time to do it is not when the person who can make your life miserable still has power over you. And to treat every tweet as if you said it aloud right then and there - if your target is right there, don't assume they won't hear about it.

Hell, perhaps the other side isn't so rosy either - we just hear this guy bitching. How would he like it if she tweeted "just met the most demanding self-entitled asshole for a customer" at the same time?

2 days ago

The Psychology of Phishing

tlhIngan Re:If you tried fixing that you did it wrong (126 comments)

Personally, I like the people who don't understand the difference between Reply and Reply All. When HR sends a company picnic invitation to Everybody, the invitation is immediately followed by a Reply All flood of RSVPs from that crowd. Lately, though, HR seems to have discovered the Bcc: field as a solution to that issue.

Well, given the default to most company emails requires reply-all, it's not a surprise, really. I mean, if you're on a project and you need to send information to others, you probably will put in several people. And the recipient probably uses reply-all so everyone can be aware of the followup as well. Because things get awfully stilted if everyone merely replied to the original sender and they get flooded with dozens of the same question and notes.

So it's natural in a business setting to use reply-all since you expect to share with everyone else. Hitting reply just feels unnatural.

And yes, that's what the BCC field is for, if you really need to break the reply-all chain.

3 days ago

Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

tlhIngan Re:Best Wishes ! (321 comments)

I'd love to see a single UI that works across 4" phones and 7" tablets with gorilla glass, and 13" laptops and 10" convertibles with membrane keyboards, and 24" desktops with 101-keyboards, and 60" XBox Ones with controllers but I'm not holding my breath.

I don't think that's even possible because you'd compromise on the UI. Keyboard/mice, controllers and touchscreens have their own special qualities and interactions. A keyboard and mouse is a very precise pointing and data entry device, while a touchscreen is coarser but is able to provide multiple spots (multitouch) for gesture recognition that's far richer and easier to do than trying to use a keyboard/mouse. And a controller makes a poor mouse, but is killer at navigating in cardinal directions, with a few command hotkeys (buttons) for performing various actions.

Even worse, an app designed for one UI interaction works poorly in another UI interaction. About the only compromise possible is that one particular device may employ multiple interactions - e.g. a device with a keyboard/mouse might also have a touchscreen and a controller. But swapping between them is often a pain on the user.

Often the only way to solve the UI problem is to make each UI incompatible - so if you have a touchscreen device, interacting with it requires using a different API set so you can use it as an opportunity to redesign the UI to be more appropriate. Like how Apple redesigned OS X to turn it into iOS so apps have to use a different API to handle touchscreen events.

4 days ago

CNN iPhone App Sends iReporters' Passwords In the Clear

tlhIngan Re:Waiting.... (40 comments)

How many people are going to read this and take advantage of the flaw before Apple approves the release to the AppStore? That's one argument for Android. Not having to wait for releases of App updates.

Apple does allow for emergency updates that get you approved in about a day tops.

Though the big question is what do you get with your login? What does it let you do? Do you have to pay for it or is it free?

I mean, if it's only to submit news to CNN and comment on their posts, then really it's NBD that it's in the clear - not ideal, but really, you get to post news as someone else, whoop-di-do.

Just like how you can log into ./ using a URL. Yay, so it's compromised and someone can post as me. Big freaking deal.

(Oh, and you need to sniff the password while the user is using it, so while it's easy to do, practically speaking, I don't think you're that likely to encounter too many people using it to make it worthwhile).

4 days ago

Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

tlhIngan Re:bad for standards (194 comments)

It also still doesn't give anyone permission to generate their own h.264 video files (outside of webrtc "video-chatting" inside the browser) legally without paying someone a patent "poll-tax" for permission, so this is still "consume-only".
I'm also under the impression that there are,absurdly, potential patent-license issues with the .mp4 file format that h.264 video is most often stored in.

Finally, of course unless the usual obstructionist Apple and Microsoft ever implement opus codec support, this also doesn't give you the legal ability to include sound (mp3 or aac, typically, for h.264 videos) with the video. Hope everybody likes silent movies...

If you have a camcorder, the license to create h.264 is present as part of the camcorder. This includes phones and everything else people submit to YouTube, for example.

The only constraint is that if you post content online, you cannot take payment on the content itself - i.e., you can put it online, you can put ads around it, but you cannot force someone to pay to view that content (commercial activity). So those videos on YouTube where you have to pay in order to view them come under a different license.

As for the Mp4 format being patented - it's RAND by Apple ages ago (MP4 is a subset of the QuickTime MOV format). If Apple's asserting any patents on the format, that is. But since people mass-license the h.264 patents through the MPEG-LA, that means any patents Apple has on MP4 are included in the license fee you pay to create or display the content.

Sound is licensed under a separate agreement - MP3 or AAC. Again, your typical MPEG-LA license for h.264 will probably include use licenses for AAC (most typical format) so you can have a soundtrack.

If not, there's always PCM as well - handled by the format just fine.

4 days ago

Amazon Fire Phone Reviews: Solid But Overly Ambitious

tlhIngan Re:But.. but... how can this be... (58 comments)

This phone from Amazon has the rounded rectangle look ad feel.... How can this be? It violates the patents of Apple. Only genii like Steve Jobs could imagine a rounded rectangle. Now Jeff one-click-patent Bezos is ripping off the intellectual property of Apple...

Well, it's utterly possible that Amazon pre-emptively chose to license the patent. But unlikely.

Because it's a design patent. Which aren't really patents in the normal sense. A "normal" patent is a utility patent - it describes a machine that does something that usefully transforms part A to part B by some series of processes.

A design patent covers aspects of the non-utility parts of a device - a pattern, a design, stuff that is there for aesthetic purposes than for utility.

In the case of the rounded rectangles, the device In question must not only have rounded rectangular case, but also a grid of icons with a smaller subgrid of icons along an edge. The main grid lets you page through it while the subgrid remains static.

Samsung got in trouble because TouchWiz emulated exactly that, while everyone else used the standard Android home screen (which fails because it's not a grid of icons when you have widgets, and the grid of icons (app launcher) doesn't have the subgrid).

In effect, Google worked around the patent.

4 days ago

EFF Releases Wireless Router Firmware For Open Access Points

tlhIngan Re:liability? (56 comments)

Who's liable when they roll into the parking lot of the local Best Western and do the same thing?

The fact it's usually traceable back to you?

A lot of those free wifi things require actually staying at the hotel where they'll happily give you a login and password (tied to your account, of course).

Though, I welcome the move - no more bandwidth limitations! I mean, the problem with all the wifi provided by ISPs Is you have to log into them and they often charge your account for bandwidth.

But if you can have free wifi using someone else's account, well, that makes torrenting all those Blu-ray's (at 50GB a pop) much easier. Suddenly 250GB doesn't seem so limiting anymore.

4 days ago

Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

tlhIngan Re:Why? (260 comments)

Bah, just use the chassis as return; the frames might only be steel, but there's a good amount of it. That and I suggest 600V for truly limiting the amount of power lost through cables. ;)

You'd end up with servers welded to the rack.

Power losses increase with the square of the current - going from 5A to 10A means your cable losses quadruple. These are known as IIR losses (or I^2R losses).

Steel (iron) is an OK conductor of electricity - not great, but OK, so you'd have large losses of energy from the chassis itself (if you thought your racks were hot, well, now imagine the rack itself emitting heat!).

And unless the servers are contacted on practically every surface evenly, point-heating will take place that will weld the chassis to the server.

In fact, that's how an electrical welder works - a low-voltage high current source is all you need. Pass that current through a steel rod and it'll heat up and melt. (You want high current - voltage doesn't really matter - IIR remember? Double the current, quadruple the power).

Heck, it's a nifty physics demonstration when you take a step down transformer that takes line voltage of 120V and step it to 1.2V - that can get you 100A easily (with only a 1A draw at the other end) and that's sufficient for a demonstration. Remember, in welding, you're really creating a dead short.

it's why big racks often do get 208V, 240V or more into them - it's much easier to use thinner cables.

4 days ago

The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

tlhIngan Re:Pft (956 comments)

Which is nothing but a blight on software development. I mean, why is it that a bunch of supposedly well educated, knowledgeable people are so anti-social enough that they cannot raise their level of communication above an adolescent?

I develop software, and about the most immature it gets is the sparingly placed curse (the f-bomb is even more rare). No one's calling in death threats, or trying to intimidate others. Emails, forums, etc., are all kept at a high level of professionalism, yet are still casual communications with developers sharing ideas, hints, and providing help. Don't know perl? Well, here's a perl script you can use, how it works so you can try implementing it in your favorite language.

Those sort of messages on forums get deleted and banned purely as the entire audience is adult enough to be able to communicate clearly without resorting to childish attacks.

Hell, I would expect it if gamers were mostly teenagers, but the average gamer is in the mid 30s and the age has been rising steadily. Or is there something about video games that can turn an adult into a blubbering 12 year old with maturity to match?

5 days ago

Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

tlhIngan Re:110 or 240v (260 comments)

Except it requires more wires. 220/240V split phase requires 3 wires.

3-phase generally requires 4.

And unless you really need 3-phase, split phase is easier to deal with - with 3-phase you need to monitor all three phases to ensure they are working (failure of one phase is a common failure mode that requires immediate shutdown of the other two phases lest any dangerous currents develop).

Though, one thing I don't get about this challenge - they're using they want 2kVA output, but then demanding 50W/in^3 with a max size of 40in^3, meaning you have to provide 2000W.

And 2000W can mean providing way more than 2000VA. (The reason we use VA for inverters instead of watts is VA captures virtual power. 2000VA requires just as much power handling components (transformers, transistors, etc) as supplying 2000W at a 1.0PF (i.e., all resistive). Even if you have a really bad power factor and your real power draw is only 1000W - the hardware has to be able to instanteously supply the current and voltage for 2000W at periods in the cycle. The virtual power is virtual, because it's "given back" during another part of the cycle, but that means all the equipment has to handle it.

A lot of electric companies will have a power factor surcharge because of it - if your power factor can't be corrected to within limits, they charge more because they have to install bigger equipment.

The only real saving grace is that the input voltage is 450VDC, so you're really just doing a buck converter.

5 days ago

Buying New Commercial IT Hardware Isn't Always Worthwhile (Video)

tlhIngan Re:Slashvertisement? (92 comments)

Not what this guy is saying is wrong, but there are other unaddressed issues. They cover issues like "power savings", but not the much more important issue of buying an unknown piece of hardware from an unknown vendor, without a warranty. Aside from that, sometimes there are issues of physical constraints-- like I have limited space, limited ventilation, and one UPS to supply power. Do I want to buy 5 servers, or one powerful one? ...

And sometimes, buying "new" is more about getting a known quantity with support, rather than wagering on a crap-shoot.

And that is the main reason why people buy new. To get the support contract because they know if the equipment goes down, they can start losing money fast. Sure they can do redundancy and stuff, and they often do, but they generally want both units to be under service contracts so when one fails and the other one is handling the load, the failed one is getting prompt service to minimize the likelihood of complete stoppage should the other fail.

I've seen perfectly functional equipment force-upgraded because the company making them stopped supporting it. Essential equipment like filers and such? They actually see end of complete support 6 months ahead and plan on migration way before the contract expires for good so they can revert to hardware still under support.

Running old servers is perfectly fine, especially for home use where the user can benefit from the low cost of what was very expensive equipment a few years ago. But until those companies are willing to provide support in case of failure that's better than "here's a spare, fix it yourself", well, there are very valid reasons to go with new. Even if new is barely an upgrade from the old.

5 days ago

A New Form of Online Tracking: Canvas Fingerprinting

tlhIngan Re:Rounding differences (194 comments)

Maybe it should. Providing an API and saying "it kinda work like this, most of the time, your mileage may vary" doesn't sound very good.

That already exists already - many formats specify practically subpixel accurate designs. E.g., PDF.

The thing is, HTML was never designed that way - it's a content-plus-format standard that says the content is marked up, and to provide some hints as to how to display it as the creator intended. But the user is free to override such choices as they see fit in case they don't have certain fonts, have display limitations, etc.

It's why ebooks generally use a limited form of HTML internally, and why most ebook readers display PDFs crappily. The reader wants to reformat the text to fit its screen better, but PDF isn't designed for that - it's design so one document can be displayed identically wherever you view it regardless of if the use has a font, has a 300/600/900/100 dpi printer, prints on A4 or Letter, etc.

5 days ago

Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

tlhIngan Re:Money (610 comments)

Someone who will cheat for $6 can rationalize it by saying "everybody does this; it's only $6". In fact, the lower the amount, the less anyone would feel like they did something amoral. Which is exactly the opposite of what you implied.

And the rationalization the other way is "why cheat, it's only $6". As in, it's not worth the effort to cheat just to have $6. Now, $10k, that might be worth cheating for.

Basically balancing risk and reward - people don't rob banks much these days because the risk is high (security, cameras, etc), while rewards are low (typically $2-5000 each heist). However, rob a store and the rewards can be just as much, but the risk is often lower (less witnesses, older/crappier camera, practically nonexistent security).

it's just like there are people who will drive across town to save $0.10 on gas, while others simply don't bother as the time/gas/effort of doing so outweighs savings. But if they're likely to drive across town to save a dime per unit, they'd practically jump over the opportunity to drive across town to save $5 off some item. (Even at $5, it's likely not worth it taking time/gas/effort into account).

5 days ago

No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

tlhIngan Re:This is just a repeat (277 comments)

It's just the new strategy to right-size, right-shore and right-fit. In laymans terms, fire employees like crazy, and then complain that there are no qualified engineers available as they can't find any (because they can't rehire the ones they fired*) to fill the void, so more H1B visas are critically needed in the IT sector.

* Omitted from congressional declaration

Except they can be re-hired. It's simply Microsoft policy that says they can't be hired, and there's nothing that the employee does that prevent them from working with Microsoft prior to the 6 month cooling off period.

The policy affects the employees more (they can't work at Microsoft for 6 months), than it affects Microsoft (who is free to hire them prior to 6 months, all they need is to strike that policy away with a stroke of the pen).

I don't think Congress would be too happy to be told there is nobody around because their company policy prohibits it. After all, it's like saying you can't hire anyone because you don't hire anyone who wears glasses, and the only people applying for jobs are people who wear glasses.

It's a policy decision that really could hurt Microsoft in the end when Congress comes up and asks why they can't rehire some of those 18.000 people instead. If Microsoft answers that company policy prohibits re-hiring within 6 months of dismissal, they'd be laughed out of the capital.n Basically they'd be shooting themselves in the foot - you want people and your company policy prohibits it for a period of time? Either change policy, or wait because hey, that situation will resolve itself!

about a week ago

The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

tlhIngan Re:Secure pairing is hard (131 comments)

This is a general problem with devices that are "paired". How do you securely establish the initial connection, when neither side knows anything about the other?

The secure solutions involve some shared secret between the two devices. This requires a secure transmission path between the devices, such as typing in a generated key (like a WPA2 key) or physically carrying a crypto key carrier to each device (this is how serious cryptosystems work).

Semi-secure systems involve things like creating a short period of temporary vulnerability (as with Bluetooth pairing). There's a scheme for sharing between cellphones where you bump the phones together, and they both sense the deceleration at close to the same time.

Or, given the nature of the device as it's physical, it can be a sticker on the device itself. Or given that it has to be connected to a TV, the security pairing code can be displayed on the TV as well and the user enters that code in.

The nature of the Chromecast means there is a secure physical channel to allow such communications to take place.

about a week ago



Amazon confirms Hachette Spat Is to "Get A Better Deal"

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a month ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Last week we heard that Amazon was withdrawing Hachette books from its virtual shelves including allowing preorders of the new JK Rowling book. Amazon has responded to these allegations, and confirms that yes, they are purposefully preventing pre-orders and lowering stock in order to get a better deal from Hachette. Amazon recommends that in the meantime, customers either buy a used or new copy from their zShops or buy from a competitor. Amazon admits there is nothing wrong with Hachette's business dealings and that they are a generally good supplier."
Link to Original Source

Glasshole Googlebombs Restaurant When Asked To Remove Glass

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 2 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Katy Kasmai loves her Google Glass. So she took great offense while dining at Feast (a restaurant in NYC) when staff members asked her to remove it citing patron privacy concerns. Her reaction? A call to arms to downvote the restaurant by leaving it nevative one-star reviews. Most were fake, few having actually visited Feast (or even living in NYC), all taking offense over other's concerns about surveillance. Of course, more violent methods of Glass removal have occurred in the past. Do over-entitled Glassholes potentially doom the future of the technology?"

Google may have more of your email than you think

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 2 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Everyone knows about GMail — Google's web-based email service. And there are a few people who refuse to use it, citing privacy amongst other reasons. However, it turns out Google may have more of your email than you think. Benjamin Mako Hill was curious and analyzed his personal email. He found out that Google handled approximately half of his personal email, despite not having a GMail account. This includes email sent to him, as well as email he sends out. While it shows how popular Google's service is, it also shows how much potential information there is for Google and others (like the NSA) could sift through."
Link to Original Source

Titanfall: No Day One DLC, Microtransactions or Season Passes

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 5 months 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

Google Admits G+ Created To Mine More User Information

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 5 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."

PS4 vs. Xbox One - PS4 Users View 3 Times as Much Porn

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 7 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."

Valve's Steam removes its first game

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 7 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

A new way to monetize mobile apps - Bitcoins

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 9 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

Apple converting trial and pirated iWork, iLife and Aperture to full versions

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 9 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

Samsung Fudging Benchmarks Again on Galaxy Note 3

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 10 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."

Despite global release, Breaking Bad heavily pirated

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year 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 a year 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 a year 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  |  1 year,3 days

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  |  1 year,12 days

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."

Apple Did Not Censor Comic - Comic Distributor Did

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

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."

Bitcoin Goes Mainstream - Investments Banks Take Note, Offer Derivatives

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

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."

The Apple Shop forced to change its name

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year and a half 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 and a half 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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