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Comment Re:Dashboards (Score 1) 126

Both the article and summary explicitly state that this is about what data is sent back to the companies, not what data is available to the apps for use in-car. From the article (emphasis mine):

[...] Android Auto tracks variables including vehicle speed, throttle position, fluid temperatures, and engine revs, information that is collated and then sent back to Google. Apple's CarPlay, on the other hand, only checks with the car's powertrain control module to ensure that the vehicle is moving.

That said, the article has been updated with a link to a report on Google's denial of the allegations. Google denies that they collect that information, but they do say that users can opt-in to sharing data. That alone may be what Porsche had an issue with (assuming the original report is to be believed), since they may be concerned that their users will opt-in to sending back information that Porsche would rather keep in-house, instead of allowing a separate company making cars--Google--to get their hands on it.

Comment Re:How do they define GM? (Score 1) 309

The article describes what you said as well, but not to the exclusion of what I was citing. Specifically, the Slashdot summary I linked pulled this choice quote from the article (emphasis mine):

Monsanto went after hundreds of farmers for infringing on their patented seed after audits revealed that their farms had contained their product — as a result of routine pollination by animals and acts of nature.

Now, they don't back up their sources, and I'm not invested enough in the topic to give it any further research at this point, but that's what I was referring to when I linked the summary and article I did. I'm aware that it also talks about people who asked the courts to pre-judge in their favor, but that is a separate issue from the one I was referencing.

Comment Re:How do they define GM? (Score 1) 309

but would it be too much to ask for a cite of one or two cases where Monsanto sued farmers that did not deliberately violate Monsanto patents?

Not at all! I was thinking back to stuff like this Slashdot story from a few years ago and to similar reports that have come up in the comments here in the years since. The link to the article referenced in the summary is dead, but a bit of searching around turned up the original article. The site, admittedly, seems rather biased.

And, to be fair, I'm biased too, since I have a major problem with the notion that genetic material can be patented. It's one thing to patent the process for engineering something, be it a chemical or a particular type of seed, but it's something else entirely to patent the material itself, whether it's chemical or genetic in nature, such that no one else can devise their own method. Seems to me that it should be protected by copyright since it's an expression of information, in which case it wouldn't be protected in the case of pollination like what I was talking about, given that they would have effectively been giving it away for free, akin to people living near an amphitheater being able to enjoy concerts since the music is loud enough to be heard from outside.

Comment Re:How do they define GM? (Score 1) 309

So far the best argument against GMO food is "They can grow it next to someone else's fields and then successfully sue that person for patent infringement."


I agree that the tech side of it seems fine, but (at least in the US) they absolutely should not be allowed in the wild until the insane patent laws surrounding GMO crops are dealt with.

Comment Re:Not really a flaw... (Score 1) 69

Exactly. Apple has released an official response to the issue already as well:

This issue only impacts users on older versions of iOS who have also downloaded malware from untrusted sources. We addressed this specific issue in iOS 8.4 and we have also blocked the identified apps that distribute this malware. We encourage customers to stay current with the latest version of iOS for the latest security updates. We also encourage them to only download from trusted sources like the App Store and pay attention to any warnings as they download apps.

So, basically, to be impacted by this, a user would have avoided the freely available OS updates for the last four months (despite the OS prompting them to update periodically), opted-in to trusting an enterprise certificate that isn't associated with where they work (despite the OS' dire warnings about trusting enterprise certificates in general), and would have then needed to separately download the untrustworthy apps (again, despite the OS' warnings). And even if they managed to do all of that, Apple is now saving their collective butts by revoking the certs for the apps.

It's hard to even make the case that older devices may be significantly affected by this, since the latest iOS device that can't run iOS 9 (and by extension, iOS 8.4) was released way back in late 2010.

Comment Re:GOOD GRIEF! (Score 1) 565

Bottled water made no sense to me either...until it suddenly did.

When I moved to the city I'm in now, I discovered that the tap water from the faucet left quite a bit to be desired. As I came to find out later from one of the professors working at the university in town, because of the high mineral content in the groundwater around here (she called out sodium in particular) and the way that those minerals interact with the chlorination process, the water ends up having a strong, salty taste. It's perfectly safe to drink, we've been assured, and I've been living in town for long enough that I can muscle my way through a glass of the stuff if I have to, but it tastes absolutely horrible, and if you use it for brewing, it'll ruin an otherwise good tea or coffee.

I don't go for the Dasani, Aquafina, or Fiji stuff that sells for ludicrous prices, since I completely agree that those make absolutely no sense, but I do go for the 32-pack of store brand stuff that sells for $3.24, and I'm perfectly fine with the fact that it's almost certainly just tap water from a few hundred miles away, since tap water that's not from here is exactly what I want. I also keep a pitcher of Brita-filtered water in the fridge, which doesn't eliminate the salty flavor entirely, but does a good enough job that we can use it for coffee and tea, rather than needing to rely on bottled water for everything.

Long story short, not all bottled water costs an arm and a leg, there are reasons other than health for why people may drink it, and many of us don't care where it's from, so long as it's not here and it's safe to drink. As for the environment, yeah, it's not good, but as both a cost-saving measure and a green measure, the store-brand stuff has reduced the thickness of the plastic in their bottles by something like 50% in the last year, which makes them super flimsy, but also means that there's that much less plastic in landfills, so at least it's not as bad as it once was.

Comment Re:I don't see how this hurt HP (Score 1) 321

HP was already in the music player biz, but the fact that you didn't know that is kinda the point of why this was such a bad deal for them. They pulled their players when the HP iPod debuted. And Apple didn't have to pay to get iTunes onto those computers. HP computers, simply on account of there being so many of them getting sold at the time, were valuable real estate: get your software on those machines and millions upon millions of people would likely be using it. They could have sold that right for tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.

Instead, they gave it away for free, pulled their own product, locked themselves out of the market for a year (ensuring that the iPod became the dominant product), and made themselves look like clueless, me-too buffoons.

Comment Re:Gateskeeper (Score 3, Informative) 66

I get that this is possible and all, but I think I'm failing to understand the threat posed by it that's any different from what was possible already by design. Gatekeeper has three settings (paraphrasing; #2 is the default, from what I recall):
1) Mac App Store only
2) Apps from registered developers only
3) Anything goes

It's already quite possible for a ($99/year) registered app developer to release a trojan and distribute it via the Internet to anyone using settings #2 and #3, but if they do so, Apple has been quick to revoke their certs (preventing all of their apps from installing on anyone's Mac using settings #1 or #2), pull their apps from the Mac App Store, and add the malware to OS X's built-in malware blocker that gets updated nightly.

This attack seems to rely on the actual bulk of the malware being downloaded separately from the main app that's been signed, which means that, as has been the case up until now, the user still needs to be coerced into downloading the malware themselves somehow. The only difference I can see (besides the addition of a lot of complication that makes the attack more difficult to accomplish) is that if the dummy app is able to be distributed via the Mac App Store, this may be a way to target users with setting #1, since otherwise the malicious payload would need to get through Apple's app review process. But if that's all that this attack brings to the table, it isn't much, since setting #2 is the default, meaning the target audience for this attack is particularly limited and that (by design) there are already easier ways to hit the bulk of users. Moreover, Apple's response would no doubt be exactly what we'd expect: to revoke the certs, pull the apps from the Mac App Store, and add the app to their malware blocker, meaning that the attack will stop working overnight.

Am I missing something more sinister here?

Comment Re:How much will it cost. (Score 2) 396

Completely agree with the reference, of course, but the thing I don't get is why people are hung up on thinking that a single car must fit ALL of their needs. Most American families have two cars. Keep the EV around for day-to-day, in-town commuting, then bust out the old IC when your family does its annual road trip. Not exactly rocket science, and you get to start enjoying the benefits of EVs immediately.

Comment Re: Matirx KVM Switch (Score 2) 128

Completely agree with you, since that'll save a load of money and complexity headache. If he is, however, absolutely dead-set on a KVM and wants to avoid a matrix KVM, he should recognize that he really has three modes (i.e. one per computer), with PC1 having two modes (i.e. toggling between what's displayed on the second display). Doing so greatly simplifies things, since it lets you use a normal dual-screen KVM switch to control your inputs, then use a simple HDMI switch to toggle what's shown on your second display when controlling PC1.

A complete example setup might be:

PC1 SCREEN1 goes into an HDMI splitter, which goes to KVM Port 1 SCREEN1 and KVM Port 3 SCREEN1. I.e. For controlling both PC1 and DOCK1, you'll see PC1 SCREEN1 on your first display.

PC1 SCREEN2 goes into an HDMI switch, which then goes to KVM Port 1 SCREEN2.

PC2 gets hooked up like normal.

DOCK1 SCREEN1 goes into an HDMI splitter, which goes to KVM Port 3 SCREEN2, as well as the HDMI switch mentioned earlier. I.e. DOCK1's video will always be visible when controlling DOCK1, and will optionally be visible when controlling PC1.

Everything else hooks up like normal. At that point, he'd use the KVM switch to control which computer he's using, then would use the HDMI switch to toggle whether he sees PC1 or PC1/DOCK1 when controlling PC1.

That said, HDMI splitters are notoriously flaky, particularly if you go for the passive variety.

Comment Re:That's what Nokia, Moto, and Microsoft said (Score 1) 535

As you no doubt expect, I'd find it utterly ridiculous.

But that sort of rhetorical question misses the point I was attempting to make. I'm suggesting that the general computing market has grown to the point that it is beginning to encroach on the car market, in much the same way that it encroached on the phone market before it. Just as the computing market commoditized the phone call by making it nothing more than an app among many others, so too is the computing market primed to commoditize cars by making them nothing more than yet another device that can run apps. The opposite, as per your question? Not so much, hence why I find the one utterly ridiculous and the other entirely plausible.

Moreover, the features that make cars distinct from both each other and the other products are increasingly less important and less relevant to consumers (as evidenced by the double-digit drop-off in car adoption and later age for first vehicles among the millennial crowd as compared to previous generations). As with you, I doubt that Apple will be able to come in with a car that outperforms everything else on the market, but what will that matter, if it does succeed in having good enough performance while adding value in the areas that modern consumers actually care about?

And, when you get down to it, modern electric cars are not particularly complicated machines. They're well understood, experienced people are readily available, Tesla demonstrated that a newcomer could out-engineer the incumbents after a single iteration, and so long as you have the deep pockets and the manufacturing/distribution capability to bring something to market, the biggest differentiator will be in terms of the design and polish, rather than the engineering. Plus, Apple gets to build on the backs of Tesla and others, since they have had the opportunity to watch its missteps and learn from them, they've reportedly been poaching its top engineers, and they've been gaining more experience over the last few years in working with the key materials that make up an electric car (e.g. aluminum, glass, LiON batteries, etc.).

Honestly, I'm inclined to view Tesla as the Palm/Handspring of the car world, with everything else out today being the car equivalent of the dumb phones from yesteryear. If Apple doesn't do it and Tesla doesn't do it, someone is going to be the one to come in and disrupt the car market, since it has been way too stagnant for way too long. I don't know that Apple will be the one to do it, but it's going to happen, and soon, and I firmly believe it will be a company from the Silicon Valley crowd that'll be the one to do it.

Comment Re:Apple does the same thing (Score 1) 151

At least Google lets phone-vendors ship "just" the OS if they want to.

That, right there, is exactly why what they're doing is not the same thing. In a nutshell, here's the important distinction:
- Apple: Developers, if you want to work with our phone, you'll play second fiddle to our apps.
- Google: Developers, if you want to work with any phone that includes our app ecosystem, you'll play second fiddle to our apps.

Companies (generally) aren't compelled to open their products up to additional sources of competition, any more than McDonald's could be compelled to sell Whoppers from Burger King in place of their own Big Mac. Apple is welcome to sell their phones with whatever software they want on them, just as Samsung, HTC, or even Google can too.

But here's the rub: Android's success is in large part owed to the fact that Google (shrewdly, and as you pointed out) gives away the OS for free to manufacturers, then stays out of their way. Doing so paved the way for a diverse market full of handsets aimed at a multitude of target audiences, but it also means that (aside from the Nexus line) Google does not have ownership of the final product. The handsets that those other manufacturers make are their products, not Google's. As such, competing app developers have just as much of a right to be on those phones as Google.

By compelling manufacturers to give their apps and services preferential treatment as a condition for including Google Play, Google is using their dominance in the app ecosystem market to unfairly stifle competition in the apps market on devices they don't own. It's akin to what Intel did a few years back when it gave cheaper prices to PC manufacturers who agreed to not sell AMD CPUs. In contrast, Apple owns the whole product from top to bottom, which comes with a number of drawbacks (e.g. lack of diversity in hardware, some types of apps simply aren't possible, others are disallowed, etc.), but at the end of the day it also means that they own the final product and get to retain say over what goes on it.

TL;DR: Both Google and Apple are locking-in advantages for themselves against their competition, but Apple is doing it on their own products, whereas Google is doing it on the products of others.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe