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Comment: Re:Server & Tools too... (Score 1) 497

by BlackSmithNZ (#43910311) Attached to: Can Microsoft Survive If Windows Doesn't Dominate?

The Server & Tools Division that sells Windows Server, IIS, SQL Server,Lync Exchange, Visual Studio

But they don't make money off IIS
Visual Studio is largely given away in Express versions and the (.NET) developer market is relatively is relatively small compared to 'servers' in general.

Windows Server is... Windows, and while strong right now, probably is less important in a cloud based future. For basic File/Print servers, Linux is already a better choice in most cases. I have fairly solid Windows Server 2008R2 instances running apps and have no inclination to update them.

SQL Server has strong competition from Oracle at one end and MySQL etc at the other. Again the give away low end versions of SQLServer.

I suspect therefore the key revenue generator there is Exchange. There is no real effective open source or closed source direct competitor to Exchange, but currently there is no Outlook for Android/iOS, so customers are probably increasingly using Gmail (or IMAP to Exchange?) from mobile devices which weakens the propriety Exchange/Outlook functionality, and turns it into an open standards (IMAP/POP/SMTP) mail server.

So sure, they make a lot of money and that is not going to change overnight, but I can't see anything there being the next big thing.

Lync/Yammer/Skype might have some potential, but they currently give away Skype for free so can't see it.

Comment: Re:Cloud This! (Score 1) 205

by BlackSmithNZ (#43230159) Attached to: Google Launches 'Keep' To Rival Evernote

" the fact that keeping things in sync between many devices could be done with a floppy disk as early as 1982"

Er, no. I was around and using computers in 82 (as a school child admittedly) and you could not do this in 82 easily, nor in 92 or 2002

My ZX Spectrum cassette tape had my bits of basic code on it. If I had stored a note 'remember to buy Apple shares in 20 years' and stored it on tape, I could not have interchanged it with pretty much anything else. Same as the school Apple II or BBC Model B computers, or the early IBM 5 1/4" floppies.

I used to have a simple text document details lots of useful bits of info like passport numbers, user names and passwords, that I kept zipped and encrypted on my PC's from about 92 on-wards. Once I got an email account with an ISP in about 94, I emailed back and forth to various accounts so I always had the zip file handy and updated. Just checked and I still have a copy in Gmail from ~2004 (wow, didn't remember gmail being around nearly than 10 years).

Thing is that now I use google docs and other cloud tools, I always have a totally upto date set of notes which are accessible from Android, Apple, Linux and Windows devices. Somebody could probably write a simple browser for a ZX Spectrum emulator running on a Raspberry Pi and I could read that same note.

So the cloud very much has a place to enable this rather than sneakernet. Encrypt if you want, but you know that your Slashdot posts are probably being scanned and aggregated as well.

Comment: Re:the easiest way (Score 1) 717

by BlackSmithNZ (#41602431) Attached to: How We'll Get To 54.5 Mpg By 2025

But European litres are the same as US liters.

Infact European litres are the same as litres worldwide, which does rather make it easier to compare litres per 100km fuel efficiency.

Only puzzle for me is why 'mericans still refer to something like a 750cc Sportsbike, a 2 liter compact car.. but then still use MPG.

Thing is that pretty much the entire rest of the world has changed to metric successfully over the last 200 years, with many countries changing in the last 100 years, yet this seems too difficult for the US?

Comment: Re:Political systems worldwide. (Score 2) 944

by BlackSmithNZ (#37734424) Attached to: Occupy Wall Street Protests Go Global

Public funding and contraints on election spending is pretty common worldwide to help ensure a level playing field.. otherwise (as Plato pointed out over 2000 years ago), an obligarchy of the rich will end up controlling democracy and not the mass of people.

Here is New Zealand, although a small right wing party (campigning on lowering taxes) receives more funding from its (wealthier) members, controls over how much they can spend, rules around equal air-time of advertising and disclosure of money recieved and government funding of parties (related to how popular they are) helps control the impact that funding has on individal members and parties.

Its not a bad system.. hence of course the right wing parties want to change it.

Its also very open to abuse of course.. i.e. how do you draw the line between a party political advert and something like a union, business or church group happening to advertise in such a way (with there own money) that just happens to benefit one party or another? It very quickly becomes a free speech issue.. and I tend to always favour the concept of free speech even if it does lead to cheating.

Comment: Re:Nevermind that... (Score 1) 262

by BlackSmithNZ (#37734160) Attached to: Microsoft 'Hut' Opens Outside Seattle Apple Store

"On October 20th, Microsoft will open its 14th store, this one in Seattle's popular University Village shopping center..."

or

"Microsoft will open its newest store in Seattle's popular University Village shopping centre on October 20th, Microsofts' 14th store in the US...."

etc...

but the context allows most people to figure out the original sentence anyway.. it makes sense that this store would be in the shopping centre, and 13 others elsewhere..

Comment: Re:backup power? (Score 1) 86

by BlackSmithNZ (#37312514) Attached to: First Fully Electric Manned Helicopter Flight

1. High cost of batteries and a motor big enough to land the helicopter.
> Given the cost of a typical helicopter, Li-On batteries + electric motor on the scale that this guy used, is probably a minor incremental cost.I am thinking along the lines of Honda Civic style mild-hybrid - beefed up batteries from what is normally carried and a electric motor that adds to peak output rather than totally replace it.

2. Lift capacity decrease due to the weight of batteries and electric motor.
> True - there would probably be some extra weight. You might however get some gains to offset this - i.e. getting away with a smaller gas-turbine & using electric to meet peak power requirements, or replacing twin gas-turbines (a requirment for some helicopter related tasks) with a single larger turbine & using electric to reduce the impact of a power-down on the turbine.

3. The extra fuel needed to carry the weight of the batteries and electric motor causing higher flight costs and shorter range.
> Maybe - see above. Potentially you might get some fuel savings by running the turbine at a steady rate and using the batteries to smooth out throttle inputs / rotor pitch changes .

4. Maintenance costs on batteries and motor that will probably never be used.
> You might gain here; electric motors and batteries generally require a lot less mantenance than a gas-turbine (or piston engine). Depending on the config, you could reduce a huge amount of complex gearing by switching to turbine-electric drive. Even the mild-hybrid idea, you might reduce peak load on the engine, save some fuel costs and add to the auto-rotation safety margin.

Comment: Re:Using HTC Estimates and WP7 Numbers, $150M $30M (Score 1) 276

by BlackSmithNZ (#36668350) Attached to: Microsoft's Hottest New Profit Center: Android

I think this analysis is actually a good thing.

First up, I think the numbers probably aren’t that far off. Right now MS probably lose quite a lot of money per WP7 phone given the investment they have had to put in to get adoption going (giving away large numbers to staff, developers, advertising and something like $1b to Nokia alone) on top of development costs and infrastructure.
Even if they have sold 5m phones retail with a gross profit of $15 per unit (and I think they are not selling all that fast), they are probably still losing on every unit sold.

Compared with that, the income from Android sales, while modest in terms of total income, is almost pure profit; a few lawyers filing legal threats and signing up contracts, and then pure profit on development and patent costs that (in the case of FAT patents) was spent last century.

If you were a shareholder, would you invest in Steve Ballers business model which is to spend billions trying to reach a point where they might sell say 10m licenses at $15, but competing not only with a free product bankrolled by not only Google but an army of companies like HTC, Samsung and Motorola, but also with a company even larger and more profitable than MS (Apple) which is selling a market leading OS that is far ahead in terms of terms of infrastructure, user base and mature products and design.

Or invest in an alternative business model in which little or nothing is spent or risked, and instead they might sell 100m licenses at $5 each. No competition other than open source developers trying to work around patents? No infrastructure at all, and MS are freed to develop tile like (Win8 looking?) interfaces on-top of Android as with the HTC sense layer, along with partnerships like the Bing in China deal. In fact MS are free to take Android entirely and use it as a mobile platform for .NET etc; its only pride that stops them.

In the end, if even some of the bean counters at MS are thinking about option B, MS has to consider working with platforms that are stronger than them.

They have done this when they ended up supporting iOS by shipping apps for iOS. I always thought that having tools like Visual Studio or Office on all platforms would be a good thing? I know that technically, almost impossible to happen (and MS culture would have to change) but Office 2012 running on Ubuntu or an iPad/Android tablet would be something I would love to see.

I always though MS trying to subvert standards and control the platform was a bad thing; if they make more money off open source, standard platforms that trying to push their own propriety solutions which they control entirely, then we all benefit. If their patents get in the way, developers will route around it (as with GIF, being replaced with PNG) and MS know that.

Comment: Re:Depending on Putin (Score 1) 236

by BlackSmithNZ (#35497374) Attached to: NASA Buys 12 Seats On Soyuz

"So if you say that they might refuse to launch Astronauts"

I can think of $753 million good reasons that politics aside, they might want to continue to launch Astronauts.

Money has a funny way of putting a different perspective on things.

I also would not overlook the politics in NASA doing this. Next budget round, after the politicans have fielded complaints from the public re their money going offshore to Russia or China, they might feel a little more like funding locally built rockets

Comment: Re:monopolies (Score 2) 722

by BlackSmithNZ (#35402226) Attached to: Is Apple Turning Into the Next "Evil Empire"?

Suspect you are just trolling, but you are comparing an iPod Touch with simple MP3 players. To compare like with like, a better comparison would be something like the Nano. My iPod Touch, I use for games, reading, maps, books, apps.. and podcasts and music.

The iPods so dominate the market, that you get pretty much nothing but iPod docks for playing music, and pretty much any headphones with controls built in are iPod controls (I have a surprisingly reasonable pair of Philips that have inline controls including microphone). Look at accessories on Amazon; the market belongs to Apple and it’s not just marketing or lock-in as with Windows, (though apps now contribute to that).

You have a point about the crappy headphones Apple bundles ( I don’t know why they do that), given a decent set of headphones on any MP3 player, I call bullshit on sounds quality – even on good headphones, the difference in sound between MP3 players (playing compressed formats) is much more likely to be subjective than objective and actually better/worse.

I have tried other brands (including a Chinese clone which looks the same but was flaky to the point it got returned) and found the difference with iPods is far more than just the brand name; a neat little Sony MP3 player my wife had, sounded & looked good, but required Sony Soundstage software which made the player basically unusable.

The cheap ($50) Philips MP3 player my daughter had also was crippled by lack of decent PC software (and I don’t rate iTunes as great by any means) as well as limited functionality. My daughter ended up buying an iPod Touch just for games and other apps with her old MP3 player being abandoned as a waste of money.

Pretty much any other player you care to mention simply fails on the iTunes side; most nights I plug in my iPod touch and podcasts are automatically synced – listened to podcasts removed, new episodes are added. I assume I could load ‘Skeptics Guide to the Universe’ onto other players but I would have to work at it. iTunes just makes it easy – my kids buy songs on iTunes & they appear on our players, pretty much in one click – given time is money, it makes it competitive with torrents and other ways to steal music. Convenience has value – saving $50 or $100 on hardware then burning dozens or hundreds of hours with some clunky software or manually moving music off/on the player hardware is very short sighted and frustrating.

Turns out most of the world has decided that real iPods are worth the money. Maybe you are wrong to think they are overpriced?

Comment: Re:Not too early. (Score 1) 192

by BlackSmithNZ (#35287202) Attached to: Android Honeycomb Born Too Early

"I always wondered how HTC felt being "shafted" by the exclusive deal with Motorola after they were the ones that put Android phones in the hands of the consumer. "

Given that HTC are now a leading name brand, selling millions of phones, I think they are probably still quite happy about Android right now. Its not like HTC are not selling phones (which is there main business); they haven't even entered the tablet maket as such. They are instead taking the option of building in there own UI layer, which Google allows; I can't imagine Apple allowing that or MS with WP7.

How HTC feels about MS as a partner given how much effort they have put into Windows for relatively few sales and no special deals like with Nokia.. now that would be interesting. I suspect we will see HTC (and Samsung) drop Windows 7, if Nokia do get a special deal, though I'm not sure Nokia will even get a significant number of WP7 devices out the door. Dell might still make a Windows 7 phone for a while as you can bet they are getting special deals on Windows licenses and other MS products in return for promoting Win Phone 7.

Comment: Re:What does this say... (Score 1) 479

by BlackSmithNZ (#35134278) Attached to: Wikileaks' Assange Begins Extradition Battle

David Matthew Hicks

Australian citizen, spent more than a few year banged up without fair trial in Guantanamo Bay, apparently without having "waving a cheap AKM copy and firing at US soldiers" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hicks).

So unlikely, but the US in the past seemed quite happy to stick people into Guantanamo Bay. 'Enemy combatant' was term dreamed up in the Bush era and could be applied to anybody anytime. Its not like somebody has declared the war on terror over have they?

Comment: Re:What does this say... (Score 1) 479

by BlackSmithNZ (#35134216) Attached to: Wikileaks' Assange Begins Extradition Battle

"No one wants a trial near them"
Though in hundreds or thousands of locations around the United States, this does happen every day with actual real criminals, some of who turn out to be guilty of murder, rape and other crimes. These places are called court houses, and there are systems in place to manage the housing of sometimes dangerous criminals, (prisons) and getting them to/from said courts, mostly without incident.

"incarcerations of known Muslim enemy combatants near them".

Er, incarcerations of untried people, who may have been enemy combatants, may have been or will be a threat, but without a trial or evidence being presented how can the public know?. How do you know they haven't given up the desire to fight?. Why does them being Muslim make them magically more or less of a threat than a prisoner of any other religion? Given that the US military has released many detainees over the years, it is obvious that at any point in time over the last n years, there have been prisoners detained who turned out to not be a threat.

I don't see the threat of having them on US soil. Unless they happened to have smuggled nukes in, then being an unarmed prisoner in a US prison does not make them any more dangerous than any other random person in the US, and infact a lot less dangerous than those crazies who are not in prison and have weapons and the desire to go on a shooting rampage.

Comment: Re:Rover tried this too in the 40s (Score 1) 338

by BlackSmithNZ (#33930532) Attached to: The Rise and Fall of America's Jet-Powered Car

I have heard a few stories about the Rover; one of the senior engineers on the project was an elderly, but still very clever neighbour who I talked to a few times about the car he worked on during the mid-50's.

From what he told me, to drive the car was fun; the turbine whine made it very distinctive and the car handling was improved by engine placement & reduced weight over the standard Rover V8. He used to be able to borrow one prototype car at times to drive home, despite it not being strictly road legal. Apparently quite the sensation in the small town where he lived.

He also talked about the problems; the gear-box which was heavy, expensive and complex, reducing some of the advantages of having a gas-turbine in the first place. You can see why; at the time manual gear-boxes were relatively crude anyway, and to engage first you had to couple with a turbine 'idling' and 35,000rpm.

The thirst for lubrication oil and petrol at a time when petrol in the UK went from being rationed to just being expensive was not good timing, though 12mpg was not that bad compared with big Rolls Royce engines. The car also gave a whole new perspective on turbo lag; acceleration & de-acceleration was not that great when you had to wait for the turbine to spin up to get the full 100+HP.. and then brake the turbine to slow it down again (wasting fuel).

  Main problem he talked about was heat. An aircraft (or boat) can dump the waste heat out the back without any concern, and gas-turbines are more efficient at low temperatures at altitude, but in a road legal car... they apparently tried dumping the exhaust out under-car vents, (melting the tar-seal), out the back (burn hazard to anybody walking behind the car) and finally venting above the car. The later models used large complex heat-exchanges to try and cool the exhaust and scavenge waste heat, but it was still a big engineering challenge.

AFAIK one never crashed, but a minor accident would be interesting if you had a turbine spinning at 50,000rpm under the bonnet.. I imagine it would throw hot metal a long way.

All this of course was done starting in the 1940's, with the prototype in 1950.. years ahead of Chrysler who sounds like they went through the same process of discovering the draw-backs.

The gas-turbine could probably be mated with a hybrid drive-train to avoid many of the issues faced by Rover and Chrysler, but I am still sceptical; so many revolutionary engine designs including the Wankel rotary don't become mainstream as conventional piston internal combustion engines, despite the theoretical draw-backs, have evolved and been refined over such as long time that its difficult to bet them in all aspects without failing in cost, size, power, economy, noise, lag or other criteria.

Interchangeable parts won't.

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