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Comment: Re:Softener (Score 1) 42

by Dogtanian (#48930869) Attached to: Spider Spins Electrically Charged Silk

Never use a softener for towels. It makes them hydrophobic.

That's something I personally loathe; towels that are "lovely" and soft, but don't actually f****** get you dry!!. Thing is, it doesn't seem to be solely down to fabric softener (though that *is* a factor). A lot of new towels seem to be like that as well, softener-washed or not. Is it a coating, or is it what they're made of?

This is why I prefer cheaper and/or older towels- they do a good job of drying me when I come out of the shower. Sure, they feel a bit rougher, but I don't mind that. I'm not a masochist, but I've come to associate the "luxury" feel with towels that annoy me because they don't do what they're supposed to.

Comment: Re:Adobe (Score 1) 224

by Dogtanian (#48928747) Attached to: YouTube Ditches Flash For HTML5 Video By Default

That paid for the FP engineering and QA team. The entire project was pretty much revenue neutral -- and the CC apps (like Flash Pro and DW) were the money makers in that department.

I wasn't suggesting that Adobe made big money off Player, but what you're saying misses the point. It's free because that way more- *far* more- end users will have it installed, meaning content creators are in turn far more likely to buy the paid apps to create Flash-based content than they would be otherwise.

In short, Player being free is a necessary (or at least incredibly beneficial) aspect of selling CC et al, and should be factored in as part of CC's development cost, not treated as something that has to "pay its own way".

The fact that they made money anyway by weaselling McAfee installs alongside it is beside the point.

Comment: Re:Something Suspicious (Score 2) 203

by Dogtanian (#48928527) Attached to: Adobe's Latest Zero-Day Exploit Repurposed, Targeting Adult Websites

It's a problem born from software bloat. It was originally intended to be a means of drawing vector graphics and simple animations, but there was a void in functionality in the days before PCs were fast enough to handle Javascript (or even had browsers that could cope with the highly abstracted pages written now).

Did you mean Java or JavaScript (*)? JavaScript of the time (late 90s) was too simplistic to be usable for serious client-side apps on its own, but I don't think it was especially slow. It was Java that was just too heavyweight for PCs of the time to handle; (**) and I think that explains *why* Flash succeeded.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again- Flash basically snuck in via the back door to (eventually) end up filling almost the exact same role that Java Applets were supposed to meet (i.e. embedded rich software content running on the client PC via a web page) but never did.

Since- as you say- it started out as little more than a lightweight animation tool, it was probably closer to what PCs at the time could handle, and added capabilities (and "bloat") more closely aligned with PCs' increasing power. I don't believe it was ever originally intended to take on Java Applets, but inevitably moved into that role because of a void left by Java's failure to meet the hype.

(*) Two totally different languages and technologies intentionally confused by use of similar names
(**) A reply to my original comment also pointed out that MS tried- and possibly did- kill off client-side Java through intentional cultivation of incompatibility in their own version. In case we'd forgotten how evil they were, given the opportunity.

Comment: Re:Adobe (Score 2) 224

by Dogtanian (#48919371) Attached to: YouTube Ditches Flash For HTML5 Video By Default

Adobe never made money off Flash Player - they made money from popular content creation tools which can now export to HTML5

Mainly correct, and worth pointing out. That said, I'm sure they made quite a few quid through their tie-up with McAfee, weaselling their trial crapware onto people's systems with that oh-so-generous prechecked "yes" box on the Flash Player installer.

Comment: Re:We still have (Score 1) 65

by Dogtanian (#48895755) Attached to: Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11

Sharper Image went bankrupt in 2008, and it's now just a licensed brand name, same as Kodak and Polaroid.

Unlike Polaroid, Kodak is still (the original) Kodak. They might be relying more and more on whoring their name out, but it's still the same company, and they're still (e.g.) making film et al. I already posted a more detailed response on this subject to someone who said almost exactly the same thing.

Comment: Re:Or: (Score 1) 65

by Dogtanian (#48895721) Attached to: Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11

What is not being widely reported is that Xhibit Corp sold the customer loyalty fulfillment part of the business last year for around $20 million. This was the unit that apparently generated the vast majority of the revenue and probably all the profit. Why would a firm who expected to stay solvent sell of the unit that generated most of the revenue, a unit with guaranteed sales?

It really seems like a scam to create liquidity of the profitable assets and then screw the creditors.

Hmm. Where have I heard *that* countless times before?

(Opens Wikipedia article on the company, does text search for "private equity"...)

In 2012, SkyMall was purchased by Najafi Companies, the largest private equity firm in Arizona. In January 2015 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

What a surprise.

Comment: Re:Surprised it didn't happen sooner (Score 1) 314

by Dogtanian (#48837887) Attached to: Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing
First off, that wasn't an apology for Radio Shack's problems, nor an attempt to say that they were blameless. From what I've read (*), the company quite clearly *has* been obviously mismanaged and directionless for a long time now, and would probably have gone under on that basis.

What I'm criticising with respect to Radio Shack- or rather with the market's use of it- is a problem with derivatives in general. It's the fact that they've become detached from the business processes that they were meant to relate to (and serve), and have become the driving force in their own right, a massively overgrown tail wagging a tiny (and irrelevant) dog.

The point is that the people on either side aren't interested in Radio Shack per se, they're interested in exploiting and using insurance policies- in effect, derivatives here- taken out against Radio Shack, bundled up, passed around and abstracted away from the business itself. And, on the opposite side, the interests of the insurance company (e.g.) in insuring against a payout, in effect a derivative in itself.

Radio Shack is still "important" in the way that the ball is important in a football game.

None of this excuses Radio Shack's own failings, in fact it says nothing about that either way. What it *was* an attack on is the financial markets creating derivatives of derivatives of derivatives that are so far detached from their original purpose as to be irrelevant. Until- as in 2008- the "real life" issues (e.g. the housing market) hidden away hit the fan and cause masses more damage thanks to the multiplying effect of derivatives, or the other way around, i.e. the use of derivatives as a plaything causes damage to the real world entity.

(*) I live in the UK, where all the Tandy stores (i.e. Radio Shack) were sold off to a mobile phone retailer around 15 years ago.

Comment: Re:No insider trading there.... (Score 1) 314

by Dogtanian (#48823295) Attached to: Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

No insider trading there.... It was a coincidence that the stock price tanked...

I already commented elsewhere that Tandy had become little more than the football in a game of derivatives, credit default swaps, et al.

It's clear that no-one involved on either side of that cares about the business itself, beyond it being a means to an end. Nor would they have any qualms about tanking it if they were on the side that stood to benefit from such a move. Whether this would result from what would technically be called "insider trading" is relevant only in a legal sense; it's clear that a market which operates in such a way is inherently rotten, regardless.

Comment: Re:Surprised it didn't happen sooner (Score 2) 314

by Dogtanian (#48822673) Attached to: Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing
Another article which basically explains that Radio Shack's primary function is now ultimately as little more than the ball itself in a game of derivatives and credit default swaps that- as often happens- has veered far from any legitimate use of them, or having much to do with the company per se, and into borderline legalised gambling of the type that hit the fan in 2008.

As I said, Radio Shack is the ball in this; nominally the raison d'etre, but really just a means to an end of little importance in itself, like a £50 football being used in a game between Manchester United and Chelsea, players costing millions competing on behalf of clubs worth the better part of a billion each.

Comment: Kitty Litter Nuclear Explosion (Score 4, Insightful) 166

by Dogtanian (#48788803) Attached to: Nuclear Waste Accident Costs Los Alamos Contractor $57 Million
Haven't read all the linked articles through yet, but it's been mentioned in the past- and again in the articles- that one of the reasons for the explosion may have been the use of organic-based kitty litter(!) reacting badly with the materials being disposed of, and that the inorganic version should have been used.

One version I heard was that they changed the kitty litter formulation; this version suggests that they bought organic instead of inorganic kitty litter because of a typo.

Now, there's nothing wrong with using what amounts to kitty litter to do whatever it was being used for. If that does the job, fine.

But whichever of the cases described was true, a problem is that if the stuff they're buying is intended and sold as kitty litter, it's quite possible that the makers may feel at liberty to change the formulation in a way that doesn't effect its use as kitty litter, but massive alters its safety as a "nuclear waste disposal material".

If having organic matter in your kitty litter could inadvertantly turn the nuclear material into a form of radioactive explosive, then you should be damn sure that you're getting the inorganic formulation from a supplier that can guarantee that this is what you're getting. It won't be called "kitty litter" even if that's what- in effect- it is, and it'll probably cost a lot more, but the supplier will (or should be) in the s*** if they supply the wrong type, whereas are Los Alamos going to sue "Pets R Us" for causing a nuclear explosion even if they *did* inadvertantly put organic in an inorganic bag, or change the formulation with insufficient notice (or whatever)?

So this is why (e.g.) the military (for example) might pay a lot more for a given item than you or I might pay over the counter. That, and the fact that they're probably diverting the money to some dubious black ops...!

Comment: Re:"We've reached out to Netflix" (Score 1) 121

by Dogtanian (#48739057) Attached to: Netflix Begins Blocking Users Who Bypass Region Locks
Sorry, but if that's what it's meant to mean, it's a pretty opaque and obnoxiously PR-ish choice of words. Whether or not it's come (or is coming) into common currency doesn't change the fact that it's recent enough that most people using it probably chose to do so, or did so under the influence of too much PR bullshit.

There may be a case for a short and snappy phrase intended to concisely convey the meaning you describe, but f*****g "reaching out" sure as hell aren't the words I'd have chosen to do so.

Comment: "We've reached out to Netflix" (Score 2, Insightful) 121

by Dogtanian (#48731947) Attached to: Netflix Begins Blocking Users Who Bypass Region Locks

We've reached out to Netflix to verify what it's doing

Urgh... this makes me think of that famous bash.org quote. Seriously, why the **** are Engadget using this obnoxious phrase instead of simply saying "we've contacted Netflix" or something similar?

It's the current favoured stock weasel-worded pseudo-touchy-feely (but in fact, insultingly off-the-shelf) bullshit phrase corporate PR use to sound like they *suddenly* give a f*** about a pissed-off customer they're having to contact, er... "reach out to" in response to some massive PR disaster they didn't expect.

But why would a "proper" news source feel the need to use the same irritating phrase when *they're* not the putative offending party on the defensive, but rather the people investigating the problem?

Unless this is an example of the phrase "if you lie down with dogs [i.e. hang around too many PR weasels], you get up with fleas".

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