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Comment Re:It's going to take some time still (Score 1) 71

Yeah, I can see that for decent-sized operations. I've actually been looking at cloud services (EC2 and Azure) lately in order to gather telemetry data from beta software, in order to help with the design and refinement process. We're such a small operation that there's no way we could or should do dedicated servers, nor would it be economical. I can actually rent the smallest server for less than $15 a month with continuous operation, and proportionally less than that if I'm only turning it on part-time, like during development and testing. Best of all, as the need arrives, I can simply scale up as needed. Both Microsoft and Amazon's offerings are roughly on par regarding pricing and services.

For all the idiocy about the cloud bandwagon and people using it inappropriately, the ability to rent and dynamically scale virtual servers on demand is actually really handy in many cases.

Comment Re:Better transistors? (Score 1) 310

Don't get me wrong... I've always lambasted the pundits who seem intent on declaring the PC "dead" - that's only true for people who don't actually do any work on a computer. Mobile devices are best at consuming content or *very* light work. Only idiots would argue otherwise. But let's face it - that's the bulk of what most people actually *do* with their personal computers outside of actual work.

And I'm not saying that there isn't still a need for high-powered workstations. It's just that the market for those machines isn't nearly as big as it used to be. And I think PCs have reached a tipping point where, at least outside of gaming or specialized jobs, there's less pressing need for them to be more powerful, so I think that's also contributing to the slowing market.

Don't worry - PCs and workstations aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Submission + - Verizon Tests Net Neutrality with Zero-Rated Streaming Video Service

Dutch Gun writes: Ars Technical reports that Verizon is releasing its own video streaming service called Go90. Bandwidth consumed by this service will not count against a customer's data cap, but rival services like Netflix will — unless they choose to pay up. Unlike T-Mobile's zero-rating plan, in which any service can sign up at no charge, Verizon will charge streaming services for this privilege. This is similar to AT&T's data cap exemption program, launched a year ago.

The FCC has recently requested meetings with these companies about their zero-rating programs to discuss what the implications are regarding net neutrality.

Comment Re:Revoke it (Score 2) 39

Signing software prevents it from being surreptitiously tampered with by a third party. Other platforms do not require you to purchase a developer certificate from them - this is specific to Apple and it's walled garden (or other closed stores and platforms). Don't conflate whatever issues you have with closed ecosystems and the security benefits of signed software in general! That's as flawed as blaming encryption because bad actors might use it to avoid being snooped on by law enforcement.

Comment Re:Better transistors? (Score 3, Interesting) 310

I'd argue that it's also the case that most computers for the past decade have been ridiculously overpowered for what most average consumers are asking of them. That's partly why the market is moving to mobile. For many common tasks, a tiny mobile computer is still more than enough to do the job just fine. And in the case of Windows, the required minimum specs for an OS hasn't jumped nearly as substantially since Windows Vista, as MS focused quite a bit on performance optimization rather than letting things keep bloating up. If you had a reasonably powerful computer that could run Windows Vista when it first came out, you could almost certainly still run Windows 10 on it.

Vista recommended specs:
1-gigahertz (GHz) 32-bit (x86) processor or 1-GHz 64-bit (x64) processor
1 GB of system memory
40-GB hard disk that has 15 GB of free hard disk space
Windows Aero-capable graphics card w/ 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)

Windows 10 minimum specs:
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver

Note that I'm comparing recommended to minimum specs, but it's still fairly impressive given the time between these two OS releases. In general, I just think there's less market pressure to keep creating faster and faster CPUs.

Comment Re:A big problem everywhere, not just Japan (Score 4, Interesting) 104

The premise is right that restrictions inconvenience users who aren't interested in piracy and probably drive many of them to piracy.

Yep, and it's not just the DRM. I've found that legitimate channels are often worse than illegitimate ones in many ways. Hulu is a fantastic example of this. You pay monthly and are still subjected to advertisement. Even at the highest paid service level with (mostly) no ads, Hulu insists on plastering a damned watermark of the local affiliate station (essentially an advertisement) over the stream for the entire duration of the show. Actually, calling it a watermark is a stretch, because it's not even translucent - it's nice and bright and in your face for the entire show. It's very distracting to me.

Moreover, Hulu doesn't provide past seasons of many shows, so if you haven't been watching for the past few years already, you can't catch up. What's the point of an on-demand streaming service if they don't provide a full catalog so new subscribers can catch up? I could rent those shows, but the prices are outrageous. That's old-school broadcaster thinking for you. Idiotic.

On the other hand, I could easily download every show I currently watch on Hulu via bittorrent with better quality encoding and no distracting watermark, and I can download all past seasons of any show with no hassle. Why am I being a chump and paying Hulu for the privilege of a degraded experience? Well, because I want to support the shows I like, I suppose. I've honestly been considering cancelling Hulu, as I already subscribe to a few other streaming services. This is what happens if your legitimate offering is worse than pirating.

Comment Re:Good (Score 2) 117

That's surprising. I just went there as a test with a browser that had no adblocker or script blocking installed, and sure enough, the site popped open a page telling me some critical software was out of date, trying to trick me into upgrading.

Honestly, I think Google's a little scared by the advent of adblockers, which also tend to both implicitly and explictly double as malware blockers. I see this as a move by them to make web browsing safer without having to resort to installing ad blockers. They can't exactly drop support for ad-blockers plugins, as they'd just hand their market share back to Firefox, but they can try to make them a bit less compelling to use.

Comment Re:That's been true all along (Score 1) 123

Fair enough. If they warned everyone ahead of time that they'd be making breaking changes to the language, then that's not quite so bad (I must have missed the memo). And of course, the inclusion of migration tools certainly helps to mitigate whatever minor pain is involved. It's just that I tend to view those sorts of changes as the hallmark of a beta product - one still below the 1.0 release threshold. I guess that's what happens when version numbers don't mean what they've historically represented anymore. It confuses old-timers like me.

I recently began porting my project to OS X (and will eventually do iOS as well), so I had to pick up Objective-C. Swift looked interesting, but didn't work for me because it couldn't as easily interop with my native C++ libraries. So, yeah, of course... there's no way that Apple can abandon Objective-C anytime in the near future either (as some have speculated), because again, a lot of people have a very substantial investment in Objective-C code as well.

Comment Re:That's been true all along (Score 1) 123

Language stability is a very big deal if you've got a sizable body of code, say a few hundred billion lines or so that have been written, bugfixed, and hardened over the past few decades. It's something that people with very large investments in very large code bases that are maintained for a long time tend to care about.

I suppose if you're banging out the latest iOS app in six or twelve months the stability of the language isn't as big of a deal. Nothing wrong with that, but you have to remember that different developers and different projects value different things in their programming languages.

Comment Re:Next year (Score -1, Troll) 123

I read the first item ("guard" keyword) a couple of times, and I'm still having trouble figuring out what it does that a simple "if" statement doesn't do. It is just syntactic sugar for the if statement, but used to indicate precondition checks? I feel like I'm missing something obvious.

Defer keyword... interesting idea. C++ has destructors, but in many cases, if the object isn't already wrapped up, it's a lot of boilerplate code to do so. Still, for most of the daily work I do, I'm not dealing with raw handles, so I'm much better served with simple destructors. It would be pretty handy if I were writing a lot of C-style code - could replace a lot of those ugly goto statements used to do end-of-function cleanup.

do...repeat. Sigh... figure this stuff out before version 1 of the language guys. One of C/C++'s strengths is that it's an incredibly stable language. Code written 25 years ago still compiles just fine today. Breaking changes at version 2 doesn't bode well for future stability.

Apple has also revamped all of the Objective-C APIs that required NS_OPTIONS values to use the new OptionSetType. This causes breaking code changes, but continues to move Swift’s syntax forward along with the APIs that it supports.

Well, maybe Apple can get away with this. Mmmm... koolaid...

Comment 1000km? (Score 4, Insightful) 405

Wow... 1000km is a pretty hefty pilot program. And here's the important phrase:

This project will supply 5 million people in France with electricity if it is successful

So... 1000km and they have no idea if it's going to be successful? It seems like the reasonable thing to do would be to pave a few km of road and see how it holds up under real conditions for a few years. But hey, money is no object when you're saving the planet, right? Well, I'm glad it's their tax dollars that are doing a giant feasibility study for the rest of us.

The Dutch have the right idea. They've started with a 100m strip to start with to see if the things actually work as intended first. I like the concept, but new products and concepts like this need to be tested pretty carefully.

Comment Re:Article paid by Apple to boo over it. (Score 2) 456

Microsoft gradually chipped away at it and eventually supplanted PalmOS as #1 for the simple reason that Palm wouldn't allow PalmOS on other hardware. Anyone else who wanted to make their own PDA had to invest in making their own OS (Nokia) or use Microsoft's offering. (This is the same mistake Apple made in the PC market, thus relegating them to a 5% market share today.)

And yet, this same strategy seems to have worked brilliantly for the iPhone, or at the very least, doesn't seem to have hurt Apple at all. Any theories as to why this would supposedly be a disadvantage in one case but not in another? Personally, I'm not sure that licensing an OS to third-parties is a huge factor in success given the top two players have wildly diverging strategies in this regard. And remember, Android isn't a big money-maker for Google like the iPhone is for Apple.

But in an idiotic move, Microsoft insisted on tying it together with their desktop OS monopoly by forcing it to use the Win32 API and UI paradigm. (A Start button on a phone? Really?) Nobody wants to use the Windows desktop UI on a 4-inch screen.

And hilariously, Microsoft made the exact same mistake in reverse with Windows 8.1 by forcing users to use a ridiculous mobile / touch interface on a desktop PC.

IMHO that will go down in history as Ballmer's biggest blunder - missing the PDA and cell phone convergence.

Oh, and don't forget the convergence of digital cameras with phones as well. I'd imagine the bottom dropped out of the low-end stand-alone digital camera market, since nearly everyone has a camera on their phone these days.

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