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Comment Re: simpler? exclusive ad channel? (Score 1) 161

You can see why Google had to shaft Apple and push Android though. Imagine the situation they would be in now if Apple dominated all mobile and they were dependent on their 'generosity' to allow advertising and services through...

To a large extent Google's mobile advertising business is already dependent on Apple's "generosity". Up to 75% of Google's mobile ad revenue is dependent on Apple's continued placement of Google as the default search engine on its iOS devices - a treasured position which Google pays Apple an estimated $2 billion a year to hold onto The loss of of mobile advertising revenue from iOS platforms would knock over 13% off Googles total revenue (nearly $9 billion in 2014 numbers)

Yes, things could be a lot worse if Google had not entered the market with its own mobile operating system... But with support for ad blocking, Apple is going after Google, not Android (after having earned 90% of the smartphone profits in 2014, Apple needs Android as much as Microsoft needed the Mac in the late 1990's to stave off the scrutiny of regulators around the world).

According to Jason Calacanis, Tim Cook is slowly getting revenge on Google on behalf of Steve Jobs - without doing it directly... "We did not enter the search business," Jobs said. "They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them..." So, Tim Cook is playing the slow revenge game....

Given the revenue challenges that all Android OEMs are facing (with the obvious exception of Samsung), by going after Google's ability to remain Android's the benevolent benefactor - i.e. ad revenue - Apple may yet give Steve Jobs the revenge he sought... only it will not be the thermonuclear victory he envisaged... its a slow war of attrition.

Comment Re:Google+ (Score 4, Insightful) 100

Even Google has to obey the law in India.

If Google, Facebook or any other company doing business in India, Germany, Sudan, Britain or any other country for that matter, does not like the laws in that country, then they can take the moral high-ground, as Google did in China, and leave... even if it costs them dearly in future revenue growth.

A victory in a US court for Sikhs For Justice will remain a hollow victory because it would be unenforceable outside the jurisdiction of that US court (unless Facebook is willing to be in contempt of an Indian court order - which will be fully enforceable in India). What Sikhs For Justice should be doing is applying pressure on Facebook to pull out of India in protest over Indian censorship... then a local social network site will take its place just as happened to Google in China.

Comment Safari and Chrome already run HTML5 apps very well (Score 1) 90

Mozilla launched Firefox OS in 2013 with the goal of breaking open the "walled gardens" that confine iOS and Android...


Mozilla's alternative is to embrace the Web. No matter what operating system a device uses... Firefox OS thus runs apps written for the Web, which in principle means those apps run on any other device, too.

[auntie Elizabeth returns Firefox phone because she can’t Skype/FaceTime/WhatsApp/...]
[reality sets in at Mozilla]
[consumers in emerging markets don’t care about operating systems, walled gardens, lock-in, etc. as long as the phone runs their favourite apps] :

"To bridge this app gap between user expectations and the readiness of the ecosystem, we will explore implementing Android app compatibility," Beard said

[Mozilla declares Android’s picket fence more acceptable than iOS’s palisade fence]
[Mozilla digs foxhole in Android’s not-so-walled garden and declares it open]
[Mozilla tunnels under iOS palisade fence and declares it web enabled]

Comment Re:"Full responsibilty?" (Score 2) 334

The White House said the operation that killed the two hostages "was lawful and conducted consistent with our counterterrorism policies"

I do not know of any legal jurisdiction that tries government officials or politicians for the accidental and unforeseeable death of a civilian killed during a legally sanctioned security operation

nonetheless the government is conducting a "thorough independent review" to determine what happened and how such casualties could be avoided in the future

However, most societies expect that everything will be done to ensure that the probability of such a tragedy occurring again in future can be minimised

Comment How many passengers can it carry? (Score 4, Insightful) 140

I am really excited about the possibility of a week long cruise over Europe or a 5 day low altitude cruise across an African savanna or game park aboard a cruise liner such as the Airlander. However, when reading articles about the Airliner, it is always about the technical gobbledegook that engineers and airship geeks get off on... never does it cover the things that matter to the potential investor or future passenger.

At some point there was a view that future airships would be able to gently cruise the skies for days on end much like ocean liners of yesteryear. Future airships were said to be able to carry and support 200-300 passengers and crew over a few days or up to 1000 passengers and crew on a single transatlantic voyage. These were the promises (or dreams) being made a few years ago.

Now, with the Airlander, we have an opportunity to evaluate those promises and see how close to the dream of luxury airship liners, reminiscent of old school luxury ocean liners, we can get. And suddenly everyone appears to be silent about those prospects... nothing to fire up the imagination of a dreamy eyed 12 year old except for the fact that the Airlander's "unusual shape emulates a wing, giving it lift as it is propelled forward by its four engines, as well as from the 38,000m3 of helium that fills its hull."


Comment Re:this is getting old (Score 5, Insightful) 206

Some economists worry that China might eventually be mired in enormous debt

While any country can over stretch itself and find itself mired in unsustainable debt, it is hard not to roll one's eyes when one reads the report's really, really, really, remote scenarios for how China could get itself into such a situation. Given the current global geo-economic reality, spending as much time as the report does on the likelihood of this scenario coming to pass almost discredits the rest of what is actually a great report.

Chinese foreign reserves are almost US$4 trillion (as at September 2014) - more than the combined total foreign reserves held by the next 7 largest holders of foreign reserves (i.e.Japan, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Russia, Brazil and Republic of Korea). The United States foreign reserves, by comparison, are a paltry US$134 billion

At the other end of the scale, United States foreign debt stands at a staggering US$18 trillion - about US1 trillion of that borrowed from the Chinese - more than that of the United Kingdom and Germany combined.

The report then nonchalantly skims over the distinction between the mega-, giga-, tera- projects around the world and lumps them together as if they all pose the same systemic risks to each respective economy. This may serve the purpose of highlighting the manic pace of development taking place in China, but the author's US corollary to China's mega airports, rail infrastructure, city expansion, ports, malls, urban housing (albeit many of which still lie empty), are what I would call vanity mega-projects, such as the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft program, the International Space Station, etc.

If I were worried about a major global economy (and the US and China now the two largest economies in the world, by a long shot) "eventually being mired in enormous debt", it would be the one that is spending trillions of dollars on projects that cannot be used to further grow the country's economy in future. Spending billions on improving the county's economic efficiency (such as rail infrastructure, ports, airports, housing for migrant workers, renewable energy, manufacturing, education, etc.) cannot be equated to spending billions on improving the efficiency with which one can obliterate one's adversaries from the sky.

Comment Re:For the rest of us (Score 3, Insightful) 299

Why couldn't a new incarnation of something like Hypercard be cross platform.

I am not familiar with Hypercard (my entry into programming was via Basic first on the ZX Spectrum and later on the Apple IIe), but I would argue that if is was as great at easing lay peoples entry into programming as some claim, then we should rather exert more effort in making a new incarnation of Hypercard that is cross platform, rather than in trying to convince people that second best is better because it is cross platform.

Comment Re:Not a chance (Score 1) 631

Yup... our bank has issued Tap and Go + Chip and PIN cards that do not have a mag stripe. MasterCard fought us every step of the certification way... but we got it through - no fall back to mag stripe. You can do contactless payments up to a certain threshold and chip and pin transactions after that.

Comment Re: Apples and Oranges (Score 5, Insightful) 427

You couldn't be more wrong... the point made by Anonymous Coward (no, not you... the first Anonymous Coward) is valid and is informed by legal precedent set during the Microsoft anti trust case.

  • 1. Apple has a less than 15% market share... they may be very influential, but I hardly doubt that anything that they do could be construed to be abuse of market share.
  • 2. Apple can only dictate iOS requirements to itself since it is the only OEM using iOS. If they make decisions that are bad for the only iOS OEM, Apple are the only OEM to pay the price, not Samsung, HTC, Huawei, LG, Xiaomi or Motorola.
  • 3. Google should be able to dictate how Android is configured for its Nexus line of handsets; but, just as Microsoft was accused of bulling tactics for insisting that Windows OEM licensees had to make Internet Explorer the default browser to maintain their most treasured partner statuses, Google finds itself in a similar position for insisting that OEMs must pre-install Google services (even when the OEM has its own competing alternatives) or risk losing access to high value Google services that are not easily substitutable. By having such an overwhelming market share such that OEM's have very few alternative options, Google could be attracting the same attention that Microsoft attracted when they did the same thing with their market share.

So, just to set the record straight... if Jonny Ive and Craig Federighi decide to screw Dan Riccio over by making onerous demands that the hardware engineering team much comply with in order to qualify to run the next version of iOS, the worst that could happen would be that Apple could have no new hardware to ship their fancy new operating system on next year. There would be howls of protest from investors, mobile network operators and customers... but Apple would be the biggest loser... not their competitors.

Submission + - Malaysia flight MH17... not the first... probably not the last

Flytrap writes: Whoever brought down the Malaysian airliner should be held accountable... But history shows us that geopolitics often overshadows accountability and very few of the parties responsible for such disasters are ever held accountable.

An article contrasting the downing of Malaysian Flight M17 (by forces still to be determined) with the downing of Korean Air Flight 007 by Soviet fighters and the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 by the USS Vincennes got me thinking about why the standards of accountability are so inconsistent.

The Independent catalogues 7 passenger planes that were shot down prior to Malaysian Flight M17 (I added 2 more for completeness). This article also raises questions about why some parties are able to get away with downing a civilian aircraft while some parties are held accountable (the article does not attempt to answer the question)
  • 1954. Cathay Pacific VR-HEU shot down by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. Ten people on board were killed.
  • 1955. El Al Flight 402 shot down in Bulgarian airspace by two MiG-15 jets. Seven crew and 51 passengers were killed.
  • 1973. Libyan Airlines Flight 114 shot down by Israeli Phantom jet fighters. Only 5 survived of the 113 on board.
  • 1978. Korean Air flight 902 shot down by Soviet Sukhoi fighters after it violated Soviet airspace. Remarkably nearly all the passengers on board survived an emergency landing on a frozen lake. Two people were killed.
  • 1978. Air Rhodesia Flight RH 825 and Flight RH827 shot down by Zimbabwe People’s Liberation Army (Zipra) using ground-launched Stela missiles. 10 survivors were murdered at one of the crash sites, in the other none of the 59 passengers and crew survived.
  • 1980. Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 brought down by a missile fired from French Navy aircraft over the Tyrrhenian Sea. All 77 passengers and 4 crew were killed.
  • 1983. Korean Air Flight 007 shot down by Soviet fighters after the pilot strayed into Soviet airspace. There were no survivors.
  • 1988. Iran Air Flight 655 shot down by the USS Vincennes using a surface-to-air missile while in Iranian territorial waters. All 290 passengers and crew were killed.
  • 2001. Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 shot down by the Ukrainian military over the Black Sea using a BUK S-200 missile. All 66 passengers and 12 crew members died.

The Russians, of course have their own take on this inconsistency, and one suspects that they are counting on a continuation of this practice, in the event that they may have had a hand in the downing of Flight M17. However, despite their obviously ulterior motives, they have a valid point, which other web sites are beginning to also pick up on.

Not withstanding what may have happened in the past, we should not let that get in the way of holding those who may be responsible for shooting down Flight M17 accountable, regardless of whether their act was deliberate or accident — when you wield weapons of that nature, one has to accept culpability for how they are used. The question for us, is: how do we do that when the standard of accountability set by prior incidents is so low and inconsistent and seems to be overshadowed by geopolitical agendas that make it hard to sift fact from fiction — Colin Powell's very detailed presentation to the UN security Council of fake made up evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, comes to mind.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig