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Music

U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music' 340

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
Squiff writes U2 and Apple are apparently collaborating on a new, "interactive format for music," due to launch in "about 18 months." (A direct interview is available at Time, but paywalled.) Bono said the new tech "can't be pirated" and will re-imagine the role of album artwork. Marco Arment has some suitably skeptical commentary: "Full albums are as interesting to most people today as magazines. Single songs and single articles killed their respective larger containers. ... This alleged new format will cost a fortune to produce: people have to take the photos, design the interactions, build the animations, and make the deals with Apple. Bono’s talking point about helping smaller bands is ridiculous ... There's nothing Apple or Bono can do to make people care enough about glorified liner notes. People care about music and convenience, period. As for “music that can’t be pirated”, I ask again, what decade is this? That ship has not only sailed long ago, but has circled the world hundreds of times, sunk, been dragged up, turned into a tourist attraction, went out of business, and been gutted and retrofitted as a more profitable oil tanker."
Iphone

Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only 324

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-our-way dept.
Ronin Developer writes From the Cnet article: "At last week's Apple event, the company announced Apple Pay — a new mobile payments service that utilizes NFC technology in conjunction with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner for secure payments that can be made from the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch. Apple also announced a number of retailers that would accept Apple Pay for mobile payments at launch. However, Cult of Mac reports that NFC will be locked to the Apple Pay platform, meaning the technology will not be available for other uses. An Apple spokesperson confirmed the lock down of the technology, saying developers would be restricted from utilizing its NFC chip functionality for at least a year. Apple declined to comment on whether NFC capability would remain off limits beyond that period." So, it would appear, for at least a year, that Apple doesn't want competing mobile payment options to be available on the newly released iPhone 6 and 6+. While it's understandable that they want to promote their payment scheme and achieve a critical mass for Apple Pay, it's a strategy that may very well backfire as other other mobile payment vendors gain strength on competing platforms.
Robotics

The Case For a Federal Robotics Commission 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the heading-up-the-anti-singularity-committee dept.
New submitter hmcd31 writes: In a new paper for Brookings' series on the future of civilian robotics, University of Washington Law Professor Ryan Calo argues the need for a Federal Robotics Commission. With advancements such as driverless cars and drones taking to the roads and skies, Calo sees a need for a government agency to monitor these changes. His paper details many benefits a robotics commission could bring, from funding to assisting in law and policy issues. The policies developed by this FRC are argued to be particularly important, as their impact in creating an early infrastructure for robotics could create an environment that lets the technology grow even more.

Comment: What Microsoft could do (Score 3, Insightful) 210

by Jesrad (#47889273) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

One thing Microsoft could do easily and cheaply, which would eventually end this "Calling you from Windows and you have a virus" scam, is to have a short mention about this being a scam on the front page of their website. A single sentence would suffice.

When you get called by the indian call center employee, who for most of them believe they are working for a legitimate business, mention how the caller is NOT really affiliated with Microsoft because their website say it's a scam. "See for yourself !" and hang up.

The actual pirates can probably not do the mass phone call themselves and still rack up enough money, which is why they hire call centres to do it for them, and why they also take precautions to show them some pretense of legitimacy. If the call centres stop working with them they'll go away.

Comment: Re:RT.com? (Score 4, Informative) 536

by Jesrad (#47880383) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Please. Fascism is NOT a form of socialism. It's incompatible with marxist doctrine, through and through. Rather it's the fabled "third way" that is neither free-market nor communism. People who conflate fascism with socialism are just as wrong as those who conflate it with capitalism.

Comment: Re:RT.com? (Score 4, Interesting) 536

by Jesrad (#47880265) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

one was a free market fundamentalist: Pinochet

Repeating a lie often enough does not make it true.

Pinochet was resistant to free market, through most of 1974 his own style of handling economic problems left in the wake of Allende meant putting the army in charge of alleviating penuries through requisitions, rationning and distribution, and it was a complete failure. Chile kept printing money just like under Allende, leading to 300% inflation in 1974 and 1975.

If Pinochet was, as you put it, a "free-market fundamentalist", then explain why did oil and copper industries remain state-owned all through his regime, and why did the fishing and forestry industries remain syndicate-run (CORFO) ? Why did he keep in place many programs of subsidies ? Why did he have several failing corporations bailed out (like the Osorno bank) ? Why did his constitution of 1980 keep copper resources as irrevocably public property ? Why was the Peso pegged to the USD, chinese-style, in the early 80s (leading to a monetary crisis and recession), instead of maintaining a free-floating exchange rate like Friedman advocated in his speeches and books ?

Oh, right: that's because Pinochet was NOT a free-market advocate. He was not even right-wing either - his wife was a senator in the Radical Party, an ally of Allende's Unidad Popular, and he was a close collaborator of Allende until the coup d'état. Instead, his pragmatism at least let him put people who mostly were free-market enthusiasts in charge of some of his government's economic policies. He, himself, had no such convictions, he was just an autoritarian voluntarist. But I guess that makes for an insufficiently romantic narrative to convince you.

Sergio de Castro Spikula was one such free-market enthusiast in Pinochet's government, and he had to bitterly fight (there even was one incident with a gun) with other members, like General Gustavo Leigh, Admiral José Toribio (president of the government's economic committee), or Raul Saez (the man who was responsible for planning the economy of Chile in the Junta), in order to get the reforms done.

United States

Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion 536

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-money dept.
First time accepted submitter ltorvalds11 writes Cuba says its economy is suffering a "systematic worsening" due to a US embargo, the consequences of which Havana places at $1.1 trillion since Washington imposed the sanctions in 1960, taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against gold. "There is not, and there has not been in the world, such a terrorizing and vile violation of human rights of an entire people than the blockade that the US government has been leading against Cuba for 55 years," Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno told reporters. He also blamed the embargo for the difficulties in accessing internet on the island, saying that the United States creates an obstacle for companies providing broadband services in Cuba. Additionally, he said that the area is one of the "most sensitive" to the embargo, with economic losses estimated at $34.2 million. It is also the sector that has fallen "victim of all kinds of attacks" by the US, as violations of the Cuban radio or electronic space "promote destabilization" of Cuban society, the report notes. The damage to Cuban foreign trade between April 2013 and June 2014 amounted to $3.9 billion, the report said. Without the embargo, Cuba could have earned $205.8 million selling products such as rum and cigars to US consumers. Barack Obama last week signed the one-year extension of the embargo on Cuba, based on the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, created to restrict trade with countries hostile to the U.S..
Media

Buenos Aires Issues a 'Netflix Tax' For All Digital Entertainment 165

Posted by timothy
from the that-is-not-nettily-neutral dept.
New submitter DoILookAmused writes A few years ago, the Argentinean government implemented a 35% tax on all offshore buys using a credit card. In yesterday's press release, the city of Buenos Aires announced it will charge a 3% gross income tax for all streaming or media purchase abroad allegedly to bring it to "competitive prices with local media companies". This tax doesn't supersede the national 35% tax, which has sparked several reactions.

Comment: Re:Slow on the take (Score 1) 441

by Jesrad (#47815235) Attached to: In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Committing a guy for writing a book is many things, but it ain't fascism.

You're right, of course, and I should have made clear that is not what I was saying in the first place. What I wish to convey is that the USA abide by all eight core tenets of classical fascism, as detailed by John T. Flynn, and have done so for a long time. Abuses of police power, attorney power and executive power as seen in the article (and others) are but an inevitable consequence of the first two tenets.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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