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Comment: Re:Subscription or no? (Score 1) 296

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49815271) Attached to: Windows 10 Release Date: July 29th

That link doesn't say anything about the inevitable updates for Windows 10 being free.

In some ways, I wish Microsoft would charge for ongoing security and compatibility updates after a reasonable period, but in a transparent way.

Useful lifetimes for PCs are increasing (forced obsolescence aside) and it's not a viable business model to expect MS to sell a copy of an OS one day and then support the same OS indefinitely with no extra revenues. However, clearly a lot of people are happy with what they've got and don't feel the newer versions of the OS getting pumped out to try to increase those revenues are actually an improvement, so that model is unsatisfying for all concerned.

In contrast, charging a modest and honestly advertised fee for long term support after a reasonable initial period of free updates included in the original purchase seems like an everybody-wins proposition. Customers who want to stick with, say, Windows 7 for as long as their home computer works/it's their corporate standard/someone in IT likes it have the option to do so, without giving up on useful updates for things like security or compatibility with new hardware or networking standards. Customers who are interested in more radical change can buy newer software instead. Microsoft gets enough money to run a viable business model either way. As long as everyone knows what the deal is up-front and the update/fees are optional (so if you don't pay then you don't get the updates but you also don't get your existing software artificially nerfed) I don't see any huge downside here.

Comment: Just ignore all non-security Windows updates... (Score 1) 296

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49815179) Attached to: Windows 10 Release Date: July 29th

Interesting, thanks.

It turns out that I don't have several of those patches installed anyway. Some time ago, I switched my default policy to only applying security updates, ignoring anything else in Windows Update even if Microsoft marks it "important". They have abused that mechanism so many times now to try to install junk that is in no way necessary or in my interests that I simply don't trust them any more and only install non-security updates if I have a specific reason for doing so. So far, this has caused me zero problems (unlike a couple of "important" but non-security updates that originally motivated my change in policy).

Comment: Re:Yes. (Score 1) 167

An author's copyrights can be assigned or transferred to a third party. This leaves the author with only the same rights as any member of the general public. (There are a few narrow exceptions, but nothing that would prevent the possibility of an author infringing on the copyright of a work he created)

It's also possible for a person who prepares a work to not be considered the author. This is the case for works made for hire.

And of course copyright isn't mandatory, though that just leads to works being in the public domain, so at least there's no danger of infringement there.

Comment: Re:Correct, but silly (Score 1) 167

However, bear in mind that copyright only applies to original material, not to pre-existing material. A review which includes a quote is copyrightable, but the new copyright for the review only covers the portion original to the reviewer; the material quoted is only covered by the copyright of the work the quotes are drawn from.

17 USC 103(b):

The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.

Comment: Re:Learn to read, learn basic math (Score 1) 306

The two statements you made are kind of at odds with one another.

Coders ARE too often one-trick ponies, I agree. But at least they learned some other subjects while they were at school. Literature, biology, chemistry. Even if they don't use them, they know a few things here and there.

The biologists, chemists and writers of the future will now know a little bit of coding. They won't remember much, probably, but they'll know a little. Nobody's trying to teach these kids to be experts any more than school is trying to teach kids to be materials scientists before they get to University. A little exposure can go a long way.

You don't get well-rounded individuals by teaching FEWER subjects.

Comment: Re:Another useless subject - yay! (Score 1) 306

I went to University and concentrated on computing science classes. I've been a professional programmer for 15 years.

But while I was at University, I also took courses in comparative literature, invertebrate paleontology, geology, meteorology, atmospheric fluid- and thermo- dynamics, and philosophy. You know what? It turns out that I'm really interested in those 'useless' subjects that I didn't really need, but was forced to take. As I look into the future, I'm thinking of leaving the software industry and getting a degree in biology or ecology, and using all the things I know from all the subjects that I've taken.

Education isn't just about utility, it's also about opportunity. Teaching children how to code isn't about making sure they use that skill later in life, it's just so that they know how big the world is and that they can do a lot of different things. At the time I did my degree, I did more than my fair share of grumbling at those optional courses, but 15 years on, they feel like some of the most valuable parts of my education. If nothing else, I think I have a lot more interesting conversations than I would've if I'd fixated on just one subject.

Comment: Re:The race is already on we're just not in it (Score 1) 272

In fairness, a country can have lots of astronauts without having the ability to launch them itself. After all, right now, the *USA* doesn't have a man-rated spacecraft, yet we still routinely send astronauts to the ISS. We just use Russian launches for it.

Comment: Re:Article is trole. (Score 1) 344

by cbhacking (#49793799) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

For the record, Windows Phone is reasonably popular in some parts of the world. For example, in India, it's somewhere around 10% (based on sales share there the last few years, and on having just spent a couple weeks in India). As a reminder, there are a *lot* of Indians (though many are too poor to afford a smartphone, even the super-cheap WP8 and Android models popular there).

I'm from Seattle, so Windows phones aren't really that rare around here. I've also seen them in France and, of course, Finland, when I was last there. I only rarely see them in California or elsewhere in the US, though.

On the other hand, when I was in Indonesia last year, there wasn't a single Windows Phone in sight, but I think Blackberries outnumbered iPhones. Android beat both, but it was weird seeing a platform that's a rounding error in the US in second place.

Comment: Re:Android to iDevice (Score 1) 344

by cbhacking (#49793369) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

Often it's not even the cheap hardware, but just really shitty drivers (frequently pre-installed by OEMs). Do a clean install of Windows and be careful about the source of your drivers, and you can go years without a crash on Windows (on a heavily used gaming box, no less). I know, I've done it.

I honestly didn't understand why most people hated Vista so much (I mean, it had bugs, but they weren't *that* bad; it used a lot of RAM, but I was running it on 1280 MB and it was all right) until I tried an OEM image of it. Took 3x as long to boot to a usable state (despite having about the same specs), was noticeably laggier, had less free memory, and crashed in under an hour of use (I'd been running the RC2 build - not even release - for months without a crash). That kind of problem with shitty OEM builds is, unfortunately, a problem in the PC world. Apple takes care to avoid it (though their own Windows drivers also tend to be shit.)

Bringing this back to phones, the same problem applies there. An awful lot of Android OEMs take a fairly good OS - the stock Android platform - and then run it on hardware with bad firmware (which, sadly, is usually not user-fixable), bad drivers, and (often buggy) bloatware. The result is... not pretty. The OEMs don't really have anybody to blame but themselves, but the users keep buying it so as far as the OEMs are concerned, they're doing the right thing.

Comment: Re:Android to iDevice (Score 1) 344

by cbhacking (#49793131) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

My take on it is, that iPhone users only THINK they use their phone a lot, while Android users use their phones more than they think they do.

Sadly, it's arguably the other way around. The problem isn't that Android users use their phones a lot, it's that the phones (or rather, the OS) is terrible at not using the battery when the user isn't using it. A skilled and conscientious user can regulate their Android phone's battery use pretty well, and get excellent battery life (without compromising functionality much), and there are apps to automate some of that, but... by default, Android is *terrible* about leaving stuff running in the background. This makes it more functional than the competing OSes in some ways, since those tend to have pretty strict restrictions on background processing, but sometimes the stuff it does (like continually tracking your location if you open Maps and then don't tell it to kill the location service when not needed*) is just stupid.

Yes, when you're running something that will really pound on the battery (like gaming) then Android devices might outlast their competition. They do have larger batteries, in most cases, and their processors are no less efficient. The reason for those larger batteries, though, is because in order to get anything close to the same average battery life in normal usage Android needs more battery capacity. Expand the time scale from a few hours of intense usage to a day or normal usage, and Android will usually burn through a lot more Watt-hours for the same level of user usage.

* Caveat: This was something I noticed on my father's Android 4.0 device; they might have fixed it since. It was fucking stupid though; he'd used Maps for a few minutes in the morning (with location, but not navigating to anything), then gone back to the home screen without force-killing the app or turning off GPS, left the phone in his pocket the whole rest of the day, and found its battery nearly dead in the afternoon. Over 90% of the battery had, over half a day, gone into tracking him as he wandered around a boatyard with the app neither running in the foreground nor under orders to do anything in the background!

Comment: Re:I am amazed (Score 1) 247

by cbhacking (#49785883) Attached to: A Text Message Can Crash An iPhone and Force It To Reboot

Correct. As a random example, a NULL pointer read - certainly the most common class of memory error I've seen, probably the most common by far in general - is almost never exploitable (for arbitrary code execution). You can use it to crash programs (denial of service) but usually not for anything else.

Comment: Re:You're missing the point. Reread the post. (Score 1) 133

Sorry, but unless you think my clients are no longer going to have power outlets in their office those few years down the road, I just don't see this as a big deal.

The first thing I do when I arrive at any remote office today is plug the laptop in, and then plug in a real mouse. I expect I'll do the same if I visit a remote office tomorrow, just like literally every other person in the room.

Comment: Failure should be celebrated (Score 4, Interesting) 416

by Dixie_Flatline (#49774447) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

I think part of the problem is that nobody wants to publish a paper where the experiment failed--but they should.

Failures are useful; they're not wasted time. You've almost certainly learned something from a failed experiment. Maybe you learned that the setup wasn't rigorous enough, or maybe you just learned that a certain avenue of research wasn't viable for one reason or another. I get that journals are looking for breakthroughs, but it would be so useful to read a paper in your field and find out that someone already tried the thing you're attempting, and now you don't have to fail in exactly the same way.

But that requires a much more collaborative system, and one where the community is interested in finding answers, not glory.

Comment: Re: Is a reduction (Score 1) 89

by Dixie_Flatline (#49773509) Attached to: Bats' White-Nose Syndrome May Be Cured

Unfortunately, those wind turbines also kill bats (a friend of mine is just finishing her PhD on that work). The good news is that the folks that operate wind farms aren't in it to destroy wildlife, so they're amenable to doing things that help reduce the number of bat deaths.

(Bat deaths due to wind farms are especially painful, since they often kill bats that are migratory which wouldn't be affected by white nose syndrome.)

What sin has not been committed in the name of efficiency?