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Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 422

by JanneM (#48935205) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

Unfortunately, the US does not have free market capitalism on broadband communications. In most areas it is either monopoly or duopoly

That's what a free market will usually naturally gravitate to. Competition is bad for all competitors, so cartels or monopolies are strong attractors in the system. If you want competition and choice you need market regulation to make it happen.

Comment: Re:Softener (Score 1) 41

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) 195

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:I prefer a tablet for some things to a smart ph (Score 2) 290

by JanneM (#48927927) Attached to: The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

I kind of want the opposite. I've got a big, capable laptop at home, and several computers at work. When I go out, though, I'm not going to do any real programming or make a presentation or things like that when I'm at a cafe with my wife, or sitting on the train home from work. I'll surf the web, read a paper or play games. A tablet lets me do that just fine.

A small, light laptop has too many compromises; little memory, slow CPU (that gets throttled after more than a few seconds at 100%), small screen and keyboard. And it's still much heavier than the Tablet Z I carry. The tablet is light and thin enough that I really don't notice it in my bag at all.

We're all hunting for the impossible: a matchbox-size computer with the power of a workstation and a 40" screen. Instead we have to compromise. And we all end up with different compromises. I've even thought of cancelling my smartphone and go back to a small, light feature-phone. It's cheaper, more durable and the battery lasts for a week. Use only the tablet for apps.

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:I won't notice (Score 2) 332

by The Snowman (#48895155) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

Exactly this. A well encoded DVD is plenty good enough for anything other than very large screens and for people with insanely large screens they won't be buying 4k because it will cost more than their homes.

Nope. I have a 46" 1080p HDTV and sit around 10 feet from it. I have compared DVD and Blu-ray versions of some of the same movies that I bought on both mediums. The difference is night and day. If I watch on my 1080p computer monitor, 23" and I sit about 2 feet away, it is even more noticeable.

DVDs annoy the piss out of me because they are so blurry. Blu-rays might not be the high-resolution king anymore, but they are certainly not blurry.

The Internet

Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II 182

Posted by timothy
from the belief-in-authority dept.
SpzToid writes U.S. congressional Republicans on Friday proposed legislation that would set "net neutrality" rules for broadband providers, aiming to head off tougher regulations backed by the Obama administration. Republican lawmakers hope to counter the Federal Communications Commission's vote on Feb. 26 for rules that are expected to follow the legal path endorsed by President Barack Obama, which Internet service providers (ISPs) and Republicans say would unnecessarily burden the industry with regulation. Net neutrality activists, now with Obama's backing, have advocated for regulation of ISPs under a section of communications law known as Title II, which would treat them more like public utilities. The White House on Thursday said legislation was not necessary to settle so-called "net neutrality" rules because the Federal Communications Commission had the authority to write them.

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.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann