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Comment: Re:Weird niche products (Score 1) 88

Ok, I'll bite. I have a laptop in the living room that can, and occassionally still does get plugged into the TV for multimedia use; yet the chromecaste gets several orders of magnitude more use.

Form factor. I don't need or want another box sitting in front of my TV.
Quiteness. I am well aware that a PC can be silent, but it costs money and effort to accomplish. Less so these days with low power micro boards granted.
Power draw. To get into entertainment of choice is significantly faster with the chromecast unless you leave the PC always on.
Phone vs physical keyboard and mouse. Maybe it's just me but I've never liked using a keyboard/mouse on the couch. With a laptop sure, but even a wireless keyboard is a literal balancing act. Even if you have a nice setup with a remote, I can honestly say I know where my phone is more often than I know where the living room remote is.
Portability. The small advantage of being able to take a show with you when you leave the house, I don't use it much, but my kid sure does. If we need to leave they can pull the show at it's exact current point in playback to the phone in a matter of seconds.

Many of those advantages similarly carry over to consoles and smart TVs, but by far the largest is the user interface. Netflix, Hulu, Youtube... they've all put far, far more effort into their mobile offerings than they have their console and smart TV apps and it shows. It is much faster and easier to find and pick a show with your phone than the laggy, disjointed messes that some of those console apps are. Add in the fact that multiple people can be looking for something to watch at once, including across multiple services and it can make a big difference.

Aw crap, all that and I forgot the obvious one.
Price! You can get 4 of these for less than even a cheap HTPC.

Comment: Asmiov = Halo? (Score 5, Interesting) 251

by Jason Levine (#48027085) Attached to: Microsoft's Asimov System To Monitor Users' Machines In Real Time

From the article:

I’ve heard Microsoft built a new real-time telemetry system codenamed “Asimov” (yes, another Halo-influenced codename) that lets the OS team see in near real-time what’s happening on users’ machines.

(Emphasis mine.)

Maybe I'm just out of it since I've never played Halo, but how is "Asmiov" a "Halo-influenced codename"? Doesn't this reference Isaac Asimov, the extremely prolific writer and one of the major pillars of classic science fiction? I'm assuming that something within Halo is named Asimov, after Isaac. Do we credit references to the latest to use the reference instead of the original source?

Comment: Re:Which users? (Score 1) 251

by Jason Levine (#48027057) Attached to: Microsoft's Asimov System To Monitor Users' Machines In Real Time

Windows 8 isn't too bad once you use a 3rd party tool (e.g. Classic Shell) to restore your Start Menu/Desktop environment. It's just a shame that Microsoft felt the need to keep this from being a user selected option. Even if they set "Use Tiles On Start-Up" as the default, having the option would've been better.

Comment: Re:Start menu usage dropped in lieu of what? (Score 1) 251

by Jason Levine (#48027031) Attached to: Microsoft's Asimov System To Monitor Users' Machines In Real Time

I use a program (Free Launch Bar) to turn my task bar into a series of menus where I keep shortcuts to my most used applications grouped by subject. My "Internet" menu has Chrome, IE (used for testing websites), Firefox, etc. My "Web Development" group has my editor, programs to push development files live, etc. My "Multimedia" group has image editors, audio players/editors, video conversion tools, etc. By doing this, I know exactly where all my often-used programs are and I don't need to scroll through the cluttered Start Menu except for those rare occasions when I'm running a not-so-often used program.

Comment: Re:And what were they charged with? (Score 1) 198

If you expose a giant, gaping hole in their security theater, then terrorists will notice and abuse it. Right away, too. They're constantly milling around all airports trying to find a way through the air tight security. As to the question of wouldn't the terrorists notice the giant, gaping hole themselves: No, because terrorists can't see giant, gaping security holes unless Joe Citizen points them out.

In other news, this Kool-aid tastes funny.

Comment: Re:No he didn't (Score 1) 198

He didn't cause the delay. If you build systems for normal users, you have to expect them to make errors, and the system has to catch those errors and handle them in a non-fatal way. If it doesn't, your system is broken.

I just had a frightening thought. Imagine if airport security personnel designed computer systems. It would be worse than the worst stereotypes of Windows. Click to run a file and you would need to wait for fifty scans of the file and all of its dependencies. Not that this would actually catch malware, but you would need to wait through it to help reassure you that your computer system was secure. After the program began, your mouse cursor would be restricted to a certain area "for security reasons." If you moved your mouse outside of the expected area, the entire computer would lock up, all programs would quit without saving, a "security violation" message would display, and you would need to wait for the entire system to reboot.

But if an actual virus got in, it would find it easy to infect the system.

Comment: Re:No he didn't (Score 1) 198

What kind of imbecile shuts down an entire airport because one dude walked through the security area that wasn't paying attention?

Please, they don't like being called "imbeciles." They prefer "professional airport security personnel" although a better title might be "actors in a security theater."

Comment: Re:It's sad (Score 1) 387

Unfortunately, the way it is structured now, If you change your Google+ name to Some Pseudonym, that will be used for your GMail e-mail also. I want my G+ posts to show my Pseudonym, but my e-mail messages to show my real name. Since e-mail is more important to me than G+ right now, I'll avoid G+ and stick with the e-mail.

Comment: Re:Americans are smart. (Score 5, Insightful) 441

by Jason Levine (#48019119) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

True, but when it comes down to it, I'll trust a scientists' word about something scientific over a celebrity's word or a preacher's word.

For example, Scientist A, a respected immunologist, says that vaccines prevent disease and are good. Celebrity M, a former Playboy model, says they're filled with icky stuff and should be banned. Too many Americans would listen to the celebrity over the scientist or give their views equal weight when there is no comparison: The scientist should win out.

For another example, Scientist B, a geologist, says that the evidence points to the Earth being 4.54 billion years. Preacher Z claims that the Bible says it is only 10,000 years old. Again, too many Americans would either give them equal weight or would side with the preacher.

Avoiding the authority fallacy is a good thing, but this doesn't mean that a person's knowledge of a field should be disregarded in all cases.

Comment: City of London Police (Score 2) 296

I'm not an expert on the UK by any stretch of the imagination, but I seem to recall that the City of London Police are a small force that are responsible for a small section of London. They are mostly known for making outrageous statements about expanding police powers.

Can someone with more UK knowledge clarify the "City of London Police" situation?

Comment: Re:What a fool (Score 5, Insightful) 296

Not to mention: How are you going to enforce this?

Let's assume that this guy somehow is successful and starting tomorrow, everyone in the UK needs to obtain a license before starting a website.

First, they would need to define "a website." Is a Facebook page a website? A Twitter feed? A Google+ page. People can those just like any WordPress blog. What if you're starting a new web service that you hope to go commercial with at some point. Do you need to apply for a license before you can publish one line of HTML code?

After this would come the big problems: Namely, how do you identify these rouge, unlicensed website operators? If I were living in the UK and opened an account with a US hosting firm, using a domain registrar located outside of the UK, how could the UK authorities tell that I was the one behind the website? Registrars have privacy settings that enable you to hide your WHOIS address and I doubt many non-UK registrars would bother with UK police calling them up demanding the personal information of their clients. Same goes for those non-UK hosting providers.

I almost want them to try instituting a "create a website license" just to see it crash and burn. Almost. In reality, I realize that they wouldn't attempt to apply it 100% but would simply use it to either add a charge onto someone whose online opinions they don't like or to silence critics. (You want to speak out against us? What a coincidence, your website license has mysteriously been revoked. You have a week to shut down your blog.)

Comment: Re: Devil's advocate here... (Score 2) 125

In my area, I have wired broadband access through Time Warner Cable. (Likely soon to be Comcast.) Let's run through some of your "competitors."

T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon Wireless: Wireless broadband is far too expensive for normal home use. It's only reasonable for "I'm on the go and need to check my e-mail" use. Try streaming a few dozen Netflix titles on your wireless connection and see what kind of overage fees you generate.

Verizon FIOS: Doesn't reach my area and Verizon has no plans on expanding. (They're one town over and I'm in an urban area, not a rural one. But still, no FIOS.)

Satellite: Very expensive and slower.

DSL: This one is actually available to me, but Verizon has made it clear that they want to get rid of DSL as quickly as possible. Why would I go to an older, slower technology that the company that manages it has all but declared dead?

My only real option is Time Warner Cable. If I don't like what they do, then I'm free to not have Internet at all. (Except, since I'm a webmaster by trade, not having Internet would harm my ability to do Freelance work.)

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.