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Comment: Re:But streaming is easy! (Score 1) 75

by gstoddart (#46826059) Attached to: How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM?

iTunes is nice, provided you use Windows, OS X, or an iDevice. However, it is worthless if one wants to leave those environments. Want to watch on an Android tablet? Apple's DRM says no.

Yup, and it sucks. Which is why I own both an Android tablet, and an Apple tablet+iPods.

But I'm limiting this rant to streaming vs non-streaming and how DRM affects that.

Comment: Re:But streaming is easy! (Score 2) 75

by gstoddart (#46825907) Attached to: How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM?

But, streaming is easy. The consumer does not have to pre-decide what they want to watch if they stream.

And expensive if you're being charged for the download.

Which means there is a good chance there are companies who are:

1) getting paid when you 'purchase' it
2) getting paid extortion fees to not throttle the bandwidth from the company that streams it
3) getting paid by the consumer every time they watch it.

The bandwidth savvy consumer would like to download more content and play it back at any time, but do those consumers even exist as the majority anymore?

If they aren't, they should be. When I 'buy' a digital copy of a movie, what I want is the ability to keep it local on my device, watch it whenever I want (including times when I have no connectivity), and not have to ask their permission every time I watch it.

That's what I have in iTunes. When I get a digital copy, it's stored offline in my computer, I can sync it to any device using iTunes, and I can play it back wherever I like.

And, if I can't have that, I will continue to rip my large collection of actual DVDs, and play them when I want. And I will refuse to give companies any money towards a digital copy which I pay for once, stream, pay for the bandwidth of streaming, and then if I ever want to do it again have to go through the whole process.

When streaming bandwidth is infinitely cheap, maybe. But as long as there are situations in which I want to be able to watch content completely offline -- in a plane, in a car, on the beach, at the cottage, in the doctor's office waiting room -- the notion of streaming it every time is absurd.

Comment: Why I won't use Ultraviolet ... (Score 2) 75

by gstoddart (#46825831) Attached to: How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM?

Because instead of downloading it to my device and keeping it there, it insists that every time I use it it calls home to ask permission. Which means, AFAIK, I could not watch an Ultraviolet movie on a plane. It also means they get to collect information from me when I watch the movie ... which I'm sure they love, but I'm not doing. If I play a CD the producer of it doesn't get to know when or how many times, because it's none of their damned business.

I'm also not willing to sign up with every #*%^% studio in order for the privilege of downloading a movie. Which, right now, first you sign up with Ultraviolet, and then you need to personally register your copy with the film studio. Yeah, no, not happening.

Companies make their DRM crap onerous to use, less useful, and more expensive. The alternative is to either not consume the product at all, or to work around their DRM crap. Which, of course, through years of bribing politicians is as serious a crime as if I'd robbed a bank with a gun.

I have a sneaking suspicion that DRM costs consumers billions of dollars every year, all to protect the profits and business model of the content companies.

DRM has always been crap.

Comment: Re:How many? (Score 2) 159

by gstoddart (#46825723) Attached to: Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

Ah, yes, the stupid old 'buggy whip makers' argument.

Yawn ... ah, yes, the it's stupid because I say so argument.

Do you know the origins of the term? This might help:

Marketing myopia is a term used in marketing as well as the title of an important marketing paper written by Theodore Levitt.[1] This paper was first published in 1960 in the Harvard Business Review, a journal of which he was an editor. Marketing Myopia suggests that businesses will do better in the end if they concentrate on meeting customers' needs rather than on selling products.

The Myopic culture, Levitt postulated, would pave the way for a business to fail, due to the short-sighted mindset and illusion that a firm is in a so-called 'growth industry'. This belief leads to complacency and a loss of sight of what customers want.

[snip]

There is a greater scope of opportunities as the industry changes. It trains managers to look beyond their current business activities and think "outside the box". George Steiner (1979) is one of many in a long line of admirers who cite Levitt's famous example on transportation. If a buggy whip manufacturer in 1910 defined its business as the "transportation starter business," they might have been able to make the creative leap necessary to move into the automobile business when technological change demanded it

So, how about this ... you refute the underlying thing meant when most of us say "buggy whips", and I won't tell you how little I care about how you feel about the specifics of the metaphor. Sound fair?

The point is, in the face of technological changes and advancement, instead of understanding what it is people actually want and enabling it, these companies are demonstrating short-sightedness, an unwillingness to adapt their business model, and due to lobbying and other crap, exert an undue level of control over industries relating to technology which is both unwarranted, outdated, and has an overall detrimental effect on progress by people who don't have their heads up their asses.

Now, if you have anything intelligent to add, I'm all ears. If you're going to simply dispute the metaphor keep it to yourself.

Comment: Re:How many? (Score 3, Insightful) 159

by gstoddart (#46825363) Attached to: Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

Just how many industries will we allow the content industry to ruin in its death throes before we finally get wiser?

All of them.

Technology is reaching the point where the content industries more or less have to give permission for everything it gets used for.

And, anything which they interpret as cutting into their revenue stream or otherwise making it possible to copy something, is going to be vigorously fought by them.

This is the buggy whip makers telling us that we need their permission to design highways. And innovation will suffer.

Comment: Gee, maybe some form of glass? (Score 1) 181

by gstoddart (#46823793) Attached to: How Apple's Billion Dollar Sapphire Bet Will Pay Off

Exactly what the company plans to do with the scratch-resistant crystal - and when - is still the subject of debate. Apple is creating its own supply chain devoted to producing and finishing synthetic sapphire crystal in unprecedented quantities

Gee, maybe they need something transparent and durable?

Modern watches use synthetic sapphire for the crystal because it's durable as hell. My wife has a Citizen watch which is several years old which looks brand new, because that stuff is pretty sturdy. Contrast that with her old watch in which the crystal (actually plastic from the looks of it) got scratched and eventually became tough to see the watch through.

So, synthetic sapphire is useful wherever you need a transparent and durable material.

Nope, can't think of anything Apple would be doing which would require that. Besides ... watches, phones, monitors, laptop screens, and darned near anything involving modern technology.

Maybe they can see they are going to need a steady supply of this, and don't want to be beholden to someone else for it?

Comment: Re:Not what the masses want. (Score 2) 125

by gstoddart (#46823225) Attached to: Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones

Apple knows how to market and make people without the ability to decide things for themselves think they want their products.

Oh, horseshit.

You don't choose Apple products. Fine. But don't make the assertion that people aren't capable of consciously choosing what they want and are therefore choosing Apple.

I know people who are Directors and VPs at technical firms who use Apple products. I know people who are software engineers who use Apple. I know little old ladies who have tried alternatives and chose Apple. I own several Apple devices. I also own several Android devices, a couple of Windows machines, a Linux box, and a FreeBSD box. And you know what? I'm going to buy another Apple product soon as well.

Please, don't go around spouting your opinions as if they are facts. It makes you look like an idiot.

And the irony of your sig is hilarious:

Calling someone a "hater" only means you can not rationally rebut their argument.

If you want someone to rationally rebut your argument, you first need to make a rational argument. If you are just going to make ad hominem attacks and act as if your opinion is a fact ... well, you're the one failing to make a rational case for why Apple is bad.

What you've said is "Apple are doodie heads, and all people who buy Apple products are doodie heads because I say so". Which puts your claims at about the intellectual level of a 5 year old.

Basically you've decided that you hate Apple. You can own that, and that's your choice.

But if you think just making the assertion that Apple is for people who can't pick what they want, you're full of shit.

Maybe, just maybe, people have picked exactly what they want, an what they want is what Apple is selling.

Comment: Cash grab? (Score 1) 125

by gstoddart (#46822943) Attached to: Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones

I know manufacturers are looking for the next big gravy train they can count on to pad out revenues and guarantee executive profits.

But I see this as being niche at best, and completely undesirable at worst.

It's my freaking phone. I don't want to be swapping out video cards and tweaking it.

I, for one, will not be interested in this. And I predict a very tiny amount of people ever will.

Comment: Re:A boon for Parallel Construction (Score 2) 346

by gstoddart (#46822765) Attached to: Supreme Court OKs Stop and Search Based On Anonymous 911 Tips

Exactly. Now, if cops want to search someone they don't have enough legal basis to search ... they will just have one of their officers call in an 'anonymous' call.

This is going to lead to police having more and more powers to conduct things without enough legal basis.

This is not a good thing.

Cellphones

Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Like Hardware Ecosystem To Phones 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the without-the-liquid-cooling-i-hope dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Now that Google's modular phone effort, Project Ara, looks a bit less like vaporware, people are starting to figure out its implications for the future of cellphones. One fascinating possibility is that it could transform the cellphone purchasing process into something resembling desktop computer purchasing. Enthusiasts could search out the individual parts they like the best and assemble them into cellphone Voltron. People who just want a decent phone with no hassle could look at pre-built offerings — and not just from Apple, Samsung, and the like. It could open up a whole new group of phone 'manufacturers.' Of course, this comes with drawbacks, too — if you think fragmentation is bad now, imagine trying to support thousands of different hardware combinations."

Comment: Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (Score 2) 178

by gstoddart (#46817161) Attached to: Tech People Making $100k a Year On the Rise, Again

For a short-term engagement, that's not bad at all, but it's awfully high for a 4-year stint. I'd love to learn more about how you came into the position, what it entails, etc. Would you be willing to share here, or at least privately?

I can tell you in broad generalities ... there are some cities, especially ones with a large amount of companies who do oil and gas, where all of the companies mostly use consultants as the majority of their workforce. So almost all of the IT stuff is contracted out and overseen by employees.

The people who can sign contracts and who oversee things are generally employees. Everybody else is a contractor. There is no "us and them" mentality, since most people are in the same boat, so you tend to get treated with some respect. Everybody plays nicely, and if the company likes your work, there's a good chance they'll keep renewing your contract. It's not uncommon for a contractor/consultant to be in a position of recommending options and driving projects or to have been around for years.

It also has the benefit of being private sector and big money industries, which means when a decision is made, and the company accepts that the cost is necessary and beneficial, things actually get done.

Since it's a mobile, contractor work force, there's always opportunities, and sometimes you get a very strange sense of collegiality among companies as the people who are there have likely worked at several others and still have good ties, and periodically check in to see how the other guys are doing things. IT is there to enable to people who do the real work of the company, so you get a really good service/results oriented culture. If you're competent, play by the rules, and do your job well ... well, who doesn't like that?

In my case, due to a limited amount of people with experience with a specific piece of software, I actually live and work in a completely different city ... in fact, it's about a 4 hour flight. But, I've brought my expertise to the table, and people have responded well.

And since they've been happy with my work, I've gotten renewed several times and am one of the people who makes the technical decisions about the stuff we maintain.

But, everything from storage, to networking, to the sys-admins are contractor based workforce. And there's multiple companies all vying for the same workforce.

So, honest answer, do some looking, see if you can identify a large city with a lot of presence of the headquarters of oil and gas companies, and check if they have the same kind of mostly-contractor work force. There may be other industries which have similar effects on cities.

Maybe start looking in the Denver area. And, depending on your citizenship and mobility, maybe look a little North to something similar.

It's not true in all cities, but there are certainly a few where the consulting market is quite lucrative and stable.

Comment: Re:Austin, great but not my kind of town... (Score 1, Funny) 178

by gstoddart (#46816827) Attached to: Tech People Making $100k a Year On the Rise, Again

I'd warn you, that Austin has it's own special kind of weirdness

LOL ... all these fancy city slickers with their fancy weird haircuts and their fancy weird rock and roll music driving their fancy weird imported cars. People had wires sticking out of their ears for some reason.

Why I saw guys not wearing plaid shirts, belt buckles or hats, and sipping on some kinda weird foamy coffee things ... and they was holdin' hands! Bubba was practically beside himself when he saw the girl with the blue hair and the safety pin through her nose.

I went into a Japanese bait shop, and the guy kept rolling it up with rice ... fish don't eat rice! I have no idea how I was supposed to catch a fish with two sticks.

Then I went to this Eye-talian place, and they kept grating something that smelled like my daddy's socks over my food.

I keed, I keed ... I know Texans usually carry guns.

Suddenly Austin sounds like an interesting place.

Comment: Re:So the take away is... (Score 1) 82

So people were just gambling that the stock price would go up.

And this has changed how exactly?

Does Facebook give dividends?

I'm sorry, but there's still a lot of evidence that people buy stocks on the assumption it's going to keep going up indefinitely, and not because of any sound fundamentals about the stock.

Which is why an IPO is usually a joke ... the big investors just buy it and flip it to make a killing, then after the first few days the guys left holding the bag are wondering how they're going to get their profits.

Pretty much exactly like when Red Hat and a bunch of others were going IPO.

There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

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