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Comment: Historical hang-up from an MS hire (Score 5, Interesting) 65

by mccalli (#49078613) Attached to: BBC Radio Drops WMA For MPEG-DASH
Missing from most of the articles on this, including the ones on their web site, is that they used to employ a senior Microsoft media guy who, unsurprisingly, set about converting everything to Microsoft Media formats - Ashley Highfield. Here's a 2007 article with a section of the controversy

BBC used to have one of the more progressive approaches to media with early mp3 streams, Dirac codec research...it then just stopped. Nice to see them get back towards the rest of the world - next step, please go HTML 5 video on the site as well and then we can avoid Flash.

Comment: Absolutely not (Score 3, Insightful) 33

by mccalli (#48819533) Attached to: First Crowdsourced, Open Data Address List Launches In the UK
I already opted out of this via the Electoral Register, I do not want some random startup faffing about with it. They have not got a single convincing reason for doing this. Have a look:

"Open Addresses UK Director Jeni Tennison states that addresses are an essential part of a national infrastructure. “They connect us to wider society and help us to access services. Everyone needs to be able to use addresses freely, which means they need to be open.”

No, not everyone does need to be able to use my address freely. In fact, they are explicitely restricted from doing so by various laws. My address is used and disclosed at a point of my choosing.

"On a more serious note, Wells explains that address data links together the digital world with the virtual, and by connecting these two worlds, better services can be given to everybody. When combined with and linked to other open data sets, allowing startup companies and developers access to this data will encourage the development of new goods and services, the organization states. When combined with and linked to other open data sets, allowing startup companies and developers access to this data will encourage the development of new goods and services, the organization states."

'Better' by who's definition? Startup companies - who on earth said I wanted to help them out?

Wells says that Google Maps could also use the open address data to improve the quality of their services. The open data can also inform devices to perform tasks with the data collected. Wells further explains that they keep the quality of the data high by using existing open, clean data sets that can help corroborate new data coming in.

Why should my life be lived in order to 'help out' the multi-billion dollar corporation that is Google? I already use as few of their services as possible. 'Inform devices' - which devices, and who says I want them to be informed?

The idea has no use cases put forward which benefit me, which allow for my consent, and in fact I believe an amount of this form of collection could actually be covered by Crown copyright laws as it is essentially duplicating the Electoral Roll.

Not with fourteen barge poles tied together would I touch this.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 331

by mccalli (#48793133) Attached to: Would You Rent Out Your Unused Drive Space?
Crashplan, amongst others, implements a backup scheme as you describe. I use it - some friends allocate drive space to me, and I allocate drive space for them. We back up remotely to each other's systems via Crashplan, and do so for free. The resultant backujps are encrypted, so they can't see my files and I can't see theirs.

Works well - I've used it a couple of times for actual recovery of files, and it worked both times.

Comment: Re: Nosedive (Score 5, Informative) 598

by mccalli (#48738075) Attached to: Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive
There is a indeed a heated response to it. Not sure if I can be called "rabid Apple cult", but I can definitely be called long-term user (1990 onwards).

The guy is right. The quality at the moment is noticeably poor, and rather than being pleased at new updates I now regard them with suspicion. Concrete examples exist both on the Mac and on iOS - wiping out a phone's ability to make phone calls, for instance (8.0.1, iPhone 6), is somewhat of a faux pas. On the Mac side I get daft things such as this, which slowed my 2011 iMac to a crawl until I invoked an obscure command to sort it. I get silly synchronising problems with iTunes, both the dreaded "waiting for changes to be applied" hangs and also things like "there was a problem copying these items, see iTunes for details". iTunes, of course, never has any details about it.

Then there's functional quality. The whole OS is increasingly feeling like a Zelda game, memorising which magic multitouch incantation to invoke next to do something wonderful. They also trash things - Expose now looks neater, but is far less functional as it no longer exposes ever window but does this pretty-yet-useless grouping thing. They confuse things - I have no idea what my workflow for photos is anymore, is my photo just on the phone, shared in iCloud, just on iPhoto, where does it go if I edit it, how do I delete a shared photo from just one device without taking it all out of the others - that kind of thing.

Then there's online - the Apple ID situation is farcical. Users: "give us a way to merge Apple IDs please". Apple: "here's Home Sharing! A totally new way of sharing things that's not at all confusing". Users: "err...no. Give us a way to merge Apple IDs please". Apple: "here's Family Sharing! A brilliant new way of letting multiple ids get access to the same content, possibly, but only allowing one credit card to pay for it! Give your 13 year old access to the family credit card today!". Users: "Sigh. Give us a way to merge Apple IDs please". I await with wonder what other non-solution is going to be offered to me in the coming years.

I agree with the premise entirely. I think Apple's software quality has dropped, and dropped significantly. Bugs, functionality, usability...it's all there, and it's all worse than it used to be.

Cheers,
Ian

Comment: Re:Sweet!! (Score 4, Interesting) 94

by mccalli (#48308597) Attached to: Internet Archive Launches Arcade of Classic Games In the Browser
Although I agree the sentiment, I disagree specifically on Street Fighter 2 (well...on the Hyperfighting/Turbo edition anyway). Always found that one holds up because the characters are well balanced, the moves are easy'ish to remember so when playing people who are good it's less about remembering the framerate for the super-ultra-mega-30-button-combo-string and more about actual weighted tactics.

I find it interesting that my kids, who are used to playing the newest and prettiest editions of the Tekken series, still go back to Street Fighter 2 Hyperfighting. They weren't even alive when it came out and have no nostalgic feelings towards it, so clearly the game has got something to it which stands the test of time.

Comment: Very US-focused opinion (Score 2) 631

by mccalli (#48252343) Attached to: Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay
Very US - rest of the world already has this NFC standard. If ApplePay were proprietary I would agree it would lose out long term, but it's not - this is a global standard. As soon as Apple start enabling international cards for it, it's just BAU for non-US retailers. This isn't even a change, it's already happened - for example, I bought my lunch using this system earlier today.

Comment: Re:ONE MORE THING... (Score 1) 93

by mccalli (#47991497) Attached to: Apple Allegedly Knew of iCloud Brute-Force Vulnerability Since March
That's a serious one - take it to the exec team. Used to be that if you mailed sjobs@apple.com and you had something valid, you would get a reply. I had my laptops sorted out in this manner.

It might be the address to use these days is tcook@apple.com, but I'll bet the same system exists.

Comment: I definitely share password with family (Score 4, Insightful) 117

by mccalli (#47712363) Attached to: 51% of Computer Users Share Passwords
Specifically, with my wife. If I'm ever in the proverbial hit-by-a-bus scenario, there are accounts she will definitely need to know and access.

Whilst technically correct that this increases risk of the password being revealed, it is an absolute necessary of an overall risk reduction strategy for online accounts (cancelling bills etc.).

Comment: Re:Boards or ROM's (Score 1) 133

Just seen this - hopefully you read the reply. For MAME I have a real arcade cab with an old PC inside it, so I don't use the Mac for that. For the rest of the emulation scene on the Mac though, take a look at Open Emu, which has a lot of what's useful. Other ones I use are for Commodore - Vice64 for the C64, UAE for the Amiga.

Comment: Re:Boards or ROM's (Score 3, Interesting) 133

Ever played Asteroids? If you haven't played it on the original arcade machine, chances are you're missing out on a large part of the experience because it runs on a vector monitor. Those beautiful glowing bullets simply don't show up on raster hardware in close to the same way. Same can be said for Star Wars - the sit-down vector monitor game was incredible.

I'm speaking as someone who has an arcade cabinet running MAME, and who regularly uses emulators on a Mac as well. I'm not perfectionist for a lot of the standard stuff, but I do appreciate that in some cases there are material differences to the real thing.

Comment: Re:Business class is a misnomer (Score 1) 146

by mccalli (#46757461) Attached to: How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture
Smart for who? Not for the employee.

Unless flying regularly is clearly stated in your contract (and I mean regularly, not 'you may be asked to travel from time to time'), the company is inconveniencing you over and above your normal duties, and causing actual discomfort in the case of many economy flights. You ask for decent standards or refuse.

I'm astonished to see so many people defend this. For flights of two or three hours, fine. For anything longer - absolutely not.

Cheers,
Ian

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