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Comment: Re:Feature phones (Score 1) 342

by mjwx (#49795685) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

Either it's your first phone, then you're not counted as switch

Is a switch from a "feature phone" to a smartphone counted as a switch or a first time?

Obviously for marketing purposes, they wouldn't consider that a switch.

But with it being a 2 player market and Android having the lions share, it's obvious that most switchers to iphone will have come from Android. The same would be true for switchers to Android. The question is, are the people switching to Iphone greater than the numbers switching to Android.

Also recent numbers will be skewed by the introduction of the Iphone to several countries, most notably China. In established markets, for several years the Iphone user base has been stagnant or dropping slightly with 75-80% of Iphone purchases being from current Iphone users.

Comment: Re:Advertising dihcotomy (Score 1) 342

by mjwx (#49795603) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

It is interesting that Google is making 75% of mobile ad revenue on the Apple platform ($9 billion) vs Android ($3 billion).

I wonder if this is because advertisers are paying more for ads on the Apple platform or if its because people who have Android phones are not using the smart features as much as Apple users. It's likely a bit of both.

Simple answer: it's easier to fleece Apple users.

Android users tend not to click on ads, some will even have ad blockers. Iphone users are less discerning and more prone to impulse purchases. Also Android owners are a lot more varied than Iphone owners meaning the Iphone market is easier to target. Point in short, its not that Android users aren't using the more advanced features of Android phones, it's just that Android users aren't clicking on the "free ringtone" ads.

Comment: Re:Pist frost (Score 1) 75

by mjwx (#49788413) Attached to: GM To Offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto API In Most 2016 Vehicles

I accept 1, but 2 is debatable, we need to encourage people to NOT fuck around with gadgets in the car at all.

Not gonna happen.

It will if we start taking licenses off of serial phone users.

I'm sure 30 or 40 odd years ago they said we'd never all wear seatbelts. Now we all wear seatbelts. The same with drink driving. Some people will need to be pushed to make a change, but they'll make it.

I cant imagine how bad my current car, a 2002 Nissan Silvia would be if I couldn't swap out the stereo with something that knew what an MP3 was.

That depends on whether it has a changer interface, and whether you have a changer. I have a 1997 Audi A8 with a Bose stereo with no aux input, but I can get one by slicing into the CD changer wiring and using a switch and/or relays (I have the 12V audio signal relays already, have been too busy to make the mod though) to insert my own audio source in between. Or an el cheapo (~$10) panel-mount mp3 player/bluetooth receiver from dealextreme has a line input, so it's just a matter of finding some connectors which fit the board or soldering on some leads, and making a quick splice. Got a voltage regulator so it can run on 5-32V or something ridiculous like that. I might just go that route because there will be no relays to go bad ever. If the thing goes tits up it'll be easy to splice it away.

I was mainly talking about the dash space they use. Many manufacturers no longer use the DIN standard. Getting a wiring loom/adapter is easy, you can knock one up yourself easily if you've got even a modicum of skill. The problem is if Audi start using a different shaped hole in the dash compared to VW or even another Audi then you cant simply buy an off the shelf replacement like I did with my Nissan because they'd have to be custom built to fit where the old head unit came from.

Comment: Re:Blasting my ears (Score 1) 157

by mjwx (#49787669) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Will Technology Disrupt the Song?

What amazes me is that the more technology and information we get, the more the music seems to become harsh and random to listen to. All the pop music that has flowed down from dubstep is so jarring...just random ear-raping sounds firing at the listener. This is to say nothing of lyrics which seem to be getting more and more repetitive and less and less creative/sonically flowing.

The industry loves things like Dubstep because it can be produced on a computer and the "artist" (using this term very loosely) is just an actor and can be replaced if need be. Not that the art of replacing band members in pop groups is a new concept either. Their ultimate goal is to replace the human component forever, that way they dont have to pay them their 10%, beyond this people tend to have opinions that aren't popular, develop drug habits, get old/ugly. Virtual pop stars are the wet dream of the music industry.

Back to sound quality, I've noticed this too, even with voices they seem to be altered to just beyond the range of what the human voice is capable of. My theory always has been that this is done to make the track sound louder and more noticeable (modern music seems more about annoying you into listening/remembering than enticing you) but someone else in this thread pointed out that people have grown used to listening to poorly encoded MP3's and this also makes a lot of sense, people are starting to think that the artefacts you get in bad MP3 files are normal. Add to that the fact that people have also grown used to using poor quality playback devices to listen to their poorly encoded music.

Comment: Re:Albums (Score 1) 157

by mjwx (#49787633) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Will Technology Disrupt the Song?

Albums might become less important commercially, as far as many people will be buying individual tracks, not a whole CD. But when you look at what was released all throughout the CD era (and before), most albums were already just collections of standalone songs. The Pink-Floydian concept album was always the exception, not the norm. The norm was taking a half dozen songs that had in fact already been released as 45 rpm singles, padding them with some filler, and releasing it as an album.

Whilst this is true for a lot manufactured pop, with forms of music that had the artist sing and play as well as write different albums have different sounds. The Colour and the Shape from the Foo Fighters sounds very different from Nothing Left to Lose and the albums were only separated by 2 years and this is very different from Sonic Highways (their latest album).

So yeah, someone who has their music written for them and autotuned will benefit from releasing songs on a staggered timetable, but bands who tour will still need to make whole albums and not just because they only get a few months of studio time between tours.

Comment: Re:Options (Score 1) 388

No matter how old it is, I still can't fathom the "extra" scheme applied to the automotive industry.

It's rather simple so let me break it down for you.

You're still over complicating it, so let me break it down for you... Its because they can.

Established manufacturers can afford to sell on reputation and charge for extras that lesser known, liked or trusted manufacturers cant. This is why you get more features as standard in a Hyundai I30 than you do in a Toyota Corolla.

Last time I went to a BMW dealership it was an exercise in saying "no".
Bi-xenon headlights - no.
Parking package - no.
Comfort package - no.
ConnectedDrive(TM) - no.
Driver assistant - no and if you mention this or automatic transmissions again I'm walking.

Manufacturers will keep trying to up sell you on features because people keep buying them.

Comment: Re:Sure, let's make everything tiered (Score 1) 388

Also, wasn't this caused simply by the driver stepping on the accelerator?

That appears to be the case. The reporting on this is very muddled, but at least one article says that the car was not in "self-parking" mode, so the pedestrian detection would not have been active even if this car had it. The driver was in full control of the car, and intentionally accelerated toward the reporters. So the real story here is that some random guy in the Dominican Republic is an idiot.

The driver was under the impression that the car had Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), which is a feature Volvo offers on the XC60 but isn't installed by default. Vovlo's advertising doesn't reflect this obviously, it's hidden in the small print that says something like "optional extras not included". The "self parking" part is a misnomer on the part of the submitter.

However the bigger problem is the mistaken faith they have in AEB systems, that they are 1) infallible, 2) effective. If you watch a video of the XC60's AEB system (Euro NCAP will have a few) they are only effective up to a speed of about 20 KPH, after that all they do is reduce the speed of the impact. Also these tests are done from a steady speed (I.E. not accelerating). I'm sure that mashing the go pedal wont help AEB work.

I firmly believe that AEB is going to make things worse, not better as it gives bad drivers false confidence. People who already dont pay attention to the road will think it's perfectly OK to pay even less attention to the road. We're making already lazy drivers even lazier. AEB will eventually be removed because of this, Volvo is lucky in this case because 1) it was in the Dominican Republic so they can simply buy their way out of trouble and; 2) the feature was not installed on the car. However shortly a dopey Doris in an AEB equipped car will be doing 100 down the motorway and plough into the back someone else's car at 75 because they were busy texting and their excuse will be "but the car was supposed to brake for me". Even though car manufacturers have tried to cover their arse in the fine print, it wont be enough to save them from the ignorance and stupidity of end users.

Comment: Re:Pist frost (Score 2) 75

by mjwx (#49787435) Attached to: GM To Offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto API In Most 2016 Vehicles

1) Give this battle up now. The industry has moved on into the world of cutesy names long since, and you have no chance to win. Infotainment is the official, accepted term.
2) Better infotainment systems means less fucking around with the gadgets, because the systems make it easier.

I accept 1, but 2 is debatable, we need to encourage people to NOT fuck around with gadgets in the car at all.

However vendor locked "infotainment" systems need to die and die a horrible death in a fire. In car nav systems are almost always inferior to third party, updates are difficult and in many cases, expensive. Manufacturers have made a system that is obsolete in 2 years max which cannot be replaced in a vehicle that has a serviceable life of 10+ years. This needs to change.

I cant imagine how bad my current car, a 2002 Nissan Silvia would be if I couldn't swap out the stereo with something that knew what an MP3 was. I'd still be forced to burn music CD's like a Neanderthal. Fortunately it was a standard double DIN with standard Nissan connectors, so putting in a new Alpine head unit was easy. However this wont be the case with most 2012 cars in 2025.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 310

by mjwx (#49787343) Attached to: Adblock Plus Victorious Again In Court

I find it interesting that whoever grants these licenses would so casually prioritize ad revenue over driver safety. It's almost as if they don't actually care.

I think you'll find that definitely is the case because the people who approve these billboards will have nothing to do with the Ministry of Transport.

Not sure about the UK but in many countries including Australia most of the billboards are privately owned and only need approval from the council to be put up, after that the owner can advertise what they like and are only bound by the advertising standards code (erm... so no hardcore).

A bigger issue I have are with advertisements on buses. Unlike the billboard owners these guys definitely have a vested interest in road safety yet tend to big bright ads with scantily clad ladies or small text. Its a shame Google Glass didn't take off, I would like adblock+ for real life.

Comment: Re:The real WTF (Score 1) 85

by mjwx (#49779321) Attached to: Attackers Use Email Spam To Infect Point-of-Sale Terminals

The real WTF in this scenario is why does the POS software have access to credit card numbers? A one-way transaction will have all credit card information go directly through the PINpad, without ever being exposed to the controlling PC.

Even then, you've still got weak links in the chain.

Because banks charge per terminal, a lot of smaller chains/franchises use a generic terminals some software sitting on a PC out back so they can have multiple physical terminals presented to the customer but only one software terminal presented to the bank.

PC EFTPOS is one of the more popular ones I've seen in Australia and it is not unusual to see it sitting on the same PC that staff use to check their personal mail and cat videos.

Having installed and serviced POS terminal I've been convinced that cash is orders of magnitude safer despite the risks of losing it or getting mugged (TBH, if you're that clumsy that you'll lose cash, you'll lose your card just as easily).

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 1) 85

by mjwx (#49779297) Attached to: Attackers Use Email Spam To Infect Point-of-Sale Terminals

Why does a PoS computer have an email client installed?
Why does a PoS computer have Microsoft Word installed?

And why is the email client even running?

A PoS computer should only be connected to an intranet and should only be running the PoS software. Everything else should be completely locked down. Someone messed up, big time.

Are you going to pay for a custom built, fully audited single use OS, or a general purpose OS repurposed to use as a POS terminal.

All the store managers picked the latter as the stores that used the former went out of business because the average punter does not value security (or worse yet, thinks the banks will protect them).

Having dealt with POS terminals, there's a good reason I never use my card at a store.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 201

by mjwx (#49779189) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

How can you reasonably have 500 drivers vying for the same fare and also have 30 people in a 8 person minibus? What is the motivation to overcrowd?

Erm, the motivation is easy money. The same thing Uber is promising.

I haven't been to Kampala, but I've seen the same thing in SE Asia, in fact it gets worse there. unlicensed taxi drivers tend to form gangs, create turf and fight over their territory. Thailand is a good example. In Bangkok where taxis are regulated they are cheap, easy to find, safe and reliable if you dont feel like using Bangkok's good public transport, a trip from the city centre to BKK airport (35 KM) is a mere 400 baht. In Phuket where there are no taxi regulations taxi and tuk tuk drivers refuse to turn on less than 200 baht. So you'll take the bus then I hear you say, well good luck with that, whenever the government of Phuket gets it in their head to set up a municipal bus service (baht bus) the drivers are stopped, dragged out of their buses and beaten by the taxi mafia.

Dont take my word for it, google "Phuket taxi mafia", "Tuk Tuk mafia" or even just "taxi mafia" (the first google result should be for Phuket).

There are many examples of this, such as what happened when South Africa deregulated their taxi industry.

We have taxi regulations for a good reason, sure I'll be the first to admit they aren't perfect, but having lived in places with the alternative, the worst protectionist policies are better than that.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 201

by mjwx (#49779141) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

If licenses weren't numbered, the proliferation of taxis would render city streets unnavigable.

That is utter bullshit. It is fear mongering at its worse.

You need to go and live where there are no taxi regulations before saying anything like that.

I've lived in several of these places. Taxis always ended up in the hands of criminal gangs, territories were enforced and fought over and it was at the point where the government couldn't do anything about it even if they wanted to. Case in point, Phuket's taxi mafia, you may want to note the heavily regulated taxis in Bangkok are a lot cheaper and a lot less violent.

Nothing happens.