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Comment Re:Yup. (Score 1) 515

Ignoring for the moment the question of Are You Human or Are You Troll, that is a terrible analogy. Digital and analog television are encoded and transmitted completely differently over the air; in contrast, from the phone's link layer perspective, any two GSM carriers are indistinguishable from one another, especially if both carriers are transmitting in the same radio band, and ESPECIALLY if both carriers are in fact one and the same from a physical network perspective, as AT&T and the MVNO Straight Talk are!

My situation with the phone would be more like having a digital television set that was programmed by its manufacturer to only allow you to watch specific channels and lock others out, even though the television set is physically and in all other ways capable of allowing you to watch the non-whitelisted channels: it's simply an arbitrary software lockout. The "unsupported" channels aren't doing anything funky or being encoded and transmitted some other way.

Or it might be more like an IP router -- for the sake of this example, let's say it's a boring sub-$100 consumer-grade router/switch/wireless-AP thing -- that will only allow you to use it with certain internet service providers, even if another "unsupported" ISP encapsulates and delivers its traffic to you in exactly the same way the "approved" ISPs do. Let's say the ISP expects the customer's gear to speak direct IP-over-Ethernet to it (and not IP-over-ATM, PPPoE, or any number of other possibilities), and that the "supported" and "unsupported" ISPs both also run DHCP servers. The "unsupported" ISP fails to work with the router, not because it is doing anything out of the ordinary when compared against the set of standards that the router was manufactured to support, but rather because although the router accepts the DHCP responses from both ISPs, it willfully ignores the default route passed to it and overrides it in the routing table with a hard-coded IP address that it knows the "supported" ISP will have a gateway responding on.

That's what's happening here with the phone: it's overriding the APN settings with the AT&T values and not allowing me to change them. Since it is an unlocked phone, I not only consider the fact that AT&T's iOS carrier profile is the agent "doing" (in the loosest sense of the word) the APN overriding immaterial (after all, Apple's the one who handed those keys over to them...AT&T wouldn't have that ability unless Apple engineered it into the system and said "here you go"), but Apple *specifically* shouldn't be giving their carrier partners that kind of control over *unlocked* models.

-- Nathan

Comment Re:Straightjacket and RMS... (Score 1) 515

You and the other two respondents raise a fair point: console makers have been doing this for a long time. So I guess you could say that in my mind I have made a distinction -- illogically or no -- between "general-use computing" devices and specific-use devices, such as a game consoles. I would also say, though, that I think what the console manufacturers do is just as much BS as what Apple has been doing.

-- Nathan

Comment Re:Straightjacket and RMS... (Score 3, Informative) 515

I'm not sure why you say "they aren't doing MORE than what everyone else in the industry is doing." They were one of the (if *not* THE) first to come up with a general computing platform that has a digital distribution mechanism for client apps full of DRM *that happens to be the only way to install third-party software on the platform*. By Apple's mandate, there is no sanctioned sideloading of apps. And jailbreaking/rooting doesn't count because that's simply people exploiting security holes in the system that Apple constructed to keep non-App Store apps off the platform.

Sure, everybody else is doing it now, but Apple pioneered that trend. The others followed suit after they saw the success of their platform.

Even if you want to develop a little utility of your own to run on your own device and not sell or distribute to anyone else, you *still* have to pay Apple $99/year for the privilege of loading *your own* software on *your own* device.

-- Nathan

Comment Yup. (Score 2) 515

Perhaps this is Richard Stallman already answering my Ask Slashdot question?

Given what I've been through recently with Apple on my iPhone (, and also recent stories such as this one (, I'd have to say, "yup."

-- Nathan

Comment Re:Copyleft and hardware manufacturers (Score 1) 573

I agree with you in principle, which is partially why I asked the question. But note that my question wasn't "how can we get these companies to change their ways while still remaining their customers." I'm not suggesting that I'm looking for a scenario where I can continue to eat the cake that I already have, and I am perfectly willing to end my relationship as a customer with them. My point is that for every 1 of me out there who cares enough to do that, there are 999,999 other people that don't care about my problem, don't have any complaints about the way Apple (or any other company like them) does things because they themselves haven't been negatively impacted by these policies personally yet, and so these people will continue to pour money into Apple's coffers. Thus, me taking a stand and "voting with my wallet" isn't going to amount to a hill of beans, and when other companies see the success that Apple is having and they chalk that success up (either correctly or incorrectly) to some of these (bad) policies that I'm lamenting, those other companies will follow suit and copycat Apple not just in their industrial designs, but also in their policies. And I will be left with 0 alternatives at the end of the day.

In fact, I would argue that we are already seeing this happening now. What percentage of Android manufacturers ship their phones with either easily-unlocked bootloaders or bootloaders that are unlocked by default? ...yeah, exactly. Oh, and how many app stores can you use on Windows Phone? Just the one, you say? These are industry trends that Apple set the tone for, and now inertia has taken over for the entire industry.

Finally, I should point out that voting with one's wallet takes a different form depending on whether you are dealing with a company that sells goods or a company that sells services. If Apple were mostly a services company (like, say, my cell phone carrier), I can vote with my wallet by cancelling my subscription. That act has an immediate effect and sends a clear message. In the case of Apple, though, they sold me an iPhone several months ago, and I was mostly happy with it until this happened. During the time between when I purchased the iPhone and when I saw the harmful effect their policies can have on me as an end-user, Apple was not receiving any additional income from me; thus, I wasn't an "active customer" in the same way that one can be an active customer in good standing of a service provider, and therefore it's not as straightforward to apply your criticism of me "clearly proclaiming that [I] support what they [Apple] do" as you make it out to be. The order of things was that first, I made my purchase, and THEN I recognized the problem when it bit me in the butt AFTER that. It's not like there's anything I can threaten to cut off in terms of my "financial support" of them at this point. I could say to Apple, "hey, I'm not going to buy your phones anymore." And they would come back with, "uh, well, so what? We had no assurance you were going to buy more phones from us haven't made a purchase in X months."

-- Nathan

Comment Copyleft and hardware manufacturers (Score 4, Insightful) 573

What can we do to incentivize hardware manufacturers to be less "evil"? I have an iPhone, and Apple has screwed me over; this is my story: (also see I know, I can say "I told you so" if you want to.

As a customer of theirs, I'm sure I'm well in the minority in terms of how I use my devices, and as long as most of their customers have no problem with how they do business and they continue to rake in money hand-over-fist, Apple losing me as a customer is a mere drop in the bucket for them. If the loss of my money and goodwill as a prior customer is not enough, and other people continue to desire and to buy their products, how can we communicate to companies like Apple that the "open" way is a better way, and do so in a language they can understand and respond to?

-- Nathan

Comment Re:OS/2 (Score 1) 654

You actually weren't TOO far off the mark...even though the whole OS was publicly sold as "version 3.0" and "version 4.0", the kernels from those two products were internally versioned as (and self-identified as) 2.3 and 2.4. Kind of like how Windows 2000 was NT version 5.0, XP was 5.1, Vista was 6.0, and (bizarrely) Windows 7 is 6.1 (and Windows 8 looks to be 6.2).

If you ran "ver /r" in an OS/2 CMD window, you'd see this, so perhaps that's what you are remembering.

-- Nathan

Comment Re:OS/2 (Score 1) 654

As far as SOM being ugly, I'll admit it had its cumbersome points, but what exactly has replaced it today that is better and is being used at the core of a platform to drive its UX?

I'm sad that you posted this anonymously -- I was a big OS/2 fan back in the day, and would have loved the opportunity to pick an IBM/Boca engineer's brain.

Thanks for all the fish,

-- Nathan

Comment Wireless PtP is expensive (Score 1) 345

...that is, TRUE PtP is expensive. Most rural wireless providers are going to be running most of their residential & SMB customers off of PtMP systems: one antenna, multiple customers. Even better, these systems are all half-duplex.

True PtP is a really cost-prohibitive option. It doesn't scale well for the provider since there is only so much spectrum and tower space for antennas to go around, so the customers that actually need a dedicated, high-bandwidth option with an SLA are the only ones who are going to be willing to pay what it costs for an actual PtP connection with an antenna dedicated to them on the ISP's tower.

That's not to say that PtMP cannot work, or work well. But it is important for everybody to keep in mind that it is a shared-resource kind of connection, not unlike DOCSIS.

-- Nathan

Comment YES. THIS. (Score 1) 345

Listen to this guy. I work in the industry, too, for a regional ISP in a very rural area, and I have a couple of things to add.

To begin with, I know it hurts to hear this, but sometimes reality bites: the residential ISP business model is BASED on oversubscription. Period. Anybody else who tells you otherwise is lying or doesn't know what they are talking about. When an ISP sells a residential or SMB customer a 3Mbit/s down asynchronous connection at under $100/mo, it's guaranteed they don't have the bandwidth to back this up for you and everybody else they have sold a connection to. All of the usage models for scaling up bandwidth are based on bursty usage by their customers. They simply cannot afford to have every single customer of theirs pulling down their 3 megs all simultaneously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thus all of the "up to" language that was surely a part of your "contracted" rate.

But thanks to recent inventions such as Bittorrent and Netflix, certain customers *are* constantly filling their pipe 24/7. And people wonder why ISPs are in such a hurry to institute pay-per-use models...I mean, what other industry that resells scarce, shared-resource services sells it to you at flat-rate all-you-can-eat pricing? Electricity? Water? Telephone? Fuel? None of those.

Now, it absolutely could be argued that if you are seeing 100-200kbit/s down at certain times of the day, they aren't keeping up their end of the bargain because they haven't scaled up their upstream bandwidth to cope with increased demand (especially if they are continuing to install new customers). A successful last-mile ISP will be watching their usage, constantly running the numbers, and making sure that they still have enough capacity to meet demand at any given time. Of course, this is all still done within the assumption of "bursty" usage models, so if they have 10 customers each provisioned at 3Mbit/s down, their models are not going to suggest to them that they need to have 30Mbit/s of total capacity available. So if all of those customers are filling their connections 24/7, then that creates a problem.

And the problem is a real economic problem. The previous poster was correct in saying that the ISP is not making money off of you hand-over-fist. If they are strictly an ISP, I guarantee you they are barely squeaking by. (If they are a regulated incumbent telco with an ISP side-business, like a Verizon or Frontier or CenturyLink, that's another whole story...) ESPECIALLY if they are a rural ISP. Verizon/Frontier sells, what, 3Mbit/s DSL for around $30/mo to residential users? That's great. I *guarantee* you that IF we are talking about a rural ISP, they are LUCKY if they are paying a rate of $30-per-MEG-per-month to their upstream. That would be CHEAP. And you expect them to turn around and sell you a 3 MEG all-you-can-eat circuit for $30/mo? That would mean you are paying them 1/3rd of what that kind of bandwidth actually costs them to get for you. That's called a money-losing proposition.

So, to the OP: by all means, complain to your ISP. For all we know, your problems are not related to constrained throughput as a result of peak usage, and are instead being caused by a physical problem with your circuit. But keep in mind that there's a reason that to this day, getting a connection with an actual contracted SLA is not cheap. There's a reason why you can still find yourself paying $300-500/mo or more to a telco for a T1 (~1.5Mbit/s synchronous) circuit where that throughput is guaranteed. If you actually need 3 megs down guaranteed to you 24/7, then you're going to have to pay dearly for it.

The problem is that nobody is willing to pay what it actually costs.

-- Nathan

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