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Comment: USB VID is meant for a specific organization (Score 1) 571

by rsborg (#48223479) Attached to: FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Actually, it is not. "Their" USB VID/PID can legally be used by anybody, it just means that the USB logo may not be used. AFAIK (and just checked on some FT232 I have), there is no USB logo on these chips.

Oh really? Not according to this FAQ:

Because a USB VID is specific to a particular organization, derivatives shouldn’t use the VID and PID of the original hardware.

Regardless of the fact that it may be legal for others to do so, it's unethical and clearly misrepresentation. It's like when Palm tried to use the USB VID of Apple so iTunes would think the Palm Pre was an iPhone - great for Pre users until that causes crashes or data corruption for users and Apple could be held liable.

Rightly so, Palm was slapped down for their "reuse" of Apple's VID.

Comment: Re:Home Depot backfired if that's the case (Score 2) 163

by rsborg (#48223185) Attached to: How To Beat Online Price Discrimination

Except that I can reject the product if it isn't what I thought I ordered, or even bring it back to the local HD for a refund if I don't like it. Amazon involves shipping, fees, and waiting for the credit to appear.

Not a big fan of Amazon, but it's often a bigger pain to bring an item back to a physical store. Their return process is pretty streamlined and trouble-free. I haven't had fees on returned items and they credit the account very quickly.

I've since moved on to Google Shopping express as my go-to for whatever I can find there first, but I definitely prefer Amazon over Home Depot.

Comment: Re:Prices change based on how you get there (Score 3, Insightful) 163

by rsborg (#48223053) Attached to: How To Beat Online Price Discrimination

An example of this price-adjusting practice is when we needed to order an advertising banner for my wife's business. I did a little Google searching and found had what we wanted at a good price so we used them. A couple months latter we needed another banner so I went to their website and was surprised by the price it quoted for exactly the same kind of banner - about double as before. Being the Internet nerd I am, I surmised something was going on so I went back to Google and did the same kind of search I had done before which again produced their link. Sure enough, if I go to their site from Google (not just from their ad, even the organic listing) then their prices are half of what is offered to people who go straight to their website. From then on we always used Google first to get the "Google discount".

See, that's what gets me - the situation should be reversed - if you're a loyal customer you should be paying the same or less. The store should invest in upselling the loyal customer on upgrades or volume purchases, but double price for the same item just because you are using their site - that's just rude.

Comment: Re:Wonder if their time hasn't already passed... (Score 3, Interesting) 167

by rsborg (#48216785) Attached to: Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

In the case of a general social networking tool, there kinda can be only one.

You're again... making assumptions. What precludes Ello from occupying a target niche of social networking? Have you not heard of LinkedIn? Did Stackoverflow *have* to beat out Yahoo Answers in order to gain traction and meet it's need?

It's a massive simplification to assume that a dominant player in a space where network effects reinforce their position is unassailable. How do you think Google and Apple were able to make any inroads against the Windows ecosystem? By addressing an area where Microsoft simply could not compete (mobile). Facebook likewise simply *cannot* compete where strong privacy is a key requirement. Their entire business model goes against it (similarly Google to an extent). Diaspora was a failure simply because people don't want to self-host, though technically their proposal had merit. Also 10 years ago, Friendster and MySpace were dominant - where are they now? Not to say that Facebook is doomed, more to say the market can and will evolve.

What is more interesting than competing with Facebook, IMHO, is to assail the entire concept that personal (sometimes PII) user data is a business asset that should always be sold, licensed or exploited. Legally preventing themselves from profiting from that data poses a very interesting business limitation and a possible template for others to copy - sometimes you gain more by leaving something on the table.

Comment: Re:Wonder if their time hasn't already passed... (Score 3, Interesting) 167

by rsborg (#48214627) Attached to: Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

It's already started... Ello has failed to learn the lesson of G+ and odds are, it will suffer the same fate. Gatekeeping at launch is just shooting yourself in the foot - people want to try your system, and if you lock them out... they aren't coming back

There are scalability issues that need to be addressed. It's simply impossible without an incredible risk and cost, to have the same scale as an established competitor, so gate-keeping is one option.

but as a Facebook killer, or even serious competitor, it's already dead.

Why does everything have to kill what's already there? Did Ello ever claim to be such? Talk about a strawman.

Comment: Re:"The Right Choice"? (Score 1) 370

by rsborg (#48184207) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

I built my current desktop last year, and it's the first machine I built with no floppy drive. But I darn well still have a CD/DVD reader/writer, which is useful periodically. Do I use it everyday? No. Could I get along without it? Yeah. But once every few months I have a task where it's still a useful thing to have around.

Yeah, I stressed hard about my new MacbookPro Retina not having an optical drive... for about the 5 minutes it took for me to order an external USB3 DVD drive online. Oh, then I also remembered that I removed my previous Macbook's DVD drive and replaced it with a 2nd SSD, and hadn't missed it at all during the 3 years it did me proud. Plenty of choice - just not dumbass ones like having optical disk on a portable computer (or even a desktop) anymore, when you can get it with a $40 extension module for those one-off times.

Comment: School != Parents, in any way shape or form (Score 1) 323

by rsborg (#48166601) Attached to: Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook

While the kid is at school, the school is the parents for the child, legally.

This is not true, at least where I live (California). They have to get permission for the smallest thing. I have to jump through hoops to get my daughter's inhaler stored at the Nurse's office (doctors letter, signed, verified) just because she could become asthmatic when heavily exercising. They have to get all sorts permission just to share the kids personal information with the doctor. They need parental consent forms for field trips... the list goes on and on.

School most definitely doesn't have anything near limited power of attorney, much less full parental discretionary powers.

Comment: Going out of business sale (Score 5, Interesting) 259

by rsborg (#48146699) Attached to: "Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

> "For existing companies, there will be provision for a transition period until the end of 2020

Why? Isn't that just leaving the loophole open but closing?

Also known in consumer circles as creating a sense of urgency. I mean, you have a few short months in order to setup your new company such that you can take advantage of the double Irish, or you'll be playing against an unlevel field for the next 5 years.

Talk about land rush.

Comment: Who has opt-out 2-factor auth? (Score 2) 225

by rsborg (#48053757) Attached to: Google Threatened With $100M Lawsuit Over Nude Celebrity Photos

There's the second issue that Apple's two factor is opt in, with very likely a low take up rate

For basic accounts, please name a major cloud provider that has 2-factor auth as default. Google definitely doesn't, and neither do Facebook, Microsoft, or Amazon.

2-factor auth is simply a pain in the ass - especially for the non-digerati out there.

Comment: Re:T-Mobile (Score 3, Interesting) 209

There's no downside to T-Mobile. There's no contract, no overage fees, no nonsense. If they have LTE coverage in your city, check them out.

I second this. I also benefited from only paying $40 for using my phone as normal while traveling in France - making calls to the US, making calls to my relatives - for 2 1/2 weeks - and the bill was only $40 more... oh and that's for both me and my wife.

Also I don't have bill anxiety anymore - with AT&T and Verizon, every month I was checking my bill to see if my wife's data quota went over (she refused to pay for 2-3GB, and insisted on the 250MB plan) or if one of my calls went over my monthly quota or if my wife accidentally called her mom's mobile number instead of her home number in France (big rate difference).

Now I pay +$15/mo per line and can call mobile numbers in Europe for free. No worrying about anything. My bill has been constant for the past year and much less than we were paying with either AT&T or Verizon (oh, and we have 3 more lines for relatives on the bill too).

T-mobile has disrupted mobile carriers like Google disrupted webmail in 2004 with GMail.

Comment: T-Mobile (Score 4) 209

You could definitely get cheaper UNLIMITED DATA elsewhere. But would you be happy with the COVERAGE? At some point you may want new EQUIPMENT, to which Verizon will tell you that your new phone isn't compatible with the "grandfathered" rate plans. The real questions to ask are "am I happy with the coverage" and "Will I be happy with this phone forever?" If the unlimited data works for you now, keep it for now. But at some point, you'll be forced to make a decision. All the other arguments about "unlimited" data are irrelevant. There are much better UNLIMITED deals elsewhere for the money.

I have gotten comments and run into situations where my T-mobile data and voice coverage in major metropolitan areas are better than Verizon. If you're in a big city or dense areas, it's not clear to me that Verizon is better. T-mobile has also been looking to improve their non-metro coverage [1]. And they've purchased 700Mhz spectrum from Verizon also good for non-dense coverage [2]. Finally, T-mobile "uncarrier" push is constantly striving to improve customer features and services. They are setting the pace with which other carriers follow.

I currently very rarely go outside of big metros so T-Mobile is a great choice for me - and I've had HD Voice for the past year and absolutely love it. Welcome to the club, ATT/VZ - glad you are finally rolling that out.

There is at least one carrier making it their focus to improve their coverage both voice and data significantly over the past 2 years, and T-mobile is definitely on that list.


Comment: Forget ads, what about security implications (Score 2) 153

by rsborg (#48025211) Attached to: LTE Upgrade Will Let Phones Connect To Nearby Devices Without Towers

So this is in effect, a way of bypassing the carriers? If not, then would we need to have Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-mobile branded LTE-Direct spots?

I sure see this as a way for warehouse-like stores like Ikea and Costco to offer cell services and have a captive portal for web users (and potentially voice users as well - ugh).

But what is preventing a rogue actor from setting up their own LTE direct hotspots and MITM-ing a large group's entire communications? Especially if said actor were doing so with tacit approval from the carriers?

Comment: Re:How does the quote go...? (Score 1) 267

by rsborg (#48022809) Attached to: Former GM Product Czar: Tesla a "Fringe Brand"

Only a grade A moron arrives in America and says to himself "I have arrived in India!".

Is it really the case, or was this justification for conquest of the new world - I don't think the business world has changed significantly in the past few centuries - we put a new name on some business model, but the underlying goals and direction is the same.

In this case, I can clearly see it as "something to tell the people and our competitors" - if the mission fails, no hint is left that it is the "new world" that was failed, only what others have failed at before (ie, faster route to India). If the mission succeeds... well, again we want exclusive access the plunder and possibilities.

Comment: Re:The "old boys' club" (Score 1) 335

by rsborg (#48014149) Attached to: State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives

The law says that a dealer in Iowa can't be the manufacturer. The federal law (should trump Iowa law) says that states can't restrict interstate commerce.

This isn't interstate commerce though.

Iowa says it's illegal for a Californian company to sell to an Iowan buyer. Iowa is violating US law to block these drives and sales.

No, the law says t's illegal for a Californian company to sell to an Iowan buyer _in_Iowa_. ...

Are you sure you understand the interstate commerce? What you're describing sounds exactly like interstate commerce. Are you saying that Iowa could prevent a California-based internet company from selling products over the internet to be delivered in Iowa?

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.