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Comment: Re:It's OK for Apple but not Microsoft? (Score 5, Insightful) 565

by rsmith-mac (#46753547) Attached to: Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

Well you're comparing phones/appliances to computers, so yes.

Windows has for many years now used a multiple-tier support strategy (the Windows Lifecycle policy). Microsoft supports an OS for 10 years, and during that period if they issue a service pack then they support the previous sub-version of Windows for 2 years. Windows 8.1 Update is about 30% of a service pack; the update contains a number of feature enhancements and on a code level it becomes a "base" OS that all future updates are built against. So unlike a normal security update, you can't skip Windows 8.1 Update and still get other security updates. This in turn can be interpreted as a violation of the Lifecycle Policy, as it's functionally a service pack and therefore Microsoft should continue providing security updates for Windows 8.1 (sans Update) for 2 years.

iOS on the other hand offers no such policy. You are expected to use the most recent version of the OS and Apple has never said any differently, full stop.

Never mind the huge difference between an OS for a disposable device, and an OS for computers that is expected to last for a decade or more and is interfaced with massive amounts of custom hardware and software. Unsurprisingly, the type of device and the expected use case for it is a big factor in how long an OS is supported and how OS updates are handled.

Comment: Order Of Events (Score 2, Interesting) 133

It would probably be useful to specify the order of events in TFS, as the current summary implies they received campaign contributions after they started investigating the merger.

TFA is focusing on past campaign contributions - that is contributions before the investigation, seeing as how the investigation just started. Everyone on the committee has received a campaign contribution at some point in the past, even Al Franken. Which is more a statement on the fact that Comcast pretty much contributes to every incumbent's congressional campaign, rather than this being a case of where these senators were specifically targeted.

Which to be clear, still isn't a good thing by any means. This means everyone on that committee has received a contribution at some point. But it's not the same thing as giving contributions to someone when an active investigation is going on, something that would be far shadier.

Comment: Re:WOWZA! (Score 1) 240

by rsmith-mac (#46711877) Attached to: How much do you spend yearly on mobile apps?

If the people on /. don't see the worth of buying decent mobile apps - what's the point of them other than to advertise and hijack the masses?

Well let's not immediately lump together people who don't buy apps because they're cheap with people who don't buy apps because they don't need them.

I probably didn't spend more than $10 on mobile apps in the last year, but at the same time I only do a handful of tasks on my phone. And even then most of those tasks are covered by the built in email, web browser, and media applications. So the collection of 3rd party apps I do own I pay for as needed, but there just aren't many things I've found I need/want to do on my phone that require a 3rd party application.

But I imagine this also depends on whether we're talking about phones or tablets, and what other computing devices a person may own. I already own a desktop and a laptop, so my phone is a distant third on my computing devices. I only need it to portably run a small number of none the less important tasks, so that's all it gets used for. However if I wasn't a power user and more the type of person that uses a tablet as their primary computing device, then that would represent a far different situation for demand for 3rd party apps.

Comment: Re:Free to play, otherwise known as pay to win.... (Score 3, Interesting) 181

by rsmith-mac (#46710171) Attached to: Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake?

Indeed.

As a whole, mobile game players don't actually buy anything. It's the tiny, tiny percentage of whales that brings in much of the revenue (and ads fill in much of the rest).

0.22 percent of players account for 46 percent of mobile app revenue

Given this, it's no surprise that mobile game development is so damn broken. It's impossible to have a healthy development environment if most players aren't actually willing to pay for the game.

Comment: Re:I must have taken the wrong courses (Score 3, Funny) 153

That...isn't always true... after certain classes of mathematics accident

Quantum physics isn't any better. Oh sure, they send you home in one piece; but you're in a state of quantum superposition. As a result no one is willing to open the box and let you out, for fear of collapsing the superposition and killing you.

Comment: Re:Are you sure? (Score 1) 221

by rsmith-mac (#46336461) Attached to: South Park Game Censored On Consoles Outside North America

But is modifying it because "it won't be carried on store shelves because it's rated X" a business reason or a censorship reason?

Businesses aren't the government and therefore what they do technically isn't censorship. But what else do you call refusing to sell a creative work based on the offensiveness of its content?

Comment: Re:Classic Slashdot (Score 5, Informative) 463

by rsmith-mac (#46167913) Attached to: Fire Destroys Iron Mountain Data Warehouse, Argentina's Bank Records Lost

i've got the feeling the beta slashdot was designed by someone who makes websites for the elderly

Not quite. It was designed by someone who (sadly) knows what they're doing, and more importantly knows what advertisers currently want.

A lot of sites have shifted over to this kind of design, so Slashdot is far from alone. Advertisers like it for various reasons - mostly it comes down to ads being more eye-catching - and of course advertisers control the purse strings. But at the same time the public has also had it ingrained into their heads that such a design is the definition of "modern", and therefore any site not using such a design is by definition not modern, and therefore not worth their time ("the site's owners can't be bothered to keep up with the times?"). Which just leads to a feedback loop of advertisers liking it even more, since they want to advertise on sites that the public perceives as hip/modern so that their products are seen in a similar manner.

But the truly terrifying thing is that the industry isn't done yet. I can show you what the future will look like and it isn't pretty: http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/21/5307992/inside-the-mind-of-a-fanboy. By all accounts the advertisers seem to love it; the text is big and readable (i.e. not threatening), there's animation and lots of flashy effects, etc. It basically reads and behaves like an interactive glossy magazine (People, not Popular Science).

Not that I agree with any of this. Beta needs to be buried 6ft under in a grave lined with lead. But there is a method to their madness; despite what a lot of people here think, Dice hasn't gone off of their rockers. The rest of the world is just slowly moving on from text to images and iconography, as sad as that may be.

Comment: Driving Utopia (Score 2) 390

by rsmith-mac (#46151367) Attached to: Government To Require Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication

Combine this with remote kill-switches or pulse guns, Amber-alert scrolling signs, proliferating cameras, automatic plate recognition and unstoppable text messages from on high for some not-so-distant driving dystopia.

Or you could combine this with smarter power grids, EV technology, improved image recognition, and automated driver technology for some not-so-distant driving utopia.

Technology isn't good or bad. It's all about how it's used. This is just as much the technology that can build a utopia as it is a dystopia, but if we always act solely in fear of the dystopia we'll simply be stagnant forever.

Comment: Is It Safe? (Score 3, Interesting) 112

Since epidemiology is well outside my area of expertise, I have to ask: would this be safe?

With artificial fertilizers we don't have to be concerned about the purity of the material, whereas if we were to use natural fertilizers (animal or otherwise) it introduces all of the impurities and other undesirable byproducts that come with waste. And if we're talking about human waste in particular, does that mean this would create a new cycle for pathogens? Or is there a way to process waste to remove pathogens?

Comment: Re:Just no (Score 1) 380

by rsmith-mac (#45916723) Attached to: Many Mac OS Users Not Getting Security Updates

And their assertions that Mavericks was the only way to get security updates for MacOS going forwards seems to be contradicted by the fact that the previous version of MacOS was security patched when Mavericks was launched.

A big part of the reason they can even get away with that claim is because Apple doesn't publish a proper software lifecycle policy. For all I do like about Apple, that's the one big thing I feel they do wrong. Mac OS X and iOS badly need a documented support policy so that it's clear how long they'll receive security updates. Is 10.7 safe? How about 10.6? iOS 6?

Throwing a wrench in all of this of course is Apple's decision to stop charging for new Mac OSes as of Mavericks. Since it's free, is it a new OS or is it just another patch for Mountain Lion? From a pricing standpoint you can get away with calling it the continuation of Mountain Lion since you don't need to pay for it. But from a technical perspective it's definitely not the same OS, and introduces new features and makes changes that can break software. To use Microsoft as an example here, they treat Windows 8.1 as a service pack for Windows 8, which is to say that they'll be ending support for Win8 in just under 2 years. So there's certainly precedent for quickly dropping Mountain Lion.

Comment: Re:In one week... (Score 1) 382

by rsmith-mac (#45872627) Attached to: US Coast Guard Ship To Attempt Rescue of 2 Icebreakers In Antarctica

In one week will we be reading about how country X is sending an icebreaker to free the three stuck icebreakers?

From what I understand, the Polar Star is quite a bit more powerful than any of the other vessels currently involved in this event. To the tune of being able to sustain bashing through 6ft of ice, and peaking at around 21ft.

Consequently, if the Polar Star can't cut it (figuratively and literally speaking) then we're in big trouble. Ice breakers don't come much bigger. Plus Russia's big guns, their nuclear icebreakers, are more for operational endurance and speed than they are ice thickness.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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