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Comment Re:You're opening the door to your competitors... (Score 4, Informative) 217

Given the business environment they're operating in and how content licensing works, it's just as likely that someone in the industry is jerking them around.

And that's exactly the case. Netflix's streaming service started out as a last-run content distributor. They could get cheap access to lots of TV shows because the content had already been sold on DVD, sold to first-run syndication, sold to later run syndication (3am on TBS), etc. So selling that content to Netflix for cheap was the final way - the last way - to make money off of it.

However any time you're selling content on a last-run basis, you're also expecting the service provider to either rake in little in the way of income, or at least not overtake higher tier services. Instead what happened was cord cutting, with viewers no long subscribing to cable services, ordering PPV, buying DVDs, etc. This is a great deal for viewers - lots of content for cheap - but it's a poor deal for content owners. The fact that this happened indicated that they undervalued the content they sold Netflix, and that in turn was because they didn't see the value in streaming.

So whether Netflix likes it or not, they're going to be treated as a high tier syndicator due to the amount of revenue they bring in and the number of viewers. And Netflix doesn't charge enough or pay content owners enough to provide all that content that they got for cheap early-on. They either need to pay more or drop the content, so dropping the content they are. That leaves Netflix with little choice but to go the Turner/HBO model and provide original content to hook viewers, along with a mix of syndicated content to fill out their catalog.

As for content owners, they're going to turn to other content distributors who will pay more for it. Hulu, cable companies, etc until revenue sources at each tier match what providers think they can get. Remember, a lot of this stemmed from undervaluing their content in the first place by virtue of underestimating how many people would go to Netflix. They have a general idea of how much their content is worth, via revenue from the pre-Netflix days, so it's only a matter of finding the right mix of distributors to sell to in order to find the right mix of services and customers. There are people out there who will pay more, especially if you balkanize everything so that the viewer pays a larger number of smaller bills (to avoid sticker shock).

Comment Re:Statists will not go quietly into the night (Score 2) 330

Citation needed. From what I remember on Uber's own website, they claim to do background checks of drivers. That doesn't sound like opposition to me.


Uber performs in-house background checks, but they oppose municipalities that require police background checks (which is the requirement in most areas for taxi services). There is concern that Uber's in-house checks aren't very thorough, and that they aren't looking very hard as to not have to fail so many applications, or more likely because a tougher background check is more expensive to process (fingerprints, etc). Not that even police background checks are perfect, mind you, just that they're going to catch more than Uber's in-house checks. Plus I suspect there's an element of municipalities not trusting Uber to run these checks in the first place.

And yes, taxi companies do more complete background checks, at least in more areas.

So while taxi companies check a prospective driver's fingerprint records against a database that theoretically (more on that in a minute) includes a person's complete criminal history in the United States, Uber background checks use a database that can only go back seven years for some information.

Anyhow, this is one area where Uber is inflexible. They seem generally disinterested in working with governments beyond getting their existing business plan approved, especially on anything where implementing a regulation would increase costs.

Comment Re:Statists will not go quietly into the night (Score 1) 330

Then that's something the governments need to work with Uber on fixing, instead of trying to shut them down.

That would require Uber to want to work with governments in the first place. They're opposed to regulations such as police background checks; there's not much middle ground there.

Comment Re:Open source? (Score 2, Interesting) 115

Nothing is perfect.

Agreed. And this goes especially for browsers, since they're hitting a moving target.

That said, this exploit highlights the fact that Mozilla still hasn't gotten their act together on layered security. Firefox remains the only browser not to run in low integrity mode (i.e. protected mode) on Windows, so while certain plugins like Flash are sandboxed, the greater browser is not. This goes hand in hand with the fact that Firefox currently does not have the ability to run each tab/window in its own process, making it harder to sandbox malicious content, and is why a bad tab can still take down the whole browser. Heck, the UI and the content still run in the same process, making it all the easier for bad content to reach out and touch the rest of the browser and the system.

This vulnerability is an unfortunate reminder that Firefox is badly behind the curve on browser security. For the most part Mozilla is putting out fires by patching exploits, but the work on fixing the underlying issues has been much slower. The fact that in 2015 they still can't match the process isolation abilities of 2009's IE8 is a little embarrassing, and very frustrating.

Mozilla means well, and while no one is perfect they are sadly about the farthest browser vendor from it at the moment.

Comment Re:I'm not renewing prime this year... (Score 5, Informative) 79

- They raised the annual price of Prime 3x since I signed up


Amazon Prime was launched in 2005 for $79. The price has gone up once, in 2014, to $99. So I'm not sure how you could have seen three price increases. Even if you were a student and are counting the loss of the student discount once you left school, that's only two increases.

Items shipped prime from Amazon have shown up obivously used or broken multiple many times over the past year (much more often than before)

Unfortunately Prime doesn't guarantee the quality of an item, just that it ships quickly. More and more third party sellers are using Amazon, including Amazon's fulfillment system, which means their goods can be shipped out by Amazon and qualify for Prime. As has been the case with Amazon for some time now, if it's not being sold by Amazon directly then it's a crap-shoot; you're basically buying eBay style and hoping for the best. Prime shipping doesn't change that.

Comment Re:Translation ... (Score 1) 66

Which roughly translates into "Wouldn't it be awesome if all you bitches had to keep paying us money?".

At least in this case it seems to be the other way around. MPEG-LA believes that there are already patents in play here, so they want to form a patent pool to get the matter settled before it derails further adoption of media streaming. The organization's entire reason to exist is to form patent pools to bring together disparate parties and avoid a fractured market where members' technologies don't get adopted due to overly-complex licensing terms or fears of patent suits.

The MPEG-LA ultimately serves the interest of patent holders, but they have done a relatively reasonable job of it. No streaming fees on H.264, yearly caps, etc. Which is why the HEVC Advance splinter group formed, because they didn't think MPEG-LA's pool charged enough. Which should tell you what the real money grubbers think of MPEG-LA.

Comment Re:Right ... (Score 1) 117

Has anyone mentioned that these games were removed for compatibility reasons? Does that make a difference? I'd love to know how nvidia is supposed to fix 3rd party games if they simply don't work on the latest version of the OS? Do they not let people update? Or leave the games there, but just broken? I'm not sure there are any good answers here. Ideally, the developers would fix their own games, but there's probably very little financial incentive for them to do that at this point.

Indeed. As a SHIELD Portable owner I'm bummed by this, but I'm not really surprised. Android software forward compatibility is real hit & miss, a lot of things work and then random things will break for no good reason, even though the sandbox means you can't do anything crazy with the API. We're still in a period of rapid evolution and turnover in the mobile OS space, and having already gone through this on the PC 20-30 years ago I know we'll get past it eventually, but in the early period it kind of sucks. So I don't envy NVIDIA in the least on this, as it's picking between a collection of bad options.

That said, I'm also not losing any sleep over losing Sonic. It looked nice, but it also ran at 30fps since SEGA/NVIDIA prioritized image quality over framerates in order to show how close Tegra 4 was to consoles. I don't think I need to go into depth about why a 2D Sonic game, a fast action platformer, is best played at 60fps, which is the case on the consoles and PC. I haven't played it for more than about 5 minutes as a result.

At the same time I'm also in no rush to upgrade either, since the SHIELD Portable really only does gaming well (i.e. most of Android L's upgrades are lost on it), and Android L isn't necessary for that since the Tegra 4 GPU is OpenGL ES 2.x generation anyhow. Perhaps the takeaway from this should be that Android L is a bad idea for the SHIELD Portable in the first place.

Comment Re:Can someone answer me this? (Score 1) 164

Malda also included - and it may still be there - logic based upon how frequently you visit Slashdot, trying to avoid either picking rare visitors or heavy visitors, to moderate.

It's still there. I check the site twice a day and never get any points. When I go on a trip and only get to check it once (at best), I come home to mod points.

Comment Why The Slap On The Wrist? (Score 1) 108

What I want to know is why Kivimaki got a slap on the wrist.

This guy was a member of Lizard Squad. He's responsible for heaps of economic damage - not the least of which includes DDoSing services to take them down - along with credit card fraud, botnet creation/operation, not to mention all of the data he stole from the targets he hacked. And none of that includes the even more serious crimes such as swatting an Illinois family, which put them at great physical risk, and then for good measure committed identity fraud as well in order to wreck their financial situation.

Kivimaki is a serious threat to other people, and the fact that he's not spending a long, long time in a jail cell blows my mind. If you can commit this much crime and cause this much suffering, what does it take to get a black hat punished?

Comment Re:E-book prices (Score 2) 97

The problem is the wholesale model in general. All of this distorted pricing in both the physical and virtual spaces comes from the fact that retailers have so much control over the pricing, and are in turn sold physical books at a very low price in recognition of the fact that large tomes of paper are heavy and expensive to move.

Digital sales should never have been wholesale in the first place; publishers should control eBook prices, just like developers do app prices. Meanwhile on the physical side, considering that most dead tree sales are through Amazon anyhow, it's probably time to reevaluate the wholesale model and move closer to how video games and movies are sold. The market is going to be a mess so long as you're using two very different pricing mechanisms for the same item, and in the end it's not going to be dead trees that are in the majority of sales.

Comment "Clean Energy Candidate" (Score 1, Informative) 308

AKA the ruin-the-economy candidate.

Human progress since the Industrial Revolution has been based on cheap energy. While in principle I'm all for clean energy, on the timeline he's talking about it will result in a massive increase in energy costs, essentially running us backwards. (It does create jobs, but only in the broken windows sense)

He needs to find a position that's still progressive, but realistic. Voters, even the ones that are actually well-informed and think this through, are not going to pick a candidate that puts clean energy over the economy and their individual well-being.

In a five year period we can get one superb programming language. Only we can't control when the five year period will begin.