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Comment: Re:Real fight (Score 3, Informative) 175

by slaker (#49490885) Attached to: Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps

How would you share data between two apps if both developers didn't support that?

On Android, data sharing is fully handled by the OS, not unlike the copy/paste buffer in most desktop OSes. This means the list of applications with which one can share data is consistent both in terms of content and capability.

Something I've observed to be true is that iOS applications seem to be specifically coded to share data with other iOS applications. A lot of things can share data to Dropbox, but fewer seem to be able to share the same data to Google Drive or Onedrive. Data sharing seems to be a one-way street where the application developer has to support whatever hooks were provided for the target app. At the very least, the list of supported applications for sharing does not appear consistent from app to app, even within the context of a particular data type. I suspect this is in large part due to the iOS security model, but I take issue with that for other reasons anyway.

Everything you mention is fine but I'm not sure there's some killer user story or use case that justifies it in light of the security issues. I don't think any 3rd party app developer should be able to see any of your file system ever, not on your phone. It's just too dangerous, the thing is always on the network, it knows where you live and you can't unplug it.

"I can't think of a reason someone would want to to it, so it must be a bad idea."
There's a 128GB iPad sitting in my office. I have no particular use for a 128GB iPad, but it's still 128GB of flash storage that I could potentially use for something-or-other (yes, I am aware that I can get 128GB flash drives for under $50 but that's what a 128GB iPad is worth to me). Putting that aside, it's storage. On the iOS device, I have to associate everything with a particular application. I can't even use the stupid thing to transfer inert data (that I already had to add through iTunes since the device can't meaningfully interact with SMB, FTP or NFS) that for one reason or other doesn't match up with file size limits on my cloud storage provider's service.
Likewise, I don't have any control over arrangement of data under iOS. I have to accept whatever the device does and like it. That sometimes means making multiple copies of the same file (on a device that's specifically sold on the basis of its storage limitations) for different apps in cases where those two apps can't share data. It also means potentially jumbling a lot of data together that I don't really want to have view that way. Should I really be forced to reorganize my data to conform to the limitations of the device?
Whether or not applications are granted the ability to access a filesystem, the system owner should be able to do that even if it's just an infrequently used option.

Honestly I just spent about 30 minutes trying to find a website where I could even try to download an MP3

Ahem. This is a thing that people do. This is a thing people do all the goddamned time. Yes, you can get an app on iOS that can sandbox those particular downloaded MP3s on internal storage, but look at how ridiculous the workflow is to move those files out of that sandbox and in to the default music app so you can add them to your normal playlists.
Even speaking of podcasts, haven't you ever been browsing on your iThing and wanted to snag a one-off episode of something? "Oh, I want to download the rest of that episode of Fresh Aire that I heard 10 minutes of in the car. Should I open a podcasting app and then the Fresh Aire feed so I can find that one episode that was a rerun originally recorded in 2007 and therefore buried in the feed or should I just search for it from the web?"

One app to play all your music is 1990s thinking; modern apps are meant to brand content and service experiences, instead of them all launching the "native music player" they all call the same native sound API. The mechanics of how the media moves across the internet or across the filesystem is invisible to the user.

My personal tastes are sufficiently niche (contemporary classical music) that I am not well served by music-as-a-service. Nor can one assume that mobile devices have ready access to a high-speed data connection. Many people have bandwidth caps or spend the majority of their time in places where data services are too slow, unreliable or unavailable. That being said, on other mobile platforms I am familiar with, adding music or playlists to a device makes that music or playlists accessible to all audio players on the device. Amazon or Play Music that is copied locally is exposed to each app in turn as well as other player apps that might be installed such as Doubletwist or WinAmp.
As far as I can tell, the only ways to add music to whatever the hell the Apple players are called is through either the iTunes desktop application or from the iTunes store. It's possible to get a third party music application, but that application will be sandboxed so that music used with it is simply not available to the rest of the device. Nothing outside can share music to the native apps, not even convenient tools like Safari and Dropbox. You HAVE to plug the device in to a PC, export and import.

These are more than legitimate issues. I understand that you see them as defensible and that you've adapted whatever personal mobile device workflow you have to Apple's anointed path, but there really are common usage scenarios where iOS is somewhere between moderately unfriendly and actively hostile to user needs.

Comment: Re:Real fight (Score 4, Insightful) 175

by slaker (#49489691) Attached to: Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps

I think you may be working with old information.

Can I store an arbitrary file on an iOS device yet? What if I want to download an MP3 using Safari or Chrome and play it with the native iOS music player? Can arbitrary apps share data without specific developer support yet? Can I do those things without rooting the device?

As far as I can tell the workflow for every single non-intended use of an iOS starts with "Step 1. Get a Dropbox account" and that by itself represents both a clear inadequacy of the platform and a worthwhile acquisition for a company that already has more money than it knows how to spend.

Comment: Re:Thanks, but no thanks. (Score 1) 175

by slaker (#49488847) Attached to: Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps

Honestly, Microsoft applications for Android are credibly useful. If you're in favor of software choice or you want to segregate personal data between services, it's nice that the option exists. I don't really use any stock Android Apps at all anyway. I certainly don't see the harm in letting Microsoft in, so long as I still have access to the Play/Amazon App stores that otherwise give me the broadest selection of all available Android software.

If the Cyanogen people want to ditch Google licensing completely so that devices won't be able to run the Google Application framework (this is a problem for Kindle Fire devices as well), that's a decidedly consumer-unfriendly direction for their software to take.

Comment: Re:Real fight (Score 3, Insightful) 175

by slaker (#49488669) Attached to: Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps

I respectfully submit that Android is substantially more functional with its core set of applications than iOS. Android device owners need fewer apps because the stuff that their devices come with do the things they need a mobile device to do. Android can share data freely among applications and is much less picky about data formats, so there's no need to resort to some of the weird fuckery or workarounds iOS users have to deal with to bend, fold or mutilate their needs into something that iOS can actually do.

Android as a platform has an ad-supported revenue channel more available to developers and the tools for developing and deploying on Android are free, so it's easier to be modestly sustaining without having to charge $1 for every fart keyboard or flappy bird application you want to put in the app store. There are drawbacks to that approach, but I really do not care if some software dev is getting rich because I needed an RDP client or somesuch.

Comment: Re:Gore (Score 3, Informative) 114

by slaker (#49455453) Attached to: Daredevil TV Show Debuts; Early Reviews Positive

The fight choreography is wonderfully deliberate and brutal. They ramped up the audible component of it as might befit a character with super-human hearing while eschewing the shaky-cam (e.g. Bourne Ultimatum) style and using the excuse of poor lighting. I got a sense that most of the people doing the fighting we actually reacting instead of responding in some programmatic fashion and I very much liked that evidence of injuries sustained remained, even several episodes later.

I did take exception to the idea that Daredevil said that he did not kill. I saw a lot of things that would result in pretty serious head trauma or internal injuries and I'm thinking not everybody made it to the nearest E.R.

Comment: Re:A poorly-run "platform" just like Android/Play/ (Score 1) 45

by slaker (#49443769) Attached to: Google Is Too Slow At Clearing Junkware From the Chrome Extension Store

Perhaps the advantage found in the garden with lower walls is the ability to do something outside the plans of the people in charge of the platform. One of my biggest turn-offs with iOS is its keyboard. The screen doesn't change to indicate upper or lower case characters. I have no idea who thinks that's a good idea, but on iOS there wasn't until very recently any ability to charge that. In the Android world, there are of great on screen keyboards. The idea that someone might want something else was simply outside Apple's vision.
There are all kinds of tools that exist on Android because the whole thing is open to development. There are plenty of things that can't be done on iOS and Windows Mobile because no one considered the possibility that someone might want to do them. I believe that Android is the primary place where innovation is occurring in mobile devices at this point and most of that is because everything is open to be changed.

Comment: Re:Buyer Beware (Score 1) 45

by slaker (#49443699) Attached to: Google Is Too Slow At Clearing Junkware From the Chrome Extension Store

There's a Windows tool called adwcleaner that takes less than five minutes to run and does a marvelous job of cleaning crap out of browser installations. It's usually the first step I take in cleaning off a Windows machine, but it works beautifully for getting irritating but not genuinely malicious stuff out of the way.

I've actually made a document that I print out and hand to people whose machines I clean off. Probably 90% of the people I talk to have no idea that there's any such thing as a browser add-on or search extension.

I've found that configuring Adblock+ with a decent set of subscription lists and Spybot's Immunizations (basically hosts file entries) do more to stop problems than probably any other steps I could take to stop problems on Windows machines.

Comment: Re:2GB if RAM (Score 1) 128

by slaker (#49382367) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Surface 3 Tablet

2GB RAM on Windows 8 or 10 is completely usable for common computing tasks. Web browsing is tricky, particularly with Chrome, which at this point is pretty disrespectful of machines with limited amounts of RAM. Firefox and IE both do better. Some of the desktops I support are 2GB Windows 8 machines. For the most part, they're all subjectively identical to 4GB and 8GB machines until enough tabs or PDFs are open for Windows to start swapping.

Comment: Re:Running only Windows on a Mac (Score 1) 209

by slaker (#49313319) Attached to: For Boot Camp Users, New Macs Require Windows 8 Or Newer

I have a "Type"-style (the same sort the Pro 3 uses) purple cover for my Pro 2. I paid $58 for it on Amazon. I actually wanted purple but I could've gotten a pink one even cheaper. Would I take a refurbished keyboard? No question that I would. We use other people's keyboards all the damned time, especially those of us who have an IT support component to our jobs (or for that matter anyone who has ever used an ATM). Am I looking places besides major retailers? No I am not. If you can't find one at a significant discount, you probably shouldn't be buying anything over the internet.

The Surface keyboard is entirely optional. I don't completely love the Windows on-screen keyboard, though it's a damned-sight better than the one Apple ships with iOS (Apple is either not a big fan of basic literacy or thinks letters should always be displayed in uppercase regardless of the state of the shift key). In practice I've found that I don't use it much because my Surface Pro more as a very capable mobile device than as something for real work, but I have powerful desktops and a good laptop available to me as well.

Speaking to the quality of Apple's input devices specifically, I find the lack of key travel and mildly idiosyncratic layout on Apple's own branded keyboards uncomfortable for serious typing in exactly the same way the Surface Type-style keyboard is. I also question the ergonomics of the palmrests on its notebooks and the insistence on comically oversized touchpads as input devices. I wouldn't exactly say either option is without compromise.

Comment: Re:Running only Windows on a Mac (Score 2) 209

by slaker (#49311865) Attached to: For Boot Camp Users, New Macs Require Windows 8 Or Newer

MSRP is $130 for a Surface Pro 3 keyboard. They generally sell for under $100, sometimes under $80 if you don't mind one of the less popular colors or getting a refurbished one. I'm not sure where you're getting this $200 figure from, but it's significantly off-base.
Further, the Surface Pro doesn't have a hard requirement that you use Microsoft's keyboard. You can use any bluetooth or USB input devices you'd like.

Comment: Re:RAID (Score 1) 76

by slaker (#49221021) Attached to: Intel Announces Xeon D SoC Line Based On Broadwell Core Architecture

Anything that has a modern LSI chip can probably be flashed to Target Initiator mode. I've gotten PERC and IBM M-series SAS controllers for $80 off ebay. You can add in an SAS expander if you need more than 8 drives.
With that kind of setup, you don't have to depend on motherboard ports and can buy whatever makes the most sense.

Comment: Re:Just make it less bloated (Score 2) 300

by slaker (#49196099) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

Ordinarily, I'd agree with you, but a few weeks ago I saw Chrome hit just a little short of 9GB RAM utilization on a machine that had been rebooted perhaps four hours before, with only a dozen open tabs. Was that a poor interaction between Chrome and my ad blocker and whatever the hell javascript and .GIFVs on Imgur does? Probably. But there's no way a browser's processes should be using more RAM than running virtual machines.

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye