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Comment: Re:MS can fix that easily... (Score 1) 412

by spisska (#36411058) Attached to: Windows Phones Getting Buried At Carriers' Stores
It isn't 1995 any more, and these tactics are not going to work today. Ten or fifteen years ago, MS had the ability to bend the market to its will. But they don't any more. That is, if they try to make corporate mail incompatible with non-Win phones, it won't make people buy Win phones; it will make them dump MS mail systems.

Comment: Re:Windows Mobile (Score 1) 412

by spisska (#36410998) Attached to: Windows Phones Getting Buried At Carriers' Stores

All you have to do is look at the stories MS plants in the press. They're never about the current products, which have invariably failed to live up to expectations, but always about the next generation, which will be the coolest, most awesomest thing ever.

Just look through the comments here. Nobody is even trying to claim that WP7 comes close to iOS or Android (although before lauch there were plenty of such claims). Instead they're all claiming that the next iteration will be the killer.

This is the same song MS has been singing since the '80s, and it's really not a surprise that people have finally quit listening.

Comment: Re:Windows Mobile (Score 1) 412

by spisska (#36410966) Attached to: Windows Phones Getting Buried At Carriers' Stores
The've got a staggeringly large R&D budget, but they've also got shockingly little to show for it. The fact is that Microsoft isn't, and has never been, particularly good at innovation. They're always trying to solve yesterday's problems, and have no real concept or imagination about what comes next.

Comment: Re:Microsoft didn't get it (Score 1) 200

by spisska (#34231442) Attached to: Exciting Kinect Stuff Already Coming Out

I tried to allude to the Zune with the 'Plays for Sure' comment -- I think it's important not just to point out MS' failures, but also what happens to people who get in bed with Microsoft.

And the potential list of world-changing developments that completely failed to change anything would just be too long.

E.g. The ribbon, tablets, WinCE, WebTV, MSN, Windows ME, Vista, the list goes on and on and on.

Anybody remember their Smart Watch?

Comment: Re:Microsoft didn't get it (Score 1) 200

by spisska (#34231138) Attached to: Exciting Kinect Stuff Already Coming Out

Exactly. I'm starting to dislike this narrative that has developed here, namely that MS doesn't know what it has and that they're going out of their way to stop people from hacking it.

But that certainly does appear to be the case, even though the Kinnect is sold with a healthy margin -- I recall seeing a hardware breakdown that suggested a build cost of around $55 to $60.

1. [...] Its just that MS isn't in the 3D video space and aren't trying to sell 3D video software for movie production or whatever.

A bit odd, considering Apple has been so successful at it. Microsoft's MO has always been to copy others' successes, particularly Apple's. Maybe they've just failed at this more spectacularly than they've failed at their other attempts to copy. (Hows that 'Plays For Sure' thing working out?)

Which is to say that despite years of effort and tens of billions in R&D, they're no more than marginal players in most of the 'spaces' they try to enter. It's all OSs, office suites, and business backends, and the clock is ticking in each of these areas.

I'll give you game consoles, although it will take several more generations of Xbox before the billions in development are paid off. Anyone other than MS, however, would have considered the Xbox project a failure years ago.

2. From what I've read from the guy who built the first drivers, there isn't any crypto or other tricks to stop PCs from communicating with the Kinect. Its just a plain jane USB device.

They're not interested in you buying their hardware without their software any more than you buying a white-box PC without a Windows license. I'm not sure their tactics from the '90s will work again.

3. At the end of the day the interesting parts of the Kinect are its software. If you wanted a stereo camera or something that could do 3D depth, there are items like this in the 3D space that do a hell of a lot more than VGA resolution.

Sure, but not in an off-the-shelf package that costs $200.

4. MS is monetizing this technology again in Win8. Gestures are built into the OS, etc. Its not like Kinect doesn't have a future on the PC platform as a commercial device.

Hee hee. I'll never get tired of Microsoft shills harping on the supposedly great stuff we'll see in the next edition of whatever. I don't know of any company ever that has so consistently over-promised and under-delivered -- and that behavior goes back to MS-DOS 1.0.

Remember how Longhorn was going to, like, totally change everything? Remember how WinFS was going to be revolutionary? Heck, remember how in the early '90s we were all going to be controlling our computers with voice commands?

It's coming in the next version of Windows, and it'll be, like, the most totally mind-blowing thing you've ever seen! Really soon now! Promise!

You should be happy with how many people hate Microsoft. Nobody will hate them when they are no longer relevant, and I don't reckon that's more than about five to ten years away.

Comment: Re:Why should they? (Score 4, Interesting) 442

by spisska (#34204330) Attached to: Why Unlocked Phones Don't Work In the US

There's a bit more to it than that. If you travel in Europe for business, you're going to be visiting different countries. They're all on the same GSM standard, but roaming and out-of-network rates have traditionally been extortionate.

When I lived there in the late '90s, early '00s, I knew plenty of people who carried multiple phones -- one with their primary number, another with their 'other network' number, and sometimes a third that they could swap pay-as-you-go cards into when travelling.

When I lived in Slovakia there were two carriers, one owned by Orange the other by DT (later T-Mobile). All outgoing calls were metered. Calls in-network were reasonable but out of network -- i.e. from Slovak T-Mobile to Slovak Orange, cost something like five times as much. Calls elsewhere in the EU could approach 20 times as much.

The carriers didn't want to sell unlocked phones, but that's what people demanded. Generally you couldn't buy an unlocked phone from a carrier, but if you already had one, they were happy to sell you a SIM.

Everybody age 16 to 25 either could unlock a phone themselves or knew someone who could. Everyone knew someone that age. Also, most people who wanted one bought an unlocked phone from sources other than the carriers.

Plus, it was much more common for people to buy the phone and use a pay-as-you-go service rather than get a subsidized phone as part of a fixed contract.

The carriers wanted a long-term plan system like exists here but the market wasn't interested, for many reasons including those mentioned above.

But if it cost a US user 20x as much to call someone in another state, things might have worked out differently.

Comment: Re:Yeah right. (Score 1) 442

by spisska (#34204174) Attached to: Why Unlocked Phones Don't Work In the US

My HTC Hero (CDMA) has a goofy shaped mini-USB port, but a standard mini-USB cable works fine.

I was really impressed with the charger design. There's no transformer at all -- just a wall socket adapter that collapses flat, with a removable piece for changing socket type. USB cable plugs into that; the other end (modified mini-USB) plugs into the phone.

Comment: Re:Great (Score 1) 179

by spisska (#34162764) Attached to: UK Reviewing Copyright Laws

The cost of hiding from law enforcement and dealing with police raids/theft/etc is included in the current street price.

Economically speaking, that is risk, and as you note, it's already factored into the cost.

If cannabis was legalized tomorrow prices would drop by a non-zero amount.

Probably. After all, if the risk is reduced, you'd expect to pay a lower premium for it. Like how an older driver with a clean record and sensible car pays less for insurance than a 20 year-old with a new Corvette.

On the other hand, while living in Europe, I didn't notice a significant difference in cannabis prices in places where there was less risk (e.g. Netherlands) vs significantly more (e.g. UK, Austria).

It's partly a question of risk premium, but it's also partly a what-the-market-will-bear issue.

What's a gram of medical skunk go for in CA? How does it compare to the mentioned street price of about $17/gram?

Agreed that we need laws to protect property rights, but not business models.

By business models, think specifically about finance. It's nasty and heartless, but the fact is that modern society is only possible with finance.

But if a borrower is under no legal obligation to pay back a loan, there is no finance, and by extension, very little business.

The marriage between big business and government is destructive to society and hinders economic growth by propping up failed business models [...]

As easy as it is to hate big business and government, we do actually need both.

That is not to excuse Hollywood for trying legislation as a solution to an obsolete business model, or to excuse tariffs in protecting certain agricultural sectors.

But we simply couldn't have a society of such prosperity and material comfort without large businesses willing to assume the long-term financial risk, and a government with laws that protect not just property but investment.

Comment: Re:Great (Score 5, Insightful) 179

by spisska (#34160752) Attached to: UK Reviewing Copyright Laws

Name one "business model" that isn't artificially supported by laws?

Drugs?

You'll note that even the biggest busts, e.g. the seizure of 30 tons of cannabis last week in San Diego, seem to have no effect whatsoever on either supply or pricing.

You'll also note that organized crime and violence go hand-in-hand because criminal groups have no other means other than loose, mafia-style collusion to resolve disputes.

The fact is that we want laws to protect property and business models. If you disagree, I suggest moving your business operations to Mogadishu.

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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