Depends how you define free.
When I'm stuck on a complex Excel or Access issue (typically involving a complex formula or macro), most of the time there is a forum thread where someone has solved the problem already and I can learn from this and integrate it into my formula or code.
The same cannot be said of Google Docs and as my time is not free, the cost of MS Office suddenly looks a lot more appealing.
The employer then essentially provides a spec (which is often just a extremely vague set of requirements) and a monthly salary. We can therefore say that most of the software is created by the creative talent and skill (the raw material and machines in your analogy) of the developers. Does the work created by the software dev still completely belong to the employer for a few thousand dollars because of a few words written in the employment contract? I think not! Most of software is written by developers with little contribution from the employer and therefore should be licensed to the employer the same way a song is licensed by the musicians to record labels, how writers license their books to publishers etc.
Isn't the developer in this case more like the builder/engineer who takes an architect's vision and merely implements it?
In most large organisations the developers are not the UI designers and although their code may well be creative, they are not the ones behind the creative work as a whole.
Most people I know don't usually upgrade their phone because of the camera; they do it in spite of the camera.
Now, you might see some people in the market for a new phone decide on a specific model because it has a good camera, but these are people already looking to replace their phone for other reasons.
In this situation, the organisation was not merely unlucky. The data was not stored securely at all and this was made worse by the fact that they had not carried out a proper assessment of the data storage techniques. The DPA is very strict and rightly so - it is our personal information which is at risk here.
All too often there are stories of charitable organisations cutting corners and thinking they can get away with it. This fine is a message that organisations, regardless of purpose, will be treated equally in the eyes of the law.
What I find incredibly offensive is that the charity's CEO didn't even apologise to the 10,000 innocent victims whose data was lost as a result of his organisation's failings. Instead he is trying to shift the attention onto the ICO and try to portray themselves as victims.
Both of your examples include lovely tower cases, which you and I may well be perfectly happy with.
The target audience for the Mac Mini is probably looking for something a bit more refined and in keeping with the Mac Mini case. This adds additional cost, not only from the case but also from the additional cost of smaller components (e.g. small form factor motherboard, 2.5" HDD).
Don't know about their other products, but much of the iPhone is manufactured in the US. The RF Chip, Audio Chip, Gorilla Glass, CPU and other controller chips are all made in the US.
What was the Blu Ray scam? I'm not aware of this.
I've lived through the VHS, DVD and Blu Ray eras and each technology has significantly higher quality than the last. These days I tend to download my movies for free instead of buying the Blu Ray and when I do I always look for the highest quality 1080p version because it is so much higher quality than even upscaled DVD versions.
Ironically, Microsoft via the Nokia Normandy is likely to be the first of the big players to do this.
In short, VLC is not the problem here. It is the idiot user expecting to be able to turn everything up to 11 and not damage something on a shitty Dell laptop.
If I buy an electronic item and use it in accordance with the instructions, then I expect it to work in line with my expectations.
Does this make me an idiot user?
I just wanted to say thanks for signposting AvantSlash, it looks interesting.
I really dislike the mobile interface and the classic interface on mobile is unusable because I have to scroll right and left to actually read anything.
When I get some spare time to set it up I'll give it a try.
When I built my new PC I had the choice of which Windows version to install on it. I've used Windows 7 in the past and have Windows 8 on my work laptop.
So I went with 8.1 through choice. I *like* the Start screen, it's much more visual than previous incarnations of the start menu. Can't say I'm too bothered with the live tiles on a desktop machine, and still don't get the point of the charms bar. As an overall OS however, when taking into account the Start screen and the Explorer ribbon UI, I would choose it every time over previous versions of Windows.