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Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 379

This trope really needs to die. If people were treated like products they wouldn't use Google services. Google has to treat users as customers, and indeed does sell a lot of stuff to them (services, apps, hardware). If it didn't the users would go somewhere else and Google would die.

This is obvious. The situation is simply more complex than the trope makes out. Unless you can get past the trope we can't really discuss Google in any meaningful way. There are problems, but not "you are the product".

Basically, Google provides a service for FREE. Users use said service, and Google collects information about said users. Google sells information to their customers, who pay good money to advertise and analyze those users. Money goes into Google's pockets, paying engineers and providers to provide the service.

They key here is that Google provides the services for free. But the quid-pro-quo is that Google collects information about the users so they can sell that information to advertisers and anyone else who will pay for it.

Users currently value their privacy at less than free - they'd rather use a free email provider than pay some money. That's why Google is where they are - they sell you to other people. And for the most part, you don't care as long as Google gives you free stuff.

You want to create a mailing list with people who agree to receive such mailings? Just set up a sweepstake in a local mall over a weekend. Give away some $50 item and by the end of the weekend, the box will be full of names, addresses and phone numbers. Even better, all that is likely legit, since you probably will call the winner, and will mail the prize to them.

Anyhow, the other worry with such information sent to Google is well, it's a lot easier to subpoena that information from Google, who does not have to protect your Amendment rights, than it would if the information was in your control. Throttle position is useful to see if you were braking or trying to avoid the accident, or were street racing, etc.

Face it, it's going to be a law enforcement goldmine.

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 2) 379

Information about the car is what CONSUMERS want. Google is asking for it because we are asking for it.

Well, it's already available... I mean, coolant temp is that little gauge, fuel is the other gauge. I don't particularly care about throttle position since it's less useful (if I want to go faster, my foot presses harder on the gas pedal, and I watch the speedometer needle climb).


The Apple model is "Don't collect anything unless there's a reason we need it". Google's is "Collect all the data, and when we can find neat analytics to do, we can do it on the stuff we collected".

But you kinda-sorta already know Apple's been angling at the "you're not the product" aspect for privacy the past couple of years or so as a way to compete with Google.

Comment Re:Good for them! (Score 1) 90

But for the NYT, it's not just the New York population. It's the population of the English speaking upper crust. Lot's more than 12 million. That's why the one million number is pretty weak.

This is digital ONLY subscriptions.

You do realize the NYT is also available in regular deadtree format, right? And it's extremely popular in that format, well exceeding digital.

Personally, I prefer the deadtree. I don't need up to the minute coverage, and the deadtree means when I sit down to read it (on my commute), I get a reasonable summary of all the stuff that happened the day before. Sure, it's a day old, but if I didn't care about it yesterday to get up to the minute news, then it wasn't important for me to keep up with it.

But that doesn't mean it's not important - it's good to keep up with what's happening outside your field of interest (it's called being worldly, and even though it has zilch to do with what you care about, that doesn't mean it isn't necessarily important), after all. It's just I'd rather take it in a summary all at once than to go try to find out what happened.

Comment Re:Making money off real names (Score 1) 230

If you were facebook, you'd be insane not to have intelligence contracts.

And somehow, TLAs and other intelligence agencies require real names in order to identify people?

To be honest, whether or not anyone requires a real name policy is probably irrelevant to such agencies - they already either know the person's real name, or they don't. If they don't know, it's not like the real name policy will offer any help. And if they do know, whether the account is used as a pseudonym or not, makes zilch difference.

To be absolutely honest, I'm sure the lowlevel ones will use their handles as their facebook profile, and thus making facebook the go-to site for TLAs to identify people. If you're a careful hacker who maintains no links between your handle and your real world identity, then facebook's policy neither helps nor hinders.

So ironically, it'll give TLAs more opportunity to go after the stupid hackers and script kiddies who are stupid enough to use their handles on facebook, and post real pictures that help identify them and their locations to everyone.

Plus, I'm sure the TLAs are going to watch for profile name changes, making it even easier to identify and link handles to real identities.

Comment Re:Yeah, wait, hang on (Score 1) 385


And this is especially true about The Big Bang Theory, because it's among the highest-rated shows on TV. Its ratings numbers are basically unheard of for most programming except sports. Sports still dominate the ratings, but TBBT gets extremely big numbers compared to everyone else.

And CBS is racking in huge bucks because of this - from first run and syndication, so no, they're not likely to change anything.

If you want numbers, sports usually gets anywhere from 8-10+ ratings, while TBBT is a 3-6. Most other programming is between 0-2. Yes, that includes the ever popular "reality" shows.

Because of this, a rather significant number of those 300M people are actually watching, and with those numbers, you're going to get a lot of complaints.

Comment Re:I am curious about one thing... (Score 1) 66

* some enterprise based company has some windows only app. They want tablets in hands of users walking around (maybe for supervisors at a call center). Surface would make the entrance fee much higher than acceptable. Cheap android tables + a tweaked wine + their slightly tweaked app = MUCH cheaper. Could easily bring enough savings to be worth it.

There are cheap Windows tablets too. Often running the exact same processor that the Android version runs.

And by cheap, I mean $80 cheap. There's a bunch more around $130 or so. And they're really decent tablets at that - great screens, reasonable touch screens, and a lot more. In fact, I shudder at the "cheap" Android tablets. The cheap Windows tablets I used have all been decent.

There's no "Windows tax" for this - The reason they shipped with "Windows 8.1 with Bing" was to limit OEM customization in exchange for... free Windows licenses. All it means Is the OEM cannot do customizations like set Google as the default search. The user is, however, free to do so The user is even prompted during first run to set it up.

I own an HP Stream 7... cost me $100 back in the day. It's a surprisingly fast tablet, and to be honest, it's blown away all my expectations of a $100 tablet. Enough such that a low end Android may not make a whole lot of sense.

Comment Re: Not really a flaw... (Score 5, Informative) 69

Apple's method of securing appspace for the enterprise failed.

Actually, this is by design

One of the reasons for having the Enterprise certificate is to distribute apps without Apple approval. Because Apple can't really test, and enterprises really don't want to go through the hassle of having every line of business app approved.

So Apple always has offered an "out" - a way to get non-Apple-approved apps onto devices. Apple calls it their Enterprise program, where you guy a $500 (yearly) certificate from Apple, and that will let you self-sign apps and install them on devices that install the appropriate provisioning file.

So first, the provisioning file is installed (which also lets enterprises set key rules like lock screen password or PIN security and other policies). Then you can install apps signed by the same certificate.

It's not a big surprise that malware authors would use it, but for most normal users, such certificates often come by if you want to use pirated apps (there are plenty of sites out there selling you "re-signing" services for like $25 a year - they will sign cracked apps for you to install on your device).

In short, to install this malware - 1) You need to install the mobile provisioning certificate - a web page cannot do it, as the user must tap "OK" to actually install it. A user can list and view such provisioning certificates at will. They self-expire after a year.

2) You need to download the affected app, that's signed with the same certificate as the provisioning file. (So one company's apps cannot be installed via some other company's certificate).

3) The certificate hasn't been revoked.

The enterprise system is working exactly as designed

Comment Re:This is not about science. It's about dependenc (Score 1) 324

So out of curiosity how do you think we should develop GMO crops without patents? These things cost billions of dollars in very hard R&D to develop and bring to market. Without a patent then anyone will grow some of your seeds and then sell them next year to compete with your seeds and they had to do none of the work.

Then if it's so important, design the seeds to not do that. Montsanto is famous for "terminator genes" that do just that. Except well, they don't work. Turns out plants generally evolve out those traits. At which point, tough.

And there's plenty of "GMO" stuff that doesn't involve Monstanto - usually done by people cross-breeding or plants acquiring genetic material from bacterial and other things. And people STILL do it today - they still crossbreed. The world's hottest pepper was cross-bred, and was not genetically modified. It takes a little longer (it's generally easy to cross breed it, but a LOT harder to make the cross actually stick through subsequent generations)

And yet, farmers do it all the time because they want their crops to grow better. Survival of the fittest helps.

Comment Re: This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1) 341

New cards are not a very good solution for fraud, since a cardholder can be a victim of 3-6 breaches a year. Sooner or later you run out of account numbers.

it's actually later.

The 16-digit card number is composed of a 6 digit type and institution code, and with restrictions, the last digit has to meet an algorithm (Lund's algorithm), so you have at least 9 digits that are completely independent of each other. The institution code has a first digit that tells you the type of card (4 = Visa, 5 = MasterCard, 6 = Amex I think), and the rest identify the institution and even sub-family of cards (many banks share many codes). And of that, a billion independent card numbers. A big institution often has control of the last 3 digits of their institution code, giving them a total of what, 1 trillion numbers. If they have 200M members, that's 5000 numbers for everyone, on average.

There are generally plenty to go around, and I'm sure once they run out, they'll probably start to recycle them, given it will have been decades since the last time the number was valid.

Comment Re:Again VOD release date? (Score 1) 118

I'd like to watch it when does it become available on VOD services so I can buy and watch it online?

Still can't find a date anywhere...

You need a date? You can consider in general, a movie hits VOD around 3 months after first premiering. Or probably closer to two months after its off first run status and the cheap theatres get it. This frees up the good prints for other regions.

Movies that have particularly good runs that say in first-run status for a long time will be delayed longer. But 3-6 months is typical.

Right now, we're seeing the early summer movies start to come out, so you can guess it'll be mid-winter 2016 (around say, February) at the earliest, late spring at the latest.

Depends how well the film does. Right now we're in opening weekend.

Comment Re:GPLv3 - the kiss of death (Score 2) 309

The reference implementation is under GPLv3. Everyone is of course still free to create their own implementation and license it under whichever license they want.

At which point, as a developer, I'll go "So where's the demand?"

This is a new "supposedly better" file format. But no one supports it yet, so you want me to waste my time creating an implementation for it?

Effectively, a chicken and egg situation - no one wants to implement it if they don't have to because the license isn't usable and no one's using it, and if no one implements it, no one uses it.

It's why reference implementations are usually in a very permissive license to at least pick up adoption - no one might be using it yet, but if it's BSD, I can go and add support for it trivially in my program. And when people do use it, all these programs are magically compatible because it was cheap to add support for it.

But as it is, simply telling me "implement it yourself" is interpreted more as a "go f*** yourself". I have better things to work on in my program - bugs, features, and stuff people actually need and use. I'm not going to waste time implementing something that's not out there yet. (And if I wait long enough, there might be a more suitably-licensed version when demand requires it).

Right now, the ball is in their court. Either they can convince content creators to use their tools to make content available (which if the tools don't integrate with their workflow, won't happen), or prove their format is so vastly superior it's worth the effort. Because unless there is demand, no one will support it. (And content creators will probably see that no one supports it and wonder why they should make special effort). Chicken and egg.

Right now, unless someone does it out of generousity, it's dead.

Comment Re:Who? (Score 1) 79

Paetron is a service whereby artists, musicians, etc. can seek sponsors to fund their craft. In years of old musicians and artists often had a wealthy patron; this simply makes it possible for the masses to fund their artist or musician of choice.

And this hack may not seem to reveal any useful information - after all the payment information and passwords are either hashed, or not stored.

But there's a lot of "social networking" type information - you can find out what a subscriber sponsors, and even find out how much an artist actually makes in a month. (This can be useful information if you've wanted them to do a piece on something, but they always said some other group always paid more - I know of an artist who paints and what he paints depends on which group paid the most).

Then there are the folks who use Patreon for support... now you get to find out how much they REALLY make in a month. I know of several YouTube content creators who release videos for free, and get ad money, but also solicit funds from Patreon, as well as sell advertising on their website and other things. Sometimes just out of curiosity you wonder how much they're pulling in for this "full time job".

Some of the analytics might prove interesting and maybe that "starving artist" you see might not be quite so starving after all.

Comment Re:So no Prime for AppleTV then (Score 1) 223

I had been hoping Amazon Prime video would be added to AppleTV. Guess this means pretty much no way that's going to happen.

I had been meaning to order a number of things from Amazon, looks like a great time to explore other purchase options.

Not gonna lie though; probably will keep Prime.

I guess Apple (and Google) would be within bounds to pull the Amazon app, and see who blinks first...

Well, for the original AppleTV, Apple works with partners in producing the channels (this is in contrast with Roku where partners simply code it up themselves).

It's likely Apple has tried to talk with Amazon on bringing Prime Video to AppleTV, but Amazon either rejected them, or refused to provide them assistance (Apple actually coded up all the channels on AppleTV in partnership with content providers).

This will get interesting later on because the model will be flipped around with tvOS - instead of Apple coding up the AppleTV content, it'll be content providers. At which point, Amazon would squarely be at fault for not supporting tvOS.

And Amazon's apps aren't on Google Play - they were at one point, then Amazon violated some rule or other and Google removed them. They still remain up on iOS though, and I assume they're useful enough to Apple that they'll remain there. (Remember, apps for iOS are used to sell the hardware, so it's not in Apple's interest to remove apps that are potentially popular, like video streaming apps.)

Truth be told, given how long Amazon took to get Prime Video up on Android, it's likely Amazon didn't want to work with Apple to get it on AppleTV.

Comment Re:Unauthorized Teardown (Score 2) 366

There isn't any legal reason that prevents you from opening it up. Just do it.

Apple is exerting a concept that doesn't legally exist.

The problem was iFixit signed an NDA to receive said unit. That NDA specified that not only could the unit NOT be taken apart, the unit was not to be publicly discussed.

So iFixit could very well take apart their unit. But then they violated the second part of their NDA by publishing the teardown on their website.

The legal concept is "breach of contract". The fact that Apple decided to revoke the developer account the breached the terms of the agreement is considered minor. FYI - the app was removed because iFixit is no longer a valid developer of apps. Apple routinely removes apps of developers who no longer maintain valid developer accounts. (As does Google and other companies).

So the app was not removed because Apple said so, the App was removed because the developer account it was associated with was no longer valid. And the reason it was no longer valid is because iFixit broke their NDA they willingly signed.

All things considered, breaking an NDA generally has far harsher penalties. The fact iFixit lost only their developer account is fairly minor. Apple could rightfully demand that the teardown be removed as well. It's unlikely they will, nor will they likely seek financial compensation for it because the product will be released later this month, so any legal proceedings will take longer and cost more money.

Go on. Violate your NDA with your company or one of the many NDAs your company.

Comment Re:TFA, TFS (Score 1) 323

This is about the US, and emissions are not an advertised spec, though I've seen some push to put CO2 on the label, but this was about NOx, which I've not seen anyone ever advertise.

No, but they're advertised as "Clean" vehicles. Sure the meaning is vague and fuzzy, but the whole intention is for consumers to believe the VW cars they were buying were better for the environment if they chose the diesel option.

The fact that under normal operations they emitted more than legal limits would mean that they are not "clean" vehicles and consumers were duped.

Anyhow, it's likely the law is a good one - it's far easier to get a conviction under the civil system than the criminal system because evidentiary rules and the legal requirements for guilt are lower. Criminal convictions are nice, but it's possible there's enough plausible deniability that a conviction will be impossible and everyone gets off scot-free.

"Live or die, I'll make a million." -- Reebus Kneebus, before his jump to the center of the earth, Firesign Theater