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Comment: Re:Time is relative. (Score 1) 43

by tlhIngan (#49545715) Attached to: Hubble Turns 25

Hubble only feels like 24.99996 years old.

Isn't it the other way? 25 years on the surface of the earth would mean MORE time has passed for something that's in Earth's orbit - time slows the deeper you are in a gravity well.

So technically, Hubble more than 25 years old by now, even though on the surface of Earth, only 25 years has passed.

Comment: Re:I doubt Apple will stay in the market (Score 1) 400

by tlhIngan (#49545513) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says

There isn't a whole lot in there for them. Margins are thin and their hardware is no longer unique since they are using the same Intel CPUs that everyone else uses. Apple almost certainly makes more money on iPhones and tablets than they do on PCs and laptops; I and others expect that they will transition from selling PC and everything else to selling everything else and software.

Well, how do you expect developers to write apps for iOS to do? Move to Windows?

And while the PC market is "bad", you have to realize Apple still moves millions of Macs every year - it may not be the most profitable line, but it still makes money (more than iTunes revenue does, though Apple tries to keep that one down since they want to sell content to move hardware).

It's also interesting how people claim Apple will kill off the PC, and that the "Post PC" era means that. No, the Post-PC era means the PC as the central unit of computing is over. PCs will be around, just there will be more varied computing devices around, from smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and other things. Which one you pick depends on the intended activity. Instead of households needing 1 PC per family member, it's decreased to 1 (or 2) shared PC while everyone uses a tablet and smartphone. Heck, remember netbooks? They were a stopgap measure that people used so they could avoid having to take turns at the PC.

Desktop PCs have moved out from the realm of the way to get a super cheap PC to the realm of enthusiast PCs - they're no longer the cheapest computing option, but they still remain the option of choice if you want high end computing. Which is fine - as the market changes niches evolve. Laptops are cheap and plentiful (see Best Buy) and if you need a PC for home, they're the preferred option - they're small, portable, look clean on the desk, are powerful enough and external expansion makes overcoming their limitations trivially easy.

Apple's worst performing product line is the iPod, for obvious reasons - they don't move much, they don't make much. Even they make more money than iTunes. Macs are a staple at Apple, and while I see them cutting down the number of models they offer in the near future, they'll still offer them for a long time to come. The PC market won't disappear - it's just less important nowadays than it was in the past.

Comment: Re:You got it all backwards ... (Score 2) 289

The entertainment business has been making way too much for way too long. Those days are over and there's no going back.

What we're hearing from IP interests is their last breaths.

People are going to have to produce entertainment for time and material and a realistic margin of profit.

It will be good.

People will be producing IP because, by golly, by gum, it's fun.

You're right, it's going to be good.

Because it means I can release a Linux based device without following the GPL anymore since that's bound to "IP Protections" which no longer exist. I mean, without IP protections, the GPL is meaningless because the GPL requires IP protections in order to operate.

If you don't get how it works - the GPL gives you rights that you otherwise won't have under IP laws. You have a choice - obey existing IP laws which restrict what you can do with the GPL'd software, or obey the GPL to get the enhanced rights it offers. But without IP protections, you can do anything with GPL'd software without needing to agree to the GPL.

It would be wonderful - no more GPL lawsuits, no more having to read the pesky open source license - just take and give away the binaries.

And yes, you CAN pirate open-source software, since the right to derive and distribute comes from the license itself - IP laws do not give you those rights, so if you do not want to obey the license, you are pirating (copyright infringement).

Oh, how glorious it is when one need not distribute their source code anymore! And even better, people will write the code for you, for free to take!

Comment: Re:root = same process (Score 1) 126

Gatekeeper also isn't "all MacOS X security". There's separate malware detection, and in order to do much of anything the user has to enter their computer account password.

It's a minor part of OS X security, mostly designed to keep casual users from installing stuff outside the apple store.

Actually, it keeps people from running stuff downloaded from untrusted sources.

Basically, anything downloaded from the Internet is considered "bad" unless they paid Apple to either host it in the Mac App Store, or they paid Apple for a code signing certificate and signed the app.

Gatekeeper can be worked around in two ways - install the app via a "trusted method" - which could be from a read-only media (e.g., CD or DVD), output of the OS X developer tools or other mechanism (e.g., external file server). Or you wipe out the extended attributes of a downloaded file since that's how OS X tracks trust level.

Gatekeeper only activates on untrusted sources. Trusted sources are fine.

This has resulted in an interesting situation since OS X inadvertently promotes open source - the output of the compiler is trusted, thus will never activate Gatekeeper. If you don't want to get a signing certificate from Apple, just distribute the source code...

Comment: Re:Remember this when people say D vs R doesnt mat (Score 1) 99

by tlhIngan (#49540991) Attached to: Bloomberg Report Suggests Comcast & Time Warner Merger Dead

As much as I feel disappointed and disgusted by things that Obama and other Democrats have done over the last several years, I still don't buy the whole line that some people here on Slashdot trot out all the time: that Democrats and Republicans are the same thing.

You know that this deal would have sailed through and there's no way the FCC would have pushed for Title 2 regulation, if a Republican were in the White House right now.

Actually, I'm surprised so much is happening on Obama's final term. Usually the second term of a president is coasting because he knows he's not getting re-elected, while everyone else is clamoring for his spot in the next election, so no matter what the president does, it doesn't matter because everyone else is using it to campaign for 4 years. Doesn't matter which party - oppose the president if it gets you votes.

Hence the term lame duck - the president's second term is supposed to be one where they are powerless and really just keeping the White House warm...

Comment: Re: Figures (Score 4, Interesting) 347

by tlhIngan (#49538337) Attached to: iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users

It seems unlikely that development support of XP is more costly than the revenue generated by XP users. And Apple has plenty of cash. But this may still be shrewd - let's see if there's a bump in Mac sales this quarter. These users represent existing Apple customers running an OS that Microsoft abandoned. They don't need to know about how fast Apple abandons hardware, but to be fair Apple does upgrades pretty nicely. They can blame MS and gain the customer, all by hosing said customer. Devious and clever.

Well, Apple knows how many XP users use iTunes. They know how much those XP users spend and can easily determine if they're just a tiny fraction of those using Vista or later, or significant enough to continue supporting them. Apple has all that data.

And I've seen it too as my main machine is XP. I'd love to upgrade it if I had the cash (I do have a Win 7 machine used for other purposes so I'm not SOL). Thing is, iTunes still does work, it's just crapping out randomly a bit more than usual - Monday was plagued with the inability to log in (but closing and restarting iTunes several times fixed it), and app updates seem to be an on and off thing (mostly off).

And how fast Apple abandons hardware? Maybe for iOS where you get 50% more support time than the main competition (at least in cases where you get supported updates). Macs that can run Yosemite date back to 2010 or so.

Apple though, does abandon older software a lot faster - they only do support the last two versions of OS X and iOS in general.

This may well have less to do with Apple being mean and cutting off XP users from their fix and more with Apple dropping support for ciphers that are anything but secure anymore, with XP simply not supporting the more current ciphers with better algorithms and more robustness (like forward secrecy). If they didn't, the rant would not go away but simply shift to "Apple's sloppy handling of security puts your content at risk".

Here's the thing - iTunes runs on a virtual version of OS X - one of the reasons it's so big is that it brings with it a bunch of OS X libraries adapted for Windows. Things like ciphers and SSL and all that, Apple already has ported versions of the OS X libraries for that they update - it doesn't use the OS libraries for it.

And in fact, there's nothing wrong with iTunes itself - my version of iTunes worked perfectly until the past week or so - and no, I didn't install any new version of iTunes. So Apple changed something that broke iTunes on its end because iTunes worked before and it wasn't changed

Comment: Re:ostensibly for sorting purposes (Score 2) 63

by tlhIngan (#49538163) Attached to: New Privacy Concerns About US Program That Can Track Snail Mail

But the real "so what" is that they are OCRing the mail, so even if they were throwing away all of those scans, they would still reasonably be storing the metadata

I would expect them to OCR the mail. in fact, the postal system has the best OCR in the business which can read printed/typed/stickered labels (even at an angle), and handwriting. The accuracy of the system is beyond what you can find - 99.99% accuracy means 1 in 10,000 letters has an error, and if you're dealing with millions of pieces of mail that's not pre-sorted, correcting that requires lots of manual assistance. (they have special stations that let the operator view the mail but not actually handle it and type a corrected address).

Storing images of the OCR'd labels is simply smart because it means you have a set of working scans, a set of failed scans (with corrected addresses) and can run tweaks to the OCR software through actual real live labels that passed and failed and discover whether or not your fix improved matters or made things worse.

Comment: Re:almost a stupid as Steve Jobs (Score 2) 252

by tlhIngan (#49538089) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

Steve Jobs had the most treatable, survivable type of pancreatic cancer. He decided to do yoga and change his diet and do acupuncture instead of real treatments. Then he died. That's just how stupid some people are.

At least Jobs did it to himself. This lady is doing it to others to promote herself and make money.

Jobs did the quackery based on his own beliefs and in the end, the only people he harmed was his family by his death - he didn't try to promote his lifestyle as good or it would cure cancer. What he did, and his death, were the results of his choices in life.

This lady's choices are meant to influence others to take up her "cures" over established medical treatment. Her actions influence others to shun potentially lifesaving medical treatments for her quackery.

In an ironic twist, today Dr. Oz is using his show to defend his use of quackery to promote himself.

Comment: Re:Not a Piece of Shit (Score 4, Informative) 127

by tlhIngan (#49538055) Attached to: POS Vendor Uses Same Short, Numeric Password Non-Stop Since 1990

Indeed, and any retailer who entrusts all their monetary transactions to a manufacturer's default password is probably going to slip up somewhere anyway.

Except it's likely the retailer doesn't know about it period. They buy a POS system, and it's actually installed, programmed and setup by the company they purchased it from. A lot of POS systems (excepting custom designed ones or franchisees who often have to purchase a specific unit from the franchiser) are purchased, set up, and installed by companies who do this. In fact, a lot of it is blocked out for customers (i.e., the retailer) by the manufacturer. The programming information and interface setup is often provided only to installers who are under orders to never reveal it to the retailer.

Sure, the retailer has a few "controls" (they could add/remove products from inventory, do inventory and other day-to-day operations) but other ones including setting it up with a server, or even setting tax rates or categories (non taxable, partially taxable, fully taxable, etc) require an installer to do it.

The retailer might not know of the password's existence or it could even be locked away under a anti-tamper seal put in by the installer so the retailer doesn't try to ... experiment.

Comment: Re:A very good idea... (Score 1) 74

by tlhIngan (#49537239) Attached to: Apple Offers Expedited Apple Watch Order Lottery To Developers

Apple just wants people to buy their watch, and "useful apps that work well" is way down an Apple fan's list of reasons to buy something by Apple, the main one being "ooh Apple gimmegimmegimme hipster shiny Starbucks."

Which would go against the business model Apple is In - selling content to move hardware. Apple WANTS developers to write apps for it. Lots of them. Because the more apps available, the better you can market it as a useful device so it trickles down to people who don't necessarily want it suddenly seeing useful potential.

Even for Apple, you can only shine a turd so much - it still has to be useful in some way or it will die quickly in the market, and no amount of marketing can revive it. (Did you know Sony makes a portable console? They don't market it anymore because there's nothing to market about it, and it's now just a way to play the PS4 remotely).

So attracting developers into the program (who don't really care about the watch color or band) means more apps written to take advantage of it, which may mean even those opposed to the whole smartwatch thing suddenly sees compelling use cases and maybe goes out to buy one.

Comment: Re:It's not surprising (Score 3, Insightful) 129

by tlhIngan (#49528167) Attached to: YouTube Going Dark On Older Devices

When YouTube started there was no standard for streaming video. The only working options were things like Flash and RealPlayer, so they went with Flash. Now they are moving to HTML5 and that's the problem - older devices don't support it.

No, the problem is not Flash or HTML5.

The problem is that the old YouTube players were much better than the current one, because well, they didn't support ads.

The new YouTube apps support the Google APIs and they return ads, both the pop up and interstitials, while the old APIs didn't support it.

Back when YouTube was in the old days of getting marketshare, and API use is low, it made sense. These days, with Google monetizing stuff, well, they need all youtube players to support ads.

Comment: Re:~1500 App Developers wasted their time (Score 1) 73

by tlhIngan (#49528043) Attached to: Networking Library Bug Breaks HTTPS In ~1,500 iOS Apps

I'm not sure what you needed to do prior to iOS 2, but that's ancient history - I doubt anyone is still supporting back that far

You did nothing. You couldn't write apps for iPhone OS 1.x because iPhone OS 2.0 introduced the app store. So unless you jailbroke, you only wrote apps against iPhone OS 2.0.

Comment: Re:Poor Design... (Score 5, Insightful) 73

by tlhIngan (#49525681) Attached to: Networking Library Bug Breaks HTTPS In ~1,500 iOS Apps

Non system libraries are statically linked .a files in IOS. Apple insists on this, although I'm not entirely sure why. I guess its to avoid DLL hell.

Well, to properly do this, requires a way to manage libraries separately from apps. And that rapidly becomes a usability nightmare, as well as, ironically, a security nightmare.

What happens when an update comes out? Do you keep both versions? What happens if an app is incompatible with the new version? What if the old version is insecure, and the new version incompatible? Do you go for insecure-but-working, or broken-but-secure? What if the developer isn't around anymore to fix it?

Then there's security - if you come up with a way to do this, how do you isolate the data from one another? How do you keep the library (which has access to everyone's data) from accessing and passing around the information? Perhaps a malicious update goes and accesses everyone's information then dumps it to another app for uploading?

Effectively, the only way is to statically link the library into each app - this way each app contains a library that works and is tested. But it also means developers are responsible for maintaining their apps.

Comment: Re:Whatsisname is...mistaken (Score 1) 282

by tlhIngan (#49520479) Attached to: Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers

He may well believe that past results are no indication of future results, there's one overwhelmingly important fact that comes to mind: noone will be able to buy the stuff made in the robot factories if we're all unemployed or minimum wage serfs.

And if noone can buy the stuff, the owners aren't going to get rich selling the stuff. Which means THEY won't be able to buy stuff either....

No, but the rich folks will just own it all.

See Manna where robots take over. If you don't have a job, you get shuffled off to a jail-like facility where your basic needs are provided for at the whim of the owners who stuff you into a way-to-small box because they really want to sell that real estate you're "living" on with millions of other people.

Comment: Re:Trus but verify... not (Score 1) 67

by tlhIngan (#49520403) Attached to: Tor Is Building the Next Generation Dark Net With Funding From DARPA

So, the gubmint agency that built the Internet... "owned" by the same gubmint that built NSA wants to build the new TOR to increase privacy?

Sounds trustworthy to me.

You missed the fact the government created TOR in the first place... (TOR was created by the US Navy).

TOR is basically a US government project. Which is why it's funny when everyone says to go use it to protect your privacy. After all, doesn't the NSA run huge farms of exit nodes which can capture a good chunk of traffic?

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics