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Comment Re:This is straight from Microsoft's playbook (Score 1) 510

I don't see Valve having trouble enforcing Steam's DRM as it is. It doesn't seem like people are trying all that hard to break Steam's DRM anyway, and Valve has generally favored a light-touch to their DRM. If anything, the restrictions have become *less* tight over the years, now allowing you to lend games to people.

Given that you can install Steam on Windows, Mac, or Ubuntu Linux, it doesn't seem like Valve is trying to lock things down. On the contrary, this seems to be the beginnings of opening up consoles. It would be as if Sony and Microsoft released the Playstation and XBox OS to be installed freely on whatever computer you'd like.

Comment Re:Let's be clear (Score 1) 278

There are a few major differences, the largest being that people generally don't have to worry about cross-car compatibility. If each car manufacturer had different driving controls and required a different kind of gasoline, I would bet that you would only have a couple of brands of cars. Still, as Tesla picks up steam, assuming it gets to be fairly commonplace, I think you'll start to see a dichotomy emerge between traditional gas stations and Tesla-style charging, and though there could be billions of different variations of powering vehicles, you won't see many of them being used.

And even so, if you listen to people talking about buying cars, they tend to bring it down to a very selective choice at the end. An individual will commonly come to the point of saying something like, "I either want an Audi or a BMW," and Toyota and Ford are out of the picture. The reason we can support so many different brands is not that people deal well with having lots of choices, but because you have many different semi-overlapping car markets, each having developed their own dichotomies. So there's an "Audi or BMW" guy and there's a "Toyota or Ford" guy and a "Volkswagon or Smart Car" guy and a "Volkswagon or Toyota" guy, each narrowing down their choices to some kind of dichotomy.

Either way, I'm not positing an absolute. I'm suggesting a tendency that's very normal, and is working in favor of Microsoft on the desktop, but working against them in mobile devices. People don't really consider the infinite number of choices that we're presented with. When possible, we like to narrow things down into nice clean dichotomies and then choose between two things.

Comment Re:Who uses the defaults? (Score 0) 104

Can't tell if you're trolling, but yes, an Office suite should be able to be used casually with very little thought. You should be able to drop into a word processor, type something up, print it, and send the file to someone else-- all without having to think much about what you're doing. There can be more extensive features that require thought, but the basics should be pretty obvious.

But gcc? How is gcc lumped in with Office as 'productivity' software? Most people should never need to know what a compiler is.

Comment Re:Let's be clear (Score 1) 278

With the desktop, you really did have two choices: buy a Windows PC or a Mac.

Well those were the two choices deemed most practical. For a long time there have been Linux and the BSDs. For a while there was NeXT and BeOS. There have been options, but the mass market often wasn't very aware of them. That was largely my point.

Comment Re:Let's be clear (Score 5, Insightful) 278

Finally, after losing out the low-end to Android and the high-end to Apple, they come out with a proper Windows Phone. Even then, while it certainly has it's merits, it is essentially another iPhone/Android and really brings nothing to the table that would make people choose it over the competition.

And I think this is a big issue that people overlook: People have a tendency to think in dichotomies, rightly or wrongly, especially regarding issues in which they lack deep knowledge. As a result, markets tend to be perceived in people's minds as a choice between the default/incumbent and the alternative/newcomer. This is in fact part of what has kept Windows in such a dominant position for so long. People are only willing to consider the two options that they were most aware of: commodity Windows machines or Macintoshes.

The tables are flipped on Microsoft in the mobile market. For all the same reasons Linux has trouble breaking into the desktop, Microsoft is having trouble breaking into phones. People are increasingly seeing their phone purchase as a choice between iPhone and Android, seeing one as the default and the other as the alternative, and people generally aren't looking for a second alternative. If Microsoft wants to succeed, it's not enough to be "as good". They have to be significantly better in ways that people care about, and they need to maintain the advantage few a few years, without allowing Apple and Google to catch up, so that there's time for people's contracts to expire. Good luck with that.

Comment Re:closed source triumphs again (Score 1) 172

Yeah, except (a) their isn't an indication from what I'm reading that Apple is opening up this tech for use by developers yet; (b) the keynote for the WWDC is still aimed at the non-technical; and (c) I'm pretty sure there was some mention of it when iOS was announced, because I knew that Apple was starting to use multipath TCP at the time (though I don't remember where I learned it).

Comment Re:closed source triumphs again (Score 1) 172

Where it also helps is when you are connnect to both cellular and wifi, but one of them isn't actually responding. The multipath TCP will notice that traffic isn't flowing and try directing traffic over the other one. I believe (though I may be misremembering) it's also possible to use this technology to bond different network connections, so if you have 10Mbps over WiFi and 10Mbps over LTE, you could turn them into something comparable to a 20Mbps connection.

Comment Re:closed source triumphs again (Score 5, Insightful) 172

Maybe because:

This is not yet the case on iOS7, which currently seems to only enable it for SIRI

If it's just for Siri, then at this point, it's still a highly technical feature that the user won't be able to see obvious benefits from. Apple generally won't present technical features in their Keynote unless they can explain how users will benefit.

Comment Re:Microsoft is in trouble (Score 3, Interesting) 369

Sadly, I don't see Linux Gaming replacing Windows anytime soon -- its pretty much the only reason I use Win7 anymore. :-( Carmack has said Linux sales have been abysmal. (Of course the Windows, Mac, and Linux ports) haven't always come out at the same time, but still that doesn't the bottom line. i.e. Witness the sales figures of the crappy Diablo 3 for consoles.

I don't think you can simply extrapolate from past data. One of the big issues is that there's a self-reinforcing cycle at work-- a sort of catch-22. Developers won't develop for Linux because people won't buy for Linux. On the other hand, people won't install Linux on their game machine because developers aren't developing for Linux. It seems inescapable, but there may be some tipping point at which the cycle reverses itself.

For example, if WINE or something similar reached the point of enabling enough compatibility to allow many Windows games to play seamlessly, that might make a big difference. Or if there were new frameworks and engines that made it much easier to develop cross-platform, that might be enough. Though this catch-22 currently keeps people on Windows, you could reach a tipping point where there are either enough Linux gamers or enough Linux developers that things start flowing the other way.

And I think it's worth citing myself as an example of how a migration to Linux might be closer than the data would suggest. I have ditched consoles completely, and I have been buying games almost exclusively on Windows lately, so the data would suggest that I'm firmly in the Windows camp. *However*, I've been buying games on Windows because I've been buying them on Steam. I've been buying them on Steam because it seems like the safest path to keeping my older games accessible, since Steam has been supporting older games-- as well as they can, anyway-- and making games available cross-platform-- again, as well as they can. So my plan for a few years now has been to keep buying on Steam specifically so that when Mac or Linux gaming becomes more feasible, I can switch over without losing my library of games. Contrary to what the data would suggest, I'm anticipating the migration to Linux. It won't take convincing or marketing. It'll just require that enough of my games have ports available on Linux that I can reformat my gaming rig and make the move without losing too many games.

Comment Re:The mindset is worse than money (Score 1) 372

Agreed. What I find worrisome about this is not the money. It's more about the tone and implications of basing the design on Star Trek.

It's disturbing enough to learn that the NSA is spying on US citizens, pulling private emails and phone logs from anyone and everything with minimal oversight, but if they're going to do that, you kind of hope that they're taking the whole thing seriously. You'd like to imagine that it's a bunch of very serious people who view the whole project as a solemn duty, a necessary evil, to be carried out under the most rigorous discipline and restraint.

If there's some reason why all this must happen, if we must have a domestic spy program potentially collecting and reading all of my emails, then it makes it that much worse to imagine that it's run by a bunch of weirdo nerdy frat-boys working from a high-tech version of a blanket fort. You don't want them treating this whole thing like a game of Cowboys and Indians. This is the sort of thing that you expect from a crazy dictator like Kim Jong-il.

Comment Re:That's awesome (Score 1) 372

I'm sure that's where Roddenberry got the idea of colored uniforms to designate branch (ops blue and engineering red).

Not to be pedantic, but I believe ops was gold, science/medical were blue, engineering and security were red. That's why red shirts kept getting killed-- it was the color worn by the security personnel who were assigned to protect the rest of the crew.

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