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Comment This isn't the first time I have heard of this (Score 1) 103

Trying to remember where I heard this, but there was something similar with the old HP laserjet printers.

I think there was a time when it was considered good practice to put backdoors like this into internet connected devices. I think the reasoning was that every device needed to have a universal password.

But yeah, this is a pretty crazy issue to have.

Comment Re:Why is this news? (Score 1) 85

I think it's less about clueless reporters and more about corporate PR. Google wants people to think the phone is in demand, and they pollenate various news outlets with the story. There are enough people in the world who have no idea what rooting an Android device is that this sounds like something interesting, when really it's not. At some point, they can score more points by issuing additional news releases stating the first ones are bogus and the phone was designed to act that way.

It's easy to understand why this sounds like news when you think about all the hype that existed around people trying to unlock the iPhone. That was an actual struggle, there were potential legal issues, there were risks involved in phones bricking, there were shady hackers from all over the world coming together to make things happen, etc. With an Android phone, there's really just a setting called Developer Mode and some company-supported terminal applications for doing what you need to do.

It's all a cycle... *sigh*

Comment Re:Why is this news? (Score 1) 85

The fact the phone has been rooted is not news in the sense that this was a significant or difficult accomplishment. It is news in the sense that people are doing things with it, and this fact really just serves to build people's perceptions that the product is popular.

Let's face it, the majority of people who will hear this fact are not going to understand that this is a non-achievement, or that the phone was actually designed to allow people to do this. The small number of people who actually understand what rooting an Android device really means are not the target for a story like this, it aims to affect the opinions of people who are trying to decide if they want a Nexus. It makes them think the phone is in demand from others, which increases the perceived value of the device.

Take the story back a few years, substitute an iPhone and a company that wants their devices to operate strictly in a walled garden, and you have a real story to be told. This is just PR.

Comment Re:Why is this news? (Score 1) 85

The sales numbers probably don't matter as much as the perception that everyone wants it. I know we all want to know these numbers, but they don't really matter when it comes to building demand around a product.

The market impact of scarcity is not strictly measured in terms of sales price, retail or otherwise. In device markets, scarcity is a driver in consumer decisions and perception, the reason you want your device to be hard to get is because people will want it more (since everyone else wants it). This is the reason businesses spend so much building PR around their products and finding ways to get people to talk about them.

Think about the HP Touchpad and WebOS for a moment. Technical issues aside, the reason it did not sell was that no one else was buying it. No one wanted a product where support night not exist in a couple years.

After HP was faced with a lack of market adoption, they killed the line, which just reinforced people's perceptions that it was not a good product to begin with. This also reinforced people's perceptions that the iPad was indomitable, as this was a big company making a big push to get a foothold in a new market.

Perception is a lot more important than number of devices sold when it comes to driving adoption in a market, which is what opens the door to achieving pricing power. Number of units sold is really useful as a number on sales calls and earnings reports, it shows how profitable a business is based on sales.

Submission + - Will a Chromebook be your next PC? (zdnet.com)

dgharmon writes: Sure, you could keep using Windows, although Windows 8 looks worse every time you look at it; or you could buy a Mac for big bucks; or you could buy a Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook starting at $449 and have a great Linux-based desktop that you already know how to use.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Retrain? 418

Talcyon writes "I'm a 40-year-old developer, and it's become apparent that my .NET skillset is woefully out of date after five years of doing various bits of support. I tried the 'Management' thing last year, but that was a failure as I'm just not a people person, and a full-on development project this year has turned into a disaster area. I'm mainly a VB.NET person with skills from the .NET 2.0 era. Is that it? Do I give up a career in technology now? Or turn around and bury myself in a support role, sorting out issues with other people's/companies' software? I've been lurking around Slashdot for many years now, and this question occasionally comes up, but it pays to get the opinions of others. Do I retrain and get back up to speed, or am I too old?"

Comment Re:Let all companies be destroyed? (Score 3, Interesting) 171

So... much... to... argue... with... there...

If you really want to argue who invented the smartphone market, it was Danger. Say all you want about Palm, but the Sidekick was the device that really proved the model for apps on mobile devices. I mean this in the sense of apps as opposed to applications, where you have over the air updates for the system. The market for smartphones would not be a tenth of what it is were that not the case. Had they not sold out to Microsoft, the smartphone world would be a very different place to day.

The OP does appear to understand what innovation is. Innovation !== features enhancements, however, which are often a natural product of ongoing R&D that make their way into a product. Apple using a retina display is a feature enhancement, Apple building one in the first place is innovation. As you said, this was Samsung.

In regards to the design of the iPad, Jonathan Ives did not have the original idea for it. There were prototype drawings from the 80s describing very similar devices. Just because Apple was able to make the push to actually build the thing and mass-market it does not really mean the company conceived of the device completely from scratch.

I mean, citing the iPad and iPhone as examples of innovation is all well and good, if we were talking about how innovative they were in 2007. It's 2012 now, where are the new products and ideas that are going to make the world more efficient and exciting than it was before? I know they have made bids to get involved in automobile manufacturing, televisions and other consumer electronics, and other verticals. Innovation in these areas would be magnificent to see.

Instead, there are no new products this year, and there is a lot of talk about reducing their line (there is still talk Mac Pros may be going away altogether in the next year or so). you look at Samsung, you see a company that is involved in every major area of consumer manufacturing. They have a strong defense business as well, and their semiconductor unit continues to keep creating new things all the time. Apple is a little too concerned about their stock price to try anything new anymore. I don't see them as capable of producing disruptive technology so long as the fundamentals of their business model discourage risk in their major product lines.

What we are seeing it not technology innovation, it's more like business model innovation.

Censorship

Submission + - Russian Wikipedia shutters in protest of Internet Blacklist plans (en.ria.ru)

decora writes: "If you visit Russian Wikipedia today you will be forgiven for thinking the entire site has crashed. It is not a crash, but a protest of the Russian State Duma's Bill 89417-6 According to Ria Novosti, the bill is "proposing a unified digital blacklist of all websites containing pornography, drug ads and promoting suicide or extremist ideas." Russian Wikipedia's main page has been replaced with a redacted logo and a protest text, part of which says "The Wikipedia community protests against censorship, dangerous to free knowledge, open to all mankind. We ask you to support us in opposing this bill" (translation by Google Translate)"

Comment Re:So is every ISP (Score 5, Informative) 376

You don't get to 500 million users without understanding the contents of every message. Text data mining is actually one of the simplest things to implement and can provide a wealth of attitudinal data about products and services.

My Facebook rep has gone into some of their programs for targeted display of ads. I haven't asked her too much about how it would work, but the message she keeps driving home with me is that they can target ads based on how much someone likes something. She says this is based on more than what someone clicks on.

Comment Re:Been there... (Score 1) 848

I have a friend who worked as a contractor for NASDAQ and was in the same boat. He had written a network monitoring tool on his own time and used it as part of his job. He was clear with management this is something he had built on his own and that it belonged to him. He sold the application separately and brought in a token amount of revenue for his efforts.

After a few years, he (and most of the people from his team) were laid off unceremoniously, and he insisted that the custom software he had written needed to be removed from their system. They did not comply, and it ended up in court. He did earn an injunction and damages equal to his attorney's fees for all his effort. Rights to the network monitoring tool was later purchased by another firm for a small sum.

I got the sense, throughout all of this, that the time and dollars being spent were really a waste. There was no million dollar application coming out of these efforts, and building the application was really just a way to make his job easier.

Comment Re:I read somewhere... (Score 0) 1613

Don't turn this into an Apple versus M$ you dolt, a man died today!

Oh wait...

See, even trolls can't overcome the remarkable sadness on the news of his passing. Beyond the hardware, he inspired a lot of debates here and elsewhere that will have a lasting impact on people. I can't believe how awful this is to hear.

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