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Comment Re:Anger. (Score 3, Insightful) 764

Complaining about tone is ad hominem. Address the argument:

Are you willing to pay more money than the cost of an iPad for a device that is bigger, has worse battery life, runs windows and lets you manage your own synchronization?

You can't just whinge that the market isn't serving you.

The truth is, those devices have existed since the ThinkPad and still exist -- and yet you aren't saying you use or still use yours (never mind that the Newton was better by every metric that doesn't include running PhotoShop 3.5).

E.g., I've had one of these for almost 20 years:

Comment Re:Ipod (Score 1) 211

Say I have developed a video game designed for multiple game controllers and a large monitor. The market for those on the PC doesn't look viable because I've read statistics that the home theater PC market is two orders of magnitude smaller than the video game console market. All major video game consoles are DRM-locked, and manufacturing and selling a device to install custom firmware to play my game would probably be an anti-circumvention violation in any developed market to which I can affordably move my operations, especially after ACTA becomes law, not to mention that it would likely disable playing major-label video games. What do you recommend that I do next?

You design or license a box of your own. You put video out on those boxes, and you pray your customers have a TV and your game demonstrates a great enough value to drive sales. Oh wait, you thought competing would be easy? You thought you could free-ride on your competitors hardware? They call the shots and you can agree to play by their rules or go it alone. Capitalism!

Comment Re:and it's not just the music industry... (Score 1) 211

Sibling post is mine, but I may as well log in so maybe someone will see it:

This is why I propose an artificial government enforced monopoly on intended meaning rather than just expression.

Expression monopolies are so 19th century. We need to get on with monetizing the roots of expression: intent.

Just imagine how great that world will be!

(No really, the implications are awesome.)

Comment Re:This has its perks (Score 1) 374

Maybe they need "Lebensraum", because there are not many planets that sustain life?

You're a spacefaring civilisation capable of building an interstellar invasion fleet, and you're living on planets? Planets - those huge objects with totally predictable orbital paths, at the bottom of a deep gravity well? The ones that you might as well paint a big red target on and shout 'POINT THE RELATIVISTIC KILL VEHICLES HERE, GUYS!' And where 99.99999% of the usable mineral resources are miles down and under fantastically high pressure? Those things?

Wow. You know, I'd have thought that the art of creating artificial habitats in space would be one that a civilisation would master long before they get to the point of interstellar colonisation and conquest. I guess I was wrong.

Comment As I said on my Journal... (Score 1) 315

I wrote this about the Mac, but it applies to the iPhone and iPad as well:

1) Mac users are highly sensitive to the quality of your products' user experience. What this means is, go native or don't bother. Even though Google Earth and Photoshop are rife with UI atrocities, don't imagine that you can get away with ignoring the rules like they can. They're 500-pound Gorillas, and you're not. If you are Google or Adobe, get with the program and write a Cocoa UI, already. It's about time.

2) The native language for the Mac and the iPhone is Objective-C. Get used to it; it's not hard to learn. Any developer familiar with C should be able to learn Objective-C in a day, and be an Objective-C language lawyer within a week if he cares to. Yes, there are Ruby, Python, and other bridges you can use, and they work just fine, but limit this to integrating existing libraries with your apps. DO NOT try to use the bridges as a way to avoid learning the environment you're working with.

3) A cross-platform GUI is neither feasible nor desirable. You can't #ifdef the difference between Cocoa, xlib, and Win32. Don't believe me? Look at OpenOffice. (If OpenOffice looks OK to you, then please, forget about offering your products on the Mac. You'll only cause us pain.)

4) Don't bother with third-party cross-platform GUI libraries like Qt. Yeah, you can make it sort of work, but you'll get a lot of complaints from your Mac customers, and it will be more expensive than properly factoring your code and writing a native GUI for each platform. For every Mac customer who complains about a bad UI, there are many more who took one look at it and decided never to do business with the vendor in question.

Comment Re:Does someone at NATO have a sense of humour? (Score 1) 418

Actually, the movie (and book) got the name from the NATO terminology for the Soviets' new super-fighter. The project that resulted in this aircraft began in the late eighties. Of course, back in the Cold War intelligence reports from the USSR were patchy, and nobody was quite certain whether the documentation they were seeing referred to conceptual designs for a future fighter, or to an actual flying prototype. It was just on the edge of plausibility that there was a real Firefox out there, not just a prototype.

It was the same in America: design and planning work on what became the F-22 began in 1981.

Comment Re:Uhuh (Score 1) 560

I had a similar sentiment the last time MS was spinning its wheels looking for traction in Internet search.

But let's look at what we get if we use Bing instead of Live... Re-writing that post a little bit we get:

Bing can never be successful as a competitor in search because verbing its product produces absolute nonsense. [...]

Evidence that Bing search will never dominate in mindshare:
"I Binged for my old highschool classmates."
"Just Bing my resume."
"You guys just sit around in your mom's basement Binging for pr0n."

If people are using Bing to google shit, they've lost.

It sounds like they are going to make some progress this time, but I'm still mostly on the outs with this name. For my demographic Bing doesn't associate with anything other than funny sounds and Chandler complaining about the WENUS or Annual Net Usage Statistics.

Comment Re:Gun Point? (Score 1) 590

>>>Did Gutenbergs' invention "steal" the scribes' labor?

No. It eliminated the need for scribes. Completely. It stole nothing from the scribes.

Actually, I'm surprised you don't argue it stole their vocation. Otherwise it seems you understand the argument, you just willfully ignore it. The labor pool for hand-copied books was destroyed by the printing press. Scriveners had to do what programmers will have to do, train for a new vocation or find a new way to contract our their services in exchange for compensation. I'm sure there is still some patron desperately seeking a calligraphed book.

Other forms of automation have similarly destroyed the labor pool for the cobbler and the blacksmith. However, one can still buy or commission hand-made boots and swords. Perhaps we'll see artisan software in the same way we see artisan chairs.

(Oh wait, maybe the buzzword for that is saas. Problem solved?!)

Comment Re:Gun Point? (Score 1) 590

You might be interested in a similar reply I made to Commodore64_love at

The end of scarcity is exactly what we need to be dealing with now, wrt virtual "property". 'Replication' of physical artifacts is coming whether it's Star Trek-style or The Diamond Age-style and/or some other variations in between, only time will tell. It's pretty far out there, but we're going to see more mundane forms of artifact printing very soon and this whole can of worms that we're fretting about with songs is about to happen with chairs or wallpaper and who-knows what else. For a comparison, look at the "underground" trading of sewing machine software for embroidery and cross-stitch piracy; that's already happening. I mean we have "IP infringement" entering the zeitgeist from all angles, from grannies and woodworkers to song-traders and warezers. The current system has to change, because you can't have a functioning society where everyone is a criminal under the law. That leads directly to the sort of draconian police-states that the so-called American Spirit directly opposes. And further, as I mention in the other comment, you can't enforce rights management when replication of all expression is ubiquitous without insanely invasive methods.

Comment Re:Gun Point? (Score 1) 590

>>>What if the world has changed in such a way that intending to "sell" some easily-copied series of ones and zeros is no longer a viable business plan?

I can not imagine such a world. A computer without software is pretty worthless, so there will always be a need for programmers and they deserve to get paid for their labor. [...]

Of course if you know of an alternate way to get software for computers without having to pay the laborers, please share. I'm open to new ideas.

First, so there isn't any straw-man thrashing, of course a worker deserves to get paid for his labor. A programmer is like any other laborer. You agree to a contract, that contract is enforced by the state, you do the work you agree to do and you get paid as agreed to. If you are working without an agreement to get paid, that's a poor decision if payment is what you're seeking!

That said, we're on the cusp of a new era. We are very close to a world of ubiquitous robotic labor and a world without scarcity (robotic resource gathering, digital replication, robotic manufacturing/artifact printing). Advances in technology will reach both of these at some point (though probably not at the same time). As fantastic as it sounds, 'computer programming' is another form of labor that will eventually be automated with technology. Software that writes software only has to be written once, if you will. The process has already begun. The research is already happening. We already have replaced millions of jobs with robots and will surely replace many more. Artificial intelligence in general and genetic programming research specifically has marched on for years. Robots will manufacture other robots; Computers will program themselves or each other. I don't think this prediction is controversial.

Sure we'll get to keep wage slaving for a couple more decades until India and China completely corner the market on programming, but you really need to start coming to terms with the reality of technological advancement.

The current IP-regime simply cannot cope rationally with the changes that are just beginning. I mean, imagine it, how is copyright going to handle an age where kids have media devices in their heads and are vlogging straight from their eyes? Will there be some giant royalties agent monitoring all IP witnessed and licensing it or censoring it out? How far away is this future? (Surely we'll be there before the end of scarcity.) Will any relevant cultural artifacts have reached the public domain? Creation of protected works has skyrocketed and is accelerating, but expiration into the public domain has all but ceased -- if IP laws aren't restructured will we need tamper-proof Rights Management implants to protect the vast expanse of expression monopolies? (That's the reality of the current "copyright by default" 1976 Act. Every cocktail napkin scribble, every email, voicemail, lecture note, every action caught on every recorded cctv and security cam, etc. It's all 'rights managed' for the next 100 years or 1000, because no one really knows when Congress will stop extending terms. Those are your rights that are getting managed by the way -- your 1st Amendment right to expression ends where expression monopolies begin.)

I guess my point is, if technological advancement continues to accelerate 'the future' is going to be here a lot sooner than we realize. We need to start thinking about how our laws, businesses --really, relationships of all kinds-- have to change to accommodate the new reality. Essentially infinite copyright protection on essentially every expression since 1976 is not "promot[ing] the Progress of Science and useful Arts."

Sibling posts make good points too.

The Matrix

Submission + - Australia to get new data cable, and price drop (

brindafella writes: "APC Magazine reports that an Australian independent data carrier, PIPE networks, has announced a new internet link to the USA, aa A$200 million (US$179m) cable to be built between Australia and Guam that is a significant Pacific data hub.

PIPE Pacific 1 (PPC-1) will have two 6,900km fibre optic strands, initially at 10 gigabits per second though 40 gigabits is expected to be available by commissioning in 2009. It will eventually run at a maximum rate of 1.92 terabits per second.

PIPE Networks is an Australian company with no commercial connection to Australia's "big two" telcos, Telstra or Optus. PIPE has recently been rolling out connectivity to exchanges and, with this cable, will give Australia an important new level of competition in national and international data backhaul that is expected to create new price tensions that benefit customers. Currently, most Australian customers have "metred" data plans, but the competition may lead to US-styled "un-metred" plans."


Submission + - RIAA Insanity-Suing People For Ripping CD's They P ( 2

mrneutron2003 writes: "With this past weeks announcement by Warner to release its entire catalog to Amazon in MP3 format with no Digital Rights Management, you would think that the organization that represents them, The Recording Industry Association of America , would begin changing its tune. However in an inane display of hubris and futility, the RIAA presses on in it's tirade against the very consumers its partners rely on buy (we're not making this up) suing individuals who merely rip CD's they've purchased legally.

The Washington Post reports on the case being fought by a Scottsdale Arizona man, Jeffrey Howell, who is being taken to task for ripping his own store bought CD's to his PC as a violation of copyright.

Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
If the RIAA is successful here, it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of American music consumers will soon be classified as criminals under the law for attempting to use media they've legally purchased in a manner they desire."


Submission + - Office 2003SP3: Old file formats, now unavailable! 3

time961 writes: "In Service Pack 3 for Office 2003, Microsoft has disabled support for many older file formats, so if you have old Word, Excel, 1-2-3, Quattro, or Corel Draw documents, watch out! They did this because the old formats are "less secure", which actually makes some sense, but only if you got the files from some untrustworthy source.

Naturally, they did this by default, and then documented a mind-bogglingly complex workaround (KB 938810) rather than providing a user interface for adjusting it, or even a set of awkward "Do you really want to do this?" dialog boxes to click through. And, of course, because these are, after all, old file formats, many users will encounter the problem only months or years after the software change, while groping around in dusty and now-inaccessible archives.

One of the better aspects of Office is its extensive compatibility mechanisms for old file formats. At least the support isn't completely gone—it's just really hard to use. Security is important, but there are better ways to fulfill this goal.

This was also covered by the Windows Secrets newsletter, although I can't find a story URL for it."

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