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Comment Re:Only relevant line (Score 3, Informative) 629

I spoke to a YouTube employee about this.

He told me that, in effect, to give third parties access to the same APIs that Google's YouTube apps use would be akin to disclosing how Google's servers are set up, deep details of how its ad infrastructure works, and this kind of thing. Google doesn't give out that information to anybody.

All third party YouTube apps use the HTML5 API -- all but Microsoft's, which is why Microsoft's was blocked. BlackBerry's YouTube app uses the HTML5 API. very smart TV and every Blu-Ray player that ships with a YouTube streaming feature uses the HTML5 API. PlayStation, you name it. It's not like you can't build a commercial quality YouTube app using the HTML5 API, because everybody else is doing it.

Also, consider that the first version of Microsoft's native YouTube app had a download button that allowed you to save any video to your device. Anybody who's ever used YouTube knows that's one of the biggest no-nos, and that YouTube is intended to be a streaming service ONLY. So why did Microsoft build that feature into its app if it was trying to play by the rules?

Probable answer: This whole thing has been Microsoft spoiling for attention and trying cast negative aspersions on Google, from the very beginning.

Comment Re:Performance? (Score 1) 122

I guess all this means that they are aiming Firefox OS at the low end of the market, where performance matters less than being able to afford a smartphone. However, I've always found it strange that companies do that - if you are going to make a low-end device, wouldn't you want to make the most efficient use of the hardware resources you have by running native code even more than if you had plenty of CPU cycles and RAM to burn?

Well, the OS itself is obviously native code, at least partially. But as far as add-on software goes, distributing mobile apps as binary executables is a surefire path to early obsolescence for phone hardware. Once all the developers drop support for older models in favor of newer ones running different chips, it's game over.

Such a system also makes it harder to introduce significant hardware changes. Say someone put out a smartphone with a new chip that used a different instruction set, for example. It's the old Itanium problem: out of the gate, none of the existing native binaries might work on it. So in terms of its value to consumers, the "latest and greatest" phone would actually be less useful than all of the older ones -- how does ZTE market that?

That's why Android apps aren't native code; they're Java/Dalvik. iOS apps might be native code, but that only works because Apple has total, iron-clad control over its entire hardware ecosystem. ZTE literally cannot make an $80 iOS device, even if it were financially feasible.

Comment Re:"Killer whale" (Score 1) 395

Orcas are delphinidae, which *are* a part of the cetacean order. So they are very much technically whales, and it is quite correct to call them that.

Except not all members of the order Cetacea are whales. All cetaceans are marine mammals, but just like some cetaceans are whales, others are dolphins and porpoises. Similarly, humans are of the order Primates, but that doesn't make a human the same thing as a monkey, because while monkeys are primates they are not apes.

To sum up, scientists have invented a system by which to classify animals. Order is one level of it, but it gets much more specific than that, and that wasn't done for "marketing" or "branding" reasons. Furthermore, it seems silly to justify one's own ignorance by pointing the finger at the people who know what they're doing like they're purposefully trying to confuse everybody, when they're really trying to do the opposite.

Comment Re:"Killer whale" (Score 4, Informative) 395

The way the species has been rebranded as a "dolphin" is one of the triumphs of marketing over reality.

"Rebranded"? Orcas belong to the family Delphinidae, the oceanic dolphins. They're commonly referred to as "whales" but that's not technically accurate. But hey, don't let science get in the way of your little speech about "marketing."

Comment Re:Good luck with that (Score 2) 164

I'm not sure I agree with this.

For starters, the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke called "The Sentinel." Clarke wrote the novel at the same time the movie was being made, and it was actually released after the movie, so it's essentially an adaptation of the film and by no means essential to appreciating or understanding the film.

What's more, Kubrick has a track record for taking the material he is bringing to the screen and adding to it or taking it in new directions not expressed in the written work -- see The Shining, for example, which diverges from Stephen King's book wildly.

Kubrick's film should be enjoyed as a film. All these comments saying you need to read the book to understand it just sound like people who couldn't understand the movie and feel guilty about it, so they went and got the book from the library. Don't feel guilty. The film is designed to be a bit inscrutable and to inspire thought and debate.

Comment Re:'medium is the..." (Score 4, Insightful) 164

(honestly I haven't met anybody who doesn't fast forward through the draggiest parts to get to HAL)

Well, you haven't met me, but if you're talking about everything between the ape men and Discovery then those happen to be my favorite parts of the film. My absolute favorite scene, in fact, is when Heywood Floyd runs into the Russian scientists at the Pan Am lounge on the space station. And if you want to see why these scenes are absolutely essential to 2001, look no further than the film 2010, which completely fails to understand anything about the earlier movie and portrays the Heywood Floyd character -- and everybody else, for that matter -- as a bumbling incompetent who couldn't survive an airline flight to Greece, let alone an interstellar voyage.

Comment Re:ChromeCast (Score 1) 244

Other devices, like an AppleTV, do not require any other device at all. It's kind of ironic, considering all the fuss Google made about Chromecast not requiring Android.

Well, what's ironic about it, really? Chromecast doesn't require Android -- and statistically, you're much more likely to own some flavor of iPad than an Android tablet. Google never promised you that you wouldn't need either one.

Comment Re:Newpapers, no. (Score 1) 79

It sure is nice to NOT have to fscking "earn" your vacation hours, or sick leave (when contracting, you figure those into your bill rate, and take off when YOU want to)

Unfortunately, freelance writers do not typically get to set their own rates in any significant way. You're generally paid by the word, or by the assignment, at a rate predetermined between you and your editor (and your editor holds all the cards). I have never heard of a freelance writer being paid hourly. And when the editorial budget gets squeezed and the rates go down, you always have the option of taking your talents elsewhere -- if you can find somewhere -- or you take what you're offered. In this market, there is seldom any room to negotiate.

Comment Re:Metro UI (Score 4, Insightful) 467

However, Surface RT actually sold quite well and that's what makes it different from Zune.

By what standard did it sell well? Maybe Microsoft was moving some units at first, but months after launch we kept hearing the same figure for the number of units sold. A month would go by and someone would quote the same figure, again. That's not indicative of strong sales. By some channel figures, in Q1 of 2013 Microsoft and its partners moved less than 2 million Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets. That's not just Surface RT, not just Microsoft, that's every vendor of Windows tablets combined. Meanwhile, Apple sold nearly 20 million tablets in the same period; one vendor. So I ask again, by what standard has Surface sold "quite well"?

Comment Negative press (Score 5, Insightful) 467

Don't worry; Steve Ballmer's reorg will fix all of this. All of the product groups that analysts used to compare quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year have disappeared. Products have been shuffled around into new groups organized around "engineering." The upshot is that money-losing products like Bing are now going to be lumped in with big breadwinners like Office. You won't be able to look at the Xbox and Online Services divisions anymore and say "they lose money." All those failures will be hidden in the new structure. Without an instance like Microsoft writing down almost a billion dollars on the Surface RT disaster, it will be harder for anyone to gauge how it's doing, at least for the next few quarters. Problem solved!

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