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Comment Re:Windows Phone 8 (Score 2) 246

That's all nice, but VS and Nokia were joined a year ago and Lumia/WP7 did not set the US on fire. So let's think about this. I figure it's sales channel/carrier issues which are resolvable through one of the two taking up the spending a few notches. Unfortunately, Nokia can't afford a low margin top-end smartphone and they already have it priced under competitors' offerings. (800/900. As we know, the pricing on the 820/920 is not announced.) How much of its licensing revenue does Microsoft want to spend per phone? Both Nokia and Microsoft are doing this to grow profits and there's the dilemma. Share has to get huge fast in order to provide the volume they seek. But the more share they buy, the more volume they require in order to move the needle.

Comment Raspberries All the Way Down (Score 1) 288

Jobs' sense of his specialness and his rush to get things done before he died was there way before the cancer was found. I rely on the Isaacson book for this tid-bit.

Meanwhile, Jobs is not Apple and Apple is not Jobs. Addictive, as in products, is a clumsy metaphor. Addictive as in meth is a physical and psychological state which reveals itself in isolation, anti-social behavior, and health decay.

Facile, featuring convenient memory holes, and poorly thought through. Yep, CNN all the way.

Comment Re:Write down is still money that was spent (Score 1) 327

An acquisition of a company is not an expense, it is an exchange of one asset, cash for instance, for another. But, when making a strategic acquisition, as Microsoft did, one pays above the asset's value and the difference is booked as another type of asset called goodwill. As the new asset starts contributing profits, the goodwill is reduced by offsetting the retained earnings.

So, what are we to say about the aQuantive write down? The 2007 acquisition, using a fair amount of shareholder assets was a mistake, but, most acquisitions of this type are. I think it comes down to this, the management sold the Board on the acquisition on the basis that this was a good tactic towards the achievement of furthering their strategy of increasing Microsoft's share of the online advertising sector. Why that strategy? Because, they wanted to hurt Google.

Look at that year: the iPhone launch year. What was Google busy doing? Pivoting their nascent phone from Windows Mobile killer to iPhone competitor. They were looking ahead. Microsoft was complacent about phones — we all know the Ballmer quotes — and was spending money looking back at a sector that the same management didn't know it was losing when it happened.

So, sure, the aQuantive write down is a discrete event, and an accounting exercise regarding checks written in 2007. But the same managers who made the deal are in charge, and do we think they're learning their lessons, or are they still spending money in a futile effort to regain relevance in markets that they blew? Everyone looks at Nokia with jaundiced eye for taking Microsoft's cash, but really, shouldn't we be asking if Microsoft is spending its money wisely there? We look at quarterlies to see the trends, to see the mistakes corrected and uncorrected, to form a part of a picture about the whole. We look at Microsoft quarterlies to see if they are successfully diversifying from Windows; truth be told, they do and they don't want to make that transition. It was a bad quarter.

Comment Re:Not a good precedent (Score 1) 138

In orchestral non-vocal music, the melody is the only protectable part of the composition. So at that point, your analogy fails.

But, just to give everyone a bad analogy to abuse me for: giving protectability to the shapes and grid size is akin to giving protection to an arrangement's choice of the key of F, because that made it easier for the clarinets to perform.

Based on the linked summary of ruling, it seems the judge was convinced that the grid size constituted expression. However, as explored by Judge Alsup's recent ruling in Oracle v. Google, not all choices are expressive, merely consequential to the idea, and to extend copyright protection to these choices is to grant a back door monopoly to the ideas. I hate the histrionic hyperbolic absurdity question, so call this a nine-month early birthday present: armed with this ruling, could a terminal application developer sue others for infringement for also having used a 60 x 40 grid?

As to your essential point about the fairness of Tetris's developers not realizing their maximum revenue because heretofore the law had allowed the basics to be replicated, frankly not all idea and expression vocations are equally protected. Just ask any stand-up comic friend about their recourse for joke-stealers. My takeaway is that with games the reason that people enjoy them, the mayhem, the puzzles, the manipulation of elements, the mise-en-scene of the fantasy, etc., are fair game, meaning there is a limit to the upside, and thus development costs should be constrained. I think in the grand scheme, it's better this way. The alternative is the manifesting Line 4 having its "????????" replaced with "Sue."

Comment Re:About bloody time (Score 1) 148

And there I was back then listening to KCRW and enjoying both. I do have to admit that I preferred Joe Frank or Cafe LA as following programs. But then, I could hear Car Talk on KPCC.

Fast forward and I listen to Le Show and Car Talk on podcast. Incidentally, one Shearer's best recurring bits these days is Karzai Talk, which is more a satire on US involvement in Afghanistan than one on Click and Clack.

Comment A Book You May Like (Score 4, Interesting) 530

Pragmatic Programmers published "Seven Languages in Seven Weeks" last year. I liked the book and would recommend it for any one who wanted a taste of today's interesting languages. Over the past year, I've seen that some readers were disappointed at the language choices and some didn't like the way the author, Bruce A. Tate, selected a movie characters as shorthand descriptions for the languages' feels.

The languages: Ruby, IO, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, Clojure, and Haskell. As for development and runtime environments, these can be had and installed at no cost.

If I was asked to name the one language that is widely used, has immediate practicality, and the runtime is already installed on your computer, I'd pick javascript, which runs in the browser. Get a browser that has a console for reviewing javascript errors. The java part of its name is deceptive. It is quite different than java, but the 90s Netscape folks figured that that imprecision would help adoption. I'm not one to rue days, but that one could a candidate.

You didn't mention what languages you were familiar with from your consulting days. One question to be asked is whether you want to look at a language that is familiar but advanced the the ones you did work with or would you prefer to explore the other streams of language design. If you wish to write personal application and utilities, there is likely to be a language tied to your platform. For Windows, it's C#. For OS X, Objective-C. For Linux, you will have to pick a gui framework and its language.

Comment Re:Another fly on the wall heard from (Score 1) 570

1995 and 1997, but your basic point stands. What one could say is that after 2009, when there was a lot of cash in the bank and more was rolling in, the company could have started paying dividends and still have the cash to fund expansion, manufacturing ramp-ups, and large-order supply-chain advantages.

Comment Re:Just out of curiosity (Score 3, Informative) 117

My FreeBSD box has to be seven or more years old. It's gone from one of the 5's through 9.0 without a reinstall. I don't use it 24/7 (but I have). Its primary purpose is to be my cvs code repository. To tech-date the system, subversion was just emerging, hence, cvs. Probably should go git.

I did use a FreeBSD system for a desktop, but this was for a year and a half around 2001. I got an iBook in September 2001, but I had already left the Windows fold for my home computing, so the desktop went FreeBSD. I do prefer OS X because of the gui integration. For a small business where I was the de facto IT guy, I used FreeBSD/squid for a web proxy and solved some huge problems with an ancient Windows SMB server at zero cost: I had used an off lease machine that was constitutionally unsuited for the business's CAD work.

Documentation for BSDs is great. I was considering a wipe and reinstall, as the path of least resistance, as I went from 8.2 to 9 yesterday, but I ate my veggies, built character, and went and looked up the step I had forgotten from the last time a version upgrade occurred. An up to date manual for FreeBSD is available at It also is downloadable as part of the system sources and the local version is kept in sync via cvsup/make. At the site, you might find the release engineering, errata, and security update histories illuminating.

PC-BSD has some interesting ideas and I do run it virtually. It has had application sandboxing for a while, which is something I see the popular, consumer oses implementing. The project is also working on the package dependency issue and I like the way they are thinking. So, while PC-BSD is relatively new, the project keeps its kernel and userland synchronized tightly with FreeBSD. They got good folks there and I expect that its stability should be good, though not as good as FreeBSD, because of the concerns with third-party windowing parties.

Now, as I look at your summary of your problem, I'm not sure that it quite makes sense as a general question for guidance. The computers that are off-lease have to be 2 or 3 years old. You don't need seven more years from them. If you could, you'd have put Windows 7 on them. Well, PC-BSD is no more a substitute for Windows than Windows is a substitute for PC-BSD. (Yes, that's right, if one has set up a productive Unix-like environment, then Windows is a degraded experience, with quite a few "You can't get there from here." issues.) I hope this isn't a case when someone sets up a problem in order to have others offer suggestions that are swatted down, because the constraints are such that it has moved out of the power spot of the technology being discussed. Besides, the applications are far more important than the underlying os in terms of box longevity. If the cost of wiping and reinstalling saves thousands of dollars in licensing fees, well?

Any way, to summarize, you need seven more years of Windows or Windows-substitue usage from your computers and Windows 7 is too expensive, there's only to be one more wipe and reinstall, Linux doesn't help you out, and the BSDs, with their windowing systems being orthogonal to the kernel development, though very stable, may not support the applications and processor that you want to keep using. Then, I wish you good luck, because I don't think any one else other than you is trying to solve your precise problem.

Comment Re:Removing root access (Score 1) 848

So let's see, I'm running Lion and work with postgresql, which I think Apple includes with Lion now. Well, at least that's my guess: I had to figure out why 9.0.x was in /usr/bin when I had just installed 9.1.x via the OS X binary available from (which goes into /Library/PostgreSQL/9.1/. That was a few weeks back. Yesterday I wanted to work through some examples in a book and needed to add some extensions from contrib, but I couldn't see how via the binary, so I downloaded source, bunzipped, make compiled/installed, uninstalled the binary (to avoid port contention, though I could have configured my source install to not use 5432), and updated my path via .bash_profile so the local (~/bin/pg/bin) binaries would be picked up before the one in /usr/bin. Used the lib and include directories from my MacPorts environment in /opt so I'd get readline.

So, have to say, I'm confused, what's the problem with Lion again? Because I have Pixelmator through the app store, VMWare Fusion (drag .app folder to /Applications), from a brick store, postgresql from make build && make install, and I've written my own applications in Haskell (ghc-compiled) and java. It isn't the scroll thing is it, because that really isn't such a big deal. Hackintoshing?


Really? I like OS X, but I'll use FreeBSD or Linux on a computer where I don't have a license for OS X's use. Truth is, those other operating systems are better in many regards for many tasks.

Comment Re:Why is this such a bad thing? (Score 1) 584

And let's think about who and who isn't in the app store.

Microsoft Office isn't. If users are forbidden to install Office, all the folks who are okay with buying Macs because they can run Office stop buying Macs.

Adobe Dreamweaver isn't. Say goodbye to web designers who are taught that tool.

I see someone cued the fanboys arguing that the big lockdown won't occur. I don't see that it's likely, but the point would be that those of us who need to run applications that cannot and will not be found in the App Store will replace our Macs with machines onto which we may install our productivity things. It will probably mean that we will have regretted giving Apple those last dollars and will not give Apple any more dollars. Are we in numbers such that Apple will miss us? Not my concern. I'm trying to get things done with the least amount of friction. No one ever guaranteed me it was always going to be easy, but I appreciate it when it is.

Comment Re:RIP and thank you for AI (Score 1) 354

The standard answer is that homoiconicity and functions as first-class objects combine powerfully and result in fewer lines of code. There were problems with inefficiency of its data structures and, as I've read Rich Hickey explain, the list, an implementation, instead of the sequence being the abstraction. Hickey started clojure, which is proudly a Lisp, and it was a choice and not a nod to the flavor-of-the-month.

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