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Comment Futurama always has a solution. (Score 1) 820

'"What we have at the moment is rather like wasted muscle tissue. We need to find ways of improving it by training it and stretching it, but we will get there,"

  Worms! They'll Jazzercise the muscle tissue! Why, by the time they're finished it'll be as strong and flexible as Hercules and Gumby combined!

Comment Insidious... (Score 1) 520

The problem I have is that on my phone the web browser is bound to the up direction on the circular directional wheel... With the OK button in the middle. I have frequently hit the up direction accidentally when I meant to press OK. And that launches the web browser. It doesn't ask for confirmation... Just pops up the web browser and immediately starts loading a page.

This is the first I've heard of this practice and I know I accidentally called up a data app using the wheel by accident recently so I checked my bills but there are no data charges on it. Maybe it's because I'm one of those crazy "telephones make phone calls" people and still use a Razr.

Being the kind who would rather be safe than sorry and remembering my old moto phone allowed me to customize what each of those wheel buttons did, I went to go and change it. Trouble is, that phone was bought before Verizon started forcing their standard user interface onto all phone models.

Under the forced Verizon UI the only wheel button that is allowed to be modified is the down button which doesn't map to any of their services by default so not only do you get charged if you accidentally hit the button but you can't even remap or disable the button to ensure you never accidentally press it!

Worse still, according to TFA even if you specifically call Verizon and tell them to disable all data services the very act of pressing the button only to get a message saying you can't access that results in the fee being applied because data was technically transmitted.

I was fully prepared to contact the the FCC, the FTC, the BBB and my government reps about this if I had actually seen these charges but since I haven't I can't verify that this problem actually exists.

If you have been bitten by this then by all means contact the folks above because that's about as abusively scammed as you can get by a major company.

Comment Re:Nothing will happen (Score 2, Interesting) 360

"Jail" for a corporation should mean that all assets are frozen and all business activities are forced to halt for the same number of days that a real person would have been incarcerated.

The problem is that you'd be punishing a lot more people than those at Microsoft. Microsoft doesn't just sell operating systems for home computers; they sell and support a large number of business applications to a HUGE number of businesses. If Microsoft "went offline" for even just a few months, there'd be huge ripples throughout all sectors of the economy. Imagine if a critical security flaw were found in Windows, or IIS, or SQL Server and Microsoft couldn't patch it because they were "in jail". Just because you might not use MS products doesn't mean you don't do business with someone who does. It would be a disaster.

This, to me, sounds like the system that brought us the notion of "too big to fail"

 

Corporations should never have been able to get into to that position but it is possible to reel them in with enough political and populist will.

That's neither here nor there. I would address the subject of "corporate prison" or "corporate execution" in the following way.

A company sentenced to termination would have all assets liquidated and distributed. First priority is to pay off all obligations to the rank and file employees (pensions, benefits, remainder of the year's salary, things of that nature) and any outstanding debts. Anything left over would be distributed amongst the share holders since they're essentially just a bunch of rich gamblers playing an inherently risky game. It's not like this would happen overnight and they wouldn't have time to get out.

None of the distribution would apply to any members of the executive team, their salaries, bonuses, golden parachutes, stocks or what have you are forfeit as they are, essentially, the criminal minds behind the operation. Ideally, I'd like to see their personal assets seized, liquidated and redistributed along with the corporate assets.

 

In the case of technology companies who provide ongoing services to their customers, be it software patches or replacement parts; all source code, patents, design schematics, etc.. would be released into the public domain providing free market opportunities to service the markets that were left without support and/or provide competition to the remaining players in the market. This should result in plenty of players ready to service the departed corporation's customers rather rapidly.

 

Clients may have had long term contracts or what have you and would be forced to incur additional expenses as a result but that could just as easily have happen if the company declared bankruptcy or a disaster happened. With all info on the products now public they would have the option of bringing service in-house if they so chose.

 

Utility industries would be a bit more difficult to deal with but I'd prefer the state take them over with responsibility only to maintain the infrastructure while generating revenue by leasing access out to businesses who wish to compete for customers. Exceptions could be made to provide cheap or at cost service to other state entities (anything tax funded, basically).

 

Much of the above is execution, the jailing could simply involve the public domaining of their existing IP. The corporation is still in business but is now subject to full out competition and any client who no longer wishes to do business with "a felon" can rapidly make that choice without concern about product transition periods or expenses.

 

I'm (probably obviously) not an expert by any means or even an expert in training. I'm just another citizen with an opinion on how our society can be a better place.

Comment Is that legal? (Score 1) 131

If P2P has been an "underground" phenomenon where consumers were distributing "their" bandwidth to share files and ISPs have generally not been very happy about it; how do things change now that this new company wants to pay consumers to do the same thing for legal content so they can make a profit?

Commercial bandwidth is expensive and this company is basically saying they'll do an end run around having to pay for it by giving consumers what will no doubt be chump change while they pocket the rest.

 

It seems to me that consumers don't even have the right to be profiting off the bandwidth they are getting from their ISP because that's not the terms under which they agreed to use it. It's one thing to share but quite another to resell.

 

I think bandwidth caps are a load of crap as much as the next guy but this seems like a clear violation of the ISP's rights.

Comment Re:Ad revenue on TV Ad revenue on Hulu (Score 2, Insightful) 281

Simply put, the ad revenue on Hulu is much, much less than on TV. Sure, it beats piracy (a little money and control over how long your content is on there) but if people were to cancel cable or watch Hulu on their Xboxes more, both cable/satellite providers and the content providers themselves would be unhappy.

Very true.

  However, this would seem to be the very definition of how the free market is supposed to work. Customers want Internet based television; prefer it over cable/satellite.

  Consumers steadily begin to use the net more. Hulu can then begin to charge more for ads while broadcast TV stations lower their rates.

  I would think advertisers would prefer Hulu simply because their ads can not be skipped over and users can't just change the channel during the break. That suggests they can charge more for the ads in such a business model since the ads are more effective. End result, less ad volume (compared to broadcast TV) and happier viewers or the same ad volume with more profits.

  It seems the cable and satellite TV providers are the ones that lose here but why should NBC/FOX care about them? The cable providers are already in a favorable position as the access point for new media distribution. If TV as a service goes the way of the dodo then they are free to charge more for Internet access provided they ditch the stupid caps.

  As long as content providers keep trying to fight customer demand they will continue to miss out on the revenue opportunities that exist. As for copyright infringement, that'll always be around but they can minimize the impact it has by not driving consumers towards it out of an unwillingness to change.

Comment The Full Feeature List (Score 0, Redundant) 465

If anyone wants to enter full Apple marketing land they can click this link to see the full list of "150 features".

  Some that popped out at me: They now seem to be adopting a few Google Chrome ideas such top of the window tabs and the search box now auto suggests sites as Google's browser does... didn't Google take a lot of fire for that? Will Apple allow you to turn it off?

  On the Windows side, they are now using standard Windows... windows (titlebar, scrollbar, etc..) to give it a more native appearance as well as native font rendering with Apple's font rendering still available as a toggle.

  They claim to have first browser support for HTML 5 offline and have integrated an sql-like database (that is user accessible and query-able) for holding everything that's needed to run advanced web apps offline.

Comment Bling (Score 1) 559

KDE 4, MacOSX, Windows 7, Windows Vista... Too much bling and not enough customisation in the UI for me.

You think Mac OS X has too much visual eye candy? Really?

  That's interesting because a lot of the Mac users I encounter think Mac OS X is very dull looking. My own system has the graphite appearance on (the one visual option Apple gives you) and that's just a lot of gray. Even the folders are a muted, flat blue-gray color in Leopard.

  I actually think Apple needs to crank it up to compete with Vista because that UI is visual tour de force in Aero mode. In basic mode, on the other hand, the UI just looks awful; awash in a hellish sea of oversized light blue gradient. That was Win 7 in a virtual appliance.

  I like the OS X use of animation but the overall "bling factor" is quite low.

Comment Re:How about a sensible solution? (Score 1) 650

If users have to pick a browser they will talk about it and some will like a browser and others will like other browsers and they will do this thing Microsoft hates called "compete". Eventually different browsers will develop different reputations based upon which ones best satisfy users and those are the browsers that will be the most popular.

How is this situation different than what exists right now without bundles? Firefox has achieved ~10% adoption rate at the expense of IE without any bundles (unless you want to count Linux distributions).

  Bundling is an advantage as it equals guaranteed distribution but word of mouth doesn't require bundling.

Here's the problem with that. It requires constant vigilance and work on the part of the EU. Who tests IE's compliance? Will those people be bribed? Will they become lax after a few years allowing MS to go back to business as usual? How much time and effort needs to be put in to sustain this forever? It is fine in the short term, but does not solve the problem in the long term.

If all the EU is interested in is making a quick ruling and then patting themselves on the back for a job well done then they are wasting resources on pointless theatrics.

  As far as I'm concerned if a government is going to step in and regulate then they better be ready to commit the resources to proper enforcement.

  How difficult would it really be? If the Slashdot crowd hears about MS shenanigans then it's not exactly a big secret and one government official should be able to confirm or deny the reports. When it comes to bribery; not much can be done about that.

  Once all the incompatible sites are universally broken then you've essentially restored balance and Microsoft would then have to convince web developers to ignore Firefox, Safari, the mobile browsers based on Webkit and Opera, etc.. to pick the proprietary Micrsoft technologies again.

  I don't think it'll be an issue this time around since the market is a different place than it was in the 90s.

  Then again, maybe I just don't understand the problem because based on that criteria it shouldn't be a problem right now...

Comment How about a sensible solution? (Score 1) 650

I fail to see how forcing the bundling of a different browser(s) solves the problem. It will only result in a worsened out of box experience for the end user (which is already incredibly horrid when it comes to big box Windows PCs) in that it forces them to make an uninformed decision the first time they want to connect to the web.

  If the user knows the difference between browsers, it's a non-issue since they can just go download their choice straight away which will usually result in it becoming default during the installation. Problem solved. If they have no idea they'll just be irked and pick the first one on the list.

  The solution, IMO, would seem to be forcing Microsoft to ditch the "compatibility mode" in IE and stick to the standards so that new IE is as broken on sites coded to work with previous versions of IE as any other browser. Then, prohibit them from making any further "extensions" to the specs which caused the problem to begin with.

  A unified, standard plug-in model to prohibit the use of ActiveX on web sites would also be nice.

  Such a decision may wreak havoc with many websites but that's the price of progress and in the end it means all browsers can compete strictly on their merits.

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