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Comment Re:LiveBook (Score 1) 263

Introducing the new Microsoft LiveBook. Boots right in to Microsoft's cloud-based OS. Skydrive, Skype, Office365, Bing search, Hotmail. Coming your way in 2015 or sooner.

The problem is that this cannibalizes Windows to an extent that I don't Redmond is prepared to accept. They could just simply offer a cheapish tablet with features like this without it necessarily being a direct threat to Windows.

Comment Re:Block calls with spoofed ID ... (Score 2) 281

Somewhere along the line, it must be technically possible to identify that the number isn't coming from where it claims to be.

I second this. Interestingly, I got a robocall today on my cell phone. Every month or two, I keep getting a call during the daytime offering me a fantastic deal on some sort of cruise they claim I have won. I have looked into it and the callers are rather infamous but what they do is they change their number every time they call. So it does no good to file a report (I have actually done this before) as the number you report is something they'll never use again and probably never really had to begin with. I began to see the problems with this in the 1990s when some free PBX software package for Linux started getting popular and one of its features was it enabled you to use any number you wanted as your identifying phone number.

Comment Reality of your proposal (Score 1) 416

1) I understand your argument, but I sure wouldn't want to be the one rolling the dice in a US court to see if a court would find it legal or not. Lots of developed countries have the idea that their laws apply everywhere in the world.
2) I have an unlocked phone (I bought it unlocked some years ago) but the fact is that most Americans .... JUST ... DON'T ... CARE. Most Americans don't travel outside of North America, so there's just not a lot of interest in unlocked phones. Some Americans do care a lot, but most don't. In fact, my unlocked phone is powered off and in storage. My main mobile phone (or "cell phone" as we Americans say) is an iPhone and my work requires it to be unjailbroken, so I can't unlock it. They pay the bills for it, so I have to live by their rules. The next time I travel overseas, I'll just take my unlocked phone with me. I doubt that putting unlocking businesses right across the border would be very lucrative. I'm not sure about this, but I'm under the impression that the Canadian market is pretty much just like the American one and subsidized locked phones are the way everybody goes.

Comment Is colinneagle some kind of VIP? (Score 4, Interesting) 415

Why is colinneagle so important that Adobe was willing to dig up 17 year old software for him to help out on something that is impractical and only has a "Gee whiz" factor going for it? I'm hardly an Adobe expert, but my limited experience is that like any normal software vendor they are trying to get people on the latest and greatest, not make stuff from 17 years ago still work. I guess it's fantastic for him that this works, but given how hard it would be for John Q. Public to find Windows 3.1 and probably also to find an ancient copy of Photoshop, this is starting to sound like a bit of a taunt on how he was able to do something that almost nobody else will be able to do.

Comment There's a sucker born every minute (Score 1) 28

Let me guess... this move, by the second-largest US carrier (and largest GSM carrier in the US) is supposed to "improve" competition, just like their last attempt?

You got suckered by Sprint's explanation that they were only concerned about "competition" and that's why they opposed the T-Mobile buyout by AT&T. The real reason Sprint opposed it is that having a weak T-Mobile around allows them to tell their investors "We're number three! We're number three! Keep believing in our flatlined stock because at least we're still not the smallest player in the market!" Sprint cares nothing about competition. They just feared becoming the weakest and smallest major wireless carrier in the USA once T-Mobile vanished.

Comment Better idea - continue to tax companies (Score 1, Interesting) 427

Better idea don't tax companies, tax people. I don't know who thought taxing companies was a good idea, I haven't heard a single reason why we should be doing it and all it does is worsen an already terrifying labor region issue.

Let me guess. Another Libertarian nut case.

This is why companies should be taxed. If I have learned anything in life, I have learned that rich people are really really good at protecting their money. This is why CEOs continue to be paid exorbitant fees to run companies and why sometimes even grossly incompetent ones get paid rather well to leave jobs they screwed up. If companies stopped being taxed, then rich people and their accountants and lawyers would figure out some way that right now nobody has ever considered that could shift all of their income to the company and thus be tax free while they enjoy the benefits of having 100% control of the money with none of the tax issues. If you don't believe that would happen, then you are clearly not paying attention to the current state of things.

Comment Re:What did you expect? (Score 1) 268

Why would anyone ever release a bullshit FUD report?

If they release it someone could criticize it, if not they can keep making claims you can't refute.

I can actually answer this. I am not going to go into details, but I have some inside knowledge. Sometimes these kinds of things are done simply to suck up to Microsoft and try to get more business from them. Of course you are asking why would Microsoft release such a report, which is a different question.

Comment Re:Xbox is a foothold in the living room (Score 1) 404

Why on earth would they sell that off? Makes absolutely no sense. This type of reporting is totally and utterly a pile of crap. Must be a slow news day and this guy has an article quota to keep.

Keep in mind that IT writers make bold predictions. It writers have been predicting "the end of the PC" for more than 10 years now. Back when the first abysmal failure tablets came out in the very early 2000s that writers were saying that the PC was dead and tablets were the future. They missed on that. It took Apple to make the devices successful as nobody before them had a clue on how to do it, including Microsoft. Yes, it eventually did happen, but not when the writers all said it would.

Anyway, whether the blogger is correct or not remains to be seen. But here's his line of reasoning.
1) Microsoft bet the company on Win 8. It lost that bet. The financial implications of this will be disastrous to Microsoft.
2) Microsoft only knows how to make money on Windows and Office, so it will conclude that it needs to keep those going to make money, even though that will be proven to be a losing strategy in hindsight.
3) At least 50% of the company will be laid off in the upcoming years as a cost savings measure.
4) Anything losing money is getting closed down.
5) The entertainment division will be sold as it will be viewed as a distraction to the goal of item #2 above.
6) As business shifts to the cloud, Microsoft will suffer and its inability to build compelling cloud solutions will cause it to drop even further.

It's just a guess, and that's what IT writers do. They try to guess the future. If he is right, well, it looks like he'll be able to be the first one to say "I told you so". I tend to be more skeptical about trends that IT writers see as unstoppable, so I think that Microsoft may well be able to survive Win 8 being a failure.

Comment Re:Interesting Enigma (Score 1) 132

Although I didnt see it first hand, the health care is legendary.

One of the reasons for this is that Cuba has for years told everybody how "great" their health care is. It's just human nature that if you keep telling everyone who will listen over and over again that you are really good at something, they will eventually believe it. I'm sure that Cuban doctors do get good quality training, but I don't read about them being in the forefront of any new techniques and I do know that the US embargo has a big impact on their medical supplies. I think they do have competent doctors who make the best of the situation they're in, but I've also read about how various doctors have started driving taxis because they could make more money that way. Cuba treats their doctors just the same as the old Soviet Union did - they are respected members of their society, but they don't have a particularly good standard of living.

Comment My experience with France (Score 3, Interesting) 196

I used to work in the US office of a French company. Our subsidiary was not well known in North America, but it was well known in Europe and some other places. I have a real love/hate relationship with the French. On one hand, there's a lot to like about the country and its culture. On the other hand, the bad stuff that makes you, as a foreigner, hate them is really bad. They are very difficult people to make meaningful friendships with. My experience is that they are really good actors and excel at pretending that you and your friendship is important to them, but in reality, not so much. Almost every American I know who moved over there to work in one of our 2 main offices in France got discouraged with the whole thing and eventually moved back pretty jaded about the experience. The French will look out for their countrymen above all others. They may not say it, but yes, they do think that everybody in the world who is not French is inferior to them. This is one of the reasons that they look to target foreign companies like this. In their heart of hearts, they just don't respect foreign companies.

I'm not claiming to be an expert in French politics, but they've had a lot of bad choices for leadership in recent years. Le Pen scared everybody by making it to the final round of the elections and basically everybody had to vote for Sarkozy. Sarkozy seems to be fairly smart, but he's got a huge ego and he kept making the news for things that had nothing to do with politics. Sarkozy pissed off just enough voters that coupled with Francois Hollande's campaign of "Let's tax the rich so everybody can retire early!", Hollande won. Hollande seems to be a bit out of touch with modern realities and he seems to think that he can simply tax the rich and they'll willingly pay and he can restore the old welfare state that made it impossible to fire French citizens and let people retire at age 60. A good number of French citizens are probably out of touch with reality too since they voted for him. So given that Hollande has an unrealistic goal that requires raising vast amounts of money and the French don't really respect foreigners anyway, going after foreign companies seems obvious. If I remember correctly, some years ago when Ebay got in trouble in France for not blocking listings of Nazi memorabilia, the original French government argument was that Ebay couldn't allow such items to be sold anywhere in the world before they backed down to only asking them to block such in France. So it's no surprise to me at all that France thinks they can tell Google, etc. to pay up and they'll do it.

Comment Thank you (Score 2) 633

People around here always seem to forget that many of the submitters lack the ability to correctly interpret what they read, so article summaries are often quite misleading. I was just about to comment that things may not at all be what they seem, when I read your post. Thanks for that. I have lost count of how many time are article will say something and the submitter will come to exact opposite conclusion of the point that the article is trying to make.

Comment Re:There is no compulsion on Rennard... (Score 2) 57

Whose laws? When a country has multiple groups claiming to be the government which set do you follow?

What about when the government is obviously not legitimate?

Orange basically goes where nobody else wants to go or where no sane company would ever operate to get money. They haven't really been able to compete very well with bigger, established players in more developed countries (with some exceptions) so they look for what you might call "garbage revenue streams" by going where there's little to no competition. Given that, they're likely to listen to anybody in charge and not ask questions if they think that doing so will preserve their revenue streams. This leads to a bit of a balancing act where they can't completely turn their backs on the people in charge and get kicked out of the country, but they also can't be completely irresponsible to their customer base either for fear of losing customers. But if they think that turning off the network today will enable them to get paid tomorrow, they'll do it.

Comment Re:Simply put.. (Score 5, Interesting) 328

If you win against a computer you are cheating

I thought it was more if you win playing the same moves that a computer would make you are cheating.

This presupposes that computers play chess differently to humans. My understanding with chess is that there are certain 'stock' moves, openings and such like, that players memorize and use to their advantage. What if someone has set up positions and studied a computer response to those positions or play, would repeating the learned computer moves be the equivalent of cheating? What impact does an eidetic memory have on this where a person is able recall those positions and moves exactly?

I can comment a bit at this. I used to play in chess tournaments in my state some years ago. I was at a very low level in most of them. To put it in simple terms, I was about as far away in talent from the best players in my state (not my country or the world, but just my state) as I could be. I gave up playing chess because bluntly put, computers ruined it. You are right that players memorize openings. The list of known openings and known variations of those openings is staggering. Honestly, it's more than most people can memorize. Back in the 1990s when I played, it was unusual for a known opening to go beyond maybe 7 or so moves before you "got out of book" as they put it and responses started to deviate from known ones. Keep in mind that while you could always deviate very early from known responses, the odds of such being successful were quite low as if the move was really any good, it would already be known. Now add to this the knowledge that since white moves first, he controls the game. So if I as a player think "I'm really hoping white opens with e4 as I've been dying to try out the black side of this variation of the Ruy Lopez", white may open with d4, destroying my chance to defend an e4 opening. Even if white opens with e4 as I hope, on his 2nd move he may prevent the Ruy Lopez variation that I wanted to play. So you can see that what you have to learn is quite enormous because when you play black,you have to be prepared for all kinds of openings that you may not ever play when you have the white pieces.

Computer analysis took to openings to deeper levels of known good responses. So an opening that used to be maybe 7 moves long before you got out of book was now 13-14 moves long. At some point it just becomes impossible to keep up. To be honest with you, I put a lot of time into trying to improve and I really didn't make much progress. It was already tough enough for me to keep up before computers got involved and I just gave up as I felt like I was getting left further and further behind. To be honest with you, a lot of the tournaments weren't much fun. A lot of the guys who showed up to them were really weird. It made me question whether I really wanted to spend a lot of time getting better at something that attracted defective people to it. It's not unheard of for guys to be exceptionally good at chess and be homeless because they can't keep a job. Fischer himself was a genius player but if there was ever a crazier World Champion than him, I don't know who that would be.

Comment Re:Malice (Score 1) 151

I don't know that someone triggering a $12.8 million bonus payout for themselves can be adequately explained by stupidity. I don't know of a lot of Mr. Bean-like millionaires that just stupidly stumbled into wealth

In general this is true, but the ones who just stupidly stumbled into wealth seem to buy professional sports teams in the USA. Each of the four major sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL) has owners who make you scratch your head and ask "How on earth could somebody that stupid be so rich?" In some cases it's simply that dad was a genius and rich and junior just inherited his money.

Comment Why Swartz faced charges (Score 1) 382

Swartz decided that the JSTOR information should be free. They charged for access to it. His copying of the articles violated their terms of service (they don't even let paying customers do what he did in terms of downloading that volume of articles). He used MIT's paid for access to JSTOR to vilated JSTOR's terms of service. He put JSTOR's business at risk by downloading large amounts of articles that could be freely distributed. Basically he had a philosophical disagreement with JSTOR and decided that he was a one man army who could secretly destroy their business and get away with it. He hid his face with a bicycle helmet when accessing the closet (it's my understanding that legally this shows he knew what he was doing was wrong) and continued to attempt to access the data, even when JSTOR fought back by limiting MIT access. His downloads were large enough to disrupt other users of JSTOR. All of this is in the criminal complaint. Look, there are plenty of companies that I don't like or disagree with and I don't buy their products. But trying to drive someone out of business and tampering with their income got the US government interested and perhaps (it's arguable) led to overzealousness in the prosecution, but that's why he faced serious charges. Whether you like what JSTOR does or not, there is nothing illegal in the USA about their business and trying to destroy that business via unauthorized access isn't legal.

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