AlphaWolf_HK writes: It's generally understood that when you need to motivate somebody to do certain things, there are two primary schools of thought: Positive encouragement, and negative encouragement. Microsoft has been using the former through incentives such as offering cash rewards to developers who write innovative applications for their Windows Phone and Windows RT platforms. However lately Microsoft has been trying to use negative encouragement towards that end:
“If our employees bank with you, if the company banks with you, if we travel with you, if we stay in your hotels, if we do all these things, you should have an application in our store,” Biniak explains. “We have some muscle here. Let’s start flexing our muscle.”
AlphaWolf_HK writes: FairSearch is a group of businesses and other interests who are fighting Google over its search tuning practices (most of which, according to Google, are done to downrank spam and content farms.) This group consists of Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, TripAdvisor, Kayak, and Hotwire. Today this group filed a formal antitrust complaint against Google to the European Union over Android.
In their complaint, FairSearch claims that Google is locking out its competition in mobile search. They state that Google controls 70% of the smartphone OS market, and 96% of mobile search, and they are abusing this position by not playing fair. They claim that Google gives Android at below cost while forcing OEMs who want Maps or Youtube to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services, providing an unfair prominent position on the end users' phones.
As I recall, the Google said a long time ago that the original reason they wanted to create a mobile OS to begin with was because they wanted to eliminate or reduce the problem of having to port their applications to a multitude of phones, most of which had no common API for the most part. (Google created maps, gmail, and a few other apps for my first feature phone that had a color screen) Bearing its original purpose in mind, combined with the fact that Google makes these apps available for other platforms, the Amazon kindle fork, and facebook home, it's hard to argue that they are trying to strong arm anybody with app placement alone.
AlphaWolf_HK writes: In what I see as a refreshing change, T-Mobile, the fourth largest carrier in the USA, has made sweeping changes to its service, with its CEO saying: "Here's the deal: If we suck this month, go somewhere else. If we're good, stay with us." after quietly ending contract plans last weekend. As part of that change, the new base plan will include unlimited access, including voice, text, and data. Data will be restricted to edge speeds after 500GB with no overage costs, but can be upgraded to 2.5GB for $10, or unlimited for $20. Portable wifi hotspot usage is also unrestricted for no additional cost. In addition, LTE services just went live in 8 markets. As is already standard practice with t-mobile, you are free to bring your own device. However, customers won't be fronting the full cost of the phone with unsubsidized plans. Unlike in the past, they'll know exactly what they're paying for the phone by means of interest free installments, and paying off the phone is an option at any time. Oh, and they're also offering the iphone 5 next month for $650. Or, you can do as I did and drop a cool $300 on a Nexus 4 directly from google, which unofficially works with t-mobiles LTE.
AlphaWolf_HK writes: I own an HDHomeRun Prime tuner, and unfortunately I live in an area where the cable provider (Cox) blanket flags all channels to be copy restricted. Most cable providers don't do this, and in fact Cox only does this in certain areas. I've managed to talk to some people within Cox who say that even though those in charge of one area turn the flag on, and those in charge of another area turn it off, both say they are following corporate policy. The FCC won't help on this matter, in spite of the fact that I am fairly certain (but can't prove) that Cox simply wants to charge me a $20 a month premium for using their in-house DVR's. In any case, I'm tired of using Windows Media Center due to bugs and other problems, but since the channels are flagged it is the only option. Satellite is of course not an option at all (no cablecard or similar standard.) I've already begun moving most of my content watching to XBMC in the form of using sickbeard and couchpotato, both of which do an amazing job even with torrents now that usenet has been getting hit pretty hard. To match this, I've already dropped my cable tier to the lowest possible for some basic digital channels that people in my household still watch and aren't available over torrents (e.g. CNN, fox news — yes, we like all perspectives) but ideally I'd like to cut the cord completely as the service is otherwise useless. (Note: I was and still am willing to pay for cable and otherwise wouldn't be using torrents, but I refuse to use their scientific atlanta DVR's or windows media center, both of which are terrible, and I'm done with tivo for similar reasons.) That said, are there any options for obtaining this content without physically moving to comcast territory where they don't do this? Or perhaps any workarounds for the CCI flag? Ideally anything that allows XBMC with digital content and no transcoding.
It is with regret that we announce the closure of Newzbin2. A combination of several factors has made this the only option. For a long time we have struggled with poor indexing of Usenet, poor numbers of reports caused by the majority of our editors dropping out & no-one replacing them. Our servers have been unstable and crashing on a regular basis meaning the NZBs & NFOs are unavailable for long periods and we don't have the money to replace them. To make things worse all our payment providers dropped out or started running scared. The MPA sued Paypal and are going at our innocent payment provider Kthxbai Ltd in the UK. Our other payment provider has understandably lost their nerve. Result? We have no more payment providers to offer & no realistic means of taking money (no, Bitcoin isn't credible as it's just too hard for 90% of people).
AlphaWolf_HK writes: At the recent Gartner Symposium Expo, Cisco CEO John Chambers had a few words to say about patent trolls: "It is a mess; There are patent trolls everywhere," said Chambers, noting that patent problems impose huge costs on every company. He didn't stop there though, he also suggested that companies stop suing their peers. Speaking to the audience, he said for "his peers" in the room, "you shouldn't be suing your peers." He also adds that patent litigation slows down innovation. He recommends throwing out the whole patent system, and starting from the beginning. Cisco's official stance (outside of John Chambers) is that we are really in need of patent reform, with specific ideas at eliminating patent trolls and patent shopping.
Also of interest, is Cisco's ongoing patent war with Tivo, (who many argue is also a patent abuser) by fighting Tivo's patents with their own patents, a la Samsung vs Apple.
AlphaWolf_HK writes: After the recent court decision to block sales of the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1, Apple has taken it upon themselves to send cease and desist orders to retailers who carry these two products. So far however, it doesn't appear that any have complied with that order.