Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment Re:I'm shocked. (Score 1) 528

You're talking about a fundamentally different situation to the rest of us here.

In your example, a remote service on which some functionality depended was disabled. Obviously anything that depends on some remote facility can be affected by changes there, regardless of changes to the local machine. This is a real danger of the kind of always-online systems we have today, and it can be (and certainly has been) abused by developers, but I don't think it was what the rest of us were talking about in this particular discussion.

What we were talking about before was whether Microsoft could forcibly affect a Windows 7 system itself to disable functionality, analogously to the Windows 10 updates that started this discussion. The only change to a local machine in your example appears to be via a software update, which you can choose not to install on Windows 7, while not everyone on Windows 10 has that option, short of actively circumventing Microsoft's system.

The Anniversary update for Windows 10 is particularly troubling, because up to now the only way to restore some of the control that earlier versions of Windows offered (notably including controlling Windows updates themselves) on Windows 10 Pro has been through group policies, and Microsoft have now demonstrated that they are willing to remove even that control mechanism if it suits them.

Comment Re:I'm shocked. (Score 1) 528

Perhaps the Win10 Pro users will qualify for a refund of some percentage of the $0 they paid for their free upgrade.

Then again, perhaps not, since unlike previous versions Microsoft have made no secret of the fact that they can and will force updates onto Win10 systems, and that the user is required to accept them, and that some of those updates may change or remove functionality instead of adding it.

The Schadenfreude is strong with this one.

Comment Re:The Theater Experience (Score 1) 328

I agree with you that many of us are no longer the teens or 20-somethings who continue to buy tickets.

I'm just not sure I agree with you on the not being numerous enough to matter. Apparently there are enough of us with enough disposable income to keep the home theatre industry going. I suspect we're also more likely to pay for genuine content, given a convenient source and inoffensive pricing, than younger viewers.

You don't beat piracy by trying to force people into a worse experience. You beat piracy by giving the people what they wanted all along, conveniently and at a fair price.

Comment Re:The Theater Experience (Score 1) 328

The most important attribute of my home setup:

Audience = Whoever in the household wants to watch

Sometimes my wife and I enjoy the same things. Sometimes one of us wants to watch something that doesn't particularly interest the other. Adults don't necessarily all want to watch family movies with the kids (again). If we have friends over, we just buy extra food and drink before the show.

A decent cinema has a big screen and good sound, but the experience with a high-end home system these days is close enough that if the movie is any good at all you're not going to notice.

For me, as someone with less free time but nicer stuff than I had 20 years ago, the only compelling advantage of a big cinema these days is that they still get the movies when they release, which means you can watch them before some [expletive deleted] spoils everything. Waiting for the Blu-Ray to come out (or some online streaming service to offer it, if that's your thing) takes an eternity, and it's an entirely artificial barrier that exists only to prop up cinemas that are otherwise losing relevance.

Personally, I would pay significantly more than the cost of a cinema ticket to have an actual, my-own-copy Blu-Ray of a film or show (or a DRM-free download from a fast, legal source) to enjoy in the comfort of my own home as soon as I want it.

Comment Re:And this is why my primary browser isn't Firefo (Score 1) 156

Flash hasn't been a favoured form of malware transmission for years. There are much easier targets these days, with click-to-play protection for plug-ins now being the norm in all major browsers.

Meanwhile, millions and millions of people still benefit from Flash apps every day, and all of those people are going to lose out.

Comment Re:And this is why my primary browser isn't Firefo (Score 3, Interesting) 156

Flash isn't any sort of standard except in the limited sense that it is used on a lot of web sites.

And, until recently, more widely available and consistent across platforms than just about any official web standards other than HTML 4, CSS 2.1 and HTTP. In other words, Flash was a standard in the only way that really matters: it worked the same almost everywhere. Which, by the way, is far more than can be said for many of the new shiny toys that are supposed to replace it.

It's a proprietary, closed source plugin and application; the precise opposite of a standard.

Well, for one thing, that isn't anything like the precise opposite of a standard.

As for proprietary, closed source, and running as a separate process, have you looked at how HTML5 video works on iOS lately? Or the uses of EME, which is now a W3C standard? Or the number of different encodings you need to create to do something as simple as playing a video across most browsers in 2016, compared to the exactly one you needed with any number of Flash video players before?

This so-called "standard" exists solely at the whim of one company, Adobe, and they can do whatever they wish with it without regard to its users or anyone else.

How is that fundamentally different to all the major browsers pushing substandard HTML5 features instead because Google decides Chrome will do so and everyone else apparently feels the need to emulate them? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss (except that now you can't even see what the old boss was like any more because all the records are inaccessible).

Comment Re:And this is why my primary browser isn't Firefo (Score 2) 156

I don't see HBI saying anything of the sort. They're saying that browsers discontinuing support and thus making content on the Web inaccessible to their users is a bad thing.

And they're absolutely right.

The trend for modern browsers to drop support for any standard more than five minutes old, and in doing so cut off huge amounts of valuable content developed over multiple decades, is exactly the opposite of what the Web is supposed to be about.

Comment Re:The price hike is minimal... (Score 1) 460

Never underestimate the value of a large existing customer base. Many of the largest and most successful businesses in tech today got there by amassing a critical mass of customers in the right place at the right time, and then using that scale as a lever to reach economies of scale and degrees of bargaining power that no smaller competitor could rival.

FWIW, I also think the audio streaming comparison you seem to be implying is a little unfair. Audio streaming services aren't just replacing listening to broadcast radio, they're replacing buying records and tapes and CDs as the primary way many people enjoy audio recordings. Licensing to commercial radio stations very cheaply or even at a loss was viable because exposure on those radio stations drove sales of permanent copies. It's unrealistic to expect that a streaming service that basically exists to replace those sales could offer the same kind of flexibility to much the same market for an entire catalogue of music at anything close to the licensing fees that commercial radio stations used to pay, if they even paid at all.

Comment Re:Nice example of fascism from the EU justice cou (Score 2) 48

None is exactly what additional protection we'll get from the EU after Brexit.

Though we'll still be a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, which is independent of the EU, has its own court, and does not have the associated political shenanigans the UK pulled in relation to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights that is at issue here.

Comment Re:The price hike is minimal... (Score 3, Interesting) 460

Voting the parent a troll seems rather unfair. It's a pretty accurate summary of the problem for Netflix: the gaps might not be their fault in some cases, but they're still the ones asking their customers for money and providing a disappointing experience in return.

I'm a little surprised they aren't in a position to play hardball in some of these cases. There aren't that many places that are going to show reruns of older TV shows and generate significant extra licensing revenues from it, and it seems like if they insisted they would only work with rightsholders who would licence shows in their entirety on a long-term basis, they could turn that into a marketing advantage over any competitors who did not.

Comment Re:She seem like a commie... (Score 1) 227

Cabinet ministers are appointed by the Prime Minister, and can be dismissed just as easily. The principle of collective responsibility among the Cabinet is considered very important in our politics, and anyone breaking it almost certainly would be out of the Cabinet soon afterwards.

The now-ex minister would still be an MP -- the PM has no power to fire someone elected by their constituents from Parliament -- and they could still freely criticise whatever they wanted from the back benches. But the honourable way to do that as an MP is to resign from the Cabinet first so it's clear that you're not speaking for the government any more. Giving a public resignation statement explaining why you can't support the Cabinet's position is also common practice.

Comment Re:She seem like a commie... (Score 1) 227

But remember that May has been a member of the government since the coalition came to power in 2010. That means she was bound by the principle of collective responsibility among the Cabinet, so she will have voted in line with official government policy on just about everything. Her voting record in recent years is more an indictment of the overall government policy than a useful indication of her own views on most of those issues.

Slashdot Top Deals

Asynchronous inputs are at the root of our race problems. -- D. Winker and F. Prosser