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Comment Re:Filesystem change? (Score 1) 120

The new filesystem, APFS, doesn't yet run on the phones. In fact, it can't even be used for a boot drive yet. They seem to be aiming for a 2017 release with it, but filesystems tend to suffer from catastrophic failure when bugs occur, so it's no surprise that Apple is playing this very carefully and getting it into the hands of developers well in advance. They'll doubtless re-add missing functionality over that time, such as being able to boot from it, use it for Time Machine, use it with FileVault, etc., but most of those will need to be significantly reworked because of how they function right now.

Comment Re:Suprise? (Score 1) 31

What of it? I agree that there's a greater concern about being tracked if you're on Android, but it's disingenuous to hold up this issue as evidence of that concern when Google's primary competitor (which, I'll repeat again, is my preferred platform) is suffering from the issue as well. The OP was dishing on Android as if this problem was unique to that platform, meanwhile the summary clearly indicates that iOS faces the exact same problem.

Comment Re:out of the ISP's hands - so what is the ISP for (Score 1) 184

It doesn't "add" anything to the situation at all. It's extraordinarily rare that a municipality allows more than one ISP to lay fiber. Even assuming they had the foresight to require the ISP allow competitors to have access to the fiber at reasonable rates, you'd still have a single point of failure. The only difference is that in this particular municipality's case, the single point is in the control of a public entity charged with keeping it running, rather than in the private hands of a private ISP with an incentive to engage in funny business and who may not want to engage in costly repairs because it'll hurt their bottom line.

Comment Re:Gee, I wonder why anti police sentiment exists (Score 2) 621

Repeat after me: just because you can, it doesn't mean you should.

The police may be acting in a legal manner, but they also have a great deal of discretion to NOT enforce laws. That's why people get warnings instead of tickets. That's why kids that did something stupid get driven home instead of driven to juvie. That's why stuff in your possession is assumed to be yours until proven otherwise.

Wait, scratch that last one.

Comment Re:Anti-competitive agreements? (Score 1) 44

I'll grant that it would raise some questions, but even if they talked, the suggestion of illegality would be a far stretch. I mean, what would they even be colluding on? Colluding to altruistically give back half their profits to developers? It makes no sense, and even if it happened, I doubt it would be any more illegal than competing companies agreeing to donate to the same charity.

Really, there's neither a need nor a benefit to colluding here. After all, doing what they did without colluding would potentially put them at a competitive advantage, whereas colluding to cut margins just hurts them both for no reason. The reason companies collude is so they can raise profits without worrying about the competition. Had they both raised their cut to 40% at the same time, that'd be cause for concern, but certainly not here.

Comment Re:Anti-competitive agreements? (Score 1) 44

The two situations are dissimilar in all the ways that matter. Agency pricing, which is what we're talking about here, is both legal and in widespread use across a variety of industries. There's nothing illegal about it whatsoever. Moreover, the reporter for your article got some fundamental facts regarding the case blatantly wrong, which may also explain why incorrectly believe that case has any bearing here.

For instance, the article inaccurately described agency pricing as "preventing discounting", which isn't correct in the least (e.g. see Steam). Under the agency pricing model, publishers get to set their own prices and the retailers take a percentage cut (in contrast with wholesale pricing, where the retailer pays a wholesale price and then sells it at whatever price they want for their margin). If a publisher wants to provide a discount, they're more than capable of doing so, and the retailer is more than capable of incentivizing them to do so, thus enabling healthy competition between stores.

What the article failed to mention by name was the single most important phrase of the entire case: Most Favored Nation (MFN). While MFN clauses--which specify that someone will always receive the best price offered to anyone else--are perfectly legal (e.g. we see them being used with wholesalers all the time), the courts ruled that you can't combine them with agency pricing, since doing so prevents competition.

More or less, wholesale pricing + MFN means that the MFN retailers get the best wholesale prices and then can compete by cutting into their own margins to provide discounts and drive competition. Agency pricing means that the retailers compete by incentivizing the publishers to provide discounts through their store but not through the other stores. Agency pricing + MFN, however, means that any discount a publisher gives to a retailer must also be given to all other MFN retailers. Even if a retailer were to cut their margins, the price wouldn't change since the publisher is setting it. And if the publisher chose to drop the price because you as a retailer cut your take, they'd have to drop it with your competitor too, even though your competitor didn't cut their take. That's why agency + MFN is illegal.

But none of that matters here in the least since neither Apple nor Google have MFN clauses in their contracts with app developers. As I said earlier, agency pricing by itself is perfectly legal and is in no way an indication of collusion. Quite the contrary, since agency pricing by itself is a fine way to have competition, and the fact that Google leaked their change right after Apple's announcement can be taken as evidence of that fact. One cut their margin, and the other had to do so as well to remain competitive.

Comment Re:Anti-competitive agreements? (Score 1) 44

It's "coordinating" inasmuch as Google depends on this money more than Apple does and thus doesn't want to leave money on the table that they don't have to. It's no surprise that the leak would suggest they're matching Apple's numbers without beating them. Nor is the number they both picked particularly surprising, given that it's a simple halving of the previous rate.

You're assuming a conspiracy where none exists. Both of them are now providing better than the standard 30% rate that's the norm for the retail industry. That's not collusion.

Comment Re:Anti-competitive agreements? (Score 2) 44

Not really. It strikes me more as a controlled leak on Google's part to try and derail Apple's intended narrative.

Apple announced the change in advance of WWDC next week because, to paraphrase, "the keynote speech is just too full of stuff to cover this". More or less, they're trying to build good press in advance, bring more awareness to the event, whet people's appetite for more announcements, and get some positive momentum going into the event. Which is especially needed on their part right now, because the narrative playing out in the media after last quarter's numbers is that Apple has hit its peak, is all washed up, and have got nothing left up their sleeves.

In contrast, the information coming out of Google is from unnamed sources within Google, rather than an official announcement. This wasn't something they were planning to announce two days ago, but it seems fair to think that they've been toying with the idea internally and were prepared to talk about it if Apple decided to do something similar at WWDC. With Apple announcing it early and the swell of good press both covering it and talking up WWDC next week, Google realized that their best move was to toss out a controlled leak that could help dampen Apple's good press a bit.

We've seen this exact same thing play out hundreds of times over the years. Competitor announces X and launches it before you can have your version of X to market? Let it leak that your version of X is even better and coming out soon. The press coverage ends up being rather similar for both, regardless of the fact that the nature of the information is vastly different between the two. As far as the press is usually concerned, a promised product is as good as a launched one.

Comment Re:Will that push Google to do the same? (Score 3, Informative) 84

Even Apple's argument that it "needs" to do it for security doesn't fly. They're responsible for securing their hardware and OS. If people want their apps secured, there should be multiple companies competing to provide that service. And the people can choose which of these protection services they prefer to use. Exactly like Google does - you can use their Play store and whatever screening/protection they provide, or you can use someone else's store, or you can choose to use a store which doesn't purport to offer any protection at all.

You say Apple's argument "doesn't fly", yet we can link the fact that Android accounts for 99% of malware on smartphones directly back to Google's choice not to lock-out other stores. The malware is rarely from Google Play: it's almost all from other sources.

It's pretty hard to suggest that Apple doesn't have valid security concerns, given the above. You can argue that users should have the ability to make those choices, and you'd have a valid point, but given the evidence, Apple would have no-less-valid of a point in suggesting that the best way to secure the device is to lock that ability off to begin with. And the evidence backs them up.

Mind you, I'm not suggesting Apple got it right or Google got it wrong. Not at all. I'm merely pointing out a logical incongruity in the arguments you're presenting. Apple's approach is certainly heavy-handed, but the effects are obvious. It's fine and well to talk about "an ideal world", but in practice what we see is that there's a real cost to the security of the platform if you allow untrusted apps onto your OS. Neither approach is right. Both approaches have benefits and drawbacks, and different companies weigh them differently.

Comment Re:Missing from all of this: the customer (Score 2) 84

Ok, then don't. Few of us actually want to pay anything, but at the same time, most of us can also recognize that there are whole categories of features and apps that have intrinsic, ongoing costs...costs which developers have few ways to recoup now, meaning that those apps never get built and those features never get added. It's lose-lose.

In some cases, we've seen successful launches of promising, niche apps get released to great acclaim, only to have few or no additional updates because the revenue dried up after everyone in the niche community bought it and sales fell off a cliff (and ad impressions were negligible because it's niche), leaving the developers with no way to sustain the business. For some apps, we see them use a high up-front cost to sustain the business until they launch version 2, but then they have to launch version 2 as a separate app with its own up-front cost. That may work for enterprise apps aimed at businesses willing to pay for something they need, but it's generally untenable when dealing with typical consumers.

And what of apps with features that carry an ongoing cost for the developer? Plenty of apps feature a server-side component that carries an additional cost for the developers that run them, but right now they either need to cover that expense from the up-front payments they receive when people buy their apps (thus limiting how much they can reasonably offer), or else they need to keep their costs below what they earn from ads, since that's the only other option available. I've seen developers admit to NOT adding much-sought features that have ongoing costs because they'd have no way to build a business around them. With these changes, however, they'll be able to offer different subscription tiers that could cover the ongoing costs incurred in providing the features offered in each tier. End result: users get the features they want that currently aren't being provided, while the developers have a means of supporting their business in a sustainable fashion. It's win-win.

Am I suggesting that I prefer subscription pricing? By no means! But I also understand the reality of the situation and can see that subscription pricing enables developers to build viable businesses around whole categories of apps and features that were previously impossible to sustain. Granted, it may be unappealing to pay ongoing costs, but if that's the actual cost to make those apps and features a reality, I'd rather not bury my head in the sand and pretend that things are fine as they are.

Comment Re:How do they know they are the same? (Score 4, Informative) 119

At least in the case of the MySpace and LinkedIn leaks, the passwords themselves were posted online, so it'd be fairly trivial for Netflix et al. to run the lists through their hashing algorithm and see if it gets any hits against their users.

LinkedIn was employing a fast hashing algorithm with no salt back in 2012 when their database was stolen. Which is about one step better than plaintext, given that an attacker can hit it at full speed and can crack them en masse because of the lack of salt.

MySpace apparently began employing doubled-salted hashes in 2013, but the login credentials that leaked were ones that hadn't been used past that time, so MySpace hadn't been able to update them to be more secure since it sounds like they were employing simple hashing prior to that.

As for Tumblr, they said they employed hash+salt on the database that was leaked, so it should indeed take awhile before anything besides commonly-used passwords start showing up from it.

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