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Comment You can't have it both ways (Score 2) 280

Why don't software makers look at the average income level in a given country -- per capita GDP for example -- and adjust their software prices in these countries accordingly? Most software makers in the U.S. and EU currently insist on charging the full U.S. or EU price in much poorer countries. "Rampant piracy" and "low sales" is often the result in these countries. Why not change this by charging lower software prices in less wealthy countries?

Because if you want to make cheap goods and flood my market indiscriminately and then call me a protectionist and accuse me of impeding free trade for creating a level playing field, then I should be allowed to freely (as in, I am free to do as I please) sell my software at whatever price I like in your country. That is, if I can't have a level playing field, then neither should you. After all, it's only fair.

Comment Wasn't any Code.org dev around for Slashdot's fail (Score 4, Interesting) 151

Seriously, was not a single developer or architect from Code.org around when Slashdot overflowed its 24-bit index? I know it has been a few years now, but I'm sure there are folks here who remember threading breaking and all other sorts of problems when it happened. Remember: https://slashdot.org/story/06/11/09/1534204/slashdot-posting-bug-infuriates-haggard-admins

Granted, that was Slashdot, and while annoying, it was hardly the end of the world This problem with Code.org clearly reinforces "cloud bad" to people who are already fearful of putting their data in the cloud.

I am guessing that Code.org didn't bother tracking things like how to close to various limits they were getting, but I bet that they are now. In any event, when this happened to Slashdot 10+ years ago, I suppose you could argue that we weren't as advanced. In 2016-2017 there is no excuse for such a critical architectural flaw. To me, it completely undermines my confidence in their entire platform. What other time bombs are ticking under the surface there?

Comment Re:Funniest crowdfunding scam to date (Score 2) 66

The reason people like dogs is that no mind-reading tool is ever necessary. It's always immediately obvious what's on their mind.

How true! Now, a mind-reading device for a cat...that's something I would help crowd fund. Then again, if you are going to crowd fund something, it should at least be possible to build, so maybe not.

Comment Industry should not allow patents in standards (Score 1) 61

the FTC said the patents that Qualcomm sought to license are standard essential patents, which means that the industry uses them widely and they are supposed to be licensed on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

I don't get this. Why do industry groups allow patented technologies in standards? Yes, I'm looking at you, IEEE.

The way I look at it, if you patent something, industry should not give you the unfair advantage of codifying your particular patented technology or whatnot. Feel free to make a market for yourself and make it a defacto standard. However, if you want the endorsement of a reputable industry group, you should be required to offer an irrevocable royalty-free license to anyone wants to implement the standard. At least, that is how it would work in my perfect little world.

Submission + - Obama commutes Chelsea Manning sentence (bbc.com)

techtech writes: President Barack Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence for leaking documents to Wikileaks in 2010.
The 29-year-old transgender US Army private, born Bradley Manning, will be freed on 17 May instead of her scheduled 2045 release.
She was sentenced to 35 years in 2013 for her role in leaking diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy group.
The leak was one of the largest breaches of classified material in US history.

Comment Re:I only want an operating system (Score 2) 210

If this were a free market, we could pay money in exchange for the goods and services we want. Assuming we can agree on a price, but I doubt even a million dollars would could get Microsoft's attention.

It is a free market. What you describe actually exists. In fact, something better than what you describe exists: Linux. It may seem tired, but there are literally dozens of distributions out there. Some have corporate backing (e.g., RedHat, SuSE), others are developed by a community (e.g., Debian), and others are the result of heroics by primarily one individual (e.g., Slackware). The point is that there are so many options, some which will take your money, others of which will not.

Many of those Linux distributions are a viable alternative for many people now. Of course, they may not be what you are accustomed to, and they may not run all of your favorite applications, but most things in life are some of trade-off. Do you want to run a particular app or group of apps at the expense of your privacy? Or are you willing to give up something else in order to secure your privacy?

On the flip side, in a free market producers are free to produce what they want. For example, I can walk in to a Chick-Fil-A and try to order a cheeseburger. Of course, they don't make cheeseburgers, so they won't be able to sell it to me. At that point I have to make a choice: do I stick with Chick-Fil-A because I really want the waffle-cut fries, or do I go to Burger King next door?

You and everyone else out there has a choice now, you just have to decide what is really important.

Comment I called this already (Score 5, Interesting) 210

I will simply refer you to my comment in last week's discussion on "Microsoft To Enhance User Privacy Controls In Upcoming Windows 10 Update": here

Bottom line: Microsoft's only objective was "get people to quit trashing us openly". Of course, the current state very well could have been their desired end goal and they went extreme from the outset to give them room to appear to compromise. Either way, whether or not it was planned, they make themselves look (comparatively) like the good guys.

Comment Re:Umm...no, they're not (Score 1) 183

Certainly the settings should be controlled from a single control panel application or something like that. However, I can see how it would be helpful (think when you first fire up a new application) for it point out new things. However, it should not nag and it should only be displayed once. Also, if you go into the central settings panel and turn everything fully off you should never even see the first prompt.

Comment Re:Saturated with Phablets (Score 1) 132

The comedy Phablet market is saturated, but no-one is making small, quality phones apart from Sony.

I agree. I would really like a small 4"-4.5" display-class in the $200-$250 range. As someone who does not consume media on my phone, I find it infuriating that it is so difficult for companies to even consider that there are people out there who would buy phones like this. The only non-Apple device I have been able to find that even comes close to my requirements is the Sony Xperia compact phones, but at twice the price I would be willing to pay. The iPhone SE is even more expensive, as I recall.

I suppose I could buy something a couple or three years old, but then I want something that works on the newly acquired segments of spectrum in the US to ensure I have good coverage everywhere for voice, text, and wi-fi hotspot/tethering data. That seriously limits the possibilities.

Comment Umm...no, they're not (Score 3, Interesting) 183

but the company is finally proving that it's taking things seriously

Not quite. Proof that they are taking things seriously would be disabling all the telemetry, phoning home, adware, crapware, etc., and making it strictly opt-in.

For example, the first time you hit the start menu, it can show you a balloon: "Would you like to see customized content here? This would require sending blah-blah-blah to Microsoft." Then two clearly labeled buttons. One for "yes, phone home and show me ads" and another for "no, and don't show me this ever again." They could something similar in other places where they think there might be a benefit to the users.

Microsoft is launching what it calls a (web-based) privacy dashboard, which lets you configure anything and everything about information that might be sent to back to the mothership. You can turn all tracking off...

If it is on by default and the user has to log in to a Microsoft website to control/configure it, then Microsoft is demonstrating that they are willing to do only the bare minimum to appease the critics. How much do you want to bet that in order to even access the dashboard the user will have to have a Live account (giving MS even more of their personal information). The screenshot in the article doesn't look web-based to me, so perhaps a Live account won't be required, but either way the big problem is that they opt you in (likely against your will) and only if you are sufficiently determined can you opt out.

Taking things seriously, indeed!

Comment Re:Not sure about the rest, but... (Score 2) 114

if a GG windshield means fewer "sand pits" (which I find annoying when driving into the sun) over the years, I'm in.

My three year old car has nearly a dozen nicks and chips just on the hood, front spoiler, and leading edge of the roof panel. I would love to see a GG-like film that can be used to coat every painted/moulded surface on the vehicle. I am also tired of the chips taken out of my door by idiots in parking lots who can't be courteous enough to be careful when opening their doors to or to remind their kids to be careful. I can't believe that in 2016 we don't have automotive paints or other films that can stand up to serious abuse.

Comment No props for the Burn Notice reference? (Score 3, Interesting) 258

I am surprised that nobody has brought it up yet, but Chuck Finley is the alter ego/favorite assumed persona of Sam Axe (played by Bruce Campbell) from Burn Notice. I can't believe that they haven't received props yet for the cool reference. Heck, I am inclined to give them a pass just for the originality of that.

Comment Re:SLAM DUNK THE RUSSIANS DID IT! (Score 1) 821

One is embarrassing but arguably did the American public a service. The other not only subverted democracy and could even be said to have effected regeme change, de-legitimising the government and weakening it.

I am seriously having a hard time figuring out which statement applies to which.

Snowden leak/asylum:

  • Embarrassing: check (all the TLAs' secrets got out and Russia looks like it values openness and freedom more than the US)
  • Public service: check (people found out about things that affected them)
  • Subverted democracy: check (there was a process in place that Snowden chose to ignore)
  • Effected regime change: unknown
  • De-ligitimized/weakened government: check (the government has been dealing with political/diplomatic fallout and it has caused a real strain on certain international relationships)

DNC "hack":

  • Embarrassing: check (the DNC looks like it can't even keep its email secure)
  • Public service: check (people found out about things that affected them)
  • Subverted democracy: check (if by Democracy one means "the party elites get to make choices and people are supposed to go along")
  • Effected regime change: unknown, but doubtful
  • De-ligitimized/weakened government: check (the government appears to have lots its mind over something that is not really and should not be the government's concern, I mean what retaliatory actions were taken in the wake of the Sony email hack, which is just likely to have been perpetrated/organized by a national government?)

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