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Comment Here's a question (Score 1) 499

Do you really think the annoying, flashing, pop-up, not relevant to your interests, ads are coming from the companies that are tracking you? Personally, I think the companies that are willing to throw that kind of garbage into our faces are not the ones that spend money to try and figure out what interests us.

Comment Actions speak louder than words. (Score 1) 584

What it seems to me that we have here is a huge tempest over a badly worded statement from one of Apple's PR flacks.

The statement in question says that if content for an iOS app is available for purchase outside of the app that it must also be available for purchase inside of the app and through Apple's in-app purchasing framework. What I think it was meant to say is that if content is available for purchase via in-app purchase it must go through Apple's framework, and possibly also that if there is an in-app purchase mechanism that all content that is available for purchase outside of the app must also be available through the in-app mechanism.

I'll tell you why I think the above, it's because of the actions that Apple has taken more than the words they have spoken.

This was all set off by Sony reporting that their app was rejected because of offering an in-app purchase mechanism that did not use Apple's framework. This was a clear violation of the developer guidelines and also clearly done at least in part to bypass Apple's fees. An additional data point is that Apple has approved Amazon's Kindle app and that at the time it was approved much press was made over the fact that Amazon had to redirect people outside of the app to make new purchases (to the Amazon website through Safari), rather than host the Amazon web pages in an in-app browser (which many apps have), in order to comply with Apple's rules and be able to both avoid Apple's fees and avoid Apple's need to approve every individual thing that might be sold for the Kindle (app).

Appleinsider reported that Apple has said that the Kindle app is not in danger. They don't seem to have attributed this headline to a quote that specifically backs it up, so it may just be an overly zealous apple-friendly interpretation of the part of the PR statement that says they (Apple) have not changed any rules. It's hard, therefore, to let this lend too much credence to the argument one way or the other, but is nonetheless part of what went into my thinking.

In the absence of further clarifications from Apple, either in statements about the policy or in rejecting the existing Kindle app, I'm going to go with Apple's (lawyer vetted) written app guidelines and actions over the possibly-off-the-cuff comment of one of their PR minions.

There's nothing to see here, nothing has changed. Sony is whining. Apple is still a little evil, but still makes incredible consumer products.

Comment Re:Watch that price, NYT (Score 1) 217

There's a reason that news is on 24/7, because the entire world is now used to "instant" news, and if you're not fresh as of 24 seconds ago, you are an aging dinosaur.

As a "consumer" of news, I can't keep up with my news provider's constant feed; I actually appreciate the services of an editor that will cull through yesterdays events and let me know what were the most important stories. That way I don't have to read everything and then have to read it again as they update and correct all the shoddy reporting that the "instant" news cycle has made the norm.

Instant news is the informational equivalent of thinking that quantity is a substitute for quality.

Comment Re:I guess Apple did all that themselves... (Score 2, Insightful) 945

FOSS has not built any desktop systems as useful as OS/X. Android vs iPhone is still an on going battle but I would put them as equally as useful of not as polished.

And therein lies one of the big failures of FOSS, failure to recognize that if something is more "polished" then it is more useful.

Comment Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (Score 1) 594

The top 1% pays less than 42% of the taxes. They can afford to pay for tax experst to find tax havens and find ways to get through the loopholes that save them from paying some of the taxes.

It's why any talk of a flat tax is violently fought against. it would require the rich to actually pay their taxes, and that just wont do.

Ah, you've fallen into their trap of conflating the flatness of the tax rate chart with the presence or absence of loopholes. I assure you, the goal of the rich is to flatten the tax (ideally to a single rate) but to still keep all their cherished deductions and loopholes.

Never forget that we really are engaged in class warfare in the U.S. and that ever since Reagan was in office the rich have been winning.

Comment Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (Score 1) 167

For the vast majority of (not-professional) shooting, the sensors in DSLRs these days are overkill.

Wrong. A bigger better sensor is never overkill. Every geek has lusted over the scene in Blade Runner where Deckhart sticks a photo in a scanner and "enhances" his way into revealing plot clues. Or countless movies where the orbital spy camera zooms in to read a license plate. When it comes time to crop or zoom, there is no amount of detail that is too much.


Submission + - Apple Responds to FCC about iPhone App Approvals (

FangVT writes: "Apple has responded to the FCC about their approval process for iPhone applications and posted their response on their website. As expected their position is that everything they do is to provide the best possible user experience to their customers. They claim that most rejections are due to application bugs and they dodge the question about how many apps are rejected by saying that about 20% are rejected as first submitted but never saying what percent are rejected for reasons other than bugs. On the Google Voice application, which the FCC specifically asked about, they say that it has not yet been either rejected or accepted but that they are still reviewing it. They incorrectly (as near as I can tell) characterize Google offering an alternative to the built-in voice mail as disabling core iPhone functionality, but do not address why it shouldn't be up to the user to decide if they want to replace (or use alternatives to) some core functions.

They do provide a small amount of further insight into the review process. Every app is reviewed by at least two of 'more than 40 full-time trained reviewers' in order to try and keep the standards uniformly applied. There is also an App Store executive review board that reviews apps that 'raise new or complex issues.'"

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 194

Being beta usually means something is missing.

Beta is supposed to mean feature-complete (for the version that it represents) but probably still buggy or lacking in performance. Alpha is supposed to mean not yet feature complete, which is what I interpret "something is missing" to mean.

Of course I know that language evolves but we still need terms for what Beta and Alpha originally meant and since I've seen nothing to take their place I'm going to continue to be one of those old curmudgeons that insists on them having their old meanings. This is one area in which Google is screwing things up and I'd really appreciate it if they'd stop.

Comment Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (Score 1) 397

As someone who does not believe in the magic bearded man in the sky and has been pestered for years by those who do, I say to them: please stop. It got old a long time ago, and nothing you say will make me worry about being punished by a supernatural booger man for my failure to adhere to modern human interpretations of ancient human originated scripts.

Don't tell the people here on Slashdot, tell the people who are pestering you. If they're friends or family of yours, they should be willing to let the matter be in order to keep the relationship. That doesn't mean that they'll never mention God in your presence, since God (whether God exists or not) is an important part of their lives, but pestering and pressuring you to convert or believe or what have you should stop (or at the very least become very intermittent). The key, though, is to actually confront them with the issue instead of sitting there looking uncomfortable or peeved. Tell them that you are not interested in God or their religion, you do not believe, you will never believe, and if they cannot respect that and stop trying to get you to believe then you will spend your time with other people who will.

Well if the poster complaining about being bothered is anything like me, it's not his friends or family that is the problem, so not "hanging out" with them won't solve the problem. The problem is that the pestering comes in the form of legislation (like California's Proposition 8) and in school board rulings and in countless other little ways that we have to waste our time, money and energy fighting against.

Comment Re:A virus I'd actually fall for (Score 2, Interesting) 207

Agreed, I could've fallen for this myself. I got a ticket about a year ago in a city I didn't live in, and lo and behold, it had a website on it for paying online. Ticket looked official, but on second thought, I couldn't be sure, having never seen one from that city before. I blindly typed in the URL... I'd like to believe I would have picked off a phishing scam, but still, I took the first step.

Which suggests the best way to distribute these might be to go near some touristy place and put these on cars with out of state plates.

Comment Re:So,no more DRM (Score 2, Informative) 1079

It'd be nice if one could upgrade their existing purchased DRM'd songs for the non-DRM.

According to the keynote, this will be easily done. When they went DRM-free for the EMI catalog, iTunes offered an option to pay the (then) 30 cent price difference per track and upgrade all songs that you had previously bought.

The Internet

Submission + - Dumbing down and smartening up via the Web

FangVT writes: "In his column on Infoworld Ephraim Schwartz describes a trend towards "dumbing down" information on the web to appeal to the short attention span of "digital natives" (DNs). He cites Gartner's Media Blog, which claims that Digital Natives "graze somewhat randomly for information, scanning Web pages for photos and video, and reading the text only if the images capture their attention."
The article is short and near the end he raises two main concerns:

One, unless we get DNs to behave more like [non-natives], future generations will have a harder time developing the study skills they need to master and understand their environment in order to become the kind of professionals — doctors, architects, engineers — that we need to keep a complex society running.
My second fear is political. Unless our future generations learn to analyze content and understand issues by reading deeply, they will be far more susceptible to being manipulated — and not likely for noble goals.
So is this just another example of the age old arguments that kids today just don't know how to pay attention, or is this something more substantial?"

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