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Comment Re:Funny how they don't care about modems, but.. (Score 2) 167

Modems are about communication; settops are about control. The primary purpose of the cable box is to control whether you can access the content and what you can do with it. Without that control the network providers would have to pay the content providers more because there is a higher risk of their content leaking out onto the Internet where anyone can get it for free. The network providers aren't happy with leakage, either, because potential customers who can get it for free won't pay their subscription fees. Even ad-funded content is an issue, because the ads injected by the provider are targeted, and the eyeballs of viewers outside of the targeted area are less valuable.

CableCard, as a hardware solution, had a chance of working because the provider could control the card. The fact that it had issues is part technical challenge and part political challenge. It isn't that fun to have a government mandate to forge your own chains, not to mention being forced to work with your competition to make sure their chains will fit your limbs and vice versa. The idea of a software CableCard has been around for a while, but to maintain control you have to be able to trust the software an some random hardware, or have rigid controls on which hardware is certified to run the software, and have the software validate the hardware before allowing access. It isn't easy, it doesn't really make anyone happy, it takes forever, and the market tends to move on before the issues are solved.

The trend is already towards Over The Top (Internet) video, anyway, so I really don't see the point.

FTR, I used to work for Motorola (now ARRIS) as a developer in the Access Control group.

Comment Re:Be a goddam American ... (Score 4, Insightful) 107

... stop being an enabler and speak up.

Nobody wants to listen. They have other things to worry about. Like lives. And even if we could get them to care, they best they could do within the system is vote for the candidate who is slightly less in favor of the surveillance instead of the candidate who is slightly more in favor of the surveillance.

Comment Re:MUMPS! (Score 2) 242

As to whether the language pays, MUMPS is actually used quite a lot in financial and medical applications. As a language, there isn't much going for it except the installed base; it reminds me a bit of BASIC. However, it does have built-in persistence, and can be made to store and retrieve data reallyreallyfast, to the extent that attempts to switch to something else tend to fail due to reduced performance. So if you can handle the language, there are places that will pay you to program in it, and given the typical application domains, the job would likely be fairly secure.

Full Disclosure: set ^dayjob(me)="MUMPS Implementation Developer"

Comment Re:Google has patched only version 4.4 (Score 3, Interesting) 71

I can understand if Google wants to force vendors to update to the most recent android. However, from a vendor perspective, what's so hard about backporting this patch to, say, android 4.3 and below? Is there a contract with Google forbidding this? Do they get money from NSA?

Backporting it probably isn't difficult, but getting all the vendors and carriers to patch, build, validate, and deploy their custom Android builds for all the various devices they have supported over the last few years is.

Comment Re:Yet Another Sci-Fi Time Crystal (Score 1) 153

Back to the 70's, and ancient Atlantis.

I initially misread that as "... and ancient Ataris".

Which was even scarier than the Doctor Who premise.

As long as you have a decent supply of Epyx 500XJ joysticks, I don't see anything to be afraid of. (You'll need to replace them periodically 'cause the little plastic bit inside holding the guts in place tends to break.)

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