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Comment Why this is special (Score 5, Interesting) 133

For those who'll say "it's been done before:" no, not like this.

Current wireless charging amounts to dropping your device on a pad. You can't grab your device to use it (since you'll break the power link), and of course this limits just where your device can sit.

The Slashdot post (and the source link) undersells the story. Here, Apple would have wireless charging that doesn't depend on resting the device on a contact pad -- you'd just have to get within range of the charger. Imagine plunking down your iPhone anywhere on your desk and knowing that it'll top up. This kind of technology has been discussed for a while, but hasn't really been implemented on a practical level.

Comment Not a great comparison (Score 1) 231

Problem is, this presupposes that the unreasonable man is effective. DRM and walled gardens are much more present than they were when Stallman first warned about them; Linux has made little progress in PCs outside of the data center; most attempts at selling products based on openness (Firefox OS, Jolla) are dead or dying.

When Shaw made that quote, he was also assuming that the unreasonable man was engaged with the world, actively trying to change it. Stallman is lately defined more by what he avoids, by a retreat into a safe space where his world view is never challenged. A revolutionary doesn't change the world by running away from it.

Comment Re:And keep Stallman out of the limelight, please (Score 1) 231

The FSF needs its principles, but the current state of FOSS is such that adhering to the ideology in its absolute form hurts you more than it helps.

Stallman uses a junky laptop, only the most basic of internet services, and no personal cellphone at all. What kind of example is that? Not much, at least not for someone who's supposed to be an important advocate. The irony is that he's highly dependent on other people to get things done, and many of them are using some form of the proprietary software he refuses to touch.

Yes, rail against DRM, warn against the risks of being reliant on walled gardens, but remember what they say about perfect being the enemy of good. Stallman arguably hurts the FSF's cause because his insistence on a purist lifestyle is not only unrealistic, but limits his ability to spread his message.

Comment But it's a poor example (Score 1) 231

Here's the problem: if he's leading by example, he makes a great case for proprietary software.

Stallman is so insistent on FOSS everything that there's very little he can actually do by himself. He uses a garbage laptop (to maintain 'pure' firmware, of course) and only the most basic of internet services. He's missing out on so much, both technologically and in life, that your iPhone-toting aunt is probably more liberated than he is.

You're using extreme arguments -- it's software, not a crime against humanity. The FSF leadership should certainly embrace Linux and open source programs where they can, but they shouldn't turn themselves into digital hermits in the process. Set an example that's realistic and positive, one where the leader can actually participate in the real world instead of retreating from it.

Comment And keep Stallman out of the limelight, please (Score 4, Insightful) 231

You hit the nail on the head, and I'd add that the leadership (namely Richard Stallman) is sometimes more of a liability to the FSF than an asset.

It's a group built around ideas, to be sure, but it's hard to sound reasonable when your leader is the definition of unreasonable: forcing people to refer to a product a certain way (it's Linux in real life, Richard, not GNU/Linux), refusing to accept that any use of closed-source software is okay, and so on. Paradoxically, he's more trapped and enslaved than many of the people using the closed software he rails against. If Stallman were around in Tunisia during the Arab Spring, he wouldn't have been out on the streets securing real, meaningful freedom (because that would involve using the "evil" Facebook and Twitter)... he'd be too busy asking the existing regime to use FOSS.

In other words: argue for free and open software by all means, but don't pretend as if your only options are to either switch completely to FOSS or else be forever tainted as a human being. The FSF needs a leader who is cool with you running open source apps on Macs and Windows PCs, and understands that it's the goal of free/open source code that matters, not how "pure" you are.

Comment Re:Unable to control your company, or complicit. (Score 4, Informative) 197

These lawsuits were started before Cook was CEO -- the point is that he basically inherited lawsuits that Jobs started.

And while it's tempting to follow up with "he should just drop all the lawsuits," it's not that easy -- aside from spooking the public and investors, an exit from legal action wouldn't guarantee that others would do the same. Samsung has at least made some grandstanding that it will never, ever settle. That could just be talk, but Samsung isn't exactly known for its humility or compassion toward competitors.

Comment Re:Definition of irony (Score 1) 500

It's true that Apple filters the App Store, but that's the apps, not the OS. I'd be very worried about a Chinese government-endorsed OS, since that's usually a codeword for "and we have monitoring code on your phone."

RMS was valuable when he was actually at the forefront of producing code and setting groundwork. He is entirely, unquestionably useless now. The man refuses to use the visual web, most social networking services, and certainly most modern hardware. And he certainly hasn't made FOSS equivalents. What can he honestly speak about from experience in the modern era? Ai Weiwei is 10 times more an activist than RMS is, because he's arguing for actual civil liberty -- the kind that determines whether or not you're imprisoned for your beliefs, not the kind that matters to someone that wants to modify Red Hat for his home theater PC.

If Stallman had been in Tunisia during the Arab Spring revolutions, he would have been mostly oblivious to what was going on because he would have refused to use Facebook, Twitter, or maybe even Google. And how likely are you to involve yourself in a protest you know nothing about? That's what I mean -- that a lot of the "Android/Linux is freedom" rhetoric is posturing from those with a skewed sense of priority, where having access to CyanogenMod matters more in their day-to-day lives than people being "disappeared" for their political views.

Comment Re:Definition of irony (Score 1) 500

Let's put it this way.

Ai Weiwei, freedom activist in China who's been detained for challenging the communist government, says the iPhone is the product of a free country:


Now, that's not to say that closed source actually makes you more free (the paradox would be a bit too much), but it does underscore that there's actually a political schism that's the opposite of what the Americans shrieking "Android is ffffffffreedom!" are all on about. In China, the iPhone isn't just the esteemed brand, the equivalent of a Givenchy or Mercedes-Benz, it represents the new and better life, the real economic and social freedoms the people want. Android isn't inherently oppressive, but it's the only mobile OS an oppressive government would choose right now.

As I like to tell fellow geeks: stop pretending that you're taking a political stand by choosing Android. It's just code. Real freedom is seeking out better living conditions, demanding your civil liberties, protesting, even starting revolutions. Richard Stallman is actually the most enslaved, limited geek on Earth, because he refuses to use so many things on the principle of "free" software that he's useless in real life and trapped by his own ideology.

Comment Definition of irony (Score 4, Insightful) 500

The irony: this comes from a company that wants to know everything about you and shifted its entire strategy to compete with Facebook. A company currently facing DOJ and EU antitrust investigations. A company that just got fined $25,000 for obstructing an FCC investigation into Street View cars' Wi-Fi accidentally scraping personal messages and website visits.

Not to mention that Android is officially endorsed by the Chinese government as its mobile platform of choice (customized as Open Mobile System). You know, the government that has political opposition jailed, censors the Internet, and spies on its citizens in a way that makes the NSA look modest.

Look, Sergey, there are advantages to an open platform, but you're as much of a threat as the others.

Comment Re:Physical keyboard? (Score 2) 188

Think the "I can't write unless I have a hardware keyboard" trope died once people actually bothered to learn to type on touchscreen keyboards. I know I can type faster on an iPhone (or Galaxy Nexus) than I can on the multiple recent BlackBerrys I've used. Not having to use awkward function key combos and using autocorrection to your advantage can go a long way.

Comment Fracking fracking! (Score 3, Funny) 299

I'm sorry, I know there's loads of serious comments that are worthier than this, but my inner Battlestar Galactica makes an entirely different subject out of that title. That's a fracking close Ohio oil well!

Consider this post the steam vent for everyone else who needs to get it out of their system.

Comment Adobe's flop: obsession w/ inclusion at all costs (Score 1) 354

Part of why Adobe is struggling with Flash is its sense of entitlement.

The company believes not just that Flash is a good idea, but that you *must* adopt Flash. As-is. Without question. No matter how much it slows down your device, how it hurts battery life, how it affects the stability of whatever browser you're using (I know it's not nightmarish, but it's far from perfect). Oh, if you're making an Android phone, could you please make Flash a core part of any marketing you do, no matter how much it actually matters? Thanks!

And if you dare to omit Flash like Apple (and now Microsoft, partly), then you're an evil commie dictator who hates freedom and life itself. Just look at how John Dowdell and others from Adobe react to Apple, or how Android phone and tablet makers are practically forced to parrot Adobe's line of how you're not getting the "full web" unless you use their third-party plugin. Never mind that HTML5 lets me AirPlay a video to my TV where you can't do that with a Flash video on any other platform.

This wouldn't be a problem except that Adobe hasn't really addressed many of the underlying problems, and I'm not sure if it entirely can. Hardware acceleration is good, but when a Galaxy S II or an Optimus Pad (both dual-core devices) can still choke on a moderately sized piece of Flash, that's a problem. It's also still very common to hear of Flash crashing things or of security holes specific to it... when Apple, Google, and Mozilla design sandboxing code specifically because of the problems your plugin creates, that should tell you that you're doing something wrong.

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When it is incorrect, it is, at least *authoritatively* incorrect. -- Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy