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Comment Re:Saw that coming a mile away (Score 1) 409

Microsoft desperately wants to become a services-based company. It's been on their game-plan since the early 90s (at least!) and they have been incrementally moving the company - and their customers - in that direction ever since. For a long time, everyone - including Microsoft - assumed that the ultimate goal was to charge a yearly - or monthly! - fee for the use of their software, be it their Office productivity suite or Windows itself. Initially they were hamstrung both by the lack of infrastructure (e.g., high-speed internet) and customer acceptance (outside of corporations, the idea of "licensing" software - as opposed to buying it - was absolutely foreign to people). Nowadays, with high-speed downlinks and almost two decades of slow-but-fruitful customer education, neither of these problems are as much a roadblock as they were before, and we've already seen Microsoft dip their toes into service-based sales (e.g., Office 365, as one example). But as the importance of desktop PCs and operating systems decline, recent indications are that Microsoft is becoming less interested in monetizing their own software as they are in creating a platform where they can monetize OTHER people's software. The massive buildup of Azure and the pushing of the UWP platform are the two most obvious examples of this strategy.

Ultimately, I think that Microsoft will license their "client / store" for free so they can grab the services fees, even to the point where their reliance on Windows becomes a secondary consideration. That's right; I forsee a day where - if they can get UWP running securely - we might even see Microsoft-blessed apps running on Linux (as well as MacOS, Android, and any other system they feel they could monetize). The Seattle behemoth is transitioning itself away from its Windows monopoly (not entirely without resistance from within) because they recognize that - long term - remaining an OS developer isn't going to be a viable strategy. I think this is a major reason that the Windows10 upgrade was released for free (and why Microsoft pushed so hard with the XBox and Windows Phone), as it greatly increases their potential market (a lot of Microsoft decisions start making sense if you ask yourself, "long-term, does this help Microsoft move towards a services-based business?").

Obviously, third-party store-fronts like Steam challenge this goal, so while I don't necessarily believe accusations that Microsoft are sabotaging their competition, it wouldn't entirely surprise me.

Comment Re:The DNC overlords always get their way (Score 4, Insightful) 644

I /hate/ this argument.

The election is not a game where you root for one of two sides and you "lose" if the other side wins. It is one of the few opportunities where "The People" get to give their say on which sort of government they want. By voting for a candidate, you say, "this person represents my interests best, he is the one I want to lead the government for the next 2 (representatives)/ 4 (president) / six (senator) years.

Even if the person you support does not win, your are still expressing your opinion on which things you want the government to support. The other candidates /will/ take notice of these opinions if it threatens their own chance of victory. If a significant percentage of people vote for the third-party candidate who promised to ban H1Bs, you can be that the major candidates will take that up as their rallying cry too (especially the one most threatened by that third-party candidate). It might not happen overnight, or even during the next election cycle, but if enough votes are at risk, the other candidates will modify their own platforms rather than lose the election.

Yes, it's probably true that ultimately only a Democrat or a Republican will get into office; historically and mathematically, the odds are in their favor. However, that's no reason to throw away one of your few opportunities to control your own government. Vote for the candidate who best reflects your own beliefs - whether he (or she) is a member of the two major parties or represents a third party. Yes, by doing so the "wrong guy" might get into office this year but honestly, that isn't as horrible as is often suggested (if the Republicans win this election, they aren't going to ship all homosexuals off to Gitmo, nuke Iran and forcibly return women to the kitchens; similarly, if the Democrats win, they aren't going to take away our guns, make us all take gay lovers and declare universal socialism).

The only ones who benefit from the idea that "voting for a third party is a waste" are the major political parties, who would prefer to maintain the status quo.

It's also important to remember that change takes time, especially since our political system is designed to be inefficient (and we should be grateful for that; you should be scared whenever government makes fast and sweeping changes. It will either be poorly thought out policy that will have a lot of negative repercussions or policy designed to benefit a very few). Just because "your side" doesn't "win" this round doesn't mean you should give up on them and vote for a candidate who doesn't represent you as well. If you - and enough other people - believe in something, your voice will eventually be heard.

So if the other guy stands for what you believe in better than the Democrats or Republicans, vote third party, even if you feel that by doing so you might be helping Clinton or Trump lose because they don't have your vote. It's the only real way you have to get the politicians to notice you.

Comment Re:This was expected (Score 2) 285

This has been expected for /decades/. I remember reading an article in PC World magazine where Bill Gates commented on how he'd like Microsoft to move to a subscription-based service, comparing it directly to cable companies (this was back in 1993 or so, so you'll pardon me if I don't have the exact issue and quote). The infrastructure and customer acceptance didn't make this possible - the Internet was only just starting to enter the public eye - , so it was just a pipe-dream back then. But Microsoft plays a long game and a lot of their actions make a lot more sense if you view them through the lens of slowly and carefully pushing people to an era where they pay a monthly fee to use their computers.

This is just the next move in a long, long strategy.

Comment Re: Unsurprising (Score 5, Informative) 441

Plus, most missiles don't actually have that much maneuvering capability. They are usually solid-fuel boosters so you can't throttle the thrust significantly and their tiny winglets are more to keep them stabilized than to help them turn (in fact, most missiles only have an initial boost and then glide the rest of the way to their target). It's a commonly used trope in Hollywood to have missiles unerringly follow the Ace Hero Fighter Pilot as he does Immelmans and S-turns and daringly weaves through the narrow canyon with the missile just seconds behind, but that is nothing like real life. A missile's main advantage is its speed; it closes on you faster than you can maneuver out of its vision cone, but if you manage that you've usually beaten the weapon. Ground-to-air missiles are even more limited because so much of their thrust is wasted just getting the weapon up to speed and altitude.

It is possible to make a missile that could be more aggressive (longer thrust, better maneuverability), but this would drive the cost up of the weapon significantly; you would essentially be building a kamikaze aircraft, which is an expensive way to take down another plane. If you are going to make an autonomous drone with that sort of chase capability, better to make it re-usable and then hang cheaper, stupider weapons off of /that/.

Perhaps the future is fighters carrying drones carrying missiles? ;-)

Comment Re:Lets see how American .com's deal with this (Score 3, Insightful) 109

Will they cave, or will they stand tall? Because if they cave, the US and the world will follow Putin's lead.

They'll cave because, except for a small subset of companies, most don't really care what sort of encryption they use (or if they encrypt at all) because it won't be the companies that pays the price for their short-sightedness. Rather than risk losing out on the Russian markets, companies will obediently use the Russian-blessed encryption. When the inevitable happens and somebody (be it criminal hackers or the Russian government) use the mandated backdoor to break into their servers, they'll just pass the cost onto their customers. If their customer database will be compromised - everybody's government identification number / credit-card numbers / health and medical information is out on the web - they will just do what every other company does in that situation: hide the breach for as long as they can and once they are found out send out an email with free 1-year "credit monitoring", as if that makes up for it. Of course, it might be the company's own information that gets stolen, but that stuff usually isn't as valuable to a company as they think it is; they'll maybe take a hit on the market, and make up for it by firing a bunch of their peons. Then it will just be back to business as usual.

Of course, long-term these sorts of breaches can be devastating; international corporations will wonder why they keep losing out deals to locals who always seem to know what the foreign companies are up ahead of time (because you can bet the government will use this for corporate espionage to better the lot of their own constituents), but rare is the modern corporation that ever looks at anything long term. They'll be too terrified of losing out on those precious rubles today to worry that they might be knocked out of the market entirely tomorrow.

Now, if we actually held companies accountable for these breaches - especially when using something as stupid as encryption with a guaranteed backdoor - and the company suffered financial or criminal sanctions for their actions, then maybe it would be a different story. But seeing as how the US government also wants its own backdoors, it's unlikely they'll criminalize anyone using encryption that has a secret government key anytime soon...

Comment Re:Great (Score 2) 48

Worse, it's not even an advert for a new and exciting product. I mean, it might be a new SanDisk case, but there have been similar implementations available for /years/ (right to offering options with an without extra battery). Some of them use the lightning port (IIRC, some of these devices even pre-dated Lightning and used the 30-pin port) and others used WiFi, but the idea is not new.

At least if you are going to spam us with slashvertisements, make it for interesting new products. This is the equivalent of a breathless announcement about how Honda is manufacturing some sort of car. It's not news, it's not interesting; it's just product placement. It's the sort of thing I expected from Dice; I was hoping Slashdot's new overlords would be a bit less weaselly (or at least would be more subtle about it :)

Comment Re:Some day we'll all look back and laugh at this (Score 2) 110

Some day when our neural implants wake us up at 3am with notifications full of advertising spam, we'll all laugh and pine for the good old days when we could simply ignore the phone and go back to bed. We're already tumbling down the slippery slope. They can pretend to care and apologize all they want, we know the truth.

I am reminded of this:

Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 21st century?"

Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games... and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts, and bananas and written on the sky. But not in dreams, no siree.
- Futurama, A Fishful of Dollars

As the quote indicates, its probably far too late for us to try and draw a line at dreams -- or neural implants or system-tray notifications -- as the places where advertisements dare not go. We've repeatedly shown the advertisers that they can stick their messages anywhere and we'll roll over quietly.

Comment Re:Looks like you cannot deselect Windows 10 (Score 1) 159

But - after all is installed - can you go back and uninstall the KB patches specific to the Win10 update (e.g., KB3035883)?

Because if you can it just /might/ be a useful alternative to manually updating Windows7; just run the "Convenience-'We-Can't-call-it-a-Service-Pack-without-extending-the-product-lifespan'-Rollup", uninstall the ten or so Win10/telemetry patches, and you're good to go.

Comment Re:Why does this matter? (Score 5, Informative) 246

How does this affect me? Why is this important to anyone except Maria Schneider? I'll get modded down to -1 for asking this because Slashdot users don't like answering important questions. But this needs to be asked, and I challenge any of you to give me a real answer rather than insulting me. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone here is up to the challenge.

No, you are getting modded down to -1 because you ask the exact same question over and over again regardless of the topic, indicating that you are more interested in trolling than getting an actual answer to your question. The only reason I am responding and quoting you is so people can see and recognize your pathetic attempts at begging for attention.

Please people, stop responding to this guy.

Comment He went on to say... (Score 2) 361

"Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana. The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable"

The Microsoft stooge went on to say:

"Of course, we /could/ have created a framework that incorporated the ability to use different search providers, since this is obviously something in which some customers are interested. But instead, we have decided to further limit customer choice, breaking third-party applications, so we can bolster the diminishing market-share of the financial black-hole that is Bing, while pretending it's all in the name of "improving" the customer experience. And then we'll look around all confused as people stop buying our products because we've stopped providing them something that works for /them/ in lieu of offering something that works for /us/."

Comment Re:Link to news this is made up (Score 2) 253

While the technical aspect is a "non-issue" (as pretty much anyone with any understanding of tech could guess), the story itself is neither a non-issue nor is it false. Rather, the DA is backpedaling and trying to cover his ass. "Oh, there was no cyber-pathogen, I was just worried about what the Farook might have done with the phone."

It is as much bullshit as his initial claim. He lied in an amicus brief to a judge with his initial claim. That he can get away with such a blatant lie to a judge - and in such a high-profile case - is embarrassing. He ought to at least lose his job, if not get smacked with perjury or contempt of court.

Comment Re:Yesterday's retracted news (Score 1) 253

While I think the accusation made by the DA is bollocks, I don't think the story itself is so out-of-left-field as to be completely unbelievable. I could imagine a situation where some ransomware (perhaps a Cryptolocker variant) was uploaded to county computers and it has been secretly encrypting data in the background, and if it doesn't receive a special code at certain intervals it will chuck the encryption key making all that data inaccessible. This would create a clear-and-immediate need for Apple to unlock the phone, which is obviously what this claim is intended to present.

Now, as I said, I do not think the hypothetical situation above has any truth to it, but I can imagine such a scheme being thought up as a reason to force Apple to unlock the phone. The term "cyber pathogen" sounds like something a non-technical person made up trying to sound as if he knows what he is talking about. "Hey, let's spin a story about how there's a virus on the phone that might take down the government network, meaning there is a clear and immediate need for Apple to unlock the phone. "Okay, but 'virus' sounds so common; educated people use words like 'pathogen'... and since this is all on a computer, I'll prefix it with 'cyber-'."

I've more worry that somebody - whether the FBI as 'proof' that there is a compelling need for the phone to be unlocked, or now the DA to cover his own ass - will mock up some sort of 'evidence' that there was some sort of intrusion into the county's network by Farook. Provide a few doctored log files showing Farook's phone's IP made a connection with the network and have somebody with a bit more technical aptitude explain the "situation". Ramos' initial brief will be explained away as a non-expert writing up a claim in haste without taking the time to fully understand the terminology because the situation was so dire.

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