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Comment How about not auto-restarting my computer? (Score 5, Insightful) 254

Dear Chris,

This Christmas, would you please send me and all of us Windows 10 users the gift of NOT AUTOMATICALLY RESTARTING MY FUCKING COMPUTER WHEN YOU UPDATE BECAUSE I WALKED AWAY FROM IT FOR TWO MINUTES AFTER "WORKING HOURS"? I have lost my open browser tabs and other work so many times now that you are destroying the user experience of millions of people, including me. And no, work hours for people like myself who consult are completely random and I'm not about to change them manually every time I need to change my hours or they extend beyond a limit you assume is mine.

Best Regards,

Comment The no-rules no-ethics new dotcom boom (Score 5, Interesting) 156

Those of us who have been through dotcom 1.0's boom and bust know that there are patterns here - high stock valuations, no profitability, no real exit strategy, and hope of acquisition. What makes this time a bit different is that the ethics of the businesses are pretty challenged this time around.

With Uber, you get a company that knows it gets a free ride (no pun intended) on the people who sacrifice their personal vehicles' wear and tear that won't be fully covered by the money they receive, is schizophrenic when it comes to its disposition on whether its drivers are employees or contractors, fails to impose safety standards and inspections of both vehicles and people, actively encourages people breaking the law by not requiring their drivers to have commercial insurance policies on their vehicles and acting as a taxi company, and pretending to be an insurance company in violation of law by claiming they will self-insure for a million dollars of public liability without a certificate from the respective insurance commissions of the states they do business in.

Revenue growth isn't hard when you throw enough resources at something. A million average people will happily pick up something cheap or free and easy no matter whose expense its at. Profit growth is an entirely different animal. I believe when the legal chickens come home to roost, Uber will come out to be made out to be one of the biggest boondoggles in the latest dotcom boom. These days, there's a type of challenged ethics pervading the corporate culture of the new boom where people just go break the law and hope that things will sort themselves out. In the long run, it isn't the smartest business strategy in the world, and it isn't just Uber - and yes, I'm looking at you Theranos and Magic Leap. Even when the companies are legitimate, it seems the premiums people pay for them are ludicrous and defy the most basic business analysis of recovery of investment in a profitable way. I can't imagine this will all end well even if the magnitude of the failures are masked by inflation and currency devaluation.

Submission + - Vendor disables user's software for negative review, demands retraction

Comment Dolby Atmos = E-AC-3, MLP & AC-4 with objects (Score 1) 37

Atmos is not a codec. Atmos is an object-based authoring workflow for media where, instead of discretely-mixed channels, you have audio objects with positional information. It is the job of the decoder (Dolby Digital Plus, or E-AC-3, Dolby True HD, or Meridian Lossless Packing with metadata, and AC-4, a new format extending some of the tools of HE AAC v1 and v2 with some new goodies) to decode these objects with the correct loudness and compression characteristics per the metadata that accompanies them. A renderer that understand the actual speaker configuration present in the listening environment, rather than the CEA-861 standard baseline configurations for typical surround, then mixes these objects.

In Dolby Digital Plus, which is the most common way to do this today, these objects are stored as a different substream type that goes along with the channelized audio, so the audio renderer in an Atmos-enabled Dolby Digital Plus has the job of dealing with and mixing into the speakers - typically, this means a 5.1 + 4 or 7.1 + 4 configuration, where the +4 implies four ceiling-mounted speakers. In AC-4, it is possible to have an entirely object-based render with no channel information so that the renderer bears the entire burden of channelizing, whereas in Dolby Digital Plus it is normally accompanied by a fixed channelized mix of anything from mono center only to 7.1.

Here is where the Dolby narrative breaks down: it is wholly impractical to have ceiling speakers for the vast majority of installations. About 30% of homes have surround of any kind, and less than a sixth of those have 7.1. Even ceiling-fired speakers that Dolby touts are very limited in their efficacy. The most shocking thing of all here is that upmixed content (i.e. content that uses an interpretation of a channelized mix to fill ceiling speakers) sounds better to most listeners because it is inherently louder than the native mix! People want to hear more coming out of their surround and ceiling speakers even though the guys in Hollywood mixing their movies have a more nuanced approach to this, so they're better off with an A/V receiver that supports upmixing with ceiling speakers and sending a non-Atmos mix to the A/V receiver.

Even if you virtualize surround to headphones - a thing that has been done since the Aureal 3D days back in the '90s and very cheap technology fundamentally as Realtek and the rest of the cheap guys have shown - it is still of limited value to have an Atmos mix because you can still upmix and virtualize the content in the same way, and most people can't A/B test this. And, of course, any game or native PC content that has linear PCM out can be channelized and output to HDMI without touching an Atmos encoder or decoder.

Dolby has some big challenges ahead of it. Its patents on AC-3, its bread and butter, run out next year. While E-AC-3 has taken up some of that slack, it is not the entirety of it. Audio coding efficiency is no longer a problem as of HE AAC v2 for stereo and HE AAC v1 for multichannel, which is why AC-4 was really just an add-on to these. Many countries, such as Korea, are adopting the competing MPEG-H standard because Dolby has stuck it to their largest conglomerates for so many years in terms of the licensing money they have paid. Their other technologies such as Dolby Vision and Contrast are being put to the wayside in favor of HDR10 and other standards. All the parlor tricks and announcements about Atmos are not worth the time and effort for most of us, especially in the PC world, when there are very good alternatives. All this because the companies that Dolby sells to are fundamentally ignorant about audio technology.

In short, this is much ado about almost nothing.

Comment Responsibilities of a publicly traded company (Score 5, Insightful) 1058

It occurs to me that, while a company shouldn't necessarily advocate for open harassment of its users, it needs to apply the policy equally if it is to be taken seriously.

Take, for example, the radical feminist Clementine Ford. She has repeatedly engaged in blatant anti-male harassment and is known to then cry wolf when a man responds with anti-female harassment and had a man fired from his job for his comment. Yet, for some reason, Clementine Ford's account is still miraculously active. No matter what Trump said he did or didn't grab, this woman should be off Twitter permanently by that same policy.

This is a pattern that repeats over and over. As it is obvious that Twitter is engaging in selective enforcement, they are not only slowly alienating a substantial portion of their user base for the minority of vocal SJWs, they are threatening their own safe harbor provisions for anything else that goes on Twitter such as terrorist communication or other criminal activity. That translates to fewer users and significant financial risk for operating as they currently do.

The real question is: why are the shareholders not demanding Dorsey's resignation for these policies? Mentioning Trump is a complete non-sequitur and clickbait for Salon's liberal slant. More importantly, it indicates that they are defocused from the real goal of shareholder returns and preserving shareholder value. The tail can't wag the dog any more, and it has to belong to the same animal in any case. Either Twitter curates content consistently or they get out of that business and respond only to complaints of criminal and terrorist activity; otherwise, this half-way house will fall on itself.

Comment Please get rid of e-voting machines now (Score 4, Insightful) 1321

Even if we had a fully open and verifiable hardware and software architecture, it doesn't prevent someone from finding weaknesses. The only solution to this potential subversion of the people's will is to get rid of e-voting entirely and go back to paper ballots.

Comment The new standard for the OS: pushing crap & sp (Score 5, Insightful) 123

It seems that those peddling your average mainstream OS these days are hellbent on pushing their views of the world on what is largely an unsuspecting and technically ignorant user base. Use Android? We'll spy on you wherever you go and push a bunch of ads for something you already bought yesterday. Use Windows? We'll create self-doubt in your choice of software to push you into our domain where we can collect information on you, and push ads on your start screen unless you jump through dozens of technical hoops. Use MacOS? We'll collect anything you do in Spotlight so we can "make our product better" for you.

Just like Farcebook and any other SaaS platform, the OS guys are trying real hard to squeeze a few extra dollars out of us users at the expense of users by making the user the product rather than the OS. That this happened with Edge in this case is merely another symptom of this greater problem. The /. crowd and people of similar technical capability can filter out this BS, but the average user will continually fall victim to this nonsense with no idea of the real consequences, both individually and for the overall browser market.

Comment The USA is a constitutional democratic republic (Score 1) 412

We do not have direct democracy because that has been shown time and again to be a form of mob rule that we cannot afford.

Also interesting how you frame your comment as "they are" rather than "we are" because that is the actual problem with this country. So many divisions have been sown along the lines of identity politics, political parties and other artifically defined divided groups such that these groups feel compelled to amplify their rhetoric to attempt to wrest power from the others. These distortions have been promoted by three primary forces: political parties (Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens and others), the media (MSM and social), and non-state actors (e.g. Koch Brothers, George Soros).

There are three branches of the federal government as well as fifty states and a number of territories. The founding fathers laid out the structure of government brilliantly as well as the means and justification to change it. If you want to solve the problems that you are asserting, then do what the founding fathers did when this country was under British rule. Employ the four boxes of liberty - soap, ballot, jury, (and as a true last resort) ammo. Start saying "we" rather than "they" and you might actually get the other "sides" to listen to you as you should listen to them. Work to change the prevailing culture while respecting the rule of law and you change the country without passing a single new law.

For the record, all four of the major presidential candidates are fatally flawed. Clinton and Trump are populist statists through and through, while Johnson and Stein are unrealistic idealists. None of these traits is suitable for the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government. The rest have fringe ideas that will never catch on. There were no winners this year no matter who prevailed in this election, least of all the American people.

Comment What does Linux have to do with Apple hardware? (Score 1) 535

If all you wanted was to run someone's flavor of Linux, there are plenty of non-Apple hardware options better and/or cheaper right down to a Chromebook, or you just get a pre-2014 vintage Macbook. I don't think if you really needed to run Linux and only a Linux that a nearly $2.5k Macbook Pro was the first consideration, especially if you can't swap the memory/storage/battery in it.

The conclusions of this article make no sense outside of the context of an advertorial.

Comment MSM and social media are in the bag for the DNC (Score 4, Insightful) 437

There's no point in denying this any more. Journalists have always tended to lean left more than right, but 2016 has shown that all pretense of integrity and independence has completely evaporated. Rigged polls, collusion with PACs and the DNC, mudslinging directed at the RNC candidates while ignoring third party options and DNC scandals of the same magnitude as Watergate, and making unsubstantiated accusations of foreign interference by Russia while ignoring the foreign money from Soros and extreme Islamic regimes influencing the electoral process. Nothing is off limits to the same group that doctors audio recordings to falsely show racism and hypes up stories of a few cops committing criminal acts against black people while ignoring the fact that black on black violence is at epidemic levels.

Rigging the Facebook feed to promote pro-DNC pro-Clinton pro-SJW causes is IMO an effective subliminal ploy even for those that scroll past it so they can see funny pictures of their friends' kids. They're cutting off Twitter feeds and FB pages of people they don't like too even though they have not violated the user agreement. All of them will stop at nothing to brainwash and browbeat us into one mind, and use the SJWs to persecute those who disagree with the positions like useful idiots.

But it isn't just here as we've also seen in Europe with the hiding of stories and statistics on the effects on violence and crime due to mass migration from the third world. And, at this point, anyone who is a blind follower of political parties or of the media is a fool ready to be controlled to the will of an elite willing to throw us back into an effectively feudal system.

Welcome to the Ministry of Truth. We have always been at war. All dissent is doubleplusungood. You don't even need to imagine a boot stomping on a human face forever because it's already coming through your computer screen.

Comment Will the FBI prosecute politicians in the emails? (Score 1, Interesting) 55

Obviously this validates the content of the e-mail as real, indicating multiple violations of federal and state laws by the senders, recipients and those discussed in the emails. Otherwise, there'd be no point in prosecuting this person, much less releasing this information on the day of the final presidential debate.

Comment This isn't innovation Apple - you jumped the shark (Score 1) 316

How can any company in the PC market sell something without at least one USB 3.0 port??? It is the most ubiquitous data transfer connection available and has virtually universal compatibility with peripherals. Or did their marketing idiots think they can make another $39 for an adapter peripheral that's clunky and easy to lose? It can't be for space reasons and they can't pull the "we're trying to waterproof it" bullshit this time.

Topping this off is no Magsafe, which is infinitely better than the round connector I have on a couple of Dell laptops I own and saved the Macbooks I owned for years from falling.

Apple, you're not edgy or innovative any more. You're just being greedy and/or stupid and apparently don't want my business nor that of many other people? Sure, I'm a "tech nerd" but this time you're going to piss off the average buyer of your products.

Piece of advice: go back to what you had on the mid-2013 non-Retina Macbook Pro in terms of serviceability and I/O, and update it with Kaby Lake CPUs and a new Nvidia 10xx-series GPU and a non-glossy display, and you'll rip your competitors to shreds.

Comment So corporatocracy rules? (Score 2) 86

Since when did companies become immune to fraud, collusion and misrepresentation?


a. These companies become "immune" from the FTC, but lose their franchise/market exclusivity status permanently and pay the government back all of the money they were given to build infrastructure, or

b. They can be sanctioned by the FTC for breach of consumer laws, fraud, misrepresentation and other consumer problems

Between this and the now-mandatory binding arbitration clauses in consumer contracts from these companies, the American consumer is in a really bad spot.

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My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.