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Comment Re:Such a Conundrum... (Score 2) 71

Why can't any of these hot, new companies push open protocols and interoperating standards?

To be blunt, because it's boring work that, by definition, other people can make money off of.

Who makes money off SMTP? Basically nobody that wrote the protocol.
Who makes money off HTTP? Basically nobody that wrote the protocol.
Who makes money off SIP? Basically nobody that wrote the protocol.
Who makes money off SSH? Basically nobody that wrote the protocol.

Nobody who makes interoperable standards is going to do so in a way that doesn't make them vulnerable to EEE by someone else, and you're basically signing up to allow any installed base to leave and take their data with them. These things are features to us (otherwise the world would still be using AOL e-mail), but for investors willing to value a company with a ten-figure dollar amount, minimizing the likelihood of a mass exodus instills a level of safety that straight protocols don't enable.

If you make something anyone can use, you won't be a rockstar. If you want to be a rockstar, you can't become one making a standardized protocol. ...but that's just how I see it.

Comment Too Late? (Score 5, Insightful) 42

When "2.2.1" is one of the Google Autocomplete terms for "utorrent", it basically sums up the fact that uTorrent was 'done' at about that time. Meanwhile, uTorrent qBittorrent and Transmission have nearly all the same features, and seedbox providers have more-or-less standardized on rTorrent/ruTorrent (RIP Torrentflux).

What is going to make the next version of uTorrent preferable to what's already there? I'm thinking that uTorrent's best days are behind it, and as long as 2.2.1 lives on Oldversion or OldApps, that is its legacy.

Comment Re:How much do they get paid? (Score 5, Insightful) 78

Because everybody knows there's nothing like a self-selected sample to get accurate insights into your product.

This is what I find hypocritical of Microsoft. The people who are going to sign up to get prerelease versions of Windows are going to be the more tech savvy crowd who are going to articulate what they want, and then get summarily ignored...

"Provide a means to actually-disable telemetry!"
"Let me control my update cadence!"
"Provide a classic mode for the Start Menu, even if it's not by default!"
"...At least let me leave Classic Shell in after the different major updates?"
"Let me use Chrome without Edge acting like a clingy ex-girlfriend?"
"Stop auto-downloading apps I didn't ask for?"
"Can we use ZFS or at least ReFS in desktop Windows?"
"Could you stop changing my default PDF reader?"
"Could you make the control panel situation a bit more consistent?"
"Could you integrate more cloud storage providers, rather than plastering me with OneDrive ads?"
"Could we have our integrated backup tools back like we used to have in Windows 7?"
"Could my installed drivers be set to be excluded from auto-updates in Windows Update?"
"Then what feedback *do* you want?"
"The kind your computer provides to us automatically."
"So, you don't want actual human feedback, then?"
"No." ...Because that's what I think they seem to want.

Comment Re:Isn't the cloud great? (Score 1) 55

Because Cloud != open and public necessarily.

Perhaps not - that's why there's Spideroak and a few others whose MO is storing data on someone else's hard disk, but not the means of accessing it. It may well be possible to use Google Docs and OneDrive and and Dropbox securely, but while it's possible to point to individuals and organizations who have had data compromised inadvertently, it's far less common for that to happen to data kept internally. "Default Distrust" is not paranoia, it's a response to reality.

And this is just an example of that. Only documents which were set to public were shared.

Now why the defaults on cloud providers don't err majorly on the side of caution is another story,

I'd argue that it's the same story. If the issue that documents needed to be set to 'private', rather than being set to 'public' without a default-private setting, the distinction between incompetence and malice is basically academic.

but as always there's more too this than "cloud bad hurr hurr hurr"

The cloud isn't all bad, but there do need to be very heavily leveraged expectations.

Comment Re: Misleading (Mod OP UP views not subscriptions) (Score 1) 143

Okay, so...the first thing is far the best bang for the buck you'll get is a SiliconDust Homerun HD Prime. Get a CableCard from your provider, and give it a coax line, an Ethernet cable, and some power.
Now, any computer on your network is a DVR. Still running Windows 7? Windows Media Center is amazing. MythTV is excellent, and Plex just released a DVR module.

These (and a few more) can run on whatever computer is convenient, but the bigger question is playback - if your DVR computer isn't hooked up to your TV, you're looking at a client/server model. MythTV does this pretty well, and WMC is also capable of it.
Be aware that if you have HBO (or your cable company is terrible enough to introduce the copy protect flags), most OSS applications won't be able to record the stream.

It'll probably take a Saturday afternoon to iron everything out, but it's *so* worth it.

Comment Re:Non-negotiable items (Score 1) 244

But the cable co's are now encrypting to make cable on all but a few channels making it impossible for me to view on the platform of my choice.

The reason for the cableCard you claim you have more than one of is to do the decryption of content. If your cableCard isn't decrypting the content you are paying for, it is broken. Call the cable company and get it fixed.

I have an HDHomeRun with a cable card, and VLC talks to it just great on Linux. At the point it hits the net it is unencrypted and ready for many different viewing programs. I've even got a DLNA (IIRC) app on one of my Android tablets that can view the content from the HDHR.

Fellow HDHomeRun owner here. It was my hope that your description would be the case. I initially made my setup with Mythbuntu, and then I learned about the CopyOnce flag. The use of the CopyOnce flag is prohibited on the broadcast channels, but on actual-cable channels (not even HBO/Showtime/Starz), it's up to the cable company as to whether they want to use it. My cable company (Altice, formerly Cablevision) sets that flag on all their non-broadcast HD channels, and over half of the SD ones, not including premium channels. It worked for the two dozen or so channels that didn't have the flag, as did VLC, but virtually every non-network show I wanted to watch was on a C1 channel. Mythbuntu can't use signals with the CopyOnce flag, and it never will because of the licensing requirements (no one is giving the decryption methods to an OSS project). and neither can the bundled SiliconDust software or mobile apps, meaning that my only option was Windows Media Center. This was amusing, as in my 4-5 calls to activate my CableCard, none of the reps I spoke with had ever spoken with someone using Windows Media Center and I had to describe it to them a bit.

Win7 worked for a month until it didn't and wouldn't start working again (bizarrely, even after a machine format), leaving me to spend a weekend hacking WMC into Windows 10 on my DVR. It's definitely off the beaten path, but it works. Hopefully the new SiliconDust DVR software won't suck, because I have a gut feeling my setup will only work until Win7 support ends.

So, tl;dr, the GP can absolutely be right in that his CableCard is decrypting the stream properly, but the broadcast flags are prohibiting him from using an OSS application.

Comment Re:What is the surprise exactly? (Score 1) 457

No, I'm not worried about a boogeyman. I am worried about my country being at a disadvantage in a war. Cause, you know, they happen.

So, literally the only thing that matters is being in a position to win a war? An absolute dictatorship would be the most efficient means of ensuring this outcome*. If we want to have some level of liberty in the process, then liberty itself must be defended. It's not just "terrorists" or "communists" or "China" that is a threat to liberty unless we define "threats to liberty" as only coming from external entities.

*Yes, it didn't work out so well for Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini...but each had their own reasons for failure that had very little to do with the fact that they were indeed dicatators.

Comment I'm torn (Score 1) 307

This feature is obviously disabled by default, but users can enable it really easily if they want.

Until it's not. It's only a matter of time before Microsoft sets this by default to try and force users to buy apps from the Windows store.

On the one hand, I accused Apple of exactly this within the past few weeks, so I'm certainly not above believing that Microsoft would follow this very path.

On the other hand, I see this being a much rougher sell for Microsoft than Apple. Apple hasn't been to court for web browser choice, and isn't under the same EU scrutiny. I also think the number of niche, high-priced LoB applications for Windows far outnumbers those for OSX, so trying to make sure every critical application on Main Street is still working is going to be about as tough a sell as having every one of those businesses formatting their computers to then pay $10/month for LTSB Windows is going to make a mess.

Ultimately, I see it this way: The moment Microsoft makes it impossible to install legacy applications on Windows 10 is the day that Linux starts making inroads. If the options are "pay monthly for an OS that doesn't run Windows applications" or "get an OS that doesn't run Windows applications for free", I have a sneaky guess which will win that contest.

We'll see...

Comment Re:bitwise math (Score 1) 615

We really take our faster computers for granted, and our code is far from the level of optimization we were once required to achieve.

And that's a good thing too; now we can focus on more important things.

Admittedly not a coder, but I'm in partial agreement with this. True, the ability to throw hardware at a performance problem is easier now than it used to be, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a benefit to optimization.

Even if not formal QA, it's worth going to Best Buy and getting the absolute cheapest computer they have (probably a Celeron with 4GB of RAM, a slow hard disk, and no GPU of consequence), along with Norton Internet Security, and no uninstalling anything that shipped with the machine. Use your program on that and see how it runs. A measurable number of your users will try using your software on that. If it's not usable, it's worth optimizing.

You might have a development workstation with 32GB of RAM and a core i7 and a Quadro card and an SSD, but not all of your users are. Even if they do, they may well be running Photoshop, AutoCAD, and a VM or two. "Lots of hardware" and "Lots of hardware for you to use" are two different things. Sure, far less necessary to optimize programs as much as they used to be, but there is still value to keeping system resource usage as low as it can.

Comment Re:Stop calling them apps! (Score 1) 65

For now.

First, the Mac App Store was opt-in.
Then, it was opt-out.
Then, it prompted when applications were run if they weren't installed from the App Store.
Then it required admin access to allow sideloaded applications.

It's abundantly clear that Apple is using the winning formula from iOS and applying it to OSX. Slowly, of course, but mark my words: within the next release or two of OSX, you'll see at least a few of these:
-require a terminal command to enable sideloaded apps,
-prompt every time a sideloaded app is run without the ability to suppress it.
-require a third party patch of some kind.
-require some sort of jailbreaking procedure.
-threat of voided warranty if sideloaded apps are found.

OSX isn't a walled garden yet...but Tim Cook is absolutely building a wall. And his customers are paying for it.


For starters, there's a limit to apps in the Mac App Store. They can't install device drivers, nor can they be "demo" apps.

Admittedly I'm not a daily Mac user, but I'm having a rough time coming up with hardware that fits the limitations. Device drivers? I'm having trouble coming up with one that doesn't come from Apple directly. Even specialty/media hardware tends to either be class compliant or properly autodiscovered, and typically the super-specialty hardware (like MRI machines or factory floor operations equipment) tends to be PC specific.

And then those apps are sandboxed - they do not have full access to the filesystem. So this excludes a whole bunch of utilities.

Okay, so WinDirStat and XYplorer and Defraggler are out...

Finally, Gatekeeper only pops up the message when a app is copied from "untrusted" sources. What's untrusted? Stuff downloaded from the internet. Not stuff obtained from USB sticks or optical media, or even... the compiler.

Apple doesn't sell machines with optical drives anymore, and very few pieces of software made it to flash drive distribution. Basically everything is download now, so Gatekeeper is going to apply to like 99% of software installed that isn't from the MAS. The compiler makes sense, because it's the same user account doing the compiling as is approving the message from Gatekeeper...and again, applies to developers and basically nobody else.

And the Mac App Store has a $1000 limit on pricing.

That's where IAPs come into play. The kitchen sink edition of the Waves plug-ins costs about $7,000, but one at a time they're like $800. People regularly spend more than $1,000 on phone apps; desktop app devs aren't going to let something like that slow them down.

And there's the few developers who will never be on there - Adobe and Microsoft, in particular.

So as long as people want to use Photoshop, Office on Mac, keeps it open.

This is probably the best case made. Part of me is thinking that Apple and Microsoft can absolutely come to some sort of arrangement, and that while Adobe may largely be in the same boat, they've managed to figure out how to make annual releases of Photoshop Elements a thing for a decade beyond its feature-completeness. Serif has got a bullseye on Photoshop with their $40 Affinity Photo, and Apple's gutting of the 'pro' versions of their products to be on par with midrange PCs makes me wonder how much they care about pissing off pro photographers.

As long as AutoCAD costs more than $1000, it will be open. (AutoCAD LE, though, is sold through the Mac App Store. Autodesk has said they make more per copy of AutoCAD LE than through their resellers).

AutoCAD is far from an OSX staple. it spent about 30 years being PC-only prior to its release on the Mac in 2011, and only a very small number of the very expensive Mac Pros have Firepro or Quadro cards to take advantage of the rendering capabilities beyond the LE version.

As long as people want to connect oddball music devices or other device to the Mac requiring a device driver, it will have to be open.

Oddball music devices = CoreAudio Class Compliant or MIDI. I haven't seen a Presonus/Tascam/Focusrite/Rane/Pioneer device that required a device driver install for a Mac in over a decade. Virtually every printer I've installed in the last five years has had its driver auto-downloaded and auto-installed; even Windows 10 does this almost perfectly now.

As long as people want to use utilities like disk management, disk repair, etc, will keep it open.

Are there any besides Disk Utility that matter? Even the Microcenter shelves don't seem to have them. I'm not saying they don't exist, but I am saying that Raxco does not have the clout to avoid having Apple say "too bad, so sad".

And yes, the compiler is trusted. So even in the worst case, it would result in macOS being the first commercial OS that supports open-source over closed source applications. (Take that, RMS).

Well, you may be right - they won't *truly* close it, they'll just close it to other companies that want to distribute closed source software independent of the App Store. You can always get VLC that way, but that's not nearly the same as the present system as it currently stands. Remember, we're dealing with a company who is perfectly fine telling people with $300 Beats headphones "use an adapter".

The only thing non-Mac App Store apps cannot do is access iCloud...

That's not a bug, it's a feature. MAS apps can access iCloud, store data in iCloud, and have their own slice of data in iCloud. Users pay for 1TB of cloud storage, and all their data syncs along with their apps. "Meet your new Macbook. Same as your old Macbook." This is a selling point.

Hell, even iOS is not bound by the walled garden - open source applications can be loaded on any modern iOS device via a Mac without approval from Apple or paying $99. XCode can compile and use a sefl-signed certificate for iOS apps. Sure you have to reload them every 30 days or so, but it's an era of openness that hasn't been seen before.

So, to install an OSS application on my iPhone, I need to:
-own a Mac.
-generate a certificate.
-compile the code.
-load the app.
-rinse and repeat monthly.

That is one HELL of a definition of 'open'. It is basically every possible roadblock aside from actually-disallowing compiling. Android has a thousand things that piss me off, but it's about 90% as practical and convenient to get apps from F-Droid or AppBrain or Amazon as it is from Google. Downloading APKs from the internet are almost as simple (dumb, but simple). Apple provides no such analogue.

Apple may be moving slowly along the trajectory, but their trajectory and momentum is toward closing things, not opening things.

Comment Re:Stop calling them apps! (Score 2) 65

Macs have never had a "Walled Garden" approach. The vast majority of Mac software is still sold independently of the Mac App Store.

For now.

First, the Mac App Store was opt-in.
Then, it was opt-out.
Then, it prompted when applications were run if they weren't installed from the App Store.
Then it required admin access to allow sideloaded applications.

It's abundantly clear that Apple is using the winning formula from iOS and applying it to OSX. Slowly, of course, but mark my words: within the next release or two of OSX, you'll see at least a few of these:
-require a terminal command to enable sideloaded apps,
-prompt every time a sideloaded app is run without the ability to suppress it.
-require a third party patch of some kind.
-require some sort of jailbreaking procedure.
-threat of voided warranty if sideloaded apps are found.

OSX isn't a walled garden yet...but Tim Cook is absolutely building a wall. And his customers are paying for it.

Comment Is this even a need? (Score 1) 216

So, I'm thinking this through a bit further, and I'm wondering whether encrypted e-mail still makes sense...

How many people actually-communicate via e-mail anymore? Yes, e-mail is still necessary as it's a de facto identification method - virtually every sign-up form uses e-mail addresses in this manner, but it's highly irregular that I send an e-mail to another human after I leave work. Most of that communication takes place via Facebook (known insecure) or WhatsApp/Viber/Kik/Line/BBM/SMS, and most of that communication needn't be terribly secure - for most people, "I have nothing to hide" is a valid reason to not care that Facebook reads their messages.

But what about people who do care? Well, there's Telegram, there's Retroshare, and there's self-hosted RocketChat, offering different levels of security and functionality depending on the particular use case required. Sure, it requires agreement of protocol, but most of the go-to use cases would have defined endpoints that could agree on a secure messaging method beforehand, whereby these tools would make sense.

Now, let's get back to the "after work" qualifier. During work, yes, e-mail is still the way businesses communicate with each other. They don't need security from government actors, they need security largely for compliance purposes and liability. Letting Barracuda or Microsoft deal with the secure transmission is just fine, because most businesses would hand over records to government actors if asked anyway, so as long as their insurance company says "good enough for us", that's typically all that matters.

So, given the fact that virtually every use case is covered already, why is encrypted e-mail a problem worth solving? When it's not that serious, e-mail is fine. When it is that serious, it's not like there is still a lack of things like Retroshare that can provide the needed security. That covers basically everything, doesn't it?

Comment Re:Has slashdot been taken over by the poor? (Score 1) 172

It's not a matter of people being angry over a matter of $20 a month to get superior service. Here are some of the more rational issues...

1.) Instead of throttling once a data cap has been reached, Verizon does overage charges...except they changed that recently, but you have to ask for it...
2.) Verizon requires locked bootloaders to sell phones through their retail locations, and are the only provider with this requirement.
3.) Verizon is the slowest to provide updates to Android phones.
4.) Verizon installs more bloatware than any other carrier.
5.) Verizon heralds "moar speed!!11" while still having some of the most stringent data caps in the industry (XLTE, I'm looking at you...).
6.) On a number of devices, they indicate that they are SIM unlocked while also disabling the ability to manually add APNs.

Now, you're right, that in the middle of west bumblef'k, you'll have better luck with Verizon than T-Mobile when it comes to getting a signal. For those who live in those areas or travel there regularly, Verizon absolutely makes more sense for the reasons you specify. In my most commonly traveled 50 mile radius, however, T-Mobile actually has better coverage (I have both), and I've consistently seen better speeds and lower latency from T-Mo than Verizon. Thus, in my case, and in the case of about two million people who live in that 50-mile radius, Verizon isn't just more money, it's more money for inferior service.

Verizon has definitely improved from the days when they'd intentionally disable Bluetooth profiles and custom ringtones, and had terrible data speeds because they used CDMA. If you recall correctly, they did everything they could to weasel unlimited data customers out of their contracts, including making it so those plans died with the handset they were used on, even if they got the same handset through an Asurion replacement.

As an aside, T-Mobile has consistently been the most root/mod friendly carriers available, always willing to provide support even for rooted or modded phones.

Hopefully that explains a bit more as to why Verizon doesn't have much love.

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