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Comment Report every press release from the government. (Score 3, Insightful) 316

This is actually quite a good idea. Though without a troll army, you won't be doing much.

Still, I guess a browser add-on could be made that would automatically report any page you visit that contains certain keywords (politicians' names, hint hint) as extremist and radicalizing. Reporting shouldn't be a hassle, after all.

Comment Re:Ridiculous hyperbole... FFS (Score 1) 320

They're not betting on legacy app compatibility. That's what RT is all about.

Yes, but this is not Surface RT. This is about Surface Pro. And if legacy app compatibility isn’t one of its perceived advantages, what is? The bigger, faster, hotter CPU?

They're trying to hedge their bets. And there's nothing wrong with RT. The problem is that it's just too late to the game.

Well, there is the matter of the screen, too. Much crappier than the competition.

It's like the new Blackberry. Why would you get it over what's already dominant? Unless there is something so compelling that it's irresistable. And this is where product after product fails. Windows 8/RT, Blackberry 10, Barnes & Noble Nook, HP WebOS TouchPad, etc. They all have something to offer, but not enough to push the market into a new orbit.

Precisely. This is, incidentally, why Linux on the desktop is still a pipe dream. It’s good, in parts even really good, but just not good enough for people to switch (and lose the apps they’re used to, whether they’d paid money for them or not).

Microsoft could've done more to make Surface a success by actually listening to its focus groups and to the clamoring of the multitudes who have been saying for months that Windows 8's desktop experience is fatally flawed (I don't personally agree but the throngs have spoken).

I do agree. After using everything from DOS 3.30 and up, Windows 3.0 and up (except for Vista), Mac OS from System 7 up, CDE under Solaris and literally dozens of GUI’s under Linux, I have to say the Metro experience on the desktop is one of the most unintuitive interfaces I’d tried. Not built for keyboard and mouse. At all.

Still, I don’t understand why they even had focus groups if they’d decided not to listen to them.

They could've included $100 in Windows Store app allowance with every tablet purchase, which would both have fed developers and given people a reason to wade into this new paradigm. They could've offered a third "hard case" keyboard with a proper hinge and more battery that would turn the Surface Pro into a bona fide laptop similar to the Asus Transformer.

They could have. They didn’t. And I fear it’s a bit too late now.
I mean, the second Zune was said to have been really good. Didn’t matter one bit, did it now?

They could've done more to make the Windows Desktop experience more tablet friendly (you can't even adjust the scrollbar width to the extent that you used to.)

So you’re saying it’s not even very tablet-friendly? Because I’d only tried it as a desktop (on a 17" laptop) and it was rather dreadful. It looked rather tablet-oriented, and my colleagues who’d tried it out as a tablet were fairly content.

There were many things they could've done that they chose not to do because they're not used to competing on a level playing field.

Well, and because they didn’t want to enrage their hardware-building partners who might not have been able to compete with $100 vouchers and whatnot. They might have got the reply “Want to make devices that we can’t price match? Fine, have a nice life.” Gabe Newell, for whatever reasons, has started looking for greener pastures. How many allies can Microsoft afford to lose right now?

I was their target market. I'm interested in getting a laptop/tablet hybrid (I used to own an HP convertible laptop). I've been excited for the Surface Pro release. And even so, they did a lot right. It's a beautiful machine. Just not enough.

That’s the problem. Not good enough.

Comment Re:It's a laptop... (Score 1) 320

Interesting physiology lesson, but I don't think it will work out that way. I regularly work with a 3lb tablet (Motion Computing LE1700) which I can use just fine for extended periods (2-3 hours at a time). A 2lb tablet should work even better. Maybe if you have to stand for 8 hours straight a 2lb tablet is no good, and in that case it may be too much, but that's not my use case.

If it works for you, great. But as far as comfortable use goes, lighter is better.

Another example of creating a box and trying to stuff Surface in it. I might just as easily say the iPad isn't up to the task of the Surface because of its slow processor, limited operating system, lack of built in ports, non-expandable memory, lack of a digitizer, and lack of a kickstand. The aforementioned make Surface more appealing to me than iPad, and no other tablet offers a package even remotely as appealing to me. Yes, iPad is thinner and had longer battery life. If those were the only aspects to consider it would win hands down. But even with the iPad there are compromises being made.

You might say that, but here’s the catch: the boxes are already there. I needn’t create a box because Microsoft is entering an established market. Sure, Surface brings something new into the game, but as far as pre-existing boxes go, it’s neither here nor there. And its own new box, should it create one, seems to be rather small.

Compromises are made everywhere; I’ll grant you that. However Surface is not a very good tablet, but at least it’s a rather poor laptop. It’s not an ultrabook, either. In fact, I can only define it in terms of what it’s not, or what it’s not good at. Sure, it all depends on what you need in a device, but even though your use case may warrant buying a Surface, the majority of the market doesn’t seem to concur. IIRC there were some layoffs in Microsoft due to poor sales of the box-breaking device that is Surface.

Still, I need to ask: why exactly do you consider Surface better than a full-blown laptop?

Comment Re:It's a laptop... (Score 1) 320

All you're doing is creating a nice little box with well-defined boundaries and saying the Surface doesn't fit in it. If we take the market leader, iPad, as a benchmark for portability, Surface is .1" and .5 lbs heavier than iPad. So you've constructed this nice little line that says 1.5lbs is light, 2 lbs is heavy. 0.4" is portable but 0.5" is not portable. Seems pretty arbitrary to me.

But it is not all that arbitrary.

Y’see, we humans can only lift so much. And while I might fairly easily lift a 20 kilo box (or a CRT monitor), I would not want to hold it in my hands for half an hour.
I can imagine walking around holding a Kindle. In fact, I do that regularly.
I can imagine holding a Nexus 7 in my hand for quite long stretches of time, if only I had the cash to buy one.
But back to the Kindle. My Kindle Keyboard weighs roughly 250 grams. That’s a quarter of a kilo, which means holding a Surface Pro is like holding four Kindles at once. Yeah, that’s not very comfortable.

Our senses and our muscles work on a logarithmic scale. Twice the intensity works as four times brighter or louder. So a one-third increase in mass can be perceived as muchheavier if you try to hold it like the iPad. Your hand won’t tire in one-third less time. You’ll be lucky to hold it the same way half as long as na iPad.

Also, a new contender in the market should be better than the established competition. Surface Pro isn’t.

Comment Re:Instead of the FUD... (Score 1) 320

Say what you will about Apple devices (like the iPad), their devices don't run hot and they are silent or all but silent.

So why did Apple have those things right 5 years ago, but MSFT still can't do it?

I have a MaBook Pro that is six years old. I replaced it with a Hackintosh last month.
It became noisy about a year and a half ago, when its vents filled with much too much dust (and I’m suspecting one fan’s bearings are no longer in very good condition).
That’s after more than four years of constant work (I hardly ever turned it off).

Comment Re:Ridiculous hyperbole... FFS (Score 1) 320

Also, why would anyone think the Surface Pro was supposed to run on battery all day...? Clearly this is a workstation/tablet hybrid that leans farther to the tablet side.

Because that’s what tablets do. Because that’s what ultrabooks (want to) do. Because Surface Pro has a shorter battery life than many laptops.
This is a hybrid that does nothing right, taking the worst parts from both worlds.

In the longer run Intel will have move entirely into this market, and you'll find that people no longer have PCs at the office, they've got 'surface pro 3' with full blown M$ Office on it - and by that time it will run 10 hours on a charge.

And by that time, other devices will run two days on a single charge. The competition innovates, too. And much more so than Microsoft.

Comment Re:Ridiculous hyperbole... FFS (Score 1) 320

But this is slashdot, we must ignore the fact that it's a first-gen device and a unique one at that. There couldn't possibly be another, better, iteration later.

A first generation device? Well, not really.
Microsoft has tried time and again to enter the tablet market. They tried to create a tablet market way before iPhone, let alone iPad. Before iPod, really.
And every time they had failed.
Every. Single. Fscking. Time.

Microsoft’s first attempts at tablets brought a keyboard-and-mouse OS onto a crappy-touchscreen device. Wonder why that never worked out.
In the meantime, Apple happened. The iPod (which was a success from the start, and rather good for its time) brought a failed reaction in the shape of assho er, the Zune. The iPhone showed Microsoft (also in the very first try) what Windows CE phones should have been and, probably, wanted to be. But couldn’t have. The iPad was a good tablet from the get-go, and everything Microsoft’s first tablets should have been.

During all that time, Microsoft attempted to force a desktop OS and its paradigms onto devices just not built for that. Then, after both iOS and Android happened, Microsoft decided on a paradigm shift. Boy, I don’t see what could ever go wrong with that.
So what did MS do? After the Windows desktop, which had started copying from KDE in Vista and added OS X elements in 7, which finally made it fairly usable (you may disagree with that point, but I refuse to be dragged into a discussion about it), they decided to sacrifice the declining desktop market (i.e., use their monopoly on the desktop as leverage upon their entry on the tablet market) and put everything on the Metro interface (or whatever it’s called today). It is a tablet/smartphone interface forced on the desktop. At the same time, the desktop metaphor is available on (some?) tablets and tabletoid devices. Which means that their radical paradigm shift isn’t, but it’s still enough of an inconvenience.

The tablet market is not all that new. In fact, it is fairly mature, albeit with room to grow. There is an established duopoly of iOS and Android. And Microsoft just can’t afford to enter that market with sub-par devices. Because the iPad was good, and is now better. Because Galaxy Tab was good, and is now better. Because there are Nexus, Kindle Fire, Transformer Pad, and various other devices working on tried and tested platforms (alright, platform; iOS is restricted to Apple devices). Microsoft has nothing: not a good device, not an OS which people would want all that much (and let’s not get into Windows Phone), not an app store full of various applications. Nothing. They are betting on legacy app compatibility even though the current tablet market thrives without Windows compatibility and, apparently, bringing the desktop experience to tablets. And the tablet experience to desktops.

I still don’t see how that could possibly go wrong.

Comment Re:Who knows, I'm not a lawyer... (Score 1) 305

I find this fairly analogous to foobar using community-created Winamp skins; Winamp requesting foobar remove the feature. I do seem to remember foobar being able to use Winamp skins even though a quick Google search seems to say it is no longer so (I don’t even remember the last time I used a music player on Windows).

I am definitely not a lawyer, but it seems to me there is zero merit here. And if there is any merit in the case such as it is presented, I posit that the whole system is so fscked up that it deserves to fail. Miserably.

Comment Re:Addressing only half the battle. (Score 1) 397

Diablo 3 is an online game. It's not a single player game. You're bitch about not being able to play an online game as single player. You may not like that it's an online game, but it's an online game at its core. That in many senses was a bad choice, but that's still the game they made. At its essence is that your character that you can work on by yourself or in a group can always group up with other players, and can expect to buy things from the online auction house. You don't like it.... well it's not the game you think it is, so tough. It's not DRM, that's the game. They took their cue from diablo 2 multiplayer communities living forever, it might have been the wrong message, but that was definitely what they wanted.

Er, no. The single player mode, as has already been pointed out to you, is only online because the DRM requires it.

You realize Torchlight 2 will connect to a giant DRM service right? It requires steamworks, that's steams entire shtick is to be a giant DRM service.

Or I can buy Torchlight 2 from the developers, lose out on achievements (ooh, now that’s a terrible loss), and save 20+ per cent because Steam translates dollar prices to euros one for one.

Just like the PSN etc. You have an account. If you do something they don't like to the game they ban your account from multiplayer, if someone hacks your account well.. you have to fight to get it back and can't play your games until you get it back. Uplay and Ubisoft built their DRM store as this odd standalone thing. But steam, steam is different. Steam covers up the fact that it's a giant DRM platform by being a store and an anti cheating platform (and by the way, anti cheating is a form of DRM), but it's still a giant DRM. You activate a product on steam, it's on steam, you can't resell it, you can't lend it out, you can't do anything steam doesn't approve of without suffering the consequences.

You know what I’ve activated on Steam? The games I bought in various bundles. The Humble Bundle. MacHeist.
Some of those games I can access even if I should lose access to Steam. Some are bound to Steam, but given that I’d got them practically free of charge, I think I’d survive; I’d have bought the bundle(s) anyway.

But that's the trick of it all isn't it? We tricked you. You though "oh uplay is bad because the /. hive mind says it's bad" but Torchlight, those guys who are kinda indie, kinda anti daiblo 3, they're like me, they don't like DRM right? No. They're using DRM, they tie their game to steamworks (even when the game isn't bought through steam, e.g. on gamersgate, and the game has an unlock code). But you thought that was acceptable DRM, because that's just what steam is, there's no pretense about it, you buy stuff, it unlocks it. So you are prepared to go out and pay money for a game on a giant DRM platform, because you hate DRM. And every outlet you can buy stuff from is becoming a giant DRM platform. The apple app store, XBL, steam, PSN, Microsoft app store etc (and no side loading touch interface apps). So we have one convert to the legal way of doing things. That's progress. Other than for the fact that I just gave up the great industry secret, that they're all DRM platforms in one way or another, so maybe you aren't a convert anymore.

Or maybe you are merely full of shit.
Yeah, I know. But you had called me a bitch, so I’ll flame you.
Cheap-ass Oprah-style psychoanalysis aside, Torchlight 2 is still available without DRM.
And Steam is, for the most part, acceptably unintrusive DRM. You can go offline. It syncs your saved games on multiple devices and multiple platforms. It is, in short, more of a symbiote than a parasite.

But hey. Believe whatever you will.

Comment Re:Addressing only half the battle. (Score 1) 397

The problem is an industry that is devoting its attention to eliminating piracy, not to maximising sales. They'd rather have 100 sales and 100 pirates than 10,000 sales and 100,000 pirates. Yes, pirates suck, but it's a stupid business model to chase them at the expense of your customers.


To pick an example not at random, once upon a time I had pirated Diablo 2. I’d had no hope in hell of playing it any other way; European prices and Croatian income don’t mix, and European prices and Croatian pocket money even less so.
However, when I found it on sale some years later, I sure as hell bought it.

Now I buy pretty much all of my games. And I will not buy Diablo 3. I will not buy a number of things from Ubisoft. I don’t care.
They may have some games I might be interested in. Without DRM, I might pirate the game as a try-before-you-buy (kind of like a demo, but without the devs deciding I had seen enough) and, if I like it, shell out some money for it. With DRM, I might pirate the game (though I tend not to because I hardly have time to play the games I do own). Period. DRM that screws me over, like in Diablo 3, is a deal-breaker; I don’t want a game I can’t play offline. Because if my internet access breaks down, I’ll sure as hell want to kill someone. And Diablo 3 robs me of that possibility.

But hey. When Torchlight 2 for Mac comes out, I’m buying it.

Comment Re:Love GoG (Score 1) 397

Don’t forget to check the mods guide (also posted on GOG). They make the game more complete and much more playable on newer machines (high resolution hack, for one).

I also bought it recently, though it does crash on my Mac. Then again, many things do; it’s a six-year-old machine which is slowly falling apart.

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