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Comment Re:or, maybe Google screwed up "ownership" (Score 1) 171

If Google had designed (? or something?) Android so that updating the base OS was something that could be pushed direct from Google instead of from each manufacturer's bollixed version of the system, there'd be no problem for any of us.

That may seem obvious now, but it's far from clear that Android would have succeeded the way it has if OEMs hadn't been allowed to differentiate their versions. That was (and is) something that's important to them, and they may well have decided that they wanted to do their own thing instead if Google hadn't given them the degree of control they wanted. Or maybe they'd have adopted Windows, since while it wouldn't allow them to customize it would have had the advantage of being from the then-biggest OS maker around.

It seems very likely that the ability of OEMs to customize was a core component of what made the Android ecosystem successful.

Also, keep in mind that the only way Google could really have kept OEMs from modifying Android however they like would have been to keep it closed. Personally, I'm glad that Google made the choices it did, not because I'm a Google employee working on Android (though I am), but because I've been an open source and free software advocate since before Google even existed. Android is far from perfect, and devices aren't as open as I would like, but I think the mobile software world is much better than it would have been without a F/LOSS mobile OS.

Comment Re:Outrageously short service life for updates (Score 1) 171

I still think that two years of updates is outrageous forced obsolescence that is prematurely adding electronic garbage to landfills.

FWIW, it's actually two years of upgrades and three years of security updates on Nexus devices.

I'm seriously considering going back to an iPhone on my next phone upgrade, despite all the concerns I have about them too. They at least support their hardware for around 5 years.

At least they have done so in the past. Note that they've never made any commitment to that, so they could stop.

Comment Government (Score 1) 323

You talk as though there was one government instead of a lot of somewhat disjointed agencies and departments.

Shorthand way of communicating the concept. Most people understand this just fine. It's a part of the government and they are trying to do something to make their life easier at the expense of civil liberties. If another part of the government fails to stop them (like Congress or the President or the Secretary of Homeland Security) then they are tacitly endorsing the actions of this agency.

And those are separate from Congress and the Judiciary.

Of course they are. US Customs is a part of the Dept of Homeland Security. But it IS a government agency and therefore referring to it as "the government" is entirely accurate if a tad sloppy. It is entirely within the power of Congress to stop these actions. If Congress fails to do so then Congress is endorsing these actions so in that sense the government is effectively a single entity.

Comment I am happy for my freedom (Score 0, Offtopic) 76

My laptop died while I was on travel. I want to select my next expensive device carefully, so I need a disposable computer, something I can hand off to a computerless person in a few months. I went last night to Micro Center and bought a $219 Acer laptop, a $55 250GB SSD and a $35 8GB stick of DDR3L RAM. And a screwdriver, spudger and static strap.

2 hours later, I was able to shove an Ubuntu 16.04 live DVD into the drive of this thing and start computing on the hotel network. The removed 500GB hard drive preloaded with Windows 10 (yuck) and the OEM 4GB stick of RAM sat alongside it.

I was able to completely avoid Microsoft's preloaded pile of shit and other than throwing a couple of switches in the BIOS, it was fairly painless...for me*. And I got a pretty responsive system for my effort. Compare and contrast to the cellphone situation.

I roll with an iPhone for this reason. My last Android device (HTC Desire Z) was my last Android device, ever.

*this system being such a POS that I had to remove the entire motherboard, blower fan and WLAN card to change out one SODIMM of RAM. The plastic bottom even has a nifty RAM chip pressed into the (nonremovable) solid bottom of the case, as if it were some kind of access door.

Comment Matches my observations (Score 4, Funny) 176

Over the last couple of months, when I cut through one of the local parks on its bike trail, it's looked like the Night of the Living Dead: A bunch of zombies obliviously wandering around, staring down into their phones and cluelessly blocking the path.

Lately, the zombie outbreak seems to have abated somewhat, and the bike path isn't so much of an obstacle course.

Comment Re:Batten down the hatches - a bubble's bout to bu (Score 1) 163

The central banks of the world are conjuring money out of thin air and using it to buy stocks

Cite? I'm not aware of any central bank buying stocks. The "quantitative easing" they're doing -- AFAIK -- is all bond purchasing, which means they're not buying ownership in real businesses, they're lending money to real businesses.

Concurrently, interest rates are artificially low

That's debatable. Without the actions of the central banks, we would likely be in a deflationary cycle. Assuming interest rates naturally adjusted accordingly, they should go very low, or even negative. Some of the central banks have gone to slightly negative interest rates, but they won't go nearly as negative as would naturally occur in a deflationary cycle. Instead, they're pumping money into the economy (via QE) to avoid deflation.

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