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Comment Re:Hope there's an upgrade (Score 1) 314

Exactly the same experience in a brand new 2014 Fusion, with the latest Sync software, and an iPhone 5s running iOS 7. The endless "indexing" (can take up to an hour, happens every time you add new music or podcasts), and the screen getting stuck on a "Please Wait" message when trying to browse music. I've also had it just drop the USB connection and switch to radio or Sirius for no damn reason. A lot better in our 2011 Edge, but I can see why Ford wants to drop this turd. Microsoft has hurt them dearly.

Comment The "orderly transition" (Score 4, Informative) 424

So, I attended the Streaming Media West conference last month, and one of the things I came away with was how the existing players (Hollywood, cable companies, etc.) are adamant about ensuring an "orderly transition to IP-based delivery." That is an exact quote from one of the over-the-top (OTT) sessions I went to, where over-the-top refers to content delivered over IP directly to the user from someone other than the broadband provider (e.g., watching a movie from Netflix instead of from your cable company's video-on-demand service).

This is very much the point of the "TV Everywhere" systems by which you login with your cable or satellite credentials in order to watch cable/satellite content on a mobile device or set-top box (iPad, Roku, etc.). It's basically a rear-guard action against the cord-cutters: we'll let you watch the same content on any device, provided you pay the same price for it. Keep paying your cable bill, even if you don't watch cable.

I wrote a long blog about the show here. But taking it back to the Comcast / Time Warner deal, the competitive issue is not in individual markets (where, indeed, there's usually only one cable company), but in the power of a combined Comcast / Time Warner to keep creatives in the old system, by using caps, throttling, predatory pricing, and other dirty tricks to hamper genuine Internet TV.

Presumably, once the Justice Department comes to understand the antitrust implications of this deal, they'll immediately launch an investigation. Of Apple.

Comment Re:Cellular is the business model (Score 3, Insightful) 424

Right now, only ONE cable company is allowed to operate in any one area. Which means they cannot compete with each other.

I believed this to be the case too, but was corrected on a Streaming Media forum a few months back, and was informed that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 eliminated exclusive cable franchises (or, more accurately, empowered the FCC to overrule such arrangements granted by municipalities). Of course, by 1996, the US cable TV build-out was more or less complete, so there's little opportunity for an upstart to begin laying cable and competing.

Comment Text book case of rent-seeking (Score 1) 387

In public choice theory, rent-seeking is spending wealth on political lobbying to increase one's share of existing wealth without creating wealth. The effects of rent-seeking are reduced economic efficiency through poor allocation of resources, reduced wealth creation, lost government revenue, national decline, and income inequality.


Comment Re:There was another odd fire in Grand Rapids (Score 1) 65

Yeah, but the fire department attributed the ballpark fire to a work crew knocking over a space heater, starting a fire, putting it out, and then walking away, exacerbated by the sprinkler system being turned off. That's not mysterious so much as it is just plain foolish.

Comment Google better hope that MS doesn't abandon Bing (Score 2) 292

There was an interesting piece a few months back, What if Microsoft exited the search business?, arguing that the abandonment of Bing would lead to a near-immediate antitrust action against Google, either from the FTC or as a private action undertaken by Microsoft itself.

It may be that Google needs Bing to hang around as plausible competition the same way that Microsoft needed Mac OS to soldier on in the late 90's as a putative competitor to Windows (and remember, Microsoft was still found to have engaged in illegal monopolistic practices anyways, something that Microsoft arguably never recovered from).

Comment Finally? (Score 1) 80

Just started getting into Roku programming in the last month, and I kind of like the ifPosterScreen's "arc-landscape" 1-D metaphor — for small numbers of objects, it's easier to see the selection when it's placed front and center (as a result of your right-left arrowing) than to just put a little highlight box around it like AppleTV does. CoverFlow does nothing for me on iOS or (especially) Mac, but on Roku it seemed to work pretty nicely.

And it's not like this is the only menuing system available on the Roku SDK. Many apps with a large amount of content -- your Netflixes and Crunchyrolls and what have you -- use a 2D grid of horizontally scrolling lists. I think this is the ifGridScreen, but I haven't used it myself yet, so I'm not sure.

Anyways, this didn't seem like something that desperately needed to change, but I assume they know what they're doing. Roku's picking up steam and they're going to be fine. Would be nice if there were a real YouTube app for it, but I suppose we can't have that until Google gives up on the GoogleTV fiasco.

Comment Context, please (Score 1) 188

Any app with an internet connection can track you without your knowledge simply by phoning home with some sort of unique identifier, like a UUID. The only way to not be tracked by apps is to turn on Airplane Mode and never turn it off.

The problem with the UDID was that it was visible across all applications, so that multiple apps that tracked a user via UDID could correlate their results. For example, imagine app A phones home with just your contact info, and app B phones home your porn-browsing history. If they both use the UDID, and I have access to the data supplied by both, then I have the names and addresses and porn-surfing history of anyone who uses both apps. If they use different IDs, then this kind of correlation is not possible. Granted, the IDFA is like this in that it's cross-app, but it can be turned off by the user, as described in the article, which was not possible with UDID.

The "hand in the cookie jar" stuff is typical lazy Apple bashing, but sites gotta get their hits somehow, I guess.

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