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Comment Re:Copy machine at stores (Score 1) 51

The main use I can see for such a machine is printing replacement parts for the cheap bit of plastic that breaks in a load of consumer equipment, but where the replacements are too difficult or expensive to buy. Unfortunately, doing that well will also need some kind of 3D scanner so that you can put in the broken bit and modify it (e.g. put in two parts and then drag them around until you have a single object).

Comment Re:As soon as we get a legitimate source like Netf (Score 1) 69

Right, but most people aren't students, and $10/month for access to a library the size of Netflix is still vastly cheaper than buying everything a typical subscriber might watch there the way you had to before the streaming library services were around.

I might also wonder what anyone who is watching enough stuff to need $60+/month of subscriptions to that many different services at once is actually doing with their lives, but that's a different question.

Comment Re:Define "fit for business" (Score 1) 117

If we were talking about updates to the Enterprise version of 7 or 8.1, which organisations might already have deployed widely, presumably it would be tougher for those organisations to justify the switch. Maybe only those who were concerned about serious legal/regulatory issues would do so. But then in that situation, the sysadmins could just block the other updates they didn't want, so concerns about updates introducing ads or removing features or whatever don't really apply.

The thing with Windows 10 is that it's a big upgrade anyway. Enterprise-scale IT departments are already going to need plans for a full migration if they want to go to Win 10 Enterprise. They're already going to have to check compatibility with all the software they rely on, maybe upgrade some of their hardware, and so on. So the cost of accepting Windows 10 if Microsoft were also to push stuff like telemetry and automatic updates in the Enterprise edition would just be that much higher.

Comment Re:Define "fit for business" (Score 1) 117

What large corporate IT department has their executives running any version of Windows Pro on their laptops, rather than Enterprise connected to their centralised update servers etc?

What corporate IT department has allowed any machines under their control, even running Windows 7/8/8.1 Pro if it's a smaller organisation, to deploy the telemetry updates?

Comment Re:Define "fit for business" (Score 1) 117

I don't disagree with you on the being run by humans and having inertia aspects. I just think you're underestimating how damaging trying to force known data leaks and uncontrolled software into a large organisation would be.

The data leak aspect is a concern for the lawyers, as well as the obvious underlying security implications. I'm only involved with smaller businesses, which previously used Pro versions of Windows, but even we don't seem to be able to move to Windows 10 without risking violating various data protection laws, NDAs, and so on. What happens to larger businesses, particularly those who work in regulated industries and who really do get audited from time to time, if Windows 10 Enterprise imposes the same vulnerability?

The forced upgrades also have obvious stability and reliability implications. Microsoft has long provided tools for corporate system administrators to manage large numbers of Windows desktops and deploy updates (or not) according to their own schedules and testing requirements. I have never encountered a large organisation using Windows whose administrators do not use these tools, and the answer to many problems with Windows updates for these organisations has essentially been "If it took out the 10 dummy PCs in the test lab, don't deploy it to the rest of the organisation". Again, if Windows 10 Enterprise took away that flexibility and allowed (or required) users to start upgrading their own systems, I can't imagine corporate IT tolerating that at all.

In short, it doesn't necessarily take an incredible amount of silly things to tip the balance. Even one or two things will still do it, if those things are silly enough.

Comment Re:CyanogenMod is the only hope for some devices.. (Score 1) 73

Unfortunately, it's not so great at that. I have an HTC Desire (Bravo in the USA) that still works and I'd like to reuse as a SIP client. Unfortunately, it only runs CM 7.2. That would be fine if it were a patched version, but the latest nightly build was 2013 and that's so old that it doesn't contain an up-to-date certificate list or an SSL client library that supports modern versions of the TLS protocol, meaning that you can't use it for anything network connected.

Sure, the device is pretty old, but it has a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, and up to 32GB of flash on the SD card: that's ample for a lot of uses (it wasn't so long ago that I was using a desktop less powerful!) and throwing it away seems horribly wasteful. It was launched in 2010 and the last release (not nightly) from CM was 2012. That's less long-term support than Apple gives for iOS devices and Google gives for Nexus devices. Unfortunately, there's not much money to be made in supporting hardware that the manufacturers consider to be obsolete.

Comment Re:Define "fit for business" (Score 1) 117

No I just think you are being unrealistic about the "care factor" of those execs you think will send in the lawyers with guns blazing.

If Microsoft introduced mandatory telemetry, spyware, upgrades, ads etc. in Windows 10 Enterprise, in the same way that they have in Home and Pro, I imagine a fair number of those lawyers would be the ones demanding that their business didn't move to Windows 10 Enterprise, right next to the senior IT staff.

It has happened more than once already.

In rather different circumstances, and relatively rarely even then. Now compare how often it's happened with how often there has been a credible threat of it happening until someone from a big software company offered someone from a big customer a much, much better deal to prevent it.

Comment Re:Define "fit for business" (Score 1) 117

It's simple economics. There's a significant cost to any technology migration in an organisation of that scale, and there's also typically a significant cost to relying on systems for longer than they're well suited for the job. As you imply yourself, this is true whether you're talking about updating to a newer product from the same supplier or you're talking about switching to a different supplier. There is rarely such a thing as being truly locked in for large enterprises, there is only when the cost of switching becomes lower than the costs of upgrading and of keeping the current system.

One of the biggest strategic problems Microsoft has to deal with is the reality that even in huge organisations, the trend in recent years has been back towards more centralised systems, with thin client applications or web interfaces for access. Windows-only software is certainly still a factor, but it's becoming less of a limiting one as time goes by. That means the cost of switching is already lowering, relative to the cost of a full-scale OS upgrade across the organisation. If Microsoft started doing silly things with Windows 10 that made that full-scale upgrade a problem, it would swing the needle further, and at some point it would tip the balance.

Comment Re:As soon as we get a legitimate source like Netf (Score 1) 69

You say that, but annual fees for the services we subscribe to in my household work out far less than the cost of buying all those shows and movies on DVD would have been a few years earlier. The gap is even wider once you take into account the not-sure things that you could try because they were on a streaming service and it wouldn't cost you any more if you gave up ten minutes in.

I still buy a load of stuff on DVD/Blu-ray, but those are the things I want to keep, because I don't trust the likes of Netflix not to renegotiate some licensing deal and remove a show I'm enjoying in the middle of a season. In terms of financial cost, for the kinds of shows and movies I'll probably only ever watch once anyway, the streaming services are still way cheaper for frequent viewers even if they have to sign up for a few different ones.

Comment Re:When I meet a copyright owner (Score 1) 69

until you made clear that they're downloading it from you, presumably the authorized distributor.

No, we are the people who create the content in question, and who run the library site providing access to it. No-one else is involved here or taking a cut as a distributor.

So...they downloaded exactly as much as they're allowed to, and then once allowed again, started again? Didn't hack your system, didn't go off to torrent it instead? And they're doing...what wrong again? How do you know how they're using it and if such use is "normally"?

It's a subscription model for online browsing of the library. (Think Netflix, Spotify, and so on.) Downloading for permanent storage and offline viewing is not allowed. This is all clearly and explicitly stated in our terms, and I suppose that real-time element is our version of an "all you can eat" restaurant bringing you your eighth course on request, but politely refusing you a doggy back to take leftovers home with you.

A small number of people join the library, and then right before the end of their first billing period, they start going down the index and grabbing everything they can, in order, until they're blocked, at a rate many times faster than any normal user navigates. The outlier here is very, very obvious -- we're talking orders of magnitude. And -- here's the kicker -- at that rate, they would have to be consuming the audio/video content at several times its normal speed just to keep up. And they're doing this for extended periods, and trying again after each time they get blocked, for say the last week in the quarter. Now, if you still think those people are accessing the content of the library online, I know a Nigerian price with a great deal to offer you.

As for why we allow people to do that, well, the alternatives to the limits we do impose would mostly use some sort of heuristic to identify suspicious behaviour more aggressively and throttle it earlier and/or supply the content via some sort of DRM scheme. Obviously either of those might screw genuine users if something went wrong, and put simply, we don't want to risk doing that.

Why on Earth does your system let people do that, if you don't want them to do that? ... (Whoever made the statement to you about DRM is a moron, it's not effective anyway and would drive away your users.)

The person who made the statement about DRM to us may have been a moron, as you put it, and DRM may or may not be effective, but this is the reality that a small content provider faces on the web today. So if someone like the original AC I replied to here wants to come along and claim that they'll start respecting copyrights when the quid pro quo is honoured, I'd like to know what they think about a situation like ours or how they think what we do justifies what other people try to do to us. Or, y'know, it could just be that some people say that because they want to claim anyone with a business model involving copyright deserves to be abused, as apparently a small but noticeable number of people who join our library do.

When it comes down to it, you can't know why anyone downloaded such and such thing.

See, that's the thing. In cases like this, the rip-off behaviour is so obvious that we really can.

As a final point, please consider that the position you've taken and the incorrect assumptions you've made in your post here and in particular casually dismissive comments like "just be glad you're being paid" are exactly why larger content providers routinely use obnoxious DRM schemes and file aggressive legal actions and lobby for punitive copyright laws.

I think it's fair to say that we're about as reasonable and transparent as you could possibly be for a site that provides content and charges for it. We do a lot of work because it's something we care about. The money coming in basically covers the operating expenses and it's a fraction of what it would cost to get material of the quality we produce from other sources. Typically we only act against the most blatant and egregious violations of our terms. And yet, just like the original AC, it seems you still assumed the worst of us and made us out to be the bad guys.

You seem like you're genuinely trying to be reasonable here, which is more than some people are where copyright is concerned, so what lesson should people like us learn from your reaction? Should we explicitly impose hard limits on how much of our library a user can enjoy, and risk spoiling it for a legitimate user who happens to cross over whatever arbitrary threshold we impose? Should we adopt DRM anyway, and just hope that it doesn't interfere too often with legitimate users?

It's easy to stand at the back and look for loopholes where the evil rightsholders are screwing the entirely honest and always considerate user base, but the reality is that if we didn't charge something for the library we make, we couldn't afford to run it at our scale, and the overwhelming majority of our members would miss out on content they enjoy, a loss for everyone. So, what precisely would you have us do when someone is flagrantly ripping us off?

Comment Re:Define "fit for business" (Score 1) 117

You're kidding, right?

If this is a large Fortune 500 business we're talking about, it's probably a household name with many thousands of staff. If Microsoft try to screw them, a few executives from that business are going to have some pleasant conversations over golf with people who also happen to work at a senior level for alternative suppliers like Apple and Red Hat.

First, they're going to cut a nice deal for enterprise-scale everything, because any business that size is worth serious money. Score a win for both the business (big cost savings) and the suppliers (big new customer).

Next, those alternative suppliers like Apple and Red Hat are going to make nice press releases touting their new Fortune 500 customer. Those press releases are going to feature quotes from C-level executives at the Fortune 500 saying how happy they are and what a great supplier they've got. There will be white papers with case studies showing off how much better the big organisation is doing now they've switched to the new supplier.

If this happens once, it's already bad for Microsoft. If it becomes more of a pattern than an isolated incident, the big consultancies and industry commentators are going to start paying attention and using the same sorts of quotes in their own analysis, and that in turn is going to influence other senior executives at other big organisations who are also unhappy with being given the finger by a supplier and interested in what their other options might be.

If you think I'm kidding about all of this, I invite you to research the order-of-magnitude reductions in licence fees that certain big name software companies offer to their enterprise customers in this kind of situation to keep them on side. That is how much these giant customers are worth to them, and the same customers are worth just as much to other potential suppliers who have the scale to operate at that level too. Or you could just notice that Windows 10 Enterprise is basically a totally different product to Windows 10 Home, which doesn't require the telemetry, updates, and so on that have been so controversial, and ask yourself why Microsoft did that.

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