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Comment Big family = no-brainer (Score 1) 337

My home theater consists of a mid-range 1080p projector giving me 110 inches and a mid-range 5.1 Bose, driven by a Mac Mini. By far and away not the most impressive home theater in the world... but certainly good enough for most viewing -- particularly when you consider that I also have seven kids, one of whom is autistic and prone to noisy behavior and to leaving his seat frequently, and on top of that, my best friend also has four kids. So even not taking into account extended family, I would absolutely go for early release to home in a heartbeat. The number of viewers in my core group alone would make such a system pay for itself after only a few kids' movies, and occasional adult movies with friends would be a not-terribly-difficult splurge, particularly considering how expensive theaters have gotten. So even with a moderate upfront cost, as some of the options have suggested, this would still be a complete no-brainer for me.

That said... I would still go to the theater with my wife, on occasional date nights. You have to get away from the kids entirely for a little while every now and then, or you'll go stir crazy!

Submission + - With Bioelectronic Medicine, You Can Zap a Nerve to Stop Bleeding (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: A seriously wounded person can bleed out within minutes. So first responders, battlefield medics, and surgeons will all be interested in this new technology: a "neural tourniquet" that stops blood loss by zapping a nerve. The handheld device stimulates the vagus nerve to send an electrical signal through the nerve to the spleen, where the blood cells responsible for forming clots receive instructions. This signal primes the cells so that they form clots faster if they encounter a wound anywhere in the body; a study in pigs showed 40% less bleeding time and 50% less blood loss. A startup called Sanguistat is testing the device first as a treatment for postpartum hemorrhage.

Comment We don't need no stinkin' browser share... (Score 1) 322

Gee, I had no idea that Microsoft was so adamant about minimizing the market share of Edge. Because this is a sure fire way to guarantee that Windows users have no interest in ever launching their new fledgling browser. Kudos to you, Microsoft, for advocating for third party browsers! Hey, I'll be more then happy to help out, by tossing those pesky Edge shortcuts on every Windows 10 box I come across...

Comment Ambiguity, much? (Score 1) 112

... "About 82% of households that use a TV currently subscribe to a pay-TV service," Bruce Leichtman of Leichtman Research said...

That statement could use some clarification; I consider myself to be a cord-cutter, with an internet-only broadband connection, (no landline and no "cable" TV subscription, premium channels or otherwise) but it would be easy to argue that I should be included in this statistic, because I subscribe to both Hulu and Netflix. Which is it? Am I really a cord-cutter, or am I simply subscribing to the next generation of "premium" services?

Comment Alternatively, you could just... (Score 1) 347

Anyone who's been a MacHead for more than a few years knows that you always try to avoid buying overpriced commodity add-ons from Apple; you buy them from Amazon, Newegg or the like. In this situation, for example, you might choose to just use your existing charging cable with a USB-C to USB3 adapter for $10, saving fifteen bucks over the Apple adapter cable.

Submission + - Google interview process big turn off for experienced engineers (businessinsider.com)

mysterious_mark writes: There's an article in the Business Insider discussing how the interview process at Google is really just geared for recent CS grads, and makes no sense for experienced engineers. Apparently the only criteria to work at Google is one's ability to do white board code problems, actual engineering experience counts for nothing. This may explain why the average engineer at Google is under 30, the problem is partly due to age discrimination, and also because older and more experienced engineers simply don't want to deal with the interview process.

Comment Apple is no more intransigent than YOU. (Score 1) 289

"Apple is seeking for itself the exclusive use of Australia's existing NFC terminal infrastructure for the making of integrated mobile payments using iOS devices. Yet, this infrastructure was built and paid for by Australian banks and merchants for the benefit of all Australians."

Let's just parse this a bit more closely, and see what it boils down to: "Apple is seeking ... exclusive use of ... integrated mobile payments using iOS devices."

Whoops. What was that? Apple wants to profit from the hardware and software that they themselves developed? Huh.

Now, the banks' real point: "... this infrastructure [that is, the existing NFC terminals] was built and paid for by Australian banks and merchants for the benefit of all Australians." Oh. So the truth of the matter is, you want to retain control over your ecosystem, and Apple wants to retain control over their ecosystem. Isn't that something?

Funny thing is, the banks (worldwide) do indeed have full control over their respective ecosystems; all they have to do is ignore Apple, and implement something on Android. Unless, of course, that's too much work for them, or possibly not as profitable as Apple's iOS ecosystem, for some reason...

Bottom line: the banks are just trying to find a way to maximize their share of the profits, pure and simple. Nothing much to see, here... just your standard money grab.

Comment Digital tethering is more effective anyway (Score 4, Insightful) 76

This shouldn't be surprising, actually. The market for stolen iPhones has taken a serious hit, because of Apple's iTunes account locking policies. You steal my iPhone, I immediately lock you out of it. If I'm feeling particularly adventurous, I might even go to the trouble of tracking you down, maybe even with a police officer in tow. "Your" stolen device is not only now a brick... it's also a liability. Would-be thieves know this; they'll get at most a few hours of use out of any iPhone that they steal, and likely only a few minutes, if they set off alarms as they're stealing it from a store -- and worst case scenario, (for the thief, that is) they're also much more likely to get jail time for their crime.

Now, contrast that with a physical tether, which can be snipped quickly and easily with the right tool. No contest.

On the other hand, now actual potential buyers will get the sense that Apple actually wants them in the stores, wants them to feel comfortable... and of course, wants them to spend money. So for Apple, this probably all makes perfect sense.

Submission + - DRM? DRM!? We don't need no stinkin' DRM! (arstechnica.com)

zarmanto writes: Ars Technica reports that one particular game studio might finally get it, when it comes to DRMed game content. They're publishing their latest game, Shadow Warrior 2 with no DRM protection at all. From the article:

"We don't support piracy, but currently there isn't a good way to stop it without hurting our customers," Flying Wild Hog developer Krzysztof “KriS” Narkowicz wrote...

... "We hope that our fans, who were always very supportive, will support us this time as well," Zielinski told Kotaku. "...In our imperfect world, the best anti-pirate protection is when the games are good, highly polished, easily accessible and inexpensive," Maksara added.


Submission + - Android Trojan Asks Victims to Submit a Selfie Holding Their ID Card (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Untrained and gullible Android users are now the target of an Android banking trojan that asks them to send a selfie holding their ID card. The trojan, considered the most sophisticated Android trojan known today, is named Acecard, and this most recent version has been detected only in Hong Kong and Singapore for now.

The purpose of requiring a selfie of the victim holding its ID card is for the crook to prove himself when making fraudulent bank transactions, calling tech support posing as the victim, or for taking over social media accounts for Facebook or Twitter, who often required ID scans in the case of account takeover disputes.

Comment Cable Companies LIE to keep you... (Score 5, Informative) 250

Cord cutter, here. If you're thinking of joining me by switching down to an internet-only service, you need to know this: Your cable company is going to lie to you. They're going to tell you all kinds of stories about how they don't actually offer internet-only options, or about how it's actually less expensive to have a bundle than it is to go internet-only. Don't believe them. There is exactly one way to get the full truth out of them: Tell them you're cancelling. As soon as they transfer you to the retention department, someone who actually knows what they're talking about will happily give you that internet-only connection you're looking for, and most likely at a reasonable price, too... at least, for the first year, anyway.

Sidenote: Obviously, this only works if you have at least one other viable broadband provider in your area. If you live in one of the many broadband monopoly areas... well, in that case, you have my sympathies, because you are well and truly screwed.

Comment Rock and a hard place (Score 1) 222

There's really no mystery to this: Verizon is sticking to that unconvincing party line, because they're between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The restrictions they agreed to when they purchased their Block C spectrum license state that they're not permitted to restrict the ways in which you use your data connection on their wireless network; if you want to tether your BitTorrent PC to your Verizon Wireless cell phone and let it saturate that connection 24/7, they can't stop you -- they quite literally can't even slow you down. Thus, in order to make that kind of abuse of their network exorbitantly expensive, the only option that seems to be left to them is metering. We could probably argue ceaselessly about whether or not their current metered plans and overage fees are actually reasonable based on typical user activity -- but that's another discussion entirely. The point is, Verizon is never going to back down from those meters. Because they can't.

Mind you, I'm not making apologies for them... they made their bed, (by buying that spectrum in the first place) and now they have to sleep in it. But I don't have to sleep in it with them.

Comment Forthcoming Update! (Score 2) 152

And in next month's hypothetical news...

UPDATE: Facebook Cancels Autoplay For Videos

A report out today states that Facebook's usage statistics dropped precipitously over the past month, as users apparently simply stopped casually opening Facebook on their mobile phones almost entirely. One incensed user reports that his Facebook feed just suddenly started blaring an advertisement for Trojan condoms, right in the middle of his Sunday morning church service. Says the user, who prefers to remain anonymous, "I was totally shocked and embarrassed! I mean, I have never -- never, I tell ya -- shopped for condoms online! I mean, don't tell my girlfriend, but sure... I've surfed a little porn now and then -- but how the heck could Facebook know about that??"

Facebook executives cast the entire blame for this dip in usage on a software technician who had developed and deployed the new "Autoplay" feature for videos showing up in end-users news feeds, which was silently rolled out to all users and which naturally defaults to "on." The feature has now been rolled back in a panicked effort to minimize any further damage, but analysts are skeptical that the once overwhelmingly popular service will be able to reclaim its former glory. One executive was quoted as saying, "Hey, don't look at me! It's all that developer's fault -- and trust me, we've sacked him but good!" This reporter has asked Facebook for more details on what happened to the executive who authorized the new feature, but Facebook has not yet responded to queries as of press time.

Comment Common sense... isn't common (Score 2) 209

This isn't any kind of a magic bullet against crime: it's just another example of people failing to follow a rational chain of events to its conclusion. If you tell an even moderately intelligent person that he will be forced to give up the password to his cell phone if he's ever arrested, then he will simply add one more layer of obfuscation between his phone and his secrets... and you still won't be able to prosecute the worst offenders. The only people who will get caught up in this new dragnet are those in the first round of arrests who don't pay attention to the latest changes in their local laws, and therefore fail to take precautions. Most others (intelligent and otherwise) will quickly learn about those prosecutions from the media frenzy that follows, and will lock down their crap soon thereafter.

Seriously... just follow the pieces around the board, and you should be able to tell who's going to ultimately win in this kind of game. (Doesn't anyone play chess, anymore?)

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