713 posts • joined 24 Jul 2009
Re: Kinda hope
I've read a number of people having similar problems with RS both in the UK and Ireland. Oddly, Farnell seem to be just fine.
On the whole "power from a powered USB hub", there are many people who've done this already, so I'm wondering what exactly has been changed to support this?
Re: One small step
The problem there is that if a patent can't be transferred, but becomes public domain upon the collapse of a company or death of an individual, what you do is create a system whereby there is an incentive for individuals and/or organisations who wish to use a patented idea without paying for it to commit murder and/or play Hostile Capitalist Silly Buggers in order to force the patent into the public domain. Whereas when transferability exists, they play a slightly less murderous version of the game whereby the patent holder is convinced to sell it to them - and this is preferable (to those who might other be murderously inclined) because the idea remains exclusively theirs rather than in the public domain.
I do agree that trading in patents is problematic, and in general as with copyright the duration should generally be shorter unless evidence can be provided that suggests a generally long lifespan for the tech itself.
"The system needs to be fixed. Where do we start?"
It would probably have made your original article a lot more balanced had you acknowledged this to start with, rather than presenting the issue as a set of binary options (either "Patents are inherently brilliant and never abused" or "I HATE PATENTS AND ALL ABILITY TO EVER MAKE ANY MONEY EVER BECAUSE OF REASONS"). But anyway.
I would venture that a generally acceptable starting point on fixing the problem with the the patent system as embodied in the USPTO (which is where most accusations about failures in the patent system are aimed) would be:
* stop offering incentives based on number of patents approved
* implement a better prior-art examination system (you could possibly include some public-facing "submit prior art you think is relevant to this application" mechanism)
* enforce sharing of infrastructure-level technology with FRAND-type licensing
* for technology in particular, ensure that the effective lifespan of patent-related licensing rights is commesurate with the expected lifespan of the technology
Things I'd like to see would be a "use it, licence it or lose it" option for patents whereby someone sitting on a patent and insisting on ridiculous licence fees (ie substantially greater than their costs of development) while doing nothing to bring a product to market can have the patent appealed and, ideally, put into the public domain if they lose the case. That in itself would, I think, help cut down the amount of vexatious patent-related litigation.
Re: Lets not just blame java here
You mean the model that's been gradually changing since Vista came out in '06 whereby now, under 7 and probably 8 it's actually quite possible to work as a standard user rather than admin?
What you want to be doing is berating lazy software authors who haven't checked that their software will work without admin rights, and/or organisations who won't pay to upgrade to newer software that resolves said issues.
Of course, that might involve not being a plonker blindly toeing the "Windows = teh suxxor!" line...
Re: "the only way to safeguard or improve these systems is through the private sector,"
Yeah, so? The public sector being crap at managing data doesn't make it *better* that the private sector voluntarily flog it on at a profit while also frequently being just as crap as the public sector at securing it to begin with (hello, PSN hack, LinkedIn hack, however many banks have had ID theft committed by staff in off-shore callcentres, and however many other examples).
A criminal oversight
I can't take this list particularly seriously, as it's omitted the only genuinely decent film I've ever seen that was based on a videogame - namely, Street Fighter: The Animated Movie.
As for whoever mentioned Portal, any feature-length film would need to be at least as good as Portal: No Escape:
(see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4drucg1A6Xk if you don't know what I'm talking about).
Re: Bent but not broken
This post seems to put you at odds with your own original article.
Here you acknowledge that there are many problems with the patent system (and let's be clear - when complaints are made about "the" patent system, most often they apply specifically to the USPTO and its fairly lenient, shall we say, standards for checking that something qualifies as an invention, that there is no prior art, and that it involves a non-obvious step involved in the process of creating the invention). Yet the article seems predicated on the idea that there are only two options available: the current, seriously flawed system that mainly rewards people who submit patent applications (regardless of whether they've actually done any work to either invent a workable concept around the patent's material, or put any effort into bringing a product to market based upon it) or no patents whatsoever (where people will likely still be willing to invent stuff - see every piece of open-source software, freely distributed IP eg webcomics, and so forth - but at a substantially reduced rate as the legal protections allowing straightfward economic reward mechanisms to function disappear).
Surely the third option (a sane, better-implemented patent system) still exists and is still the goal?
While I accept that on one level the two aren't comparable (we're more dependent on transport than we are on a supply of beer, unless you're taking "quality of life" metrics very seriously) there are some circumstances where they can be compared.
A lot of the rationalisation for increasing fuel duty has been that drivers should be encouraged to seek out alternative transport. Which, you know, is great if you're in London and have an easy tube/overground route. Not so much if you either have no public transport option or are limited to the still-wallet-fistingly-expensive train companies as an alternative.
For those in the latter scenario, the notional justification does not apply and therefore the net result is an increase in tax paid.
A minimum price strategy by itself primarily suits the retailers as it allows them to increase the profitability per unit of all units sold. To achieve real social change (whether benevolent or otherwise!) requires a more sophisticated and ambitious strategy as it will require modification of social behaviours, and will have impacts on a number of people.
Nice job Andrew, it's impossible that Wales could have a point because, er, you don't like Wikipedia.
I guess all those people pointing out the misuse of the UK's libel system that led to the term "libel tourism" being coined must've just been wrong. After all, it couldn't possibly be that you've put grinding your anti-Wikipedia axe ahead of examining whether Wales has a point, could it?
Come on, raise your standards. I know everyone's distracted with that sports meet over in Stratford at the minute, but that's no excuse for turning in a half-hearted effort like this :P
Re: What nonsense
What you describe sounds an awful lot like what Nintendo tried to do with the Gamecube and the GBA connector cable. It seemed like a fairly rubbish idea back then, so I'm not sure it's going to turn into something compelling now unless they've got a clever plan like "throw money at developers to encourage them to incorporate this function" - but given Sony's current financial state I don't imagine that's likely.
I do think it's important to retain awareness of the difference in developer mentality when it comes to these things: in the case of the WiiU, the know the controller ships with the console. In the case of the PS3, it's an optional extra. Smart developers treat those two scenarios as completely different things - you don't want to limit your potential audience to only those PS3 owners who also own Vitas (1.8 million units sold worldwide as of the end of March, though they expect PSP and PS Vita combined sales by end of March 2013 to be 12M). Requiring possession of a Vita to properly enjoy a game means that you can only really target a few million users, rather than the ~64M people who have a PS3.
Nice demonstration of "thinking like a bellend" there, chap...
Personally, I try to support what modern services I find available that overlap my requirements. I signed up for Netflix pretty much as soon as it was available (after much frustration with Lovefilm's abject failure to offer a streaming service worth a damn for years, I object to the idea of giving them money now that the presence of competition has finally scared them into getting their act together). I've used Film Four's On Demand service and will be using the Curzon's On Demand service shortly as well.
I like the idea of Blinkbox, but the pricing is out of whack for DRM'd SD downloads. Contrary to the article, folks running Windows can download both seasons of Game Of Thrones - but you're tied into a mix of Windows Media Player and Silverlight, at SD. That's not really a compelling deal for the price, really. They're moving in the right direction, but still trying very hard not to learn the lessons learned by the music industry over the last 15-20 years. For obvious reasons - the music industry didn't have a huge array of legacy partners who have to be kept happy and whose business model required encrypted distribution channels as part of their agreements, so the transition to DRM-free mp3 as a baseline standard was less traumatic. Publishers and studios working in the film & tv sector are used to encryption being the norm for broadcast and haven't yet copped to the fact that, for recordings, they're going to have to get rid of it. Encryption & DRM are fine for rentals or streamed services, but not for something sold as "buy to own".
Re: Looks like HBO didn't learn their lesson from Season One
Well, kind of. The key is in finding the balance between restricting legitimate access to the material and provoking the Oatmeal Reaction (http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones, if you haven't seen it already). I suspect that a substantial proportion of publishers are getting that one very, very wrong thus far...
Personally, I'm getting sick and tired of hearing the same old squealing about piracy from content publishers who resolutely refuse to offer their content through 21st century channels....
Apple considers *everything* they make to be consumer machines - they don't call themselves a premium consumer electronics company for nothing. Before you try to argue otherwise, consider that Apple are the only approved computer vendor I've dealt with that is considered suitable for HE establishments despite refusing to provide any sort of next-day on-site hardware support for laptops. The best you'll get is a 1-2 week turnaround through either the Apple Store if you take it in there in person, or through an Authorised Service Centre via CAR (and at least half the ones I've dealt with have been the sort of cowboys who'll do things like lie about having had your authorisation to needlessly change the hard drive without doing a migration, reverting you to your two-versions-old initially-installed OS, not that I'm still bitter about that particular shower of useless bastards or anything...).
Personally, I don't see the point in any of the current crop of 13" machines - they *all* seem to have shite display resolutions and a fetish for being "thin" - I don't care about it being thin, I care about a good tradeoff between weight and power, and if that means making it a bit thicker then so bloody be it!
13" MacBook Air? Should be powerful enough for what you need to do, all solid-state so no worries about knackered spinning-drive-based data loss horror, and it's lightweight/slim enough to not be a burden...It's not cheap, exactly, but then neither are the comparably-sized alternative windows-based versions from other vendors.
(Me, I've got a 10" dual-core-Atom-based Eee that comes with me on holiday but then it's not a work machine for me, so much as a "dick about on the internet, watch the occasional ripped film/tv episode and run 16-bit console emulators for retrogaming fun" machine)
Re: Why spend money?
Ninite Pro sounds worthwhile for the biz/enterprise side of things, but for home users the PSI is much better because, well, the auto-update management is what you really want here.
Ninite's still nice for the initial setup, though - just not something I'd actually use very often...
Re: "want a pet but cant handle a proper one like a dog"
Yeah, cats + dogs are a problematic one: cats generally, on seeing a dog they don't know, will scarper. Dog then sees something running away and chases, on instinct, because the bit of its brain saying "CHASE THAT CAT-SHAPED THING" is more primal than the bit that might have learned that Chasing Cat-Shaped Things Earns It A Whack On The Nose or Stop When Master Says Stop.
I remember spending several months training two ten-year-old cats to not be afraid of our new 2-year-old German Shepherd. Once he'd been made to understand that the cats were part of the family on an equal level to him, he calmed down - and the cats learned that they could stand their ground and bop him on the nose if he got silly. But that was several months of work, which involved a lot of shouting, discipline for the dog (who, to be fair, was very good-natured but like all dogs was a bit puzzled as to why the humans were telling it not to chase what looked like perfectly good prey), and alternately coaxing the cats into relaxing and trying to convince them to come down from the top of the bookshelf/mantelpiece/curtain rail.
Walking down the street's a whole different ballgame. This is why I get angry when I see prats insisting that their dog is special and would never misbehave, so of course it's fine to leave them off the leash. I'm very fond of dogs, but being naive or in denial as to their nature helps nobody.
Re: The only legal way to kill a cat...
So have you done anything about the cats that crap in your garden, like talked to their owners about it if they're domesticated or reported them to rescues to get them picked up if they're strays?
Or was it easier to just post some bellendy borderline-psychopathic comment on an internet forum?
Re: @Citizen Kaned
Nice try at goalpost shifting - Citizen Kaned was moaning about cat piss and trying to present a notion of dog owners as inherently cleaner/more responsible than cat owners on the basis that dog owners clean up their dog crap. Which is a silly generalisation (clearly not all dog owners clean up their dog's crap, and clearly not all cat owners are inconsiderate gits who expect their cats to use everyone else's garden as a giant toilet).
The thing is, though, cats and dogs both have much more sensitive olfactory systems than humans and so their more-pheromonally-charged urine is used as a territorial marker.
You wanting to piss in my fridge isn't actually a pheromonal territorial claim, it would at best be a psychological territorial claim through demonstration of either physical or legal dominance (if for some reason you had the backing of the country's legal establishment re: urinating in my fridge). So it's not really a comparable circumstance, is it?
I appreciate that the above doesn't much help you when it comes to keeping cats out of the vegetable patch - on which note, I've been advised by She Who Must Be Obeyed that grated lemon rind or citrus spray should keep them away. If they're determined to piss on your spuds, chickenwire is probably the way to go.
Well, if you will come out with a comment as retarded as "cats aren't real pets", what else did you expect?
I've had cats & dogs my entire life - both species make great pets but have differing needs. Myself and the OH work full-time, so having a dog as the only pet would be pretty cruel (aside from which we don't have any outdoor space where it could easily roam). So for now, dogs are a no-go. Cats are much lower-maintenance pets and easier/more practical for such circumstances.
If you don't like cats, that's fair enough. Trying to claim that this is some sort of Ultimate Objective Truth rather than your personal opinion, however, earns you a hat with the word "BELLEND" written on it.
Responsible cat owners will at least make sure they've got litter trays for their cats (my cat gets allowed out for a while in the morning and a while in the evening, and mostly uses her litter tray rather than a neighbour's garden to crap in). Though in saying that, if you don't understand how cats (and dogs!) use urine as a way of marking territory you probably shouldn't expect any opinion you express about pet ownership to be taken seriously. Or are you trying to tell me that you carry a bucket around with you to scrupulously scrub away any and all piss-stains that might result from your dog trying to do the canine equivalent of scribbling "I woz 'ere" on any surface available?
"Results were surprising"? Really?
Clearly nobody in the study had much familiarity with cats, then.
I've had pet cats most of my life and am very fond of the little buggers, but I've got no illusions whatsoever as to their nature - I don't see what's so shocking about animals expressing natural behaviour. Just because we've tamed them enough that we can make them pets doesn't make them adopt a vegetarian non-violent approach to life.
Re: Wall Street in slash and Burn shocker.
What they need to be doing is providing support that's good enough to serve as an additional plus point to their hardware. They already do this for their large-biz printer gear, but they're inconsistent on the computing front.
Of course, some bellend-brained analyst will always favour what gets next-quarter results (even if it sinks the company) over what will help the company right itself over a longer period. It's not like that sort of thinking helped sink Kodak or anything, is it? Oh, wait...
Re: but what if...
It's designed to process lots of trades quickly, each one making a profit.
However, the $440M was only manifested in the time period concerned because the trades were unprofitable (and bloody stupid to boot).
Had the trades being made by the system been profitable for Knight Capital or their backers, the story would have a completely different tone but also a much smaller amount of money associated with it.
That story would also have featured a whole lot of traders initiating unscheduled brownware deposits in the rear baggage areas, as they suddenly saw a future in which they themselves were obsolete. But then again, you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true. :|
Re: but what if...
That question is about as relevant to the discussion as the question "What if unicorns flew out of your ass?".
Sure, it might lead to some interesting or entertaining speculation, but it's got no useful bearing on the situation at hand, so why spend braincells on it?
@j arthur rank
Yeah, don't use amazon but do continue to have remote wiping of all your devices enabled on a system whose identity verification processes aren't exactly gold-standard. Can't imagine how that might bite you on the ass.
Alternatively, pay attention when evaluating each potential point of failure in the systems you use to store precious data and attempt to address them when devising a backup strategy. It's not necessarily easy, and it will be time-consuming, but then nobody ever promised otherwise...
No, that doesn't cut the mustard.
If your only backup for Device A is stored on Device B, which has a remote wipe functionality, then you don't actually have a backup worth a damn.
Similarly, iCloud is a data sync tool, not a be-all end-all backup solution - as I would have thought this incident demonstrates!
If he had an external hard drive with Time Machine backups of his MacBook (including iTunes snapshots of his iPhone) then iCloud account takeover notwithstanding, he would have the lion's share of his stuff intact. A backup, by definition, should be something of which you have entire control - ideally something you can stick, unused, in a drawer somewhere so that it can't get banjaxed in the event of Unspecified IT Woes befalling you.
While I sympathise to a certain extent with anyone who's on the receiving end of nonsense like this, Honan should still primarily be kicking *himself* in the balls for this whole SNAFU. Amazon and Apple deserve a shoeing for being so easily duped, but despite being a tech journalist for over a decade, Honan had :
no backups of his phone (even though this is trivially done in iTunes);
no backups of his main work machine (again, trivially done with Time Machine);
enabled a remote-wipe service that he didn't really need (why?!);
bad security habits in terms of email address naming and linking.
Gizmodo also deserve at least a toe in the vicinity of the ballbag for having an ex-staff-writer account still associated with their main Twitter feed.
Maybe he'll be lucky and get some of his stuff back via PhotoRec, but between this and Wozniak's comments about Cloud dependence it looks like this is the week to remember that clouds (Fruity or otherwise) should only ever be one part of a multi-part data storage backup/redundancy strategy. Anything contrary invites disaster and/or misery...
Re: Epic fail
I will break my hole laughing if someone else has managed to trademark "Windows 8" in relation to computing :D
Meh, feck 'em.
Well, you know what, perhaps they should be looking at publishers for at least part of the reason.
I bought a copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution for Windows on physical media a while back, on the basis that I like to have at least some of my game purchases outside of the Steam Walled Garden (though in saying that, I've never had an issue with Steam - it's just a "not all eggs in one basket" kind of thing). No sooner did I pop the disc in to run the install than the bastard thing insisted on me authenticating it against my Steam account and promptly downloaded all the install files via the network.
Had I known it was going to do that, I'd have just bought the bloody thing on Steam. For most gaming purchases physical retailers are pointless these days, and frankly have designed their own doom. When I was a teenager my local games shop was great - they had demo units set up where you could try games for almost any platform, as well as a paid-for arcade-type setup in the basement where you could rent games for cheap and play them (they had half-hourly and hourly rates that worked out). And this was on top of doing console rentals and all the other stuff you expect. I couldn't tell you when I last saw a working display model that I could actually play in a games shop - barring the Kinect Window Display I saw before Christmas I think it's probably been about 5 years or so.
It sucks for the employees, but if management are going to insist on being so crap in deciding how to deliver a service they really can't be surprised that they've been left behind.
Re: Lucky escape for me
Right, no contribution to the field. Must've been someone else who demonstrated a working neural interface that allowed the long term transmission of neural impulses to and from a living person's nervous system then, right?
I dislike a lot of his media antics because they're bloody silly at times ("I'm a cyborg, just like every registered pet cat or dog! Oh, wait, that doesn't sound very impressive...") but to suggest he's done nothing in his field is to buy into the increasingly desperate El Reg trolling on the subject rather than actually read about the work he has done.
Re: One Partition
If it is, it nixes any notion of me going near it. My MBP runs Win7 most of the time (I've got no real objection to OS X, but I've got a bunch of Win-only software) and if an OS upgrade means I have to cock about with repartitioning it can smeg off.
You do interact with the game - you wander around and explore the environment.
I believe what you're trying to actually articulate is that Dear Esther, unlike many games, is not a game built on a linear progression gameplay mechanism, such that it's difficult to know if you're doing what you're "meant" to be doing, and whether you're doing it right or not.
All of which is understandable but misses the point of the game.
Games don't have to be about linear progression any more than films have to be three-act narratives with neatly closed plots and character arcs. I'm not saying everyone should love it, but I think that gaming as a form of entertainment is worse off overall if you try to dismiss efforts like Dear Esther, Dinner Date or any of the many other weird little sandbox games or other experiments as "not games".
I should also point out that I've not tried the HD version of Dear Esther, as I played the original freely-distributed HL2 mod. I do appreciate that with a price tag comes a higher expectation of the final product, but I haven't seen anything on the Dear Esther listing on Steam (for example) that would mislead you as to its nature. "Abandoning traditional gameplay for a pure story-driven experience, Dear Esther fuses it’s beautiful environments with a breathtaking soundtrack to tell a powerful story of love, loss, guilt and redemption."
If by "atrocious" you mean "experimental" then yes. If you mean "bad", or worse "Objectively bad" then I posit the alternative hypothesis that it is rather a game which is not to your tastes, but which may be suited to the tastes of others.
I've not played the re-release commercial version, but I found the old HL2 mod version a while back. I like that people will make weirdly unsettling games like that, the medium of games should have space for all sorts of games.
Re: @h4rm0ny - Shock Horror
Nah mate, it's not just Start I'm talking about. Having stuff active in unlabeled hotcorners or random locations that are only active in certain contexts is pretty bloody silly in a new iteration of a very menu-drive operating system; almost as silly as forcing a touchscreen-paradigm interface onto keyboard and mouse users.
If it works for you, fair enough. That doesn't mean it'll work for all, nor does it mean you can dismiss potential (or actual) problems other people can see. (It probably also means you shouldn't assume that when people mention 802.1x they automatically mean IEEE1394 connections and not eg WLAN connections, but never mind that...)
Re: @h4rm0ny - Shock Horror
"But I honestly cannot see moving to the bottom left and clicking if there's a circle there and moving to the bottom left and clicking if there isn't"
So you don't see the problem with a UI that has hidden various key functions in the very corners of the display under the assumption that you can thumbswipe that location to get them to show up being forced upon non-touch-enabled systems?
Microsoft already have a chaotically silly way of organising their configuration utilities, the last thing we bloody need is for them to start hiding the $%^&ing menus themselves. Bad enough to be wondering which bit of the Control Panel you need to get to this time to eg disable 802.1x, but even worse if you also have to remember how to open the bloody control panel 'cos the stupid goits went and hid all the bloody menus...
Re: Hawking for Sky are we?
A good example can be had in the form of Torchwood. Mostly dreadful shite (I tried one or two episodes from the first and second series, and couldn't stick through either of them), so far so unremarkable.
Then the far-better-than-it-had-any-business-being Children Of Earth miniseries came about, and was excellent in no small part because it was allowed to be nasty and allowed to be short. That did so well that a fourth series was commissioned, with at least half the funding & development coming from some US studio (Starz, maybe?). They then took an idea that was sort of on the same wavelength as CoE, but made it drag on for far longer, and produced a resolutely mediocre load of turd as a result.
If you're going to champion US dramas, you have to acknowledge that most of them happen despite the US television setup, not because of it. As someone else has said, the cable networks operate on a system that's somewhere between a licence fee and a patronage mechanism, and they are more often than not where the stuff that gets critical acclaim is generated.
What do I think?
I think you're being extremely unfair and making a bollocks comparison, is what I think.
If you want to compare all British TV drama output against all US TV Drama output, you'll find there's an absolute wagonload of complete shite that the Yank stations churn out year in, year out, because they have tons of channels that need to be filled with Exclusive To Us content.
You can't just cherry pick the best handful of US dramas from the last decade and use them as the basis for moaning about the state of UK TV output. But then again, given that you've in the past suggested that the licence fee is inherently demonic and we should all want a more American television system (because that's what I want, less funding for any public interest content and more adverts, not to mention billions more channels showing reality-television shite because That's What Gets Viewers) I'm not entirely surprised....
You don't condone what happens, you just excuse twats acting like twats?
The glasses in question are not that provocative. Provocative would be a massive cyclopean middle-of-the-forehead HAL-9000 LED, or a tattoo on his face saying "I'M RECORDING YOUR EVERY WORD" or something. He's wearing some custom, unusual, glasses. If you're going to freak out over them, you should be freaking out about everyone with a phone manufactured in the last 5-8 years because HOLY SHIT CAMERAS ZOMG!
Even if the gear were in breach of some bollocks "no recording equipment" policy, the correct response is to ask him politely to leave, not to physically assault him. I'm really not sure where that part is somehow a predictable and avoidable risk in your world. Are we really having to specifically tell people that violent assault isn't a valid reaction when you work in customer service? o_O
Great, another person following the Lewis Page model: "This model is bollocks, but I'm going to use it anyway because I think it might support the point I'd like to make".
If the model underpinning a study is bollocks (for example in this case because it uses a ridiculously small sample set with no details given to substantiate any claim of being an accurate representation of population-wide preference distributions) then the only thing that can usefully be said about it is "The model on which this study is based is bollocks, here's why".
Hopefully Rik will do that next time, instead of parroting the load of old bollocks desired by whoever commissioned the survey.
Re: Captain Underpants
Hmm, I think I didn't express myself particularly well last time.
Copyright as a concept is still important, obviously, but the enforcement mechanisms that traditionally accompany it are predicated on the idea that infringement is labour- and time-intensive and therefore most likely to be committed in bulk by someone looking to profit from it (eg that US publisher who was printing unauthorised paperback copies of the LotR books in the sixties).
Now that we're talking about billions of people regularly using information-copying machines on a global network, infringement is frequently not labour- or time-intensive, so copyright holders need to adapt their strategy. It should be evident, at this point, that DRM is a mug's game - for almost all AV content, it just makes the legal offering look rubbish compared to the pirate offering (see all the DVDs with stupid anti-piracy warnings & trailers embedded in an unskippable format at the start of the content, or the stupid "Free digital copy included!" variants where you get an expiring DRM'd copy in some rubbish format like WMV). We've got as close to Steam as we're going to for video with the likes of Netflix, but as long as distribution rights continue to operate on the basis of technically-obsolete region definitions, the industry and its audience are at odds.
Re: Copyright holders are NOT controlling the flow of money
I'm not sure your logic holds up, tbh.
I've seen a number of TV & film productions distributed by their producers as free-to-watch (for examples, Pioneer One and The Tunnel). They seem to be using a mix of investment, crowdfunding, and after-viewing media sales to their audience as their revenue streams. Of the stuff I've watched, everything has been more original and less homogenised, but the production values have been more variable.
Copyright is important in helping to provide a clear path to profit, but it's far less relevant now that we're talking about media distribution via widely available copying machines than it would have been when the ability for a random punter to eg print a knock-off copy of a book was fairly low. Focusing exclusively on "copyright protected distribution methods" and leaving other, faster and more convenient methods as being purely the domain of filthy pirates is foolish.
I think you've missed a couple of important things, Andrew.
Firstly, your suggestion about tokens - I get what you're talking about, but it's not going to fly. Bundling Spotify/iTunes credit/Amazon MP3 store credit/eMusic download bundles might fly, but people have been trying to create a universal micropayment system for years and they've never taken off, mainly because too much faffery. And there's a nontrivial risk of just following the XKCD "Standards" issue if you try to fix that one without planning very carefully while being very lucky (http://xkcd.com/927/, for reference).
Secondly, the biggest single solution for the "internet economy" would be for the copyright holding companies to stop being dickheads acting like they still live in the late 90s. You'd think it was obvious, but apparently it's not. Example: I like The Big Bang Theory. I'd really quite like to watch new episodes as soon as I can. The copyright holding company's view about this is that the US gets the premiere first of all (fair enough, it's produced by a US network). UK networks get to wait somewhere between 6 and 12 weeks for those new episodes, then we get to wait a good bit more for the DVD release. The same delays apply to digital releases via iTunes (currently the only online store I know of that does download-to-own video sales, which is another bit of fuckwittery in action).
There is no good reason for this. Not with a new show that has been developed at a point where networks are aware of streaming and downloading as viewing options. So why are the contracts still set up in such a backwards fashion? Because they're being written and designed by old men who have no understanding of how their audience works.
Now you tell me how many people in the target audience for any modern television show will say "Well, it's not released here for another 8 weeks because the studio's thinking with someone's bellend again when negotiating international distribution rights, so let's just sit and wait for it"? And how many will say "fuck them, fire up bigtimeawesometorrentbucket.com and we'll be watching it in 15 minutes"?
TL;DR - go read the comic at TheOatmeal about trying to watch Game Of Thrones (http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones). It summarises the experience of anyone trying to watch any modern video content. (Music isn't subject to as many retarded constraints purely because it's more feasible for an artist to self-release, but as a result TV & film companies are training their audiences to pirate stuff in the exact same way that music companies did for ages...)
If it had been too shiny, that would've distracted people from the 15" rMBP
No surprise, really - the 15" rMBP is the big shiny at the moment. Assuming that does well (and it will, I'm guessing, because despite the silly bits that have been removed it's still a 2kg 15" machine with a bleeding-edge display and dedicated GPU) there'll be a 13" version next year, possibly making the distinction between the Air and the 13" Pro focus more on display quality rather than weight.
I can see one area of innovation arising from this - namely, the rise of systems for steganographically encoding owner/authorship information into images or recordings. Which will then be countered by systems designed specifically to remove such data.
Meanwhile, individual rights get stomped on some more by the same bastards getting rich from selling X-Factor-type tat to numpties. Same as ever, then.
From what I can see the study was entirely based on self-reported evidence, and calculated BMI based on reported height and body mass. No measurements for body fat or muscle mass were taken.
It is, at best, an example of how poor application of a simplistic and blunt tool like BMI can result in confusing or incorrect information. At worst, it's bad science and FUD mixed together.
Oh, FFS, talk about diddling the statistics to get the answer you want!
Having a look at the abstract, they've just lumped everyone below "normal" into the "underweight" category. There are several underweight categories (very severely underweight is <49kg, severely underweight is <52kg, underweight is <60kg, normal being 60-80kg), just like there are several overweight categories. Of course you'll find that being "underweight" is bad for you if you decide to treat "a couple of kg below normal" in the same way as "malnourished & anorexic" for statistical purposes.
Also, if you're going to decide that the only concerns about obesity are medical conditions that result in death, you're going to miss out (at all points on the spectrum) being able to compare relative actual health, especially when (and here's the important bit) the entire study is based on self-reported information. This wasn't monitored, they weren't checked for other conditions that might relate to their body mass, they just got "A self-administered questionnaire includ(ing) items about respondent smoking and health conditions."
There are problems with BMI, and bigger problems with how parts of the medical establishment use it, but this study is far from the Smoking GNU Lewis misrepresents it as being.
Re: My Retina Macbook Pro so DOES have gigabit ethernet ...
@Charlie: I grudgingly concede that being able to shave a couple of pounds off a 15" MBP is worth it to some folks (not to me, but then I've managed to avoid re-calibrating my internal value for "heavy laptop" since the cheapy Dell I had years ago, whose weight was forgiven on the basis that it cost very very little indeed).
However, when you're having to re-introduce something like wired ethernet (where real-world wireless transfer rates are still orders of magnitude slower than real-world gig-e transfer rates) with a dongle, it means the vendor's done something a bit silly. It was silly but kind of understandable with the Air, but with the rMBP it just seems daft. It's a bit cheeky to say "Device X has function Y" when what you actually mean is "Device X plus peripheral Z has function Y".
It should be taken as a given that I feel very much like a luddite right now for disagreeing with Charles Stross in a comment thread...between this and Andrew Orlowski using the term "disruptive technology" with a straight face the other day, I think I may have ended up in the Twilight Zone somehow... o_O
There's an awful lot of bellendery going on here that basically amounts to "I reckon Solution A is so awesome for all circumstances that I have no problem with Solution B being deprecated despite still being useful and having a different use case".
Providing the option of a laptop or desktop with no integrated optical drive is one thing, insisting on its absence in the latest model for no real reason another thing entirely ("Oh, it's thinner" is not a feckin' compelling reason on a 15" laptop, especially one whose chassis design was already at the lightweight end of the spectrum). I'm amazed at the people suggesting that those who need them "just buy/use dongles" - the entire point of wanting integrated components is to not have to carry a load of annoying peripherals around! I'm not sure what's so hard about this.
Oh, and for that matter - if the laptop costs the best part of two grand and has deprecated an onboard option that every other bloody vendor still has as an onboard option, then too %^&*ing right the vendor should throw it in as a freebie. Trying to go for the Ryanair "no-frills" sales pitch doesn't work when you're charging premium prices.
Re: RE: what else do you want - parallel printer ports?
Yeah, I work in a research department where the lab kit in use has an actual operational lifespan at least 5 times longer than the average machine that will be used to interface with it. The software & hardware requirements make for interesting (to say the least!) support offerings, but it at least keeps the job from being dull.
Of course, there are cretins on here for whom "computing" means "operating a web browser and office productivity software", so of course they don't see the loss of hardware connectivity options as a bad thing...
Yes, the problem is definitely that people aren't buying Brand New Stuff they don't need/ can't afford, and it's absolutely definitely not down to a financial model that assumes that hardware sales can consistently grow regardless of financial conditions.
I can't help but wonder if analysis of those companies selling both hardware and decent after-sales support services have prospects quite as grim as are being suggested here...
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