172 posts • joined Thursday 21st October 2010 11:48 GMT
Will no one
think of the polar bears?
I thought you said *Smart* button.
And there I was, thinking MS had had that removed decades ago.
Let's just remind ourselves
that if you write a book for a traditional publisher, they will typically keep at least *85% of their net income.*
That's for books that sell reasonably well.
If you're a midlist fiction author, you typically get to keep just 7% of the net income.
Oh - and if you have an agent, the agent will keep between 10% and 20% of any payment the publisher makes to you.
Some agent contracts stipulate that you must pay them 10-20% of *any* work you do, from any source, whether or not they made it happen for you.
And the really evil ones expect you to keep paying them that 10-20% even after they're no longer working for you.
So that's how author-friendly trad pub is.
Now - if you're lucky, existing publishers will pay you an advance. It might be a few thousand for first time novel, although it's usually a lot less in the UK.
If you have a name and a platform (as it's called - i.e. you have some kind of relevant professional or media profile) advances can range from 10k to 100k. The real heavy hitters get seven figures. (But there aren't many of those.)
So - d'ya feel lucky?
With Apple you can write a book and keep 70% of the income.
With trad publishing you can write a book and make something less than minimum wage on an hourly rate basis.
Since publishers are no longer doing PR for non-famous authors, the Apple deal really isn't so bad - especially given that it's a new market, it's going to get bigger, and now is the time to make yourself a new niche.
You'll probably be wasting your time, especially if you don't know how to do the PR thing.
But some people will do okay. A smaller number will do more than okay. And a handful of people will do very well indeed from this.
No, I think
"capitalism" runs on sunshine and unicorns and making shit up for profit and stealing from people who can't fight back.
Do you think Bill Gates got rich by writing good software? Do you? Really? Huh?
The Internet, meanwhile, runs electricity and *brain power.*
In case you haven't noticed, quite a lot of the software that makes it work was developed by people for free. Quite a lot of the rest fell out of government-funded (oh, the horror...) research programs.
And as for the electricity - if it weren't for loud fundamentalists like you and the political interference of idiot energy corporations genuflecting to the all-powerful god of 'free markets - if, in fact, we did proper rational planning and foresight and strategy as a culture, instead of leaving planning to coke-snorting barrow boy traders and peri-menopausal executives - energy would be cheaper, more reliable, and less in need of military support.
But we don't.
Which is why we still have people like you yelling loudly and irrationally that this fiasco is some kind of win for our species, instead of the epic and hugely embarrassing fail that it really is.
are authoritarians. Authoritarians use whatever rhetoric is around to gain power, and then hold onto it.
Here's everything anyone needs to know about authoritarian personalities and how they worK:
However - you only have to look at the clown show in the US that's the current Republican Primary, or our own home grown chinless wonders, to understand that there's something very broken about conservatives as people, and especially in their ability to empathise with others who aren't part of their tribe.
Progressives - not necessarily old-fashioned left wingers - reliably score higher on tolerance, empathy, ability to deal with complexity, and IQ.
The conservative mind is an evolutionary throw-back. It reduces complexity to slogans, morality to I-win-you-lose, and ethics to I'm-right-because-I-have-more-money.
It's not hard (for most of us) to understand why these aren't a good basis for a civilisation with prospects.
this has never been an issue.
See e.g. Microsoft which did quite nicely while ignoring user rage.
On Planet Capitalism you get revenue by marketing the crap out of mediocrity and/or by sending the lawyers in, not by being genuinely awesome and superb to the point where you're fluffing your customers until they squee.
FaceBorg has a lot of potential. It has so much potential it has no idea what to do with it.
Customer satisfaction likely won't play a huge role in future plans - no more than it does today, anyway.
I'm fed up
with people justifying slavery.
As for unemployment - if Apple was serious about spreading the sunshine around it would be following the old Fordist model of paying workers a higher wage so there's more money in the economy and more people with the spending power to afford consumer goods.
But since Foxconn's workers think they're lucky if they - literally - get an extra biscuit at tea time, it's obvious that empathy and compassion aren't the prime motivators here.
I'm sure the workers were thrilled when Foxconn's CEO compared them to animals and said that managing them gave him headaches. (It must be *terribly* hard for him.)
the ineffable levels of HR genius needed to get on a platform and make a speech that's going to mightily piss off the people who are selling for you.
Where did Nokia find this troll? (Yeah, I know. Microsoft. Spiritual home of the IT Troll Lords.)
I think this is closer
to the plan (assuming there is a plan, and this isn't just another Tony Smith random rumour.)
Apple is primarily a content company. The ability to open up the TV market and claim a slice of TV advertising must be irresistible.
Apple already has iTunes. An open TV content market similar to the app store and to iBooks would be an easy win.
Of course, content would only be streamed to the Apple TV and iDevices, so you'd have to buy one before you could start creating your own content.
This is used to be called podcasting, but Apple-specific iOS TV hardware would take it to a new level.
Whether this is good or bad is debatable. Good TV still costs shedloads of cash to make. But enough people are earning a few pennies on YouTube to make it worth thinking about.
And Apple only needs to host the content and charge its usual 30% tax/toll for provider access to make an even bigger pile of cash than it has now.
off-shoring weakens the domestic economy by sending jobs and income abroad.
The Big Pile of Stupid is the fact that the domestic production costs would be only very slightly higher - probably no more than a grand total of $30 - but there would be more money floating around in the US or Euro economies from taxes and discretionary worker spending.
Demand and final profits would be higher still without off-shoring.
But this doesn't suit the neanderthal Harvard management mind-set, which is as much about politics and power differentials as it is about prosperity.
So Chinese workers will keep being killed, and US and Euro workers will keep being unemployed and/or poor.
The 'theft' framing is wrong
because clearly copying is not the same as taking non-copyable items.
The problem is the unitised model of content distribution, and the fact the corporates think only in terms of units sold or licensed, units compete with each others' financial performance, and creators of units are rewarded (or not) depending on their units' revenue and profit.
Traditional copyright grants the right to produce unit copies. But content generation of all kinds is a much more complex which includes elements of initial investment, creative and/or technical project management, distribution management, and monetisation.
What's needed are new models of content development that aren't based on the idea that artists are primarily paid to sell unitised and itemised products.
This will make most people's heads explodes, but it would be possible to invest in an artist's career in an open-ended way for a fixed period - from a few months to a few decades, with an option to extend if good work appears.
The creative output itself would be public and free.
isn't really a Chocolate Factory.
Unfortunately in a case like this, no matter what the intellectual prostitutes - I mean, lawyers - are paid to say in their usual excited and overly dramatic way, what matters is what you do to your employees, not how you label it.
And on that basis, this looks very much like textbook cartel price-fixing in the labour market.
LucasFilm makes films, Apple distributes them. If they employ tech people it's monopolistic abuse if they agree not to compete on salary offers.
Of course, what would be really, really interesting would be similar emails and conversations between the other movie studios - if they happen to exist somewhere.
Which I'm sure they don't.
if you want a civilised debate about anything political, you start by keeping everyone with a net worth higher than $x million out of office.
You also make it illegal to profit from lobbying, to sell your time for cash, or to treat law-making as anything other than a valuable but rather dull job with limited opportunities for personal profit.
None of this is going to happen because our fucked political systems are inherently plutocratic with a thin plastic veneer of pretendy democracy. All kinds of horrors fall out from this.
But still. It's nice to dream.
As for IP - the issue isn't simple. Talent needs social sponsorship when it's starting out, and it needs continued social sponsorship when it continues to innovate and be creative. In the arts, getting a good mix between edgy innovation and genius and ho-hum but immensely popular entertainment is always a challenge.
The system as it stands currently fails at every level except the ho-hum. Good musicians today give away their stuff on SoundCloud etc, where it rapidly disappears into the noise, where twenty years ago they would have been signed and had a career of sorts.
Now they do music part time. Which is everyone's loss.
The issue isn't really copyright, it's about nurturing and rewarding real talent. Copyright is one - old-fashioned - way to do that.
But given the ease with which it's easy to copy digital media, a complete rethink is needed. Breaking up the media monopolies into hundreds of much smaller niche companies would be a good start.
Meanwhile freetards need to consider the possibility that piracy really does kill innovation. As a software developer, I know there's no point working on certain projects because they *will* be pirated because of their use-value, and I will *not* get a fair return.
So I don't bother.
If there's a win for anyone here, I'm not sure where it is.
Good to see someone trying something new.
Problem is, Apple are going to be after the 'i'm' branding like a gastrically challenged cat after a litter box.
And the watch - the only item that isn't a 3D rendering - is actually kind of thick and ugly.
Will there be a music and content store to match iTunes? I'd guess not. But we'll see.
Still - it's impressive to see a design company trying to out-fruit the malean ones, and apparently succeeding.
The smart way
to invade another planet is to take over a small number of leaders and opinion formers.
You can then steer the natives towards terraforming (or xenoforming) the planet to make it more hospitable for your own requirements on the planet's own dime, without all the wasteful drama produced by giant invading armies, etc.
Extra points for persuading the natives that none of this is happening, that - for example - temperature increases don't matter, and that possible developments in the wrong direction - like sustainable power - are a bit mad really, and no one should take them seriously.
That way the natives can cook themselves, and you can start eating them when you're ready.
I think the plan is
that the UK will be able to march towards world dominance in Programming[tm]
Especially games, and entertainment, and a bit of quanting, and stuff like that.
This would be a good thing, if it weren't for one or two minor points - like the fact that programming is useless without both industrial and/or management strategy and design, and that practical programming skills have a nasty habit of becoming obsolete fairly quickly. (Just ask a Flash developer.) Especially if they're toy programming skills, like Sketch - nice toy though it is.
So - programming is better than ICT, but a really interesting curriculum would combine development across multiple platforms with some element of useful, non-Hoxton entrepreneurship, perhaps larded with useful negotiation skills.
Gove's mind - if it can be called that - seems to be trained too mechanically to think strategically. Flash some action words at him, and he's putty in the hands of lobbyists and advisors.
Therefore drama and grandstanding and newsbites, but not so much deep insight into real educational needs.
Also, who's going to pay for the teachers to support this bold new effort - the ones who will be giving up highly-skilled contractor posts for the academic front-line?
(Not the Tories, that's for sure.)
Yes"The welfare of our employees is our top priority and we are committed to ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and that their rights are fully protected." Of course.
He wants more startups
making quick cash for 'investors' and keeping a few token 'culture workers' off the streets.
World leading innovation in IT, etc.
He did say that he thought startups taking on one or two people each would solve the UK's unemployment problem.
So that'll be millions of startups then.
Since his arithmetic can't be wrong - he went to a good school, you know - he must be serious about this.
The reality is that most people working in startup land know that the object of the exercise is to create something plausible sounding, sell it to a Greater Fool for too much money, trouser the profits, and be somewhere else when it goes tits-up.
The success rate of tech startups - especially webby wobbly 2.0 social ones - makes winning the lottery seem like a sure thing.
The cloud-based features are in all iOS5 devices, not just the 4S.
The only differences between the 4S and the 4 are Siri, a better camera, and an antenna that actually works.
It's a bit pants if Arieso don't understand this.
"Was the counterfeit claim suitably investigated?"
No, I really don't think it was.
Firstly, there's a difference between 'item not as described' and 'counterfeit item.'
Secondly, antiques and artworks are supported by a thing called provenance. If the seller can prove provenance, or has an expert witness supporting same, the buyer's 'I don't think so' - apparently based on a finger in the wind and some wishful thinking - is worthless.
So yes - PayPal are fucked. They ordered the destruction of an item which the buyer didn't own, and which wasn't actually a counterfeit in any legal sense.
It's a shame this didn't happen in the UK, or it would be an easy win in Small Claims.
You're confusing regulation
Spectrum is a physically limited resource, so it has to be managed. It's not physically practical to make it a free for all, and given the cost of entry involved in building physical networks, there's absolutely no way a tiny start-up could squeeze into the market space.
*Good* regulation would have enforced interoperability and set a ceiling on consumer prices (just like the EU did for roaming charges.) The cellcos would whine about this, but there's no reason they couldn't stay profitable - just as they have in the EU.
US-style "regulation" is really just an eBay sale of critical infrastructure, and is barely recognisable as regulation at all.
And coming up next...
...neo-liberal economists, who reliably peddle a far more destructive blend of utter cack, but never seem to be called out on it.
If they were 'for entertainment only' the world would be a far more pleasant place.
Wind farms justify their costs
by being - you know - cheaper than anything else. Especially offshore.
Even Exxon say so in their medium term predictions.
The 'won't work without backup' line is political spin, and practical nonsense. Coal and gas supplies aren't immune to interruption and even parliamentary reports have realised that there's an imminent gas peak due 2020-2030:
So good luck getting gas generation to work affordably - or at all - thirty years from now.
As for nukes - when you include clean-up and reprocessing costs and traditional nuke underperformance, and exclude subsidy, nukes are seriously expensive. Clean-up costs are estimated at £76bn, and keep doubling with worrying regularity. And there's still no long-term solution for waste storage.
And guess who pays for that? (Clue - we do.)
Sp yes - building something that's going to cost £100bn or more to clean up (let's be realistic), has a history of being run by irresponsible chancers and wide boys, with a low but non-zero chance of making large parts of the UK uninhabitable (totally unthinkable - just like Fukushima) is a *genius* plan, when you can spend the same money on a mix of renewables (q.v. tidal, etc) which have negligible clean-up costs, aren't any less reliable in practice than current alternatives, and never run out.
Or is that too obvious for people who can't be arsed to think independently and prefer to parrot talking points and rhetoric from dodgy lobby groups?
The correct answers to both questions are...
...Who gives a flying poptart cat?
Serious seven-figure-contract people are just as pretentious as hipster wannabes. The godawful abrasive cash-driven noise coming out of our financial centers is more than enough proof of that - as is the endless stream of self-aggrandising widdle-plop drivel in business communications.
Saying 't-shirts iz teh kewl' is stupid, but it's tragically less inane than the self-important wanky bollocks that gets pimped out as wisdom in business, management, and economics.
You mean trend setters who aren't white, affluent and middle class?
Good luck with that.
Although to be fair, China is likely to sprout an Apple-sized globo-corp of its own - or even a few - in the next decade or two.
Kudos to Nokia for getting a nice looking WinSlab out the door more quickly than anyone expected.
But - so what?
Anyone who wants to take on the iPhone has to understand that making and selling handsets is nowhere near enough. Apple has an advantage because its unified brand includes laptops, desktops, music, media and app distribution, and Cool Advertising [tm.]
Nokia are doing well on the Jobsian idea of making tech that's shiny, brightly coloured and easy to use. But they still haven't managed to get the unified brand thing to work for them.
Nokia's music and media service wasn't, the app store didn't - etc.
If Elop tried to get Nokia into the designer laptop space and followed it up with some clever media licensing - i.e. not just a bloody radio - that might have some interestingosity.
But Nokia always fail when they try this stuff. (And Microsoft aren't any better at it.)
If only the teacher had wheeled in a nice and toasty classroom-friendly portable nuke, the kids' faces would surely have been glowing with warmth and happiness.
Actually considering the way the nuke and fossil lobby (sic) has been inflating prices of non-renewables, the school was likely just trying to save itself a bit of cash.
considering that LoveFilm are still in the spinning silver frisbee rental business - indeed someone I know gets an impressive pile of DVDs from LoveFilm every week - it's not impossible that at least some of their customers are ripping the contents of said silver frisbees to hard disks or other media.
So - hypothetically again - the idea that someone somewhere might care enough to install a live Flash ripper to copy content makes as much sense as expecting Steve Ballmer to become President for Life of The International Chair Protection League.
You have an *utterly* irrational belief
that investors and shareholders have an influence on corporate policy.
HP, IBM's bad decade, the decline of M$FT, Nokia's crash and burn, and Best Buy all prove otherwise.
You're treating corporate decision-making as if it's somehow a divinely-inspired error-free event - like an infallible statement by the Pope. Or something equally sparkly, wondrous, and powered by pink unicorn crap.
It's nothing of the sort. Corporate history is littered with suicidal idiocies.
From the reliably manic-depressive boom-bust business cycles of the last century and half, to the endless tech fails of most of the major players - most investors, CEOs and shareholders have the collective intelligence of toenail fungus.
You think $5.2bn in Q1 2011
And that's with Bilbo Ballmer at the helm.
Just think what M$FT could still do with a competent CEO.
marketing and support are orthogonal to software quality.
I use Creative Suite because Gimp *does not do what I need* when I need a good photo editor.
I don't particularly mind that Adobe employs sales droids and licence droids and other pigs' bladders. They get a job, and I get a piece of software that 's a useful and fairly transparent tool.
FOSS *could* have created a truly professional replacement. There's no technical reason why Gimp has to be as bad as it is.
But there is a political one, which is lack of developer imagination and insight.
The point about corporate development is that marketing feeds user experiences back to the dev teams, and managers ride herd on both to try to keep products on message.
If management and marketing are bad, you get disasters - and that's when companies and products die.
But sometimes they're at least passably competent, and you get mostly usable products - even if they're not particularly innovative ones. And even if they're partly broken.
Outside the networking space and a few specialised projects that happen to have succeeded against the usual odds, FOSS doesn't get this. The devs mostly *are* the users, and they're too obsessed with solving problems for the sake of solving problems and adding 'cool' features to suit their personal whims.
Then when something is almost working, too many of them get bored with the final polish you need to get a professional product out the door, and they go and obsess about something else because it's suddenly *much* more interesting.
Corporate mismanagement has its own failure modes, but can we please stop pretending that FOSS doesn't have failure modes of its own?
Like Matt Asay, who is his own failure mode. Only a zealot would take data showing that Windows/.NET experience is still kicking the arse of OS in the job market, and try to spin that fact as its exact opposite.
Do you also think
the OECD are Labour voters? Because they seem seriously unimpressed with George 'No exotic hobbies' Osborne so far.
Sometimes it's time to put partisan bias to one side and look the facts in the face - Little Georgie's genius policies are going to be a disaster for everyone in the UK... except perhaps his banker and corporate chums, who will carry on being supported financially by everyone else, as they have been since they caused the meltdown in 2008.
See also inexplicable tax waivers for Voda and Goldman Sachs, no Tobin Tax for the City - which surely can't afford it, on a turnover of a mere few trillion a day - and no cap on welfare handouts from Europe to the UK's richest landowners.
And, sadly for the rest of us, etc.
We can all be pleased that teachers' pensions are the real cause of the UK's imminent economic meltdown, and that they're in no way a misdirection from the real issues.
(But then teachers don't usually buy themselves MPs or offer well-paid non-executive directorships after an important and newsworthy political career - so why should anyone care what happens to them?)
that spaceships are big objects made of metal - or its unobtanium meta-equivalent - has held film SF in a retro-conservative loop for the past few decades.
Real spaceships, if they exist, are probably invisible and/or made of something so strange it has no familiar properties.
Once you crack light speed, all bets are off with supporting technologies.
Big metal boxes - or spheres, or blocky shapes with pointy aerials or glowing nacelles to indicate how technological they are - won't be on the menu.
Alien technology probably won't even look like technology at all. You're more likely to experience it in totally unexpected ways than as something you can pick apart with a spanner.
(And it won't have hexagonal corridors, either.)
Ambitious types with a physics PhD
get jobs as quants, where they design trading algorithms.
Germany's Angela Merkel - ground zero for the Euro crisis, and the one person who has done more damage to Europe than any other - has a similar science background, and seems to have been even more ambitious.
Otherwise yes - bankers, economists and politicians created the 'crisis' for political reasons. It wouldn't have happened without them - and they\re still trying to profit from it, at everyone else's expense.
Arts grads made that ad.
And you can bet they got paid more than the average code monkey does.
You don't understand
Designers are in the sales and marketing business. Sales and marketing *bring cash in* because they're fundamentally about *persuasion* - which is the only factor that really matters to sales.
Because of the way this culture is set up, many many 'technology' companies sell mediocre, flawed or broken products. They can do this because if sales and marketing are good enough, customers are so awed, dominated, or monopolised they will put up with inconvenience.
Even if they hate the product, even if it barely works at all, they can still be made to buy it. (q.v. Microsoft, and not a few big enterprise big names.)
The user experience is a relatively small part of the persuasion process. Superficial design and/or hard sell and/or monopoly building and/or evangelism are far more influential.
This is why making things work gets less traction with management than making things sell.
Now - you can argue that crayons aren't all that good at persuasion. And that's partly true. In fact, some are useless and a danger to themselves and others. But some are very good at adding a layer of want on top of something quite ordinary.
Thing is, being in the persuasion business they only need to be able to *sell themselves.*
Engineers typically don't have a clue about this. Engineers care about solving problems for their own sake and making widgets and thingummies, not so much about the persuasive leverage widgets and thingummies exert on customers or management.
Which, incidentally, is why Apple did so well under Saint Steve. Apple's ability to create a near-mystical ownership experience is far more important to customers than Apple's software, which is often less than stellar.
E.g (I hope) no one is going to claim that iTunes is a best of breed music manager. But if you compare it with - say - VLC, which has network control and all kinds of other 'clever' extras, but can't save and restore EQ curves correctly, it's obvious that leaving engineers to design things without external management works even less well.
Bottom line is that if coders want to feel some management love they need to learn to play the persuasion game.
The only exceptions are master engineers who do truly insanely cool stuff. But there aren't many of those around. And just being a competent - even a very competent - code monkey doesn't cut it for Rest of World.
Lewis Page thinks cancer only matters when it doesn't happen to him personally.
Fact is - and facts are thin on the ground here, once you wave away the 'cretinous' rhetoric - Chernobyl cancer cases are easily into five figures. And deaths would have been so very much higher without a mass evacuation and an exclusion zone.
But apparently a mass evacuation doesn't count as a health effect. (Who knew?)
As for Fukushima - we'll see what happens when you get the same amount of radiation released with a much smaller exclusion zone.
The first post-meltdown births will be happening any day now. And the cancer clusters will be happening for decades.
But touting an idiot technology that shits all over your living room when there are cheaper and cleaner alternatives still makes perfect sense to some people.
Who knows why?
"If every time any employee in a company did something which was not good practice whether the system concerned was important or not then every CEO and MD would be in jail."
You say that like it would be a bad thing.
"It surprised me that Jobs had not arranged for some cryogenic entombment system,..."
Where do you think Siri gets its personality?
Actually it's shite in many ways. But it's still better than iTunes.
After losing two weeks after iTunes decided to 'improve' my music library, I now have 3TB of music on one hard drive, a backup on another hard drive, and more copies on the iPod for portable listening.
If I could be bothered I could attach the drives to the server here and set them up for online access.
Currently I can't. Maybe one day I will.
Either way, iTunes Cloud/Match/Genius/Ping/Ghost-of-Steve/Wotevah is only ever getting another go at those files over my cold dead body.
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