* Posts by fung0

101 posts • joined 29 May 2012

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Microsoft: This Windows 10 build has 'NO significant known issues'

fung0
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"No significant issues"...?

Except, of course, for the very significant issues explicitly described (and ignored) in the article:

"…after set-up seemed complete the Store still had 20 downloads to do, including key built-in apps such as Music, Camera and Photos…"

So the Windows Store is now replacing things like Windows Update, and becoming the only source of essential (formerly built-in) software tools. Not a good thing. Especially since Microsoft had originally said a Microsoft log-in would be optional (to use Windows 8). But you can’t access the Windows Store without a Microsoft login. I suspect that all UWAs (Universal Windows 'Apps') will come from the Store, and Win32 code (in ever-diminishing amounts) from Windows Update. Bottom line, you are now using Microsoft's flavor of iOS. Congrats!

"Cortana’s “Notebook” (the database of personal information which informs Cortana’s suggestions) is now in its final stage…"

Windows 10 basically wants to know everything about you.

"Now Cortana can be activated with “Hey Cortana”

And it listens to everything you say. Can you ever be sure this is truly turned off?

"When you type "Calc" in the Start menu, only the new app is listed…

Most of the core utilities are now UWAs. So using ‘Metro’ (i.e. the Universal Windows Platform) is no longer optional. Start throwing away all your existing software, because, as Microsoft has explicitly stated on many occasions, "UWAs are the future of Windows." (I'm not sure why they can say this over and over and still have nobody believe them...)

"…marked as a "Trusted Windows Store App"…. The same trusted note appears for other Microsoft apps, such as Music and Photos, which is a hint that the company would like users to perceive the Store as the safe way to install apps."

The Store is gradually becoming the only way to get Windows software. Sorry... Windows "apps." And Windows "users" are gradually becoming obedient, carefully-watched mobile 'monetization' fodder. Microsoft has been quite forthright about this in recent announcements. They even merged their Windows OS division and Cell Phone divisions! How can they possibly be more explicit: Windows is becoming a mobile "devices and services" platform, as carefully locked-down as iOS, as disrespectful of privacy as Android.

No thanks! Even Apple knew better than to screw up its desktop OS this badly. Windows 10 needs to fail, or basically Windows as a desktop OS is finished.

But on the positive side, it is "free" (as in beer, that is)...

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Windows 10 upgrade ADWARE forces its way on to Windows 7 and 8.1

fung0

Re: Thanks for spamming me Microsoft

Nigel, I agree absolutely that truly vital updates should never be confused with other junk, such as advertising.

However, I disagree with your point about auto-updates. Most of these scare-mongering vulnerabilities are not that likely to bite you in a week. If you're behind a decent firewall, have scripts turned off in your browser, and avoid opening unknown email attachments, you're already 99.9% safe. That other 0.1% can be deferred.

The downside of auto-updates is exactly what we're seeing in this thread. You've given an outside agent, with a very poor record of trustworthiness, blanket permission to do anything it likes to your system. If that's not the definition of a security vulnerability, I don't know what is.

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fung0

Re: Thanks for spamming me Microsoft

You nailed it, Len. It's not that Windows 10 sucks - it just offers nothing I want or need.

What virtual-desktop software are you using? I've tried several, had various problems with each.

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fung0

Re: DVD Playback

I'm sure the plan is to obsolete DVDs entirely, and get everyone to stream their movies from the Microsoft Store.

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fung0

Vulkan (glNext) is going to offer the same performance improvements as DirectX 12. It's also likely to be the more tempting development target, given that it will be freely available on every OS, including Windows 7, Linux and the Mac, fully open-source, with no Microsoft licensing or lock-in.

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fung0

Re: Why are Microsoft giving this away?

This is THE key question everyone needs to be asking. Microsoft is not a charity. It's safe to assume it's doing this "free upgrade" for ITS OWN benefit, not ours. In fact, we know that Microsoft benefits in several massive ways:

1. Windows 10 has advertising built into the Start Menu, the Lock Screen, and elsewhere. (Microsoft refers to these as "opportunities" for "spotlighting" apps you might like.) Cortana, in particular, is designed to return not just your desired search results, but also suggestions for things you might want to buy. (Microsoft showed a demo of this at Build.) Windows 10 is free for the same reason Facebook is free - because we've shifted from being the customers, to being the product.

2. Windows 10 moves everyone closer to Microsoft's dream of running Universal Windows Apps. These are far more constrained than previous Win32 applications, they offer new opportunities for monetization, and most importantly (despite the "Universal" moniker), they don't run on Windows 7 or Windows XP, currently the most popular versions, which Microsoft would dearly love to eliminate so we'd have no further reason to resist future updates.

3. Microsoft HOPES (vainly) that UWAs will be its foothold in mobile.

4. UWAs are sold only through the Windows Store, giving Microsoft a tasty 20% of all third-party software sales going forward. (The 'dev switch' allowing 'sideloading' in the preview builds is not guaranteed to be in the final release, and Microsoft has recently reiterated several times that it will be retaining exclusive rights to sell UWAs, as it did in Windows 8.)

On the plus side, the benefits of this "free upgrade" are... well, negligible. A Web browser is still a Web browser when it's programmed as a UWA. A few tweaks under the hood, an ugly new look, Ribbons in Explorer, a revived Start Menu that looks like it was designed by Barnum & Bailey, no DVD playback, no Media Center. More privacy intrusions, more attempts to get us all on to Microsoft accounts. And, as usual, new hardware drivers to find, new problems to shake down. Zero increase in productivity. Zero new capabilities. Zero fundamental architectural improvements (other than UWAs, which are a downgrade from Win32 in many ways). Even if you absolutely adore UWAs and the new flat look, a negative ROI.

Sometimes, "FREE" is not nearly cheap enough. In fact, it's almost inevitably cheaper to pay with MONEY than in some other way you may not even know about.

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fung0

Re: I'm confused

"I'm confused by all this talk of 'apps' - I run Windows 7 on one machine and Win 8.1 on another. Both run programs, not apps."

On the contrary - the shift to 'apps' is the truly insidious thing about Windows 8 and 10. These releases represent an intensive, ongoing effort on Microsoft's part to shift users from 'applications' to 'apps.' These new apps run in a brand-new walled garden that's sealed even more hermetically than iOS. And Microsoft really is attempting to force us to switch. Office is being app-ized. Their new Edge browser is an app. Some of the built-in utilities of Windows are being replaced in Windows 10 by apps. Microsoft has stated repeatedly that Universal Windows *Apps* are "The Future of Windows Development." THE future, not one part of some mixed application/app future.

The vast difference between 'apps and 'applications' is the main reason I will NOT be upgrading to Windows 10. EVER. I have, however, been shifting my work to Linux Mint, and it looks really great so far. Not an 'app' in sight, and just as free as the Windows 10 upgrade. (Only without the numerous advertising "opportunities" that have been built into Windows 10.)

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Don't touch me up there! Photoshop creator appeals for 'ethical' use

fung0

Re: @ Senshi

Mike, judging from the workflow you describe, you are the poster child for software as a subscription. Yes, there are some users who benefit from this model, chiefly in large organizations like yours. There are also a great many (millions) of individual users and small graphics shops who most emphatically do not benefit.

I have nothing against subscriptions as an option, provided outright sale is also offered. That's what we used to have, with various sorts of corporate discounts and long-term licensing arrangements. What Adobe did was not so much to invent the subscription model, as to abolish the purchase model. My response is that it's high time we abolish them.

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fung0

Re: Bring out the GIMP!

> It's also second rate compared to Photoshop.

True, for many users, it may not be possible to abandon Photoshop - yet. But it is possible to stick with an older version. It is possible to learn GIMP and gradually move more work over to it. It is possible - and vitally necessary - to promote GIMP and other tools at every opportunity - to take a bite, however small, out of Adobe's extortionate business model.

I used to sing the praises of Photoshop to anyone needing an image editor. Now, I point out how GIMP can provide 90% of the functionality (for most users), at 0% of the price. And as a bonus, you get to keep your self-respect.

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fung0

Re: that's one way of looking at it, here's another

Hard to believe, but some of us really resent being coerced by an unabashed monopolist, and will gladly accept considerable inconvenience just to spite them. And it's not a matter of price, it's a matter of basic logic. You invest your time and training in Photoshop, you've just given Adobe more power over you. You put your precious images in an Adobe format, and Adobe owns you forever.

No thanks. I was a huge fan, but Photoshop is dead to me now. I eagerly await the day when I can dance on the smoking ashes of Adobe's graphics empire.

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HELP! Windows Phone update 8.1 broke my Lumia

fung0

Re: Communication with users?

So you think we should give them a pass because the competition is just as bad? Sorry, no can do. The standard we need to aspire to is "good" not "less bad."

There are companies that do better, by the way. Recall the recent instance of Gabe Newell responding personally to a tech-support question at Valve. That's more like the comparison we should be making.

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fung0

Re: Sounds like Windows Phone 3.11

The primary reason for 'updates' is to benefit the vendor, not the user. I stopped updating the first time Microsoft shoved an anti-feature (WGA) down my unsuspecting gullet. The trend has continued. Nowadays, I update very sparingly, and very cautiously... if at all.

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fung0

Re: In my case

This is the scariest thing about the 'new' Microsoft. I originally chose Windows over other options (such as the Mac) because I don't want to "love" my OS, or my PC, or (especially) my phone. I just want it to be quietly, efficiently useful. But that's getting eroded away, as Microsoft keeps larding on idiotic 'user-friendly' features designed to make me love the frigging thing.

My betting is that for every one person who loves, loves, loves their WinPhone with an unholy passion, a whole bunch of people like me hate and detest the silly thing, for its gaudy non-standard UI, its lack of apps, its locked-down proprietary file system... and most of all, for its insipid, infuriating, perverted attempts to make them love it.

It's like having some degenerate stalker in your pocket.

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Cortana to form CIRCLE OF LIFE in Windows 10

fung0

Re: What is the Swahili for

Earlier this week, I might have said "Samsung."

Why is everyone bent out of shape about a TV that listens to your conversation, but perfectly cool with mobile devices that literally brag about analyzing your every thought and action, and sending that information back to Apple or Microsoft?

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fung0

Re: Yes But...

To turn Cortana off, open Cortana's NotebookCortana's Notebook icon > Settings, turn Cortana off Toggle off icon, then restart your phone.

Isn't it just a bit disturbing that Cortana can't flush herself out of your system without a reboot? Typical MS design: monolithic instead of modular, intrusive instead of respectful.

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Microsoft now licensing Windows by the user, across multiple devices

fung0

Re: it is customers you want

All your data will be stored in the MS cloud so if you want to access it you'll have to pay MS for the privilege.

Adobe already does this with Creative Cloud. You can store your files locally, but you have no way of opening your own Illustrator or InDesign files if your subscription lapses. Amazing how many users are signing on for this voluntary extortion scheme.

I'm sure marketing geniuses in Redmond are watching closely, and salivating.

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Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

fung0

You can't fix stupid.

"This is what Microsoft should have done two years ago with Windows 8."

No it isn't!

Microsoft should have touch-enabled Windows, and/or come out with a mobile OS. NOT crammed a whole new UI, a new programming model, a closed company store, and a new set of totally redundant 'apps' down users' throats.

What's more, Windows 10 doesn't change any of that. Unifying 'Metro' and the desktop only paves the way for even greater confusion, as users try to figure out whether they should be swiping or clicking - or just cruising over to Apple.com to check out Macintosh prices.

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Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes

fung0

Re: Love him or hate him...

No you don't.

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You can thank Brit funnyman John Oliver for fixing US broadband policy, beams Netflix

fung0

Re: Wait, what?

Glad that somebody pointed this out. Oliver isn't that funny, his personality gets annoying over a full show, and he's been on the case with net neutrality for, what was it, five minutes?

I tend to like Reed Hastings, but he's not being very bright, singling out one Johnny-come-lately celebrity endorser rather than the battalions of campaigners who've been fighting this fight on his behalf, day in and day out for years on end.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

fung0

Re: Call George RR Martin!

I think it's WordStar he uses. (WordStar 2000? Not the best version, anyway.) Personally, I was wooed away from WordStar 3.3 by Borland's Sprint, which picked up WordStar's UI, ran faster (even in text mode under Windows) and added a mass of new features.

Of course, this was back when there was actual innovation going on. Word essentially stopped evolving in the mid to late 1990s. After Word 2003, the product actually started to backslide, becoming harder to maintain, more buggy, uglier, and far more annoying to use, while offering no meaningful advancement whatsoever.

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fung0

Re: Clippy is gone in name only.

Very true. Microsoft can't wrap its collective brain around the idea of giving working writers really powerful tools. Instead, they target some 'dumb' user, and do everything they can to make them even dumber. They're like that person who tries to help you by taking over. "Here, let me do that - it'll be quicker."

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fung0

Not even scratching the surface

I've written several non-fiction (published!) books in Word, and hundreds, if not thousands, of long articles. I've created some macros to help me out, but it's still agonizing. The problem with ALL the options mentioned in this article is that they are just word processors. They fundamentally do nothing more than WordStar did on CP/M. For long documents, Word and LibreOffice offer little advantage over something like vi.

What they should have evolved into by now is document processors. Something that can truly help with structure and content. For example, I'd like to be able to attach metadata to paragraphs, identifying the source of the information they contain. This is a perennial problem with typing up research notes: you lose track of their origin. I'd also like something far, far beyond the miserable 'outliner' in Word. I continue to use Ecco for outlining and tracking various types of content, but having it integrated with a proper word processor would be an enormous help. (LibreOffice has no outliner at all, demonstrating its utter lack of ambition to be anything but an inferior clone of Word.)

These kinds of tools I'm talking about would be of even more benefit to the non-professional writer. Most people never learn that with anything longer than a a single sentence, structure must come first. The only tool that ever attempted to place structure first was Lotus Manuscript. It was full of great concepts, but buckled under the limitations of its character-based user interface. There are also writer's tools, such as Scrivener, which are promising. But last time I looked, Scrivener lacked such indispensable features as macros, or in fact, any form of customization. (Again, its creators seem to think they're 99% done, even though they've yet to replicate even the basic features of Word.)

Microsoft is operating as if Word already had EVERY FEATURE that a word processor could ever have, and the only thing left to do was to monkey around with the UI (making annoyingly needless changes even where the long-standing approach was already optimal). Application software development has generally stalled, because of their attitude, but nowhere is this more apparent than with Word and word processors as a category.

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Larry Ellison looks out from his island paradise and thinks: I wanna buy the LA Clippers

fung0

Re: How to make basketball interesting

You're close... all you need are height classes, as in boxing you have weight classes. Then the game might actually become interesting. (Naah... probably not.)

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'Arrogant' Snowden putting lives at risk, says NSA's deputy spyboss

fung0

Re: You seem to live in a world of black an white...

If things truly always moved towards being black and white, then surely human society would've just stagnated in year -10.000.

Exactly. Look back 100 years, 200 years. We've come a very long way. Right now, we're on a downward part of the curve, but it's not a vicious circle, it's an upward spiral.

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fung0
Megaphone

Re: NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett: Go To Jail. Go Directly To Jail…

Anonymous coward sez: "Everyone yells "Disband the NSA" until the next terrorist attack occurs, then it's suddenly, "We need security!"

On the contrary... a great many people, myself included, are saying loudly and plainly: "Disband the spies, police and military, and by all means, bring on the terrorists!" These mushrooming government agencies are a looming threat over every aspect of our daily lives, whereas the actual danger from terrorists has never been more than vanishingly small.

We need to do as much to protect ourselves from terrorism as we do to protect ourselves from lightning strikes and bathroom accidents. Anything more is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and the thin end of totalitarian government over-reach.

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fung0

Re: Of course NSA puts USA at risk

Charles Manning sez: "When they do this, they increase the hostility towards themselves and thus increase the likelihood of attacks."

Works out perfectly, then. More spying and more 'interventions' abroad mean more hatred against the US and more terrorist threats. More hatred against the US and more terrorist threats mean we need more spying and more 'interventions' abroad. Repeat, as long as you like.

It's kind of beautiful, really... in a monumentally evil, Mephistophelian kind of way.

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Q&A: Schneier on trust, NSA spying and the end of US internet hegemony

fung0

Ultimately...

The problem won't be solved by political pressure, but by economic pressure. Nobody gives a crap about my privacy... but there are hundreds of billions of dollars at stake even in the short term - and orders of magnitude more, in the long term, globally. As Schneier has rightly pointed out, our economy runs on trust, and the NSA has rather foolishly destroyed almost all of it.

If I was Satya Nadella, I'd immediately announce that Microsoft was going to bat against the US government's security policies, throwing at the problem just as much money, and as many lobbyists, as it takes. Same for the heads of Google, Apple, AT&T and every other big US corporation. They have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. If they don't do it, some other nation will - their big IT companies will get together with the government and establish procedures to build user-verifiable trust. Once that happens, Silicon Valley will never again be the center of the digital world.

Wouldn't it be hilarious if it was Russia that did it first?

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Wii got it WRONG: How do you solve a problem like Nintendo?

fung0
FAIL

You're not helping

"Yet that would mark the end of Nintendo as an innovator and originator of hardware. We all saw how well that went for Sega."

Sega is doing just fine. It could be doing much better, if it hadn't gutted itself financially by fielding two totally unwanted hardware platforms (Dreamcast, Saturn).

Mike - you blame Nintendo for being deceived by the success of the Wii, yet you unquestioningly accept the more fundamental error, dating back to the NES and SNES, of thinking that Nintendo ever was or ever will be a hardware company. Nintendo brings only negative value to hardware. They've never made money on hardware. They've created hardware, as needed, to sell their great GAMES. That's a risky proposition, but workable. Making hardware when it's NOT needed is madness. Attempting to "innovate" in hardware -- when you're fundamentally a software company -- is suicide.

Hardware is expensive, risky and only marginally profitable. It's a business for experts like Samsung... maybe even Sony, on a good day. (Walkman, yes; PS4, no.) These companies can be efficient enough and expert enough to survive on thin margins. They're big enough to gamble billions on risky product choices. (And even then, they can fail spectacularly.) Nintendo is beyond stupid to get into that meat grinder. (As is Microsoft, for another example.)

If instead of building the Game Cube (never mind the Wii), Nintendo had aimed its next wave of franchise titles at readily available hardware -- Xbox, PS, PC and mobile -- they'd be rolling in profits now. Instead, they're stretched too thin to even produce more great games. They're going to go down in flames... by attempting to innovate in hardware.

Great software will ALWAYS be more important -- and more profitable -- than the hardware it runs on.

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Mars rover Curiosity snaps 'pale blue dot' image of Earth, Moon

fung0

Re: distinct

Seems to me the image enhancement worked just as it should. But in any case, thanks very much for the link to the full-size pic. It should have been included in the original article. I am constantly amazed how little use news sites make of the linking abilities of the Web. Are they afraid we'll find something more interesting and never come back?

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Why Microsoft absolutely DOESN'T need its own Steve Jobs

fung0

Absolutely right about Apple - it's Google that's winning the race, and doing so because it's offering the virtues that used to be Microsoft's, such as (relative) openness and responsiveness.

There once was a unified vision at Microsoft: to deliver the hottest technology to the user, faster and cheaper than anyone else. There are many examples. Support for the 386 processor. Protected-mode multitasking. Big memory and 64-bit processing. The Windows PC succeeded because it offered more horsepower, sooner and cheaper than the competition. It was never the sexiest, but it was always the best overall value. Now Ballmer has become dazzled by overpriced consumer devices, forgetting that it was power, not pizzazz, that made Microsoft successful.

Ballmer's tenure at the helm has been dubbed "Microsoft's lost decade". An unflattering term that is misused by many who blithely ignore that Ballmer's tenure still saw Microsoft grow profits by an average of over 15 per cent per year to a company with a net income of $23bn. We should all hope to fail so well.

Baloney. Ballmer reaped those profits by allowing the company to coast on momentum. Now the momentum is gone, and competitors who kept their foot on the gas are far ahead. Ballmer allowed Windows and Office to languish, while turning a huge lead in mobile devices (including both handhelds and tablets) into a total disaster. That's not the kind of FAIL anyone should aspire to.

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Android in FOUR out of 5 new smartphones. How d'ya like dem Apples?

fung0
Thumb Up

Re: Microsoft market share not growing?

fishman said: "So the growth of Windows Phone has been at the expense of Windows Mobile."

Exactly right. And at the expense of BlackBerry. Have you ever met anyone who would even contemplate giving up their iPhone for a WinPhone?? It is to laugh.

As far as that 150% growth... that's mathematically inevitable for any product that's starting from scratch. (Growth from zero market share to 0.01% is literally infinite, but completely meaningless) In reality, Microsoft is spending billions to subsidize its meager 3.6%, while Apple is making a juicy profit off its 12.1%. The two are much further apart than the high-level statistics suggest.

Microsoft's mistake was even thinking about competing with Apple, when Google is the big, fat target. And the one taking business that should have been Microsoft's, based on qualities like (relative) openness and friendliness with third-party hardware OEMs. If Microsoft had smoothly evolved Windows Mobile, perhaps making it play nicer with Windows proper, today it would BE Android.

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Sony's new PlayStation 4: Early faults ENRAGE some buyers

fung0
Stop

Re: Silly squabling

"And yet they are priced at a fraction of the cost and remain the standard news games are developed for..."

Let me stop you right there.

First, you need to own TWO feeble, nearly-identical systems in order to own "the standard(s) new games are developed for." Otherwise, you will miss exactly half the exclusive titles. Second, in order to get the full experience (e.g. multiplayer, or Netflix) you have to play for online access - for the entire life of the system. Third, you WILL need to upgrade the internal storage almost immediately. Add that all up, and a nice mid-range PC starts too look like a pretty good bargain.

Moreover, with 65 million users, Steam is a comparable market to either the Xbox 360 or PS4, and therefor just as important a "standard" for game development - and literally INFINITELY more attractive to developers right now than either the Xbone or PS4, which are starting with an installed base of roughly ZERO. If those new gizmos don't sell like hotcakes this Christmas, everyone who does buy one is going to be a very sad little kiddy next year.

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fung0
Mushroom

Re: Silly squabling

I find it hilarious that people are rushing out to buy two consoles that are not only internally identical to (feeble) PCs, but internally identical to each other! While remaining totally incompatible with each other, with the PC, and even with their own previous generations. ROFLMAO was never a more appropriate acronym.

Sure, there are (very) minor differences (cache memory). And there is some (minor) benefit to faster memory access (offset by the meagre 8GB allocation of unified memory - my PC has 18, and it's trailing edge). But the fact remains, the Xbone and PS4 COULD have been released as competing OSes running on stock PC hardware. Of course, nobody would have given them a second look. As pieces of laughably inadequate, completely redundant hardware, they're a litmus test for the gullibility of the gaming fan.

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Mozilla CTO blasts WC3 plans to bless anti-piracy DRM tech in HTML5

fung0

Re: a solution is required

"The point is, Minecraft is a one-in-a-million occurance where a developer hit it big first time."

Minecraft is far from the only example. It's just the most over-the-top lucrative one, so far.

"How many great games that we know today would not have existed had the studios that made them not gained any revenue from prior titles?"

Nobody is arguing against software creators getting paid. But history does not guarantee immortality to any one business model. The old model where you could sell exactly one product to one consumer broke when the 'cost of manufacture' and 'cost of distribution' dropped to zero. That world is gone, and DRM won't bring it back. The only option is to move forward and evolve new business models. Crippling new, transformative technologies has never worked.

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Microsoft's $7.1bn Nokia gobble: Why you should expect the unexpected

fung0
Unhappy

Hey, Steve... it's MicroSOFT, not MicroPHONE...

If I owned a cash cow like Windows, I'd certainly take better care of it and pay it more attention. Instead of always looking for some other pet project to play with...

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Can Microsoft's U-turn stop the Xbox 360 becoming another XP?

fung0

Re: @ge

@ge said: "So before anyone starts countering your argument I think they should keep this in mind as well; with consoles you can't be sure that the thing you bought will continue working as you expected it to."

When Microsoft 'upgraded' us to Windows Genuine Advantage, I turned off all auto-updates on my PC. I've never regretted it, and frequently congratulated myself on the horrors that have passed me by. On a console, alas, this is not an option.

Darth Vader said: "I am altering our deal. Pray I do not alter it any further."

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If you've bought DRM'd film files from Acetrax, here's the bad news

fung0
Headmaster

Re: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

Regarding Steam - it's all about trust. Unlike other vendors, Valve has actually given people a fair deal, and slowly built up their trust that the system will not be abused. That's not a defense... just an observation.

No, you don't (quite) own your Steam games. But you do often get a better price, if you wait for the frequent and very dramatic sales. Games are NOT locked to a particular piece of hardware. On the contrary, you get the ability to install the game as often as you like, wherever you like, on PC, Mac or Linux. You do get the ability to play the game (almost?) indefinitely offline, once you've initially validated it onilne. Horrible corrupting malware is NOT installed on your computer. In fact, game installation is easier, more reliable and less intrusive than with a disc-based copy. (DRM is not even mandatory... Steam simply makes it available to each publisher.)

This is all on the plus side. The potential downside is not completely erased. We can't know what might happen if Valve were to go bust. But I think you'll find that some 50 million users are fairly convinced that if Valve ever does go out of business, it will unlock all the games before it 'turns out the lights.'

This highlights a key fact about DRM. It is not only wrong in principle... it's typically ALSO executed unbelievably badly. 'DRM done right' would have been accepted by the public without a murmur. Steam is one of the few examples. Ironically, we won't be able to make a final judgment on Steam until it does someday disappear.

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Microsoft: All RIGHT, you can have your Start button back

fung0
Thumb Up

Thanks, LoCatus! After 200+ comments, at last the perfect response.

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fung0
FAIL

Re: Microsoft had sold 100 million licenses of Windows 8

Not even the most desperate Windows 8 booster can claim that Win8 has been any kind of stimulus to the market. Windows 8 isn't helping to sell PCs, and it certainly isn't helping to sell Windows tablets, or Windows Phones.

Microsoft could survive this kind of 'wet firecracker' release back when it really did have the world by the throat. But today, it's under the gun. PC sales are sliding, and companies like Apple are picking up the slack. At this point, 'good enough' just isn't good enough.

Microsoft really needed to 'hit one out of the park' with Win8. Instead, it has failed to motivate droves of PC upgraders, failed to carve out a significant niche in mobile devices.... while at the same time alienating corporate customers and droves of die-hard fans. Just how much more epic could the fail have been?

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CURSE you, EINSTEIN! Humanity still chained in relativistic PRISON

fung0

Re: Quantum, eh?

As far as I can see, the findings presented in the article simply show an unrelated confirmation of Relativity, rather than a specific refutation of the possibility of Collapsar travel. Moreover, there remains a great deal we do not understand - such as why 95% of the Universe remains unaccounted-for, or why Relativity and Quantum Mechanics can't be reconciled. For starters. Milk and sugar in mine, thanks.

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fung0

Re: Us2them

First, while Man is obviously dangerous to Man, it is the height of hubris to think the Universe is losing sleep over our popguns and petty bickering. Second, Man is no more violent than, say, bacteria. Or my cats, which fight constantly, for no apparent reason. Third, eternity is a very long time, and there is a great deal we still do not know.

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Judge scolds Apple, Motorola for using court as 'business strategy'

fung0

You're on to something, Eradicate, but I think preventing people using the patented concept is still too much power. I prefer Martin's elaboration: use it or lose it. All 'IP' law should work that way. If nothing else, it would eliminate the 'copyright limbo' that now imprisons so many creative works.

Still wouldn't stop Apple from patenting the rectangle, though. That needs real reform in the patent process.

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Oi, Microsoft, where's my effin' toolbar gone?

fung0

1 Rafayal: "And you can do the same in Word 2007 upwards."

Do what - customise the toolbar? I hope you're not referring to that miserable handful of squinty little icons you can add, incongruously, to the title bar of the window...?

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Build a BONKERS gaming PC

fung0

Whether or not you assemble it yourself, the important thing is NOT to buy a packaged PC from any of the brand-name vendors. These companies use commodity components purchased at rock-bottom prices, in order to fatten their slim profit margins. When you spec out a rig yourself, you can cherry-pick top-notch brand-name components, for only a little more money. This makes a vast difference in performance, and more importantly, reliability.

Too many PC purchasers don't realize that having a trusted logo on each component is far better than having one familiar logo on the outside of a box full of no-name rubbish. I think it's a big reason that PC sales have slumped - too many consumers have been burned by junkpile brand-name PCs.

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Trip the fight fantastic

fung0
Headmaster

Re: A few comments

Ironclad said: "Plus joypads suck, keyboards and mice for teh win."

This is the key, and belongs up top, way ahead of clock speeds, cores, or polygon capacity. The 'console' as we know it is defined by a painfully 'low-bandwidth' user interface, the ubiquitous gamepad. This feeble device is the chief constraint on console gaming. It offers basic four-way directional control, and a minimal number of buttons, thereby severely restricting the human-game interaction. Witness the Sony PS4 launch, where we saw nearly photo-realistic characters jerking around like insanely detailed 3D versions of Pac-Man. Rendering just doesn't matter - there is simply no way the player can move their onscreen avatar with anything resembling real-life fluidity.

There's another point, equally important. Gamepads have the wrong TYPE of control. They control velocity, not position. Rotation, not angle. (It's a first-derivative thing, if you recall any high-school calculus). This is simply NOT the way humans think and move. When I turn to my friend, I'm rotating to THIS angle... not STARTING rotation, waiting, then STOPPING rotation. Similarly, if I aim a weapon, I don't START sweeping to the right, then STOP. I turn a few degrees right. I turn TO a given location, not AT a given rate.

Taken together, the limitations of the gamepad result in dumbed-down games. Good console games are built around those limitations, so players may not notice what's been done. But the richness and depth of a PC game like ArmA, or Flight Simulator, or Civilization, or even Battlefield, is simply not on the menu. (It's easy to think of other examples.)

Add the openness of the PC ecosystem, and the gap widens still further. The new 'social' features of the PS4 emphasize this gap, rather than narrowing it. Yes, you can press "Share." On the PC, you can connect to multiple services simultaneously. You can count on developers finding new ways to deliver games, sell games, tie games into resources that don't even exist yet. You can count on a 'mod' community inventing anything the developers miss. (And in turn spurring commercial development to new achievements.) This vibrant ecosystem will always produce faster evolution than a console monoculture.

To go back to the car analogy, it's more like the difference between a train and a helicopter. The train can switch tracks, at pre-determined points. It can go faster or slower. The helicopter can wander freely in three-space. The train is constrained by a cumbersome switching system, operated by a very limited number of corporate bodies. The helicopter can be privately owned, and hence upgraded or modified, taken 'off the grid,' to locations not served by the rail network.

Of course, even that strained comparison falls short of capturing the actual gulf we're talking about. A gulf that will continue to widen, given that the growing power of the PC will not be constrained by the human interface, while the advancing clock cycles of a PS4 or even PS5 will be increasingly wasted, as far as gameplay potential.

</sermon>

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Adobe thinks outside box, nixes retail Creative Suite packaging

fung0

Re: I'd rather own it.

Thus spake MachDiamond: "...how many times have OS upgrades been released only to find some massive bugs when it is used in the real world?"

It's actually worse than that - not just a question of bugs, but of actual malice. When Microsoft foisted WGA on Windows users as a "software update," I turned off auto-updates on all my software. And have never looked back. There is no way I'm going to give any company the authority to modify software on my computer - simple as that.

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Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

fung0
Stop

Ooof.

The article does hit the high points, but some of the choices are impossible to justify. Close Encounters??? It's barely SF at all, and surely one of the dumbest, most tedious, insipid films of all time, in any genre. Star Trek?? A great franchise, to be sure, and a fairly noble intent in this first big-screen adaptation. But NOT a good movie. Planet of the Apes? Allegory, yes. Fun, yes. Science...? Hardly!

Meanwhile, lots of truly important films are omitted, that offer much more in the way of both SF ideas and cinematic merits. Here are a few suggestions: Metropolis, Island of Lost Souls, Destination Moon, Timecrimes, The Andromeda Strain, The Man in the White Suit, The Man from Earth, Colossus: The Forbin Project, 2010, Things to Come...

A few others have been mentioned in previous posts, but I'm sticking to 'hard' SF that works well as film. I do have a high regard for Primer, but it seems more surreal than scientific, to me. Frankenstein Unbound, at the opposite extreme, is another close call... a very under-rated film, but a bit more allegorical than scientific. A better case could be made for Alien, which has a strong SF basis, despite its horror trappings...

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Mark Shuttleworth: Canonical leads Ubuntu, not 'your whims'

fung0
Thumb Up

Re: leading down a sinkhole

Couldn't agree more. Shuttleworth is deliberately muddying the waters here. It's not the *idea* of a more-commercial Ubuntu that people object to, but the specific way Shuttleworth is doing it... by adding spyware, or building a UI that's needlessly unfamiliar.

Listening to the core audience does NOT make a company weak. There's a difference between leadership and sheer bloody-mindedness.

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Ubuntu 13.04 beta touts search privacy - before it hooks in eBay, IMDb etc

fung0
Headmaster

"Hate"...?

"Hate" is the wrong word. Try "disappointment," "disillusionment" or "dismay." Ubuntu has long been the de facto standard-bearer for Linux on the desktop. It's a blow to see it going off the rails in some key ways. Too many once-great companies have self-destructed over the years, with the first symptom being an arrogant belief that they no longer needed to listen to their core customer base.

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fung0

Re: A lot of work...

Anonymous Coward grunted: "For example, it's also illegal in Finland, Canada and Australia."

Slight clarification... In Canada, 'bypassing digital locks' is illegal, but owning (or downloading) the tools to do so is not. No Canadian has ever been 'done' for watching a DVD in Linux, and under the newly-revised copyright law, there's essentially no chance that anyone ever will.

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