* Posts by JLV

397 posts • joined 4 Mar 2013

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Euro broadcast industry still in a fug over that 4K-ing UHD telly

JLV
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I don't disagree with the content being largely crap. But there is so much content that, if I were to watch all of the 1%, I wouldn't have much of a life left.

So, for practical purposes there is enough quality TV for me. Just starting on Breaking Bad - 55 episodes to go?, GoT season 4, House of Cards 3 coming up, at least 3-4 BBC series worth considering. More choices than time. Those may not be your shows, no, but most people with some form of good taste need not watch Idol, Kardashians or Glee.

Can't say I care overmuch about UHD, but I'd rather watch a good show in 1080p than 720, if available on both. When UHD 50"s are <$1300 and there is abundant content I'll see if I want to upgrade.

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Wake up! BlackBerry QUIETLY updates BB10

JLV
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Re: Any updates on this?

My Z10 has the issue, just tested. You can use the preview play button in the alarm to check.

Turns out it's the 'Sunrise' alarm tone that is most affected. You can pick another tone and volume is ok, but sunrise is unfortunately the default and I didn't see how to set another as default.

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Lenovo to customers: We only just found out about this Superfish vuln – remove it NOW

JLV
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which begs the question of who else is on Superfish's payroll. Is it just Lenovo? I mean, it would hardly be a good business model for Superfish if they were entirely dependent on Lenovo.

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Re: Orange Alert!

Upvoted you, but you got that slightly wrong. The PR dudette is gonna be very very busy repairing the mess. Not the time to fire her while there is such a big mess that she had nothing to do with.

The threat is probably to whatever C-level idiot gave the green flag to essentially hacking users' net connections in order to serve up ads. Which is reprehensible enough on its own. And incidentally doing so in a high insecure fashion.

Not sure whose department this fiasco would be initiated under. I guess whatever department is traditionally tasked with inflicting bloatware onto customers. This is going to be an expensive mistake for likely little gain.

MS should take note as well. This is not their fault, true, but they also provide no means for users to do a clean-slate, non-manufacturer bloat, install of Windows. By that I mean provide essentially the same disks/downloads as if you walked into a store and bought Windows off the shelf. Not their fault, but it leaves you with the same question: can you trust your brand-new PC? No, not entirely.

We should get a valid, go-to-MS-when-needed, OEM license for Windows, not just some bloated manufacturer install. I for one have no idea what happens if I re-format my Asus laptop. I assume I can re-install Windows somehow from their recovery partition, but I won't know that unless I try it. I know how to rebuild with a Windows install disk and I would much prefer to be in that position with my Asus.

So people rightly worried at this could either pay the Windows tax twice to get a clean disk, buy a Mac or use Linux. Letting aside that Apple may or may not do this Lenovo-style crap, which I doubt, but at least you can get clean-install-capable OS images from them.

Lenovo really sh*t in their own nest, as well as the PC ecosystem in general on this one.

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

JLV
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Facepalm

Forget ethics. how about not being stupid?

Benefit analysis?

How much $ did Lenovo stand to make from fiddling with ads? $1m, $10m per quarter? How much per machine? $10? $100? Too much profits would actually make it too visible - "Lenovo Advertising division, 100M revenue contribution, whazza about?"

Risk?

This is a company that sells $10b per quarter, with 13-14% gross profit. How much is a Sony rootkit-style debacle, except worse, gonna cost them in lost sales? For how long? Lawsuit costs? Added cost of PR and marketing to fix reputation?

You would expect financial common sense to keep people from doing stuff like this.

Whoever authorized this should barely be trusted, professionally, to flip burgers at low-end Mc Donald imitators from now on. They're just dangerous to your profits.

And their ethics suck too.

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SAP's 10-year HANA gamble: A life without the big boys

JLV
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Happy

eh, eh

But think of the lock-in opportunities.

- reporting? None of that 3rd party crap, SAP-stuff or nothing.

- db-level integration with external apps? if we feel like it.

- migrate off SAP? No pesky regular ETLs to help there.

- database revenues? All for SAP, all for SAP ;-)

Granted, this is a big gamble for SAP, but it looks even more so for its users.

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French minister: Hit Netflix, Google, Apple et al with bandwidth tax

JLV
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Plus ca change...

Now, I don't mind Netflix, or other corps, paying corporate profit tax at location of sales.

The rest of this is daft. For starters, France has never met a tax it didn't like.

And mostly, you can't top-down and command-economy culture. Granted a lot of Hollywood blockbusterness is crap, but... people like it and should be free to watch it. And there are tons of clever, low key productions coming out of US studios and elsewhere, France's output is by no means exceptional.

France's problem is too much intellectual elitism in its elite, not understanding that French is a barrier and addressing that, and having a Ministre de la Culture in the first place. Individual French filmmakers do just fine when they aim to please the public, not the intelligentsia.

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Mozilla's Flash-killer 'Shumway' appears in Firefox nightlies

JLV
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>Scylla and Charybdis

Can I upvote you twice for inserting a lot of common sense?

The problem is basically running code on your machine that comes from potentially untrusted sources anywhere. Moving to a different language will not change that. For all JS's supposed security failings, it shines brightly when compared to Java applets, Flash, ActiveX, etc... Think especially about Java in this context - this is a language that used to be marketed as security-first ;-)

Keep Javascript where it belongs - heavily sandboxed and untrusted.

Much as I like Python, and that is a lot, the very last thing I want executing in my browser is a language that is so OS-savvy that I am only now getting around to learning bash because Python covered most of my system needs on Windows.

Plus, I suspect a good deal of the Javascript doubters are in the compile vs dynamic camp. Would a true compile language work on browsers? Would it be desirable, again for security reasons? I agree there are a bunch of design fails in JS. Still it is not without elegance and not a bad result for something that was designed in a few weeks/months by one guy mostly. Use something like jquery or d3 and you can see that whatever the language's shortcomings, clever programmers (not claiming me) did really spiffy things with it. It's just hard to use it well and it suffers from a partial demographic of incompetent coders, unlike say C++.

Me? I'd wish for a Javascript 2.0 with the nastiest gotchas removed, proper modules natively, and a much lesser tendency for silent errors. But we all know that backward compatibility will preclude too much cleanup. Python 3x is still lagging 2x and that is both with a quite limited set of breaking changes and a focus on running code locally.

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IBM says dating apps can give you a nasty infection DOWN THERE!

JLV
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Trollface

Re: running sex scheduling software

Very busy. Let's do a short stand-up instead.

Duration: 3 minutes

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RIP Windows RT: Microsoft murders ARM Surface, Nokia tablets

JLV
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Re: hmm

$220K? Anyone know how that's evolved since BlackBerry took them on? I've always had a soft spot for QNX and I rather like my "new" Z10 so it'd be disheartening to see it become irrelevant due to irrational costing.

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JLV
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Re: hmm

>Only if you think that Windows only comes in two flavours

Upvoted you for the comprehensive details. But the OP still has a point. MS has a fairly long history of testing the waters but not staying the course, especially in the early stages. I would most definitely consider it a risk, when considering a strategic commitment on their non-core stuff - including software.

And your quote of a 10 year period wrt to pro markets cuts both ways. Those companies need long term stability and commitment from their vendor and that's even more scary than a 2-3 year window.

Their core stuff? It will be around forever but only if you picked right the right branch to sit on. Best way to gauge is probably to look at their divisional revenues.

I suspect this experimentation is driven by MS trying hard to diversify income outside of Win, Office & servers. That's laudable and so is cutting off dead branches, both technical and financial. But frequent unpredictable backtracking risks getting a predictability all of its own.

So maybe they need to pick their fights much more carefully, execute much better and bite the bullet on staying the course once they've committed. Trite, I know.

In a way, I wonder if open sourcing (under MIT, no less) the .Net stuff isn't at least partially motivated as an antidote of sorts to these concerns.

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Microsoft eyes slice of Raspberry Pi with free Windows 10 sprinkled on top

JLV
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Re: With Microsoft nothing is free

Agree. I'd have a problem selling myself the idea of using non-core MS offerings in a business critical fashion ;-)

Continuity is not their strong point. Silverlight anyone? WinPhone 7? I'd forgotten, mostly, about your examples, but they are very valid. WinRT's future?

In the context of Raspberry Pi 2 experimentation your warnings may or may not signal a big risk. Possibly there will be no Windows 11 port. What about security patches for their donation-ware?

In a larger context, evolution is driven by diversity and winners and losers. Not just settling on one winner's family tree. I am not advocating that you, or I, need to cuddle of to MS overmuch. However others should be free to do so.

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JLV
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Happy

Re: With Microsoft nothing is free

First, thanks for not downvoting me in the context of an OS discussion ;-) I know of Theo and systemd but not enough to argue either way. Let me make my point differently.

Longtime Windows dev, who worked at least 70% of my non-editor time on the command line. Always well aware cmd.exe was a joke as a shell.

Bash is awesome now that I am not on Windows. Noob, for sure, but starting to write functions and slowly getting the hang of the tools like cut, awk, etc... I really like the idea of small-ish programs passing each other data through text pipes. Text files, not binary configuration. The unix way.

While I love Bash, I find the concept of Powershell interesting. Passing data through objects rather than parsing text? Not that I like Powershell, the few times I used it I found it somewhat convoluted and the signing bit seems excessive on your own machine and directories. But some posters here who seem to know way more about Bash than I do have at least some good things to say about Powershell.

Maybe a future approach to shells could learn a thing or two from BASH and Powershell?

My point? Lots of 'nix's philosophy is battle-tested, simple, clever. But it also dates back to the 70s. Innovation happens best when many different ideas compete and when there is more than one paradigm. Having more desktop OS philosophies than just the descendents of the Bell Labs' OS is beneficial to computer technology. Even if I prefer 'nix.

As MS is no longer quite the dominant monopolist, I figure its continued relevance is more beneficial than its demise.

That's why people who want to eradicate Windows as a choice for others, regardless of what MS is doing, irk me. People who poke fun at MS technical shortcomings and criticize its behavior are fine. Hey, I do it all time.

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JLV
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Boffin

Re: With Microsoft nothing is free

Hey, it's all about choice.

You choose to see the glass empty.

Others, who like MS, and I do not count myself overmuch in that camp, will see it as full.

I think it's a clever move. Exposure, goodwill, very limited lost revenue. Bit of embedded cred, potentially? I think a more competent, non-dominant, Windows, give us all more choices by existing. Rather than having a Linux and BSD, which I prefer, monoculture.

I suspect nothing MS would ever do would be good to you. Which is A-OK. Choice, you know.

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Adobe and software pals haul Forever 21 to court over piracy allegations

JLV
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OMG, am I gonna support Adobe???

I've been a dev in a shop that used pirated tools. 1 disk and 1 manual for 20 devs. no training. A 'do not use illegal software' sign on the PHB's door. A polite "we'll think about it" every time we asked to fix this.

The cherry on top was a support call we made, without asking the boss, to figure out why the API wasn't working.

Support - "That license # you gave us, that's for an evaluation copy. Who did you say you were?"

Willfull piracy by someone who could afford being honest? Yeah, they can medieval Forever21 if that's the case.

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Hey, America. Canada's watchdog just slapped net neutrality rules on wireless internet

JLV
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Re: 5 Hours of North American TV

Upvotted, but to be fair, there are some good shows.

Made in Canada was wickedly funny, the few times I saw it. Unfortunately it seems to have been swallowed up in a black hole ($298.00 will suck season #1's DVD back out @ amazon.ca).

Trailer Park Boys. I was sitting in a pub wondering what the world was coming to on the first episode because it took me a while to clue in it was a reality tv spoof. High brow? No, by no means, no. But fun. An acquired taste.

Don't forget where SCTV came from.

Archer, Arrested Development, Game of Thrones, Deadwood, Rome are from North America. Yeah, yeah, GoT is filmed over by y'all, but still...

That all said, one of the best thing with being on Canadian Netflix as opposed to the US version is their much greater selection of BBC and European series. The bulk of US network production is either slop to begin with or just gradually runs out of steam after too many episodes and seasons.

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JLV
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this just in...

Squadrons of high-flying pigs spotted in Ottawa. CRTC finally does something useful, as opposed to their usual pointless niggling about Canadian Content and French language regulations.

How is it that TV data, going through the same networks and to the same handsets can be economically provided for fairly low rates? Telus for example. While data automatically goes into a gougeatron mode because it is supposedly very costly to build and maintain those networks to support high data rates and volumes?

Really tired of seeing outrageous bills (hundreds of $ for 8MB over limit from Fido/Rogers in 2008 for example).

Government regulators for years helped the incumbents by requiring >50% Canadian ownership of networks, thus leaving the cozy Telus, Bell, Shaw to carve up the market to themselves and us with sky high bills. (to be fair, it seems as if US cable rates can be even worse).

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Windows 10 heralds the MINECRAFT-isation of Microsoft

JLV
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Joke

>Another demo showed a Minecraft-like game set in a living room, where real-world objects, such as tables, acted as surfaces supporting simulated models, a thorough integration of the real and the virtual.

Bob lives again?

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Listen up, AT&T, this could be YOU NEXT: $40m sting for throttling 'unlimited' mobile data

JLV
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Ah ah. Bet AT&T wishes it had subsidized Trac's legal team. Now it has a precedent against it.

FTC is teh bomb :-)

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Wall St wolves tear chunk off Microsoft: There goes $30bn!

JLV
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Re: Stock pricds tend to be foward looking

Xerox is a rather poor example of your point. It's R&D was legendary but it never, you know, turned it into profits.

Kodak... well to an extent they saw it coming. I interviewed with them for a digital imaging division. In 1991. But the reality is that they were a horse carriage company selling into a nascent car market. Huge sunk costs, habits, markets, ways of thinking. Nokia-like.

No doubt that MS needs to reinvent itself. But it's R&D while massive has rarely you know... invented anything that consumers, businesses or even computer science have found worthwhile. MS is an execution company, not a trendsetter.

Win 8 was a failure to listen to customers. Less money, more humility and I daresay a firmer view on the bottom line might have kept them from pretty that massive long term gamble that they could parlay their desktop ubiquity into a top spot on phones.

Having said all that I find it odd that the market is basically reacting, very tardily, to past news - how much they've dropped the ball. Rather than to what they are doing now with Win 10 upgrade & Office on non-Win platforms.

Not rocket science those 2, and Azure. They need execution. Not a R&D or UI radical long term plans.

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US military finds F-35 software is a buggy mess

JLV
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Re: Only military logic

Interesting about the cannon narrow-beaming. Wikipedia's entry stated that the gun originally had 2 selectable rates of fire - 2k/rpm or 4k/rpm but that was dropped to high rpm only. Wonder if that could help with the problem.

AC-130 is an evolution of an even older beast, the AC-47 Puff the Magic Dragon, IIRC.

In both cases, I wonder how well the planes would fare on a hi-intensity battlefield against well-armed opponents with SAMs and AA guns? The A10 could benefit from flying low, but wouldn't an AC-130 be one big sitting duck? Also, I would guess that an A10 could be scrambled somewhere faster than an AC-130.

Not to criticize your post, it raises very valid points.

And in a way, retiring the A10, which is due to budget pressure, is a positive sign: the US keeps way too many weapon systems alive due to congressional pork, manufacturer lobbying and the like. Unfortunately, there is one system crying out for a cull which is verrrry safe.

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JLV
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Re: Only military logic

>these are the same chuckleheads who believe that the F-16, etc. are better at close air support than an A-10.

I agree, but to be fair, the A-10 is very good at what it does partially because of its 30mm cannon's depleted uranium shells.

Firing those shells might still be acceptable in a full-out war with armored targets, but they seem to cause enough environmental and collateral health damage that they don't fit well with current low-intensity warfare/counter insurgency deployments.

On the other hand, those counter insurgency wars also call for aircraft that can fly slowly, close by, and assess the situation before shooting up possible civilians. The A10 can't help but fly slowly and it is tough enough that it can survive doing so.

My guess is that the A10 is just not an aircraft the USAF has that much interest in flying. It's just not sexy!!! Enthusiastically delivering close air support for the grunts? Requires more inter-service altruism than I suspect the USAF is capable of, at the top of the military hierarchy (pretty sure the troops look out for each other more than the the Pentagon desk jockeys).

The main other dedicated ground-attack assets, the Apaches, are flown by the Army.

This might also be the reason why the Marines insist on their own pet VTOL F35 version - they just don't trust the Navy or the Air Force to deliver the goods on their behalf.

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JLV
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Happy

Re: Biplanes

Ah, but a Swordfish did nick the Bismarck :)

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JLV
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Remember when the F35 was supposed to be cheap and cheerful?

Wonder when that thing will fly and wonder if non-US forces will take the hint in time and bail on that disaster. Canada for one doesn't seem to be able to say no and our government has been caught lying about lifetime costs.

Besides the waste, one problem is that this is gonna plug up procurement for decades. 20+ year dev cycles are a lunacy nowadays. Who knows what the air threat will be like 25 years from now? But this thing will be in its "prime". It has the potential to be as if Britain had a whole massive fleet of obsolete biplanes going into WW2 and refused to take up Spits and Hurricanes because of sunk costs.

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Microsoft will give away Windows 10 FREE - for ONE year

JLV
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Wasn't there a , more limited, window of time in which Win 8 was also free, post-beta? I recall sitting on the fence w Win 7 and ultimately missing it.

If this is a one year run of free update a la OS X then it seems like a pretty good deal, if you like Windows. MS needs a bit of goodwill, badly & this probably wont cost them much (what % of folks upgrade?).

I will assume no rental Windows past that year. Imagine if your machine stopped working altogether. An OS is not like one program asking for a license top up a la Adobe because a non-working OS would devaluate your hardware. That would be a PR disaster, last thing MS needs.

I think they just want to make sure their new kid isn't shunned like her immediately preceding sibling. This "no chooses to run Win 8x" has been a horrible failure for them, I believe this is intended to make the avg user think well of Windows again.

Buccal orifices of cost-less equines & all that. Rather than seeing Greek hollow statues everywhere.

For those who dislike MS... well no one's forcing it on you. Or us, cause I aint their biggest fan either.

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Microsoft turns the power of FINE PRINT onto enterprise licensing

JLV
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Re: "driving business customers away from Microsoft."

...pole

I am sure you can imagine such an implement and its afferent effects on certain parts of one's anatomy.

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Google v Oracle: US Supreme Court turns to Obama in Java copyright war

JLV
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Re: @JLV @Bob Dole: Tough Cookies...

>you're just made IP dead in terms of software.

>You have the world of cheap knock offs. Buyer beware.

Quaking in my boots here. I am sitting on the fence wrt software patents, unlike many other hereabouts. If genuinely innovative... who knows.

But locking things down on an API level? What if your protection is extended to similarity, not just plain full copy? A la rounded corners?

How far away are we then from an obvious way to structure a set of function calls for a certain domain becoming locked down because someone squatted the API structure in advance?

Sorry, I'll risk your "IP armageddon" over all sorts of "your API looks like ours so we'll sue".

Anyway, still leaves folks to compete on implementation. You know... like cars, for example.

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JLV
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Re: @JLV Turkeys voting for Christmas

Errr, failing to see exactly your point about what I missed. I don't disagree with your statements, but they don't contradict mine by much, more a matter of opinion.

I distinctly remember the J2ME licensing being one of the initial complaints Oracle had wrt Android. Along with some verbatim copy of code. API copyright came later.

Seriously, forcing a phone to only use J2ME was a pretty brutal restriction by the time Android came out. I did some minimal dev on it in 2006 and it sucked big time as a platform for a ton of reasons.

Claiming that this restriction was just to protect users from slow machines by forcing J2ME is a bit of a stretch. If J2ME-only on phone was only driven by technical considerations, then why fuss about it once the phones were beefy enough?

Anyway my point is that a good part of the groundwork for the questionable openness of Java was laid by Sun, not just by Oracle. And, yes, Oracle complained about some aspects of it at the time. Which makes this whole process somewhat ironic... Am I wrong in that statement?

At the end of the day, it's clear that Oracle wants to make money off Android somehow. They have at least as much right to do so as Microsoft with its little Android patent extortion scheme. Which is not a very high bar to exceed admittedly.

I don't have much of a dog in this fight on whether Oracle screws Google or not. Slightly favor Google, but not by that much. Big corps, big bucks, big lawyers... But it would be extremely regrettable if Oracle won because API copyright was confirmed as legally enforceable.

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JLV
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Re: @Bob Dole: Tough Cookies...

>You have to look at this through lawyers eyes and not a software developers eyes

Kudos of you to remind us that this is a legal matter.

But.

The economic costs of essentially forbidding competing API implementations in the software domain would be enormous and open up the door for massive abuse (think DMCA use for ink jet cartdriges was bad? think again)

Like or hate patents, the patent system was originated to promote economic activity, to provide incentives to innovate. A narrow interpretation of patent law & precedents to favor the protection of APIs is wrong - the stifling of economic activity if APIs become overly protected would be hugely detrimental, against the public interest and entirely against the original intent of patent law.

And that is why it is a legal matter and why the Supreme Court needs to weigh in. They don't come in to fix easy legal problems or pass laws, their role is to review whether existing laws need to be upheld, struck down or modified. Including dealing with flawed precedents and this API one has to go.

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JLV
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Re: IBM never released a product based upon it.

even assuming SQL was under patent, this is 17+ years under US law. Expired!

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Boffin

Re: Turkeys voting for Christmas

The original ruling against Google was, IIRC from El Regs post at the time, based on a precedent re an API case, Johnson controller, 20 odd years. IMHO, the core flaw was that ruling 20 yrs ago.

I have a problem with companies creating an API and publishing the specs for it (if they didn't publish it, it would lose the 'P'). And then claiming that API is protected. But that's all a pretext to regain control.

At the heart of the matter is that Java was licensed for small devices as J2ME only. If you've ever seen J2ME you'll understand how much having a regular Java implementation is superior. Basically, Oracle dropped the ball and Google ran with it. Now Oracle feels very bad the other kids ignore it on mobile. Sad, no one wants to play with its toys.

Keep in mind too, while it is customary to rag on Oracle for all and sundry, most of the groundwork for this shabby behavior was laid by Sun, not Oracle. The Java J2ME licensing, the J2ME feature gaps, the open sourcing but proprietary test suites, this is all Sun's originally. It sucked then and it still sucks now that Oracle's taken over.

This shenanigan about the legal meaning of APIs has zilch to do with the ANSI SQL standard. Just because they are trying to abuse the system has nothing to do with a published standard. Upholding the legal doctrine of API control, while a fundamentally horrible idea, should not impact the legal standing of standards.

Oracle also didn't just "clone a standard". When SQL first came out with Codd & all, IBM didn't do all that much with except a lackluster DB2 or something (just like Sun's reference implementations of J2EE & all have tended to suck). Proof of concept, half-heartedly sold because it probably infringed on their existing product lines. Codd is a genius, but his employment by IBM does not mean IBM grokked SQL immediately.

Oracle was one of the first companies to make a viable tool of what was then a new database paradigm, very much a theoretical approach and an underdog compared to hierarchicals and networks. Yes, and that includes Larry Ellison doing good work - like him or not, he is a clever guy. DB2 eventually became a solid product with heavy backing from IBM, but Oracle, Informix, Ingres, these are the folks who moved the standard along at first.

So, by all means I hope the Supremes take on this case, I hope the API precedent is nuked from orbit, I hope Oracle loses its case.

But let's not rewrite history or appeal to emotions by tying this whole shabby process to the SQL standard and Oracle's work on databases.

Last, whoever said Oracle's worst scenario would probably be to win the case and have Java sidelined on mobiles is spot on. Oracle, just like Sun, needs to open up on Java, follow through their original open source commitment and make money off what is one of the most popular languages around (I don't like Java much myself, but that is irrelevant). Having Java shunned in the mobile space would be a disaster when marketing buzzwords are all mobile, cloud and pink unicorns.

If Oracle wins and overdoes it on licensing fees they'll kill the goose in the Android space and what other mobile platforms give as much weight to Java? If they enforce J2ME, twice as bad. Pressed hard, I wonder if Google couldn't shift its efforts to Go over time.

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JLV
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Re: Turkeys voting for Christmas

>much like anyone could implement an ANSI C compiler.

Errr,,, yes.

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This $10 phone charger will wirelessly keylog your boss

JLV
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dumb question...

what are your expectations about non-MS keyboards? any reason to expect much better?

is it the (historical - I like to think that, maybe, just maybe, they are trying to improve... slowly) MS laxity?

or is just pretty much what to expect from wireless keyboards unless they victimize the poor user with things like device pairing prompts and other mindbogglingly strenuous security practices?

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Boffins open 'space travel bureau': Come relax on exoplanet Kepler-16b, says NASA

JLV
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Re: Boffins at NASA create these?

I heartily welcome the excitement that the exo-planet hunt, Rosetta and Curiosity are bringing to space news. Along with Dragon and some of the new private sector initiatives. Publicizing this stuff should encourage more public interest.

The real shame is that these are not the parts of NASA that are getting much budget. They are operating on shoestrings, comparatively.

17 years to launch a $750M sat:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0816525226/ref=pdp_new_dp_review

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Lollipop licked: KitKat still king in Android land

JLV
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Re: Android upgrades

Upvoted you, but we read the situation differently.

First, my iPhone 4 was mostly OK after iOS7, but my buddy's exact same model limped miserably. He for one definitely regretted iOS6, but then again he's never met an app he didn't install ;) So, your installation of iOS8 on a 4S, which had a CPU boost compared to 4, hardly disproves my point. Wanna bet iOS9 will be useable?

I also know that Apple devices can get security updates on old iOS releases, when the mess is serious enough. But that doesn't happen all that often that I know of and you would still be saddled with obsolete 3rd party app that likely would not have fix backported. For example, let's say you use Chrome and there is major iOS6 vuln - will Chrome be backported too? If not, does a patched iOS6 provide sufficient protection?

I don't think it's Google's job to keep manufacturers from being stupid. Just like it wasn't MS's job to bully PC manufacturers into not using weird stuff in the 90s - HP & Sony were pretty notorious IIRC for being hard to upgrade hardware on because machines were always subtly different. Guess what, I didn't buy them then and won't now because I still remember that. Should Mrs Lawmaker have stepped in?

Google's job is to provide an Android platform that is fit for purpose and has the potential to be maintained and it mostly does that. My new phone is a Nexus 5, because I wanted to test the Android waters but was sensitive to others lagging on updates. If anything, it's a cheaper phone than most. OK, I don't like it overmuch, but that's not due to slow updates.

Frankly, while you have very valid points as to why Apple is in a desirable position here, are you suggesting that the only valid biz model is hardware + software + apps from the same integrated manufacturer? A walled garden of sorts?

Vertical integration has been very useful to Apple, but has driven price points pretty high, esp on iPhone 6. More of an old-style reliable Mercedes than a Lada, for sure. But you have your niche provider all available to buy from should you choose to do so. Mind you, given the sales volumes, it would be stretching things to claim iPhones are niche.

There is the opportunity for all sorts of pricing between iPhones and landfill Androids. I submit that better value is likely to come, not necessarily from the Androids builders with the biggest marketing budgets, but those willing to provide good value cheaply. (quite possibly not those with large investments in skinning Android with bloatware or large legal investments in battling with Apple and sundry). The Hyundais and Civics of phones.

And in a way, cheap Nokia phones with good-enough WP 8 are doing their bit to lower prices too (question : how are those supported? I recall some unhappy WP7 users when WP8 came out)

Android is not immune from dumb manufacturers' support foibles but that is no reason to criticize the OS itself overmuch on that particular issue. Nor is it a reason to wish for regulations which will be outdated by the time they come into law. Most of us work in IT - do you really wish legislators to second-guess _your_ work, as long as it is fit for purpose? Maybe Google can use its Android Silver program to fix some of this as well.

I agree that support is important to both of us. Maybe it will become so for others. Maybe we need a big nasty vuln to wake everybody up. But until then live and let live. One size does not fit all and if, as you say, many Android users don't care, then that's their right not to and to purchase from the wrong sellers.

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JLV
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Re: Android upgrades

>Android platform fails at: manufacturers cannot be budged to provide upgrades

Beg to disagree.

First, technical reality is that you won't be able to run really nifty new OS versions on top of 3-4 year old devices. As another poster commented, doing so works on PCs, because the hardware specs are now good-enough across a number of older devices. Not so with phones where the hardware is still evolving at breakneck pace.

Second, and by this I also mean to address the other poster about "manufacturers being forced to update", this is a manufacturer problem and consumer choice issue. It is not an Android fail per se. Or a need for regulation either.

Basically, if manufacturer XYZ can't be bothered to update their phones, please complain about it, loudly, for everyone to hear. Then don't buy their phones anymore.

On the buying end, assess the history of the manufacturer's support in your buying decisions. If you can't be bothered, then don't be surprised if you are left out in the cold.

Simple, no? Or would you buy a Lada?

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Healthcare: Look anywhere you like for answers, just not the US

JLV
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Trollface

Re: France

When I still lived in France, in the early 90'd, we were treated to a stunning example of those inefficiencies.

There had been a world-wide public healthcare provider conference. Which the French delegation had totally dominated in terms of numbers. 350 odd attendees, compared to a few dozen at most for other countries.

French health care is organized at a "Departement" level (think State/Province) and France has 95 of those. Every single Departement sent several staff.

Of course, the fact that the conference was in Bali had nothing whatsoever to do with this diligence.

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JLV
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@Charles 9

Nailed it!

Not to mention that Singapore, especially while Lee Sr was at the helm, was not very democratic at all. It is however technocratic-ally competent and has low corruption ratings. Less pork, special interests and campaign contributions driving those decisions, as well as the capacity to take a hard-headed approach to health management, rather than appealing to voter fears and emotions*.

So, aside from the small size, this is the dream type of government you'd want to design a good health care system, if they do start out with good intentions. Not entirely surprising they ended up with top tier results. And this aspect needs to be considered if you want to emulate their health care.

This is not an endorsement of Singapore in any way, shape or form. I dislike their nanny state, morality police mentality and lack of truly competitive government. But their results in this instance brings to mind Churchill's quip about democracy as well as the philosopher king ideas of ancient Greece.

* college buddy of mine, a doctor, was Facebooking his aversion to Obamacare by playing up the "funds for granny will be cut by Washington" card.

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Internet Explorer 12 to shed legacy cruft in bid to BEAT Chrome

JLV
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Facepalm

@It's a strange world _you_ live in

It quite possibly isn't Microsoft's fault, given that the OP's link's contents are all about bugs caused by iOS8 changes breaking the dev's app. Nowhere were MS or IE mentioned.

Look, I dislike MS as much as the next guy, but at least try to understand what you are posting about. Goes for the OP too, his link had nothing to do with IE 12.

@ThomH - I agree with you dissing ditzy devs, and the reasons for it, but this could very well have been a crossword puzzle aficionado who's new to coding.

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'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'

JLV
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and that is the problem with global warming and ecology

Way too much of the agenda is driven by ideology and emotional issues, as exemplified by Greenpeace.

This gets us strange results such as a Germany that actually emits more CO2 after 100B Euro of renewable subsidies (in their sunny climate). It gets us scientific advisers who get fired, albeit for daring to question GMO hysteria. It gets us policy being set by people who I not trust to run a small company, let alone spend untold billions of our money. It gets us people who reject projects that do not fit 100% within their narrow worldview - an example being a high capacity transmission line being blocked in the SW USA because it could carry "fossil electricity".

There are reasons to support a shift of energy policy, even for those who are skeptics. Oil will not last forever, even if the peak oil scaremongering is likely overblown in the short term and intended for the hippie faithful. And a fair bit of its reserves are in countries that, frankly, I would rather see getting considerably less of our money.

Choosing to sit on the fence is not without risks, because idiots are currently in the driver's seat.

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Is there ANOTHER UNIVERSE headed BACKWARDS IN TIME?

JLV
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Re: Ah!

correction:

Trevor, you are now as a god sky fairy to me. ;-)

@ Trevor - good show sir!

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Thin plot, great CGI effects

JLV
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Re: one film edit

"The director, cut" edition

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Yotaphone 2: The two-faced pocket-stroker with '100 hours' batt life

JLV
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Re: @ Lallabalalla

" != (

i.e. I meant notice the quotes.

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JLV
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Re: @ Lallabalalla

"the sheeple"

Notice the parenthesis. Meant to signify irony.

Do get a brain :-)

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Finland ditches copyright levy on digital kit, pays artists directly

JLV
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Facepalm

utility?

Taxes can often fail to generate as much revenue as they cost to administer. Ask the French and "L'impot sur les grandes fortunes" which consistently failed to collect as much as it cost to run - too few payers, presumably too adept at tax accountancy.

By the very nature of what is being taxed here, where it is being taxed and collected and the intent of re-distribution to a nebulously defined set of recipients, music levees must surely be fairly high up the administration cost scales.

That Abba quip is telling - remuneration is likely directly linked to sales volume, rather than necessity. And most certainly directly proportional to the amount of money spent by any given artist in paperwork to firmly position his or her snout at the through.

But spare a happy thought for what your wallet has achieved. All those happy bureaucrats at the collecting societies. All the politicians being able to "do the right thing". POS vendors and extra staff to track the collection. Remuneration for deserving artists who are likely already, and justly so, well-connected to your country's cultural intelligentsia but somehow can't make ends meet on their own merit. You know, those guys & gals who are repeat guests for shows at your local state TV broadcasters.

But we still have those still-starving young artists hoping to make it big.

The funny thing? So many many of our countries have reached for the same stupid solutions to a non-problem. Mine, Canada, has. Almost would make one think that governments love to tax regardless of actual social or fiscal utility, just in order to extend their bureaucracy.

Which of your countries do not have such a system? Are your musicians any worse off?

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This Christmas, demand the right to a silent night

JLV
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Re: Good article

>And I believe your beliefs make you an asshole.

Speaking as an agnostic with definite atheist tendencies, I think the whole "holidays vs Christmas" thing is kinda silly, from both ends of the spectrum.

Like another form of PC-speak, where someone is "vertically challenged", rather than "short".

The holidays around Dec 25 are time off holidays for most workers. They happen to be originally motivated by something that might or might not have happened 2000 years ago. That's besides the point, for me, but they are important enough, on most folks' schedule, for work or family reasons, to warrant easy identification during communication. "Christmas" seems to be the natural choice and easily understood.

Otherwise, if we successfully wiped out Xmas as a designation you'd end up with "the holidays in Dec" and the "holidays in April" (Easter). A bit silly, innit?

"Joe, please make sure the program identifies the correct non-work days around the April holidays."

And Halloween being All Saints Eve originally? Surely another candidate for "the October 31st Holiday"?

Myself, I find the "sky fairy" terminology a bit over the top. A bit in-your-face to believers and I am relaxed enough in my non-belief not to impose it onto others. But at least it has the shock value to remind people that one person's belief is another's superstition.

Insisting on re-labeling a public holiday's convenient and generally accepted designation because of its, fairly tenuous (because of lack of actual observance by most), link to Christianity seems rather pointless however. Let alone caring overmuch about not offending other religion's followers, when you can be fairly sure they would feel no compunction not to label their own holidays naturally and probably don't care either way (traditional Muslim doctrine rates Atheists rather lower than Christians).

Just as pointless as the folks stridently insisting on "Christmas" in fact.

Happy Holidays, or Merry Christmas, y'all. Whatever floats your boat. Live and let live ;-)

p.s. now, if only my the cafe I am in would turn off their @*%$& Holiday carolsl!!!

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Uber? Worth $40 BEEELLION? Hey, actually, hold on ...

JLV
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Re: problem...

>Book Uber, get into the car, issue fine

Upvoted for common sense but

wouldn't that be legally considered as entrapment? Though I agree with your sentiment in principle.

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JLV
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Re: Money

So true.

After poking fun at Zynga a few days ago, I clicked on its "major stockholders" section of Google Finance. Guess what, I recognized some of my mutual funds.

Oft overpaid idiots, mutual fund firms. 2% (Canada) to manage someone else's $? Whether you make them a profit or a loss?

Nice work if you can get it. And certainly enough $ bilked to pay for all sorts of spiffy ads & "unbiased" investment advisor kickbacks.

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Google pushes 'go' on Android Studio

JLV
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Re: Yuck

Eh, eh. Rational Clearcase anyone? Round 98 or so...

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1074580/clearcase-advantages-disadvantages

- 4 (separate) services to run on Windows, before you could use it.

-each time I boot I got about 3-4 notices about "urgent" CC problems on those services, before I even thought of bringing up the GUI to manage anything.

-back then I didn't know version control software, and the need to use a control applet with about 10-15 tabs, each with 10-15 fields, certainly didn't enlighten me very much. A model of how to design interfaces.

- our clever architect/tech lead team had a 60-70 page document on how to use CC, but it basically kinda boiled down to checking one checkbox in one of the 15 tabs, somewhere, 90% of the time. Oh, and dunno if they didn't understand branching or CC didn't do it well, but branching was basically used in a broken fashion for about a year or two.

Most of my work was in-database, and I only need to check-in files 2-3 times a year, so I would forget the whole miserable mess each time around. I finally made a deal with my colleague and neighbor. I would help him with particularly hairly SQL queries and he'd wrangle with CC on my behalf on the rare occasion.

Good times.

I tried a bit of SVN and it seemed OK, but I really like git and the fact that it meshes in so well with bash and the command line. Still finding my way around, but it works quite well.

YMMV, but please do use a VCS, on your own if your shop is too backwards. World of difference and don't let an abomination like CC disgust you like it did me. You'd be surprised how many folks still rely on copying folder full of files as a backup.

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It's nearly 2015 – and your Windows PC can still be owned by a Visual Basic script

JLV
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Re: unintended consequences

Good points, which is why I am very curious about how the laws, and lawsuits, are going to evolve with regards to self-driving cars and trucks.

Right now we have a regulatory situation where most software is more-or-less exempt from getting sued, most of the time, for defects. On the subject of road traffic and driver error, we also have copious case history of damages and indemnification procedures, funded through insurance, for driver-caused accidents.

And we have a history of rather more extensive damages where the fault can be attributed to shoddy work by the car manufacturer. But most accidents are caused by drivers and/or road conditions or maintenance-caused mechanical failures. Not by manufacturing defects as such.

Let's take as a hypothesis that a correctly implemented self-driving car can be made to drive 10x as far a human driver without causing an accident.

If there is an accident attributed to say the Civic 2025's self-driver software, I don't think it will fly to say "oh, well, let's grant damages as if a human driver caused it by gross negligence. and keep it in mind that it is much safer in aggregate". Or "geez, you signed the EULA, didn't you?"

I am guessing that car manufacturers will be hit up for much larger damages, at least until case law stabilizes.

So, even much safer self-driving cars (no, didn't say we were there yet) may take some time to take off, precisely because I think that the software will in this case be held to a much higher standard. Is this an entirely rational or desirable approach, if software could be made safer than human control?

p.s.

Wonder if the same principles guiding the airline industry could apply instead. The Brazil-Paris flight crash was due to problems http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447 with the instrumentation and software, but Airbus didn't get sued to oblivion either, they were just expected to fix it thoroughly (yes, there are lawsuits pending apparently but aircraft manufacturers generally don't get dinged too much).

p.p.s. what kind of idiotic website is going to use vbscript in 2014 anyway?

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