3297 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007
What's the point?
Being able annihilate an entire month's data limit in the space of a few minutes isn't very useful to anybody.
The kinds of ads I object to
I don't really care about the text-only type ads that Google and others throw out. They're not a major security issue, they don't consume many bytes of traffic and they don't interfere with the page.
The kind of ads I despise are animated banner ads and interstitials and yes I will strip them out. They're distracting, consume large amounts of bandwidth, hog CPU and occasionally offensive (e.g. porn). In these days of HTML5 it doesn't even matter if these ads are flash or not. The HTML5 based ads probably hog more CPU than even flash since they all run on the browser's thread.
Another modern annoyance are the Facebook, Google, Digg, Pinterest, Yahoo links plastered over every page. They are a serious privacy concern and I block those out too.
Re: Insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting different results
C++ seems to have done pretty well for itself last time I looked. The main reason to use C in preference to C++ is for low level APIs and functionality where name mangling, exceptions etc. might get in the way of things. For application level programming there is little reason to use C if C++ is available.
I don't see the situation being analogous for JS though since JS is compiled at runtime whereas most of these JS++ wannabes are compiled at development time and the translated JS is compiled again at runtime. They're basically acting like cfront with the second compilation deferred until the page is loaded.
It's a damned shame these companies can't just bypass this BS altogether - define a cross platform LLVM runtime (like PNaCl but with appropriate concessions to other browsers) and let people develop in anything they like. JS as the intermediate form is the problem here.
I've heard they should be called Dunning-Krugerrands
Re: Looks like a black hole
They possibly are but at the same time it would be incredibly difficult to offload all that cash and exit with money without arousing suspicion. Exchanges match buy orders to sell orders. A thief selling a mountain of bitcoins is going to collapse the price just by selling, which means they would have to do it over a very long period of time.
The second problem is that bitcoin has a transaction chain. Somewhere in that chain it has a transaction that corresponds to the fraudulent withdrawals from Mtgox. It might be possible to launder a small amount of bitcoin through a laundering service (i.e. I give bitcoins A to the laundry and it gives me bitcoins A' from a separate pile, thus breaking my connection to the theft), but we're talking of a massive heist. It would be impossible to launder. Statistical analysis of who is trying to sell all those bitcoins would probably point straight at the perpetrator. Transactions are also distributed over P2P.
I suppose its even possible that as transactions of the theft fan outwards from a particular node or nodes in the network that someone with sufficient nodes of their own could figure out where those transactions originated from.
Re: Virtual currency banking has been done before
The difference with EVE online is that the scams were considered completely legitimate in the game world since they didn't violate the rules of the game or use exploits.
Somehow I doubt applies to these real world scams. When the proprietors of Mtgox are caught they'll face the music. Not that it will help any of those people who "invested" in this exchange.
Bitcoin was never much more than a crowd sourced ponzi from the beginning. Early adopters who'd mined out the easy money hyped it up to attract new investors and the exited with hard cash. Eventually the speculation bubble would burst and the cycle would repeat. I expect this latest collapse will be a tad harder to recover from than previously.
Re: What a load of bollocks
"I suggest you ask Amazon, as they have done exactly the same thing with the Kindle devices."
A slightly different situation since Amazon.com is an extremely popular website that sells products, books, movies, music and apps and can therefore prominently market its device. Go visit it right now and chances are they're pushing the tablet on their front page.
But for all of Amazon's efforts it is still a tiny fraction of the users of Play store and the selection and price of apps on the Amazon app store reflects that.
Re: Forking from the inside.
"True, but you're talking about perhaps less than 100 lines of code different between the two versions, and it's code that will be concentrated in maybe one or two methods in one or two classes."
Clearly you've never used APIs such as these. The banner ad code might be 100 lines. The licence validation service might be 600 lines (which must be heavily modified, obfuscated, duplicated and smeared around the app so it is difficult to rip out). The cloud / achievements / game scores another 1200. This isn't because Google's APIs are complex but they must handle various network events like connect / disconnect, retry, account signon / off and weird edge cases that occur in phones.
It's quite flippant to say "java is very good at hiding details". Getting it working for a single backend is bad enough but yes I could write abstract it and support different backends. I'm sure I could support Gamecircle (for example) assuming my time was free since that's another full 2 or 3 days of integration and a constant overhead to maintain thereafter (e.g. if I logon to Google's server to add an achievement then I must also logon to Amazon's to do it too).
Aside from that, it takes me a full day to make ready, test, package, sign, tag and deploy a version of my app per store. I know this since in the past I have supported my apps on Playbook, Archos and Amazon stores. Oh how I love how each store insists on different sized banner art and some of them take an inordinately long time to approve apps!
Will I support Nokia's app store too? Nope. I'll assume that Nokia users will sideload Play store and if they don't or can't, then the platform is DOA anyway.
Re: Forking from the inside.
"In-app freemium apps, DRM, advertising, "achievements" are useful things? :)"
In-app purchases aren't just for freemium apps. Consider an app which won't let you buy comics or magazines from within the app. Or an app which is trialware & free but lets people unlock the full functionality for a sum of money. Or a game which features episodic content or extra levels.
DRM is extremely useful if you've sunk months or years into an app and don't want to see it appearing on various piracy websites loaded up with malware.
Advertising is useful for developers who want to offer an app for nothing. Many extremely useful apps are only free because advertising revenue makes it profitable to do so.
Achievements, high score tables etc. are quite obviously desirable in games. The APIs also allow cloud storage which is useful too.
Now there are 3rd party APIs for some of these things but they're just as proprietary as Google's. e.g. Nokia claims to offer APIs for some of this functionality. Clearly they're okay when it's *their* proprietary APIs, just not when it's somebody elses. I also really don't buy the "proprietary" argument in the first place since the app itself is proprietary. It's just designed to work in a particular framework of APIs that the vast majority of handsets support.
It's no good blaming the apps that one handset decides on purpose not to comply with that framework and thinks that offering an analogous but different subset of APIs is a good plan.
Re: Forking from the inside.
The thing is, apps use those APIs because they do useful things. e.g. facilitate in-app purchases, piracy detection, deliver advertising, integrate with game features like achievements etc. and they're supported by the vast majority of phone devices.
It's very easy to harumph that apps use proprietary APIs for those things, but almost all APIs for those things are proprietary.
Secondly, if an app developer wants to support Nokia's device they'll have to build and maintain two separate branches of the same product and build, package, test and upload two versions of it. This is an odious burden and many apps simply won't bother - or if they do they'll jack up the price Nokia's app store to compensate for the effort.
There is nothing that would have stopped Nokia getting itself certified to ship with the Google apps and services except they chose not to. They could have thrown some value add apps onto the phone (or for free on the app store exclusive to Nokia devices) as a product differentiator. They could have stuck their own store app on the device too if they wanted.
They just chose not to. If they're lucky someone will figure a way to painlessly side load the missing functionality. If not, Nokia will reap what it sows.
What a load of bollocks
They're running an Android fork (from which version of AOSP?) under a heavily modified front end, not supplying the Play store and not supplying the standard set of Google apps.
What the hell is the point in that??? Do they really think that people are happy to buy apps from Nokia's app store? Do they think app developers are happy about yet another app store to build and deploy to?
Perhaps there is a way to side load the google apps and store, but out of the box it means the device is crippled. What a total waste of time for all concerned.
A complex guy
It doesn't surprise me that he is a complex individual. If you watch interviews with the guy there is something very strange in the way he talks - it's monotone, robotic, intense. Like he's on a different plain, or more likely suffering some mild personality disorder.
I don't see it being very practical though e.g. how long would it take to fold up that massive parachute after landing? What happens if it's raining or windy?
Since it's slower in the air than on the ground (and slower depending if the wind is behind) so it's probably most useful in areas without an adequate road network, or where there are perhaps rivers or other natural obstacles to cross. Maybe it would be useful for some kind of "flying doctor" type role.
Could be a blessing disguise
Google had a hidden feature in Android to disable certain app permissions even if the app manifest said it needed them. This was highly desirable functionality and long overdue. Other smart phone operating systems can deny access to certain data regardless of what the app says. So it was annoying that this feature not only failed to materialise publicly but was removed entirely.
But perhaps if Facebook gets serious about gobbling phone data that Google might think to reimplement this functionality. They could implement it on security / privacy grounds and I think they'd be safe from lawsuits providing they could demonstrate their own apps could be blocked too. But I suspect Google would know as well as anybody that people would be more inclined to block permissions on 3rd party apps than they would on the apps they get with their phone.
Ubuntu have been playing around with a desktop / phone hybrid for quite some time. There are videos on YouTube of a Motorola Atrix which runs Android as a phone but when it's plugged into its dock it becomes Ubuntu.
I think the idea has a lot of potential though I'm not sure Ubuntu have the clout to pull it off.
Re: Ugly design and expensive
No, it's an ugly design that looks like a waste paper bin / a giant coke can. I'm quite certain that it's noise and size have absolutely nothing to do with the cylinder it is encased in. And in fact this can be seen quite plainly from the pictures without its case.
Ugly design and expensive
At least it's a small and compact. Not sure what if anything the shape lends to the machine except a vague sense that Apple is scraping the bottom of the design barrel to justify slapping a premium on the device.
Re: It's not surprising it failed
"Android and iOS games are not an answer to Nintendo's problem..."
I said Android and other consoles. In other words go cross platform.
And of course it's one answer since other companies like King, Rovio etc. make hundreds of millions dollars from their IP.
Nintendo could make a huge amount of money from supporting handhelds and more from consoles, PCs etc. Just make good games and people will buy them in droves. They'd make more money than they'd ever make from the Wii U, assuming they ever make money from it at all.
It's not surprising it failed
The Wii U was very expensive at launch, underpowered (even compared to 6 year old PS3 and 360), and has failed to attract 3rd party support. It simply doesn't have the hardware sales to justify 3rd party game development (or even ports). Probably Nintendo is the only one making money from games and even that's questionable. The platform is in a downward spiral.
They should probably give up the West as a lost cause and target emerging markets like India, China and Brazil. Maybe with a price adjustment they can make more headway there.
Another option of course is to do a SEGA and dump the hardware business altogether. Think of all the opportunities brands like Mario, Pokemon etc. are missing out on by not supporting Android or the other consoles.
Or maybe they should get themselves bought out by someone like Disney who'd probably do the SEGA for them but could also diversify the brands out into theme parks, merchandising, TV shows etc.
I don't think it is impossible to draw the line so much as set an extremely high bar for the standard of proof, a very narrow framework when the penalty is available and a procedure which must be followed to the letter for the penalty to apply.
The PS4 looks better, it performs better and it costs less. Even in the US which is the bastion of the XBox, I'm sure a combination of these factors has substantially swayed sales in this gen over what they were in the last.
Microsoft could turn this around if they could justify the Kinect (or bundle an XB1 without it), or if they swallowed the price differential. But if they plough on the way they are then I suspect the gap will widen.
Firefox gets most of its revenue from Google which is a direct competitor to itself not just for browsers but now phone operating systems. It's not surprising if they're worried about this arrangement and want to spread themselves out a bit.
Sounds like he wanted to get caught
Taunting the police is a surefire way to get their attention and increase the chances of getting arrested. Contrary to popular belief they are not morons.
Final Cut Pro X
I've never used this product, but I've been involved in development of a product where management decided that existing users were not their target audience any more. They replaced a fat client app used for investment account management with a web application. To put this in perspective we had users of the old product complaining that the app was slow when display results of a million(!) records. The new webapp used to show results 50 per page with a maximum row count. The managers probably decided they'd make more money from the new app.
From reading about Final Cut Pro X this seems to be the same thing happening. Perhaps Apple decided they'd make more money targeting semi-professional and amateur editors instead, e.g. the kind that upload vids to YouTube. Maybe they thought that repositioning themselves at that audience would make them 50x the sales and they'd throw in the odd feature to appease the old lot over time. If so it makes sense even if it seriously pisses off their old users.
Re: "too expressive in some ways, with features like closures..."
"Closures are nothing to do with OO functionality, they're to do with capturing execution scope. If all you want to do is attach some functions to an object call() & apply() are perfectly adequate."
Oh dear, someone can't read. I said that's how they are used in JS. A common pattern (or anti pattern if you prefer) is write a "constructor" for an object which tacks on a bunch of closures which are bound to that new object and called as if they are methods. It's actually more efficient to use a prototype but some people use closures since they look a bit neater and use things like instanceof. It is very easy to look this up for yourself. I'm also aware of what a closure is in its wider definition.
Re: "too expressive in some ways, with features like closures..." @DrXym
I didn't say multithreading was irrelevant to functional programming. I said the main use of functional programming in JS was to make up for its lack of proper OO classes, to tack "methods" onto an object and use it like a class. It's being used as a bandaid because JS has grown up in a fairly organic manner. Even within JS, using a prototype is still recommended because it has a lower construction overhead (since it doesn't bind new closures to each time an object is made).
As for immutability, it has very useful properties for ownership and so forth, But it can also suck big time which is why most languages leave the choice up to the developer. A simple example, would be a game which in the course of one loop might construct thousands of points, lines, planes for all its geometry and physics and all this would be massive overhead. Hence the game would use mutable objects which could be reused over and over.
It is examples like this that doubtless explain why pure functional languages are largely confined to niche purposes and always will be.
Re: "too expressive in some ways, with features like closures..."
Anyway, be glad it resembles a language people are familiar with. If it had resembled Scheme or Lisp it would have been DOA.
This is the game that spawned many of these survival titles, including Minecraft:
It's basically a hideously complex open ended sandbox where you have to raise a colony of dwarves while they are assailed by the environments and various creatures..
Ordinarily your eyes are focussed on a point outside of the vehicle, perhaps looking 30 or more feet away. Having a mini cinema inches away from your eyeball not only requires you alter your focus, but also obscures what you are seeing for real outside.
I don't see it being at all safe or practical because it would completely screw with your visual perception and reaction times.
Aircraft HUDs attempt to solve this by using collimated rays of light which are essentially parallel so the pilot can see the image regardless of their focus. Perhaps something like that is possible but certainly not any time soon.
Prescription lenses are no excuse
If someone needs prescription lenses in their Google Glass then they certainly one and probably more pairs of regular glasses lying around. There is no excuse for not wearing them in a vehicle, or on other occasions where cameras or head mounted displays are prohibited.
Re: Awful to type on
The best / worst accessory for the keyboard was a "steering wheel". It was an ashtray like disk that the player was meant to roll it over the number keys to simulate steering. No this was not a joke, it actually existed.
Mixed feelings about the keyboard
I have about 3 or 4 Spectrums and while the rubbery keyboard wasn't great I don't recall it being *that* bad in operation. That's partly because it was heavily mnemonic. You wouldn't type the letters of LOAD, you'd just hit J and it would appear (and the space that followed). So typing was minimal once you learned the shortcuts. The Spectrum also used to make a nice little click through the speaker which helped a lot. Compared to the chiclet keyboard in the Oric, or the dead membrane of the ZX81 it was much nicer.
I thought the Spectrum+ / Spectrum 128 keyboard was worse, partly because it looked like a real keyboard but was dead rubber underneath. The +2 came with a decent keyboard but Amstrad "helpfully" omitted to print most of keyboard shortcuts.
Anyway EBay is filled with silicon rubber "waterproof" PC keyboards so it shouldn't be hard to reproduce the Spectrum keyboard though I wonder who the market is for it. Maybe it would work if it was battery operated and bundled up with a bunch of games in flash.
Re: Have to agree with many points
The PS3 is very standards compliant as far as consoles go. The Vita slipped back by using a proprietary memory card which IMO explains why the handheld didn't sell as well as it should have.
£200,000 for the machine
£300,000 for the refills.
Concerning the "slows to a crawl" comment, I have an Asus Transformer which has the exact same issue. In the Transformer's case, it is cheap and crap flash which is the problem - the IO overwhelms it and acts as a bottleneck. If its a similar issue for this device then oh dear. It boggles the mind that they would produce what is clearly a nice looking device and then skimp on the actual bits inside the case.
Should be sold in the same way as patents
There are obviously terms and conditions that anyone wishing to host the content would have to meet, but as far as possible content should be licenced in a fair, open, and non discriminatory way.
It is clearly anticompetitive that Netflix, Amazon or Sky should be able to obtain exclusive rights to content and essentially shut their competition (especially the smaller ones) out.
But further to this I think the EU should ensure that if someone buys (as opposed to rent / stream) content through one provider that they should be able to transfer it to another provider, or even a vendor neutral DRM. It should be their content regardless of where they bought it to play as they see fit.
Re: but it's really poor compared to Sony's and Steam.
My kid has a 3DS (courtesy of Santa) and there are a few cute things about its presentation. The little present & bow for a new download, the simplicity of the UI etc. At its simplest it works really well as it should for its target audience.
But it can also be very clunky. I've lost count of the number of times the store app has failed with some mysterious error and helpfully suggested I reboot the 3DS. I couldn't even connect to the store until Dev 27th, so bad was the experience. Many of the apps make the user wade through user agreements, supplementary agreements, addendums, sign on pages, adult controls etc.
"Ninty could still end up smelling of roses by treating the U as a stop gap and releasing something rather more potent in 2 or 3 years."
Or put another way, Nintendo to continue to lose money for another 2 or 3 years, bet the farm on a new console (and prematurely abandon the last one and its pissed off owners) and pray it succeeds.
A more realistic option would for them to slash the price of their console and hope it carves a niche at the lower end of the market, and in emerging markets like China & India.
Or get out of the hardware business entirely and reinvent themselves like SEGA as a software only house.
It may be a great piece of kit but it's largely comparable to great pieces of kit that came out 6 years before it. And that's the problem. It doesn't offer much over the competition and in some ways it offers less.
People simply weren't interested in it. To compound the issue, poor sales have meant that many 3rd parties have abandoned it too. Nintendo didn't do themselves many favours by treating 3rd party devs like crap all this time and it seems like when the chips are down, many were happy to walk away.
It's not that Microsoft can't build Windows for ARM because they can, but that few 3rd parties can be bothered to follow them. That's why Itanium flopped. It's why RT flopped. It's why NT for MIPS, Alpha and PowerPC flopped. It's great to be able to run Windows, not so great that nothing else runs.
I expect Linux would fare a lot better on ARM because support is so good already.
Re: Don't think so.
Netbooks were killed by greed. Asus, HP et al saw ultrabooks and tablets coming along and used them as an excuse to kill the format. Why bother making a netbook on thin margins when you can charge an arm and a leg for something filling essentially the same purpose?
Re: It's a question of trust -- @ DrXym
"To be fair to TPB, how many 'upstanding' advertisers are likely to want to be associated? "
That isn't the point. The point is that they KNOW these ads are scams and malware and they willingly expose their visitors to these ads. As such their trustworthiness is zero and it should weigh heavily on anyone foolish enough to download and install software that they make.
As for the protocol I stated quite clearly that they should provide source and preferably a specification so independent implementations can appear. But I also said why this runs counter to their current business model - if people can independently implement their search / service then they can strip out or replace ads and deprive TPB of their revenue. This is why I think whatever they produce will be a binary.
Of course, another option is for them to switch to another revenue stream, e.g. a bitcoin micropayment and no ads, but presumably it would still suffer many of the same issues and more besides.
Re: It's a question of trust -- @ DrXym
"Are you sure those adverts aren't targeted?"
I ran from a private window so I assume not. It's just indicative of the low standards the site has when carrying advertising. It's virtually all scams of one kind or another. I would hope anyone with sense would recognize that it would be a very bad idea to trust software produced by the site. It would be different if they produced a protocol or released source which could be reviewed and independently built or implemented.
Re: It's a question of trust
I wonder if those people who have given me a thumbs down have bothered to review the ads on the Pirate Bay.
A selection of banners ads from the site right now:
"German banker secrets, how to make $15,400 a month trading (no trial / credit card required!)" - affiliate scam, possibly malware "trading software"
"I just joined the 10" club thanks to Ron Jeremy" - scam
"When it comes to penis pills... information is power" - scam
"Santa claus is coming" - scam
"Free online dating" - prostitution site / scam
"Convert to any format - VideoDownloadConverter" - malware / browser hijacker
"I make $686 every day - work from home and earn $20,000 a month" - scam
"Learn how a simple glass of grapefruit juice can add inches to your penis size!" - scam
"Penis surgery in a pill!" - scam
And I didn't even go into the porn section for any of these. If you trust TPB or their software you are clearly not paying attention to their business model.
Tor explicitly says it is unsafe to use in conjunction with Bittorrent for the simple reason that while your searches through Tor might be safe, as soon as you launch bittorrent to download something you found you are no longer anonymous.
That said, I don't see it necessarily any worse than browsing their web site directly.
It's a question of trust
The Pirate Bay is a web site which thinks nothing of facilitating the download of illegal content and plastering its site with ads for porn, malware and assorted other scams.
I wouldn't trust any software they wrote unless it was supplied with full source code and preferably a protocol definition which allowed independent implementation.
I think a distributed search is long overdue for Bittorrent. Other P2P systems have one. The problem I suppose for Bittorrent is that the likes of TPB want ad impressions. At the very least they'd want to be able to bundle up a web app analogous to their web site and perhaps host it through someone's favourite torrent client as if it were a web site. This might not be a bad idea either - user subscribes to some magnet link that represents the app, and then hits localhost:1234 to access it through the torrent. The web app would act as a front end for any search and could presumably craft a query which resolved to another link which returned results.
The benefit to the user is a web app is a relatively safe thing compared to a proprietary client and they could choose their own torrent software. But I doubt TPB will do that.
It's hardly surprising they would trial PS Now in the US first - there are a handful of dominant ISPs, more advanced broadband, very large population centres, billing is easier and they only have to support one language both in the service itself but also in the content they offer through it.
It'll come to Europe eventually but clearly the effort is that much harder.
Re: Great, bitrotten cars
Audio doesn't *have* to be re-encoded. A streaming service like Spotify or a phone-based music player could pass AAC audio straight over to A2DP without reencoding it. That depends on the phone. Point being the standard doesn't care and it's up to phone makers to fill that niche. And even if it is reencoded, we're talking about a 320kbs audio stream. I doubt it makes much difference in standard driving conditions.
Certainly when we look at the bitrate for this Rara service. A 48-64kbs stream even if it's not reencoded may still sound worse than a not-so-smart phone reencoding a 320kbs stream. And the price of this subscription service is awful - £27 a month. If I had to stream I'd subscribe to Spotify (or a similar service) and use the difference on the phone plan.
Great, bitrotten cars
It's bad enough when cars came out with an iPod dock, but now the entertainment systems are tied to proprietary services which probably be bitrotten or semi functional in 5 years. It's bad enough when a "smart" TV packs in all this crap but I would run a mile from any vehicle which did it.
There is absolutely no need for it either. There are standards for bluetooth which would allow someone to play or stream music from their phone and do so in a standards compliant way.
Re: A simple countermeasure
"But perhaps different motivations to protect the devices: in the cable industry if hackers "steal" free movies or TV channels then it's the company's own money being lost. "
Not just stealing content. The set top box was subsidized with the presumption that the cable provider would recoup their investment. Having people hacking the box wasn't good for them and they were contractually obliged to do everything they could to protect the content too.
"However it seems that banks don't seem to worry about losing "our" money in the same way..."
This attack appears to allow the criminal to punch in a code to the machine and it will just dispense money. So it's the bank's money, and even if it was stealing customer money, most consumer protection would still leave the bank on the hook. Which is all the more reason they should take security that little bit more seriously.
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