Re: yeah yeah, it was a bug...
I'm pretty sure it didn't occur on WP7 devices. Due to the way WP7 integrates and manages contacts and Facebook integration, I'm about 70% sure that FB couldn't ovewrwrite your contacts in this way.
4545 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008
I'm pretty sure it didn't occur on WP7 devices. Due to the way WP7 integrates and manages contacts and Facebook integration, I'm about 70% sure that FB couldn't ovewrwrite your contacts in this way.
Chocky wasn't terrifying. What istruly terrifying is if you watch it today and realize how paced, intelligent and thoughtful it was compared to children's television today. The little boy in Chocky was clever and showed excellent logic skills, integrity and forethought. I can only imagine that a child of the same age as that character in today's media would be deemed far too unrealistic.
It's not quite an alien invasion movie, but for one slight twist in the alien's plan it very nearly could have been. And it's one of the most effective plans in the history of sci-fi. A lone alien arrives, disguised as a human being. He takes out some revolutionary patents based on processes unknown to humanity at the time and using its superior intelligence and the odd bit of judiciously applied knowledge about how tech will develop (given it influences discoveries), commences to build a business empire that would make Rockefeller blush. The only thing that stops the alien from more or less just taking over the Earth by simply exploiting the way our society works, is that its intent isn't actually to take over but to achieve something else. Of course the something else is so mind-numblingly stupid it makes the cleverness of the rest of the plot meaningless, but it's still an outstanding idea for how an alien could gain control on Earth using just a smattering of superior knowledge.
"Microsoft are shooting themselves in the foot by allowing their cretinous users"
Oh wonderful. Now MS users are "cretinous." I sense a No True Scotsman lurking in the depths of your argument.
"Or it is neither, depending on your point of view."
Not really a matter of point of view. It looks like it has a superset of the functionality of both tablets and ultrabooks (at least the Pro version fully does, the ARM is a bit more of a mix) without corresponding losses. That's the point of why the minivan analogy was such a poor one. You don't give up any tablet functionality by having a detachable keyboard - detach it and it is a tablet, for example. Even the stated weight is comfortably within range for tablet usage.
"Can I plug it into my 28 inch monitor"
Unless your monitor is old and lacks modern interfaces, then presumably yes. The RT version has built in HDMI and the Pro version has Display Port if I recall correctly. In the event that your monitor is legacy hardware only, you can get adaptors between these interfaces.
" and firewire audio interface so I can run Logic Audio on it in my studio?"
This argument would be germaine if Firewire were a standard thing on laptops. But it isn't. Aside from most laptop users probably not wanting or needing to run Logic Audio on it in their studio, the Surface does come with USB 3.0, so with an adaptor (typically a few quid from Amazon), yes, you can.
"Poking at shiny things with my stubby fingers is of no interest to me."
But your stubby fingers are a constant whether discussing laptops, tablets or hybrids. Therefore we can remove this as a factor from consideration.
You: "So you've been using a MS Surface then? Otherwise saying it does both well without having actually used it would be pretty stupid."
Me: "This is a device that appears to do both very well"
I've watched the demonstration. It seems to be a near complete product awaiting only mass production (which presumably is in process now as they're talking about release dates before the end of the year for the ARM version). So yes, I stand by my comment. From what I've seen and what I can conclude, it looks like it will do both very well. Also, you might look up 'inductive reasoning' at some point.
"Umm, ever since we lived in the real world. Yes we're engineers but non-engineer people (and also engineer people) who live in this real world select the products they buy using criteria other than a series of technical 'top trumps' scores."
Yes, but that does not mean that when people debate these devices, they should debate them on the merits or not of the marketing techniques. We should debate them on their actual merits and faults. To read these forums these days, you'd think that clever marketing was the highest virtue of a company, rather than the art of manipulating people's opinions which is what two thirds of it is.
"Extending that metaphor, Bill Gates just told us that we won't need cars and trucks, Windows minivans for everyone is the future."
Argument by metaphor is only good for rhetoric and explaining things who can't understand the facts. Tablets have a use. Laptops have a use. This is a device that appears to do both very well. Your metaphor breaks down in that minivans have disadvantages relative to those things you propose they replace. There appears to be no disadvantage that the Surface has over a laptop or over a tablet - it is both. The only question is cost. And as the WindowsRT version is to be priced competitively with the iPad apparently, and the Pro version to be priced competitively with Ultrabooks, both tablets and ultrathin laptops are likely to be at a competitive disadvantage to this product. Avoid argument by analogy - it is too often inadequate and just used to try and convince people of what you want them to think by substituting elements that better suit ones conclusion.
"Anyway tally-ho, I'm just off to the shops in my 'Carriage-like-device'."
Doesn't much matter if it were called a 'carriage-like-device', an 'automobile' or a 'car', they still sell just fine. Since when did marketing become more important than the product? Or are we no longer engineers?
They should know better than this. Japan certainly can't afford to stay a modern state subsiting on rising fossil fuel costs. Nuclear power has provided a basis for steady development in Japan for the last several decades. And they want to turn their back on it just when a double disaster of a collossal earthquake and tsunami doesn't cause a nuclear disaster, thus showing how safe it is? No Anonymous. Don't pick that battle. Anonymous can be many things but luddites is one of the last things I would have expected!
"Rich + Smart = Android
Rich + Dim = Apple"
Happy to have Google spy on them + doesn't care about image / marketing much + happy to spend longer faffing around = Android
Easily marketed to / wants to look cool + doesn't want to faff around + more security concious = Apple iPad
Wants to do actual work + Rich = Ultrabook / the really thin Mac and ignore the whole tablet thing until they get keyboards.
"It's a good job that you can rely upon Internet vigilantes, who are prepared to hack election officials IT systems, to let you know if an election is safe or not..."
If an electoral IT system can be hacked, the election is not safe.
"I know a bit about the "value vs cost" of digital goods and how it's widely abused"
I don't think you do. Stratfor are selling intelligence analysis. I'm a customer of theirs. It doesn't really matter whether I receive their reports by paper letter or by email - though obviously receiving them by email is very much more convenient for me. I know the value I place on their analyses and it has no relationship to the medium being digital. That you even relate their service (strategic analysis) to "digital goods" which conventionally means a product such as an ebook, movie or music, shows how badly you are conflating different services.
"That is indeed correct"
That was indeed obvious. I am, as stated, a customer of Stratfor. But you seem determined to pronounce your greater understanding of the situation even after you've been shown incorrect on basic facts to do with this.
"That is entirely incorrect, ridiculous, frankly insulting, and, if I may, says more about you than it says about me."
It may be insulting, but it is not incorrect. You plainly did not know simple things about the situation, yet you made a polemnical post about it in a righteous way. If that is not posting because you want to sound good, rather than because you actually have facts or insight to bring to this, then I don't know what other conclusion you expect me to draw or why.
"Let's have a pint and forget about the whole thing."
No problem. (Icon ticked)
Facts are more important than wanting to sound right on the Internet which is the motivation I see here.
If someone pronounces things confidently and polemnically and it is trivially easy to show that they don't actually know what they're talking about, then they deserve to be rewarded with sarcasm because they are actively misleading people for the sake of trying to sound righteous.
Your comment doesn't even make sense. There's no reference to "$1.75m of lost income". Stratfor are not suing anyone for loss of sales of their "digital goods and services." It's a compensation to customers for leaked data. You didn't apparently even read the article, Sir Kneejerk.
"It's pretty safe to assume that none (or few) of the claimants would have bought the e-book"
So you're suggesting that the book was written without expecting anyone to buy it? Or that it was commissioned just in case it needed to be used as part of a class-action settlement? It's silly to say that "none (or few)" of Stratfors paying customers would have paid for one of Stratfor's products. That's kind of the defining quality.
"It is also pretty safe to say that at least some of the claimant would not have subscribed to the month they are offered, and that doesn't cost them much "
Really shows how much you know. Stratfor subscriptions are typically purchased on a yearly basis so it's effectively a free month.
"Lastly, they would have had topay real cash if the had not proposed freebie. So a more correct formulation would have been "will save Stratfor an estimated $1m in cash".
You've already shown your ignorance about both Stratfor's business model, but you're keen to pronounce on the internal costings of things you know nothing about. Tell me exactly where you got that figure of $1million. Calculated how exactly? Or was it ex anus? When you have goods with a worth of $1.7m given free to a customer base that are demonstrably repeat purchasers of said goods, it's just downright stupid to say that it has saved them "$1million in cash". Admit it, you don't know much about this, you're not nor ever have been a Stratfor customer but you saw a chance to pronounce some entirely made up numbers to the world because you like sounding like you know what you're talking about in the hope someone will be tricked into modding you up. Correct?
"And how do you think your games will run on Widows8RT? The answer is of course, THEY WON'T, not unless you buy them again from Microsoft."
Why (or how?) would you be installing WindowsRT on a desktop or normal laptop? Are you telling me your main games machine has an ARM processor?
Though that said, Metro games will be able to run on any Win8 device - tablet, PC, Phone 8. So the answer isn't "they wont" for a lot of lighter games that will come out, actually.
"I really want to go to Windows 7, but MS wants a £200 upgrade fee from me to do it. I can stomach $40 a bit more."
That's nonsense. Even if you wanted Win7 Ultimate (and Pro ought to be fine for most users), it costs £155 on Amazon for the full boxed, non-OEM retail version. How on earth did you get to £200? Or did you omit to say you're talking about multiple machines. But then the $40 part wouldn't make sense.
".they need to be rounded up and shot dead."
I didn't know Jeremy Clarkson worked for Google.
"I don't want to have to use a mouse to clumsily shift around an interface that would quite probably be great if I had a touch interface"
With respect, if you're using the Mouse, you're already not a power user on the Desktop. When I want something, I typically hit the Windows key and type the first letter or two of the program I want to start. Faster than a mouse.For that reason alone, Metro has a greater appeal to me as on Win8, that key-type search brings up the result faster than the Start menu does (same hardware, I dual-boot). Also with respect, there's only so much you can pin onto the Start menu (about ten programs) with the rest having to be reached via sub-folders. On a Desktop, my Metro page has about twenty applications on the first page (and I can drag anything from the extended page on the first page very easily if I want it on there). In usage, I actually find using the Mouse with Metro faster too. There's enough other good stuff in Win8 that even if Metro was a minus to me, it's such a small one that it wouldn't stop me. Anyway, just my take on it. Downvoters will disagree. ;)
"Serious question, as I haven't used Windows 8. Why don't people like it?"
At the risk of sounding facetious, because they haven't tried it either. Software that works on Win8 should overwhelmingly work on WIn8. Multi-monitor support is actually improved on the Win8 desktop. The only thing that is really *missing* is the Start menu. For some people that appears to be reason for cries of anguish. Having been using it for a bit, it's no big deal imo. I counted up the programs I use regularly - came to 20. And I reckon that's significantly more than the average user. Even on my laptop twenty icons sit comfortably on my Metro screen. On a Desktop, they take up about half the screen (and that's with double-sized icons included). Compared to a hierarchical Start menu it is actually demonstrably quicker to use Metro to launch most things. Some people don't like it much and that's their privilege, but it's hardly a big annoyance unless you allow yourself to build up some towering resentment at change. On the other hand, some people seem to actively want MS products to have problems and thus it has become a rallying cry to celebrate. I don't know why. Operating Systems are not football teams.
Well true, anyone with responsibilities at that level is expected to check updates before corporate-wide distribution. And I expect the Skype install would have stood out like a sore thumb. But still, MS had no business putting something like this in an update. At all. It's ridiculous.
And until Skype can manage the basic functionality of setting different statuses to some groups and visible to others, it isn't a good fit for business anyway.
So complying with the law and people's rights conflicts in small ways with how you would like your business. Not my problem.
"haven't heard of that one, but I have heard of the tabloid press and I have heard dozens, if not hundreds, of stories about pics on mobile phone making it into the magazines that are sold to the mass market at supermarket checkouts."
I bet you have. In the last couple of years. Her photos were stolen three years ago though. And besides, the OP's point stands. She had intimate photos actively stolen. Not everyone can know everything about securing their systems. And we certainly can't only associate with people who do. Are you sure that everyone you share information with is safe from hacking? It get's really tiresome how some people love to blame the victim. Were naked pictures of you, or your partner, or your daughter were taken from their account and sent about online, exactly how happy would you be to blame the victim?
"This implies cause, doesn't it? Unless the first crash can be artificially engineered somehow for a control group, I don't know how you can support this."
It's just a slightly ambiguous translation from the maths. What they should properly say if they want to be clear is that for a bunch of the same machine, with a chance of crashing in a given time span of X, if one of those machines is known to have crashed previously, the chance of that machine crashing in the given time span is actually 100X. The the probability of recording a crash later has gone up by a factor of a hundred for that machine.
I.e. they are not to say that a previous crash makes it more likely that the machine will crash, but that the probability of a machine that has previously done so crashing, is higher than that of a machine that has not previously done so.
"Errm, so they're saying don't use Windows?"
Yes. Well done. That is exactly the message you should take from this. Because when my CPU overheats or my RAM can't keep up with the memory timings I have set for it, it doesn't phase my Linux box in the slightest. Non-MS operating systems don't actually need reliable hardware to run. In fact, the processor is really only there for looks with them.
"Add DRM and you will get all the stuff you don't like."
What - like being able to rent movies online? Because that's actually something I do like. Like being able to sell or rent web-based games as a business model making it worth my while to write them. Like being able to buy stuff with actual money rather than by being subjected to 5 second advertising interrupts every ten minutes? Like being able to offer some content online without my customers just being able to click 'Save As...'
"It will be cracked in 5 seconds. They will keep changing in a hopeless attempt to keep ahead"
It has obviously escaped your notice, but some of the modern DRM is actually bloody hard to crack. All those ripped movies you see online... they come from DVDs, not Zune movie rentals. As to the "hopeless attempt to keep ahead", *shrug* technology moves forward and industries adapt. If you expect one system to have been produced that will never need updating, you are naive. It's not a weakness that old methods are replaced by newer and more secure ones.
"It will only be available on some platforms"
You obviously chose to skip over that the entire point of my post expressing the hope that a standards body would create a standards compliant version that all could implement. As it is, there doesn't seem to be much willingness to fill this need by the Web Standards bodies, which means they will (yet again) be bypassed by Industry doing it itself. This has already started to happen.
"I thought Metro was written in Flash..?"
FLASH does run in IE10 for those that want it. And there are a lot of sites out there that still use it.
FLASH may be shit in a number of ways, but it still does a few things that HTML5 will not. HTML5 video needs to support DRM and streaming. Until it does that, a lot of people are going to be using alternatives. Which is a shame because it would be great to use something more standardised, less changing all the time and more easily distributable (no headaches wondering what version someone has or whether they'll be able to install it with their company policy).
The author of this article does not seem to understand that people who are good engineers are usually so because they enjoy doing things right and take a viewpoint that is based around what is optimum for the system, not just their little nugget of it. We have become engineers because we find greater satisfaction in actually being good people who move things forward, than we do playing internal politics and bickering over our share of an increasingly small pie.
Ultimately, companies that foster this sort of attitude lose all the really good people.
"But seriously, why should I even bother to look at a software application that runs on such a limited range of operating systems?"
You don't. You install Opera. IE9 is very good (imo), but no-one has ever claimed that it runs under a Linux DE or told you that you should try to. So it's rather straw-mannish of you to try and act disgusted that it doesn't.
I'm totally up for contributing to this on one condition - any revenue from technology side benefits: patents, gizmos and doohickeys, that spin off from this and are profitable are either (a) distributed amongst investors or if too small for individuals to care, put into a foundation to fund further work on this.
It's a great idea and worthwhile, but I'm not putting money into it just so that some company can use it as research bed to make money from.
These aren't really the same things. For example I am skeptical about AGW (please don't mod me up OR down just because you've found someone who you think falls into your ally / enemy camp - very few of us actually know enough about the climate to legtimiately claim to have an informed opinion). And yet even though I'm a skeptic of AGW, I am still believe we need to get off fossil fuels as quickly as possible. I still think we need to stop mass-deforestation. I still think better energy-efficiency through technology are good things. Why? Because there are reasons that have nothing to do with CO2 for supporting these. The best thing we could do for ourselves right now is a major shift to nuclear power. Cheap (at least compared to e.g. wind-power), long-term reserves are available, safe and doesn't lead us to prop up nasty little Middle Eastern dictators or bomb Lybians.
Basically, just a plea not to equate skeptic with someone who wants to burn the world. A lot of us care very much about the environment, we're just not convinced we should be peppering Britain with Wind Farms or fully persuaded that we now understand the complexities of Climate.
"The reason it's not been released outside the US, is only Americans are stupid enough to see past those rather important points, and all they see is "shiny cheap tablet"."
Well American's managed to produce this Nexus 7 which looks alright to me. So they can't all be as stupid as you think unless you hate this device as well. Troll.
Oh please. Have you even given up the pretense of looking for excuses to shoe-horn some MS-bashing into the comments section. This is about the Google tablet. The Surface isn't remotely the same sort of thing. The Surface is a higher-end hybrid device. The Google tablet is a about half the price of the lower-end Surface and clearly set up as an attack on the iPad. Which it looks like it might do well at. Surface and Nexus 7 is not a like for like comparison. Nexus 7 and iPad... well they're both designed for sofa-consumption, really. Exactly how high-end do you need for that? I don't have much experience on Android. I get the general impression that it's not nearly as slick an experience as iOS. But will people really want to pay a premium of over a hundred dollars or substantially more for an iPad when this will do the job just as well?
Oh and as to the Surface, the Netfilx app froze on pre-release hardware on pre-release software the presenter tried for a moment to work it and just picked up a back up from a lecturn on stage. But yes, let's make a great big deal about "awkward shuffling backstage". If you are making your purchasing decision by weighing that against the pure theatrics of skydivers, etc. which you seem to consider so great, then I wouldn't want you in charge of company purchases. Since when did IT professionals start considering the slickness of a company's marketing as something to brag about? Marketing is about manipulation and image, not performance. Your own Nexus 7 will not, I am sad to inform you, be delivered by skydivers.
"Think it might be true that tablets will become the norm. I doubt that will be tablets running Windows though."
Tablets wont be the norm because cheapish, decent quality hybrids will supplant them. Why have less functionality for no advantage? And Windows 8 will probably do very well on such devices. Not only does it look to be very nice on tablets, the OS and application space is well adapted to more productive work where you might want a keyboard. Not to mention MS have paid a lot of attention to business integration for Win8.
"We already have tablets in our business. They are nearly all Apple."
And yet so many people who have an iPad at work also have a laptop. When laptops can be tablets too, it is the pure tablet that loses out. Apple timed the iPad just as the technology was reaching the right stage for tablets to be affordable and light. But that hardly means that the market will always be theirs. Lots of reasons one might prefer to get a Win8 device. Android will get their act together and produce a better tablet OS at some point as well (to be fair, I have limited experience on an Android tablet and am going on my general impression from other comments for that).
"Most of the desks have a boxy tower PC under them - no reason for that to change."
Loads of reasons. Portable devices are getting ever more powerful. Win8 has a lot of features for BYOD and roaming profiles. Most people with desktops don't use them to nearly their full potential. At some point a tipping point will be reached and you'll see generic laptops and hybrids become the standard. Apple make their sales on selling themselves and the cool and fancy and charging a premium. That doesn't translate well to every user in a business having one.
"I'd be surprised if they amounted to even as much as one tenth of the devices people are using here by this time next year."
Well there's a v. large install base of non-Win8 out there. 10% of people upgrading their devices from now until June 2013? Sounds a bit high, but maybe. Let's instead compare how many sales are actually made as a more useful indicator of preference.
"I'm no expert on law, but doesn't that seem to go beyond piracy and perhaps stray into a rights issue?"
If it's that extreme then yes. Any extreme enforcement actually does. I'd like to see what is actually in it (and I don't read Japanese so it's difficult) as criminalizing someone watching an infringing YouTube clip in a foreign country sounds pretty crazy. Are any laws about activity outside of Japan simply to deal with people who offshore the behaviour... for example hosting the torrent server in China or something as an easy dodge? Without details, everyone just brings their own preconceptions to the debate - you, me, all of us.
DDoS attacks really achieve little more than publicity, though in some cases that can be useful such as drawing attention to Bharain's human rights records.
The much rarer leaks of information have more lasting impact, but these are rarer and I think mostly matters of opportunity rather than targetting.
No mention of AMD's forthcoming efforts? Intel seem to rule the high performance end but AMD's new APUs should be appearing in ultrathin laptops before the year is out for cheaper and with Good Enough performance for what they are. Also, any word on re-pricing for Intel's efforts? I understood that they'd done the early adopter milking and were going to be putting prices back to saner levels this Autumn?
"As for pro-Google / pro-Apple comments, I think in both cases it comes down to both companies fostering genuine support far more than Microsoft ever did."
It's basically as I said. You yourself do not appreciate how cool much of the new MS stuff is, thus you have difficulty appreciating someone else's sentiment as sincere. But if someone is enthusiastic about an Apple or Google product, that wont be astroturfing because these companies are good / worth being enthusiastic about.
Have you considered that accusations of astroturfing are both offensive to many and actually unethical to make? You are, after all, attempting to damage the reputation of a company with no reasonable evidence. Is that a good thing to do? Would you like it if the same climate was fostered against any other business?
"Uncritical adoration of any company isn't as bad as astroturfing but it's not rational either."
And allowing that it may not be astroturfing, you fall back to implying that if it isn't, then it's "uncritical adoration" instead. I think firstly that I don't see "uncritical adoration" much for MS. I see posts saying what is liked, often enough with criticism, but seldom if ever posts expressing 'MS is the best ever and can do no wrong' which is what "uncritical adoration" means to me. Why would you see such? I might post on the subject of my WP7 device that I really like the interface or that it only cost me £160. I'm not going to randomly tag on that the Calendar app in Windows 8 needs a three week ahead view as well as calendar months. It is just not relevant. That doesn't mean that my post is "uncritical adoration". It's just On Topic.
Secondly, I point out again that if you don't like something yourself and lack the ability to see things from someone else's point of view, then you're going to see positive comments from others as "uncritical adoration" or "not rational". You should be very, very sure that you yourself do not have a bias before attempting to judge whether someone else's comments are biased.
"However the number of posters on Slashdot of late who have low, throwaway histories who have only positive things to say about Microsoft products IS suspicious. It's reasonable to believe they are either astroturfers or trolls posing as astroturfers. Personally I think they are genuine astroturfers given recent launches by Nokia and the build up to Windows 8"
Well your first mistake is thinking Slashdot isn't awash with trolls and muppets in the first place. ;)
But secondly, do you apply the same criteria to people who just make a stupid anti-MS comment? Or a pro-Google or pro-Apple one? Have you checked whether your perceptions match up with the actual number of new users there? Because it will be a lot. And again, I repeat the question as to why you would conclude that people are paid astroturfers rather than newly arrived people who genuinely are enthusiastic? Especially during an exciting new product launch. What is your evidence or reason to believe it's not the latter? I was one of those people once. Except I wasn't posting endless enthusiastic comments about MS, I was doing it about Linux and OSS. Different religion, same unreasoning faith. I dare say you could find some absolutely embarrasing posts by me on Slashdot if you wanted to. But just as I was a young and starry-eyed UNIX developer, I'm sure lots of people come to it through the MS path before equally just settling down to realize it isn't a war and everyone has something to offer. There is such a thing as confirmation bias - if you are expecting such comments, you'll see them and this will reinforce your perceptions. I'm not insulting you here - this is a real psychological phenomenon that affects everyone unless you go to a lot of effort to avoid it. And by a lot of effort I mean actually going to look at the data and seeing if it measures up to what you thought.
"Personally I think they are genuine astroturfers given recent launches by Nokia and the build up to Windows 8"
This is probably informed by your opinion that these aren't awesome things. Windows 8 has all sorts of great stuff in it. Native vector graphics are a small thing that I love, but they have made it easier to develop for WIndows than ever before. I'm verging on saying that they've made it easier to develop full stop, than ever before. And I don't mean the obnoxious Visual Basic dumming down sort of development. They're adding all sorts of good things. Windows Phone 8? You have almost a single unified development environment that will take you across Phones, PCs and probably even consoles! And all sorts of clever ways of integrating things. Just read through the developer blog on how contacts will be handled and an API for them provided. Basically, there's no reason why you shouldn't see new and enthusiastic people being positive about MS. Just as there's no reason why you shouldn't see new and enthusiastic people appearing positive about Linux. But the install base of Windows is vastly larger than Linux and much as I love gcc and vi, you can't deny that MS Visual Studio (free, incidentally), is pretty good fun to use. I'm just getting into it. So I hope you're taking that into account when you start counting pro-MS comments and comparing them to the number of new users and reviewing people's histories to see what else they say.
"It's certainly not hard to find other people voicing suspicious about astroturfers. Look at this one about Amazon reviews for the Lumia 900 for example"
No. But it's not hard to find people voicing suspicions about the government, Google or aliens. This is just circular reasoning: I think there are astroturfers because I can find someone else who thinks so. And they can say the same about you.
And if none of that will make you reconsider throwing accusations around, and if the sheer obviousness of how people more rapidly get voted down for a positive comment about MS than up doesn't disillusion you from the MS Marketing conspiracy, then I ask you to consider, at least, what sort of value there would be in spamming Slashdot? ;)
Or it could be just that MS is doing some really good things these days. Do you assume the same thing about any positve comment about Apple products or Google products? Seriously, if someone is so blinkered that they can't understand enthusiasm about a product without thinking it is a plant, then they have no business being in IT in the first place because quite frankly, MS have brought out some great stuff (as I'm sure Apple and Google have, but I only really know MS and Linux). Go and read the Windows 8 development blog and see all the cool stuff going in for developers and then tell me someone is wrong to be enthusiastic.
Look at these forums without bias and what would one logically conclude? Seeing numerous posts heavily down-voted just for being positive or enthusiastic about an MS product, one would conclude if there were anything going on, it would be against MS. So why assume the opposite? Because it fits ones own preferences better? It's the only explanation I have.
"Everyone I know with a tablet also owns a laptop and sometimes several of each to go round a family."
Then surely there is a market for a device that is both. Convenient and (unless you want to buy very cheap tablet / laptop) a cost saving. And less hassle moving from device to device when you want to do different things. Also, as it actually has user accounts (there's an idea!), those of us who are a bit less well-heeled, aren't quite so pressed to buy them for all members of our families.
"I think manufacturers have mistaken the swapping of laptops for tablets as a sign that people really want both, when in reality they've often worked out they don't need the laptop at all"
Didn't you begin your post by stating that everyone you know who has a tablet also has a laptop? There's obviously a market for people who want both. Even your own experience supports it.
The Acer spokesperson, well, unless they're very, very sure that their comments are going to reach investors, they aren't going to say anything other than that they don't think the Surface is a threat. And the analyst is going down the wrong track in comparing it to an iPad in the first place. It's only a competitor to an iPad in that it has a superset of the iPad's functionality, not the same set. Saying that people don't use Office on their iPad is like saying in the 80's that people don't use the Internet whilst travelling. It just wasn't affordable or convenient. But when it becomes so, then why not?
The real question about the Surface is not if it will sell. It's whether MS will make enough for everyone who wants one or if they're just using this as a stick to beat the likes of Acer.
Funny. Because if you make a pro-MS software comment on these forums, someone will mod you down no matter how factual your post. Yes, it must be a great conspiracy of paid astro-turfers.
"I own a WP7.5 device (Nokia Lumia 800)."
Just upgrade to WP7.8. It will be almost the same as a WP8 device. Most Apps will be compatible. It's a lot less fragmented than Android market, isn't it?
It's probably worth adding a bit of information on some of the security measures about contactless payment (or what we expect to be the measures in implementations such as this). For a start, systems like this are in place and in use in places like Japan or China. In some places, people will just walk on and walk off a bus without having to worry about talking to the driver or fiddling with coins. Ditto all sorts of other use-cases. The thing with instances like this is that they are all low-cost items. People are willing to accept the security risk when it might mean they lost £5 or less in exchange for trouble-free experience the rest of the year round. If something tries to charge you £20 or £50, that's not going to go through without you entering a pin or approving it in some way. Similarly, these devices wont allow massive and rapid deduction of small amounts either - so that's not a way round this. If someone follows you round all day and bumps into you every twenty minutes, sure, they might get a larger sum off you. But most people would notice.
So instead, people wanting to exploit this would be trying to skim small amounts off large numbers of people. People are more willing to tolerate this risk than anything that is large scale to themselves. They might rightly point out that they're more likely to lose a physical fiver from their pocket as to get robbed of the same.
The attempt to skim small amounts off large numbers of people is problematic in the first place anyway. For a start, whilst the chance of someone reporting (or noticing) a fiver lost is much lower than them reporting £400 lost, the chance of someone in a hundred victims noticing and reporting is almost a certainty. And once that happens you have a problem. Because this isn't physical money. It is inherently traceable. That loss that someone reported isn't a missing fiver, it's a record of a transaction from them to thee. If you want to steal money this way, you first off have to be able to fool the proximity of the device (possible, but you need to be able to get away with getting your device in a few centimetres of other people's devices repeatedly and potentially triggering whatever security measure they have on that - e.g. a motion-sensor based bump trigger they have to do with their phone by tapping it against the receiver). Even just identifying which users have a suitable and enabled device in their pocket is a technical challenge unless these things become ubiquitous. And once you've done this, you're in a race to get that money out of the receving account and somewhere safe before either someone reports it or (more likely) an automated system notices and raises an alarm.
You need a business account that is approved for receiving funds by some reputable bank. So you're already moving into money laundering to enable you to steal money this way. You need to be able to get the money from that account quickly. And the limits on the amounts people can transfer this way without PIN or similar are low so the quicker you acquire money, the faster you set off alarms, get the account frozen. And then if you want to do it again next month, you'll have to be trying to set up a new approved receiver, etc.
The main scope for abuse of this is a legitimate seller of a service over-charging people and hoping they don't notice. But someone will and at that point it's quite easy to reverse the process and give the money back to everyone who was overcharged. Much more feasible than tracking down a few thousand visitors you had to your bar / shop / train / whatever over the course of the past year and each giving them their £2 back. And thus much more likely to be forced to do it (plus any applicable charges).
And when all that is done and taken account of, banks and credit card companies will want to use this system because it leads people to think less before spending so they will happily absorb these low risks by guaranteeing to cover your losses if there's a problem, just as they do with credit cards and for the same reason. What does MasterCard or Visa care if they have to cover the occasional small loss? If they didn't provide this service, people would move to someone who did. and in the meantime they'll rake it in. And they'll happy crash down from a great height on your behalf upon anyone who uses this system to defraud you.
Although I instinctively distrust this system because it rings all sorts of alarm-bells, on a society-level, it's probably fine and safe and the individual risk is low. It might even be safer if it means a mugger has to be a professional money launderer in order to rob you (or else march you to the shop to buy things for her). I'm more personally concerned about privacy implications than security. Which gives me small relief in seeing that MS are partnering wth your choice of backer rather than, e.g. Google with GoogleCheckout or a proprietary one with Apple. Or (Hell no!) PayPal. It looks like you'll be able to use or not use which you want. And I'd prefer doing business with a company that just wants my money up front, than think they can make money off my data.
No, you're not alone. There are lots of us who are wary about this sort of stuff. We're called old people. : (
The Sixties. The horrible realization that our parents may actually have had more fun than we did...
Errrr... if you read the review it says that the original (which you want to stick with) wasn't on release and was starting to decay. You may not be aware of this, but George Lucas actually was not the director of Yellow Submarine.
"Would you want me to have the right to go up to your mother and randomnly slag you off to her and list a whole load of heinous and made up crimes that I think you are guilty of?"
These are not free speech issues. You are confused. In the first instance, personally targetting someone to upset them (the mother example) would normally fall under harrassment. Similarly the made up crimes fall under slander. If it can be shown you are making it up then a case can be made for damages. However, someone promoting an ideology that you find offensive is not making a personal case against an individual nor forcing someone to listen (as in the "going up to" in your example). The analogy you give is a bad one.
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