* Posts by veti

3015 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

It begins: Time Warner Cable first ISP accused of breaking America's net neutrality rules

veti Silver badge


So now all ISPs have to agree to peer with any service provider who asks?

"Peer" implies a relationship between equals; ideally, upstream and downstream traffic is expected to be, to within an order of magnitude or so, roughly equal. The chances of "a streaming company" providing that sort of profile seem to me - slender.

FCC hosts Reagan-off as it enters 21st century

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Re: Republicans against it?

"What would be wrong with that" would be that the businesses concerned don't give enough money to the Republicans, in preference to the Democrats.

See, telecom utilities know which side their bread is buttered, and do the sensible thing, splashing money at both sides indiscriminately. But the internet sector has the bad taste to favour non-Republicans.

No, Australian Small business AREN'T flunking out online

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Re: 5 Areas for IT Growth

Meh, they're basically all the sectors that have money to burn. That's not the result of patient meticulous cost-benefit analysis, that's a list of rich sectors that the government is hoping to touch to stimulate the economy.

Australia's high-tech industry? is frankly negligible. Heck, New Zealand has more global players than Australia.

Would EU exit 'stuff' the UK? Tech policy boss gets diplomatic

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Re: Leaving the EU would be stupid.

I see it as:

1. CAP no longer applies to UK

2. UK farmers scream, and government promptly gives them their subsidies back. It's still cheaper than it was, because as noted, the UK is a net contributor to the CAP.

3. However, now the UK's gov't subsidies are in breach of WTO and EEA rules. The ensuing legal wrangle ensure that UK food exports are basically annihilated.

4. UK farmers scream again.

5. Most of UK farmland bought up at bargain prices by French farmers. It's the Norman invasion all over again.

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Re: Well, we're screwed then

Actually, the SNP vote in Scotland was less than 50%. (Barely less. But still "less".) So even if the general election had been the referendum, the result would still have been "no" to independence.

As it happened, the referendum had significantly higher turnout than the general election.

So statistically, it's quite possible that every single one of those SNP voters last month actually voted "yes" in the referendum.

Sunday Times fires off copyright complaint at Snowden story critics

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Re: Fight ! Fight!

The problem isn't "spin". The problem is lying. Please don't conflate the two.

Spin is when you tell the truth, but you tell it in a way that's advantageous to you. That generally means, put it in context that makes it (and you) look better. That sometimes takes a lot of imagination, which is why "spin doctoring" is a highly skilled trade, but it's not the same as lying.

Politicians telling barefaced lies and calling it "spin" just cheapens the whole thing, and that's what seems to be going on here.

LastPass got hacked: Change your master password NOW

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Re: KeePass

Yeah, that'll work, because I know so much more about system security than the people at LastPass.

Seriously: pen and paper. A pocket book of some sort. Post-It notes. Physical security is a well understood problem, we've been thinking about it all our lives for several generations now, we know when we've been breached. Digital security is not going to reach maturity in my lifetime.

Nobel bro-ffin: 'Girls in the lab fall in love with me ... then start crying'

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Re: And lo...

Thank you for a note of sanity.

If I had a buck for every comment on teh Intarwebz today that has completely, utterly and abjectly missed the point both of what he was trying to say, and simultaneously why he shouldn't have said it, at least not in the words he did... I could retire.

Wikileaks publishes TiSA: A secret trade pact between US, Europe and others for big biz pals

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Slight correction

Article 5, sadly, does not cover "spam". It covers "Unsolicited Commercial Electronic [Messages/Communications]".

Noteworthy here is the word "commercial", which is wholly redundant if you really want to stop spam: the only reason to include it is to allow for political, religious, criminal and other morons to spam as much as they like. A better word would be "Bulk".

I'm also disgusted, but not surprised, to see Australia is lobbying for a default "opt-out" spam regime, as opposed to the EU who, to their credit, are trying to mandate "opt-in".

Latest Snowden leak: NSA can snoop internet to catch 'hackers' – no warrants needed

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Parsing the bullshit

"It should come as no surprise that the U.S. government gathers intelligence on foreign powers that attempt to penetrate US networks and steal the private information of US. citizens and companies,"

First off, what's a "foreign power" in this context? Because as I see it, the federal government employs 70,000 people in the State Department and God alone knows how many more in the CIA, who do that full time to every "foreign power", regardless of what they have or haven't been attempting to do. What exactly are you adding to the effort, and why?

Second, what's a "US network" and how do you "penetrate" one? If I type "http://www.nytimes.com/" into my browser, then I've extracted proprietary information from a computer that I'm pretty sure is physically located within the US: have I "penetrated a US network"?

Third, as I'm sure you're aware, to give US citizens within the US any greater protection than non-US citizens is unconstitutional. Read the 14th Amendment. (Incidentally, that's the same rationalisation that allows you to spy on everyone within the US: you have to be able to spy on foriegners there, and it'd be illegal for you to treat them differently based on citizenship.)

Fourth, what's a "US company"? Sony Pictures?

Fifth, in a world where people aren't supposed to use encryption, what exactly is "private information"?

Dodgy colon bug is a total pain in the butt for Skype users today

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I suspect it (like Chrome) is trying to prefetch the DNS entry associated with the URL, so that when the user does tap it, they can open it more quickly.

Presumably in this case, it sees the rogue colon, thinks "aha, a port", then either grinds to a halt thinking about it, or tries to run with an explicit NULL in a place where no-one ever thought there could be one.

Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

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Re: Design by Comittee!!!

@Preston Munchensonton: they are making it a feature to toggle on or off. But there's a default option.

To criticise Microsoft, of all people, for not allowing for user choice seems about as wide of the mark as it's possible to throw, without actually tossing the missile backwards over your shoulder. There are more "user-specified options" with every version of Windows. Looking at my "Taskbar" options right now (W7), I see: "Lock the taskbar", "Auto-hide the taskbar", "Use small icons", "Taskbar location on screen", "Taskbar buttons ('Always combine, hide labels')", "Notification Area", "Preview desktop with Aero Peek". And that's just on the first tab (of three).

And then you can get (often, free) third-party extensions to add in yet more options (e.g. the start menu in Win 8). Try adding something like that to OSX, see how far you get.

Windows 8 tries to reduce the complexity, but it doesn't do it by taking options away - oh no. Nothing's gone. Nothing's ever gone gone. It's just hidden. For instance.

Sorry we called you a fatty, say Kiwi spies to Kim 'Slim Jim' Dotcom

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At least they're public

How many internal "secret" emails have you seen released by the DHS lately? Or GCHQ?

Incidentally, the link in the story seems to point to something completely unrelated.

Queen's Speech: Snoopers' Charter RETURNS amid 'modernisation' push

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Re: An appropriate quote...

Yeah, I know Nick Clegg is currently about as popular as a fart in an elevator, but he's the one who scotched this nonsense back in 2012.

Then came the media frenzy of "Lib Dems have rolled over for the Tories on everything, boot 'em out". So now here we are.

Me, I never supported the Lib Dems because of some gibberish about tuitiion fees. I was for their stance on civil liberties. But it seems that's a vanishingly small minority stance, and so it's being appropriately steamrolled.

If IT isn’t careful, marketing will soon be telling us what to do

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What's a "mutli-channel world"?

Have we finally been taken over by Dick Dastardly, or what?

Grand Theft Auto maker lobs sueball at BBC over biopic

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Law fail

I'm sure Take Two is aware, or at least it can afford to pay lawyers who are aware, that using a trademarked name to refer to the product whose name it is... is not infringing on that trademark, no matter what you go on to say about the product or its makers.

Any guesses what they're playing at? Have they perhaps mistaken the BBC for some easily-cowed third-world production studio? If so, let's just hope they are mistaken.

US Air Force launches not-so-secret space plane. Thanks Russia

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Re: >or perhaps it's a sign that humanity can achieve more through cooperation?

The reason war drives development is, it gives people the incentive they need to co-operate.

Ironic, really.

Google, Twitter search deal: Did micro-blabbing site gag racy tweets to satisfy ad giant?

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It's official:

... Google is the new Microsoft.

Have you ever seen a clearer case of "embrace, extend, and we all know what comes next"?

Welsh police force fined £160,000 after losing sensitive video interview

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Re: Incorrect title

Because the use cases are not remotely comparable.

If you have a rule like that, then I would guess that several things are true in your world:

1. There is a standard encryption process that's normally applied to customer data. This encryption may be transparent to the user, and is certainly easy to use: you don't have to take special steps to apply it, and you probably don't even have to enter a secret password every time you want to access the information.

1a. Alternatively, it may just be unusual for you to have to view a particular piece of confidential customer information at length, repeatedly, over a period of several days.

2. It's unusual for data to be removed from the hardware and put on disposable media.

3. There is no requirement to permanently store sensitive customer information in precisely this (unencrypted, easily portable) form.

None of those conditions is true for police.

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Re: Incorrect title

I imagine that someone's promotion prospects have just taken a serious ding.

Which, in all honesty, is about the best we could hope for from a case like this. You can't go firing people just because they screw up - you need to show that they make a habit of it, and that they're at fault when they do it.

Microsoft's certification exams: So easy, a child of six could pass them. Literally

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Re: Nice

As a general rule, your boss probably knows things you don't.

Hard to believe, I know, but if you think about it he's got to be doing something when he's not leaning over your shoulder pointing out typos. That "something" is, inter alia, finding out things that you don't know.

So your assessment of "inefficient and stupid" may not be correct. Of course it may be, but as a general rule, I'd say the probability of you being correct on a call like that is well under 50%. After all, the boss clearly knows enough to have a better job than you, for one...

So "refusing to do stuff just because you think it's stupid and inefficient" might work, occasionally. But for >90% of kids out there, it'll just make them unemployable.

Just playing the numbers: of course YOUR kid is exceptional, but is it wise to assume he's part of this particular minority?

Let's work it through:

1. The kid is sufficiently bright, perceptive and strongminded (hereafter 'SBPS'), and you tell him to conform. In that case he should have no difficulty seeing that you're wrong and shrugging off the instruction.

2. The kid isn't SBPS, and you tell him to conform. Then you've just done him a huge service by teaching him how to keep a job.

3. The kid is SBPS, and you support him in rebelling. Great, so he gets to learn Python. On the other hand, you've weakened his independence by making him rely on your support.

4. The kid isn't SBPS, and you support him in rebelling. Now you've made him unemployable.

Seems to me that "telling him to conform" is the smart and supportive play, no matter what you privately believe.

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – a true monster in the making

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Re: What a co-incidence

I've only played the first one, but was put off by (a) the skeezy card-collecting minigame, and (b) the lack of good options. That is to say, there were so many scenes where the sets of (things I'm allowed to do) and (things I'd like to do) overlapped only barely if at all.

Not surprisingly, the game's end result is horrible no matter which route you take. It's one of those rare endings that starts as a downer, and just gets more depressing the more you think about it.

Reach for the popcorn: Obama opens personal presidential Twitter account

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Seems to me that there are far, far more important things than "his life or his family's" that he could endanger, with careless tweeting.

Some people's priorities are all kind of messed up, and I think that goes for the US Secret Service.

Google sells .car, walks away from generic domain names

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So ".ogle" is still up for grabs then? Ooh, possibilities. An entire .tld dedicated to voyeurism and trolling Google. What could be better?

I wonder if anyone has dibs on "rusty.cars", "old.cars", "crappy.cars"...?

Google Google GOOGLE! Cloud cloud CLOUD! These prices are insane!

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Price cuts of "up to 30%"?

That's hardly world-bending news.

Wake me when it's "up to 90%".

Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

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Re: Up the Pole!

The key advantage of FPTP is that it's actually possible for even quite exalted MPs to lose their seats. (Ed Balls, I'm laughing at you.)

Any system with a party list - basically makes that impossible.

Here in New Zealand we have constituency MPs and party lists, the idea being that if you're under-represented at a constituency level, you get 'top up' MPs allocated from the list. The loophole here is that there's nothing to stop you being both a constituency candidate and a list candidate. So when Winston Peters lost his Tauranga seat at the last general election, he carried right on being an MP because he's at the top of his party list.

Which got downright weird when he stood (and won) as a by-election candidate in Northland. Then, because he's now a constituency MP, the next person on his party's list got into parliament instead. Peters himself is still there, he's been there all along, but now he's no longer a list MP so that slot goes to another, completely unrelated person. I don't know how many Northlanders even know the name of the person they effectively voted into parliament - s/he certainly wasn't on their ballot paper.

Fair it may be. Transparent it isn't.

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Yes, Survation would've got a lot of publicity... but the likely effect of that would've been to make other news outlets less likely to commission them. (If they hadn't happened to be right, which for all we know was more by luck than methodology - they were probably the one-in-20 outlier that hits the extreme end of the 3% error margin. The methodological element that we do know about was their active decision to suppress the result.)

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Re: a 48 year-old writes

The "natural party of government" is an effective piece of Tory branding, no more. It appeals to the old-school authoritarians who to this day comprise a large chunk of its bedrock.

It's just as meaningful as it sounds.

veti Silver badge

The trouble with that is, if you just take, say, 5% of the respondents who tell you "Labour" and assign them to another bucket instead - how the hell can you justify your methodology as anything more than "totally making it up as you go along"?

The best-case result from that would be one pollster applying a factor of 5%, another 6%, another 3%... and over time, one of them would come out closer to correct than the others. But of course the "correct" factor probably varies over time too, so basically you'd be back to square one.

No, I'm sure there's a methodology change that would correct the problem, but "just switching a proportion of the results because you assume one side is being under-represented" isn't it.

veti Silver badge

I've been looking for this comment.

Think about the economic incentives here. Pollsters get paid when someone commissions a poll. That "someone" is usually a media outlet.

Media outlets get paid when they generate traffic. They generate traffic by telling an exciting, tense story.

So both these groups are incentivised to make the result look closer than it is.

I'm not suggesting they'd commit deliberate fraud to that end. But I'm sure that there are things about their methodology that they're not addressing, because it would be against their own short-term self-interest to do so. Survation's admission seems to confirm that.

The greatest evil in the world is advertising. If we could just find a way to end that, once and for all, then maybe our media would start to work for us.

Microsoft springs for new undersea cables to link US, UK, Asia

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Somehow, I take Microsoft's plans a lot more seriously than Kim Dotcom's.

So I assume New Zealand will have to wait another 40 years for decent bandwidth.

'Rombertik' malware kills host computers if you attempt a cure

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Re: Sneaky Buggers!

Just what I was thinking: "That's not a virus, that's a screensaver written in GW-Basic".

Windows 10 bombshell: Microsoft to KILL OFF Patch Tuesday

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I've never quite understood that justification.

How much meaningful compatibility testing can a sysadmin actually do? Granted, they should have better-than-anyone-else knowledge of what software is in use within the company, but they know next to nothing of the day-to-day use cases for that software, let alone the edge cases.

Example: I use a piece of software that outputs documentation, using MS Word. When Office was upgraded from 2010 to 2013, this software broke. Not immediately - it only breaks when outputting a large (>300 page) document, and it took me several days of experimentation (and some months of exploring workarounds and compromises) to be sure of the cause. Sysadmins didn't have a clue about that, and I wouldn't expect them to - their role is limited to "giving me the option to roll back to Office 2010". (Which they did, when I moaned loudly enough.)

So sysadmins sit and test every patch in a Windows release? Yeah, right. Sounds more likely to me that they'll boot up every program once, then spend another hour on tech news sites looking for people whinging about functionality broken by the update.

veti Silver badge

Re: Just like Windows Phone

Windows Phone 7 was released in October 2010, and supported until October 2014. That's four years, for those following at home. Windows Phone 8 was released in October 2012 - if you bought a Win 7 phone after that, you have only yourself to blame. So you should have had a minimum of two years' full support.

All WP8 phones can be upgraded to WP8.1, which MS promises to support until July 2017, in case you don't feel like taking advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 before then.

There's a lot you can criticise Microsoft for, but they do take extended support seriously.

New Windows 10 will STAGGER to its feet, says Microsoft OS veep

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Re: This:

I've been using Windows 8 for 18 months now on my phone, about 2 months on my desktop. (8.1, that is, of course.)

And I love it. On the desktop, the boot time alone is worth the upgrade. For the first time since DOS, I've got a computer that boots, near as I can recall, as fast as DOS did. (But unlike DOS, I don't need to choose between six different config settings at boot, depending on what I want to run today.)

It has no third-party AV or firewall, the internal tools do those jobs just fine. I've installed a couple of hundred gigs of software on it from downloads and discs, and never paid a dime through the MS app store. And I haven't yet found anything from XP days that won't run on it, with a minimal amount of crowbarring.

Just sayin'. Obviously haters gonna hate, but be aware there is such a thing as a contented W8 user.

Kill all geoblocks says Internet Society of Australia

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Good luck with that

No, seriously. I sincerely hope the idea catches on. It strikes me as 100% correct.

But I have a strong feeling that the ink on the TPPA has been dry for at least a year now, and changes like this should have been mooted circa 2009 if they were going to have a chance.

Airbus to sue NSA, German spies accused of swiping tech secrets

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Re: Easier way

On an engineering level - yes, I'm sure Boeing already knows how to do everything Airbus does (for statistical values of "everything", there may be some fringe technologies outlying for all I know, but I strongly suspect Boeing doesn't care about those). That's not the point.

The two companies are commercial rivals, not technological ones. Knowledge of Airbus's manufacturing processes, its bidding process, or its internal costs would give Boeing a very sharp edge in bidding for new contracts.

Turnbull's Digital Transformation Office is actually working!

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Underwhelming claim proves underwhelming thesis

"App matches guidelines that were developed alongside it" - isn't really evidence that the guidelines are "working", merely that at least one person in the organisation was paying some attention. (Which is, admittedly, something. But not a lot.)

I could write a diary of my work on a development project, then when I'd finished the project, publish the diary as "guidelines for development", and then behold! - my project would conform to my guidelines! But that wouldn't prove much about the general worth of those guidelines.

Macroviruses are BACK and are the future of malware, says Microsoft

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"nearly 501,240 unique machines"?

That's an awfully precise number to be described as "nearly". Did they explain how they arrived at it? Couldn't they have said "around 500,000" and been at least as accurate, since clearly there's some assumptions going on here anyway?

But honestly... as surely Microsoft is well aware, any security that can be circumvented by the user, will be. Social engineering remains the oldest hack in the book, it's never been patched and it still works. Users have been extensively trained to click "Allow" for too many spurious alerts.

You've got to stop giving people functionality that will only be used against them. If that means they can't make their Word documents auto-populate, or perform a song and dance routine appropriate to the current weather conditions or something - then too frickin' bad, they'll just have to use another application if they want that to happen, which is what they should be doing anyway.

This is Sparta? No - it's Microsoft Edge, Son of Internet Explorer

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Re: "be available on one billion devices"

It's certainly possible.

Count in:

- All Windows phones sold in the past 3 years. That's in the ballpark of 30 million a year, so call it 90 million.

- All Windows PCs currently running Windows 7 or later. Practically, that probably means almost all PCs purchased since mid-2009. Given that the average depreciation period of a PC is considerably less than six years, that's probably well over 75% of all business desktops in the world.

Range Rover Sport: Like a cathedral on wheels, only with comfier pews

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Is El Reg bidding to replace Top Gear now, or what?

What is the REAL value of your precious, precious data?

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Who owns data about me?

The European philosophy is based on the assumption that, by default, I own data about me. That's explicitly spelled out in the European data protection directives, and in parallel laws across the EU.

The American philosophy is that the data belongs to whoever takes the trouble to gather it.

The difference becomes stark when you consider this question, "how do you attach a market value to information?" If I own my data, then Google should be approaching me openly and asking how much I'd be willing to part with, and what I'd ask in return for it. That's why you now see those "cookie" notifications all over the web. But if the collector owns it, there's no need for them to do that - they can just set up their surveillance infrastructure and watch me all day long, and that's that.

But Tim, here, is conflating these two approaches. "Value to me" of my data - is for me to say. If I can't exploit it myself, it doesn't automatically follow that it's "valueless" to me. I don't anticipate getting a lot of money for my 1-year-old child either, but that doesn't mean she rightfully belongs to some hypothetical trafficker who could get a good price for her.

The "value to Google" of my data is something else entirely. Economically, it's almost certainly worth more to them than it is to me, and they can probably on-sell it much more profitably than I can, because they add value to it by combining it with data from a billion other people. But that doesn't automatically make it "theirs".

You might as well argue "the contents of your fridge would be more valuable to someone sleeping rough than they are to you, therefore they are the rightful owners of that food". No, they're not. That's not how "ownership" works.

Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

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It's hard to make a case like this, because Google returns different results to different people. If I type "buy ping pong balls" into Google, the results I get will be quite different from the results someone else gets.

The difference depends on (a) where you are (which country), (b) whether you're logged in to any Google service, and (c) whether there are Google cookies on your machine (and let's face it, unless you've taken extraordinary measures to prevent it, there are). Google's rankings are kept opaque - purposely, because that's the only way it can work, but as always with secrecy, it makes abuse incredibly hard to investigate.

veti Silver badge

Re: So....

Even at the height of the Browser Wars, Microsoft never had a monopoly that wasn't contestable. Linux first appeared in 1991: there was nothing to stop you from setting up your own computer manufacturing company, selling machines with Linux (or BeOS, or OS/2, or nothing at all) installed, and never paying Microsoft a dime.

It was only if you wanted to use Microsoft's product that you had to pay their tax.

How is that different from Tim's argument about Google?

Crap ad app hack hole affects '100 MEELLLION'

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Another good reason for Windows Phone

How many WinPhone apps have more than 100k downloads?

Ad-blocking is LEGAL: German court says Ja to browser filters

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Re: Out of control

The trouble is, people have been saying that any time these 15 years... and yet here we are.

Experience, which knows more about this subject than you, me and everyone else here put together, says that these tactics do, in fact, work, for values of "work" that translate to "allow some filthy parasite somewhere to eke out a pitiful existence underneath whatever slime-encrusted rock they use to shelter from the searing light of day, when otherwise they might have to get out and actually do something constructive with their lives."

Loose lips slip when Windows 10 ships: 'End of July' says AMD CEO

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Re: What happened to waiting until a product was ready?

Yes, but then we invented "computers that can do more than one thing at a time" and "software that's too long to type in line by line from a listing in a magazine".

Complexity is the villain here, but it's inevitable if you want to be able to, y'know, actually do much of anything with the computer.

veti Silver badge

Early, buggy release = fewer giveaways

Remember how MS promised that upgrades to W10 would be free to W7 and W8 users "for the first year after release"?

Releasing the new OS in a, frankly, barely-beta-worthy condition, may be seen by some factions in Redmond as a way to keep the takeup down, and thus encourage more people to... pay for the product later.

Yeah, it's stupid and it'll damage their already-tarnished brand still further. But because of the factionalism and infighting within MS, that's how it unfolds sometimes. This sort of passive-aggressive "compromise" is exactly how the brand became so tarnished in the first place.

Right now, I'm running Windows 8.1 - and contrary to all my expectations, I love it. Easily the best version since XP, beats the heck out of Windows 7. It'll take either unanimously stellar reviews, or the promise of a substantially enlarged support window (8.1 expires in January 2023 - extend that to 2027, and we'll talk) to persuade me to upgrade to 10.

Ex-Windows designer: Ballmer was dogmatic, Sinofsky's bonkers, and WinPho needs to change

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I don't get the hate

Windows 8.1 on a mobile is a perfectly lovely OS. As good as iOS, better than Android (battery life, basically, although I personally also prefer the interface). The only drawback, and it's a big one, is the shortage of decent apps for it.

I think its failure in the US market has been mostly about marketing. From what I hear, you just can't buy a Windows phone in huge swathes of America. Over here they're easy to come by, and they've got a respectable (double-digit) market share.

Australia mulls dumping the .com from .com.au – so you can bake URLs like chocolate.gate.au

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Re: Chris must need more cigars

Presumably some Australian off-license chain would register 'br.au', and then how they choose to sell the sub-brands is up to them.

At least, subject to the inevitable trademark suits from their rightful owners, obviously.


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