* Posts by JJS

26 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Aug 2008

HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'

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Unbundling required in the US

I would be happy to cut the cord right now and use OTT services like these but the savings just aren't there yet. In my area, Comcast is the only broadband provider capable of the bandwidth required for these OTT services. I'm currently on a package that has 50mbps internet, basic cable, and HBO that runs me $83/mo ($93/mo after mandatory HD cable box rental). Let's say I want to drop that and get broadband only, my options are 20mbps internet at a cost of $54/mo or 50mbps at $64/mo. But wait, the fine print says "requires subscription to either to XFINITY Digital TV or Voice service at regular rates" so add at least $20/mo for what is basically OTAOC (Over The Air Over Cable) I'm not going to use at all running that plan up to $74-84/mo. Add on $10 here and $10 there for OTT services to replace the cable TV and I'm right back where I started.

I fear the result of these OTT services is just going to be a greater restriction on broadband-only access from these companies. As they lose TV customers, they'll have to make up the revenue from somewhere and that will be broadband customers by either forcing a TV subscription like Comcast does or just raising rates/adding caps. In the end, watching TV will just get more expensive whether you do it via broadband+OTT or just add the TV package to your broadband.

Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?


Re: Same price no matter what

This is very slowly beginning to change in the US market. AT&T charges between $15 and $25 less per month for the "device access charge" if you bring your own phone, pay full price, or use their Next credit program (also if you go month-to-month after a contract). Verizon has a similar discount but only on their credit program.

The nice thing about these published discounts is you can exactly calculate how much you're paying for your subsidized phone at the end of your two year contract vs paying up front. The terrible thing is the price of these service plans with the BYO discount is still higher than just a couple years ago before all this data sharing nonsense and attempt at hiding the true cost of service.

My big reveal as macro-economics analyst: It's a load of COBBLERS


Re: Alternative to QE?

The government did this in 2008 in the form of stimulus rebate payments. Unmarried people got a check for up to $600, married couples got $1200, plus $300 per child. The result was a spike in household spending when the checks arrived, followed by a drop to the previous level of activity in the following quarters.

The BLS did a handy survey of how the money was spent. About half went to debt, 30% spent, and 18% saved. It's entirely possible the much larger payments you're talking about would have a bigger impact, but I think that in the end the money would be quickly spent on frivolities and people would go back to being poor.

Cisco: We'll open-source our H.264 video code AND foot licensing bill


Re: That code will then be made available on an ongoing basis as a binary downloadable

If I'm reading NadeeG's comment correctly, it means the following:

If you download the compiled binaries from Cisco, your royalties are paid for by Cisco.

If you download the BSD licensed source from Cisco and compile your own binaries, you're on your own for MPEG LA royalties.

If you download the BSD licensed source from Cisco and use the code in another project, you're also on your own for MPEG LA royalties.

So basically the open source side of this is not that interesting, it's just another implementation of H.264 to consider alongside x264 and the others. The interesting part is the offer of a paid-for plugin for your browser and that's pretty much it.

TREELLION DOLLAR mobe bonk-bank alliance goes for barcodes



I'm guessing the process is going to work like this:

1) Cashier rings up my items and says, "That'll be $3.50"

2) I fumble about unlocking my phone, finding the specific app corresponding to this payment network, wait for it to load. With any luck, the cell network coverage will be so poor that the app can't authenticate my account.

3) Hand the phone to the cashier/hold the phone under a barcode scanner while it attempts to read the barcode presented on the screen.

3a) Tilt the phone this way and that to try and get it to read something other than a reflection from the glossy screen

3b) Rub the screen on my sleeve to clear the fingerprint smudges

4) Apologize to the people behind me for wasting so much time.

I've been through step 3a/3b many times already with my significant other's Starbucks gift cards on her iPhone that use the same technology. Truly annoying when you have to hand your phone into the drive through window while they fumble about getting a clean scan. I'm just waiting for them/us to drop the phone onto the concrete during the hand off one of these times.

I thought I was irritated at the Luddites still writing checks at the counter, this is going to be nearly as bad. Removing a credit card from my wallet and swiping takes seconds and my brief use of Google Wallet via NFC took even less time (unlock phone, tap the terminal). For something that is targeted to replace "expensive to process cash", its looking like it'll be far more inconvenient.

Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 convertible Ultrabook

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Personal experiences

I picked one of these up near the end of November and have a couple of experiences that expand on some points mentioned in this review.

The screen is a fingerprint magnet, much like all smart phones and tablets with glossy screens. My fiancée plays Wordament on it and whenever I go to use it, there is inevitably a 3"x3" square of solid finger smudges where the board shows up in the game. I keep a small microfiber rag in a nearby drawer and wipe it down occasionally, not a big deal and no chemicals needed to clean up simple smudges.

It is definitely too heavy to hold in one hand in tablet mode for more than a minute or two. My solution is to place it in stand mode with the screen forward and keyboard face down. The weight is supported on my lap or body this way and all that remains is the ergonomic neck stretching issue that goes with all tablets.

Battery life is good. I have the Intel RST timer set for 5 minutes after sleep to go into its deep sleep. It gets used for an hour or so each day and I plug it in every few days to charge it up. Wake up from RST mode is a couple seconds. In the normal sleep mode before it goes into RST, the power LED blinks too fast and too bright and annoys the piss out of me as it lights up the wall next to bed.

It was briefly mentioned in the review but Lenovo's hard drive partitioning is awful. Nearly half the 128GB SSD drive is hidden for the recovery partition. Lenovo released a tool not long ago to maximize the available free space on the drive by messing with those partitions. If you're technically inclined there is also post on their forums for how to delete the recovery partition entirely and free up most drive (Intel RST needs a dedicated partition the size of your RAM). I did this immediately after uninstalling most of Lenovo's software as when it comes time to reinstall windows, I'll want fresh and clean.

There is an open SSD bay for a 256GB drive and the i5 model I bought with 4GB of memory can be user upgraded to 8GB (single stick).


Re: Question:

I think it comes down to availability of Bluetooth and easy of use.

The times may be changing, but many consumer laptops traditionally lack Bluetooth chips. Their USB dongle solution goes into any USB port and it "just works". No pairing process required. Bluetooth requires enabling discovery and going through the pairing process which differs by Bluetooth stack installed on the computer.

The other benefit for Logitech is that they don't have to pay for a Bluetooth license. The more they use their own proprietary wireless technology, the more those development costs are spread out so it becomes cheaper per device.

Sony PS3 sales soar on slimmer system


Re: AV

When will a console manufacturer ever make a console that can stack nicely with other AV kit?

They do that precisely so you don't attempt to stack it with other AV kit. Xbox 360 got the most press coverage for overheating but you'll find plenty of accounts of PS3 overheating as well (search for "yellow light of death"). These consoles throw off a lot of heat in operation so being able to stack another AV component or a pile of DVD/Blu-ray cases on top of it is asking for a meltdown.

Teens break up with Facebook


Re: Ad numbers

CPM actually means Cost Per Mille (aka Cost Per Thousand) impressions. So for every 1000 times the ad is seen, the advertiser pays $3.50 which yes, is quite a lot. I don't know what the going rate is today but I seem to recall something like 10 cents per mille was considered good for your typical blog.

Matt Groening reveals location of Simpsons' Springfield


Pepperidge Farm remembers.

The Facebook job test: Now interviewers want your logins


Re: Surely this is illegal

In the US, at least, there are various state and federal laws that prohibit interviewers from asking questions about:





National origin




Marital/family status

If I've added this type of information to my Facebook profile and chosen not to make it public, doesn't them asking for my Facebook credentials effectively amount to them asking me to provide them with the info? At the very least I would politely decline to provide the credentials citing that the contents of my profile are irrelevant to the interview process. If they go so far as to make it a condition of employment, they might earn themselves a legal claim for discrimination.

Skype arrives on fondleslab



Sorry, pic in the article reminded me of Dom Joly and his various bits where he's in a quiet public place when his gigantic Nokia phone starts ringing.

VeriSign to raise .com, .net prices


re: Why the difference

For the same reason you can get a .info or .biz for pennies, because it isn't as popular or easily remembered as .com

Hundreds of dot-brand domains predicted


Re: or even

Which is troublesome because I might have machines on my LAN called coke and twitter.

No stranger to the moleskin trouser


Informative how-to video on the topic

Victor Borge has taken care of all these problems for us:


Mozilla preempts Google with 'open' web app store prototype


An app store for what?

I'm a bit lost here. What sort of apps that only need my browser to run would I actually consider buying?

A quick Google search yields sites with a javascript conversion utility for almost any purpose (assuming Google doesn't already support the conversion). I have a handful of dictionary/translation/thesaurus sites bookmarked for quick access. This isn't like my smartphone where I need instant offline access to an app that fills a single purpose. For one thing, I'll have to be online to use the apps anyway so why would I pay a few dollars for a dictionary when I already have a bookmark that cost me nothing?

Oracle sues Google over Java in Android


Wait what?

A patent infringement suit not filed in the Eastern District of Texas?


First SMS Trojan for Android is in the wild



Implementing something like UAC where it prompts the user every single time the app wants to do something considered "above and beyond" like dialing, SMS, or using data will prove just as ineffective as UAC on Windows.

If you repeatedly throw up dialogs asking a user if they *really* want to do this, the user is just going to become trained to spam the OK button to get that distraction out of the way. Yes, they *should* be thinking to themselves about, "Why does this application require admin privileges?" or, more relevant to this story, "Why does this media player need to send SMS?" but humans are creatures of habit. They'll just keep hitting that OK button because until they get to what they wanted.

Tangentially related, how often have you ever read an entire EULA? Even the ones that force you to "read" them, don't you just scroll right to the bottom and hit Accept? What if that EULA gave away the rights to your first born child (obvious legal restrictions preventing this notwithstanding)?

'Poo-powered' Volkswagen astounds world+dog


When are they going to realize...

...that they're just polishing a turd?

Ubisoft undone by anti-DRM DDoS storm


what's a title for?

In the end, the pirates will get their crack and will be able to play whenever they want and the legit buyers will be forever at the mercy of the master servers and the "cloud". I don't understand why it is so difficult for publishers to realize this is only hurting their reputation.


Console modders attempt to bypass Xbox Live ban


Copying flash from another xbox

Doesn't the requirement for a non-banned Xbox completely defeat the point of the workaround? Why wouldn't I just mod the unbanned console and use that?

Chrome feels the need - the need for speed


benchmark results

Firefox 3.0.10 - 237

Chrome - 3068

Yes I even tried refreshing each browser to get a different result but they were within about 5% each time anyway. Now if only Chrome had my favorite extensions I would give it a chance over Firefox...

EU: Our Members need 'increased wood'

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I nominate this article for el Reg's next vote on best article title/teaser.

Obama CIO a confessed petty thief


Who cares?

No really, who cares about this at all? It's a mildly interesting footnote at best but certainly not worthy of a whole article.

Bring me more NSFW bootnotes and Playmobil re-enactments, not this crap.

The Google-isation of all the net's access points


What about Mozilla Chrome?

Isn't chrome the user interface component of Mozilla (e.g. all those chrome:// urls)?

This seems like a terrible name choice to me.

US utilities plot remote switch off

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Already in place here

The local energy racket in Wisconsin has a program in place already that you agree to let them cycle your AC during peak demand and they'll give you a bill credit. The credit is based on how much down-time you agree to and they give it to you regardless of it they actually turn off your AC.


The offer seems pretty reasonable but I'm one of those types that wants it cold on-demand so I probably wouldn't sign up for it. Allowing them to control my heating and water heater is definitely not something I'd go for though.