* Posts by danny_0x98

156 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Mar 2009


There's that phrase again: JP Morgan CIO told Autonomy's first HP boss it was 'a shit show'


Re: If anybody cares ...

One for your collection, in case you missed it.

The USA television program, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, used it as the hook in one of their songs. (It, now concluded, was a 60 minute program that had the external form of a Broadway Musical meeting a Hollywood Rom-Com meeting a Network TV sit-com. It ran four seasons, just over 60 episodes.)

In Season 2 Ep 4 about 1:50. It was on a USA broadcast network, so the phrase was partially bleeped. It's a nice ballad. Written by Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom & Jack Dolgen. That would have aired first in Fall 2016. The show was never widely popular, but its fans are very devoted.

Pressure mounts on FCC to cough up answers over fake net neutrality comments



My name and work address, invalid since 2000, were used to support the action.

I found this out courtesy of the New York Attorney General who provided an online repository to check.

Here's what I noticed, the comment attributed to me was word for word identical with thousands of other comments. This suggests an approach which should filter out spoofs and astroturfs: ignore the duplicated comments. I can't say this will fix everything, but it is a start.

SCOLD WAR: Kaspersky drags Uncle Sam into court to battle AV ban


Re: Interesting legal theory

Constitutional clauses regarding due process and equal protection under the law. The counter argument may be that securing Executive Branch computers is entirely the province of The Executive Branch, but, in support, there is a non-binding Congressional resolution.

Cancel your summer trip to nearby Proxima b. No chance of life, room service, say boffins


Proxima Centauri b ain't no kind of place to raise your kids,

In fact it's cold as hell.

(Apologies to Bernie Taupin and Sir Elton Jihn.)

Better science, poorer scan.

Copyright zealots FAST to pursue 'far greater' fines for historic piracy


100 instances. Yowsa! The mind boggles at the ubiquity.

So... they want to get more money per suit.

I guess the frequency, and with subscription pricing, probably decreasing, isn't enough to keep the BMW's gassed.

Linux letting go: 32-bit builds on the way out


Well, kids, back when I was a forty-something, in the OS wars of legend, we would hear how Linux was better than Windows on old processors. And there would be spec wars over 486 deployments.

Good times.

So, kids, you don't want any of my still-running self-built 32 bit systems. Curse you mobile; curse you to hell!

'Apple ate my music!' Streaming jukebox wipes 122GB – including muso's original tracks


Re: A: he is not a real musician

Fine. I'm not a real musician, using iTunes and Garageband as I do. It's gospel according to Timo.

Here's the thing: because so much of my collection are songs I recorded and some are tracks I pulled off of cassettes, I was wary of Match and Apple Music. I also understand that the matching is textual, so album or art changes or versions may be substituted, because Apple is constrained by its license from the record company, who may be successors to the original releasing label. They, the record company, certainly don't give a flying about alternate takes or the other things that collectors and deep fans treasure.

Here's my common sense conclusion: these products were not designed with my edge case in mind — and rightfully so.

And reading the original blog, call me lucky. But, as Timo notes, don't call me a musician. Timo knows all.

Music's value gap? Follow the money trail back to Google


Yes, but we aren't selling Wellies are we? We are selling licenses to enjoy music at home and other licenses to perform our recordings in a commercial context. For some venues, we used to pay them to choose our license. Incredibly, they resist when now we say that we need to be paid from those venues because our factory workers, no, not the ones we laid off in the 90s who really were factory and warehouse workers, but our current stable of work-for-hire creators need more money otherwise they'll disappear and we will be stuck selling licenses to these 40-year-old Wellies — returning to our analogy — and thank goodness and lobbyists, we just got an extension to be sole source for our 50+ year old Wellies.

Meanwhile, unsold Wellies take up no storage space and have near zero cost of manufacture for the second and all later customers. On the other hand, lots of people seem satisfied with 30 year old "footwear" which never wears out, except through the cycles we call fashion and aging. From that supply and demand consequence, we would be hard pressed to figure out why this is a better business than in the old days when we had factory workers, warehousing that required real decisions regarding keeping things in print and stored, and our footwear wore out or was thrown out. Still, then, most people consumed through radio play, rarely an efficient converter of listens to sales, but the most cost-effective way there was. That's why the answer would be yes when the question was "Payola?"

In 1980, it was home taping that was destroying the music industry. It was more about a recession and competing modes of entertainment. But then, music videos, CDs, and Boomer hegemony revived the business. Mr. Orlowski continues in his mission of reducing the music industry's current problems to Google. I don't argue with his premises regarding copyright law and how it works. I just suggest that nearly all with a stake understand that the actual revenue to be realized is not worth the effort to collect. After all, the infringers are not Google, but people who put up unlicensed content and people like me who wants to check out an episode of The Young Ones, as I did the other day. Yes, the law recognizes contributory infringement, and why stop at Google? Quite a few parties collected fractions of pennies from me so I could watch that 35 year old episode.

Were Google the primary existential threat, the industry would be be tireless in pursuit. I have intellectual property. It is my responsibility to protect it or hire agents to protect it, not Google's, and I have little patience for the tears about those who are already more successful than I and who have the resources to pursue options of collection and litigation. Maybe the majors are practically disengaged because they already worked out a deal; there's efficiency in being an oligopoly and if DMCA inefficiency is the reality that lowers what they can get, so be it. 0.5% of something is still superior to 100% of nothing.

Call DMCA and safe harbor an imperfect attempt to balance overlapping interests and move on, Mr. Orlowski.

Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge


All kidding aside, this demonstrates my worry about Religious Freedom legislation in that it places the Court in a position where it has to decide what religious beliefs are correct and which are not.

In this case, and unfairly I'm restating excerpted arguments, the judge is saying that because an adherent does not understand the religion's texts, access to the texts is denied. Would a judge deny access to a Bible because the plaintiff diesn't understand Hosea well enough, yet?

The judge also forgets his John Stuart Mills when he dismisses parody as a possible source for truth.

Laws which give a pass on secular behavior within the bounds of law for religious reasons are a bad idea. This judge overreached in allowing the state to deny the plaintiff's expression of speech and choice of religion.

Bundling ZFS and Linux is impossible says Richard Stallman


Re: Question

We had these exact arguments years ago. In the US, a creator has copyright and may restrict use and derivative uses of her creation. The law governing infringement is civil law, but there are instances when, if one infringes upon the wrong thing, the FBI comes and arrest you.

Commercial software writers specify the terms of use in an EULA as per their rights as a copyright holder, and disputes over an allegedly unlicensed use are pursued against purchasers under contract law.

No one has permission to use GPL software, or any software under copyright, except they receive a license. There is an allowance for fair use, and while ZFS on Ubuntu may be rationalized under that basis, I expect that a Court would have to decide. I expect that Canonical's positive advice hinges on ZFS being licensable by the end user and that Canonical does know how to distribute non-GPL software to users.

My personal opinion? I can license GNU software to run on my FreeBSD and OS X systems. If a Linux distributor wants to include a non-GPL file system to improve integrity and function for the user, it should be possible without one author coercing another author to change his license. As the catalyst for the GPL was a vendor's withdrawal of code that Stallman was using at MIT, it would be ironic to use the GPL to have Canonical withdraw its packaging of ZFS. I think Stallman should let this be, because if the slippery slope is to more user choices and inclusion of better technology, let's slide. GPL software's importance will not be diminished.

Database rights are no 'impediment' to Europe's data-driven economy


If people keep claiming a right incorrectly, then it's a sign that infringement is similarly vague. The sorting will be done in one of the most expensive venues, the courts. History suggests that some will build business models on threatening to take others to court.

If this right was recently outlined and creates innovation, then how do we explain prior innovation?

Copyright on publications of facts is protection enough. I'm from the USA and my opinion on European law does not matter, but there you have it.

Samsung appeals to Supreme Court to bring patent law into 21st century


Re: The law is a Ass

It's easy to blame juries — and call them names — when verdicts don't go the way you like. The way I see it, having been on a couple of juries, the jury's lack of grounding in industrial design basics is the fault of Samsung's attorneys. And in this case, to this observer, Samsung's attorneys were prioritizing embarrassing Apple and antagonizing the judge. As to juries throwing out laws, it doesn't happen. I suppose occasionally a jury will ignore facts and law in its verdict as a protest or as an act of oppression, but the law stands.

As Samsung has sued others for patent infringement, isn't it a tad disingenuous for them to argue that there are too many patents and/or rounded corners is a patent too far? As to three infringements being ruinous, the obvious counter is to not infringe a first time.

The strongest argument is that the law's intent was to protect design that was intrinsically part of the function of the invention and therefore the US Patent Office erred in the granting of this patent. On the other hand, Apple wanted to protect its design and chose the means proscribed by law. Though we are assuming that Apple did not make a claim based on function in a patent. Every few years this court likes to swat the USPO with a "You got that wrong, but we're not going to tell you what's right."

US patent law is injecting bad incentives into the system and intellectual property laws in general have been hijacked from implementing an intent to tolerate a limited monopoly. The mess should be addressed by legislation, but I doubt any thing good will happen.

Rdio's collapse another nail in the coffin of the 'digital economy'


Note, this is from the perspective of US copyright laws and recording company practices.

Streaming is a volume business. If one reviews one's notes when Apple was in pre-launch of its streaming service, one saw that the lion's share of the revenues went to the copyright holder, and for the recording this is nearly always the record company. By standard practice, the artist has no ownership and compensation from the record company is as per the contract in which the record company sets its license share rate and includes offsets for marketing or un-recouped advances. Greed or the necessary returns for a party that puts out its capital in a venture that has a 90%-plus rate of losses. Take your pick.

Now, streaming rights are negotiated on a per-track basis. Negotiations are expensive, so is a streaming service going to want to talk with an entity that can deliver thousands of tracks or a few dozen? There's a provision in US law that federal copyright protection does not extend to recordings made before 1973. For those recordings the owner has to sue an infringer — and streamers do not compensate if they didn't have to — in each of the 50 states to enforce all US rights. We have seen Mark Volman of The Turtles and Flo and Eddie sue and win in California and New York. It took about five years to get those results. Much like the dog who didn't bark, I ask who haven't we seen pursue state cases? The major labels. Why, because they can use the rights of post-1973 tracks to leverage a discussion on licensing fees for pre-1973 tracks. (The preceding I don't know, but it makes sense.)

And as a fan of the Talking Heads and David Byrne's music, I'd have to say that I didn't hear any of their music yesterday and I didn't notice. I started my phone to playing legally acquired tracks of mine semi-randomly and got Motown number ones. That was quite nice. The point is there is very little scarcity regarding music, making it difficult for an owner, or an artist and her record label, to insist that their few tracks are vital to a streamer's success.

But the recordings' owners getting are getting approximately 70% of the revenue for no additional costs. They have full control over what is and isn't streamed. The big four have thousands of tracks from diverse genres and eras and make some effort at expanding their catalog with new recordings. It's a wonderful rental of property business from their point of view. Just because Rdio found it tough sledding or David Byrne has some thoughts about whether it's worth it for him to pursue recording revenues doesn't mean Warners isn't having a wonderful time laughing all the way to bank. It's those new artists who are a problem, and, oh, let's withhold them from streaming and see if it improves the track and CD sales. As long as we can get them on radio, there's a chance to sell something.

If one sang three hits in the 80s, one has a few saplings in a forestry business. And, hopefully, that musician had a partner's share of the band or was the contractor and not employed by a production entity who had the recording contract. And the few dollars a year from streaming is still more then they'd be getting had they had their hits in the 60s and were looking at income statements in the 90s. (Not every vinyl release got CD releases.)

And as one wrings one's hands about the plight of the poor creator, which is fair, and, please, wring a hand for me, a late 80s self-publishing music creator who sold three copies of my band's recording. Though, not too hard, as I had a good time and it didn't leave me in debt. Any way, as one grumbles about the unfairness, point the ire towards the record companies, because the difficulty of being a creator was always there because of barriers of distribution. Indeed, how technology has lowered costs of production and distribution could be a boon for the creator for obvious disintermediation reasons. But, not everyone wins. Subtract a record company's distribution network and capital for publicity and payola — used for brevity and not as a pejorative — perhaps the not-turn-a-profit rate becomes 99%, but the break-even rate will increase, and inspire the creators who have a business sense to figure out novel ways to differentiate and extract revenue.

The author is quite fond of the free market, which gets a little wacky in these discussions because copyright is an artificial construct of law. The author cries his tears as to how the consumer doesn't value the goods being produced. Raising the question as to what a free market means to the fellow, as to me, that's exactly an outcome. Someone makes something and no one cares about it at the price being asked: morose violins for the shuttered supplier, drinks all around for economists toasting market efficiency.

Streamers are middle-men. Apple comes in and Rdio goes out. So what? The market is not measured by the rise and fall of middle-men but the total value of transactions. Music is still a good business, as long as one has brought a lot of chips to the casino and one reduces one's expectation of the maximum payout.

Any musician getting into the business for that sweet streaming money is a fool.

MacBooks are so hot right now. And so is Mac OS X malware


Re: been saying it for decades...

No, but the pointless self-congratulations might.

As for me, this Mac user was appreciative of the decades old messages being used in service of reducing Mac users. I mean if being a niche was a benefit, then by all means counter my positive messages to friends and family recommending OS X. Thank you for looking out for us in the day.

As to flocks being fattened, I thought the first assumption among those who had to change the discussion of Windows 2000/XP non-security into grading on a hypothetical curve was that a Mac owner was an idiot with money. Wouldn't that mean the sheep were already fat?

And all those years of comparing the security gains of Windows in the versions that were never used by 50-75% of the user base as compared with the versions used by 50-60% of the OS X user base that did migrate within a year.

Any way, everything is better than it used to be, most people are compromised or inconvenienced by their governments or uninspiring security at retail and web sites, and the weakest component in the struggle with on-line threats is the user.

XcodeGhost attack tapped into dev distaste for Apple's Gatekeeper


Re: Let me see...

Xcode is available to any one at no charge.

The $99 (and it was reduced from $99 per platform this year) means you may submit your applications to the App Store. Other changes this year: one will be able to put one's own iOS apps onto one's own mobile devices. I'll say about time for that, but still, this "Outrageous!" is a bit overplayed.

Now, people who need Xcode downloaded in hours instead of days so as to build their commercial projects and so turn to third parties, when EVERYONE KNOWS THAT SOFTWARE FROM THIRD PARTIES HAS A HIGH INSTANCE OF DODGINESS, get a pass from us because, Apple is rich?

I guess we could knock Apple for not publishing hashes, but, really, Apple figures a download from it via https is the only way one should get their software. I know, walled garden, controlling Apple, insisting that there be one source for their code.

(Incidentally, if Google is not looking at ways to check that developers are using legit compilers, SDKs, and IDEs, they aren't as smart as I think they are.)

I also add that I recall Ken Thompson gave a famous speech in which he said malware injected by the compiler would be a real ugly problem.

Any way, the Xcode-now crowd do not get a pass from me, because I did spend hours getting software from legitimate sites via 14K modem a couple of decades back. What was their rush? Getting their knockoff to the App Store two days before the competition got their knockoff posted?

Apple no-pay-for-plays streaming risks indie boycott


Ladies and gentlemen, in the US, the major labels sign their new artists/bands on a work-for-hire basis. The copyright to the recording is entirely owned by the label. Some very successful folks may negotiate for their master recordings later in their career.

Or, they can stay independent and develop their career with less capitalization and retain more ownership of their works.

Apple, and all other streaming services, have to negotiate the rights with the recording's owner for streaming. (There's a loophole about pre-1973 recordings. I would guess that major labels insist on getting revenues for those recordings as part of the deal to get post-1973 recordings.)

So, no, no one has to go for three months free. But, no, it's not the band who, generally, has a say.

As a comment on reporting about Apple's WWDC music announcements, currently, with streaming, the people who do the best are the streamers and the record companies with deep catalogs. Apple is a retailer. They, the artists, independents, and the major labels—to the degree they want to develop new artists—want sales, not streams. But sales derive from listens for all but the top tier of musicians. A streamer who also sells should want to create new high value fans and should emphasize discovery and new artists.

Meanwhile, as a consequence of supply, demand, and that nothing need go out of print, listeners know that there's plenty of ubiquitous music available at no or minimal cost, and so the need to buy a track for playing at one's convenience is minimal. It takes new generations, new sounds, and new artists to reinvigorate music. At one time, it also took djs. Novelty is the only scarcity that remains for the music business. Apple is trying to set up their human-curated streaming and internet radio station to maximize, as much as possible, creating new fans and sales.

Here's the thing, Apple has to take a passenger seat because if it gets too aggressive in making music healthy, say, by promoting and signing artists on more favorable terms than the big label recording contracts, the labels pull their music out of the store and streams. And it's an open debate as to whether new generations bond as much with music as compared to the generations of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Why are all the visual special effects studios going bust?


Some Thoughts

Capitalization is an issue, but more importantly, the hardware and software advances faster than the debt on the old, now under-productive, systems are paid off. The hardware doesn't care what country it is in, so countries with lower labor costs than Hollywood, California, can buy new equipment, hire the artists and technical support and be ready to profitably charge less with better throughput than the established Hollywood companies. (And Hollywood companies is a bit of an anachronism, FX production has been migrating out of town for a while. Yes I live there and am on the remotest fringes of the fringes of show business.)

One also has issues about a limited number of customers. There aren't many people who can make 100 million dollar movies and, collectively, they don't make that many movies in a year: miss out on the dozen big budget movies slated for 2017 and that's an under-utilized 2015.

The studios are also wary of FX cost overruns and also may push for fixes if the shooting script changes or the output doesn't work convincingly. Bottom line, fixed fee contracts with inadequate margins and little tolerance for add services. Because there are so few customers, it again is take it or leave it. And look at the credits of the next comic book movie you see. Notice how many FX houses were involved. Clearly the studios/producers are spreading the work and I imagine that's partly meant to reduce risks, especially as FX houses do go out of business.

It's a buyer's market and the buyers know it.

I suppose there are timing issues as well. These movies are mostly targeted for a summer release, which could mean that once attached to one movie, an FX house has to pass on other business because they only have so many people and systems. Or look at it from the other direction, one could build the capacity for a few months of multiple movies, and then have to figure out how to carry the payroll into the next year's production season. That's assuming that Fox, for example, would be unconcerned about leaks or paying for the r&d for others when hiring an FX house that is working on Marvel and WB films.

Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists


Hi there. Live in a by-gosh California canyon with narrow winding roads. Emergency response is a concern.

Silly me. All this time I thought it was about parking restrictions when it should have been about toll gates and preferred vehicles and I suppose the taxpayers paying for rapid access not used so the fire trucks don't have to wait while the preferred Hummers and Beamers clear the roads when the disaster happens.

Accused Goldman Sachs code pilferer sues FBI for 'wrongful arrest'


For More On the Story

Michael Lewis's nonfiction work Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt details his — and other's — story in the effort to move what we'll inaccurately call Wall Street back to serving the customers and not the brokerages.

A good stop if one wants to get educated before opining.

Not that, obviously, any one has to.

PEAK WINDOWS 7 may well be behind us


Increased XP usage, in number of users, does not make sense. Though, these are not counts of users, but a percentage of the users the surveyors saw in a month.

But then, usage share reports that put the blinders on with regards to mobile operating systems are now missing at least half the picture and have a distorted representation of 100%.

So there we go, it's not that there are more XP users, it's that they will be the last to have 100% of their activity be on the desktop. And, so what?

I restate my question, what is the value of the picture? Microsoft with its product activation and telemetry has a much better view of its users' breakdown. Even they are in mid-transformation as to what their os business is about. The resistance to Win8 will be an irrelevant issue by late autumn.

Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL


Re: What's the big deal?

Oh my gosh. Press a finger and open up the device, that's appearance and not function?

The point is balancing convenience with security. The most secure things are terribly inconvenient. The most convenient things are terribly insecure.

That said, every time I restart from a power down, I have to enter my passcode on my iPad. TouchID does not open the device in that situation.

So where are we then? Well, I'm sitting here thinking that while my iPad is not the most secure device known to personhood, it is easier to get going than with my pre-TouchID iPhone. And you're sitting there thinking that your brain could not be broken into, and I presume that includes the hypothetical well placed hammer blows to fingers, toes, and knee-caps. Let me hasten to add that I hope you never have to be part of a test of those hypotheses.

But, for the sake of argument, let's assume that someone cares about what's on my iPad, has gone to the trouble of stealing the device, done what they need to do to simulate the correct finger in the correct position or insist, at peril to my kneecaps, that I open up the phone. After I get my phone back, as you say, I cannot change my fingerprint. Oh dear. What do I do?

Oh yeah. Make it password only. which was always an option. Also, hope that the security dictum "Kneecap access, game over." does not occur again.

Apple's Beats, Google, and Sony hammered with unpaid royalty claim


Re: Copyright law only

Not quite. As I mentioned below recording copyrights were recognized in state law.

But why in heck would California, say, keep open an office to administer the now superseded law on pre-1972 recordings?

Besides — and I strongly support this concept — the cost of enforcing copyrights should be borne by the one who benefits from the monopoly, the rights owner.

So the suits are in state courts under state law and easy to decide. However, the back payments are piecemeal and jurisdictional, and even though the streamers will always lose, there are very few rights holders who have the resources to bring a case in one state, let alone fifty, so the streamers probably do better just writing a check to the occasional litigant.


I was trying to sort out the law on this, and while I may not have it right, I think I have a clearer sense of what went. In 1976, there was a major rewrite to US copyright law to bring it into conformity with the Berne Convention. Recordings, which were not protedpcted by federal law, became protected by the Feds and Congress made it somewhat retroactive, i.e., recordings after 1972. Recordings prior remained protected as per state laws, meaning there could be fifty variations.

New York, Illinois, California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Florida — I would guess — had strong laws, otherwise they'd not be recording centers they were. Probably all fifty states had very similar laws.

But, here's the point, any suits to reclaim past royalties have to be on a state by state basis, and recording owner by recording owner. Also, post 1972 recordings are streamed via negotiated license with the recording's owner. So a company that's active and with current hits has the leverage to get payment on oldies. Still, it seems to me someone should organize a consortium to represent small record owners and negotiate with the streamers to resolve the question. Regretfully I would expect such a consortium to not be satisfied with the streamers' "last" offer and on to litigation everyone goes.

Or the streamers stop playing oldies: leave that niche to the radio stations. No play, no dollars. Everyone, um, happy?

YOU. Your women are mine. Give them to me. I want to sell them


The trouble with content-publisher written legislation is that all the penalties are for infringers. There are no penalties for false claimants. Make a false claim cost $100,000 with 25,000 to the channel, 25,000 to the falsely accused, and 50,000 to the government, I think we'll quickly see these ip claim jumps disappear rapidly.

And, yes, I've been claim jumped. A public domain song with additional lyrics by me, photography by me, and performance by me had advertising interposed on my YouTube post, presumably by the publishers related to the Beach Boys, as they had a hit when they recorded a cover of The Weavers version of the song.

I'd get really upset, but hardly any one finds my videos, so why care?

LEAKED: Samsung's iPhone 6 killer... the Samsung Galaxy S6


Re: Why should Apple be worried?

Huh. Apple sells more iPhones every year. Profits and revenues up. The Android OEMS are losing at the low end to AOSP, but Android's Android right, so who cares about subtleties?

Okay, I wouldn't say you're wrong. Let's say that Android is eating Apple's ham and cheese sandwich while Apple enjoys an eight course dinner at a five-star restaurant. With classy floor show.

Thunderstrike shocks OS X with firmware bootkit


If ever a trend was worthy of ridicule.

Can we, instead of propagating the exploit branding, laugh at the pretentiousness? Thunder Strike? Pbbbbt.

Security holes in iOS? We've heard of them, says Apple (as it fixes vanishing ringtones)


Uhh. Ringtone income?

Anyone can make their own ringtones at no charge. I did, using Garageband and iTunes.

Wasn't it all supposed to be so different by now, Meg?


Making Sense Until One Thinks About It

"... accelerating pockets of growth."

Accelerating growth in the positive "pockets?"

Accelerating the rate that growth pockets are evaluated. (Excellent! Why didn't you push that button earlier?)

But, but, but, Dan, acceleration is good, growth is good, it's good, can't you see it? Oh. Not a stock investor, then in the blessed name of W.C. Fields, go away son, you're bothering me.

Getting more RFPs! (I can't really see as how that is so much will as a better business economy.)

Higher Win Rate! (Which is good, if the wins are for the highly profitable proposals. If it's for low-margin, or worse, underpriced proposals, stock up on aspirin now for the headaches in '15 and '16.)

Okay. I have pockets. Better go make them clear growth pockets. And then accelerate them.

Google, Rockstar to bury zombie Nortel patent lawsuit



Rockstar had two other major groups in its make-up: the Nortel legal department and engineers.

(Which made it look to this non-business expert as a restructuring funded by folks who wanted to explore various degrees of thermonuclear war over the Android phones.)

There was also a successor company. Rockstar I — my designation — funded as you indicated, who bought the patents from its leaders' former employer. A second Rockstar was formed in order to exploit the ip. The ownership breakdown got very hard to determine at that point, with management (former Nortel people) only acknowledging that the Apples, etc., had some ownership.

The partners, whether silent or private advisors, were what allowed Rockstar to say that, technically, they were not an NPE.

Just to fill in some details. It still was about going after Google and it is rather pointless to explore the nuance as to who had the idea and who had the dough.

We also recall that Google bid on the Nortel patents and their bids were transcendental numbers x 10^9. If the settlement plus legal costs were less than their bids, they came out ahead for losing.

Droids - everywhere! Is Apple really even in the game any more?


Betamax v VHS

The difficulty in using that as proof is that those were incompatible formats for content. 30 years later, what would be the analogue to the movie. The app? Okay, there's some merit in that. Where it doesn't hold up is that we had video rentals and sales. Everyone up and down the chain was bothered by duplicated effort and complexity.

Today? Different stores, so no one is annoyed that they have to go and return an app because they got the iOS version by mistake. Apps are not as unique a creation as a movie. What this suggests is that "any old war movie" is not a substitute for Apocalypse Now, but any old vector drawing app will substitute on iOS if an Android developer has come up with a great art app.

The format wars were a friction on VCR uptake. The choice of mobile os was not and is not. VHS's victory was short-lived: it took DVDs about three years to disrupt, and some of that quickness was because there was no format contention. Note that we did have a repeat with Blu-Ray and HD, and notice how consumers resisted. Digital download has no format contention and is becoming dominant over optical disk.

Tapes, being physical, had significant costs for manufacturing and shipping. Guessing wrong on how many Beta and VHS tapes to make and to stock could be expensive. Over in the stores, tapes take space and rentals had to be purchased. A title being out could mean a lost sale or rental, and there are new titles every week, so old titles need to be unstocked. Clearly, as soon as there was enough demand for VHS that a store could say "Sorry, we don't have Beta," a store would.

There are absolutely no equivalents to those problems in the world of mobile apps.

And for every Beta VCR that survived the VHS victory — I was a dead-ender — there are hundreds of iOS users who buy apps. iOS is and remains far more successful than Beta was.

Now, your prediction may be ultimately correct, but it won't be easily reduced to VHS again.

Apple's OS X Yosemite slurps UNSAVED docs into iCloud


Re: So....

A couple versions back, Apple introduced iCloud saving/sharing and reopen on close without the user needing to save.

This version Apple said there'd be Handoff: start it on the iPhone, continue on the Mac.

Now, how could these things be done without immediate saving to iCloud, before the user has chosen where it is to be saved?

I'll wait.

Yeah. That's right. This security genius has figured out that the waves get bigger when the tide comes in.

Okay. Here's the critical part. If this bothers you, do not use Apple products. (But you better go cloud-free because otherwise something is leaving your device and has a non-zero chance of being intercepted.)

If you're like me you say, a) security is inverse to convenience, b) it's good enough, c) I'm a boring grown-up so I'll pick a strong, unique password, take my chances and continue to enjoy the benefit.

Shh! Bose and Apple ink secret deal to settle 'noise-cancelling' suit



Hi. I think confidential settlements are the norm, despite the correspondent's suggestion otherwise.

But, I'm just a guy who's been reading business news for more than three months, what do I know?

U2? 81 million Apple iThing-strokers know a place where the Beats have no shame



I buy a loaf of bread in a store. The store gets what it paid the bakery and its cut. How does the farmer get paid?!?

Now before I get labelled a jackass, I understand your real question which is more about how do the artists get a fair share of the revenues. The artist's cut is controlled by a contract negotiated between one party that has literally tens of thousands of alternatives and another that has a dozen. The record company knows a dozen ways to "win" (or, as I'll mention later, minimize its risks) and, you, the artist don't know any. Perhaps you walk in with a manager or attorney with experience, which is good, until you realize that they too take a percentage of your deal, have multiple clients (diversified risk) and will be coming into this office tomorrow with somebody else, so, perhaps your representation is not as prepared to go to 11 in negotiations as they suggested when they were romancing you, the unrealized genius.

Did the band selling the CD at the show do better than if you had purchased through iTunes. Most assuredly. But we'd all do better if we self-distributed. Distribution, though, is hard and if a musician would rather spend her time writing a new song than negotiating new sales channels, I can see making that choice and we all understand that if someone sells something for you, they get a cut. If she were great at the business stuff, she should form a record company and get into the aggregator/distributor business. In that milieu, she's a superstar.

With regards to digital sales, though not as profitable as the concession sale, no band can play everywhere to everyone and keep their stand open 24/7. The band should be selling at shows and through iTunes. It is a show biz cliche to ask the question "What's better 100% of nothing or 5% of something?" No citations, but I think the chance that the 100% of the nothing that becomes something big and does pay off is less than 20 to 1. (Besides, if one chooses one's partners wisely, the little slice of nothing becomes a relationship that may turn into bigger and better opportunities tomorrow.)

Record companies operate under a fundamental premise: even the best talent pickers will be wrong 9 out of 10 times, whether it's the wrong act or the wrong time in that act's development. Artists very, very rarely have a second chance. This is why one would rather be a record company than an artist, not that any thing's easy. If you look closely at the biz in the glory days, many artists never even had the one chance. They were signed, got an advance, recorded one album which got shelved without release, and were dropped by the label.

Today the technology of recording is far more accessible and the costs of distribution two magnitudes lower. No one says that a sustainable music career requires iTunes, but it doesn't hurt. Meanwhile, the real lesson is that the record company is less important than it was.

How does the artist get more? The artist takes more risk and does more work or becomes so big that they reverse the power mismatch that was there at the beginning of their career. But the person buying music is still absolutely vital in answering the question how does the artist gets paid.

Apple pitches record labels on cheaper music service


That is the way this onlooker understands it.

But, let's be very honest here. The system is grooved for the aggregators and distributors, in the grand tradition of show business. Individual artists and songwriters have very thin slices of a huge pie. When one sees an artist say that "I had a million streams and I didn't get a livable income from it," I ask, well, what livable income did you expect from radio play, the antecedent you knew. If people stop hearing your songs, who's going to buy your recordings?

Heck, look at all the anger when a good band recently gave away its music! It's hard to sell music. It's nearly impossible to sell unheard music. I can see where one says "I sold a lot of records in 1981 with this song, so for the convenience factor of hearing it now on your phone, that should cost money." On the other hand, um, someone else did the work and paid the costs to deliver the track to the phone.

Pre 1971 recordings in the US are not covered by federal copyright law and so the streaming services have been paying nothing to the record companies for those recordings. A recent court decision said California law did mean that streaming services should pay something for those tracks, but, obviously, that applies only to California. A variable payment system based on the assumed location of an ip address seems to me unworkable. The alternative of paying everyone regardless seems a poor business practice, and I guess one will see fewer streamed oldies. I mean, given a choice between spending the fraction of a penny streaming today's hotness versus The Crew Cuts singing Sh-Boom when the older generations are not engaging in streaming, how would you spend your money? (Disclosure, I am good friends with someone who is friends with one of the litigants and his family.)

Well, maybe the business is transforming, and maybe it makes sense for record companies to embrace being the source for the neo-radio stations. Lower per-item fee, more volume. That could work out. At least the streamers do pay unlike terrestrial radio. The streamers also provide quick links to allow for rapid purchase, which is really how artists always made serious money.

The artists were always up a creek without a paddle and their contractual canoe came with holes.

You don't have to be mad to work at Apple but....


Re: The same podcast?

I also listened to the podcast and other episodes and other tech-related podcasts from iMore. There's great stuff there.

I've listened to one and a couple of snippets of The Register's current tech podcast, and, well, I didn't get any thing out of it.

Going back to the tech podcasts I do routinely listen to: guess what? Turns out everybody who ships something of merit has people who put in extraordinary hours or do extraordinary things. Creation isn't easy. (Even if somebody else already did pinch-to-zoom or filmed The Godfather Part II.)

This wasn't creative, but three and four decades back, I'd have to pull late nights and all-nighters covering election results as a radio newsperson. Oh, the humanity! Oh the tragedy! Oh, so what? There was a job to do, I did it, I think I did it well, and when it came time to do something different, I left radio.

I'm also thinking, if El Reg sensationalized and de-contextualized some quotes for amusement and attention, well, LOHAN warned us, no?

Meanwhile — yes, I have been driven to this — haters gotta hate, I guess.

P.S. A point I got out of the podcast is that the managers at the mothership working on the key projects did not expect more of their team than they expected of themselves. Melton and Ganatra were not complaining; they were proud that they could somewhat keep up with excellent leaders such as Forstall, who was described as one of the most prepared people the speaker had ever met, and Serlet. The podcast is one of many from the podcasters (Rene Ritchie, Guy English, and Dave Wiskus) that have built a fascinating look at a company in a time when it did the seemingly impossible, go from a failing entity with brand new blue, but under-powered, computers to a wildly profitable company that reset how people think about music players, mobile phones, and mobile computing.

Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables


Re: Free software solves all problems ever

You were right to latch onto Mr. Sullivan's quote, but I think you missed the real issues. This problem wasn't quick to fix because bash is free, it was quick to fix because once shown the issue the bash maintainers could address it rapidly. That any one may contribute compounds the issue of quality control. Fortunately, as a practical matter, it's generally project code base experts who would bother.

However, that only fixes the source code. Because the software is free and as is, the users are on their own as to whether a fix of one things breaks another in their confederation of packages.

Proprietary code vendors do not do the work of angels, but the biggest ones such as Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, etc., generally think about the effects of the fix on the paying customer, and if there's a show-stopper problem, holds off until the patch does no harm to the software they sell. This takes time, both in the testing and the revising. Apple and Microsoft recently put out patches that had to be withdrawn. Incompetence? Maybe. Shipping more quickly than they should? Definitely.

Quick is not the virtue, correct is. Mr. Sullivan should also remember that we users aren't grading on a curve. Many will be scrambling or vulnerable until the bash patches are installed and regressions addressed and to them it doesn't matter that Microsoft will release patches in 10 days that it could have released last week, as bash is the thing that disrupted the schedule this week and possibly month. That the problem could have been fixed quickly raises the question why was it not fixed years sooner. And if the response is that the bash reliant aren't giving money to the project, would that be an eye-roller? I ask because right and maintained are why people give money to proprietary code vendors. To Mr. Sullivan I'd recommend coming down from the high horse because everyone has the same problems. Code is buggy and frequently one person's fix is another person's break. It takes time and money to reduce get things right. A code license is not a silver bullet.

Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure


Right Now

Absolutely secure. No one in that state has one and no one will for quite a few months.

Sheesh. I assume the Attorney General has his office looking into the airbag situation for flying cars, though, I presume it's a much lower priority, because, you know, they really, really don't exist yet.

By the way, does Connecticut state law require the Attorney General to certify the security of devices and what are the criteria? Samsung and the Android world would keep him so busy that he would not have time for any thing else, especially if the process involves meeting the CEO. Our devoted Attorney General, too, may be nostalgic for the pre-tech days when he could pursue white-collar crimes with zeal.

Oh, wait, Connecticut.

Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip


Re: Apple's Yawn and Windows Apology

Your're right about this: not competing products in nearly every sense.

But, Apple's announcements and iPhone releases get attention from blogs to tech to general press. So there's that. On release weekend, a lot of press will be talking about first weekend sales, saying it was enough or it wasn't enough or the polka dotted one was a disappointment because, well, who needs actual numbers to pronounce? There will also be first weekend discussion of how quick the top one sold out and then further contention as the flame-fanners argue over sales growth or withheld delivery to simulate popularity. In short, iPhones will get a lot of ticks in the news cycle twice next month.

That said, I see a release date guess of the 19th from the writers I respect. It is also the last month of Apple's 4th Quarter. I think two weekends of the new, shiny, as last year, would be preferred.

If September 30 is a Windows announcement, it will get attention. (If. Microsoft makes phones, right? They wouldn't have laid off the Nokia person who remembers that it's good to have new consumer-pleasing product at Christmas time, yet, right? Shouldn't we get a new Lumia or two?)

Satya Nadella: Microsoft's new man presses all the old buttons in LONG memo


"backpeddling" instead of backpedaling?

Given this is corpo-market-buzz-speak:


Who gives a F about privacy? New scorecard rates US pols on spying


Here's the problem: my Senators and Congressperson are of my party (Democrat) and I absolutely know that one Senator is a key enabler for the degradation of privacy.

Still, their opponents at election time are intent on dismantling every thing I like and their thoughts on privacy matters are rather vague, as the gauntlet they ran to get a Republican nomination entailed being tough on terrorism. As the Carte Blanche is semi-rationalized with suggestions that while everyone is monitored, it's the scary Them that are really being watched. Diverse groups, such as Libertarians and EFFies get that that assertion is effectively nonsense, but it it is an effective dodge for the general electorate. Voters prioritize economic issues any way.

Any way, yes, thank you, but let's not expect that these grades will vex incumbents.

BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS


Re: Typical really

Yo soy uno compuador de frijoles. I was a cracker-jack with macros in the Quattro Pro era (1992). Wild things: the instructions would reside in cells that were executed in sequence in a column, so I could write future instructions in the midst of the computation.

Now, I was working with architects and we all thought it would be awesome for me to take furniture specification data, organize it in a spreadsheets and spit out purchase orders by creating a merge document with Word Perfect. This is 1996 or so.

And things were beautiful, until we got a client with too much data. Down went the 486. I was on vacation, so the greetings upon my return were rather frosty among those who had to type out the info.

And I started to figure out Access. And then I learned VBA. And then — dissatisfied with how OOP VBA/1998 gave me no insights into the concept of OOP — learned java. And then learned Unix. And then went Linux/BSD for my personal desktop. And then learned postgresql. And then went OS X. That journey took about 4 years.

And, today, other than a predictable waste of a few minutes as I review a problem, develop a database schema, and then realize it would be easier to just do it in Excel, I am a very versatile but underemployed bean counter.

I think the lesson is clear.

Google spaffs $50 MILLION on 'get girls coding' campaign


Re: Reverse Discrimination!

Quite a few jumbled thoughts up there.

The Michigan case was on the question could a state constitutionally vote via referendum to end affirmative action. It did not explicitly address affirmative action, except as to whether its absence is an unconstitutional denial of rights. There have been cases about affirmative action and the first one that eroded it, in the sense that there was a compelling state interest in allowing discrimination as redress for past structural denial of civil rights, was Bakke in the early 80s, as I recall.

Arlo Guthrie's story of Officer Obie's overwhelming use of photographic/crime scene technology for a case of public littering was a joke about how quiet things are in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and a set-up for the ironic punch line of the superfluity of the evidence, especially as Guthrie confessed. Could Mr. Guthrie have embellished a bit for entertainment value? Is our lesson here that judgements should be made without looking at the person? No. Guthrie's point was that institutions ("the establishment") had gotten so wound up in the process that they lost a human perspective. It was a pile of trash and Guthrie was willing to go pick it up. Obie turned it into an 30-years premature episode of CSI.

So, you call for employment by blind analysis of numbers, because, I guess, all the best people this world offers are the ones who have awesome test results on paper? Hmm. Really? Nonetheless, it isn't happening, it never will be that way, and I don't even know why someone thinks that's worth a mention, even as aspirational goal.

Collegiate football and basketball are big businesses and run counter to some of the ideals of higher education. This was justified in terms of creating the complete man: athlete and scholar. Colleges, within that philosophy, have programs for golf, soccer, volleyball, track, etc., whether or not there is a significant revenue stream. If there is a tempering process for the student through team and individual athletic competition, how may we say that the opportunity to attain the fullness of the college experience is exclusive to one gender? This was the point behind Title IX. Athletics are good for the person, so ignore women at cost of federal funds. My alma mater ditched its football program in 1970. It is currently very competitive and gets into national rankings in men's and women's basketball, volleyball, and soccer. I was on campus when Title IX came to be. I endorsed it then and I think it works as promised.

There are male cheerleaders, song leaders, yell leaders. No one I know is complaining about this. Still, isn't cheerleading as a profession really a career in dancing? Is there a problem with gender imbalance in dancing? Is dancing as important to the economy as computing? Perhaps instead of flailing about for half-baked absurdities, let's focus on what's real.

Women who are in computing report that they are constantly barraged by innuendos that they don't belong, even as they lead companies, ship products, and make profits. If you listen, you'll hear stories of women who went to a conference too nicely dressed and were mistaken for someone's girl friend, or even more humiliatingly, as paid-for escort. Whenever someone goes public with complaints of harassment, they are assaulted by the internet misogyny army. Now, perhaps this is a subclass of the people need to treat people better problem, but so many folks seem baffled with the concept that women would like to have jobs where they make contributions on interesting problems and no one thinks it's a weird thing to want. Many women and men think that increasing the number of women employed in computing would reduce some of the problem and, as side-benefit, increase the talent pool and make for teams with better balance of perspectives. Is it worth a try? I say yes. I've worked in places where there were majority women and I've worked for women owner/bosses. Those were the best jobs I had. The ones where the owner or a large group were fond of chauvinistic opining were companies with serious problems. My takeaway, the best companies respect their customers and their workers, which is to say, people.

It's Google's money and they are a private entity. They, as an employer, believe in diversity and are doing something to make it happen. I think that's called walking the talk and usually this is applauded. Where's the appeasement? Where's the compensation? Year of Code, for its faults, was inclusive. Google believes they currently see a large number of quality male applicants. Google thinks that there are women who could make a contribution to the company and industry but who have been left out. Willful? Coincidence? Who cares? Let's send an invitation and welcome.

With outreach, will every woman think that computing is the field for them? Does every man?

If someone says to another, "Here, let me show you you can do this," how does that subtract any thing from the person already doing it?

I tend to not think much of the person who goes "No one helped me, so every one can just [buzz] off." (I note, that is neither explicitly nor implicitly your argument here.) People did help them, but they are so besotted by their self-congratulations (or so corrupted by fear and doubt) that they've erased those moments when someone showed them an opportunity, or taught them the right way, or cleared their heads of mush. Many people forget those moments when they had luck or they got the chance through a friend or relative.

How Google's Android Silver could become 'Wintel for phones'


Imperfect Analogy: The Understated Disclaimer

One difference between then and now: PC operating systems licensing was a business and Microsoft had a lock on the OEMs in that the applications the user already owned or would want were almost entirely written to DOS and then Windows. Applications for mobile these days are less expensive in absolute terms, let alone after adjusting for inflation. The key applications for browsing, Internet communications, telephony, and information are available for free. Many of the apps that tie into services use standard protocols, so the smartphone's os is abstracted away.

Also OEMs saw the PC movie and may be more reluctant to cede differentiation to Google and plunge into a profit-eroding price war, though for many smartphone OEMs, there are no profits, so what do they have to lose? On the other hand, the profitable users, adapters, and forkers of Android made their money on the strength of their marketing and their brand's loyalty. Google merely gave them a means to address Apple's entry into phones and subsequent domination of the profits in the sector. For a crucial couple of years, Microsoft and its pre 7 mobile operating systems were useless in terms of competing with the iPhone.

Steve Ballmer: Thanks to me, Microsoft screwed up a decade in phones



Well, because of file formats and binary compatibility, it's difficult to see how the pc market would have been anything other than one of os consolidation. Microsoft certainly did what it could to fend off all threats, using it's accidental success and leverage.

As to the internet, Microsoft missed it, which is good, because by the time they noticed it, it got too big for them to find the place to set up a tollbooth. HttpRequestObject was an innovation that changed the internet for the better, and that is a big feather in their cap.

It felt to me as though the driving force for change was hardware. It's why we upgraded software, cycled out machines every 2 to 3 years.

But, I don't want to take any thing away. Microsoft was in business to make money and so in some places it made rain and in some places it rode waves. As we all do.

From my point of view, where it went sour was Microsoft's response to the Internet, java, and Linux. Rather than having confidence in the quality of their products, they decided to focus all their guns on those threats and, if the customer experience was degraded, so what? Like the customers would go and get Macs or something? Well, not many did, to be sure. But a lot of the power users did, and that got the smart folks inside and outside of Apple thinking of how to abstract away Windows from getting interesting things done.

That's history. Doesn't really matter, here and now are still the same. If you like Windows, the great news is they're still at it.

Here's the thing about Ballmer. I know he's a smart guy, but he doesn't have a journalist's bone in his body. What do I mean? He can't see or express what's going on, if there's a dissonance between a trend and his loyalties.


Did You Notice

He predicts the Microsoft brand — even as he initiated the transition to follow along with first the Zune and then the tablets and phones — will differ from the Apple brand in that there's the adjective "affordable."

Okay, first, someone can afford Apple's stuff.

But secondarily, Microsoft doesn't really get "affordable." If they did, they wouldn't have so many of the computers in the world clinging to XP. Microsoft chose to support its real customers, the OEMs, by making a new computer the most economical way to get a new operating system.

Satya Nadella shakes up Microsoft, appoints 'Scroogled' man Mark Penn as strategy chief


Re: Start as you mean to go on

True, but to be fair, he did get Mrs. Clinton elected president in 2008 with his shrewd insights into the US voter.

Hang on. Sorry, I seem to be in a time stream that doesn't exist.

MAC TO THE FUTURE: 30 years of hindsight and smart-arsery


Every Plane A Fighter Jet

Okay. 1984. Who was making personal computers for sale. 2014. Who remains? There is a story in the Apple story and if a particular version could use more acknowledgment of luck, well, that's a fair point in any historical naarative.

From my personal perspective, in February 1984, my younger brother drove up to an Apple reseller in Solvang, California to get the only one available in three counties. He had access to a clean room and he upgraded it to 256k RAM. For the next few months he also had a business doing the same for the engineers at the place he worked.

As to businesses and general consumers, interest in the Mac was muted at best, and one can easily work out the reasons.

But among people who were into computers — it was my major in college the decade before, but I was a radio announcer those days — it was front page news. Within 24 months, I had bought my brother's Mac (and he became a 25 year faithful DOS/Windows person) and I had transitioned into work doing advertisement for a savings and loan. Desktop publishing meant my Mac and I foretold BYOD in the 80s when I brought all the typesetting of ads, annual reports, brochures, and internal forms in-house, using my personal Mac. Used it at home to develop MIDI parts for the record my rock band made.

So, put me down as among those who think something of note did happen 30 years back. The quality of the telling — as with all things — is the responsibility of the author. Though I left the Mac fold in 1996, I returned in 2001 when OS X delivered Unix without window manager fussery.

And, Bondi Blue under-powered iMacs? Under-powered for the internet-excited general consumer of 1998? No. And a shape and color that said "no fiddly cables" and "I'm fun for the life outside of work?" Yes. Besides, Rin-Tin-Tin has been billed as the dog that saved Hollywood. Clearly the animal's thespian range was beside the point. The iMac turned around Apple's cratering fortunes and as far as I can recall every other computer maker in similar straits went under with barely a trace.

Get lost, fanbois: Nokia pulls HERE Maps from Apple's App Store


Re: Gone away on a Safari ?

Maps is on Macs that have been Mavericksed.

Ubuntu desktop is so 2013... All hail 2014 Ubuntu mobile


Re: "Does this mean Linux gets a real chance on mobile?"

Openness gets you something among those who are followers of license politics.

It was an os that could take on iOS and also mop the floor with Blackberry and the antediluvian Windows phone os. At first it was at minimal to no cost and then it cost a little bit (with the check paid to Microsoft). So, manufacturers used it. Google had a revenue stream that increased with usage and did not depend on license fees, so it can subsidize the carriers and ease their ability to say yes when the manufacturers pitched the Android phones to them.

It also had to work reasonably well and Google had to show that it was going to work on its sub-optimal parts. Hardware getting faster so the cost of the vm and memory management effectively disappppearing for the user also helped.

There were other mobile oses that were arguably more open and they went nowhere. I think Meego would be a good example.

So, no, openness was not the only reason. I'd argue it wasn't even the most significant reason.

Los Angeles' weather is just like Mordor, says Brit climate prof


Greetings from Los Angeles! Clear and cold (for us) this morning.

If so, the Mordor Tourist Bureau should really sue all those filmmakers for making the skies ever dire. That and there being only two ways in—three counting giant eagles or Nazgûl—certainly discouraged the casual holiday visit.

Or, the good researcher has overlooked the micro-climate implications of a volcano in the middle of the region as well as a tower housing the ultimate ever-watching evil being. We do have the Wells Fargo Tower and Wells Fargo is a bank. Okay, scratch the last point.

And... we are adjacent to the ocean. Perhaps he meant inland a bit, as in Van Nuys or Acton (adjacent to Vasquez Rocks where they would film exteriors of exotic planets).