The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'lock-in'
And for those thinking about buying a 3G iPhone, unlocking it and running it with a prepaid SIM card, some bad news: Apple have closed that loophole, and won't let them out of the store without a contract (at least in the US). Of course, this is all for your own convenience and/or good:
"There is no question that many enjoyed the convenience of at-home activation, but we also found that many others wanted to complete purchase and activation in one step so they could walk out of the AT&T store with their iPhone up and running. We have decided to take the latter approach and we think customers will like it. It will be especially helpful if any questions or issues arise during activation. They can be resolved on the spot and in-person.And, of course, the old unlocking hacks are unlikely to work, given that it's a completely new device, and chances are, Apple have put more work into security. (If their 6th-generation iPods ("iPod Classic"), on which the iPod Linux people have given up because of the hardware-based cryptography used in the boot process, are anything to go by, cracking the iPhone 3G may be a lot harder.)
So that was the long-awaited Apple WWDC 2008 keynote. The big announcement was probably the worst-kept secret in Cupertino, the 3G iPhone. There's also the iPhone 2.0 OS (available to non-3G iPhone users), and a web-based service named me.com, which is basically mac.com with Google-style AJAX apps, iPhone integration and a mac.com-sized pricetag; so if you're an Apple true believer, you know where to send your $99 a year. I wonder how well non-Apple alternatives will work with iPhones.
Other than that, Apple are making minor concessions on the issues of the iPhone being too locked down. Enterprises will be able to deploy their own (non-Apple-approved) apps to up to 100 pre-registered, cryptographically certified iPhones, and while Apple won't let you run software in the background on your iPhone, they will be providing a (proprietary, Apple-controlled) conduit for push notifications, which IM applications will be able to use.
Anyway, Your Humble Narrator isn't lining up outside the AppleStore to get one, even at the reduced price ($199 worldwide; no word on minimum contract prices, i.e., the rest of the iceberg), given that Google's Android looks to promise almost everything the iPhone has, only without the proprietary lock-in.
Holy shit, Microsoft have made an offer to buy Yahoo, for a generous US$44.6bn. I hope that this doesn't happen; given how Microsoft are fond of leveraging their power to lock people into using their products, a Microsoft-owned Yahoo would be bad news. We could probably expect things like YUI going the way of the Dimension X Java VRML libraries (remember those?) and Flickr being rewritten as a Silverlight application and/or requiring Windows Vista/7 to upload photos.
NLnet, a Dutch foundation supporting open standards and open source, has called on Microsoft to release their old, no longer supported, document file formats into the public domain, allowing users to make their own tool for accessing data locked in these formats (which is becoming increasingly important as Microsoft's own software drops support for them).
If you're planning to buy a new MP3 player, beware, as many of the new ones use a proprietary interface protocol tied to Windows Media Player. Whereas a lot of older players (the Archos Jukebox series and iRiver H100 and 300 series, to name two, not to mention various generic Flash-based players) were USB Mass Storage devices (i.e., looked like external hard disks to a computer), new ones use a proprietary Microsoft protocol named MTP, to transfer data to them and possibly enforce RIAA-mandated inconveniences on the user.
MTP appears to be based on the Picture Transfer Protocol used by some digital cameras, only with some Microsoft extensions, and is tightly integrated with the Windows Media Player; it is currently possible to hack gPhoto, a command-line PTP client, to talk to at least some MTP players. There is some doubt over whether or not this infringes on patents. Users of pre-XP Windows systems, however, may be out of luck.
For Penguinheads and other Windows refuseniks, the Apple iPod is apparently still usable. It looks like a USB Mass Storage device (or a FireWire hard disk), and can be copied to/from, though requires music files to be indexed in a proprietary database file onboard, which iTunes writes; there exist open-source tools, running on UNIX-like OSes, for writing this file as well. (Disclaimer: I've never owned an iPod and so have no experience of how useful or clunky it is to use without iTunes. My way of filling my MP3 player involves mounting it as a disk and copying files or directories to it.)
Could Microsoft's new search engine be giving higher rankings to sites hosted on Microsoft IIS?
"Upgrading" is as simple as changing a version string. We already have it updated in Gaim 0.69. This was a no-brainer easy-to-fix thing, as was MSN.
If any Slashdot staff are watching, please, please refrain from posting articles related to IM unless you consult someone who knows what's going on. Too many trollish comments occur, and we get too many questions in Gaim support, all pointing at Slashdot as their source for the inaccurate information as to what's happening in IM.
Though wasn't it implied that from October, MSN's servers will require clients to produce a license certificate of some sort, which identify the client as a Microsoft-approved one, prior to connecting?
(If you don't want your IM network to be at the mercy of a profit-oriented corporation whose management may at any time decide to maximise profits by asserting control over your client, there's always Jabber, an open, decentralised, XML-based messaging system. Though nobody seems to be using that; I know of only one person on Jabber. Maybe if someone came up with some cute smiley themes for it...)
Fuck. Yahoo are following Microsoft and blocking third-party clients from their IM system, starting in a week's time.
Analysts believe Microsoft and Yahoo don't want third-party clients on their networks because they use their own clients to deliver advertisements and direct users to other services. "Both Microsoft and Yahoo value the control over the clients and the last thing they want is for their users to be using third-party clients on their networks," said Michael Gartenberg, a research director with Jupiter Research.
(Yes, they have a Linux client; but I'm not going to download it and give Yahoo my bandwidth to blast ads at me. Bugger that for a game of soldiers. If you want to reach me, use Jabber; my ICQ or AIM accounts will still work, at least until AOLTW lock those down.)
Microsoft to lock third-party clients out of MSN Messenger, to
protect market share prevent freeloaders from not viewing ads crush the opposition upgrade security and protect you from viruses/terrorists. (After all, everybody knows that software not from Microsoft is a security risk, right?) This will happen from the 15th of October. Unless Gaim manage to not get kicked off (and if this is about protecting MS's ad revenue, that's unlikely), chances are I won't be using MSN after that.
Microsoft's MSN deliberately sends broken stylesheets to Opera in order to make the third-party web browser appear defective and unusable. This is an old Microsoft tactic; they did similar things to break DR-DOS under Windows 3.x and (even earlier) to prevent Lotus 1-2-3 working with MS-DOS 2.0.
Why does MS Internet Explorer seem so much faster? Because it embraces and extends TCP/IP, using custom packets and a cut-down protocol to communicate with IIS servers. Mind you, this makes it slower with some non-IIS hosts. Though that won't be a problem when non-Windows systems are phased out from the Internet. (via Slashdot)
Oh dear; is Microsoft about to buy Macromedia, turning Flash into part of the vast, amorphous Lovecraftian blob that is Windows? Mind you, Flash is wholly or partially proprietary as it is, and most Flash content tends to be annoying ads which either obscure your page until you've looked at the stupid little animation, or else freeze your browser until you stop your MP3 player so the ads on the page can play their audio, so I turn it off. Shame about the few badly designed sites which require Flash to have a "cool" navigation experience.
The turd in a can again: An article which argues that the recording industry's proposed (and likely to be passed) laws which criminalise bypassing copy-denial system for any reason are intended not so much to stop piracy but to lock out independent artists, giving the major recording labels a technologically-enforced monopoly on music distribution, backed by the full force of U.S. law:
Biden's new bill would make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law--even if it's to share music by your own garage band--could land you in prison for up to five years. And that's not counting the civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense. "Say I've got an MP3 collection and I buy a new nifty player from Microsoft that only plays watermarked content, and I forge the watermark to allow my legal MP3 collection to play," says Jessica Litman, who teaches intellectual property law at Wayne State University. "It is certainly the case that if I pass that around, I could be trafficking (in violation of the law)."
Of course, this thesis assumes that the recording industry are the sort of amoral, greedy scumbags who would do something like that. (via Techdirt)