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Messages - Jimdoria [ switch to compact view ]

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And 30% commission to the "app store"? F**k-off. They bring no value at all to the table. They bring negative value. Let's see, I give you 30% of my sales so that I can... (spewing vitriol deleted)

You're entitled to your opinon. I think that payment processing, order fulfillment and promotional services actually have a fair amount of value, and the market would seem to agree with me as people are generally charged for these services. Handango and Brighthand have been in this business for years. They must be making money from somewhere, and my guess it is from the developers who sell goods in their store.

I agree that Apple's lock-in is not so great. This has been a perennial complaint about Apple, even from their desktop days. (You mean the Apple Mac OS software is LOCKED to Mac hardware? Grrrr....)

The thing you're missing is this - the app store DOES provide significant value - to the CUSTOMER - you know, the people who are actually paying the money. Not to all cusotmers, obviously. But developers & technophiles are a special case and not representative of the majority of customers. The lesson of iPod + iTunes was that people want a seamless, easy-to-use experience. "Don't make me think" - or rather, don't make me think about your stuff - how your software works, how to get it to work with my hardware - I have enough of my own stuff to think about.

This is a hard lesson for the technical folks to learn, which is why Apple now has something like 90% of the MP3 player market, when they entered that market late and with a product that was overpriced by many people's estimation.

As for Android, I was under the impression that (theoretically) you could install your own apps on Android. The market is just a convenient way to find and install apps. Am I misinformed on this?

Wow, how soon we forget.

I don't suppose anyone remembers, oh, five years ago or so, when you couldn't even RUN apps on your phone? If it came with anything on it at all, it was completely locked down by the carrier. You could download some games (lame, pricey ones) or if you had the patience and the (sometimes obscure) equipment, you could hack in and do some very limited customization.

As far as I can see, the app stores have been a real boon for democratization. Distribution was always a tough nut to crack for developers. Anyone who thinks the policies of the app stores are restrictive never tried to get their program on the shelves at Staples or CompUSA.

The new apps may seem "boring" but don't forget where we are on the adoption curve! These technologies are only a few years old. How long did it take for the "interesting" apps to show up on desktop platforms? Does anyone remember an "interesting" app for Windows 2.0? Or even 3.0?

General Software Discussion / Re: Turn Windows path into URL?
« on: September 15, 2010, 11:17 AM »
Exactly what I wanted! Installed & it works like a charm.

Thanks so much Lanux!

General Software Discussion / Turn Windows path into URL?
« on: September 15, 2010, 10:14 AM »
I know this must be out there somewhere, but it's one of those things that's Google-resistant since the terms bring up so many unrelated results.

What I want to do is convert a Windows file system path into a correctly formed "file://" URL as quickly as possible. Context menu to copy the URL to the clipboard would be the optimal solution. Something I could pipe the path through via the Send To folder would also work.

I could probably hammer this out in AHK in a few hours if I rolled up my sleeves, but I just KNOW I'd be reinventing the wheel.

Does anyone know of a tool that does this? The smaller and simpler (and freer) the better! Thanks!

Power Point's text formatting is not as elaborate as Word's.

You can use carriage returns (ENTER) & soft line breaks. (SHIFT+ENTER)
Soft line breaks create a new line but text is still part of the "paragraph", which is where indents, etc. are controlled.

Are you viewing the Ruler? Turn it on and you should be able to control indents (more or less) that way. You may need to "fake it" with tabs & tab stops.

You can also create multiple text boxes on a slide. Clunky but it works.

However, keep in mind that cramming too much text onto a slide is very poor presentation design. The slide should not be a written document of your ideas. The slide should be a few key points to help you (and your audience) remember your ideas.

I know some laptops have the ability to view a desktop "window" that scrolls around a larger virtual desktop when your mouse reaches the edge of the screen. (This may be built into the hardware?)

Also, does this on their viewer, so that you can view desktops larger than the one you are using for remote access. VNC allows you resize a large screen to fit on a smaller screen, and the results are sometimes usable, if not gorgeous.

Not sure how easy this would be to implement though. You might need to write a virtual device driver that would get in between Windows and the actual display driver. That's some really heavy duty coding, partly because device drivers are just heavy duty, and partly because later versions of Windows (Vista + 7) will probably block such a device, as it could be used to circumvent copy protection.

I may be wrong, though. I'm not a coder, so maybe I'm missing an obvious alternative.

Living Room / Re: Open Source Proves Elusive as a Business Model
« on: December 11, 2009, 04:06 PM »
Mouser said:
I come at from the perspective of someone who would dearly wish i could just spend my time coding on projects I thought were useful without worrying the slightest about money or revenue...

I certainly understand this wish. I sometimes wish I could just spend my time drinking beers I thought were delicious without having to worry about money or revenue.  :D

Sadly, our system is not set up to serve you, Mouser. Or the writers, or the poets. Or even the beer drinkers. It's set up to serve the money-lovers - capitalists.

Capitalism is extremely competitive, and will not suffer alternative systems of value to exist alongside of it. If an alternative system to capitalism produces anything of value, capitalism will consume that value until the alternative system is either destroyed or has transformed itself fully into a part of the capitalist system. Depressing as that sounds, I think this is probably what will become of the FOSS ecosystem eventually.

If you really want the low-down on the fun and whacky world of software pricing, this article by Joel Spolsky is the best treatment I've seen, and fun to read too! (At least as fun to read as any blog post containing charts and spreadsheets can be.)


The gist of the article in a nutshell is that software companies are trying to price their products to capture consumer surplus, which is...

...the extra value that rich consumers get from their purchase that they would have been perfectly happy to do without.

It's sort of like if you were all set to buy that new merino wool sweater, and you thought it was going to cost $70, which is well worth it, and when you got to Banana Republic it was on sale for only $50! Now you have an extra $20 in found money that you would have been perfectly happy to give to the Banana Republicans!


That bothers good capitalists. Gosh darn it, if you're willing to do without it, well, give it to me! I can put it to good use, buying a SUV or condo or Mooney or yacht one of those other things capitalists buy!

In economist jargon, capitalists want to capture the consumer surplus.

Let's do this. Instead of charging $220, let's ask each of our customers if they are rich or if they are poor. If they say they're rich, we'll charge them $349. If they say they're poor, we'll charge them $220.

Turns out pricing's not nuts - it's just very, very crafty.

Thanks to Oshyan's kind words, I expanded on this idea a bit and reposted it on Facebook. Here's the gist of what I added.

I think what Microsoft gets out of this is market share. Google owns search right now, and MS can't break in.

But if search can be "politicized" to the point whera a large number of conservatives feel they have a reason to stop using Google, they'll take their business elsewhere - probably Bing, since that's where the Fox stuff is. This would be a big win for MS. They could gain a substantial amount of market share all at once - and the increased ad revenue that comes with it. It would be a much bigger piece of pie than just the revenue from ads served up next to NewsCorp content.

Ruthless marketing has always been the MS ultimate weapon. It's how they best competitors - even the ones that are technically superior. In fact it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this idea originated with them.

The whole thing is at http://www.facebook....t-up-to/213335101214 if anyone cares to read it.

I too thought that shutting out Google was sheer, ornery stupidity. But when I heard Murdoch was giving exclusive search rights to Bing, who would pay him for results, a light went off for me.

It's ideological. Maybe Murdoch is going for the big win here.

I know this isn't a political forum, and I don't want to roil the waters, but it's hard not to at least suspect a political motive when RM is involved.

Right now, people choose Google because it's widely regarded as "the best". For people like us who know computers, and possibly something about algorithms like PageRank, we consider "best" to mean "returns the most relevant links for my query" or "most likely to find what I'm looking for." But there are plenty of people who have no idea how Google does what it does, and for them "best" just means "most popular."

But popularity is fleeting. Google has been accused in some circles of being politically left-leaning. They certainly seem to embrace an "information wants to be free" hackerish worldview. And don't they run with that open source crowd, who are shameless communists?

Many of Mr. Murdoch's content properties cater to those on the right end of the political spectrum. It's a big group, and tends to be fiercely critical of those on the political left, and willing to back up its criticism with financial support. If he can get a substantial fraction of this demographic to turn against the idea of "unpaid search" or "freeloader search" on ideological grounds, this could be a big kettle of fish. It could take the corrosive left vs. right culture that has been so detrimental to politics in the U.S. and elsewhere, and bring it into something that was previously neutral territory.

If Google can be re-cast as a "leftie" search engine, and Bing as a "rightie" search engine, than people will make their choice based on which group they identify with, not on technical merit. Ideology tends to short-circuit actual thinking. I suspect nobody knows this better than Murdoch.

General Software Discussion / Re: Text-To-Speech Freeware?
« on: July 16, 2009, 11:24 PM »
I've used Speakonia ( for this, but I'll take a look at some of these others, now that I know about them!

There's a package called Almeza Multiset that does pretty much this. I got a version from Giveaway of the Day once, but never took the time to set it up.

Want to create a WindowsXP installation disk that will automatically install the OS Windows without asking questions about username, product key, time and locale settings?

At the same time your favorite applications are automatically installed, the necessary keys are entered into the registry, drivers are updated, new patches (service packs) from Microsoft are installed. It's possible and you can do it easily with Almeza MultiSet!

Living Room / Re: What does this laptop key do?
« on: July 06, 2009, 11:20 PM »
If it's a new machine, with all the factory-installed stuff from Dell, why don't you just open up the user guide app that Dell installs and look up what the function keys are for?

In other words, RTFM.

Living Room / Re: buckbidz - An alternative to swoopo
« on: June 27, 2009, 01:58 AM »
Swoopo isn't an auction site, it's a gambling site. OR that was the conclusion I came to after reading this thread.


General Software Discussion / Re: Shared Web Email
« on: May 29, 2009, 10:14 PM »
Hi Muzza -

Seems like you could get most of the way there by combining some tools if you're willing to roll up your sleeves a little bit. You might look into a tool that can convert multiple e-mail accounts into an RSS feed so that everyone can view the e-mails. But I don't know of any single web-based tool that can do all this.

For one thing, some of your criteria are kind of tough. For example, aggregating several POP accounts into one web-based account is pretty simple. But what about sending out e-mail from those accounts? If you have [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected], how do you specify which one is the sender? Outlook can do this, but no web tool I know of.

Actually, come to think of it, Outlook plus Exchange Server meets all your criteria. Exchange has some really sophisticated web mail features, plus things like public folders and routing rules that could be configured to make it all hang together. But it's not cheap and it's not easy to set up Exchange + Outlook. Plus it's Microsoft.

Ignorance is not a pejorative term. It is synonymous with uneducated, and of course there's no shame in not knowing something, especially something that's obscure. I am totally ignorant about how to write programs in LISP. This doesn't mean I'm stupid (unable or unwilling to learn) nor that I'll always be ignorant of this subject (although I think I probably will.)

The "view a friend's history" thing is some social engineering/sleight of hand. They don't offer to let you peek into other people's browsers. They offer to let you send YOUR OWN browser history to a friend. When you do this, you are giving your browser permission to send the information it has collected to, which seems to me further evidence that they are not collecting this info behind the scenes.

BUT - once you send your browser history off somewhere - THROUGH THEM - they then have access to the information you provided them. They can then store it and show it to your friends, should they request it. If they can trick your friends into sending them this info as well, then they can store it and show it to you.

But there's still nothing technically sneaky going on here. Your browser collected some information, then offered to let you send that information on to a third party. If you do this, the third party ( is collecting information with your permission, since you had to actively do something to send it to them.

Once they have your browser history, you might claim that they shouldn't store it and show it to other people, but they did kind of tell you that's what they were going to do, although not in so many words.

Yes, there are hacks that may trick the browser into leaking information. But such a thing isn't needed to do what this site is doing. In fact they seem to be using a very mainstream JavaScript library. If this is a hack, I'd say it's purely a social engineering one.

General Software Discussion / Re: Mind Map-Concepts-Illustrate
« on: April 26, 2009, 11:53 AM »
cmpm -

You may want to take a look at Tiddlywiki ( It's a wiki system that runs completely in the browser, and stores all of its data in a single HTML file (except pictures, which must be linked externally.) But it gives you a lot of control over the structure of your information if you are willing to learn it and tweak it a little bit.

You can tag things, create custom menus, lists of topics, internal links, etc. There's even a WYSIWYG editor add in if you'd prefer not to muck about with wiki syntax for text formatting.

Plus, you can just post the file to a web server and it becomes a working website, making it easy to "give it away."

Living Room / Re: The entitled generation....Are they right?
« on: April 26, 2009, 12:40 AM »
It's true that an obnoxious sense of entitlement does seem more prevalent these days, although how universal it is I wouldn't even hazard to guess. Certainly the one obnoxious person grabs our attention a lot more than the 50 people around him who aren't being obnoxious.

I think parenting styles do have a lot to do with it. This generation has grown up hearing "Good job!" for every tiny step it takes. You drew a circle with a crayon? "Great job!" You can spell C-A-T? "Good job!" Employers are now finding that they have to hand out a lot more "attaboys" just to keep their workforce moving forward. The idea of just doing your job because it's your job has gone out of fashion.

And people conform to what their culture puts out as the ideal. How many decades of non-stop "entertainment" featuring utter baseness, shallow selfishness, naked greed and lowest-common-denominator cruelty did we think we could consume before people started thinking that was actually the way to behave? Have our leaders taken the high road on this, or have they led the charge into the pit with a "we're always right because we say we're right" attitude?

But one final note: my wife has a book called "Generation Of Vipers" that describes the current generation as selfish, lazy, almost pathologically self-obsessed, hedonistic and unmotivated. The author forecasts a grim future when this good-for-nothing rabble comes of age and takes the reins of society. But the "current" generation when the book was written was the one born in the wake of World War I. This "generation of vipers" grew up to fight WWII, then build the post-war society that came to be regarded as the American golden age. Decades later, another book would be written about this generation, only this time the title would be "The Greatest Generation."

So I guess I prefer surly teens over surly record company execs after all. Because teens eventually grow up.

General Software Discussion / Re: Mind Map-Concepts-Illustrate
« on: April 26, 2009, 12:03 AM »
Personally, I'm a very visual thinker, but even so I can't quite see what all the fuss is about mind mapping.

Maybe it's the double-edged sword of implementation. Creating a mind map in software seems like a process that's too difficult to me. I can't create the map nearly as quickly as a I can think/type, and I find I get bogged down in formatting, moving things around, etc. I wind up getting distracted from the ideas by the need to create/maintain the structure.

On the other hand, if done on paper, the lack of editability seems like a weakness. Put a concept or two in the wrong place, and your whole map could turn to incomprehensible spaghetti.

Maybe it's that I haven't done it enough to get good at it, but why should it be so hard? I've found that a plain old outline format works way better for me, provided there's a good search that lets me find what I need quickly, and some halfway-decent internal linking. MS Word's Outline view, Power Point, OneNote (especially OneNote) are much more intuitive and straightforward to me.

General Software Discussion / Re: Idea: File note
« on: April 25, 2009, 11:17 PM »
As I was reading through this thread, an interesting idea occurred to me.

File streams are a little-known feature of NTFS, but basically they let you store the contents of one file within another. (See which links to Microsoft's article on them.)

It seems like with a little extra effort, the text files could be attached to the files they describe as an alternate stream. Then you'd avoid having two files for each file you wanted to describe, the notes would always move along with the file (provided you stuck to NTFS and didn't copy the file onto a FAT32 thumb drive.)

It should also allow you to attach notes directly to a folder, as Skooter1121 asked about.

I'm not sure I get this. So they show you stuff from your history and your bookmarks? So what? That doesn't mean THEY, or anyone else, is able to see your history.

JavaScript runs in the browser, and has access to the same info the browser does. The program runs in YOUR browser, gets information from YOUR browser and shows it TO YOU. How exactly is this a security breach?

Seems like this is just a trick based on people's ignorance of how this stuff is supposed to work. I didn't trace through the code, but I don't see anything really amiss here.

Start panic indeed. That's all they're trying to do. Or maybe that and collect some e-mail addresses.

If you're on Windows, it may be possible to do this using NTFS file permissions. It's built right in.

Living Room / Re: How many furries here at DC?
« on: April 23, 2009, 12:31 AM »
Oh boy...  :-\

Furry is definitely the most maligned fandom out there. Probably plenty of reasons. Most people associate talking animals with cartoons for kids, so adults who like that stuff are suspected of gross immaturity (at best.) A related issue is the juxtaposition of imagery that most people see as child-related with adult (sexualized) themes and situations. Maybe it's that the hard-core sci-fi fandom geeks need an even smaller, more despised minority that can be seen as lower on the social totem pole to make themselves feel less like rejects. Or maybe it's something about people who are drawn to the furry fandom that invites abuse, like chronic low self-esteem. Or some combination of all of these?

Whatever the cause, what should probably be seen as a fairly harmless pastime somehow pushes all sorts of ugly emotional buttons for a lot of people. Yeah there are people who get their jollies while dressing up in character costumes, but it's hardly the weirdest fetish I've ever heard of, and it's probably vanishingly rare. There's that one lady who always wears her Star Trek uniform even to work, and talks like she's really in Starfleet, but that somehow doesn't paint all sci-fi fans as kooks in the public's mind.

And just to be perfectly clear, I am absolutely not saying that sci-fi fans are social rejects or that all furries are pathetic losers. That would be absurd and worse, incorrect. I'm talking in a broad sense about feelings and perceptions, not objective reality as it relates to these things.

If I were speaking objectively, I'd feel obliged to point out that human interest in human-animal hybrids goes back to prehistoric times, and that humans assuming animal shapes or communing with animal spirits is part of nearly every society's mythology and cultural tradition. Human interest in assuming the shape of a war robot from outer space is a much more recent invention.

If I'm understanding Kartal correctly, I also have to disagree.

If words are the boards, nails, pipes and wires of language, grammar is the plan for how to build a house rather than just have a pile of stuff. When you build a house, there are rules you follow. Some of these are even dictated by laws. Is this elitist? Is it oppressive to insist there's a "right" way to support a roof or install a circuit breaker box? I don't think it is, because the rules are based on experience of what worked and what didn't, and how the final product can be made better: be built faster, not leak, not collapse after 20 years, etc.

It's not a perfect analog, but grammar rules are much the same. I've found reading prose from the early eighteenth century or earlier can often be difficult, not jut because of vocabulary or spelling changes, but because some of the rules of grammar were not yet firmly established. Not observing grammatical rules doesn't necessarily eliminate clarity, but it can impede it.

Saying that proper grammar is the language of the upper classes and therefore of liars really has no bearing on anything. Lies can be told in any language and in any dialect. They're probably as old as language itself, and nobody has an exclusive on them. Would oppression be any less objectionable if it were conveyed in "street talk"?

Before they gut YouTube of all the good stuff, take some time to look up and listen to the words of Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin and Malcolm X. One could hardly argue that their message against oppression was weaker or in any way compromised because they used clear, grammatically-correct language. In fact, I think the opposite becomes obvious.

Just a thought - but is it possible you've got some kind of a bug that is interfering with your browsing? I know Conficker includes a component that blocks access to anti-virus and anti-spyware websites. Can you visit the main vendors (symantec, microsoft, etc.) without a problem?

You might also want to double-check your HOSTS file, and if you use Ad Block Plus in Firefox, try checking its config or disabling it.

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