Brad Hubbard's Techdirt Profile

Brad Hubbard

About Brad Hubbard

Brad Hubbard's Comments comment rss

  • Jul 22, 2013 @ 01:18pm

    Re: That's a funny view of the saying...

    Came here to say the same thing - hanging an admiral once in a while is meant to illustrate that no one, not even those making the rules, are beyond accountability.

    It would seem to contradict Mike's entire reading of the statement, which is surprising considering he's usually pretty spot-on.

  • Jul 02, 2013 @ 05:01pm

    "Public" is a mushy term here

    In the time I worked as a UC researcher (admittedly, more than a decade ago and before the current round of funding crunches) - none of the research we were doing was funded by "public money". That's not to say nothing related to us was, but our pay, equipment, and materials all came out of private grants.

    The buildings were built and maintained by a combination of public funds and private donations, professors had a portion of their salary paid by public money (and the rest paid by research grants, most of which were private), but the research materials, equipment, post-docs, etc were all funded privately, or at the very least weren't funded by the UC. One of our funding sources was the Dept. of Energy, which funds plenty of private research (another argument for another day).

    I can't say I agree with the UC's patent policies (in fact I have plenty of problems with them), but in this particular instance, it's worth noting that it is not a majority of "public money" funding the research activities, which renders most of the argument here moot.

  • Feb 14, 2013 @ 02:09pm

    Won't Impact Companies

    Most companies (certainly any over about 10 employees) have flat per-user, per-year licensing agreements with Microsoft that entitle them to whatever versions of the software they need. This is part of the reason for Microsoft vendor lock-in, these terms are often negotiated at 100% of employee workforce (making deploying Apple products more expensive by default), since you're paying for a Windows license, a Domain license, and Office license for every employee.

    But this change? Won't affect much for companies. Just home users.

  • Nov 17, 2012 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, it does. It turns as you grab a page corner, tracking the fold deformation.

    Try it on your computer if your tablet can't run flash.

  • Nov 17, 2012 @ 01:39am

    Re: Re:

    I hope you'll actually take a moment to play with this little Flash video. You will have to flip past the simulated hard cover, but I encourage you to soldier on!

    It comes from all the way back in 2005 (though there are many before it). It shows the EXACT method of page turn calculations that Apple is describing. Not something similar, not a pre-recorded visual trick, exactly the same. The fairly basic trigonometry of simulating a page turn by bisecting a triangle and drawing a shader over half of it should not be protected, and if Apple tries to assert this patent anywhere, you can bet I'll be sending this tutorial along with the full source code over to the defending legal team.

  • Oct 19, 2012 @ 01:08pm

    Do your job, Zachary

    I have seen this story be reposted by bloggers looking to score cheap points and links by claiming that Microsoft is locking down the OS. They are not. Please actually do your job and learn a little bit instead of blindly reposting. You're giving Mike's site a bad name.

    5 minutes. That's all it would take to realize that 99% of what's listed in this "interview" isn't true.

    1) Windows is not restricting app installations on computers to only the app store. They are restricting MetroUI apps, which is not where something like Skyrim would run. MetroUI is designed to run across a wide range of devices (XBOX, Phone, Tablet, PC). For your desktop it is explicitly NOT where most of your programs will run.

    2) The 3D work done for Skyrim is completely incompatible with the ARM devices, meaning that it would NEVER EVER EVER run on an RT tablet anyhow. They'd have to basically remake the game. It'd be like putting Skyrim onto a Nintendo DS - it's a completely different architecture. All the libraries used (DirectX, for example) don't exist in RT.

    3) Yes, Microsoft has caused some confusion by calling everything this generation "Windows 8". That doesn't mean they're all the same product.

    4) Claiming Windows 8 won't run anything outside the Windows Store is either intentional misinformation or willful ignorance. Glossing over that Skyrim (and in fact most apps) will never be a part of MetroUI is just negligence. Which is it for you, Zach - malicious, lazy, or ignorant?

    5) Skyrim runs in Windows 7. That means it'll run in Windows 8. End of story.

  • Oct 10, 2012 @ 10:46am

    Now to be fair, on the surface Pokemon is just a dogfighting simulator. You keep animals penned up until it's time to fight, and then you hurtle them into battle, either because you happened to come across someone who gave you a dirty look or because you wanted to win some money in a tournament. You feed and train them so they can be better fighters.

    If you never bother to play the game and only read a description of it like that, you can kinda see how they view the world.

    But then again, these are people who think having pets of any kind is an affront to animal rights, yet have no problem exploiting women for their cause.

  • Sep 07, 2012 @ 11:29am

    This Isn't About Amazon

    A friendly reminder to all the interested parties in this lawsuit.

    This is not a lawsuit about Amazon

    When a bunch of companies get together and decide to engage in price-fixing, the legal defense is not "Well, if we didn't this other company would run us out of business". If you think Amazon is engaging in predatory business practices, that's a separate lawsuit. Amazon was not a party to this lawsuit, it's actions are not on trial.

    A bunch of companies getting together to craft a system where products have higher prices than if they didn't work together is price fixing. End of story.

  • Sep 06, 2012 @ 03:25pm

    Re: Confused

    All that happened today is that a judge said "The settlement with these three publishers prevents them from controlling the retail price of their books, and entering into any such contracts in the future for a period of time"

    Will this lower prices? Potentially. Will it drastically changed things? Not for a little while. We still have the main court case w/ Apple and the other two non-settling publishers to decide if Apple's "Agency Pricing" constitutes price-fixing.

  • Aug 15, 2012 @ 04:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hold on a sec, this is rational

    But we don't have a free market. We as a society have decided that snake oil salesman and defective products and all the other things that a free market supports should be restricted.

    We pass regulations that say you have to fully disclose what you are selling and what you are charging. I don't expect that if I get into a livery service of any kind that I'll be charged $50 +/- 5%. No one has that expectation. You publish rates that say "$X/mile and $Y/min" and you honor those rates.

    I don't personally call in and validate the medallion on my taxi, do a background check on my driver and pull the maintenance records of the vehicle I'm about to get in - I trust that the regulations that WE THE PEOPLE put in are being enforced.

  • Aug 15, 2012 @ 04:33pm

    Re: Re: Hold on a sec, this is rational

    1) The route is not spit out by Uber, so an Uber driver is no less able to drive out of the way than a cabbie. This is not a valid objection.

    2) This is an unreasonable assertion. In my example, there's a direct route through the city streets. Since the GPS tracker follows "miles driven" and we have no way of knowing if/how it snaps to the street grid (as many navigation systems do), if my driver was already taking the most direct route there's no way it could charge too little.

    3) Evocative imagery, but not really relevant. The law was put in place to protect consumers from shady cab companies. You can argue that you don't LIKE the law, or that now it is being used to PROTECT cab companies from an up-and-comer, but there is a law on the books and Uber appears to be violating it. Lawyers will decide that eventually. Point is - this is a law that has existed for far longer than Uber, and is nothing like some cities inventing new laws or misconstruing old ones. Also, it would be relatively easy for Uber to comply - they could just install meters. To my knowledge Mass. does not restrict the sale, certification, or installation of cab meters, so they could quite easily put them in their vehicles.

    "I don't wanna" is not a justification for "I don't have to".

  • Aug 14, 2012 @ 03:53pm

    Hold on a sec, this is rational

    Imagine for a moment you got into a taxi and instead of the meter, he had an hour-glass with tick marks on the side and a bike odometer. Would you feel secure about what you're being charged?

    Most of the Uber drivers use iPhones, which (especially the older models) have notoriously bad GPS. If it skips off to the wrong street for a few blocks and adds 1/4 mile to my trip, and I don't notice by staring at his screen, how would I know? Normally, I trust the cab company because that little meter is tracked, registered, sealed, and supposedly regularly audited.

    Fact is you don't get to ignore laws that were put in place to protect consumers from unscrupulous vendors for years just because you're a trendy startup. I've used Uber a number of times and I'm generally pleased with their service (hell, my friend designed their driver distribution algorithm), but the fact that they rely on iPhone GPS to get an exact measure of the distance between where I was picked up and dropped off does not meet the laws in Massachusetts. They could just install meters, you know...

    If Uber was selling food, should they get to ignore FDA labeling requirements? Of course not.

  • Aug 07, 2012 @ 02:29am

    I can't tell why the anger...

    So this has to be about the thousandth regurgitated "Windows 8 Is Locked Down" fear-stoking article that has passed through my RSS feed in the last month. I can't tell if people are intentionally spreading FUD (we know lots of bloggers are on Apple PR's payroll) or if they're just all illiterate.

    There is no "If Microsoft decides to lock down..." Gabe wasn't talking about that. The presence of an app store on Windows 8 would threaten Steam's margins, because indy devs could (depending on their policies) go around Steam. MOST users would use the app store that's installed and that would be good enough. Alternatively, if it's expensive to get into that app store (like it is on XBLA) it might make it very difficult for indy devs to reach their audience, release patches, etc.

    Those are real concerns, and bear interesting and fruitful conversations. Claiming Microsoft is going to take away the ability to install software you don't buy from them is so far off the mark it's like you're trying to be wrong. I don't blame Techdirt for this, they're just recycling the same crap that's been floating around for weeks.

    Try and be rational, and get off the let's-all-hate-Microsoft-like-it's-the-90s-again bandwagon. Do you really think Microsoft, which STILL gets in trouble for daring to include a web browser with its OS, would lock you out of all 3rd party software platforms? They can't even ship with Windows Defender installed because rival Antivirus companies want a chance to hock their crappy stuff at you first, and that's fundamental to the security of the system.

    A further clarification - Windows RT should really be called WINO - Windows in Name Only. It's a completely different architecture and built around low-power, mobile-style devices. If you managed to shove Windows onto your cellphone, you really think it would run everything, too? Of course not. We can barely get old 32-bit programs to run in 64-bit mode without a massive layer of virtualization. You can't run OSX or Linux software on Windows either - is that really a "lockdown" on MS's part?

  • Jul 09, 2012 @ 11:13am

    Quick Patent Clarification

    So...what's sad about this is that the patent in question is even dumber than Mike suggests.

    The patent doesn't cover local device and web search on a mobile device, that's been a feature of Android since Day 0 and the Apple patent was applied for in 2009 and granted in 2010.

    The patent is for conducting local and web search at the same time on a mobile device...

    ...wait for it...

    ...with VOICE!

    That's right, combining two extremely trivial concepts on an extremely common platform resulted in patent protection. The "Google Now" interface is what triggered this particular action, and is why the Nexus specifically was targeted. Another top-notch ruling from Judge Koh.

  • Jun 29, 2012 @ 04:08pm

    What I still don't get

    There's one thing that's troubled me over all this.

    OK, so suppose I operate a monthly parking lot. One day, the cops tell me that they're pretty sure a stolen car is parked in my lot. So they lock the gates and proceed to airlift all of the cars out to a holding location while they determine if they're stolen or not. Meanwhile, all my PAYING customers want their cars back, but I can't give it to them. All because they think I might have known one of the cars was stolen (but they don't know which ones).

    Then you tell me the storage lot you dragged numerous, non-stolen cars to is too expensive, and so they might just blow up the cars or sell them off or whatever, but my customers who broke no laws can't have them back, in case they MIGHT be stolen (though, it'd be too hard to check, cuz there's all those numbers!).

    Just because it's digital doesn't mean no laws on due process or prior restraint apply. If it did, why are we having all these arguments around "intellectual property" laws in the first place?

  • Jun 07, 2012 @ 01:15pm

    That's a fair request. I, as a member of the public, am OK with MPAA seizing huge amounts of data only if 0% is non-infringing.

  • May 18, 2012 @ 05:01pm

    Re: Re: A loss

    Actually, the point is that Facebook passed the 1000-investor level, by which the SEC required them to start making all the financial disclosures of a public company anyhow. Since they were effectively public, better to do it now than let people see prolonged negative growth and force a lower IPO valuation.

  • May 11, 2012 @ 04:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually, NONE of those are browsers. Your ability to type something into a search engine does not constitute research.

    Apple will block any web browser from the App Store that runs interpreted code (such as Javascript) and does not use the Safari WebKit engine. That means that every one of those browsers is either:

    - Using Safari and running a different skin on top
    - Passing your information to remote servers who pretend to be you online, then send back server-rendered data to your phone
    - Stealing your personal info
    - Some combination of the above

    Major names like Opera are not running browsers, they're running remote servers. Most of the little guys are just reskins hoping people will like them better than the Safari UI and pay a few bucks.

  • May 03, 2012 @ 03:06pm

    This is only a test...

    So Google is a completely data-driven company, especially when it comes to user testing. There are a few possible explanations for this:

    1) They are testing how users respond to this change. Not in a "man I'm angry" sense, but in a "does it generate more clicks" sense. If it doesn't, or it generates sufficiently fewer, it'll fail. But they'll have the data to prove it, not the hunch of a product manager

    2) This was an early roll-out feature that involves eventually merging G+ and YouTube accounts, which thanks to Google's updated TOS they can now do. Once complete, you wouldn't have to log into YouTube and Google services (gmail, for example) separately. They'd be the same account. The +1 makes sense over the like/dislike feature (which isn't really relevant to any other current services).

    Or you know, you can wave your arms and cry that the sky is falling because you don't bother to understand. Whatever.

  • Feb 17, 2012 @ 12:29am

    OR they could let you tether

    The other option of course would be to just let you tether. The devices are all more than capable of it.

    If carriers are serious about offering "bundling" and not wanting to give out two internet connections for two users, just let users use the wifi hotspot on their device with their current data plan and be done with it.

More comments from Brad Hubbard >>