Game theorist Jesse Schell took this idea to its Orwellian extreme in a presentation at yet another industry conference. He described a world in which a person’s every action—brushing their teeth, showing up to work on time, tattooing an advertisement for Pop-Tarts onto their forearm—earned points. Schell says he wanted to encourage people to think carefully about which kinds of games and experiences were appropriate to develop.
It seems to me that we already live in just such a world. The “points” are just called “money” and cheating is not only allowed, but seemingly encouraged by the rules.read more
I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: ‘What happened?’ Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.
Well, I hate to say I told you so, but… I told you so. Jon, if you really want to know who was responsible for “killing the music industry” look no further than the mirror and your “bosses” at the RIAA.
Let’s say it again: The digital music transition was coming no matter what. Even if Apple never opened the iTunes music store, someone else would have done it. The alternative was continuing to allow the P2P networks to be the primary distributors of digital music. Honestly, with most of the others who were likely to win that battle, the terms would have ended up worse for the RIAA, not better (just look at what Amazon paid publishers on the Kindle platform until Apple released iBooks, basically a 70/30 split the other way). At least the iTunes store gave them a closed environment for a while and a single monolithic entity with which to negotiate.
If you’re standing in the middle of the freeway and a semi is barreling at you at 70mph, your choices are to move or die. If you choose suicide and stand firm, you don’t blame the rescue workers who come to clean up the wreckage.read more
This is why implementing Flash on mobile operating systems is a bad idea. Not only does it allow the web to continue to be controlled by a single company’s proprietary engine, but Adobe doesn’t seem to be able to do a very good job at implementing it.
A critical vulnerability exists in Adobe Flash Player 10.2.152.33 and earlier versions (Adobe Flash Player 10.2.154.18 and earlier for Chrome users) for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris operating systems, Adobe Flash Player 10.1.106.16 and earlier versions for Android, and the Authplay.dll component that ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat X (10.0.1) and earlier 10.x and 9.x versions of Reader and Acrobat for Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
This vulnerability (CVE-2011-0609) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this vulnerability is being exploited in the wild in targeted attacks via a Flash (.swf) file embedded in a Microsoft Excel (.xls) file delivered as an email attachment.
So not only does this vulnerability allow remote code execution, and impact all of the different versions of Flash out there (including those for Android), but it is a zero day exploit. They found it in the wild. If they know about some random Excel document, then it could be everywhere, or it soon will be. Remember: flash exploits are best delivered by hacking an ad network.read more
OCZ and Indilinx announced this evening that OCZ will be acquiring Indilinx for $32m in OCZ common stock:
Indilinx is headquartered in South Korea and currently sells its line of flash controllers to SSD manufacturers and Tier One OEMs for use in a broad array of products addressing multiple markets, including embedded and industrial as well as laptops and PCs. Indilinx controllers have been deployed within OCZ’s SSD products since December 2008, and are currently featured in the Z-Drive series of PCIe-based SSDs. Indilinx’s technology is expected to enable OCZ to expand its presence into the embedded, hybrid storage, and industrial markets.
OCZ will gain substantial intellectual property from Indilinx including approximately 20 patents and patent applications related exclusively to the business as part of the transaction.
I guess that fully explains why OCZ completely exited the DRAM business in January. They really were planning to make a major SSD play. That’s probably smart. As CPU bus architectures have changed, and the memory controllers have moved onto the CPU die, the once-profitable “premium” memory market has all-but dried up. Back in the days of the AMD Clawhammer (Socket 754 Athlon64) versus the Intel Netburst chips, memory timings and clockspeed could really make a substantial performance difference, and you relied upon memory hitting high speeds to get a healthy overclock out of those beautiful Opteron 165 chips. But all good things must come to an end and, beginning with the P35 Intel chipset, most enthusiast motherboards finally got adequate memory dividers that you no longer needed RAM to work at ultra-high speeds to get stable overclocks out of your processor. Simultaneously, CPU architectures changed to the point where spending extravagantly on high-speed or low-latency memory no longer gained much overall performance. Plus, frankly, RAM speeds got so fast and timings so tight (even for value-bin sticks) that commodity memory became “good enough”. The DRAM market is no longer a fun place to play for healthy profit margins.
So, it makes sense that the maker of my once-treasured Platinum 2x1GB DDR400 sticks would want to move onto some greener pastures, and the SSD market is looking pretty green right now. I think this will probably have a net positive effect on the future of the SSD market. OCZ was certainly one of the premiere Indilinx-based SSD makers out there, and Indilinx really always seemed to need some serious help with drivers and firmware. I think having the controller-designers and the hardware/firmware-designers in the same company may really help improve the situation and mitigate some of the problems we’ve seen with these drives (Indilinx ones in particular have had a “rough” firmware history). Indilinx knows how to make a good, high-performance controller, and OCZ certainly seems to understand SSD design quite well. This should be a good match, and make for interesting competition with Marvel, Sandforce, and Intel over the next few years.
In the end, though, I expect the flash market is going to experience many of the same kinds of problems the DRAM business did. Give it a year or two, and SSDs will also move from the “premium” into the “commodity” space. I guess OCZ is looking to become the Western Digital or Seagate of the flash-based storage world.read more
It was a good run. I’ll seriously miss the podcast with the three of them. Amazing team.read more
Good news! A Verizon representative has confirmed for Macworld that they will not charge an activation fee for their data plan for the iPad 2.
Verizon’s Executive Director of Corporate Communications, Brenda Raney, also confirmed to Macworld that, like AT&T, Verizon will not charge an activation fee to begin service, or even a reactivation fee if you cancel your service and start it up again a few months later.
I do spy an ever-so-tiny sliver of shakiness in that quote. It’s unlikely, but the “few months later” part could possibly be a bit of a sneaky trick. A persistent rumor before today was that they would charge a “reactivation fee” normally but that they would waive it if you reactivated within 3-4 months from when you last “suspended” your account. That would mean you could use it month-to-month, but only if you made sure to keep track of dates and when you just cancelled and everything, which would be a mess.
But, to be clear, I really don’t think that’s what we have here. I think there is just no activation fee. I think we are seeing the product of uninformed and unprepared customer service reps being bombarded with questions about the iPad 2 before launch, and misinformation is the inevitable result. I just thought I’d mention that tiny sliver of wiggle room in the quote.
So, that’s great news. Apple is going to sell a ton of Verizon iPads.
UPDATE: So, David Pogue has double-confirmed this for us, so I think we can put this one to bed. I did see something amusing in his article, though:
Brenda Raney, my PR contact, acknowledges that for some reason, thereâ€™s been â€œa lot of misinformation on this on the Internet.â€ She theorizes that people are confusing the iPad 2 plans with the â€œiPad + MiFiâ€ bundle that Verizon sells; on the MiFi, there IS an activation charge.
“For some reason”? That would be because Verizon did a terrible job communicating, and didn’t adequately train their representatives on the phones. We’re only confused because the “people” you’re referring to actually work for Verizon. Good job on that one, guys.
I suspect the real reason is that they do intend to charge this type of fee for the Xoom, but not the iPad, and they didn’t want to admit it publicly until they were forced.read more