October 22, 2014

Vendor lock-in

In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in or customer lock-in, makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services, unable to use another vendor without substantial switching costs. Lock-in costs which create barriers to market entry may result in antitrust action against a monopoly.

SIM locking may be considered a vendor lock-in tactic, since phones purchased from the vendor will work with SIM cards only from the same network. This creates additional inconvenience to the buyer, as the phone cannot use a prepaid SIM from a different vendor while on vacation. As a result, the subscriber must also sign up for the often expensive roaming service offered by the vendor. Additionally, should the subscriber wish to take out a second line for any reason, they must also get the line from the same vendor, as the SIM card of a competing vendor will not work. Sometimes, even the SIM card from the same vendor will not work and the buyer will be forced into buying another phone.[citation needed]

Gift certificates are textbook examples of vendor lock-in as they can be used solely in the vendor’s shops. Gift certificates are typically only worth their face price (no bonus credit is added), so generally, they do not represent any financial advantage over money.

Also, some vendors practice a store-credit/gift certificate refund policy in the time of warranty if they can’t replace or repair the product. This is illegal in many jurisdictions as it forces the client to buy a different article in the same shop possibly for lower price/quality ratio. It’s also possible that the client is forced to buy a completely different product if the original product line is no longer sold.

This policy is different from the refund policy in case of dissatisfaction. In this case, the vendor offers to exchange the article in a typically short time frame. If the article is not faulty then the vendor has no obligation to exchange or refund it unless they’re committed to do so in advance.

In the United States, for many years the Bell System monopoly refused to allow anyone to interconnect their network to other networks or to non-Bell equipment. This was overturned by the Hush-A-Phone v. United States federal court ruling and the Carterfone FCC regulatory rulings.

The Bell System allowed interconnection to third-party equipment only through the added expense of protective acoustic couplers, while Bell equipment could be directly electrically connected to the network, until a later FCC order which led to standardized modular connectors.

Vendor lock-in is widespread in the computer and electronics industries.

In the computer industry, both hardware and software, vendor lock-in can be used to describe situations in which there is a lack of compatibility or interoperability between equivalent components.

This can make it difficult to switch systems at many levels; the application program, the file format, the operating system, or various pieces of computer hardware ranging from a video card to a whole computer or even an entire network of computers. Note that in many cases, there are no technical standards that would allow creation of interoperable systems. At nearly any level of systems architecture, lock-in may occur. This creates a situation where lock-in is often used as leverage to get market share, often leading to monopolies and antitrust actions.

IBM was subject to a series of the longest and most complex monopoly antitrust actions in United States history, and presented the first significant model for understanding of how lock-in affected the computer industry. IBM had significant lock-in of the punched card industry from its earliest days: before computers as we recognize them today even existed. From dominance of the card punches, readers, tabulators, and printers, IBM extended to dominance of the mainframe computer market, and then to the operating systems and application programs for computers. Third party products existed for some areas, but customers then faced the prospect of having to prove which vendor was at fault if, say, a third party printer didn’t work correctly with an IBM computer, and IBM’s warranties and service agreements often stipulated that they would not support systems with non-IBM components attached. This put customers into an all-or-nothing situation.

Microsoft software carries a high level of vendor lock-in, based on its extensive set of proprietary APIs. Their degree of lock-in combined with their market share has made them subject to a number of antitrust lawsuits.

The European Commission, in its March 24, 2004 decision on Microsoft’s business practices,[4] quotes, in paragraph 463, Microsoft general manager for C++ development Aaron Contorer as stating in a February 21, 1997 internal Microsoft memo drafted for Bill Gates:

The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most ISVs would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead … .

It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy vision at times, and many other difficulties … . Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move.

Microsoft’s application software also exhibits lock-in through the use of proprietary file formats. Microsoft Outlook uses a proprietary datastore file and interface which are impossible to read without being parsed. Present versions of Microsoft Word have introduced a new format MS-OOXML. This may make it easier for competitors to write documents compatible with Microsoft Office in the future by reducing lock-in. Microsoft released full descriptions of the file formats for earlier versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint in February 2008.[5]

Apple Inc. has historically been well known for its lock-in practices. For a long time their market share has been small enough that their anti-trust exposure has been substantially less than that of Microsoft or IBM.

Apple often makes use of new or unusual hardware systems; they were the first vendor to make widespread use of Sony’s 3.5″ floppy drive, and they devised their own Apple Desktop Bus system for keyboards and mice, their own LocalTalk networking system, the high-speed FireWire serial interface for storage and video transfer, the 30-pin iPod dock connector, and non-standard display interfaces such as ADC, Mini-DVI, and Mini DisplayPort. Due to Apple’s smaller market share the number of third-party providers was more limited than for the competing IBM PC platform (though larger than for the Amiga, which had similarly unusual components), and third-party providers sometimes had to license elements of the interface technology, meaning that Apple made money on every peripheral sold, even if they did not manufacture it.[citation needed]

Prior to March 2009, digital music files with digital rights management were available for purchase from the iTunes Store, encoded in a proprietary derivative of the AAC format that used Apple’s FairPlay DRM system. These files are compatible only with Apple’s iTunes media player software on Macs and Windows, their iPod portable digital music players, iPhone smartphones, iPad tablet computers, and the Motorola ROKR E1 and SLVR mobile phones. As a result, that music was locked into this ecosystem and available for portable use only through the purchase of one of the above devices,[6] or by burning to CD and optionally re-ripping to a DRM-free format such as MP3 or WAV.

In January, 2005, an iPod purchaser named Thomas Slattery filed a suit against Apple for the “unlawful bundling” of their iTunes Music Store and iPod device. He stated in his brief: “Apple has turned an open and interactive standard into an artifice that prevents consumers from using the portable hard drive digital music player of their choice.” At the time Apple was stated to have an 80% market share of digital music sales and a 90% share of sales of new music players, which he claimed allowed Apple to horizontally leverage its dominant positions in both markets to lock consumers into its complementary offerings.[7] In September 2005, U.S. District Judge James Ware approved Slattery v. Apple Computer Inc. to proceed with monopoly charges against Apple in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.[8]

On June 7, 2006, the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon stated that Apple’s iTunes Music Store violates Norwegian law. The contract conditions were vague and “clearly unbalanced to disfavor the customer”.[9] The retroactive changes to the Digital Rights Management conditions and the incompatibility with other music players are the major points of concern.[citation needed]

As of 29 May 2007, tracks on the EMI label became available in a DRM-free format called iTunes Plus. These files are unprotected and are encoded in the AAC format at 256 kilobits per second, twice the bitrate of standard tracks bought through the service. iTunes accounts can be set to display either standard or iTunes Plus formats for tracks where both formats exist.[10] These files can be used with any player that supports the AAC file format and are not locked to Apple hardware. They can be converted to MP3 format if desired.

As of January 6, 2009, all four big music studios (Warner Bros., Sony BMG, Universal, and EMI) have signed up to remove the DRM from their tracks, at no extra cost. However, Apple charges consumers to have previously purchased DRM music restrictions removed.[11]

As of the end of March, 2009, all music available on iTunes is DRM-free.[11] However, digital downloads of television shows, movies, and iOS mobile apps through iTunes are still DRM-protected (at the insistence of the content producers who make it a prerequisite for distribution on most systems, including Apple’s).

Probably Sony’s most famous example of lock-in was the Betamax VCR system. Since then, Sony has also used lock-in as a business tool in many other applications, and has a long history of engineering proprietary solutions to enforce lock-in. For many cases, Sony licenses its technology to a limited number of other vendors, which creates a situation in which it controls a cartel that collectively has lock-in on the product. Sony is frequently at the heart of format wars, in which two or more such cartels battle to capture a market and win the lock.[citation needed]

Examples of Sony’s formats include:

As of 2006, Sony digital cameras and a number of other Sony products typically use Memory Stick cards that can be manufactured only by Sony, co-developer SanDisk, and select licensees. This memory can be more expensive in some markets when compared to alternative memory types that exhibit similar characteristics such as data transfer speeds. This is an example of vendor lock-in, as existing users of Sony products are less likely to purchase a competitor’s product that uses a different storage medium due to the extra cost of acquiring a differing storage media. Similarly, this can discourage consumers with non-Sony merchandise from purchasing Sony products.

In contrast, Blu-ray Disc was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association where Sony is a member, but does not have a controlling position.

Manufacturers of computer hardware sometimes design unusual or proprietary connectors. The reasons for such designs vary; some are intended to force customers quietly into a vendor lock-in situation, or force upgrading customers to replace more components than would otherwise be necessary; others are the result of practical considerations such as cost, packaging, ease of design, unusual or enhanced features; and still others result from an ignorance of standards, or even an absence of standards. There may be little immediate financial incentive for a vendor to provide backward compatibility or interoperability, while considerable (though unethical) gain may be had from preventing compatibility.

The term connector conspiracy[12] was coined to describe this situation, and (generally humorously) implies the worst-case scenario of a cabal of manufacturers colluding in secret to sell incompatible connectors. In many “connector conspiracy” cases, vendor lock-in can be avoided by use of adapters.

Converting lossily compressed data into another format usually either increases its size, or further decreases its quality.[13] Thus compatibility with data in the old format may need to be kept when switching to a different format, even when decoding from (as with many MPEG formats), or distribution in (as has at least been planned with H.264) the old format requires paying royalties.

In the 1980s and 1990s, public, royalty-free standards were hailed as the best solution to vendor lock-in. But there is still a possibility that one software vendor could use “embrace, extend and extinguish” (EEE) tactics to achieve a dominant market share, which could render the standard obsolete. The history of SQL is an archetypal example.[citation needed]

Since the late 1990s, the use of free and open source software (FOSS), such as operating systems built on the Linux kernel, free software by teams such as the GNU Project, and free desktop environments created by projects such as KDE and GNOME, have arisen as a potential solution to some forms of vendor lock-in. Such software is typically licensed under one of several variants of the GNU General Public License, a license that prevents vendor lock-in by design: software licensed under the GPL may be freely modified and redistributed, but may not be transformed into proprietary software without violating the terms of the license.

As such, users and developers of software licensed under the GPL are legally able to “fork” a software project if they are unhappy with the direction, goals, or priorities of the original project. Typical examples of “forks” of GPL-licensed software include the Linux Mint team’s creation of the Cinnamon desktop environment, which arose as a fork of GNOME Shell, and The Document Foundation’s creation of the LibreOffice office suite, which arose as a fork of OpenOffice.org in 2010.

As a result, software licensed under the GPL is especially resistant to vendor lock-in, since any individual or company that distributes original or modified versions of such software cannot legally prevent further modification and redistribution of the original source code.[citation needed]

The razor and blades business model involves products which regularly consume some material, part, or supply. In this system, a reusable or durable product is inexpensive, and the company draws its profits from the sale of consumable parts that the product uses. To ensure the original company alone receives the profits from the sales of consumable, they use a proprietary approach to exclude other companies. Inkjet computer printers are a common example of this model.

One way to create artificial lock-in for items without it is to create loyalty schemes. Examples include frequent flier miles or points systems associated with credit card offers that can be used only with the original company, creating a perceived loss or cost when switching to a competitor.

Is Webcam Online Dating The Improved Technique To Dating Online

More On This Topic:

Submitted by: Marcia Goldsboro

Like anything on the web, the ever changing progression of how we date online cannot be forgotten. In the last 20 years of dating on the web we submitted our pictures and browsed over hundreds of profile pics of possible singles. It was a brilliant format because plenty of people do not have the hours in their busy lives to mingle in the pursuit of love. Not only was it simple, it was easy. Any one with a photograph and a laptop could send their photo out to any area of the digital world. Is this mainstream formatstill effective? Have any complications arisen from traditional dating on the web?

The growing dissapointment of the profile pic.

How often do you hear of a mate or sister telling you sad tales how they were manipulated by a fake profile pic on a dating service? It is not new. The concept of putting up our best picture is not so nutty right? If you do not have a nice photograph or your recent pics are not making the grade, what could you do? Alot of people may be tempted to use an aging pic of themselves, maybe a photo of someone else to portray them. Any way you look at it, it could outlay lots of obvious problems in the dating profile picture format correct?

The cyber con artists and internet trickers are to clever.

YouTube Preview Image

Many can use a incorrect photograph and fake account profile to get your confidence on a dating site. Surveys have proven the most suseptible on the web are those searching for love or relationship. In the know that their victims are committed emotionally to their dating sites, the con artists use fake or misleading pics and carefully rehearsed conversations to ensure some confidence and strongly manipulate their subjects into some sort of financial transaction.

Whatever issues have arisen from a online dating service usually refers back to an problem with a online dating photo, or a wrongful pic being used to trick or scam.

There is a different solution. Open webcam to your regime. Only begin to trust someone after you have had video talks with them, at alternative time arrangements, very spontaneously and scheduled. It is a better and trusting level of committmentif you get involved on a webcam call, providing more than just visual entertainment, it enables some trust.

The webcam provides more reality into appearance. Video helps us get a better feel for another person. A webcam video provides a far better insight into mannerisms, conversation and personality. In reality, webcam vid can help us with our first desire. To satisfy our needs for the first encounter.

Programs like Google, Skype and dating websites like Chatso enable webcam video as their main stay. Chatso is a dating service that uses a web cam video only policy, no pics or photos, which is not traditional but satisfies the benefits of video as discussed above. Browse over members videos and contact them by introducing yourself on video first.

We all would assume this would promote integrity and honesty and present that the dater you have met on video have engaged themselves further into finding love and utilized webcam rather than going the simple road – uploading anything as their profile picture. It is alot harder to mislead using a webcam.

If you are serious about not getting tricked and you want to search an alternative source of online dating, go web cam. Ask the people you meet to have a conversation of cam or phone. The camera does not lie so why should we.

About the Author: Video Dating. Chatso (

chatso.com

) is a web cam video dating platform created in Portland, USA. Owners Chris Giles & Jeff Fried have used webcam video online dating as the core of their online dating platform. For a further detailed view explore

facebook.com/chatsodotcom

&

twitter.com/chatsodotcom

.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=1902585&ca=Relationships

October 21, 2014

Good Omens to be made into BBC radio drama

Sunday, September 7, 2014 

Plans for a radio dramatisation of the novel Good Omens, co-written by prominent UK fantasy authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, were confirmed on Friday by BBC Radio 4.

Published in 1990, Good Omens tells the story of the impending Apocalypse, and the efforts of one angel and one demon to save the world.

Neil Gaiman has previously had one of his books, Neverwhere, adapted for radio. The director of that adaptation, Dirk Maggs, is also working on Good Omens.

Terry Pratchett is well known for his Discworld novels, of which the first one, Colour of Magic, was published in 1983.

Recording for what would be the first ever dramatisation of the cult-classic began on Friday, with broadcast dates unconfirmed but said to be in December. The show is expected to broadcast over five days throughout the week and an hour-long finale on the Saturday.

Mark Heap and Peter Serafinowicz have been cast in the lead roles, with other actors on the cast list including Colin Morgan, Josie Lawrence and Clive Russell. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are also expected to make cameo appearances.

October 20, 2014

Vendor lock-in

In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in or customer lock-in, makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services, unable to use another vendor without substantial switching costs. Lock-in costs which create barriers to market entry may result in antitrust action against a monopoly.

SIM locking may be considered a vendor lock-in tactic, since phones purchased from the vendor will work with SIM cards only from the same network. This creates additional inconvenience to the buyer, as the phone cannot use a prepaid SIM from a different vendor while on vacation. As a result, the subscriber must also sign up for the often expensive roaming service offered by the vendor. Additionally, should the subscriber wish to take out a second line for any reason, they must also get the line from the same vendor, as the SIM card of a competing vendor will not work. Sometimes, even the SIM card from the same vendor will not work and the buyer will be forced into buying another phone.[citation needed]

Gift certificates are textbook examples of vendor lock-in as they can be used solely in the vendor’s shops. Gift certificates are typically only worth their face price (no bonus credit is added), so generally, they do not represent any financial advantage over money.

Also, some vendors practice a store-credit/gift certificate refund policy in the time of warranty if they can’t replace or repair the product. This is illegal in many jurisdictions as it forces the client to buy a different article in the same shop possibly for lower price/quality ratio. It’s also possible that the client is forced to buy a completely different product if the original product line is no longer sold.

This policy is different from the refund policy in case of dissatisfaction. In this case, the vendor offers to exchange the article in a typically short time frame. If the article is not faulty then the vendor has no obligation to exchange or refund it unless they’re committed to do so in advance.

In the United States, for many years the Bell System monopoly refused to allow anyone to interconnect their network to other networks or to non-Bell equipment. This was overturned by the Hush-A-Phone v. United States federal court ruling and the Carterfone FCC regulatory rulings.

The Bell System allowed interconnection to third-party equipment only through the added expense of protective acoustic couplers, while Bell equipment could be directly electrically connected to the network, until a later FCC order which led to standardized modular connectors.

Vendor lock-in is widespread in the computer and electronics industries.

In the computer industry, both hardware and software, vendor lock-in can be used to describe situations in which there is a lack of compatibility or interoperability between equivalent components.

This can make it difficult to switch systems at many levels; the application program, the file format, the operating system, or various pieces of computer hardware ranging from a video card to a whole computer or even an entire network of computers. Note that in many cases, there are no technical standards that would allow creation of interoperable systems. At nearly any level of systems architecture, lock-in may occur. This creates a situation where lock-in is often used as leverage to get market share, often leading to monopolies and antitrust actions.

IBM was subject to a series of the longest and most complex monopoly antitrust actions in United States history, and presented the first significant model for understanding of how lock-in affected the computer industry. IBM had significant lock-in of the punched card industry from its earliest days: before computers as we recognize them today even existed. From dominance of the card punches, readers, tabulators, and printers, IBM extended to dominance of the mainframe computer market, and then to the operating systems and application programs for computers. Third party products existed for some areas, but customers then faced the prospect of having to prove which vendor was at fault if, say, a third party printer didn’t work correctly with an IBM computer, and IBM’s warranties and service agreements often stipulated that they would not support systems with non-IBM components attached. This put customers into an all-or-nothing situation.

Microsoft software carries a high level of vendor lock-in, based on its extensive set of proprietary APIs. Their degree of lock-in combined with their market share has made them subject to a number of antitrust lawsuits.

The European Commission, in its March 24, 2004 decision on Microsoft’s business practices,[4] quotes, in paragraph 463, Microsoft general manager for C++ development Aaron Contorer as stating in a February 21, 1997 internal Microsoft memo drafted for Bill Gates:

The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most ISVs would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead … .

It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy vision at times, and many other difficulties … . Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move.

Microsoft’s application software also exhibits lock-in through the use of proprietary file formats. Microsoft Outlook uses a proprietary datastore file and interface which are impossible to read without being parsed. Present versions of Microsoft Word have introduced a new format MS-OOXML. This may make it easier for competitors to write documents compatible with Microsoft Office in the future by reducing lock-in. Microsoft released full descriptions of the file formats for earlier versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint in February 2008.[5]

Apple Inc. has historically been well known for its lock-in practices. For a long time their market share has been small enough that their anti-trust exposure has been substantially less than that of Microsoft or IBM.

Apple often makes use of new or unusual hardware systems; they were the first vendor to make widespread use of Sony’s 3.5″ floppy drive, and they devised their own Apple Desktop Bus system for keyboards and mice, their own LocalTalk networking system, the high-speed FireWire serial interface for storage and video transfer, the 30-pin iPod dock connector, and non-standard display interfaces such as ADC, Mini-DVI, and Mini DisplayPort. Due to Apple’s smaller market share the number of third-party providers was more limited than for the competing IBM PC platform (though larger than for the Amiga, which had similarly unusual components), and third-party providers sometimes had to license elements of the interface technology, meaning that Apple made money on every peripheral sold, even if they did not manufacture it.[citation needed]

Prior to March 2009, digital music files with digital rights management were available for purchase from the iTunes Store, encoded in a proprietary derivative of the AAC format that used Apple’s FairPlay DRM system. These files are compatible only with Apple’s iTunes media player software on Macs and Windows, their iPod portable digital music players, iPhone smartphones, iPad tablet computers, and the Motorola ROKR E1 and SLVR mobile phones. As a result, that music was locked into this ecosystem and available for portable use only through the purchase of one of the above devices,[6] or by burning to CD and optionally re-ripping to a DRM-free format such as MP3 or WAV.

In January, 2005, an iPod purchaser named Thomas Slattery filed a suit against Apple for the “unlawful bundling” of their iTunes Music Store and iPod device. He stated in his brief: “Apple has turned an open and interactive standard into an artifice that prevents consumers from using the portable hard drive digital music player of their choice.” At the time Apple was stated to have an 80% market share of digital music sales and a 90% share of sales of new music players, which he claimed allowed Apple to horizontally leverage its dominant positions in both markets to lock consumers into its complementary offerings.[7] In September 2005, U.S. District Judge James Ware approved Slattery v. Apple Computer Inc. to proceed with monopoly charges against Apple in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.[8]

On June 7, 2006, the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon stated that Apple’s iTunes Music Store violates Norwegian law. The contract conditions were vague and “clearly unbalanced to disfavor the customer”.[9] The retroactive changes to the Digital Rights Management conditions and the incompatibility with other music players are the major points of concern.[citation needed]

As of 29 May 2007, tracks on the EMI label became available in a DRM-free format called iTunes Plus. These files are unprotected and are encoded in the AAC format at 256 kilobits per second, twice the bitrate of standard tracks bought through the service. iTunes accounts can be set to display either standard or iTunes Plus formats for tracks where both formats exist.[10] These files can be used with any player that supports the AAC file format and are not locked to Apple hardware. They can be converted to MP3 format if desired.

As of January 6, 2009, all four big music studios (Warner Bros., Sony BMG, Universal, and EMI) have signed up to remove the DRM from their tracks, at no extra cost. However, Apple charges consumers to have previously purchased DRM music restrictions removed.[11]

As of the end of March, 2009, all music available on iTunes is DRM-free.[11] However, digital downloads of television shows, movies, and iOS mobile apps through iTunes are still DRM-protected (at the insistence of the content producers who make it a prerequisite for distribution on most systems, including Apple’s).

Probably Sony’s most famous example of lock-in was the Betamax VCR system. Since then, Sony has also used lock-in as a business tool in many other applications, and has a long history of engineering proprietary solutions to enforce lock-in. For many cases, Sony licenses its technology to a limited number of other vendors, which creates a situation in which it controls a cartel that collectively has lock-in on the product. Sony is frequently at the heart of format wars, in which two or more such cartels battle to capture a market and win the lock.[citation needed]

Examples of Sony’s formats include:

As of 2006, Sony digital cameras and a number of other Sony products typically use Memory Stick cards that can be manufactured only by Sony, co-developer SanDisk, and select licensees. This memory can be more expensive in some markets when compared to alternative memory types that exhibit similar characteristics such as data transfer speeds. This is an example of vendor lock-in, as existing users of Sony products are less likely to purchase a competitor’s product that uses a different storage medium due to the extra cost of acquiring a differing storage media. Similarly, this can discourage consumers with non-Sony merchandise from purchasing Sony products.

In contrast, Blu-ray Disc was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association where Sony is a member, but does not have a controlling position.

Manufacturers of computer hardware sometimes design unusual or proprietary connectors. The reasons for such designs vary; some are intended to force customers quietly into a vendor lock-in situation, or force upgrading customers to replace more components than would otherwise be necessary; others are the result of practical considerations such as cost, packaging, ease of design, unusual or enhanced features; and still others result from an ignorance of standards, or even an absence of standards. There may be little immediate financial incentive for a vendor to provide backward compatibility or interoperability, while considerable (though unethical) gain may be had from preventing compatibility.

The term connector conspiracy[12] was coined to describe this situation, and (generally humorously) implies the worst-case scenario of a cabal of manufacturers colluding in secret to sell incompatible connectors. In many “connector conspiracy” cases, vendor lock-in can be avoided by use of adapters.

Converting lossily compressed data into another format usually either increases its size, or further decreases its quality.[13] Thus compatibility with data in the old format may need to be kept when switching to a different format, even when decoding from (as with many MPEG formats), or distribution in (as has at least been planned with H.264) the old format requires paying royalties.

In the 1980s and 1990s, public, royalty-free standards were hailed as the best solution to vendor lock-in. But there is still a possibility that one software vendor could use “embrace, extend and extinguish” (EEE) tactics to achieve a dominant market share, which could render the standard obsolete. The history of SQL is an archetypal example.[citation needed]

Since the late 1990s, the use of free and open source software (FOSS), such as operating systems built on the Linux kernel, free software by teams such as the GNU Project, and free desktop environments created by projects such as KDE and GNOME, have arisen as a potential solution to some forms of vendor lock-in. Such software is typically licensed under one of several variants of the GNU General Public License, a license that prevents vendor lock-in by design: software licensed under the GPL may be freely modified and redistributed, but may not be transformed into proprietary software without violating the terms of the license.

As such, users and developers of software licensed under the GPL are legally able to “fork” a software project if they are unhappy with the direction, goals, or priorities of the original project. Typical examples of “forks” of GPL-licensed software include the Linux Mint team’s creation of the Cinnamon desktop environment, which arose as a fork of GNOME Shell, and The Document Foundation’s creation of the LibreOffice office suite, which arose as a fork of OpenOffice.org in 2010.

As a result, software licensed under the GPL is especially resistant to vendor lock-in, since any individual or company that distributes original or modified versions of such software cannot legally prevent further modification and redistribution of the original source code.[citation needed]

The razor and blades business model involves products which regularly consume some material, part, or supply. In this system, a reusable or durable product is inexpensive, and the company draws its profits from the sale of consumable parts that the product uses. To ensure the original company alone receives the profits from the sales of consumable, they use a proprietary approach to exclude other companies. Inkjet computer printers are a common example of this model.

One way to create artificial lock-in for items without it is to create loyalty schemes. Examples include frequent flier miles or points systems associated with credit card offers that can be used only with the original company, creating a perceived loss or cost when switching to a competitor.

Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas dies at age 75

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 

Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas died Friday at age 75, after suffering from heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He began the Beverly Hills Playhouse in 1978 and taught acting classes there to noted actors including George Clooney and Gene Hackman. Katselas is survived by a sister and two brothers.

Katselas directed an off-Broadway production of Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, and received a Tony Award nomination for his 1969 direction of Butterflies are Free. Actress Blythe Danner won a Tony Award for her role in Butterflies are Free under Katselas’ direction. He moved to California to direct the film version of that play, and went on to direct films and television movies. Actress Eileen Heckart received an Academy Award for her role in the film version of Butterflies are Free.

Katselas directed the San Francisco and Los Angeles productions of the play P.S. Your Cat Is Dead! by playwright James Kirkwood, Jr. In his author’s notes in the publication of the script, Kirkwood acknowledged Katselas, and wrote that the plays were “directed with incredible energy and enthusiasm by Milton Katselas, to whom I am extremely indebted”.

Katselas directed the television movie Strangers: Story of a Mother and Daughter, and actress Bette Davis received an Emmy Award for her role in the movie. Katselas taught many famous actors including Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere, Robert Duvall, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Goldie Hawn, Christopher Walken, Burt Reynolds, George C. Scott, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Alec Baldwin, and Patrick Swayze. Katselas was credited with being able to nurture actors with raw talent so that they could develop strong Hollywood careers. He utilized innovative techniques in his courses – one course called “Terrorist Theatre” had a simple premise: successfully get an acting role within six weeks or leave the course.

He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents who had immigrated from Greece, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg in New York at the Actors Studio, and received advice from directors Joshua Logan and Elia Kazan.

Katselas was a prominent Scientologist, and a July 2007 profile on Katselas in The New York Times Magazine observed that some of his students stopped taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse because they felt they had been pressured to join the Church of Scientology. According to the article, Katselas credited Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard “for much of his success in life”, and one of his students works at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. The article commented that some in Los Angeles view the Beverly Hills Playhouse as “a recruitment center for Scientology”.

Katselas met L. Ron Hubbard after moving to California, and began studying Scientology in 1965. The New York Times Magazine reported that he had reached the level of “Operating Thetan, Level 5, or O.T. V.” in 2007. According to The New York Times Magazine when Scientologists proceed up the “The Bridge to Total Freedom” they learn the story of Xenu, and that: “75 million years ago the evil alien Xenu solved galactic overpopulation by dumping 13.5 trillion beings in volcanoes on Earth, where they were vaporized, scattering their souls.” A Church of Scientology publication, Source, lists Katselas as reaching O.T. V. in 1989.

Though some actors felt pressured to join the Church of Scientology after taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, at least one individual felt Katselas was not active enough with the organization. Actress Jenna Elfman left the Beverly Hills Playhouse because she felt Katselas was not committed enough to Scientology. Katselas had previously directed Elfman in half of Visions and Lovers: Variations on a Theme, two one-act plays about relationships that he had written himself. In 1999 Katselas had planned to adapt the script of Visions and Lovers to a film version, and Elfman was set to reprise her role from the play. In an article in Variety about the project, Elfman commented on her experience working with Katselas: “He is brilliant, and knows me so well as a person and an actress that he gets the most out of me.”

Other prominent Scientologist actors who have studied under Katselas include Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee, and Leah Remini. According to Rolling Stone, Katselas also recruited actress Kelly Preston to Scientology. Actress Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), told Scientology publication Celebrity that Katselas motivated her to get more active in Scientology, and she stated she took the organization’s “Purification Rundown” and her life “took off completely”.

Anne Archer was introduced to Scientology while studying at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, as was former Scientologist and now outspoken critic actor Jason Beghe. Beghe told Roger Friedman of FOX News in April 2008 that “He [Katselas] gets kickbacks”, and that he was brought to a Scientology center by fellow Beverly Hills Playhouse classmate Bodhi Elfman, Jenna Elfman’s husband. In a 1998 article for Buzz Magazine, Randye Hoder wrote “In his class, Katselas is careful not to label anything as a tenet of Scientology, but there is no question that the church’s influence seeps into the playhouse.”

Anne Archer’s husband and fellow Scientologist, producer Terry Jastrow, commented to The New York Times Magazine that Katselas changed the way he experiences life on a day-to-day basis: “I go out in the world and look at human behavior now. I see a woman or man interacting with a saleslady, and I see the artistry in it. Life is an endless unspooling of art, of acting, of painting, of architecture. And where did I learn that? From Milton.”

Actor Anthony Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spoke highly of Katselas in a 2002 interview with San Francisco Chronicle: “He’s this wonderfully intuitive teacher and his premise is basically: The only real barriers are the ones we put in front of ourselves. If you say, ‘My character wouldn’t do that’ — bollocks! Ultimately it’s you who wouldn’t say that. Who knows what your character might do.” In the acknowledgements of her 2004 autobiography Are You Hungry, Dear?: Life, Laughs, and Lasagna, actress Doris Roberts wrote: “I thank my friend and acting teacher, the incredible Milton Katselas, for his insights, wisdom, and inspiration, which have helped make me the actress that I am.”

Katselas authored two books: Dreams Into Action: Getting What You Want, first published in 1996 by Dove Books, and Acting Class: Take a Seat, which came out earlier this month. Dreams Into Action, a New York Times Bestseller, sought to modify motivational acting exercises to the field of business.

In an interview in the 2007 book Acting Teachers of America, Katselas commented on his experiences as an acting teacher over the years: “I have very special teachers here at the Beverly Hills Playhouse—some have been with me for over twenty-five years. I believe that to make a difference over the long haul, we need to train teachers. I really care about the craft of acting. It’s absolutely necessary to take the time and patience to really develop an actor.”

October 19, 2014

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Electric vehicles can be less green than classic fuel cars, Norwegian study finds

Sunday, October 7, 2012 

A Norwegian University of Science and Technology study released Thursday found electric vehicles have a potential for higher eco-toxicity and greenhouse impact than conventional cars. The study includes an examination of the electric car’s life cycle as a whole rather than a study of the electric car’s environmental impact during the use phase.

The researchers conducted a comparison of the environmental impact of electric cars in view of different ratios of green-to-fuel electricity energy sources. In the case of mostly coal- or oil-based electricity supply, electric cars are disadvantageous compared to classic diesel cars with the greenhouse effect impact being up to two times larger.

The researchers found that in Europe, electric cars pose a “10% to 24% decrease in global warming potential (GWP) relative to conventional diesel or gasoline vehicles”.

The researchers suggest to improve eco-friendliness of electric vehicles by “reducing vehicle production supply chain impacts and promoting clean electricity sources in decision making regarding electricity infrastructure” and using the electric cars for a longer time, so that the use phase plays a more important role in the electric vehicle life cycle.

October 18, 2014

Chef who appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ commits suicide

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 

Joseph Cerniglia, a chef who had appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s television show Kitchen Nightmares, has commited suicide. Cerniglia was the owner of Italian restaurant Campania. He jumped off a bridge into the Hudson river on the New York–New Jersey border. At the time of filming in 2007, Cerniglia owed suppliers $80,000.

Officials reported that 39-year-old Cerniglia had jumped off of the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson. His death has officially been ruled as suicide. His body was retrieved from the river after reports of a man jumping off of the bridge.

Ramsay released a statement to the Press Association saying “I was fortunate to spend time with Joe during the first season of Kitchen Nightmares. Joe was a brilliant chef, and our thoughts go out to his family, friends and staff.”

Cerniglia told Ramsay about his personal debt when he came to the restaurant in 2007. He said “I am financially in trouble. The debt of the restaurant alone is overwhelming. My personal debt — wife, kids, mortgage — that’s a lot of debt”.

October 16, 2014

Chef who appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ commits suicide

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 

Joseph Cerniglia, a chef who had appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s television show Kitchen Nightmares, has commited suicide. Cerniglia was the owner of Italian restaurant Campania. He jumped off a bridge into the Hudson river on the New York–New Jersey border. At the time of filming in 2007, Cerniglia owed suppliers $80,000.

Officials reported that 39-year-old Cerniglia had jumped off of the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson. His death has officially been ruled as suicide. His body was retrieved from the river after reports of a man jumping off of the bridge.

Ramsay released a statement to the Press Association saying “I was fortunate to spend time with Joe during the first season of Kitchen Nightmares. Joe was a brilliant chef, and our thoughts go out to his family, friends and staff.”

Cerniglia told Ramsay about his personal debt when he came to the restaurant in 2007. He said “I am financially in trouble. The debt of the restaurant alone is overwhelming. My personal debt — wife, kids, mortgage — that’s a lot of debt”.

October 11, 2014

3 Important Tips For Employers When Doing A Background Check

Submitted by: Ramos Robert

Did you know that employers are at higher risk of facing legal charges if they denied an applicant without solid proof? In the United States, this is possible because they have laws protecting the applicants as well. If they proved that the background check made by the employer have mistakes or errors, there is a possibility that they will be fined or sued for denying an applicant.

As an employer, this is something that you don t want to happen. You probably don t want to hire people who are trying to trick you by forging documents and it is not a bad thing to be extremely strict in your hiring process, but you should always pay attention to the information or the results given by a background check on a person.

False information from a background check does not only damage the reputation and the integrity of the applicant, but also the integrity of your company or business. If you don t want any of this to happen, here are some of the important tips to make sure that you are not getting inaccurate results from background checks.

Only Consult Trusted and Reliable Sources

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We know that the Internet is the fastest and the cheapest way to consider a background check, but it does not mean that you can choose any website. If someone filed a legal charge against your company for denying an applicant because of false or inaccurate background check, the first thing that they will be checking is the source of the information. If they found out that you got the information from unreliable sources, your problems will surely line up.

The first thing that you need to do is to ask for help on the best and the most reliable sources. If you have to spend more to know which sources are better, then take the risk. You will lose more if you lost a great employee and suffered from legal charges.

Gather Information from Interview

You cannot run a background check unless you finished an interview with the applicant. You need to gather as much information as needed before you run a background check. Always remember that the accuracy of the results may also rely on the information that you provided to the background check companies.

You need to know the person s full name, their social security number, their current address, date of birth and more. Usually, you can get this information from their resume, but it is best to ask them more about themselves during the interview and take note of their answers.

Give them a Chance to Respond

Basically, you should not simply dismiss someone just because a background check found out that there is malicious information in their personal background. You should try to approach them first and give them a chance to respond. You have to remember that identity theft is very common nowadays and it the applicant might be a victim of this kind of illegal activity.

It is best to think about all these 3 important factors to prevent any problems with your hiring process and to make sure that you are hiring the right applicants for your business or company.

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