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Suggestion on third party IAPs

If I was at Apple, here's what I'd recommend for loosening the limit on third party In App Purchases.

(1) Add a new preference about IAP - how to handle third party payments. Choices are "Never allow third party payments", "Allow with authentication (touch ID/Face ID)", "Allow without authentication". Default is "Allow with authentication"

(2) Whenever an app is going to do an IAP it wants to use third party payments, it must make an OS call that checks the status, and either returns "Allowed" or "Denied".

That way, the user is always made aware of the transaction happening, and someone borrowing a device can't ring up charges without the owner's permission.

Posted on December 1, 2021, 4:43 pm

Donald Brown

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The Big Lie of the TVN #Loki

All six episodes of Loki are now available for streaming, all great, and 99% of my speculations all got blown out of the water. But there's one big lie that's never been dealt with: The concept that The Time Masters (who are actually just He Who Remains/Kang) was "writing" the timeline, even, supposedly, the events in the Void where Loki and Sylvie make it past Alioth and confront HWR. I don't buy it.

For this to be true, they wouldn't have to print a new sheet for Loki's comments when he was being processed in Episode One. But more egregious is Renslayer's statement that everything that happened in Avenger's Endgame was "as it was supposed to happen", except for Loki leaning over, picking up and using the Tessaract. The time heist. Thanos travelling through time to the future, leaving behind a timeline with no Thanos. We're supposed to believe that HWR wrote time so that Stark, escaping with the case, would be slammed by an upset Hulk, the case would fly and land right at Loki's feat, those holding him would have released him - but Loki ignores it all and waits to be taken to an Asgard prison cell. Is there any variant of Loki that wouldn't have picked up the tessaract and escaped (well, maybe not Alligator Loki, no hands)?

Of course not. 

In Episode 5, it's not just Loki and Sylvie dealing with Alioth, they also send Moebius back to the TVN to burn it all down. Doesn't seem like part of a grand plan to keep the TVN going. In Episode 6, why have Miss Minutes tempt Loki and Sylvie with idyllic lives written into the timeline, if it's predestined that they'll turn her down to be presented with that choice. And why go through all that to get those two Lokis there, when there's a lot of Lokis already in the Void who could replace HWR - Classic Loki would probably do a fine job, working with Kid Loki or President Loki.

Here's what I think is the truth behind the lie. Reality is created by the choices made by an infinite number of sentients. The embodiment of the concept of an infinite number of monkeys on typewriters who eventually create Hamlet. These choices have consequences, the TVA and HWR know what all those consequences are. HWR is deciding which results he likes, which he doesn't like, and sends the TVA to destroy the universes he doesn't like.

And I believe HWR has a mental list of "individuals too dangerous to go after". When Renslayer said what the Avengers did was meant to happen, I suspect it meant that the Avengers were deemed to dangerous to try to prune. If the Avengers had been pruned in some timeline, you think they wouldn't have survived in the Void? If Thanos and his forces got pruned, at minimum wouldn't the Void have shown massive impact from the battle, wouldn't some of the Loki variants have seen it and mentioned it? (Yes, I know the Thanos copter was there, but even if there was a Thanos variant flying it, it was a far less deadly Thanos than the Avengers fought.)

The claim that HWR is writing history simply doesn't add up. And it makes even less sense in a Marvel universe. If what HWR is true, people don't make choices, they're working off a script. But choices define the Marvel universe. Peter Parker chose not to stop the robber who then killed Uncle Ben. Captain America chose to crash the plane into the Atlantic to protect America. Black Widow chose to sacrifice herself so Hawkeye could return to his children. Tony Stark chose to sacrifice himself by using the Infinity Stones to eliminate Thanos. HWR is eliminating those who make choices that don't serve his purposes. Kang may be a bigger threat, but HWR is the greater villain.

Posted on August 8, 2021, 4:30 pm

Donald Brown

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#Loki Episode 2 thoughts

Just rewatched Episode 2, and some spoilers coming soon.

So, please don't read this article unless you've seen it

Ready? Let's begin.

I'm more convinced than ever that the TVA is a complete con job. I'll trust Loki's gut for recognizing a con, and I was having my doubts a week ago.

If this was, as they claim, all about rationality and planning and making sure things go right - they've got a lot of religious imagry and language around. "Sacred" timeline. All those statues of the Time Keepers - they're not just leaders, they're positioning themselves as Gods. And since the Time Keepers created all this, they put up those icons and statues. It wasn't "we helped these people and they started worshiping us".

And things have to be pretty messed up when LOKI is your voice of moral authority, recognizing the mass killing that goes on. The Marvel University is pretty much built on a concept of Good and Evil, and I can't see the casual destruction of sentient beings to be a mark of the good guys. (It's also big on the power of heroism, so "it's all as it was meant to be" means that the Black Widow releasing all of Hydra's secrets including her own wasn't heroic, just "what she would do" doesn't ring true)

And most improbable of all - the judge, says that what happened to the Avengers was meant to be, so the current Avengers were meant to steal the case, current Stark was meant to walk away with it, he was meant to be slammed by that door when the Hulk pops out, the case was meant to slide in front of Loki, his guards were meant to release him and be distracted, the Tesseract was meant to be land at Loki's feet - but in the normal course of time he was supposed to shrug and wait to be taken to Asgard? Is there >ANY< variant of Loki who wouldn't have grabbed the Tesseract and escaped?

So now, Episode 2 we're into the investigation into the other Loki's actions. It's all reasonably low-key (no, that's not a pun) (well, maybe now it is). Teams aren't taking extra Hunters, better armed, more prepared. They know that this other Loki has been collected alternative reset bombs, but no discussions of "what can the variant do with them". Even when one of their own is taken, with all her gear, nobody is putting pieces together.

The only two who are being proactive about the hunt for bad Loki are Moebius and our Loki. But Judge Renslayer is trying to push Moebius away from dealing with Loki. Even when Loki discovers a HUGE hole in the TVN's security, throws all their confident assumptions about how they can track variants out the window, something that went undiscovered for all time (always), she doesn't say "Great work, you're getting results, keep going", she tries to talk Moebius into "erasing" Loki and going on without him. (Oh, and we find out she's in contact with the Time Keepers but nobody else we've seen has ever met with them.)

So yeah, I'm positive that the TVN isn't remotely what it says it is, and the next four episodes will be revealing what it was (as well dealing with whatever bad Loki did with all those reset bombs that shattered the time zone).

But let's speculate. What >IS< going on?

There's an obvious villain here. Kang the Conqueror. In the comic book, his story relates with Renslayer and he's been cast to appear in Ant Man: Quantumania. (The quantum realm of course being the way the Avengers did their time travelling.) The TVN is trying to prune time streams into one where Kang is all victorious. Lady Loki may be a variant of Loki that helped the Avengers fight Kang in the future, so she's trying to break all his toys and undo things while Kang is particularly worried about Loki and wants to make sure his story ends with his neck being snapped by Thanos. Renslayer works for Kang for reasons unknown.

An obvious villain. Maybe... too obvious. Renslayer wasn't an ally of Kang until the very end, instead she was the daughter of the King of the last holdout against Kang. So maybe she's trying to come up with a timeline where Kang cannot come to power. Which sets up a final defiant "You fool, you've played into Kang's hands!" (or The Conqueror's hands for a figleaf of "who", or His Hands to try to be very cryptic).

We'll see if I'm right. But I will be very disappointed is the TVN is what it claims to be.

Posted on June 16, 2021, 2:20 pm

Donald Brown

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What should happen today

Here's what should happen today. Mike Pence should go to Donald Trump with four letters. Two are resignation letters. One claiming he's resigning after seeing the actions of yesterday and feels it's time for an end, one claiming continuing effects from COVID make it impossible to continue doing the job. A letter issuing a full and unconditional pardon to Donald Trump, his children, Jared, and anyone else Trump wants to add to it, in order to have a fresh start. And a letter calling for the 25th amendment to be implemented and Trump to be removed because he is not able to do his job properly.

Pence would then explain, if you sign one of the two resignation letters TODAY, I will sign the pardon TODAY. You leave TODAY for wherever, Ivanka and Jared can take care of packing up your final belongings here. Alternatively, I distribute the 25th amendment letter TODAY, you are removed form office TODAY, and there is no pardon.

If Pence did that, and stayed firm, I think Trump would take the resignation plus the pardon, his sense of self-preservation is high. Sadly, I doubt Pence will do that.

Posted on January 7, 2021, 10:26 am

Donald Brown

Bringing back consequences - Use of Force board

Here's what I'd like to see to deal with the issue of police using deadly force when it apparently wasn't necessary. Create a database of incidents, and Use Of Force review boards. I'm undecided about whether there should be a national board or one per state, but the key is to get them out of the control of the police forces that would be involved.

The boards would involve every incident where there was a use of deadly force (whether the target survived or not) or where there was a complaint. They would review body cam videos, videos taken by witnesses, witness statements, security cameras, and so forth.

After review, the boards would issue a report with a number of possible findings. Here are the findings I've got off the top of my head, there might be others justified:

(1) Action was justified. The actions were taken due to the subject showing an intent to harm the officer or others and the only option to stop the harm was the one taken. This will presumably be the most common result.

(2) Honest mistake. The officer believed that there was an intent to harm, and believed the action was required - but in retrospect, they were wrong. No punishment, but a record noted in the database. If an officer gets more than a certain number of such mistakes, then actions will be taken, up to and including permanently being barred from law enforcement or security jobs.

(3) Reckless. The officer had may have believed there was an intent to harm, but the actions taken were excessive given the situation and no attempt to de-escalate the situation. The wild firing into the apartment of Breonna Taylor would, based on public action, fall into this category. In addition to noting the record in the database, the board can order a suspension without pay, removal of the officer's qualified immunity (they were not acting in accordance to the requirements of a police officer, so don't get the immunity), or in extreme cases, prosecution.

(4) Abusive. The officer abused his or her authority and took action without justification. The board refers for prosecution, and the officer is either suspended without pay or barred from future employment in security or law enforcement.

There will be methods to appeal the decisions. Lying to the board or in public statements, or failure to use a body cam, will be viewed as reasons to increase seriousness of conclusion or for punishments.

Law enforcement organizations are encouraged to do their own reviews and take action as they see fit. Their reviews will probably be faster than the board. But it's clear that we need an independent voice that is not subject to the thin blue line or police unions.

Whole raft of details, such as how the board members are picked to ensure fairness and methods to appeal the decision. And there will be some who will still be unhappy when cases are not referred to prosecution. But there will be a uniform method of review that takes misuse of authority as a serious matter.


Posted on October 16, 2020, 8:51 am

Donald Brown

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