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back to article OMG! Berners-Lee has an iPhone

Sir Tim Berners-Lee surprised assembled hacks when he turned up to a press roundtable at the RSA conference on Thursday with an iPhone. Berners-Lee notably singled out Steve Jobs' iTunes for criticism over its use of proprietary technologies a year ago, but he was happy to use the Jesus Phone despite these reservations. The Reg …

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Yag
Facepalm

what is the problem?

Using an item at least once should be a prerequisite before talking ill of it.

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Joke

You mean that he said that about Apple, iPhone and iTunes *after* he tried it, found that iTunes blows goats, and spent an age trying to get *any* other program to get his music library onto the phone?

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Yep - had one, it had good points and bad points....

... and I got rid of it once Android became stable, but as the saying goes, "know your enemy"

A couple of years ago I went for an iPhone 3G because it was basically the only smartphone with a coherent UI on the market - I'd had windows mobile phones like the very first Orange SPV and it's subsequent model, then I had a Palm Treo, then I had a Sony Ericsson P800. The Windows phones were a nightmare, the UI was fragmented and it crashed all of the time. The Treo running PALM OS I thought was great, but it was clearly a dying platform. The SE running Symbian depended too much on the stylus for basic tasks. The new idea that the iPhone introduced was a coherent, well designed UI and no dependence on a stylus - I thought that side of it was great, and I was delighted with it at the time but I found the lack of tweakability limiting, to my mind it had gone the other way from my previous fragmented but very tweakable phones to a coherent but inherently limited device. Consequently I jumped to Android, and I'm still there - it's a good middle ground.

iPhones work very well for a particular type of person, however it surprises me a little when I see a tech person with one. But perhaps it isn't really very surprising, if you spend your life grappling with computers it can be quite refreshing to use something well designed and simple - especially if you use it as "just a phone with a web browser" and it doesn't really matter if you're a techy or not if that's all you really want to use the device for. To use the analogy I'm personally a technical person, but I still love my wood burning stove - simple, effortless, it appeals to a flip side of me that sometimes just wants certain stuff to do one simple thing very well.

So no I agree - if you've never used an iPhone for long enough to form a reasonable view on it, you are not entitled to your opinion. They are perfectly good and extremely usable devices, whatever you think of Apple's business model.

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Nailed it

Well said on all fronts. Although I am sticking with iPhones (new one coming tomorrow).

It's about the interface for me but also the ecosystem around Apple is really nice now. I have Apple TV and an iPad and all three work great together. With the iCloud wrapping it all up for me in a low fuss high reward package.

I am a techie but for me it doesn't mean I want to tweak my consumer devices. I do enough of that in the day thanks :)

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RE: Yep - had one, it had good points and bad points

"if you've never used an iPhone for long enough to form a reasonable view on it, you are not entitled to your opinion"

Funnily enough I don't have iPhone, never had one, and I agree with the above!

However, few years ago I had some other DRMed (Atrac3) music player with clunky PC interface which was the only way to download/updaload DRMed music. That experience is exactly the reason why I avoid iTunes. Which means no iPhone for me, at last for the time being!

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@bronek

You do realize that the iPod and iPhone have never required DRMed music, and that these days iTunes doesn't even add DRM to music, right?

Don't tar the iPod with the mini-disc brush.

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@BristolBachelor

Have a look at CopyTrans Manager if you don't want to use iTunes to transfer music. I have an iPod rather than an iPhone but I expect it would work in the same way.

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Compuserve anyone?

or the services we hat in the 80s?

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Spot on!

Proves Tim B-L's point exactly!

Used Compuserve for many years as it was - originally - way more useful to actually get stuff (I was very popular in getting WordPerfect printer drivers for people). But as the web developed, CServe lost the customer base to free competitors, was Borg'ed by AOL and is now only remembered (fondly) in my username.

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You are being poisoned

I am not a number, I am a free man?

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Big Brother

The intro for that series remains ever apt.

Where am I?

On the internet

What do you want?

Information.

Who's side are you on?

That would be telling. We want information, Information. Information.

You won't get it!

By hook or by crook, we will.

Who are you?

The new Social Media.

...

And it sort of breaks dwon there. Oh well.

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Good idea for something to watch this afternoon :)

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Gopher died...

... simply because it was a file manager which opened .txt documents, binary files, and a smattering of image files over the Internet. Its scope was limited, it worked but it wasn't as if it could stand up against HTTP/HTML with forms and tables (and, sadly, blink and marquee).

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Anonymous Coward

Is this a surprise?

Didn't he create the first web browser on a NeXT machine.

The iPhone development APIs and Objective C will be probably be familiar to him.

It's got a good web browser too.

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Better yet a web browser with no Flash, which presumably he detests since it is an infected pimple on the face of the web.

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Sir

Considering how long the PGP Outlook plug-in has been available, I'm surprised that M$ haven't gone and released a version of Outlook with it built in.

Unless I've missed something.

All hail Sir Tim :D

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Yag

Unless I've missed something

Probably the fact that higly secure encryption technologies are still considered "warfare weapons" in several countries...

If Outlook embedded such a module, its sale would be illegal in those states (well, not that a bad thing actually)

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I think encrypted email isn't currently the norm not because it can't be built in and used by default but because vested interests would prefer that it weren't.

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Facepalm

Encrypted Email

"... he was "amazed" that secure, encrypted email exchanges using PKI technologies had not become the norm."

Couldn't agree more. It's like the envelope failing to take off. But then I think the vast majority of people don't even think about what happens to an email between hitting send and it appearing in someone else inbox.

The way to make it the norm is to get people thinking about it and why it matters. If the top used email clients (and webmail) ran a key generation wizard at first run and at least made it easy for people to exchange keys they might start going for it.

Over the years I've been stunned by the CVs, business documents and frankly incriminating statements that appear in some of the emails that are accidentally sent to Gmail account (My name is a slightly different spelling of a common name).

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+1

Agree totally - I too am amazed that people worry about paying for stuff down un-encrypted channels, but are more than happy to email passwords, account details and other confidential data in the clear, through numerous 3rd party servers and networks. Totally mental.

Mind you, to add to this thread, it should be noted that encryption or even simple signing is fraught with technical difficulties, never mind user-related ones.

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Maybe

Timmy doesn't use iTunes? Maybe he's got a jailbroken iphone?

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Anonymous Coward

An on that topic

It's been fairly quiet today here on The Register. Much less comments than usual.

Is everyone out buying iPhones 4S or what?

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What's the issue ?

It's possible to use something and hate it (or what it stands for) at the same time.

The argument goes like this :

One the one hand, you can dislike closed systems. If you are fanatical about it you can be Richard Stallman - and for the record, I believe he has a point.

On the other hand, most people need to get jobs done - or even just lead a life. So the pragmatic approach is that you use what you need to use in order to live/work/whatever, while also arguing against the bad elements (like the walled garden approach to IFondle devices).

So it's (IMO) not that big a deal to own an iPhone, but argue that the walled garden is bad. In fact I believe you are less likely to be dismissed as a nutjob (as Stallman often is for his hard line attitudes) if you are in a position to say "I use one, this is what's good about it, but this is what's bad about it and needs fixing".

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Devil

"It's possible to use something and hate it (or what it stands for) at the same time."

Quite so. I use Windows every working day. I know that there are better alternatives in nearly every case, but as it's what my paymasters want me to use then it is the best platform for getting me paid so it's a done deal. I will also grudgingly admit that for an enterprise of any size, Exchange is the least worst option and thereby the solution of choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Exactly!

I hate sprouts but my wife cooks them and it's either eat them, starve or "cook your own tea if you don't like them"!

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Linux

Agreed

Some people wouldn't use an MS product if you paid them to.

I *will* (and do) use MS products *if they pay me*. But they have to pay me by the hour as it will generally take me twice as long to get the desired job done!

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Actually

Gopher died because there were license fees for the server. I mean FTP still survives.

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Anonymous Coward

That never stopped technology before...

Gopher failed because, well, it was called Gopher, can a name like that compete with World Wide Web? No chance of that gracing the pages of Wired et al.

It was also too rigid from the start.

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Stop

Hmm

Costs never stopped people setting up IIS servers.

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When IIS came around the web was already well established enough that it wasn't going anywhere, so the market was able to bear a license fee, which would only ever take a minority position against free alternatives. With Gopher, unless I'm misremembering, there wasn't the same entrenchment, WWW was already there to compete and there wasn't any alternative to the licensed server. So it died.

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It is possible to criticise part of a product or company and still use them. Most people who use technology aren't the hardened fundamentalist fanboys of web forums.

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Happy

I hate...

...the UK tax system. It's a horrible product. But I still use it. I'm not rich enough to 'opt out'...

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Anonymous Coward

I object..

..to being called 'hardened'.

PS. Where are the other 141 Daves?

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"It's the most uninformed and unimaginative idea I've heard in a long time."

Brilliant!

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A bit like my city's free bus service

My uni, the local and state governments put 1/3 each into providing a free bus loop around the uni, hospital, beach and city centre. It saves them more on managing roads and building more parking than they are putting in. It has become very popular so they had to bump the busses to every 10 min all day (from 10 min mornings+evenings and 20min through the day).

Then some bright-arse politicians with too many dollar signs stuck in their eyes to see the ends of their own noses decided 'hey, lets charge for this'. Luckily there was an election coming up and they were kicked out on their fat money-grubbing arses before they could enact 'tragedy of the commons (priveledged arses wreck it for everyone variation)' yet again.

The moral: there is always some unimaginative arsetard who's answer to everything is to try to charge money for it. Even if it is the lack of a charge that is the whole point.

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Erm - it's not clear what you mean by 'enact tragedy of the commons'.

If you mean that they would be creating such a tragedy, then you have the wrong end of the stick completely. If you mean that they'd be using 'TotC' as a bogus reason to charge for a hitherto free service, then you are just expressing yourself really badly.

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his problem with iTunes was related to the use of custom URIs that only iTunes could use, which he felt impinged on the universality of the web. He's never taken a stand against iPhone or OS-X for that matter.

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I thought Al Gore invented the interwebs?

On a serious note tho, Sir TBL for PM.

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As far as I recall (from the last time I was in a meeting with him), he also has a MacBook Pro, albeit one suitably plastered with stickers.

This is pretty much the definition of a non-story. Can't the Reg do any better than this?

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Trollface

Going 2 better

I have a Nokia 9300i and a Dell Inspiron 1501. Surely that would be a big story too, if I revealed my name (and lack of a knighthood)? I mean, surely *nobody* else has that combination of devices in 2011?

There is a mother lode of El Reg stories here...

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Swings and roundabouts

Licensing the internet might have funded development of the standards more, maybe avoiding the crap that is flash. It would have crippled content generation and user adoptance however.

As to the iPhone angle, and? Like people above said it has good and bad points. I use mine for its disability related features ("Voice Over"), Windows Phone 7 won't support assistive software and Symbion is dieing even if it was very accessible with a £150 third party program. Android accessibility exists but I would need sighted assistance to set it up, plus the better assistive solution for Android isn't free either. The iPhone has it built in and can be turned on through iTunes. I also don't wish to mess with my phone too much. If someone has obscure requirements or enjoys coding their own additions then Android is of course great but it isn't for everyone.

The walled garden is a dubious practice, I have no problems admitting that. I don't like the concept of it. It does however make things somewhat easier for users who aren't as knowledgeable or paranoid, so long as it's vetted in a proper and fair manner. Whether Apple is doing this now and whether they will do so in the future I won't comment on since many people would debate this point.

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But more importantly

"It's the most uninformed and unimaginative idea I've heard in a long time."

Is one of the best put-downs I've ever heard. It's the perfect combination of being short but with high impact, beautifully eloquent, and utterly correct. Berners-Lee is, once again, one of my heroes.

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