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back to article Apple TV: Rubbish, you don't like documentaries – I'll just flick to porn

Fed up of having to pick up the remote controls to change channel when something boring comes on? Apple has just patented a broadcast device that will know - in advance - whether you're going to be interested in that nature documentary, and will change to something better so you don't have to. In patent 8,249,497 'Seamless …

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DJO
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Facepalm

This is stupid and retrograde - I have watched loads of interesting and enjoyable programs I might not have otherwise watched and this would have stopped me seeing such serendipitous programs. This along with a million channels of pure crap seems like another way to further dumb down the viewing public.

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JDX
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However a system which notices a show you like is on another channel and tells you about it WOULD be handy. I expect such a system in real life would not just change channels with no warning.

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Anonymous Coward

Please

How on earth are they going to implement the statement in a patent, then defend the statement?

Or is this a patent for MIND CONTROL.

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Kinda like...

Tivo Suggestions that automatically records programs it thinks you would like?

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FAIL

What about...

A big problem would be multiple users... Watching Discovery nature show that you don't like? Flips to Teletubbies! Or worse yet, it knows that you immediately flip from child shows (except when it's the kids watching), and the "Don't like this?" logic comes around and *flick* Oh look, now your kids are watching soft porn on HBO....

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Anonymous Coward

Looks like we are moving to filter bubble 2.0 ...

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

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Thumb Up

The good news is that apple will sue whoever builds this out of business. At the end of the day you can avoid it by not buying an apple product.

Glad to see this idea deep sixed.

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And so the move to control everything takes another step.

Next they will patent your online shoping to decide what you should eat.

This is so near the bottom of my want list its several galaxies away. Why would this work in the real world, especially with a family, just imagine, the moment we would find out who shot JR and it switches to a documentary on hideous diseases......

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Anonymous Coward

"Next they will patent your online shoping to decide what you should eat."

Getting close to Dogbert's patent on zero-click shopping - "I'd click on something quick or I'll have to bill you for some books"

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Facepalm

"Ooh! An advert for the latest Apple iThing 20837S ... my user MUST see that !"

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FAIL

A new way to argue with the wife -who's preference does it choose?

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Anonymous Coward

* WHOSE

who's = who is

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Joke

Been done already

I have a feature to do that already, it is called a wife.

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Re: Been done already

"I have a feature to do that already, it is called a wife."

Whereas I have the opposite in my fiancee: She notices there is something on which I like (e.g. House, South Park, CSI) and switches over to something I don't (e.g. Eastenders).

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Coat

Re: Been done already

That's only because she is lying in wait until you are married! I say keep this comment for posterity's sake and review it after being married for 10 years..

yep i'll grab me coat.

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WTF?

Another reason...

...not to use any iApple iProduct:

I like to use my brain, and they just wont let me..

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Stop

Dunno -- there's a point

I would've said the same a year ago, but having recently bought a refurbished 3rd-gen iPod Touch, I have to admit there is something very substantial to be said for Mr. Jobs' design philosophy, which seems in my (admittedly somewhat limited, at least so far) experience to have as a central axiom the intent to get the hell out of the user's way and let him do what he's there to do. I've never run across anything before which was as easy, or as comfortable, to use -- the only gripe I have is that the bloody thing's almost too small for my big square peasant hands, but of course, it being designed primarily for people who don't actually have to work for a living, that's to be expected.

Last week I had to spend a couple of hours futzing around with a client's HTC Android with Ice Cream Sandwich -- and what the hell kind of name is that for an OS, I ask you! -- and the difference was astounding! The Android seemed constantly driven to show off, with all sorts of iconified gibberish along the top bar, a keyboard apparently designed for Stephen Hawking if Stephen Hawking were a concert pianist, and the whole interface just absolutely cluttered with "look at me, I'm doing something!" nonsense. Also, in two hours of trying to get the Exchange ActiveSync client working, it ran down half its battery. Not even kidding -- it was around 60% when I started, and when I gave it back to the fellow, it was complaining that it was about to die, and all I was trying to do was get it to pick up mail!

Meanwhile, my humble little iPod, half a decade old, does an absolutely fabulous job of exactly what I'm talking about -- specifically, getting out of my way, so that I can do with it what I want to do with it. If I keep the wireless radio on, I have to charge it once a day or so; if I leave it switched off, it'll last a good three or four days between plug-ins, and that's given an hour or two of reading a day. (Tomes, by the way, is awesome, especially for those of us with multi-gigabyte collections of Plucker-formatted books which we weren't at all looking forward to re-converting -- and the iPod comes with Palatino already installed!) And, as sort of the cherry on top, this five-year-old iPod's Exchange ActiveSync client actually works, unlike Google's latest and greatest, which can't even manage to connect and authenticate. Granted, that's Google's latest and greatest as interpreted by HTC, or possibly by T-Mobile -- not really sure who's at fault there, but the point stands nonetheless.

(Now watch as all the Linux geeks come out from under their rocks to tell me the only thing wrong with Android is that I'm too stupid to use it correctly...)

What Apple's doing now strikes me as a natural extension of the UI design philosophy which makes my iPod such a joy to use -- but I think they're over-extending themselves, trying to reduce interface complexity beyond the minimum required to produce an interface which the user can understand well enough to be confident he can make it do what he wants it to do. Those concerned might be well advised to stick with older instances of Apple hardware until the company has had time to shake itself out properly, and show whether or not it's going to do as well under Cook as it did under Mr. Jobs. For myself, I doubt it severely; I don't see any way they can possibly replace him, and without that clear vision, I think they're going to get just as lost as they did in the dark days under Sculley -- but, with no one to rescue them, I don't think they will ever find their way out of the wilderness again.

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Re: Dunno -- there's a point

TL;DR: Likes Apple, therefore thinks new thing might work, but isn't sure.

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WTF?

Aren't you?

Excuse me, but anyone who doesn' know its email and password has no business configuring activesync. I believe you need that too for the ipod. And that is all you need on ICS for most configurations. For the rare exceptions, you'll need your login and the mailserver name, in the rare cases that android didn't guess it for you.

Resuming, if it takes more than 5 minutes to configure activesync on an ICS android phone, either you don't have all the information needed (and you won't be able to configure any other activesync client without it) or your server is blocking you (and of course that other client won't work too).

I won't even discuss anything else on your message. If you are trying to make such a simple task into anything complicated, then the walled garden is for you. At least they will hand hold you like a baby to try to keep you from hurting yourself...

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JDX
Gold badge

I like to use my brain, and they just wont let me..

Damn these labour-saving devices. Much better to use your valuable brain paging through 200 channels in the TV guide.

This is clearly a mode you can turn on/off, akin to AI 'DJs' on spotify etc which pick you music to listen to based on what you like.

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Thanks, jbernardo!

Couldn't ask for a better example of what I meant when I talked about people coming out from under their rocks. Keep up the good work!

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Re: Dunno -- there's a point

What Apple's doing now strikes me as a natural extension of the UI design philosophy which makes my iPod such a joy to use...

Of course it is. Apple's design philosophy has always been about making its users think as little as possible.

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Re: I like to use my brain, and they just wont let me..

Like i said in another comment, knowing apple you will not have the option to disable this.

"Much better to use your valuable brain paging through 200 channels in the TV guide" - yes, there are times that i don't know what i want to watch...till i see it.

It calls choice, something that i can guess Apple users don't know what it is.

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Yes, indeed, Steve Knox. And why not?

When will we, as an industry, finally get it through our heads that no one else is -- or should be -- impressed with how smart we think we are?

People have things to do. They want to do those things, and their computers, phones, tablets, &c., are tools to that end. They are not, I remind you yet again and as always without any hope of seeing it actually sink into your bloody thick skull this time, not, an end in themselves -- not for anyone except people like you and me, who share the engineer's mindset which appreciates good technology for its own sake, and not purely for what it enables us to do.

There's nothing wrong with that mindset, of course -- but there's also nothing wrong with the rather more common disinterest in every aspect of technology except the capabilities it provides. If you think otherwise, consider: if everyone thought like you do, no one would need to pay you for making their stuff work, and you'd be out of a job!

You've got the same attitude as the Linux nerds do -- that is, you're so bloody impressed with how smart you are and all the things you can make a computer do, and you just can't understand why everyone else doesn't share that attitude and just fall to their knees and fellate you out of sheer untrammeled awe at your godlike capabilities and your high, unfurrowed brow.

That's the attitude behind the "Linux on the desktop" movement. And, of course, we all know what happened to Linux on the desktop, don't we? People preferred even Windows, which is embarrassing enough -- but then Mr. Jobs came along with BSD on the desktop, running Aqua, and just absolutely slaughtered the Linux-on-the-desktop partisans. He beat them like a big bass drum -- beat them so badly they still can't even talk about it, and he did it with a system whose cheapest iterations still cost half a grand!

And he beat them because he understood what you don't, and what the IT industry as a whole still hasn't come close to figuring out: No one cares how smart you think you are. People want to go about the business of their lives, and they don't want to have to rely constantly on some annoying geek like you or me to do it. Nor should they have to.

There are a few people in our industry who've figured that out, and by and large we tend to get the same kind of snide, dismissive response from our fellows that you've just given me here. And then you wonder why ordinary human beings can't stand us, without ever stopping for a moment to think that maybe, just perhaps, it could possibly be because of attitudes like yours!

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Silver badge

Re: I like to use my brain, and they just wont let me..

How will a clusterfuck of a channel-hopper help there? Several things I like might be on at once: even if it mimics my channel-hopping I'm still going to get fucked off by losing control. A telly I could shout at might be fun but not one run by HAL.

I have 12 channels on my favourites which is more than enough. After that you just get more of the same.

As for good use of technology: Google's self-driving cars are *infinitely* more impressive.

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@Charlie Clark: Interesting sense of priorities you have

You'd be infuriated by losing control of your TV remote, but don't mind giving up control of your car?

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Re: Dunno -- there's a point

Oh yes.

If I had to pick one thing which exemplifies what's wrong with Android, I'd look at USB support. Suppose you want to get pictures off your phone, so you plug a USB cable into it. Pop quiz question 1 - what's the first thing you need to do on EVERY Android phone? Yep, that's right, turn off USB debugging and turn on USB drive mode. Pop quiz question 2 - how many users have EVER needed USB debugging? Yep, that's right, down in the low fractions of a percent. Pop quiz question 3 - is is possible to make your phone default to USB drive mode? Congratulations if you answered "no" for the Samsung Galaxy Ace.

This is a shining golden example of what happens when engineers decide how a user interface should work. You end up with a total disconnect between "this is what works best for the few hundred people developing it" and "this is what works best for the few hundred million people using it".

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Re: Dunno -- there's a point

"Ice Cream Sandwich" is no more and no less daft than "Snow Leopard". They're both just names that mnemonics for "4.0" and "10.6" (respectively, of Android and Mac OS X).

As to the design stuff, well, yes. The object of all HMI work is to do what the users wants to do with the most intuitive interface and the least amount of effort, and provide just the right amount of feedback.

Some of Apple's products succeed very well indeed at that. Others, not so much,.

Which takes us to this bizarre patent. First, as I see it, it fails absolutely to qualify as something worth of a patent, on the grounds that (in the UK, at least), there are vast numbers of devices that do this already: the Traffic Alert system on an RDS-equipped car radio, that automatically retunes a radio to a signal designated as "more interesting" (i.e. a traffic alert).

Now, granted, the mechanism to activate the change is different (a "this is interesting" flag on a separate subchannel), and granted that his doesn't include local sources (i.e. MP3s) as a source of the signal to switch to, but between the TiVo "Suggested Recording" (which covers the "guess what you like to watch" bit) and the RDS (which covers the "switch to a more interesting show" bit, I'm not seeing a huge amount of originality.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dunno -- there's a point

Its obvious that Apple know what they are doing.

Unfortynately it's more obvious that the patent office don't know what they are doing.

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FAIL

Re: Yes, indeed, Steve Knox. And why not?

@Aaron Em,

Your history is failing. Mac OS X (non-server) debuted in early 2001. The earliest "Linux on the Desktop" punditry is probably no earlier than 1999... which is when Mac OS X (server) debuted.

BUT that OS X thing? Remember NextStep? Right.

The point is that there was never a time when Jobs/Apple were _not_ pushing a Unix-like thing on the desktop and anyone _was_ pushing Linux for the same.

Which makes you claim that "Jobs came along ... and ... slaughtered them" rather like the typical "Apple invented WIMP (and rounded corners)" claims, i.e. not entirely 100% conversant with truth or reality.

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Mushroom

Re: Dunno -- there's a point

Simply put...there is NO F'CKING need for this.

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Re: Dunno -- there's a point

So lets try USB on an iPhone... oh look you can't do it at all, you have to use iTunes, or a cloudy service. Dropbox is quite easy to use to move a file. No USB mode for iPod touch or iPhone.

And with my Nexus 7 I just plug it in, Unlock the screen, and it shows up in Explorer and I can copy what ever I want on or off. Developer options are off.

Add the esFile Explorer app and I can do it over wifi to a network share, Dropbox available here too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dunno -- there's a point

Really because my Android phone defaults to USB drive mode and not USB debugging. Indeed to Flash the ROM and various other tweaks I had to turn debugging on. I had to remember to turn it back off when I finished, but hey, how often are you unlocking a phone and flashing ROM's. What's this expensive piece of kit that was defaulted to the more obvious state of configuration.

My T-mobile Rapport, £40, new from Asda with 6 months free Internet connection!

OK it isn't the fastest phone, but it does what the name suggests. It makes telephone calls, sends SMS texts has various network utilities loaded and now supports Wifi, USB and Bluetooth tethering.

I can send/receive data/media over any interface the hardware supports without using a system dictated by the manufacturer. ie. No iTunes. It will easily connect to or be connected from any of my Windows, Linux or Mac computers. The SD card can be changed out for a new card so I can keep a perfect backup stored safely or replace for a higher capacity.

Hey it even connects to the TV in the kitchen, not by its built in iPod dock although there is a Nano sitting on that! but by that Standards compliant connector called Universal serial bus. Wow can I buy my wife some iEar-rings, I know I can get her some USB Ear-rings but with the i version they would be so much easier to use!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Charlie Clark: Interesting sense of priorities you have

Self driven Car drives where YOU want to go... Can take over if needed.

Self tuning tv, changes channel to what IT thinks you want to watch..

in Apple iCar destination chooses you

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dunno -- there's a point

What are you talking about Graham?

USB Debugging mode has NEVER been default on ANY Android device I have used, Older phones were USB drives (but this un mounted the internal SD as it had to to work..)

and with ICS, they have nice media or camrea device mode to switch into, and its ONLY Mac products that ever have any problem...

With Windows & Linux, they instantly detect my media device, and if I want I can switch to a camera device... (cant remember the acronyms)

Oh and windows & Linux BOTH allow usb tethering with NO additional software, so as it goes, iProducts Fail in universal compatibility...

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Trollface

Re: Yes, indeed, Steve Knox. And why not?

Wow. You read a lot into my flippant comment. But since you went to all that trouble to respond, I'll tell you exactly what's wrong with your response.

First off, you assume that I believe that computing devices are an end in themselves, which I have never believed. Then you attribute that absurd mindset to engineers,which I believe is an insult to engineers. The engineers I have known consider such technology tools, even such technology they have developed themselves. And all smart engineers know that one tool, designed to operate one specific way, will not work for everyone. There must be a variety of tools or a tool with a variety of options to fit everyone's needs and wants.

This leads to your second mistake: the assumption that, because Apple had a resurgence at about the same time that some stupid tech journos were claiming the year of "linux on the desktop" (for about 7 years straight as I recall), and that said claim never materialized, that Steve Jobs must have "slaughtered" the Linux-on-the-desktop advocates. However, the lack of a conviction, trial, accusation, or even a "could you come down to the station for a few questions" indicates that your alleged serial killing likely did not happen. Linux on the Desktop has not come about because it has never been a goal of the Linux community as a whole. Only a fool, or a stupid tech journalist, would think otherwise.

Third, you suggest that I want people dependent upon me for the everyday use of their computing devices. Frankly, I'd prefer they let me alone to do my actual job, as it's more than enough to keep me busy. Nine times out of ten, I do the following when I get a call for a simple issue: wait 20 minutes. Eight of those nine times, the person who called me has figured it out for themselves by then. The remaining two times I work with them, rather than for them, to ensure that they don't need any assistance from me in future.

Finally, you missed my entire point. I appreciate the goal of keeping things simple and easy to use. Nothing infuriates me more than a non-intuitive interface. But in my experience, Apple has been very schizophrenic on this front. For everyday, run-of-the-mill use, their interfaces are pretty intuitive. But for anything more, heck sometimes even if you want to just sort a list in a different order, the interface either becomes cumbersome or the task may even be impossible. Not because such an interface is not possible, but apparently because Apple's designers just never thought anyone might want to work that way. And therein is the unspoken problem: intuitive is a subjective term. Apple would have you believe that it's a fact of their design, but it's not. Everyone intuits in a different way.

There are VERY few people in our industry who've figured that out, but those of us who have aren't about "how smart we are" or "which OS is the best". In fact, we tend to make short, flippant comments on those subjects. We're about choice -- oh, and about having a sense of humor and humility as well.

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Re: Dunno -- there's a point

Nice troll! I suppose tomorrow you'll switch "iPod touch" around with "Android" and "Ice Cream Sandwich", and change "Linux geek" to "Apple fanbois" just to see which post gets the most downvotes!

Gads! Now you've got me trolling! Good show, Sir!

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Trollface

Re: Dunno -- there's a point

And Microsoft has always been to make you hurt. After all if your computer is easy to use and reliable you don't become a REAL man!

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Anonymous Coward

@ Graham

You are incorrect regarding USB support on Android. I am sitting next to four people using Android devices who in addition to me have never had the issue you describe.

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Silver badge

Re: Thanks, jbernardo!

No, in this instance you are a putz. I hate smart phones. Probably because the process for configuring the BB and iPhones at work is such a shambles. But the Droid I bought about a year back was painless to configure for email. And after I configured Facebook, picked up all those contacts too. Maybe 5 minutes a piece on them including synch time.

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Joke

Re: .there is NO F'CKING need for this.

Sure there is: pharma haven't come up with a chemical version of SOMA yet, so we need a virtual one instead.

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Re: Dunno -- there's a point

"Of course it is. Apple's design philosophy has always been about making its users think as little as possible."

Whats wrong with that :-D

Do you really want to use your brain while using a TV or mobile phone? instead of using your brain to use the services on top (such as apps or media)

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Trollface

Only an idiot would think there's no way to by pass it or that it wouldn't just pop up a suggested show to switch to.

Not surprising most people commenting think that.

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FAIL

@toadwarrior

Knowing Apple, no there is not going to be a way to disable this.

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@JarekG

"Knowing Apple, no there is not going to be a way to disable this."

Yes there is...don't buy the damn thing in the first place.

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Do not want.

First they collect all this profile into about you. They would never use/sell it for another purpose would they?

All the media has to be tagged so it can know what it is. How would this work for Radio? Internet radio maybe but not FM.

As others have said what happens when there is more then one person? Maybe they will patent a remote with a finger print reader, so the one holding the remote gets to watch what they like (Wow, just like now!).

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BBC R4 Today this morning

There was this 'futurist' (Mike Ryan, the founder of Fusion Futures - but it may well have been Steve Bong in disguise) proclaiming that we won't have TV channels and that our viewing will be determined by our 'friends' on Twitter/Facebook whatever. He was gently chided that coverage of the Olympics or the FA Cup probably won't be by hand-held phone cameras, so maybe that will need to be an exception.

Available to listen again here (0821 on the running order)

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TRT
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Windows

In a way...

It's nice that it'll watch all the other channels for me and warn me that there's something I'd find much more interesting than, say, Deal or No Deal, on one of the other channels. Something like a Horizon I hadn't seen that I'd be kicking myself for missing if I'd left "Jason & The Argonauts" on in favour of nothing better being on at the time I'd checked the guide.

But I bet they can't get it to work. I've turned off genius and all the other social networking crap in iTunes because they're useless.

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Killing radio

I read an opinion piece from the man who used to be head of the BBC's innovation area (I think he was the man who took iPlayer to market, can't remember exactly). Anyway, he knows his shizzle, and this is being discussed on a respected media website:

http://www.mediauk.com/article/34058/new-apple-patent-could-kill-commercial-radio

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Killing radio

Yep, just like PVRs killed commercial TV with their ability to skip through adverts. Oh, wait...

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