* Posts by Steve Todd

1961 posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

FORCE Apple to support BlackBerry hardware, demands John Chen

Steve Todd
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Erm, wrong

Net neutrality is nothing to do with terminals or client systems, it is about the flow of data over the web (and how no ISP should throttle or impede trafic based on failure of the provider to pay a premium).

You can't use it as a stick to force Netfix et al to write software for your crappy platform, but you can use it against your ISP if there IS a Netfix app and they throttle it while pushing their own streaming video service.

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Virgin, Qualcomm, back 600-satellite space internet plan

Steve Todd
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Re: Latency?

That's because existing satellites are in geostationary orbit, much higher up at about 22,000 miles. A ping therefore requires a round trip of at least 88,000 miles (up to the bird, down to the ground station, to the server, back to the ground station, up to the bird and back to the sender), or about 1/2 second latency at the speed of light. This is reduced to a minimum of 3000 miles (of about 16ms) with this system

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Steve Todd
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$2bn in launch costs

Assumes $10,800 per pound to launch, which isn't unreasonable. SpaceX are aiming to get costs below $1000 per pound, so my guess is that they will get most of the work launching clusters of satellites at a time.

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Apple v Ericsson: Yet ANOTHER patent war bubbles over

Steve Todd
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Re: Strange how fruity patents are so valuable

Still not grasped the difference between FRAND and normal patents then? If a company wants to get one or more of their patents included in a standard then they must commit to licensing them under FRAND terms (Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory). If they do this then the fee per use they can charge tends to go down, but the number of items using it goes up so they can make good money from the licensing.

Ordinary patents carry no requirement to license and no fee structure. A company doesn't have to license them, and can charge whatever they can get away with if they do. Apple didn't want to license out its patents in the cases you've heard about, hence they were asking for more in infringement costs. They do however take part in a number of other patent pools (like h264) where they have contributed and get paid on FRAND terms.

Typically the Apple patent arguments have been over whether the patent owner can charge their fee on the radio element of the design, or on the whole RRP of the phone. Most companies get their licenses for GSM/LTE from the baseband chip manufacture included in the price of the chip, i.e. a few bucks per phone in total.

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Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

Steve Todd
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Re: electricty is so clean right

1) Most countries use a mix of nuclear, conventional and renewables. The cleaner the mix the cleaner the electric car is.

2) Improving the mix makes any existing electric car better. Petrol/Diesel engines never improve other than by replacing the vehicle.

3) EVs are a great way of soaking up surplus power from renewables when they are on stream, you store the energy in the battery, and many EVs make for large scale.

4) The pollution happens at the power station, which can be out in the countryside, rather than in the middle of a city, where it is bad for the health of those living/working there. Its also easier to clean up emissions in a large scale fixed plant than in the exhausts of thousands of mobile IC units.

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Steve Todd
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Re: It didn't change my mind

Take a look at the following review from Norway. A US spec Model S (no cold weather mods) driving 270KM in the snow, fully loaded, while climbing 800M on the way and not driven gently, managed it without a recharge. I'm not saying that there is no effect on range, but it has been rather over stated.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ5PqPeOPT0

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Steve Todd
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Re: It didn't change my mind

Given that the Tesla S is the best selling car in Norway I think you'll find that your estimates on the effects of cold weather on the batery pack/range are a little out.

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Got a 4King big TV? Ready to stream lots of awesome video? Yeah, about that…

Steve Todd
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Re: 15 Mbps is not enough

HEVC is more efficient than H264, which is how they can fit 4K into a 16K stream. If they were still using H264 then yes, it would have been crap at that bit rate.

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Samsung’s SUPER-speedy SSD is a real power-sipper

Steve Todd
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Re: And again !!!

I hate to break this to you, but these will never go in phones. They're too big, too high power (they need > 4w at full chat) and use the wrong kind of interface (PCIe rather than ONFi for example). These parts are designed for laptops, and possibly at the outside desktops.

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Toyota to Tesla: we can play the free patent game as well

Steve Todd
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Re: Could be useful

You give up if there's a less dangerous, cheaper alternative available, yes. Hydrogen is a bad fuel, not because there isn't a lot of it, but because it's expensive to provide in a form suitable for transport, is hard to contain and is prone to combustion or explosion over a wide range of concentrations. All it is in this form is a modified version of a battery car (you still need a battery for fast demands and to store breaking energy), but one that has limited refuelling options and a long history of industrial/transport accidents.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Could be useful

A large tank isn't the trivial job you seem to think (low energy density, high pressure). You've also got the problem of de-gassing if you want to do any work on it (hydrogen permeates into metals and an empty tank can ignite if it hasn't been de-gassed).

The battery powered car can however have more efficient batteries fitted as the technology improves (the original Tesla Roadster is being upgraded from a 50 to a 70kWh pack in the same space, add a couple of aerodynamic enhancements and they are claiming a 400 mile range on a charge).

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Steve Todd
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Re: Could be useful

You CAN refuel an electric car in a matter of minutes (faster than a petrol car even) by dint of swapping the battery pack. What's more the hydrogen fuel cell is bad at soaking up instantaneous changes in demand, so you need a battery pack in there also to cope with this. The result is a complicated, expensive, dangerous system that has no advantage over batteries except as far as the fuel companies are concerned.

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Cambridge boffins and Boeing fly first hybrid airplane over British skies

Steve Todd
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Re: Oh what sillyness

With current AVGAS prices being about £1.80/litre then even small aircraft burn about £35 of fuel per hour of flight. Fuel is a significant cost, and if they can figure out how to reduce that then I'm in favour.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Take off energy...

You need the power for climbing. At some point you leave the runway and start heading upwards. The sloaped runway doesn't help with that part, and depends on the wind being in the right direction. It also makes takeoff and landing more tricky (and yes, I've flown in and out of airfields like this).

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India's heavy launch rocket passes flight test

Steve Todd
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Re: Nobody here but us nitpickers...

Like the shuttle these boosters are strapped to a liquid fuelled core. They should be able to detach the boosters in case of problems, or detach the crew module from the rocket. Solid boosters are comparatively cheap and reliable, but they do tend to have high vibration levels which is the main issue when using them in man-rated flight.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Nobody here but us nitpickers...

Erm, the shuttle used 2 solid boosters, as does the proposed SLS replacement. Solid boosters are not a new thing in man rated launches.

4,000Kg to geostationary orbit or 10,000Kg to LEO is however only a medium launcher, not a heavy. The SLS will launch up to 130,000Kg to LEO, and the Falcon heavy can manage 53,000Kg.

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The STEALTH Plug-in Hybrid: Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

Steve Todd
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EV charging is a good way to soak up unused off-peak capacity and power from renewables. The power packs are also good for stabilising domestic power and providing backup when they reach the end of their useful life in a car. We could switch about 1/3 of the vehicles on the road to electric with no changes to the current infrastructure.

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Microsoft: Hey, don’t forget Visual Basic! Open source and new features coming

Steve Todd
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Re: No need to move away from VB

Have you missed out on the facts that

1) They both compile to MSiL.

2) Microsoft have opensourced both?

I agree with the OP here. Back in the days of VB6 it was the red hair'd stepchild of MS's language family. With VB.NET it's fully as capable as C# and has some advantages (I prefer the HANDLES keyword to adding delegate methods to events in the form initialisation code for example)

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DEAD STEVE JOBS accuses Real Networks of 'hacking' iPods

Steve Todd
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Re: Huh?

@ForthIsNotDead - you're welcome. Often these things aren't as cut and dried as people try to make out. Apple aren't saints, but an understanding of why they've done something often reveals the reason not to be as bad as as being portraid.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Huh?

You've got that the wrong way around. Imagine you are a company selling music players. A competitor finds a security hole in your software's DRM scheme that alows them to sell DRMed music to your customers. They pay you not a bean for this. You have promised the music labels that you will keep the DRM secure. Should you be forced to break your word to the labels and lose profit to your competition, or can you fix the hole?

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Dead Steve Jobs to give iPod MP3 evidence from beyond the grave

Steve Todd
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Re: "Thousands of iPod owners re-bought their existing collections..."

No, they could load unprotected MP3s, AACs, ripped CDs etc onto an iPod without problems. The class action was brought because other companies (RealNetworks in particular) wanted to be able to use FairPlay also, but Apple wouldn't license it.

At the time ALL legal digital download sites used DRM of one type or another, and you couldn't move DRMed downloads between manufacturers (or groups of manufacturers) players. In April 2007 Apple went DRM free with EMI's catalog, and across all publishers in January 2009. People who had bought the DRMed version could get the DRM free version for an upgrade price. At that point they could transfer their purchases to any player that supported AAC (part of the MP4 spec).

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Steve Todd
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More to do with

Preventing competitors from hacking in to Apple's FairPlay DRM system. They could sell un-DRMed music and the iPod could play MP3 and MP4/AAC, as well as WAV format, added to a user's iTunes library without problems.

If they wanted to sell DRM'd music that would play on the iPod they had to resort to tricks and hacks to get that to work, and being blocked from doing that is what they are claiming was uncompetitive.

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Sinclair is back with the Spectrum Vega ... just as rubbish as the ZX

Steve Todd
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Re: Indiegogo Warning

I thought that initially, then I looked at the people running the company and I recognised them from back in the day, so I have a reasonable degree of confidence that they will do what they say they will. It does seem to be a software emulation on a 3 chip ARM board, but it looks practical in both cost and technogy.

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Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids

Steve Todd
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Re: Small, sturdy phone to fit in my back pocket

As opposed to communism, where you'd have a choice of one phone the size of a brick that didn't work properly?

There are plenty of different phones out there in assorted sizes and shapes. Do some research an pick the one closest to your needs.

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iPhone sales set to PLUMMET: Bleak times ahead for Apple

Steve Todd
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Since they only sold

51 million phones in the Christmas quarter last year, and 43 million in the first quarter of this year, then my guess is that they will be laughing all the way to the bank, and that times will be far from bleak. Does Hammil ever stop trying to predict Apple's doom from any report he can lay his sticky little hands on?

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Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

Steve Todd
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Re: Theft

The first GUI and mouse was created by Doug Engelbart at SRI International (go look it up if you like),

The whole "Apple stole the GUI from Xerox" myth is debunked here http://obamapacman.com/2010/03/myth-copyright-theft-apple-stole-gui-from-xerox-parc-alto/

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Steve Todd
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Re: Theft

It's amazing that so much wrongness can fit in one post.

Woz built blue boxes for phone freaking, Apple didn't try to sell them.

Xerox didn't invent the GUI, and Apple licenced what they had done (and then added a shedload of stuff to make it into the modern GUI that you'd be familiar with).

Apple didn't claim to invent the touch screen phone (I remember using HTC units branded as XDAs here in the UK years before the iPhone), what they did was to invent a GUI that worked on a multitouch capacative screen, on a small, compact, easy to use phone. There's a big difference between pre and post iphone smart phones, and even the Android development team admitted that.

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Adobe appoints former Reg man as open-source chief mobile lead

Steve Todd
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Target the platform the paying users are on

That's why Photoshop et al were provided for OS X/MacOS for so long and not just Windows. There were lots of Mac users who were prepared to pay Adobe money for the product.

Winging about Android outnumbering iOS devices ignores the absolute number of users on each platform who may be prepared to spend money on Adobe products. There are demonstrably more PAYING users on the iOS platform (many of the Android devices are cheap throwaway things that either won't run their software or the owners wouldn't consider using it), and it takes less work to develop for so it gets preferential treatment.

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BEHOLD Apple's BENEVOLENCE! iMessage txt BLACK HOLE finally fixed

Steve Todd
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Not quite true. Press and hold on a blue message that hasn't been received and it gives you the option to send as SMS.

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Steve Todd
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Um, no

The text app on an iPhone checks to see if the contact you are sending to is on iMessage and sends via TCP/IP if they are. If not then it goes the SMS route. Nothing is intercepted and you can still chose to override iMessage and send as SMS.

Messages sent via iMessage are shown in blue, SMS in green, so you know how the message was sent BTW.

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Apple on the art of the deal: 'Put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement'

Steve Todd
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Re: Two sides to this

Neither side is dead and they are both holding guns (admittedly GTAs is smaller caliber)

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Steve Todd
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Two sides to this

The Apple documents that were revealed at the same time show GTA repeatedly failing to hit targets that should have caused Apple to withdraw financing earlier. GTA over promised and under delivered, then acted all hurt and surprised when Apple refused to keep funding them.

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Apple strap-on wristjob: You WON'T be able to spend more than $5,000!

Steve Todd
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Re: Hmmm choices choices....

It's already been stated, several times here and by Apple, that the case is solid gold, not plated. Unless you're hard of reading then it is obvious that the eBay price will never be £20. Is that clear?

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Steve Todd
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Re: Hmmm choices choices....

Pure gold is currently selling at about £23/gram. If the gold Apple Watch weights in at only 50% heavier than a Moto 360, and only 50% of that weight is the gold, then that's about £650 in gold on today's market. Unless world prices crash there's no way that it will be worth only £20 in scrap.

Put it another way, try shopping for a plain gold ring, then tell me there's no way that something as light as a watch will have a significantly expensive amount of gold in it.

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Apple patents AUTOGRAPHS. Checkmate, eBay

Steve Todd
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He's not dead yet. Suffering a form of dementia yes, dead no.

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DROIDS - everywhere! Is Apple really even in the game any more?

Steve Todd
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The problem with that theory is that devs make more money for less effort on the iOS platform, so it is still most often the first platform that an app is developed for (most devs actually want to make money from their code). Until the stats swing dramatically against that then you're not going to get the VHS/Betamax effect.

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Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2

Steve Todd
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Re: What about the VAT?

If one VAT registered company, within the same country, sells to another, then they can reclaim the input VAT (i.e. the VAT they paid for it), meaning that the company personally only pays VAT on their markup rather than double or tripple charging the tax. Ordinary members of the public pay the full amount.

Between two EU states companies EXPORTING goods don't charge VAT (and can reclaim any VAT paid), while the IMPORTING company pays local rate VAT on the goods when they arrive. Whichever way you look at it, the local government gets its full VAT amount paid on the final retail price, but that amount may have been paid by several companies in the sales chain.

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Steve Todd
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Re: What about the VAT?

Just who is it who has no idea how VAT works?

VAT is pan-european. All EU states charge it, it's part of how the EU is funded. It is charged at the local rate for the seller, the seller being Apple UK in this case, on the full cost price of the item in question (clever tax tricks on transfer pricing have no effect on the end user price).

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PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY

Steve Todd
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Still refusing to admit

That its a 1GB download, not 5GB I see Jasper.

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SHOW ME THE MONEY! Ballmer on Amazon: 'They're not a real biz, they make NO cash'

Steve Todd
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Re: Anyone care to explain Ballmer's math? look at GE...pt.2

Your problem would appear to be in believing Forbes, who don't seem to be able to read a balance sheet. Last year they only paid $600+m in income tax as they took a write-off on operations they closed down. The year before it was $2.5bn.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Anyone care to explain Ballmer's math? look at GE...

I don't know what you think you know about GE, but they reported a profit last quarter of $3.6bn (up 6% year on year) and are running with a PE of a little less than 20. They may pull accounting tricks to minimise taxation, but they need profits to pay dividends, and all of the Dow Jones members pay a dividend (GE giving the third highest yield in the index).

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Netflix and other OTT giants use 'net neutrality' rules to clobber EU rivals

Steve Todd
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This is all part of the myth that ISPs are trying to spin

The likes of Netflix, Amazon etc pay for their internet connections and content delivery. They want to peer at public exchanges, and certainly in the case of Netflix, provide free caching hardware to reduce the amount of public trafic. They pay to deliver the data to the public exchange, the ISP pays to take it from there to their private network (which is what their customers pay them to do). Netflix is open and upfront about this. It says on their web site, in black and white, that they will only engage in private peering in limited circumstances.

Net neutrality is nothing to do with this. ISPs are allowed to manage data on their network. What they are not allowed to do is unfairly prioritise data based on payment by the content provider.

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iPad Air 2: Vulture chews on new Apple tablet

Steve Todd
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Re: Brighter screen, smaller battery?

Bigger battery = bigger charger or longer charge time.

The charger is already at the limit of what USB is designed to deliver (2.4 amps @ 5V), so longer charge time. The iPad Air already takes the thick end of 4 hours to charge off of this higher power unit. Most PCs don't deliver the power to charge them in under 8 hours.

Bigger batteries aren't always the best solution.

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Forget the $2499 5K iMac – today we reveal Apple's most expensive computer to date

Steve Todd
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Re: any single computer ever really had the impact of the Model T

The IBM PC was a terrible hack. Expensive (£1700 for a basic 1 floppy machine with 64K of RAM and a mono monitor), slow (being bested by a 2MHz 6502) and hard to program (16 bit segment registers anyone?). Only the IBM name and the open design saved it. Modern machines are more closely descended from workstations of the time, every part of the original ISA has been replaced with something to fix the original hacks (often several times).

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Steve Todd
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Re: This may be true in America

The closest thing to the Apple I in the UK would be the NASCOM I from 1978, two years later. Sinclair also produced the MK14 in 1977, but that had a hex keypad and a calculator display.

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Steve Todd
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That's like saying that Henry Ford wasn't important because Karl Benz invented the first automobile. Wozniak was the first to create a single board design that incorporated all the key elements (keyboard controller, CPU, RAM, ROM and video controller) onto one board. This lead to the microcomputer boom of the 80s.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Does it still work?

That was part of the reason it fetched such a high bid. It works and has been recently tested. It's very clean and still has all its original components. Whether or not the museum will risk running it is a different question.

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Really... an iKeyfob? Apple continues war on fanbois' pockets

Steve Todd
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Re: It's an Apple car patent

Who said that they have no intention of using it themselves? They may or may not decide to make a product using it, depending on how well development of the idea progresses and market demand. They may decide to licence the technology, make it part of a standard or keep it for themselves. Whatever they do, they have a patent for a particular method, not all possible methods of doing something. Existing keyless entry systems don't invalidate the patent IF they work in a different way, and this patent doesn't prevent anyone from creating a different way of doing the same thing.

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Steve Todd
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Re: It's an Apple car patent

I don't think you understand the definition of a patent troll. A patent troll is a non practicing entity (ie. they don't make anything) that makes money purely by asserting patents, normally that have been purchased rather than developing them themselves, and only when they have been incorporated into a successful product.

Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM and pretty much any tech company you care to mention are continually generating patent, many of which will never make it into actual products. Some of them (Microsoft and IBM for example) make considerable money from licensing, but this doesn't make them patent trolls.

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