* Posts by Quentin North

59 posts • joined 30 Nov 2007

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Turn-by-turn directions coming to Ordnance Survey Maps

Quentin North

Other products are available

Galileo and ForeverMap on iOS both provide OS levels of offline mapping and in the case of ForeverMap, route planning too.

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Apple's Swift creeps up dev language survey – but it's bad news for VB

Quentin North

Language bias becaiuse internets

The issue I would have with this survey is that it is biased towards languages that are common for internet software development and therefore posted up on Gthub etc. If you took a look at much commercial software you might find a good level of use of older languages such as C, COBOL, PL/SQL, and even old 4GLs like UNIFACE and Pro-IV. In scientific computing you will find FORTRAN still in use.

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'Why don't you buy from foreign sites?' asks Commish, snapping on the gloves

Quentin North
Thumb Down

Re: I think I can see where this is going...

I take exception to your characterisation. The commissioner is not a "silly hag", which is a subjective, offensive and derogatory personal insult based on sex. This has no place in a civilised comment or discussion.

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What’s new in Office 2016 for Mac (and why it doesn't totally suck)

Quentin North

Outlook 2016 still fails

I have had the outlook 2016 beta for a while and it still fails compared to outlook 2013. Calendar still doesn't properly look up user names from AD but just shows the standard email format name and you still can't get the at a glance summary of today's activities with diary events and tasks on the right sidebar of the Mail window. This latter point is a real shame because it is a really useful feature of the outlook for windows UI. If it still uses EWS it will probably regularly orphan repeating calendar entries too. I'm still living with that legacy of Entourage, a truly shite piece of software.

That said outlook 2016 doesn't suffer from the annoying greyed out flags in compressed view that outlook 2013 does. A nightmare if you are colur blind because you can't tell red from grey.

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Major US news organisations to develop ROBOT JOURNALISTS

Quentin North

20 minutes into the future

Max Headroom

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Headroom:_20_Minutes_into_the_Future

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First look: Ordnance Survey lifts kimono on next-gen map app

Quentin North

Galileo on iOS

Galileo on iOS provides OS maps fairly effectively and overlays Open StreetMap with offline cacheing and this is fine as far as it goes. As I have a canal boat, route planning for canals would be ideal with journey times including locks and notices of canal closures. Unfortunately the C&RT who run the canals stopped providing their useful plot your route and download a PDF service and I have yet to find a decent mapping app that will let you route plan canals apart from as a series of waypoints the same as walking.

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30 years ago today, the first commercial UK 'mobile' phone call was made

Quentin North

Oh no it wasn't.

It's possible that this was not a commercial offering, but I sat in a car in Milton Keynes in 1981 and made a mobile phone call to the USA, so this 1986 date seems all wrong to me. From memory the phone I used was a true cellular car phone with a numeric keypad, single line numeric led display, and a diplexer and tx gear in the boot. Prior to this the company I worked for had Aircall radio phones, but they required the user to request the operator to make the call and patch it through.

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We can change a bit from 0 to 1 WITHOUT CURRENT, say boffins

Quentin North

Core store!

On a very small scale. And without the electrical overhead.

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Microsoft drops early Chrissie pressie on Mac Office fanbois

Quentin North

In business, no one can hear you scream.

As a large organisation with a mix of PC and Mac desktops Outlook 2011, and God forbid!, Entourage have been dismal failures as Exchange clients compared to Outlook Windows. The tweaks to Outlook 2011 does little to improve this. Forget it.

We also have Outlook 2015 Mac through a O365 sub, and whilst this is an improvement on Outlook 2011, it is still sufficiently far from Outlook Windows that its utility is second class. I am hoping that MS will address the shortcomings of Outlook 2015 before formal release and so make it 100% feature comparable with Outlook Windows, but I won't hold my breath.

You might ask why we use MS products in general, Exchange in particular and O365 subs? In short, because they are generally good products that require fairly minimal attention once set up and there is a large pool of people who can support them when they go wrong. For a business, renting software can make more sense.

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Judge spanks SCO in ancient ownership of Unix lawsuit

Quentin North

Xenix

Wasn't Xenix in the mix here somewhere? I think Microsoft produced that about 1980 and this was some of the basis of the MS FUD campaign around SCO Unix and Linux.

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Buy Your Own Device: No more shiny-shiny work mobe for you

Quentin North

Actually nothing very exciting here

This just looks like a SIP based cloud PBX service charged on a per user basis. Lync, or any number of PBX suppliers like Aastra or Unify, will do this for you and a whole lot more.

I wish the MNOs would bring back the old dual number services that Orange used to have a few years ago. I get a iPhone from my work, who pay for calls and data, but I don't want to give up having a separate personal number so I still have an old Nokia for that. I know I could go dual SIM on an 'droid phone, but Im a fanbois who doesn't want to pay Apple or Samsung prices.

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Microsoft jolts awake, remembers it still makes Office for Mac

Quentin North

Outlook in 2011 is truly rubbish, but not as rubbish as Entourage was - that was useless rubbish.

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Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook

Quentin North

Re: Tim will be remembered for allowing Yosemite on his watch

Eve in the UK, most people would pronounce Yosemite to rhyme with might.

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HP to shutter webOS cloud services

Quentin North

Palm V

Never mind WebOS, Ive still got a Palm V, and for what it was intended to do I still think it is the best little PDA you can get.

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IT crisis looming: 'What if AWS goes pop, runs out of cash?'

Quentin North

Wouldn't it be funny if...

Amazon was to go bust and Apple bought the whole lot.

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Fake tape detectors, 'from the stands' footie and UGH! Internet of Things in my set-top box

Quentin North

Re: Law abiding Mongolians

Looks like a big market for knock off DVDs in Africa.

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OwnCloud: Fiddly but secure host-from-home sync 'n' share

Quentin North

Wuala

In the EU if you require good privacy you might consider www.wuala.com which is EU hosted and provides client side encryption.

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Finally, a USEFUL smart device: Intel boffins cook up gyro-magneto-'puter bike helmet

Quentin North

Divers

Already wear computers that tell them all that information and more including gas mix etc. They don't usually play music or record video, though.

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GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?

Quentin North

Sounds like packet radio to me

Sound alike old-skool VHF packet radio with the GoTenna acting as a TNC & BBS. This was being done in 1980. Nothing new here.

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US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe

Quentin North

I can't see this lasting because of the termination fees. Unlike in the US, where the call receiver (also) pays, in the EU the call maker pays. If they are offering 200 mins of calls to landlines as well as own network, each call will loose money.

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AV for Mac

Quentin North

Sophos AV works well, but there is a performance hit

We use Sophos AV and it works well. There is a free version for home use. As with all A/V there is a performance hit but on new Macs, especially those with SSDs, you won't notice it.

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US DoJ to appeals court: Haha, no, seriously – Apple totally inflated ebook prices

Quentin North

Re: Irony

Agree, the timing is impeccable. If Amazon did not own the market in the way they do at least there could be competition in book prices and availability schedules to consumers.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/28/amazon_hachette_profit_margin_dispute/

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Amazon turns screws on French publisher: Don't feel sorry for Hachette, it's just 'negotiation'

Quentin North

US Justice dept is responsible IMO

If the US Justice had not found that the publishers were colluding when they did their deal with Apple, Amazon would not be all powerful now and there would be competition in the market place (albeit a duopoly). Unfortunately, now it is only Amazon that can dictate terms to publishers.

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EBay, you keep using the word 'SECURITY'. I do not think it means what you think it means

Quentin North

Data Protection Act and Information Commissioner

It seems to me that this is a data breach and eBay has a registered office in South West London. Can the ICO take action if we make a complaint?

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Rival BT sics ad watchdog on EE: ASA growls at 'most reliable broadband' claim

Quentin North

pointless ASA ruiling

After all, these are always post-hoc. The ad went out, many people received it and some of those that received it bought EE. The market share was won. The fact that the campaign was misleading is irrelevant as far as EE is concerned, they were never going to use it again anyway.

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Chap rebuilds BBC Micro in JavaScript

Quentin North

Elite

Elite is a joy to behold in its 8-bit glory, or you you could get on the latest Elite redux bandwagon for a mere 100 quid, https://store.zaonce.net/elite-dangerous-cat/elite-dangerous-premium-beta.html

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Europe's shock Google privacy ruling: The end of history? Don't be daft

Quentin North

Google is allowed to display anything it wants, all this has done is given individuals the right to request that it be taken down and that request will (usually) be decided in a court who will balance the right of the individual against other rights and entitlements of society in general. It will make no difference to search results except where a specific case has been heard in court or through an ICO panel and decided upon.

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BEAK DRONE: 1080p HD Wi-Fi quad-copter by Parrot takes to skies

Quentin North

Drive the competitor prices down

If it helps to drive down the cost of the DJI Phantom 2 Vision + that would be a good thing, but as it stands I don't think the BeBop would make me change from opting for a Vision + over this.

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Suffering from IPO interruptus? Perhaps your Box is full of the same soap as the others

Quentin North

Niche market

You can niche market a commodity to make it profitable. For example, most (all?) cloud providers today are US companies. There has in recent weeks been issues about data protection for European data on US company cloud services. Even if the data centre is in the EU the company HQ is in the US and subject to US action. This is a BIG deal for the public sector which is legally required to ensure personal data is not exported outside the EU. This means I can't provide Dropbox or Box or AWS to my organisation until we can be certain that US action will not seize cloud stored data which in my organisation frequently includes personal data. Therefore a niche player who HQ is in Europe and provides a Dropbox/Box like solution could sweep up in the public sector.

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Source code for world's first MUD, Essex Uni's MUD1, recovered

Quentin North

THIS is the reason you need a Dec 10

I played MUD (& VALLEY, if any remember that) starting in 1980. It was available on Essex DEC-10 and then later I recall it appeared in Oslo for some reason I never knew. I made it to Wizard level in MUD by scripting a terminal client to solve the Crown in the Swamp puzzle gaining the maximum points each game reset.

So, if you had the source how would you run it today? Well, you will need a DEC-10 running TOPS-10 and IIRC an MDL compiler, although I might be confusing that with Dungeon, either way not particularly common today were it not for the SIMH project that can simulate a DEC-10 and recently has got TOPS-10 up an running. Not sure about MDL though.

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YES, new Office for OS X is COMING, says German Microsoft bod

Quentin North

Outlook is the MS USP

Today I use Outlook 2010 on a Mac with Parallels. I do this because as a desktop organiser it is one of the best and Mac Outlook 2011 falls woefully short of the desired functionality and reliability. Sure, the Mac has separate Mail and Calendar clients which are fine, but for serious business use Outlook 2010 trumps the lot. The key USP for Outlook 2010 for me is the combined Inbox, with folder tree left sidebar and upcoming appointments and tasks on the right side bar in a single window. You can't beat that at a glance integrated view. The "My Day" app on Mac is shite. A case of too much adherence to Mac UI guidelines which say everything should be in a separate window. Usability wise, it does not work. Bring Outlook 2010 to Mac for 2014!

Word, Powerpoint and Excel? They are convenient I could live without them. I would like to see MS Project back on the Mac. I had this on a Mac under OS/9 and OS/7 in both 68K and PPC forms, so the code is around somewhere.I would also lie to see Sharepoint WebDAV support Macs too. In this day-and-age I find it incredible that you can't have a filename that starts with a "." or contains special characters, and the total path string length must be less that 255 characters. What year is this, 1984?

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Barclays warns freelance techies of DOUBLE DIGIT rate cut

Quentin North
Go

Banks don't understand IT staff

In my experience, IT contractors with Banking experience are always in demand and IT staff are generally quite intransigent on principle. if there is sufficient rage IT staff will just quit to spite the organisation that chose not to recognise their value. Could be a difficult time for Barclays IT systems ahead with the result that Barclays will have to spend money on attracting new contractors and probably offer higher rates to attract them.

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Virgin Media's flaky broadband network turns Bolton off

Quentin North

EE/Orange/T-mob is just as bad

In Brighton the EE/Orange/T-Mobile gsm network has been broken for about 2-3 weeks now and the problem is spreading. You can't even report the problem because the you can't phone support and the only other way of reporting a problem to EE is to write a letter by post, no web form or email support. When will these companies employ competent engineers and provide decent service?

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Apple plans to waggle iNormous 4½-incher in fanbois' faces

Quentin North

Stupid

Im a self confessed fanbois, i have been an Apple owner since 1979, but if Apple do this I think they are losing their way (but not of the first time).

Apple's USP, if you like, is not that it follows market demand (thats what Lenovo, Samsung, HTC etc do) but that they create market demand. The iPod and the iPhone show this. Sure there were similar products before hand, but the market exploded when Apple led the market to them. The same could be said of WIMP interface on computers. Before the Lisa and Mac, nobody knew they wanted one.

To start to become consumer led is to lose your lead, and that, for Apple, is a dead end. They will never compete on price and they are not commodity mass market producers. I foresee a repeat of the Scully 90's coming up, with failed attempts to licence products or services to OEMs and little innovation from Apple themselves. Sell your stock now.

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IBM's Watson-as-a-cloud: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's another mainframe

Quentin North

The ultimate jeopardy answer to life the universe and everything.

42.

Now, Watson, what is the question?

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

Quentin North

Simple smartphone in 1983 based on a PC1500

IN about 1983 me and a friend put together a Sharp PC1500, serial interface, home-brew CUTS modulator and a VHF Amateur radio to build in software and hardware what we would today call a simple smartphone. THe software allowed you to view diary entries and read simple messages (email was not a common term back then). The modulator and Radio communicated back to a base station made up of an Apple II plus another CUTS interface, two VHF radios (for voice duplex) and a Hays compatible modem card supporting 1200/75 Prestel standard. The modem had been hacked so the Apple could switch the audio input and out of the modem to the radios. This allowed the PC1500 to have data communications with the Apple II for the purposes of exchanging messages and calendar events with other users and also route voice via radio to a telephone line to allow for voice calls which could be set up by the PC1500 or using the DTMF keypad on the VHF Radio (a Yeasu FT208 for the interested).

At the time I thought it was pretty neat and showed it to some people who then introduced me to some folks from BT Labs and they showed me something called a cellular telephone in a car. Shortly after that I gave up on my little homebrew efforts as clearly real people were way ahead of anything I was going to achieve.

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If you want an IT job you'll need more than a degree, say top techies

Quentin North

Re: The first hurdle....

Head of IT for a medium sized organisation with 5000 staff here.

First don't ever lie on a CV about qualifications, HR (the automated systems that are used for recruitment nowadays) always ask for an official transcript before appointing. Second, when I do recruit I always say "degree or equivalent such as demonstrable progression within the field of work". THis allows my recruiting managers to be more interpretive of the evidence presented by the applicant. Finally, keep your skills current; IT is a rapidly changing and complex industry, working on the internet in the 90's and being a top dog with Perl, gopher, WAIS and the like is about a useful to me as a horse and cart. Doing a part time degree or post graduate course in your 40's will show commitment to your work related personal development and update your skills.

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PC addict RM finally quits its building habit, plans to axe 300 jobs

Quentin North

Re: Maybe they could learn something from the Raspberry Pi back-to-basics approach

You had a Pet 2001?! Such luxury, I had an ICL 1904 and punch cards when I was at school. It used to take a week to get back a printout that said "Syntax error in line 10"

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Royal Mail FAIL as web brokerage Hargreaves Lansdown struggles with investor demand

Quentin North
FAIL

"loss-making postal service"?

In your text you state "government prepares to privatise the loss-making postal service. " This is incorrect. According to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24294745 "Ministers are privatising the business when it is making over £400m in profits"

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'WTF! MORONS!' Yahoo! Groups! redesign! traumatises! users!

Quentin North
Facepalm

Yahoo may be crap, but it was reliably crap. Now its broken crap.

Ive stuck with Yahoo for mail, notepad and groups since, oh I dunno, about 2001. The classic interface (read: ancient) was crap, but here is the rub: it worked reliably even when you were on a pentium PC connected to the internet via a satellite link running from a generator. As I happened to find myself in that sort of situation fairly often that was its great advantage. it did not use much javascript, did not do anything cleverly in the background, would work just fine on a WAP phone over GPRS (remember them?), and handled mail and notes just fine. Sure, I am probably not a regular consumer, but the "web app" approach of Gmail and the new Yahoo just sucks as soon as you are on low or delayed bandwidth, so much that they are unusable most of the time. Its a shame they didn't keep a "Classic" option and the drive to a dynamic interface seems to be entirely about advertising and marketing metrics rather than better service. If there was a basic web mail left somewhere on the web I would probably go with that now. Now there's a thought, perhaps I shall build it and some may come...

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Google chap reverse engineers Sinclair Scientific Calculator

Quentin North

Divide by zero

Pleased to see that the emulator has the divide by zero bug, although does not emulate it correctly. Divide by zero was possible on the Sinclair scientific resulting in the display of a count down or general numerical iteration. From memory this never stopped until you powered off, but the emulator seems to reach an input state after a short series of iterations.

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Vietnamese city drinks the smart city kool aid

Quentin North

Good for offshoring

A while back I visited Vietnam looking at the country's IT Services sector and I was pretty impressed. There is a strong service sector providing everything from IT development and operations outsourcing through to complete business process outsourcing. Vietnam has a young population who are all well educated, and the country is focusing on growing this sector. Most speak good business English and the IT skills are very high. Certainly this is a good alternative to Philippines and India for outsourcing, with lower labour costs and arguably better quality.

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Asperger's and IT

Quentin North
Trollface

Ironic

Of course, the description from the Wikipedia article is not quite correct. The symptoms it describes include physical clumsiness which is a product of a similar condition called dyspraxia. Also, Asperger's Syndrome is no longer a recognised diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders version 5 (DSM 5, the latest version).

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Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop hailed oddest book title

Quentin North
WTF?

this is nothing compared to last years winner

The brilliantly titled Cooking with Poo

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17560468

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Truly these are the GOLDEN YEARS of Storage

Quentin North
WTF?

Core!

I remember when all application data was stored in non-volatile memory for processing. Back then it was called a Core Store. Perhaps someone will re-invent backing store sometime soon.Drums anyone?

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Einstein almost tagged dark energy in the early 1920s

Quentin North

Dark energy

There is some real dark energy in that tag, dude!

Tags: Erwin SchröDinger

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Microsoft bod dreams up 'Star Trek holodeck' games console

Quentin North

But what about the Windows?

How would this system cope with Windows? I mean the see-through type that cant easily be projected on. Of course, it could be a BSOD.

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Lords call for the end of TV transmissions

Quentin North

Who pays?

Setting aside the technical and capacity issues possibly arising from using what is, essentially, a point to point communications channel for broadcast purposes, the key issue with this for me is who pays for delivery?

In TV over the air broadcast, setting aside the UK licence fee as a contributor to cost, the broadcaster pays for delivery through contracting transmission services. In the current model of either cable TV or internet provision the customer pays for delivery through cable on ISP fees. It would seem to me that such a shift to wired provision only would end up transferring the cost of delivery to customers and away from producers. This seems like a bad idea to me as a consumer of TV, and an especially bad idea for people with low incomes, such as pensioners, who currently get TV delivery free of any charge. Even if there was a universal service requirement this would not be without a significant cost per home which must be met somewhere whilst with over the air delivery it is negligible.

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Seize your moment, Microsoft: iPad is RUBBISH for enterprise

Quentin North
Go

iPads in the enterprise

We use iPads in the enterprise here, but they are used as an adjunct to desktop/laptops not a replacement. For example, at meetings we all bring iPads now and make notes on them and read documents on them. We also use iPads (and smartphone, a mix of iphone or android) for telephony using softphone clients.

I agree that an iPad will note be used for writing that 20 page tender document or for complex budget forecasting, but it is used to distribute the documents and viewing wherever and whenever needed.

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Insider cuts into Apple, peels off Intel Mac OS X port secrets

Quentin North
Thumb Up

Before PPC there was 68K

For those of you who go back far enough you will recall that the PPC to Intel migration was not the first time Apple had changed platform with minimal disruption. Prior to PPC being the processor of choice all Macs were based on the 68K chipset and when Apple introduced the PPC processor they included a pretty decent 68K layer in the os which allowed old applications to still run. In fact 68K support was still in Mac OS X right up to 10.4 if I recall correctly. The original term "fat binary" derived from having 68K and PPC in one application package, feature made possible by the use of the Mac OS resource fork file structure.

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