* Posts by Joe Gurman

160 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007

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Earth wobbles on axis as Google rebrands

Joe Gurman

Alas

Yet another serif logo goes the way of all print, Helveticalized to the point of inhumanity. A logo for machines, read by machines. Time for the cyberlizard overlords.

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Jailbreaking pirates popped in world's largest iCloud raid – 225,000 accounts hit

Joe Gurman

A linguistic/numerical question

Perhaps usage is different in the UK than here in the US: How can one call 225,000 jailbreakers out of over 300,000,000 iPhones in use worldwide (and that's a two year old figure) "popular?" Jailbreaking iPhones may be popular among the author's friend, family, and.or acquaintances, but on this side of the big blue salty, fewer than one in a thousand is not what we would call "popular."

One might even call it "niche." Or in this case, toast.

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Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate

Joe Gurman

Except that....

As interesting as Mr. Orlowski's presentation of the report, and the principles underlying them, may be, a theoretical net neutrality or its impossibility is obfuscation: what most people mean by the term is not countenancing deep-pocketed players' doing better than stochastic usage would predict, all the time, while the rest of punters always do worse. Would Mr. Orlowski feel less aggrieved I f we pushed our glued-together, Coke-bottle lensed glasses higher up on our noses, adjusted our pocket protectors, and held up banners demanding a statistically fair network, where Netflix, Amazon, and each of has the same expectation of latency and bandwidth as a fraction of advertised "up to" values?

If nothing else, one of the principal advocates of net eutrality has been Google, er, Alphabet, not a firm known for the liberal arts (as we call it in the States) background of its senior management.

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Joe Gurman

Poor analogy

A better one would be, "Imagine a UK motorway system where only vehicles belonging to major, international corporations could use the highways your taxes paid for, and you were forced to use one-lane roads with no passing places."

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Embracing the life-changing qualities of USB power packs and battery extenders

Joe Gurman

Clearly, it depends

On how much you use your mobile, whether you're near cell repeaters or on the fringes of the coverage area, and whether you work in a place with WiFi. For what it's worth, my LTE smartphone has an 1810 mAh battery, and usually lasts three days, unless one or more of the above "normal" conditions in my life is missing.

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NASA dismisses asteroid apocalypse threat

Joe Gurman

As long....

....as Batman and Nucky Thompson go with Mr. Willis, we'll be OK.

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Mathematician: SUNSPOT DROUGHT will mean mini ICE AGE from 2030

Joe Gurman

The "little ice age" was a lot longer....

....about 300 years by most definitions; by contrast, the Maunder minimum was ~ 75 years in duration.

Wake up call for Northumbria U. press hacks: correlation does not imply causality. if it did, then warming of the terrestrial troposphere (the little ice age started much earlier) caused the Maunder on the Sun. D'oh.

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Lizard Squad kid bandit who did 50 THOUSAND HACKS dodges cooler stint

Joe Gurman

Re: "Who fancies a lynch mob?"

"It's a fair cop, but society's to blame." "Agreed. We'll be charging them, too."

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Joe Gurman

Not even a slap on the wrist

Is the concept of community service known in Finland? Better he spend his time cleaning trash off roadsides, or babysitting, or cutting down trees, than being monitored while his hand get clammy for th keyboard.

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Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment

Joe Gurman

Proof needed

Has it been proven that anyone besides Apple, and maybe Samsung, have actually found a way to make money making smartphones?

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Han Solo to get solo prequel flick in 2018, helmed by LEGO men

Joe Gurman

No matter how many times....

....the Soviet Encyclopedia is edited, Han shot first.

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Get READY: Scientists set to make TIME STAND STILL tonight

Joe Gurman

Re: Phoenix

Arizona and Hawai'i don't go on summer (daylight savings) time, primarily for astronomical and economic reasons having little to do with golf courses. Arizona, for instance, is economically linked to neighboring California, which is one time zone to the west. Hawai'i is at such a low latitude that there isn't much summer-winter variation in day length.

Indiana used to make DST a local option, so suburban counties near Chicago could match its time, while downstate farming counties could stay with something closer to mean solar time. In 2006, they switched to everyone following DST, but placed some counties in the northwest (Chicago suburbs) and southwest parts of the state in the Central time zone.

Oh, and the huge Navajo reservation in northeastern Arizona (as well as parts of New Mexico and Utah) does observe DST.

It's a big country,

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Joe Gurman

Re: A single, consistent time standard... where?

There is one. It's called TAI, the French acronym for International Atomic Time, which ticks on, oscillation of cesium atom by cesium atom, until the last syllable of standards-keeping boredom.

Why we think human-usable time standards have to be that uniform, and not include leap seconds, is probably based more on shoddy programming for those GPS/GLONASS/Galileo systems than actual issues. At my shop, we've been dealing with leap second jumps in the UTC - TAI offset for 21 years, with no problems of which I'm aware. And there used to be more frequent leap seconds. Guess the earth's rotational slowing down is slowing down.

As for GPS satellites traveling in different directions, don't worry; that's all in the time standards calculation.

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Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

Joe Gurman

Not just scientists, of course

Even respected industry analysts, including one who eventually headed Compaq back in the day when it was a big deal in the industry:

http://www.benrosen.com/2011/10/memories-of-steve.html

From: Benjamin M. Rosen

Subject: 30 years later -- from Ben Rosen

Date: June 4, 2007 9:06:02 AM EDT

To: Steve Jobs

Hi Steve,

When you created and then showed me the Apple II in late 1977, little did I know how much it would change my life -- to a much more exciting one.

Well, after a 20-plus year interlude with that other OS (necessitated by my Compaq involvement), I thought you'd be pleased to know that for the last few years I've returned to my roots. I'm once again an avid Apple user and evangelist.

Imagine, Ben Rosen, former Compaq Chairman, now a Mac enthusiast!

Warm regards,

Ben

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What an eyeful: Apple's cut price 27in iMac with Retina Display

Joe Gurman

Not likely

I don't.

In a small Mac shop (seven users), one person here uses Windows. That doesn't qualify as "everybody," and of course they do it because some corporate drones but "solutions" for timekeeping &c. that only run on Windows – despite corporate policy that all Web apps must run on Windows, Macs, and Linux.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Good idea

The iMac comes with two internal connectors: a SATA one for and HD (or a brave user-supplied SSD) and a sort-of proprietary one for PCIe flash memory (https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/PbQAPKwGOYbMTIqh) – using "SSD" to refer to only standard form factor devices. Apples uses both, of course, to implement its "Fusion" hybrid drive.

Unless the third-party SSD comes from Angelbird (an Austrian firm that appears to have filched Apple's secret TRIM sauce), enabling TRIM involves modifying a kext (driver) that gets replaced every OS upgrade — and interferes with upgrades.

For those (such as the gentle readers of this site) who are not frightened by a command line interface, booting into single-user (text interface) mode on a Mac with a third-party SSD will perform TRIM when you issue an "fsck -ffy" instruction. This is not such a great imposition, though, because most TRIM work occurs on SSDs when the system has been largely idle for a while.

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BRAIN STORM: Nine mislaid cerebra found near railway line in New York

Joe Gurman

Re: It wasn't zombies who left them...

Abbie, Abbie.... Normal.

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NASA snaps first full family photo of Pluto and its five moons

Joe Gurman

The heliosphere

Since "heliosphere" refers to that part of space which is primarily influenced by the Sun's stellar wind and magnetic field, New Horizons has never been anywhere but the heliosphere.

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Apple Watch is like an invasive weed says Gartner

Joe Gurman

Re: Before it kills again

My, we do have issues, don't we? No one's forcing you to buy or use their kit, are they?

People with money burning holes in their pockets will determine whether the Watch, or the MacBook, or whatever the next piece of  bling will sell, not the tech- and business-savvy readers of this site. While it may cause heartburn to the readers, I'm going to take a wild guess, based on not on southern US nuisance plant analogies, but past performance of both sales and stock price, that Apple will continue doing quite well for a while. People buy the stuff because (for whatever reason) they like the stuff. A company that sells stuff people like will usually do well. Nothing to see here, move along.

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America was founded on a dislike of taxes, so how did it get the IRS?

Joe Gurman

Each state differs in how it bases its property taxes

Outside of the Bay Area join California and few other tho property markets, the annual property tax on anything short of a real mansion is much less than $14K.

In most states, the rate is something on the order of 1% of assessed values, with assessments being arrive out every three years based not he sale prices of similar homes in the area. If house prices have dropped precipitously, as they did in the US after 2007, one can generally apply for a reassessment, which if granted, results in much lower tax bills.

Many states also have "homesteader" rules, that prevent the absolute rise in property tax bills from exceeding some percentage (say 10%) if you've lived in the home for a few years.

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Joe Gurman

Nail -> head - missed totally.

I paid off my mortgage in the US 12 years ago, and still enjoy police and fire protection, the higher property values that come with a decent if not stellar educational system, a good public parks and recreation system, and a public library system. And they even occasionally patch the potholes on the roads. They can do all that because other homeowners and I pay our property taxes. Time for some people to grow up and realize their homes would be worth nothing if they lived someplace where no one could afford to pay the property taxes (q.v. Detroit).

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Joe Gurman

Except.... wrong.

People left Detroit because jobs in the city and in towns adjacent to the city vaporized as the automotive industry packed up and left for overseas and non-unionized or less unionized ares in the American South. They couldn't afford to pay property taxes, or keep their homes from falling apart, because they had no money. The city would have been bankrupt and empty regardless of its sources of income because no one could afford to live there who needed a job to make ends meet.

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Joe Gurman

Speaking of myths

A lot of people, including David, appear to have been taken in by the Tea Party (the political organization paid for by some very wealthy people indeed) and their cant about the US being founded on a dislike of taxes. The American Revolution started as a reaction against actions taken in Council with no representation of the taxpayers (In the Colonies) upon whom the tax acts were being levied.

In some colonies, such as Massachusetts, where the spark finally hit the powder, the residents could elect their own legislature, which had the power of taxation. The colonial taxpayers may have grumbled about those taxes, and for all I know about the rates each town imposed on its residents (including tithes to support the local Congregationalist minister), just as everyone everywhere grumbles about taxes, but it never rose to the fervor of hatred and resistance to the Acts passed by the North government (the "King's party" at the time). And the tax on tea at the time of the Boston Tea Party was totally negligible.

I don't know of kids in UK schools are taught about the American revolution or not — obviously few here are, or retain what they've been taught — but to claim the American Revolution was about a dislike of taxes is like saying WW II came about because of a strenuous disagreement about how the name of the city of Gdansk's name was spelled.

I know it doesn't fit with the Marxian theory of revolutionary classes to claim that a class could be revolutionized by an argument over constitutional principle, but in fact it was.

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The Walton kids are ABSURDLY wealthy – and you're benefitting

Joe Gurman

The argument went awry

....when it shifted from net wealth to the ability (and desire) to buy Chinese-made tchotchkes.

Perhaps, to compare apples with similar fruit, we should compare what the Waltkiddies will have as disposable wealth when they retire with what the workers or unemployed in the lowest n% will have --- which would be, as you imply, a fairer comparison. I contend it would be worse than the current comparisons, given the inability of most working Americans to save anything for retirement beyond their Social Security income benefits, which were taxed out of their paychecks (and which the wealthy, if they pay at all, only pay on the first $117K or so of earned income). Why do they have no savings? They wanted their kids to go to university, and all universities use a federal formula for determining who "needs" financial aid.

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NASA probe sent to faraway planet finds DWARF world instead: Pics

Joe Gurman

Re: Clyde Tombaugh

Mr. Tombaugh died in 1997, so if he's looking back, it's from very far away indeed.

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Bonking with Apple is no fun 'cos it's too hard to pay, say punters

Joe Gurman

Re: I'm puzzled by these attempts.

Yes, you're missing something here. Since Apple implements Apple Pay only in those phones/tablets with Touch ID, unless your phone is stolen by German computer enthusiasts with a large supply of Gummi bears and access to your thumb, the thieves can't use Apple Pay with that phone.

Was this survey in the UK or US? I've had no trouble with Apple Pay so far, other than the limited number of actual shops with the right kit to accept it. And every merchant I've used it with has offered a paper receipt.

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Dear departed Internet Explorer, how I will miss you ... NOT

Joe Gurman

In the US, at least, Spartan suggests a once popular brand of prophylactic. At least they didn't call it Trojan, which is still on sale here.

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Doh! iTunes store goes down AFTER Apple Watch launch

Joe Gurman

Pretty much says it all.

Mr. Munroe nails it, as usual:

http://xkcd.com/1497/ .

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A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Joe Gurman

Almost accurate

Exct that companies with high market caps plus a pile of cash have a very easy time indeed borrowing money, as Apple has done.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Not a universal view

This comment is spot on, and the article is written from the viewpoint of the "power" (or is that "nerd?") users who actually do employ multiple laptop ports at once, and carry around the mess of cables, mains adapters, and USB peripherals that reflect that usage – but not from the vantage point of the target audience.

You've probably never seen the target demographic, US college students, in their native environments. They charge their laptops overnight, and don't even take their chargers to class/library with them. They use a multi-gesture touchpad, not a fussy and old-fashioned pointing device like a mouse, and they never, ever bring USB cables with them. (Ask campus tech out if you don't believe me.) They pop their laptops in rucksacks, and that's it. And a startling percentage of them already have MacBook Airs, so this is aimed at the same demographic.

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'Camera-shy' Raspberry Pi 2 suffers strange 'XENON DEATH FLASH' glitch

Joe Gurman

Re: Bizarre, but in the interests of science...

Sorry, but I must cry "Bollocks." Surrey satellites are protecting their chips from energetic particles (e.g. in the Van Allen belts around the earth); the protection from light could be accomplished by something much flimsier. My guess is that the packaging of the chop is to some extent permeable to UV or EUV light, with an energy (h*nu) similar to the work function of the semiconductor.

And by the way, lead make a terrible energetic particle shielding: it spells more secondary ions than it stops primaries. Indium or tantalum, that's yer stuff.

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Smartphones merge into homogeneous mass as 'flagship fatigue' bites

Joe Gurman

25%?

Are we looking at the same statistics? http://www.statista.com/statistics/263401/global-apple-iphone-sales-since-3rd-quarter-2007/

There have been a raft of articles bemoaning the fact that a solid percentage of people who get Android smartphones in the US do so because the phones were pushed (often with very deep discounts) by the mobile provider on customers who have no need for, desire for, or understanding of smartphones --- as opposed to iPhones, which appear (on the basis of mobile-based sales, clickthroughs, app sales, and general LTE usage) to be used 3 - 4 times more than the average Android smartphone. Literally Apples and oranges.

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Apple CEO: Fandroids are BINNING Android in favour of IPHONES

Joe Gurman

Landfill

"Where Apple is still not playing is in the low end market, with nothing to challenge the Landfill Androids"

Erm, did you not read the rest of the financial statement, say the part where the gross margin, across everything the Cupertino Fruit Factory makes, is 39.9%? And according to various "analysts," would have been as much as 5% higher had it not been for the recent nosedvies of various non-US currencies? If Mr. Rockman knows how to achieve that kind of margin on burner phones, I will be posting a check for his next startup tomorrow.

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You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

Joe Gurman

Erm....

Got my first iPad in March of 2011. On an iPad Air (first gen.) now. Guess I'm just a stupid wanker, because I haven't gotten bored yet. Most useful computing device I own or use.

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The Reg's review of 2014: Naked JLaw selfies, Uber and monkey madness

Joe Gurman

US retirement age

There isn't one. People Larry Ellison's age could have retired with nominal Social Security income assistance when they were 66, but the could also have retired with demographically reduced payments as early as 62. The payments max out for those who retire at age 70; no adjustments after that.

Still, it's hard to believe Socisl Security figures in Larry's financial plans even at his reduced compensation. I suspect his gardener makes considerably more than the US$30K a year or so Larry will get from Social Security when he decides to retire.

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HP breaks for Xmas week - aka 'staff hols' - source

Joe Gurman

Fairly traditional practice

Large firms in the area such as Lockheed Martin have been doing the same for decades. Ironically, those who have work on mission proposals to NASA, which are often due just after New Year's Day, end up writing on their holiday leave, and the company gleefully saves the cost of bid and proposal work.

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Apple v BBC: Fruity firm hits back over Panorama drama

Joe Gurman

It's nice....

....to see someone holding Apple's feet to the fire, even if it's easy to take a pot shot at the biggest target around. Imagine if they'd found a large tech corporation without an activist policy to reduce and monitor labour abuses in its supply chain.

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Assange's WikiLeaks: Give generously this Xmas – for STATUE of our DEAR LEADER

Joe Gurman

A statue of Assange?

Good to know London's pigeons will not go homeless.

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Oh BOY! The MICKEY MOUSE Apple Watch is no heart-throb

Joe Gurman

"More money than sense"

Odd, I always thought that applied to anyone who voluntarily coughed up their own cash to use Windows. Value for money and price are rarely correlated one to one.

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Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs

Joe Gurman

Top heavy?

Why would the descending booster be top-heavy? Surely all the weight would be in the remaining fuel and oxidizer, which is at the bottom of the respective tanks, and the motors themselves, which are at the very bottom.

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iPhone sales set to PLUMMET: Bleak times ahead for Apple

Joe Gurman

Apples to Apples

Just to keep the comparison on par, the 2015 January - March quarter is Apple's fiscal year 2015 second quarter. In 2013, Q2 iPhone sales were 37 million units; in 2014, Q2 iPhone sales were 44 million units. In what way is 49+ million units bad news? According to the arithmetic I learned during the late Jurassic, that's an 11% increase over last year, if it indeed comes to pass. Do you know any business, anywhere, that would be unhappy with an 11% increase in sales in their historically worst quarter of the year?

To get a better grip on the "analysts" who predict doom and gloom every quarter for Apple (c'mon, they've gotta be right soon for later, right?) see Macworld's Macalope column almost every week for an hilarious collection of poor prognostication, e.g.: http://www.macworld.com/article/2061188/macalope-stories-we-tell.html .

And Apple retail Store employees will continue having to make do with ramen noodles, unless they have a second job. Shareholders, on the other hand....

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SCREW YOU, net neutrality hippies – AT&T halts gigabit fiber

Joe Gurman

Not going to happen, but....

....not going to happen with a Republican Congress, but this would be the perfect argument for liberating Gbit Internet from the private corporations and making a massive public works project out of it. Worked for the Interstate highway system.

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LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 – dual SSD sizzler

Joe Gurman

About those ports....

"The RD MacBook Pros have two Thunderbolt 2 ports and, just to make the point, the Mac Pro has six of the blighters although it’s likely several will be taken up for DisplayPort monitor duties in a video editing suite."

Even though Thunderbolt 2 aggregates two 10 Gbit/s channels into a single 20 Gbit/s one, according to Wikipedia, "Intel claims Thunderbolt 2 will be able to transfer a 4K video while simultaneously displaying it on a discrete monitor." Well, maybe not read it at quite 1375 Mbyte/s = 11 Gbit/s, but close.

So there's very little hit in putting even a Thunderbolt 2 RAID array in the same daisy chain as a (single) monitor. You could even do it on a late model Mac mini, which has two Thunderbolt 2 ports.

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Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

Joe Gurman

Re: Bad Apple

Really much simpler than that: Apple sells nothing else that can drive this display, yet. Look for the feature to reappear when they do.

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Apple, Google take on Main Street in BONKING-FOR-CASH struggle

Joe Gurman

Well, there's this

Maybe in the UK, there have never been any card info harvesting exploits, but here in the backward, as yet card chipless States, there's a continual litany of Target, Needless Markup, Home Depot, &c, &c. handing over millions of customers' PII to "resellers." If MCX in fact requires bank account access and Social Security Number, Apple Pay is better for my primary concern: not sharing personal financial information and possibly access to my bank account with criminals. All the other considerations are invisible, compared with that. I hope Google and other competitors offer similar anonymization of credit transactions, and will happily dig for my phone in my trousers pocket every time I purchase something to insure that level of security. And unlike chip-and-pin, I can use Apple Pay online as well without worrying about interception of a PIN or password.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Plenty of retailer incentives for MCX

"What exactly is the incentive for consumers to walk around with a phone in their pocket when there are payphones everywhere?"

In what country, or perhaps what time machine, was this written?

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City council thinks what we're all thinking: 'Comcast is terrible – and NOT welcome here'

Joe Gurman

There's a "New" in that England

Outside of Vermont, which has a couple of French names (such as Montpelier), New England place names are a nice mix of UK and native American. In Maine, there's Portsmouth and Bangor, and Wiscasset and the Kennebunk River, for example. In the Dorchester Lower Mills neighborhood of Boston (Massachusetts) where I grew up, the river a couple of blocks away is the Neponset.

And here's to the Worcester (MA) City Council, for representing the concerns of its constituents, rather than the money of a corporate monster.

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Protesters stop ground breaking on world's largest telescope

Joe Gurman

Re: Once again...

I wouldn't put it down to religion. Shaking down the haoles who want to build telescopes on the tops of sacred mountains for cash and government support of their organizations is pretty much a Hawai'ian tradition, at least for part of the native-Polnesian population. This, of course, is after the local university ecologists have shaken them down for environmental impact studies.

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I sold 10 MILLION iPhone 6es at the weekend, says Tim Cook. What did you do?

Joe Gurman

Re: If my company sold 10m on Saturday

Don't know about the UK, but in the States, many, if not most people who have any Samsung phone have it because their carrier subsidized the purchase to the point that the phone is at least $100 cheaper than a comparable iPhone. Nothing much to do with features or Android vs. iOS.

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Joe Gurman

Enjoy my 6 so far

A big jump from an iPhone 4, and had decided the only way I could stuff a 6 Plus in my Levis' pocket horizontally was if I wanted to extract it with a forceps. I like the fingerprint recognition, and am looking forward to ApplePay. Presumably Android and others will have similar implementations down the road, but a payment system that involves neither physical cards nor merchants' access to my PII is A Good Thing.

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