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* Posts by bygjohn

193 posts • joined 19 Feb 2008

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MAC TO THE FUTURE: 30 years of hindsight and smart-arsery

bygjohn

Re: Nobody remembers Bill Gates saved Apple

Except OSX isn't based on BSD: it's based on Mach with some BSD-alike bits.

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Facebook fans fuel FAGGOT FURY firestorm

bygjohn

Re: This is disturbing

ISTR reading somewhere that the use of "faggot" as a hate term comes from the gay people they used to burn as a preliminary to burning witches.

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Don't crack that Mac: Almost NOTHING in new Retina MacBook Pros can be replaced

bygjohn

Re: It dissuaded me

Actually Mavericks and Mountain Lion before it won't work on plastic MacBooks from early 2008, due to the integrated graphics no being able to handle everything that these later OSes offload onto the graphics processors.

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Decks and plugs and rock and roll: Tascam CD-A750 cassette and CD combo

bygjohn

Re: Dolby

Actually, the problem with Dolby C was that to work properly it needed the deck to be set up properly.

I was lucky enough to have a local hi-fi shop run by a man with all the right test gear, who'd do a set up for £25: even a cheap deck on cheap ferric tape was transformed. He later has the boss of Aiwa visit after showing a rep how badly their machines were set up out of the box and convinced him by making a set up sub-£100 deck sound better than an out of the box flagship model. Said boss went back to Japan, tightened up the quality control, and when I bought a posh 3-head Aiwa a couple of years later it didn't need setting up as they were doing a proper job at the factory.

NB this was when Aiwa were Aiwa, and not just a badge for cheap Sony kit.

Dolby C on such a machine was waaaaay better than B, and HX (which was some sort of sliding bias thing) helped even more. I never heard S in action, but I think C is much-maligned due to poorly set up hardware.

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Björk gives up trying to Kickstart Android music app

bygjohn

Re: So in summary

There's lots of professional music stuff on iOS, from synth/sampler/sequencer packages (NanoStudio), multi-track recorders (Multitrack DAW, FourTrack), full-blown combinations of the two (GarageBand), MIDI controllers, DAW controllers used in conjunction with software on a laptop, effects apps etc. Often with associated hardware, eg mics, line-in and instrument adapters, pedalboards, you name it. I've even heard of a setup using two iPads and CAT5 to replace hugely expensive multicore cable for the stage/mixer link for PA work. And you may have noticed one act during one of the Olympic ceremonies using three iPads. Most of this stuff works better on the iPad's bigger screen, but lots of it works on the iPhone/iPod touch which is handy for those uses for which you used to use a PortaStudio.

Not to mention the zillions of virtual instruments which are more on the entertainment level, eg the marvellous Pocket Guitar, which really has to be on a phone-sized device for you to play it.

Time to get that imagination of yours working a bit harder :-)

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Apple releases fix for iPhone 4S iOS 6.1 connectivity cockup

bygjohn

Re: missed point 4: shoddy Apple software.

Except this problem has been with the 4S which fixed the antennagate problem: the 4 (which had the antenna problem) is fine by all accounts.

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Apple confirms 128GB iPad. A hundred bucks for an extra 64GB

bygjohn

Re: Otherwise the specs for the 9.7-inch tablet and its Retina screen remain the same

Thing is though that with the iPad you'll get to use most of the 128GB (and likewise with an Android tablet when fitted with that amount of storage). With the Surface a great chunk will be taken up with system stuff.

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‘Anonymous’ hacks Oz Uni’s email to protest bulk iPad buy

bygjohn

Re: They're not free

The thing that Apple have and that Android doesn't (yet) which is attractive to education is the authoring tool iBooks Author, which allows academics to generate their own multimedia course materials which can then be pre-loaded onto the devices. Similarly Apple have the tools for large institutions to develop custom apps and load them onto the devices. It's more than just the devices themselves, it's the whole package.

Universities in the UK are experimenting with similar projects, though as far as I know only on a small scale/pilot basis so far, particularly for distance learners.

Marketers can then add the iPad provision in as a recruiting tool as a side effect, but it's the other stuff that currently is giving Apple the edge.

Naturally nothing is stopping anyone from developing similar tools for Android. For all I know, they may have done it already, but if so they aren't as widely known. Apple's stuff is however, and increasingly is being used.

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Start the clock! Public sector web MUST be disabled-friendly by 2015

bygjohn
Stop

Re: Not just for the public sector?

The way you're carrying on anyone would think it was hard to do an accessible site. Really, it isn't.

Granted the W3C haven't helped much with the latest accessibility guidelines: the version 1.0 ones were much more clear and concise, and could be summarised in a simple checklist.

Most of this stuff is basic good design or UI design, eg making sure the text is large enough and has enough contrast, avoiding things which flash or move about, making sure you use ALT text for images, including using empty ALT tags when the image is just eye candy that conveys no information etc. Using headings properly and meaningful link text (eg no"click here" nonsense) is also just good practice/style anyway.

As others have pointed out, well designed accessible sites also tend to work better on mobile devices (without the need for a separate mobile site), so it tends to be win-win all round, apart from for some designers who are addicted to miniscule text and colour schemes with inadequate contrast.

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Apple iPad Mini 8in tablet review

bygjohn

Re: No GPS on the WiFi model

It's not mentioned because that's been the case with all iPads since they came out, likewise iPod Touch v iPhone. Really, it's not news: the GPS bit is part of the 3G chipset (AIUI), so if you don't have the 3G bit you don't have the GPS.

If you want to use a wifi iPad for navigation, though, there are bluetooth GPS adaptors available, which compensate for not being built-in by using their own power so they don't drain the iPad's battery. So there are options.

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Google urged to rethink mobile in crunch EU antitrust talks

bygjohn

Re: err...

Surely the OP's point was that this is a US term that has to be explained as you have just done, whereas if the article used the clearer UK term, no explanation would have been needed.

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Mac-based Trojan targets Uyghur activists

bygjohn

Uyghurs and Macs

One possibility is better handling of non-western fonts, which I've heard has been increasing the Mac's popularity in Asia generally.

A quick Wikipedia lookup reveals that Uyghur can be written in any of four different alphabets (modified arabic, modified cyrillic, modified latin and latin, roughly), so presumably good font handling is essential.

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Apple, publishers and ebook pricing – what does it all mean?

bygjohn

Re: Reader hardware and ebook formats

Print publishers are like the movie industry: they have learned nothing from the music industry.

Eventually the music industry had to go with selling music without DRM in standard formats that will play on just about anything (MP3, AAC, FLAC etc). Did the apocalypse happen? No.

The movie companies still don't get this: if what you're selling is crippled so it doesn't meet your customers' needs, it won't sell. Especially if you're gouging them on price, too.

The print publishers are even more behind the curve. At the moment they are selling something people don't want to buy because what's on sale is crippled and not future-proofed. If they drop the DRM (which then makes format less of an issue as it can be converted if necessary, but ePub and Kindle formats are well documented and most readers could be made to read both) and drop the prices, suddenly it becomes too much like hard work to root out hooky versions, and they might actually sell some stuff...

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Publishers fork out $52m in Apple ebook pricing settlement

bygjohn

Re: What about formats?

KIndle formats are reasonably well documented and if not DRMed easily converted to ePub or whatever your reader/reading software can use.

Even DRMed Kindle files can be transferred to the Kindle app on a myriad devices including Apple ones and Windows PCs.

So it's less the format per se, more the DRM which is the problem.

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The iPad 3 would make me so horny...

bygjohn

Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

Dunno about the rest of it but iOS has PDF viewing built in. Likewise most office document formats and a whole bunch of media file types.

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Arcam rDock

bygjohn

Comparison with Pure i-20?

Has anyone auditioned both, particularly using the internal DACs in both units?

You'd expect the Arcam to sound better, but the Pure is amazing for the money (£80-ish).

For anyone who's unfamiliar with it, the i-20 is a similar device, ie takes the digital stream out of the iPod and either outputs analogue through its own DAC or outputs SP/DIFto your DAC of choice.

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New iPad: The only review roundup you'll ever need

bygjohn

Re: Mashable

True, but they do have the purchasing oomph (due to volume) to be able to buy those parts for less, which makes it hard for the competition to compete on price for a similar spec and still make any profit. Hence you either get cheaper but not as good or similar but more expensive.

Does make them a tough act to compete with.

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Apple to kick start 'iTV' production in Q2

bygjohn

Re: old enough to remember....

It was only ATV in the Midlands. Other regions had different franchise holders, eg Granada in the north west.

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bygjohn

Re: This seems odd, to me.

At the risk of going slightly off topic, the iPod Hi-Fi is much maligned.

I bought one after comparing it to a range of other speaker docs and at the time it was (to me) the best sounding and actually capable of producing a stereo sound stage. The Klipsh one sounded slightly more "natural" on acoustic material but the stereo was non-existent.

My guess is they stopped making it as it had done its job in creating a market for upmarket speaker docks, some of which probably do sound better, but ven now its several years old mine still sounds pretty amazing for a one-box system.

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Apple wants ebook price class action suit thrown out

bygjohn

Re: Never mind eBooks

To expand on KroSha's post:

Music: Or buy MP3s from any online store that sells them and import them to iTunes. I have barely bought any tracks from the iTunes Music Store, but loads from Amazon and eMusic, both of which have handy download applications which automatically sync the downloaded tracks into iTunes. Nobody's forced to even buy downloads from Apple.

eBooks: Not only the marvellous Calibre (with a range of iOS eBook readers available to read the results), but you also have the Kindle app if you want to buy from Amazon, plus the Kobo app, plus Bluefire reader (possibly others) for any ePubs using Adobe DRM and Overdrive for "borrowing" ePubs from libraries. You can avoid both Apple and Amazon if you want with no problem.

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Microsoft denies report of Office coming to iPad

bygjohn

For most iOS users the functionality is already covered, so there's little point

Thing is that unless you really need every bell and whistle of the full suite, or are working on very complex documents, there's little point now in having MS Office on iOS.

Apple's ported the iWork apps, there's QuickOffice and Documents to Go, several other similar suites of varying capability, plus access to Google Docs and the web versions of MS Office.

iOS comes with file viewers for MS Office files built-in, used by Mail and a plethora of other apps.

With all those options, most people who want to view or edit MS Office documents on their iOS device have already found something to do it with.

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Cambridge Audio iD100 hi-fi dock

bygjohn
Happy

Cheaper alternative...

... but not as substantially built is the Pure i-20, about £80 from Amazon. Does the digital passthrough to your own DAC/amp with a digital input like this unit, and also has its own DAC and line outs for those of us without an amp with a digital input, but who want better sound than the iPod outputs through its dock connector analogue line out.

Bought one about a month ago and it makes a huge difference.

http://www.pure.com/products/product.asp?Product=VL-61429

http://www.whathifi.com/Review/Pure-Digital-i20/

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HP chief bows to Jobsian cult

bygjohn

Hate to break the news to you...

... But this is actually what most non-techy people do already. Which is why Apple are making money hand over fist. Sorry, ordinary people increasingly just want something that does what they want, with minimal hassle. They don't generally mess about changing bits of the thing's innards.

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RunPee

bygjohn
Thumb Up

Just for info

And, please $deity, not to start yet another platform bitchfest; it's available on iOS too now.

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Dawn eyes Vesta's full-frontal charms

bygjohn
Happy

For enlightenment:

http://www.clangers.co.uk/

Enjoy!

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TV goes home, even when mobile

bygjohn
Stop

Why would I need to watch mobile video in the ad breaks...

... when I can just ad skip through them? Had a DVR for yonks, hardly ever watch live TV these days, and if I do, I usually start watching late and chase play/ad skip so I've caught up roughly by the end of the programme. Adverts-schmadverts...

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Schmaltz-powered Chrome overtakes morally superior Firefox

bygjohn

Try Iron

Chromium with what was left of the Google spyware stuff ripped out. Portable version available.

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Strike hits police, ICO and the Rev

bygjohn
Mushroom

Plus not all public sector pensions work the same way

For instance the local government scheme isn't non-contributory: we pay a large sum in each month, much more than the civil service scheme for a given salary level.

It's got a proper pension fund, and is well-funded for the future.

It's already been reviewed and altered to our disadvantage a couple of years ago so we pay in more and get less, and retire later (and we always retired at normal retirement age, not early like some service - NB there's usually a good reason for those early retirement ages: think firemen, cops). All this was done to ensure it was properly funded, not a drain on the taxpayer, and to take into account extra longevity etc etc blah...

Yet it's still in the firing line this time around.

So where's the justice?

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Lenovo chief says netbook's day is done

bygjohn

Depends on the content you're creating, though...

While I'd broadly agree with you at the moment, touch screen devices are beginning to be used for some kinds of content creation. Anything requiring heavy-duty typing may not be suitable, but some other media fit quite nicely with touch screens.

So there are increasing numbers of programs such as NanoStudio, FourTrack and MultiTrack DAW for audio/music production (not to mention GarageBand for the iPad), plus video and photo editing apps such as iMovie and PhotoForge. I'm sure there must be Android apps for doing similar things.

Things aren't currently quite as slick as using a desktop computer or notebook/netbook for some tasks, but over the last couple of years there's been a *lot* of development and things have come a long way already.

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Apple iMac 27in

bygjohn

Similar experience here

Apple store staff really don't seem to want to sell you the most expensive mac they can: they go out of the way to match the computer to your needs. The guy in the Trafford Centre store saved me about £500 when I went to get a laptop there a few years back. Went all fired up to get a MacBook Pro, came away with a black MacBook (ie slightly faster CPU and bigger hard drive than base model), and it's been just what I needed, and some. Upshot is I'm likely to go back because I *didn't* get ripped off.

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Apple to open iCloud for 'free' before slapping $25 subs on service

bygjohn

Just a point of fact

I similarly have rarely bought anything off iTunes as Amazon is generally cheaper and I subscribe to eMusic, but you are incorrect in thinking iTunes has DRM on music sales: it was dropped several years ago, and the bitrate upped to 256 (still AAC rather than MP3). They still have DRM on video, thanks to the movie corps, but not on music.

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Google infringes copyright by displaying and linking to news site content

bygjohn
Stop

Nope, it's idiot companies that didn't bother to check how the web worked

As previous commenters have already mentioned, robots.txt and other methods of preventing search engines indexing web content existed long before Google.

The web was invented as an OPEN medium (it was never intended to be commercial - it was for the free and open exchange of academic information), without barriers, and has always been that way unless you put up your own barriers, which isn't hard to do in this case - well-established mechanisms have been there almost from the start.

What you are saying is the equivalent of the person who wanted to cover the world with leather rather than wear shoes. The web doesn't work how corporate lawyers with mid-last-century mindsets think it should work. Tough. Nor can they change the colour of the sky etc etc.

Nobody made these companies put their content on the web, but having chosen to do so, if they didn't want their content indexing, they should have used the standard methods of accomplishing that - robots.txt/restricted access etc. You can't say no-one should look at your content on an open medium without adding your own restrictions, any more than you can say you want the sky to be green because that's how you think it ought to be.

But instead these companies want Google and other search engines to publicise their work for them and then (instead of paying the search engines for their work) have the search engines pay them. They know search engines cache content, but still want them to index their stuff and then bitch because it's cached.

I'm not particularly a fan of Google, and do think they have a cavalier attitude to copyright when it comes to digitising books and trying to snaffle the rights to "orphan works" in particular, but in this case the companies involved just want to have their cake and eat it, and Google has been stealing nothing. In fact it's been doing them a favour, but they are too greedy to face that fact.

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Books biz talks up Kindle effect

bygjohn

Format shifting

Try the free (and I think open source) Calibre, available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Makes format shifting and eBook library management a doddle. I use it with Stanza on my iPhone, my sister uses it with her Kindle. Supports pretty much any eBook format and device. Plus there's a useful support group on the Mobileread forums if you do need advice or run into problems.

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Apple handcuffs 'open' web apps on iPhone home screen

bygjohn

Except it seems to be wrong

Just tried the suggested Pie Man: installed it to the home screen, ran it online. Then switched to airplane mode (all comms off) and tried it again: launched from home screen properly, played a game. Don't know about speed comparisons, but the bit about not being able to run web apps offline due to the cache not working seems to be wrong, at least in this case.

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iPad 2? Let's be kind and call it iPad 1.5

bygjohn

You're a little out of date

That used to be the case, but current iOS apps can transfer files via iTunes/USB.

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bygjohn

Close enough for jazz...

Current iOS programs can use iTunes file management/sharing/whatever it's called, so while the iPod app can't play divX, several other players can, and you just connect the device to iTunes via the cable and drag and drop files into the relevant app's file store.

It's not quite the same as mounting as an external drive, but pretty close in terms of operation.

Actually syncing isn't bad: on my iPod classic I just sync everything, but for my iPhone I have a collection of ordinary and smart playlists which sync to the device. Adding/removing stuff is simply a question of editing said playlists before syncing, a lot of which is drag and drop, too. Only difference in practice is dragging to a playlist in iTunes before syncing instead of dragging to a device icon in Finder/Explorer once the thing is connected.

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Apple 'outstrips' all brands at box office

bygjohn

I seem to remember...

... that there was some rumpus quite a long time ago now where Microsoft (I think) wanted to start charging royalties for showing a Windows interface in films and TV, after which there was this mass move to showing custom interfaces even on recognisable hardware. I could be suffering from memory corruption, mind.

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WinPho 7 '1.1' set for March release

bygjohn

Never noticed it

I've had two iPhones now, a 3G a couple of years back and a 4 since the summer, with Yahoo IMAP and set to push incoming mail. While this isn't my main mail account, I get messages through it daily and have a large amount of stored mail in folders. Yet in (roughly) 2.5 years I haven't noticed the kind of data usage experienced by some WinPho7 users. Do you have a link?

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Brazilian cult condemns USB

bygjohn

Early church policy

Just like they built churches on pagan holy sites, placed festivals at the same time of year as existing pagan ones (Yule, spring festival of Eoster etc) and incorporated pagan practices (all that well-dressing and maypole malarkey), they also nicked iconography, in this case Baldur the Norse god as part of the takeover programme.

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Philips 21:9 Cinema 58in LED backlit TV

bygjohn

Easy: adverts

... in the Panasonic EPG. No matter how good the picture, I wouldn't buy one until they drop that ludicrous idea.

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UK start-up pitches touch-to-sync tech for watches

bygjohn

Increased convenience

"Which might well be more convenient to do if you can touch the sensor with your wrist rather than digging out your phone every time."

True, but only if you still have the habit of wearing a watch, which many of us have given up as you can always check the time on your phone, which also beeps at you to remind you of appointments etc already.

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Apple iPhone 4 vs... the rest

bygjohn

They're half way there

Note that the way the mail icon shows the unread message count ("badges" in iOS speak) is available to all apps, and many use it for showing unchecked/unread notifications, eg Facebook updates, IM messages etc. CalToDo uses it to show the number of uncompleted tasks.

I agree it's a shame that the built-in Weather app doesn't change its icon like the Calendar app icon does, and that this method doesn't seem to be available to third-party apps.

Any developers out there who can confirm whether or not this is the case?

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Google Books spanked by Amazon Kindle

bygjohn

Actually

Kindle and Stanza are available on the iPhone too (in fact started out there rather than on the iPad), so no necessity to cart an iPad around if you use iOS either. Not arguing with your choice of phone/OS/software, in fact agreeing with you that a phone makes for as more portable reading solution.

What I don't have is any great nostalgia for PalmOS and its software - I went from a Psion Series 3 to a Handspring Treo, which handily combined phone and PDA but was like switching from an e-Type to a Lada in most other ways.

We can at least agree on Calibre, which is frankly wonderful.

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bygjohn

US-Centric? I think not...

Weird, last time I looked I was in the UK. Unless someone moved Cheshire while no-one was looking...

And yes, I knew about the Mobi connection, too.

Which part of my point are you actually arguing with, because half of your response is just plain wrong, and the rest seems to be a knee-jerk anti-iOS rant.

Are you actually trying to say that Amazon didn't buy Lexcycle so they could make the Kindle reader better? Because they did in fact buy Lexcycle, and I seriously doubt they did it just for teh lulz....

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bygjohn

Kindle app - Stanza link

I suspect one of the reasons the Kindle app seems so mature WRT features etc is that Amazon had the good sense and taste to buy Lexcycle, the company behind the free Stanza reader for iOS devices, and incorporate some of its best features in to the Kindle app.

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Samsung blows wad on Bada bling app compo starlets

bygjohn

TouchRetouch

... is a port of an iOS app - or at least there's an iOS app of that name by the same author, and very good it is too.

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Google launches 'free' 'open' 'cloud' eBooks digiback service

bygjohn

Actually, Amazon sell non-DRM books

Similar to Google: the publisher decides on whether to DRM or not. They aren't particularly up front on how to tell the difference, though, and they are only in Kindle format rather than ePub.

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iOS 4.2: An 'ace' for iPad, a 'meh' for iPhone

bygjohn

Contacts

Can't help with the rest, but to see which number texted you, scroll to the top of the text conversation and tap the Contact Info button: the relevant number will be highlighted in blue.

For calls, go to the call history, tap the blue arrow button and it will show the number highlighted in blue, or red if it was a missed call.

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PC World, Currys open online app stores

bygjohn
Troll

But isn't this...

... monopolising what can be installed/taking away your freedom/killing off any apps that aren't included/an evil plot/the end of civilisation as we know it, yada yada?

You know, like the evil Mac App Store.

Just sayin'...

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Apple's Mac App Store opens doors to devs

bygjohn

Personally I'm keeping an open mind on this one

I can see the arguments about the Mac App Store possibly distorting the market, but then I can also see that it might bring a bunch of benefits.

One thing that no-one seems to mention in all the hoopla over this is that Apple are halfway to an App Store for the Mac already with the Apple downloads listings - http://www.apple.com/downloads/ - all it's missing is a centralised billing mechanism and one-click purchase/installation.

Just a few thoughts on some of your list:

1) They've had a kill switch on the iPhone since the App Store opened, and to my knowledge there has only been one example of it *possibly* being used - even that one hasn't been proven (NDrive - some people lost the app, lots of others didn't, though). I suspect it's basically a "nuclear" option in case something nasty slips through the net, the prospect of which doesn't bother me at all considering the kill switch track record on the iPhone up to now.

2) Enough with the fart apps thing. Yes, there are a lot in the iPhone store - doesn't mean they're successful, though, does it? As for porn, what sort of porn app would be worth it on a Mac? They only really worked on the iPhone because they were pseudo web-sites optimised for the phone screen. Not really an issue on a full-blown computer. And you'll have a web browser (or two, or three) available anyway. Looks like a non-issue to me, TBH.

3) Actually, lots of developers liked the iPhone store model as it was an *improvement* on the terms of the other mobile app stores like Handango. It gives you a nicely pre-rolled way to market and sell a small app, with the billing mechanism etc all handled by Apple as part of their cut, which seems quite reasonable considering the services they are supplying.

As for the motive behind the whole thing, Apple has always been about the user experience and much of what was recently announced was about folding things that have worked well in iOS back into OSX proper. From a user's viewpoint, having a central place to go for apps that have been checked out for malware and won't mess up the system, with a simple purchase and installation mechanism has been huge winner on iOS, so they're offering the same for Macs. Makes a whole lot of sense in the context, and (at least so far) they aren't aiming to make it the *only* way to install apps on the Mac.

NB I don't think Apple are saints - they are out to make money like any big corporation, but they tend to do it by making stuff people like and find easy to use. I think this is just more of the same.

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