37 posts • joined Wednesday 19th March 2008 09:10 GMT
Oh, the irony
Anyone remember those "Nuclear power - no thanks" bumper stickers beloved of 70's hippies, the words being written around the edge of a smiling picture of, er, the sun.
A grumpy old man rants
In my day protesters belonged to groups with names like "Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament" or "Save the Whale". The clue was in the title, you see.
"Occupy San Francisco" has me a little fuddled. They are indeed occupying San Fransisco - was there something else they wanted? Does anyone know? You'll have to speak clearly, I'm a little deaf these days.
Prizes awarded ...
...for best "Malware disguised as an Adobe Flash installer" punchline. Let 'em roll.
May I propose 'GNU purifier'
Not a snowball's chance...surely?
Presumably, somwhere in their archives, Google have records of searches made from Pocket Internet Explorer dating back to - what - 2000? And when did Amazon first think about a 'mobile' site? Only after they stole H-W's brilliantly original ideas in '05? C'mon.
...I've got upwards of 20G of MP3s, 60G of digital photos, 100G of VMware images, and a terabyte or so of video sitting in front of me, not to mention 50,000-odd source files and assorted documents.
If they were already 'on the cloud' I might be able to start using them on Chrome OS. But they're not, and given that I have no more than 448kbps uplink rate it will take _nearly a year of continuous uploading_ to get them there.
It's a joke, less of a proper computer than an iPod touch.
Missed a trick with Vista.
Sounds to me like they've found a bug where, when you play the media file or whatever, the app changes the current directory to point at a network share before executing the media player .exe.
If so, it truly is an ancient vulnerability in the design of Windows, namely that the current directory is searched for named DLLs before fixed paths. This being a design flaw, it's hard to fix in the OS without breaking compatibility with lots of programs which rely on.
Which is why it should have been fixed in Vista, where nobody would notice...
Am I the only one...
...who finds the Reg's scorn for user-generated content ironic given their penchant for pure trollbait 'news' ? They're like the Daily Mail, scandalised by paparazzi photos which they then just /have/ to publish.
DAB is the only way forward
So, what are the alternatives:
AM/FM: Yes, it's cheap, works perfectly well in most places, low-power, has no IP issues, and so forth. But it's Old, and that's bad 'cos manufacturers don't like Old, as they want to sell you New.
Internet: Technical issues aside, internet radio isn't owned by anybody, especially not those who currently own broadcasting. The BBC become just one more choice amongst thousands. The Government have nothing they can cash in on by 'licensing' (bear in mind that 3G operators have already paid a bucketful for the spectrum which would be used here).
DAB serves the future interests of the existing broadcasters and manufacturers perfectly well, so that's what you'll get. And you'll like it, because Stephen Fry will tell you it's OK to like it.
Front door analogy
Nonononono! What he precisely hasn't done is published anybody's *key*.
It's as if he's taken his own front door lock to bits and described the pins, tumblers and levers which he found. So, you might argue this helps burglars break your lock, but believe me burglars will take their own locks to bits if it helps.
Without this sort of research, companies get either (a) lazy or (b) evil, knowing they won't be caught out.
If it turned out your front door lock insides were made of cheese, or could be opened by any employee of Locks'R'Us, would you want to know?
Google are not that incompetent
The 'four core stages' comment is so last century - Google are almost certainly an Agile shop and I imagine their code development could be quite chaotic.
However, what I can't believe is that they didn't - very early in the testing process - drive their car round a few blocks, then look and see exactly what they'd ended up with on the disk. They might just possibly be poor software developers, but they are certainly experts at data analysis, and I just don't accept this would have got through initial testing.
Here's another scary thing - even if they only collected 192.168.x.x addresses, a lot of the traffic collected might be between the user and a Google service; looking at a few headers will link it to the existing Google record on you, which is what they wanted anyway.
FSF can boil their heads
The GPL serves to promote closed-source development, by keeping its code base so far apart from the world of commercial software.
There are many developers who would be happy to contribute patches and improvements to a bit of open-source code if they could use it in their employer's products. With the GPL they can't (the Linux kernel being the exception that proves the rule).
So there is an entirely unnecessary set of paid-for toolkits and libraries out there whose existence is entirely due to fear generated by the FSF. Fortunately the world is waking up to this, and a lot of useful code is now coming out under Mozilla- or BSD- type licences.
Spot on, my friend
Here we have proof positive that Jobs is scaring developers away from the iPhone/iPad. How can software companies go to their investors and ask for $1m to write a major app, when once the project is finished and the money spent, there's a massive roadblock entitled "get approved by the App store".
It's crazy, crazy, crazy. Devs may be very happy to use Objective-C and follow "the rules" now but how can they know what the rules will be 12 months on? They change so unpredictably.
All we'll be left with is boob-wobbling apps written by students, who make a few hundred quid before they're "policed".
Think about it, Steve: why was MS-DOS, bane of the 80's, so incredibly successful?
'All video codecs are covered by patents'
Yes, including MPEG-2, which has been around since DVD was introduced in 1995, and those patents will expire soon. That's great, because the H.264 crew have to prove that any techniques used in Theora were /not/ anticipated by MPEG-2.
And there's no credible FUD about submarine patents on MPEG-2 either: if you had such a thing, you'd have held the DVD market to ransom by now.
You're damned right. Such a lot of obviousness is patented nowadays that it's pointless to even try avoiding it.
The fact is, the patent system refuses to acknowledge independent invention of the same or similar things, but in reality it happens all the time. Why, in absolute terms, is that a bad thing?
What really sucks is that you don't own intellectual property by thinking of it, you own it by employing lawyers.
What pisses me off is the way everybody's conflating the possible theft of an object with the leaking of Apple's trade secrets. Probably Gizmodo shouldn't taken it to bits, but Apple got it back in the end. That ever happen when you lose a phone? The theft, if it ever occurred, was minor.
The big deal is that someone got one over on Apple's corporate secrecy, and THAT ISN'T A CRIME. The cops, even those bought by Silicon Valley, should know that.
(BTW - why didn't Apple put a big sticker on it saying 'if found call XXX-XXXX?' )
Developers = X-Factor contestants
I'm amazed that Apple keep knocking back iPhone developers, yet the apps keep coming. I can only imagine that the App Store is full and they have no more resource to spend approving apps - instead they're just beating developers with a shitty stick to see if they'll go away.
I'm 100% (well, 99%) behind Jobs' war on Flash, but it's a risky game: if Android apps are mostly crummy and iPhone ones remain slick, he retains his saintly reputation. If Android apps start to do useful or cool things that an iPhone can't, he will look like an arrogant fool.
Looking a gift horse in the mouth
What exactly are the "thorny questions" about what developers can do with the data? The licence seems pretty clear (equivalent to CC 'attribution only') and explicitly allows commercial use.
What, though, is all this rubbish about Public Sector agreements? How much does the Government waste on buying things from itself?
How to spot a troll
Look at the amount of correspondence with the USPTO cited in the patent. They submitted their "hey, I just thought of SIMD" patent roughly 20 years too late, and the examiner would have rejected it as, at best, an obvious composition of two previous ideas.
They argued and argued, and one day all the computing guys at the USPTO were busy and it ended up on the desk of a veterinary prosthetics specialist, who said "this isn't obvious to me" and let it slip past.
Still, it'll be fun to watch...
Shame on you, El Reg
Sorry, but the whole premise of this article is full of sh*t.
"Pretends they were never there" - uh, what? An app is no longer in the shop, like creme eggs or Word 2003, and that's somehow Oceania not being at war with Eurasia?
"Wi-Fi hotspot detecting applications are the latest on Apple's list of verboten apps" - no, it's apps which use private APIs which are verboten, and they have *always* been so.
"even developers are being left in the dark" - you have an explanation from a developer, right in front of you.
Yeah, bad on Apple for letting it in in the first place then having an arbitrary change of mind, but if you really have to froth at the mouth every time this sort of thing happens, I'm deleting you from my bookmarks.
Charge 'em under the DMCA!
Maximum fine of $1.25m, for _actually stealing money_ repeatedly from a major American business (or its customers)?
Banks - take a leaf out of the RIAA's book, and charge these nobodies with copyright infringement - say $80,000 per card inserted into the machine - it must be worth at least as much as the sort of track Jammie Thomas would listen to. Best of all - you get to keep the money at the end of it!
Can I have some of their drugs, please?
In what universe does a customer go to a vendor, and asks to buy their software, then tries to impose contractual conditions on how that software came to be written?
"I'd like a copy of Microsoft Office, written in Ada, using ClearCase for source control, developed entirely by US citizens who were wearing ties at the time."
They are still abusing a monopoly
This data, which certainly the Post Office have spent time and effort maintaining, is valuable for just one reason: everybody uses it. It's only selling point is that it's a database that the public have learnt off by heart.
Imagine the alternative: Google gives every street in the UK a Googlecode, and starts a price war with the PO over access costs. Then MS will want to give you a Bing-zip to get a piece of the action. Next, the GNU Free Street Index Database, which will fragment into rival factions. Before long, the punter will need to remember half a dozen of the blessed things, so no-one will bother and we'll be back to square one.
In other words - the PO have only come to have this valuable bit of IP in their hands because, when it was originally developed, they had monopoly power. It is not reasonable that they should tilt the playing field by charging other delivery services to use it; that's clearly not in the interests of the public.
Why are postcodes any harder to maintain and distribute than, say, DNS records?
No. my Nokia phone definitely didn't allow apps to be downloaded - it didn't run Symbian either.
My point is that "the notion that if you own a computing device, it's under your control and it's yours to do with what you will" has been a fallacy since practically the dawn of time - I could drone on with more examples. It certainly wasn't Apple that first disrupted this Stallmanesque utopia.
Personally, I don't think the 'vetted apps' idea will scale, and they'll be forced to give up sooner or later. Whether this brings with it a catalogue of security and stability disasters remains to be seen.
What is it with you and iPhones?
I've had a Sony Ericsson phone, a Nokia phone, a Motorola phone, a you-name-it-phone, and guess what? *Not one* has granted me unfettered control over which software can be installed on them. Wait a minute - none of them allowed *any* software to be installed, at all. Neither do my camera, my car's gearbox, my microwave oven, or my wristwatch.
Please, El Reg, GET OVER IT. As if Apple invented this sort of aftermarket control thing, anyway - games consoles have been doing precisely this for decades.
A porker: will not fly
1) Right now, people *think* they want Windows: it's the devil they know. I continually try to persuade my computer-incompetent relatives to let me set up Linux or just go buy a Mac, but they won't. Even when they go from XP to Vista and everything breaks, they won't switch away from Microsoft.
2) The point of the Web, especially the Cloud, is universal access. Many of us read our daily news or email on a home PC, on a work PC, a smartphone or MID, maybe a set-top box. Browsers are bursting out all over (did you know there are TV's which run Linux internally, just for fun?) and the future will only bring more. Are these all going to run Chrome OS? Consumers aren't going to like the idea of a 'special PC' just to have access to their email and documents.
3) Drivers, drivers, drivers! The entire market for add-ons in high-street stores (from printers and webcams to USB coffee warmers) is based on the fact that a Windows driver is all you need. (Linux people write their own, and Mac people wouldn't be seen dead in PC World anyway). Cheapo tat-makers won't want to write a whole extra driver unless the market is huge, and Google won't seemingly allow them in the OS anyway.
4) They are fighting Microsoft on their home turf. Look: Asus's initial EEE had a Linux distro, which cost them nothing and offered them total control. Now XP has taken over, despite costing money per unit and ceding control to Redmond. I don't know how they did it, but if a completely free (as in both speech and beer) OS couldn't hold out, how will Google's offering do better?
5) The 'security' aspect is completely bogus. There may well be no malware for Chrome OS - yet. But as soon as the whole Chrome ecosystem acquires value, it WILL be attacked one way or another, and frankly I trust Google less than Microsoft when it comes to security.
What we absolutely don't need is another syntax to remember for everyday things like variable declarations, for loops, and if statements. Java, C++, C# and Objective-C all manage it, and what's the point of a fast compiler if you need three goes to get your brackets and semicolons in the right place? Python succeeds because you can get going with virtually zero knowledge of its syntax.
As a spiritual successor to Turbo Pascal, TCC (Tiny C Compiler) is worth a look, BTW.
They've created a monster...
...which they can no longer control. Even if they're not really evil. Ha ha.
"we just care what you do" is bad enough for me. They'll pass on, in all 'innocence', behavioural information to third parties who can be as evil as they like with it. Very soon, I predict, the prices you see in online stores will depend on what Google's database thinks you can afford.
Oh, and however much Google says they won't go mining its records to identify 'pre-crime' personalities, they'll happily and silently hand it over to your local law enforcers, who will.
"If you're(sic) lifts need to be replaced every couple of years, because the current 'version' stops working"
Cuddly user-lovin' Ubuntu Feisty's software update literally stopped working roughly 18 months after its release in 2007. XP has been available since 2001, and is still supported.
FSF don't get it
As open-source advocacy goes, that's piss-poor.
Those who run Fortune 500 companies really don't care about 'how it works inside', any more than they care how their office lifts function. They just want to know there's someone they can call when it goes wrong who'll fix it for them. That's why they're CEOs and not lift engineers.
They don't care about lock-in and 'antifeatures', or questionable behaviour over intellectual property, because they're Big Business who do absolutely the same to their customers.
May be worth 50 cents a pop to raise some laughs, though.
Intel started it
Back in the good ol' days, computers were REAL computers. If you wanted to examine the registers in your CPU, you could find the board with them on and probe around with a 'scope to your hearts content.
Then corporate megalomaniac killjoys Intel decided to target us alpha-geeks by making everything so tiny you couldn't even *see* the vacuum tubes any more, and sealing the whole processor inside an "integrated circuit". Paranoid Secrecy Capsule more like - what are they afraid we'll find out?
Then they did it with storage: they did away with magnetic core memory to stop you checking that no-one had been stealing your bits. And the other day, I took all the platters out of my hard disk just, you know, to give them a polish, and the bastards made sure it "failed" when I put it back together. I *know* they made it break on purpose, just to scam an eye-watering £30 out of me for a replacement.
No sympathy for Danjaq
So Danjaq are responsible for protecting the Bond brand, and they had something like 30 years to register 'Dr No' as a trademark themselves, before this other lot pitched up.
What exactly do they do to keep busy during the week?
'Wooh! Big Number' syndrome
...is the underlying fallacy which begets the 'false finishing touch' (spot on there, mate). It's as easy as 1-2-3:
1) Pick a small number:
a) one watt
b) the weight of a plastic bag
c) the ink used in printing a copy of The Independent
2) Multiply it by:
a) 60 million (if you're a UK citizen)
b) 250 million (if you're a US citizen)
c) 6 billion (if we're all, like, global citizens, man)
3) Marvel at what a big number you now have! (NB. Avoid at all costs trying to get an idea of the truly big numbers which you should be comparing it to).