* Posts by Kristian Walsh

965 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

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Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists

Kristian Walsh
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" ill-informed political activism"

Well-informed political activism is the exception, not the rule...

Personally, I support the engineers' view of Net Neutrality, the one that most pro-NN posters here espouse, where performance differentiation within a given service class is forbidden.

... but I'm against the kind of Net Neutrality we'd actually get, the one that most anti-NN posters here describe, where differentiation between service classes will be forbidden too.

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HTC One M9 hands on: Like a smart M8 in a sharp suit

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Android hardware is good....

No, with Apple you always get one update beyond what that the hardware is capable of running.

Whoever signed off iOS 8 as suitable for iPhone 4S was living in a dream world... or deliberately trying to force customers to ditch the 4S and buy the 6 instead.

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Kristian Walsh
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According to the usual factory hobby-photographers, there's also a larger M9 on its way. Also, not a hardware change, but it's been widely "leaked" that this phone will be sold in a version running Windows 10 Phone when that OS becomes available later this year.

Not surprised they didn't change much. First, HTC aren't exactly swimming in money, and second: M8 was already a beautiful phone - especially the design and engineering of the antenna and rear casing, which makes Apple's later efforts with the iPhone 6 look clumsy by comparison.

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Google deal means game over for mobile payments firm Softcard

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Wow...

Yes, there's a strong whiff of anti-trust about this one. Google just bought a direct competitor to Wallet and shut it down.

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Denmark tops European tech table, two other Scandis right behind

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Scandis

Scandinavia comprises the countries of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Historically, that included Denmark as one-time possessors of Skåne (roughly "skaw-neh") in Southern Sweden, the region after which the peninsula is named. That little "å" in the name Skåne is a good signifier: if your language uses it, you're Scandinavian; if not, you're not.

(Wikipedia tells me that by this rule, Bavaria is in Scandinavia, which goes to show you shouldn't try to reduce things down to single rules ;) )

Based only on the views of people I've met, the Finns do not consider themselves to be Scandinavian, although the large minority of ethnic Swedes in the country may differ in that view. Icelanders consider themselves of "Scandinavian descent" rather than being Scandinavian per se. I've never met anyone from the Faroe Islands to ask them.

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Bloody TECH GIANTS... all they do is WASTE investors' MONEY

Kristian Walsh
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Sadly, it doesn't really matter what you'd pay money for. The only people whose opinions matter in the phone business are Telefonica, Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone, Hutchison, Orange, etc...

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Redmond boffins build coffins for exploit kits

Kristian Walsh
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Re: This:

"So, at a stroke, their tool has been rendered useless even before it's been used...."

It's feasible to build a space elevator. It doesn't mean we've got one, or that it'll be cheap or easy or likely to get one.

As it says in the article, the tool works precisely because current malware authors do not extensively use polymorphic code. Modern malware is far more complex than the kind of 1980s viruses that used this technique, and unlike back then, virtually all malware is written in high-level languages, with little visibility of where the machine instructions lie in memory.

What this technique does is make the job of making malware unidentifiable an order of magnitude more difficult: re-packagers can no longer rely on a simple change of their delivery script's obfuscation technique. Making malicious acts very hard to perform is the essence of computer security.

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Apple forks out nearly $2bn for two ripe, green data centres

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Servicing that demand?

If you made a panel that could convert squally drizzle to energy, Ireland's the place for it, but solar? no...

Wind is the only readily available renewable/"green" in Ireland, and that's not stable enough for a data centre. Power to serve the facility's base-line load has to come from somewhere, so I'm curious about whether they'll surprise the world and have their contractors address this reality with a technical solution (there are a few storage options, but they're expensive and untested at this scale), or go with routine and deploy the usual eco-hogwash of compensatory planting, carbon credits and technology funding.

I also can't help but think that when you scale applications up to the point where they're burning a Terawatt-Hour of electrical power every year to run, there's scope for optimising software to conserve energy, not just time or storage.

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Kristian Walsh
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Servicing that demand?

I wonder where they're going to find the generating capacity for this centre. The projected consumption will be equivalent to the current domestic demand of the Greater Galway area (about 160,000 people).

Ireland does not have a lot of spare generating capacity, and despite what you might think if you've ever "enjoyed" a walk along the Cliffs of Moher, the wind doesn't blow 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which rules out the most available "green" option in this country.

I expect Apple to be sold pretty much all of the little "green" energy that's produced here, while the providers buy in nuclear-generated power from France and UK to meet the resulting shortfall. (I have no issue with nuclear power, btw; just find it ironic that this will be the likely outcome).

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: WHAT Fields ?

The Liverpool supporters' song has different lyrics, and its chorus substitutes "Anfield Road" for "Athenry", so no...

However, you only need to assemble around ten Irish people at a sporting event involving Ireland before the probability of the original version of this song being sung reaches 1.

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Marconi: The West of England's very own Italian wireless pioneer

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Splendid ties

I suspect that's more to do with the description "Italian radio pioneer".

I still agree, though. The reverse-snobbery of the tech industry when it comes to personal appearance is depressing: reacting against the "corporate" suit-and-tie has just resulted in Technology becoming its mirror-image where anyone who looks after their appearance more than is "necessary" is judged to be shallow or incompetent.

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Raspberry Pi, meet face: You're probably NOT Blighty's biggest PC maker!

Kristian Walsh
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British manufacturer, or British-manufactured?

Raspberry Pi is a British company, whose computers are made in Wales, a country that is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Amstrad is a British company, whose computers were manufactured in Taiwan, a country that is pa— um, actually, let it just suffice for me to say, "is not in the UK", rather than get into that particular minefield.

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Apple Watch 'didn't work on HAIRY FANBOIS, was stripped of sensor tech'

Kristian Walsh
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Re: People will still buy them

But it won't have an Apple logo

...You know that even the real Apple watch doesn't actually have an Apple logo on it?

I think this, not the price, and not the battery life, is the product's Achilles Heel. Without the conspicuous Apple logo, how is everyone else sitting in Starbucks going to know that you've got a real one?

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Progression

That's who Apple seems to emulate on the conspicuous consumption spectrum.

Apple's marketing and retail owes much more of a debt to Chanel or Dior than to BMW.

Sadly, past experience tells me that I now have to explain that I don't mean this as a put-down: when it comes to marketing what is a fairly everyday product (again, relax - "smartphone" or "tablet" is an everyday product) and achieving a high retail price for it, there's nobody to touch the cosmetics business.

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Gov.UK begs Google 'n' U.S. tech pals: Forget Ireland, come to Blighty

Kristian Walsh
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It's not just tax...

The one thing the UK government could do to undermine Ireland's attractiveness to American companies would be to join the Euro.

It's not just a tax-wheeze that these companies are looking for. They want a base in a major trading zone, where people speak English, and there isn't so much veiled hostility towards the USA.

(That latter point was made to be more than once by American colleagues about why they didn't like travelling to the UK, but I'd say it counts for more than any amount of tax schemes...)

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Microsoft makes 'business case' for marriage equality

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Poly?

Polygamy is irrelevant in a discussion of coupled relationships. But at least you didn't mention bestiality, I suppose.

Personally I support marriage reform because I want governments to recognise relationships that are consensual, stable and mutually beneficial to those who form them, regardless of whether they're male-male, male-female (like mine) or female-female.

I don't believe that real polygamous relationships meet the standard of being both "mutually beneficial" and "stable". To put it a different way: in any relationship of n people, happiness is an O(n) function, but trouble is O(n2).

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Microsoft: Even cheapo Lumias to get slimmed down Windows 10

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Developer... sense... tingling...

For phone apps, the store submission script is where you'd enforce version capabilities.

Also, the phone store doesn't have to serve the same app binary to every user. You can submit different packages under the same "application", and which one the user sees is determined by their device and/or locale.

My experience is that maintaining two branches of an application is far less messy than having all the possibilities encapsulated in one source-file, or worse: all in one executable.

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RIP Windows RT: Microsoft murders ARM Surface, Nokia tablets

Kristian Walsh
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Re: @AC: There is simply no need for the RT edition

Another RT 2 user here. Chosen for the same reasons: light weight, small form factor, long battery life SEPARATE USER ACCOUNTS (hello, Apple) to be kept in the living room for email, casual browsing and Netflix/YouTube video watching (hence 16:9 display being important).

The "Phone" branch of Windows 10 is getting previewed soon, and that may give more clarity on what happens for ARM devices in general. I don't think "full" Windows 10 really works on a screen of 10" or less, but the market often wants things that sound better than they really are in practice (c.f. Netbooks)

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Surface 2 with Win 8 RT-edition

Instructions on how to achieve Ad-blocking on Surface RT are here:

http://www.edandersen.com/2012/10/28/adblock-alternative-on-windows-rts-ie10/

... even uses El Reg as the demo site.

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Wham, bam... premium rate scam: Grindr users hit with fun-killing charges

Kristian Walsh
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Re: £1 per second? I don't think so.

Not bollocks. Note that it says "£1.53 per call and £1.53 per minute". How short can you make a call? Just connecting and hanging up will incur the "per call" charge.

(Phone billing systems always show a completed call as being at least 1 second long even if it's shorter... customers complain if they see themselves being charged for "00:00:00" durations on their bill)

There are two parts to a phone call charge. The first is the setup charge: the amount you pay just to have the connection established. The second is the duration charge, levied per minute. Either of these can be set at zero for a premium number (but not both, obviously).

Some services charge extremely high setup charges with no duration charge - e.g., voting lines for those TV "talent" shows: your call might be only 5 seconds, but you're charged £1.00 for it.

This is often presented in the advertising as "calls cost no more than £x.xx from a BT Landline".

Because these numbers are short-duration calls (the remote end plays you a canned message and then hangs up very quickly), they're ripe for automated-dialler scams.

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Horrifying iPhone sales bring Apple $18bn profit A QUARTER

Kristian Walsh
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Re: So what happen to Peak Apple?

Some credible sources for "nigh on a billion" would be welcome considering that total cumulative sales for iPhone from 2007 to date are around 600 million (the discussion of how many iPhone 4 and earlier are still actively working is perhaps better left for another day)

Now, I didn't think that billion high-rollers would be so stuck that they'd need to share their phones with each other, but maybe there just aren't enough iPhones to go around. And it's odd how so many of these world's wealthiest consumers would need to queue up for unemployment benefit every week, or shop in discount supermarkets, or still be in school, but who am I to question the ways of the super-rich - I don't even have an iPhone.

@Loyal Commentator - No problem. I used to be one, still know some, and Apple employees are just like any large company's, except that there are fewer Apple fanbois: what Bismarck said about sausages holds true for iThings.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: So what happen to Peak Apple?

You need to grow a thicker skin. A news site picking on a multi-billion-dollar corporation shouldn't get to you as much as it does.

We've seen "Peak iPad" already from those sales figures. iPad was meant to be insurance against a failure of iPhone revenues, but it's not going to work out like that: cycles are longer for tablets, and people buy them with their own money, up-front, which makes them more price-sensitive. Now Apple is once again dependent on a single product line for most of its revenues.

You don't want to base your future on a one-trick pony, no matter how good the trick is. Ponies don't live forever.

In Apple's case, the biggest possible threat to iPhone revenues would be any reform of consumer law in Japan or US that would reduce or remove operator handset subsidies.

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'YOUTUBE is EVIL': Somebody had a tape running, Google...

Kristian Walsh
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Yes. He's been campaigning on this issue for a long time.

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Does Big Tech hire white boys ahead of more skilled black people and/or women?

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Pinteresting employees aren't whiter than white

Actually, here's an surprisingly enlightening map, showing the ethnic plurality (i.e., who makes up the largest slice of the pie) for every county in the USA. Not so much a "melting pot" as a mixed grill, and it's an answer to why you don't often see black faces in the South Bay Area:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States#mediaviewer/File:Census-2000-Data-Top-US-Ancestries-by-County.svg

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What's that, Microsoft? Yep, a Lumia and Surface SALES BOOM

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Wow....

The MacBook Air is cheaper because you're getting less.

The Surface Pro matches the Air's CPU, RAM and SDD, but adds touch+pen input, a higher display resolution (2160x1440 vs 1440x900), and is significantly lighter (just under 1.0 kg with the keyboard, versus 1.35kg for the Air).

The MacBook Pro "Retina display" is more expensive and heavier again - not really in the same class of device as Surface.

(I currently use a MacBook Air when travelling, but I'm seriously looking at how I could work with a Pro3 instead)

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: It's not so bad

": it's seemingly impossible to forward an image from email by text or any other medium;"

Step by step (takes much longer to read than to do):

1. Tap the image in your email. It will open full screen

2. If no toolbar is visible at the bottom of the screen, tap the image once to reveal it.

3. Tap the leftmost icon in bottom toolbar ("Share" - the one that looks like three tadpoles swimming in a circle)

4. Choose the method by which you want to forward the image from the many, many choices. For MMS, choose "Messaging".

5. (Optional) Compose your message text

6. Tap the send icon.

The only way "Messaging" would be absent is if your network operator forgot to provision your SIM for MMS - in this case, you won't be able to send any other picture messages either. Request the settings from them.

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Your anonymous code contributions probably aren't: boffins

Kristian Walsh
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Re: @ Kristian Walsh (was: object orientated)

You haven't even looked at the code, have you? There is no C compiler in existence that can compile the projects I cited. That is because they are written in C++.

For the record, there's is also a difference in the output of "C code compiled with a C++ compiler", and "C code compiled with a C compiler". If something is written in C, we will use a C compiler to compile it, because that preserves the other assumptions about C code (particularly symbol naming, but there are other, more subtle differences).

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: @ Kristian Walsh (was: object orientated)

You can't tell the difference between C++ and C source-code, though. Hardly a good starting point if you're going to pronounce on the advantages of one over the other.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: @ Kristian Walsh (was: object orientated)

Ha! Does your voice get muffled when you sit down, jake?

We mere mortals don't have your custom build of K&R that can compile namespaces, the 'this' keyword, variable instantiation within sub-scopes, default-value initialisation, function calls using the dot and pointer operators, and templates.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: @ Kristian Walsh (was: object orientated)

"Uh ... no. Show me real-time code that is written in C++."

Uh ... yes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian

Hey, here's two more that you can see the code for:

http://scmrtos.sourceforge.net/ScmRTOS

http://miosix.org/index.html

Whether a kernel is C or C++ depends more on when it was started than anything other factor. C++ is a superset of C; anything that needs C for "efficiency" is just as possible with C++ code.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: object orientated

"You can write OO code in any language if you are perverted enough."

Ah, you've used glib GObject, then...

At this point, I'll have to confess to writing quite a bit of OO code in 68000 assembly, although I didn't recognise it as such at the time. (I even had vtables)

@Dan55 above on C being "faster". It's not. C++ code runs exactly as fast as the equivalent C code - C++ actually offers a good compiler more optimisation opportunities. Non-virtual method calls are simply C function calls, in-function variables are allocated on stack just as in C, and exceptions/RTTI can be disabled if your module doesn't require them. (Just specifying throw(); at the end of your method declaration removes the overhead of exceptions in that method even if the rest of your code uses them). C99 borrowed a lot of its nice features from C++ (it's a shame that C++ took so long to take "null"

Just because C++ lets you quickly write inefficient code (like copy-by-value parameter passing for superlarge types), it doesn't mean that C++ is itself less efficient, just that some people don't know as much about programming as they think they do. (The small consolation of such dumb behaviour is a. it's less likely to cause bugs than naive use of pointers is, and b. you can optimise the problem away later.)

I'm happy to accept the argument that C++ leads developers to use less speed-efficient data-structures like the STL containers for tasks where a hand-rolled equivalent would be superior, and that C++ code can thus be slower as a result. But that's trading dev-time for run-time. Unlike a hand-rolled data structure, the STL version will work reliably straight away; and in general, I heed Dr Dijkstra's warnings about premature optimisation...

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: @Dan 55 (was: C++ ...)

Yes, BSD's kernel is written in C.

If Apple had acquired Be rather than NeXT in 1997 (i.e, if they had made their decision on purely technical grounds, rather than on who the CEO of NeXT was), then their kernel would now be written in C++.

(Haiku, and it's now Open Source, if anyone is curious)

As it is, Cupertino's current device driver and I/O layer is written in C++, and so are many of the low-level libraries unique to OS X.The remainder are C, or Objective-C for less performance-critical ones.

This illustrates only that competent developers use a variety of tools. OS X was not a clean-sheet design; it was actually something of a rush-job as Apple had fallen far behind Sun and Microsoft in OS capabilities and desperately needed to catch up: you have to remember that even in 2000, Mac OS was only co-operatively multi-tasked; so one bad application could often kill your entire system. OS X as released was an amalgamation of many different sources: each was chosen because it was a proven, viable subsystem, not because it was written in the One Holy Language.

But, going back to kernels: The reason why the BSD kernel is written in C is because AT&T's UNIX kernel was written in C, and that was because C was the language that K&R developed specifically to allow their UNIX OS to be portable across AT&T's various system architectures.

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Why Microsoft's 3D HoloLens goggles aren't for Google Glassholes

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Hololens hype

...me too, and one of them (highway surface inspection and maintenance) does indeed involve someone wearing them while driving, or at least being driven.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: The problem with hololens

@Halfmad, Apple is an unlikely candidate, as the company doesn't sell into those markets too much. Apple does have a small "enterprise" market, but those customers are in the design and media industries (print, tv, cinema, web) - all very much 2-dimensional (with the half-exception of cinema stereoscopy).

In industrial product design, biomedical research, architecture and what used to be called CAD/CAM, Windows is the predominant OS.

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Windows 10: The Microsoft rule-o-three holds, THIS time it's looking DECENT

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Windows10 just plain sucks. HoloLens are a useless crap.

You have completely missed the point of the glasses. They're a tool, not a toy. Nobody will wear them outdoors ... unless they're doing work that requires them.

I was sceptical about this when I saw the presentation, but today I can think of hundreds of applications for this in industry.

What this can do is provide a standard interface and API for 3D visualisation, one that allows anyone (Autodesk, for example, or SolidWorks) to add holographic modelling and manipulation to their product. And there's a mass-produced client device to lower the cost of using the technology to the point where small practices can afford it. If that doesn't sound interesting to you, you're not in an industry where showing people things, in 3D, that don't actually exist yet, is important. Here are some examples:

You're an architect, and you're trying to show a client what you mean about moving a ceiling, or you're a surveyor, and you're trying to perform an initial layout of a building site on the ground. Or you're a car designer, and you're trying to get a feel of your work in three dimensions. Using this is a hell of a lot cheaper than clay modelling, and your engineering department can see the changes you make, and can work remotely with you as if you're all standing around the same life-scale model. When you're done, your brand manager can have a look, and even if she's in Michigan, Turin or Paris she can see how the design is progressing, "walk" around it, and make informed comment.

Outside of creative tasks, how about maintenance of industrial equipment: the glasses can provide you with annotations in real space showing you the assemblies that you need to repair, or an X-Ray view of the equipment you're servicing.

Speaking of X-Rays, this kind of technology is already very useful in medical training: there are exisiting surgical training systems using VR; this product lowers the cost of delivery of these, allowing their use in teaching to be broadened.

All of these applications are possible now, but the barrier has been that there's no common API or client device specification, so my 3D visualisation system might not work with your CAD package, for instance. More important, nobody mass-produces the equipment, so it's horrendously expensive. Microsoft's product and adding the APIs to Windows makes both of these adoption barriers smaller.

(The iPhone did not create the idea of mobile applications, what it did was lower the barriers to developing and selling mobile applications)

Google's failure was that there was no actual need for Glass - it basically gave you a smartphone that you didn't have to take out of your pocket. Glass was a consumption device, not creation. Glass was expected to be worn all the time, rather than when there was a need for it. Very different usage models, very different capabilites, and very different applications.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Voice?

Cortana isn't just voice recognition. It's actually very smart at determining the context of your queries based on your previous questions.

Also, and most important for a desktop/enterprise system, you can drive it entirely by text, where it becomes a kind of free-form CLI, for want of a better analogy.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Oops, wonder how THAT got in there?!?

I can imagine a lot of people not wanting all of their stuff in US clutches once they understand what this implies.

I'm surprised you missed one of the biggest ongoing data-privacy cases of 2014, but here's a summary:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/09/23/microsoft_vs_the_long_arm_of_us_law/

tl;dr = Microsoft won't store your private data on servers under US jurisdiction.

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Give ALL the EU access to Netflix, says Vince Cable

Kristian Walsh
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Re: TV Rights

"The better solution would be to broadcast from a transponder that, nominally at least, only covered the UK and Ireland"

Yes, and it'd be even better if not for the fact that the UK and Ireland are not the same country. This leads to the situation where Irish TV-licence payers are unable to watch their own channels on Astra without paying Sky a subscription.

The alternative, of Free-To-Air broadcast on Astra 2A, would have the effect of increasing the Irish broadcasters' reach by a factor of 16 (from 4 million to around 64 million viewers). Sounds good? Well, no, not for a public broadcaster it isn't - the cost of live events and other bought-in programming would now also go up to account for the larger addressable viewership. It wouldn't matter that 90% of that market have no interest in watching: in TV, you pay for how many people can view something, not how many actually do.

(Yes, there is a free satellite system in Ireland, but it uses Ka-band, so is incompatible with the Astra Ku-band receivers that most people own, and is only intended as infill for areas that cannot receive DVB-T signals.)

But broadcasting is one part of the media market where it's harder to make a clear-cut case for a single, flat market; there are valid societal reasons to not force broadcasters in small countries to play at the same scale as their larger neighbours.

However, when it comes to direct sale of digital media to customers (Amazon, iTunes, Qobuz, etc) it shouldn't be so difficult to fathom: the EU Single Market rules mean that a publisher cannot stop me buying a book from Germany/Hungary/Slovenia/wherever. But if I try to purchase an eBook of the same text, from the same EU seller, I can't. Because now, suddenly, it's not a good anymore, and they don't have a right to sell me it. ?? But... if there's something that's only available on eBook, that they cannot sell me, I can ask them to print it out, and then ship me the hard copy, and now suddenly they're allowed to do it again. That is madness.

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I'll build a Hyperloop railgun tube-way in Texas, Elon Musk vows

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Pure Genius @Graham dawson

"But why is HS2 so much more expensive than building the original railways in the 19th century, which connected up just about every village and hamlet?"

Those railways were very expensive for the people who invested in them... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_Mania

I think if you include land acquisition costs into Musk's plan, the price advantage will shrink somewhat, but Musk's offer has a higher risk of overrun, or not working at all. Doing a proof of concept will help him get acceptance from people who are being asked to pay for it. Right now, you'd need to be insane to pour billions of taxpayers' money into an idea hasn't even been demonstrated as viable.

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Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

Kristian Walsh
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Re: @ I ain't Spartacus (let the flamewar begin)

Yup. There's no place in sausages for offal. (unless you're making something like leberwurst, of course)

"Cheap cuts" is not the same as "bad meat". Stews and pies use cheaper cuts with more fat, but a good pie needs those to come from good quality meat.

The fat in these cuts holds much of the flavour, so lean cuts like chicken breasts or fillet steak are bad pie candidates. And yet, many home cooks end up using these because supermarkets don't stock anything except lean cuts, and then get disappointed that their stews or pie-fillings are tasteless and rubbery.

Find a butcher. There's still a few of them about, and they're cheaper than you think.

(And I won't have a word said against vegetarian pies either: a good pie doesn't need meat, it just needs to taste good)

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$500 TEDDY BEAR teaches tots to spit up personal data

Kristian Walsh
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Re: 4 seconds?

Agree. Who thought that babies have such good motor skills that they'd be able to grip the sensor in the first place?

By the time a child can actually hold the thing reliably, they're old enough to shout for attention.

The most important function of a monitor is to detect if a baby stops moving, not to measure their temperature or heartrate, so you'll still need to shell out for a sleep monitor..

And as for measuring heart-rate in the first place, I'm reminded of George S. Patton's (paraphrased, and possibly apocryphal) quote: "just because you can measure something doesn't mean that it's worth a damn to know it"

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Google v Oracle: US Supreme Court turns to Obama in Java copyright war

Kristian Walsh
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"They still have to pay you for the time to do so, if you're an employee."

True, but in a development position, they're only paying for your time because they'll own the copyright on what you produce for them.

It's possible to make an argument that maintenance programmers don't fall into this rule, but you've then got to ask where the software to be maintained would have come from without copyright? ("Open Source" is the wrong answer, because that also depends on copyright to enforce the sharing of everyone's contributions)

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Kristian Walsh
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"Copyrighting code has had a far worse impact on business development than any perceived benefits it has provided."

That would be the same copyright that allows you to work as a contract developer (without copyright, the work you produce for an employer belongs to nobody, and they don't have to pay you for it), or is it the copyright that prevents people fleecing FOSS projects and including Open Sourced code into proprietary systems?

Copyrights are not the same as Patents. I don't agree with Software Patents, but you'd have to be a fool to want to abolish copyright.

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20 years on: The satirist's satirist Peter Cook remembered

Kristian Walsh
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Spike, Re: "greatest British comedian of all time "

"British enough to serve in the RA". Milligan was born in India, but his father's place of birth was in Ireland, then (1918) a part of the United Kingdom. The family moved to England in the 1920s, so as a British resident, he was conscripted into the British Army in 1939 and served for six years.

However, Milligan was never entitled to automatic British citizenship, and once India became an independent country, his automatic right to a British passport was cast into doubt, and he eventually became stateless. After a long, long battle around his refusal to swear the Oath of Allegiance (out of stubbornness, and the not unreasonable argument that six years service in the Army should count as prior proof of allegiance to the Crown), he exercised his right to Irish citizenship: Ireland's law gave him an automatic right to citizenship as the child of a British citizen born in Ireland before 1922, but British rules required him to have been born in the UK too.

Spike always considered himself Irish, but never lived in Ireland. However, his grave carries the Irish inscription "dúirt mé leat go raibh mé broite" ... "I told you I was ill" (the council refused to allow the English version)

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Thunderstrike shocks OS X with firmware bootkit

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Fluff?

You don't need physical access to the laptop. All you need is access to the projector connector in the meeting room where its owner is going, and a small laminated card saying "Mac users: Sorry, but the projector doesn't hot-plug with Thunderbolt displays. You need to plug in the cable, then restart your laptop"

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Stuck on a coding problem – should you Bing it?

Kristian Walsh
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Re: As long as Bing searches Stack Exchange

The "Bing" name replaced Microsoft's previous search engine portals in 2009... a year after that post about Stack Exchange.

Joel is good, but he's not that good.

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Ladies and trolls: Should we make cyberbullying a crime? – Ireland

Kristian Walsh
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Re: One man's meat is another man's poison

A flame war is not harassment. Criticism is not harassment. This isn't a law against harsh words; it's a law against actions.

Forum arguments are not bullying: The forum posts are the record of the conversation, and the person being "abused" has the right of reply right there by posting a rebuttal. It's still free debate, even if it degenerates into abusive debate; also, reading the transcript, it will become clear who's being abusive, and who isn't, should the matter need to be taken further. Also, the ability to edit posts allows those people who type before thinking a chance to retract and apologise for their ill-judged remarks, and most forums are moderated to some extent.

This law isn't about someone making one or two nasty posts on a forum, it's about pre-meditiated, concerted actions to damage another person's career or reputation. "Cyber-Bullying" isn't someone getting annoyed because some other nerd thinks BSD is a better licence; it's someone nursing a grudge to the point where they're prepared to impersonate their opponent online, execute anonymous smear campaigns, spread malicious rumours and fabricate "evidence" for these. That, I hope you agree, is wrong, and should be a crime.

The reason for this consultation is this: while the current law makes running a smear campaign a crime, it does not explicitly mention the case where the instrument of that campaign is the Web.

The change in law is to make sure that if someone is accused of defaming or bullying online and there's sufficient evidence to bring a charge, that the wording of the law itself will not allow the offender to walk free on a technicality. ("But, Your Honour, when this law was drafted, publishing meant meant printing, and my client did nothing more than enter some text on a web server. My client had no idea that this information would be read by anyone")

There's no surveillance involved. If a complaint is made, the police will try to find evidence that will identify the suspect, just as in any other crime, but there's no suggestion at all of recording everything just in case.

People crying wolf? Well, this is a criminal offence we're speaking about, so offences must be reported in the first instance to the police. I don't know who'd go their local Garda station with a printout of a LKML thread where they've been called a clueless amoeba, but I'm pretty sure that if they did, the matter wouldn't go much further than the station desk.

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Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde: Fun, but not for all

Kristian Walsh
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The Dodge Dart is a very different car. It's wider, longer and --crucially-- much heavier than the Alfa, despite sharing its architecture.

Wait until Summer, when the 3-Series sized Alfa is to be launched: that will most definitely be sold in the USA. If you can't wait, well, there's always the 4C ;)

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Alfas and preconceptions...

Nice to see a reviewer who gets why people buy Alfas. Soft-touch dashboard plastics are no substitute for having fun while driving.

@Robert - the car to (finally!) follow the 159 will be launched in Summer. There's supposed to be a Sportwagon version either at launch or shortly after.

I have a Giulietta (but a 2.0 diesel rather than this QV model -- diesel is far cheaper than petrol here in Ireland, and I have nobody to pay my fuel bills!). I had two 147s before that. I do believe that the "reliability" story is now as much perception as reality: my previous two 147s were completely reliable, and never stung me with "additional service items" in the twelve years I had them (5 years for the first car, seven for the second; both bought new).

I did, however, need to replace wishbones prematurely on the 147s: they're almost a consumable part thanks to the overuse of too-tall speed bumps in our towns. (Tellingly, I don't remember seeing many speed bumps when driving in Italy a few years ago).

Hardcastle, would you like to share the details of when you drove a Giulietta, what model it was, and what you compared it with?

I test-drove A3, 1-Series, Volvo V40, A3 Focus 3 and Golf 7 against the Giulietta, and bought the Alfa. Just because I'd owned Alfas in the past, I didn't automatically go for the new Alfa: I wanted to see what else was there. I liked the 1-Series, but not the horrible pedal placement, and the body. Volvo was too hard (a sin in a Volvo), the other three just didn't do anything for me (A3 in particular was utterly devoid of any kind of driver feedback).

I'm happy to hear first-hand experiences, but yours sounds like the usual "all Italian/French/Japanese cars are crap" nonsense that stopped me buying magazines long ago.

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Microsoft opens smiley-kids jangly guitar doc-maker to all

Kristian Walsh
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Re: @JDX (was: Yet another tens of millions of dollars of programmer-hours ...)

Any other text editor? Try SublimeText. Cost/benefit probably is in vim's favour, but it shows that there are alternatives.

As for IDEs, I keep hearing the "vim beats any IDE" argument, and then I see that the "project" put forward as proof is a gazillion lines of python, PHP, JavaScript or some other dynamically-typed language, where there's nothing that any tool could do to add value to the symbols in the source-code, because nothing is known until the code is executed.

I write my python and PHP projects in SublimeText; but for anything more than casual editing of my C++ and C# code, I'll end up turning to Qt Creator, Visual Studio or XCode. You'll notice I didn't mention Eclipse: that's intentional.

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