691 posts • joined Tuesday 10th April 2007 16:04 GMT
"... and Chromebooks?"
There's a lot of bluff about Chromebooks, but channel sales surveys put their cumulative (i.e, since launch in 2011) sales comfortably below a million units. After two years on the market, it's telling that Google have yet to announce either sales or users figures for ChomeOS, especially when you consider how they played up Android activations when that platfrom was taking off.
Android is ChromeOS's biggest problem: you can get a good Android tablet with hundreds of thousands of available apps for the same price as a Chromebook. Why would you bother?
Independently-sourced usage figures are interesting for Chromebooks in that sales of the hardware does not convert into measured usage of ChromeOS. Either people are trying them briefly and then abandoning or returning them, or, as I think is more likely, people in the know are buying the Chromebook hardware and putting Linux on it right away. Either way, it's not a sign of a rosy future for the platform.
Re: Apple is shiny and overpriced, true
Be aware that refurbs from all sources have warranty cover, but with exclusions, and they can often be systems which had multiple faults, only one of which was fixed before sale. Ask me how I know...
I agree on the monitors, though. Dell's current high-end is superb, and on any objective measure they are better than Apple's offerings - particularly on colour rendering, which to me is the only important thing on an LCD display (I don't play games, so transition time is something I don't care about now that all displays offer acceptable levels).
The article hasn't claimed that Apple have beaten Dell in PC sales. Only that for customers considering a PC, Apple is top of the list of brands they'd consider buying, whereas Dell used to be.
As the article rightly states, there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip, or to put it another way: wanting to buy a Mac is easy; actually paying Apple's prices for one isn't for many people. I'm still the "Mac guy" in my social circle, and my non-techy friends often ask me about getting a Mac. I go through the pros and cons, and they're enthusiastic right up until they see the prices, and then they ask me what the best Windows laptop is...
Essentially, this is a survey of brand awareness, not sales. Look at the "tablets" list: Google aren't even on that list, even though they produce the best Android tablets, and sell quite a lot of them. What will happen is that someone considering a Samsung tablet will go to a retail store to try it out, and while there they'll see the other options. Similarly, while it's heartening news for Microsoft to see that the Surface line now has good brand recognition, their sales don't match this awareness yet.
You make an interesting inference that people are looking at Windows 8, not liking it, and thus buying Macs. However, the various OS usage figures paint a different story. OS X is more or less static at 8%, Win8 and 8.1 together have about 13%, Windows 7 and XP have between 30% and 40% each, but even a year after the launch of 8, Windows 7's market share is growing much faster than Win8's. It's far more likely that people are buying new hardware and installing Windows 7 on it, or upgrading Vista systems to 7 than abandoning Microsoft entirely and jumping camp to Apple
...is notable for not including Redmond, WA.
I wouldn't trust the hunches of anyone labelled a "Silicon Valley Insider" when it came to succession within Microsoft, because I don't believe that any of them understand how large businesses operate outside of that strange parallel universe of the Bay Area. In the Valley, Microsoft is defined (and vilified) as being Not One Of Us.
My equally uninformed hunch is that it'll be Mullally, who I expect will carry out a major restructuring and streamlining, then hand over to a new candidate three years from now.
Re: Message to mobile operators
"now Russians customers buy their iPhone unlocked directly from reseller instead meaning the operators lost the iPhone margin and the lock in on the clients."
Let's be clear about this: there was no margin on iPhones for the networks. None. It's a subsidised sale. The operator loses money every time a customer chooses an iPhone; their only hope of recouping it is to keep that customer on contract for as long as possible. As for lock-in, you're more likely to stay with a service plan for longer if you're not being pushed to change your handset every 18 or 24 months - subsidies work against lock-in benefits, because they actively encourage the customer to either take another phone (whose cost the operator must recoup again) or go to another provider whenever the renewal comes up.
In Russia, the operators are now prohibited from subsidising phones, on the grounds that the practice is against the interest of the consumer (I tend to agree).
So, the Russian operators are actually benefiting: they get the monthly data plan fees, but don't have to spend a penny in subsidies to get it. Customers also pay less for service because they're not repaying handset subsidies (often on other peoples' phones). People who can afford iPhones now have what they always wanted: an exclusive device that poor people just can't buy. I'd call that a win all round. Oh, except for Apple, but maybe they've enough money already to see themselves through this trauma...
Re: Message to mobile operators
O2 UK have been downplaying iOS devices for a while now. As a launch carrier for iPhone, they got burned more than anyone. Go into their smaller stores now, and you won't even see an iPhone, and on a recent TV campaign, the associated app was available for Android only.
Remember the adage: you're not the phone-maker's customer. Apple sold the iPhone to its customers, the mobile operators. Apple told them that it was so hot that people would switch networks to get it (something that in hindsight did not happen in UK/Ireland - Vodafone ended up making more money from not having to sell iPhone than O2 did by selling it), and reeled them in.
Personally, I want all subsidies gone, and replaced with an interest-free loan to buy the handset you want. This model is used in Finland-- a country that also has the lowest mobile phone bills of any comparable EU economy: there's no such thing as a free phone...
Re: This is why people should have bought the RT version
I don't know where you got the idea that Windows RT doesn't multitask. It does. Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ODZ928qke8
In fairness, I also thought RT was mono-tasking initially... It's a sign of MS's bungled marketing on these devices that such a genuinely useful feature got next to no exposure from Microsoft.
Re: Surface or Surface 2?
It's the Surface RT, sans 2, I believe.
Still, though, for $199 you're getting a lot. Forget the app store for a moment.. In terms of core, out-of-the-box functions, it's actually pretty hard to beat Windows RT. I'm not talking about bundled apps like Office, but stuff like driver support, a desktop-class Flash-enabled browser (and one that is now, surprisingly, standards compliant), multi-user accounts and the two-up multitasking view.
I'd buy one. But then, I'll be picking up a Surface 2 soon, so I've already decided I can live with having fewer available apps in exchange for a more capable device.
Thermal management is a software function
It's not overheating, but rather the software is taking overly aggressive measures aimed at reducing the heat inside the enclosure. It seems that these measures are being taken when the internal temperature isn't persistently high enough to warrant them, hence the promise of a software fix.
The screen backlight is a major source of heat, often more so than the CPU, and keeping the temperature down is paramount when your enclosure has little or no ventilation, and you've got a heat-sensitive Lithium-ion battery in close proximity. (Excessive heat will permanently reduce Li-ion battery capacity, which will shorten the working life of the device)
Re: ..I don't need to apply..
"Honour and recognition in case of success."
That is what makes Shackleton's offer appealing, and it's a marked contrast to IT jobs, which offer only "Blame and humiliation in case of failure".
They're not even paying well, saying they prefer to put the money into "making the offices a better place to work in". Oh, so you'll be incarcerated in a nice prison cell? Well that's all right, then..
Re: How is this even possible?
If he was in bare feet, damp concrete would suffice.
The problem with a live phone housing is that when electric current passes through your hands it causes the muscles to contract, which causes the hand to close, as the grabbing muscles are stronger than the ones that open the hand. The result is that your grip tightens on the very thing you need to let go of.
This is why firefighters feel their way in dark buildings with the back of their hand, not their fingertips - if your hand should touch something live, the muscle spasm will pull it away from the object, rather than gripping it.
Not exactly Apple's fault - but it shows that a design choice that has no problems when used in affluent countries can become problematical where there are less stringent controls on its operating environment.
Re: Supermodel ?
"absolutely nothing intentionally sexist in my remark"
Okay, imagine the story was about a famous footballer setting up a social media site. Would you have questioned whether he was giving blow-jobs to get the funding, or would you have just stated that someone thought that having a famous person behind the project was worth £200k of support?
Try hire a well-known figure to do publicity for your company, and you'll see that 200k isn't a lot of money. In the UK, where Cole has a very high profile, this is a good deal. The simple fact of her involvement will get the company the kind of broad-market press coverage most media startups can't dream of.
The question of whether someone should be given £200k of taxpayers money for something like this is a different one, but governments give business startup grants to all manner of lost causes... much like VCs do,
Re: Supermodel ?
"People sharing things for free, I doubt it. Most altruistic ideads end up dead in the water or surrounded by scam artists."
Can I use this quote when Future You shouts about how Android is brilliant because it's Free Software?
I rarely downvote posts, but I made an exception for the nasty implication that the only way a woman can obtain money is by sleeping with a rich man.
The Cygnet was an effort by Aston Martin to reduce their "fleet CO2" emissions, in order to not fall foul of EU legislation on this. Without that legislative pressure, there's no way in Hell they'd have emnbarked on rebranding a Toyota iQ like that...
But to stay with cars for a moment, the 5C is like Maserati doing an entry model of the Quattroporte for £10,000 less, but doing so by dropping the alloy wheels, metallic paint, air-conditioning and leather interior. Yes, it would be a "cheaper" Maserati, but that's only relatively, and if you can afford to buy this one, why not spend the extra for the "real" one.
Here's the problem: The gap in pricing for the iPhone 5C and 5S isn't big enough for the 5C to be considered "low cost", and the form factor and materials used invite an unfavourable comparison with something like Nokia's 520 and 620 Lumia models which are genuinely "unapologetically plastic" in bright colours, but unlike they 5C they come with an unapologetically low price to go with it (around £150 and £200 respectively SIM-free as opposed to £400+ for the 5C).
"[Nokia] Location & Commerce has almost 7,000 employees worldwide. This includes around 5,000 NAVTEQ and 2,000 Nokia Services employees. Of the total employees approximately 4,500 work on Content with the remainder mainly split between Platforms and Apps."
(source: http://www.just-auto.com/analysis/qa-with-nokia_id122541.aspx )
That sounds like two similarly-sized organisations to me.
POIs are present, and searchable from Nokia's system, including driving directions. Every business with a Facebook page is a POI in the HERE database, although Google are still ahead on POIs , especially in the USA.
HERE has the advantage in 3D, ability to work from offline storage, and while their data is usually older, it appears to be verified better than Google's is. Google on the other hand have more POIs, StreetVIew and are faster to respond to new development. Outside of urban centres, HERE's aerial images are better than Google's. Otherwise, Google is slightly better. There's no clear winner. For example, all the house numbers in my neigbourhood are wrong on Google Maps, but correct in HERE - this doesn't mean its worse everywhere, just in a place that I know: I am well aware that given two mapping databases it's easy to cherrypick localised areas where one is better than another.
Google's reliance on AI is because they're working from panoramic 2D images which provide less input data than LIDAR + panoramas. If you can measure the distances and dimensions as you go, you don't need to spend time and effort to extract them from photographs. The two companies' needs are different: Google is happy with "enough to identify the address"; HERE has paying customers that need additional information about headroom, clearance, passing distances or other obstructions.
I really don't understand the mentality of "Oh no, this is never going to be any good, because Google are in this business". As a customer, it's better for you to have competition between service providers than to give one provider an effective monopoly and let them abuse it, or forever have to satisfy yourself with something that was cool five years ago but hasn't moved on since then, simply because it's offered by your favourite vendor. Google's next revision of StreetView collection will exceed what HERE is doing now, but I can guarantee you that if HERE wasn't raising the bar, Google wouldn't bother.
Re: occluded objects
Aerial LIDAR imaging and satellite photography fill in the other details.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emKttWFcJ_g - for a layman's guide.
There's more to mapping than photos.
Where both are available (Central London, for instance), HERE's street level is superior to Google StreetView. The resolution is currentlylower on Nokia's offer, but the mapping of photo images to buildings is much more accurate, so there's less distortion of the view, and no "stitching" errors.
Google aren't stupid, but mapping is a loss-leader for them - they don't sell the data to anyone else, just use it as a platform to sit an advertising business on top of. As long as their service is good enough, and widespread enough, it doesn't matter if someone else is doing it better. They make maps, but they're not cartographers - the maps are detailed, but the information is not correct in many cases (administrative boundaries are wrong, private lanes are presented as public roads).
HERE, on the other hand is a cartography business. Their mapping data is used by Amazon (Kindle Fire), Microsoft (Bing), Facebook, Garmin and about 90% of in-car navigation systems, so there are paying customers to be satisfied. When you pay for something, you demand more improvements than when you get it for free. This alone will drive their progress faster than Google.
Also, HERE are also capturing far more information than Google. Google just took photos, HERE (isn't it a stupid name, though?) is gathering far, far more data about the surrounding environment: the use of LIDAR creates a 3D model of the surrounding terrain as the car drives through. ( see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGcKcAbvzvc, or this video at 2'00" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz6qtaHqxX4 )
This allows them to measure road widths, bridge heights, and other factors which are of use to navigation. They also take information about road gradients, signage and lane markings, which are used for the next generation of in-car systems. And this isn't just sat-nav: the Rolls Royce Wraith uses GPS and terrain data as inputs to its automatic transmission, so that the car can change gears before encountering a hill for instance; and the adaptive cruise system used in Audi's new A8 knows when you're approaching motorway exits, and adapts the cruise distance limits accordingly to allow for last-minute exit or entry by other cars without sharp braking.
@Shane (Re: yeah right.)
Apple didn't need Microsoft's $150 million (although at the losses the company was incurring at the time, that $1bn cash would have lasted a mere 18 months), but that wasn't the important part of the settlement.
In addition to buying in to Apple, MS commited to supporting Microsoft Office on MacOS for four years. This was a big, big deal. At this time, Apple was losing the last of its big corporate sales to MS because there was significant doubt over the future of Office on Mac. K-12 (i.e., primary schools) was another very lucrative market for Apple, but if Office disappeared from Macs, schools would draft in more Windows PCs to the back room, and there, once established, they'd spread to classroom too. Apple needed Office, and a promise of future support for Office, but while the legal warring was going on, MS stayed tight-lipped on the matter, sowing increased doubt in potential Mac customers' minds.
The promise of Office was instrumental in Apple's survival, because we knew that the NeXT software wouldn't pay off for another two years minimum (actually it turned out to be three.. or four if like me you consider OS X 10.0 to be a customer preview release). Support for Office, and the original iMac were the lifeline that carried Apple out of the hole they'd dug in the mid 1990s. You might downplay it now, but the MS announcement was certainly the event that stopped me and my co-workers worrying about our future employment at Apple.
And although it's after my time there, I can certainly believe that iPhone was a bet-the-company product: the writing was on the wall for OSX from about 2003 or so: application developers weren't getting on board with the new APIs - all of the Mac's big hitters at the time (Photoshop, the unlamented Quark XPress, MS Office) were based on the "Carbon" API that Apple were trying to deprecate, and Apple's marketshare wasn't going in a direction that would convince the likes of Adobe to re-tool Creative Suite on an Apple-only framework (especially Adobe: in the 1990s, Photoshop and Illustrator were re-developed to use Apple's MacApp framework, just before Apple knifed it).
So, with a dwindling computer marketshare, Apple needed to jump into a different market to survive - hence iPod, and then iPhone. Although I've no inside knowledge on this, I still believe that iPhone was originally to be an iPod device, and the decision to turn it into a phone was made during its development, when "white-label" GSM silicon became available from Taiwan.
Re: Won't matter...
That was not what happened. Nokia offered N9 to all operators - many said they didn't want it, some took a punt (I saw it for sale in the Czech republic, for instance, and it was sold in Australia on contract), but this was not Nokia's decision.
If you consider the project duration for a mobile device is about 18 months, the decision to take N9 or not would have been made BEFORE the famous Burning Platform memo, and before the decision to adopt Windows Phone. My feeling is that the main factor in Nokia moving to WindowsPhone was this failure to drum up interest in the MeeGo phone line.
N9 was a good product, and ahead of the competition in usability, but I think the operators had just lost patience with Nokia by then: return rates for N8 were very high, as customers couldn't get to grips with software that just was not finished (I have an N8, and like it, but the software wasn't "good enough" until Symbian Belle in 2012). "N9" was supposed to have been out in late 2010 on the hardware that became the N950, but the software never materialised, so the launch was cancelled. Here's an ad for that phone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdSx_T3Em_g (note the branding is pre-2011; in 2011 Nokia changed their corporate branding to use their new "Pure" typeface, and also note that the phone is still advertised as "NSeries"- N8 was the last phone to be launched under this name).
By the way, the Lumia 800 was not the same hardware, just the same form factor. N9 was a TI OMAP system-on-chip, where Lumia was a Qualcomm Snapdragon.
I can pretty much guarantee that you won't see Sailfish on a UK contract phone. The UK operators had no interest in the N9, Sailfish's spiritual predecessor, so it's highly unlikely they'll jump on something with an even lower profile.
And that's the problem: the mobile phone market is controlled. People are free to choose their phones, but unequal pricing subsidies guide them to certain models, and some models are completely excluded from the choice.
It's like a "free and fair" election in some crooked dictatorship: you get to vote, but the government chooses the candidates you can cast a vote for.
Buy it SIM-free. It's expensive at first, but you'd be amazed how cheap a mobile service plan is when it doesn't have a "free" handset hanging off it.
I wish them luck, though. It'd be great to see an Open Source OS make it onto a phone - might be a new lease of life for some older hardware. (Android defenders: please don't bother replying unless your reply includes a URL where I can pull the nightly Android builds from)
Re: so as to be able to run apps without need for change software.
Like most of Apple's recent "innovations", the benefit is for Apple, not the consumer.
By making both display panels have the same number of pixels, they can use the exact same display driver parts for both the Air and Mini models. That's at least one fewer component to keep track of, with potential gains in other sub-assemblies too (if the driver was on the main logic board, now there only has to be one logic board, not two; if it wasn't, now you can put it on the board if it works out cheaper there).
Nothing special here - it's what every manufacturer does. But, once a supply-chain manager, always a supply-chain manager, eh Tim?
Re: Personal introspection
Aw boo, did the nasty man say something bad about your pwecious Google?
"Flash isn't allowed in IE in metro-mode on W8"
What gave you this idea? Flash is most definitely allowed in IE11 "metro" mode, both on Windows 8 x86, and 8 RT. I've checked this in-store on a Surface 2. (Incidentally, when did Google dump Flash support on Android? I thought it was only iPads that had a gimped browser)
The user cannot install third-party plugins on Metro IE, but that doesn't mean that Microsoft hasn't shipped the browser without Flash installed.
(The inclusion of Flash on RT is something Microsoft should make a bit more of, especially as it lets users play all of those Facebook games like Candy Crush on their tablets, without needing a dedicated app for each).
As for why certain features are disabled, the simplest reason is probably that they are implemented using code that requires APIs that are only present in Windows8.1.
IE11 is a pretty good browser, though. So far, I've found that the only stuff that "breaks" is using only the "-webkit" or "-chrome" prefixed styles without the W3C standard attributes being specified too, as they're supposed to be ( and yes, I include a couple of my own HTML uis in that category :( )
Re: In related news..
Yes, Chromebook installed base is skyrocketing. Any year now, it'll break the all-important tenth-of-one-percent barrier.
Right now, after two years on sale, ChromeOS installed base is at between 0.020% and 0.030%, depending on whose stats you believe. As Google have been uncharacteristically silent on the matter of active users, we have to go on the net usage stats.
For some perspective, Windows RT devices made up approximately 0.1% of the device population in mid-2013 by the same stats (that predates the price-cut on Surface RT that MS claimed has booted its sales). A tiny number, but if "skyrocket" can be applied to Chromebook sales, I've no idea what superlative one would have left to describe the enormous growth of Windows RT in just one year.
Here's the high-level breakdown: Windows, 90% falling very slowly, MacOS 7.8% rising very slowly, Linux 1.6% static. Remember this is desktop/laptop systems, not servers (where Linux would be far higher, and MacOS far lower). http://www.netmarketshare.com
Unfortunately, to get working section numbers, you have to lose other features, as 5.0 is the version that has sparked the current furore.
The point is moot, though. In the intervening time I found several better alternatives. But as "the intervening time" was nearly four years, if I'd been really stuck, I could have written my own word processor in that time too.
Regarding key shortcuts, that's pretty much the set from the '09 version. What's missing are the things that let you write without having to resort to the mouse to change things like paragraph styles. As a simple example, in OpenOffice, the style inspector, (Command-T), can be navigated using the keyboard, which means that you don't have to keep selecting text and applying heading styles, or breaking the flow of typing to make the changes in place. Pages, on the other hand, puts these in a drawer that won't accept keyboard focus.
This misses one of the keys to success of the original MacOS: the visual UI let you get used to the software, but once you were used to it, nearly everything could be done with keyboard shortcuts. This has been lost somewhat as the newer touch-centric UIs once again subject users to the tyranny of direct manipulation.
Of all applications, a word processor needs keyboard commands. Adding these isn't a major technical leap; it's just something that the designers of Pages never even considered, and when you look at the default templates in Pages ("grocery letter", "invite", "Brochure", "Resume") you see why. It's not intended for complex documents, and it never was.
When Apple announced they'd finally updated iWork, I was interested, because Pages (in particular) had the germ of a good word processor buried in it - it just needed a lot more refinement, and after all, I'd paid the price of a really good meal to buy the software. Like a lot of other users, though, I was disappointed to see that rather than improve the function of the software, they clipped it back to the lowest-common-denominator that is iOS.
Pages cannot reliably do subsection numbering. That rules it out for use in any technology business.
You can try to do it, and it looks like it works -- until you reload the document and all the sections have renumbered to "1.1" or "1.1.1". Bizarrely, this means that, without doing things manually, Pages cannot be used to write technical docs that conform to Apple's own internal formatting guidelines. (Or at least the version of them that was in use when I worked there).
In short, it's a handy tool for high-school and Arts students to hand up term-papers with, but it is not a word processor yet. The other annoyance with Pages is that too few functions have keyboard shortcuts. As this is a text tool, where the user's focus will be on the keyboard, the repeated context-switches between keyboard and mouse really slow things down.
Numbers looks like a spreadsheet written by someone who never learned how to use a spreadsheet. It's beautifully presented, but there are gaping holes in the function set, no pivot tables, and a multi-window layout that just won't transfer to any other tool. ClarisWorks had a better spreadsheet, and that's nearly 20 years ago now.
I don't use any of the iWork tools anymore - OpenOffice 4 provides a much better set of features and the UI has got to the point where it isn't horrible.
Re: Customer Satisfaction
"It strikes me that you are by nature a careless and clumsy person, losing and dropping stuff - no offence intended"
None taken by that, but you are incorrect to assume that. It was not I who dropped the laptop. I was surprised at how little force was required to irreparably damage it, and then at the high cost of repair.
I am, however, mildly offended by the implication that as a customer, it's somehow my fault that the product being offered doesn't meet my needs anymore.
No, it's not. It's nobody's fault. I just won't buy the product until it does meet my needs. What I (and I mean me, personally) will definitely not do is buy it out of some misplaced need to belong, and then try to rationalise its shortcomings by claiming that I never wanted to do X,Y or Z anyway, when I absolutely need it to do X Y and Z.
In other words, you're satisfied with your choice, and I'm happy that you are (simply because there's enough miserable people around, and I don't want to see the total increase), but that doesn't mean that everyone would be.
Re: Customer Satisfaction
No downvote, but what you're doing wrong is assuming that everyone else's usage pattern is just like yours.
Personally, I *require* RJ-45 Ethernet connectivity (even more so after a change of job has put me deeper into the networking world). A few years ago I bought a MacBook Air thinking that its portability would outweigh the lack of Ethernet, but it was a dead loss. I've lost innumerable adaptors (airports, hotels, client offices, the usual places) and while that's fine with £5 USB dongles that you can buy in any medium-sized town, it would be more of a pain with limited-availablility £30 dongles from Apple.
I've used Mac laptops since 1997, and have used my own money to buy them since 2002, but unless something changes I won't be buying another. I don't have a problem with the pricing, it's that for the price I expect something that is more useful than an equivalent Windows laptop, not less so. The ethernet was the last straw - before it, it was these (in chronological order):
1. The stupid light-up apple logo. What good is that to me? and it allows strong light sources to shine into the enclosure and create an over-bright disc in the middle of the screen. It's as tacky as a Nike logo t-shirt or those stupid "big pony" Ralf Lauren pullovers, if you're in a higher income bracket.
2. lack of a hot-swappable battery. On old mac laptops, you could put the unit to sleep, swap the battery, and wake it, without loss of data. Battery life still hasn't got to the point where it's better than carrying a spare.
3. The insistence on glossy screens. It looks nice in the shop, and that's all. In the real world, with office windows, overhead fluorescent lighting, or just simple daylight, it's a pain in the head.
4. The no-repair unibody enclosures (if, like me, you've had someone drop your laptop on its corner you'll see why - it'll never close properly again, and the repair cost is phenomenal). The unibodies also have heat dissipation issues, which limits CPU performance, but as this is a laptop, that's not a major concern.
None of these are "march of technology" decisions. They were made for purely aesthetic reasons, to get more coffee-shop nontrepreneurs to buy Apple hardware, and none of them provide a customer benefit (okay, a gloss screen is higher perceived contrast, if you never leave Starbucks). As that customer, I have asked myself why I should continue to pay for a product that provides less and less benefit to me at each iteration.
Oh for goodness sake. Stop being such a fanboy.
There are lots of bugs in point-zero MacOS releases. Always have been. Some get fixed, some don't. Lion was riddled with minor bugs, because the dev effort was expended on dressing up the apps to look like their iOS equivalents, rather than improving performance. It only stabilised before the release of 10.8.
It's good to see bugs being fixed, but 10.10 will need to be another "no new features" release to undo the damage done by Lion.
I have Lion on my Air laptop, and am waiting for Mavericks to stabilise before I look at upgrading. But on the machine I rely on to get my work done, I've stayed on 10.6, and I don't see a lot of reason to move yet.
Re: Instead of "Princess"...
Ah, you'd only work on bridged networks?
Apple's policy on titles was that you could have what you wanted on your business card as long as your boss approved it, and (when I was there) they usually did unless it was offensive (I had a fairly staid "Senior Software Engineer", but only because I had to get them at short notice, and couldn't think of anything clever). I can't remember many of the odd ones now, but there was definitely a "Network Test-Pilot", while a friend's card had him as "Chief Morale Officer".
Re: A bit harsh
"Ignorance is not an excuse to spread crap".
I agree. Please stop.
@Brenda - Re: A bit harsh
Actually, ARM is quite good at 64-bit transparency: 32-bit code doesn't appear to have a penalty, but it is hard to tell when all you can do is compare first-attempt (okay, second-attempt, but Apple's is the first in a client) implementations of ARMv8 with mature, optimised ARMv7 implementations.
That said, I completely agree with you that 64-bit isn't a big performance deal. I've written a lot of code over the last 25 years, for a lot of very varied application areas, and my gut feeling is that outside of scientific modelling, integer maths accounts for the bulk of most applications' calculations (remember that GPUs handle the floating-point for 3D transformations). Of that, I'd guess that 99% can be be accommodated by 32 bit registers. The big performance benefit of 64-bit, that of being able to access more than 4 Gbyte of address space, isn't a whole lot of use on a device with such constrained resources as a tablet. (To be clear, I still think 64 bit is of incredible benefit on desktops and servers, but they have more memory, more storage, and run applications that work with bigger datasets than a tablet.)
Basically, being 64-bit isn't why ARMv8 chips like the A7 are better than their predecessors, but I suppose it's the easiest "this number is bigger" feature for a marketing department to work with, and in the inevitable absence of market-changing new features to trumpet at every iteration, Apple have now joined the tech industry numbers game instead: lighter - nice, more pixels - okay, but... twice as much "bit" as the competition?? Only the first two provide a customer benefit. As a customer, why should I care how wide the ALUs are? it doesn't add anything that will benefit me now, or in the lifetime of the device. It's a willy-waver feature; a bigger number buyers can use when someone challenges your choice of product.
Nor does it mean the device will be faster or better than the competition. Right now, I think a good ARMv7 implementation can still beat an ARMv8 chip, simply because v8 is new, and the vendors are still getting to grips with it. But as the same optimisation is applied to the newer architecture by vendors, we'll see v8 pull ahead.
But again, that performance gain will still have very little to do with it having 64-bit addressing. Not on a tablet, running tablet applications.
"In Europe, the telcos are understood to have less of a stranglehold on iPhone sales."
The situation is more likely down to subsidies: UK customers receive huge subsidies on carrier-locked handsets compared to other EU nations, and iPhone is the leader of the pack on this. The level of subsidy that Apple got from UK carriers is so high that it's debatable whether the carriers actually make anything at all selling the things, even when including iPhone owners' higher Revenue Per User figures.
But as long as you've got retailers (the networks) "selling" iPhones at £100.00 or even £0.00 on not-unreasonable contract prices (and more importantly: contract prices that don't change depending on what phone you take), the market for fully unlocked units will be so small that it's not worth bothering with UK sales.
Elsewhere, where the contract and off-contract prices are closer, the market for SIM-free handsets makes more sense.
Re: Ribboned for your pleasure
I find that use-cases aren't a good starting point for UI design: because they're ultimately describing functions of the software, they can only explain what has to be done, but not why, and they give very little guidance on appropriate ways to achieve it.
Normally, I start with a set of user scenarios - each describes a typical user (including relevant attributes such as computer literacy, education, fluency in whatever language the software displays its text in, and co-ordination), and a transcript of their interaction with the software. Each of those interactions would be equivalent to a traditional use-case, but by combining them into a narrative, you make it easier for the developer implementing the system to understand what the intent behind each use-case is.
Also, by humanising the user in each scenario, you also remind the implementor of the UI that not all users are like them.
As for iWork, I gave up on Pages as being unable to handle even the simplest kind of technical document (you have to resort to hacks to use 1, 1.1, 1.1.1 style section headings, and they have a habit of disappearing across a save), and anything I did in Numbers wouldn't interoperate well with Excel or OpenOffice sheets, Keynote is a good slide-maker, but my experience has taught me that a good slide presentation is horribly time consuming to create, and a bad slide presentation is a waste of everyone's time, so I tend to avoid producing them for talks.
"Upper end of the market"
Nonsense. The iPhone broke out of its ivory tower long ago. Carrier subsidies have made both iPhone and iPad (mobile-data models) available to just about anyone, whether they can afford one or not.
The reason that iOS still commands the most revenue is that to date, the spendthrift early adopters have stayed with the platform. But this is a fickle market, very image-conscious, and if they start seeing their precious Apple logo too often in dole queues and on the wrong street corners, then they'll start looking for something more exclusive.
Apple's hiring of former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendt shows an awareness of this issue: Burberry is the classic example of brand erosion, and Ms Ahrendt did a very good job of pulling Burberry out of the mess they had dug themselves into.
The clause "unless you have a volume licence" means that the two statements are not exclusive. Unless, that is, you are assuming that business users users DON'T have bulk licencing for MS Office already.
On the other hand, battery life of 11 hours (Nokia's claim is 11 hours of HD video) is hard to find in a £500 laptop, and as those laptops aren't as smooth and responsive in use as the Surface 2, I can't see them being better than this tablet which is arguably running a higher-spec System-on-chip than Microsoft's new tablet.
Yes, they're not "Full x86 Windows", but at the price points we're talking about, you cannot make a good quality x86 tablet system with good battery life and good performance - look at the price difference between the Surface and Surface Pro. That's how much it costs to make x86 Windows run well on a tablet. Anything around the same price as the ARM tablets is just another Netbook - an underpowered, and ultimately disappointing, Windows laptop.
Microsoft shouldn't have called this "Windows RT". Had they called it "Microsoft Surface OS", and then touted Windows 8 (x86) as being able to run both "Windows" and "Surface" apps, they would have spared themselves a lot of abuse from the tech-blog-superstars.
But the fact that RT isn't x86 Windows isn't a disadvantage, any more than not being Win32 is to iOS or Android. WindowsRT is a tablet OS, and as such it has a lot of very nice features that its competitors lack, but features only go so far:
If you want a solid, rational argument against RT tablets, then here it is: RT devices have access to far fewer good apps than an iPads, or even Android tablets do. That's all (but it is a big "all" for users who really NEED a particular app)
Re: I would have downloaded 8.1
Assuming you're not on MSDN or an enterprise-managed PC...
You need to have your system fully updated to the last version of 8.0 before you're shown the link to 8.1. Despite the 8.1 update being in the Store, the remaining 8.0 updates are in "PC Settings" as "Windows Update".
This caught me out too, but it does say it in the FAQ, and I had been ignoring the "You have X new Updates" message on the corner of the lock-screen for a while...
Re: Germany are doing the leaning
It's "IE", unless you really are trying to claim that Germany is bankrolling Iran to reform its tax code.
In any case, Ireland's corporate tax system is as level a playing field as you'll see in Europe: everyone is taxed at 12.5%, from biggest to smallest. Compare that with France or Germany, with their numerous sweetheart deals - if Ireland were so generous, why haven't you seen the likes of EDF-Suez, Siemens or BASF* moving to Ireland for nice rates? The reason is simple: they're getting a better effective rate at home - but the small businesses are subsidising it.
Bluntly, the problem isn't Ireland's tax rate, it's the ability of multinationals to strip earnings out of their accounts by shunting profits through various jurisdictions. Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are used more often because they've got open economies with simple tax codes, they are stable nations under a rule of law, and they have tax treaties with many other countries.
* Germany's largest corporation, Volkswagen AG, of course couldn't move, as it is 30% owned by the government of the State of Lower Saxony. But then, access to finance at AAA government bond rates is something that would keep any company from looking for new headquarters...
Re: The USA should do with companies what it does with people
The AC's proposal wouldn't even prevent Apple's current trick. Apple take advantage of a particular feature of Irish company law. The liability for tax in Ireland is with a company's headquarters: the ultimate owner of the company (very much what AC proposed). However, US tax law says that a company is liable for tax in the state where it is incorporated.
Apple use a subsidiary company that's incorporated in Ireland, but headquartered in the USA. Thus, it falls between two stools, and cannot be taxed anywhere. It's a "victim" of a phenomenon called double non-taxation.
Noonan's plan is to bring Ireland's tax code into accord with the OECD's recently adopted anti-BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) measures, [ http://www.oecd.org/ctp/beps.htm ] which provide a way for governments to bring the tax system into line and avoid "double non-taxation" without cutting their own throats in the process. Without a cooperative arrangement if (for example) Ireland were to tighten its measures, another country like Luxembourg or the Netherlands could retain their looser regime and draw investment away, and the problem would only move location, not be solved.
Re: The USA should do with companies what it does with people
While I understand why you want "subsidiaries" treated this way, let me give you a counter example: I start up a small company, and land a big supply contract to, lets say, Apple. They pay me $200 M a year for an exclusive agreement to use my software in iOS or whatever. Lucky day for me? Well, no... by your "ideal" rules, my company would have no tax allowances whatsoever, because it would be treated as a subsidiary of Apple on the basis that all my business (right now) is with Apple. In effect, you would have me pay Apple's taxes for them, which is even more unfair than the current situation.
In law, my imagined company is no different to Apple Operations (Europe), or Google (Cayman), or any of those other IPR sub-licensors. These are not subsidiaries, they're independent companies, run "at arm's length" with exclusive contracts to licence IPR. That's how the scam works. They rely on favourable rates for IP licencing, which are offered because developing valuable Intellectual Property is the highest risk activity a business can engage in: IPR doesn't apply to the idea, it's for the realisation of the idea.
You might consider it to be "Fake", but Starbucks does have valuable IPR. Its branding, logo and store design are its IPR, and they are apparently enough to convince people to pay over the odds for burnt coffee. Thus, that IPR has monetary value, and can be sold or licenced. Try open an independent coffee-shop serving coffee that tastes as bad as Starbucks and you'll quickly see the value of its brand.
" "The only real source of 1080p is Bluray."
You'd have to explain that to my 1080p/50 video camera which is now a couple of years old. Or indeed my laptop using the TV as an external monitor
I would indeed, had I actually made such a preposterous claim. :)
"Every HDTV I have ever seen is 1080P."
The display may be 1080p, but the broadcast content it's showing is 1080i. The display hardware de-interlaces this to generate a 1080p signal, but it can't add any extra information.
For 1080p video you need to look at BluRay or streaming. Although, that said, some streaming services' 1080p is at such a hight compression level that it puts the overall image quality around the same as good broadcast 720p.
Re: complete with the Start button
I hated the start menu. I thought it was the most brain-dead bit of UI in Windows, and in use, it accumulated crap like Elvis's colon.
The Windows8 screen is an improvement - just press the win-key, and type. No need to hunt through endless submenus devised by some egotisitical branding committee (looking at you, printer vendors), just type what you want to launch, and press return...
Or maybe I'm just too used to using bash all the time...
Click, wait, click...
...is the horribly unintuitive way that you select a file for renaming on the Mac OS X Finder. There's no menu item for "Rename", nor is there a context-menu or key shortcut. I'm guessing the developer was a Mac user.
As the behaviour is actually a holdover from the Classic Finder, I calculate that it has been bugging me for seventeen years now.
(Alternatively, open Terminal.app . Type 'mv', drag victim file from Finder window and drop onto terminal window, type new name inside quotes, press return)
Re: Hey Microsoft - here's an idea
"You can make quite a bit of money from GPL. Just ask Red Hat."
Um. Yes. That's what I was saying in the sentence you quoted ;)
Re: I don't have a gripe against utf-8
Indeed. UTF-8 strings will sort in codepoint order if you give them to strcmp(), which is as good and bad as its behaviour in ASCII. However, anyone who thinks that strcmp() sorts strings in "alphabetical" order is at best living in a dream-world, or at worst, a hopeless xenophobe.
As for the other "problem", that of lenght: strlen() returns the length of a UTF-8 string in bytes, and outside of font rendering engines, that is all you ever need to know to write proper text-processing code. Any argument to the contrary is based on a misplaced notion that somehow a byte is a character (I blame C).
"Character" is a very slippery defitinion, is language sensitive ("rijstafel" is 9 letters long if you're English; only eight if you're Dutch), and doesn't always correspond to the number of symbols the user sees anyway: when the five codes 's','o','e','u','r' arerendered as the four glyphs "sœur", how many characters really are in the string? (both answers are equally right and wrong, btw)
Re: Hey Microsoft - here's an idea
"Want to know how it's free? I can download it right now from AOSP, build it, and run it, without cost. That's the definition of free."
No it's not. It's only costing you nothing because you're not planning to sell it.
Lots of licences allow no-cost use until you try to make money from the product, and this includes several open source products too: in fact, the GPL licence is deliberately compatible with this kind of business model. The original goal of the Open Source movement wasn't to give stuff away for nothing; it was to ensure that people who had often PAID for a product were also given the code, which would allow them to port it to a new hardware/OS platform in future. OSS was primarily about preventing vendor lock-in, not about forcing developers to work for nothing. See this: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html
The various technologies under dispute on Andoid have a "no fee for non-commercial use" licence already, so you are fully entitled in law to pull the sources, build Android and use it. But, when you start to sell the product, you are no longer covered by this "non commercial" licence, and must obtain a commercial-use licence instead.
Re: @Neoc (was: TCP/IP has been multi-path from the git-go.)
"Thus, TCP/IP has always been multi-path."
Only once you leave the source host. These days, however, getting from your source host to the first hop is the least reliable part of the connection.
Yes, TCP packets may be carried across multiple routes once they leave their source IP address, but: TCP connections must have one and only one endpoint address at each end. You must choose the source and destination IP address before you initiate the connection, and you're stuck with this choice until you close the session. If one of those endpoint addresses becomes unreachable (e.g. a Wifi link fails), then the whole session fails, even if the host you were communicating with still has other viable connections.
Multipath TCP allows you to carry a TCP session with multiple interfaces at each end. A master Multipath TCP flow is established, and it delegates packets to one or more additional "plain-TCP" "sub flows". The choice of which sub-flow receives a particular packet follows the whatever TCP congestion-control algorithms you've chosen, so a slow link is not given as much traffic as a fast one, for instance. However, individual sub-flows may drop or join the master flow without bringing down the overarching Mutlipath TCP session. A crude analogy is that MPTCP is like placing the first-hop router into the TCP stack of the local host (MPTCP isn't a routing protocol, though, it's cleverer than that).
This isn't bonding. It's not load-balancing. It's not failover. It's TCP, but with the session's packet stream spread across two or more TCP links. As a result, when a MPTCP subflow goes, the overarching session continues, albeit at a lower bandwidth: just like the whole session doesn't collapse when a single packet is lost in TCP.
This is one of the killer features of MPTCP, and it's the one our industrial customers really benefit from: try running a Citrix session on a single, patchy mobile connection that keeps collapsing the TCP connection, and you'll understand how useful it is.
The second big win is that you create a TCP session that has the aggregate bandwidth of all your available interfaces available to it. This is what we're pitching to residential and small-business customers here: http://igg.me/at/mpn - but you also get the reliabliity too, because at heart, it's still TCP.
And that's the point: MPTCP is not trying to replace TCP; it builds on TCP and extends it to make better use of hosts with multiple interfaces.
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