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* Posts by Kristian Walsh

740 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

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Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update

Kristian Walsh
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Re: KitKat - no complaints?

Despite the name changing from a J to K, 4.4 really is just a "0.1" release; bugfixes, a few APIs and performance enhancements. Nothing to get excited about from a user's point of view. It fixes stuff people didn't like, and doesn't add too much new stuff for them to dislike.

WindowsPhone 8.1, on the other hand, despite being named like a "0.1" release is a actually a huge revision to 8.0. In Android terms, it's like the move from Gingerbread to Ice-cream Sandwich. Holding the version at "8.1" is a marketing decision, basically, to support the message that there's now a common API for both desktop and mobile "8.1" platforms.

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Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Three cheers for the EU

Creating jobs in the fire-damage repairs, glazing, and street cleaning industries doesn't count as manufacturing innovation, so civil protests are irrelevant in this study.

If you don't like the current government, you should round up a mob of like minded people, march down to the town hall... and register to vote.

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Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS

Kristian Walsh
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Carrier reluctance....

This is referring to the US carriers, and their reluctance is understandable given that Apple will want to do not one, but two things with pricing:

1. Increase the price of iPhone 6 by $100

2. Hold carriers to the current with-contract pricing.

After all, bleeding the US network operators has been Apple's key to success. But don't start cheering yet - Verizon and AT&T aren't the victims: drawing blood from the network operators means forcing those operators to increase charges to their non-iPhone, and non-smartphone users.

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Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Am I missing something?

Yes, you are.

While I was having a crap yesterday, I had an idea about using nanotubes to make a new class of super-light, super-dense batteries. I must check to see if I'm a millionaire by now.

This may come as a surprise, so sit down: The mental and physical effort required to conceive an idea isn't even a tiny fraction of the effort needed to bring it to reality.

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Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Cuing the obligatory audiophile discussion regarding sample rates...

So even slight head movements will affect the phase relationship.

Yes, but while you were surviving to adulthood, your brain had plenty of time to learn how to compensate for the movement of your head.

After all, a human race that couldn't place sources of sound while their heads were in motion would not have survived long enough in the wild to be able to eventually make specious arguments on internet forums.

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Kristian Walsh
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Overcutting their artists...

I bought the latest Goldfrapp album direct from their website, as 92k/24-bit WAV files.

For this higher-quality audio experience (and it really sounds better than any of my 44.1k/16 albums), I was charged £2 less than the CD would have been, or the same price as Apple wanted for 48k/16 audio files sieved through a lossy compressor. Oh, and the band probably got more of the money.

Or how about this way: a Peter Gabriel CD I bought last year had a voucher inside saying "Thanks for buying the CD. Here's your unique code to download a 48k/24bit version of the audio!" Wouldn't that solve the problem nicely?

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Cuing the obligatory audiophile discussion regarding sample rates...

So, your 22kHz sine wave. How does its reconstructed amplitude vary as I change the phase of the signal? Oh dear... that's a bit of a problem, isn't it? But don't you understand Nyquist? Or did you skip over the assumptions about phase...?

Thing is, signal phase accuracy is very important in producing a realistic stereo sound-field. In human hearing, it's the timing of high-frequency transients that is significant in determining position information. Even for signals with low fundamental frequencies, a relatively low sampling rate limits the ability to accurately locate the sound's high-frequency transients in time. Sampling at higher rates allows better phase accuracy, and thus better spatial information.

The second problem high sample rates can solve is more of a practical one: Low-pass filters do not have infinite attenuation in their stopbands. Alias signals do break through, but using a higher sampling rate ensures that most of the alias products are pushed into the ultrasonic region of the recorded spectrum. (You, of course, know that signal component just above fs is aliased to one just below)

Comms engineers strive for intelligibility and efficiency, audio engineers strive for realism. Don't use the rules of one discipline to solve the problems of another; if that worked, they wouldn't be separate disciplines...

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Google kills fake anti-virus app that hit No. 1 on Play charts

Kristian Walsh
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Re: anybody remember the $999 Ruby app on the iPhone?

Apple only pulled "I Am Rich" when two of its eight customers complained that they'd installed it in error. [ L.A. Times report here : http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2008/08/iphone-i-am-ric.html ]

The app's description was very clear: It said that it did nothing, and the sole purpose was to show your friends* that you're the sort of person who's so rich they can throw a thousand bucks away like that. As such, it didn't violate the App Store rules. (Had it dared to show a woman's nipples, or two men holding hands in a loving relationship, we'd have been spared such a scam, but no, the author chose a picture of a ruby, so that was okay).

* yeah, if you're the sort of person who throws a thousand bucks away to show off, those people who hang around you are definitely your friends.

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Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

Kristian Walsh
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Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

"I just don't agree with the bloody fee"

If you're a personal user, and it's own software you want to run, on your own machine (and remember this restriction is only for Metro/new/whatever apps), then you can get a developer key for nothing.

If you're a business, it's likely the fee won't apply:

"As of May 1, 2014 customers in the following Volume Licensing programs (regardless of what product they purchase) will be granted Enterprise Sideloading Rights and provided with a sideload key at no additional license cost: Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Subscription Agreement, Enrollment for Education Solutions (under a Campus and School Agreement), School Enrollment, Select and Select Plus.

"other customers who want to enable sideloading will be able to purchase an Enterprise Sideloading key for $100 through the Open License program. An unlimited number of devices can be enabled for sideloading using this key."

[ source: http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/springboard/archive/2014/04/03/windows-8-1-sideloading-enhancements.aspx ]

The $100 is most likely there to dissuade malware authors from conning you into allowing side-loading of their shite over the phone, and also to allow MS to automatically kill such shite if it does get there.

Your learned colleague is indeed wrong about Apple: they do allow enterprise customers to sideload to iOS devices, but only as part of a $299 a year Enterprise Developer programme, and it's open only to registered businesses, not individuals (a reasonable restriction, I think, given the intended use case). Although that figure does include some dev support hours, it's not clear what happens to your ability to install apps when you stop paying Apple... It's still a better deal than the original programme, where you had to prove to Apple that you had enough employees and, obviously, iOS devices to be "worthy" of a sideloading key... pricks.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Vox Pop

" My experience, and that of several friends who have bought new PCs and laptops, is that you just want the "new stuff" to go away "

If I may suggest: You only think MacOS X is better in this respect because you're not a long-time OS X user. I've been using OS X since early 2000 (and of my own free will since 2002), and frankly, I could do without every single "UI Improvement" Apple has added in the last five years of releases, from Spaces to Exposé to Launch Control and now the insanely irritating Notification Centre (I can't be the last Mac user who needs to do work on their computer that requires concentration, can I?).

And, deciding to suddenly autocorrect my text by default without asking me first? That's a whole barrel of laughs the first time you try to tell someone what to type into their Terminal over an IM session.

Yes, I know all of this can be turned off, and I've done all the "defaults" stuff to make sure it doesn't come back, but surely it's a waste of everyone's time (and don't start me on assigning every easily mis-hit function key to a different kind of disorientating window-juggle).

In short, what I'm saying is that the grass isn't greener; it's only that the cowpats are in different places than you're used to seeing them.

More relevant to this article, I quite like Windows8.1, but I'll qualify that by saying that I run it on a Surface 2 (yes, the RT one), which is exactly the kind of device I think it was intended for.. it certainly kicks an iPad's ass in terms of usefulness. On a destkop system, though, I go straight into, well, the desktop. I'm amazed that it has taken so long to suggest running Metro (whatever) apps in a desktop window - after all, Visual Studio's simulator does this, and it would have provided the best of both worlds (there are times when it's very useful to have nothing else on screen except the application you're working in)

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In three hours, Microsoft gave the Windows-verse everything it needed

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Too Little Too Late

"The world has moved on from Microsoft's proprietary API's to FOSS solutions like Android, ChromeOS, Ubuntu, and SteamOS. "

With the exception of Ubuntu, all of those are like Free, Open-Source Software, but not actually FOSS. However you build them, the free sources of Android can't make the Android or ChromeOS that Google gives to its OEM partners.

To add to Jamie's point, above: I'd argue that the products that have done most commercial harm to Microsoft are Apache, PHP and MySQL, but I guess as they're not GNU-licenced, they don't count?

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Kristian Walsh
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Joke

Re: Took them long enough...

The only reason X11 is still around because nobody has figured out a way of shutting it down it that'll work on all implementations.

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HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Can I play the analogy game?

That's funny you should say that, as Chrysler had a similar fate after allying themselves with a giant German company that in hindsight nobody should have trusted.

Today, Mercedes are neither beautiful nor reliable. But it wasn't Chrylser that did this.

Chrysler's quality actually nosedived after Daimler came on board, simply because the German engineers didn't understand how to do mass-market car production. The Mercedes brand had relied heavily on retroactive quality fixes on failed units during manufacturing; something you can afford to do at Merc's margins, but not on a Dodge. So, they started to abandon the few things that were working in Chrylser (notably its then-new lean-manufacturing quality programme) without addressing the problems.

Luckily, with some Italian technology and manufacturing know-how from Alfa Romeo/FIAT, their quality problems are becoming a thing of the past. Mercedes, well... less so.

(The worst car I ever owned for reliability was a Mercedes A140, Bought from new, it had three gearboxes fitted before I gave up and accepted that 2nd-3rd would always grind the box; then the steering and suspension failed, outside of the very short warranty, leaving me to pay £1200 to fix it. All within 24,000 miles.)

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Kristian Walsh
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Alfa reliability:

Rather than rely on "bloke down the pub" information, let's look at what people who actually own Alfa Romeos experience. These are MOT failure rates for Alfa and its competitors ( Figures from the very useful MOTAngel: http://www.motangel.co.uk/discover-mot-fail-rate/ ). Lower is better.

Failure rates for 2011-registered cars, C Segment:

FIAT Bravo: 28.21%

Skoda Octavia: 21.22%

VW Golf: 20.2%

Ford Focus: 19.88%

Opel Astra: 18.68%

BMW 1: 18.11%

Audi A3 : 17.55%

Honda Civic: 16.48%

KIA Cee'd: 15.05%

Mercedes A: 13.85%

Toyota Auris: 10.5%

Alfa Romeo Giulietta: 7.89%

.

B-segment cars (2011 reg):

Mini Cooper: 60% (yes, sixty)

FIAT Punto: 22.22%

Ford Fiesta: 19.77%

VW Polo: 17.72%

Skoda Fabia: 13.08%

Alfa Romeo Mito: 7.89%

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Is this photo PROOF a Windows 7 Start Menu is coming back?

Kristian Walsh
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Re: @ Kristian Walsh (was: @AC (was: Whatever.))

"Nor did I ever claim otherwise"

*cough*

Explicitly, no... I'll grant you that. But making a claim to have done something without also crediting the many others involved could be taken that way.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: @AC (was: Whatever.)

Slackware? I thought you single-handedly wrote BSD, Jake. Why the defection?

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Back off, Siri! Microsoft debuts Halo beauty Cortana

Kristian Walsh
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In the preciously seen builds there was a setting that allowed you to choose male or female voice.

As the only use I'd have for voice control is to send texts to people while driving, I'll get interested when it does something intelligent with the Irish and other non-English names in my phonebook. "Intelligent" means asking me how to pronounce them when it doesn't know (or gets it wrong). This is a problem that can't be solved by just evolving the backend, as that can't discern cases of the same written characters having different pronounciations like "MarIE" and "MARie" (I know one of each); "LAUrence" (Male English name) and "LaurENce" (female French name); "Jan" (Dutch, male) and "Jan" (English, female) and so on..

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Partner firms: Microsoft kept Surface from you for YOUR OWN GOOD

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Go grab market, kill competition ....

Stuart, that's what they did. The write-downs were on Surface RT, and the Surface RT was heavily discounted in the run up to Christmas. Surface 2 is much more balanced in terms of supply and demand (i.e., demand is slightly higher, but more importantly, MS didn't build piles and piles of the Surface 2 models in expectation of really high sales).

Most of the Surface (1) RT models have now been sold.

The Surface Pro models were, if anything, under-orderd by MS. Low sales were mainly supply constraints for the Intel-powered units.

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Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

Kristian Walsh
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It's good to be rich

I'm reminded of something a friend of mine once said:

"I want to be a millionaire, not because I want loads of money, but because when you're a millionaire people give you stuff. Not useless stuff, but stuff that you'd have bought anyway. And they give it to you for free, just because you're rich enough to be able to buy it if you wanted it! It's brilliant!"

It was true then, it's true now.

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Vote now for the top reader Limerick limerick

Kristian Walsh
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Scansion

Nick Bunyan's entry also scans correctly, and is a Limerick to my ears.

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Eight hour cleansing to get all the 'faggots' and 'bitches' OUT of Github

Kristian Walsh
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Yes, because if we don't say its name, it'll go away...

"because we are an enlightened group of super-smart people who see through people’s exterior characteristics and judge them solely on the quality of their mind. "

Oh. Come. On. If he actually believes that, he probably believes that removing the word "faggot" from a code comment will make its original author less homophobic. Personally, I don't believe that any word is in itself offensive, and I have a strong opposition to such blunt "thought police" tactics as a result. But: you lose nuance and tone when you write, so you have to know your reader very, very well before you can confidently use words that are considered to be insults.

Unfortunately, for "enligtened groups of super-smart people", being unable to place oneself mentally in the mindset of another person is a classic failing of such people, no matter how good they might be at writing code.

But, as observed above, lazy insulting language in code comments is a bad code smell in the first place. If this guy has a problem with "bad" language in code, he should remind the coders that if they put projects on github, potential hiring managers can see that code very easily. Something peppered with non-descriptive and (to some) offensive words like "bitch" or "faggot" isn't really going to make you look like a good hire.

... unless you're going for a job in Github, of course.

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Elon Musk slams New Jersey governor over Tesla direct sales ban

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Allow me to comment on another country's practices

"The other problem with Tesla, and electric cars generally, is there is no servicing - so no profit for the dealer, so they only way the dealer would make money is if Tesla wholesale the cars at 40% discount."

Um... you know that there's a lot more than the engine in an internal-combustion-engined car, right?

And what about non-service items. If your Tesla's steering or suspension starts to play up. Where do you get it fixed? Your local Ford dealership? Good luck.

There are two equal sides in this argument. A nearby dealer network is also of benefit to customers, just like a direct-sales model is of benefit as much (or more) to Tesla than its customers.

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Apple iOS 8 'will put end' to crap map app rap flap misery

Kristian Walsh
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You seem to be lost. The Guardian tech section is that way...

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Kristian Walsh
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Unique public transport features?

Nokia has real time public transport routing already. Or maybe it's 'unique to an Apple product', as usual..

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Galaxy S5 launch parties to fizzle in Samsung's back yard

Kristian Walsh
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In response to the original question: iPhone is not popular in Korea, so no. It might be "#1 foreign brand", but it accounts for only about 4% of smartphone sales (note, smartphone, not "all phones"). Koreans buy Korean - it's a national pride thing.

Agree with Bob G: subsidies are corrosive and bad for the customer. Only Apple is benefitting from the current setup, but those "free iPhones"? your aunt, your grandad, and everyone else with a plain old voice phone is paying for them... that can't be right.

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Microsoft's battery-boosting Surface slab cover to ship soon

Kristian Walsh
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"You have to love how they mention 60% more runtime and 70% more runtime but don't specify what that runtime is supposed to be. This leads one to believe that once again the Windows based tablets are power hogs and require bulky and/or extra batteries. "

No, that's not how logic works. You can only reason from facts, not prejudices.

Logically, the only things that one can be led to believe from that statement are:

1. that the batteries in the Surface, and Surface Pro are of different capacities.

2. the battery capacity of the Surface Pro is larger.

And indeed, a quick use of the internet reveals this to be true: 42 Watt-hours for the Pro, and 31.3 for the ARM-based 2 model.

And if you actually cared, you'd find the runtime figures here, but just like other makers' figures, these are single-task tests, in controlled circumstances:

Pro 2 (Intel): 7h video playback;

2 (ARM): 12h video playback.

( http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/products/overview )

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Neil Young touts MP3 player that's no Piece of Crap

Kristian Walsh
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@King Jack ... Re: 4th primary colour?

See Vic's link.

As you asked so politely: the fourth primary is between the normal red and green, so is perceived as orange or yellow..

The test is to give a subject a Red/Green mixer control and ask them to match a monochromatic orange or yellow light source. Trichromats (those who have three primary colour receptors) can do this task easily, because we perceive colours like orange or yellow as a combined red and green stimulus; tetrachromats struggle to achieve the correct mix of red and green because they see the orange lamp as a mix of red, green and another, separate, primary colour, as different to red or green as blue is..

Studies into Tetrachromacy show that it is also more common in the mothers of red-green colour blind males than in the general population, which makes some sense as some of the genes for colour vision are carried on the X sex chromosomes.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Is it that time already?

When making analogies, it's always good to do fact checks...

There are people, about 2% of the population, and nearly all female, who have tetrachromatic vision (the ability to discern four primary colours of light). For these people, an increase in "bandwidth", in the form of encoding a fourth primary (or more than the current three) would provide an obvious increase in colour fidelity. Colour fidelity is a tricky problem with video as it is, given that the primary colour response curves are averages, and as averages, they will not look right to some people.

But back to audio, the reasons for using 192kHz are simple, you move the negative effects of the anti-aliasing filtering way beyond the upper limit of hearing. CDDA's 44.1 kHz sampling rate (chosen for compatibility with U-Matic video recorders used for mastering, rather than based on any physiological concern) is too low. 96kHz is getting there, but 192 is preferable for two reasons. First, it's what the studios use anyway, and with lossless compression, it's only a few percent bigger than 96. Second, 192 is the native sample rate of most modern DAC parts, so using that rate for replay removes the possible negative effects of upsampling by the replay equipment.

The use of 24-bit shouldn't be contentious: it exceeds the generally accepted average of human hearing, and also mitigates the errors introduced by non-linearities in the recording and conversion of signals from analogue to digital and back.

The argument about reproduction equipment is outdated, as there are indeed speakers with high-frequency-range tweeters, and those speakers that don't now provide low-pass filtering in their tweeter filter to remove intermodulation.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Golden ear set again

There's no snake-oil about Class A amplifiers... it's still the best way to design an electronic amplifier if all you care about is output quality. But, it's not the most power-efficient (quiescent current, the current flowing at no input signal, is half of peak current)

I've little time for fancy cables, but a lot of time for correct termination of said cables (and use of balanced signal links where possible).

The old "modern music is so distorted anyway" has been made since the days of Motown, and it's still not true. The idea of a good reproduction system is to reproduce the noise that the recorder put there for musical effect, without adding any additional noise.

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Kristian Walsh
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The best full-range floorstanding loudspeakers that money can buy are also useless when there's background noise to contend with, as anyone who experienced the Harrods Hi-fi section would attest (never has a quarter of a million pounds of equipment sounded so bad). And besides, headphones are a much easier load to drive than a floorstander. With a good headphone amp on board, you'd be amazed at how good those "cheap" headphones sound.

Who claimed that this was intended for use in "a decent sound system"? In Mr Young's world view, people who own such things only listen to vinyl albums. Pono is to address the lousy quality of portable players.

If it gets more albums out in high-resolution audio, I'm all for it. (I don't like modern soft Jazz, and that rules out about 70% of all high-res releases, I find...)

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Tim Cook and Israeli PM commune with the GHOST of Steve Jobs

Kristian Walsh
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Re: SJ already has an icon

Story here- http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=Steve,_Icon.txt

Susan Kare went on to work with Microsoft on Windows 3.1, where she designed that OS's standard icon set too, and so she probably has the strongest claim to have defined the visual language used in computer interfaces. Wonder why, even now, you have to click a 3.5" floppy disk icon (or now, just a rectangle with a snipped corner) to save what you're doing? Thank Ms Kare.

(She also designed the "classic" Solitaire card deck on Windows).

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Psssst. Don't tell the Bride, but BBC Three is about to be jilted

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Repeats...

"Maybe I'm missing something, but if you have a STB that does series linking and recording why do you need it repeated?"

The comment below yours is one reason (too many simultaneous programmes, which is another problem with broadcasters - everything worth watching is on against everything else worth watching).

The other situation, that I really had in mind, is when you stumble upon a series at episode 4, discover that it's actually really good, but now you can't find episode 1,2,3 repeated anywhere. A "Catch-up" broadcast, even late at night, would be very handy for this situation, especially as TV producers are so in love with series-long story arcs these days.

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Kristian Walsh
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The idea of a "BBC Netflix" is quite tempting, but it would destroy DVD and foreign syndication sales income.

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Kristian Walsh
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Repeats...

A BBC repeat channel would actually be very useful for people who get BBC but don't have good enough internet access for iPlayer (yes, there are. A lot.). Especially in conjunction with a PVR/Satellite box that does series linking.

Or, in other words, you might thing BBC does lots of repeats, but they don't: the "another chance to see" stuff is now shunted to iPlayer. What they do do, and what this won't change, is string out popular properties like Come Dancing into endless spinoff and side shows that clog the schedules, but they're not repeats, just repetitive.

I can't remember last time I watched Three, but BBC Four (TV) accounts for about 50% of my TV consumption, so long may it continue.

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Dashboard Siri! Take me to the airport! NO, NOT the RUNWAY! Argh!

Kristian Walsh
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There already is a standard...

It's called MirrorLink, and has been available for three years. Android already supports it, and so did Symbian. Windows Phone and iOS don't, but it can be implemented in user-space (which some sat-nave apps on iOS and WP did).

I suspect Apple, being Apple, have taken this, added a proprietary discovery and control layer above it and rebadged it as their own technology.

Personally, I wouldn't specify an iPhone interface in my car. Even if I did own an iPhone, predicting what kind of phone I (or my wife who would also drive it, or anyone who might want to buy the car when I'm done with it) would be using in three years is asking a bit much.

Nice try, Apple, but there are too many non-iPhone users out there. Adopt an open, published, standard, or fuck off.

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Steve Jobs statue: Ones and ohs and OH NOES – it's POINTING at us

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Their mistake: they let an artist do it.

Actually It pleases me no end to think that Jobs himself would have absolutely hated this statue's organic, sloppy style with such obvious signs of the maker's hand all over it.

Something in smooth-polished Carrara marble or alabaster, inlaid with titanium or platinum would have suited The Leader's tastes a lot better. Yes, such a style would perhaps evoke an unwanted association with the public art of totalitarian states throughout history, but that cap definitely fits Apple under SJ.

But given my choice, I'd prefer to see Clarus back grazing beside DeAnza Blvd just once before Apple ups sticks and heads to the Great Glass Grommet.

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Nokia launches Android range: X marks the growing low-cost spot

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Forking from the inside.

The thing is, apps use those APIs because they do useful things. e.g. facilitate in-app purchases, piracy detection, deliver advertising, integrate with game features like achievements etc. and they're supported by the vast majority of phone devices.

That's fine, but Google don't include them in the Open Source Android. That's Google's decision, not Nokia's. Nokia are providing equivalents that plug into their services instead (as Amazon do for the Kindle Fire); it's not like the functionality isn't going to be there, but the devs will have to access it differently.

It's very easy to harumph that apps use proprietary APIs for those things, but almost all APIs for those things are proprietary.

True, but you're talking about perhaps less than 100 lines of code different between the two versions, and it's code that will be concentrated in maybe one or two methods in one or two classes.

Secondly, if an app developer wants to support Nokia's device they'll have to build and maintain two separate branches of the same product and build, package, test and upload two versions of it.

Java is quite good at hiding this kind of difference from other code. It shouldn't be beyond the wit of any developer who's able to make an app in the first place.

This is an odious burden and many apps simply won't bother - or if they do they'll jack up the price Nokia's app store to compensate for the effort.

"Odious" is taking things a bit far. Unless you're not able to code at all, it's very easy to isolate the differing parts of the codebase (for example, make a generic "make in-app purchase" interface, and two or more implementations, one per store backend); full multiple-backend testing is only then required when that specific code is touched. For minor updates that don't touch those APIs, in-depth test isn't required on every possible device.. or do you think that small devs test their apps on every Android model right now?

There is nothing that would have stopped Nokia getting itself certified to ship with the Google apps and services except they chose not to.

That's not what happened, though. It's well documented that Nokia approached Google in late 2010, but Google's licence terms would have prevented Nokia from using their competitive mapping and music stores - properties that Nokia had invested a lot of money in, and which were (and are) generating good income. Basically, Google's rules for Play are simple: you take it all or you get nothing. You cannot pick and choose from its services: if you want to have the Play Store, you must use Google Maps and gCalendar, etc.

In effect, this is just like when Microsoft insisted that if you wanted to ship Windows 98 on your hardware, you also had to ship Internet Explorer, and couldn't replace it as default browser. Google have taken it further to include more services, but they are using the same lame excuse that MS did: that mapping, browsing, in-app purchase, etc. is now an intrinsic part of the OS, rather than an application library, and thus can't be separated without breaking Android. The existence and success of the Kindle Fire's app market gives lie to this claim.

Whether people want or like Google's services is immaterial. Lots of people also wanted Internet Explorer when they never got to see what the alternatives were like...

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Dual SIM

Nokia X devices are Dual-SIM. The on-stage demo showed switching between SIMs.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Forking from the inside.

If 25% of apps won't work, it's because they use Google-specific APIs that are not open source.

There are two layers of Google Android. The Free Open Source core has basic functionality, and then there are the Google Play APIs, which are closed source. Google has moved more and more functions into the latter, closed source, part of the OS, with every release. Often, the original open-source API for something is deprecated, and a new framework is introduced, but as part of the closed-source Play.

From a Free Software perspective, Google's Android is not any better than Nokia and MS's fork (or Amazon, Nokia and MS's offering on Kindle Fire).

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Lack of coherence?

The "Landfill" Android phones are called that because they receive no post-sale support from their manufacturers, and are cheaply built with lower-cost components. Both factors seriously shorten their working life.

Nokia, on the other hand excel at making durable phones, even at low prices, and they have a policy of supporting their devices for a long time after sale. (In the markets these phones are aimed at, handsets are bought SIM-free, so the problems of carriers having to sign-off on updates is sidestepped entirely).

As for why this could be different to, say, SonyEricsson, HTC et al... Those other Android licensees didn't have the engineering resources to offer the cloud services that customers expect with their phones now (cloud storage, mail, IM, mapping, app stores, search, music streaming), so they ended up in the no-win position of being vassals of Google. Nokia and Microsoft between them can offer every service that Google does, and that makes it possible for them to use the pure open-source Android as a platform, and supply their own services and systems apps in place of Google's

It's more choice, so it's good overall for customers, and although operators' shops won't carry these, you're bound to see them at your local budget mobile phones and accessories shop. (Although the likes of Tesco Mobile could pick them up).

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Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly

Kristian Walsh
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Re: WTF!

" how do you explain major differences in the roles sexes play in different cultures? ... "

Well that's a three-pint conversation, and certainly not something that's suited to being conducted in anonymous text boxes.

Personally, I think that gender roles are the expression of a number of mostly biological factors and gender is loosely coupled to sex and sexuality, so I must respectfully disagree, but with the emphasis on "respectfully".

It is, after all, the weekend.

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Microsoft's new CEO: The technology isn't his problem

Kristian Walsh
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@RIchard, Hardware standardisation

I'm not talking about MSDOS - the heyday of MSDOS was long before Linux even existed.

The PC System Design Guide specification series (PC 97, PC 98, PC 99, and PC 2001) from Microsoft and Intel significantly reduced the complexity of PC i/o and device drivers, even as the capability of that hardware increased dramatically, and it made the job of getting Linux to run on "any PC" much easier than it was before. Mac hardware at the time was far more varied, because Apple didn't need to run their software on anything but their own hardware - this diversity plagued efforts to get PowerPC Linux into any kind of shape, even with support from people within Apple.

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Kristian Walsh
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I don't know a lot about the company's technologies, because I primarly work in MacOS or Linux, but off the top of my head, XMLHTTP was a Microsoft invention that has been pretty significant. Your USB keyboard also uses the USB Human Interface Device protocol, developed by Microsoft.

If you were talking about products, then there's a lot there: Exchange, Windows NT, Excel (the first usable spreadsheet), Kinect were all groundbreaking products.

One thing that Microsoft did do was standardise the PC hardware market. Until you've tried to get Linux onto a new ARM SoC, you won't appreciate how important the Windows Certification process was in making everyone's PC or server so similar that installing Linux was a breeze. That was work done by MS and its OEMs, and it's the number one factor in the wide adoption of Linux today.

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Language-mangling Germans fling open Handygate to selfie-snapping whistleblowers

Kristian Walsh
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@DIVIDeD: Re: "Handy" - WTF

Simple: "Handy" is a new noun made by abbreviating the adjective "handtragbare" ("handheld").

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AT&T takes aim at T-Mobile with $450 cashback lure

Kristian Walsh
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A free market? In the United States? Gosh...

Verizon and AT&T aren't losing their fancy high-end handset customers to T-Mo, because T-Mo isn't luring these customers. Why? Because taken individually, a customer with an iPhone 5S or Galaxy S4 actually costs you money, money you have to recoup from other customers.

So T-Mobile are poaching the the ones who use a basic voice phone, and pay way too much for their service; the ones who use a budget Android or WinPhone, and don't use a lot of data, yet still pay too much for their service -- basically, T-Mobile is luring away the customers who've been propping up the whole house of cards.

AT&T and Verizon are tied into contracts with Apple regarding iPhone that only work if both operators can offload the costs of those phones onto non-iPhone using customers. This was fine for as long as "the other guy" was playing the same game (heavy handset subsidies, paid for with lockins to expensive monthly charges), but T-Mobile has broken formation, and it's hurting them badly.

Biggest loser, long term, is Apple. Their high pricing depends on a sales model where the customer never sees the real price. If the rest of the US carriers follow T-Mobile's lead, it's good for Samsung and Nokia/Microsoft, who have a range of mid-price and budget phones, but it's a disaster for Apple.

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Blame Silicon Valley for the NSA's data slurp... and what to do about it

Kristian Walsh
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Re: @Andrew Orlowski

"Copyleft was invented to subvert copyright. I don't think the originators of that license would care too much if "intellectual property" as we know it completely ceased to exist."

That, I'm afraid, is nonsense. You need to read Stallman's original article on GPL, rather than the projections of other people's Marxist fantasies onto it. Copyleft is an exercise of the intellectual property right of copyright, not a replacement for it.

Without copyright, GPL works would be no different to Public Domain works... there would be absolutely no legal comeback against someone who breached the copyleft terms of a Free Software licence.

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Google and Apple in DRAG RACE: It's fanboi Mercs VS fandroid Audis

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Nokia Terminal Mode

"I thought the idea was that it would connect to any "smartphone" not just Nokia."

It was, and it does. It's now called "MirrorLink", it works on WindowsPhone, Android, Symbian and even iOS (but only at an app level; the OS doesn't support it).

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: typical analyst

Actually, I think you'll find that a car is already a "mobile" device. Always has been.

The (British) English use of "mobile" when talking about portable phones is a hangover from when those phones were fitted to cars, and thus were made "mobile". Every earlier use of the term "mobile" refers to something on wheels.

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British Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing receives Royal pardon

Kristian Walsh
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Re: The man in the high castle

To add another, C.J. Sansom's "Dominion" has the most realistic and plausible depiction of a United Kingdom operating as a puppet Nazi state following a German victory that I've read.

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Inside Steve Ballmer’s fondleslab rear-guard action

Kristian Walsh
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"... and Chromebooks?"

Really?

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.

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