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* Posts by Kristian Walsh

894 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

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Apple CEO Tim Cook tells world: 'I’m proud to be gay'

Kristian Walsh
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Gimp

Re: 2014 and

You consciously remember parts of Ayn Rand books? Wow... I managed to forget most of the one I read, but every so often, a little comes to the surface, like some kind of turd that won't flush down the toilet.

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Kristian Walsh
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Here's your lungs, don't you dare breathe!

The real sin is in using the words of someone who by all accounts was a decent enough guy, who said we shouldn't be hating and killing each other quite so much, to back up exactly the sort of hatred that he was so keen for us to quit engaging in.

The part of the Bible you're quoting also contains lots of other rules for life that nobody much cares to follow anymore: It's funny how that one passage that lets you hate people you don't know is The Genuine Incontrovertible Word of God, and the one about wearing mixed fabric, or not eating bacon butties are somehow only guidelines that are open to interpretation.

(I'm not gay, that's the luck of the draw, but I have a number of friends who are, and I've heard stories through them that would make you wonder about human nature.)

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Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Why, exactly ...

These are definitely not my thing, but the UV monitor sounds useful to this Celtic-skinned reader, mainly because UV index is the one thing that your body doesn't tell you ... until the damage is done.

(That said, I'm sure jake has trained himself to develop extented-spectrum vision, and can see from the 5Ghz band all the way to gamma rays, but for us mortals...)

Incidentally, it looks like the accompanying app is being launched on iOS and Android too, not just Windows Phone (http://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-band/en-us - about halfway down).

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: So, when can I have the one I need?

If you can find a way of measuring blood sugar without a pin (and the unstable, one-time-use enzyme that checks the blood), you should clear October from your calendar... you might need to go to Sweden to collect a medal.

The only thing preventing the development of an implantable insulin pump is that there is no suitable method to measure blood sugar.

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Even a broken watch is right twice a day: Not an un-charged Apple Watch

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Chinese

Not quite: you can always understand the meaning of written Chinese messages - this is as expressive as any other written language, and a lot more compact than many. The problems arise in verbal communication.

Mandaran Chinese has a very small repertoire of sounds, compared to other languages, so the number of homophones is very high: cases like the English "red" and "read" are much more commonplace. The fact that Mandarin is actually a second language for most of the population just adds to this confusion.

So when speaking face to face, it's not uncommon for Chinese to make a "writing" gesture of part of the word that they're saying, in order to disambiguate a word that sounds the same. On the phone, this option is not available.

Still, it sounds like someone at Apple inventing an application for this watch, rather than them inventing the watch to fill a need.

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NTT thinks it's defined the PERFECT AMPERE with a cunning trap

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Perfect Ampere

http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0027426/

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Lumia 830: Microsoft hopes to seduce with slim 'affordable' model

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Affordable flagship? Is that legal under the trade description act?

Did you not catch the bit about how people who make judgements based purely on specs without looking at the product are easily misled? The screen is superb, despite being 720p, and the phone does most things very quickly despite being on a "slow" System-on-chip.

The price quoted is SIM-free. What "flagship" mobile phone sells for £300 without contract or lock-in?

It's what it is: a good value mid-range phone whose performance is better than the spec-sheet numbers would suggest. Basically, the sort of "crap on paper, but really good in use" kind of phone that Nokia have always done well. The one thing they've never really done well was "flagship" phones...

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Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET

Kristian Walsh
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Re: rivals?

Rivals, yes, but not from other music stores. Today's big "casual music listener" demographic is still there, but they've grown up in an era where you just don't pay for music: YouTube has given them a free, personalised, All-Requests, All-the-Time version of MTV that means you never really need to buy that song they like.. just keep listening for free until you go off it.

Music fans - people who enjoy music as an art form, and will sit and do nothing but listen to music - will still pay, but they are a tiny part of the music market. The casual listenership has almost completely fallen away, leaving only the core of people who actively enjoy music.

On the other hand, there's still money in back-catalogue; particularly in classical and Jazz - but they're not really part of the same "Music Business" that the tech media are so obsessed with, despite often being the same companies.

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Sporty in all but name: Peugeot 308 e-THP 110

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Bah Humbug

"I am surprised this hasn't been married to a small electric drive. That's probably next year's iteration."

Pneumatic, actually. http://www.psa-peugeot-citroen.com/en/automotive-innovation/innovation-by-psa/hybrid-air-engine-full-hybrid-gasoline

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Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Windows 10

According to Microsoft's results , Surface is now a profitable business unit... considering the phenomenal writedown on the Surface RT last year, that indicates there's been a lot of interest in the much better 2nd generation and Pro3 models.

The Pro 3 in particular is a very nice computer, and I feel that my current MacBook Air will eventually be replaced by one...(I believe brand loyalty is for fools: I use mac, windows and linux for work, and already have a Surface 2RT for casual web browsing duties) I only use the macbook for mail, web, terminal and ssh,, so might be time to look into a linux VM, MinGW or Cywin (is that still alive?)

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Hey Apple, we're gonna tailor Swift as open source – indie devs throw down gauntlet

Kristian Walsh
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Re: not convinced

Here's one reason why gcc is losing mindshare:

*p++ = func(*p);

Guess when p is incremented?

... No, you'd think that, but apparently, because the C specification is silent on the matter, the super geniuses running gcc believe that gives them the freedom to generate this sequence:

++p;

result=func( *p );

*p=result;

Now, has anyone ever written code where that was the desired outcome? This kind of dumb pedantry is why clang is becoming popular. (This bug isn't mine, but I've been stung by similar gcc "technically correct, but bloody stupid" behaviour in the past)

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Kristian Walsh
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Apple and Open Source

Apple have a pretty good record in supporting OSS projects, although most of it dates to the OSX days, before iOS took over as the revenue earner, and when Apple was small enough to need to play nice with other systems. The CUPS printing system, zeroConf networking (Bonjour/Rendezvous), clang, WebKit, and lots of BSD improvements have all come from Apple.

What Apple do not do, however, is release under GPL, preferring the more permissive BSD licence, which may be why some of the more vociferous (and self-appointed) sections of the FOSS "community" are so negative towards the company.

Incidentally, to the earlier poster, Microsoft's attitude towards Mono has moved from benign neglect to active support (notably by open-sourcing all of the .NET documentation and API definitions) to ensure that Mono and .NET do not diverge in behaviour and function --- something that is in the interest of both parties.

It would be a good model for Apple to adopt if it wants people to care about its language. Right now, I certainly don't: What good is a language that I can only develop on 10% of the world's PCs, and deploy to 50% (and falling) of the world's portable devices? For all its typist-hostile syntax, at least Objective-C can seamlessly include C (or even C++) code.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: They may release Swift tools eventually

"like how they had the infrastructure for third party apps in iOS from day one, but didn't announce it as a feature they made available until iOS 2.0."

You will need to cite a source for a statement like that, because it doesn't agree with anything I heard from inside Apple at the time, and it reads like revisionism to shore up the narrative that Apple planned the mobile app revolution, when in truth it took them as much by surprise as anyone else.

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Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Allegedly

Nothing to do with German, a lot to do with this bit of .NET loveliness that's probably been lurking in corporate internal software for about ten years:

if ( Environment.OSVersion.ToString().startsWith("Microsoft Windows 9") )

{ // running on 98, not supported.

}

Yes, the "real" version number is also present in that string (after the product name), but it's a lot harder to parse that out and compare it than it is to just look at the stem of the string. Lets ignore that the chances of that code ever running on 98 are slim anyway - there's lots of code that has an initialisation sequence that's just old cruft and boilerplate, and not just on Windows: look at a typical Linux automake config for an example...

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Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Strap on time...ahem

Be nice, cite your sources: http://xkcd.com/612/

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Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'

Kristian Walsh
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Re: confused

It's down to accounting,

Cloud services are expenses, and thus can be directly offset agains this year's earnings.

Buying servers is capital expenditure which can only be offset as depreciation, and that takes several years.

In the meantime, you have staffing costs (and if your workload only needs half the time of an expert admin, you'll find you've either got to hire the full time of that expert, or make do with an inexpert admin), maintenance and repairs.

Servers are now a vital infrastructure for pretty much any kind of business, whether it be in the technology field or not. Companies no longer build their own offices*, so why build their own IT infrastructure?

None of this applies to businesses whose business is technology, but even then, cloud-hosting is a low-risk way to protoype or trial new products and services - if the idea isn't a goer, you're not left with a pile of servers you don't have a use for.

(* Yes, yes, Apple, donut, folly, overrun, moneypit)

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You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Know thy data

The Bible letter-counters are a very good analogy. If your goal is to prove your theory, you can always find the data to make that happen.

Rigorous investigators try to find the data that contradicts their theory; frauds only look for the data that confirms it. (e.g. every piece of "scientific" evidence used to bolster every single conspiracy theory)

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NO MORE DOUBLE IRISH, thunders Dublin. Erm, from 2020 that is

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Our governments should stop waiting for Ireland et al

In 2008, about 8 per cent of the UK's total personal income went to the top 1 per cent of earners. However, half that share, 4 per cent, went to the very top 0.1 per cent of earners.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_in_the_United_Kingdom#High_income

People tend to confuse "income" with "wealth" in these arguments, which is probably why you're as surprised at the low share as I was. Many very wealthy people keep their income safely outside of the UK, and thus safe from tax, but by residing in the UK and thus out of the jurisdiction their earnings live in, they do a kind of personal 'Double London'...

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Our governments should stop waiting for Ireland et al

"worst of a bad lot" No, not by a long way. You need to go to sunnier climes to see the very worst.

The Netherlands (not just the Antilles) and especially Luxemboug also allow similar schemes, but they come under less criticism. Even the UK acts as a conduit for various tax dodges in the former Soviet Union.

Ireland DOES want to fix this issue, because it's damaging the country's reputation, and it's causing ill-informed people to label the country a "tax haven", when it's nothing of the sort. It's also very dangerous for any small nation to base its economic fortunes on a scheme that infuriates wealthier, more powerful nations: For example, the US could impose punitive fines on companies it deems to be exploiting the Double Irish and similar mechanisms. If that were to happen it would be a major disincentive for those companies to remain in Ireland.

The attraction of Ireland for US companies isn't the availability of some revenue stripping wheeze, it's a combination of lots of other factors, particularly: a stable and predictable corporate tax system that's oriented towards international trade, an educated workforce that speaks fluent English, close cultural similarities with the US/Canada, an efficient banking and finance system that's governed by stable rule of law, as well as Euro-zone membership and a guaranteed membership of the EU in the forseeable future. That latter one is a big deal for foreign investors, who want an English-speaking hub for their operations in the big European markets - the UK government's posturing on leaving the EU isn't winning them any points when it comes to foreign investment - but the UK thinks its economy is big enough to not need such investment.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Its ok

It's never 20% though. There are better rates if you're big enough or have enough friends in the right Party.

If I formed an IT company tomorrow here in Ireland, my profits would be taxed at 12.5% (ignoring the reliefs for new businesses), and I wouldn't have had to lobby anyone to get that rate. Compare with France or Germany where that new business would pay a greater percentage on its profits than an EDF or BASF would.

The EU probe into Apple is not about the Double Irish, but about whether Ireland gave Apple an even lower corporate tax rate: the kind of "sweetheart" tax deal (a form of direct state aid) that large German and French concerns have lobbied for, and got, from their respective governments for years.

I'm glad to see the loophole close. It has given the country a bad name, but now it'll be interesting to see if the US Government in particular addresses the loopholes in its tax laws that allow other forms of revenue stripping to be performed.

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Microsoft left red-faced after DMCAs dished out to Windows bloggers

Kristian Walsh
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Pirate product keys in comments

As I understand this, the takedown request was to have specific comments removed that contained information about obtaining pirate copies of Windows and/or contained cracked/stolen product keys, which seems like a legitimate request.

(If it doesn't seem legitimate to you, you might need to replace "Microsoft" and "Windows" with the name of a company and product that you like, and read it again)

Google decided to respond to this request by removing all of the videos, rather than the offending comments.

Why? Most likely incompetence by the low-paid intern who handles takedown requests, but I'm sure there'll be a conspiracy theory along any moment now...

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Ada Lovelace Day: Meet the 6 women who gave you the 'computer'

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Of course not...

I was talking about their offices, not their product (have been using git for years, thanks; I don't need to spend more money than my email seevice costs just for a clumsy UI on top)

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Of course not...

I certainly see the joke, but the joke is based on the problem.

If you say "computer programmer" to someone, that checklist is exactly the image that most people call to mind.

Your average adolescent male has no problem with any of those things. Your average adolescent female, well... she's a lot more fussy about personal hygiene and having a social life.

This "alpha nerd" image is what puts girls off careers in technology. My experience of mentoring/teaching at undergraduate level would suggest that it's certainly not ability (yes, the smartest 5% of your staff is more likely to be male, but so is the dumbest 5%; in the range of abilities needed to do pretty much any paying job, male and female are equally able).

The sad thing is that, as a job, most programming roles don't fit that image at all. Okay, there are exceptions in the case of places like Github, which seem designed for some kind of weird socially-retarded man-child who never leaves the office; but these are statistical outliers, and certainly not the mode.

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Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express

Kristian Walsh
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Re: ...

I think by "Donna-like", you mean "believable". Donna (Catherine Tate) remains one of my favourite characters from the new show, simply because she was written as a character who had real dreams, motivations, worries, and weaknesses.

The Clara character is none of these. There are some episodes where the disposable monster of the week is given more backstory.

Even without the plot-driven personality disorders, the Clara character has never been properly anchored anywhere, physically or emotionally; she's just "generic cute but sassy female supporting character", with no motives, no beliefs, no background, and most importantly, no flaws in that perfect character. Why should I care about this person? - they'll get on fine whether I care or not.

If this were some half-baked fan fiction (and I fear the gap is closing), you could say that she's a Mary Sue http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sue

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Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Correction...

"everyone else can only copy" ?

Okay, you do an image search on the work of Dieter Rams. We'll wait.

Copying is part of art and design. Ive shouldn't be getting huffy when his own inspirations are so obvious to anyone with a memory that goes back before 2001.

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U2? 81 million Apple iThing-strokers know a place where the Beats have no shame

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Ignore Apple; get better for less (@Kristian)

Fair enough, so have an upvote... iTunes pricing has improved since I looked last time. It used to be around €9.99 an album, which was way too much for a sub-CD copy.

Lossless is still worth the extra for me, and not having to use the abomination that is iTunes is worth a couple of cents per album.

Agree that Roughtrade and other small-label sites can be a good place, and If your favourite band has a decent website, it's also worth checking there - often you can get lossless or high-bitrate releases there for lower prices, and they get a far bigger share of the sale than if it goes through iTunes etc.

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Kristian Walsh
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Ignore Apple; get better for less

qobuz.com is my current favourite music source. Legal, lossless, DRM-free CD-quality (or better) albums for around what iTunes asks for compressed AC3s, and you can keep copies wherever you want, or stream anything you've bought for free. (Some albums are available in high-bitrate remasters for a bit more cash, if that's your thing)

There's also a monthly streaming service at CD-quality (discounts for the MP3-only one; or if you only want access to their classical/Jazz collection)

I've no connection with them other than as a very happy customer, but theirs is the closest to my ideal music service (i.e., actually less restrictive than buying the CD and ripping it), so I'm happy to plug the service.

And you don't have to run iTunes to use it.

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Apple KILLS SUPER MARIO. And Zelda. And Sonic

Kristian Walsh
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Indeed (and upvoted). From a site that once employed a comment moderatrix, I would have expected better...

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Was Nokia's Elop history's worst CEO?

Kristian Walsh
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Re: It could have been so different

N9 is not MeeGo.

MeeGo was nothing like "production ready". That's why N9's UX and apps were hastily back-ported onto the existing Maemo platform. Abandoning their own mobile Linux development in favour of Intel and LinuxFoundation's LiMo to form MeeGo is one of the more stupid decisions Nokia made, and it was made before Elop. The other stupid decision was open-sourcing Symbian and the whole Symbian Foundation idea. A complete waste of effort to produce no increase in capability of the resulting OS

As for Tomi Ahonen, remember that he has an axe to grind. His views are not impartial on the matter of Nokia.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Um, no...

You're ignoring how mobile operators purchased phones. The orders were placed at least six months ahead of introduction, so reported sales are more to do with buyer sentiment six months previously, rather than right now (Nokia sold 99% of its product to mobile phone operators, not to users).

The drop in sales is down to the botched N8 introduction, not the Windows memo. I believe that the cause of the memo, and the failure of the N9 to secure distribution goes back a year to when Nokia repeatedly delayed N8, then released woefully un-finihsed software on what should have been a blockbuster device. (Remember that its originally-planned launch date predated the iPhone 4)

N8 burned a lot of operators: it was not just horribly late, but when it did arrive it had very high dissatisfaction rates and returns rates from customers. I had one, and I remember it being awful until the first ("Anna") software arrived eight months after I bought it. It only reached a par with Android/iOS with the "Belle" release in February 2012; a sixteen months after I bought the phone. (But realising that lots of users don't ever update their phone firmware, and lots of users change their phone more often than I do, you can see how badly this product damaged Nokia).

From a developer point of view, the story was equally confused: Qt wasn't fully capable on these phones until later in 2011, but realistically, it was only the Belle release in 2012 with Qt 4.8 that gave developers a painless way to write modern applications, but by then sales were already falling. N8 and 808 PureView made up 70% of my app sales (utilities, not photo related), but my sales dried up sharply in 2013 as those phones came up to contract renewal time, and there was no high-end Symbian device to take their place.

Had N8 been a success, operators would have leapt on N9, as it's a beautiful device, and the first phone to be "better than an iPhone" in terms of aesthetics (the gloss-white version in particular is a thing of beauty). But N8 was a disaster, and the operators were not willing to give Nokia another chance to sell them a pup (it didn't matter than N9 wasn't a pup in the end). Even then, there was a deeper problem to deal with: N9 was a stop-gap, because the "MeeGo" software was nothing like as ready as they let on - in the end N9 was Nokia's UI ported back to Nokia's old Maemo platform from the N900. Had N9 worked out, I suspect Nokia would have still told Intel/LinuxFoundation to get stuffed, and instead put their R&D money into bringing Maemo forward (probably eventually building it on AOSP's kernel)

But all that's "might have beens". The truth was that with no appreciable sales for N9 to pay for its completion (a couple of Australian and Central European operators took it up, but nothing like what it needed for success), Nokia needed something, fast, but their internal R&D could only deliver very, very slowly.

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APPLE still building fanbois CULT HQ in Cupertino, it seems

Kristian Walsh
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Re: @Kristian Walsh

Those Manhattan HQ's are leased, and the risks on their construction were borne by the property developer. The construction itself is usually quite standard, with the money being spent on internal finishing.

The difference with Apple's adventure is that they are both the property developer, and the sole tenant of the buildings. They're also combining a technically challenging structure with the extremely high-cost fitout. The overrun on this project will far exceed any imagined improvements in productivity (and if you know people in Apple, I'm sure they'll tell you that it's not the offices, but rather the amount of time they're expected to be in them, that is the issue).

This exactly the sort of "landmark" spending that big companies have engaged in in the past.. right before their terminal decline set in.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: @Kristian Walsh

Private investors, building solely for their own ego? Imagine if Larry Ellison had been the investor behind The Shard...

And you can't see that this is Steve Jobs's ego. The difference between Apple and those property investors: Apple is spending $5bn* constructing an overhead cost, whereas the investors sell or rent what they build in order to gain an income.

(* $5 billion is the estimate from Norman Foster, the lead architect; I've never known an architect's estimate to be MORE than the final build cost, and it's often far, far less).

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Totalitarian architecture...

"you can also go through the middle.."

Er, yes. That's the point. A circular structure will still maximises the average distance to a destination, because every possible destination is located on the perimeter. (And that's before you consider that there will be only a finite number of doors opening onto the inner court)

It also reduces the possibility of clustering, because offices are arranged on only one axis (rotational co-ordinate; radius is fixed) rather than two (east/west and north-south).

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Totalitarian architecture...

Another hair-trigger defence of even the slightest anti-Apple sentiment, but you are missing the point.

Yes, Apple need more space, but they should not be custom-making an office for themselves that pushes the boundaries of what's possible in the field when they have no experience in construction/real-estate management. This is a classic example of a corporation spending large amounts of money on a non-value-add activity that's outside of their competency - this never ends well. This project will overrun, and overrun badly, and while Apple may have a big ol' ball of money, most of it's offshore; it hasn't got very much in the USA unless it wants to repatriate it and finally pay some tax.

The campus at Infinite Loop was built at a time when Apple's headcount was far higher than 3,000. I was there frequently in the late 1990s, after the post-Scully retrenchments (when Apple's global headcount was still at about 10,000, incidentally) and there were great expanses of empty office space available back then. Apple also occupied (and under-utilised) a variety of buildings on nearby Mariani Ave and De Anza Blvd, including a vanity "office of the CEO" in a building later taken over by Texaco (I think).

But even still, do you really think that all of Apple's 80,000 global staff work in Cupertino? That figure includes retail managers and store staff, in-country distribution and marketing, customer service and support, manufacturing supervision and global logistics. This is the bulk of the payroll, and none of it is in Cupertino.

You are entirely wrong about point one. The capital of a publicly-traded corporation is the property of its shareholders. It's not me saying this, it's the law. The shareholders may tolerate the company blowing chunks of cash on vanity projects, so long as the price rises, but trust me: when that stock falls, questions will be asked about this. Right now, the management is able to appeal to the baser instincts of its shareholders, so proper corporate governance is taking a back seat.

Your second point is confusing correlation and cause. The HQ announcement and the share-price rise have the same common cause: Apple's prior success in selling their products at amazing margins: success that emanated from the "cramped" HQ with "low architectural merit" (I wonder have you actually been inside the Infinite Loop campus? Architecturally, it was very conducive to getting work done when I was there)

I understand that you're an Apple fan, but someone who wants to see the company do well should at least be concerned about how it uses its assets.

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Kristian Walsh
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Totalitarian architecture...

Oversized, simple geometric shapes, imposed onto a constructed rural idyll. That's pretty much what you got from Europe's totalitarian regimes in terms of architecture: brutal, simplistic and at overwhelming scale.

This new HQ is a sign of a company that's forgotten what made it successful. Apple is not a department of public works or a property developer: it's a consumer electronics maker. This project, however, is so big and so expensive, and will overrun by so much, that it will steal time from Cook and other senior managers, exactly when they need to be focussing on dealing with the consequences of a smartphone market that has reached maturity, and an installed share that has hit a plateau.

That's before you look at the inefficiencies of an office where everyone is housed at the furthest possible distance from everyone else (by definition, that's what you get from a circle). Infinite Loop might have been cramped, but it only took three minutes to walk across the central lawn, and only a couple more to cross Mariani Avenue. What is someone supposed to do if their office is at 45 degrees, and the person they need to meet regularly is now at 270 ?

Hubris. But they might remember that as a public company, it's not their money that's being spent, but the shareholders'.

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'Apple Watch' sapphire glass maker files for bankruptcy protection

Kristian Walsh
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Re: bankruptcy

"is this a US thing or can people do that here?"

The UK process of "Administration" is similar, if not exactly the same. The court gives the company protection from its creditors, but in exchange, the company is administered by a court-appointed officer to ensure that the promised restructuring is actually carried out. The US system (like the Irish company law process of "Examinership") operates will less direct supervision from the courts, and allows the company more leeway, but the intent is the same: protection from bankruptcy while the company attempts to restructure.

Unfortunately, most people in the UK think that "gone into administration" is exactly the same thing as "gone into bankruptcy", so it tends to hasten the demise of companies as orders dry up. (cf. the similar failure to understand the difference between "laid off" versus "made redundant").

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Nokia Lumia 735: Ignore the selfie hype, it's a grown-up phone

Kristian Walsh
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Re: 8gb? really?

Yes, removable storage is supported (up to 128 Gbyte). The SD can be used for both media and app storage.

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Doctor Who becomes an illogical, unscientific, silly soap opera in Kill The Moon

Kristian Walsh
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Re: looks like no more Who for me...

@h4rm0ny, I think I agree with you - Peter Capaldi deserves better (and Jenna Coleman now occasionally reveals that she is actually a good actor, despite being caged by such anodyne scripting) After a promising couple of episodes, this has descended into the depths that marred Matthew Smith's second series. I found it ironic that Capaldi at one point mentions being in Berlin once but "not killing Hitler", calling to mind the episode that marked the absolute nadir of the reborn show, as if to say "Hey, look I know this is bad, but remember 'Let's Kill Hitler' before you start calling this 'Worst. Who. Ever'."

It crystallised the thing that irks me most about Moffat's writing (and I attribute the "dramatic and shocking" coda to this episode to him, not the writer of the main story): major events are never hinted at beforehand: they just appear, as if to say "Hey! Bet you didn't expect that!". Well, no, I didn't expect that, and you springing it on me has disturbed the suspension of disbelief that's necessary to enjoy such nonsense as Dr Who has always been. It's supposed to be "surprise, and delight", not "surprise and annoy".

A good storyteller doesn't dump huge changes in the track of their narrative onto you with no prior warning, hint or suspicion: think back to any film with a major twist in it, and then go back and re-examine its start - there was always some tiny glance, or scene or some hint that not everything is as you expect - subconsciously, you were being tipped off that something was awry, so that when it happened, you were in some way expecting "something", but not knowing what. Moffat seems blind to this property of good drama, and thinks that ex-post-facto exposition is a substitute for believable character growth. Don't get me wrong. I like surprise, and I don't want everything telegraphed in advance: but I want the pleasure of mentally reviewing the preceding events and thinking "but of course!", rather than the annoyance of having to ask "hang on, this is happening now WHY?"

The second big problem is nicely summarised by SuccessCase above (although I think he's drawing a larger inference here than is supported by the rest of the broadcaster's drama output -- I certainly would make judgements about the culture of the United States based on watching episodes of "Star Trek".), but if I may just add a couple of words:

The repeated sidestepping of moral dilemmas or major catastrophes is a poor mixer for the hyperbolic story setups chosen by the current show-runner - and his own scripts are the worst offenders. Huge ideas are set up, played for about 30 minutes of screen time, and then when the inevitable dead-end arrives, the premise is torn up and balled up into an improbably pat ending. (e.g. a creature lays an egg that is phyiscally larger than itself... huh?)

In short, bah. Russel T. Davies may have been mawkish, cringing, and emotionally manipulative, but at least he had the balls to kill people the audience had grown to care about. (and the skill to make the audience care about them in the first place).

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You don't have to be mad to work at Apple but....

Kristian Walsh
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Re: The Apple Tree senior managerment need a serious shake

But nobody joined Apple for a good salary and generous pension scheme, and family friendly working hours, did they?

I did. Apple was a good choice at the time (1996) because they had a really good set of additional, non-monetary benefits.. In the five and a half years I was there, each of these was eroded away, replaced with stock-option handcuffs that play on your greed to force you into more and more demeaning work just in the hope that you'll stay long enough for those options to vest. Steve closed our group before my own stock options could ever recover from the 90% fall in Apple's share price one evening in 2000, and I'd seen enough of Cupertino and the office culture there to never want to live there, so I declined to stay. (Not saying that the people weren't nice -- they were, it was just that all social activity seemed to revolve around going to the office. There was a group of guys who played poker regularly...but in the office!).

Financially this was the biggest mistake I've ever made, but in terms of my mental (and physical) health, probably the best one.

I won't tell other people's stories for them, but it does say something that nobody I worked with in Apple would ever go back there - and people I've met who worked there after my time describe exactly the "your life is Apple's" policy this article does.

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Apple blacklists tech journo following explicit BENDY iPhone vid

Kristian Walsh
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Re: @auburnman

"Hater"? Oh dear...

Look, this may be a complete non-problem, but you can't use the current number of faulty devices to judge that. The current crop of customers are still being too careful with their new toys. As time goes by, however, and that new thing becomes part of your daily surroundings, the chance of mis-handling increases.

What should concern Apple is the evidence of just how little force is required to permanently deform the casing. In time, we may see an epidemic of broken iPhones as owners stop paying so much attention to them.

Even expensive watches are constructed from durable materials, because once you've worn a watch for a long time, you forget that it's there, and you forget how expensive it is.

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That PERSONAL DATA you give away for free to Facebook 'n' pals? It's worth at least £140

Kristian Walsh
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DErbyshire

... it's East of Dublin ;)

I guess it's only the D1..D99 sequence that was left unallocated, but the original plans did include Irish allocations which were never "un-allocated".

That was more of a hangover from the time when Ireland was in the UK, unlike the current German car registration system, which, when it was created in the mid 1960s, reserved single-letter codes L,G, and P for the cities of Leipzig, Gera and Potsdam that were in the then independent country of East Germany. (Other combinations were reserved for territories in what was East Prussia, as West Germany did not drop its territorial claim to these lands until 1970)

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: "Beverly Hills 90210" was the best show ever!

Another useful trick, without landing someone else with your junkmail is that UK postcodes with "D" as the first digit are invalid, even if the code satisfies the letter/digit pattern of UK postcodes. D was reserved for "Dublin", which just shows how long the Royal Mail took from planning to implementation of national postcodes.

From years of having to fill in those damned passenger arrival forms, I tend to use 95014 if I need a throwaway US ZIP Code.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: "Free" if you're paying Compuserve $30 an hour?!

Actually, today the "free" stock quotes are still delayed - usually up to 15 minutes. Fine for deciding on whether you should phone your broker today, but you're not going make money out of wiring the "free" price feed to an automated trading system.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Funny money

So how do they come up with this valuation?

Well, a previous one of these surveys involved stopping people in the street, and asking them to give you personal information. When they refuse (which they always did), you then offer them money, and ask them to name a price.

Unsurprisingly, when confronted by another human being asking the question, people become a lot less open about divulging their information than they do when it's an "anonymous" machine presenting them with a form.

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One Windows? How does that work... and WTF is a Universal App?

Kristian Walsh
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You're a newcomer to Apple, aren't you?

HyperCard, QuickDraw GX, OpenTransport, MacApp, Resource Manager, CocoaJava and Carbon is next to go (no 64-bit support). I'm not going to include things like Dylan, etc, as nobody got a chance to ship applications based on those.

Pascal bindings were dropped in the mid-1990s, but so few developers were still using Pascal, and Apple had so few developers, by then that there was no real reaction. Certainly when I started at Apple in 1996, everything was C and C++.

Carbon is not a "smooth transition" to Cocoa. They are entirely different APIs. Carbon is the remains of the old Mac Toolbox, given a new graphics API and ported onto OSX. It's C-based, event-loop driven and the calls are procedural in that every call takes a handle - its only concession to OO principles is that the handles are now opaque, whereas in OS9/Classic toolbox you could dick around with the structs too.

Cocoa is an object-oriented message-passing framework based on bolting Smalltalk semantics into a C runtime. Its API and runtime model is completely different from Carbon, and you have to re-write your code to deal with it. Not even the resource files are compatible (Carbon NIB files were XML, Cocoa ones are a serialised object graph that is un-parseable and can only be created properly by Interface Builder).

Basically, Carbon was the price Apple paid to keep Adobe and Microsoft on their platform, but it's not a bridging API, it's a dead end. The big cheeses in software development who had mostly come from NeXT with Steve Jobs in 1996 wanted to ditch the Mac toolbox entirely and only use the NeXTStep-derived Cocoa framework for development, which would have been suicidal.

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: They're sort of there...

This is for WinRT apps only, so the common API is present. You can already produce universal apps for tablet and phone; the core logic stays the same, but you usually have to tweak some of the UI views.

There's no need for spaghetti code: in the (rare) cases where logic differs from one platform to another, you create a (small) interface that's implemented by different concrete classes, one per platform - hardly meddling in the Dark Arts.

Users don't care what version of Windows they're running. They care whether the software they want can run on their device. The big change here is nothing to do with the APIs - it's that you can now run those tablet- and phone-friendly Metro things in a desktop window -- something which should have been possible from day one of Windows 8.

Now, I wonder if Apple will allow iOS apps to be run on MacOS X? (no, I'm not being serious - there's a huge security problem if they did)

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Kristian Walsh
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@Trevor

If the general release of the software still has these restrictions when it is released, I will help you up onto that high horse you're on, but right now, it seems like you're complaining that the software is communicating with its publisher when that's exactly what they told you it was going to do.

When you participate in anybody's "early access" programme you are a beta tester. Beta testers get early access to software in exchange for providing test and usage information to its developers. If you don't like that arrangement, then stop beta-testing the software, and wait for a review copy.

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Kristian Walsh
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... platforms as different as Windows Phone versus a full size Windows tablet, there will be both user interface code and device-specific code that cannot be shared.

Tablets are not very different from phones in terms of capability, input methods and features; the bigger difference would be between an app running on a touch device versus desktop. Mouse-click targets are much smaller than touch ones, and there are additional gestures (hover, right-click) that users expect to be able to exploit. Even then, however, the core program logic remains the same.

Like a lot of Visual Studio, this isn't a technical/API feature, but rather a way of making it quicker to manage the process of developing a product. It also looks like Microsoft has been (unusually) pragmatic here, and started from the admission that there are application features that cannot be the same on all devices. (Remember Java's "write-once, run anywhere" promise? By using the same code, you ended up with every platform's application running at the level of the lowest common denominator, and it's a problem that's plagued multi-platform frameworks since then.)

So, this might only be a way of managing functional modules with better separation of concerns and allowing easier sharing of media assets within a project, but I'm always in favour of tools that make doing the right thing easier.

(And I think Nokia and Apple hold top place for ditching technologies just as developers get to grips with them.)

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Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Embarassing

You know.. Steve Jobs didn't let his kids have iPads either. (widely reported, but here's one: http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sectors/technology/screen-time-steve-jobs-was-a-low-tech-parent-1.1929304 )

Ballmer owns the baseball team, and a large chunk of Microsoft. As Apple don't pay the team to publicise Apple products, and Apple is a competitor of Microsoft, there's no benefit to the team or its owner to keep the current arrangement in place.

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Bubble 2.0? Moneybags VC Andreessen warns profit-free startups: 'You will be VAPORIZED'

Kristian Walsh
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No laughing matter.

Look at a typical home user's top "apps": Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, NetFlix, gMail. All run in-browser.

Google is a multi-billion-dollar software company with market-leading products that doesn't write native Windows applications.

Even Microsoft now offer Office as a product you can use through a browser. That's Microsoft. And Office. The quintessential "desktop" application suite.

I think you'll find that Andreessen was right about the situation, but only wrong about the endpoint being Netscape.

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