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* Posts by Kristian Walsh

835 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

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Not pro Bono: Apple's audio junk mail made spammers' lives easier

Kristian Walsh
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In fairness, they did some good stuff the 1990s.

Replace the word "Apple" with "KFC" or "Philip Morris" in this story, and you see it for what it is - a large corporation sucking up to a popular musical act to try and get some feel-good.

The "free" album deal is rumoured to have cost Tim Cook $100+ million, which just shows that Bono is still able to bullshit when it counts... The band's last album tanked (~1 million sales), yet still spawned a tour that drew 7.2 million punters. This one has already turned a profit (most of the costs of an album are in promotion and distribution), and that's before anyone has ordered the hats for the new tour... a tour that no doubt will be sponsored by iTunes.

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Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK

Kristian Walsh
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Re: £699

"Apple stuff just works. I had 4 replacements of my phone from the Apple Store because for various reasons."

Grammar aside, it's clear that you have no issues with cognitive dissonance.

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Microsoft's rumoured $2.5bn Minecraft gobble expected on Monday

Kristian Walsh
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Re: So.... any revenue and profit numbers?

It's not Twitter. Revenues run at about $2.5 billion. Last reported profits were $145 million.

I am as surprised as you are at those numbers - both the enormity of revenue, and the pathetically tiny profits that come out of it for what is, after all, a service company. (I said it elswhere, but I think Microsoft's game-plan is to use their own purchasing muscle to make that "profit" figure a much bigger slice of the revenue one.)

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iPhone 6: Advanced features? Pah! Nexus 4 had most of them in 2012

Kristian Walsh
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NFC was never just payments

There are other user benefits of NFC - device-to-device sharing uses it to authenticate, the Bluetooth 3 specification added NFC pairing, and the technology has other uses in general medicine (particularly medication management for patients) and logistics that Apple have been missing out on because they didn't implement it.

In the consumer electronics space, NFC makes discovery and authentication so much easier than any alternative technology: tap your NFC phone against another to share the current picture, or send contact detais, tap your NFC device on your Bluetooth speaker and it takes over playing your music; tap it on a Miracast device, and your screen is projected onto your TV (Nokia just launched a Miracast dongle with a detachable NFC disc to handle the pairing - you can leave the disc on your coffee table, and the receiver behind your TV; the disc identifies the player and provides an authentication token for the phone/tablet to use when connecting to the player).

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Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?

Kristian Walsh
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Re: @h4m0ny, re Capitalism

@jzlondon: I doubt that's true - cross subsidy is difficult to do in a competitive market.

In a competitive market, agreed. But the US mobile market is not competitive. There are large areas where the market is reduced to one carrier with the option of a second-tier operator if you stay in a metropolitan area, due to infrastructure deficits.

T-Mobile are trying to pull those voice-only and low use customers away from AT&T and Verizon by dumping the "cheap handset, horrible monthly rate" model, but despite the 50% savings in bill costs, the network is hampered by not having the wide suburban and rural coverage of the big two networks.

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Kristian Walsh
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@h4m0ny, re Capitalism

On US networks (T-Mo excepted, as they don't do subsidies), non-smartphone customers are subsidising customers who buy iPhones. That's hardly a free market, unless you subscribe to the Socialist Worker view of a "free market" as something that only exists to siphon money from the poor to the rich.

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What the BLOCK? Microsoft to gobble Minecraft-maker 'for $2bn'

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Absolute stark raving, swivel-eyed, dog fingering insanity

The numbers are large, but it's not actually insane.

The company has revenues of $2.9 billion, but a tiny profit of $150 million. It looks like they're being fleeced by their infrastructure costs (or someone's building an volcanic island lair in the Caribbean)

Under MS ownership, I can see those costs dropping dramatically, mainly because Microsoft will be paying a hell of a lot less for their IT infrastructure than the current owners do. Get the profits up to 20% of revenue, and that $2bn doesn't look like a bad investment.

If you want insanity, have a look at Facebook and Instagram. Instagram had, um, zero profits, but it made them off zero revenue too, so on percentage terms, I guess it wasn't so bad, right?

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Why Apple had to craft a pocket-busting 5.5in Plus-sized iPhone 6 (thank LG, Samsung etc)

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Apple DOES NOT benefit the mobile payments space

Apple have a patchy history when it comes to working with existing technology systems, and their record on online security isn't exactly stellar either.

I also don't see what this offers above a standard NFC-enabled credit card. I know Apple's most loyal customers have a reputation of being spendthrift, but surely even they won't want to allow authorisation of large transactions with just a tap of a phone?

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: I think the Swiss are safe...

Biggest failure of the "Apple Watch" is that as far as I can see, it has no conspicuous Apple Logo anywhere on it.

It might sound facetious, but a lot of the attraction of buying an iPhone is often to show people you can afford one (I'm fully aware that this does not apply to everyone, but if you don't think iPhones are a status symbol, you're not living in a place that has a wide spread of incomes). Like those Ralph Lauren shirts with the oversized logo on them, the point is to advertise your income-bracket to people without having to engage them in conversation.

From a distance, an Apple Watch without conspicuous branding looks just like the Chinese knockoffs that are even now coming off the production lines, so why bother if everyone will assume your real one is a fake.

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Even better than the iThing: Apple's Cook is strictly pro Bono

Kristian Walsh
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Streaming services...

This is a crowded market, and Apple didn't exactly buy a big-hitter either...

The best quality streaming service at the moment, as far as I can see is Qobuz. Tons and tons of tracks, streaming at 44k PCM, and you can buy high-bitrate or raw PCM copies of the albums too (all without DRM, of course) at roughly the same price as iTunes charges for a compressed copy. Also, in a nice gesture to non-pop-music fans, you can opt to only stream their (large) classical catalogue for a lower price.

If you don't want quality, Spotify and Pandora have enormous catalogues and lots of free options.. If you've got a WindowsPhone, Nokia also do a really, really good "Mix Radio" app for free if you buy one of their more expensive phones (or pay the small fee), you get unlimited streaming and can bring a small number of the playlists onto your phone for offline listening -- a really nice feature that I expect Apple are just about to invent, actually.

So into this busy market, Apple's offer will possibly have a big catalogue ("possibly" because owning resale rights to music isn't the same as owning broadcast/streaming rights), and be limited to iOS. And... er?

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Hot Celebrity? Stash of SELFIES where you're wearing sweet FA? Get 2FA. Now

Kristian Walsh
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Re: guessed password-recovery questions

I thought of this, and It won't work. Apple insists on three separate security questions, and insist that you give UNIQUE answers to each question.

The questions are utterly inane, and are only one step away from "Where did you play little-league baseball?" for their cultural narrowness. And "Best Friend??" yeah, maybe if I was a 13-year-old girl I might have decided who that is, but I'm an adult, I have several close friends, and I don't maintain a bloody league table.

Apple have some questions to answer on why they didn't deal with brute-force attacks at the client. As it happens, an anti-brute-force block is enforced by the clients, where it is of maximum inconvenience to legitimate users and provides minimum security, but it's alarming that Apple assumed that a hacker will only use the proper client to attack a service.

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Not even CRIMINALS want your tablets, Blighty - but if that's an iPhone you're waving...

Kristian Walsh
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@Ledswinger...

The reported iphone theft levels are somewhat above the prevailing market share of the device in each market.

Market share is a measure of how many new models of each type are being sold per month or quarter. Thieves are, however, stealing from the installed base.

Despite Android stealing considerable marketshare in recent years, Apple's installed base leads Android's for various reasons (Apple's product is longer on the market; all iPhones are high-cost handsets and thus have a longer expected working life whereas only some Androids are in this price category; iPhone customers are on longer contracts, etc.).

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Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Microsoft? Talk to users? ROFLMAO.

I think Microsoft of today is not the Microsoft of ten years ago. Windows 8.0 was definitely the point where they pushed too far. Now, I think 8.0 was a groundbreaking design for user interfaces, and it's better suited to touch and the future than any of its competitors, but... most of the customers for Windows are businesses, deploying to desk-based workstations using mouse and keyboard.

Can you imaging the horror of re-training a thousand or so staff on how to use their computers? Ditching the Start Menu on the desktop was a step too far (I think the Start menu has become a dumping ground for all sorts of crap, but that doesn't matter: it's still where most users begin their tasks).

8.1 fixed the dizzying context-changes for users on touch devices, but didn't do as much for users with mouse and keyboard.

Windows 9 looks to have reinstated the Start Menu, and provided a way to launch "Modern/Metro" applications into their own windows on the desktop (I'd like to see a way to show these at half-size too, as mouse targets can get away with being smaller than touch ones). If 8.0 had shipped with these features, its success would have been greater, I believe, but even with these advantages, there is also the lengthening Corporate IT cycle dragging sales down: these days, computers are powerful enough that there are very few jobs that need the latest hardware every three years, and most OS "upgrades" coincide with new hardware purchase.

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BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV

Kristian Walsh
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Re: The kid I saw on the BBC News this morning...

Just the use of the word "Coding" shows the problem. Coding is what you were doing way back when you looked up hexadecimal machine-code instructions to turn your assembly-language into executable binary. I haven't "coded" since 1990...

... but I've been programming for thirty years. Programming is about finding ways to make a computer do laborious tasks so that people don't have to.

As for the lack of girls in IT, any woman I've spoken to about this has given me the same answer: "hacker" culture. It's about as far from what a 16-year-old girl would think is "cool" as you can get, and it's at age 16 that most kids make their career choice.

It doesn't matter that it grossly misrepresents the vast majority of well-rounded, personable, friendly people who work in IT and Programming - the perception remains that we're a bunch of sullen, asocial freaks with personal hygiene issues, borderline paranoia and a superiority complex.

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Larger iPad could target big biz, save Apple from low-end scrum

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Oh to be an "industry analyst"

Well, Windows 9 may separate the user experiences, but it will still remain possible to deploy the same code project to desktop (now probably running within a window), tablet, and mobile. That, and the prevalence of Windows in the corporate back office applications these tablets will connect to, is the major challenge to Apple.

Being able to provide access to the same apps on existing hardware as well as tablets is very appealing, and can reduce the cost of internal projects dramatically. Consider a logistics operation where floor staff use tablets, but occasionally an office based employee needs access to the very same app... using iPads means writing two apps, one for iOS and another for Windows, or giving desk staff expensive tablets that they don't need most of the time.

And the corporate market won't be the saviour of Apple's margins.. Windows tablets are a fraction of the cost of iPads, and on smaller screen sizes are close to Android's pricing. Android has the same integration challenges as iOS, but it has a huge price advantage, and the use of the Java language for app development: there are still lots of Java code monkeys out there in the corporate world. Apple may find themselves in a pincer.

Getting back to Windows 8, though, I think Microsoft's mistake was in trying to force the same shell onto different device types; but the idea of using the same runtime for both touch and mouse apps is a sound one. Apple, on the other hand made some very short term decisions with iOS, which may eventually doom their desktop OS. I use a Mac, and the platform is just as starved of applicatin software as it's always been.. what interest there is in Apple is all on iOS, but the lack of a common API dissuades developers from considering doing a desktop version of their successful iPad apps, even where touch isn't a factor in the UI.

I'm using a Surface 2 RT to type this, and I think it's a great OS and a superb bit of kit for casual web browsing and watching videos, but the windows VM on my Mac is still running Windows 7... Windows 8.1 certainly more efficient than 7, but if you don't have a touchscreen, it's not a compelling upgrade.

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Jarvis versus Jarvis: Don't DISRUPT the DISRUPTION GURU!

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Parody accounts

True. You're nobody until you've been done by [insert satirical impressionist here].

But when someone's parody of you is indistinguishable from your own utterances, you've been rumbled.

Lessig, Shirkey, Jarvis: These guys are bullshit merchants, hired to fart a cloud of perfumed verbless sentences over whatever semi-criminal activities their corporate paymasters want justified.

I wonder if this obfuscatory non-speak is another of the things the Internet will "democratize" for us...

"Mugger? How dare you. I'm a disruptive reconfiguration of the ownership transfer paradigm. You need to embrace the future, celebrate the liberating lightening of your asset-anchor... oh, and I'll need the PIN for these, or I'll adventurously de-imagine the hierarchy of your leg bones"

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Look, no client! Not quite: the long road to a webbified Vim

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Who can forget Smalltalk? (Everybody. It was a long time ago and nobody used it.)

I remember Smalltalk, but not at the time (I'm too young). A nice idea, but it was a bit too free-form for large applicaitons, and it made zero concessions to performance.

Edsger Dijkstra's scathing comment about OOP ("an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California.") was more about Smalltalk's approach of "just sit down and start coding until something looks like it's working" than the very clever ideas of data encapsulation and separation of function that it included.

As for stream-of-text, isn't Microsoft PowerShell basically a command-line environment that uses objects instead of text streams? I've never used it, but the concept appeals to me (especially as about 40% of my shell-script code revolves around parsing the text output of other tools and scripts)

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Kristian Walsh
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" I'm not aware of any other development platform in which you can look at the code behind the app with the simple click of a menu "

HTTP-induced myopia strikes again. Not a menu-click, but off the top of my head: Perl*, anything written in shell script, 8-Bit BASICs and Spreadsheets (you don't have to be online to be an application).

I'm sure other people will chip in...

* for Perl, no, that actually is the sourcecode. Yes, someone really did type that.

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Wall Street woes: Oh noes, tech titans aren't using bankers

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Makes sense

Point 2 also applies to in-house evaluation. Charismatic CEO wants to by a lame duck company. All the analysis says it's bubble-valued, won't open new markets, and lacks any useful feature.

So, are you brave enough to tell the board that the CEO is deluded? Hope you've got another job lined up...

I suspect you don't hear of the cases when the advising banks veto an acquisition because companies don't like to disclose this info. a) it makes them look stupid, and b) it advertises known weaknesses in the company's product-line, but also c) it can tip off their competitors: just because an acquisition is bad for your company, it doesn't follow that it would be bad for your competitor too.

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Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Thanks for that

"and concerns the web developers, not Mozilla's fault"

This attitude. This is why FOSS fails on the desktop.

So what if the damned webpage is "incorrect". That shouldn't mean it destroys the browser's performance. Whatever happened to "be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others"? Or is it now more important to be ideologically pure?

Making your software to "the wrong thing" in order to meet a genuine customer need is commonplace in commercial development. Why? Because at the end of the day, the end user or customer is the driver of the project, not the developer or the project's leader. Remove that "tyranny" of the customer, and you get an unfocussed product that meets nobody's need (except the developers, who prioritise the features and fixes that impact them directly).

(The same applies to commercial companies in a monopoly position, and for the same reason: the end user is no longer important, so the developers and management are free to indulge their own whims regardless of end users' needs or opinions).

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: 1800 jobs

Always a conspiracy...

Yes, MS could end up paying more tax to Munich, but they'll claw back a lot in reliefs because they're moving into an urban regeneration project. Also, a location within the city, and close to the Technical University will be more beneficial for acquiring and retaining staff than being outside.

Microsoft are big enough to not give a shit what Munich uses for its IT. Had other cities followed suit, they'd be worrying, but it's telling that despite the huge licence cost savings no other major government has followed Munich's example. I'll bet they've been visiting and asking, though.

( Especially around the last week of September. These are, after all, local government officials ;) )

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Kristian Walsh
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Re: Thanks for that

"The shame is that no-one cares about the workers who will now get slower more unreliable software."

Have you actually used Thunderbird recently? I didn't think there was anything that could out-crap Apple Mail, but there it is. I also wouldn't shout too loud about "reliable". Yes, the Linux kernel is reliable, but that doesn't mean that the desktop productivity applications that run on it are.

And if you read the article, it is the users who are doing the complaining. The Man wants to stay with Linux, because it's "free", and they don't have to use it as much as their admin staff does.

However, if Munich goes back to MS on desktop, it will provide a valuable kick in the arse to those in charge of the various Linux projects that failed to meet the city's needs. Competition is good. (Lack of competition was how MS got so crap in the first place; there was a time when Excel and Word were head and shoulders above anything else, because they had to be in order to win customers)

Regarding Microsoft's office move, Unterschliessheim is already in the City of Munich's administrative region - the town lies between the city and Munich Airport, and is served by the city's public transport system; a move into the city proper doesn't do much for the City - most of the company's employees will already live in Munich or its hinterland. In London terms, this is like a move from Uxbridge to Ealing.

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Microsoft: IE11 for Windows Phone 8.1 is TOO GOOD. So we'll cripple it like Safari

Kristian Walsh
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Re: do we believe them? there is another question

Provide some links to the tests, and we'll do so, and remember that feature checklist scores are not the same thing as having standards-compliant rendering.

I consider IE11's rendering to be standards compliant, in that I've never had to take any action beyond using standards-compliant CSS rules to get IE11 to render my HTML content exactly as Safari/Chrome or Firefox.

My own web browsing is done 50:50 between IE11 and Safari, and in the rare cases that I see something broken on IE11 it's because someone blindly cut-n-pasted "-webkit-:" CSS rules into their stylesheet. The old problem of sites erroneously serving an IE6 document are actually quite rare, because generating different content based on UserAgent strings requires deeper knowledge of HTTP than most current web developers have, and it's something that a lot of web frameworks don't make easy. (most sites I've seen prefer to use Microsoft's own <!--[if IE]> macros for doing IE-specific CSS; macros which IE11, correctly, ignores)

The problem today is that a lot of designers just assume that "renders okay in WebKit" is the same as "complies with the standards". Sure, competent and diligent web developers know how to do CSS rules that don't require a specific browser, but why should website design be the one profession where every single practitioner is competent and diligent?

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Uber alles.. NOT: Berlin bans taxi ride app over 'safety' fears

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Ignorant about the matter here

Car-pooling is legal because it's not a "driver for hire" service. The reasons why it's not are that the driver is taking the journey anyway, whether or not he or she has a carpooler with them, and also that the driver is only offering a couple of journeys a day on the service. Payment/reward is usually left as matter between driver and carpooler, with the carpool service taking a "finder's fee".

Uber, on the other hand, functions like a minicab dispatcher. Drivers clock in, and are offered jobs, which they can accept or reject. The drivers then collect and deliver the passengers who booked them. There is no pre-existing journey that the driver is offering to passengers, and the drivers will provide many trips a day, as long as there's demand. Payment rates are determined by the Uber system, and advertised to the potential riders. Uber gets a fixed amount for every job it successfully dispatches to a driver, just like minicab drivers have to pay their dispatcher for each job they get.

If you apply the "duck-typing" approach: Uber is advertised like a taxi service, is summoned like a taxi service, and is paid for like a taxi service by both driver and passenger. Therefore, for all useful and legal purposes, Uber is a taxi service...

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Chrome update to raise alarms over deceptive download bundles

Kristian Walsh
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Interesting solution...

1. Malware producer signs up for AdWord placement on trademarks they don't own

2. Google accepts the bogus ad.

3. Google serves bogus ad to unwitting customer

4. The advert is clicked, so Google gets the higher "clicked ad" payment from malware producer

5. The malware is requested from the producer's download site.

6. Google blocks the request to "protect the user".

All very clever, but I see a pruning optimisation before step 2.

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Google hops into bed with Brit red-top: Cooks up 'draw an app' coding compo for kids

Kristian Walsh
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IT is not Programming; Programming is not IT

A country that's short of bridges and motorways is encouraging its kids to become mechanics.

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Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s

Kristian Walsh
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Headmaster

Re: or the rather more sophisticated gold ..... 5S.

Well, the the word "sophisticated" was originally meant as an insult, meaning superficial, false, decadent, impure and/or morally corrupted*

Also of relevance to the racial diversity of Apple's advertising, the word was also briefly used as a racial slur for someone whose skin wasn't appropriately white, and took from there it's meaning of "tainted by travel, or contact with foreign places and people". When being widely-travelled or foreign became an interesting and desirable thing, the word stopped being an insult.

* = compare with "sophistry", which still retains that meaning. It was ultimately a derogatory reference to Sophia, the Greek goddess of wisdom and thus philosophers, "philo-Sophia" being the love of wisdom.

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LG unfurls flexible SEE-THROUGH 18-inch display

Kristian Walsh
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Re: All hail LG, king of pointless gimmicks

Uses? Signage and advertising. This isn't a domestic technology.

One application springs to mind immediately: in Continental Europe, a lot of advertising posters are attached to large-diameter pillars at street-corners (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising_column).

Think of the demand for a digital advertising screen that could wrap around these.

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Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Blame game?

The missile launch site is unlikely to have been in an areal that had a lot of passers-by with smartphones. Anyone who was there was connected to those who fired it. As I understand it, this missile tracks its target by radar, which allows for the launch site to be a good distance away from "directly under the target".

Whoever launched the missile may have taken video of it - but I find it hard to believe that any well-disciplined military unit (as these separatists appear to be) would allow soldiers to take videos: if those soldiers were to be later captured, such videos could reveal the location of their units.

Any video of the crash is not politically damaging, because it is a fact, and impossible to deny anyway. What needs to be protected is the precise identity of the launcher.

Personally, I believe it was the separatists. The plane's heading would be consistent with having left a Ukranian base, although the altitude was completely wrong - inadequate training and inexperience accounts for the rest.

The Ukrainian forces had no military need to deploy this system in this area: as the separatists have no planes, there are no targets. It would be wasted effort and material. Additionally, it would open the risk of one of these systems being captured by the separatists, which would endanger future Ukrainian air raids on separatist positions. So why would they set up a launch site so close to their front line?

It was also of no benefit to Ukraine to down a civilian airliner, which would have been the only consequence of a Ukrainian unit targeting and firing on a plane travelling from the North-west. As a crude method to "get public opinion on-side" by painting the separatists as terrorists, it doesn't wash either -- in everywhere except Russia, public and government opinion is already on Ukraine's side.

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Why has sexy Apple gone to bed with big boring IBM?

Kristian Walsh
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PowerPC

Apple ditched Motorola, not IBM. Moto supplied the G1 (601) G2 (603),G3 (74x) and G4 (74xx) chips used in Apple products.

The only IBM part ever shipped in an Apple product was the PowerMac G5, a server chip pressed into desktop duties... with server cooling: a friend of mine who had one said he was glad he didn't have a cat, as he would be afraid that he might start a build just as said animal was walking past the front of the case, and be sucked through the machine to emerge as bloodied feline spaghetti from the back. Serious fans. And serious NOISE!

In the end, Motorola's concentration on embedded, while providing stellar power managment for Apple laptops, caused the PowerPC Macs to fall further and further behind Intel in raw performance, even when you took into account the "Megahertz Myth" (yes, Intel's pipelines were longer, but not that much longer)

What really killed PowerPC's prospects was the move to NeXT/MacOSX : this OS was built with gcc, a compiler that, despite the best efforts of some brilliant people at Apple, was structured around producing good x86 code, even if that meant sub-optimal code for other CPUs (several high-level optimisations were used that only make sense for Intel x86), so now not only was the OS on slower hardware, it was also not running very well optimised code..

IBM's strength these days is as a global IT solutions provider, not a parts maker... if there's any link between Apple and IBM, it will be here.

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PICS: Nokia Lumia 930 – We reveal its ONE unique selling point

Kristian Walsh
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Re: "why change things that worked well?"

Folders, apparently, are coming in the first 8.1 update, if that helps.

Personally, I tend to remove apps I don't use, and pin ones I do to the start page on my Win8 tablet, so I'm not clamouring for folders. I do appreciate, however, that other people's habits are different.

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Kristian Walsh
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Needing to break new ground all the time?

Well, this is what I'm considering to replace my now nearly four year old N8, so thanks for the review.

I'm interested in the comment that it's "more of the same". Well, there wasn't really anything lacking on the previous 925, so just an incremental update is enough. Apple's been treading water for a couple of years doing the same thing, and any of the latest Galaxy's "headline" features are just gimmicks (eye tracking??). I'd prefer effort spent on refining the core product functions rather than just throwing random apps at the wall and seeing which ones stick.

If audio and photo/video is "only slightly better", that does still put it at the top of the class (for audio in particular), even if the photos I've seen still fall short of the big-sensor N8 -- but the days when customers would accept a phone as fat as that camera required are long gone.

I'm very wary of specs comparisons across different operating systems - Some are meaningless (360dpi or 420dpi -- nobody cares, nobody can see it), and when it comes to CPU/RAM, Android has higher specifications for acceptable user experience than either iOS or Windows Phone, much as an SUV needs more power to match the 0~60 times of a small car. Also, the Indian no-name phone market has shown that while you can achieve a fantastic specsheet at a low, low price, it doesn't mean the thing will still be working properly in six months: there's more to a good product than the chipset. I don't think Nokia have ever released a phone with top computing specs; that's never been where they spend their money.

The major thing that is putting me off this phone is actually that the display is an active type with no dedicated memory, which means that Nokia's "Glance screen" won't work on it (basically, this is an always-on clock and notifications screen)..

Incidentally, Clove have this as £435 SIM-free pre-order with a £120 accessory bundle thrown in, which compares favourably with Andrew's £330 option of the 1530 option if you don't want such a large "phone"...

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Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

Kristian Walsh
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Titanium...

... is often plated with nickel to prevent scratching. (Titanium, like many other materials with high tensile strength, is soft and scratches very easily)

It is surprising that it's an Apple product, because Apple have experienced the issue of Nickel-allergies before, and should therefore know better than to make the same mistakes again. When they launched the 2001 PowerBook G4 with its pressed Titanium casework, there ware a lot of complaints of skin rashes due to this nickel plating used on the Ti panels (again, to "harden" them from scratching). The use of Ti on the palm-rest panel in particular resulted in the worst possible scenario as the user's palms and wrists constantly rubbed against the metal while typing.

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Will Microsoft devices sit happily on a single platform?

Kristian Walsh
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Re: Just Pick One Language/Framework!

"apple was able to deliver a singular development environment build around good old Object C for both iOS and Mac OSX,"

ObjectiveC is common language, but the iOS and OSX APIs are not. They're similar in design, but the features are different for each API library. Higher up the stack, CocoaTouch and Cocoa are two related UI frameworks, but they're "compatible" only at the conceptual level.

I think you've misunderstood what Microsoft's HTML+CSS+JavaScript solution actually is. It's not a web browser: it's a way of specifying the application's UI using markup that it is already familiar to designers (with the addition of the full set of CSS object layout properties that application UIs need). The application underneath can be native code (doesn't have to be if the app is "shallow" enough to be realisable in JavaScript, but if access to deeper system functions is required, you can write native components, and expose them to the UI). It's very like QML in Qt, although unlike Qt it uses an existing, widely-known markup language (HTML) to define the UI rather than invent its own. (Personally, I prefer QML, but that's largely my background as a developer, not a web designer)

Previous "web apps" systems did suck, because a. the browser script engines weren't good enough (and even now, Apple still holds back the performance of encapsulated HTML apps on iOS), and b. the browsers didn't (and don't) support the CSS3 and CSS4 object layout properties needed to produce user interfaces (e.g., dividing a div into equal sections, aligning items vertically, anchoring one object to another, etc... all trivial in Swing/QML/XAML/Cocoa but impossible on the current browser population.)

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Say goodbye to the noughties: Yesterday’s hi-fi biz is BUSTED, bro

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: Sigh,,,

Squeezebox user here too... SB2 in the office, and a Touch in the livingroom, mainly bought because unlike the SB2 it'll accept 192k/24bit data.

I'm baffled by the point the author's trying to makie in this article, though. There's nothing here that "traditional" hi-fi didn't offer before (even multi-room); all that has changed is the length of the analogue path. Before, conversion was done centrally, and distribution was analogue high-current to passive speakers, now the "speakers" are actually receivers with DAC, amp and transducer all in one.

Also, the source end of things has been declining. AptX is a good codec... for portable speakers used for casual listening, but it's not exactly "high fidelity"..

Separates remains the best way to get the best sound (best being the sound that fits with your living space), but you need to buy carefully, and use your ears, not your reading eyes.

And if the author baulks at €1100 for a pair of headphones, he should stay away from Stax's line of electrostatic headphones (Stax.co.jp).

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Apple OS X Yosemite 4 TIMES more popular than Mavericks

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Somewhat intangible, but it's a feeling of how much time has been spent on the software. In the case of Mavericks, there are quite a few display glitches in the built-in apps (flickering, delayed updating of item content, etc). A package that was seeing attention from developers, these would be fixed, as such things are usually relatively simple to resolve.

It's a long time since I worked for Apple, but back then, their development processes were always quite open to developers taking on bugs and running with them, especially cosmetic and "fit and finish" issues. In Mavericks, I don't see signs that the developers were given that extra time, or alternatively, that they cared as much to get the product "right". Compared to the level of rework and finessing that you see in iOS builds, Mavericks looks "unloved": enough is being done to close the bugs, but no more.

I get the feeling that these days, to be assigned to "desktop" in Apple is not something developers want.

As a reference point, I also use Windows 8.1, and since the end of the Windows7 release cycle the Microsoft OS has moved ahead of OSX on "feeling solid"; truth be told, it's only Adobe Illustrator, Terminal and the *nix command suite that's keeping me on OSX these days. (the lack of Illustrator on Linux rules that out)

3
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Google de-listing of BBC article 'broke UK and Euro public interest laws' - So WHY do it?

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: not illegal

It can be illegal where the removal of links is an attempt to hide certain points of view that are competely legal to express, information about certain businesses that compete with Google or its partners, or information that is public interest to know.

For most web users, Google is the primary content index for the Internet. If something is not in Google, then it's not on the Internet, and can't be found.

I can guarantee you that if Google removed the term "Facebook" from its index, you would get a flurry of calls from your non-technical friends asking you if you knew Facebook was broken.

Google must play the role of a neutral deliverer of information, because as soon as they start to make editorial decisions, they lose the Safe Harbour protections they currently enjoy, and they become legally responsible for the accuracy and balance of the results they present.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: Actually, it's irrelevant for 90% of recorded music

"You see, Piet, I can call you Piet, right? ... Right, anyway you see Mr Mondriaan, we sort of smoothed out the lines on those prints, and we changed the red for blue, because, you know, it was cheaper, and this modern art, it's all imagination anyway, and you know, I think it looks pretty darned good like this..."

If 90% of modern music is indeed just sythetic sound manipulated into a dischordant, over-compressed, over-processed mush before the listener gets it, it is still vital that the replay equipment reproduce all of this noise, compression and mush accurately.

Because that's what it's meant to sound like.

The artist intended it to sound a particular way. You're free to like it or not, but it'd be better if you judged it on the basis of it being the sound they heard when they said "yes, go with that", rather than a loose approximation of it.

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App maker defends selling S.F. parking spots as a FREE SPEECH issue

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: What's the problem now?

" I'd hope you also wouldn't mind if taxis started 'auctioning' trips to the highest bidder - say on a rainy night as the bars empty or at the airport . . ."

Well, that's what happens with Uber. Because the service's pricing model is only based on demand and distance (in Uber's model the distance variable is constant for any given trip for A to B regardless of route taken), prices shoot up when demand increases.

This encourages drivers to only operate in high-demand periods and high-demand areas, which causes low-period prices to creep up too because of low supply, assuming there's any service at all in these areas and periods.

In one way, it's interesting to see how a "free" market would work in providing services; in another, it's dispiriting to see how badly a "free" market performs when it comes to providing a broad-based public service.

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We got behind the wheel of a Tesla S electric car. We didn't hate it

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: There are cheaper, less environmentally harmful options.

Tesla Model S's had been driven 344 million miles with no deaths. And not just that, but no serious, permanent injuries.

Does that sound like a car that is unsafe

I have no particular reason to believe Teslas are less safe than other cars, but like most marketing headlines, this is an utterly bogus assertion by Tesla.

Tesla's entire fleet is new, and their cars have, to date, been largely sold to affluent freeway commuters in California. The 344 million miles driven by these owners fall into perhaps the lowest-risk category of driving: daylight on controlled-access multi-lane roads, in a climate that sees no snow or ice, and very little mud or rain. It has also been long understood that there is a strong correlation between income and chance of injury in a road traffic incident (One example http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309632/ ), so being able to afford a ModelS immediately puts you in a lower risk group.

To compare Tesla's extremely low-risk population of customers with the entire US vehicle fleet is statistically meaningless.

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I/O: New Google design language will RULE OVER 'DROIDS

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: giving up after two hours of solely attempting to hunt down the control panel.

Type 'cont'? Cont? What the fuck is cont. If Clippy were around he'd want to help you write a letter to you ex-girlfriend if you typed cont.

You appear to be unfamlliar with the concept of type-ahead. Let's take it step by step.

If you're not already looking at the Start screen, press the Windows key to open it.

Type "C", the search panel at the right shows a list of every application beginning with C

Type "O", the right hand of the screen shows a shorter list, each of whose names contain "CO"

Type "N", the list shrinks again to only those whose names contain "CON"

Type "T", now there is only one possible application whose name contains "CONT", and it's the "Control Panel"

Press Return and it launches, or click/tap its entry in the search results. Simple.

You may of course keep typing until you've spelled out exactly what you need, and only then launch it, but the poster wanted the quickest way to launch Control Panel from the start screen, and that's probably it. (Those who don't believe in all that modern crap will note that this is precisely the same sequence of keystrokes needed to perform this task on Windows 7)

The lack of this easy way to launch an application is something that annoys me when I use other people's Macs (on my own Mac, I use DragThing which allows typeahead launching of items in its docks)

6
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Microsoft gets the hang of funky devices: Xbox magic for enterprise

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

MirrorLink, which is an open standard (also on Android, btw), but it's down to the application whether or not it supports it, and of course the equipment OEM has to implement it too.

Miracast is the "wireless HDMI" spec.

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Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

@Squander Two

Welcome to the club.

I'm a long time Mac user, long enough that I still wish the OSX minimise function was the same as System7's WindowShade. (I have been meaning to try WindowMizer at http://www.rgbworld.com )

However, I'm a Mac user, not an Apple fanboy... (I used to work for them a long time ago; what Bismarck said about sausages also applies to Apple products). I have never liked iOS (get beyond the amazing input method, and you find yourself in a very badly designed navigation system) and I don't like how Apple has neglected OSX so badly over the years, and now what efforts they are putting into it are to turn it into some kind of non-touch iPad.

(And I agree that there is something badly wrong with OSX's networking UI - I regularly have to assign a second or third address to my ethernet interface, but once I do this, I know well never to use the Networking control panel again)

I bought a Windows7 laptop a couple of years ago when my MacBook Air developed a Beyond Economic Repair fault after a disgracefully short period of time (but just long enough to escape the warranty, of course). After over fifteen years of using a Mac, I couldn't get over my newly-granted ability to buy just any peripheral I wanted AND HAVE IT WORK!

I also installed no anti-virus software, yet had no viruses or malware. I'm led to believe that the stuff people say about IE security is based on IE6 from 2003, and so, like the stuff people still say about Italian cars is a judgment informed by information that has long since become outdated. (I drive Alfa Romeos, and have done for over a decade, with no problems)

I've since replaced that laptop with a Surface 2 RT which has been superb in every way. I wanted web, email and Netflix, and it does them brilliantly, and lets my wife and I have our own user accounts on the same device..

My desktop is still a Mac, but Terminal, ssh and text editors (SublimeText, BBedit, vim) account for 90% of what I use it for... I'm not ready to change the boot OS yet, but the day will come. However, when my current "work" laptop needs to be replaced, I'll be getting a Surface Pro 3, and either dual-booting or VMing Ubuntu onto it. And when my nearly four-year-old Nokia N8 eventually dies, my next phone will run Windows Phone.

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REVEALED: Google's proposed indie music-killing contract terms

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: Author retains copyright

"Sorry, but I'm having a hard time seeing how this can possibly be worse "

Different contracts for different purposes. Google are not publishing the music, they are merely requesting the right to play it to its customers. If nobody listens, then they don't pay a cent.

A record-company contract (big or small) would be for production and publication, where the record company takes on the costs of turning your music into a saleable product (usually that involves recording and production, sometimes just production), and then promoting and delivering it to a market. In this case, the risk of loss is higher for the record company, so the potential reward is split more towards them: If nobody listens, the record company has lost all the money they spent to produce and promote the music.

"completely losing title to your own property"

Er, no. In a normal record deal, you keep the music copyright, the record company gets the recording copyright but shares proceeds of the the recording sales with you.

The dispute has always been how big that share is and how long it lasts, but the other side of the argument from the record companies is that it's not cheap to produce a record (instrumental electronica aside, you still need a studio, and competent studio techs to produce anything decent), and there's no guarantee that it'll ever recoup its costs.

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YouTube in shock indie music nuke: We all feel a little less worthy today

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: Youtube simply doesn't understand how we find music

"so long as google indexes it "

That would be fine if YouTube and Google were independent companies. Google's motivation would then be solely to provide the most relevant results, and not to provide "the most relevant results that offer the greatest revenue potential for Google".

Google already has a ranking problem with video searching. I tried a couple of videos that I know were placed on Vimeo first by their creators, then copied to YouTube by third parties. Guess which version is ten or more places higher on the Google search rankings?

Vimeo's video quality is, as a rule, better than YT's, which makes it odd that when the same content is hosted on both services, YouTube is consistently ranked above the Vimeo link. Is it because only one of the videos is prefixed with Google ads?

And this is with Vimeo, a company that Google is not trying to browbeat into a contract negotiation...

3
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San Francisco issues SMACKDOWN on parking spot sale software

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: Explain please!

Except you have no right (moral or legal) to do this. The space doesn't belong to you just because you're parked in it. It remains the property of the city. The city have granted you only the right to occupy it, but not the right to re-sell that right.

Sure, I've given friends a heads-up when I'm leaving so that they can get a better (or legal!) parking space that I'm vacating, but I've never been so greedy as to ask for money for it. Why should I? It's not my space.

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Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Re: Money For Nothing, Over and Again...

@Deltics, If you feel that strongly about the city doubling up, you could stick your unexpired ticket back onto the pay machine so that the next person to park doesn't have to pay. (If it's a roadside meter, the next person doesn't have to pay anyway).

I'm a bit baffled by the other replies here that attempt to equate ParkingMonkey with privatised utilities or congestion charging. In both of those cases, the proceeds of the sale or charge return directly to the government that built the infrastructure (using public money); those proceeds are then used to increase service or infrastructure spending without increasing taxes. The ParkingMonkey users, on the other hand, are claiming ownership of public infrastructure, renting it, and pocketing the proceeds. (And how many users are declaring that income on their tax returns, I wonder...)

4
1

Columbia U boffins HACK GOOGLE PLAY to check apps

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

The right tool is half the job...

OAuth's problem here is that it's a flat system, and one that was designed for server-to-server authentication, not client-to-server authentication.

If devs followed the arrangement that OAuth was designed to work in, the app on the phone would talk to the developer's web server, and it would be that server which would authenticate (using OAuth) to the 3rd-party service. However, most devs don't have the resources to run their own web server at the sort of traffic a moderately successful phone app would generate (many also lack the IT ability: Infrastructure and Coding are two very different skills; despite what recruiters think). So, instead the devs take a necessary (but dangerous) short-circuit: Now, the secret that by right should have been kept on their private web server, is distributed to every client device. Eek.

That doesn't mean that token-authentication is in itself unsuitable just because OAuth doesn't work in this setting; token auth is fine, but you need each client to have its own unique token. Unfortunately, OAuth is a flat authentication scheme: every token is equal, and you can't just request millions of them for each app. What's missing is the facility to have two levels of key: where, for instance, the dev has the master key which gives unlimited access, and uses it to issue each app with an individual, limited, key.

Of course, once you get to having (and managing) levels of authentication, you may as well just use x.509.

2
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Microsoft C# chief Hejlsberg: Our open-source Apache pick will clear the FUD

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

There should be a ban...

... on AC posts when the article is about Microsoft.

Really, what sense can you get from seeing "Anonymous Coward" defend itself against the accusations of "Anonymous Coward" over and over again?

High point for me was yet another AC post saying "If you read my previous posts..." - Well mate, after I've read "your" previous posts on this thread, I fear you may have some multiple personality issues....

Not for a moment to suggest that the named posters are contributing much more than the tired old pro-MS/pro-Linux dogma...

3
1

PICS ON GROUND: Cabbies PARALYZE London in Uber rebellion

Kristian Walsh
Silver badge

Doesn't hide the major problems with Uber, though...

Like all these internet startups, Uber is making its money by ignoring the rules that existing players have to abide by, and relying on the customers being too dumb to consider for a moment that some of those rules are there to stop them being cheated, robbed, assaulted, abducted or murdered by random strangers.

Actually, why bother with the app at all? Just stand with your thumb out and get in the first car that picks you up. It'll be cheaper too...

Way back when people started carrying passengers in their (horse) cars for money, there was no regulation at all. But then the nasty people realised that posing as a hire cab was an easy way to pick up victims, and the less nasty ones realised they could bully other operators out of their patch and then raise their prices as a result of the phony "scarcity".

Human nature has not changed just because people have fucking iPhones now.

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