709 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007
"Maybe I'm missing something, but if you have a STB that does series linking and recording why do you need it repeated?"
The comment below yours is one reason (too many simultaneous programmes, which is another problem with broadcasters - everything worth watching is on against everything else worth watching).
The other situation, that I really had in mind, is when you stumble upon a series at episode 4, discover that it's actually really good, but now you can't find episode 1,2,3 repeated anywhere. A "Catch-up" broadcast, even late at night, would be very handy for this situation, especially as TV producers are so in love with series-long story arcs these days.
The idea of a "BBC Netflix" is quite tempting, but it would destroy DVD and foreign syndication sales income.
A BBC repeat channel would actually be very useful for people who get BBC but don't have good enough internet access for iPlayer (yes, there are. A lot.). Especially in conjunction with a PVR/Satellite box that does series linking.
Or, in other words, you might thing BBC does lots of repeats, but they don't: the "another chance to see" stuff is now shunted to iPlayer. What they do do, and what this won't change, is string out popular properties like Come Dancing into endless spinoff and side shows that clog the schedules, but they're not repeats, just repetitive.
I can't remember last time I watched Three, but BBC Four (TV) accounts for about 50% of my TV consumption, so long may it continue.
There already is a standard...
It's called MirrorLink, and has been available for three years. Android already supports it, and so did Symbian. Windows Phone and iOS don't, but it can be implemented in user-space (which some sat-nave apps on iOS and WP did).
I suspect Apple, being Apple, have taken this, added a proprietary discovery and control layer above it and rebadged it as their own technology.
Personally, I wouldn't specify an iPhone interface in my car. Even if I did own an iPhone, predicting what kind of phone I (or my wife who would also drive it, or anyone who might want to buy the car when I'm done with it) would be using in three years is asking a bit much.
Nice try, Apple, but there are too many non-iPhone users out there. Adopt an open, published, standard, or fuck off.
Re: Their mistake: they let an artist do it.
Actually It pleases me no end to think that Jobs himself would have absolutely hated this statue's organic, sloppy style with such obvious signs of the maker's hand all over it.
Something in smooth-polished Carrara marble or alabaster, inlaid with titanium or platinum would have suited The Leader's tastes a lot better. Yes, such a style would perhaps evoke an unwanted association with the public art of totalitarian states throughout history, but that cap definitely fits Apple under SJ.
But given my choice, I'd prefer to see Clarus back grazing beside DeAnza Blvd just once before Apple ups sticks and heads to the Great Glass Grommet.
Re: Forking from the inside.
The thing is, apps use those APIs because they do useful things. e.g. facilitate in-app purchases, piracy detection, deliver advertising, integrate with game features like achievements etc. and they're supported by the vast majority of phone devices.
That's fine, but Google don't include them in the Open Source Android. That's Google's decision, not Nokia's. Nokia are providing equivalents that plug into their services instead (as Amazon do for the Kindle Fire); it's not like the functionality isn't going to be there, but the devs will have to access it differently.
It's very easy to harumph that apps use proprietary APIs for those things, but almost all APIs for those things are proprietary.
True, but you're talking about perhaps less than 100 lines of code different between the two versions, and it's code that will be concentrated in maybe one or two methods in one or two classes.
Secondly, if an app developer wants to support Nokia's device they'll have to build and maintain two separate branches of the same product and build, package, test and upload two versions of it.
Java is quite good at hiding this kind of difference from other code. It shouldn't be beyond the wit of any developer who's able to make an app in the first place.
This is an odious burden and many apps simply won't bother - or if they do they'll jack up the price Nokia's app store to compensate for the effort.
"Odious" is taking things a bit far. Unless you're not able to code at all, it's very easy to isolate the differing parts of the codebase (for example, make a generic "make in-app purchase" interface, and two or more implementations, one per store backend); full multiple-backend testing is only then required when that specific code is touched. For minor updates that don't touch those APIs, in-depth test isn't required on every possible device.. or do you think that small devs test their apps on every Android model right now?
There is nothing that would have stopped Nokia getting itself certified to ship with the Google apps and services except they chose not to.
That's not what happened, though. It's well documented that Nokia approached Google in late 2010, but Google's licence terms would have prevented Nokia from using their competitive mapping and music stores - properties that Nokia had invested a lot of money in, and which were (and are) generating good income. Basically, Google's rules for Play are simple: you take it all or you get nothing. You cannot pick and choose from its services: if you want to have the Play Store, you must use Google Maps and gCalendar, etc.
In effect, this is just like when Microsoft insisted that if you wanted to ship Windows 98 on your hardware, you also had to ship Internet Explorer, and couldn't replace it as default browser. Google have taken it further to include more services, but they are using the same lame excuse that MS did: that mapping, browsing, in-app purchase, etc. is now an intrinsic part of the OS, rather than an application library, and thus can't be separated without breaking Android. The existence and success of the Kindle Fire's app market gives lie to this claim.
Whether people want or like Google's services is immaterial. Lots of people also wanted Internet Explorer when they never got to see what the alternatives were like...
Re: Dual SIM
Nokia X devices are Dual-SIM. The on-stage demo showed switching between SIMs.
Re: Forking from the inside.
If 25% of apps won't work, it's because they use Google-specific APIs that are not open source.
There are two layers of Google Android. The Free Open Source core has basic functionality, and then there are the Google Play APIs, which are closed source. Google has moved more and more functions into the latter, closed source, part of the OS, with every release. Often, the original open-source API for something is deprecated, and a new framework is introduced, but as part of the closed-source Play.
From a Free Software perspective, Google's Android is not any better than Nokia and MS's fork (or Amazon, Nokia and MS's offering on Kindle Fire).
Re: Lack of coherence?
The "Landfill" Android phones are called that because they receive no post-sale support from their manufacturers, and are cheaply built with lower-cost components. Both factors seriously shorten their working life.
Nokia, on the other hand excel at making durable phones, even at low prices, and they have a policy of supporting their devices for a long time after sale. (In the markets these phones are aimed at, handsets are bought SIM-free, so the problems of carriers having to sign-off on updates is sidestepped entirely).
As for why this could be different to, say, SonyEricsson, HTC et al... Those other Android licensees didn't have the engineering resources to offer the cloud services that customers expect with their phones now (cloud storage, mail, IM, mapping, app stores, search, music streaming), so they ended up in the no-win position of being vassals of Google. Nokia and Microsoft between them can offer every service that Google does, and that makes it possible for them to use the pure open-source Android as a platform, and supply their own services and systems apps in place of Google's
It's more choice, so it's good overall for customers, and although operators' shops won't carry these, you're bound to see them at your local budget mobile phones and accessories shop. (Although the likes of Tesco Mobile could pick them up).
" how do you explain major differences in the roles sexes play in different cultures? ... "
Well that's a three-pint conversation, and certainly not something that's suited to being conducted in anonymous text boxes.
Personally, I think that gender roles are the expression of a number of mostly biological factors and gender is loosely coupled to sex and sexuality, so I must respectfully disagree, but with the emphasis on "respectfully".
It is, after all, the weekend.
@RIchard, Hardware standardisation
I'm not talking about MSDOS - the heyday of MSDOS was long before Linux even existed.
The PC System Design Guide specification series (PC 97, PC 98, PC 99, and PC 2001) from Microsoft and Intel significantly reduced the complexity of PC i/o and device drivers, even as the capability of that hardware increased dramatically, and it made the job of getting Linux to run on "any PC" much easier than it was before. Mac hardware at the time was far more varied, because Apple didn't need to run their software on anything but their own hardware - this diversity plagued efforts to get PowerPC Linux into any kind of shape, even with support from people within Apple.
I don't know a lot about the company's technologies, because I primarly work in MacOS or Linux, but off the top of my head, XMLHTTP was a Microsoft invention that has been pretty significant. Your USB keyboard also uses the USB Human Interface Device protocol, developed by Microsoft.
If you were talking about products, then there's a lot there: Exchange, Windows NT, Excel (the first usable spreadsheet), Kinect were all groundbreaking products.
One thing that Microsoft did do was standardise the PC hardware market. Until you've tried to get Linux onto a new ARM SoC, you won't appreciate how important the Windows Certification process was in making everyone's PC or server so similar that installing Linux was a breeze. That was work done by MS and its OEMs, and it's the number one factor in the wide adoption of Linux today.
@DIVIDeD: Re: "Handy" - WTF
Simple: "Handy" is a new noun made by abbreviating the adjective "handtragbare" ("handheld").
A free market? In the United States? Gosh...
Verizon and AT&T aren't losing their fancy high-end handset customers to T-Mo, because T-Mo isn't luring these customers. Why? Because taken individually, a customer with an iPhone 5S or Galaxy S4 actually costs you money, money you have to recoup from other customers.
So T-Mobile are poaching the the ones who use a basic voice phone, and pay way too much for their service; the ones who use a budget Android or WinPhone, and don't use a lot of data, yet still pay too much for their service -- basically, T-Mobile is luring away the customers who've been propping up the whole house of cards.
AT&T and Verizon are tied into contracts with Apple regarding iPhone that only work if both operators can offload the costs of those phones onto non-iPhone using customers. This was fine for as long as "the other guy" was playing the same game (heavy handset subsidies, paid for with lockins to expensive monthly charges), but T-Mobile has broken formation, and it's hurting them badly.
Biggest loser, long term, is Apple. Their high pricing depends on a sales model where the customer never sees the real price. If the rest of the US carriers follow T-Mobile's lead, it's good for Samsung and Nokia/Microsoft, who have a range of mid-price and budget phones, but it's a disaster for Apple.
Re: @Andrew Orlowski
"Copyleft was invented to subvert copyright. I don't think the originators of that license would care too much if "intellectual property" as we know it completely ceased to exist."
That, I'm afraid, is nonsense. You need to read Stallman's original article on GPL, rather than the projections of other people's Marxist fantasies onto it. Copyleft is an exercise of the intellectual property right of copyright, not a replacement for it.
Without copyright, GPL works would be no different to Public Domain works... there would be absolutely no legal comeback against someone who breached the copyleft terms of a Free Software licence.
Re: Nokia Terminal Mode
"I thought the idea was that it would connect to any "smartphone" not just Nokia."
It was, and it does. It's now called "MirrorLink", it works on WindowsPhone, Android, Symbian and even iOS (but only at an app level; the OS doesn't support it).
Re: typical analyst
Actually, I think you'll find that a car is already a "mobile" device. Always has been.
The (British) English use of "mobile" when talking about portable phones is a hangover from when those phones were fitted to cars, and thus were made "mobile". Every earlier use of the term "mobile" refers to something on wheels.
Re: The man in the high castle
To add another, C.J. Sansom's "Dominion" has the most realistic and plausible depiction of a United Kingdom operating as a puppet Nazi state following a German victory that I've read.
"... and Chromebooks?"
There's a lot of bluff about Chromebooks, but channel sales surveys put their cumulative (i.e, since launch in 2011) sales comfortably below a million units. After two years on the market, it's telling that Google have yet to announce either sales or users figures for ChomeOS, especially when you consider how they played up Android activations when that platfrom was taking off.
Android is ChromeOS's biggest problem: you can get a good Android tablet with hundreds of thousands of available apps for the same price as a Chromebook. Why would you bother?
Independently-sourced usage figures are interesting for Chromebooks in that sales of the hardware does not convert into measured usage of ChromeOS. Either people are trying them briefly and then abandoning or returning them, or, as I think is more likely, people in the know are buying the Chromebook hardware and putting Linux on it right away. Either way, it's not a sign of a rosy future for the platform.
Re: Apple is shiny and overpriced, true
Be aware that refurbs from all sources have warranty cover, but with exclusions, and they can often be systems which had multiple faults, only one of which was fixed before sale. Ask me how I know...
I agree on the monitors, though. Dell's current high-end is superb, and on any objective measure they are better than Apple's offerings - particularly on colour rendering, which to me is the only important thing on an LCD display (I don't play games, so transition time is something I don't care about now that all displays offer acceptable levels).
The article hasn't claimed that Apple have beaten Dell in PC sales. Only that for customers considering a PC, Apple is top of the list of brands they'd consider buying, whereas Dell used to be.
As the article rightly states, there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip, or to put it another way: wanting to buy a Mac is easy; actually paying Apple's prices for one isn't for many people. I'm still the "Mac guy" in my social circle, and my non-techy friends often ask me about getting a Mac. I go through the pros and cons, and they're enthusiastic right up until they see the prices, and then they ask me what the best Windows laptop is...
Essentially, this is a survey of brand awareness, not sales. Look at the "tablets" list: Google aren't even on that list, even though they produce the best Android tablets, and sell quite a lot of them. What will happen is that someone considering a Samsung tablet will go to a retail store to try it out, and while there they'll see the other options. Similarly, while it's heartening news for Microsoft to see that the Surface line now has good brand recognition, their sales don't match this awareness yet.
You make an interesting inference that people are looking at Windows 8, not liking it, and thus buying Macs. However, the various OS usage figures paint a different story. OS X is more or less static at 8%, Win8 and 8.1 together have about 13%, Windows 7 and XP have between 30% and 40% each, but even a year after the launch of 8, Windows 7's market share is growing much faster than Win8's. It's far more likely that people are buying new hardware and installing Windows 7 on it, or upgrading Vista systems to 7 than abandoning Microsoft entirely and jumping camp to Apple
...is notable for not including Redmond, WA.
I wouldn't trust the hunches of anyone labelled a "Silicon Valley Insider" when it came to succession within Microsoft, because I don't believe that any of them understand how large businesses operate outside of that strange parallel universe of the Bay Area. In the Valley, Microsoft is defined (and vilified) as being Not One Of Us.
My equally uninformed hunch is that it'll be Mullally, who I expect will carry out a major restructuring and streamlining, then hand over to a new candidate three years from now.
Re: Message to mobile operators
"now Russians customers buy their iPhone unlocked directly from reseller instead meaning the operators lost the iPhone margin and the lock in on the clients."
Let's be clear about this: there was no margin on iPhones for the networks. None. It's a subsidised sale. The operator loses money every time a customer chooses an iPhone; their only hope of recouping it is to keep that customer on contract for as long as possible. As for lock-in, you're more likely to stay with a service plan for longer if you're not being pushed to change your handset every 18 or 24 months - subsidies work against lock-in benefits, because they actively encourage the customer to either take another phone (whose cost the operator must recoup again) or go to another provider whenever the renewal comes up.
In Russia, the operators are now prohibited from subsidising phones, on the grounds that the practice is against the interest of the consumer (I tend to agree).
So, the Russian operators are actually benefiting: they get the monthly data plan fees, but don't have to spend a penny in subsidies to get it. Customers also pay less for service because they're not repaying handset subsidies (often on other peoples' phones). People who can afford iPhones now have what they always wanted: an exclusive device that poor people just can't buy. I'd call that a win all round. Oh, except for Apple, but maybe they've enough money already to see themselves through this trauma...
Re: Message to mobile operators
O2 UK have been downplaying iOS devices for a while now. As a launch carrier for iPhone, they got burned more than anyone. Go into their smaller stores now, and you won't even see an iPhone, and on a recent TV campaign, the associated app was available for Android only.
Remember the adage: you're not the phone-maker's customer. Apple sold the iPhone to its customers, the mobile operators. Apple told them that it was so hot that people would switch networks to get it (something that in hindsight did not happen in UK/Ireland - Vodafone ended up making more money from not having to sell iPhone than O2 did by selling it), and reeled them in.
Personally, I want all subsidies gone, and replaced with an interest-free loan to buy the handset you want. This model is used in Finland-- a country that also has the lowest mobile phone bills of any comparable EU economy: there's no such thing as a free phone...
Re: This is why people should have bought the RT version
I don't know where you got the idea that Windows RT doesn't multitask. It does. Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ODZ928qke8
In fairness, I also thought RT was mono-tasking initially... It's a sign of MS's bungled marketing on these devices that such a genuinely useful feature got next to no exposure from Microsoft.
Thermal management is a software function
It's not overheating, but rather the software is taking overly aggressive measures aimed at reducing the heat inside the enclosure. It seems that these measures are being taken when the internal temperature isn't persistently high enough to warrant them, hence the promise of a software fix.
The screen backlight is a major source of heat, often more so than the CPU, and keeping the temperature down is paramount when your enclosure has little or no ventilation, and you've got a heat-sensitive Lithium-ion battery in close proximity. (Excessive heat will permanently reduce Li-ion battery capacity, which will shorten the working life of the device)
Re: Surface or Surface 2?
It's the Surface RT, sans 2, I believe.
Still, though, for $199 you're getting a lot. Forget the app store for a moment.. In terms of core, out-of-the-box functions, it's actually pretty hard to beat Windows RT. I'm not talking about bundled apps like Office, but stuff like driver support, a desktop-class Flash-enabled browser (and one that is now, surprisingly, standards compliant), multi-user accounts and the two-up multitasking view.
I'd buy one. But then, I'll be picking up a Surface 2 soon, so I've already decided I can live with having fewer available apps in exchange for a more capable device.
Re: ..I don't need to apply..
"Honour and recognition in case of success."
That is what makes Shackleton's offer appealing, and it's a marked contrast to IT jobs, which offer only "Blame and humiliation in case of failure".
They're not even paying well, saying they prefer to put the money into "making the offices a better place to work in". Oh, so you'll be incarcerated in a nice prison cell? Well that's all right, then..
Re: How is this even possible?
If he was in bare feet, damp concrete would suffice.
The problem with a live phone housing is that when electric current passes through your hands it causes the muscles to contract, which causes the hand to close, as the grabbing muscles are stronger than the ones that open the hand. The result is that your grip tightens on the very thing you need to let go of.
This is why firefighters feel their way in dark buildings with the back of their hand, not their fingertips - if your hand should touch something live, the muscle spasm will pull it away from the object, rather than gripping it.
Not exactly Apple's fault - but it shows that a design choice that has no problems when used in affluent countries can become problematical where there are less stringent controls on its operating environment.
Re: Supermodel ?
"absolutely nothing intentionally sexist in my remark"
Okay, imagine the story was about a famous footballer setting up a social media site. Would you have questioned whether he was giving blow-jobs to get the funding, or would you have just stated that someone thought that having a famous person behind the project was worth £200k of support?
Try hire a well-known figure to do publicity for your company, and you'll see that 200k isn't a lot of money. In the UK, where Cole has a very high profile, this is a good deal. The simple fact of her involvement will get the company the kind of broad-market press coverage most media startups can't dream of.
The question of whether someone should be given £200k of taxpayers money for something like this is a different one, but governments give business startup grants to all manner of lost causes... much like VCs do,
Re: Supermodel ?
"People sharing things for free, I doubt it. Most altruistic ideads end up dead in the water or surrounded by scam artists."
Can I use this quote when Future You shouts about how Android is brilliant because it's Free Software?
I rarely downvote posts, but I made an exception for the nasty implication that the only way a woman can obtain money is by sleeping with a rich man.
The Cygnet was an effort by Aston Martin to reduce their "fleet CO2" emissions, in order to not fall foul of EU legislation on this. Without that legislative pressure, there's no way in Hell they'd have emnbarked on rebranding a Toyota iQ like that...
But to stay with cars for a moment, the 5C is like Maserati doing an entry model of the Quattroporte for £10,000 less, but doing so by dropping the alloy wheels, metallic paint, air-conditioning and leather interior. Yes, it would be a "cheaper" Maserati, but that's only relatively, and if you can afford to buy this one, why not spend the extra for the "real" one.
Here's the problem: The gap in pricing for the iPhone 5C and 5S isn't big enough for the 5C to be considered "low cost", and the form factor and materials used invite an unfavourable comparison with something like Nokia's 520 and 620 Lumia models which are genuinely "unapologetically plastic" in bright colours, but unlike they 5C they come with an unapologetically low price to go with it (around £150 and £200 respectively SIM-free as opposed to £400+ for the 5C).
"[Nokia] Location & Commerce has almost 7,000 employees worldwide. This includes around 5,000 NAVTEQ and 2,000 Nokia Services employees. Of the total employees approximately 4,500 work on Content with the remainder mainly split between Platforms and Apps."
(source: http://www.just-auto.com/analysis/qa-with-nokia_id122541.aspx )
That sounds like two similarly-sized organisations to me.
POIs are present, and searchable from Nokia's system, including driving directions. Every business with a Facebook page is a POI in the HERE database, although Google are still ahead on POIs , especially in the USA.
HERE has the advantage in 3D, ability to work from offline storage, and while their data is usually older, it appears to be verified better than Google's is. Google on the other hand have more POIs, StreetVIew and are faster to respond to new development. Outside of urban centres, HERE's aerial images are better than Google's. Otherwise, Google is slightly better. There's no clear winner. For example, all the house numbers in my neigbourhood are wrong on Google Maps, but correct in HERE - this doesn't mean its worse everywhere, just in a place that I know: I am well aware that given two mapping databases it's easy to cherrypick localised areas where one is better than another.
Google's reliance on AI is because they're working from panoramic 2D images which provide less input data than LIDAR + panoramas. If you can measure the distances and dimensions as you go, you don't need to spend time and effort to extract them from photographs. The two companies' needs are different: Google is happy with "enough to identify the address"; HERE has paying customers that need additional information about headroom, clearance, passing distances or other obstructions.
I really don't understand the mentality of "Oh no, this is never going to be any good, because Google are in this business". As a customer, it's better for you to have competition between service providers than to give one provider an effective monopoly and let them abuse it, or forever have to satisfy yourself with something that was cool five years ago but hasn't moved on since then, simply because it's offered by your favourite vendor. Google's next revision of StreetView collection will exceed what HERE is doing now, but I can guarantee you that if HERE wasn't raising the bar, Google wouldn't bother.
Re: occluded objects
Aerial LIDAR imaging and satellite photography fill in the other details.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emKttWFcJ_g - for a layman's guide.
There's more to mapping than photos.
Where both are available (Central London, for instance), HERE's street level is superior to Google StreetView. The resolution is currentlylower on Nokia's offer, but the mapping of photo images to buildings is much more accurate, so there's less distortion of the view, and no "stitching" errors.
Google aren't stupid, but mapping is a loss-leader for them - they don't sell the data to anyone else, just use it as a platform to sit an advertising business on top of. As long as their service is good enough, and widespread enough, it doesn't matter if someone else is doing it better. They make maps, but they're not cartographers - the maps are detailed, but the information is not correct in many cases (administrative boundaries are wrong, private lanes are presented as public roads).
HERE, on the other hand is a cartography business. Their mapping data is used by Amazon (Kindle Fire), Microsoft (Bing), Facebook, Garmin and about 90% of in-car navigation systems, so there are paying customers to be satisfied. When you pay for something, you demand more improvements than when you get it for free. This alone will drive their progress faster than Google.
Also, HERE are also capturing far more information than Google. Google just took photos, HERE (isn't it a stupid name, though?) is gathering far, far more data about the surrounding environment: the use of LIDAR creates a 3D model of the surrounding terrain as the car drives through. ( see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGcKcAbvzvc, or this video at 2'00" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz6qtaHqxX4 )
This allows them to measure road widths, bridge heights, and other factors which are of use to navigation. They also take information about road gradients, signage and lane markings, which are used for the next generation of in-car systems. And this isn't just sat-nav: the Rolls Royce Wraith uses GPS and terrain data as inputs to its automatic transmission, so that the car can change gears before encountering a hill for instance; and the adaptive cruise system used in Audi's new A8 knows when you're approaching motorway exits, and adapts the cruise distance limits accordingly to allow for last-minute exit or entry by other cars without sharp braking.
@Shane (Re: yeah right.)
Apple didn't need Microsoft's $150 million (although at the losses the company was incurring at the time, that $1bn cash would have lasted a mere 18 months), but that wasn't the important part of the settlement.
In addition to buying in to Apple, MS commited to supporting Microsoft Office on MacOS for four years. This was a big, big deal. At this time, Apple was losing the last of its big corporate sales to MS because there was significant doubt over the future of Office on Mac. K-12 (i.e., primary schools) was another very lucrative market for Apple, but if Office disappeared from Macs, schools would draft in more Windows PCs to the back room, and there, once established, they'd spread to classroom too. Apple needed Office, and a promise of future support for Office, but while the legal warring was going on, MS stayed tight-lipped on the matter, sowing increased doubt in potential Mac customers' minds.
The promise of Office was instrumental in Apple's survival, because we knew that the NeXT software wouldn't pay off for another two years minimum (actually it turned out to be three.. or four if like me you consider OS X 10.0 to be a customer preview release). Support for Office, and the original iMac were the lifeline that carried Apple out of the hole they'd dug in the mid 1990s. You might downplay it now, but the MS announcement was certainly the event that stopped me and my co-workers worrying about our future employment at Apple.
And although it's after my time there, I can certainly believe that iPhone was a bet-the-company product: the writing was on the wall for OSX from about 2003 or so: application developers weren't getting on board with the new APIs - all of the Mac's big hitters at the time (Photoshop, the unlamented Quark XPress, MS Office) were based on the "Carbon" API that Apple were trying to deprecate, and Apple's marketshare wasn't going in a direction that would convince the likes of Adobe to re-tool Creative Suite on an Apple-only framework (especially Adobe: in the 1990s, Photoshop and Illustrator were re-developed to use Apple's MacApp framework, just before Apple knifed it).
So, with a dwindling computer marketshare, Apple needed to jump into a different market to survive - hence iPod, and then iPhone. Although I've no inside knowledge on this, I still believe that iPhone was originally to be an iPod device, and the decision to turn it into a phone was made during its development, when "white-label" GSM silicon became available from Taiwan.
Re: Won't matter...
That was not what happened. Nokia offered N9 to all operators - many said they didn't want it, some took a punt (I saw it for sale in the Czech republic, for instance, and it was sold in Australia on contract), but this was not Nokia's decision.
If you consider the project duration for a mobile device is about 18 months, the decision to take N9 or not would have been made BEFORE the famous Burning Platform memo, and before the decision to adopt Windows Phone. My feeling is that the main factor in Nokia moving to WindowsPhone was this failure to drum up interest in the MeeGo phone line.
N9 was a good product, and ahead of the competition in usability, but I think the operators had just lost patience with Nokia by then: return rates for N8 were very high, as customers couldn't get to grips with software that just was not finished (I have an N8, and like it, but the software wasn't "good enough" until Symbian Belle in 2012). "N9" was supposed to have been out in late 2010 on the hardware that became the N950, but the software never materialised, so the launch was cancelled. Here's an ad for that phone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdSx_T3Em_g (note the branding is pre-2011; in 2011 Nokia changed their corporate branding to use their new "Pure" typeface, and also note that the phone is still advertised as "NSeries"- N8 was the last phone to be launched under this name).
By the way, the Lumia 800 was not the same hardware, just the same form factor. N9 was a TI OMAP system-on-chip, where Lumia was a Qualcomm Snapdragon.
I can pretty much guarantee that you won't see Sailfish on a UK contract phone. The UK operators had no interest in the N9, Sailfish's spiritual predecessor, so it's highly unlikely they'll jump on something with an even lower profile.
And that's the problem: the mobile phone market is controlled. People are free to choose their phones, but unequal pricing subsidies guide them to certain models, and some models are completely excluded from the choice.
It's like a "free and fair" election in some crooked dictatorship: you get to vote, but the government chooses the candidates you can cast a vote for.
Buy it SIM-free. It's expensive at first, but you'd be amazed how cheap a mobile service plan is when it doesn't have a "free" handset hanging off it.
I wish them luck, though. It'd be great to see an Open Source OS make it onto a phone - might be a new lease of life for some older hardware. (Android defenders: please don't bother replying unless your reply includes a URL where I can pull the nightly Android builds from)
Re: so as to be able to run apps without need for change software.
Like most of Apple's recent "innovations", the benefit is for Apple, not the consumer.
By making both display panels have the same number of pixels, they can use the exact same display driver parts for both the Air and Mini models. That's at least one fewer component to keep track of, with potential gains in other sub-assemblies too (if the driver was on the main logic board, now there only has to be one logic board, not two; if it wasn't, now you can put it on the board if it works out cheaper there).
Nothing special here - it's what every manufacturer does. But, once a supply-chain manager, always a supply-chain manager, eh Tim?
Re: Personal introspection
Aw boo, did the nasty man say something bad about your pwecious Google?
"Flash isn't allowed in IE in metro-mode on W8"
What gave you this idea? Flash is most definitely allowed in IE11 "metro" mode, both on Windows 8 x86, and 8 RT. I've checked this in-store on a Surface 2. (Incidentally, when did Google dump Flash support on Android? I thought it was only iPads that had a gimped browser)
The user cannot install third-party plugins on Metro IE, but that doesn't mean that Microsoft hasn't shipped the browser without Flash installed.
(The inclusion of Flash on RT is something Microsoft should make a bit more of, especially as it lets users play all of those Facebook games like Candy Crush on their tablets, without needing a dedicated app for each).
As for why certain features are disabled, the simplest reason is probably that they are implemented using code that requires APIs that are only present in Windows8.1.
IE11 is a pretty good browser, though. So far, I've found that the only stuff that "breaks" is using only the "-webkit" or "-chrome" prefixed styles without the W3C standard attributes being specified too, as they're supposed to be ( and yes, I include a couple of my own HTML uis in that category :( )
Re: In related news..
Yes, Chromebook installed base is skyrocketing. Any year now, it'll break the all-important tenth-of-one-percent barrier.
Right now, after two years on sale, ChromeOS installed base is at between 0.020% and 0.030%, depending on whose stats you believe. As Google have been uncharacteristically silent on the matter of active users, we have to go on the net usage stats.
For some perspective, Windows RT devices made up approximately 0.1% of the device population in mid-2013 by the same stats (that predates the price-cut on Surface RT that MS claimed has booted its sales). A tiny number, but if "skyrocket" can be applied to Chromebook sales, I've no idea what superlative one would have left to describe the enormous growth of Windows RT in just one year.
Here's the high-level breakdown: Windows, 90% falling very slowly, MacOS 7.8% rising very slowly, Linux 1.6% static. Remember this is desktop/laptop systems, not servers (where Linux would be far higher, and MacOS far lower). http://www.netmarketshare.com
Unfortunately, to get working section numbers, you have to lose other features, as 5.0 is the version that has sparked the current furore.
The point is moot, though. In the intervening time I found several better alternatives. But as "the intervening time" was nearly four years, if I'd been really stuck, I could have written my own word processor in that time too.
Regarding key shortcuts, that's pretty much the set from the '09 version. What's missing are the things that let you write without having to resort to the mouse to change things like paragraph styles. As a simple example, in OpenOffice, the style inspector, (Command-T), can be navigated using the keyboard, which means that you don't have to keep selecting text and applying heading styles, or breaking the flow of typing to make the changes in place. Pages, on the other hand, puts these in a drawer that won't accept keyboard focus.
This misses one of the keys to success of the original MacOS: the visual UI let you get used to the software, but once you were used to it, nearly everything could be done with keyboard shortcuts. This has been lost somewhat as the newer touch-centric UIs once again subject users to the tyranny of direct manipulation.
Of all applications, a word processor needs keyboard commands. Adding these isn't a major technical leap; it's just something that the designers of Pages never even considered, and when you look at the default templates in Pages ("grocery letter", "invite", "Brochure", "Resume") you see why. It's not intended for complex documents, and it never was.
When Apple announced they'd finally updated iWork, I was interested, because Pages (in particular) had the germ of a good word processor buried in it - it just needed a lot more refinement, and after all, I'd paid the price of a really good meal to buy the software. Like a lot of other users, though, I was disappointed to see that rather than improve the function of the software, they clipped it back to the lowest-common-denominator that is iOS.
Pages cannot reliably do subsection numbering. That rules it out for use in any technology business.
You can try to do it, and it looks like it works -- until you reload the document and all the sections have renumbered to "1.1" or "1.1.1". Bizarrely, this means that, without doing things manually, Pages cannot be used to write technical docs that conform to Apple's own internal formatting guidelines. (Or at least the version of them that was in use when I worked there).
In short, it's a handy tool for high-school and Arts students to hand up term-papers with, but it is not a word processor yet. The other annoyance with Pages is that too few functions have keyboard shortcuts. As this is a text tool, where the user's focus will be on the keyboard, the repeated context-switches between keyboard and mouse really slow things down.
Numbers looks like a spreadsheet written by someone who never learned how to use a spreadsheet. It's beautifully presented, but there are gaping holes in the function set, no pivot tables, and a multi-window layout that just won't transfer to any other tool. ClarisWorks had a better spreadsheet, and that's nearly 20 years ago now.
I don't use any of the iWork tools anymore - OpenOffice 4 provides a much better set of features and the UI has got to the point where it isn't horrible.
Re: Customer Satisfaction
"It strikes me that you are by nature a careless and clumsy person, losing and dropping stuff - no offence intended"
None taken by that, but you are incorrect to assume that. It was not I who dropped the laptop. I was surprised at how little force was required to irreparably damage it, and then at the high cost of repair.
I am, however, mildly offended by the implication that as a customer, it's somehow my fault that the product being offered doesn't meet my needs anymore.
No, it's not. It's nobody's fault. I just won't buy the product until it does meet my needs. What I (and I mean me, personally) will definitely not do is buy it out of some misplaced need to belong, and then try to rationalise its shortcomings by claiming that I never wanted to do X,Y or Z anyway, when I absolutely need it to do X Y and Z.
In other words, you're satisfied with your choice, and I'm happy that you are (simply because there's enough miserable people around, and I don't want to see the total increase), but that doesn't mean that everyone would be.
Re: Customer Satisfaction
No downvote, but what you're doing wrong is assuming that everyone else's usage pattern is just like yours.
Personally, I *require* RJ-45 Ethernet connectivity (even more so after a change of job has put me deeper into the networking world). A few years ago I bought a MacBook Air thinking that its portability would outweigh the lack of Ethernet, but it was a dead loss. I've lost innumerable adaptors (airports, hotels, client offices, the usual places) and while that's fine with £5 USB dongles that you can buy in any medium-sized town, it would be more of a pain with limited-availablility £30 dongles from Apple.
I've used Mac laptops since 1997, and have used my own money to buy them since 2002, but unless something changes I won't be buying another. I don't have a problem with the pricing, it's that for the price I expect something that is more useful than an equivalent Windows laptop, not less so. The ethernet was the last straw - before it, it was these (in chronological order):
1. The stupid light-up apple logo. What good is that to me? and it allows strong light sources to shine into the enclosure and create an over-bright disc in the middle of the screen. It's as tacky as a Nike logo t-shirt or those stupid "big pony" Ralf Lauren pullovers, if you're in a higher income bracket.
2. lack of a hot-swappable battery. On old mac laptops, you could put the unit to sleep, swap the battery, and wake it, without loss of data. Battery life still hasn't got to the point where it's better than carrying a spare.
3. The insistence on glossy screens. It looks nice in the shop, and that's all. In the real world, with office windows, overhead fluorescent lighting, or just simple daylight, it's a pain in the head.
4. The no-repair unibody enclosures (if, like me, you've had someone drop your laptop on its corner you'll see why - it'll never close properly again, and the repair cost is phenomenal). The unibodies also have heat dissipation issues, which limits CPU performance, but as this is a laptop, that's not a major concern.
None of these are "march of technology" decisions. They were made for purely aesthetic reasons, to get more coffee-shop nontrepreneurs to buy Apple hardware, and none of them provide a customer benefit (okay, a gloss screen is higher perceived contrast, if you never leave Starbucks). As that customer, I have asked myself why I should continue to pay for a product that provides less and less benefit to me at each iteration.
Oh for goodness sake. Stop being such a fanboy.
There are lots of bugs in point-zero MacOS releases. Always have been. Some get fixed, some don't. Lion was riddled with minor bugs, because the dev effort was expended on dressing up the apps to look like their iOS equivalents, rather than improving performance. It only stabilised before the release of 10.8.
It's good to see bugs being fixed, but 10.10 will need to be another "no new features" release to undo the damage done by Lion.
I have Lion on my Air laptop, and am waiting for Mavericks to stabilise before I look at upgrading. But on the machine I rely on to get my work done, I've stayed on 10.6, and I don't see a lot of reason to move yet.
Re: Instead of "Princess"...
Ah, you'd only work on bridged networks?
Apple's policy on titles was that you could have what you wanted on your business card as long as your boss approved it, and (when I was there) they usually did unless it was offensive (I had a fairly staid "Senior Software Engineer", but only because I had to get them at short notice, and couldn't think of anything clever). I can't remember many of the odd ones now, but there was definitely a "Network Test-Pilot", while a friend's card had him as "Chief Morale Officer".
Re: A bit harsh
"Ignorance is not an excuse to spread crap".
I agree. Please stop.
@Brenda - Re: A bit harsh
Actually, ARM is quite good at 64-bit transparency: 32-bit code doesn't appear to have a penalty, but it is hard to tell when all you can do is compare first-attempt (okay, second-attempt, but Apple's is the first in a client) implementations of ARMv8 with mature, optimised ARMv7 implementations.
That said, I completely agree with you that 64-bit isn't a big performance deal. I've written a lot of code over the last 25 years, for a lot of very varied application areas, and my gut feeling is that outside of scientific modelling, integer maths accounts for the bulk of most applications' calculations (remember that GPUs handle the floating-point for 3D transformations). Of that, I'd guess that 99% can be be accommodated by 32 bit registers. The big performance benefit of 64-bit, that of being able to access more than 4 Gbyte of address space, isn't a whole lot of use on a device with such constrained resources as a tablet. (To be clear, I still think 64 bit is of incredible benefit on desktops and servers, but they have more memory, more storage, and run applications that work with bigger datasets than a tablet.)
Basically, being 64-bit isn't why ARMv8 chips like the A7 are better than their predecessors, but I suppose it's the easiest "this number is bigger" feature for a marketing department to work with, and in the inevitable absence of market-changing new features to trumpet at every iteration, Apple have now joined the tech industry numbers game instead: lighter - nice, more pixels - okay, but... twice as much "bit" as the competition?? Only the first two provide a customer benefit. As a customer, why should I care how wide the ALUs are? it doesn't add anything that will benefit me now, or in the lifetime of the device. It's a willy-waver feature; a bigger number buyers can use when someone challenges your choice of product.
Nor does it mean the device will be faster or better than the competition. Right now, I think a good ARMv7 implementation can still beat an ARMv8 chip, simply because v8 is new, and the vendors are still getting to grips with it. But as the same optimisation is applied to the newer architecture by vendors, we'll see v8 pull ahead.
But again, that performance gain will still have very little to do with it having 64-bit addressing. Not on a tablet, running tablet applications.
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