2501 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007
Re: half-hearted outrage
Ah, there's the rub. They're more than happy to have their citizens spied upon by the NSA (as long as they get to read the reports); they're less happy when it's them being spied upon.
On the plus side, this SNAFU is going to increase the chances of the suspending the agreement on SWIFT snooping which would be a huge bargaining chip for the EU in future negotiations.
The recent spate of revelations are looking increasingly like leaks. Is it possible that someone in the current US administration is taking advantage of the Snowden situation to take the NSA, et al. down a peg or two? Would be a nice way to cut the budget a bit.
Is Andrew back
Having become increasingly disillusioned by Mr Orlowski's PR pieces for Nokia & Windows Phone it's nice to read something a little more critical.
I'm not sure if cheap Androids really will dominate this christmas: the cheap MP3 players did little to loosen Apple's grip on the market. Apple probably has no chance in the 7" segment and is giving it a wide berth but there is still a market for premium devices. But here they are right to be more worried by high-end Androids like the Samsung Note 10 than by Microsoft's ginger-headed Surface RT. Office with Outlook will no doubt persuade more buyers than the original Surface but I'm not sure if Outlook is really that appealing to consumers who are either Gmail, Facebook or WhatsApp addicts.
Skydrive is irrelevant to consumers - deals with Watchever, Netflix, et al. will be more important. I expect a lot of devices may be offered as part of 4-play deals from telephone and cable operators. Imagine a media tablet plus all-you-can-eat films and series for say £ 20 a month on top of existing subscription.
Re: You are comparing apples with oranges.
Indeed. This could be a real problem for Microsoft. What exactly is stopping Apple from replacing the ARM with x86 and installing OSX on it? And, oh look, it supports Office...
A question many of us have been asking for a while. My guess is probably that they want devices with comparable oomph to x86 machines. The A7 is getting close but you might need more cores to be okay. But MS Office wouldn't run out of the box on such a machine, it would still need compiling for ARM and it's not certain that Microsoft would be keen to do that.
Oh, and you shouldn't discount the incentives Apple still get from Intel not to ditch x86 entirely.
Re: You are comparing apples with oranges.
I agree that the Surface Pro is competing with MacBook Air devices and losing. Adding a keyboard adds another 255 g to the Microsoft bundle.
I've previously used "Ipad Pro" to refer to the same kind of device you're referring to whether it will be ARM or x86 will probably be the decider for the name. Touch is not really a requirement for a fully-fledged machine, especially when you're likely to have a high-end smartphone for use on the go. At least that's my take as someone who is looking to for such a device.
I can still see a market for high-end Windows tablets as notebook replacements but these need to be compatible with docking stations and Microsoft won't have any of those until 2014.
The operators also argued that fixed prices would lead to higher telecommunication costs - which is probably true, as operators will have to fund the risk they're taking in fixing the price.
This is very poor economics. Firstly, why was the RPI chosen as the bench? What is the relation between the RPI and the costs incurred by the operators? Secondly, by passing on the notional additional costs to consumers the operators are under no pressure to minimise them. This is reversed when they cannot simply pass on the costs: yes, they can adjust the bill to include the cost of hedging but market pressure should prevent excessive hedging and even it out over time. Exceptions, of course, for statutorily imposed charges such as VAT, but they should be covered by properly written contracts.
Apple's recent updates have been so cheap that they probably just about cover the release and distribution costs, so making Mavericks free is not much of a cost but a great headline grabber. And since 10.6 the new versions have not really added value or changed much for many users. I'm sure I'm not alone in not having rushed to install Lion (done only for the Bluetooth fix) or Mountain Lion (new API required for BusyCal). This isn't very good if you want to encourage the uptake of new APIs and possible convergence of MacOS and IOS, which is probably what is driving this release.
I'll see if this will run on the Mac Mini but give it at least a month for MacPorts to update and the first inevitable bugs to be found and fixed before I run it on my main machine.
Apple's own apps have always been a bit of a mixed bag for Apple. Some of them seem just mere technology demonstrations but others have great attention to detail. I still occasionally use IMovie to create DVDs but I think I have a version that does not do hardware encoding. Off the rest only Keynote really stands out as something worth having as it certainly benefits from being Apple's own inhouse presentation software.
When is a version a new version?
The key issue will be if and when IE 11 becomes available for Windows 7. Just as they did with IE 10 initially only being for Windows 8, Microsoft has again not done itself any favours in tying the browser to a particular version of the operating system. Until Windows 8 has reasonable takeup the stock MS browser on it will remain largely irrelevant to Google. They can even consider moving to not support Internet Explorer at all, which is largely what the extended support of Chrome for XP is about.
Technically, IE 9, 10 and 11 are all pretty close. Microsoft committed itself to a faster, more standards-compliant release strategy with IE 9. I'm sure the browser developers would themselves have loved to been able to backport the various versions to Windows XP but management scotched any such attempts.
Paid support still available
The ISS runs a special version of Windows XP (Service Pack 6) which Microsoft will continue to support. Same is true for any company prepared to pay the associated costs.
It's worth remembering that Oliver Postgate was always quite open in his support of social themes. This is glaringly obvious in series like Noggin the Nog, albeit in a postwar consensus tradition.
A lot of the remakes are bollocks but this is usually due to the style and a desire to be "modern"rather than the subjects they cover. Lebowski practising writing for the Daily Mail again.
Spare me a dime
They demand the highest service for the lowest price.
No, they have a right to demand the service as advertised and legally required.
the German market is highly competitive...
Which particular market do you have in mind? Mobile, fixed line, internet, or (cable) television? They are different things with differing degrees of competitiveness. Cable is most certainly not the most competitive with the country essentially carved up among the different operators and many people more or less obliged to pay the connection fee (€ 18 per month) once they house has been passed. This gives cable network owners quite an advantage when offering service bundles.
Re: Could make things cheaper for consumers?
In Germany at least, it's already illegal to pay to wait on hold. But don't ever think that any call centre service is every going to get cheaper for the consumer!
I guess one advantage of the service would be to confirm that you did indeed dial the correct number. But I don't think there's much advantage in this for companies over connecting someone to the electronic switchboard, which if it's correctly configured can provide branding, current information and menu choices. It could make sense for anyone wanting to use the network as as switchboard but that's one of the many boats that the operators seem to have missed.
No, Word is used as part of the editing process so change tracking and annotations are an essential part of the process and you pretty much need MS Word in that situation. I'm not going to comment on its suitability for this as I don't use it have little idea of the alternatives (presumably some kind of source control).
Comments policy works quite well
Thanks, Drew, for explanation the current policy. I think it works quite well. We get some forthright discussions on El Reg but few real flame wars - life's too short for uninformed abuse that isn't even funny. And, while the Americans might have better protection of free speech, some of them are easily scared of a few words: what the fuck is an "f-bomb"?
Waiting for Bill Ray's comment on this
Actually, I'm not.
Good to see companies taking advantage of the chance of passing on savings to their customers.
Re: Well, that's good news really...
Oh, and the colors are NOT a software issue. They can't make two identical OLED screens, the colors are different on every one. That's why they adjust the software to produce those crazy overly vivid and unrealistic colors
Did you notice that you contradicted yourself? OLED screens can be calibrated but there just hasn't been a market for it yet. It'll be interesting to see what the new TVs from Samsung and LG offer in this respect and how they perform.
Re: Well, that's good news really...
Exactly. It astonishes me that most punters cannot see the difference between a top line Plasma screen and a top line LED screen - there is really no comparison - Plasma wins every time, long before you take out the light meter and start measuring stuff.
Well, if you know something about human vision it shouldn't really astonish you. It's a bit like car sound systems and acoustics: little point in the high end for most people. When it comes to telly then ambient lighting plays a huge role in subjective image quality.
When you say LED I assume you mean LCD. Most LCD's now have LEDs for (side or back) lighting but there are very few LED TVs out there. High-end LCD TVs with LED-backlighting now have comparable blacks to plasma and as they are able to switch off individual LEDs. A decent screen that is properly set up should give good results, whatever the technology. This was borne out in the most recent set of test results I read in c't (German computer magazine). I find my Philips LCD has a much better picture than a friend's plasma.
For a while I think that plasma screens were able to maintain a significant price advantage over same size LCD screens but being forced to compete on price is what caused Panasonic to get out of the game (announced at last year's IFA).
Re: Well, that's good news really...
Don't make the mistake of extrapolating from your own experiences. OLED is fantastic technology that continues to improve. Colours are largely a software issue - I love the vibrancy on a mobile phone but would definitely want to tone it down when watching a film on a TV (because ambient lighting is do different but also because I like to be able to adjust the gamma) but basically there should be nothing preventing someone producing a calibrated OLED screen. The colour gamut is wider than both LCD and plasma.
My 3.5 year old Samsung Wave still has a perfectly usable screen. The first OLED TVs only came on the market a few years ago but I suspect that they might well do as well as the early plasma, many of which have significantly outlived their rated lifetimes.
Yes and no. There's lots to like about plasma but it has its problems not least its power draw. LCD has benefitted from investment due to being the technology of choice from mobile phones to tablets, computer monitors and even very large TV screens, a domain that was once the reserve of plasma.
However, this isn't really news as Panasonic announced a while back it was getting out of plasma and has recently been heavily involved in the move to printing OLED screens.
No mention of big data
Which is nice. If 4,000 TB isn't big data then I'm not sure what is. But, then again, that's been standard for boffins of both the astronomical and atomic variety for years now and all handled with a refreshing lack of half-baked, buzzword-compatible products.
Under new management
As the handset business is being sold to Microsoft this is a material change in the business entity and only to be expected if not welcomed. You can be pretty sure that Microsoft is not buying the part that maintains Meego and Symbian, even though that might turn out to be somewhat short-sighted. Giving developers a helping hand port their stuff to Windows Phone and help their customers migrate would cost very little and could be good PR if, for example, some developers and customers become happy converts to the new system. But Microsoft obviously thinks it can do without "developers, developers, developers…"
Re: Thanks Bill
Things are significantly worse for customers in the US. Yes, you generally don't have to pay roaming charges, but call and data charges are sky high and even include paying to receive calls.
Roaming doesn't exist but until a few years ago it was not uncommon to have to buy a new phone if you went somewhere that your network didn't cover. It wasn't even a question of whether roaming would have been expensive, it wasn't technically possible all the networks had mutually incompatible networks: Verizon was on CDMA, Sprint/NextTel on IDEN, AT&T on GSM and CDMA, MetroPCS on its own stuff and only T-Mobile wholly embracing European / world standards from the onset. Even now I'm not sure if the LTE networks are compatible with each other.
As a result some shareholders have done very well out of low levels of competition and high-tariffs:
From AT&T's 2Q report:
This marked the 18th consecutive quarter AT&T has posted a year-over-year increase in postpaid ARPU
ARPU in Europe has been in terminal decline for most of this millenium and that despite the smartphone boom. And, no, this hasn't been due to regulatory burdens, just straight competition.
If you do have an American phone then roaming charges to other countries in the same free trade area, NAFTA, remain extortionate.
Re: Shareholder Payouts
Yes: Vodafone is a case in point. When it took over Mannesmann in 2000 (incidentally, at the time it also claimed that the future was mobile only), it did so by issuing new shares and thus diluting the value of existing shares <strikethrough>significantly</strikethrough> incredibly. The sum involved was some € 300 bn. I think the new shares issued was something like 100 per every man, woman and child in the UK - I may have the figures wrong here but the it's something like that. But not to be content with stiffing existing shareholders, who in the end approved the deal, the massive debt incurred through this money creation was routed through the usual accounting tricks to reduce the amount of tax paid. In effect British taxpayers funded the takeover and the champagne and cocaine habits of not a few investment bankers.
Unfortunately, too many companies treated the spectrum auctions as licences to print money.
the unelected VP of the European Commission
The European Commission has to be approved by a majority of the elected representatives of the European Parliament. Yes, at the moment it's an "all or none" approval but it is no less democratic than many appointments by national governments.
Roaming was never part of spectrum licensing so operators cannot really complain about losing its revenue. In fact, they've known for over 10 years that it was coming and have fought a very successful rearguard action to keep milking it as long as they have. Removing roaming was always inevitable as it is an impediment to single market as enshrined in the Treaty of Luxembourg. In this it is similar to the charges imposed by banks on customers using cash machines in other countries or making payments: SEPA payments and cash withdrawals are may not cost more than they do in customers' home countries.
Why on earth should OTT operators be treated differently than anything else? Why on earth should be they subject to punitive tax? If operators cannot make money on data then they should raise their prices. OTT services are the ultimate form of free-market arbitrage, undercutting high tariffs in inefficient markets.
Re: As Steve Jobs once said:
Market share is everything.
While I agree with the general thrust of your argument I don't agree that market share is everything. Being in the right market is probably more important, though harder to define.
Along with many I'm not convinced that Apple has managed to maintain the same pace of development that it had a few years ago. However, it obviously still has a lot of talented and dedicated people and is continuing to develop interesting and attractive products. But let's face it: Apple maps, Siri, fingerprint activation are headline grabbers only.
Innovation is probably more rapid in other companies at the moment: Samsung Note's with split-screen software, ARM-based notebooks, etc. None of this is likely to mean imminent demise for Apple an, indeed, none of it is so extraordinary that Apple couldn't (re)capture markets by responding with similar improvements. Can you imagine an I-Pad pro which allow multiple windows or multi-core A7-based MacBook? I most certainly can and I can also imagine them flying off the shelves. But if something like them doesn't turn up relatively soon then other companies will start to look cool as well.
Re: Who had the idea anyway
So, you're against doing away with a dedicated power brick for a device that needs a DC supply?
I agree that USB is probably somewhat underproportioned for this kind of thing but the battery is only 30Wh so only a little bit bigger than most phones so charging shouldn't be any worse than it is for a phone. But I do wish the industry would come up with a USB+ standard which would support higher current draw for this kind of thing.
Re: Stop press! Newer phones... @CharlieClark
WTF do you think you're playing at, trying to bring your crazy brand of rationality into this? Troll.
Sorry about that! I'll try and improve next time! :-D
Re: Stop press! Newer phones outsell older phones! (@SuccessCase)
I still strongly suspect the Galaxy range as a while is not outselling the iPhone range for either phones or tablets, because if it was, Samsung would have found a way to publicise the story
I'm not quite sure if we're on the same page here. Worldwide Samsung is definitely selling more Galaxys than Apple is selling I-Phones - the numbers were in the 2012 results and I think there's little discussion about them. Things probably still favour Apple if you include tablets where the I-Pad still is the market leader and where Samsung is competing not only with Apple but also with Google and Amazon. Regarding larger tablets it has taken Android longer to catch up with Apple than in the 7" sector which it created.
But maybe you're referring solely to the US market? If so, then you could well be right: Apple definitely has a "home" brand bonus in the US and, as far as I understand the tariff model, seems to favour premium models through higher tariffs. There does indeed seem to be a significant and persistent difference between the USA and the rest of the world. At least in Germany the pricing seriously favours Samsung, and indicates Apple's much fatter margins. You can get an S4 (16 GB) for € 241+ tariff (from € 5 per month), an I-Phone 5s (16GB) will cost you €550 + at least € 18 a month. It's impressive that Apple is still able to command such a premium in many places but outside the US the hardware/software combination it looks increasingly tenuous.
Re: Stop press! Newer phones outsell older phones! (@SuccessCase)
I think the data backs up your claim on individual models: Apple significantly outsells the Samsung flagship. But seeing as Samsung has a multi-model strategy, and this year it's a plethora, that's hardly surprising. As a result Samsung will definitely sell more Galaxys than Apple sells I-Phone. In addition, that the S4 was the biggest selling phone on several networks for several months is impressive and will continue to build the Samsung brand.
It's a different market but it is interesting to see how Samsung has created its own very loyal base for the Note.
Actually, German Labour laws mean the companies usually cave in and make a deal to cut their losses before it gets this far.
What a load of crap!
The foundation of so-called Rhinish Capitalism is paying workers slightly more to get even more from them and guarantee the social peace. Companies that get rich solely by exploiting their employees as far as possible do not contribute to society and endanger the social peace. And Bismarck, not known for socialist sympathies, was one of the key drivers of this.
Regarding the car industry: the Germans have simply been better at batting for their jobs. Though, when it comes to Vauxhall/Opel the years of underinvestment by GM and global overcapacity means that much of the German Opel workforce are now facing the sack. This is cultural, though I think the British strategy of shutting everything down and leaving people to find new jobs in the 1980s was an example to many of how not to do things.
This is, however, not really related to the Amazon case, which seeks to exploit loopholes to drive wages lower. Still not as low as the ones the church likes to pay (for playgroups, schools, hospitals, etc.), but not enough to live off.
German labour legislation is stacked against strikes. More importantly, the presence of works councils means that employees are apprised early of how a company is doing and able to negotiate with management before it comes to strikes. Everyone knows that strikes are not good for business so everyone tries hard to avoid them, or restrict them to "warning strikes" of a couple of hours.
The reason for the problems is that Amazon is only prepared to pay people in accordance with the logistics branch, which is a lower wage than the catalogue shopping branch. In addition a lot of the employees are agency staff from other countries in an attempt to drive wages even lower. Germany has a growing problem with its working poor being paid too little to live on.
@LDS Germany is even less MS friendly than America. Firefox has been the most popular browser for years, even in most companies. Windows Phones are almost the proverbial hen's teeth - my count this year is now up to three.
Whoever posted that tweet could be in real trouble.
Microsoft may not have noticed it but the SEC this year authorised the use of Twitter for relevant information. The flipside of being able to spurt "we're doing really great" is that the SEC takes a very dim view of "forward looking statements" that can be conceived as misleading. Without further, detailed information such as might be expected at investors' call it's difficult to see how that claim about a publicly traded company can be considered as anything other than misleading.
Re: 106? Shurely Shome Mishtake
The main reason being that if you're negotiating to buy old Doctor Who film, you don't want other Collectors getting wind and offering a price you can't match.
I think it's a different matter if you have the copyright which the BBC does.
Unless Microsoft is prepared either to do the work and port Windows Phone to whatever hardware revisions of a particular model a manufacturer is working on, or, provide the manufacturer with the necessary source code for the drivers then this simply isn't practicable.
Re: A big magenta cock would look great soaring through the skies.
I think we have a winner.
Re: I don't care
It's just so depressing when local TV stations gush about coming up with hashtags.
Re: USA Delusions of Superiority
In fact it's not just parts of the US looking enviously at universal healthcare but also places like Singapore. Universal healthcare is not without its problems, chiefly balancing funding issues and what to spend it on, but it has an enviable track record.
However, as the politics about this in America are so intractable I suspect there is little to be gained by carrying them on here. I would actually like to know more about the computer system that has been set up and seems to be struggling so much. You know: budget, timescale, unrealistic and ever-changing requirements meet unscrupulous vendors.
Re: Your words coming back to haunt you Stevie & Timmy?
Jobs was right about the problems of scaling and the I-Pad mini breaks his rules. More info on the problems caused by the I-Pad mini in an article on ALA last year: Apple just shrank everything by 40 %.
Google has a more sophisticated way of dealing with screen sizes and pixel density which means that UI controls stay usable on virtually all the devices.
Personally, I'm not a great fan of the 7" form factor but it is undeniably more portable than 10": significantly lighter and fits in handbags or rucksack side compartments.
With you on this. Patenting buildings is silly. You normally patent the means of fabrication. But then this is the USPTO we're talking about, proof that the spirit of Monty Python is alive and well.
Re: The Apple Hajj
a pilgrimage at least once in their lives
Only once in their lives? I'm sure that in the Book of Jobs it actually says "once a year, otherwise ye will just not be cool".
Let me get this straight: you basically advocate Nokia marketing the 1020 as the best compact digital camera? Even Orlowski, who has been cheerleading Windows Phone for some time now, stopped short of an unequivocal recommendation.
@Prof. Hans Asperger
I think we're pretty much in agreement on why Microsoft bought. But I don't think Elop joined Nokia to run the company into the ground prior to a sale. Given its cash pile Microsoft could have bought the business at any time, and time really has been of the essence. Bringing hardware and software development closer together was highlighted by the Nokia CEO as a requirement for the project to succeed. Microsoft now has to demonstrate the skills necessary to facilitate this and do it quickly.
Re: Here we go again
@anonymous coward aka Winpho Fanbro
"Akamai is by far the world's largest content delivery network"
Bu not to Windows Phone handsets, which don't run Flash on which the majority of the websites you mention base their content on...
Flash doesn't run on I-Phones or a lot of Androids either. Doesn't seem to be doing their figures a lot o harm.
Nokia sold because it was still losing cash and Microsoft bought because it is betting on the product line and realised tighter integration of hardware and software is required. Plus it needed to do something with it's offshore cash pile.
Re: Here we go again
You must have missed all the IDC regional survey results.
Ah, that bastion of impartiality IDC. The company that repeatedly does reports commissioned by Microsoft on how well Microsoft is doing!
Re: Here we go again
Anecdotal is anecdotal
All surveys are anecdotal if they aren't weighted. This is a fundamental principle of sample-based statistics.
BitMessage has been also around for a while. Needs some work on the UX but seems to do job well enough.
Re: And what about the...
Well, while the rule of thumb is power = x * data rate * time, I'm not sure if that will be the limiting factor here.
A worst case scenario might be watching HD video which is using wifi + 3/4G. Simply keeping the screen lit might well be the limiter here.
It sounds to me like the approach is an attempt to anticipate the long anticipated merge of mobile phone technology and ethernet where everything becomes IP. This might make it easier for applications to switch between the two without restarting connections. Applications for this would be things like OTT voice and video communication where the latency of restarting the connection would be noticeable. But I'm not sure if they aren't already quite good at this: I've had a video call with someone on Hangout moving from their wifi to mobile data.
From what I know of 3G I don't see this really happening a lot as there's just too much going on in the carriers' networks. In 4G it's a no-brainer and there are probably already attempts to manage it in silicon - I'm not sure application should be getting the choice - where the phone presents a single interface to a device which might in reality be two or more physical interfaces. Isn't this how MIMO works?
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