2177 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007
Re: Whats good for the goose..
Both the US and the UK are pursuing Swiss banks with a fair degree of success over assisting tax evaders. It's perfectly easy to apply sanctions to non-domiciled companies via their agents such as banks or credit card companies - viz. fines on HSBC for money-laundering for the Mexican mafia.
While VoIP may make tracking the individual perpetrators a bit more difficult, it is perfectly possible to threaten providers with loss of peering rights (the ability to pass calls into a network) if it takes no action against abusers on its network. This is the same principle when dealing with spam floods - servers, data centres or even whole networks can get blacklisted.
OfCom does need to act faster and impose bigger fines to deter offenders. In Germany, the number of nuisance calls more than halved after fines were significantly increased. But this requires OfCom to act in the interest of consumers which, as others have pointed out, it rarely does.
I think I'm going to have to go with something similar (to homeplug) for my Philips TV because cabling the things is a nightmare. I wanted to use WiFi for streaming but unfortunately Philips provided pants drivers for their own WiFi dongle so the connection breaks reliably after about 20 minutes watching films or a couple of hours listening to music. Philips say it's the access point but the same dongle connected to a Philips Blu-Ray player doesn't have any problems. Several firmware updates have failed to solve the problem but removed useful features like the ability to delete channels, because this is apparently "patented". It's failures like this which prevent TV makers from moving up the value chain.
Re: IE truly sucks
@JDX - it's not the man hours or money spent but Microsoft's thoroughly flawed approach to welding particular versions of a browser to particular versions of its operating system.
Windows XP is supported until 2014 and ssers have a right to expect MS to provide the promised support which they have already paid for. Plenty of people are still using it, partly because their hardware cannot run a more recent version - there are plenty of machines out there with only 512 MB. Fortunately, most such users know someone who has installed a more recent browser than IE 8, which is as good as it gets on Windows XP. They are screwed, however, when they come across the many sites that insist on Internet Explorer, which still happens on many sites in many countries.
But, it's not just "sitck in the mud" home users, some of the worst offenders are big corporates with fat MS licences. One of my customers is currently not intending to move from IE 8 on Windows 7 until IE 10 becomes available, presumed to be at some point in 2014. The most recent problems with IE - the main company website didn't work properly due to restrictions imposed by the last major flaw - have forced a more aggressive rollout of Firefox now that LTS versions are available.
And I know from a friend of mine who's machine was hacked last month in a drive-by from a website using the stipulated browser (IE 8) of his international company. He was forced to use FF on his wife's machine while the IT department tried to fix his.
MS still offers companies something with the degree of control of centralised settings management but the lead over other browsers, Firefox in Europe, Chrome in the US and Safari everywhere is evaporating: down from approx. 40 % in Q2 2012 to less than 30 % by the end of Q4.
Re: are these...
Having done all the work of putting the extra pixels for 1080p in 3D, changing the screens for 4k isn't too much of a challenge and Blu-Ray upscales reasonably well.
I don't see a new media format being used for this - it looks like an excellent opportunity for premium broadband for the usual suspects: cable operators and content providers (Utlraviolet), as people get used to streaming as opposed to physical media.
Need to do some back of the envelope calculations but a lot of people probably already have sufficient bandwidth for receiving, thought you'd probably want to have a fairly generous buffer to be sure. Serving the stuff might be another matter but content providers have a considerable interest in recovering business already lost to Netflix/Lovefilm etc.
Re: New customers have choice
The trouble is that the networks have very little pricing power with respect to new customers, because there is a lot of competition and a customer can almost always get a cheaper deal somewhere else.
That is known as a market and they still have a great deal of pricing power as the various infrastructure deals, etc. have illustrated. Any company that offers a contract that will lose it money over time deserves to go out of business. As Mr Orlowski pointed out several years ago, companies that continue to emphasis selling phones over services are giving away much of their bargaining power. MVNOs with little or no shop-space selling phones should actually be in a very strong position for discerning customers.
although a network is free to increase the price for customers who are out of contract
er, you have a contract as long as you are still paying. Almost all such contracts have an automatic renewal clause that is triggered unless either party cancels the contract before a specified date.
So, no sympathy for operators unable to do their sums.
Re: Inflation red herring
Indeed! A remarkably sloppy piece from Mr Ray who normally is bang on the money on the telcos. Obviously a bit to close to his sources on this.
Inflation - in whatever measure RPI, CPI, etc. - is only relevant to policy or contracts that stipulate it. They only justification for increasing charges during a contract are costs imposed by statute such as, say an increase in VAT. Otherwise, inflation is a business-specific charge and not a problem for telecommunications. Contract costs come from the amortisation of existing equipment and licences, maintenance of equipment and staff.
In a functioning market competitive pressure should prevent all operators from raising prices together. If operators are free to raise prices but consumers are not free to refuse such increases then the market is not functioning properly and Ofcom as regulator should step in and either reverse the increases or allow customers to leave. As the handsets are the sole property of the phone companies until they are paid off, Ofcom could help by making this clear in contracts so that the loan part of the contract can be maintained.
Bricks and mortar still seem to have some additional flexibility: HMV stores have some nice deals on box sets that I can't find online. That's handy for an ex-pat like me stocking up while I'm over.
Amazon has been very successful in getting itself mentioned as the website for online shopping. The media are just lazy in quoting prices from it as opposed to other services. In Germany I think most consumer electronics bought online come from specialist shops with better service and lower prices.
Re: Licensing terms
A fundamental principle of the patent system is that patents are granted on the basis that they can be licensed by anyone, ie. non-discriminatory - the inventor gets protection in return for his willingness to share his invention. AFAIK the lightning connector is designed to work with Thunderbolt which is a standard co-developed by Apple and Intel. But this is actually more about customer rights - the right to buy peripherals and services from alternative suppliers. This is essential to prevent the creation of monopolies.
Re: Licensing terms - tried that
Interesting anecdote about how far Apple can now reach into the Chinese market.
The iPhone maker is legally free to restrict licensing as it sees fit
I'm not so sure about that. Sounds extremely anti-competitive and similar to the position on I-Tunes music that was struck down in court. Licences should be available to all who can pay the (FRAND?) fee and possibly meet quality standards, a perfectly reasonable condition that can be part of the licence.
This will probably take another ex-territorial manufacturer to develop and release the product and fight Apple in the courts. The developers should probably give someone in Shenzen a call and launch the product.
Poor examples of bad code
IIRC APL made extensive use of mathematical symbols which made a good choice for implementing algebra. This is a niche area and requires excellent maths skills but that does not in itself make it a bad programming language. Database work would benefit significantly from set algebra literals.
Similar with Haskell which, while I don't really like the syntax, is extremely well-suited to certain problem domains and as a purely functional language does this with a lot fewer compromises than trying to do the same in a general purpose language.
Far better is to write code that is self documenting.
Even better is to write tests for that code.
Re: AAAAAAAHAHAHA@E Haines
They should have done due diligence on any code they buy and ship to customers. If it wasn't properly documented then WTF might have been going on inside it?
What on earth does the legal process of due diligence have to do with assessing the quality of source code? If lawyers were involved then might explain the fiasco as they might have been satisfied by reams of documentation. Documentation of how code works, as opposed to how to use it, is almost inevitably a kind of obfuscation. Tests are much more important and the degree of test coverage can be measured empirically and if you have high test coverage then you can survive architecture changes. I can imagine that MS was not that keen on software tests when they did XP but would have hoped they would picked up by Vista.
You can't really be angry from Langley if you bother to actually read something! This is insufferable!Something must be done! It's those… up to their usual tricks, etc.
The article is badly written and does not provide context and examples of what is meant: you cannot import things like contact details from .xls, .doc, etc. That really isn't a big deal: csv, which is a far greater data exchange format than either is still supported for those times when you do need to import a load of addresses, something that I imagine few users have ever done.
I am not a fan on MS Office and personally think the Outlook is a fairly poor mail program - Mr Orlowski gave a thoughtful analysis of the decline in good mail programs a few years ago which is worth searching for - and the awful ribbon interface has been sent to try us but I don't have too many problems with OOXML as it leads to considerably more compact files than what went before. That said I hate XML with a passion and those who defend its openness as somehow magical even more; they should actually read the source of some of these files sometime to realise that without documentation all file formats are abominable. The only saving grace for XML is the number of libraries that facilitate reading and writing it.
Wait and see
Existing OLED production techniques do not scale very well but, I suspect that it's not just the potential cost that is responsible for any delay - Sony is after all pushing an outrageously expensive screen - but a combination of two things: very high demand for screens for phones, so much so for Samsung that they probably have no spare capacity for anything bigger than the Note II; perfecting Dupont's printing technique. Once they can shift from the not just tricky vacuum-based production to printing then size is no longer an issue.
Regarding OLED vs LCD uHD, this is a red herring as there is little or no uHD content but the fabs can tool up for TVs with similar kit for the very high resolution phone and tablet screens they are producing. Tests conducted by Heise at IFA indicated there is a marked preference for OLED over LCD-uHD which is not surprising when you know a little how the eye works. As people will pay a small premium for uHD it is an interesting differentiator for manufacturers in what is a cuthroat market with the only profits to be found in the higher end and ginormous devices.
That's true for much consumer electronics. Oh, except for the word "consumer".
Hey brother, can you spare me a subsidy?
This is Global Foundries that was spun out of AMD because it was losing money, that closed factories in German once the subsidies ran out and is now largely owned by a sovereign wealth fund.
Chips are high volume, low margin products. Not the sort of thing that Europe excels at. We're better at designing the chips or making the machines to make and test them - frickin' lasers. Of course, we could go the way of the Japanese and continue to funnel billions and billions into factories with a lifetime of five years that never turn a profit.
Could we have the source for this so we can look at the figures in detail as I doubt some of the figures. The last time I compared the UK was not very competitive for either fixed-line or mobile internet.
Here's the view from Germany:
I've got 50 MB/s broadband, TV and flatrate phone for € 35 a month. A mobile contract for phone with 500 MB data is around € 20. Around £ 500 a year. You have to be a mug to pay significantly more than that - LTE would only add around £ 100 to it but you could start looking at dropping the fixed-line services with that. And if they put the prices up I won't be buying, plenty of other things in life I'd rather spend my money on.
Re: Nice idea but sack the sub-editor
Well, you can make biokerosene, which is what Andrew was driving at.
"Biokerosene"? In the third world? If they have got the process to do that in the wild then they don't need lamps like that. Kerosene from biomass is generally associated with greenwashing/tax efficient strategies from the aviation industry. It's plain and simple paraffin for that lovely, sooty flame.
Nice idea but sack the sub-editor
could save people relying on biomass fuels such as kerosene, which are bad for one's health
er, since when has kerosene been considered biomass? Anyway, it isn't directly bad for one's health, neither is the dung that is burn for heat and light. The problems start with the soot caused by burning them inefficiently in enclosed spaces.
Solar for lights isn't that expensive and there are several projects which are installing low-cost solar generators, which make a great deal of sense in much of the third world. Given Andrew's generally sceptical views on climate change the article is slightly ironic as people like Amory Lovins have been banging on about giving cheap, reliable and low power renewable technology for the third world for, er, decades.
Still, it's a good project and I hope it does well.
Is for all those penpushers in the various Australian state governments to buy something fruity and start fixing things - either by providing detailed and accurate information to Apple who have unfortunately been provided with substandard material by devious and unscrupulous companies, or by relocating towns and geographical features to match maps. Apple is just the victim.
I guess it's lucky (for Apple) that unlimited liability doesn't seem to apply in Australia.
Re: The joys of open software
XP is only still around because companies refused to buy Windows Vista. Neither of them will run on a 386. I can't remember when Microsoft dropped support for the 386 but it could have been as far back as Windows 95. More recently you can pity those poor fools who have bought Windows Mobile or Windows Phone devices only to see support for them dropped after about 12 months, Microsoft's approach to drivers was laughable for years - basically anything was possible and this was a major source of problems for many because buggy hardware would rely on fixes in untested drivers.
There are lots of things to criticise about Linux and its development but this isn't one of them. Anyway if you want to keep your old 386s running up to date unix just switch to NetBSD!
Re: the customer is always wrong
Price comparisons are going to be interesting and possibly decisive for this. A year from now it might well be possible to get the equivalent of 100 ARMs (in all kinds of SoC and multichip designs) for the price of one of those Atoms and they will each be nearly as good at running Apache/nginx as the Atom and you get a free rain forest with the energy saved on the total system and you can rent the space you save in the data centre to the immigration department.
Re: Wait, wut?
If you'd bought at the lowest point you could still have made a mint.
That is always the case with shares. The key being knowing when bottom has been reached. But that isn't applicable Mrs Sandberg and not really to Facebook's IPO which was very close to a "pump and dump" scheme: lots of shares were sold at inflated price.
Re: Get out while the gettings good
It's a tax-efficient divestment. She still holds lots and lots of shares. This allows bonuses to paid in stock rather than income, which given the considerable discrepancy in US tax between capital gains (selling vested stock previously awarded is taxed at a whopping 15%) and income tax makes (could be > 30%) more sense for both company and director.
Re: How many RPM
Yes, it's the sort of SNAFU that car manufacturers dread and why the spend millions or even beellions on recall actions when faults turn up. I can't remember what it was for but Audi fucked up big time in America and had to wait over ten years to recover market share and Opel in Germany still hasn't really recovered from the consequences of overly zealous cost-cutting at the cost of quality in the 1990s.
One of the functions of competition is to keep companies on their toes by providing customers with ready alternatives should standards slip. But we all know how Apple stands on competition and letting customers decide for themselves. Still, as it is positioning itself more as a maker of lifestyle accessories Apple, like LVMH is possibly somewhat more insulated from the market in that sense but only as long as it can continue to make shiny-shinies that please the eye.
Re: Good job he wasn't a diplomat
Shush Charlie, we all know it's bad taste to suggest the deceased are anything other than perfect!
Yeah, I forgot that I was posting on the Daily Mail forum.
Re: Good job he wasn't a diplomat
His politics were pretty objectionable. I agree that he did an awful lot for astronomy in Britain and was not afraid to send himself up but his politics should have remained private.
Eulogies are better when they are properly critical.
I smell bias
It appears RIM has a long way to go to turn around the oil tanker - just look how long it’s taken Nokia to get to the bottom of the curve - so let’s hope (for RIM's sake) that BB10 offers some inspiration for the world at large to remain with the BlackBerry brand.
The comparison is flawed: Nokia had two viable OSes which it burned in favour of Microsoft's promises; BlackBerry knew that BB OS needed replacing. By offering full-backwards compatibility BB 10 offers a bridge for customers who have considerable investments in the infrastructure. They still have to deliver but, while it was not commercially successful, the PlayBook was an excellent technology showcase. QNX should provide the underpinnings for a parsimonious but responsive OS, which along with BlackBerry's tradition for well designed and engineered hardware should provide some differentiation.
As others have pointed out, BlackBerry remains remarkably popular around the world, cf. the new Nigerian film "BlackBerry Babes".
WP8 on the other hand still looks like it is going nowhere fast on phones. If companies are prepared to change IT policies then they might as well go with Android or IOS, which managers already have than something Microsoft is vaguely promising to offer in future releases.
Love the sound track!
I guess Sang and Milica can be forgiven for their less than perfect non-native English but the drum beat reminds me of my own far from perfect attempts. But maybe it's just a carefully concealed tribute to Dave Brubeck?
This is wasted at targeting just a few thousand dollars. The lads from Lagos do it so much better! Crowdfunding is ripe for scamming.
Re: LOL, more misguided crap from idiotic writers
I agree with your criticism of the article not so sure of the rest. I think Google+, or just the Google account's most significant impact is as a gatekeeper function - effectively every one of those 1 million Android activations per day are new Google+ accounts. Even if these users never use the "social" stuff, Google is already winning the mobile game with them every time the browse the Play store. I don't use much of the other Google services such as mail or calendar but I think Google has got data protection largely right - even if the data they collect from my use of the store or Google maps is anonymous it's still very valuable and not just for the dreaded ads - even from the anonymous data they probably already know that I never click on the adverts - but they know more and more about the kinds of services (what, when and where) I use.
Back to the gatekeeper function - because it's at the heart of Android it's pretty seamless so users are blissfully unaware of it: additional features just become available and the more those services resemble things I want to use, the more likely I am to use them or miss them when they are no longer available. It's a long game but I am genuinely impressed by how Google is going about this: I'm being sucked in without being aware of it precisely because so little has Google+ plastered all over it.
Re: Apples and oranges
I think most people are still analogue but the move to digital is not far. Devices need to be even more transportable and disposable to really catch on. Then I think there will be a fairly abrupt change. The plastic screens and electronic will drive robust, cheap and replaceable devices. Convergence with multimedia devices may or not may happen. We may move to buying "plastic books" which, while thoroughly digital, are designed for limited use and to be passed on.
"SpaceX deeply appreciates and is honoured by the vote of confidence shown by the Air Force in our Falcon launch vehicles," Musk gushed.
Having seen Mr Musk in interviews where he is disarmingly erudite I really doubt that he gushed. But he might think about getting a bodyguard after landing such a contract.
Re: Doing What Jobs Urged Them To - @Charlie Clark
The iPhone 5 website had some hacked together code to, I believe, bypass this incompatibility issue.
What complete crap! As the video tag happily accepts different sources so it's easy to have h264, webm and Flash fallback, though you have to do it in that order otherwise Safari sulks in a corner.
No, the only reason that Apple could have had for the convoluted and wasteful approach (painting JPEGs onto the Canvas!) was to stop people saving the video. Oh, and perhaps being able to claim that the page was Flash-free.
H.264 is only go to be royalty-free as long as there is reasonable competition and if you've ever paid for a media encoding software you will know that was not always the case. So, even if WebM is only acting as a cap on H,264 royalties it's a win, but more importantly it has spawned the highly impressive WebP bitmap format which is transparently available (little or no work for site owners) via mod_pagespeed to browsers that support it. A cheaper, faster and better looking internet that degrades gracefully. What's not to like? Oh, not enough polo necks. Yeah, I see what you mean.
Re: Doing What Jobs Urged Them To
@Steve Todd - I think you completely misread my post. Check out the following for full details of Apple's perverse approach to openness:
Re: Doing What Jobs Urged Them To
I take issue with the pointlessness. It has at least inspired the new H&M advertising campaign. Wow! Progress not only goes "boink!" but also is also slightly over-exposed. What will they think of next? Watches powered by microelectronics, no doubt.
There's a pint in it for anyone who gets *all* the references,
Plus ça change…
I saw this the other day "What'sApp is becoming my new social network. Anyone else feel the same?" I suspect moves like this will just increase migration to the next data sucker…
Re: where's me money then?!
Fines for breach of antitrust regulation never get paid to individuals.
How does the fine benefit you? Firstly, they got caught so they had to stop the price-fixing - more competition and lower prices even outside the EU. Secondly, they're likely to think twice before they try it again. Thirdly, the money collected means less needs to be raised from member states and, therefore, from you.
Nail on head
Re: Zero sum game?
Who has gained? Nobody.
Wrong the exchange and the trader who facilitated the deal always gain. And who loses? Well, as all the trades are generally for managed investments then it is the customers of those investments, most likely to be ordinary people at the end of the day, who lose by paying for all those transactions and hedges that the transactions create.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of this brave and pioneering Playmonaut who has done so much in following the manifest destiny of Plamobil to conquer the sun and the stars, if not, unfortunately the sea.
UHD comes in two flavours: 4k and 8k as featured on El Reg a few months including a video with some bod explaining the difference. SuperHD & UltraHD or similar could have been used but were rejected in favour of the industry tradition of confusing the customer in the hope that will somehow help (HD, HD-Ready, 1080i & 1080p, etc. ad Nauseam)
Not that bad
Many office workers have notebooks that spend most of the time in docking stations and they cost quite a bit more than this. They're seldom in use when not in their docking station except to check for e-mail or look something up on the interwebs or take notes at a meeting.
Something like this would probably be welcomed by a lot of people though I think the price will have to come down - even if the hardware is comparable to notebooks, tablets have got significantly lower price points.
I have to have one for a customer and I do resent carry > 2 kg around between docking stations. Have to see what the hardware is really like when it's available and, assuming I can get permission to use it on the network, then I might get one.
Re: The Other Guys and esolving limits
Nigel's right: we often confuse, and manufacturers and broadcaster peddling new things encourage us in this, resolution with other factors. The difference in codecs between SD and HD is probably what most people notice and think it's the resolution whereas it's largely artefacts caused by the codec and reduced detail down to lower sampling rates. But resolution is much more marketable than boring things like that hence the "retina" fad. Me, I'll take higher contrast and colour range over resolution any time, but maybe I'm just weird.
Re: Not just OS X
Linux distros often have lots of BSD stuff in them including, rather bizarrely, configuration utilities for things like WiFi. I think stuff never gets removed once it lands.
Re: "English and Welsh citizens"
Well, no. Britain's current libel laws actively invite libel tourism: any publication that can be obtained in England and Wales can be tried in an English courts and this applies as much digitally as it does to anything else.
Other countries tend to have significantly better protection of individual privacy thus the no nonsense approach of the French courts in the case of the Duchess of Cambridge's baps. Yes, we know they're still online but a precedent was set as to who would liable. Because we don't really protect individual privacy with a constitution, libel is often the only way making it a bit of sledgehammer for a wallnut. Issues of liability still need addressing but the willingness of companies like Twitter to hand over users' details to the courts upon request is as much about self-preservation as anything else. By complying they are less likely to be held liable themselves and required to act as gatekeepers in the future.
And people do need to adopt some sense of responsibility for their actions. Earlier this year the premature disclosure of the suspect's identity in a rape case in Germany led to a lynch campaign on Facebook, the effects of which were difficult to reverse even after the suspect was released as innocent and someone else charged and convicted for the offence. Our obsession with titillation seems to encourage us to trivialise this kind of thing until children are involved when we suddenly seem to rediscover the moral highground: it's okay to hack celebrities' mailboxes but not those of dead children!
Article has at least one elementary flaw
As much as I like the Akamai IO project the effects of the US skew of the data cannot be understated. For example it credits IE (all versions) with around 50 % market share and it significantly increased at the end of June. Comparable worldwide figures including countries like Korea and China with surprisingly high proportions of IE users give it around 30 % market share. The skew for mobile devices will be even greater because of the greater reach of IOS devices in America.
However, on top of this there is gaping flaw in these stats: Apple is a heavy user of Akamai and Google is not so an awful lot of those users with Android are permanently off Akamai's radar. We can add to this the conflation of IOS with phones. Tablets, where Apple still has a commanding lead worldwide, are used far more for browsing than phones including displacement of PCs and notebooks in the home. Displacement is important as it exaggerates the effect of market share. As long as you don't have to do a lot of form filling then a tablet is definitely the most convenient web device which is why Apple is prepared to go to such lengths to try and preserve its lead.
Nevertheless, when it comes to shopping statistics, Luke Wroblewksi, who writes both more intelligently and coherently than Mr Asay quotes IBM (via Techcrunch) for the Thanksgiving period: "The iPhone was the most popular device driving US retail shopping with 10.5% of visits, the iPad accounted for 10.1% of all visits and Android devices were 7.7%." A much narrower gap and that for the US market.
Re: 350,000 queries per second until...
You might very well be right. And there is nothing stopping you from proposing a fix and submitting a patch. Try that with Oracle.
I found "Learning Python" an excellent primer. Python is probably closer to Pascal than Basic so forget GOTO just give your subroutines names and call them functions and you'll be away.
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