1707 posts • joined Monday 16th April 2007 14:57 GMT
The browser as on the desktop
Oh great, pity the user interface is completely different. Oh, it's IE9 which can do a bit of HTML5 (limited video support, no SVG animation, poor canvas, etc.) but is already outdated and outclassed by almost all other mobile browsers and as it's not cross platform no chance of synching bookmarks, etc.
Hardware looks okay but then it looks like just another windows mobile. Unless MS decides it's worth pissing off the other suppliers by giving Nokia exclusive access to feature it's got less room for differentiation than on Android. And if MS does decide it's worth pissing off other suppliers, it's easy to imagine how that might affect their other channels - the only OS running on quad core ARM netbooks at Christmas will be Android. Well, presumably some people will put Ubuntu on theirs.
The short version
IBM was getting stiffed by Microsoft for years before the split: IBM stupidly paid Microsoft to develop OS/2 for them and tried to marry it to the PS/2 line for too long. Despite the undoubted technical superiority of the microchannel architecture it was as much this strategy as anything else that put people off OS/2. In the medium term the customer lost out with the crappy VESA local bus but it was so cheap and we got sucked into the Wintel spiral of despair.
Memory requirements, providing you were running the unfortunately single-threaded Presentation Manager, weren't that bad and you pre-emptive multitasking, a fast file system with support for extensible metadata and peripheral sharing and a kernel you couldn't kill. This is why OS/2 was used in all kinds of embedded devices such as UPS tracking pads. The banks loved it, of course, because it had wonderful terminal emulation. Later on it ran Windows better than Windows - virtual machines known as DOS boxes with more memory than DOS could handle on it's own but this just encouraged more Windows development.
I do remember Lou Gerstner saying something* like he thought OS/2 could win the wars but it wasn't worth the cost. IBM then concentrated on making more money from Windows than Microsoft and bought Lotus and others. The companies who stuck with OS/2 seemed to have to spend less on system upgrades over the next ten years because they were able to do so much with the hardware.
* Source OS/2 Inside, I think.
Not worth the extra cost
The shuttle has proved this beyond all reasonable doubt: those features might be nice to have but make the whole thing less flexible, more unreliable and hideously expensive. Better to give the wetware parachutes or M&M certificates at least, or have something that can survive long enough in the ocean for pickup.
I guess this is grammatically correct but surely you don't want to get even more inefficiencies from software development?
Openness is all well and good but this isn't necessarily a black and white, winner takes all situation. Apple still has a reasonable value proposition for both consumers and developers, as does Microsoft on the desktop. Google's success may well be less due to the openness of Android than the absence of licence fees plus the determination to put in the hardware support required.
Quietly getting on with the job?
Seems like ESA is getting close to "serial production" of the ATV but still a lot of missions still to fly to show just how good the ATV is and, presumably, before they send one filled with wetware.
Okay, I'll bite
Scrunchies - you really don't want to know (because they are boring hair accessories)
The Dalai Lama joke is a pun on: make me (at) one with everything (in the world); and make me one (pizza) with everything (from the menu on it). Most puns are shit but I have to admit I quite like this one.
Not directly related to this article, which is an admission of how the deregulated utilities have repeatedly been able to shag the customer, but about Lewis' favourite bugbear - renewables. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer, of Viagra fame and not renowned for its hippy tendencies, is currently operating its Freiburg plant with 93 % of power being supplied by renewables, because this is the cheapest and most reliable thing to do*. The move to 100 % is planned.
ROI within 2 years - http://www.dradio.de/dlf/sendungen/hintergrundpolitik/1481701/ (in Jorman)
I don't care that much about climate change. I do care about reliable power and that pretty much means you have to produce it yourself. Even with considerable capital investment that *does* pay off.
Cross my palm with silver...
and I might tell you. On the other hand, I might come up with a third opinion! Don't lawyers lead a great life? :-)
I suspect the whole thing is up for negotiation - full details of what's on offer should be available from the administrator. Should be remembered that Google's bid is as much to get the ball rolling as anything else. Though it seems to have Microsoft foxed - maybe they simply prefer to overbid on patent-light companies (Skype) when there is no one else bidding? Note to self - set up company with "web scale" - is there a cream for that? - but few assets and just wait for the offers!
"But does it have the will to buy the last-standing privately held database vendor?"
You have completely omitted that EnterpriseDB sells its own version of Postgres and that its business has been doing very nicely since Sun borged MySQL and Oracle borked the Sun acquisition; the Oracle compatibility certainly helps. Netezza is another Postgres+ (in the sense of added value) vendor. For customers there is a lot of sense in keeping things the way they are which may be why Postgres has been making such great strides recently, 9.1 is really going to get a lot of interest.
Anyone using IPv6 should enable the privacy extensions which prevent your local ip address from becoming unique. Instructions (in German) just choose the commands for your OS:
Clearly network resources are currently not sufficient to do away entirely with local storage at the moment but the plan is very much to turn Apple into the gatekeeper of your data by pretending there isn't a file system that you can access independently. Once this principle is established the devices you sell can become simply by reducing or removing local storage options. A Macbook without USB for instance using Thunderbolt to license only storage systems which sync with online storage.
A mate of mine who has both an iphone and an ipad and loves them both finds the lack of a file system to be the biggest single problem and a good reason for not buying their eventual replacements from Apple.
I think the benefit would be getting a service the fanbois like to use already rather than having to build it and convince them to switch. Then aggregate and mine the personal information people are only too happy to provide for all its worth - the fanboi social graph can probably be turned straight into sales opportunities.. Apple has the cash to buy Twitter straight from the VCs but might want to wait until it becomes clear that an IPO is never going to happen. Wouldn't surprise me if equity hasn't already been obtained to avoid a potentially expensive bidding war. Faecesbook frozen out for obvious reasons - more difficult to own the data exclusively and probably too expensive to be worth it.
Apple to buy Twitter?
Would seem almost logical from integrating the service so deeply into the OS and presumably providing the necessary data snooping services twats want - share pics and thick URLs. Maintain the web site and shutdown third party clients as part of a two-tier system which will make money buy selling hardware - twats who want to tweet from their phone will have to buy an Apple phone.
Is it just me or is the proposed service somewhat underwhelming? How much instant sync is required? For me that is pretty much limited to contacts and appointments. The music thing is a solution looking for a problem for me even though I can imagine there will be hordes who will love it.
But the background synchronisation of everything without a "sharing" option looks like a mistake. Something like Dropbox already allows me to do the background stuff transparently, across platforms and works surprisingly well (let's ignore the security issues for now). But it also offers a simple way to share stuff, surely the sort of the thing you want to do with photos? I guess the 10 device limit might come in there but there is a difference between showing gran and grandad the latest pictures and sharing your music collection with them. But maybe icloud comes with a public interface to the photos?
Coming back to security - this is going to be a nightmare for all these services.
What it means is... "Track me"
"Like" has been Facebook's USP for the collection of hopefully reliable demographic data: "23 % of people who visit your site are between 20 and 25 and earn more than ... per year". All these buttons set a cookie check whether they can identify you if you are logged in.
No wonder Google wants a piece of this action before the notoriously slow data protection authorities put a stop to it.
What is interesting is that people would be up in arms if they thought a government was behind it but roll over meekly if they think it is because a private company is giving them a chance to make a difference. Companies don't give a shit if you like XYZ as long you buy it.
Frack for Fuck!
The high court (best approximate translation of Oberlandsgericht) in Cologne has just overruled an injunction against someone for sharing an audio book and created a precedent by distinguishing between individual customers and commercial use*. As far as I can tell this won't stop copyright holders or their representatives obtaining addresses and writing letters but does limit the scope for injunctions and fines. This one is likely to run and run.
* http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/OLG-Koeln-staerkt-Rechte-von-Verbrauchern-bei-Tauschboersen-Abmahnungen-1253433.html (in Jorman, of course)
Pile of shit
BSD, MIT and Apache licences take the politics out of open source. Any hoohah about GPLing BSD code is more about the hypocrisy of applying the GPL to something that is already open source. Inasmuch as commercial use is more or less encouraged you can argue that this is both inconsistent and sour grapes but it's really just a storm in a tea cup.
For US corporations the BSD licence means they are more likely to contribute back, should they ever feel the need, as they don't need to get the lawyers involved and this really does lower the barrier to entry. See the work on Postgres or Juniper's contributions to BSD and why Trac changed its licence.
Intel press release?
That's what this piece reads like.
For years people have been championing the "openness" of Linux as the key to the mass market and we're still waiting for it to happen. Oh, wait. It has happened - it's called Android.
Intel is desperate to get into the small device market to sell x86 and has poured resources into development and marketing sweet talking partner after partner into making public statements about releasing a mobile phone or something based on the next "platform" only for the devices to be MIA. And Microsoft going very much the same way with hardware manufacturers seeing much more business with Android and, so far at least, no competitor with an unfair advantage, assuming they ignore Google while MS has effectively demoted them all to tier 2 status now that Nokia has got into bed.
So there is the licensing - Android is more or less free. For manufacturers it is obviously "free enough" and Google is hard at work giving them what they want. There is a "FAT" tax but many manufacturers may be willing to pay that as the price of interoperability. Perhaps more importantly the ARM chips on which all the stuff is running are significantly cheaper than anything from Intel and are better in the "power to weight" ratio so important for all the gadgets; and that is the only hardware Intel has ever been interested in. True, this has been less of an issue for set top boxes but they have so far been spectacularly unsuccessful - Google's abortive Intel based Android boxes a case in point.
So Intel commissions UI makeover after UI makeover and still fails to convince, although I think the budget pails in comparison with what Google has reportedly thrown at Android. At the same time Android and Apple continue to attract developers to established and growing markets. As getting existing programs to run on the new form factors - what applications are these precisely? Photoshop, Office, Autodesk? First of all, arguably the most portable full stack framework Qt is currently languishing inside Nokia, future definitely in doubt as it certainly doesn't have one with WP7. Furthermore, in contrast to what is suggested in the article you can program for Android using the standard tools, just not a whole heap of people really interested in porting the Posix world to the phones just yet but that may change.
Pretty much, yes.
Nice as it is you are confounding two separate issues - posting on the internet is akin to making a public announcement and given how keen social networks are to collect (and sell) your identity you should always bear this in mind. This is more a less what has happened in Germany with the two cases I referred to. A casual remark at the pub is not likely to land you in court in post-Cold War Europe unless the pub is a virtual one... This is one of the points that Evgeny Morosov makes in "The Net Delusion" as the secret police of governments around the world start to trawl the networks to root out their detractors.
The alleged affair is still a private matter. The attempt to sell the story is, therefore, a breach of this privacy and a public interest justification is required. In this particular case I fail to see the "public interest" and would rather the media covered some of the more egregious abuses of power.
As for serial prosecutions I don't see anything stopping the courts issuing fines like parking tickets* once a precedent has been established, this is after all pretty much how DCMA works, and, fortunately, the courts are legally independent of the politicians and not the least bit interested in re-election.
* My familiarity with the law in this matter is admittedly limited so I more than happy to be corrected on this.
Not just cookies
The law covers other things like the right of customers to change telephone companies in under 24 hours. As important as the data protection and privacy issues are is there any chance of more coverage of these pro-competition aspects of the law?
The main reason for the Commission wanting to see rapid adoption of the law is that, because the internet famously knows no borders, as soon as one country implements it the gate is opened for litigation. Oh, and the Commission has a pretty large remit when it comes to enforcing competition law.
Privacy, anonymity, personal and public opinion
As usual the media is busy muddying the waters on this. As two cases in Germany make only too obvious: there is no such thing as anonymity on social networks. The head of the works council at the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau has just been sacked for remarks on Facebook and workers at Daimler have been brought to task for clicking "Track me" on a page making defamatory remarks about Daimler's CEO. http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/web/0,1518,764788,00.html (in German)
There might be those who think that the privacy and anonymity of these people should be protected and this is the sort of thing that the human rights convention seeks to guarantee. But you can't have it both ways. If you want your privacy protected then the same protection applies to others.
Apart from the legal importance of alleging something there is also a distinction between a private and public opinion. Holding an opinion about someone and even discussing it with friends might land you in court under charges of slander or common abuse but this is highly unlikely. But publishing this opinion on a public forum which might range from a poster on a wall or post on a forum is a different matter and very likely to lead to legal action. This is why the press is accorded a certain privilege in such matters - it may report allegations and has the right not to disclose it sources but it has a duty of care to check its facts before doing so and may be held accountable for this. The anonymity of the source is the cornerstone here as it guarantees a safe harbour for whistleblowing and something for which we should all be grateful. Hearsay, of course, is not protected which is the reason for the injunctions.
The "I'm Spartacus" argument is frankly a bit of a red herring. If contempt of court is established in one instance then there is a precedent and incentive for expedited enforcement in all others, presumably fines sent through the post. Posting any of this shit on a social network, which unless otherwise stated, can be considered a public space is an invitation for exposure as identity is the currency of preference - anything you say will be written down and may be used as evidence.
"e) please Bob"
a) does beg the question of whether anyone would notice - putting one pile of shit on another pile of shit?
Got to give them credit for trying to close down any external connections that definitely will not generate any revenue for them even if it means shelling out wad of OPM to do so. Got to stop imagining those yoga and coke-fuelled investor meetings where they discuss the business strategy.
Groundless rumour mongering
The law came from the commission and was passed by the parliament. All member states were consulted. In some places that counts are democracy.
Cookies should a lifespan of the session length *at most* except when used to store user preferences. There is some mismatch between cookies on The Reg as some definitely timeout (ability to post) whereas others (logged in status) don't seem to.
EU Cookie law starts going into force tomorrow.
Webp is visibly superior to JPEG while creating much smaller files. As it uses the same algorithms as in webm you can also hope for better optimisation including the hardware acceleration which is just around the corner. Webp is also a container format so it does also do lossless compression, very efficiently, if desired, so you can use the same format for your graphics as for your photographs, effectively streamline your workflow.
Adoption of PNG was slow partly because it was initially hamstrung - no animation and no transparency - and so offered little incentive to content producers who didn't need to worry about a Unisys tax. Also, PNG was introduced shortly before the Microsoft won the browser wars and killed innovation. It survived as a good replacement for BMP and TIFF and later became the web 2.0 designer's darling because of the alpha channel. Now we're seeing at least two new browser versions per maker per year with fairly rapid take up for all apart from IE on the back of security issues.
webp is a good candidate for adoption which is why it's already in Opera's Turbo stack and my *guess* is that it will make it into a Google's pagespeed http-server module, allowing transparent, feature-driven (WURFL) rollout. And while bandwidth may be cheap and plentiful for many of us page load speed still matters, especially on those pesky mobile devices so the operators will want to plug it in as well. And which webmaster in their right mind won't take a 40% reduction in page load time for free?
All http-servers need to set the MIME type on their response without webp in the magic list Apache will set appication/x-unknown or similar leaving it to the browser to try and work out what to do with the content presumably be reading the first bytes. With webp in the magic list Apache can set image/webp and the browser knows straight away what to do. Not essential but certainly helpful.
The judges are having to fill in the gaps left by an all too hastily drafted law - how far should the courts go to protect an individual's *right* to privacy. That it is a right means that cases against it can go to the European court(s). Politicians are hiding behind the scorn being poured on the judges but it was there failure in the first place.
We are going to have to learn to live the fact *everyone* has the right to a private life and adultery is a private matter. Other countries can manage it so it can't be that hard.
"It seems it's posters like you who give the internet a bad name".
Have you asked the authors of the "image editor too complicated to use" why they haven't added webp yet?
webp uses existing open source libraries very heavily to provide a truly compelling format: bitmap images are both significantly smaller and of better quality than comparable JPEGs or even JPEG2000 especially if they contain text.
Will the shareholders really like it?
Anorexic-margin Atom SoCs to replace adipose-margin Xeons in the data centres? Sounds like the prelude to a round of cost-cutting and a trimming of chip transistors so that a Supermicro blade chock full of Atoms with attached power station can at least compete with a <insert name here> blade even chocker full of A15 SoC with hardware vector units powered by gnats' chuffs.
Set you shares to sell or is it time to embrace and extinguish ARM in an offer the owners simply cannot refuse?
The case against MIPS et al. 20 years ago was different - there weren't the toolchains around to support software that ran well on multiple platforms. Things are very different now - gcc produces acceptable results and then there is CLANG and LLVM - and the application vendors happily support several flavours of unix and windows and customers are, by and large, happy with their choices. And 20 years ago Intel was the cheap upstart breaking into the mainframe world - Intel servers were significantly cheaper than equivalent Sun, HP, SG or IBM boxes. This is exactly where ARM is now with the advantage of having multiple manufacturers accelerating and cross-licensing the production processes. As for the hardware - ARM has championed the ability for manufacturers to choose whether they want particular sections such as encryption done in silicon or software.
Asbestos underpants must be on Otellini's Christmas list!
It's a terrible idea
Firstly, digging holes and laying cable requires a little bit more than a pick and shovel. By failing to match skills to requirements you may just end up paying people to stand around rather than do anything as happened with Bitch's YTS programme. It's populist cock rot that the unemployed can be plugged into holes in the employment market. If you have a mismatch either you have to train/conditions your potential workers to do the jobs required or find markets where you can sell their skill-sets. As neither of those is easy, appealing to false prejudice about people not getting "something for nothing" can be very attractive.
Secondly, it is a direct intervention in the labour market. If you want to get people into work by this kind of action it is better to create the demand for labour indirectly by putting the work out to tender. Otherwise you invite abuse and corruption: companies can sack existing workers knowing that they can get the government to pay for them and as long as someone else is paying why stick with just one?
There are arguments for a secondary labour market - state sponsored - but this is usually for services that cannot be provided otherwise. Patently not the case here.
Thirdly, it is also an intervention in the liberalised and privatised telecommunications market: who is going to own the cable? If the demand for broadband is really there then the market should invest to meet it and set prices accordingly. If things aren't happening fast enough then encourage investment through regulation: e.g. whichever company does the investment is able to set a rent above the current price, as is currently the case with Deutsch Telekom's fibre to the home project. Or build the infrastructure yourself and rent it to the companies as is the case in Stockholm, I believe and with some railway networks. Lots of arguments in favour of this as the return on investment of infrastructure often takes too long to make it worthwhile arranging the funding.
Fourthly, is the need really so great? I have yet to see many convincing reports about the speed of internet access having a significant effect on GDP. Internet access itself, yes and mobile internet as well but neither require lots of bandwidth to function as enablers. Pound for pound you generally get a better return from education or reducing traffic problems (accidents, time lost to travel, etc.)
Look at that price - who is making money on it?
ARM is doing very well but overall profits and profits per worker are *much* lower that Intel. nVidia, Qualcomm, TI, Samsung are the rest are all busy making ARM chips that they can't sell for very much: the hardware is becoming commodified. Which premium manufacturer wants to be in on that?
Intel will now be spending heavily convincing people that their software really needs those Intel cores. They might even succeed with notebooks et al. where aggressive power management and the lack of real computing show them in a reasonable light - Intel's process engineering is second to none. If any data centre is able to get a reasonable TPC workload from an ARM based server they will probably never look back.
A sequential scan will never beat an index. Intelligently indexing the data in the first place means you can write less "efficient" application code. They are also key to scalability as a sequential scan is probably a good definition of a bottleneck. After that you want to reduce the number of connections between application and database as setting up sockets has a huge cost.
The NoSQL stuff seems to be okay for non-relational work where the indexing is delegated to a full-text anyway - hashtags are the poor man's foreign key - and none of the "stuff" (difficult to call the contents of some online services data) is indispensable.
A ... worker blames his tools
"The second issue is that relational databases are a poor fit for most software development."
Chris Date and others would beg to differ on this. Relations are objects, they are just not necessarily *objects* in the application layer (programming language runtime) so you need descriptors or utilities to manage the conversion. Unfortunately SQL is not particularly suited for programmatic manipulation. Such a pity as the underlying maths has some nice constructs. MULDIS-D is at least one attempt to communicate from the application layer to the data layer without using SQL.
As to their suitability: there are loads of problem domains for which the relational model is eminently suitable. The fact that you can get them to guarantee data consistency and integrity cannot be undervalued. Most of them come with optimised indexing and data types such as GEODIS for dealing with geographical data very efficiently.
Could have been worse, I suppose
As long as she can avoid college in America where the word "like" seems to crop up 5 times a minute she should be okay.
@Lester "in honour of the Facebook button which allows users to express approval". That isn't what the button is about at all, it is about only about tracking users and generating statistics as the developer page makes pretty clear. Wonder if Facebook will ever get round to relabelling it "Track me"? And I wonder whether that would make any difference to user behaviour. Sigh. Where's the cynic's button?
Obviously missed by Mrs Nowtraged.
Is The Sun guilty of double standards, again? No, 'cos titillation and outrage about one and the same thing is perfectly fine as long as it's out of the sight of the children.
Bulgarian airbags icon required.
The term is "cooperative customer"
It's the IKEA principle - get your customer to do the same work "for free" that you used to have pay someone to do. 0% productivity improvement but a nice good for the bottom line. They'll have us checking out our own groceries next, oh wait.
As for the "paperless" stuff. How much do you save versus how much does the company save? And what investment must you make in order to make the saving?
They only add stuff that they use and can support and App Engine is as much about testing scale and virtualisation as it is about turning a buck. PHP isn't in use in Mountain View so they have no idea how to scale it across their servers.
Still, no need to cry, you can still run your Neanderthal code on Amazon and Azure. ;-)
G&T's all round at Silver Lake
And probably a few white lines as well: what an astounding piece of business: virtually get paid by ebay to take Skype off their hands and then get given loadsamoney by Microsoft for a product without a really credible business model - most telephone networks I know are cheaper than Skype Out and easier to use. Who said private equity companies don't know how to make money?
What I like about Skype - peer to peer messaging that doesn't run through a server. I use it for voice about twice a year. Wonder how long it will stay like that? I haven't upgraded since it was sold to ebay - I assume all subsequent versions have nice backdoors for the CIA, Mossad, etc.
Didn't realise ARM had got that fast
"[benchmark] runs twice as fast per MHz on a Core 2 vs. an iPhone 4 (integer) and five times faster (floating point)."
To be honest that's better than I expected. Now compare size, transistor count, onboard cache and power draw in your benchmark. How long would the battery last for an iphone 4 that used a Core 2?
That the ARM architecture is suitable for HPC is confirmed by the interest in nVidia's Fermi line.
Price matters as well
As someone who switched to a Mac when the x86 ones came out I agree with you up to a point - the ability to run Windows in a virtual machine was important to me. However, more important was that the price premium of a MacBook against a comparable Windows notebook was around € 1000 less than in the Power PC world, still more expensive but "acceptably" so.
Today I saw the first advert for an Android based notebook for less than € 100. Tiny and unergonomic though it may be this and other devices will start setting price expectations for notebooks with people happier to settle for Android based systems which remind them of their phones than they were with the Linux based netbooks. Apple and Microsoft will, at some point. have to respond to this market.
I'm currently very happy with my 13" MacBook Pro, due for replacement in summer 2012. Will be interesting to see what happens between now and then.
Actually I've rarely heard people complain about the speed of a Mac Book Air. They do rave about battery life, weight and portability. And, because it's so light, they can also take an iPad along for browsing and e-mail for which the ipad is powerful enough. These customers generally don't need to worry about the price of devices.
But when it comes to power: nVidia have publicly announced that they expect to match x86 chips for performance with their summer releases. They have fabs and can offer GPU integration for SoC that will definitely outperform Intel's own SoC. Even adding a hardware x86 emulator to the chip isn't a problem so that existing apps will continue to run will be possible because the ARM designs excel at hardware specialisation and this is where most of the power performance gains against Intel's silicon can be made.
64 bit apart from memory for > 4 GB RAM is a red herring for consumer devices. Again it is the hardware extensions that will make things zip along and Apple already supports off-loading calculation intensive tasks to nVidia's CUDA architecture. ARM also makes multi-core more interesting: multi-task programs on different cores running at different speeds. An Apple with its own chip designers can probably contribute some expertise to an area which would mean easier to assemble systems - Apple TVs with a screen and big batteries and profit margins.
Apple now has several years' experience of cross-compiling the OS X core and applications (mail, browser, etc.) across x86 and ARM but as there have been no indications of ARM builds of Lion I guess we are unlikely to see a "Mac" branded product using ARM chips this year. However, we may well see an ipad pro or an ARM-based ibook for people who like the ipad but want to be able to do a little bit more than word-processing on it.
Apple will still want to segment the market so that any device it releases does not cannibalise the still very successful notebook line until it feels it has the chippery for a full migration. Though downward pressure on tablet pricing should help here.
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