2177 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007
Smells like clickbait
1 million or 0.6% difference between two months? Statistically barely relevant. Of greater relevance might be that over a period of a month only 20 % of Facebook's loyal legions bothered to login. Oh, and now it's close to being banned in Germany.
Twitter is on the up and up as broadcasters like the BBC use it to replace paid-for infrastructure. Wonder what would happen if anyone challenged the BBC Trust over the use and in particular the promotion of commercial services?
Is El Reg descending into eyeball-grabbing Facebook and Iphone rumours to keep the advertisers happy?
You don't understand
The decision doesn't refer directly to Facebook directly, where you're quite right that, in general, if people agree to the terms of service, then they have to live with the consequences*. It's about sites adding the "Track me", sorry, "Like" button to their pages. This causes tracking code to loaded without prior consent and is, thus, in breach of German and now EU law.
* A separate case can be made for the scope of the data collected and the form of agreement which is why Facebooks extension of biometric data has been challenged by German authorities. Then there are the problems about safe harbour. EU law has fairly strict rules about where and how personal data can be stored which is why SWIFT had to create a European data centre for banking transactions to stop the FBI and others snooping at will.
Lost in translation
The use of "... bitch" by Zuckerberg is extremely idiomatic and does not translate directly. I don't think either "Schlampe" or "Weibstück" (a better alternative than Weibchen) are appropriate in a phrase that could just as easily have been "... nigger" or "... asshole" or simply "... dude".
Good decision by the ULD, let's see whether anyone's got the balls to enforce it.
Clay tablets, surely?
Where to start?
Operating systems are not created in a vacuum by "good programmers". Even so, in the US, that does not necessarily mean you will be free from copyright and patent issues. And then, when you do have an OS, you have to convince developers to work on it and provide them with all the tools.
That's why IOS is not a clean room development but based on Mac OS which is based on NextStep which is based on Unix which is based on... Probably simpler to buy QT from Nokia, or WebOS from HP.
If Google is going to turn into a large-scale manufacturer then it needs supply chain managers just as much as engineers.
Galaxy Tabs still on sale in Germany
In the shops, advertising, etc. Good publicity for Samsung. Tempted to get one myself just to see what the fuss is about but I think I'll wait for the 9" one. Smaller and lighter and better for listenting to TMS on the balcony!
5800 pints a lifetime? Let's assume drinking lifetimes resemble working ones - 40 years so about 150 pints a year or 3 pints a week. That can't be right. I can't be bothered to do any research but I thought there were fairly reasonable EU stats on alcohol consumed.
As for £1000 a year on booze, that's only £20 a week. Again I can't think of who that would apply to. In London that would cover near teetotallers only! I reckon that barely covers an "average" session let alone a binge. Anyway, if the research is about the health risks then it should be accompanied by the number of curries, kebabs et al consumed! Are boozers more likely to partake of other intoxicating substances such as nicotine, fragrant tobacco, Afghan wholegrain and Bolivian marching powder?
Has this research been sponsored by the brewers association trying to wake national pride and raise the average?
Can we have some Reg SI units based research on this? Typical drinkers for both sexes ranging from Mother Teresa to Paris Hilton for women and the Pope to Oliver Reed for men?
Just for devilment
How does NetBSD compare?
@Timothy Morgan - three years ago ARM notebooks were unfortunately not taking the world by storm. There were some concept builds but nothing to buy. Maybe this time next year they'll finally be around.
Missing the point
It's too tempting to try and second guess the value of the patents. As most of us are not patent lawyers this really ends up as rooting for one side or the other. However, to claim that only the quality of the patents and not their quantity matters would seem to overlook several previously protracted battles in the past. It also assumes that judges are interested in and able to understand the technical details. I think a court in Texas is often cited as an example of where there this is not necessarily the case.
So, initially the purchase, if approved will give Google the opportunity to play the second most popular game in US business: sue and counter-sue (the most popular being mergers, acquisitions and sell-offs). This is rarely about the worthiness of a case and more about wearing down the opposition. As with takeovers, the sums involved are often irrelevant as it is usually OPM and can be created almost at will through central bank largesse. Google can now join in: Apple patents raindrops, Google patents snowflakes.
What about if Google's real aim is to reform the US patent system and have the most mickey mouse patents, of which Apple and Microsoft have a bundle, declared invalid? How about getting the US to adopt the European system which has much less scope for patenting software in the first place? Because Google doesn't make it's money from physical products it is, in a sense, ahead of the game. Apple and Microsoft's defensive use of patents doesn't look like innovation to me.
I suspect that reform of the US patent system is pretty much a certainty whether it be legislative or de facto - the sheer volume of stuff now being made and designed outside the US in China, Taiwan and Korea is tipping the scales already. How long do these financial behemoths think they can rule the roost when they effectively keep on handing over their IP to their real competitors? What is to stop Foxconn from doing a HTC / ZTE / Huawei and Samsung and start to offer its own innovations in its own products?
Compare and contrast
How GSM became the world standard for mobile phones in no small part because it was largely developed by European companies (Ericsson, Nokia, Siemens, Alcatel) who knew, since the success of PAL for TV, that would have to work together as much as compete with each other.
20 years later with the rise of the services based smartphones and, as has been noted in many places, American companies are better placed for their development. Suddenly, it's a no-holds-barred, winner-takes-all kind of thing.
The comparison isn't 100 % accurate (Nortel and Motorola were on board early as everyone was scared by Qualcomm) but instructive. Will consumers really benefit from the incompatible silo approach that gave us PCS, IDeN, CDMA, etc?
The German injunction
It's only temporary with the case due to be heard in detail on August 25th. That's why it's an injunction and not a ban.
It can't be the hardware
That's largely all made in China by cheap workers or robots. Becoming a hardware company would be a huge change for Google which is interested in a volume that it probably couldn't provide as a single supplier. The acquisition reminds me on the OnVideo purchase last year which led to WebM. I really can't see any manufacturer want to take on Google with its new patent war chest. Motorola was involved in mobile phones from the beginning and have patents on the whole value chain. It's easy to get hyperbolic on this but Google could probably injunction the hell out of Cupertino.
Financially it is equivalent to the Nortel and Skype deals. Microsoft is also giving Nokia money for the switch. Based purely on like for like I would say that Google got by far the better deal. MS may have to buy Nokia after this.
It's not over until the fat lady sings
Given the nature of the injunctions taken out then Google was right not to indemnify Android. Samsung and Motorola will appeal and what will happen if they win? A bit of an oversight in your article to gloss over the current legal process and the possible outcomes. Also a bit unfair to lump Android in with the Youtube, Google Books copyright approach. I think they are very different beasts.
Incidentally I saw a 10.1 Tab in a store in Germany today with nobody attempting to stop it being sold. It looked nice and is definitely lighter than an Ipad. To me the injunctions look like a rearguard action by Apple who must be worried about not getting preferential treatment on the next hardware goody be it screen or multicore chip or whatever.
Sad but true
There's a reason why in many suburbs the standard shop front is made of metal. And now the scuffers have discovered that the city centre is "open for business".
Political debates. At least according to Mr Hunt. I guess he needs to watch more US cable and public access or maybe just get out less.
What's a riot?
Doesn't look like one to me.
Good time to be a Dutch trader
This was probably the most stupid thing Apple could have done. The Dutch are pastmasters at selling stuff across the border and this is virtually an incitement to German consumers to go "Dutch". It will get Samsung much more publicity than they would otherwise get and I don't see the injunction going very far. German courts are often quite happy to grant temporary injunctions.
According to Heise Apple defends the move claiming that Samsung "is abusing the reputation of the Ipad a well-known product with cult status". Yeah, right. Nobody thought of tablet computing before Apple?
I call on the authorities and Channel 4 to dust off Brass Eye and slip it in as a replacement for the news and wonder if anyone will notice.
Unless the Federal Reserve pumps more money into the market then I would suggest that all bets regarding the current crop of tech bubble companies are off.
QNX doesn't need much power as long as it doesn't need to support resource intensive subsystems like Java a single core should be fine. QNX has always excelled at multitasking. Anyway, unlikely to matter much in such a small form factor device which is focussed on messaging.
I don't agree with everything Bill posts but he doesn't to me come across as the mouthpiece of the industry. His articles on getting a highspeed internet connection in Scotland were far from that.
I do agree, however, that the line that broadband is "too expensive" for operators that El Reg often peddles is codswallop. There are just too many examples in comparable countries where that isn't the case. @ UK telco's try some investment rather than just "returning the money straight to shareholders".
Mobile is very different.
while fixed line was, in most countries, built by the government with taxpayers' money, mobile spectrum was usually sold or auctioned with conditions such as % of the population covered within X years. This was also the case in the USA. Bending of the rules happens all over the place but I've yet to come across anything quite as poor as the FCC's bending for Light Squared.
As for local monopolies - these are quite common all over the world for services like water and electricity. Whether they work or not depends on how much regulation and oversight there is.
The way you describe the situation makes it sounds like the operators are providing a charitable service? Where's the "donate" button?
Pay to play
The operators only have themselves to blame. The bids in the the UK for 3G spectrum in 2000 were insane as it was clear then that wifi would affect price and service expectations. In most other European countries with similar bidding procedures (Germany and the Netherlands spring to mind) this led to rapid consolidation in the market and a drop in the number of operators. The losses incurred by writing off the investment showing up in the government's books as reduced tax take. Only now is the UK seeing parts of this with the T-Mobile/Orange tie up.
Regarding the figures - revenue is not profit. Google is likely to be turning a profit on those ads but as far we know Facebook is still burning venture capital. In any case the operators know exactly what is going on their networks and they are in a position to make the services "pay to play" to get access to the ad revenue or even substitute it for their own - everything goes through their proxies after all.
As for pre-paid versus post-paid - both forms are legal contracts. Arguably pre-paid is better for establishing a fair price for bandwidth - the service stops working when you run out of credit so there is a real incentive to top-up to continue to chatter. But that isn't the real battle. As you point out the cost of customer acquisition and handset subsidies are painful front-loaded costs that the industry needs to wean people off - Andrew Orlowski pointed this out years ago. But if the industry continues pass on the real costs* of providing the service to consumers then it has only itself to blame.
* The apparent costs in the UK continue to be significantly ahead of those in comparable economies such as Germany where the operators are making money, cf. Deutsch Telekom's most recent results which were buoyed by revenues in Germany for data services.
Ribbons are not the only fruit
But I do agree that I find them a step backwards in usability. My biggest gripe with Windows 7 is having both alt+tab and windows+tab for cycling through applications. If it were just eye candy I could ignore it but it manages to confuse me so much I've started looking and away and just rely on counting windows. Add the weird mouse over stuff in the taskbar and I spend most of my time trying to stop my computer be so clever!
I understand the wonderfulness of a standardised USB micro connection - but there is one major mechanical floor - they are easily bent or broken off. The connector in the pictures reminds me of the Ericsson connectors which were a secure fit but never likely to break anything. But that doesn't explain the power brick. Probably want to be able to draw higher current than standard for quick charging. Would be nice to see a micro USB connection on the case but I do understand the desire to put a proprietary connection on as well.
Yes, the manufacturers have to work harder to be distinctive. This is the flipside of not having to build their own OS. HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson seem to be doing a reasonable job so far of providing distinctive offerings with sales to match. Of course, they are threatened at the lower end by stuff from ZTE, and others but let's not kid ourselves - over time every manufacturer is who doesn't continually innovate and provide value. This is why Apple is getting all tetchy and launching patent claims, especially in the eco-system that it really wants which is tablet and post-tablet, which I'm just making up to suggest keyboard devices running on beefed-up tablet chassis. Android may well go two-tier with the three I mentioned above and Motorola continuing to pay for preferential treatment from Google with last season's version of the OS being open sourced as a way of speeding up the version cycle. Not sure if Google really wants all the service business built on top - that really would be asking for anti-trust action.
Android phones are good enough. Actually they're much better than that. People have them in their hands and to all intent and purpose the high-end ones can't be told apart from the fruit-flavoured ones.
For Android the brand loyalty will be built first of all around the OS - "hey, I can my stuff with me" but customer service and build quality will also be considered, just as they are with cars. HTC has become very good with aluminium and Samsung and Sony Ericsson have some excellent display technologies. In a sense, Android is a dream come true to integrated consumer electronics companies as, if they get it right, they get to maximise the value out of their own commodity business.
The key point seems to be that if an organisation is using [insert network of choice] for communication they should be prepared to handle enquiries via the same channel. Tough nuts to those who think Twitter is an easy way out - sometimes it's better just to stick with what works.
"Death to sense" as Mr Herbet Prefabs would say.
Thrown together as usual
"Your browser isn't supported. Try the latest version of ... Internet Explorer"
Yeah, Opera 11.5 just sucks at all the modern stuff but IE leads the way! I guess things can only get better?
Some people will definitely want to pay, though many might prefer a kind "season ticket" for all specials. If you have good, desirable content you have a market as ITV knows with its milking of Pop Idol on its other channels.
HBO, et al have shown that there is money in premium, subscription-based TV. Web-based micropayments have failed largely because the user experience is so shit but PPV for sport is successful.
Paypal has a banking licence for its subsidiary in Luxemburg. It was required to do so by the European Commission because it was providing banking services.
Given SEPA I really don't see the need for Paypal in Europe. The few times I've used it I found it to be more of a hindrance than a help.
I think it's clear to say that the moon is closer to Lancashire or Wensleydale than some muck from South of the English Channel!
Mine's the one with "Wallace & Gromit Collectors Edition" in the pocket.
The manufactured chips do not sell for much either so manufacturers like TI and Qualcom need huge volume for profits and chip factories are fiendishly expensive and becoming more so.
For a proper comparison you need to compare profits per employee rather than product volume. There you will find, I think, that Intel is quite a way ahead but Intel is one of the anomalies in what is increasingly consumer (low-margin electronics). While ARMs prices are low this is possibly one of the reasons why the market is turning towards them.
Watch the marketing speech
There is no such thing as "unstructured data" that would be noise. "unprocessed" or "uninterpreted" maybe but never "unstructured". Jokes about FB's data being little other than noise on the back of a postcard, please.
Anyway - no shit Sherlock - different chip architectures are suitable for light or heavy lifting in the data centre. Nice to know that they're becoming commercially available.
The things peope worry about...
"I've lost my job. They're dodecimating the workforce..."
"Surely, you mean octomating?"
"Put down the adverts for new jobs and pass me a calculator"
Literally lots of words change their meaning over time.
Not quite 7 new versions in 10 years but it seems you didn't read my post carefully - Apple can call the versions whatever they want. Maybe they're saving 11 for dolphins and whales because they're so pretty.
AFAIK the following were major: Leopard - dropped the classic environment; Snow Leopard - dropped native Power PC support and largely dropped carbon; Lion dropped x86-64 only (less of a problem) lots of networking changes. But YMMV especially if you were doing anything with low-level POSIX stuff. Snow Leopard and Lion have AFAIL broken compatibility without breaking much new ground which is why they were both relatively cheap. Lion is, of course, the entry to the "owned by Apple" world and this is where all the new features are.
I have a Mac and I haven't upgraded yet but I do sympathise with those who feel confused. I have worked with computers for over 20 years and there are still lots of things I don't really understand so I do sympathise with those who do not understand the difference between Power PC and x86 ("endianness", FFS!) let alone the x86 and x86_64 stuff.
It is the easiest thing in the world to offer users a compatibility test for Lion once they have installed the "migration assistant" that we got with 10.6.8. A little notice informing the user that the following programs/add-ons/drivers will not work with Lion and you can check this anytime from "About this Mac" or wherever would save so many problems. Parallels has this built in - it has told me I must upgrade to able to use Lion, why can't Mac OS do the same?
This still does not explain why Rosetta is not available. I also have Windows 7 which has a sandbox for 16-bit apps but it still let's them run. +1 to Microsoft to finally learning from IBM. What was it Winston Churchill said? "You can rely on the Americans to always do the right thing. After they have exhausted all other possibilites."
"Going from Snow Leopard 10.6 to 10.6.1 is an upgrade (in the same way Windows XP SP2 to SP3 is an upgrade)"
No, X.Y.Z to X.Y.Z1 is a generally considered to be a *patch* in the un*x world where this kind of versioning comes from was followed by programs like Firefox until recently. This usually means bugfixes and security patches.
X.Y to X.Y1 is a *point* upgrade and usually means new features but no break in the API.
X to X1 is a *version* upgrade and usually means new features and changes to the API.
Apple is, of course, free to do as it pleases but it would be helpful if it provided more information in advance. MS has, as far as I know, learned from past mistakes and brought out a program that checked for Vista and 7 suitability. I've gained some kind of migration assistant but nothing that has informed me that 10.7 could have problems.
As previously noted, retaining Rosetta as an optional install would make a lot of the pain go away. The changes to networking are likely to cause lots more problems.
Why people should wait
I gave Snow Leopard a couple of weeks and still lived to rue the install. Should have waited for the first fix pack and it looks Lion will have to wait even longer. I know I cannot do much with my printer or scanner on Lion because the software needs Rosetta, why this useful piece of software couldn't have stayed optional is beyond me. Yes, I would prefer Canon and OKI to release x86 software but I'm prepared to wait rather than buy new hardware. Curious as to what's happened with the APIs and the POSIX stuff. 10.6 contained Apple's infamously borked Python fork.
As I have a standby machine in case my Macbook dies on me (the fan on the old one did twice), I need to know whether I can still restore to another machine without a system disk!
And I need a tip - how can I get rid of the NASNavigator from my system? I installed it to be able to browse my brother's network but I can seem to get rid of it as it keeps telling syslog!
Prepare to be surprised
No reason for them to be that expensive. All the chippery is either the same or cheaper, less memory required, screen, chassis and ports the same battery life with a smaller battery, probably no fan required.
Or did I miss something?
Surely the Torygraph has more enough space for this kind of polemic? But if you are going to quote The Econmist, today's Bagehot post is an interesting read. http://www.economist.com/blogs/bagehot/2011/07/britain-and-eu
What really matters
The decision by the Financial Times to drop its Ios only app and create a cross-platform web app. The delays to the Android tablets have definitely played to Apple's advantage but the development speed of phones in 2010 and growth in marketshare could well be followed in the tablets.
IT departments want: secure VPN access; secure e-mail; remote wipe; private apps and they will pay Cisco, IBM and the rest whatever it takes to get this. Apple is actually playing catch up with the private apps which will only really work once Ios 5 is released.
You've been right all along
The first time I remember was when you pointed out Nokia's glaring failure to put cameras in phones and then make such a fist of it when they finally did arrive. No point in having a Zeiss lens if the camera is a bitch to operate.
For touchscreen phones Symbian + UIQ with a planned migration to a QT based platform would have meant beautiful phones with low power draw and great applications.
About your cunning plan
It's brilliant, fantastic just one slight flaw: how do you think billionaire's become such? By giving their more-or-less hard-earned gains away?
Kudos for Google for forcing up the price of something they never wanted.
Can't see them taking this lying down. EGM and friendly takeover by Microsoft?
My heart goes out to the many hard-working and talented people at Nokia. Personally, I always preferred Ericsson's design and UI but there is no doubt that Nokia was largely responsible for turning an executive toy into something everyone could use.
Sorry, can't resist this. Are the new machines signed by Daltrey, Townsend and Moon? Do they all the Union Flag on them and prefer scooters?
Mine's the green fish tail, ta.
"if it were not for Linux, Apple's proprietary OS would not exist."
At least get your facts straight: MACH kernel, FreeBSD userland but with BASH shell by default. all based on Nextstep which is older than Linux. Quartz is based on Adobe's postscript engine, oh, and Apple owns CUPS and now has its own SMB implementation.
You need the € 100 mini-display port to dual-link DVI for anything over 1900. I know I just had to shell out for one for the Dell U2711. Nice as the Apple screens are they, for desktop use the Dell (comes pre-calibrated and a nice certificate to prove it) is better, and, for films, well you can get a 1900 x behemoth for about half the price.
Interestingly the LED backlight doesn't do much to reduce the power draw on the screens with Apple's current 27" quoted as having well over 100 W when in user.
I've got a Wave and my brother has an Iphone 4. Next to each other I much prefer the AMOLED, especially outside in the sunlight. The resolution of the new Samsung Galaxy II is a big step up from that. Apart from the yield OLED is still struggling with energy consumption but for media consumption it is oodles better than the best IPS and I can't see Samsung being too keen on letting rivals get hold of this too quickly.
Given the quality of the OLED display in Samsung's most recent Android I'd be expecting to be focussing in on that rather than yesterday's technology. The bigger OLED panels are due out this year, I think, a monopoly on tablet ones (7" would be sufficient) would be a definite advantage for Samsung, who don't seem to have trouble selling the rest of their screens.
AFAIK the big problem with multi-platform support on NT was largely around the drivers. The microkernel meant that supporting different architectures was pretty easy - and early NT releases for x86, MIPS and Alpha were synchronised. But "ISA" was a nightmare for the drivers as the rest of the hardware didn't have the abstraction necessary for easily porting. Put a cheap graphics card in an Alpha box and write your own driver from the documentation if you were lucky enough to have it. NT was never slow but I do recall some stuff being dropped into the kernel for later releases because x86 has such inefficient context switching. The MS toolchain made compiling and providing different versions of software for different architecture unnecessarily painful for both developers and users.
The approach was vindicated initally by Next and later by BeOS which changed architectures three times in five years (Hobbit, Power and x86).
To all the Linux fanbois out there who seem to think this article somehow vindicates the seemingly endless wars about the free-for-all approach, where are the GUI applications running on phones, tablets and desktops? GTK versus QT probably did as much as anything else to hold un*x back from the desktop because whatever the technical merits (and most of them are debatable) a non-unified desktop experience is going to confuse users. Then there is the libraries and userland shambles of debian, redhat, suse and the rest.
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