2257 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007
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.
Too expensive for what it is
If this was 100 USD it might sell, crippled though it is. At 500 USD I can't see many people bothering.
Android and ARM based notebooks will do a lot more for less.
Surely some kind of Fawlty prize for stating the bleeding obvious? Or does she pine for rote learning? Associative memory and documentation (as gerund) with an implicit division of labour are pretty key human traits.
I really must apply for a guest professorship at some US university so I can get on this gravy train (spending on US universities has far outstripped GDP for generations).
Blue or black screens
Doesn't really matter but it was NT that introduced the blue ones. Windows 3.x was still DOS and would crash if the wind changed. The error messages were pretty useless and based on the more informative OS/2 ones. You got no longing, but hey we had pretty colour icons.
The media love all the social shit because it integrates so well with their own agenda. Thus, the oodles of free publicity encouraging people to "join in the conversation" or "follow us on...". The media loves to talk about itself and what better way of doing that than encouraging all and sundry to do just the same, and what's wrong with selling them advertising at the same time?. And isn't it wonderful how "social media" is so democratic? And if "everyone" tells you you're right, then surely you must be? The end of mass media, my arse! It's just the beginning of mass delusion as we all inflate our confirmation bias bubbles. This week's Economist Special Report is devoted to the new media, and while it avoids the really tricky issues, it's still worth a read.
Sony already does wireless
But stateside only with the 9" "Daily Edition". Presumably negotiations elsewhere for the networks are trickier than for Amazon as Sony doesn't sell exclusively so has less of a chance to cover the charges through book sales.
I have 650 touch and I think it's ace. It fits snugly either into quite a few of my pockets and doesn't look ostentatious. I'm not that fussed about wireless as that eats battery time and copying books over by USB doesn't really take a lot of time, especially considering how long I tend to take to read a book. Plus, it takes both micro-SD and the littlest memory sticks which are even easier. Charges with the same cable as my phone, which is nice. Sound quality is excellent if you want to play music on it, though I suspect most people either have dedicated players or use the phone. Bluetooth would have been nice for that.
I could do with a slightly larger screen in the same size body - there's a good cm of casing too much around the screen. I don't use the touch screen very much but it is just very useful for things like looking up words by double-tapping them. A larger screen would also be good for the technical, ie. software, documentation but the PDF reflow almost entirely makes up for that. You only really how good it is when you compare the same file on different devices. Fortunately, Sphinx and other tools are making ePub common for docs so the problem will go away soon.
But the USP for readers over tablets - sunshine. Stuff just looks better and better in bright light.
There is no such thing as the "SQL model". There is the relational model and ACID compliance. And then you optimise for the business case - reading, writing or both. The relational model is pure mathematics so it really can be about finding the best fit to hardware and a good database will use all available memory for optimisation.
All a buzz
People I've been talking to who are excited about Google+ are not the technological elite. There is a sense of quiet admiration of something that looks like it might be useful.
You're right that people won't shift systems unless there is perceivable gain, though for SEO the advantage is pretty clear. Whether Google+ already has this in its platform or whether it will take the inevitable data breach at Facebook to scare people away or whether it will need something else to come along.
However, having recently nailed your colours to the mast by suggesting Facebook's IPO should be around 10^12 USD, what else are you going to say on the matter?
Forgive me if you heard this one but
Isn't this just a massive radial fan?
Make it easier
1) Stop the stupid activation shenanigans. People will either buy it or they won't. I bought it, stop threatening me. If you won't give me an update because I haven't "activated" my install and I suffer as a consequence I'll sue you. In fact I might sue you for threatening me in the first place. Make it easy for people to upgrade and install and market share will drive the reluctant to catch up.
2) Make the upgrade easier. AFAIK you can't go from XP to Windows 7. Maybe that has since been fixed but if not it is the best way to piss off your customers.
3) Get out of the browser wars. Buy Mozilla Corp if you want but stop trying to peddle outdated software with proprietary extensions as state of the art. IE 9 is *okay* until you look at anything even slightly mobile. Dump "compatability mode" and offer to fix those websites that would need it.
I like Windows 7 much more than XP - have it on bootcamp - but it still has some way to go in terms of usability. Am I the only one who suffers with windows that get moved to the top getting magically maximised?
What a load of trollfodder
Matt, have you ever heard of the PE ratio? How about the Robert Shiller PE 10?* A PE of 20 is already above the historical average and you are suggesting a PE of over 1000.
All pre-IPO stocks are overvalued at the moment as with nearly zero interest rates there are lots of freshly printed dollars chasing returns. But valuations are not values which is why such trends are called bubbles.
More coal please
This is a message from the Chinese National Union of Coalminers and the American Coal Lobby
Harping on about "global warming" was always going to lead to problems but it was also always more marketable than "human induced climate change" or electorally unpalatable discussions about the politics of oil.
Whether or not we understand the science of climate change, it's still probably too mindboggingly complicated for us to model properly. But that is not really a good reason for pollution as usual or sending more people to their deaths.
Anyway nice to see companies like Schneider Electric (re)introducing the "negawatt" to their advertising.
Will no one think of the copper?
Anything that encourages fibre optic over twisted pair is to be welcomed with open arms.
What are the arguments for the install?
1) This will leave me without a backup machine, currently a Mac Mini
2) Neither my Canon scanner, nor my OKI printer will work
3) I get some new eye candy and some more Apple lock in.
Pretty compelling upgrade.
Lawyers will love this
Anything that has been FCC certified will have to carry on working. If not it's the FCC who are liable.
So, in the blue corner we have the telcos and GPS industry both with deep pockets and in the red corner we have a company with a dodgy business model and rapidly dwindling cash reserves...
Okay, I'll bite
"But the way we know [where a visitor is from] is by the cookies".
Mr Worstall has managed plumb new depths after the "standards" fiasco. This statement is entirely untrue, cookies are used for maintaining state and if you really want to know where some is from you can always use the HTML5 Geo extensions to ask their permission.
Is this the end of journalism on El Reg as we know it? Or just a cunning plan by El Reg to show us what we will have to read if we don't opt-in into snooper cookies?
A few answers to other questions in a possibly vain attempt to stop the spread of ignorance:
* LSO's are covered just as much as http cookies;
* If free analytics are really worth that much then why are they given away? Answer because visitors are unwittingly paying the price by providing lots of personal information about their browsing habits; there are alternatives
* Snooping advertisers are selling the information they gather on your customers to your competitors;
* Omniture already conforms to European data protection legislation. Same origin cookies would be preferable with scrubbing (anonymisation of the IP address) as soon as possible
* The legislation will not be the end of the world as we know it
3 % GDP growth per annum is pretty damn good if you can get it. Anything above inflation, adjusted for population, is good. Unlikely for the US at the moment, though, with negative real rates inspiring various assets bubbles including tech stocks.
As the article suggests the predictions sound like a lot of wishful thinking. If investment in one area really does outstrip GDP for any period of time it can only mean either investing less in other areas or simply importing all the equipment. Also, how do such predictions square up with the cloud utopians who promise cheaper hardware?
Does Samsung really care?
Samsung electronics seems to be running at capacity and selling everything it can. Indeed, in some areas such as the gorgeous OLED screens it doesn't have enough capacity.
As for cachet - I'm not sure if other Apple competitors will want to be on the same books as such an "esteemed" customer, likely to get the best components both earlier and cheaper than they are.
Storm in a tea cup?
While somewhat undiplomatic Dotzler is probably entirely right. Corporates who really care should be submitting test cases to Mozilla and have a vested interest in upgrading regularly and ensuring their "enterprise requirements" are catered for.
The whole major, minor, patch release strategy has had a coach and horses driven through it by Google, who update your browser without your consent. Where's the hue and cry about that? Will Google provide LTS for its browser? Possibly, but it's just as likely to require regular new versions for working with its websites and applications and, as they are unlikely to work on Neanderthal Explorer, people will just have to bite the bullet.
I didn't say Ubuntu on phones
But Ubuntu will, apparently run on Android tablets and netbooks. Wouldn't surprise me if some people hadn't got it working on phones as well but I imagined it to be less useful on them.
475 MB here and apart from avoiding the recent itunes update I already have them all. Is his Jobness distributing little Stevie horcruxes?
Hope the IPv6 fixes include something that repairs the broken firewall - worked in 10.5 but has been broken in all the 10.6 releases.
- Analysis Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
- Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
- Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
- OK, we get the message, Microsoft: Windows Defender splats 1000s of WinXP, Server 2k3 PCs
- Episode 4 BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*