272 posts • joined Wednesday 18th June 2008 18:57 GMT
PCs too good
Much is made of the Tablet boom killing the PC, but in the workplace the real killer of the PC market is the PC itself. With a dual core PC and 2Gb RAM you don't really need a replacement cycle of anything less than five years for many users. If you're employees are on mandatory profiles and standard Office apps / server-based systems a dual core PC will work fine until it packs up. The IT Support team's focus is now on business critical / specialist PC replacements. And when the time does come to replace these PCs, the bottom of the range model will do.
This trend should have been obvious several years ago (it was to me, anyway) but I suspect that the Tablet success obscured the basic change in the PC market.
Wot, no computers
Imagine being told that you were only allowed to use your work computer for one hour a day, perhaps two. And that for the rest of the time you would have no access at all to your email or internet. If there was any work you couldn't get done between 9 and 5, you'd have to finish at home with your own personal computer. If that computer broke, you'd have to buy a new one or risk loosing your job.
Welcome to the world of school education.
The iPad may not be the ideal solution, but it is a solution to a problem many teachers don't want to admit to. Not surprising, really, as teachers do not work in the real world. A large number of kids in today's schools will be entering a University or workplace environment unprepared for the computer use requirements that will be placed upon them. Being able to use Google is now as important as being able to use a library, while using a spreadsheet to process data is as important as GCSE maths.
I love Star Trek: The Motion Picture's allegorical tale about how our quest for scientific knowledge can both empower us and dehumanize us. The two films I'd add are Dune and Sunshine, the first is a seminal Sci-Fi tale looking deep into the human soul, the second shows us that we don't need God to have a profound spiritual relationship with the universe.
There was the time I spent a whole day trying to figure out why a ceiling mounted projector kept cutting out after a random amount of time, but worked fine in the workshop. Turns out the installers had wired it into the same circuit that fed the old power-saving lighting system, and the power was cutting out because the sensor mounted in the corner of the room wasn't detecting any movement.
With the Zune and the Kin, MS were trying to launch a device into a market that already had good products. At the moment, there is no reasonably priced wireless media streaming device that works well. If you think there is, you obviously haven't actually used an Apple TV.
Re: Double standards
Samsung invents something really useful and the law forces them to let Apple use it. Apple invents the quadrilateral and the law bans Samsung from using it. The law, my friend, is an ass.
Death of a salesman
How quickly Apple has gone from taking cutting-edge technology and packaging it into a snazzy, if overpriced, "magical and revolutionary" device to trailing in the wake of the competition. iPhone 5 and now iPad Mini are devices that make Apple feel like Nokia did just before its collapse. I guess it just goes to show that monopolies really are uncompetitive - the vertical monopoly that is the famous walled garden has allowed Apple to make tonnes of dosh without having to plan for the future. Apple spend very little on R&D considering their huge revenue and that is now beginning to show. The question for the shareholders is whether or not the more-money-than-sense legions of brand enthusiasts will stick to the all-important Apple label now that it looks old and tired.
From a personal point of view, the whole Apple cycle has been fascinating. Very rarely do we get to see a big company expand so massively and then implode (I'm predicting that before the end of the decade Apple shares will be worth 1/10th what they are now) in such a small amount of time. Perhaps a new phrase will be spawned: "Apple Bubble"?
Did anyone notice that 52% of respondents were iPhone owners? This against a background population of 23% of smartphone being Apple devices. The sample group is clearly not representative, so this survey is utterly pointless. Perhaps El Reg should close down over July, as there's obviously not enough real news to keep their pages filled at this time of year.
Nokia produce some of the best hardware for mobile devices, so perhaps some kind of partnership deal between the two would be a good idea.
I don't think I've ever seen a more meaningless set of statistics than the "Installed base" figures supplied by Apple. My Galaxy Ace, which I got in Feb and is currently available for free on Vodafone for £15 a month, runs fine on Android 2.3. As it's a bottom of mid range phone I wouldn't expect it to run v4 of Android. The cheapest new iPhone I could have got is the iPhone 4, available at £36 a month on Vodafone, and I'd be pretty p*ssed off if it didn't support the latest version of iOS.
Look at the market and these figures tell you only one thing:- companies offer cheap mobiles that run older versions of Android and expensive mobiles that run the new version of Android. You might as well say that the average Jaguar owner has a bigger engine in their car than the average Ford owner.
Re: Have they never heard of the boy that cried wolf?
Unfortunately, runaway global warming is one of those things we do have to be afraid of, just like asteroid collisions, local supernovae, giant solar flares and mass volcanic activity. It's hard to say what the risk is, but it is a definite possibility (as the atmosphere of Venus demonstrates). As we have very little chance our outrunning a drifting black hole or other calamity, we should at least make an effort to minimise the risks of disasters we may have some influence over.
Considering the total overall cost of changing to renewable energy sources is minimal when compared to other big expenses (e.g. Credit Crunch, Iraq War) it seems churlish to cheap out on this possibly species saving caution. Blame the hyperbole if you want, or blame human stupidity - hopefully the policy makers will be a bit more careful than the sceptics.
March of the neophobes
A lot of people here are displaying two dimensional thinking. Metro apps aren't for touch devices, they're for the cloud.
Windows 8 is the world's first device-independent operating system. Throw in lots of cloud services and virtual desktops and you have a truly liberated computing workspace. Remember those dreams of carrying your OS around with you on a flash drive an plugging it in to whatever PC was handy, booting it up and having all your documents and programs there? Microsoft have created an operating system that does exactly that - only instead of needing a flash drive, you just need a Hotmail account log-in. Your XBox, mobile, tablet, PC, smart TV or even car computer console will all give you access to your personally tailored workspace at a moment's notice.
Windows 8 certainly feels like it's a while away from maturity, but it is a big step forward from anything else on the market in terms of the way it integrates many different computing models. Windows 8 itself may not be the future - it's a big gamble and may even spell the end for MS operating systems - but whatever replaces it will be nothing more than a refined version of the new computing model Windows 8 is providing.
Contract not worth digital paper
A contract has to be legal before it can be legally binding. Either Apple deliberately lied in its marketing (illegal) or it lied in its small print (also illegal).
Death of the walled garden?
Apple have tried to kill Flash because it doesn't work on their phones, so HTML5 has received a big push...but what does this mean for Apple's app store? Google is set up for the idea of a browser as a portal for cloud services, but Apple clearly isn't. If most popular apps end up being web apps, how will Apple control what their customers use? Will they require every HTML5 website to pass their quality control system or block access to their devices? At the moment the huge number of apps available to Apple devices is a big selling point, but if Apple start blocking lots of HTML5 websites the situation will flip over and Android and Windows devices will become more functional.
Office for iPad or productivity lite
This is the way I see it, If you REALLY need office, then you need a big screen (preferably two), a full sized keyboard and a mouse. If you're an office worker you also need to run databases, email, web etc at the same time in an easier to use way than the iPad can provide. If the world was all iPads, the Windows PC would have to be invented.
If you don't need full Office, then why not just use Office 365? That'll work on any device you use. My suspicion is this: there are quite a lot of execs, journalists, students and so forth who like to look like they need full office, but actually don't. These people will parade around with their Office loaded iPads for effect, whilst the rest of us use Office on proper computers to do real jobs.
Employees vs government vs hackers
Hacking is so last year. Why not just pay an employee with direct access to the database for details of medical records? I'm sure there are plenty of low-paid healthcare employees who would not be against taking a few buck in return to do an illegal data search for the ploice / your prospective employer / the press etc
Anyways, the real problem with the security of a medical mega-database is who the government legally allows access. Expect upcoming data trawls for DNA matching, for meta scans for medical insurance fraud, etc etc etc. And what about giving Google "limited, anonymous" access for marketing purposes?
Data is power, and the more easily a government can tie all our data up together the more power they have over us.
9) Capitalism is dead
9) Someone will bemoan the lack of free markets in Western Capitalism, suggest that the Patent system is biased towards American companies and then imply that Apple is inhibiting, rather than promoting, innovation in the tablet and smartphone biz. He will then wonder how Google is ever going to monetarize Android anyway. Finally, he will say that this whole thing just shows that we've learned nothing from the Credit Crunch.
Or possibly we'll see a trade war open up (though some may say we're already there) between East and West as governments back their favourites by biasing the results of patent conflicts. iPhones and Nokia / MS phones will be the only ones you can buy in the West and LG, Samsung, HTC, Sony, and the upcoming Chinese companies will sell exclusively in the East. Think I'll move to South Korea.
If it walks like a duck...
Far as I'm concerned, the HP usage of a memristor is an electronics component, not a part of an old skool electrical circuit. But then there's no real reason why there should only be a missing "fourth component" to go alongside capacitor, inductor and resistor. You could add superconductor, diode and some other components into the list if you wanted.
Basically, it's the functionality that matters and not how you get there. What we need is something that works like a memristor as per the description of its voltage vs current graph but which can be easily manufactured in very large amounts in a very small space without any moving parts. It may be easy to build a memristor on a big hunk of circuit board using existing components, but that isn't going to revolutionise computing. If HP are achieving a memristor on an equivalent scale to the transistors found in modern chips then I don't care if they're called a memristors or a duckristors.
IE in the workplace
Form a support point of view, IE is just easier than Chrome or FireFox. There are aspects of browsers which don't really matter at home but are important in the work-place. For example, if Chrome doesn't work properly with a website at home you just write it off as "one of those things". If Chrome doesn't work properly with a website at work, you'd be on to tech support asking them to fix it. At home, the inadequacies of FireFox and Chrome are hugely outweighed by the advantages, but in the workplace the inadequacies are much more significant and the advantages much smaller. You may not see the difference as a user, but to a support tech in a large company with a network built upon an MS infrastructure they're a big deal.
One thing about the stats:- considering how many people are allegedly spending all their time on the web using their iPads, and that this is the year of the tablet, why has the growth in Safari been so small?
Remember Friends Reunited? The first modern style social networking website committed business suicide by trying to charge users for services they either didn't really want / need or could get for free elsewhere. It was launched three years before MySpace and four years before Facebook and was market leader for a while. Now it's worth a fraction of its peak valuation and used by hardly anyone.
It's a tricky one, this, because no-one wants to shoot the goose that lays the golden eggs. No-one has successfully moved a web-based service from free-to-use to subscription paid yet and so everyone's playing chicken. Could Apple charge for access to iTunes cloud service? Could Amazon charge a small subscription to access its on-line store? Probably. But what if it's just enough to push customers towards a new site that does most of the same stuff?
We have seen that new services spring up very quickly on-line. Breaking into the market for web-based services is much easier that most traditional industries. It's so easy to add infrastructure - no new factories have to be built - that up-sizing is cheap and quick, and that means established names are a lot less established than they'd like to be. Truth is, there are a lot of Facebook users who don't really need it at all. Charge me five quid a month and I'd leave today. Charge me five quid a year and I'd stay but start using Google+ in the hope that others would. Once enough people were on both I'd switch. And there are a lot of kids around who'll switch as soon as Facebook seems uncool, and they'll drag a lot of us with them. Parents will follow the kids, friends and relatives of these parents will follow and soon everyone will have moved.
Thing is, we have very little personally invested in existing web services because we all know the market is going to change. I have absolutely zero expectation that I'll be using Amazon, Facebook or even MS Windows in fifty years time. The knowledge that we'll have to move to a different service every so often is built in to the consumer mindset. Thus, the last thing Facebook et al want is a proper marketplace for their services. $5bn a year is not as much as $30bn, but its a lot more than $0! Rather, Facebook will probably do what Apple do now with iTunes music and app stores - skim money off the top for paid-for products and services that are supplied through their channel whilst keeping the channel free to access.
It may not generate as much money, but charging only for extras keeps the freetards happy.
Martin Bormann was (and possibly still is) a high-ranking WW2 Nazi whose death is surrounded by conspiracy theory, with some claiming his DNA-identified remains are not actually his remains at all, and that he is still hiding away somewhere. Naming a Brazilian petrol station after him is a nice bit of trollery.
In a liberal democratic capitalist economy, the principle of private ownership underpins our whole political philosophy. The idea that the goods I buy belong to me and that no-one can tell me what I can and can't do with them (within the laws of the State) is a fundamental right, up there with my right to sell goods and services, the right to vote and the right to a fair trial.
When you buy an iPhone, Apple are asking you to waive your right to ownership of your own property. A government that is doing its job should not allow this any more than it should allow you to sell your vote. Problem is, our governments quite like Apple because governments don't actually believe in the principle of private ownership of property. They want you to pay for expensive gadgets, but only want you to use them in ways that serve their purposes.
As Adam Smith said in The Wealth of Nations
"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is, in reality, instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have property against those who have none at all."
Companies like Apple deprive people of their basic rights with the tacit approval of elected governments on the basis that it's better for all concerned if citizens act like mindless sheep. Unelected company bosses like Jobs are believed to be in a better position to decide how we use our own phones than we ourselves are. The fact that so many idiots are happy to trade their hard-won rights for a few shiny baubles threatens the rights of the rest of us. If it ever becomes generally accepted that companies have the right to stop consumers from carrying out legal activities with their products, then liberal capitalist democracy will be dead and we should sign up to the communist manifesto ASAP on the basis that, given a choice over who owns all property on our behalf, it's probably safer if the government does the job than despotic industrialists like Steve Jobs.
Nobody panics when things go "according to plan."
Unfortunately, all the undercover police are currently busy keeping tabs on the various anti-capitalist protests going on around the world. I'm afraid protecting our millionaires and billionaires is far more important than keeping our children safe.
Does copyright legislation exist to serve individual companies or society as a whole? What I'd like to hear is Apple's arguments on how banning the Samsung Tab is good for the American people. There is always a tension in a liberal democracy with regards to how much freedom you allow big companies. Allow too much freedom and, ironically, the market itself becomes less free. The bigger Apple has become, the less genuine competition there is.
It may be that Apple do have a strong case under existing laws. I suggest that the fault is, therefore, not with Apple, but with the legislation. Evolutionary theory has demonstrated that it is the case that different "product lines" (i.e. species) appealing to specific niches tend towards similar physical designs. Australia has many marsupials that look and behave the same as mammals in similar climate regions on other continents. In this way, we can say that the evolution of certain products will tend towards the same design simply because that design is the most efficient.
In this way, rewarding a company that discovers the most efficient physical form by banning other companies from using it forces other companies to use a sub-optimal design. This means one of two things: the originator of the "ideal" design becomes a monopoly, competition is crushed and innovation is dramatically reduced OR enough users say "FU I'm gonna buy something different" and put up with a sub optimal design simply to try and break the monopoly.
A good example of how allowing competitors to share an ideal physical form benefits consumers is the car market. All modern cars look largely the same because they have all reached a similar ideal body shape. Do the spot the difference test on most cars and you wouldn't be able to easily tell the brands apart. What would have happened to the car market if the first modern shape car maker had been allowed to patent the look? A considerable amount of energy would be wasted as other car manufacturers were obliged to build less aerodynamic cars. Their cars would have had a higher running cost and be less roomy and so would have suffered. The dominant car owner would not have had to innovate, and many of the recent innovations we've seen (mostly in safety) would have been delayed or may never have happened.
It's tempting to look at Apple and think that we must reward them for being innovative. However, the mobile phone market can be interpreted a different way. Apple aren't particularly innovative. Nokia and RIM, the dominant market brands in the consumer and enterprise markets before the iPhone, became so powerful they stopped innovating. Rather than congratulating Apple for heralding the era of the smartphone, we should be cursing Nokia and Blackberry for holding up the smartphone.
In this way we should not be congratulating Apple over the iPad so much as cursing Microsoft for holding it back so long. It was Windows Vista, not iOS, that led to Apple's overnight success with their tablet. Had MS not been so dominant and so lacking in innovation, HP, who have made tablet PCs for ages, would almost certainly have produced an enterprise equivalent of the iPad years ago. To give Apple a monopoly over their particular tablet design would be to encourage exactly the same sort of behaviour that held up the mobile computing revolution in smartphones and tablet PCs in the first place!
Clash of the Titans
Samsung is the world's biggest consumer electronics company, Apple is the world's fastest growing consumer electronics company. Samsung is where Apple wants to be, but Samsung has recently taken aim at Apple's two most important markets: smartphones and tablets. If Samsung can match their smartphone success with the Galaxy Tab, then Apple will find the door to the No. 1 spot slammed shut.
That's what this is all about - HP is moving out of consumer electronics, Sony is losing money hand-over-fist and LG and Toshiba are well within reach. Apple will probably overtake those two in terms of revenue in the next few years. That leaves Samsung and Panasonic, and Panasonic appear to have no real interest in smartphones or tablet PCs. Napolean and Hitler both failed in their bids for world domination by trying to fight a war on two fronts. Apple is not making the same mistake!
It's a phone!
A phone's a phone's a phone. There's very little difference between any modern smartphone and anyone who really thinks they're buying something that stands out heads-and-shoulders above the competition is an idiot. My 3 1/2 year old Nokia running Symbian is not particularly different from an iPhone 4GS.
I can make calls, text, make video calls and send-receive push email.
I can take pictures and video.
I can play music, which I can download direct to the phone.
I have GPS.
I can surf the net.
I can check all my social websites.
I have bluetooth.
I have a USB connection.
I can update software / firmware over the air.
I can play games.
OK, so it's slow and I don't have access to a gajillion apps. But so what? Look at it this way. If someone said that you had to pay £100 a year just to access your iPhone-specific apps (i.e. apps you can't get on other platforms) would you do it? 'Cause that's essentially what you're doing when you buy a new iPhone.
If people with lots of spare money want to believe they're buying into something special with Apple, let 'em. They're not, of course!
Productivity? Why not Windows 8?
If you can get by with an iPad at work, then either:
1) You are a lot less important to your company than you think you are.
2) Your field of business is a lot less skilled than you claim it is.
3) You want to show off how important you are by pissing away good company money on an over-priced executive toy.
4) You don't actually need a mobile computer to do your job at all.
Actual productive workers need a mobile device with a proper OS because otherwise they can't do their jobs.
Copyright exists to:
1) Protect small inventors from having their ideas nicked / exploited without them getting money.
2) To guarantee revenue / investment cycle for big companies.
Point 1) is obviously a matter of social contract between a citizen and the State. The State encourages inventors by guaranteeing a fair share of any money made from their invention. Point 2) is justified on the basis that it serves society to allow big companies to restrict the use of their inventions. By ensuring employment and encouraging innovation, we all benefit from companies saying who can and can't use their ideas. However, the moment at which a company's use of intellectual property rights stops being beneficial to society, that company loses the moral right to control its intellectual property.
I'd argue that whilst Apple is sticking to the letter of the law, it's not sticking to the principle of the law. It's abusing a well-intentioned system and making a mockery of US and EU legislators, basically thumbing its nose at those who allow it to hold intellectual property rights in the first place (ie, us voters). By selectively using property rights to stifle competition and protect its own revenue at the expense of innovation from other manufacturers, Apple is acting in a way that directly contradicts the basic principle of an intellectual rights system. Modern tech companies are inherently interdepenent on each others ideas and if Apple does not stop willingly, then the laws need to change. Guarantee revenue, yes, but don't prevent others developing products underpinned by a particular idea. Imagine how much long-term damage would have been done to Western society if ideas such as using four wheels on a car or having a CRT screen in a TV had been as highly restricted as Apple's current patents are being. We'd probably all be speaking Russian and driving around in Ladas.
Damned either way
Until Windows Vista came out, everyone complained continually and vociferously about how insecure Windows computers were. Apple used the security of Macs as one of their main selling points and sites like this gleefully poked fun at MS whenever a major security hole was found. Now Linux fanbois are saying MS should not implement security features because they actually quite like the fact that Windows computers are less secure than Apple ones.
As a model for business PCs, the closed box approach is fine. It's a waste of money to add RAM to out-of-warranty PCs in this environment especially now that MS have finally gotten off the hardware upgrade requirement cycle for their OS (just as I predicted they would have to when Vista came out). As for laptops - well, what percentage of home laptop users ever upgrade them anyway? I'd say a very small percentage, and those who have done in the past had to because they moved from XP to Vista / W7. The move from Vista/W7 to W8 will not need a RAM upgrade because MS now designed OSes to make best use of the hardware available, rather than expecting businesses to go out and buy new computers specifically to use new OS. As for installing an old MS OS on a new computer - you ever heard of Virtualisation? Seriously, who wants to run XP as their main OS on a quad core PC with 4Gb RAM?
I am a libertarian at heart, and I really do hope there will be enough of a market for up-gradable mobos to keep the geeks happy. However, to expect MS to base the design of their OSes around the desires of a tiny fraction of the consumer base is stupid. Widely used open Linux was only ever a fantasy and Linux users should count themselves lucky that they've been allowed to free-ride on the back of MS, Intel innovation etc over the last decade. The real future for Linux is in custom made hardware a la Chrome / Samsung laptops. Apple's hardware is designed for Apple OS, MS hardware is designed for MS OS and so why should Linux be any different?
Before everyone gets their knickers in a twist, lets be clear what's being said here:
Windows 8 on ARM systems will not run x86 apps out of the box.
Is that surprising? No. Would Apple ever try to get Mac software to run directly on the iPad? No chance! If MS did provide out of the box support for old software, would most reviewers and users complain about how poor performance is and battery life is for Windows 8 on ARM systems? Definitely - even though it's in no way MS fault.
There will be ways round this:
1) Cloud based virtualisation.
2) Server based virtualisation.
3) Hyper-V (when it's ported, which it probably will be) virtualisation.
4) Cloud-based replacements (e.g. Office 365).
Not only this, but lets face it... how many ARM computers are going to have the grunt needed to run x86 apps properly anyway? Anything with any real hardware demands will need to be re-written. CAD software on what is essentially a netbook?
Businesses and home users need to get real - if you expect to run old software designed for a single-core P3 or P4 PC with permanent mains supply and dedicated graphics processor etc on a 1GHz quad-core tablet / budget laptop smoothly without sucking the battery dead in five mins you're deluding yourself. Look at Motorola's experience with Android - 7/10 returns for Motorola handsets are (apparently) down to the user installing poorly written apps that make the phone unstable and kill the battery. And those apps are deigned to work on the hardware in question!
And let's get off this whole app thing. The big selling point of W8 is that it is universal user experience, not that it has loads of apps. Most home users won't want to run old applications on their W8 tablets any more than they'd want to run them on their smartphone. What MS are offering is the same way of accessing all your cloud-based stuff from all devices, be it Xbox, phone, PC, netbook, smartphone, virtual server session etc. Yes, lack of apps will slow sales for tablets - but I'd suggest this is short-term only and in the business sector is already more than compensated for by native support for all the MS products that most businesses already use.
So, realism is called for. MS don't help themselves, that is true, but posters on El Reg should know better. Will Windows 8 become the dominant OS on tablets? Not for a while. Will ARM become the dominant architecture on computers? Also, not for a while. Remember, the RISC / CISC debate back at the turn of the millennium? The only way ARM will ever seriously take off for productivity computing is when all those old x86 apps are rewritten or moved into the cloud - irrespective of what Windows 8 does or doesn't run.
This is not a Windows 8 issue, it's an ARM issue.
All thinsg to all men (and women)
Basically, MS have done an Apple - taken loads of other people's ideas and stuck them together in an original and useful way. Most significant development in OSes since Windows 95, integrating the three threads of modern computing - mobile, traditional & cloud computing - in a way no-one else has done yet.
The question we're missing here is not "how could this decision be made?", but "why was this decision made?" Lets not forget that the US has a strong political influence in Germany stretching back to the end of WW2. There's currently 50,000 US troops stationed in Germany (bet you didn't know that!) and the US has a net trading deficit with Germany worth $30bn to the German economy each year.
Then there's the bigger picture. Trade between Europe and the US is worth hundreds of billions of dollars to EU economies, and over two trillion Euros of mutual stock investments exist between the US and the EU. Trade between the EU and China are also very important, and who is one of China's biggest rivals? South Korea, home of Samsung.
In other words, it serves the German people to ban Samsung devices in Germany because it improves relations with the US and with China. Apple may have instigated the lawsuit, but German politicians will be quite happy to see the ban upheld. If Germany had turned round to Apple and told them to sling their hook, Germany would have lost out.
That is the clever part of what Apple did. The EU courts are much more pro free-market trade than the individual EU nations. If the European Courts had been asked to make a judgement they would have told Apple to bugger off. By attacking an individual EU member Apple took advantage of self-serving nationalism (of which Germany has plenty) and bypassed the higher ideals of the EU.
So, where is the EU? It really is time the EU government stepped in and gave Apple a firm rap on the knuckles for their anti-competitive activities.
Nokia: Good hardware, OK OS, no apps
Thing is, if you want a mid-range smartphone phone that has a good camera, good audio for music, good signal reception and an adequate web browser you'd have to go with Nokia. If you are happy to overlook a little sluggishness and don't care about apps, you'd have to pay an extra £100 to £200 to get an equivalent Android or Apple handset to Nokia devices.
Mobile computing seems to be turning into a real-world game of Risk. Apple currently has the US sown up thanks to national protectionism whilst Samsung has South Korea for the same reason and now India thanks to India's dislike of what it sees as US intellectual property rights Imperialism. Expect these two companies to be doing big deals with large public sector organisations around the globe over the next few years in an attempt to capture entire national markets in one fell swoop.
Lest face it, if you want backwards compatibility and long-term support you don't buy Apple. Microsoft would never get away with this attitude - Windows 7 is more compatible with most old software than XP was!
Shurley shome mishtake?
This is great news, as I recently was granted the following patents.
Taking the P*ss (US patent 7,063,101): "Any IT systems patent which aims to make money from an idea which requires no innovative ideas or investment or resources but serves only to make money out of the technologies applied by companies that actually do something useful."
Leech Patenting (US patent 7,198,000): "The use of poorly implemented intellectual rights legal systems to speculatively patent a specific IT concept before anyone actually has any plans to seriously implement it in the hope that one day it will be used by a giant corporation."
I stand to make a lot of money here!
Students like beer
So, students like booze. Who'd have thunk it! Of course, the real cost of booze comes in when you're looking for a job and you've got a grade lower in your degree than your low alcohol consuming contemporaries thanks to the well documented harm done by alcohol consumption to your sleep and your mental capabilities when you've finally sobered up.
Restriction of trade
I'd have thought he'd have a much better case for suing Apple under restriction of trade laws. It seems plausible that Apple rejected this App purely on the basis of not wanting to allow someone to make money so they could use the name and logo for themselves.
I think it's also worth pointing out a very important legal principle that applies in the UK. Contracts are not automatically binding. If a contract breaches existing legislation it is invalid, even if both parties agree to the contract. Apple may think they're legally covered by their agreement with the submitter of an app to allow them full use of the code, but this is only true AFTER the case has gone to court and the Judge has decided in Apple's favour. A Judge would, if existing laws are such, be within his remit to declare that Apple's contract was an abuse of their position and stood in the way of trading activities already protected by law. Until a Judge makes a decision, the contract is in a state of legal uncertainty in the UK. Ironically, had the student not sold his app another way and remained impoverished he may have qualified for legal aid. As it is, he'd have to spend his well-earned cash taking on Apple and he may simply run out of money before a final decision was made.
This case (and others like it) show that the British legal system really hasn't caught up with the digital age. It should be such that the successful submission of an app to the App store grants Apple the right to have exclusivity in its sale, but that the copyright to the source code is retained by the originator - this would bring it in line with other creative works such as music or literature.
One thing, though - if Apple have used his code in any way, they will not be able to patent it.
Spy vs Spy
Apple's moment of genius was in realising it couldn't beat Microsoft and Intel at their own game. The overwhelming majority of proper computers currently run Windows, will still be running Windows in ten years time and may still be running Windows at the turn of the next millennium. The same is true of servers. Both will also be using Intel architecture for the foreseeable future - in fact, Apple now pay lots of money to Intel, an idea that would have been ridiculed by Mac fanbois just ten years ago.
No, the real fight of the 21st century has been between Sony and Apple... and Sony have had their butts well and truly kicked.
Now that the battle with Sony has been won, Apple face their biggest opponent yet: Samsung. Samsung is a global behemoth - one of the world's biggest conglomerates, its electronics arm has a revenue twice that of Apple and it's breaking into areas where Apple have been making most of their money. The Samsung Galaxy S is currently outselling the iPhone 4 in the UK and the eagerly awaited new Galaxy Tab is shaping up to be the first serious competitor to the iPad.
Whether the American corporation can hold out against Samsung and other competitors is a serious question. Apple have so far been playing the role of the plucky underdog, but now they are one of the big players. Unfettered growth can no longer be expected and the maintaining of market share is now what Apple need to focus on. Will the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 be able to hold their own against the next generation of Samsung, HTC, Blackberry, Nokia etc etc products? The early teasers of Windows 8 suggest another big ground-shift in mobile computing with the hybridisation of mobile and traditional OSes - a one-size-fits-all OS that will allow seamless transition between PC, tablet and smartphone. Google's Chrome OS promises a cloud-based seamless experience which should offer PC level computing on tablet hardware, thus cutting the cost of hardware well beneath that of both Apple and MS computers. It's no longer enough for Apple to focus on leading the way. The lack of innovation in the iPhone 3G S and the iPhone 4 has shown that Apple's dynamic edge has suffered under a desire to diversify - there's only so much creativity to go round at Apple, and perhaps their sales and revenue figures have grown faster then their product development base can support in the long run.
OS is to operating system as app store is to application store
The issue here is that "app" is a word that's been used as shorthand for a software application for years before the iPhone was released. "Store" is also a word that's been used in conjunction with another word to mean a shop for a specific product for many years. "App store" is no different from "shoe shop". It doesn't matter who popularises a term - copyright is about who invents a term.
However, the shorthand term for an Operating System isn't "windows", it's "OS". The only reason we associate the word "Windows" with an OS is because of Microsoft - after all, the GUI's windows is only one aspect of an operating system. Hence, MS has a valid argument for protecting the use of the word when it is applied to the name of an OS.
The mistake Apple made was in not coining their own term for a smartphone application so that they could take advantage of their early market dominance to build up an unconscious association between their own name and the generic provision of smartphone applications. They should have done something similar to Shuh, who have not copyrighted the word "shoe" but have effectively protected a word that is instantly synonymous with footwear. If Apple had simply gone with the "iApp Store" then there wouldn't be a problem.
There is a reason why Apple didn't use iApp store. What the competitors are accusing Apple of is that they're not trying to protect their intellectual property, but restrict the trade of other companies. Apple, they imply, know that if they can stop other companies referring to their own store as an "app store" they can inhibit the sales of their competitor's phones and tablets. This, they will claim in court, should be illegal and so the court should rule against Apple.
Hmmm. When I have to use a computer with Office 2003 installed on it, I feel like I've stepped back in time about fifteen years. Office 2010 compared to Office 2003 is kinda like the difference between Windows 7 and Windows 95. I've been using a Windows shell replacement for years because Explorer is so woefully under-powered. Adding a shed-load of extra functions may dismay the easily confused, but for those of us who have the ability to learn new tools it's going to be great. Why the hell didn't MS do this sooner!
NASA - S as in Space
NASA can provide all the data they want from their space-borne measurements, but let's not forget this is a space science agency, not a climate science body, and is an organisation entirely under control of the US government and completely in bed with the US military industrial system. You don't go to your local Vegan store to find out about the best way to cook chicken; you don't go to NASA to find out how much extra O2 we should expect to get from plants.
Having said that, the only meaningful debate over climate change is (and always has been) over whether or not there are cooling systems out there that will counter the CO2 warming effect that definitely is happening. We're in the position of hoping that what we're doing to the atmosphere will not result in the catastrophic climate change we expect to take place. The NASA presented model is almost certainly a best-case scenario, but it may prove correct. So is it sensible to run the world on the assumption that things won’t get worse than the best-case scenario? No, it’s not.
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