928 posts • joined 8 May 2009
Re: Why not blame Microsoft
Elop, for all his flaws (and apparent ignorance of the Osborne Effect), was "parachuted" into a basket-case of a company whose woes date back to the adoption of a platform, Symbian, that was designed for the mobile technologies of the 1990s, not the 2000s, let alone the 2010s.
Symbian shared many design flaws with Microsoft's much-loathed MFC. And for similar reasons: both were built on C++, but that language was still in flux during the 1990s, with the result that many OOP concepts were not particularly well implemented in the language itself and required all sorts of hacky workarounds. The most visible example of this was Symbian's decision to roll its own memory management system. This made your code much more difficult to port, for example.
Symbian was also clearly designed by people who genuinely believed that 'correctness' was the most important thing, so the API demanded pages and pages of sub-classing, just to perform the most basic of operations. And they didn't give a damn about making the developer's life easier. No decent IDEs, no design tools, no consistency across the UI-layer APIs. Nada. You had to do it all the hard way. Because, masochism. Think GNU / Linux development circa 1998.
So, Nokia's main platform was a technological dead-end. It was never going to work in an era of mobile devices powerful enough to run proper, hairy-chested, grown-up operating systems like *BSD, Linux, or Windows NT. Its lifespan was therefore inherently limited. But Nokia's management had no consistent Plan B. They bickered endlessly, duplicated efforts, and let petty empires and management politics get in the way of running a damned company.
Nokia's original management team royally f*cked up. This was NOT Elop's fault as he wasn't there during any of this.
By the time Elop was brought on board, the mobile division was already a massive basket-case and clearly in its death throes. Elop looked about desperately to find an alternative to Symbian. In 2010, Android was still very half-baked and no better than any other option. (This was the Android 2.x period.) At this point in time, Windows Phone looked just as viable as any other option, and Elop had worked for Microsoft, so he presumably felt having contacts there would be useful. He didn't know anyone at Google.
Elop did make some mistakes, but the leaking of the "burning platforms" memo is not something he can be directly blamed for. (My money's on it being leaked by a disgruntled member of the outgoing management team.) This resulted in the predictable Osborne Effect, effectively destroying what little chance the mobile division may have had of surviving intact as part of the larger Nokia group. With nobody buying their old tat, Nokia had to find a buyer for the division.
Elop's connections at Microsoft made the latter an obvious choice, but Microsoft weren't actually that interested. That Elop pulled off the purchase regardless is therefore not a "failure" as many seem to believe: had he not achieved this, there would be no Nokia Lumia phones today: the division would most probably have been closed down entirely. Believe it or not, this made Nokia's shareholders happy, not sad. They don't care how their goose makes those golden eggs, as long as it keeps laying them and making them money.
Re: Apple failed to kill Android
"The problem was that Apple failed to sue Google and the Android Open Source Project for copying the Apple designs..."
Apple started suing Samsung (and others) back when Android was still a babe among mobile operating systems, and looked so much like iOS that nobody was seriously attempting to explain the similarities as anything other than a very sincere form of flattery. Some manufacturers today are still chancing their arm by blatantly ripping-off iOS. If you don't believe me, check this out. Samsung's early Android phones were pretty similar rip-offs, though they've moved a long way away from that approach since then, helped by improvements and changes in later Android releases.
The reason why Apple didn't sue Google directly is simple: Google don't charge for Android licensing, so it's difficult to prove that Google benefit materially from ripping-off iOS given that Android is deliberately designed to be skinnable, and has been pretty much since the beginning. (Otherwise, that rip-off Chinese device linked to above wouldn't be possible.)
Google didn't get where they are today without learning how to cover their corporate arse. Suing the licensees rather than the licensor therefore makes a lot more sense.
"But maybe it's been a bit too long since Apple did anything really exciting and innovative."
Strange how so few reporters (and El Reg readers) understand the basics of good design. I recommend Donald A. Norman's seminal "The Design of Everyday Things". It's surprisingly full of clues, which is clearly something Mr. J. Hamill lacks.
Here's a hint: "innovation" is most emphatically not limited to hardware alone.
Re: Look! Justin Bieber has a new zit!
I thought it was just me who thought this "bendgate" bollocks was being blown out of proportion.
My eyesight being a bit rubbish means smaller phones are no longer of any earthly use to me as I can barely read them, so big screens it is. So, I own a 6" Nokia Lumia 1320, which means nobody gets to call me a "fanboi". (Yes, I keep it in a nice, chunky flip-cover case. I'm not an idiot: it has to share a trouser pocket with my house keys.)
I did check out a Note 3 and a similarly sized Wiko model, but Nokia's build quality is best described with words like "outhouse" and "brick" and it's been holding up pretty well so far.
No consumer electronics product is designed to take the kind of deliberate abuse shown in the video. If you look closely, you can see the screen starting to separate when he tried to bend the Android product. And let's not even mention Samsung's own woes. (Oh, right: nobody has. Odd, that.)
"I have absolutely no problem with Microsoft collecting info on my beta copy."
WHAT "beta copy"?
Microsoft haven't released a beta version of Windows 10: there is only a Technology Preview, which means it's not even at the Alpha test stage yet. The final release is almost a year away!
Microsoft explicitly warned you to expect "a UI design that might change significantly over time." That's copied verbatim from here. You have no excuse for not reading that section. None.
So the GUI is clearly still a work in progress. Nothing is nailed down. Features are being added. Others might be taken away, tweaked, or replaced wholesale.
In short: this is NOT a "beta" release.
As you appear to be unaware of what a beta release is supposed to be, allow me to explain: a beta release—despite Google's attempts to suggest otherwise—is feature-complete, with development of new features frozen: no new features are allowed to be added to the codebase beyond this point. (Any new features that aren't in the beta are automatically kicked into the next release cycle.)
Beta releases are the last leg of the journey towards release. Right now, Windows 10 has only just left the starting gate.
Oh for f*ck's sake...
"Most of the so called innovation in the Iphone 6 (such as bonk to pay) has been in Android phones for years."
Apple's innovation wasn't the inclusion of NFC support in their phone (and watch). Apple's innovation was in the software that works with it, integrating it into the OS. Apple also went the extra mile in sorting out the back-end too. They got MasterCard, Visa and Amex on board.
Did Google bother doing that for Android phones? Did they feck.
While Android manufacturers scream "FRIST!" at every opportunity, they rarely bother with the much harder job of making sure each shiny new feature is actually useful. There's a vast chasm between fitting a component and a basic driver, and the far more difficult task of integrating it properly into the user experience.
El Reg readers really do need to stop viewing software and hardware as if these were two entirely separate domains that should always be treated individually. It's a bloody stupid way of approaching product design and always has been. The two components are of equal importance in producing something that is genuinely usable and meets the needs of the customer.
The reason Apple have been running away with all the cash isn't because they're really good. It's because their competitors have been so spectacularly bad.
And this is despite Apple literally spelling out exactly what their business model and philosophy in damned near every cheesy corporate identity advert they make. (Including, please note, the "not caring about being first" bit, which they explicitly state in that linked example.)
Re: Ok, how about some calculations Tim
"What gets me is how tiny the engines are on these huge ships, and how little power they use to move stuff around."
If memory serves, this is because the power you need to move a ship through water increases linearly with volume, rather than exponentially. Brunel's Great Eastern was sold to investors on this basis, and it's why there's still a continuing trend for ever larger ships. Bigger ships are more efficient.
Re: environmental cost
Except it's not nasty, toxic "waste": It's granite. (Mr. Worstall explained that the hill he owns is full of tin ore, and that said ore tends to be found in granite.)
Crushed granite, granted, but washing that down into a nearby stream isn't going to harm it any more than washing the topsoil into said stream does. It's a perfectly natural rock. (And as Mr. Worstall patiently explained, the sea does plenty of rock-crushing all by itself. How do you think sandy beaches happen?)
Besides, there are other uses for crushed rocks. Construction aggregate, for example, is mostly crushed rock, for example. And you need a lot of aggregate in construction. It's what you mix with cement to make concrete.
No, my only quibble with Mr. Worstall's article is use of "Mr. Henry". And he's not the only one to make this mistake...
The manufacturer is Numatic—both British-owned and British made, which is more than can be said for Dyson—while their vacuum cleaners are simply "Henry", "Hetty", "Charles", etc. Their wet and dry vacuum models are "Charles" and "George". "Henry" is their low-end model and doesn't do wet vacuuming, so I'd not recommend using one for hoovering an Asian beach, no matter how long the extension cord is, as Henry would not have such a happy face for long.
"Android owners are just the ones all around that dont feel the need to buy status symbols, they don't care what others think."
Then would you mind awfully explaining why you and your peers insist on telling us, over and over and over and over again, at tedious fucking length, how much you "don't care what others think" every bloody time there's a news story about Apple?
Re: Well done!
"Average users install software everyday, they restore Windows everyday, they are perfectly able to install an OS with a gui interface."
Eh? "Average users" don't have a f*cking clue what an operating system even is, let alone why they should have to piss away 20-40 minutes of their lives waiting for it to install.
When I buy a car, or a washing machine, or any other fucking appliance, I expect it to work out of the box. That's what most people here seem to be failing to understand. 99% of the people out there couldn't give a flying toss what their hammer is powered by, as long as it bangs in the damned nails.
The OS is a component. It is not—and never has been—the alpha and the omega of IT. It's just a program that lets you run other programs. Stop treating it as if it were special.
Besides, if "competition" were truly what most people were after, why are you trying to do down Microsoft when their OS is practically the only non-UNIX-based choice available? Or do you genuinely believe that an OS designed back in the days of flared trousers and The Clangers is the only OS worth keeping in the 21st century? Because, from where I'm sitting, that's a bloody sight more dangerous to our industry's long-term future than anything Microsoft has ever done—and I include all their business shenanigans in that.
As for the court case: this is Italy. It'll have taken years to grind through the system—Italy's legal system makes continental drift look fast—so is probably referring to a purchase made back when Charles Babbage was still alive. I doubt it'll have any lasting repercussions. Especially as Windows hasn't had a "90% share" of the desktop / laptop market for some time now.
Re: Not all the same...
So the OS and ecosystem don't matter at all, then? They're completely equal across all platforms? Really?
Strange how the Snowden Files™ have caused such an uproar in the media, yet people are still happy to hand over their every personal detail to a company that has been doing much the same thing since it sold its first online ad.
I wouldn't touch anything tainted by Google if they *paid me* to take one of their malware-infested pieces of overrated crap off their hands. Not only does Google not value my privacy, they've built an entire business empire on invading it. So, yes, I'm willing to pay a little bit more to avoid that. Apple might not be perfect, but they know good UX design, and they're not in the business of selling *me*.
Re: False analogy
Er, no. Copyright infringement is just a fancy name for counterfeiting.
It's still wrong. It just has nothing to do with stealing paintings by long-dead artists from a publicly-funded gallery. (If nothing else, the quote is a perfect illustration of why politicians should never be allowed to have any real power.)
Counterfeiting is wrong for the exact same reason printing duplicate banknotes is wrong: it devalues the item. The more money you print, the less that money is worth. The more copies you make of a copyright-protected item, the less value each individual copy has. In effect, you're reducing the value of the work the creator made, which in turn reduces their ability to sell it.
The fact that computers make this kind of counterfeiting easy is irrelevant. Most crimes aren't that difficult to commit: It's not that hard to point a gun and shoot people, or grab a knife from a kitchen drawer and stab someone with it. Dropping a few grains of poison into a cup of tea isn't technically all that difficult either.
However, most people tend not to do so. Because most people aren't arseholes.
Re: Putting a tablet to your ear is not cool
So, you've not heard of this new-fangled "Bluetooth" technology, then?
Re: Just change the UI
Ironic that the only two companies that have actually done more to push the industry forwards of late are the ones constantly accused of not "innovating" any more. As if innovation is a tap you can just turn on and off on demand.
Say what you will about Windows 8.1, but at least Microsoft are *trying* to do something new. They're taking risks and trying new ideas, which is more than any bugger else seems to be doing these days. That ModernUI, with its typography-led approach is apparently so awful, nobody has been inspired by it in any way at all. Except, that is, for pretty much everyone and their dog. Even Apple's iOS 7 took some cues from it.
It says a lot about the state of this industry that Apple's only real competition in UX design today is Microsoft. Nobody else is even *trying*.
Re: Bloody Daleks again this week
[SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the episode yet, look away now.]
I'm glad I wasn't the only one who wondered about the Godzilla-sized dinosaur. T. Rex – on which the dinosaur is clearly based – only grew to about 40-odd feet tall, which is smaller than the Sovereign's Entrance at the foot of the Queen's Tower. The _really_ big dinosaurs were the herbivores, but even those would have been hard to spot if looking across London over the Houses of Parliament.
The poor standard of the foley work didn't help: at no point does the dinosaur ever sound like it's standing in the middle of a major river.
I think the fundamental problem here is that Moffatt just isn't a particularly good show-runner. RTD might not have been able to write a genre story worth a damn, (which is why he kept falling back on soap-style melodrama + comedy), but at least he knew how to produce a show. Even if it did include comedy farting aliens.
Others seem to be bothered by Clara's reaction to New Doctor™, but I'm not. Although she'd met the Doctor's previous incarnations, she was clearly only aware of regeneration as an abstract concept. Actually seeing someone a good friend, whose life you literally just saved (and got "rebooted" into the bargain), change from Mr. Over-actor into Mr. McFurious right in front of your face—when the space-time machine you're both standing in is also about to crash—is bound to shake you up a bit. She's still a human being.
Yes. Windows Phone 8.1 actually a pretty decent OS and, crucially, available for cheap: Italians tend to buy SIM-free then get a PAYG SIM option, rather than signing up for long contracts. You can still get the latter, but Italians are nowhere near as interested in endless credit as other countries I could name.
Price is a big factor too. If you think the UK was a "rip-off", you should see the prices charged over here. I've seen differences of over €70 for the same product in France and Italy, despite both countries allegedly having the same currency. (Yes, Apple, I'm looking at you. As for you, Samsung, you're just as guilty.)
Dual-SIM phones are also popular due to the shite cellphone coverage once you step outside the cities. Apple don't make any of those, so you're left with either a Nokia, or some little-known brand of Android device. (Ever heard of a WIKO BARRY? No, me neither.)
Samsung seem to be trying to chase the same high-end market as Apple here, so they're not interested in the cheap and cheerful sector.
I suspect Italians aren't that big on buying apps either. Relatively few apps tend to be localised into Italian to begin with, so it's not as if there's a vast selection on any platform to choose from.
Re: The problem is the advertising/description
"In the Apple App Store, apps with in-app purchases are still marked as free. "
And also marked with the phrase Offers In-App Purchases directly under the "Download" button when opened in iTunes, or the iOS App Store. (Note that you cannot install the app except from inside iTunes or the iOS App Store. The link takes you to the 'shop window' page, but you can only view in iTunes or the iOS App Store. You can't download from there.)
You'll also note the list of "Top In-App Purchases" in both locations. It's rather hard to miss. Note, too, that the full description is required by Apple to state very clearly that in-app purchases are offered. This is non-negotiable.
Seriously, what more do people want? iOS 7 already makes it bastard hard to 'accidentally' make an in-app purchase. Even in earlier versions, iOS would ask you for your password after 15 minutes or so.
Re: Support your local library by using it
"The problem is we are all living in a post-scarcity era"
Last time I checked, the number of actual authors able to make a bloody living from writing was still relatively low. All that's happened is that the 'scarcity' has shifted to the content creators, rather than the content itself.
Authors aren't "gouging" anyone. Hell, Amazon actually offer a very good deal for authors who publish directly through them, or one of their in-house imprints.
Not only that, but they make it astonishingly easy to do. Compared to some of their rivals, publishing through Amazon directly is an absolute dream. They really do *grok* good design in the same way Apple do. And they don't limit the process solely to their customer-facing components either. Authors get the same attention to detail, and get published *within hours*, whereas a Big Publisher will sit on a manuscript for anywhere up to 18 *months* before publishing it.
I can do my own PR and marketing—Big Publishing only do a big splash if you're already a big name; I can hire a freelance editor myself; I don't need a massive advance that may, or may not, actually be paid...
... and I don't need to decipher some of the world's most creative accounting to work out why my "#1 New York Times Bestseller" has apparently not turned a penny in profit for me, while netting my publisher hundreds of thousands. Amazon, Apple and their peers pay *much* better than any of the traditional publishers. And they won't try and fleece you through onerous contracts that effectively assign your copyright to them for life.
It's Big Publishing who are screwing up on a massive scale. Simon & Shyster, Hatchet, and their ilk, can get stuffed. All of them. They dropped the ball many years ago and they're just flailing about in desperation now.
As for Amazon's dominance: it would *really* help if people stopped treating design like the unwanted ginger stepchild of software development. Anyone who's ever fought their way through Kobo's system will welcome Amazon's far easier system with open arms. Kobo's site is truly, truly awful. I'm sure they mean well, but it's easy to see why they've struggled to make any kind of impact.
It's a shame Steve Jobs' 'smoking gun' email caused Apple so much damage as they're Amazon's only real competition here. And for the same reason: they go out of their way to make extracting cash from customers as simple, easy and painless as possible. Their rivals seem to be hell-bent on making it as hard as possible for anyone to buy their products, or sell products through their marketplaces.
Amazon and Apple got where they are today by offering people what they wanted. Their rivals have had their clear, obvious lessons right in front of their faces for well over a decade now, so they have only themselves to blame for their own failure to learn from them.
"O Romeo! Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?"
"In jail charged with pedophilia, 'cos you're only 13 years old!"
Even William "How should I spell my surname this time?" Shakespeare was at it. Operation Yewtree clearly doesn't go far enough back in time.
You can prove anything with facts!
I find your lack of faith in the competence of national governments to maintain alien conspiracies for generations... well, not really all that disturbing, now that I think of it.
Apple couldn't give a toss about the general smartphone market. They're only interested in the high-margin markets. I.e. the high end. The people with the moolah. The people with dosh to slosh.
That's the only market worth chasing if you want to make a big, fat, profit. It's very much old-school business practice. And there's a good reason for that: Apple weren't born in the 21st century, or even in the 1990s. They were founded in the 1970s, when flared trousers and "Shaft" were both cool.
Apple are as old-school as you can get without being called either Microsoft or IBM. They're interested in making money, not viral videos, social networks, or bad photography.
Business is all about making a profit for the owner(s). That's the whole point of a business.
@Peter Gathercole (was: Re: @Robert Long 1)
And yet, the Swiss manage to do precisely what you say is impossible. How? By realising that democracy – in any meaningful sense – doesn't scale well. Why are voter turnouts so low? Because, in a country of well over 60 million people, having one sixty-millionth of a say is tantamount to having no say at all.
In Switzerland, the bulk of the power is in the Cantons, not the central government. The latter is kept deliberately small and has very little power compared to its counterparts in neighbouring countries. Yet they still manage to get things done. It works precisely because people are fundamentally tribal. By focusing the democratic processes on local and regional politics, which is, frankly what most people actually care about, the national tier can concentrate primarily on harmonising legislation that has to work across Cantonal borders, as well as the occasional bit of foreign diplomacy.
Another point to note is that the Swiss system relies much more heavily on referendums. The St. Gotthard Base Tunnel (and its siblings) wouldn't have happened without one, for example.
(Incidentally, US readers might like to note that the Swiss Constitution was deliberately based very closely the US one. What you see in Switzerland is arguably much, much closer to what the US Constitution's signatories had in mind.)
At the very least, such an approach makes warmongering rather more difficult to do. It also means that most politics would be local and regional rather than national, so of more interest to those it affects.
Switzerland got it right, and did so back in the 1870s (around the same time as Italy's reunification), without the benefit of electronic communications, so it is certainly possible.
The USA does, however, provide us with a crystal clear illustration of how such a system can go very, very wrong.
Dear Jasper Hamill
Can you tell us how a company that is famous for only refreshing each of its (very small) product lines roughly once a year, can be described thus:
"With a product refresh rate that sees it chomp through natural resources like a chubby child demolishing a Mars bar, it's difficult to see Apple as a particularly environmentally friendly organisation."
If Apple are "a chubby child demolishing a Mars bar", what the hell does that make Samsung, Dell, or LG? A massive swarm of locusts, devouring acres of crops in a few hours?
I suggest sir gets a sense of perspective. Or a life. Either would suit me, as long as neither involves writing ever more ridiculous click-bait pieces like this worthless shite. If I wanted to read this kind of ill-informed bollocks, The Motley Fool has no shortage of it.
"Whilst I hate censorship, and clit should obviously be allowed,"
It's not "censorship". Last time I checked, Apple were not a country with a seat at the UN. Censorship is perfectly legal if you're a private entity. The media does it all the bloody time and nobody bangs on about them 'censoring' whenever they bleep out bits of Frankie Boyle's jokes.
Apple have an image they're trying to present to the public—an almost Disney-like one that tries to portray a 'squeaky clean' company and ethic. Apple is also a business. Businesses are explicitly allowed to refuse to do work for a customer if they don't want to, if they feel it would make their employees uncomfortable, or even if they just feel it would violate their core precepts, such as their brand image.
(Note: You're also free to sue said businesses into oblivion if you genuinely believe they denied service to you on grounds of racism, sexism, or some other legally-covered "-ism". But that's entirely your own decision.)
Chances are, their filtering policy is based on how a nation's media treats such words: If they're routinely bleeped out on TV and radio, it'll probably be added to the filter. "Dick" and "penis" are rarely bleeped in the UK or US, and arguably aren't even considered swear words. "Clit" and "cunt", on the other hand, certainly are.
There's a good reason why Roger's Profanisaurus (PBUV*) has been so popular, and is so filled with inventive euphemisms: rather than fight the media's self-censorship, it's easier—and a hell of a lot more fun—to just work around it.
* "Praise Be Unto Viz". Let's see if El Reg are happy with this.
Re: Feminists are angry...
Do you seriously believe Tim Cook is personally responsible for the website's filter code?
Re: The summer heat brings them out...
"To be fair I'd suggest this was as much a fail on the MacOS interface design team "
This was done for a very good reason: to stop users ejecting a disk while it's being written to!
As for the "drag to the Trashcan icon": the Trashcan icon changes to an Eject icon when you start dragging. So I call bullshit there. Also, there's a perfectly obvious "Eject" command in the File menu, and an equally obvious keyboard shortcut too: CMD+E. (Or just press the "Eject" button right there on the bloody keyboard!)
It seems there are so-called "experts" commenting right here on these very forums who feel a 40-minute 'group shout' at a hapless user is a perfectly valid way to convince them to eject a floppy disk. And yet it's the user who is considered the clueless idiot in that story? Hypocrites, much?
Re: I have an idea.
@Dazed and Confused:
Apple have been the *targets* of the world's biggest patent trolls for years.
Apple do also *protect their own patents*, like every other business*, but unlike a patent troll, Apple make actual products. Patent trolls, by definition, do not.
(I'm also sure someone's thinking about cracking the tiresome "rectangles with rounded corners" bollocks. Please don't. In fact, I strongly suggest you read up on the legal concept of Trade Dress. It's the same reason why you can't call your soft drink "Kooky-Kola" and slavishly duplicate Coca-Cola's own swirly font style and colours. So every time anyone cracks that non-joke, all they're doing is displaying their ignorance.)
* (The law requires businesses do their own policing. The government doesn't do it for you. Naturally, lawyers love to litigate as that's how they get paid, so don't expect this to change any time soon.)
Re: No matter how hard you try
"Football may be dull, but at least its only 90 minutes of dull rather than 5 days."
Last time I checked, the World Cup was going to be dominating every bloody medium known to humanity for *thirty-two* days. Test Series cricket matches tend to be self-contained competitions; the same two teams might not play each other again for another six years. There's none of this "Group A", "Group B" with quarter-finals, semi-finals and whatnot, where it's not uncommon for two teams to play each other multiple times, before a disappointing final won on penalties brings the whole, pointless charade to an end.
At least you know that, when that Progress Bar of Zen reaches the end (after the blatant lie that is "One minute remaining..."), you know you've actually achieved something, even if that 'something' is merely "Installing an application".
All sports competitions, without exception, have an implied Great Big Reset Button, which is pressed at the end of every competition. So nothing is actually achieved. Mitchell & Webb explained it best.
Re: So no "jubs as buttons" on the phone then?
"Think my fellow commentards have missed the main point to be derived from Huawei's briefing."
Hard to say. The article merely told us about some chap giving a presentation about everything he's learned from "The Great Big Pop-up Book of Design Clichés".
I'm not sure why this is news. Anyone can take an industrial design course and learn about this stuff.
Will we be seeing articles about CEOs who've just learned how the Internet is this big thing that's full of pipes that all the cool kids are using these days?
Re: Exploit loophole; profit.
"I am not saying Uber is a bad idea, just that the playing field must be level."
Then the London-specific legislation that created the 'closed shop' Black Cab sector should be deleted. The London Black Cab regulations tip the playing field heavily in the Black Cabs' favour, not Uber's.
Although The Knowledge requires drivers to learn every single road and point of interest it covers, that coverage is actually only a 6-mile radius around Charing Cross (technically, a statue at the southern end of Trafalgar Square – the point from which London's distances are measured).
Last time I checked, London is rather more than 12 miles across.
The Knowledge test therefore doesn't cover most London's suburbia in any great detail. It only requires knowledge of the major trunk roads, for example. Nor are points of interest covers much outside that central core.
This explains the tourist-centric approach of so many Black Cab drivers: their much-vaunted knowledge only makes them useful to people visiting the centre of London. If you want a Black Cab to take you from Heathrow to a south London suburb, their "Knowledge" will be of negligible benefit.
Re: Oh Thank You Rubbish EU
@Richard Jones 1:
"That ECJ ruling means individuals can request the removal of old and out of date links that are not in the public interest from web search engine results pages."
Which part of that sentence did you not understand? (Hint: I've highlighted the bit you appear to have missed.)
So, no, if you've been convicted of medical malpractice and banned from ever performing surgery again, you do NOT get to demand that information be wiped out. Because it is in the "public interest" for it to be available. This is something Mr. Wales also appears to have misunderstood.
It's not about offering a blanket "Oh! Me! Me! Forget me!" form to fill in. Google can't rely entirely on automation for checking such requests. If they're doing just that and deleting links that should not have been deleted, that's Google's fault, not the EU's.
Of course, there's also the fact that the Android and iOS touch interfaces aren't that dissimilar, so it's probably easier for them to do.
As others have pointed out, Windows Surface Pro tablets already have full-fat Office, while Windows Surface RT tablets have a slightly cut-down one. Both tablets are often bundled with a keyboard+trackpad cover, so the touch-screen element is moot: any Office power user will be using keyboard shortcuts all the time anyway. A touch UI for these platforms is a nice-to-have. For the likes of the iPad and Galaxy Notes, a touch UI is an absolute necessity.
And no, Google Apps, Libre/OpenOffice, and their ilk, barely compete with the late, unlamented and unloved Microsoft Works suite. They're not even close to feature parity with the full Microsoft Office suite. The latter is also a complete development platform. Its customisability and extensibility are so far beyond those other applications that it's actually a stretch to even refer to them as "competition".
If Google Apps is good enough for your needs, you were never in Microsoft's target market for Office in the first place. Why would you even buy an Office 365 subscription?
The "swipe to unlock" and "rounded corners" issues were *design* patents, relating to the Apple design 'language'. (Yes, that's a thing. Go look it up.)
Take a look at how Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 (and Windows 8) lock screens work. Yes, you "swipe to unlock", but—here's the kicker—they're NOT covered by that patent, which is very, very specific. Which is why Apple aren't chasing them for money. Samsung, on the other hand, *slavishly* ripped the Apple design off. Not just a little bit, but *completely*. Granted, they learned their lesson in later products, but if you look at those early Android v1.x and v2.x devices, you can see how sincere Samsung were being with their 'flattery'.
The argument—specious as it is—that such features are "obvious" falls at the first hurdle: if it's so bloody obvious, *why didn't anyone else do it first?* NOBODY had anything remotely like the iPhone when that device was launched.
If we're allowed to copyright implementations of ideas in the form of the written word, or music, or film and video, why the hell is it so wrong to apply similar protection to the *implementation* of a user interface? Those are bloody hard to get right too. (Just ask Microsoft.)
Not that I think Apple are saints. Steve Jobs' own emails blew the foot off their ebook publishing case the article refers to. While what Apple did was wrong on a technical point of law, it's hard to see how a company with a mere 10% market share of ebook sales at best was the dangerous one in breach of anti-trust regulations, while Amazon—who have over 90%—were not. Something's clearly not right here. But Apple's lawyers must have been aware that the DoJ are obliged to uphold the law as it is, not how Apple (and others) might want it to be. That law is clearly in need of updating given the rise of digital monopsonies.
But even I think Apple need to admit they screwed this one up. Sometimes, even Steve Jobs got it very, very wrong.
Re: Wait a minute
"I don't think it does a bit of harm and I don't think it changes the issues of copyright at all. It's not "theft" because anyone who's going to do this is probably either too cheap or too poor/in debt to buy the photographs anyway."
No, it's not theft. It's counterfeiting and it's wrong for exactly the same f*cking reason you're not allowed to just print off your own banknotes or mint your own coins. You are devaluing the product. THAT is why there IS a victim here: the copyright owner. Every time a photographer, or artist, or some other creator, produces something protected by copyright, that work has value. (If it didn't, why would you even want to copy it to begin with?)
You copy that work and suddenly, the original creator is faced with having to compete with hundreds of freeloaders offering that copyrighted work for free.
You are devaluing the work. Claiming that a counterfeiter wouldn't have paid anyway is irrelevance: they're still devaluing that work by making more copies of it available for free, thus undermining the creator's right to the fruits of their own labour.
Without decent copyright protection, not even the FOSS community would survive, because you can't have copyleft without copyright.
The correct term for this crime—and it is a crime—is counterfeiting. Not "piracy". Not "theft". Counterfeiting. There is no escaping from that definition. It's very well defined in law.
Unfortunately, Sony's slab comes with free theft of my personal data courtesy of Google.
I'd be able to understand if Google were actually paying *us* a slice of the pie every time they sold our data on, but they're not. They're taking something I've created without recompense. (Android itself is just a loss-leader for them. Compared to everything else they do, the cost of maintaining and updating Android is a rounding error in their annual budget.)
Google's a parasitical business model of the worst kind. For all the invective aimed at the likes of Apple and Microsoft, at least the product they're selling isn't *me*.
Privacy is a precious thing: once you've lost it, it's damned hard to get it back.
"Meanwhile, given the amount of crust that exists to process, the sooner we start, the sooner we have something that we just need to retool to allow for said next big thing."
All this talk of crusts makes me wonder if there isn't a book to be written about this: "Fray Bentos Economics: Why All The World Is Just A Great Big Pie".
All we need to do is dig through the Earth's flaky pastry crust and extract all the tasty meat* we need. Anything else is just gravy.
And, yes, I really did write all that just for that last punchline. Weak, wasn't it? Time to stop procrastinating.
* (Might not contain actual meat.)
I've had one for a couple of weeks now...
... and it's pretty damned good.
My only quibbles with it are:
1. The flip-cover case I bought for it is rubbish (and actually makes it overheat at times)
2. The 8GB built-in storage is too little. Luckily, it works just fine with a 64GB µSD card.
3. Point 2 makes installing the preview version of Windows Phone 8.1 a must. (Good thing that's free and easy to do. It includes support for installing apps on the SD card.)
The screen is excellent. Although two-hundred-and-something PPI doesn't sound like much, it's easy to forget that this is similar to what an iPad Air offers. I certainly haven't had any issues with it, though as the main reason for my giving away my old iPhone 4 and getting this is the decreasing quality of my eyesight, my opinion on this aspect probably isn't worth much. It looks plenty sharp enough to me, and it's even visible in bright sunlight too.
If I'd had the money—Italian operators don't like subsidising unless you're willing to commit to a usurious contract over a ridiculously long period—I'd have gone with the 1520 for the increased storage and future proofing, but I don't. That said, I've not regretted the purchase.
Re: "Computers? Beep beep beep. Does not compute! What use are they?"
Kids are *born* wanting to learn. Our education systems beat that desire out of them, because most teachers are mediocre at best and fall back on telling, not guiding. Guiding is harder, but a lot more rewarding.
The world's education systems are still fundamentally based on precepts invented by the Victorians. This really, really needs to change, but it will require major upheavals.
"What they didn't have any difficulty doing was speaking on camera, proving this writer's suspicion that Americans are trained to act on telly from the minute they emerge from the womb"
Actually, I suspect this has more to do with the US education system. I don't remember ever being asked to do a "Show and Tell" session in class at school when I were a lad, but these—and other public speaking / presentation skills—seem to be much more commonly taught in the US.
In the UK, even into the 1980s, the underlying philosophy in education was that the public education system was primarily intended to train up good, obedient little worker drones who knew their place. The managers, politicians, etc., came mainly from the Eton and Oxbridge set.
The upshot of which is that British school-leavers tended not to have quite as much self-confidence as their US counterparts.
This situation does appear to have improved since my school days, but I think the US is still way ahead on this.
Re: How things have changed
Myth 1: Xerox did not sue Apple until much later, and that suit was mainly an attempt to settle primacy in aspects of GUI design at a time when patenting in IT was still a very new idea. Apple PAID for access to the PARC research. In shares. Shares that would be worth staggering sums of money today.
Myth 2: PARC's GUI was lovely and polished and ready to roll into a (relatively) low-cost consumer / corporate desktop computer. Not true: It was actually very crude and certainly not ready for a consumer or business desktop computer. The first Xerox Star machines cost an absolute mint—even more than Apple's own Lisa range.
A hell of a lot of additional work was needed. Guess who ended up doing that work? Hint: people who used to work at PARC and moved to Apple. (Drag and drop*? That was invented at Apple, along with overlapping windows and a number of other features we take for granted today.)
Myth 3: The WIMP GUI concept was some kind of closely-guarded secret. Utter bollocks: it was already a well known idea—see other replies in this forum—and the PARC people sure as hell didn't invent it.
What PARC *did* do was create a working implementation that could be *seen in action*. THAT is what gave Steve Jobs (and, later, Bill Gates) their moments of epiphany: it's all very well *reading* about graphical user interfaces, but it's a lot easier to understand the concept when you actually see one in action and play around with it.
* (not object linking and embedding, which was implemented first at PARC, but the 'drag an object with the mouse and drop it onto something else' user interface itself. As I said, the original Star environment was nowhere near as complete and polished as people seem to think it was.)
Re: Like or not, a Pro machine by the (ancient) book.
The 17" screen is a mediocre 1920 x 1080 model. (Yes, there's a 10-bit-per-pixel version, but that's *extra*, and it's STILL the same crap resolution.) Even worse, there's this quote from the review:
"There are 15-inch and 14-inch versions too, the former available with a 3200 x 1800-pixel option [...]"
Why the hell isn't the 17" model available with that resolution?
As for the Blu-ray drive: remove it and re-jig the interior slightly so that you can have three drives: one boot drive (SSD), and two additional drives in a RAID 0 or 1 arrangement (according to need).
If you really need to use BD for archival purposes, get a proper auto-loader / writer unit and plug it into a cheap PC back at the office. When you return there, just dump the data you want to archive onto that PC and let it create the archive disks overnight. Job done, and you don't need to cart around sufficient blank Blu-ray disks (plus spares for the inevitable coaster) with you when you're out and about.
If you're truly paranoid, you can get an external drive or two as well and plug one in to backup your RAIDed drives whenever you want. Chances are, this will still weigh less than the BD drive + bunch of blank disks.
If you need to watch, or master, Blu-ray disks, an external unit is a better option anyway: they're not exactly the most reliable things ever made, so you might as well get one that won't require you to open up the machine to replace it when it inevitably dies on you just when you need it most.
So, no, I'm not impressed by this offering. It's only a "pro" unit if you define a professional as someone who requires everything, including the kitchen sink. For the life of me, I can't think of *any* profession for which this unit actually makes any sense. Especially at that price point and with such a low-res* screen.
* (Yes, "low-res". I've owned *CRT* monitors that had higher resolutions. Come back, Iiyama, all is forgiven!)
Re: Can anything be on my Christmas list?
"Apple, for some reason, seem to be getting away with it. I can't remember a micro USB adapter being included with any of my recent devices."
Did your non-Apple device not come with a suitable USB-to-micro-USB cable?
Apple's chargers all have a standard USB socket. There's nothing non-standard about them. You can plug any USB cable you want into the things and they'll charge it just fine.
The Apple-specific component is the separate USB-to-Lightning cable, which is only a problem if you have multiple devices to charge including some non-Apple ones. Is having to unplug one cable and plug in another really such a painful ordeal, given that you'll be doing that at the other end of the cable anyway? Do your pretentious hipster neighbours keep you awake all night with their incessant pointing and laughing? Oh, the humanity! Heaven forfend! How will you survive?
Of course, you could always just buy one of those third-party chargers with multiple USB sockets instead. There: problem solved.
Now, if you'll all please stop interrupting me, I'd like to get back to work on world peace.
"You missed out the best reason for getting one. It's not from Apple."
Because Google are such paragons of virtue: They'd never, ever, consider reselling your personal information to other companies, despite that being their core business!
I sometimes wonder why Snowden bothered.
"Surface ***3***. i.e. this is our 3rd attempt after 2 dismal failures"
And which was the first version of Windows to start selling in large numbers?
Oh, right: it was Windows 3.1.
Microsoft are very good at iterating. They don't give up after just one go; if they think the concept has legs, they'll keep trying and trying until they get it right.
And it's not just Microsoft either; the Mac was Apple's *second* attempt at producing a GUI-based desktop computer. Similarly, the iPhone and iPad were predated by Apple's own Newton by some years.
It's extremely rare to get it right first time.
Re: Lets say what this really is about
TV as we know it is going through a massive upheaval. Netflix was one of the first to disrupt the old guard of broadcast TV.
In 5-10 years' time, many TV broadcasters will be staggering against the ropes and ready to collapse, while the few who saw the writing on the wall (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, the BBC*, etc.) will have made the shift to Internet-based distribution.
* (No, seriously: Look closely at what they've been doing with their 'iPlayer' technology. And their recent announcement about their "BBC 3" channel going online-only is likely to be the first of many over the next few years. The only issue is how it'll all be funded in future, but there are all sorts of options for that too.)
Re: Still missing the point
If you don't like the rules of the game, either change the rules, or change the game. You don't get to just whinge about it and demand that "somebody" does something on your behalf. You ARE that "somebody".
Ironically, the recent Nokia Lumia smartphones actually have touch screens that can be operated with gloves on. And the displays are good in sunlight as well. I do hope Microsoft are aware of the Lumia team's strengths and ensure they keep them up.
Using any electronic device in the rain is a bad idea, but that's what Bluetooth earpieces and headsets are for.
Re: Physical buttons FTW!
Or... you can just hold down the big, tactile "Home" button on an iPhone and just *tell* it what you want it to do. ("Call wife", "Send message to [CONTACT]", etc.) The dictation works very well now too. Apple's "Siri" feature has been around since late 2011 now, and the technology itself predates even that.
You can do this on Android devices too, as well as on Windows Phone 8.1 (when that comes out next month; I have the beta installed on my new Nokia 1320.)
Re: "Monorail, monorail, monorail!"
Who the hell bases their entire knowledge of a technology from a single episode of a bloody cartoon?
Besides, that episode was not about the merits or otherwise of the specific technology chosen – they had to pick *something* to focus on and monorails just pulled the short straw. It could have been anything – high-speed rail, a new airport, a tunnelled urban metro, Zeppelins, you name it.
The POINT was the wilful ignorance of the townsfolk and their utter failure to think for themselves. This was a common thread back then, and still is: pretty much anyone can win over the town if they have sufficient charm and the gift of the gab. The monorail was merely the McGuffin. (Ironically, given the visual punchline in that episode, selling a used monorail system is actually not that unusual.)
Go visit Japan, China and other part of Asia – hell, even some places in Germany – and you'll find "monorails" (a rather vague term, but "prefabricated modular guideway system" is a bit of a mouthful) in regular, everyday public transit use. There's nothing inherently wrong with the technology.
Re: They have learned actually
What about non-equality?
We really *are* all different. Women can conceive and give birth; men (currently) cannot. Some of us are left-handed. Some of us have different skin pigmentation. Some of us grew up multi-lingual, while others might never, ever understand what it means to be able to see the world from multiple points of view. Some of us are born into poverty, or into great wealth, or into dysfunctional families, or into loving families. And so on and endlessly on.
True equality isn't possible, short of a global, massive – and very intrusive – government-mandated genetic programme, coupled with family and childcare standardisation, all on a level that would make the 2-metre-high docs for ITIL look like a short story.
I'm much more interested in the French philosophy: Vive la différence! Stop trying to homogenise humanity and just grow the f*ck up. Everyone is different, but that's a good thing. Because being different can be a strength.
What we need far more of are policies that level the playing field. We cannot do anything to change our own differences, but we can change our environment to ensure those differences can become advantages rather than obstacles.
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