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* Posts by Mark .

1840 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Lenovo planning US smartphone push as PC sales stall

Mark .
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Re: Whodda thunk?

Oh look, it's the obligitary Applevert.

By "gone through the roof", you mean "less than PCs" (the "failing" Windows 8 reached 100m in a few months, which took ipads years to do). Similarly iphone sales are nowhere near PC sales.

Most people aren't spending $600, they're on contract which means pay monthly, and subsidised.

I suspect you're making the schoolboy error of confusing absolute sales, with relative growth. The difference is that PC sales are already much larger - of course new products are going to grow, whilst PCs are at saturation, and therefore not going to see new growth, and going to see more fluctation from the general economic trend.

In fact, phone sales overall actually decreased last year too - if we looked at individual product lines within PCs, I'm sure we could pick out plenty of newer product lines that experienced relative growth.

Apple's tablet market share collapsed in Q1, with Android sales going through the roof - I guess Apple are doomed, like PCs, by your logic?

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COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

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Re: Having not read the paper yet

Oh god - only on the Register could someone dispute a flawed and unscientific claim because of their *choice of editor*.

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Apple adds Galaxy S 4 to Samsung patent suit

Mark .
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Re: Another lost sale

I must admit, I really wish there was an Apple product worth buying, so I could then not buy it to boycott them...

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Mark .
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Well it's a shame that you don't say that to the Apple users then - I've lost track of the number of them who'll go on about how "revolutionary" their Apple feature phone is, or how everyone should use MacProBooks because they do. They don't seem to get it that, maybe, the rest of us have different points of view, and maybe prefer to use something different.

And I bet that everyone who buys a Nexus phone or tablet is aware of Apple's products, and has considered which to buy. Sadly the number of people who think the iphone or iphad is the only option seems quite high.

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Microsoft reveals Xbox One, the console that can read your heartbeat

Mark .
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Re: What a terrible name

Okay, though that seems a good name then - describes exactly what it is. I mean which is it, is it bad that they go for "marketing" names rather than accuracy (like X Box One), or they go for accurate names that don't sound great?

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Mark .
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Re: XBox One vs PS4

I don't think that software magically makes things faster. Android also runs on lower end phones; and the original iphone had a GPU which was rare at the time, so your statement isn't true there. And whatever is the case with the OS - an application won't magically be faster or use less memory just because it's on ios rather than Android, same for games on PS4 vs X Box.

I think the main point though is that whilst the PS4 may have better specs, the X Box may still be good enough for the games available, and people my buy for other features. Isn't this usually the case - that the PS leads on specs, but doesn't necessarily sell more than the other consoles?

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Mark .
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Re: What a terrible name

Okay, but which company does have a wonderful naming scheme? And what exactly is wrong about naming things by numbers (re Windows 8 after Windows 7) anyway? Seems perfectly sensible to me - later on you criticise them for not following the correct number, which is it?

Let's see - Samsung: S, S2, S3, S4.

Apple: counted their operating systems by number too since the first one, except now when they've oddly switched to 0.1 counting because they want to stick with number "X" forever.

Intel: Pentium, Pentium 2, Pentium 3, ...

As for names, I don't see how Surface is any worse than any other names in use. It's still a damn sight more original than taking the generic term for the product like "phone", "app", "store", "TV", and then at best adding an "i", or perhaps not even that.

It is annoying when the numbers don't follow the correct order, but then the 5th iphone is actually the 6th, and HTC did the same thing with "HTC One".

(Maybe they should have called it "X Box Aleph One", if people liked X Box Infinity so much...)

"the best that these geniuses could come up with was calling it "The Windows Store User-Interface"

Citation needed? What I read said it was "Modern UI" or "Windows 8 UI".

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Mark .
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Re: Cable TV overlays?

"I'll bet the only cable "box" this Xbox gives a good experience to is Windows Media Center. I have a feeling that Microsoft read all the rumors of Apple's TV ... and read about the future plans for Google TV,"

Or more likely, they looked at what is already possible with a range of TV streamer/Internet boxes, as standard with a range of "smart TVs" - and yes, already being done with consoles, including the X Box, and decided to build on that.

"Let's watch how quickly Windows RT is orphaned now that Intel has some Atom CPUs that comparable to ARM CPUs..."

I'd be glad if they do - it's a shame that the lower cost Window starter version got replaced with Windows RT (that lacks x86 and "desktop" compatibility), which is mainly why we saw the end of the low cost x86 "netbooks", and why the current Atom Windows 8 laptops are more expensive than both Windows 7 "netbooks", and the Windows RT devices.

Out of interest, do you have any references for Atom vs ARM speeds? It's easy to find benchmarks comparing different ARM processors, but I've yet to find ARM vs x86... Also I wasn't aware that the newer Atoms were that much faster, but would gladly be proved wrong :)

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Fighting Fantasy and fantastic fights in tights

Mark .
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The appeal of the original was that they were still in book format. And you still had the fun of rolling the dice and keeping track of the stats yourself. And sticking your fingers in the book to backtrack from a wrong turn. And I'd have no objection to simply putting that in electronic format to read on a Nook or similar device.

But as soon as you make a game, the problem is you're competing with the large genre of computer RPGs - and quite frankly, this looks comical. The screenshots seem on par with those 1980s text+graphics adventures, and just compare them to the screenshots of the other games reviewed in this article. Am I supposed to be impressed that a computer can now roll the dice for me? No, I'll get back to my Skyrim (and even classics like Morrowind or Baldur's Gate are ancient by technology standards). And at £2.99, it seems embarrassing compared to the large amount of RPGs available even for free (at least on Windows, Linux and Android - maybe IOS lacks here). The problem is that that people who want to go back to basics would rather stick with rolling the dice; and people who want something more modern, aren't going to be sticking with something so basic.

Of course it will sell, due to the name and marketing of "Fighting Fantasy" (as this article shows - do other RPGs get reviews so easily?). This was apparently a problem with the original series - I read an interesting article by one Fighting Fantasy author, who basically said even if you had a much better gaming system, publishers simply didn't want to know unless you were writing a Fighting Fantasy book. Hence we got stuck with Skill, Stamina, Luck...

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Google tells Microsoft to yank its new WinPhone YouTube app

Mark .
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Re: Genius from MS

So should all adblockers be banned too?

I've got to laugh - on any story about copyright, ads and so on, people are firmly on the side of more freedom, less restrictive copyright laws, and the right to block ads. Whining about how it's needed to pay people, who equating it to stealing, will get you downvoted.

But oh, because it's critical of MS, that's fine.

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Mark .
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But Officer, other people are speeding too!

I don't see how "But MS are just as bad" is a useful argument. It's bad either way - and put it another way, is saying "Google are as bad as MS" a ringing endorsement?

Also it's not just MS who lose out. If someone has a Windows Phone, and they want to watch Youtube, they don't care about squabbles like what MS has done, what Google has done, or who's advertising about what. They just want to watch Youtube on their phone.

I can come up with far more examples on how Apple tries to build a walled closed garden around their products. Does that mean the all Apple devices should be blocked from Youtube?

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Mark .
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Nothing to do with copyright, and unclear how TOS applies

In what way are the application developers bound by the "terms of service"? I mean, Google are free to block individuals who access Youtube by whatever means they choose, but I don't see how that extends to actually banning distribution of an application.

Even for things like copyright violation (which violating a TOS is not), applications like bittorrent software are not illegal.

Does this mean that adblocker extensions (e.g., for Google Chrome) are in violation, because a website might say you can't block ads in its Terms of Service?

Indeed, why stop there - I could write anything I like in my Terms of Service, such as "Google Chrome may not be allowed to view this website" - does that mean I can get Google Chrome pulled, unless they block access to my site?

I don't care about defending MS - I'd be annoyed if it was the other way round.

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Copyright minister admits: Google has better access to No. 10 than me

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Re: @Eadon - Lobbyists Are ANTI-DEMOCRATIC

It's true that lobbying isn't itself democratic - although the comparison to writing to MPs is an interesting point, my understanding being that they typically ignore letters that aren't from their own constituents. Similarly Google and MPAA employees should be free to write to MPs, and I would prefer they get treated similarly, if they don't actually live in that constituent...

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Live Blog: Google I/O keynote

Mark .
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Re: Nexus S4 for How MUCH!

I don't understand why people are surprised by this. We already know that the Nexus 4 is much cheaper than other high end smartphones.

I mean sure, we should be making a fuss about this. People should have been making a fuss 6 months ago. People should be making a fuss about how all the other smartphones are priced more expensive. But I don't see why you're surprised *now*, or are only surprised about this one phone. Don't you realise that the unlocked price of many smartphones is way higher than the Nexus 4?

If you want to quibble about the S4 Google edition specifically being expensive, you should compare to the unlocked price of an S4. Is it more expensive? If not, did you seriously expect Samsung to magically drop their price just for a Google version?

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Full metal jacket: Nokia launches new Lumia 925

Mark .
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Re: round objects

Well, I know the kind of thing that it's getting at, but it's more direct I feel to just say, e.g., applications or support. It's a word that only seemed to appear in the last few years, even though the concepts applied long before. And often I see the word thrown around with no clear indication of what is really being referred to.

Maybe it's management speak rather than marketing speak then :)

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Mark .
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I agree it's a shame about wider app support.

But let us not forget the fault lies with these companies, not with Nokia or MS. We should complain to the bank, BBC and Sky. We didn't put up with it when a company only supports the 90% of Windows (desktop) users, we shouldn't put up with it when a company only supports the 15-20% of iphone mobile users. The 1% of desktop Linux users rightfully complain if they're locked out of a service, so should the 10% of WP and BB users.

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Mark .
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Re: round objects

"ecosystem"

It's a smartphone, not a rainforest. Let's have an actual specific criticism rather than marketing buzzspeak.

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Report: AT&T dropping Facebook phone after dismal sales

Mark .
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Yeah - I really hate the way that in the US people seem to think the upfront price is the full price. Perhaps the fallacy is more common because you have to pay upfront *and* pay through the contract, so people forget the latter. It's like saying a Samsung S4 in the UK is completely "free" (if we ignore the £30+/month contract that only gives the same service that you'd get for £15/month or so on SIM only...)

A shame to see the Register make this mistake.

What's the actual cost of this phone I wonder? Is this like 1st generation Chromebooks (where it's more expensive than the competition, so even people who want Facebook/Google figure they can just do that on another phone/laptop anyway), or current generation Chromebooks (where it really is a lower cost)?

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Review: Samsung Galaxy S4

Mark .
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Re: I've had mine since Friday

Nitpick, you probably mean dumb phones. Feature phones were/are lower end smartphones marketed with a different name - and my 2005 feature phone had terrible battery life (struggled to last 24 hours even on standby; using Internet for web browsing quickly drained the battery), my Nexus smartphone lasts a lot longer (with the longest battery life being on my Nokia 5800 smartphone, probably managing around twice the length of my Nexus on average).

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Don't use Google+? Tough, Google Glass will inject it INTO YOUR EYES

Mark .
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Which era of "success" are we talking about? The use of the singular suggests the original 2007 iphone, yet this only sold one million in 76 days (a stat that's counted as a flop for products like the Surface RT or Lumia 800, but a success for Apple)?

"knocking the competition out of the park"? Which competition and which park?

Certainly nothing of the sort is true of the original iphone, which was massively outsold by the competition - by Symbian, Blackberry and even Windows Mobile. Even if we go by single models, the best selling smartphone of all time is the Nokia 5230, released in 2009, with a staggering 150 million sales. The iphone came nowhere near close.

Over many years and more releases, Apple's total phone sales have increased, but still such claims are not true. The phone leaders in 2007 were Nokia and Samsung. The phone leaders in 2013 are Samsung then Nokia. By platform, the dominant platform in 2007 was Symbian, which remained so until 2011 when it was overtaken by Android, not iphone. In fact, Symbian outsold iphone for the duration of its lifetime, and only fell behind when it was replaced with WP by Nokia. Iphone only claims 2nd place behind due to Symbian being ditched, and Blackberry losing share, which was more likely from Android, which now sells many times that of iphone - who's knocked who out of the park?

Okay, true they overtook Windows Mobile. Eventually. Must have been a damn good (series of) phone(s).

"which invariably meant locking it to a carrier."

Just like loads of other phones.

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Mark .
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Re: wrong comparison

"make phone calls" and "listen to music, watch videos, play games"?

Smartphones were doing "something similar" around 2000, and bog standard mainstream "feature" phones were doing "something similar" around 2005. "Better combination" is just a matter of opinion, which people clearly disagree on (as seen by endless debates on forums like these). A particular flaw in your argument is that a 2007 iphone couldn't actually do "play games" anyway (or do any apps in general), that came in 2008 by which time the competition had moved on even further. Not that I'd consider it a smartphone anyway until at least 2010, unless you count all feature phones as smartphones.

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Mark .
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Re: Strange reporting from Bill Ray..

"Remember when everyone (me included) was saying that the Apple Tablet was ridiculous, no-one would want one. ... One thing, I bet if Apple had 'invented' it then there would be a ton more hype, reporting and queuing around the block to get them. It would be hailed as the most innovative thing on earth ever and a sure fire hit."

Well this is the thing - if we look at the 2010 Apple tablet coverage, most of the media coverage wasn't being critical. Instead, the entirely of the media were giving it vast amounts of positive coverage even before it was officially announced, whilst the Android tablets (actually released first, initially called "media players" in 2009) were ignored, and surprise surprise apple did better. Tablets were already mainstream by 2010, we just called them other names like smartphones, PDAs or media players.

People like us may have been criticising it - I think that 10" tablets aren't very useful for my needs, and would much rather have an ultra-portable laptop at that size. But then, I *still* think that, and our arguments aren't invalidated by what other people buy. By that reasoning, no one could criticise Windows, Apple fans couldn't criticise the overwhelmingly popular Android ;) I've also said that 7" is a much better size, as well as tablets being something that make more sense at a lower cost, and it looks like the market is turning out to agree with me on both points.

When people say than Apple popularised something, it's almost always a false perception based on them getting far more media coverage, which typically happens *before* the release. Given that Google - unlike the companies like Archos releasing the first Android tablets - do get at least some media coverage, I'm glad that they are doing things like this, so that alternative products get some awareness too.

(Oddly the media *now* say that no one wants tablets when it comes to Windows 8, and say people would much rather have separate smartphones and laptops... the bias is painful to watch.)

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Google's Page, LG boss's SECRET confab sparks Nexus 5 rumour

Mark .
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Re: I wish the Nexus 4 did have a button.

I like having virtual buttons rather than the physical buttons (at least for things like home buttons), but yes, I have been tempted to put a "THIS WAY UP" sticker on my Nexus...

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37,000-machine study finds most reliable Windows PC is a Mac

Mark .
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"What is slightly surprising is just how well a very cheap laptop like Acer's Aspire E1 performed as well as it did. Really puts the cost of the macbooks in perspective - not even a 7% improvement in the score of the Aspire for more than tripling the cost."

Not to mention that there are several low cost laptops that do better than the $2199 15" Apple model...

"Dell dominate the list"

Yes, that was the thing that struct me about the top 10 - Dell come out top overall, not Apple, and I'd place Acer as doing as well as Apple (one model is one place below, but they have another model one place above).

"but Asus, whose recent output has been stellar, are nowhere to be found?"

I think that's just more evidence as to the problems on this study. Were some models just not included because there weren't enough samples, or are Asus way down the list?

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Mark .
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Re: In news just in

Anecdotes vary. I don't think I've *ever* had a crash since using Windows 7 (or 8), which even survives graphics card crashes without rebooting. Windows 7 once reported a problem when booting on one machine, but after a few minutes, it claimed it was repaired (and indeed, I never had trouble after that). Ubuntu has never crashed for me, though I have had a black screen fail-to-boot after upgrading. Meanwhile I've seen brand new recent OS X machines fail to resume when woken up from sleep (and you can't even take the battery out...)

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Mark .
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Re: More Suggestion than Paul McKenna

But this is only true for single model of Apple PC, with Dell filling several of the other top spots. So your anecdote of a Power Mac 8100 is likely to be completely unrelated to these issues - the difference between that machine and modern Apple PCs is far greater than the difference between the Mac on the top spot, and the models lower down the list.

I think we also have to ask, why could the machine make a difference? This is application crashes, not OS crashes, and most application crashes are problems in the code, but this would be the same on all PCs, including Apple ones!

So for those kinds of crashes, either the difference is pure luck, or there is some user-selection bias (e.g., the gaping flaw in the study that it measures crashes per calendar time, not use time, and most people with Apple PCs would likely only being running Windows occasionally; or perhaps they run a far smaller selection of software, which tends to not include random unreliable crap).

Another possibility is that things like incorrect memory access are more likely to result in a crash on some machines, but I would argue that's a *good* thing. Whilst annoying for the user, stopping the application can be better than running off with ill-defined behaviour, which is what the Macs may be doing.

Sometimes crashes can happen due to drivers, which could differ, but that's all I can think of, and that wouldn't be most of application crashes in my experience.

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Pirates scoff at games dev sim's in-game piracy lesson

Mark .
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Re: What a surprise

"The "people use torrents for legal/good purposes" line is so lame."

It's not lame when it's true - this was a legal download, contrary to the claims made by the blog and much of the media.

"The people 'pirating' this game were breaking no laws but they didn't know that, which is the key point. They thought they were pirating it."

The key point for what? For accusing them of being pirates? But I'm not sure intent matters - consider, plenty of people have no clue about copyright, and think it's okay if you "only download", or it's okay if you download to try it out, or it's okay if it's "free" - all copyright myths of course,but if you're making the argument that what matters is intent, then the clueless people who thought it was legal still wouldn't be covered.

What about all the people who now download it, knowing it's been put there by the copyright holders, due to the vast amounts of publicity? I bet that the authors will still be seeing all those extra downloads as "piracy". (Well, I suppose it gets a gray area if they stop seeding it, since legal to download doesn't mean legal to redistribute, but on the other hand, it seems dubious for someone to intentionally distribute their own work on bittorrent, then claim copyright infringement due to other seeders, when that's how bittorrent works.)

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Mark .
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Re: What a surprise

Or rather, on The Reg, people are aware that downloading something on torrent isn't necessarily piracy (and it isn't here, since it was uploaded by the copyright holder), where as people on GameDev label them as pirates. I'm not sure I see self-interest here, just a different sample of views. Yes, it's unfair that on the Register you get more people poking fun (not surprising due to there being a wider group of people here, rather than just those into game development), but it's also unfair that on GameDev, they assume the stats to be valid and label everyone a pirate.

And a point to take from the story is that being "someone who pirates" (which may include some of the people who legally downloaded the "cracked" version) isn't distinct from being "someone who might be annoyed by piracy". I mean, are you suggesting that no one on GameDev, or in software, has never taped off the radio or a friend? Piracy isn't something only done by evil-doers on torrent site, it's done, rightly or wrongly, by a huge spectrum of people.

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Mark .
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I agree - I'm glad I'm not the only one to have realised that surely it's legal if the copyright holders distributed it! This is riding on the myth that anything on bittorrent must be pirated. It's also interesting if it was widely reported that they'd done this earlier (do you any links for that?). Rather than "These people are pirating a game - let's slip them a version with a message", it's more like "Let's hand out free but crippled copies of a game, then accuse them of being pirates just because they didn't buy it".

It also means the stats are useless - we have no idea how much actual piracy goes on for a typical indie game. Similar to entrapment, the stats are skewed, because they themselves have raised awareness of the game by putting it on torrent sites, as well as providing a seed for it. If they hadn't, the pirated numbers may well have been far lower, either because no one knew about the game, or because finding seeds was hard. There are really three categories:

1. People buying the full version.

2. People pirating the full version.

3. People legally downloading the "cracked" modified version.

The stats only report (1) and (3), falsely referring to the latter as piracy. Either (2) doesn't exist, or is neglible after all, or the stats otherwise aren't accurate in what they report.

The blog suggests they even have a way to distinguish all three categories (because they both have anonymous stat reporting, and a separate ID for (3)), but they don't.

Did they get more sales as a result of distributing on bittorrent, or less as a result on piracy? There's simply not the information to tell.

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Review: Disgo 8400G 7.9in Android tablet

Mark .
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Re: Proving once again you get what you pay for...

I agree. But just to say, I'm amused that the original post talked about "an ipad it's not", and both the replies (rightly) point out the 512MB of RAM in this tablet - thing is 8" ipad also only has 512MB RAM... Sounds to me that the problem is that it is too much like the ipad!

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Mark .
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Re: Proving once again you get what you pay for...

Plus there's the point that despite not being as good as say the Nexus 7 (odd that we didn't see much/any comparison to that), it was still as good in many respects as a far more expensive ipad mini, which makes similar compromises in things like resolution and RAM, despite the price. The only downsides seem to be the display not be as bright, and probably not as great for gaming (though I argue that the biggest thing holding back phone/tablet gaming is the limited storage - the high end 3D games seem to take ~1GB of storage).

Comparing to the Nexus 7 is interesting - the Nexus 7 has better specs, but this tablet has the elusive microSD slot (and comes with 3G at a cheaper price), as well as being thinner. And although the resolution is lower, 1024x768 is at least better than the 1024x600 that a lot of budget tablets seem to be going for.

And in some ways, the problem is that you don't necessarily get what you pay for - at the moment, I don't think any tablet is perfect, no matter how much you spend (possibly the Note 8 might just about be there - one of the most expensive 7-8" tablets, but it doesn't make any compromises, unlike every other tablet in that size range - though the resolution may look outdated if Google up the Nexus 7's resolution to Full HD...)

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Google's Page drops the A-bomb: Google Glass runs Android

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Re: anyone..

Fair enough we shouldn't call for violence, but I think it is reasonable to worry about the implications of this.

Someone taking a photo or video with a phone is still fairly obvious. But this this, people can walk around without anyone else knowing if you're filming or not. It's a problem for any places that (rightly or wrongly) ban the taking of photos.

Regarding police though, this is one of the interesting good uses - with the trend over the last few years of police wrongly telling people they're not allowed to take photos of police in public, this is a tool that would allow people to film without that harrassment.

(I remember reading a few years ago some article with some predictions of the future - one was that in 2015, wearable glasses computers would allow video recording, uploading and broadcasting to the Internet in realtime, completely doing away with any chance of privacy anywhere, unless you manage to ban people with said glasses of course.)

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Mark .
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Re: oh great

From http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html - most Android users (54.3%) have Android 4.x. Those who don't probably aren't going to be the target market rushing out to buy some new device like this anyway...

As for numbers, yes it means that with total Android sales of 750 million ( http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/03/13/google-ceo-larry-page-750-million-android-devices-activated-to-date-more-than-250-million-in-the-last-6-months/ ), there will "only" be a potential userbase of over 400 million. I mean, what's that? It's only way more than all the iphones that have ever been sold.

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Bitcoins: A GIANT BUBBLE? Maybe, but currency could still be worthwhile

Mark .
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Re: One thing wrong with BitCoin...

This argument has been made a few times, but I don't get it. I mean, when things are tough in the economy, you don't hear the Government go "Okay, let's get the army out and sort out this economy!" I don't see the Bank of England suggesting we call up the troops, because inflation has gone up. How does it help?

And the physical nature is a red herring too, with most currencies being fiat (plus even for gold, its value is much about investment speculation, and not its physical property, anyway).

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Mark .
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Re: not really

I guess you can give me your money, as there's nothing like to look at on there either (unless you like pictures of the queen) :)

(Also, have any of the people talking about the shininess of gold actually invested in it? Normally these days, you don't walk into a shop and buy a gold brick, you invest in gold, and all you see are numbers on a website or paper, you don't get to own or look at your gold.)

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Mark .
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Re: not really

No, but you can pull another scare resource.

And anyhow, since most currencies are fiat, the comparison isn't really relevant - yes, of course the value of bitcoin is in terms of how many places can accept it, but I don't think that is a flaw. The same applies to currencies. No one cares if I create my own new currency, whether it's paper or virtual, unless I can get people to accept it.

Also, at best this is an argument against bitcoin being the only virtual currency, not an argument against any virtual currency. I mean, I fail to see how "But I could create a new one" is an argument against any being worthwhile at all. Even if we end up with a world where there are several virtual currencies in use, that's still a world where virtual currencies are in use, and not one where they are all useless.

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Winklevoss twins claim to have enormo $11m Bitcoin stash

Mark .
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With $220m, I'm sure they have more than enough to both sit on a beach, and have $11m in bitcoins :)

It's not like people with that much money store it all at Barclay's in a normal bank account - there'd be loads of it in various investments. And what are you really saying - that anyone with that much money should instantly spend it all on on PG?

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Mark .
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Re: WTF

$11m in the bank is just numbers on a hard disk too...

Don't get me wrong, you do have a point - the downside of acquiring large investments in bitcoin is that you have to take security and backup very seriously. The bigger downside right now is there's less in the way of legal protections - although there are online accounts to hold bitcoins that might seem analogous to banks, there's no legal protection, plus 3rd parties are riskier if they get hacked (since money can be stolen virtually, and again, unlike a bank, it will be your money being stolen, rather than the 3rd party's). Similarly I suspect that no contents insurance policy will cover any loss in bitcoins.

But it doesn't seem an unsolvable problem. Surely any geek already has a rigorous backup plan (and with that much money, you could sell a small amount to raise any required hardware cash), and is clued up on the use of encryption tools like Truecrypt?

And it seems a smart policy to spread investments around. If they have $11m in bitcoin, and little elsewhere, that does seem stupid. If they're just stupidly rich people, with bitcoin being one of many investments, that doesn't seem strange (even putting all your money into safe bank accounts has a risk, if it's all in one bank).

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Bitcoin gets a $100 haircut on rollercoaster trading run

Mark .
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Re: What can I say

Being a currency, as you describe, isn't either/or. Of course right now, it isn't something you can trust large amounts of money in. But it has some uses for transactions, similar to (and potentially better than) things like Paypal. (With Paypal's track record, I don't trust them at all, so if I have to use Paypal, I take the money out asap, so the trust argument doesn't work.)

And you haven't explained why such a thing couldn't grow to become more useful and stable. Indeed, the mention of the Mark is the classic point - by your own argument, does that mean that paper money is inherently worthless, because there have been examples of hyperinflation?

"Finally, there's no problem if you risk $10 you can afford on cheap coins, in the hope of ludicrous gains. ... But if there are really Eurozone savers desperate to protect their life savings from the incompetence of the Eurogroup - I would hate to see them fucked over by the scammers and idiots involved in Bitcoin"

I entirely agree - but are there really people putting their life savings into bitcoin? Perhaps some, but I would have thought that most of the people talking about it and dabbling in it have put in relatively small amounts ($10 is barely a couple of pints; even $100 is only slightly over 1% of a yearly cash ISA allowance, and a portfolio with 1% high risk seems rather conservative to me - some people here spend $100s on a gadget just so they can go "shiny" that they then throw away next year). As such there seems to be a bit of a straw man here, portraying people who have used bitcoins as people about to lose their life savings, or people who can't afford to lose any money. I suspect if anything, it's probably a lot of people with plenty of money to spare.

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Mark .
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Re: Every so often a market develops around something improbable

You still haven't defined this "intrinsic value" definition that is somehow different to value. You offered one definition, I then showed it applied to bitcoin, now you back-pedal to some other definition that you don't explain.

Perhaps the value could tend towards zero - that could happen either suddenly or gradually, if a flaw was discovered, or a better alternative for payments came along. But your guess is as good as anyone else's.

Like I say, it's a high risk investment. Do you put 100% of savings into low interest safe bank accounts, and lecture anyone who invests that they might lose their money (as if they don't already know that)?

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Re: Every so often a market develops around something improbable

You can make your own bitcoins - that's part of the design ("mining"). It's increasingly harder - though still far easier for most people than building a house or getting uranium(!) More generally (since you're including making alternate copies), you could create your own alternative bitcoin network trivially (it's open source after all), it's just that those would be worth little, since no one would want to trade with your single independent network (and fewer people would want to buy an unofficial trademark-infringing beanie baby, too). So if that's your definition of intrinsic worth, they have them.

Though it seems odd to dismiss their use. I mean, if you're trying to say "Bitcoins are useful, and have worth, they just have no _intrinsic_ worth", then I'm not sure what point you're really making? What is the practical difference?

"but gold has alternate applications"

As does bitcoins, but you just said you weren't talking about uses...

"Additionally, people like shiny, shiny which ultimately pushes the price of it up given it's rarity."

And some people like bitcoins. Plus for most people, investing in gold means it's stored in a vault where you can't see or touch it, and you just see the numbers that you own, which lessens the "like shiny" appeal of it, which doesn't apply for someone who likes the appeal of bitcoins.

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Re: Every so often a market develops around something improbable

Incidentally, the floral industry global revenue is about $100 billion, whilst the total bitcoin worth was under $3 billion even at yesterday's peak, so if one thought bitcoins were only as useful as flowers, it would suggest they were undervalued...

(No, this isn't really comparing like with like - but I'm not the one comparing them to flowers in the first place.)

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Re: Every so often a market develops around something improbable

Do you actually know what Bitcoin are? They do have uses - in fact a poster gives a use he needed them for just two comments above them. We can debate how useful they are or how useful they could become, but they are nonetheless on the same level as the other examples on your list, as well as any other kind of investment like gold or stocks and shares.

The only one I'd say is intrinsically different is houses, in that if you're buying purely for an investment, you can also rent it out as an income. Whether bitcoin is seen as a high risk investment, or something that's used for something, there's nothing fundamentally different to other high risk investments in things that also have some intrinsic use to some people.

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Re: Unsurprise!

So do bitcoins. The question is how much that value is - and how much it could be in future. Indeed in this sense, it's in a better position than gold (and tulips) - the inherent value of gold is unlikely to change in value, so changes in price are always down to speculation (as someone pointed out above, gold does have a fiat nature), whilst bitcoin's inherent value is likely to change (whether up or down), and long term is completely unknown.

The hard part now seems to be buying bitcoins - amusingly because you have to deal with all of the bad aspects of currency (dealing with banks, paying fees, converting and transferring) - once in bitcoins, it's effortless to zap it around the globe under your control.

I'm surprised at the negativity here - paypal has shown there is a large need for the ability to transfer money without the reliance on visa etc, but paypal is not an ideal solution, as surely any geek knows.

Maybe it's some envy at the people who bought at $10 and have made lots of money, people want it to fail - but even after the "crash", the value is still way up on historical values. And it seems somewhat childish to want something to fail just because it went up in value.

Of course it was clear in the short term that it was overvalued, but long term is a different matter. The current total market value of a billion or so dollars is peanuts in the world economy. Even if the future sees multiple competing virtual currency, or even if bitcoin only becomes a paypal-like thing rather than a replacement world currency, that's still a use far greater than today (hence also needing a higher value for the higher money supply). Is that value higher than the peak it got yesterday? Who knows. But the possibility that it might doesn't seem ludicrous to me. It's just like any other high risk investment - you might lose it all, but if you can afford to lose, it's perfectly ordinary to put a small proportion invested into higher risk areas.

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Re: What can I say

Yes I'm sure those people who bought at $10 are feeling awful that it's now only worth $170 instead of $260...

Or to put it another way, this "crash" has simply put it back to the value of a few days ago, but it's still way up on historical values. The Register is at least more accurate in its reporting - it's not so much a crash, more that we've seen some rapid up and down. It's funny just how out of date even the web news is with some of the articles I've seen, gloating about a crash (which they claim they saw coming, when it's not really a useful prediction if they've been saying for months, especially when the post-crash value is still far higher than when they'd started claiming it was a bubble), yet by the time the article goes live, the price has already gone up again.

The losers would be people buying high and selling low. Some winners would have sold at the peak, and bought back again when low. But for a lot of other people, the fact that bitcoin was worth less at 6pm 10 April that it was 12pm 10 April is somewhat irrelevant, if the value is still higher than what it was say on 12pm 3 April (or something like that - I forget the exact times/dates).

I think it's a good thing for the currency to stabilise for a bit anyway, as rapid rises can put people off its potential use as a currency as much as rapid falls.

(If bitcoin really did crash to say $1, great, I'm buying 10, as it seems worth a gamble...)

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If only enterprise IT worked like my iPad ... or at least my car

Mark .
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Re: iPad 1 - resilient

I agree - is Apple paying for this advertising?

No one cares about the author's ipad - like most of the Apple users, he can't wait to tell us about "my ipad" at every opportunity.

The history revisionism and ignorance in this article is appalling. Yes, in the 90s computers crashed twice a day - but so did Apple's. The problem was much down to things like memory protection, which classic MacOS lacked too. And MS had an OS with memory protection far earlier than Apple, who flailed about for years trying to find a solution, before they then gave up and bought one from Next. Windows since 2000 has been way more stable - yes, maybe it's a bit more or a bit less stable than other OSs, but haters still judge it on the behaviour of Windows 9x. Improvements are down to MS, not magical-Apple. Windows 7 can survive even GPU crashes, which I've seen will still happily crash an Apple PC.

As for smartphones and tablets, we were using them long before Apple entered the market late - it was Symbian and now Android that dominated. And I agree with you - the idea that these are a better form of computing doesn't really hold up. Rather, they've acquired all of the negative aspects that PCs once had, even though PCs are now better.

I've seen Android phones crash, and Apple aren't immune to that either (if anything, Symbian was most stable in my experience) - perhaps less so than a 90s PC, but still more so than a modern day PC. Same for the other common criticisms: my Galaxy Nexus phone takes 3 times longer than my Windows 8 PC to boot (and iphones take ages too, from what I've seen). Phones and even my TV now pesters me for updates, whilst my Windows 8 PC no longer nags me to do so. Oddly Apple users spin this as a benefit ("you haven't got your update yet on your Android phone!" - once again, it's a benefit if it's Apple, a criticism if it's Android, Windows or anyone else).

Yes, 15 years ago we might have wished PCs were like phones/TVs, because PCs were terrible (including Apple's) and phones/TVs were simple. But it was only because they were limited. Now, I find myself wishing that phones and TVs were more like PCs...

(As for enterprise, try doing anything useful with an ipad. MS have all sorts of simple/consumer oriented things for networking and so on anyway. The reason these aren't used are they're not as powerful or flexible, which is even more true of David Sprott's fisherprice pad. But Apple are infuriating even in a consumer context - e.g., with everyone else, I can share media either by USB or streaming with any make of device or OS, effortlessly - it just works, out of the box. Good luck doing that with Apple - I can't play music or videos from someone else's ipod player, even if I installed itunes, it's unclear whether it would "sync" with my stuff or not; and streaming requires you to buy a special Apple box just to get it to work.)

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Facebook skins Android with Facebook Home

Mark .
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Agreed. Though I'm still waiting for this long awaited death of a "traditional" computer. Children today have grown up with *smartphones and laptops*, and some with tablets too. And what about office work - do the offices of Facebook have everyone sitting around working on a smartphone?

In the 1980s, computers were either a box that sat under the monitor, or perhaps with built-in keyboards. I'm sure there are younger people today unaware of that, but I don't recall people referring to them as "traditional" computers as if today's computers aren't traditional computers. Or someone from the 1960s saying that "traditional" computers won't exist in the future, because they'll no longer take up an office room. There will be no death of "traditional computers", it's just that forms will change with time.

Having said that, I agree that there are already perhaps a billion users today using the Internet without "traditional computers", but they don't use traditional smartphones or traditional tablets either, and have been giving Internet access by the billions of other Internet enabled phones sold around the world...

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Major blow for Apple: 'Bounce back' patent bounced back by USPTO

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Re: @ AC hypocrites

"The Prada had a capacitive display and did not have pinch to zoom. Maybe you think of it has a gimmick or convenience feature but it basically enables viewing normal web pages on a phone, which is a pretty integral part of modern smartphones these days."

I did viewing web pages fine on my single-touch Nokia 5800, and even now on multitouch, I still use double-click most the time for zoom.

What is it that some people (particularly iphone users) are now saying about the large Android phones? "I can't use it with one hand". Okay - so how do I use pinch-zoom when holding a phone with one hand?

When it comes to using a phone one-handed, multitouch is a far bigger problem than the phone size. So whilst multitouch occasionally is of use, you want UIs to be designed for one-handed operation too, and it's a minor feature compared to having touch at all. The zoom in/out method developed by Google in Google Maps, which works with one finger, is a far better method - I only wish they'd enable this as a standard gesture throughout Android, rather than just in maps.

"I understand that the iPhone lost most feature-by-feature comparisons against other smartphones, but the UI was clearly innovative."

Lots of phones have introduced innovative things. For every iphone one, there are plenty introduced by companies like Nokia. We're not saying the original iphone was awful, just that it was ridiculously overhyped, when there were plenty of other good phones too.

You can't handwave the missing features of the original iphone as being unimportant, whilst claiming the one missing feature of the Prada is of significant importance.

"Android phone UI is dramatically closer to iOS than anything else, e.g., Prada or F700."

Not really, I see plenty in common with Symbian, as well as plenty of other platforms, even common "feature" phones. You see an icon or UI element, you click on it. Multitouch gestures/swipes are icing on the cake, that have been introduced by various platforms.

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Another iPhone passcode bypass spell revealed

Mark .
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Re: But at least Samsung's bypass bug is more accessible...

I was going to write a criticism of that CNN article, but the first comment says it all:

"It's like reading a rant in a high school newspaper."

- 253 upvotes, 11 downvotes...

(The article basically sums up as "They showed women not men painting their nails, and had a woman interested in a fitness feature" along with a load of irrelevant complaining. Did CNN run an article when the iphone advert showed a female jogger?)

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Samsung's new Galaxy S 4: iPhone assassin or Android also-ran?

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Re: What is so compelling?

Yes I was wondering this - I mean, works with gloves was first done by Nokia, hover touch was first done by Sony (I think). Is there a phone yet that does both of these together?

And I was amused when the micro SD storage was announced with an "of course" :) (I'm not sure if that was a dig at Apple, Google, HTC or all three...)

Still, it is a shame that Samsung get so much publicity when there are plenty of other top quality phones coming from Sony, HTC etc. But I guess it's a step forward when the mainstream media were only publicising the iphone, when there was never any justification for doing so.

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