* Posts by ThomH

2108 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Apple goes to crapple in stock plunge kerfaffle: $113bn wiped off in days

ThomH
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Re: Don't Buy, Sell

There was a report within the last few days that the supplier of Apple Watch internals had a low estimate of expected shipments but is surprised not even to have reached the break-even point. Which I think flows into the suspicion that maybe Apple doesn't know what it can do to sustain growth.

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Mac fans! Don't run any old guff from the web: Malware spotted exploiting OS X root bug

ThomH
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Is it accurate to describe it as a zero-day exploit?

I almost feel we should be shaming these companies a little more; by now this is at least a minus-fourteen-day exploit.

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Re/code apologizes for Holocaust 'joke' tweet

ThomH
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Re: There's plenty of good holocaust jokes

On the contrary, the tasteless school of humour is nowhere near the majority of jokes — there are puns, there's observation humour, there's absurdism and non sequiturs, satire, wit, sarcasm, and probably about a million more.

It's also not something that anywhere near everyone finds funny, as reassuring as that fiction might be to some. If you enjoy it then good for you, but keep some objectivity.

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Time for a brutal TELLY-OFF: Android TV versus Firefox OS

ThomH
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Re: Smart TVs must die

I don't know; having Netflix directly inside my TV is effectively the same as having an extra free HDMI socket. Also if the set already has the processing in it — because the off-the-shelf parts you need just to run a modern decoder give you it for free — then why not spend the extra 50p there to add a network connection?

I can answer my own question: because TV manufacturers, like car manufacturers and so many others, are terrible as user interface design and appear to let these efforts be led primarily by the marketing department, whose primary motivation isn't usability but revenue generation. So partner of the month gets the huge button and everyone else is buried three clicks further than they need to be, helpful extra content suggestions (i.e. adverts) proliferate and third-party services are all [re]written to yet another little manufacturer-specific API and tested about a twentieth as much as they would be were there not twenty different manufacturers to work with.

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Your security is just dandy, Apple Pay, but here comes Android

ThomH
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Re: Security chip? @Roger B

We call it the Apple Watch because proper nouns are capitalised. Just like Battersea Power Station isn't capitalised because Battersea invented power stations, Tower Bridge isn't capitalised because the Tower invented bridges and the Watford Gap isn't capitalised because Watford invented gaps.

Otherwise, yeah, it seems problematic to me from a security point of view that the watch acquires some sort of trusted status whereby as long as it doesn't realise its been removed and the related phone is within range then it authorises payments without requiring any sort of password or fingerprint. Any sort of special trusted status makes me a little uneasy. But I'm sure the article's cited security experts have factored it in; mine is at best armchair punditry.

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Satoru Iwata, Nintendo chieftain and gamer titan, dies aged 55

ThomH
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Re: You do not have much of a point @Bleu

Mobile titles seem to fall into one of two categories nowadays: those that you can't lose, so that the player will stay for a long time and see lots of adverts (ala Farmville) and those that you can't conveniently win, so that the payer will spend lots on micro-transactions (ala Candy Crush Saga). In both cases the game designer has something other than player enjoyment as the main goal.

Iwata, at least from the little I know about him as a very distant observer, really understood what it means for a player to engage with a title, and wanted to invite in as many players as possible. He was probably the best thing that could possibly have happened to video games.

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Did a SUPER RARE Sony-Nintendo PlayStation prototype just pop up online? Possibly, maybe

ThomH
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Re: I call fake

Can you elaborate? Probably for most of us this merely sounds like an improbable thing, devoid of strong evidence in either direction.

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Android's sun sets on Eclipse

ThomH
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Eclipse is part of what has rendered me so cynical

Nowadays if I see something described as:

• portable;

• highly configurable; and

• based on a plugin architecture.

I immediately think: oh, so it's a  tedious usability mess, doing basically nothing to fit in with <your OS here>?

Thanks, Eclipse.

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Yep, it's true: Android is the poor man's phone worldwide

ThomH
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A quick summary of every post that will follow this story

I, the poster, consider it axiomatic that my judgment of the relative quality of Apple's and Google's products is objectively valid.

Ergo the empirically observed correlation between wealth and buying Apple means that <rich people don't optimise their spending/people buy Google only if they must> (delete as applicable).

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Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

ThomH
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"I really cut my teeth on computer networks in the early 90s. Right around the time Apple went mad ... [a]s such, I've typically dismissed anything an Apple fanperson has to say about computers"

I think this is 90% of the problem when it comes to discussing Apple rationally; the desire to partition certain people into groups and assign to all of them the same credibility as a tiny group had over twenty years ago. As often indulged by everybody, with every point of view.

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Apple brews new News news to peruse - screws news dudes

ThomH
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iMovie, Keynote and GarageBand are optional installs

You're thinking of Game Centre, Photo Booth, Videos, FaceTime, Reminders, Podcasts, Tips, iBooks...

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Everything Apple touted at WWDC – step inside our no-hype-zone™

ThomH
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Per a roundup elsewhere, you can finally develop and test software on your own iOS device without paying a developer subscription.

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Doom, Mario, Pac-Man level up to video gaming's Hall of Fame

ThomH
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The clue is in the text: "Super Mario Bros was noted for its role in resurrecting the video game market in the late 1980s". So this is an explicitly America-centric list and therefore a console-oriented list. Probably correctly for an NYC-based museum (if you politely ignore the 'World' part in the title, of course).

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Crafty fingering could let Apple Watch thieves raid your bank account

ThomH
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The scenario is far-fetched

... in that you need to find someone with an Apple Watch that actually uses Apple Pay. The best thing I can think of to say about the latter is that it's proof that Apple users won't use things just because they're told to.

"Eleven per cent of credit card-owning households and 66 per cent of iPhone 6 owners in the US have signed up for Apple Pay, four months after it was launched [...] However, issues like low repeat usage ... are hindrances in its success. [...] 48 per cent of users have paid with Apple Pay just one time" — Mobile World Live

"More than 95 percent of iPhone 6 and 6+ users who could have paid with Apple Pay on Black Friday didn’t [...] Five weeks after the launch of Apple’s revolutionary payment method more than 90 percent of these users hadn’t even given it a try." — Pymnts.com

"It’s no accident that numbers on actual Apple Pay usage are hard to come by. As a percentage of total sales it has to be inconsequential." — Forbes

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That EVIL TEXT that will CRASH your iPhone: We pop the hood

ThomH
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Re: Shit happens. Hope they patch soon.

Speculation elsewhere that this is in part because iOS inherits NextStep's UTF-16 internal encoding and inadvertently truncates one of the 32-bit Arabic characters halfway when trying to add an ellipsis where it calculates it needs to chop the text. The effect of the invalid UTF-16 data (yes, it was validated upon receipt, but then it was broken) is an infinite loop in the decoder, which overspills the end of memory, rather than the buffer ever having been mapped at zero.

Apple doesn't put user-space memory at 0x00 since neither C nor Objective-C has a formalised syntax for optional returns so 0x00 is used for return nil/NULL.

See also: Should UTF-16 be considered harmful? on programmers.stackexchange.com, though I expect most around here won't need to.

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Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

ThomH
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Re: OS X & iOS Really?

Yeah, as someone who isn't particularly ideological my conclusion is this: on a Mac I can run OS X, X11 and Windows programs together on the same desktop. So I can use basically everything.

It'd therefore be interesting to know how specifically he's had to define 'shackled' to reach his conclusion.

I am aware of many negative effects of buying Apple; I don't think this is one of them.

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Oxford chaps solve problem in 1982 Sinclair Spectrum manual

ThomH
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Re: Started a computer revolution?!

I've always assumed that the one-key keyword entry was to save them from having to include a tokeniser, whether due to ROM space or development time.

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ZX Spectrum 'Hobbit' revival sparks developer dispute

ThomH
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Re: Extra graphical capabilities of the spectrum 128 ? @Lee D

Some of the 128s also allowed the video area to be paged, but I think only the Amstrad ones. That would technically buy you enhanced video capabilities because you could do a hardware double buffer.

In this project, being a text adventure, I guess they could have done a lot better and stored per-line attributes, locking the CPU into just pushing those as the video beam progresses before dealing with keyboard input in the retrace area. Like the ZX81 in slow mode, essentially, but with attributes. But then you're increasing the per-screen storage and probably having to do quite a bit more fundamental of a patch job.

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Apple announces 'Home' iOS 9 app to run the Internet of Stuff

ThomH
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"Apple announces 'Home' iOS 9 app to run the Internet of Stuff"

... in the sense that one of the rumour sites published a story that Apple might announce a 'Home' iOS 9 app next month.

So Apple definitely hasn't announced a 'Home' app and may well never do so.

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Microsoft celebrates 25 years' SOLITARY SELF-PLEASURE with GROUP SESSION

ThomH
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Re: Not exactly aces up Microsoft's sleeve @0765794e08

I'm fairly sure QBasic was supplied with all consumer versions of Windows until they switched to the NT kernel with XP. So that's only fourteen years ago.

It's absence is reasonably troubling, but not as bad as being chased by two simultaneous instances of the bird from the cage, at the same time as facing double ostriches. Or, worse, having to play the ZX Spectrum version with the messed-up physics.

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Dying to make time lapse videos? No? Well, Microsoft is doing it anyway!

ThomH
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Yeah, it was doing a partial 3d reconstruction of the scene and smoothing camera motion through that, wasn't it? I guess optical image stabilisation isn't always sufficient for the sort of variation you see between shots a few seconds apart, especially over a prolonged period. So the trick is to impute the extra information from all the frames between, through scene reconstruction.

But I also saw the video only once, a long time ago, so who knows?

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That DRM support in Firefox you never asked for? It's here

ThomH
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"Hello Mr. Consumer, if you are willing to use a browser with the DRM extension then we are willing to sell you access our video collection for $8/month". Seems like an acceptable deal to me.

The main problem with DRM for me is that it makes content unusable outside of a dictated scope. So 'ownership' is fleeting, ending once you exit the relevant walled garden.

With rented content I don't care that ownership is fleeting. That's pretty much the point.

On the innovation argument — that locking away data obstructs new ways of working with it — shifting DRM from plug-ins to an extension lowers the barrier. The proprietary bit is smaller than it was.

So I support this move.

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Amstrad founder Lord Sugar quits 'anti-enterprise' Labour party

ThomH
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Re: Ha.... @AC

Fact check!

The deficit during the Thatcher years was never greater than £12.2bn. The surplus peaked at £4.2bn. The 92/93 recession took that to almost £51bn. By the time Labour took office the Conservatives had reduced it to less than £30bn.

Labour famously promised to stick to the Conservatives' spending plans for their first two years in office and ended those with a £0.7bn surplus. That continued to grow and peaked at a £16.7bn surplus, before going the other way and turning into a £42.6bn deficit in 2005. The deficit was then reducing, down to £32.2bn in 2006, when the financial crisis hit.

Labour left office with a £156.3bn deficit. More than triple the 1993 deficit.

The deficit has reduced but for the 2013 fiscal year it was still £107.7bn. I'm unable to get numbers for what proportion of that is debt repayment (i.e. unambiguously inherited).

Compared to our major trading partners: the overall shape of the graph is basically identical to that of the US, and both are better than those for France (which doesn't seem to have run a surplus since the '70s, before the current relevant minister had been born). Italy also remains in deficit but — even proportionally to GDP — much less so. Though it seems to have growing debt so that may change as and when loans mature.

Germany seems to have returned to surplus in 2012, but that was the first in 45 years. Last year its surplus was the equivalent of around £13bn.

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ThomH
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Re: Ha.... @AC

Yeah, it's not so much that Miliband and Balls were anti-business so much as just seemingly not particularly interested in it. The mansion tax and the 50p tax rate would have been bad for the rich but it feels to me like the two are separate issues; business topics should be promoting entrepreneurship, the inevitable "cutting red tape", transport and financial infrastructure, skills-based training, etc.

I guess stuff like the guaranteed jobs for unemployed young people started to sound a little too much like a state takeover of private business.

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ThomH
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Re: Ha....

I don't know; seat totals aside Labour obtained a +1.4% swing over 2010. So if he wanted to stick it out then he'd have had a pretext. I imagine he stayed in not just to avoid becoming a story during the election (no doubt not just altruistically) but because had Labour returned to office then he could have done more inside than out.

That said, I don't see the benefit of walking away now and not just doing it quietly in a couple of years, unless he thinks that the slender majority means parliament may not go the full term and he could end up still being a party member for the next cycle.

But, yeah, you're probably right. Though if I were him I'd at least have waited to find out who the next leader is going to be.

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So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

ThomH
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Re: Harry @h4rm0ny

I've no independent knowledge; is Survation believed to be ideologically biased or merely highly adaptable based on paymaster?

Having reviewed my Survation source, it's actually heavily outdated. The story I found that linked to the poll was more recent than the YouGov figures but the poll itself is three years old. So I suggest it's not relevant on that factor alone.

The YouGov poll I was thinking of is from February and besides the headline figures shows quite a bit of volatility. So I think it's far from a foregone conclusion but wanted to make the point that: it's far from a foregone conclusion.

i.e. I think it's worth repeating that the idea that a majority of people definitely want out but that our national politicians are the obstacle has no compelling evidential basis.

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ThomH
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Re: Harry

Re: the population being "fooled" into agreeing; the latest YouGov polling shows 45% would vote to stay in the EH and only 35% would vote to exit, and this is with only UKIP having done any substantial campaigning on the topic. A Survation poll has results just the other way: 51% for exit, 49% against but found most to be generally ignorant on the EU.

The UKIP fantasy that a majority wants exit doesn't seem to be evidenced by the polling; there's a lot of educating to do and shifts either way will probably be the result of that. Not of people who don't share your world view — or with mine — all being "fooled".

UKIP is never going to get what it wants because Scotland is 2:1 in favour of the EU so the UK probably wouldn't survive an exit.

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Inside the guts of Nano Server, Microsoft's tiny new Cloud OS

ThomH
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"Nano Server's disk footprint today is just 400MB, Snover said, and it probably won't ever get much larger."

So you could make a 512mb USB flash drive of this — physical cost about £1 — and that'll apparently remain possible for all time. Definitely not a foolish prediction.

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Microsoft: Profit DECIMATED because you people aren't buying PCs

ThomH
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The OED states that decimate can mean simply "[t]o destroy or remove a large proportion of; to subject to severe loss, slaughter, or mortality"; the pedants that complain about decimate when used not to mean 10% seem to have invented the cause of their distress in their own minds.

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Apple Watch: Exactly how many vids does it take to teach a fanboi to tell the time?

ThomH
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Re: Look like Tag Heuer

I fear we'll be back in the iTunes land, of: you know that song, the one you already own and didn't buy from Apple? Sure, you can use it as a ringtone, for the low low price of 79p.

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Fancy a wristjob from Tim Cook? TOUGH LUCK, you CAN'T HAVE ONE

ThomH
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Re: I suppose @eSeM

Battery life is dreadful across the entire range of smartwatches. As is usefulness...

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ThomH
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I had a sports watch that needed charging every four days so I say this with certainty that I mean it: a huge battery life improvement is what would be required for me even to consider a smart watch. Probably of several weeks. I don't need one more thing to think about, one more cable to take on holiday, etc, for such a fringe usage device.

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Xiaomi's birthday present to itself: Flogging 2m phones in 12 hours

ThomH
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Re: What has Xiaomi got in common with Apple?

Yeah, Apple's phone strategy is more like their iMac-onwards computer strategy: even just 3% of the market would do for profitability.

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Idiot thieves walk free after stolen iPad uploads pics of them with loot

ThomH
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Re: Strike 1 of three? @chriswakey

"Slip up? If he's talking about breaking laws then he can cry me a river."

One of the laws he has broken since being released is being drunk in public. I'd dare imagine there's a high amount of police discretion in enforcement of that. Have you ever had a drink or two too many in a pub and then gone home?

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ThomH
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Re: Strike 1 of three? @chriswakey

Jerry Dewayne Williams, the pizza thief, got his sentence reduced to five years — after the Supreme Court ruled that judges could apply discretion in application of the three-strikes law — and left prison over fifteen years ago. He moved to a different city, cut his ties to his old friends and has had only two minor incidents with the police since, making a criminal threat and being drunk in public, obtaining him just 17 further days in jail.

I'd say that keeping somebody in prison for twenty additional years in order to save the community from one criminal threat and one incident of being drunk in public was not a proportionate response.

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ThomH
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Re: flash

It worked correctly without Flash in Safari on OS X. Dodgy user-agent sniffing, perhaps?

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Apple's 13-incher will STILL cost you a bomb: MacBook Air 2015

ThomH
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Re: Low res? @DrXym

Most Mac software takes full advantage of the extra pixels. It's been a couple of years since the devices started shipping and even having just one Apple device with a high-DPI screen creates a substantial audience relative to the Mac whole.

Text remains the main improvement. Even if I were buying only a Chromebook, I'd be more comfortable on the high DPI than the regular.

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Just WALK IN and buy an Apple Watch. Are you mad?

ThomH
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So that's two reasons

... two reasons why I won't be strolling into an Apple shop and buying a watch.

And for El Reg's audience I think that still leaves me on the low side.

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Force your hand: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

ThomH
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My favourite shortcut is command+shift+forward slash which takes you to the pull-down menu search box in any app. Then type to find the option you wanted. The text search eliminates the need manually to hunt amongst the pull-downs; the shortcut eliminates the need even to move the cursor in order to do that.

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ThomH
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@jason 7

I don't think most people upgrade their laptops every year or so.

However I think most laptop manufacturers update their lineup at least every year or so.

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ThomH
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Re: Looks ok but...

Per the reviews, one of the things the force touch trackpad attempts to achieve is haptic feedback that fools your brain into thinking you've pushed the thing down when in fact it hasn't moved. It seems to me like that plus Apple's obsession with thinness strongly implies a screen-as-a-keyboard within the next few years.

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Becoming Steve Jobs biography: ‘Much of it was chutzpah and self delusion’

ThomH
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Re: Perfectionist @AlBailey

Certainly they will have been historically but I doubt that's true any more. When's the last time you connected your phone — whatever variety — to any computer?

(and, separately, who's idiot idea was it to graft application, calendar, email account management, etc, into the music player?)

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ThomH
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Re: Perfectionist

iTunes is reviled, and rightly so, only on Windows. Do you imagine Jobs using Windows all that often?

QuickTime also ended up saving the company: when Adobe, Microsoft et al said that either Apple could give them an easy way to port Classic OS software to OS X or they wouldn't bother, the Windows port of QuickTime conveniently had a clean independent implementation of enough of the old framework that they could quickly retrofit it to NextStep.

Which also speaks to the problems with QuickTime and iTunes on Windows, I guess — do you really want every app trying to glue alien widgets and messaging patterns onto your OS?

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BBC gives naked computers to kids (hmm, code for something?)

ThomH
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Based on my experience of school children, 20% will have "self" destructed within a couple of months.

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ThomH
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Re: Pedantic point of order @petur

The only humour I can find in Top Gear is in the manner that their material seems simultaneously both over- and under-rehearsed.

However I dislike the people who think Clarkson should be fired just because they don't find him funny. Dear BBC, even if it were just me watching TV, please don't make only programmes that I already know that I currently enjoy.

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Siri, you're fired: Microsoft Cortana's elbows into iOS, Android

ThomH
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Re: available for phone AND Tables?

Someone in Microsoft PR is still using the 2008 Surface.

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BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

ThomH
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Re: Not quite like the BBC Micro

Right on commander!

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LaCie snuggles up to Apple’s slim 12-inch MacBook with fat HDD

ThomH
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Re: Just a blockhead here

Every directly attached block device is Time Machine compatible. Apple puts one of its arbitrary obstacles in the way only of network-attached storage. Not sure if it works with NTFS-formatted devices though; maybe they're just trying to communicate that the drive is HFS formatted out of the box? You know, very poorly.

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FREAKing hell: ALL Windows versions vulnerable to SSL snoop

ThomH
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This article is about a security issue affecting web browsers. The linked article contains the text "When it comes to applications, it is little wonder that web browsers topped the list, with Microsoft's Internet Explorer up at the top with a total of 242 reported vulnerabilities".

I would therefore not recommend it for the purpose advocated.

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