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* Posts by ThomH

1888 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Apple to devs: NO slurping users' HEALTH for sale to Dark Powers

ThomH
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Where the game they played with location data being... failure to empty out a cache and, additionally, not requiring that iOS backups are encrypted by default.

With the net effect that personal data might be easily obtained because (i) it was still recorded even when long stale; and (ii) users who would have enabled encryption had they known might not have done so because they didn't know the personal data was there.

It's cock up, not conspiracy. The evidence in support of that proposition is that the cache data was never sent to anyone. Apple didn't harvest this data. It never even received it.

So if you're asking: who would trust Apple to store personal information securely? Yeah, hopefully nobody to whom the issue is particularly critical. But who should take Apple on its word that it's going to block apps that try to profit from your data? Well, I think everyone. Apple's track record on blocking apps based on policing, and over-policing, of internal policies is very strong...

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Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015

ThomH
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Re: increasingly @AC

I've met a lot more people wearing health bands in 2013 and 2014 than I met people with MP3 players in 2000 and 2001. Yet I feel like I probably know more people who like to listen to music than I do people who want to know metrics about their health.

There's a distinction in that MP3 players were clear what's next in an evolving form whereas health bands are probably a fad, but it's still a smart market to get into. Samsung has incorporated heart rate monitors into several of its watch offerings based on the same calculus.

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ThomH
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Re: Next year is 'Apple Refresh Year' for me...

Increasingly many people wear fitness bands — the Fitbit, the Jawbone, etc. It's not completely unreasonable to think that a product from amongst those could become genuinely mainstream. Whether it'd be Apple's though, I don't know; if it's tied to the iPhone then probably not just based on marketshare. Though they were smart enough not to keep the iPod as exclusive to the Mac so hopefully they wouldn't do anything so foolish with a potential watch.

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Nokia: Read these Maps, Samsung – we're HERE for the Gear

ThomH
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Re: If they put Here into the Google Play Store

Be careful what you wish for. When they launched for iOS all we got was a hastily knocked-up web view with a reasonably unresponsive web site within it, showing content at a quarter of the resolution of the screen (i.e. non-retina content only, if you must use Apple nomenclature).

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Too slow with that iPhone refresh, Apple: Android is GOBBLING up US mobile market

ThomH
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If we look at the computer side of things, there are people that make Hackintoshes and people that buy Macs just to run Windows or Linux on them. So I assume it would cut both ways in handset-land, too.

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Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO

ThomH
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Re: I guess it's official.

Most people use the word incorrectly but I don't think Apple does. Per the dictionary, innovation is "[to] make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products". Notably: the changes don't have to be positive, the thing has to have been established previously.

Therefore, if anything, Apple is the most innovative company. It never creates a new market, only enters one that already exists — i.e. is "something established" — and introduces new products which tend to change the market, objectively by dint of sales numbers if nothing else.

Decide for yourself whether innovation should really the litmus test.

It's the goodwill angle that I think is more damaging. Apple has hardly done much to accumulate or preserve that lately.

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ThomH
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If anything, Apple would suffer further irreparable harm to its reputation or goodwill were it granted an injunction. At least, if further harm were possible.

Unlike most here, who can't see beyond "this post says something positive about Apple, I will down vote it" or "this post says something positive about Google, I will down vote it", I give Apple plenty of credit for both the iPod and the iPhone. Both show a detailed comprehension of what non-technical people want from technology — i.e. they want to just plug the thing into the computer and have it suck the music in, no clicks required; they want their web pages to look right and, if crammed onto a tiny screen, they want some very easy means of navigation. Both products deserved their success.

However, if you ask me to evaluate Apple as a company? Yeah, technically competent and historically marketing savvy (or, go on, you list the companies that made billions selling premium-priced UNIX computers to consumers) but now possessed of an avarice that has led them from PR blunder to PR blunder through over-deployment of the legal team.

If it were corporeal, not a person I would like to go for a drink with.

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ThomH
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Re: That leaked email

http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/apple-samsung-patent-truce-150286 : “Samsung and Apple have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” Samsung told TechWeekEurope.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/aug/06/apple-samsung-drop-patent-lawsuits-outside-usa : "Samsung and Apple have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States," the South Korean company said in a statement.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2461940/apple-samsung-agree-to-settle-patent-disputes-outside-us.html : "Samsung and Apple have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” Samsung said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/samsung-apple-agree-to-drop-patent-disputes-outside-the-us-571426?site=classic : "Samsung and Apple have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States," Samsung said in a statement.

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ThomH
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The international lawsuits were dropped by mutual consent — both Apple and Samsung agreed — and this specific story is about an American judge disagreeing with Apple and siding with Samsung.

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Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store

ThomH
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Re: um

The problem then is that you daren't ever get rid of the legacy feature that 5% of people still use but which makes it much harder for the other 95% to get things done as immediately after that update you're guaranteed that the 5% will come out in force and temporarily lower your average rating.

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ThomH
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Re: Icons (@AC)

At least that would make a change from the usual Zynga/EA/Disney/everyone approach of microtransaction-enabled Skinner Boxes masquerading as games?

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Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER

ThomH
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Re: less repairable / upgradeable than ever

I currently own an 11" MacBook Air. I don't see that it could be made any less repairable. I don't think a new floor will be forthcoming because I don't think one can be found.

Though the same comment goes for equivalently-priced TVs, etc...

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ThomH
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Finally a machine to replace my ZX81!

Such a new machine would demonstrate the concept of diminishing returns in two senses.

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Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins

ThomH
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Re: @VinceH (@Peter Gathercole)

The B+ was the first BBC to route the write line to the paged ROMs, wasn't it? So you'd also be unable to use sideways E00 solutions on a regular B, at least without minor motherboard modifications (i.e. finding a write line anywhere and adding a patch wire).

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ThomH
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Re: The B got a memory memory in a previous rev @MAge

If I dare make a possibly ill-educated comment: surely the issue with moving to a new SoC would be that the existing Broadcom is an ARMv6 device whereas anything newer is probably ARMv7. Which would make maintaining binary distributions of anything more troublesome — hardly an impossible problem, but a bit more awkward. In the intended environment, it'd at least mean remembering which pile of SD cards goes with which type of board.

As to price, I imagine there may be a calculation that with ARMv8 now filtering into mobile phones, there's about to be a whole generation of ARMv7 parts that remain incredibly capable but are suddenly a lot easier to get a good deal on just because of the realities of marketing.

There's also the fact that Broadcom has provided full documentation to the Videocore IV, which isn't standard industry practice — GPU internals remain entirely proprietary — and would be very unlikely to occur with a new SoC. So that would introduce a new round of binary blobs and impediments to the bare metal programmers.

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Honey, I shrunk the workstation … into a Chromebook

ThomH
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Re: opengl over X?

It's not just X. From the OpenGL specification (every single version that I checked, including 1.x and 4.x):

The model for interpretation of GL commands is client-server. That is, a program (the client) issues commands, and these commands are interpreted and processed by the GL (the server). The server may or may not operate on the same computer as the client. In this sense, the GL is “network-transparent.”

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6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)

ThomH
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Re: "cancer ruining internet journalism" (@Bill Gray)

The difference being that only one of those is a chore?

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ThomH
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Re: "cancer ruining internet journalism"

Yes, I know. That US English doesn't require a hyphen and that there's no symbol for separation — an anti-hyphen of some sort — is from where the amusing ambiguity springs. So it can, correctly, be read both ways.

Were it British English that would not be the case. Were it hyphenated it would mean the wrong thing.

The empirical evidence is that not everyone finds the second meaning humorous but it's a valid parsing regardless. The further evidence is that despite my comment about ambiguity being entirely clear to my eyes, you somehow took it to mean the exact opposite. Hopefully someone can at least enjoy the irony of my failure there.

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ThomH
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"cancer ruining internet journalism"

I don't know about everybody else but internet journalism has really ruined cancer for me. I haven't been able to think about it in the same light for a while.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must learn about the ten alkaline batteries to try before you die.

(EDIT: yes, pedants, I know, but compound adjectives aren't always hyphenated in US English — even formal US English — and the author is based in the San Francisco office)

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Show Mother Russia you love her: Click HERE and AHHH NYET!

ThomH
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Re: Oh, OK that's fine

This is your area of expertise though. Would you be confident enough to claim you've never done anything that an expert in some other topic wouldn't consider equivalently dense in the handling of some other area of your life?

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Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery

ThomH
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Re: @Lost all faith... (@Gene Cash; @Mike Bell)

@Gene Cash: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see the view that allows you to control Bluetooth and Wifi state (and aeroplane mode, screen brightness and a bunch of other things that aren't directly relevant to battery life).

As it isn't called a 'widget' that obviously means that the iPhone is some sort of failure as a device.

@Mike Bell: the really annoying thing is that if you have Wifi switched off then every location-aware program will show a modal pop-up insisting that it isn't going to be able to do a very good job because it has only GPS to use. Every time you launch them. But that's an interface failing, not a battery-life issue.

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ThomH
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@Lost all faith...

Some things, like Bluetooth, can be turned off without affecting a large proportion of users. Naturally it turns itself on again with every software update. I half-wonder whether it's the desire to persuade somebody, somewhere that iBeacons are a good idea: the better the stats for people walking around with Bluetooth on, the more relevant they sound, right? They're otherwise about as popular as Ping.

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Bright lights, affordable motor: Ford puts LED headlights onto Mondeo

ThomH
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Re: Daytime running lights

If we're talking about just the transition period then there's also the retroactive interference issue: a responsible person who is otherwise a very good driver recently visited us here in the US and was pulled over for driving in the evening without his headlights on. As you've guessed, it's because his car at home is automated but his rental wasn't.

He'd even complained just a few minutes earlier that he was having difficulty seeing anything, without the penny dropping...

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So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL

ThomH
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Re: Innovation...?

Chromebooks have a lot of uses. Amongst those peers that we, commenters on a tech news site, discuss tech purchases with they're almost certainly just for use as something other than a Chromebook.

One anecdote: I know a teacher who has recently kitted out her entire classroom with them. All her students need is access to certain web-based educational resources. They're the easiest to administer and cheapest to buy (safely*), reasonably large thing with a keyboard that doesn't end up tied to any particular desk and can do that.

(* Android laptops seeming to require a gamble with the supplier, being overwhelmingly obscure off-brand imports)

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ThomH
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Re: Oh no

Ye standard Aston Martin retort: nobody has to make petrol specifically for Aston Martins. They just work on the same petrol as the £10k cars. Somebody has to make apps specifically for iOS. iPhones/etc don't just work on the same apps as sub-£100 mobile phones.

Which isn't a perfect analogy because petrol is somewhat more fundamental to cars than apps are to mobile phones given that they're probably used just as much for the web, for photography and for texting, but apps are definitely used more often than oil is put into a car, etc, so forgive me?

That being said, I'll consider Apple to be in serious trouble when the market stops supplying apps for iOS as abundantly as it does for Android. If, say, the iOS Facebook app (no, I don't use it; yes, it's the most popular app) started lagging the Android version by a year or two then I'd be likely to think that Mac-level relevance was pending.

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Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years

ThomH
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Slept through it

I am to earthquakes as many are to silicon valley "innovation".

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AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else

ThomH
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Sorry, what's it thirty years of?

Video games are older than 40; AMD is 55; AMD first forays into IBM PC world were 32 years ago; its first reverse-engineered CPU is now 23; its first fully internally-designed is 18. Meanwhile ATI won't be 30 until next year, having been founded in 1985.

If they're just doing ATI a little early, do this year's products justify that? I feel like I'm being thick and failing to think of something.

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iPhone owners EARN MORE THAN YOU, says mobile report

ThomH
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I'm sure Silicon Valley is skewing it

Salaries here being absurd and iPhones being abundant.

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Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV

ThomH
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Re: Not such a big deal

One of the more surprising things is that car (/auto) insurance seems to be a lot cheaper here in the US _despite_ also needing to include the medical bills of anyone you hit per their lack of nationalised healthcare. I doubt that $5m of insurance will cost more than a few hundred dollars a month, especially if these cars really are much less likely to have accidents.

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Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

ThomH
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Re: Apple Macbooks

Replying to myself on the reliability issue, having tried to source more objective numbers...

Per Squaretrade — http://www.squaretrade.com/htm/pdf/SquareTrade_laptop_reliability_1109.pdf — an insurance company that you might expect to want to amplify total numbers but that probably has no reason to be disingenuous about the manufacturer spread, 17.4% of Apple laptops fail within the first three years. The industry best was Asus at 15.6%, worst was HP at 25.6%.

So the worst big supplier produces machines that are 24% more likely to break than Apple and 64% more likely than the best. Apple's are only 11% more likely to break than the best.

Apple is also beaten by Toshiba and Sony but it's objectively amongst the good build quality guys.

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ThomH
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Re: Apple Macbooks

For certain niche professions, it's a huge benefit that Thunderbolt exposes full-speed PCIe to outside lets you add arbitrary expansion devices when docked. E.g. Sonnet sell a box that lets you attach a regular PCIe card. I'm told it's quite the thing for pro audio.

For the rest of us? The build quality is usually good*, the battery life usually superb.

* no, your three anecdotes plus the times it has actually been newsworthy because the build quality wasn't good don't disprove that assertion. Though my anecdote doesn't exactly prove it either...

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YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator

ThomH
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Re: It's that featureless mouse thing again! (@Stoneshop)

It shows up the first time you pair the mouse with the computer. Automatically. No interaction required.

Which, yes, is like those annoying applications that force you through a tutorial because they're insufficiently easy to figure out.

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ThomH
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Re: It's that featureless mouse thing again!

Find the power button by using your eyes, probably only once. No need to read the manual any more than you had to read the manual to figure out where to plug the monitor into your desktop PC.

Ports round the back are an awful idea for USB-like things that are likely to be plugged in and unplugged frequently (you know, versus things like monitors). I feel like Apple has stumbled into the problem — when the ports first headed round the back, the keyboards were still wired and had USB ports directly on them. So no need to touch the main computer at all. Then the wireless keyboard became the default and the fumbling began. Never mind the risk of scratching the machine with the USB device. More design thought required, I think. The sides would have been a good solution but Apple has collapsed those to being about 5mm wide so that option's out.

Clicking on text:

• single click places the cursor;

• double click selects a word;

• triple click selects a paragraph.

If you don't know about triple click then you can stick with manually locating paragraph bounds and clicking and dragging over the whole thing, in much the same way that, whether a Windows or Mac user, you can use File->Save instead of pressing [Control/Command]+S. It's just less convenient.

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ThomH
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Maybe it's a massaging feature...

... to help relieve the RSI that's inevitable from using an Apple mouse.

The 'Magic' Trackpad is pure genius, however.

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iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks

ThomH
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Would that be the same Apple that was first to ship a computer completely free of legacy ports, creating the first third-party market for USB peripherals?

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Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA

ThomH
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Re: my guess is... @BillG

I thought it was more to fire something trivial off, then disappear for 5–10 seconds?

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Giving your old Tesco Hudl to Auntie June? READ THIS FIRST

ThomH
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The device has a feature called 'factory reset' that doesn't reset it to a factory state. That's different from having a feature called 'format the hard drive' which establishes the correct formatting on a hard drive. The first feature doesn't do what it promises, the second does what it promises but is sometimes falsely assumed to do something else as well.

That being said, it sounds like an easy bug to fix. A quick pop-up to explain that if the purpose is to remove confidential information then a full erase should be performed which will take X minutes rather than Y seconds and a couple of buttons would do it. It's such a fringe feature that it's probably not worth investing more time in than that.

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FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'

ThomH
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I've enjoyed this being the year of the S5 and the 5s.

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XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources

ThomH
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Indeed. Had the author alleged a strong correlation between use of that file format and intellectual property theft then he'd have been closer to making the point he intended, I think.

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Hollywood star Robin Williams dies of 'suspected suicide' at 63

ThomH
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Re: When will we take mental health seriously?

I saw the headline of his death and assumed a heart attack or something. I read the article, which said suicide, and immediately thought "oh, so there was nothing wrong with him". Only then did I consciously correct myself.

So I'm thoroughly of the opinion that mental health needs to be taken seriously but apparently still catch even myself not doing so. It's deeply sad that Robin Williams was sick and that his sickness killed him; I hope regressive instincts similar to mine didn't contribute and can be overcome more widely.

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Microsoft: Just what the world needs – a $25 Nokia dumbphone

ThomH
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Re: Yes please

Let's not forget the Motorola ROKR, not matter how much Motorola and Apple might like us to. There were quite a few MP3 apps for Series 60 phones too, so you could rehabilitate your old Nokia 7650 if you really wanted. It's a slider though, so I guess something a little later like the 6600 would be more relevant?

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Can't touch this! Microsoft joins OpenGL 3D graphics group

ThomH
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Re: Eek. (@Captain Scarlet)

Internet Explorer was the default bundled browser with all Macs from 1998 until 2003 or so. It was branded as version 5 but by the time it jumped to OS X had diverged completely from the Windows branch and, at the time, was the most standards-compliant browser (no, really — look up the Tasman layout engine).

I guess its development was tied to the patent cross-licensing deal; in any case Apple seemed to be aware that the agreement wouldn't last forever as Safari was conveniently ready in the wings.

Speaking professionally, even as late as 2009 I'd get extremely lazy web developers trying to justify leaving their half-decade old IE6 code alone despite the company's significant move into iOS development (and, therefore, Mac deployment) because "there's an IE for Mac, right?"

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ThomH
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Re: WebGL is coming to Safari in IOS 8 (@AC)

That article doesn't mention OpenGL even once — your conclusion is akin to citing an article that states that ebola is quite deadly as evidence that it is more deadly than the bubonic plague — and the 0.2% of people that care about "high end gaming hardware" are unlikely to play games in their browser.

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PEAK APPLE: One MILLION fewer iPads sold this quarter

ThomH
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Re: Still, they can always look to mobile can't they?

Depends how you define peak Apple. In terms of peak influence, yeah, we're past that. But iPhone sales continue to go up year-on-year. The broadening of the market just makes Apple an increasingly less singularly notable player.

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Surfing the web from Android? We KNEW it – sorry, iOS fanbois

ThomH
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Re: Mobile not Desktop - I dont use mobile !

Yes, that's how Net Applications classifies browser users. Users who "have to be thankful for what they get" get counted as mobile.

Also: users who recently lost a shoe get counted as desktop, users who confuse effect and affect get counted as desktop, users who daydream a little too much get counted as mobile.

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ThomH
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Re: Microsoft mobile market share

The tragedy of Microsoft, from its point of view anyway, is that there are about a hundred different things it could have done to own the mobile market and it succeeded at none of them.

What's certain is that it was a losing strategy to recreate the Windows desktop at 256x160 and expect people to poke at scrollbars barely a couple of millimetres wide with a stylus, then respond to the launch of the iPhone with laughter and disdain for it as a business product — i.e. if you think a large touch screen phone would be good for any part of your business then you're not the sort of company Microsoft is willing to treat seriously. Never mind waiting until long after Android has hit its stride finally to release a usable touch interface, then hobbling any potential uptake by applying a bunch of strict criteria about required buttons that means that if you're Samsung or whomever you can't just decide whether to put Windows or Android on at the final stage of manufacture.

The market is now Google's to lose.

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ThomH
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Re: Title seems misleading

True, but it does mean that your web page is more likely to be viewed by an Android user than an iOS user. Plan appropriately.

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ThomH
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Re: More likely

Umm, we don't know that because that isn't true. Chrome, Opera, etc, were counted towards the Android total. It's 44.83% Safari, 21.86% Android Browser; adding in the other options is how Android gets to number one.

In future maybe don't just make things up?

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Apple's iWatch may be DELAYED over sapphire glass supply problems

ThomH
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Re: Here we go @John 104

The quotes were meant to show that even the best selling Apple-related press doesn't blindly do "Wow! Apple's revolutionised everything, again! That's the third time this year!" but I actually think the original iPhone was a fantastic deal — don't forget to factor in the unlimited data versus the 18p/megabyte sort of charging that was common at the time. Though you'll recall that Symbian kept the vast majority of the market more or less up until Android came of age, so I don't think it would be accurate to say that the majority of people were sold.

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ThomH
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Re: Here we go

It probably wasn't published in your version of reality but from MacWorld's contemporaneous review of the original iPhone — http://www.macworld.com/article/1058733/iphone_rev.html :

"... the volume buttons are located a bit too close to the switch, and on several occasions I found myself pushing the switch (which won’t budge) in a vain attempt to boost the iPhone’s volume."

"It’s a standard 3.5-millimeter jack—the very same sort used on the iPod—but because it’s recessed many third-party headphones won’t fit, especially if they’ve got a large plug or one that turns at a 90-degree angle. It’s too bad that a clunky add-on accessory will be necessary for aficionados of high-quality headphones"

"On the iPhone’s back face is the tiny lens of its compact, two-megapixel camera. It doesn’t zoom and doesn’t work well in low light"

"... the lack of [copy and paste] to transfer text from one place to another can generally hamper interaction between different iPhone programs."

"The iPhone also lacks a quick-dial feature that you’ll find on many other phones"

"Moreover, the iPhone doesn’t filter mail, nor does it have any built-in spam catcher. That means if you’re relying on a client-side filtering program ... you’ll be stunned at the amount of spam you’ll see on your iPhone."

"Steve Jobs has promoted the Web-browsing experience on the iPhone as one that brings you the “real Internet” ... Apple has brought the iPhone most of the way toward that goal, but it still falls a few notable steps short. ... there are a few limitations that prevent Safari on iPhone from truly showing the real Internet. The biggest is the fact that perhaps the most common browser plug-in in existence, Adobe’s Flash, is nowhere to be found."

"The bad news is that Text can’t send MMS messages [...] Because of this limitation, you can’t send a picture you snap with the iPhone’s camera to another phone via Text. [...] What’s worse, the iPhone has no support for any Internet-based instant-messaging network. "

"... the Notes program is fairly useless. ... And not to get too font-nerdy on you, but the Marker Felt font used in Notes is extremely ugly and, sadly, can’t be changed."

"The only thing missing from the Maps equation is that the iPhone doesn’t know where it is. Not via built-in GPS (it has none), nor by triangulating signal strengths from nearby cellular phone towers."

"I’m aware of numerous complaints from iPhone buyers ... about long, drawn-out issues with activating their phones. Still others have complained about poor customer service on the part of Apple and AT&T during the product’s first days of existence."

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