* Posts by ThomH

2092 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

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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Google's 'encrypted-by-default' Android is NOT encrypting by default

ThomH
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Re: Just goes to show....

There shouldn't be any shame in responding to how consumers receive a competitor's product.

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ThomH
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Re: I don't really like Apple/iOs

On malware/viruses: I don't believe Android has a significant security problem, it just doesn't have a gatekeeper. The benefit is your freedom to download a greater diversity of apps, the detriment is that you have to look out for yourself. Nowhere near every app with a problem has been some dodgy hack from a Russian warez site but you can be confident that Dropbox, Facebook, Desert Golfing, etc, when downloaded from Google or Amazon or equivalent, are safe.

On disk encryption: if all we're arguing about is on-by-default then if it's something you care about just for you it's no big deal.

So I think that just leaves those who think non-technical people should be able to assume protection. I think they should. But is that Google's responsibility to police or should it be left to the market to decide?

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NO ONE is making money from YouTube, even Google – report

ThomH
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Re: The adverts are getting more intrusive @AC

It looks like they're user targeted; transporting an example from one browser to another resulted in different advertisements. They're also likely campaign dependent.

Right now if you happen to match the same criteria as I do then look for: at the start of the video, a woman complaining about TSA and other security aparatus or a man whose video starts in a garage with some car or other and with his promise that he's about to let me in on the secret of how he made his wealth; most persistent mid-video interruptions lately have been on behalf of Wayfair, which is a US online furniture retailer that I have recently used so there's likely some DoubleClick-or-whatever cookie involvement in advert selection.

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ThomH
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The adverts are getting more intrusive

For sufficiently popular videos we now seem to be at unskippable multi-minute adverts as a preroll plus interruptions every seven minutes or so with a ten- or twenty-second insert. That makes a lot more sense as a roll of the dice: if they don't make the site profitable then killing it off is no bad thing.

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ThomH
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Yeah, I absolutely hate abstract bodies of people that learn from their mistakes. People with humility and the ability for self reflection should be run out of town!

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STOP! Pebble Time: New color watch clocks up $5m on Kickstarter

ThomH
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Re: "back-lit color e-paper"?

Yes, like I said, Wikipedia's entry on electronic paper contrasts it with back-lit displays. Normal terminology considers any sort of LCD to be an entirely different thing from electronic paper. A functional difference being that electronic paper benefits from increased external light, back-lit LCDs suffer from it, outdoors daylight usually subtracting significantly from the perceived contrast and gamut of the latter.

So I guess they're just playing fast and loose with the terminology.

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ThomH
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"back-lit color e-paper"?

Eink itself, the trademarked thing from the specific company, is explicitly opaque and reflective. A back light wouldn't be visible because the screen is in the way, like putting a back light behind a piece of cardboard. Readers like the Kindle Paperwhite are front-lit. Wikipedia's entry on electronic paper (yes, yes, I know) explicitly contrasts it with back-lit displays.

So does anybody have an educated guess as to what sort of display we're talking about here?

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Apple: 100,000 lucky people can test our flaky iOS 8.3 code – report

ThomH
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I don't see what Microsoft has to do with it: to my mind it's more "a shock falling-in-line-with-industry-practice move". But I'm very impressionable.

If you asked me to give the name of the company I most immediately associate with public betas, it'd be Google. But Google products can famously remain in beta for years after becoming freely accessible, production services.

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This one weird script continually crashes Android email

ThomH
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Re: Fragmentation

I think Apple goes the wrong way on this too often: by preventing downgrades and trying to back port too much it often leaves older devices with a poor overall user experience.

I type this on an iPad 1 running iOS 5; I type this from experience.

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ThomH
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Doing well is a statistical thing. One counter-example is insufficient.

Google generally writes excellent software and Android is a first-rate piece of engineering. But... "recent phone, all available updates installed and a maliciously crafted email can still crash the client repeatedly without even being opened. So please don't tell me they do well." — see how silly that sounds?

Apple does a million things very poorly. I just don't think yours is a good example of one of them because you've ignored the age of the machine in question.

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Apple Watch 'didn't work on HAIRY FANBOIS, was stripped of sensor tech'

ThomH
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Re: People will still buy them

My understanding is that the watch is barely more than a thin client for the phone. So the proprietary functionality part is more severe here than usual.

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ThomH
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Re: "failed to meet standards ... arising from hairy arms or dry skin"

They were wearing it fine; they were oxidating their blood wrongly.

Cheap shots having been taken, if the story is accurate — developed feature pulled late in the cycle for not working — then it's neither reprehensible nor particularly uncommon.

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Drinking games: Tapper 1983, this Bud's for you...

ThomH
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Tempest with beer

Who could resist?

It's in the Midway Arcade collection and iCade compatible so I most recently played it probably a week or two ago. I doubt I'll ever get to the third bar, let lone the fourth.

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Now Samsung's spying smart TVs insert ADS in YOUR OWN movies

ThomH
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Re: WTF!

The only meaningful solution seems to be to buy an HDMI dongle — Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, whatever. But that's based on the premise that surely Samsung wouldn't interrupt content without knowing what it is? Surely?

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Ubuntu smartphone to go on sale: It'll be harder to get than a new iPhone

ThomH
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Re: Ubuntu is using flash sales, announced via Twitter, as a marketing tool to create buzz

If Apple is artificially stifling supply then the latest model's first quarter is even more impressive.

Apple's PR trick is burying its failures so well that it looks invincible and declining to discuss what it plans to attack next. It's a very different approach from Canonical's over this, the next step in a long-public plan.

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'Ruskie' malware pwns iOS 7

ThomH
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It's an enterprise-signed application, per Ars Technica

If so then distribution can be halted just by Apple revoking the certificate. Ars also believes that the malware is explicitly tap-to-install (with the usual UAC-style "do you trust corporation X?" prompts), with no sort of drive-by installation or remote injection. So it's a trojan.

The security flaws are whatever under iOS 7 allows this application to hide and to block its own deletion. It doesn't manage those things under iOS 8 but it's not necessarily that security is better, it could just be that the similarly insecure components have shuffled around a bit and the detected version of the malware is out of date.

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