* Posts by ThomH

2079 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

You're spending WHAT on iPhone 6? Wells Fargo downgrades Apple stock

ThomH
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Re: They haven't since about 2007 (@AC)

If we're discounting (i) the interface (Apple: first to market with multitouch; first mobile OS built from day one to assume a GPU); and (ii) the cost of ownership (Apple strong-armed AT&T into unlimited data when everyone else was charging 50p/megabyte), then I guess you can write off the iPhone. And more or less everything else to happen in computing since at least 1980. Who needs the direct manipulation metaphor if a Computer Science graduate can learn to navigate a highly modal, nested interface on a phone with exactly one font and two levels of zoom using a combination of key presses, dials and a stylus?

Ignoring the good things Apple did for the market just weakens discussion of the many bad. It also implicitly attacks Android. Android has conquered the market by being a million times better than the near-unusable pre-iPhone rubbish. That's why throwing some gestures on top of Symbian and trying to do with development tools what they couldn't do with the OS didn't work for Nokia.

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Tim Cook gets weensy 1.9% increase - but it's still twice an average joe's salary

ThomH
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Re: not exactly

In America most employees get only ten days of holiday a year (versus twenty eight in the UK and similar quantities across Europe), so the average Joe wouldn't gain that much from working the extra days — 252 rather than 242 is only about a 4% increase.

Though that's more than 1.9% so your point stands.

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Get lost, fanbois: Nokia pulls HERE Maps from Apple's App Store

ThomH
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Re: The real reason

I completely agree. They put a web view into an application and didn't even make sure it sourced "retina"-resolution content, so the display was blocky and the user interface slow and obtuse*, then washed their hands of the platform. Given Apple's mapping fumble, there was a fantastic opportunity to grow their user base but Nokia screwed it up.

Google's approach, of taking a few weeks more to come up with something fast and effective, was much more intelligent.

(* recall that embedded web views use the slower JavaScript engine, errr, officially because Apple doesn't want to allow any application to have any memory that is both writable and executable in its address space)

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Android, Chromebooks storm channel as Windows PC sales go flat

ThomH
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So if we award all desktops to Microsoft then I make it...

Microsoft: 64.1% of commercial channel computing devices that aren't phones

Google: 18.3%

Apple: 17.5%

I'll bet Microsoft has a long way further to drop — all those years focussing on corporate hearts and minds is paying off, but probably not in the way intended. Though they still seem not quite to get the difference: I think shoehorning the phrase "with full Microsoft Office" into every consumer-targetted Surface advert isn't having the effect Microsoft seems to intend.

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British Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing receives Royal pardon

ThomH
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Re: At last

I think everything is well on the issue of homosexuality in the UK now, isn't it? Or, it will be from next March. Maybe I'm living a blinkered existence?

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Samsung: Men, our Gear smartwatch will make you a hit with the sexy ladies

ThomH
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Re: A hit with women?

By including a single male with a Gear in the advert, they could not only have reflected their device's demographic in the abstract but have included every single person so far to buy one.

Smart watches are a solution without a problem.

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How much did NSA pay to put a backdoor in RSA crypto? Try $10m – report

ThomH
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Re: nothing like an isolated event. (@Tom 13)

If we're going to stick to America versus the UK, highlighting the existence of the constitution doesn't make a lot of sense because the UK is almost unique in being designed around not having one — the UK has a series of distinct documents that are considered as being of constitutional significance (ie, are not subject to implicit repeal per Factortame) but everything else is up for grabs or dictated by case law. For example, the protection against arbitrary imprisonment in England is the court's ability to issue a writ of habeas corpus. Does that make it any less of a protection? The only thing that stops the monarch from grabbing back absolute power is the certainty of what the public would do as a result. Does that make a sudden switch from democracy to dictatorship somehow more likely?

History further shows that the USA has been no faster to gift liberties in practice.

In the British Empire, trading in slaves became illegal in 1807 and keeping them at all became illegal in 1833. The USA banned the import of slaves in 1807 but didn't manage to abolish slavery until 1865. So which nation was ahead in liberty?

Nowadays the UK doesn't execute prisoners because it learnt the hard way that criminal systems are fallible no matter how many rights of appeal are offered. It has free comprehensive healthcare not just on humanitarian grounds — the belief is that healthcare is a fundamental right — but on purely functional ones: if a significant proportion of your population has worse health then that means you're likely to have worse health too, since many types of bad health are contagious and public spaces are shared.

Those are things a European mindset would suggest are advances but with which a USA mindset wouldn't agree. But that's just more evidence that most of the world does not recognise the American norms as some sort of ideal.

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ThomH
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Re: unlike in the UK....

"I got a few thumbs down for saying it, but the American constitution and system of government is a historically amazing human achievement. It was an isolated event drawing much inspiration from the French revolution (via B.Franklin ), and coming "hot on the heels" of the English civil war. But the ideal of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is simply an amazing observation."

The American constitution and system of government is nothing like an isolated event. It is explicitly a fork of the British system, run locally so as to be answerable to local needs. It was designed to be bicameral with one house that lots of people are elected to and the one house that a small number of people are chosen for by other important people. It uses an adversarial, precedential legal system based on the premise that everything is legal unless explicitly proscribed. It explicitly adopted all British case law up to the cut off. Major political party for the first half century? The Whigs.

The British system, of course, directly descends from that imported from Normandy by William the Conqueror in 1066. Ever wondered why we have mortgages, a few of which are puisne, or why civil wrongs other than those arising due to contracts are called torts?

Converting Locke's "life, liberty, and estate" to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" does not an isolated event make.

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Feuding fanbois in a flap over piracy haven in new iOS 7 jailbreak tool

ThomH
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Re: Fair?

Jailbreaking isn't piracy because it doesn't involve distributing something for free that the publishers desire to be reimbursed for.

Jailbreaking is also legal in most places. It's even explicitly legal in the USA thanks to an exemption to the DMCA — presumably because there's no MPAA/RIAA-style body opposed to it.

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COW a-BUNG HER, dude! 'Secret Santa' Bill Gates buys lass a HEIFER

ThomH
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Bill Gates isn't Jewish.

He does look quite a bit older than his actual age — he's only 58 per Wikipedia. Given that he spent his professional career near Seattle, I don't think he can blame sun damage.

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ZX Spectrum REVIVED as Bluetooth keyboard

ThomH
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If it helps as exposition

Apple's SDK supplies you with only the incoming stream of typed characters. So ordinary Bluetooth keyboards are useful for email, browsing and general productivity but not for games — it's like you get key down notifications but not key up.

Products like the iCade work around that by typing one character for button down and another for button up. This keyboard presumably does the same thing.

So it won't be usable with anything other than the Elite Systems app. It's an expensive workaround for an iOS-exclusive problem.

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Macbook webcams CAN spy on you - and you simply CAN'T TELL

ThomH
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Re: So?

It's not particularly secret that digital cameras can see infrared, is it? That's why you can use your phone to test whether the batteries have run out in your remote control.

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Gran Turismo 6: Another glossy, gorgeous Mario Kart on steroids

ThomH
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An oblique reference to the classic Gran Turismo tactic of bouncing off your opponents to get round corners?

Admittedly it's been years since I played one. Do they model car damage yet?

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Apple CEO Cook breaks YEARS OF SILENCE, finally speaks to El Reg hack

ThomH
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I thought El Reg made fun of Jobs' pronunciation of Jaguar?

"Jag-yar", if memory serves. Surely you guys didn't do more than one thing to upset Apple?

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Google's Dart on target to replace JavaScript? That'll be the day

ThomH
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Re: just because it has Google's backing would be a mistake

Yes, they would. See VP8 or SPDY.

I think the difference versus classic 90s-era Microsoft is that what's good for the Internet is good for Google, so Google's proposed standards tend to be good ideas which Google genuinely intends to be open for all. One gets the impression that the point of Dart isn't that they can shut down Firefox et al, it's that the various Internet-connected devices from all manufacturers will be better at running web applications from all providers because then people will spend even more time on the web and Google's advertising revenue will increase.

The other difference is that people seem to be a bit more aware of the malign influence that even a benevolent single sponsor can produce. So Google's good intentions may still not be enough to win people around. But at least they're trying something.

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ARM swallows graphics software biz Geomerics to tart-up mobile games

ThomH
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Re: Proprietary?

It falls within your list of GPUs that required reverse engineering but I think pretty much everything about the Raspberry Pi's Broadcom is known now: see http://www.geomerics.com/media/presentations.html

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Samsung loses against Apple ... this time in SOUTH KOREA

ThomH
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Pedantry attack

Samsung didn't technically lose against Apple — being the claimant it merely failed to win. The standard might be only balance of probabilities but the burden was entirely on Samsung. It's much the same distinction that causes criminal defendants to be found not guilty rather than innocent.

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ThomH
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Re: Sony Vaio Z1

My first silver metal laptop with black keys was a c.2001 Titanium PowerBook. I'm glad we can talk about this topic as it is exceedingly relevant to the story posted.

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I KNOW how to SAVE Microsoft. Give Windows 8 away for FREE – analyst

ThomH
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Re: Except Apple aren't giving it away for free.

I think the argument is that Microsoft should pivot from profiting on every release to profiting only on the initial install — the copy of Windows your hardware manufacturer licenses. Exactly the same model as Microsoft already uses for Windows Phone, effectively, with the assumption that the rise in tablets and other Secure UEFI devices will more than offset the money lost to traditional PCs as they retreat into a business niche.

Giving everyone the latest version for free has other benefits too: Apple has used it effectively to take control of its platform's development tools and to strong arm all developers into supporting the latest technologies. If 75% of your user base is running the latest thing and 90% are running either the latest thing or the thing before then there's a pretty solid case for developers to use the latest tools and frameworks.

That would give Microsoft more leverage with which to push developers towards WinRT and store-bundled releases, and therefore give a huge boost to their tablet efforts. Based on the Windows Phone trajectory, Microsoft's tablets will probably be competing adequate with Android devices on build quality and cost within a few years so if they can just find a way to get the application developers on board then they'll have a reasonably healthy pitch for consumers.

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'Don't hate on me for my job!' Googlers caught up in SF rent protest ruckus

ThomH
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Re: Only... (@AC)

But that's the starting salary. So you get that straight out of university.

If you've at least a year or two's experience, you're pretty much guaranteed six American figures. There aren't enough employees to fill the vacancies and only a very limited number can be imported every year. That's why you always see the big tech firms with any lobby group in favour of immigration reform.

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This one time at Apple Camp... Tech titan offers to school US fanbois on coding

ThomH
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Re: Dear Apple, open yourselves up a little

I think you're conflating issues.

The Hour of Code is a national scheme. Participants offering a free one-hour in-store lesson include both of the companies that have the space to do so: Apple and Microsoft. The article seems more interested in the Apple angle but you can take that up with El Reg.

Neither Apple nor Microsoft allow you to develop for their ~$500 tablets without buying an additional computer. Does that mean neither of them should be allowed to take part in the scheme?

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Developer CEO 'liable for copyright infringement' over unlawful tool

ThomH
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Re: Bad analogy time

They are if you modify the gun and then resell it through the original maker.

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ThomH
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Re: Is appearing as their own work the only problem?

Yes, I think that was the problem. It remained an AppWork product even after changes. Hence the company assumed responsibility and the CEO ended up being liable.

So it's broadly similar to going after a hosting company for propagating an infringing website.

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Apple's spamtastic iBeacon retail alerts launch with Frisco FAIL

ThomH
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Re: On behalf of San Francisco natives everywhere...

How about Oakland West?

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ThomH
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Re: Genius Bar (@SVV)

Yes, it's a smug, annoying name for the customer service counter.

However, somewhere in the 12 years since Apple introduced them, I think most people who are likely to hear about them will have made peace with the name.

For your next comment, maybe you could explain what this "Windows XP" thing is?

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IDS finally admits what EVERYONE ELSE already knows: Universal Credit will be late

ThomH
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You're blaming Labour for 10bn "and counting"? I think you might have missed some relevant news stories from 2010.

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Desperate MS flaunts UNDEAD SPLAT TALLY to pep Xbox One fans

ThomH
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Re: It was to be expected...

You've obviously forgotten the Microsoft announcements since. People didn't want discs that become tied to the specific machine or an enforced daily check-in to seek permission to use the console because, ummm, they weren't smart enough to spot the benefits and they're all just living in the past and one day they'll realise that they were wrong and, anyway, it's not Microsoft's fault if the public is so backwards.

Furthermore, capitulation was a sign of strength and evidence that the XBox is the more versatile device. So there.

That all being said, one feels there's a game of dare going on. Microsoft and Sony are letting companies like EA (I'm talking about you, Sim City) take the flack for this sort of consumer-hating practice for now and will no doubt both integrate it back into the machine once every publisher is just having to do it individually anyway.

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Apple prepping 4K resolution 12.9-inch MaxiPad – report

ThomH
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Re: The ipad's big fail

You could more productively have spent that half hour installing e.g. FileBrowser (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/filebrowser-access-files-on/id364738545) and grabbing the files from a network share.

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ThomH
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Re: Won't happen

Apple doesn't explicitly announce its motivations, obviously, but I think the explicit constraints system it introduced in iOS 6 via NSLayoutConstraint is supposed to buy them much more flexibility in screen ratio and proportions. I even suspect that via dynamic type in iOS 7 (you set the base font size, everything else is meant to size around that) they possibly even want to be able to change to non-integer multiple pixel densities.

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ThomH
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Re: Seems a bit pointless (@Dave 128)

The ARM64 instruction set does benefit the consumer now, and increasingly so since iOS apps are built to native code so there's a bit of delay in there. None of the improvements are much to do with being 64-bit in the abstract, but 64-bit pointers help with Objective-C's traditional stance that everything is on the heap as they allow suitably small objects to be packed directly into the pointer and passed about effectively by value. That doesn't cost addressing space because valid pointers have to be aligned anyway — Apple has just adding meaning for unaligned pointers.

Apple's is also a reference counted environment, and they've built a few bits of the count directly into the pointer. Previously the rule was that once retain count goes above 1, the runtime explicitly stores it in a hash table somewhere. I think they may actually have forfeited some addressing space for this improvement though.

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ThomH
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Re: Maxipad...

That's why El Reg has satirically coined it.

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Eagle steals crocodile-cam, records video selfie

ThomH
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Re: NOT "stolen"

... so you don't think the eagle acted dishonestly to appropriate property belonging to another with intent permanently to deprive, etc, etc?

Anecdotal survey result: this is the definition most likely to recalled from the first year of a law degree.

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iPhone slips in Europe as Windows Phone claims OVER 10% market share

ThomH
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Big in Japan! Big in Japan!

In Japan, where the 5S is offered universally free on a contract, Apple captured 76% of the market during the post-launch lustre month of October (source: https://twitter.com/KWP_ComTech/status/405288467141115904 ).

So regardless of the other analyses, I think it's probably the case that a huge number of people would take the Apple phone if it were a cost effective option — the problem isn't necessarily the user interface or the walled garden or even the size (though Japanese people seem to like small things much more than, say, Americans).

On the plus side, that means that Apple has a way out if it wants to take it. I guess the question is at what tipping point does a low-cost mass-market device become more profitable than a high-cost niche device? If the market decline worldwide continues and starts to bite Apple's bottom line, will it be smart enough to make the leap in time?

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ThomH
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Re: Lolz

I think the Apple versus Microsoft figure is relevant here because there's no real landfill Windows Phone category. In the way that it's designed Windows Phone is much more similar to iOS than Android in that you can't chuck it onto three-year old hardware with a vendor-specific shell — Android isn't just about the blockbusting flagships — so it would seem likely that Microsoft is preparing to beat Apple at its own game.

If I were Apple? It's time for serious price cuts to the 5C. It needs to be free on all but the stingiest of contract. It's probably time to accept that the market seems to prefer dramatically bigger screens, too.

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Solar enthusiasts rays idea of 'leccy farms on MOON, drones

ThomH
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Re: More importantly...

Yes, but without complete dedication — they've all got second jobs policing the White Void.

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El Reg Contraption Confessional No.1: The Dragon 32 micro

ThomH
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Re: While I was rummaging through a box...

Grab some UEFs from stairwaytohell.com then use something like uefreader.sourceforge.net to output as audio...

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Asus Transformer Book T100: Xbox One? PS4? Nah, get a cute convertible for Christmas

ThomH
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Re: Sounded really promising

The 2GB RAM was the turn-off for me. If I'm basically going to be unable to use the desktop then I might as well buy an ordinary tablet — it'll pretty much certainly get me a much higher pixel density for the browsing, media consumption, etc, that you're pretty much limited to anyway.

And don't tell Microsoft, but other office suites are available. Including ports of OpenOffice for Android — install AndrOpen Office and you'll actually feel like you're using a Windows desktop application.

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ThomH
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Re: $299 vs £350

I found it unclear where the $299 claim comes from; the device is $408.60 on Amazon US (before sales tax) and £339.99 on Amazon UK (with VAT). Take the VAT off the UK price and you get £283.325 (sic). Convert that to dollars and you get $463.83.

So the pre-tax difference is that UK residents pay an extra $55.23 — about £34. Which is almost exactly 10% of the price, but nothing like as bad as $299 versus £350.

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Hello! Still here! Surface 2! Way better than iPad! says slightly desperate Microsoft

ThomH
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The equivalently-priced Surface isn't more flexible or less restricted than the iPad — all apps have to come from Microsoft's storefront with Microsoft's blessing.

Based on price, Apple's competitor to the Surface Pro is the MacBook Air, which again is pretty much exactly as flexible and unrestricted.

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Apple stalls iWatch, 12.9-inch iPad from Quanta rumored for mid-2014

ThomH
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I've got a couple of small LCDs lying around...

... that should be enough to meet the demand consumers have so far shown for smart watches.

The big iPad would be interesting if they were to merge iOS into OS X (ie, make both sets of API available) but that feels exceedingly unlikely. It also suggests I've learnt nothing whatsoever from Windows 8.

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Apple Schill-er: 'I was shocked - SHOCKED! They went and copied the iPhone'

ThomH
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Re: The irony

I think you've got a very peculiar definition of stolen. E.g. the BSD authors want other people to reuse their code in any way that it proves useful. They're probably very happy that Apple uses their code.

To put it another way: if Apple "stole" the mouse despite it being implemented widely by others earlier then it follows that Samsung did "steal" multitouch, etc from Apple. If what Samsung did was reasonable then Apple's use of the mouse was also reasonable. You can't have it both ways.

It is, at worst, hypocrisy rather than irony.

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ThomH
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Re: Pathetic lawsuit

To be fair, Apple's claims to be an innovator are primarily outside court. Inside court it merely establishes that it holds design patents and that argue that the defendant infringed on those patents, which they usually have because the patent system allows ridiculously broad design patents. Apple then throws in that the patents were copied maliciously, specifically to usurp the iPhone, because that works in their favour for quantification of damages.

You can dislike the people at Apple for the smugness of their advertising, and you can dislike them for the cynicism of their legal manoeuvres but you're disliking them for two separate reasons.

If you're anything like me you can even dislike them for those things but still rank them in the top half of the tech industry as Apple's sins have a much more diffuse effect on the market and on individual consumers than the classic villains.

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Microsoft: Play hookey on Xbox One day - chug a dose of ZOMBIE FLU

ThomH
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Re: Sounds about right.

This is Bill & Melinda Gates' other contribution to world health.

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Winamp is still a thing? NOPE: It'll be silenced forever in December

ThomH
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WinAMP was a turning point for me...

... well-engineered and extremely popular as it was, its users' obsession with skins and customisation was the first thing that made me feel that I'm something different from the typical self-declared "technical" user. I just want the music to play and the thing that does that to be as invisible as possible.

It's sad to see WinAMP go though. It ushered in the modern world of music consumption.

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The REAL JUICE behind leaked BlackBerry OS: Android apps to slip in without protection

ThomH
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Re: Maybe So, Look at Macintosh

I thought they became acceptable when sufficiently much of what consumers use computers for had moved into the browser so that, with the native Microsoft Office also available, the software gap no longer mattered. Apple's transition to a competent OS in the years immediately preceding helped too. The switch to Intel was just the icing on the cake.

As for BlackBerry, I have to agree with the other commenters that a difference here is that Google probably isn't going to go on an anti-competitive market fixing spree. I also don't see how it matters that much to BlackBerry if people end up thinking of their OS as just a weird version of Android — from where they are now, anything that makes money is a win.

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Delia and the Doctor: How to cook up a tune for a Time Lord

ThomH
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I wouldn't read too much into it — BBC 3 is evidence that plenty of people at the BBC hate the public in general.

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Arm-wave bye BYE! Apple grabs Kinect flail-sensor maker for $345m

ThomH
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Re: Apple Telly

While I agree with you, I wouldn't rule out an attempt by Apple. I think they might use their "retina" sales tag to try to grab some cash during the great up-sell to 4k. With a built-in AppleTV and the assumption of Wifi it'll play well with Apple's traditional sales pitch of simplicity — just plug it into the electricity.

Use their Hollywood clout to talk the networks into live streaming through a unified platform and they might even have a compelling sales pitch. For the Americans, whose networks they'd actually bother with, anyway.

It'll need to happen very soon though.

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ThomH
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@Charles 9

It always used to be the Microsoft dictum that they would always prefer to purchase than to license — e.g. that's why they foisted Helvetica-alike Arial on the world rather than using the real thing. But I guess that was back when there was virtually unbounded room for growth. They were probably more cautious about a peripheral for a video game console with known sales figures.

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What a plot of nonsense: Ten Master master plan FAILS

ThomH
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Re: With this device I can rule the world!

With this device I can rule 13% of the smartphone-buying world!

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Schiller: 'Almost everyone' at Apple works on iPhones - not Macs or anything

ThomH
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Re: And yet... (@Bob Vistakin)

The new iPhone launched 11 days before the end of Q3, and even then only in its first ten countries. There are a lot of reasons to think Apple's stubbornness is costing it huge amounts of marketshare but the Q3 year-on-year sales report isn't one of them.

My feeling is that Apple succeeds when it is technologically ahead. It slowly withers when it tries to rely on being cool. With the Mac they eventually found a way to make it sustainable but they've never managed to turn product lines around and reclaim dominance in a market they've previously lost. So I'm not optimistic for iOS, especially if the 5C is all we're getting as a price reduction.

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