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* Posts by ThomH

1998 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

RIP Bill Lowe: Father of the IBM PC no longer reading drive C

ThomH
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Re: One interesting tidbit from the BBC article:

I've considered all the possibilities and I think: we'd have missed out on Clippy.

Snide remarks aside, respects to Bill Lowe. How many of us can claim to be be so sure in our belief about where the future lies as to overcome the inertia of a company like IBM and shape it ourselves?

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Apple 'happy ending': BULGING iPhone WAD - but can it ever be enough?

ThomH
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Re: @WhoaWhoa (@Dan)

There's no evidence whatsoever to suggest that "The decision to remove CD drives is also cost driven". It further strikes me as at leart an order of magnitude more likely that the decision was motivated by the desire to make the machines thinner and lighter (it's one of Apple's favourite boasts) and to boost the battery life (both by eliminating the last moving part and by making more space available for those custom shaped batteries they love to glue in).

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ThomH
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@WhoaWhoa

There's a difference in evaluation between a premium product and a budget product. Whether you think Apple produces a premium product or not is immaterial — some do, and they believe they're paying for (i) the hardware; (ii) the design; and (iii) to enter or remain in the ecosystem. They don't evaluate on component mark-ups alone because they believe that (ii) costs money and (iii) adds value beyond the components.

So they ask themselves "do I want the machine with the 5 megapixel screen that runs below 20 decibels for 12 hours between charges and weighs less than 2kg?" not "which machine is the cheapest for the performance level I've deemed adequate?"

If you think most people don't agree that Macs are worth the money then you're right. That's why at least 85% of buyers pick something else, even according to the most optimistic estimate of marketshare that Google could find me.

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Post-PC era? Post-MAC era! OS X Mavericks 'upgrade' ruins iWorks

ThomH
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Re: I am an Apple fan... (@AC)

The new Macbook Pros are cheaper than the old. The 15" isn't a like-for-like comparison because the new entry level omits the discrete GPU and the old didn't, but last year's 13" was $1,499 at the time of discontinuation and the new is $1,299. That's a bit more than 13% cheaper.

I also think we're already several years past the point where people who like to upgrade their computers would consider a Mac?

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OS X Mavericks mail client spews INFINITE SPAM

ThomH
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On the contrary, the Mac is still better than a PC for creative work in a whole bunch of key areas — see e.g. http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/09/making-the-ultimate-creative-content-os-ubercreate-os-1-0/ in which the author starts from the position that some people will be turned off by the new Mac Pro so, hypothetically, what would the perfect alternative platform be?

The Mac comes out as by far the closest thing to the ideal, based on much better out-of-the-box support for professional formats (HDR, EXR, etc), better multitasking under load (so you can do something else while a render occurs), system-wide scripting (though the author dislikes AppleScript, he likes the Automator) and search (ie, in every file dialogue in every app), much more mature HiDPI support (for people working with 4k video and without magnifying glasses) and a bunch of other things.

Windows wins only in 10-bit video output (which sounds quite significant to me, but isn't enough in isolation) and aero snap.

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ThomH
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Mail's always been dodgy

... though it's working well for me at the minute. The last update appears finally to have resolved the bug whereby new emails sometimes display as empty until you restart the client, and even the iOS version no longer occasionally decides someone is trying to email me from 1969*.

So far I've had no issues whatsoever with any part of 10.9. But why do I feel like I'm tempting fate?

(* the UNIX epoch versus the PST time zone, I assume)

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Naughty Flash Player BURIED ALIVE in OS X Mavericks Safari sandbox

ThomH
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@skelband

Contorting Jobs' statement through selectively strict interpretation is about as meaningful as if I insisted your statement, "User-land code should only affect applications", couldn't possibly mean the logically corrected version, "User-land code should affect only applications", because that's not what you wrote.

Jobs often used 'the Mac' to mean any combination of the hardware, the OS and the applications that run on it.

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ThomH
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User land code did only affect applications. Apple meant "... is the number one cause of crashes on Macs", not "... is the number one reason OS X crashes".

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ThomH
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Re: golf clap

If you get started on that line of argument we'll be overrun with Opera users. Both of them.

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Play Elite, Pitfall right now: Web TIME PORTAL opens to vintage games, apps

ThomH
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David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

I know he sued EMAP — and won — over the inclusion of the Spectrum Elite plus an emulator on a PC Review cover disc in 1995. I doubt either he's going to take this as good news, especially as the brand is about to go back into use. Activision might have a thing or two to say about Pitfall, too.

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How to find OS X Mavericks' 43 hidden photogenic beauties

ThomH
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Re: Eh?

146 mb? So that's, what, 0.22% of even the stingiest drive* Apple has shipped in recent times?

(* the 64 gb flash in older Macbook Airs was the smallest I could find)

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Apple CEO Tim Cook v Microsoft's Ballmer: Seconds out, round two!

ThomH
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Re: 2/3rds running iOS7

That's exactly what he meant — almost 67% of active (ie, not long ago resigned to a sock drawer) iOS devices have been updated. Which I think is meant to be a roundabout way of saying you should buy Apple because you'll definitely get OS updates, for a while anyway, and you should develop for Apple because you can adopt the latest frameworks pretty much as soon as they become available.

Per http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html about 70% of Android users now run 4.x so there are definitely more Android people — in both absolute and proportional terms — running the latest major version of Android than the latest iOS. The Android market doesn't tend to update as swiftly but at this point in the cycle that matters about as much as which phone manufacturer managed to ship colour screens first.

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Finally! How to make Android USABLE: Install BlackBerry OS 10.2

ThomH
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Now where's my money?

"Thank you so much Black berry team. I was waiting this app. It is really great user friendly and smooth."

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It's the '90s all over again: Apple repeats mistakes as low-cost tablets pile up

ThomH
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I wouldn't describe that as *the* problem. Others features of Apple's meandering lost decade: Copland, OpenDoc, RAVE, QuickDraw GX, the Newton (especially the eMate), computers delivered by chauffeur.

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Pop OS X Mavericks on your Mac for FREE while you have LUNCH

ThomH
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Re: No Java

Sounds more like a launch-day bug to me. Mavericks had me reinstall Java, presumably because it's still closely tied to the OS even though Apple no longer maintains it in house, but in no sense did it wipe anything out or leave any sort of trail of destruction. After a quick 66.7 mb download (versus 5.<something> gb for the rest of the OS), everything worked fine — though in my case everything is: Cyberduck, Android Studio.

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ThomH
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Re: Freemium

I haven't tried iMovie (at all, probably for years) but can confirm that all of Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto and OS X itself are definitely not freemium. Unless they're being super optimistic about the interest in OS X Server, of course.

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ThomH
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Re: They are following Microsoft's lead again

I really thought it was more about bringing their collaboration stuff up to speed with Google Drive (née Docs), and finally updating the desktop versions of Pages/Numbers/Keynote after four years of mere maintenance, simultaneously resolving a lot of the interface deficiencies.

Microsoft's failure to bring Office to the mainstream mobile OSes has already probably sealed their fate. After years of having no choice but to sample the alternatives, people have learnt that there's life beyond Office.

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ThomH
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Re: MAC users aren't that dumb.... ...?

Yeah, that's what happened. Customers picked ANDROID because they were all really worried about which kernel their phone runs and absolutely demanded Linux. That's why ANDROID owners often laugh at iOS users — their kernel is explicitly monolithic and they can't believe how hilarious it is that Apple's is still nominally a microkernel in many areas.

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ThomH
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Re: "Free is good". OK then...

... and weren't the MacOS (/System) releases prior to 6 free as well? That would make this not exactly a new era.

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You like iPads, you like things called 'Air'. You will LOVE this puppy

ThomH
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Do space optimisation nerds exist?

Is there a hardcore of designers who obsess over every millimetre in the same way that some programmers obsess over every processor cycle? I think maybe some of us are finally learning what it feels like to be the one giving the glazed-over look following an optimisation boast rather than the one receiving it.

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UK's tech capital named: Read it and weep, Tech City startup hipsters

ThomH
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Wokingham is famous for hosting Obama's pub crawl

That completes the list of things I know about Wokingham.

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Apple's Oct 22 WORLD-SHAKING San Fran party: New iPads or what?

ThomH
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Re: Highly Likely

Mavericks is a no-brainer only if you assume Apple still has any interest in showcasing it. Mountain Lion was announced via their web site, and its release date was unveiled as part of the Q3 earnings call. Mavericks managed to ascend to the WWDC keynote for its announcement but the Q4 earnings call is on Monday the 28th so they might easily just upload it to the App Store and not comment until then.

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ThomH
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Having now been able to try them both, Apple's fingerprint sensor is the same sort of thing as Motorola's in the same sense that a modern scanner is the same sort of thing as a fax machine. This is a case of Apple waiting for the technology to be made sufficiently useful by external forces before implementing it.

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Sorry fanbois, no supersize Apple fondleslabs for you

ThomH
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Re: The dogs bark; fact check @Andy Prough

Apple marketshare in Q2 2012 was 18.8%, with 28.9m shipments. As of Q2 2013 share had dropped to 14.2%, but shipments were up to 31.9m. Source: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2573415

So, Apple: marketshare down 25%; shipments up 10%.

Between Q2 2010 and Q2 2011, RIM's shipments increased from 11.6m to 12.7m. Share dropped from 18.7% to 11.7%. Source: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/1764714

So, BlackBerry: marketshare down 37%; shipments up 4%.

I couldn't find Q3 2013 figures, but the quarter ended less than half a month ago. I picked the quarter in which RIM performed best.

By Q4 RIM were, year on year, at 40% marketshare decline and an 11% decline in shipments. So if your comparison is correct then Apple's fortunes should decline very quickly.

However by using Q3 numbers, I have completely overlooked any effect the iPhone 5S/C may have on Apple's fortunes. So I'd suggest that Apple's decline isn't going to mirror BlackBerry's. Q3 and Q4 will probably show significant shipment increases if reports so far about the 5S are correct; the question is how deeply sales will dip in the middle of next year when the bump of a new product launch fades again.

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Apple bags top Windows feature: Blue Screen Of Death arrives on iPhone 5S

ThomH
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@AC 06:31

Android should adapt relatively easily — the vast majority of apps run through the Dalvik virtual machine so all it takes is for someone at the centre to port that and those apps will take advantage of whatever ARM64 mode offers without any per-app reengineering.

The NDK apps will run because a backwards compatibility mode is present in current designs. They won't run as well as if they had been recompiled.

Although most Android devices are ARM based, there are a few that use x86 or MIPS processors. It's the Dalvik VM that mostly enables that.

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ThomH
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Re: How exactly...

Crittercism is a third-party SDK that people integrate in order to get real-time crash reports and in-the-field profiling. So the information comes from sampling the applications of those developers that have opted to use their SDK.

Apple supplies crash reports too, but only in a very rustic form.

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ThomH
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From Real World Technologies more than a year ago, when ARM64 was first announced and long before people started factoring their feelings about Apple into the assessment:

"Like x86, ARMv7 had a fair bit of cruft, and the architects took care to remove many of the byzantine aspects of the instruction set that were difficult to implement. The peculiar interrupt modes and banked registers are mostly gone. Predication and implicit shift operations have been dramatically curtailed. The load/store multiple instructions have also been eliminated, replaced with load/store pair. Collectively, these changes make AArch64 potentially more efficient than ARMv7 and easier to implement in modern process technology." (http://www.realworldtech.com/arm64/)

Apple's marketing division is hyping it based on 64 being a bigger number than 32 but that side of things almost certainly isn't why moving to ARM64 is a performance win.

In any case it's false to say that if something does not need a 64-bit address space then moving from ARMv7 to ARM64 is of no advantage. The feature Apple are shouting about may or may not be pointless; the improvements they aren't mentioning are real.

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Android adware that MUST NOT BE NAMED threatens MILLIONS

ThomH
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Re: Only just this morning I was reading this... (@2nd AC)

I think the downvotes are more because the Linux kernel and its team are actually pretty good at security, and because Android implements Java via its own Google-specific virtual machine, using none of Oracle's code and therefore shouldn't be tainted with the same brush.

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ThomH
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Re: Apple (someone had to raise this) (@HollyHopDrive)

Apple doesn't stipulate which advert libraries you can use.

Example third-party libraries with explicit iOS SDKs include Google AdMob (https://developers.google.com/mobile-ads-sdk/download), Flurry AppCircle (http://www.flurry.com/appCircle-a.html), InMobi (http://www.inmobi.com/products/sdk/) and MoPub (http://www.mopub.com/resources/open-source-sdk/).

The main reason this is far less likely on iOS is that Apple doesn't allow any application to collect text messages, phone call history or contacts. There are no APIs at all for the first two, and contacts can be collected only by a call that shows some Apple-defined user interface and eventually returns a single contact if the user confirms that course of events.

So on the iOS side it'd have to be a security privilege raising exploit as well as a trojan, rather than merely a trojan.

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Apple's new iPhones dope-slap Samsung in US

ThomH
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Re: Stop press! Newer phones outsell older phones! (@SuccessCase)

This news story is Canaccord Genuity stating that the new iPhones have outsold the Galaxy S4. In June Canaccord Genuity stated that the Galaxy S4 was outselling the old iPhone.

Here: http://www.informationweek.com/mobility/smart-phones/samsung-galaxy-s4-outsells-iphone-5/240156177

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ThomH
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Stop press! Newer phones outsell older phones!

I look forward to reading the inverse of this story when the S5 arrives. And then reading it the same way around again when the iPhone 6 arrives.

(it is interesting to see the 5C gaining proportionally on the 5S though; I'm still not sure about its potential, on the grounds that (i) it's not particularly cheap; and (ii) the coloured plastic with a black front looks a bit odd)

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TWELFTH-CENTURY TARDIS turns up in Ethiopia

ThomH
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The Radio Times is no longer owned by the BBC

It was sold off in 2011. It's an independent publication now, likely no more connected than El Reg for this sort of story. They're likely doing the same as everybody — reporting that a tabloid reported than someone not connected to the BBC heard that the discovery had been made.

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ThomH
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Re: Cool! (@Gav)

So did I imagine seeing Hartnell in Brighton Rock, This Sporting Life, The Mouse that Roared, etc?

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GitHub wipes hand across bloodied face, stumbles from brutal DDoS beating

ThomH
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Re: GitHub & businesses

The good thing about git repositories is that checking out is cloning. So everybody has their own fully functional git repository, and the remote is backed up quite well even if you've no formal process.

If GitHub vanishes temporarily, pick any local machine to be the new central repository, and remember to push from there when GitHub comes back up.

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SEC review clears Apple of dodgy tax dealings

ThomH
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Re: A good example ?

Not criminal, as it turns out, but definitely a good example of something. Not something I like.

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Apple's new non-feline Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks, ready to go

ThomH
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Re: To be honest

Top tip: in 10.8 and above (so, I assume also the pending 10.9 though I haven't used it), hold down 'option' while the file menu is open. The hated 'Duplicate' will turn back into 'Save As...'

If your hands are up to it, shift+option+command+S is the appropriate keyboard shortcut.

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ThomH
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Total paid to Apple since 2005 if you kept up with every release (so, you bought 10.4 and everything since) in US dollars: 129 + 129 + 29 + 29 + 19 = $335

Total paid to Microsoft since 2005 according to the same rules (starting with an upgrade to Vista, assuming 'home' versions): 99 + 119 + 119 = $337

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Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

ThomH
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Re: Down with Unicode (and UTF-8)!

Being a 1997 attempt to fix the problems stemming from a belief that "[t]he Unicode standard is a fixed-width scheme ... [that] uses 16-bit encoding", it was immediately irrelevant because UTF-8 had been presented in 1993. It's also modal, so lacks self synchronisation, and complicates things by defining character sets by language. As the paper acknowledges, 'a' is present separately as an English character, a French character, a German character, etc, etc, with the intention being that all those different 'a's are mapped back to the same thing after the fact.

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Samsung DENIES benchmark CHEATING, despite evidence

ThomH
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Per the Ars article, it's a software hack. Samsung's build of Android spots when popular performance tools are being run and turns everything up to 11. The device couldn't run like that ordinarily without significantly shortening its lifetime, both per charge cycle and in general.

What Ars did was to create two versions of the benchmarking tool Geekbench — one that the system could identify as Geekbench and one that it couldn't. The code remained identical.

When it was identifiable by the system as Geekbench, the code ran up to 20% faster.

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Sweet murmuring Siri opens stalker vulnerability hole in iOS 7

ThomH
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Re: poorly designed OS creaking at the seams (@TFM)

If the phone doesn't lock when paired with a hands-free device then the phone of anyone with a bluetooth headset is permanently unlocked. So as soon as one of those people leaves their phone on the bus, on their desk, is pick-pocketed, etc, the story would be that a security vulnerability had allowed their contacts/email/the rest to be accessed.

I also think Siri is Apple's attempt to integrate calendar, dialler, maps, GPS, etc. I'm don't think it's a good implementation but it's an attempt, at least.

Regardless, answer this: are there — as the poster suggests — any grounds whatsoever to conclude that because one of the supplied, first-party applications displays information when we as users wouldn't want it to, the operating system must be "creaking at the seams"?

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ThomH
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Re: I just love apple security flaws.

No — that was true across the board when the feature launched but Apple lets the individual carriers dictate it. E.g. AT&T announced in May that they'd be allowing access by the end of the year (source: http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/20/4348672/att-will-allow-all-video-chat-apps-on-its-network-by-end-of-2013 ) and various individuals started reporting access somewhere around mid-June. I've no idea if it's nationwide yet but if it isn't then it will be soon. Other networks no doubt have similar plans.

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ThomH
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Re: poorly designed OS creaking at the seams

Are you actually reading the stories?

Here's what users want a phone to do: (i) lock itself if left unattended; and (ii) be usable hands free, such as in cars.

The 'security' problems with iOS are nothing to do with the technical underpinnings. They're the direct result of the inherent conflict of those two goals. There's no hint of creaking internals whatsoever.

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EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

ThomH
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Re: Standardised connector

I'm not sure everyone here has quite kept up with the news.

This is Apple's solution for shipping EU-compliant chargers: http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MD820ZM/A/lightning-to-micro-usb-adapter — micro-USB goes in one end, the proprietary lightning comes out of the other.

There's no bad news for Apple here. They'll put the one very small external thing inside the box instead of the other.

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Sharp whispers its vital statistics: 15.6in 3840 × 2160 IGZO screen for next MacLap Pro?

ThomH
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Re: Sod the Macbook Pro

The 2013 Nexus 7 replaces the 16:9 screen of the original with a 16:10. So it's not just Apple and not just expensive devices.

Personally I'm a fan of 3:2, as on the old titanium Powerbooks, amongst others. But I don't think that's likely to make a comeback any time soon.

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NSA in new SHOCK 'can see public data' SCANDAL!

ThomH
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Re: Oh, Grow Up! (@BillG)

Saying "this person also deserves criticism" with the implicit point being that blame doesn't divide along party lines isn't really an indicator of political leanings.

Conversely, trying to frame any criticism of Bush as necessarily liberal propaganda does suggest somewhat of a bias.

My interpretation of events since 2001 — the terrorist attack, not the change of administration — would be that these agencies have spiralled beyond anyone's control. The whole point of the constitution is that it creates competing interests and no single actor has control of all powers. Trying to pin all your national problems on this president or that party is inaccurate and unhelpful.

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ThomH
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I assume you single out Obama on technical grounds? The well-known warrantless wiretaps under his predecessor were declared retroactively legal, after all.

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Windows 8 fans out-enthuse Apple fanbois

ThomH
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Re: "Windows 8 fans out-enthuse Apple fanbois"

Yeah, with their 162 computers.

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Rare gold iPhone 5s goes up against 50 caliber high precision rifle

ThomH
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Re: As a point of fact (@Hombre sin nombre)

I fact checked myself and had my numbers confused: it's 58% that would support greater gun control now! almost a year after the event. So I think probably the main point to be made is: it's no more accurate to paint America as a land of gun-obsessives than it is to paint it as a democratic panacea that European nations should aspire to. Americans are extremely diverse and likely just as many of them have a negative opinion of someone shooting up consumer electronics for YouTube as do Brits.

(aside: as a Brit currently resident in the US with interests back home, I'm currently part-funding both governments)

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ThomH
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Re: As a point of fact

Here's what's going on in the US right now: last year, one party proposed an economic plan. That plan lost in a nationwide election by a healthy margin, cost the party Senate seats and substantially reduced the number of votes it received for the House of Representatives. Now that party is saying "it's either that plan or we shut down the government". When they did the same thing twice, two decades ago, the result was that the economy lost $1.5tn. It's line is being championed by someone in the Senate who (i) demanded the bill passed up from the House contain specific provisions; then (ii) took the floor to protest for 21 hours because the bill had exactly what he wanted in it; then (iii) voted in favour — alongside every other member of the Senate — of the procedural step he'd just spent 21 hours delaying.

Here's what happened last year: following a specific extreme criminal act, 58% of those surveyed wanted stricter gun controls. Legislation was debated but failed following threats from the gun lobby.

So: should anyone, anywhere in the world, take lessons from America on its system of legislation?

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Global execs name Apple 'most innovative company' – again

ThomH
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Re: To coin a phrase

Yeah, ignoring the Apple side of things entirely, would Samsung even be on the list if it weren't for Google? Therefore do they really deserve to be above Google?

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