1380 posts • joined Thursday 18th June 2009 14:54 GMT
To add slightly to Joe Earl's comments
Amazon's App store, and an app to access it if you want, can be installed on any Android handset unless the network has specifically taken steps to prevent it. I wasn't able to use it on a prepaid AT&T SIM but I think the 'prepaid' (ie, pay-as-you-go in American) bit was probably determinative.
The store itself is actually very good. It's curated, like Apple's, but only to ensure that apps match the functionality that they're advertised with and don't otherwise attempt to do damaging things. Developers pay for access and nominate a list price, with Amazon then acting in much the same way as they do with books. So they can use your app as a loss leader if they want but you're still getting the list price. Which gives them a great lever for attracting customers and organising the thing generally.
If you're in the US you can also preview the apps directly in your desktop web browser, via an Android emulator, which is really quite fantastic.
Because they're betting on the future?
Nokia have a market capitalisation of $25bn and are betting the house on Windows Phone 7. Subjectively speaking — and nobody can be more surprised about this than I was — it's a really nice user experience and very easy to get on board with the narrative that it's just not had a fair shot at the big time. Microsoft's royalty gathering from Android licensees has eroded WP7's cost disadvantage. Google's sudden transition to a closed source model will be a concern to Samsung and HTC, since it somewhat focusses the mind on the single component supplier problem.
And, you know, if Jack Black's on the list...
... then being funny isn't a requirement. Since he appears twice, you could even argue that being unapologetically unfunny was an advantage.
I vote for Tommy. Killing Bono was also as good as some of the films already on the list. But I guess Hedwig and the Angry Inch is an acquired taste?
If so then he did the right thing
The difference between 3.5" and 4" is so little that I don't think it's worth the fragmentation — at least when you're the only actor making the devices. I can understand the push to bigger in the Android world because the market is much more competitive and bigger numbers look better but I honestly don't think whatever competitive edge Apple have in the market as a whole is very closely connected to the screen size.
In any case, anything with worse battery life than current smartphones (including but not limited to the iPhone) would be pretty much unusable.
The article is slightly misleading
If you go to YouTube, 4OD content won't appear because of the lack of DRM on delivery. That's in contrast to devices with Flash and explains the niche that the author argues Adobe are now pursuing.
However, you can watch as much 4OD content as you like on your iOS device through the 4OD app.
Per some of the sources, it was simply a side effect of the decade long Blair v Brown spat. Brown found a lever over a crucial national policy that was unambiguously Chancellor stuff and dedicated himself to being contrary. Meanwhile the public position became entrenched of its own accord.
I'm not sure that's fair
UKIP may say some very peculiar and some outright offensive things but I think the majority of UKIP's voters don't spot that stuff and are primarily interested in smaller government by whatever means. Most people don't read manifestos, they just vote on the general message and the general message that UKIP are perceived to push is "let's remove a tier of government and a source of bureaucracy". The BNP are who you vote for if you're looking for fascism.
Since the article's author was good enough to state his bias, I'll state mine: I would never, ever vote UKIP as I think their policies are reactionary, often absurd and sometimes racist, and that they would be detrimental to the country as a whole.
It's not going to win the developers though
Barnes and Noble operate in the US only. Amazon operate worldwide, making it a reasonable bet that at some point the Kindle Fire will become available worldwide. Even for those developers that are willing to import hardware, the sales figures alone are likely to become a compelling reason to put greater effort into making your app run well on the Kindle than on the Nook.
That's even before considering how far Amazon's fork of Android may end up straying from Barnes and Noble's.
Figures seem to be about total sales revenues though
So a 99p game needs to outsell a £30 game by more than 30 times in order to swing the cited statistics in its favour.
My knee-jerk response...
... was to make some sort of joke about already having 100% of the utility of Siri on not only my iPhone 4 but on every single object I own, including hawks, horses, robes, etc.
That said, Siri isn't voice recognition. It's artificial intelligence with a voice recognition interface, just like Safari isn't a touch screen but rather a browser with a touch screen interface. Bog standard command-driven voice recognition is a long-standing feature of the iPhone, like it is of every other major platform.
I think the popular confusion shows just how interested anybody really is in voice recognition, especially on a device they primarily use in front of people, in noisy environments. Even if it could recognise and understand everything I said perfectly, I've no interest in announcing every single thing I email or look up to everybody nearby. Besides anything else I'm sure they'd prefer not to have to listen if given the choice.
It's about browser adoption, probably
Mobile phones have a fast turnover rate and you can be pretty confident people are using something close to the latest browser. Flash has also failed to gain any momentum for mobile sites owing to the quality and availability of the plug-in.
Conversely, Internet Explorer's older and extremely non-compliant versions have held the rate of development on the desktop back and will continue to account for a significant proportion of users.
You also tend to see mobile sites and desktop sites developed almost separately anyway, owing to the big difference between how they'll be consumed. Plus the disparity whereby mobile users seem to like dedicated apps (per the AIR route) but desktop types are much happier doing everything in the browser. The history of non-existent or extremely lax sandboxing on the desktop combined with certain OSs that entrust all uninstallation tasks to the software being installed probably contributes.
So, yes, the world would be better with HTML5 everywhere but as a web developer you're cutting off a significant chunk of your audience if you assume it right now. I imagine Adobe will wind down desktop Flash eventually but don't feel that the time is right.
An apocryphal story, maybe?
A story you sometimes here is that the development of Windows 3.1 was delayed when all the programmers became addicted to the Archimedes version of Lemmings on a machine they'd imported.
As I'm unable to find any sort of source for it beyond other people that think they've heard it too, It's probably not a true story.
...a qualified lawyer and a software engineer, and I largely agree. Patents are granted monopolies and, statistically speaking, monopolies correlate with periods of stagnation. Furthermore most patents are written in appalling legalese and a lot of tech patents from the relevant period appear to have been granted improperly. We are seeing serious distractions as a result.
There's insufficient evidence to indict either a majority of lawyers or a majority of patents, but plenty that significant errors have been made and are proving very expensive for the industry.
Serious reform is needed - the risk of lazy patent officers needs to be counterbalanced by an extremely cheap or free way of invalidating patents, by anyone. The way to solve this problem is to enable organisations analogous to the EFF that goes after problem patents. It even feels like something you could get politicians on board with.
You're looking at it the wrong way around. This guy allegedly assaulted several innocent people.
I appreciate what you're saying: that because his only motivation was to help, the cumulative total of his positive effects should be weighed against the cumulative total of his negative effects. Or, in short, he made a simple honest mistake — he acted without malice so he isn't morally culpable.
I don't go along with that because I don't think it's a sustainable piece of logic. Assuming he did the alleged act, he intended to perform an assault and he performed an assault. So he performed a crime because he thought it was of social benefit.
So you're endorsing individuals deciding that they have earned the moral right for the law not to apply to them.
I see no distinction between him and, say, someone who (genuinely, not just as a lazy excuse) justifies benefit fraud on the basis that they deserve to get something back because the government bailed out the banks and they've supported themselves and paid appropriate taxes for the twenty preceding years.
OS X Lion isn't so bad
You know, unless you actually like knowing where you are in a document. Though people can finally stop complaining that there's no 'maximise' button, especially as Apple ramp up the 13" laptop production.
I don't think so
If it's an anti-competition probe it'll be looking at whether Samsung have agreed to licence these things under FRAND terms and then either declined to do so or else put up unfair barriers. So the decision will either be that Samsung did something wrong or that they didn't — this investigation sounds like it doesn't have the ability to find against Apple, and a finding that Samsung didn't act anti-competitively doesn't necessarily mean the court considering patents and the like will find against Apple.
In summary: I think it's just a precautionary thing. Someone in the office read that there's some dispute over whether Samsung are playing by the FRAND rules and thought they'd better ask for some additional facts.
I doubt this will go anywhere much.
It's clear from the earlier reporting that he wasn't beating up criminals, just random people that he thought looked a bit threatening.
I'm also for keeping anyone that thinks they have the absolute right to decide who is and who isn't a criminal away from children. He's a poster-boy for the David Blunkett school of Daily Mail appeasement essentially; forget habeas corpus, innocent until proven guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, etc, let's just empower some guys to do whatever they want.
Sadly it was profitable
Sales were very disappointing but it still managed to make a profit for the publishers, Take-Two Interactive, per their earnings call. So I guess they'd fund a sequel since it couldn't possibly cost as much to make as this one must have.
It's more likely to be about control
Apple are big supporters of WebGL but the technology is hard to get right from a security point of view as per the comments of Microsoft. iAd content is HTML based but Apple get to vet it before sending it out. So enabling WebGL only for iAds gives them an opportunity to test their implementation in a controlled fashion.
So what would be expected?
Surely people buying handsets and finding them not to be equivalent to other handsets from the same manufacturer is par for the course and if Android's percentages are higher than those of Apple and RIM it's just because Android handsets are cheaper or free and therefore more likely to end in the hands of people who aren't really paying attention? That's not a derogatory comment about the handsets or the users, it's just that anybody is going to pay more attention if you get to the end of signing up for a new contract and the salesperson suddenly wants to take £150 from you.
The Mac actually wasn't bad for games in 1991. It tended to get ports of a reasonable number of the PC hits but scaled up to work at then-high resolutions (as in, 640x480 sort of stuff rather than 320x200) and not always lazily. So it was like skipping ahead to SVGA. Compare and contrast the Mac and PC versions of Prince of Persia, Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, Wolfenstein 3d, etc.
That said, even then you usually got games late or not at all. And the window during which the Mac was technologically ahead for games was incredibly brief.
Jobs isn't the only odd choice
The list seems generally to be misguided — cutting Jobs alone wouldn't redeem it. I'd keep Newell and Miyamoto but I'm not willing to give them much credit for getting two good choices onto a list of five.
Not really dodgy action
Apple paid some money to acquire the rights to a product. As part of that the previous owners agreed to surrender their right to sell it. Apple then decided to charge the consumer for the product.
Google have pretty much killed any realistic prospect for competition law challenges to Apple, just as Microsoft did in the PC realm — the actionable offence is abuse of a monopoly position, i.e. taking advantage of your standing so as to manipulate the market. It's a protection for consumers, not for other companies. Because Google have a much larger share of the relevant market (I think it was 50% versus 21% worldwide during September), Apple's actions aren't sufficiently damaging for the market as a whole.
Personally I find it really difficult to be upset either way given that the product is rubbish. I think of it like one of those Ask Jeeves-style question-based search engines. In the 80s the idea may have sounded really attractive but the simple fact is that we're more efficient at just using a keyboard and typing our search terms in a Google-friendly way than at formulating a proper question, especially when keeping the sentence structure suitably simple and trying to focus on annunciation.
That's such a trivial straw man argument that I have to wonder about your motives in citing it.
I argued that Jobs' actions were predicated on his belief that he was creating better products as a result.
You use the word 'con' which imports an idea of deception, i.e. you state that my argument is that Jobs was consciously trying to trick people into buying worse hardware.
The conclusion that you've deliberately misstated me is impossible to avoid and it's difficult to believe that the upvotes you've received come from anyone objective.
I don't agree
On the basis that his micromanagement seems to have stemmed from a genuine personal belief that end-to-end control makes better products rather than a lust for profits, I don't agree that Jobs was evil. That's even though I accept that the walled garden locks consumers in and that monopolies are very bad for the consumer. And I'm not arguing that he was necessarily right, merely that his motivations don't justify 'evil'.
One of the handsets I've tried in the last year or so (having a professional interest) was the Nokia N8. The GPS was possibly a little slow but the battery life was excellent and I don't recall having a problem with any of the other hardware features. So I essentially disagree with you on the suggestion that Nokia's rudderless drifting had led to a general deterioration in hardware quality. But then again I never used an N97.
It's confirmation bias
The iPhone is, by a wide margin, the single best-selling individual handset. So the threshold for reporting faults is quit low — each fault, even if extremely minor, will affect a large number of people. Apple compound the problem with their holier-than-thou approach to product launches and to marketing; that would increase the newsworthiness of faults even if nobody was buying the products.
Conversely, each individual variety of Android handset and each model of BlackBerry phone has a relatively small audience. So a fault has to be pretty critical for it to be worth reporting.
That's why in the last few weeks, similar prominence has been afforded to the stories that (i) large swathes of BlackBerry users are provably cut off from being able to text, surf or email; and (ii) some subset of 4S buyers anecdotally report that the battery life feels a little short.
If you already hold the conclusion that Apple's software is crap then stories like this look like confirmation. However the reality is that flaws like this on the iPhone are newsworthy whereas flaws like this on, say, a specific Motorola handset wouldn't be.
Every single relevant consumer satisfaction and/or device durability survey that has been published since the iPhone came out puts the iPhone amongst the top tier of handsets, at least equal with the top-rated devices from Samsung, Motorola, BlackBerry and anyone else you want to compare to.
I'd therefore suggest that the overwhelming weight of evidence is either that Apple's software isn't crap or that all handset software is equally crap.
No. They didn't.
The idea of 'a player for MP3s' wasn't original to Apple or to Creative Labs. The unique aspects of the iPod were the scroll wheel, which most obviously descends from Microsoft's mid-90s addition of a scroll wheel to the mouse, and the Firewire interface for super-fast synching. Firewire is a very Mac interface that has never been big in the Windows market that Creative Labs were most interested in.
Having lost the market, Creative Labs sued Apple in 2006 over a bunch of interface patents, notably including using a hierarchical menu for navigating music and requesting an import and sale ban. The companies ended up settling, with Apple paying a licence fee for the relevant patents. So I guess that's where the story derives from.
So a bit of a hypocrite is probably right, but I wouldn't have agreed with you if you'd used hypocrite without qualification. Apple ended up having to pay licence fees for patents it infringed and it now asserts that Samsung et al are infringing patents without paying licence fees.
While specifically not approaching whether there's a distinction between the similarity of an iPod to Creative's preceding products and Samsung's arrangement of Android to the iPhone, there is a difference in the overall markets. With the iPod Apple entered a vanishingly tiny immature market and popularised it. Both the iPhone and the Android handsets that followed it have entered mature and profitable markets. The net effect is that — supposing for argument's sake there was any wrong against Apple whatsoever — Apple's actions increased Creative's sales, Samsung's decreased Apple's.
Possibly nothing, who knows?
Supposing the savings paid for the risk by already adding more than the cost of the delay and the rebuild, especially when you allow for relevant insurances and premiums, then it's quite possible that nothing went wrong.
After all, nobody was hurt and hard disks remain generally available.
Assuming we take Jobs' attributed desires at face value and as company policy then Apple's plan is actually quite different from Microsoft's — Apple wants to kill Android, Microsoft wants to profit from it.
Ballmer has said he intends to kill Android but that he'll do it because Android handsets are too technical and Windows Phone 7 is therefore more attractive to consumers. Agree with that or don't, it's a very different way of seeking to kill the competition.
Of course, I've not read the Jobs biography yet and Ballmer's statements aren't always completely tied to reality...
Assuming Microsoft's patents are valid then the choice was: go bankrupt because of your intellectual property infringement or pay royalties.
Assuming Microsoft's patents are invalid or irrelevant but Microsoft would have pursued them in court anyway then the choice was: go bankrupt because of Microsoft's belief in its patents or pay royalties.
There's a third possibility, which seems to be what many people are assuming, that Microsoft's patents don't apply for whatever reason and that Microsoft knows it, so is using the out-of-court approach to avoid scrutiny. If that were true it would seem to be odd that companies like Samsung have signed up — they've got a smart legal department and a lot of money.
So then presumably the general negative mood is a reflection of the general feeling towards software patents? That's understandable but patents in general serve the useful purpose of rewarding invention, allowing companies to run research and design departments and benefitting society as a whole. I'm probably not the only person here who can reel off a list of 20 or 30 software patents that have been profitable but newsworthy partly because they're wholly obvious and/or uninventive, but we've no idea what patents Microsoft are asserting.
In this case I prefer to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt because they've generally not abused patent law in the past, because HTC, Samsung and others have all seen the patents and decided to pay and because assuming innocence is both an enshrined part of our legal system and just plain a healthier way to live a life.
And that's how you enforce your patents
No court dates, no PR, just tell them they're infringing and quietly come to an agreement about royalties. I guess there's a possibility that Microsoft's patents wouldn't stand up in court and that Compal et al have merely decided that this is the most efficient way of dealing with the dispute but efficiency shouldn't be undervalued.
Check the sales figures
The cold hard objective fact is that if you break the market down by handset then the iPhone is the gold standard. It massively outsells every single other individual handset. This isn't an article about operating systems or applications or even just user experience more generally, and the various other market factors that contribute to the iPhone handset totals - even those that a balanced journalist would likely argue relate to Apple's negative aspects - aren't relevant.
Accusing the journalist of bias is classic pot and kettle stuff.
The Kindle's HTML5 app uses one of the new browser extensions that allows a local SQL database to be used for persistent offline storage. So it's using a local persistent store (that is probably backed up to iCloud but that's an orthogonal issue) but is doing so through an open API that Apple doesn't have a veto on usage of.
When Apple says "you should use the local persistent store only for things that can't just be downloaded and cached when required", the obvious implication is that if you use it for things that can be downloaded again then Apple may use their discretion to reject your application.
Obviously when it's an in-the-browser standard Apple can't really dictate the acceptable uses. So Amazon can use the persistent local storage to store whatever they want.
Given that native magazine apps tend to be dressed-up PDF viewers so as to fit the tools publishers already have and that, in my experience, the artificial release schedule dictated by Apple's approval process tends to push clients towards piling on feature after feature and only months later asking "why haven't we shipped yet?", I fully expect Amazon's solution to become normal for all published content. Besides anything else, answering that a feature can be added and pushed into production completely orthogonally from all the other features being worked on rather than holding other features up or having to wait while the other features you just submitted are picked over is a massive win.
The strategy isn't so bad nowadays
Windows Phone 7 is an extension of the Zune interface, so we're five years into it. Windows 8 takes essentially the same interface and ports it to the desktop. So Microsoft have seemingly settled on Metro as the strategy, and did so several years ago. And for my money the interface is distinctive and works very well on phones, though I'm not sold on scaling it up to the desktop.
Not fair comparisons
Does it really still need saying that CPU megahertz isn't a good measure of system speed? Modern computing systems, including mobile phones, distribute a lot of work to the GPU (another component with a megahertz number attached, although no more relevantly) and are heavily dependent on RAM and secondary storage bandwidth, including network bandwidth for most user experience purposes. You should benchmark this phone against other Androids and, if you care, the iPhone before making a judgment.
Similarly, 5mp often looks better than 8mp since the real determiner once pixels are small enough is the optics system and, all other things being equal, cramming an 8mp sensor into the same physical space as a 5mp sensor just makes it proportionally harder to expose each pixel to enough light. You usually end up with exactly the same sharpness when you zoom in but each little soft portion of image has e.g. 64 pixels in it instead of 25.
No review or article I've seen suggests anything Siri-like is included. Siri is an artificial intelligence project that happens to have a voice interface. Both Android (first of the two by a considerable margin, I think) and iOS have had basic command-based voice recognition for a long time.
My feeling is that the screen on this one is just plain too large. The 4" on the Nexus S is a lot more sensible.
iTunes is not required for the 4S or any iOS 5 handset. iCloud is accessible from any web browser.
It's the earnings call tomorrow
So Apple's plan, if the 4m is inaccurate, is to hope nobody mentions the press release from today, to admit they were lying or to commit a federal offence by providing false answers to shareholders.
To suggest that Apple are lying is therefore stupid. To up vote others for suggesting it is to show yourself to be so biased as to be incapable of rational thought. Attacking them on subjective grounds - that they charge too much, that their handset is the wrong shape, that they put their customers at a disadvantage by vetting apps according to ill-defined criteria, etc - is one thing, spouting easily disproven conspiracy theories is quite another.
Apple's counterargument rests on the chip suppliers having acquired the licences, I think. I'm not sufficiently aware of the facts to have much of an opinion on that though.
There are obvious exceptions but courts generally don't order mediation as a remedy since that would usurp them as the final word on legality. What's likely happened here is that the court has said that the points Samsung have raised are the sort of thing it thinks should first be discussed reasonably outside the courtroom. If so then failure to mediate before making it a court issue wouldn't affect the legal outcome but the court would be much more likely to signal its displeasure by ordering a token remedy — like finding that Apple must pay Samsung total damages of £1 and that Samsung are liable for costs, for example. Though it's a safe bet that won't happen here because Samsung will act appropriately; I'm not meaning to suggest that Samsung have or will act in any way that the court considers inappropriate.
@Nathan Hobbs, etc
Kevin argues that the available legal protections are insane if an airplane mode indicator is protectable. You say that his argument is invalid because making something rectangular is protectable.
Perhaps what you can learn from this is that not every comment is a thinly veiled partisan attack?
Obvious points: there's a difference between assaulting someone and defending yourself — attempts to draw moral equivalency feel unconvincing to me, especially as in the legal system you can't just ignore the trolls. Also, Samsung also not only can but does use its patents on actual inventions in order to further its business, through the funds that it accrues under FRAND licensing terms. It voluntarily bound itself to that sort of licensing when it pooled its patents during the usual industry standard development process.
I think their only hope is on the interface stuff. I'm not sure what the normal preliminary relief is, and hence whether a banning order would be considered disproportionate by the court, but it wouldn't be surprising if Apple were about to find out.
I quite agree
Goldberg & Robson's Smalltalk-80 book is the only other thing I can think of that even comes close, but K&R is the gold standard. Ritchie did tremendous work bringing elegance to the internal structure and organisation of computer systems and deserves every compliment already posted here and a million more.
- Product Round-up Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces
- Geek's Guide to Britain The bunker at the end of the world - in Essex
- FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know
- If you've bought DRM'd film files from Acetrax, here's the bad news
- VIDEO Herschel Space Observatory spots galaxies merging