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* Posts by ThomH

1832 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Apple iPhones, iPad back in German online store

ThomH
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I agree; it's a bit like the industry was relying on the deterrent of mutually assured destruction but Apple have gone and hit the red button.

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ThomH
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Actually quite different from the pirates' argument

Motorola have made legally binding agreements to license their IP on reasonable terms. Apple's argument - whether valid or not - is that Motorola reneged on that legal responsibility that it had voluntarily entered into.

The sort of pirates you're referring to simply believe themselves morally entitled to dictate the value of creative works.

So Apple are arguing that Motorola agreed to do something and failed to do it, the relevant subset of pirates argue that the right of content producers to control their works should be usurped.

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Micro Anvika seeks channel props for CVA rescue plan

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My most recent experience of Micro Anvika...

... is being told that the cheapest ADSL Wifi router they had was £80. I ended up buying an equivalent (ie, brand new, name manufacturer) one for £12 on Amazon instead.

I'm not sure there's still a place in the market for shops like Micro Anvika since they tend to have to apply significant mark ups and the products are always at least a few months behind the curve.

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Court defies Apple demand to ban Samsung tablet

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@Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

I think you've misunderstood me. Your earlier post states surprise that you got voted down by 'fanbois' despite having said something positive about an Apple product. However there are actually very large swathes of fanbois that vote down exactly when anyone says anything positive about an Apple product.

It's your belief that an angry senseless hoard exists only in the Apple community that suggests bias. In reality there are at least as many irrational voters (indeed, one would assume many more) using Android because such people permeate society as a whole and the mobile phone they happen to have is an orthogonal issue.

Check out absolutely any Internet forum on absolutely any topic for the evidence. If you think you've identified a special pattern then it's probably confirmation bias.

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@Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

If you think it's only the Apple fans (or indeed any other demographic other than "irrational, angry people") that unfairly down vote then you're probably not as unbiased as you think.

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ThomH
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I wholeheartedly agree. Though it would have been nice to know which patent we're talking about here...

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MasterCard joins Visa in pushing PINs into America

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In fairness to our American cousins, Romney is a particularly unexciting candidate from a below average collection vying for the nomination from a party that isn't known for its balanced world view. I'm not a Gingrich fan but his observation that Romney is "the man who lost to the man who lost to Obama" sums up the situation quite nicely.

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I was going to say the same thing. I was in San Francisco for a couple of months last year with a British-issued chipped Visa Debit card and everywhere I went had me enter a PIN. If the facility wasn't already there, even in the absence of chips, then things like ticket machines would be impossible.

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Survey: Android set to beat iOS in battle for coder love

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@vic 4

If you'd bothered to argue your point, perhaps the replies wouldn't have been so obvious. "It's bad because I don't like it because it's bad" doesn't articulate much of anything at all.

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@Vic 4, AC

I downvoted 'Fragmentation. LOL' because it makes the false jump from the observation that there is fragmentation within the iOS market to claiming that it is as bad as or worse than Android.

Fragmentation is often used as a paper-thin partisan attack and the AC would have been right to say that it's nothing like the issue often claimed but his attempt to claim that the ecosystem in which a grand total of three models of phone have been available for the last two years has a worse fragmentation problem than the ecosystem in which hundreds of devices — including at least a dozen high quality, high profile handsets — have been available in the same time frame comes across as unrealistically biased.

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@vic 4

Are you sure you're up to date on Xcode? I don't mean this to compare it to Eclipse on the Android side as I really know only Xcode and MSVS; I'm writing just to compare Xcode to the environments of ten years ago.

Xcode features deep integration with the Clang compiler, giving you compiler warnings and errors directly as you type. It has a graphical data schema designer that connects to the runtime system for automatically managing persistent object storage and search by predicate — so you can just draw your storage model. It has a static analyser that can automatically assess your code for errors.

In terms of the other industry standard sort of features: git and SVN are integrated; there's a graphical interface designer that allows you to drag connections from widgets directly to your source code to connect to or to create an action that the widget triggers; autocomplete and in-place documentation are there; the usual sort of shortcuts exist for jumping between implementation/header files and for jumping straight to the definitions of symbols, etc; you can browse by file or by class (including through the inheritance hierarchy); there's an integrated debugger with the usual [optionally conditional] breakpoints and the ability to make method calls to objects while the executable is paused; there's a suite of profiler-style tools that will allow you to locate performance and memory bottlenecks or issues; all debugging and profiler tools work both locally and remotely; the provided compiler can distribute builds if you have a bunch of machines on a network.

I'd suggest that if you really think that's like jumping back in time 10 years then you've failed to challenge your own prejudices when using Xcode.

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iPads propel Apple to PC market top slot

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Besides the issues already raised in response, iMovie* does edit video 'PROPERLY', or at least up to the same standard as any other consumer video editor. You see all the video clips on your device, select portions of them and arrange them on a timeline, applying transitions if you like. See e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEaWuCrI24s . I'm sure you can grasp for a distinction from standard consumer desktop stuff but it'll be a post hoc effort.

Similar tools are available for audio and graphics retouching, similarly consumer focussed.

* and, yes, there's probably an Android equivalent though I lack the expertise properly to comment. Let's stick to the capability of tablets in general as the topic, shall we?

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Met Office cuts off Linux users with new weather widgets

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@Homer 1

The Met Office isn't doing anything to support the Mac. If they're bending over backwards at all, it's to support Adobe's AIR. The complaint isn't the cheap flame bait of "oh look, the Met Office are supporting the Mac" but rather the one you almost hit — that they've decided to use a proprietary (and almost useless) standard for platform independence rather than an open standard.

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Apple loses ground to Android in tablet biz

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Shipments are a lagging indicator of sales though, surely? So they'll be good for anyone that's been in the market for a while, which at this point probably includes Samsung, Motorola and Apple.

I'd expect the Amazon figures are good too, since there's no middleman to ship to before sale. That is unless Strategy Analytics are calculating shipping totals from components leaving factories, etc.

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It sounds like it's healthy for the manufacturers too — my summary of the article would be: sales up all around, with the market growing faster than any individual manufacturer.

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Apple takes smartphone lead

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Name one phone that was banned for sale in the US during the period covered by the figures.

Apple failed against Samsung (and Samsung aren't pursuing Apple in the US), won against HTC but with that ruling not to come into effect until the 19th of April this year and even then only if HTC don't disable some minor interface features, and Microsoft's attempts to get Motorola handsets banned are still ongoing.

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ThomH
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Conversely, the story has been Mac v PC for a couple of decades, so boiling hardware stats down by software isn't unprecedented. It's also quite reasonable when you consider the popularity of apps and the various other related markets that divide into iOS and Android camps irrespective of manufacturer.

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HUD's up! Ubuntu creates menu-free GUI

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Sounds like the menubar search in OS X?

You know, under 'Help'. You type into it and it instantly produces matching options from the various actions exposed on the menu bar. It even has a handy shortcut so you access everything without touching the mouse — command+shift+/. So, for example, I'm in Pages and I want to show the style palette but I'm not sure where the command is. I press command+shift+/, type 'style', see that one of the options is 'Show Styles Drawer', cursor key down to that and press enter.

Apple's thing is a more limited than that described here, since it's only things you'd put in the menubar, but not massively so and it turned up years ago. And even then it was just Apple following the general industry trend towards adding search to things.

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Juror jailed for looking up rape defendant on Google

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@Fatman

Experiences of a decade ago aren't so relevant — the Criminal Justice Act 2003 significantly changed the rules concerning the admissibility of evidence of bad character, which includes prior convictions. It was one of David Blunkett's sops towards the Daily Mail gang so the changes are all towards greater admissibility, albeit that they go nowhere near where the straw man Daily Mail reader would like.

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@LordBrian (again)

As you'll be aware, it's an axiom of the criminal justice system is that nobody should go to jail unless it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that they performed a crime. That protects the liberty of everyone.

If you accept that principle should be protected then you accept that lawyers should be able to argue before the court simply that the evidence doesn't support a conviction. That's ethical even if the lawyer believes the client is guilty and in no way involves misleading or manipulating the court.

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@LordBrian

An unproven previous allegation of criminal behaviour says nothing about character. And I believe relevant previous convictions are already admissible as evidence of propensity?

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Ten... boomboxes

ThomH
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You're not alone in feeling despair that the de facto standard for dock connectivity is proprietary, but I guess they're assuming that iPod users will outweigh all other customers?

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German court shoots down patent gripe against Apple

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@LarsG

Oh, you should have said. I didn't realise that it was a joke, just like on Top Gear when they do their jokes.

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Das Bild = The Sun, for Germany

Title says it all. Your news source is a sensationalist tabloid, the homepage of which is currently showing sufficiently much female flesh that those at work should probably not check for themselves.

In any case the courts in every other country seem to be able to come to absurd patent decisions without any third-hand gutter insinuations of corruption so I'm willing to believe the case was decided on the merits.

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Apple launches three-pronged education assault

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Sadly, schools are broken

I'm most knowledgable about the US market but over there the teacher shortage generally means that you end up with teachers having to do quite a lot of work outside of their own subjects, such as — for example — PE teachers teaching maths. Because they don't know the topic all that well, they're quite dependant on the textbook. Meanwhile, states require that textbooks be certified at the state level before schools are permitted to purchase them.

As a result web sites are generally out as a teaching tool because the subject-hopping teachers prefer to trust what the state has explicitly approved and the subject-native teachers can do without the liability of turning away from the specified materials.

The conservative approach that goes into textbooks prior to submission to state bodies therefore leads to children carrying around huge, heavy books with words that were fixed in stone a long time previous.

Forget the Apple angle; any move to electronic materials — which are less regulated at present and needn't carry the same heft or price — will be a great advancement.

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@Field Marshal Von Krankenfart

McGraw-Hill, amongst others, has explicitly said it will be charging $14.99 for all textbooks that currently retail at $75. Terry McGraw of McGraw-Hill has spoken to journalists to confirm that and to confirm that he expects to make up the difference through volume.

Your theory that "most" books will be those "that don't sell well" and hence will be charged more is pure speculation and flies in the face of the announcements by (i) Apple; and (ii) the publishers themselves.

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@AC

The article says: "'most' of their offerings priced at $14.99 or less". That's quite different from your shouty assertion that "the textbooks *START* at $14". It's explicit from the news released that the publishers will be selling their $70 books for $14.99, presumably because without a resale market they can sell a completely new set of copies every year.

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@Goat Jam

Technically a markup of 40% would leave the publisher getting 1/1.4 * 100 percent of the cover price, which is about 71.5% — slightly better than Apple. By taking 30% of the sale price, Apple are effectively applying a markup of almost 43%.

Of course your other points are valid though, and the pricing looks reasonable. It sounds like they've divided the cost of a textbook that should last five years by five, on the assumption that each student will buy their own and not be able to resell it. Leaving weight considerations aside, I guess whether that's better for the consumer depends on what the resale price of US school textbooks tends to be.

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Apple iPhone 4S grabs back ground lost to Android

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On the other hand, some people also upgrade their Android phones religiously and quite a lot of iPhone contracts are two years, so quite a lot of iPhone users aren't upgrading. The story is also that the new release sales bump has lasted a lot longer than it did on previous releases, and the linked Nielsen data states that only 57% of those iPhone purchases were the latest model.

That being said, I expect it's just — as other commenters have suggested — the proximity to Christmas and the new availability of the iPhone on certain networks. This bump may indicate a trend in terms of how long the iPhone's sales increase for after a new introduction but I'm confident the share will be back to 60:30 type levels in Android's favour just before the next iPhone launch comes around.

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ThomH
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It's worse than that

Per the original Nielsen report (there's a link in the article but no reason to suspect it had the additional figures), WP7 is 1.3% of all users, including 1.4% of phones bought in the last three months. That makes it 50% more popular than Symbian, and almost 60% as popular as the Windows Mobile platform it inherits from.

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Dizzy: the Ultimate Cartoon Adventure Part Deux

ThomH
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Technological pedant says...

The 6845 is pretty much just an address generator (though for completeness, it also generates sync and a hardware cursor); it's up to other components to figure out what to do with the address. The CPC swaps some of the bits around to give linear scan lines — a huge improvement on the BBC — fetches the byte and applies the current entries from its three-levels-per-channel 27 colour palette — also a huge improvement on the BBC.

So, technically, the 6845 isn't the cause of the CPC's superior colour handling.

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ThomH
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Could you not have bought Fantastic Dizzy?

Being a Mega Drive version of Dizzy, and in many respects a greatest hits package?

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Apple wants to OWN YOUR VERY SOLE

ThomH
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Nike+ was co-designed by Apple and Nike so it's credible that Apple did the hardware part and retained the relevant intellectual property rights.

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Woz praises Android, blasts iPhone limitations

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Not really what he was saying

That's Android for those who are willing to invest a little time to get a large reward, iPhone for the time starved and those who just don't care. And even then I'm stretching Woz's words. At no point does he invoke the peer pressure or crowd following sentiment that you impute.

So I'm not sure he's in line with the El Reg gang but I think he's quite right.

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The Sons of Khan and the Pascal Spring

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@dogged

It's pretty easy to argue with, given that most people's complaint with Objective-C is no more well-informed than "you know, it looks different", which tends to boil down to different brackets and named parameters being a bit verbose. While those might not be something you like, it's an easy description to argue with when placed in an article arguing in favour of a language that replaces most of the C/C++/C# brackets with verbose keywords.

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MS, Intel challenged over Windows 8 tablet prices

ThomH
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Not just Apple

There are plenty of people willing to sell you a tablet that'll do home and work stuff for Apple's $499, or less. If Windows tablets really were to start at $899 (though scepticism dictates they probably won't) then it won't just be Apple that'll make them look dead on arrival.

As we're coming up to five years since the iPhone launched and the economy continues to look poor, I imagine even corporate networks are no longer so tied to Microsoft as to justify a premium.

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Android devs get schooled on style

ThomH
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You're opening a can of worms there

Though I don't disagree. KDE and GNOME seem to continue to stride forwards (even if toward the wrong targets in the opinion of some longtime users) but many of the applications commonly associated with the Linux desktop, like GIMP, OpenOffice and Inkscape, continue to look and act like Windows 3.1 refugees that got the usability wrong in the first place.

And the world of Internet discourse then seems to divide into (i) those that agree and therefore conclude that all Linux users must be stupid; and (ii) those that argue that if you're so brilliant then you can fix it yourself, and why don't you just clear off and buy a Mac if all you care about is shininess anyway? So it's difficult to have a rational conversation about it.

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HMV faces the music after crap Christmas

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Yeah! Gadgets! That'll do it!

HMV feels like another company that — having failed to win much market share on the Internet — should probably just accept terminal decline.

I don't think gadgets are going to work for them since they depreciate in value very quickly and are something people have no qualms whatsoever in sourcing online (unlike, say, clothes). So the comparison will be three-month old gadgets with the standard HMV markups to new gadgets via Amazon or direct from the manufacturer.

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WHSmith Kobo Vox e-reader

ThomH
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@Sean Baggaley 1

I meant the field of DRM content rather than the field of books. And you can check my post history to see that I'm the first to jump to Apple's defence when doing so is justified.

iTunes is no longer needed to activate a device and iCloud acts as a backup solution for on-device content but, for example, if you want music then you still have to use iTunes. Sure, you can subscribe to iTunes Match and cut out the physical connection but there's still no way to put music onto an iPod without iTunes. As far as I'm aware, there's also no way whatsoever to recover music from an iPod onto another device.

Conversely, I can drag and drop over USB un-DRMed books onto my Kindle from the Finder or the Explorer, in both directions. So I was comparing 'how Amazon treat the only media the Kindle supports' to 'how Apple treat the media most associated with the iPod'. I don't think it's an unfair comparison because in both cases it's a question of what the company allows you to do with content that is not otherwise protected.

The Kindle comments are also primarily relevant to the allegation that you can't load content onto a Kindle without third-party software and the attempt to argue an Amazon lockdown. Nevertheless I don't think invoking Apple in a discussion about lockdown is inappropriate.

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ThomH
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Or maybe they'll dispute it on the grounds of...

... PDF, plain text and Mobipocket drag and drop with no first- or third-party piece of software?

The Amazon platform is less open but only in so much as the DRM technology is proprietary. So it's less locked down than, say, Apple's devices — to pick a bogeyman of the field — because there's no need for an iTunes equivalent, and anything unprotected you load onto the device can be unloaded from the same device.

That Calibre allows ePub conversion is often raised but I've never been persuaded that it's a very convincing argument, because it's limited to unprotected books and the major unprotected book supplies, such as Project Gutenberg, will let you download a Mobipocket file directly from them.

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LG preps '14in screen in 13in chassis' Ultrabook

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@Gordon 10

You're quite right; it's a build-to-order option that I failed to notice. I stand corrected.

However, example copy from PC World's write-up of the LG line: "Announced in Korea, the Z330’s prices in Korean currency are even higher than what Apple is asking for the MacBook Air." (source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/245564/lg_intros_thinnest_ultrabook_yet_the_xnote_z330.html)

The LG is more expensive than the Apple.

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ThomH
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That's not an idea borne out by 2011 prices

But then again, Apple don't offer an i7 MacBook Air so you can't really compare.

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Cops get 3D laser scanners for motorway crash sites

ThomH
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Because crashes often lead to prosecution

And they can do that a lot easier if they've collected evidence. If you've been directly affected you'll definitely be glad about it, but you benefit from the fact that everyone knows that real penalties exist for reckless and dangerous drivers in any event.

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The Commodore 64 is 30

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@OldB0y

Pedant attack!

If memory serves the BBC had a TI SN76489, which provides three square wave tone channels and one noise channel (which is still two level, but oscillating pseuso-randomly) for four total. The CPC, ST, 128k Spectrum, etc, have an AY-3-8910 which sounds nearly identical but is only three channels, any of which can be tone or noise, or the two mixed together. It's also got some volume envelopes, for a few simple effects without CPU intervention.

Neither of them comes even close to Commodore's stuff, of course.

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ThomH
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The Mac was a game changer because...

... because it was a software platform almost from day one with no pretence of hardware compatibility from one machine to the next, and was lucky enough to become the best supported platform in the 80s and early 90s for high-profile, market leading productivity software like Photoshop and Pagemaker, at least partly because QuickDraw was very good software and a good functional match for Postscript.

The Amiga was at least five years ahead of its time and is rarely given the amount of credit it deserves but I don't think you have to take away from Apple to give to Commodore.

Incidentally, I've been reading 'Commodore: a Company on the Edge' since it was recommended by another commenter here and part of it seems to be West Coast bias. History has so far been written by Silicon Valley types; Commodore were based in Pennsylvania. I think it may also be US bias, since the Amiga was a much bigger success for Commodore internationally than domestically.

(aside: your chronology is off. The Amiga 1000 launched in July 1985, a full year and a half after the Mac 128k, which launched in January 1984)

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ThomH
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If I recall, didn't the disk drive have a complete additional 6502 all of its own? So not only could you write your own turbo loaders there too, but I think the time to read a whole floppy could be reduced from the something-like-ten-minutes of Commodore's code to a very reasonable less than twenty seconds?

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@Absent

I'd class it as a computer with some significant caveats — and in a hugely different category from the C64 — but a computer nonetheless. Besides matching the dictionary definition of a computer, it also satisfies all the criteria for being a personal computer per the Wikipedia, which I'm taking as a reasonable approximation of what an average Internet user thinks a personal computer is.

I'd distinguish it from a console based on its demographics, especially its penetration into business use, and the software people are buying for it. E.g. Pages, Apple's word processor, remains the top grossing iPad application and rarely drops from the top ten applications sold by volume.

So while I agree that the C64 is the best selling device of all time in an extremely broad category, I don't think it's still the best selling computer.

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ThomH
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Sorry, not true

I hate to have to invoke the example, but if you really want to broaden the category as far as possible then e.g. Apple has sold more than 20m IPad 2s (based on conservative figures) - and I've no idea about the other iOS devices. They're computers both per the dictionary and in any objective terms, I think, due to the existence of an aftermarket in software that includes home and business productivity software alongside entertainment and games.

Commenters around here being what they are: I thought to check Apple's numbers because they are a modern anomaly in throwing everything behind just one model for a lengthy period. I'm explicitly not trying to say anything about the relative worth of Apple's devices.

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Dizzy: the Ultimate Cartoon Adventure

ThomH
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Fantasy World Dizzy perhaps?

The best one in my opinion, and the third in the main series. One of the very first puzzles was giving stale bread to a rat and there was a painting of Treasure Island Dizzy in the first above-ground room.

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Comet 'sold 94,000 pirate Windows CDs', claims Microsoft

ThomH
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@Stuart 22

I've never noticed Linux types get upset over companies making a profit from products that use Linux — such as Android — or from the vanilla sale of Linux-based OSes, as Redhat, Suse and many others have done. They get upset if companies use Linux and fail to respect the GPL by making their modifications available, but as that's a licence violation I think that's understandable.

As for Comet, it sounds like a simple contractual dispute. Comet obviously thought they had the right to manufacture those discs. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

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