* Posts by ThomH

2069 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

20 years on: The satirist's satirist Peter Cook remembered

ThomH
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Re: "greatest British comedian of all time "

What a blessed generation the baby boomers must be, to have had both candidates for greatest British comedian of all time amongst their ranks.

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FBI boss: Sony hack was DEFINITELY North Korea, haters gonna hate

ThomH
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@Roger Kynaston

Evidence is a verb according to the OED and according to Merriam Webster, and has been since at least 1610. Even Wiktionary knows it.

The Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage entry on evidence (noted as a transitive verb) is available via Google Books.

I agree: Lynn Truss would probably be sad if she read this thread.

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ThomH
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... and apparently the FBI doesn't have the same idea of the burden of proof as I do

If the party that makes an accusation cannot or will not evidence it, I don't believe the accusation.

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Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

ThomH
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Re: Untouchable

You're inventing false claims from thin air.

In the US courts Apple has: been found guilty under antitrust law of ebook price fixing; lost the attempt to establish that Amazon can't call its an 'App Store'; lost an attempt to compel various rumours sites to reveal their sources; been successfully forced by Creative Labs to pay royalties for use of hierarchical menus in iPods; failed to win a patent case againt HTC; failed to win a patent case against Kodak; failed to win a patent case against Motorola.

Apple has ended up settling rather than going to court in the US: with resellers who argued that Apple were illegally driving them out of business; an antitrust case about cold calling employees of competing companies; a class action over the reliability of early MagSafe power adaptors; a class action about price switching, where gift cards couldn't buy the number of songs indicated due to a price change; the trademark case with Cisco about use of the iPhone mark; a class action over iPod battery life.

So Apple has been successfully prosecuted by the US government. It has lost cases started against it by other companies. It has lost cases it started against other companies, it has had to pay out for cases started against it by groups of consumers.

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OnePlus vs Micromax: Dream of Google-less Android now further away

ThomH
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Re: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

The problem being that phones are very much about user interaction and Linux is just a kernel. So Linux solves the hardware interaction problem but that's all. It'd be more appropriate to say that FirefoxOS or Ubuntu Touch or Sailfish or something else is the smart choice and leave the Linux component implicit. But even then: where are the apps and where are the cosy carrier agreements you need to launch a mass-market phone?

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Internet Explorer 12 to shed legacy cruft in bid to BEAT Chrome

ThomH
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Re: It's a mess

More likely someone doing the typical mediocre developer rubbish of deciding they're so clever that they can learn a framework not by reading the documentation but just by poking around, and then being surprised when all the things that they figured out empirically and all the code that seemed alright when they ran it a few times fails under a different version of the framework because they're relying on a whole bunch of things that were never API guarantees — many of which the documentation probably explicitly offers the correct approach for. But, you know, developers are too clever to need to read things, right?

If anybody here has never worked with such a person then you have my envy.

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Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

ThomH
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Re: @Tom 13

The original poster is referring to whatever drivers he had installed for an "old but functional graphics tablet" no longer working under the latest OS X. This is exactly a third-party hardware compatibility problem. Apple didn't make that hardware, somebody else did.

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ThomH
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@Pascal Monett

The author said, and I quote exactly: "I don't touch the damn thing unless I have to, it applied it's UI 'improvements' and rendered hardware obsolete on it's own."

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ThomH
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Re: Sometimes the reason OsX doesn't work @AC

The administrator's password is required to install all OS updates. Major versions are not pushed automatically, you have to go to the App Store and select to download them, supplying your store login credentials.

The Mac definitely did not install Yosemite "on its own".

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Fake Android The Interview app actually banking Trojan

ThomH
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Re: Installing an app from a random torrent is definitely smart

It's unclear to me from what I can find online how Android/Badaccents actually works but I think it's safe to assume that the payload is exploiting a security flaw elsewhere in Android or in the specific banking apps, rather than Google having thought it'd be smart to extend bank account details to any installed app that asks.

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Toffee, Apple? U.S. fanbois get their sticky fingers on Nork-teasing flick The Interview

ThomH
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... and who didn't already purchase it from Google or Microsoft. The macrumors.com gossip (i.e. not deliberately anti-Apple) was that after the cinemas pulled out, Sony wanted it to be an iTunes exclusive and went elsewhere only when Apple (initially) declined involvement.

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ThomH
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Only if making a loss was the objective. That all the major chains have declined to show it somewhat limits income — it had a budget of something like $44m and made only $1m in screenings during its opening weekend due to the limited release.

There's also the likely future employment prospects for Amy Pascal et al in the corner of not-such-a-great-set-of-circumstances.

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Space Commanders lock missiles on Elite's Frontier Devs

ThomH
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Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead. @Tsung

It may be more that fans of a 1984 game are more prone to ask"if this game requires a server, will I still be able to play it in 30 years?"

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Microsoft kills its Euro pane in the a**: The 'would you prefer Chrome?' window

ThomH
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Apple which has recently ended a half-decade class action re:media player lock-in and is still fighting a case on e-book price fixing, having lost to the government? I'd say the US legal system is doing its due diligence.

That all being said, look to the top. The big Microsoft antitrust suit concluded under Clinton. Then Bush came in and everyone — including Microsoft — got somewhat more of a free hand. Even most of the penalties initially imposed against Microsoft in '98 just sort of quietly vanished on appeal.

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ThomH
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Re: Waiting for Google to be forced to offer searches on competiting engines...

Competition law protects the market. As per Roland6 and others, it defines that the wrong is using a monopoly position to distort competition.

So how come Sun didn't get in trouble because Solaris never offered you a browser ballot? Because that was not abuse of a monopoly position. How come Apply don't get in trouble because OS X never offers you a browser ballot? Because that is not abuse of a monopoly position.

Look at the consequences.

Microsoft built a majority market share with a shoddy browser then took steps to lock its platform down and walked away. What effect did the long life of IE6 have on every other part of the internet's technology stack? How much money and how much time was spent dealing with IE6's peculiarities?

Suppose Apple had built Safari not to be especially standards compliant, then baked it closely into the core of OS X and taken market measures to lock out the competing browsers. What effect do you think that would have had on the internet's technology stack? How much money and how much time do you think would be spent dealing with Safari's hypothetical peculiarities?

So, given that the remit is protecting the market, which of those companies was it correct to take action against?

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The STEALTH Plug-in Hybrid: Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

ThomH
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Re: What happens to the grid ...

In the worst case what happens is: no benefit for the environment. But it buys the ability for the environmental problem to be fixed centrally. So if cold fusion were discovered tomorrow then they could just plug a couple of those into the grid. Or maybe they'll come around to the idea that new fission stations are the thing environmentally? Renewables don't exactly have a lock on being a better solution if we're optimising for that.

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It's nearly 2015 – and your Windows PC can still be owned by a Visual Basic script

ThomH
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It's nearly 2015. What Windows PC?

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Google pushes 'go' on Android Studio

ThomH
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I'd rate Android Studio as about a million times as good as Eclipse, and I've also used RubyMine at work so I understand the value of the JetBrains IDE as a transferrable skill. But...

IntelliJ is built in Java. So to use it you have to expose your machine to Oracle's vision of a runtime. Ironically for a just-in-time compiler, it seems to have absolutely no concept of just-in-time launching. Let your machine be forever burdened with Java overhead at boot regardless of what you intended to do that day.

It's also quite visibly not native software. It makes a pretty good stab at hitting a middleground between the OSes and is nowhere near Swing-level awfulness but expect normal cues to be absent and to go ignored. Git integration is one of the obvious examples: you may have your machine set up with an SSH key and all your other appropriate configuration but Android Studio comes with its own embedded version of Git that'll ignore all of that and insist you supply Google's software with your username and password. Presumably just using the Git you already have proved to be an issue across targets.

Then there's the real blight: that emulator. The default is painful and only a computer nerd could love the labyrinth of third-party options and associated manual configuration. Guess what? Being a developer doesn't automatically mean loving configuration. For me HAXM is a default install and lots of people love Genymotion but it feels like an issue is that the first-party tool just isn't up to snuff.

Other grab bag complaints: gradle wants a network connection before you can build anything. There's still no nexus between the IDE and the package manager; the one can know that you're trying to use API 21 and the other can know that API 21 is available but you're the agent that has to transfer the knowledge.

But I think Google can advance in leaps and bounds when it wants. Android 1.6 was awful. Even 2.x retained significant issues, both technical (no accelerated drawing) and in the user interface (that menu button that nobody ever spotted). So probably the future's bright.

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Wheels fall off bid to sue Apple over iTunes anti-piracy shenanigans

ThomH
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Re: how long? @circuitguy

I don't think Apple had much left in its witness buying off fund this month, since it overspent on helping to cover up the faked moon landings, sheltering the person that really shot JFK and pretending that Obama was born in the US.

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LA schools math quiz: $500 Chromebooks or $700 iPads for students?

ThomH
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Re: The schools will "choose"

I understand that it's the school's budget but that even iPads were considered justified because the third alternative is textbooks, which are even more expensive. California, like the other states I'm aware of, requires that textbooks be approved before schools can purchase them, which creates something of a captive audience for the publishers and gives them significant extra costs to defray (especially in terms of risk).

Which seems to be similar to the process for hardware but I guess the fact that Chromebooks and iPads have a huge external audience limits price jacking.

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Ten Mac freeware apps for your new Apple baby

ThomH
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Re: You should try pressing ctrl in addition to cmd+shift+4 @JDX

Command+shift+control+4 and select an area.

Open Preview and the command+n File menu will have become "New from Clipboard". So select that or hit command+n for an atomic create+paste.

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First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you

ThomH
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To me it sounded more like AT&T's "value adding" Android customisations may not be functioning correctly; meanwhile the demo units usually run a completely different software configuration full of tutorials and guides.

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Windows Phone will snatch biz No 2 spot from Android – analyst

ThomH
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Chromebooks accounted for 35% of US B2B laptop purchases during the first five months of 2014 per NPD. So Microsoft has been losing its grip on businesses at an unprecedented rate. If Microsoft is focussing effort on trying to segue its business computer hegemony into phone success then it might be better advised not to take so much for granted or it may end up without dominance anywhere. And, yes, I feel old just being able to type that. Things change, I guess.

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Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop

ThomH
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Re: android

I use mine rarely because I use it for relatively limited things — web, email, Netflix, Hulu and application development — so I'm in the habit of turning it all the way off when I'm finished. That being an accepted difference between you and I, it's still speedy and working perfectly.

I'm a very casual developer so haven't tried the Lollipop beta and am still running ordinary 4.4 but I'll probably accept the over-the-air upgrade without compunction when it becomes available. My experience from owning an iPad is that these kinds of complaint tend to be very much about edge cases; I can think of uncountable iOS updates that reportedly had users up in arms but which were completely uncontroversial from my subjective point of view.

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Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash

ThomH
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Re: Why Flash?

Netflix is now available via the HTML5 premium video extensions — most controversially the encrypted media extensions which either (a) seek to corrupt the aim of open standards to allow consumption anywhere; or (b) accept that DRM is the trade-off for some content access and try to make it less vendor-dependant. Depending on where you sit.

If you're accessing Netflix through a browser and your browser isn't IE11/Windows 8.1 or Safari/OS X v10.10 then, yes, it's still Silverlight powered.

But I think a huge proportion of access is now probably tablets, TVs with native clients, set-top boxes, video game consoles, etc, etc, etc. Not Silverlight places.

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Countdown contestant pays homage to IT Crowd's Moss

ThomH
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Re: "Not available in your country. Sorry."

Haven't you noticed the increasing number of articles from El Reg's San Francisco office, full of American spellings and terms? I don't think there's any intention to be a British publication for British people.

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LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball

ThomH
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Re: Secret mode? @Dave 126

Xenon 2, naturally.

Actually, I didn't know the cheat. But how many games were really famed for their music before the PC could keep up?

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Anonymous ‪hacks the Ku Klux Klan after Ferguson‬ threats

ThomH
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Re: "Hacking"?

If I were asked to guess the KKK's password then I'd be happy those text boxes usually don't let anybody else see what you're typing.

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The Nokia ENIGMA THING and its SECRET, TERRIBLE purpose

ThomH
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Re: 5. A marijuana vaporizer

You could sell geographic distribution information to kebab vans?

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Microsoft .NET released from its Windows chains... but what ABOUT MONO?

ThomH
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Re: Licence

The repository is up at https://github.com/microsoft/dotnet and says:

.NET open source projects typically use either the MIT or Apache 2 licenses for code. Some projects license documentation and other forms of content under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. See specific projects to understand the license used.

.NET Core uses the MIT licence. The .NET Compiler Platform remains Apache 2.0. For comparison, Mono components are primarily licensed via one of the GPL, LGPL or MIT X11 licences.

So I think that's one barrier to trust overcome.

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ThomH
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Re: The last throw of the dice? (@asdf)

What's wrong with managed code? Is it virtual machines in general or just Microsoft's approach?

I think the Android switch from Dalvik to ART is interesting: Google is switching from just-in-time to ahead-of-time compilation, compiling on the device at the point of app installation a lot like a traditional make install but from an intermediary byte code rather than from source. It's being promoted as a performance win, eliminating any remaining user-noticeable distinction between 'managed' (in Microsoft parlance) and 'unmanaged' code.

I've seen it argued that such an approach should ultimately prevail everywhere because it resolves the same security issues as an MMU without requiring all those expensive context switches every time a system call is made. That is, given the semantics involved, a proper compiler can generate code that is guaranteed safe to run as ring 0. I have no independent opinion on that other than that it sounds reasonable at a brief parsing to someone who doesn't do anything closely related for a living.

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Vodafone: For Pete's sake! Apple’s 'soft' SIM's JUST AN EE SIM

ThomH
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Re: Sounds like Vodafone is unhappy @BristolBachelor

You're not a huge distance from arguing that a CD player could not be more consumer friendly. The simple fact is that — with a hypothetical perfect software SIM — it would be more consumer friendly not to have to carry multiple if these things around, not to have to try to obtain them in foreign languages when you have better things to do with your only seven days in the country, to have the cross-network pricing options clearly tabulated free of marketing puff, etc.

Of course, what Apple supplies is nowhere near the hypothetical perfection. Not even close.

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ThomH
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Re: Sounds like Vodafone is unhappy (@Dan 55)

In theory, what's good for the consumer is good for the manufacturer. It is in Apple's interest to create a smoother experience for potential customers because then potential customers are more likely to become actual customers.

Apple would argue it has attempted to do that by creating the soft SIM: it's trying to eliminate that bit where you have to obtain a physical thing and put it into a slot. Which is especially helpful if you're on holiday or one of those people that just travels a lot. Also it'd be one less cause of consumer inertia in picking carriers even in their own home, were the idea fully adopted.

I've no idea whether there's a subsidy involved but even if so that doesn't mean Apple hasn't done good for the consumer. In the US you get three options when starting up, one of which locks the SIM forever but the other two of which can be switched between at will depending on the latest pricing. All pricing is the same as obtaining a physical SIM. So the overall experience is better for the consumer.

Of course an even more neutral SIM would be even better, and would probably be even better for Apple too.

Hopefully Google will do something similar and the customer will benefit both from the on-device choice of carriers and from being able to pick their gatekeeper to that list. Or still being able to do the physical thing if they really want.

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SO LONELY: Woman DARED to get rid of her iPHONE - Apple DUMPED all her TXTS

ThomH
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Re: Oops!! @"if it doesn't send, then Apple could try SMS"

The multitude of people to have suggested that appear not to use the service. iMesages are more like Google Hangouts than text messages. If you own the connected phone then you can add a phone number as one of your addresses but after that you'll receive all messages sent to you via your phone, your iPad, your Mac, etc. It's multi-client instant chat. The issue is that your Apple friends end up sending you chat messages when they want to send you text messages, which makes a difference only once your phone can't receive them.

You most likely still receive them on your iPad, Mac, etc. They're still received. There are still receipts being returned.

Unlike the average tech blogger, normal people are perfectly happy to mix and match brands, including to wander in and out of iPhone ownership over the years.

An iPhone will resend as SMS if it can't send as an iMessage but that's mainly about non-data mobile connections still being more widely available than data connections per the frequencies at play. It's a failure-to-send fallback.

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ThomH
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Re: Oops!! (@Marketing Hack)

Apple doesn't "force customers to register to get something as basic to mobile telephony as SMS messages if they leave Apple". See my other message below. I'm a recent departee. I haven't registered. I still have other Apple devices which receive iMessages sent to my email account. I've had no interruption in texts from my Apple-owning friends.

Though with further hindsight I can only assume that's because I wiped the phone before handing it back (it was a work phone so will now be somebody else's; contrast with if I'd broken it and bought something else or just put it into a drawer). Otherwise how could Apple know?

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ThomH
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Re: I find this side of Apple extremely distasteful.

It'll look appropriately awful. But I think the issue may already be technically fixed. I switched away a couple of months ago and all of my Apple-toting friends' messages are now just arriving by regular text message. I didn't inform Apple, I still use some non-phone iMessage-enabled devices, I kept the same number with no discontinuity of service. I don't know what the applied logic is but I appeared not to lose anything in the switchover.

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ThomH
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Re: Oops!!

I don't think you've understood the issue. The suit is for failure to disclose a policy. That is, failure at the time you become a customer. That's when the actionable offence allegedly occurs. It's nothing whatsoever to do with how Apple acts after you're gone and everything to do with how it acts when you're entering.

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Microsoft to bring back beloved 1990s super-hit BATTLETOADS!?*

ThomH
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That hoverbike level!

Yes, you know the one. There are rumoured to be ten levels after it but nobody has ever seen them.

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Microsoft's TV product placement horror: CNN mistakes Surface tabs for iPAD STANDS

ThomH
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Re: Different types of product placement

Mostly correct, I'm sure, but if Apple never pays for "... celebrities to tweet 'I love my new iPhone'" then what was all that from the ghost of Joan Rivers?

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Microsoft: How to run Internet Explorer 11 on ANDROID, iOS, OS X

ThomH
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Whither cookies?

Using Microsoft Remote Desktop from a Mac to connect to the supplied IE11 test app, a quick trip to http://www.whatismybrowser.com/are-cookies-enabled confirms that cookies aren't enabled. Selecting 'Internet options' behind the gear icon does exactly nothing. If I go to Safety -> Webpage privacy policy... then I get a screen that confirms that cookies are disabled. Any attempt to enable cookies in the dialogue that sits below that has no effect.

I confirmed this behaviour by testing against standard, trusted sites like LinkedIn and Gmail.

So, ummm, not all that useful for testing actually, Microsoft.

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Got a spare $600k? Then an ancient Apple-1 could be yours

ThomH
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Re: U571

The spokesman doesn't say that at all. He said: "It all started with the Apple-1". If we're going to assume he meant something more than just "[Apple] all started with the Apple-1" then why stop at the entire digital world? Why not assume he meant that the Apple-1 ushered in the creation of the universe? I certainly can't personally vouch for anything definitely having existed prior to the early-'80s.

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ThomH
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Re: The machine that started the digital revolution?

If I dare suggest: the spokesman's comment that "when you see a child playing with an iPad or iPhone, not too many people know that it all started with the Apple-1" suggests that he just means that Apple, the noteworthy company, started with the Apple-1. Not the digital age. Not the home computer revolution. Just Apple.

Such other births as you may want to peg to the Apple-1 are entirely at your own discretion.

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Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

ThomH
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@Zot

Ars has an article — http://arstechnica.com/apple/2014/10/the-retina-imac-and-its-5k-display-as-a-gaming-machine/2/ — in which they play the current Alien game at 4k with screenshots, benchmarks and subjective reactions.

I don't want to ruin it too much for you, but:

The 3840x1440 runs appeared visually smooth when I watched them complete, but the numbers tell a bit of a different tale. When I hopped into the game to actually play at that resolution, there was a noticeable amount of mouse lag. Indications are that a faster CPU would have helped considerably, but with the iMac, what you get is what you get.

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ThomH
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Re: Value for money?

The Dell you refer to is a TN panel with about 8.3 megapixels and a linear density of around 163 ppi. The same as a first-generation iPhone.

The iMac is an IPS panel with about 14.7 megapixels and a linear density of around of around 217 ppi. A shade above the Nexus 7.

It's a fatuous comparison.

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This is why we CAN have nice things: Samsung Galaxy Alpha

ThomH
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Re: Metal/Glass phones

There's no reason anybody should have noticed but Nokia phones still do that. The whole back comes off as a single piece and various after-market options are available, including ordinary replacements, more interesting colours, ones with built-in flip covers and probably more.

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Even a broken watch is right twice a day: Not an un-charged Apple Watch

ThomH
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Re: smart watch usage

It depends whether you lump health watches in with smart watches. If you do then mine does the following without two hands: monitors my heart rate, steps taken, skin temperature and perspiration level, all so as to determine periods in which I'm sleeping, running, walking or cycling, and therefore to comment on my general fitness.

Which are mostly things my phone doesn't do. Or I wouldn't have bought it.

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Apple's OS X Yosemite slurps UNSAVED docs into iCloud

ThomH
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Big Brother

Re: It Just Works

But who is it working for?

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Planning to fly? Pour out your shampoo, toss your scissors, RENAME TERRORIST WI-FI!

ThomH
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If I name my hotspot "United States Perfect Freedom Democracy Network", will I get a free upgrade to first class?

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SKYPE has the HOTS for my NAKED WIFE

ThomH
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Re: Poll

If anybody wants to know how to stop advertising from working on them then I know one weird old tip. Yours for a song.

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