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* Posts by ThomH

1888 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

'App Economy' has created 466,000 US jobs

ThomH
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However you have to allow for the apps that make a profit other than through the storefront. The obvious examples are those that exist to provide a more comfortable front-end to existing services (whether banking, Facebook or whatever), but there's also large chunks of the business world that are willing to put mobile development into the marketing budget, a high-end example being the Super 8 application that provided the fun distraction of video recording, processed lomo-style to look like footage shot on actual 8mm fine film many years earlier, in return for blatantly advertising the movie.

It is, as you say, incredibly difficult to make an impact with an all-new brand through app stores alone.

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Apple TV surfaces on Best Buy

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@AC

However, I can go to Amazon and buy a 42" Full HD LG LCD for £370 and an Apple TV box for £90, giving me a total of £460 without even having to leave to Apple ecosystem. LG may be significantly lower down the perceived quality tree than Sony or Apple but they're miles ahead of the supermarket brands.

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ThomH
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The way I heard it, 2005 called and said that even in 2005 $1499 was a lot of money for a 42" TV.

That said, it'll just be a number Best Buy pulled from thin air; iPads, iPhones and iPods have always been at least in the same sort of ballpark as the competition.

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iOS 5 'crashes more apps' than Android

ThomH
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One counter example: I recently had the game, Jetpack Joyride installed on my iPad 2. It's one of those casual games you play for a few minutes every so often so I couldn't tell you my total game time but I had it installed for probably a month or two and had hit all the achievements at some point or another.

There's no reason to assume iOS had any hand in what happened but a few weeks ago it abruptly crashed partway through a game. Upon relaunching I discovered that it had somehow corrupted its state while crashing, with the result that all of my achievements, high scores, etc had been thrown away. I haven't bothered to launch it again since.

That's the sort of thing that I think the average user would care about.

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ThomH
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Could it be just the differences in how they handle memory?

In iOS objects are referenced by standard C-style pointers and prior to iOS 4.3 and the iOS 5-related development kit you had manually to manage reference counts (well, a little; property syntax made this a lot easier and obviously all the built-in collections get things right automatically, but you still usually need to be explicit about when you want to keep an object and when consider yourself done with it, and dangling pointers are a very real risk).

Android uses a dialect of Java, with a garbage collector that has freed Android developers from having to think about memory management since day one.

One would therefore assume that you can be a worse Android programmer without your lack of skill causing your app to crash.

[aside: I'm aware that the ARC compiler means that developers needn't manually perform these tasks any more on the iOS side, but this survey is talking about historical data]

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Apple vs Amazon in ereader format smackdown

ThomH
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You're absolutely right, though I think the article is written primarily from the consumer's point of view, with iBooks Author appearing only to explain why Apple are worth watching despite being so far behind. So the error isn't a fundamental weakness.

Re: everything else, I have a Kindle and am aware that everything I buy on won't necessarily survive the lifetime of the device. That being said, I've found the electronic platforms to be absolutely useless for reference texts and other things I normally expect to keep around because it's so difficult to flip through and quickly browse, and bookmarks quickly become just another few screens of information you need manually to wade through versus the spatial clues of post-its or whatever. So I've continued buying those on paper anyway. The main losers from my purchase of a Kindle are the friends and/or charity shops I'd normally have given my books to after reading.

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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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

ThomH
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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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