* Posts by ThomH

2004 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

New Mac OS X: Mountain Lion roars at unauthorised apps

ThomH
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Re: Pick your garden now while you can still see the alternatives...

I can already see the counterargument: it's an optional control and well designed operating systems have always had optional controls over what a user can do. Apple are actually far behind Microsoft in allowing things to be locked down by an administrator, which is one of the many reasons (though probably not one of the main ones) that they don't do very well in corporate environments. Furthermore it's not really a walled-garden issue because you're already unable to use your Mac apps on anything other than a Mac; it's a centralised control issue.

That being said, I agree with you — there appears to be an attack on open markets for software from all fronts (with Apple being particularly involved) and it's a big concern.

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Google befriends Microsoft with WinDroid tablets

ThomH
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Re: Not going to happen...

I actually wonder if this wouldn't give more oxygen to Windows tablets, doing more harm than good to Android.

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iPad spanks Galaxy Tab in its own backyard

ThomH
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You're an extremely paranoid person.

I'd be more likely to say that Apple has a significant early lead because — although antecedents are easy to find — it was first to do the current sort of tablet for the current sort of consumer at the current sort of price point, and to back it up with a huge marketing push. Competitors also took a while to launch competing products, giving Apple a chance to build momentum.

Especially with the Kindle now on the market, those who want nothing more from life than to see Apple lose market share are probably in for a fun few years.

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Fondle my slab, baby: Inside the tactile world of Apple-fan iDating

ThomH
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@Aaron Em

That we've both received down votes would rather seem to disprove me, wouldn't it? Though our totals are tiny compared to the 50 who took the time to vote on the first comment so that's at least positive.

@Fred: directing a rant about tautologies at me might be benevolent trolling?

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ThomH
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Yes, but it's one within El Reg's sphere - per the article, possibly the only one - and Valentine's Day is tomorrow. It's also about a demographic that many have, ummm, strong feelings about.

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ThomH
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You're imagining it

This is de rigeur around here - the sense-of-humour bypass allegation simply isn't supported by the facts and most of the comments above are good-humoured jokes; you generally need to cross the line into malicious trolling to get significant down votes or ill-tempered responses.

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Apple demands US ban on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus

ThomH
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@fLaMePrOoF

If I buy an Android device and purchase £25 worth of apps, then switch to an iPhone then I lose my apps. The fact that I could buy them again makes no difference. I'm not tied to any particular vendor and none of the companies on the Android side has put that limitation in place to serve its own interests but I am nevertheless locked in to the platform.

I can't see how that logic requires prejudice of thought.

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ThomH
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You're belying your own prejudices - the quote could equally be interpreted to mean that Apple don't expect anyone to buy two tablets at the same time and as a tacit admission that app stores are a form of platform lock-in.

There's nothing to justify putting the 'more powerful and useful' words into Apple's mouth.

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ThomH
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@Owen

Your theory being that Apple are posturing as a form of advertising rather than merely exploiting the patent system for the questionable legal decisions others have been able to obtain?

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New patent will give iPhone screen interactive 3D

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@EyeCU

The sample size of one was a direct response to your comment and I accept that it isn't a reasonable to assess generalities. But I maintain that you're overgeneralising and that confirmation bias explains how things like this become stereotypes irrespective of any particular truth.

For a suitably non-hyperbolic example — albeit which is still significantly more moronic than anything you've argued — see the things many people will argue are true about all men because, you know, everyone says that they're true and, anyway, in their entire life they can think of three or four examples where the thing they're talking about has happened so that proves it.

My honest belief is that around here the blinkered Apple fans get more down votes than the blinkered Apple detractors, but I'm quite possibly suffering bias of my own.

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ThomH
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@EyeCU

"What were you saying about Apple fans crediting the company with the commercialisation and not the invention?"

Your logic: someone gives Apple improper credit. Ergo they must be an Apple fan. Ergo Apple fans give Apple improper credit.

Can you honestly not see any flaws in that?

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ThomH
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@EyeCU

You're conflating unrelated issues. The post you reply to, and the one it replies to, are about whether such a patent can be valid, given the prior art. Yours is primarily about to what extent Apple can be credited for research it has bought.

On the topic you want to pursue, buying intellectual property isn't the sin you seem to believe. Apple fans give the company credit for commercialising new markets - they spot an emerging technology and give it that final polish to make It really work as a mass-market product. Only in the imaginations of flame-happy comment-board drones does anyone argue that there was no GUI before the Mac, no MP3 player before the iPod, no smartphone before the iPhone, etc.

Apple's presentation of new products can be overly smug and cause a deserving discussion of the antecedents but this isn't that sort of situation. It's a granted patent application released by the patent office.

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Googorola's desire for iPhone royalties will upset Apple cart

ThomH
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@Keep Refrigerated, Barry Shitpeas, others

Microsoft currently owns no Apple stock whatsoever.

The first company to sue for patent infringement in the current cycle was Nokia, which sued Apple in 2009.

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Eolas falls at first hurdle in bid to tax browser apps

ThomH
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Familiarity with the technology may have helped?

My belief being that patent trolls succeed because they can rely on not just a prima facie case - a patent on a process and evidence of another company using that process - but also the implicit presumption that a jury's eyes will glaze over upon any in-depth discussion of technology, juries being representative of society in that regard.

In this case the patent appears to be so clearly obvious to anyone who has used a web browser, probably including everyone in the jury, that they were likely receptive to the dates and facts of the defence case. I'll bet very little time needed to be spent on explaining exactly what the patent meant and showing examples in practice and discussing the relevant commonality and so on.

So my feeling is that patent trolling becomes harder the better understood a field is to the public, and my hope is that the technology world will therefore drift away from this sort of ridiculously broad patent being considered much of a risk at all.

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Android's Chrome finish comes too late for Flash coating

ThomH
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But I take it what they mean by "[it] supports Flash player for iPad and the browsing of Flash websites by streaming these sites from servers in the cloud" is that there's an Amazon-style proxy network doing the grunt work? It would be understandable if Adobe had simply decided not to go down that route.

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ThomH
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And presumably then only if we discount Shockwave. Though there's a tree falls in the woods argument to be made on that one, I think.

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'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

ThomH
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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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