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* Posts by ThomH

1888 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

ThomH
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Of course it dominates the malware market

If a majority of devices have property X then what's the probability that a device with property Y also has property X? Or, rather, what doesn't a higher probability of X given Y imply?

I heard that more house fires occur at the homes of people with Windows PCs than occur at the homes of people with Apple computers. Just sayin'. Could be because the total amount of sunlight that falls on Windows users is so much greater? Etc, etc, etc.

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Samsung in a TIZZY: OH PLEASE make apps for our Tizen Z mobe

ThomH
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Re: BadaOS all over again.

Bada's issues were more deeply ingrained than mere unpopularity. It was the endpoint of Samsung's decade-or-so of internal phone OSes and wore its baggage on its sleeve. It used a weird alternative history version of C++ (i.e. no STL, containers and primitives custom to Samsung, no exceptions, Samsung's own invention of two-step construction to try to bridge the difference) and the developer tools left a great deal to be desired (as in: I never once got the debugger to attach).

If they're pushing a higher level language and/or an up-to-date version of whichever language it is, with development tools that work properly, then they've already learnt a lot from the last endeavour.

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Apple's steamy OS XXX picture leak riddle: Blurry snaps deleted

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Will the iHaters ever come close to admitting that super-arrogant Apple can roll back its mistakes*? The Dock was 2d everywhere prior to 10.5 and has remained flat on every interim release if moved to the side of the screen rather than left at the bottom.

(*albeit without ever acknowledging or, god forbid, apologising for them; humility is not part of the deal)

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@Charlie Clark

If anything, it's a potential future battery life liability — the very white look obviates potential power savings from more intelligent backlighting or any self-emissive screen like an OLED, versus the much more black-oriented iOS 1–6 look.

(and never mind whatever the cost is of keeping the gyroscope going for the blink-and-you'll-miss-it parallax wallpaper)

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Re: I'm having a Windows XP moment here..

It's not really directly comparable though, assuming new versions of OS X continue to be free, as 10.9 was. In that case the market will move forward rapidly — most people don't jump to lingering fears about compatibility when shown something new and shiny — and the hassle will be staying with an old version as the APIs move on and developers lack an incentive to program down to older versions.

Assuming that's Apple's goal, uncontroversial updates are actually beneficial

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ThomH
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Looks more like Windows 7 to me

... though the timing and quality of the photos implies fakes. I guess we won't have to wait long to see.

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Watch: Kids slam Apple as 'BORING, the whole thing is BORING'

ThomH
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Re: Gah!

Read: El Reg commenter slams YouTube video as 'DREADFUL, the whole thing is DREADFUL'

I think your mistake was expecting information. The approach of this sort of thing is to give you a title that suggests an obvious conclusion, show a bunch of disjointed clips that jump straight to that conclusion, then expect you to feel a warm glow due to the lack of cognitive dissonance.

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Samsung WRISTPHONE – for those who wanna whisper to strap-ons

ThomH
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Re: ...Aaaaand

Thank goodness none of us had to wait for the obligatory "Apple's going to sue" first comment.

... which Apple entirely deserves.

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Disney plans standalone Star Wars movies to go with the main trilogy

ThomH
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I'm imagining it to be reality television with viewers having a say on which candidates stay on week after week. Is that what you were thinking?

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MacBook Air 13-inch: If you squint hard enough, you'll see a lesser-spotted Apple Price Cut

ThomH
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Re: Slightly schizophrenic review (@Fuzz)

I think the QWERTY debate is still up for grabs. Even if the probably apocryphal story were true and the layout was invented so that English speakers were more likely to follow a key press somewhere on the left with one somewhere on the right (i.e. to avoid typewriter jamming) that just makes it well designed for two handed typing.

Recent academic literature, such as that cited at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1069950, has tended to conclude — as that does in its abstract — that:

"... we find virtually no evidence to support a view that QWERTY is inferior to DVORAK. Instead, using records of typing experiments, studies by ergonomicists, and examining the historical record of competition among different keyboard designs back when QWERTY first became dominant, we conclude that QWERTY is about as good a design as any alternative."

That article makes reference to contrary modern claims by Paul David and Brian Arthur but their article takes it as given that QWERTY is inferior so as to argue economic principles about the value of popularity. The link I've given is also to a citation for an economic piece, essentially making the point that the David/Arthur conclusion isn't justified by the evidence given because the basic assumption is false.

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Re: Just got one, very happy

The greatest advantage of a retina display that I've found on my 15" MacBook is desktop space rather than graphical fidelity. I have the relevant slider set to 'more space' so it's giving me the same room as if I had a 1920 x 1200 monitor. The scaling of that shows no obvious artefacts — Apple achieves it by rendering the desktop at 3840 x 2400 and scaling down to the native size so every pixel has unique information; in any case that screen is starting to approach the sort of density where you don't have to worry about how source resolution and output resolution match, in the same way that magazines don't have to worry about it as any aliasing introduced is so physically small as to be imperceivable.

So, anyway, I get a really decent desktop worth of stuff onto my screen.

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ThomH
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Re: Slightly schizophrenic review

It's just the UK PC keyboard that rearranges the single and double quotes like that — standard US PC layout has the @ over the 2 and the ' and " sharing a key. Apple's UK layout is closer to what the US people consider the international layout, though it's not identical.

The main thing I've always found a bit odd on a Mac UK keyboard is having the hash symbol require the option modifier rather than shift. But I guess that really doesn't affect most non-C-style-language programmers all that much. Oh, and we get a section (§) key for some reason. Does that come up all that often for anybody? Nowadays it's rarely used even in publishing.

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Google is tech industry and world's most valuable brand as Apple rots

ThomH
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Re: $US1589bn?

Per the author, all Google has to do is drop from first to second next year and it'll be rotting.

In 2011 Oxford topped the Times University League Table. In 2012 it had dropped to second place. In 2013 it dropped to third. So, yeah, that was the end of relevancy for Oxford for all time.

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Microsoft’s 'FIRST NOKIA' arrives at £89

ThomH
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Re: Might consider this

Honestly, I think the article touches on this by mentioning the Motorola and that the AC that mentions needing to apply suitable selection criteria is correct: the low end of Android has included some dreadful handsets. Usually the problem has been underpowered hardware and software thrown together by someone in middle management according to a list of the network-specific and third-party "extra functionality" that needs to be incorporated to get all available subsidies. That's classic landfill Android. There have been good, cheap Android phones about for years — the Orange San Francisco and its successors jump most immediately to my mind — but also plenty of awful ones.

In the last few years Google has done a lot of engineering to make Android a much better fit to modern hardware, with proper use of the GPU as of 4.x being a massive win. So the less powerful hardware is more responsive. In any case all the hardware itself has naturally become a lot cheaper. Users have started to become smarter about shovelware and, regardless, if the hardware itself is cheaper then manufacturers can more easily hit the psychological price points without it.

That's why the article talks about the new Nokia not having as clear a run at the market. The cheap end of the Android market is getting exponentially better every year.

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Multiplayer Elite to debut on May 30th

ThomH
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Re: but i still want to play in monochrome wireframe

... or you could use your Google-fu to find 2001's Elite: The New Kind* and play a direct C translation of the original 6502 code on your Windows PC. In wireframe or with the filled polygons of the future.

* I forget whether this was converted from Bell's publishing of the original source code or by disassembling the commercial release; legal action ensured that it was withdrawn.

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ThomH
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Re: you approach a station..

In Elite isn't it illegal to fire on another craft within the vicinity of the space station? I thought such things resulted in a swarm of police Vipers launching and promptly attacking whomever opened fire?

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ThomH
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Re: Worth adding...

Didn't Braben turn up to Cambridge with the ship plotting already written on his Atom? Kind of kills the Jobs/Wozniak comparison — this wasn't a shrewd businessman lucky enough to meet an above-average engineer and an above-average engineer lucky enough to meet a shrewd businessman.

In any case is it really fair to judge one half of a working partnership that had a falling out based solely on the account of the other?

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Nokia Camera guru: I'm finished being Finnish, and off to 'the company you're thinking of'

ThomH
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If this is history repeating itself then things are looking pretty good for Apple; the gap between the original Mac and the iMac is pretty much the same as the gap between the original iPod and now — both 13 years.

The gap between the iPod and iPhone is also pretty much the same as the gap between the original iPhone and now — six years and seven years.

The gap between the iPhone and the iPad? Pretty much the same as the gap between the original iPad and now — three years and four.

Assuming history is a pattern and not, as people like me think, just a set of events that happened, we're overdue for Apple to find a major new revenue source and I'd advise buying stock right now.

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ThomH
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Re: iPad and tablet photography... (@Don Jefe)

I guess if you have a tablet to hand then with the disparity between the screen and camera resolutions it makes a reasonable substitute for binoculars. If you don't mind VGA-style resolutions that is, since those things have huge fields of view — for the standard indoor shots of people in a row from the other side of a table, I assume.

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Ninten-DON'T: Wii U bomb blows Mario Kart giant off track – but new console promised

ThomH
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Re: Wii U = slower than a very slow thing... (@asdf)

The down votes could be because there's no reason to think Apple ever evaluated the cell. Just because there was a PowerPC in the middle doesn't mean Apple were interested, any more than that they considered adapting whatever is specifically inside the XBox 360 or the GameCube. Apple went to Intel because nobody was delivering fast PowerPCs that were usable in laptops — the processing improvement curve from after somewhere around 2001 was well below the industry average. With the Core Duo and the Core 2 Duo coming soon Intel had a fantastic roadmap.

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Microsoft may launch several new Surfaces on May 20 – report

ThomH
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Dear Anonymous Coward

You can have a Dell Venue 8 Pro for around $200, running Windows 8.1 on a 1.33Ghz Atom. Will that do?

It seems to be available quite widely at that sort of price. eBay at $200: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Venue-8-Pro-Atom-Quad-Core-1-33GHz-32GB-Windows-8-1-Tablet-w-Dual-Cameras-/360916342222?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item54084a55ce ; Amazon at $220: http://www.amazon.com/Dell-Venue-Pro-Tablet-Windows/dp/B00FEE7B1I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399497617&sr=8-1&keywords=dell+venue+8+pro

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Samsung will ... sigh ... appeal $119m Apple patent verdict

ThomH
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Sounds smart to me

What PR effect do news stories about the legal battle usually have, respectively, for Samsung and Apple? Do companies that size really notice $119m either way? So in whose favour is it to keep this thing going?

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You'll hate Google's experimental Chrome UI, but so will phishers

ThomH
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Re: Stop this madness now

You mean until they decide that colours, corners and obvious buttons are too distracting and turn it into a discreet 8x8 pixel monochrome button that shows up only if you mouseover?

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The verdict is in: Samsung to pay Apple $120m chump change, but gets tiny rebate

ThomH
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Re: .. biting the hand that feeds your supply chain .. @henrydddd

I think you might mean the opposite?

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Apple tips Shiraz down all its techies' throats (that's the rumoured name for OS X 10.10)

ThomH
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Re: Ugh...

I like it but as a computer scientist might; now that I'm used to it I appreciate that the lack of chrome fits more things onto the screen. Maybe Apple knows something I don't about overall computer literacy but I still don't see how it's smart for newcomers or those slightly confused by technology. "Oh, that word is obviously a button because it has a chicane next to it and is in the top left" is somehow less convincing than "... because it is printed on a box that looks like a button".

Though I guess people have no difficulty finding hyperlinks so I'm probably being an old timer?

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ThomH
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Which classic mode? Transparent title bars and heavy horizontal lines circa 10.0? Lines but no transparencies more like 10.2? 10.3/10.4-ish multi-textured brushed aluminium versus unified versus the rest? 10.5/10.6 uniform grey but back with transparencies and a 3d dock? 10.7+ skeumorphism and death to scroll bars?

OS X changes with every version; Apple has never once allowed you to retain the look of the previous version and there's no single release you can identify as the classic.

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Thanks for nothing, Apple, say forensic security chaps

ThomH
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Re: Alternate article title @JCitizen

Just plug them in to charge with certain third-party chargers?

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ThomH
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I would assume it'd be just as much an issue for BlackBerry devices but the expectations are different: RIM made security its touchstone feature and has always marketed primarily to businesses. Apple claims security but has primarily been consumer oriented, where customers tend not to care so much.

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ThomH
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Re: Alternate article title (@Richard Taylor 2)

I really don't think you can. Why would Safari have any access to the device's login password or the wipe feature? And if it could be done "with a simple JavaScript" then wouldn't the script kiddies have had a lot of fun by now?

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Tim Cook: Apple's 'closer than it's ever been' to releasing new product range

ThomH
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Re: The Facts..........

I think that's probably the key: _some_ of the other MP3 makers supplied terrible devices and none of them gained critical mass. Apple supplied a simple device and had enough baseline recognition that the perception stuck. So when presented with a choice the logic went: the Apple is definitely simple, the others are probably simple but maybe I'm thinking of something else and anyway who wants to take the risk? I'll just pay the extra £15 and skip the hassle.

If you were a Mac user then that's doubly so because iTunes was essentially built in. If you were a Windows user you'd probably have to be reasonably literate to understand that buying into iTunes could be not described as reducing hassle without quite a stretch of the imagination.

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ThomH
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Re: Nothing that innovative coming, then

Apple has never been first to market with anything; it looks for an establishing market and attempts to launch a sufficiently significant product to capitalise on the initial growth. See: MP3 players, computers, smart phones, tablets.

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Apple patent pokes at holographic iPhone screen

ThomH
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Re: Research

Do we know that they can yet though? I notice that the story refers to a filed patent and the linked US government web site refers to it as a "United States Patent Application".

I don't pay that much attention but surely this is the stage where people with prior art are meant to come forward and say so?

Of course it's the US patent office, so, yeah, they'll get the patent regardless.

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Patch iOS, OS X now: PDFs, JPEGs, URLs, web pages can pwn your kit

ThomH
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Re: Which versions of iOS are affected by each issue listed? (@Bullseyed)

Actually they said "we haven't updated the bundled OpenSSL since 2011". They did not say that any of their code actually uses it.

Apple's code uses its own Secure Transport. Secure Transport does not use OpenSSL. None of the issues fixed today is known to affect OpenSSL.

For those of us that actually read the stories, this was underlined by goto fail, when Apple managed to engineer a bug into its SSL code that didn't affect anybody else.

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Apple splats 'new' SSL snooping bug in iOS, OS X - but it's no Heartbleed

ThomH
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Re: Old OpenSSL (@Bronek)

That's an interesting link, thanks. Highlights for those that can't be bothered to read it:

"The problem is, as I said above, that OpenSSL does not have a stable ABI ... if you made an OpenSSL dylib and people expected it to work, uh, you know, with dynamic linking, their code will break. ... We talked to the OpenSSL people and noted that we really needed to be able to be able to make and ship dylibs, and asked if there was anything we could do to help. ... OpenSSL rebuffed Apple and I gathered that the rebuff was actually insulting. It probably wasn't literally, "why don't you go back and make lickable buttons" but that would have given a similar result. One thing I know that OpenSSL said was that the unstable ABI was a feature, not a bug, and that anyone who really cares about security should statically link OpenSSL ...

Thus, OpenSSL is intrinsically not supportable in system that likes dylibs. We had to fix that underlying issue. So what fix? ... [we chose] what you see now. OS X still ships OpenSSL 0.9.8y (or at least that's the version on my laptop), and the entire system is as it was in 2011.

I think that someday, someone's got to give OpenSSL the decent burial. That OS X ships with 2011 OpenSSL command line tools and dylibs is a bug. ...

Heartbleed isn't a crypto problem. It's a software engineering problem. ... Apple's decision to chuck OpenSSL was also a software engineering decision, not a crypto decision."

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WTF happened to Pac-Man?

ThomH
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Re: Robotron!!!! Most insane game

I think it's iOS exclusive but Minotron is Jeff's own work making Llamatron even more crazy — El Reg loved it: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/20/review_igamer_llamasoft_minotaur_2112/

It's iCade compatible but, honestly, I found that the touch controls worked quite well.

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ThomH
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Re: Play on emulator (@Ugotta)

... or, much more importantly, Robotron?

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Happy 25th birthday, Game Boy!

ThomH
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Re: It was the battery life wot won it

I prefer to think it was the games. What was good on the Lynx? Shadow of the Beast and probably Battlezone 2000. The Game Gear? If anything it suffered from being a Master System with a smaller screen — 80% of the games seemed to involve you needing to have premonitions about what was coming up because you were effectively playing a crop of the original.

... and that's without discussing whose mascot was the better fit for the pre-TFT LCD technology of the time. It certainly wasn't the one known for fast moving graphics.

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Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen

ThomH
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Re: As a Sanmsung S3 and then Note 2 user

But then does 4.7" go far enough? The S3 was 4.8" if my Googling holds up but both the S4 and the S5 are 5.1". Those are linear measurements so, assuming the same aspect ratios all around (the iPhone's just a rumour, so who knows?) then both the current and previous Galaxies have about 18% more screen surface area. Though I guess the correct thing to compare that to is the whopping 63% more they offer versus the 4" iPhone?

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Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER

ThomH
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Re: Laptop resolutions... (@Pascal)

You're disingenuously conflating density with resolution.

Ars: "The story is different on the desktop, where Microsoft has long supported scaling but developers have rarely (if ever) taken the time to implement it properly. [...] The point is that Windows' desktop scaling, through no fault of Toshiba's, is still pretty bad. Since most Windows usage on laptops is still going to happen on the desktop, this is something you'll definitely notice as you use the Kirabook. It's not just that applications are often blurry, but that the way scaling is handled can vary so much from application to application. It's difficult to get a consistent experience, and settings that look fine in one program may look terrible in another." (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/05/review-high-dpi-toshibas-kirabook-takes-on-the-retina-macbook-pro/2/)

Digital Trends: "...the Ultrabook suffers from a serious problem: scaling. Most software is not designed for a high-resolution display, which can make it difficult to use. Windows tries to solve this by scaling up the size of windows, icons and other interface elements, but the process reduces sharpness and isn’t reliable. Some applications don’t scale at all, or scale poorly, which results in undersized icons and text that’s difficult to read." (http://www.digitaltrends.com/laptop-reviews/toshiba-kirabook-review/)

Engadget: "Depending on the content, anyway: many of your favorite desktop apps won't look right at that resolution [...] Things just don't scale properly, so you could end up with tiny buttons, tiny search fields or web pages that don't gracefully scale to fill the whole screen. And when objects do fill the screen, they sometimes look blurry and stretched out." (http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/17/toshiba-kirabook-review/)

pcmag.com: "CONS ... May have to adjust zoom or screen resolution for apps. [...] While the screen is brilliant, you may have to fiddle with zoom and screen resolution settings on older games and programs: they may not display correctly scaled up to 2,560 by 1,440." (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2418968,00.asp)

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ThomH
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Re: Laptop resolutions...

95% of Windows applications display incorrectly on high resolution panels: see the various Kirabook reviews for more details. Microsoft's all work perfectly and Adobe's are getting there so it's obviously something you can solve even with millions of lines of legacy code that's probably in pure win32 in places, but I guess proper scaling something that was either easy to do incorrectly or requires effort to do at all. Maybe someone with more insight can expand on that?

In the meantime I guess it's difficult for most laptop manufacturers to make the jump,

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ThomH
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Re: My two-year old camera has a better screen

Original post withdrawn as I stand heavily corrected; +1 to "Sorry that handle..." for correcting my simple-minded equation of a camera's "1,230,000 dot display" with a 1.23 megapixel display.

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Nvidia's new CUDA 6 has the 'most significant new functionality in the history of CUDA'

ThomH
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Re: Hmm

Could Unified Memory not be a step intended to buy Nvidia better heterogeneous computing options in the future, especially on smaller systems? I'm thinking of things like smartphones where you've got GPU + CPU + RAM in a single module, with the memory actually physically addressable equally by the different components. It'd be good to have naturally parallel things scale automatically between appropriate cores on those, wouldn't it? GPGPU isn't going to be exclusively for the HPC niche forever.

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Samsung files patent for ear-mounted Google Glass competitor

ThomH
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Re: They're coming but they're not selling (@Don Jefe)

If value were "totally irrelevant" then people would use smartphones exactly as much as they currently do, even if data were still 60p/megabyte. I'd suggest that (i) they wouldn't; and therefore (ii) value has _at least some_ relevance.

In wearables terms, if it were a choice between one phone with no associated watch and one with a watch for, say, £50 more, I can see people going for the watch even if they not only then never actually wear it but also if they made exactly the same choice last year and never wore that one either. If it's a choice of paying an extra £300 in a separate transaction for a watch then I don't see that happening.

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They're coming but they're not selling

See the sales of smart watches. Smart phones said "now you don't have to go all the way to your home to see email, maps and the web". Wearables say "now you don't have to reach all the way into your pocket to see email, maps and the web". For whom is that a sufficiently compelling proposition?

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Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?

ThomH
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Re: Working with dates is hard, and financial guys believe it is not

I misread 'finance' as 'fiance'. The story still sounded familiar.

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Apple cooperating at last on antitrust after MONTHS of wrangling – says court watchdog

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Re: Does...

I don't think so. But Microsoft was found to have violated antitrust law thirteen years ago now; Apple was found to have violated less than a year ago. The watchdog is there for the one specific purpose of monitoring compliance concerning book pricing.

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Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'

ThomH
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Re: Rotatable?

To be contrary, it sounds fully rotatable to me. The article mentions lenticular displays, which can't be rotated, but seems to say that the rumour is that Amazon will use a regular 2d panel and present the illusion of 3d through eye tracking. So the vector from the centre of the screen to the user's eyes is really all the phone calculates with; rotation doesn't matter.

It's the same thing as those c.2007 videos of the guy who reversed the Wii remote control (infrared sensors on his glasses, Wiimote static and pointed at him).

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ThomH
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Re: Still got no proper depth of field

I think this is more likely to turn up in VR headsets first. You don't have to go to a full light field — supposing mechanical latency were magically no problem you "just need to" track the eye's focus, undo it with an adjustable intermediate lens and then apply appropriate depth of field to the rendered image. So you're sort of cancelling the eye's attempt at focus and then pretending that it worked.

Inverted commas are there as per my expertise. How easy is it for us non-engineers to sit here and say "it doesn't sound hard to me"?

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ThomH
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Obligatory "What about Samsung?" post

Samsung implemented eye tracking in one of its handsets (the S3? Maybe the S4?) albeit that they limited it to deciding whether to keep the screen awake and allowing implicit scrolling. It's not a huge leap from tracking the pupil to decide how to move 2d content around to tracking the pupil to decide how to move 3d content around, especially when you've already got handsets like Apple's that import a slightly more nuanced idea of interface depth than just plain z-order and use that in order to do very subtle 3d presentations (in that case in response to the gyroscope rather than to eye motion but you get the point).

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