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* Posts by ThomH

1906 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Microsoft gets the hang of funky devices: Xbox magic for enterprise

ThomH
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Re: Quite.

Click the Apple in the top left of the screen. Click System Preferences... . Click Users & Groups. Click the padlock in the lower left where it says 'Click the lock to make changes'. Enter your administrator user name and password. Click the plus symbol at the bottom of the list of users to add a user.

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Google offers $150 gift card for Chromebook Pixel data shutoff

ThomH
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Not really an occasion for "this is America, after all"

Consumers saw a particular product advertised and paid for it. Verizon then unilaterally decided they weren't going to supply it. In which country would you not use the law when a major corporation decides just not to do what it has accepted money for?

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San Francisco issues SMACKDOWN on parking spot sale software

ThomH
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Re: sounds like

I don't know what you're talking about. I've still seen only about a dozen Google Glasses. Once I even met someone in a bar who didn't work in tech.

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Apple SOLDERS memory into new 'budget' iMac

ThomH
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Re: Very acceptable....

A few Apple market failures, since Jobs reconfigured it into its modern form, from the top of my head:

The G4 Cube; Ping; MobileMe; the U2 iPod; the Motorola ROKR; the iPhone 5C; the iPhone in its first few months, before receiving a doubling of storage and a hefty price cut; borderline, the Apple TV.

Never mind the various minor products Apple tries to push which everyone just ignores — remember the half hour that was spent on how the new bundled earphones were some sort of sonic revolution, and that people would buy instead of third-party earphones for their non-Apple devices so they were now available standalone?

The evidence appears to refure that the theory that: (i) there's an Apple hardcore who will buy anything with the logo on it; and (ii) that hardcore is solely responsible for the majority of the success of the iPhone and Mac.

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ThomH
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Re: Very acceptable....

I guess from Apple's point of view, the downside of relying on that market would be that it exists primarily only in the imagination of blind partisans.

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ThomH
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Re: Unneccessary lock in saving a few pence of build costs, but....

I think it saves more than a few pence — they're reusing the MacBook Air logic board as far as people can make out. So that's dictated by the form of the tiny machines and savings then flow from production scale rather than purely from not spending 5p on a socket.

All the ultrabooks seem to use soldered RAM so that decision at least is likely justified.

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ThomH
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The 1.4GHz part has scored pretty much the same single-core benchmarks at the 2.7Ghz model it undercuts; the big loss is the two cores instead of four which results in the corresponding benchmark being 40% lower.

So this machine will be much faster for many consumer tasks than instinctive feelings might suggest; even though it's a direct i5-versus-i5 branding comparison the hugely reduced clock speed is barely a factor.

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Swiftkey: We just want to be free - Apple didn't bump us

ThomH
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On iOS third-party keyboards are not permitted network access unless the user explicitly allows it. So it should be easy to avoid key loggers.

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ThomH
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Does that sort of comment usually come from the sort of people that actually read the articles? It had Apple in the title: that's reading it.

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Happy Birthday Tetris: It's flipping 30

ThomH
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Re: Why no coin op version ? @DougS

Block Out, maybe?

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ThomH
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Re: Tetris 2

Tetris 2 on the Spectrum is indeed the finest thing. I had a version for the Sam in which someone had adapted the AY music to the SAA; it's quite possibly the game I played most. Though my choice of computers didn't leave me exactly overflowing with options. Prince of Persia, anyone?

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Apple: We'll tailor Swift to be a fast new programming language

ThomH
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Re: C#+Thesauraus

Swift uses var for variables, let for constants.

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ThomH
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Re: Just what the world needs (@JDX)

From native C or C++? With the incredibly arbitrary restriction that the feature Apple specifically supplies for this — the ability to make Objective-C calls arbitrarily at any place within C++ code — isn't to be used?

You'd use the C-level entry points to the Objective-C runtime: https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/Cocoa/Reference/ObjCRuntimeRef/Reference/reference.html

You're working up to an objc_msgSend, probably, but you can also use class_getMethodImplementation to get the C function pointer for any method on any class. Then you just need to remember to specify the instance of the class as the first parameter, the selector for the method as the second and the other arguments in sequence after that (it's a va_list).

For getting selectors, metaclasses and suchlike you'd use NSClassFromString, NSSelectorFromString and the gang. They take NSStrings as arguments but NSString is toll-free bridged — i.e. the two look the same in memory so just cast the pointer — with CFString, which is a pure-C API. So just use CFString.

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ThomH
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There were quite a lot of speculation around 2010 of a full-scale switch to Ruby; I guess Apple ended up deciding that they liked the idea but wanted a bit more control and a completely native coupling to the existing runtime?

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ThomH
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Re: Just what the world needs

In what sense does Apple 'force' you to use Objective-C? You can use as much C or C++ code as you like without having to hop any sort of barriers — the three can natively call each other directly, in the same source files. No managed/unmanaged border, no wrapper libraries, straight calls.

Of the two on-the-box options offered by OS X 10.0 and 10.1 — Objective-C and Java — developers picked the former. Not Apple.

As to whether the world needs a new language? It doesn't. But Apple needed one and decided they had to engineer it themselves because (i) they wanted it exactly to fit the existing runtime; and (ii) Apple usually thinks that way anyway.

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ThomH
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What do you do when your commercial skills become obsolete?

Read quickly, obviously.

Honestly, the new language looks pretty good from the thirty-or-so pages I've read so far but I've yet to get to anything particularly complicated. E.g. if it uses the same runtime as Objective-C — reference counting (automatic or otherwise) rather than garbage collecting — then is it still a programmer's responsibility to avoid retain cycles? That's the main area where I felt the existing runtime (rather than the language) was looking kind of historic.

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New iOS 8 SDK: Come in, apps. Get cozy, sip wine, swap numbers

ThomH
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Re: All new technology

No; COM was as much about the ABI and the incredibly painful way it interacted with every then-current language as it was about the OLE and DDE stuff.

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ThomH
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Re: SWYPE

I'm pretty sure the Swype-style keyboard shown in the app was Swype branded.

Also don't hold your breath for answering objections; even putting the crazies aside, once someone is invested in a particular platform they can usually find reasons not to switch even if they're doing so only quietly and for their own benefit, and not to win arguments against internet twelve-year olds.

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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

ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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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ThomH
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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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