* Posts by Paul Shirley

1378 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

10 years ago today: Bill Gates kicks arse over security

Paul Shirley
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@Ken Hagan

...when did Adobe get to import masses of userspace code into the kernel, Microsofts ongoing huge mistake? A mistake founded on their continuing preference for screwing competitors over looking after customer security, accompanied by an unjustified belief in the quality of the their own code.

What Adobe tells us though is you don't even need the special privileges Microsoft give their own userspace software to break a Windows system, Adobe may be shite but security failures in their shitware are also failures in the underlying OS.

Windows is still based on adding security to a fundamentally unsecured OS, this is security by moving target. If only the snipers weren't quicker than Microsoft.

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Nokia partners with EA in major WinPho game push

Paul Shirley
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@Tzael - really?

...'cause I've yet to see one in the wild. Or hear it. Or hear anyone talk about it in the real world.

Come to think of it, I've yet to see one on display in a shop. Presumably they've got them in CPW and some of the carriers shops, ready for the next 24monthly upgrade cycle. But all those other places like Dixons, Tesco's etc. that might build some brand awareness outside the upgrade grind - no actual phones, even when they have the promo boards.

Before bribing floor staff Microsoft and Nokia need to shove some bungs at the buyers. Hard to collect a bounty on something your boss declined to stock. Or to demo games ;)

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Paul Shirley
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last to the party again

...meanwhile I'm already playing some of those games on my Android phone ;)

I wonder if this sets a precedent, WP7 always last to get the game, after iOS and Android? Maybe even after J2ME and Symbian releases...

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Imagination uncloaks 'over 20X faster' smartphone GPU

Paul Shirley
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Long ago I optimised a video codec for a 16x SIMD vector unit. At the end, when I'd run out of things to parallelise, in the worst case only 10% of runtime was spent in the vector code - the bitsream en/decoding is inherently serial and soaked up the rest. No improvement to the vector path could then give more than 10% improvement.

There's little point having a 20x faster vector path without a balanced improvement in the scalar path to keep the vector unit fed. For the tasks a phone is expected to do, this will give better game rendering, *might* shave a tiny bit off video decoding power consumption but otherwise is wasted silicon. There aren't suitable workloads to throw at it.

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Republican pol rips online piracy bill, defends Google

Paul Shirley
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Up till now the backers thought they'd bought the vote without the public waking up. The the word got out to enough of the public that astroturfing became necessary... well, it's a theory.

It's a lot easier to spot when Microsoft do it because they never stop ;)

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Polaroid develops Android camera combo

Paul Shirley
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"What has that got to do with a Polaroid camera?"

Hands up, not having a good day. That'll teach me to stay up all night playing games ;)

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Virgin Media to push out nimble new broadband speeds

Paul Shirley
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...even when I hit throttling on my 10Mbit cable, just pause the Torrent or download and the throttled connection is still fast enough for 'normal' use by my wife and I. The only thing that becomes unusable is OnLive streaming, iPlayer etc. still work. I'd imagine on a faster cable connection even OnLive would remain usable throttled.

To be fair, you will notice massive downloads taking a few hours longer, like the 8Gb Batman install yesterday. But it was going to take forever anyway ;)

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GiffGaff boots freetards off mobile network

Paul Shirley
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Mushroom

giffgaff history

Apologies for the shitty formatting, the Reg has screwed up big time. Might help some understand how gg painted themselves into this corner, especially the attack drones swarming here from the mother hive who presumably weren't with giffgaff when this happened ;) giffgaff launched before completing their billing platform, that meant they could not charge for data. For marketing reasons they offered free data for the 1st 6 (or was it 9?) months, with the clear understanding they would then start charging. So far no problems, people got slapped for exceeding the stated limits but it went smoothly enough. Then O2 decided they preferred building new infrastructure to supplying the missing support to giffgaff - not really surprising after OFCOM ordered them to sort their network out or lose the licence. Became obvious whatever contracts giffgaff have gave them no power to compel O2 to deliver. Still wasn't a problem, they extended the free data offer every time O2 postponed delivery and I assume O2 had to swallow the costs. Everything carried on as usual. Then giffgaff asked users what the really hated about other networks: number 1 answer, the word unlimited not meaning unlimited. Around the same time they needed to decide data pricing. And that's when it all went very wrong. Seems a simple choice really, just don't use the word unlimited, instead of devious FUP limits just be open upfront. But they still had a problem, O2 still hadn't delivered the billing support... and carried on not delivering. And they still needed to look like a really good deal to suck customers in. So gg basically just gave away data, closely tied to actually buying voice minutes and hoped averaged over all users it would work out. The problem is the market is shifting toward smartphones and the dumbphone users supposed to dilute the averages are a vanishing species. More important, giffgaff don't seem to have the balls to backtrack lest they frighten off the low data users that actually are profitable. Strangely they did have the balls to screw over their lowest users in another attempt to subsidise the data hogs, with rate rises last year that disproportionately apply to PAYG users. Explained away as a way for all users to share the pain, I still fail to understand how increased SMS rates affect their bundle users unlimited SMS allowance! giffgaff are trapped by their own past problems and mistakes and visibly losing their headline 'community' focus in favour of more traditional shitting on their customers.
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Paul Shirley
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@nichomach

What makes you think the down voters aren't gg users? I am a giffgaff user, have been since they started. I wish I could down vote you more than once. The giffgaff community is a hive mind that ruthlessly stamps on any deviation from its rose tinted opinions. I can see how you might have mistaken that for universal support for giffgaff's shambolic management, manipulative community management and business practices rapidly matching every other provider for sleight of hand and general 'screw the customer' attitude. A company that openly states it does not need to comply with EU law and had most of you supporting them!
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Nokia sheds light on latest Lumia

Paul Shirley
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@Jim - you forget the market range covered

Owners of cheap Android phones are:

1: likely to be disappointed with the experience and blame Android, not the cheap hardware

2: unlikely to switch to a substantially more expensive WP7,IOS or better Android phone

47% aren't all looking for a better smartphone, many are looking for a better *cheap* phone, neither IOS or WP7 delivers that. Androids loss will be largely to feature phones and some of the cheapskates won't be happy whatever they buy. At the high end defections happen both directions, if WP7 ever launches a real high end phone they can join the 3 way traffic ;)

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Official: The smartphones that suck much more than others

Paul Shirley
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...or I could theorise that the ones able to afford a shiny new 'this years model' iPhone are also the ones able to afford to pay for lots of data.

'cause if you're not hammering it on giffgaff or "3", data use can involve a 2nd mortgage in the UK - I assume its not much better elsewhere.

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Paul Shirley
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Maybe this poster is a dev and keeps phones for testing... ;)

...and the wife likes to have one herself which get's lumped into that list!

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Paul Shirley
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cloud syncing getting more pervasive quickly

With features like automatic movie and photo uploading appearing in Android this is going to get much worse very fast. My phones all have better upload rates than my broadband... well on a good day they do - thanks to O2!

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Microsoft's master stroke: Pay store staff per WinPhone sold

Paul Shirley
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@a_been

Did you read some supersecret email different to the ones in the case? the rubin mail is the smoking gun on Google putting the lawyers to work on how to work round a licensing problem. The court will decide if they did enough to avoid infringement.

The fight to keep them out is about just how clueless a jury will be when Oracle misrepresents this. Based on your post I its a pretty legitimate concern.

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Paul Shirley
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As SCO reminds us, its easy to accuse and nearly as easy to get a court to listen even if nothing actually happened (or even if you're just making up the whole story).

Patent problems aside we'll just have to wait and see if a court agrees that Google did what the application licences allowed or if they went too far. There are a lot of disappointed people just discovering they didn't understand their own licensing terms though, Oracle for one ;)

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Paul Shirley
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WP7: not glamorous like iOS, not as much choice as Android

Or maybe it's the devices, the lack of any wide choice of them.

All the folk happy to have the same phone as everyone else are already locked into Apple and WP7 just doesn't look glamorous enough to steal back any of the fashionistas. Especially since most WP7 devices are barely distinguishable from the Android devices their creators also supply.

Meanwhile the developers endless lament about fragmentation on Android is actually a great device sales driver, with almost any combination of form factor and feature list a buyer desires available. The highly uniform spec for WP7 devices sounds great on paper but doesn't get those vital 1st sales. That static spec is continually ageing and making life hard at the high end - bigger screens yes, but no higher res to take advantage of it for example?

Microsoft locked down WP7's look,feel & hardware to ensure consistent performance, paying sales droids to demo that may be the only way to gain any benefit. Personally I'm more likely to hear alarm bells if the UI needs to be explained and I'm sure I'm not alone!

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Judge sets date for Google v Oracle showdown

Paul Shirley
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Yes, he won in 1999 *before* turning to the FUDside.

His past achievements just makes the mistakes since then the more disappointing.

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Paul Shirley
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Miguel de Icaza

Is that the same Microsoft MVP, OOXML supporting, .NET (as Mono) pimping Miguel de Icaza?

Famous but still a Microsoft sockpuppet and tainted.

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'Mobiles bake men's balls' bog ad is cobblers - new ruling

Paul Shirley
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@Cristoph

Surely it depends on whether you 'dress' to the left or right? Could make 10" or more difference...

I'm sure these quacks can also inform us which side is the evil one only deviants and paedophiles hang their tackle ;)

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How Apple won the West (and lost the world)

Paul Shirley
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Pretty much all American phone owners. Their networks have screwed them badly, incompatible networks - both with the rest of the world and each other to limit choice and prevent switching network, plans that often charge more if you bring your own phone and pricing European carriers can only dream of.

And a depressing number of my acquaintances. Notably the couple of iPhone owners.

Even here sharp eyed users are hopping from deal to deal as the loss leading subsidies rotate between devices. If I used more than 10min,200SMS/year I would have been better off getting my Xperia Play on contract! The margins can be that close.

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Paul Shirley
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"how a cheap phone manages to pull down a given web page while consuming less data than a pricey phone looking at the same page"

...by NOT pulling down the same page, just some of the same content or the same page after serious server side filtering and reformatting. Or for those of us suffering O2, after every image has been recompressed out of recognition ;(

It's easy to forget the value of a page is usually the 1% text content not the formatting bloat. If that 1% is the local market prices somewhere in Africa it doesn't matter if the phone skips the other 99%, which is why feature phones are 'good enough' to make a big difference in the developing world. A 16 day standby feature phone is sometimes 16x better than a 1 day life smartphone at any price.

...and also why Android penetration will be slower than suggested, low price is nice, efficient use of bandwidth and good battery life is better. Low phone prices can't make up for lack of infrastructure and piss poor power efficiency.

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Apple to conquer connected TVs? Steady on, lad

Paul Shirley
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@Stuart Castle re TV licence

1: I believe there's work afoot on changing the legislation to close this live reception loophole. A loophole the licensing police tend to simply ignore anyway when issuing threats. To escape Apple TV could need to be so crippled its not worth using.

2: Any device incapable of showing live sport in the UK is an instant fail. More so after sport became almost unavailable on Freeview/Freesat and still the main driver of Sky sales.

Apple are too late and offer the wrong mix of content for our markets. Doesn't look like they're doing much better in the US either, where I believe Sport is still available on the TV most people have.

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The Commodore 64 is 30

Paul Shirley
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hated programming for it

Developing on a C64 was never fun, even with an accelerated disc drive. To lessen the pain I wrote a fat macro file and essentially emulated a Z80 in the assembler. Managed to use about 90% of source lines unchanged from the CPC464 originals. What speed the emulation lost the graphics hardware gave back.

Couldn't do that for my own tape turbo loader ;)

TBH the 64 was never my favourite machine, great to play arcade games on but bloody useless for anything else. Suppose I should get my arse in gear and load the emulator onto my phone ;)

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Microsoft mum on leaked Phone OS plans

Paul Shirley
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@lone lurker

"the whole sentence in WP7 would be visible simply by scrolling sideways"

That is a DEFECT not an advantage. Reflowing to fit the screen width is a good usability feature, clipping it is a fashion statement. I'll choose the phone that gets the UI right before trying to look good.

That neatly sums up what's wrong with both WP7 *and* the mix of paid and genuine WP7 supporters praising every defective feature in it. Trying to pass defects off as selling points shows just how out of touch with reality the whole WP7 faction is.

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Paul Shirley
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@Jim Coleman: shiny&new != any good

WP7 may be fast but my dirt cheap Xperia is more than fast enough and my wife doesn't play enough demanding games to complain about her even cheaper OSF. When will you lot learn boasting about WP7's speed doesn't impress the rest of us!

In my opinion WP7 is fugly as hell and without monopoly control to force everyone to use it I'm never going to start liking it. I don't care how much other people like it, I don't. Unlike Android, as a user I can't replace or fix the things I hate and Microsoft won't rethink that fugly tiles UI unless WP7 then WP8 completely fails in the market.

Every time I see the list of selling points for WP7 it's a list of things I've already tried and either didn't like or didn't match the way I use my phone. And Microsoft won't let me fix those choices. A tired and old UI beats any shiny new UI *that doesn't do what I want or need*.

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Solicitors from hell website unplugged by libel judge

Paul Shirley
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WTF?

I'd expect: "If a free market is to work, consumers must be able to check that suppliers are offering their goods or services in good faith, and not deliberately misleading the public."

We've seen enough dishonest lawyers to know they're no better than any other trade. What's happened here is a disgrace though, the legal 'profession' taking advantage of an apparent idiots dishonesty to bend the law to give unjustified protections to their own cosy club. It's a blatant attempt to set precedent that will make it harder for the next honest whisteblower to fight his case.

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Lumia sales fail to set world alight

Paul Shirley
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Selecting just by tprice is blatant fiddling the figures. At a stroke it rules out devices with comparable hardware just because they're better value. The lumia is far from

High end hardware with premium street pricing.

Filter by comparable hardware and it will fall much further down the popularity list. Even this fiddled filtering shows it only limping into the premium niche, while every other producier targets the whole budget to premium range getting sales at all levels.

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Paul Shirley
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epic astroturfing

...but doing it on the Reg site is a complete waste of the Microsoft PR slushfund ;)

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Paul Shirley
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last weeks pr

Only a week since nokia tried to push it fir the people bored with iphone and android. Exactly the market sector covered by this survey!

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Five... friendly, free Android apps

Paul Shirley
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...because Netcounter's slow WiFi scan option isn't in system settings and AFAIK Netcounter won't stop scanning just because WiFi's disabled anyway.

To avoid any more confusion: Netcounter defaults to scanning the WiFi stats every 30sec becaise the driver stats get wiped by WiFi restarts and god knows what else so that's the only way to get accurate stats. Slow scan does it once an hour and your battery will love you for choosing it. It's not as if anyone needs accurate WiFi results. Or any WiFi count.

The cell data drivers don't need the same hack.

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Paul Shirley
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I see it now supports daily quota's (last time I looked only Netcounter did), essential for many PAYG users. Time to try it again.

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Paul Shirley
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netcounter

Make sure you switch to slow wifi scan or wave goodbye to your battery. Someday I'll compile myself a build without wifi support.

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Apple wins skirmish in HTC-Google patent war

Paul Shirley
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Your address book is safe. The bogus patent is for automagically creating hyperlinks in unstructured data. Your addrese book is structured data and no detection needed, the fields are explicit.

I doubt the linkify process actually covered will be easy or possible to work round but thats ususally a good sign the patent is invalid. If HTC now convince the ITC of that enforcement is likely to be stayed pending a patent reexamination. Expect this to go from Apple losing 9 claims to losing all the patents.

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Paul Shirley
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it may well be trivially easy to disable

There's a good chance just locking the 'linkify' UI support to off will disable it in most or all of the OS and most 3rd party apps as well. Any 3rd party app that still has it will then have to be targeted by Apple directly - not HTCs problem.

Odds are they've already toggled that in test builds and will spend the next 3 months checking its effective. Meanwhile a torrent of prior art looks about to fall on the ITC and there's not much chance the ban will survive long enough to actually start!

In 3 months time I believe this will look like a very bad day for Apple and not much better for their accomplices at the ITC.

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Regulator reckons telly advert caps are just peachy

Paul Shirley
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On the occasions I bother stripping adverts rather than just skipping them during playback, a lot of programmes manage 42-43 minutes in an hour slot. Things like The Big Bang Theory clock in at 18min usually in a 30min slot.

There's a lot of self promotional padding but I'm struggling to believe that fully accounts for the extra 6 or 9 min required. Maybe we just don't see things if they repeat so often. (Hard to say since I don't see the ads anyway;)

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Nokia lightens Dark Knight with Batman blower

Paul Shirley
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Joke

So up to 40 geeks sorted out but still nothing for the fashionistas...

The post is required, and must contain letters.

;)

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York CompSci student pleads guilty to Facebook hack

Paul Shirley
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"nothing is more important to us than the security and integrity of our site"

Nothing, especially not our users, whose security just gets in the way of selling the data we gathered on them...

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Nokia exec: Young fashonistas 'fed up' with iPhone

Paul Shirley
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Apparently you can't even change the WP7 wallpaper without an unlocked developer phone.

It's a fashionista magnet - set to repel ;)

Makes Apple look positively customisable.

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Paul Shirley
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dont they already have Blackberry?

I thought the youngsters fed up with iPhone/Android already had rioter friendly Blackberrys?

Moving from phones with lots of little, cute icons and a touchscreen to one with less but bigger, uglier icons that don't quite fit on that same touchscreen... hardly appealing is it ;)

(Did enjoy Microsofts HTML5 WP7 demo on my phone - confirmed that it's just a fugly and limited in action as it looks in pictures of it)

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Why there's real hope for webOS - if HP is committed

Paul Shirley
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users don't care

What the TouchPad firesale tells us is end users don't really care what OS is running if the price is right and they don't really care how big the relevant app market is if the price is low enough.

It's fun arguing the dev side of the tablet wars but the public see a consumer device and as long as it has a working browser, passable email and some chance of running apps, don't look much further than the price. Its already a commodity item from their POV. Hardly news, the ongoing sales of piss poor chinese phones tells us the buying public will buy anything cheap that looks superficially good enough.

That's why WebOS is largely irrelevant even if its not dead, the entire appeal was the sale price, the OS isn't a selling point. WebOS can live or die and the buying public won't even notice.

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Is Microsoft brewing a Win8, WinPho code merge?

Paul Shirley
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unfixable due to Microsoft lockin attempts

Yes, it's a Windows problem that Win8 hasn't solved. iOS and to a lesser extent Android take a desktop (capable) OS and streamline it for different hardware. It's not a full PC OS only because it's not running on full PC hardware, rather than any artificial constraints.

The base OSes both are built on are modular enough that shrinking the OS is both easy and actually shrinks the OS footprint.

The Windows problem is the OS is so infested with dependencies that they dont know how to remove any component safely, Microsoft recently admitted spending months just trying to map them. They can remove function but can't actually remove much footprint and still trust the OS to work. This is more than just poor design, Microsoft policy of binding user space programs (Internet Explorer is the classic one) into the system layers just came back to bite them. A policy designed to encourage user lock in has just locked Microsoft into it's own messy past!

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2011's Best... Smartphones

Paul Shirley
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Pint

Xperia Play

Little surprised the Play didn't make the list at it's new £150-200 price point.

@£500, then £350 it was a lame duck, now it's reached a sane price there's not much to compete with it for gaming jollies, at least till we find out if there's a Play 2 sometime in March. The ludicrous number of free HD games SE keep throwing at it improves the value as well.

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Paul Shirley
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Adobe finally released ARM6 support a few months back

...actually, Flash is sluggish on the Monte Carlo *because it uses an ARM6 CPU*. It does less work per clk than ARM7 designs and worse yet, doesn't support features the programmers at Adobe relied on (unaligned memory access is the big one).

So the actual performance is closer to a 400Mhz ARM7 (I'm being generous) *and* the ARM5/6 optimised Flash build Adobe finally released about 2 months ago is inherently much slower. Despite that it actually is usable on a lot of sites and of course Flash can bring any mobile CPU to its knees on some.

It doesn't help that Adobe failed to tell anyone about the ARM6 release, presumably why so many commenters don't know about it ;)

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OnLive Game System cloud gaming console

Paul Shirley
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Lag a bigger problem than you think

It's important to remember the network lag here can't be directly compared to lag in client rendered multiplayer games. In a well built network game prediction hides the lag leaving just the rendering&frame swap time lag - 1-2 frames most of the time. The lag's still there but isn't as noticeable. Onlive renders remotely *then adds network lag - some of the rendering lag*.

It's not just adding more lag, it's adding it where it does the most damage, outside the games compensation loop. It's something I noticed both times I trialled it, the motion sickness set in almost immediately and didn't go away. Luckily for Onlive I'm in a minority but it's harming the experiencing for every player.

What's worse is even if games could get adjusted to compensate for that extra lag, single player games just don't need the prediction code so have no mechanism to adjust. Hard problem to work around.

Luckily casual gamers don't seem that bothered by this sort of problem but casual gamers aren't notorious for paying AAA prices for their games either. Be interesting seeing if they get any worthwhile outright sales at those prices, or just masses of £6.99 subscribers playing older stuff.

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Paul Shirley
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Maybe, for the bulk of low end factory boxes.

When I tried Onlive its rendering quality was massively below what I get locally on geriatric hardware - a 3.1Ghz dual core Phenom II/4770HD GPU combo, both low to mid range parts more than 2 years ago. While I do often need to reduce render quality to maintain frame rates, Onlive don't seem to be achieving much better quality, do it in a much smaller frame size (I play @2048x1152) and the compression wreaks havoc.

Unless I had particularly unlucky experiences most recent PC's wouldn't need upgrading and where needed wouldn't need high end hardware to equal what Online are offering. I think time has been unkind to Onlive, PC hardware improvement has wiped out their theoretical advantage for all but the most casual PC gamers.

I think the console is probably their most important component though. Much easier than hauling a PC to the main TV for casual gaming.

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Microsoft seeks to woo developers with Windows 8 store

Paul Shirley
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Windows 8-capable OS systems

Looks like I'll have to develop for Linux from now on, after all it can run on anything that can run Win8 (unless they manage to pull off the secure boot lockin) *and* almost everything that can't run Win8. Thanks for the hint Microsoft ;)

Or perhaps I should just ignore this steaming pile of over optimistic BS.

Given how long it took getting Win7 installs ahead of XP, we'll be dealing with whatever 'screw the devs' stunt M$ pull in Win10 before that installed base matches this bullshit. Faced with the dumbed down Win8 interface and the wholesale backwards compatibility breakage if you use Metro, it's going to be very easy to lose users to any other equally dumbed down OS along the way.

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Brussels' statement of objections against Google is MEATY

Paul Shirley
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will Foundem &co won't survive long enough to see the result?

OK the complaints are in. Now time to wait and see how much survives the actual investigation.

I look forward to their response if Google are found to have *correctly* marked Foundem as the sort of spam I don't need to see in my search results... ;)

It's inevitable the EU will find some way to increase regulation from this big pile of excuses, regardless of the merit of any of the complaints. It's near certain there's something in there that justifies some response, though maybe just an empty 'precautionary' one to give them the excuse to go much further.

It's also near certain that the whiney scum aren't getting what they want, a free pass to search millions by perverting the Google algorithms - eventually they'll have to put the effort in and run real business's offering real value. Or quit.

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Nokia is past its best-by date, warns analyst

Paul Shirley
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Indeed. They tried desperately hard to suggest Nokia would have some special advantage over other WP7 licensees (while Microsoft simultaneously tried not to spook them).

Now they've launched it's hard to see any insider advantage in the product, just another WP7 phone with the same software stack, the same battery life, the same everything. Mostly just a different casing you love or loath and a logo few still respect. Even the Nokia map app that was supposed to bring them huge licence fees is never even commented on!

Meanwhile all the others can throw out essentially the same phone in a different case and see how it sells, with Android and proprietary OS builds to fall back on. Even the ones doing 'contractual obligation' releases to keep the Microsoft attack dogs at bay aren't dependent on take up.

Nokia has no independent future.

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