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* Posts by Tom 38

2441 posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

Torvalds bellows: 'The GNOME PEOPLE are in TOTAL DENIAL'

Tom 38
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Re: @Tom 38

You aint seen nothin' yet. There are OSS, ALSA, ESD, aRtsd, JACK, NAS, PulseAudio and even one modern low latency JACK replacement which name I've forgotten

I know, but I was at work and had already spent 10 minutes typing a eulogy to linux sound systems. ESD and aRtsd are dead now though, surely?

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Tom 38
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Re: 5 reasons

No, OSS was BSD licensed. The main guy writing OSS drivers - drivers that fitted into the OSS system - started selling newer drivers for profit. This didn't make any of the earlier work not be BSD licensed.

The people who eventually wrote ALSA did not like this one bit, so they made sure that their project was GPL tainted so that one of them could not also do the same. There was no reason why they could not have continued to develop OSS, but releasing newer bits under GPL; they preferred to reimplement from scratch, which I don't think has any bearing on the license.

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Tom 38
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Re: 5 reasons

Your "fragmentation" complaint (which I agree with BTW) is actually just a prime example of the NIH syndrome that affects Linux.

Sound on UNIX started out with OSS - Open Sound System. This worked, and continues to work on most UNIX variants, and is the basic level of sound support that almost every piece of UNIX software has.

However, this did not suit some Linux users, so they set out to solve some of the issues that OSS had. However, one of those issues was that they guy behind OSS had taken his codebase closed source, and started selling newer drivers for cash.

In order to ensure that didn't happen any more, their new project ALSA - Advanced Linux Sound Architecture was started, which added a new sound interface, just for Linux this time. Their new system supported cool things like virtual channels and hardware mixing, but co-existed with OSS. One program would use ALSA, another may use OSS emulation via ALSA, and there was a wonderful way of producing sink/source graphs linking different audio components just using an obscure text file.

However, this wasn't enough. One of the problems with ALSA was that it didn't provide a simple way to play audio on one box, but have the speakers connected to another box, using a network transport. Or perhaps it was that you couldn't mux in a skype call into a DTS soundtrack over SPDIF. Or perhaps it was that everyone was fed up with low latency audio.

Regardless, the next solution dreamt up by completely different people was moving the whole shebang to user space. Yes, we are now in the realms of PulseAudio. PulseAudio is a sound server and client - you too can shove your desktop audio down a SSH tunnel. The benefit of this system is a detach between physical sound card and application producing sound, so you can funnel that sound data around as you like. A virtual pulse audio device can emulate ALSA, and also OSS. So you can now play through an emulated virtual OSS device that plays through your ALSA sound graph.

In my experience, PulseAudio monopolises your sound card, decreases audio clarity and introduces a lot latency into the system. PulseAudio is now a core part of most desktop distributions, and you must explicitly take off and nuke from orbit to be sure the crap is no longer used.

I don't actually use Linux, I use FreeBSD. On FreeBSD (like the rest of UNIX), ALSA was ignored, and we simply fixed the problems with OSS. I get vchans and hardware mixers with FreeBSD's OSS, and once PulseAudio was killed, I have a simple to use audio interface that is fully documented in man pages.

Linux's problem is that it isn't an OS, it's a kernel, with distributors all making their own decisions about which pieces of software to use. As such, un-related components simply get added over and over again, each time with a slightly different API, solving different issues and presenting different problems.

Every N years someone outside of the existing projects tries to fix those problems, but they fix it with a new solution, rather than fixing the original one. This is particularly prevalent outside of the kernel, which itself is kept in control quite well by Torvalds. It doesn't happen in other projects, eg in FreeBSD the whole OS is managed by the community, which would not stand for multiple competing solutions all being present.

This was just one example using the sound sub-system. You can make identical claims using many other sub systems, eg wifi is/was (I've not looked for a while) a mishmash of binary blob drivers, and various other standalone drivers, where as on BSD each driver builds on common 802.11 layers - so much so that some drivers are in effect quite trivial. Or Xorg, where in the space of about a year dbus, policykit, consolekit and hald all hovered between optional, recommended and mandatory, jumping back and forward as the relevant projects decided where we should be (I think currently policykit is mandatory; dbus and hald are recommended and consolekit is deprecated).

No-one will ever read this sentence, but I also think that you are too down on the RTFM attitude. It exists for a reason, one of the joys of UNIX is that almost everything is documented, where as in Windows all you can find is idiot documentation ("To start a slideshow, click the button that says Start slideshow"). We know it is in the manual because that is where we read it, and RTFM is simply letting you know that you have the information at your fingertips.

If you do actually RTFM and are still confused, any request will/should show you read the manual, and instantly a crowd of people will come help you. 3 of them will probably argue incessantly about what the manual should have said, but still…

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Tom 38
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#1 reason why GNOME is not ruling the world

de Icaza and his MS sponsored agendas.

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iPhone 5 wait drives record Samsung smartphone sales

Tom 38
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Re: All this proves is Samsung have more products, its hardly rocket science

Say there are two bakers. One produces patisserie, fine croissants and their ilk, whilst the other does both patisserie and boulangerie - cake and bread.

The patisserie sells 30,000 items of patisserie one quarter. The boulangerie sells 100,000 items of patisserie and bread combined.

The boulanger says "Hah, your croissants are shit, look how many more I've sold". Doesn't quite add up does it?

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Tom 38
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Re: "Smart" vs "feature" is just marketing

I've had an iphone since the 3G launched and never cracked the screen. I have seen a lot of smashed iphone screens though (working iphones underneath).

I don't use itunes and synch music just fine to my phone.

Bluetooth file transfer - theres an app for that.

What happens on Android if you swap out an SD card that has your running app on it? IE, how feasible is it actually to swap SD cards, if you install your apps to SD card?

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Tom 38
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Re: "Smart" vs "feature" is just marketing

Surely anyone spending $500-$700 on an Android smartphone just to hate Apple regardless of actual product quality must be really gullible

Not really; at the high end there really isn't much difference in quality between the S3 and an iPhone. The iPhone has a more standardised and easy to use UI, but both are excellent. The build quality on both is top notch, the apps are virtually identical across both (but with more quality paid apps in the Apple app store). There are good reasons for buying either.

TBH, anyone paying $500-$700 on any phone upgrade is slightly gullible. Anyone who had an S2 but upgraded to an S3 is just as gullible as someone with a iPhone 4S waiting for an iPhone 5.

(disclaimer: I have iphone (4) and ipad (1). I'll upgrade them when they break)

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Broadband minister Hunt LOSES portfolio, takes on national health

Tom 38
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WTF?

In what scenario is a picture of a tank with a water cannon squirting protesters NSFW?

I demand a refund for the brief moment of titillation heightened by possible dismissal that was promised.

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Tom 38
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FAIL

Topic fail.

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Tom 38
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Re: Qualifications?

Ministers do not have to understand their ministry, that is what permanent under secretaries were invented for. Have none of you seen "Yes Minister"?

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Internet Explorer needs fresh dev infusion for a full recovery

Tom 38
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Re: Tired of MS playing politics

This is how the standards game is played. You can't influence standards (or insert your own extensions) if you aren't "big" in the standards committees. MS have long played this game, XSLT for example, which they "broke" by virtually inserting their own XML transform spec into the mix, making XSL 1.0 implementations very different.

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Tom 38
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1) It's slow as fuck. The only time I come to use IE is on relatives ageing machines. Opening the browser window is some sort of feat akin to cleaning the Augean stables, given how long it takes. Opening a tab gives you enough time to read a couple of chapters of your new book. Chrome is much faster to launch up, as it doesn't involve 500 different windows subsystems all churning into life.

2) It's insecure by design. The only time I've had to reinstall windows was when I accidentally opened a website in IE from an IRC link (I know, I know - I thought it was going to open in Opera), which in turn redirected to a windows media URL that trashed my registry. It auto opened it because "IE" is simply a rebadged version of the explorer, the windows shell. This, and activex, are the vectors of so many whack-a-mole bugs (they fix one, 2 months later, a virtually identical exploit is found).

3) It's been like this for years. It's no longer "why chrome is better than IE", it is now up to IE to show to that I should be using it

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Patent flame storm: Reg hack biteback in reader-pack sack attack

Tom 38
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Re: Fixing the Patent System - Tricky but possible....

Rounded corners is a 'design patent', which isn't a patent at all, but a registered design. It doesn't have to be innovative, it is simply protecting the ornamental design of the object from being copied.

An example of this would be the Coca Cola 'contour' bottle, and an analogue to the Apple/Samsung case would be Pepsi bottlers using an almost identical contour bottle.

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Tom 38
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Re: Come on, Mr. Orlowski, you can surely do better

…Apple latest patents to use against Samsung are slide to unlock (now how many public and private toilet doors are using some sort of a latch that slides horizontally ?)

And yet, before Apple deployed this technique on their very first phone, no other touch screen device was using this "obvious" solution. A few years after, and every single one of them is. Why was it not obvious on WP 5 devices?

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Organic food offers basically no health benefit, boffins find

Tom 38
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Re: Not sure...

As you say, science tends towards the truth. Can you elaborate on the truthiness of this statement:

I [have] been trying old pre-improvement varieties on my land and they produce almost an order of magnitude more crop than modern improved varieties

What kind of order of magnitude are we talking here? The purpose of these improved varieties is to increase yield/hectare or decrease the cost of growing a hectare (eg due to improved disease resistance, less pesticides are required). I'm surprised that you claim an unspecified large increase in yield when using non improved varieties and would like to see numbers to back it up.

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Philips databases pillaged and leaked SECOND time in a month

Tom 38
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I don't get how hacking and exposing peoples user details on Philips is somehow sticking it to the man, or being a 'hacktivist'.

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UK: 'We're legally bound to arrest Mr Assange'

Tom 38
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Re: Sweden can offer assurances

It's just as well Wikileaks didn't have anything on little green men, otherwise he'd also be fearful of alien abduction.

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Tom 38
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Re: "Assange supporters just wilfully ignore the facts." (Tom 38)

"Once Assange is done with in Sweden, we should get him back so he can do some porridge here too."

OK, your position is perfectly clear now.

Never mind due process, Assange is a very naughty boy (says you) and he must be punished for something, who cares what the crime was, or what the punishment is to be.

I'm sorry, are you arguing that Assange has not breached his bail? He's legally fought this case as far as he can, and then absconded from bail. That is a criminal offence in the UK, is anyone doubting that he is guilty of that?

I have no clue to the veracity of the Swedish complaints against him, which is why I said "Once Assange is done in Sweden" - charged, not charged, guilty, not guilty - he should come back here to serve a sentence for absconding from bail. Better still would be deporting him to Australia to serve any sentence, I believe we've got form for that.

Well actually lots of folk feel the same way about Blair, and with rather more reason for doing so.

Yes, I'm one of them. I was before I'd even heard of Assange, or been illuminated by the light of his revelation. Believing Blair to be a war criminal and Assange to be a paranoid nut job who shouldn't remain in this country are not mutually opposing viewpoints.

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Tom 38
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Re: 4 Options

You do realise that option 1 already exists. Both the UK and Sweden cannot allow him to be extradited to a country where he may stand trial for capital offences.

Option 2 is impossible; Ecuador cannot 'give' people diplomatic status in this country; they can request to the Foreign Office to give Assange diplomatic status, highly unlikely to be granted.

Option 3 is you following Assange on his paranoia trips - Hague is constrained by the actions of the court to pursue this.

Option 4 is you having a little lefty daydream.

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Tom 38
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Re: So if some tinpot country decided

Assange supporters just wilfully ignore the facts. The government is constrained to extradite him based upon the court rulings. What the government wants is neither here nor there; the highest courts in the land (and Europe) have ruled that he must be extradited, and in this country we follow the rule of law.

If the courts ruled that Blair must be extradited to your hypothetical country, the government would be similarly obliged.

Assange is a low life who enjoyed all the protections and benefits of our legal system, and then pissed all over it. Once he's done with in Sweden, we should get him back so he can do some porridge here too.

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Tom 38
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Joke

Re: Once again a government fails it's people.

Would any of this been going on if Assange was a US citizen and he'd leaked Australian secrets?

A map with all the sheep on it?

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Apple and Google in talks to end patent war?

Tom 38
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Re: Funny

iOS is exactly like the UI developed at Xerox PARC, except that it doesn't have Windows, Menus* or Pointers.

* Not in the sense of WIMP menus.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Tom 38
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Go

Go - it's better than source, but not as good as 1.6 or CZ.

Still gonna be playing CZ for public, 1.6 for mixes tbh.

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Fired Toyota coder trashes systems, steals data

Tom 38
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Re: Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed

It's an Iranian name rendered into a Kerala dialect rendered into English - Chinese whispers for names :)

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Tom 38
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Re: Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed

King Abraham King Who Is Praised. Not that complex. Shahulhameed is simply a Keralite rendering of Shah al-Hameed.

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Brummie plod cuffed in Facebook troll hunt

Tom 38
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Re: Bullies and Trolls are not the same thing

Trolling is any kind of interaction where the troll attempts to goad the trollee into an emotional response, using any kind of language or behaviour, whether accurate or not. It works best when it is accurate - or close to accurate - but some people don't understand the finer aspects of the Dark Arts and resort to puerile insults.

It's still trolling, even if "the man on the street" finds it offensive. Effective trolling is rarely "for teh lulz"; even if the troll, all his mates, and 99% of the world find it pant wettingly funny someone, somewhere will be upset with it - or it didn't work.

Bullying is repetitive, on going attacks over a period of time to fatigue and wear down someone. Big difference.

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Tom 38
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Re: The Somebody Said Something Unpleasant To Me Act 2012. @L:inbox

I wouldn't allow people like that to post on my FB page, if in fact I had a FB page. The problem with engaging with everyone is that some people are twats.

I have had people say stuff like that to me on the intertubes. The correct response is "".

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Tom 38
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Trollface

You beat bullies by hitting them back, not ignoring him.

No, really, you do not. Online bullying is not the same as real-life bullying, online the bully just wants attention. 'Hitting them back' is what they want - they want to know that they have irritated you.

It is far simpler to ignore online bullies, or trolls, as we called them before the self righteous brigade got online.

PS: Has there been some tech advances I've missed? How does one abuse someone physically over the net?

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Apple Mac OS X Server for Mountain Lion review

Tom 38
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Re: Enterprises expensive loss?

This isn't for enterprise. This is for 1-10 person shops.

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Ten movies inspired by video games

Tom 38
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Resident Evil series is good

Just because 'critics' don't like it, fans do.

It's top quality zombie killing action featuring the fantastically talented Ms Jovovich, each film was profitable and made more money than its predecessor.

I'm surprised AvP was left off the list, although I suppose the comic did come first, technically.

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Apple: I love to hate, and hate to love thee

Tom 38
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Re: An opposing viewpoint!

I'm confused:

You bought it outright from Apple, wouldn't that make it not a contract phone?

Subsequently, O2 offered to fix a phone they had no financial interest in - for free?

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Curiosity's laser turns Mars rocks to 'glowing plasma'

Tom 38
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Joke

Re: Mars Rover bollox

B&W vs colour: unfortunately, they haven't rolled out FTTC in this part of Mars yet, and so they have to use dialup. Colour images and video use a lot more bandwidth than black and white, and the guy driving the rover gets pissed off if NASA are constantly on the phone downloading pictures.

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Red alert! Google assembles crack team to AVOID privacy gaffes

Tom 38
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The person writing the ad/job description clearly just likes the sound of "red team", as this is probably not a red team. It's called a red team because it's not the blue team - ie us, the good guys - its some of our guys pretending to be an opposing force, but instead of nicking stuff, they tell us what the blue team did wrong, so we can more thoroughly secure our shit.

This just sounds like a privacy team.

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Nokia, Samsung and pals team up to map malls, stations

Tom 38
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Happy

HELLO DAVE? I HAVE SOME MAPS BELOOOONGING TO YOOOOU

+1 just for the end sentence.

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Want a Windows 8 Start Button? Open source to the rescue!

Tom 38
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Re: Isn't it easier

Installing OS X is pretty easy actually. Only takes about 30 minutes, very few questions.

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Tom 38
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Re: Excellent

"I want to upgrade to Windows 8, because that's the version they made file copy work correctly"

Damned by faint praise

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Foxconn certified as good employer, rights groups disagree

Tom 38
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Re: Cheap labour is everywhere

Er, they already do?

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WikiLeaks' secrets weren't, says former MI5 chief

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: Please Note Especially to Remember and Never Ever Forget for They Always Will and Do ....

Important pedant note - its not aManFromMars, it's aManFromMars1, a clone account who is nowhere near as entertaining as the sadly no longer posting original.

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Tom 38
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Re: Logic and Actions of the US

It may not be sensitive or secret, but it was classified. A soldier removing classified information and passing it to foreign civilians is probably treason. I think the Army don't really care what he actually leaked, just that he committed treason in their eyes.

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Apple now most valuable company OF ALL TIME

Tom 38
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Re: Employment

Are you in some way kidding? Apple invented the mobile app store sector*, which last year disbursed over $5 billion to app developers. No jobs generated - can I get some of what you are smoking?

* I'm not saying they invented "apps", "app stores" or "mobile apps", but they damn sure built the market place, got developers and users there, and got the users buying stuff from the developers.

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Tom 38
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See, it is a subtle trick. Any fool can try to sell their products at an over inflated price, but most don't end with a ridiculously profitable company with swimming pool sized reserves of cash, which suggests something else is at play.

It is of course helpful for you to point out that if Apple tried to not be as successful as they could be, they would not be as successful as they are. I'm sure you will do well at the World Tautology Finals.

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Tom 38
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FAIL

Re: OSX is shoddy, hardware is commodity, only iOS?

Incidentally I can't believe they were so un-tech-savvy that they didn't notice Cisco already have an operating system called IOS, do they not know what a search engine is ;)

Irony fail

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Work for the military? Don't be evil, says ethicist

Tom 38
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Re: Professors Salary

Er, you should really look at the data you linked at. Full professors tend to be making in the $100-$120k with a few outliers at the expensive end bringing the average right up.

Histograms don't lie.

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Tom 38
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Joke

International Committee for Robot Arms Control

Why stop at the arms? I want to control their legs too, make their ears wiggle, shake their little android heads from side to side...

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Ten Androids for under 100 quid

Tom 38
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FAIL

Re: T-mobile Vivacity

Trademark != design patent.

You can tell as they are spelt differently.

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Watch out, PC disk drive floggers: Cloud will rust up those spinners

Tom 38
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Reasons why all our data will not live in the cloud

1) Your data is suddenly slower to access and update.

2) Your data is now reliant on some the 2nd party to ensure it is available.

3) With a disk, you pay your upfront cost, and then it is yours. With cloud, you pay once and then every month.

4) Your data is now at risk of some 3rd party removing access to your data. Your suppliers' ISPs, carriers, your own ISP, and potentially even hostile governments can make your data disappear.

5) Online capacities are minuscule compared to offline capacities.

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Surfing ROBO-shark hunter stalks great whites along US coast

Tom 38
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Alert

A wave-gliding robot has been deployed off the coast of San Francisco to stealthily keep an eye on attach lasers to great white sharks in the Pacific Ocean.

FTFY

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Samsung: 'You want $2.5bn? WRONG, Apple, you OWE us $420m!'

Tom 38
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Re: Wow

Nice try, that data is from 2007, and covers Apple in 2006. Try using recent data.

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Tom 38
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Stop

Re: Wow

Apple has increased its R&D spending from $1.8 to $2.4 billion this year versus last, according to a filing Wednesday by Apple to the SEC. That’s a 33-percent increase, and makes the 2011 spend more than half that of the previous four years combined.

So they spent ~$7 billion on R&D in the period 2007-2011. Your definition of "fuck all" differs wildly to my own.

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Acer: Windows 8 'uncertainty' deflates Wang's big growth aim

Tom 38
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Unhappy

I was going to do a growth/Wang joke, but it's too crass, even for me :(

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