Right, and clearly only *they're* at fault and in no way are you partly responsible for continuing to put yourself in a position where you interact with the snotty little ballbags. One bad experience is unfortunate, but repeated bad experiences of the same sort is a masochistic refusal to learn your lesson...
763 posts • joined 24 Jul 2009
No, but it incorporates a messaging system that's part of their platform which means that, unless they've accomplished some truly silly messaging-software engineering (very possible, given their move a while back to a "every message you send to a given person is part of one long conversation, even when they're not" approach) the same logic should either already be applicable or be comparatively easily implementable.
If, like me, you couldn't give a wet mousefart about DVD rentals and just want the streaming setup, Lovefilm is a steaming pile of cack. Which is precisely *why* I'm looking forward to Netflix. Between this and Film4OD we might finally be starting to move towards a range of digital content distribution offering that aren't best described as "pitiful".
Thus far, comparatively little. But then, thus far Apple don't seem to have cared much about the Chinese market.
Now that they're openly looking to compete in that market, presumably taking their existing "premium product, premium price" model with them, such issues will quickly come to the forefront.
Where it'll get *really* interesting is in 12-18 months, because either:
a) Apple will find it harder than anticipated to sell in the Chinese market due to the much higher extent of such intellectual property violations and thus under-perform, or
b) Apple perform as predicted despite IP violations, while lobbying for an excuse to return that money to the US, providing those rival companies who have US holding corps with great ammunition for overturning verdicts like the Samsung bans (as in "hey, they've admitted that in china even with copycat rival products they still did gangbusters, why the hell can't we sell our copycat products and pay tax to Uncle Sam along the way?"
I particularly liked "the ad appeared to link teenage girls with sexually provocative behaviour" - sounds like an awful lot of the teenage girls I went to school and university with. And frankly, if the worry is that someone's taking social protocol lessons from a post-watershed Duke Nukem advert, we may as well admit at that point that society as an overall structure has already failed completely.
@Blitterbug - if your contract is for a consumer service, and does not involve the provider acknowledge in any way that they may cause you loss of revenue due to outages (planned or otherwise), they it's not "letting the ISP off the hook", it's *abiding by the terms of the contract*. Regardless of how much you pay for your consumer service, if it's consumer service the terms are going to be better (for the ISP) than they would be on a business service.
Yes, it sucks. Yes, a lot of companies seem keen to do what Apple have done and get businesses grudgingly accepting the same level of service that consumers will accept. I have a similarly expensive consumer line at home, and downtime is as frustrating for me as anyone else.
Nonetheless, if you have *business requirements* and you can't take the loss involved in this kind of downtime, the risk-averse option is to buy a business service that accounts for them. You can argue otherwise all you like, but if you're argument is "I didn't have a contract for this level of service, but I expected it anyway" you're not going to get very far.
No, mate, that's not how it works.
You know the way that cheaper home packages have crappier upload speeds, higher contention ratios and download caps, compared to the more expensive packages? There's a reason for that, and it's to do with the expected uptime and performance provided with the service. The same logic will apply to the pricing you'll be offered if you ask for a dedicated SDSL business line - it won't be cheap, but on the other hand you'll have a contract in which usefully short resolution times and penalty clauses for the provider are specified.
I'm not saying significant outages are excusable, but I am suggesting that purchasing a residential/consumer service for business requirements is a bad idea because your requirements are unlikely to be met, in the same way that buying a Segway when you need a car is a guarantee of future misery.
I'm glad I'm not the only who thought this. There's a reason they differentiate between residential and business, after all...
(FWIW I've been with Virgin for about 18 months and have found their reliability to be about equivalent to BT who I was with for about 2 1/2 years. Both were fucking disastrous to get set up initially, but adequately competent once things were up and running...)
I find it continually hilarious that companies pushing this stuff think end users give a rat's ass about the relevance of advertising where internet access is concerned. My experience of it is that either advertising is intrusive and annoying, or it's blocked.
An annoying ad for a product or service that may be of relevance to me is still going to at best tell me what company *not* to go with when I'm next looking for that product or service, because if shitty pop up ads are the best marketing they can manage they must be pretty crap.
The only exception to this rule I've found have been adverts for webcomics served by project wonderful, but that's a sufficiently niche service that it's very much an exception.
Why on earth would you take something that's clearly an unholy frankenstein-style hybrid of chips & cheese, a doner kebab and (inexplicably) rabbit food and compare it to a bad butchery of a quesadilla? (Apart from anything, as others have mentioned, quesadillas are folded in half...and if you're not going to use either black beans, refried beans or guacamole in them, what's the point?)
A much better comparison would be between a proper burrito and kapsalon, on the basis that a burrito has a comparable ingredient base.
This piece is a welcome change from the breathless adulation everyone else seems to be busy ejaculating over one another about Jobs.
(This is where the conspiracy nuts claim that the Jobsian Woe is a distraction from the ongoing Wall Street occupation/mob...)
Oh, I think it's safe to say that errors were made by all.
However, using the Clone Disk function was the wrong choice to start with, in much the same way that choosing to drive a car into a brick wall at 90mph will have an adverse effect on the driver, given that what he wanted to do could be achieved by using the Back Up option instead and backing up the entire disk.
I figured this out first time using the software, without resorting to the manual. It's not hard, though I'm the first to admit that both Acronis' documentation and Acronis' support sound like they need a serious overhaul based on this story.
Plenty of blame for everyone involved, in other words.
What you want there is Winclone. Run it in OS X to generate an image of the used space in your bootcamp install. Stash image elsewhere, use Clonezilla to do what you like with the drive, faff with partitions to your heart's content, then use Winclone again to restore Windows install to new bootcamp partition.
Glad to see I'm not the only one wondering what this guy was doing. I mean, yeah, the tool shouldn't let you break something that badly, but by that logic cars should be built to prevent you from speeding or hitting anything ever.
Seagate and Maxtor both have branded versions of the freebie Trueimage utility, and the only requirement for either to work is that there is a correctly-identified disk of their brand attached to one of the machine's internal controllers. Quite handy really.
I use TrueImage Home to make backup images of entire disks *all the time*. You need to be able to dump the backup onto a separate drive, yes, but other than that, it's a doddle. Yes, it's a slow process if you're using a USB-SATA caddy, but that's the way it goes.
Where was the backup/cloned copy going to be made in this circumstance? I think that's where Chris has gone wrong and caused himself grief. Not that this excuses Acronis Support for being pretty obtuse and far less helpful than they should've been.
Yeah, but no. That's not at all how it works.
Most of the time successful patent infringement suits lead to a verdict where the infringer is required to cease infringing (ie stop producing/selling the product in question) and pay damages for existing infringements.
Expecting them to track down and retrieve past products sold *before* the infringement was ratified through the legal process is excessive, and sets bad precedents when taken in the context of the USA's b0rked patent system.
Don't let the facts ruin the fantasy though ;)
I've been told on various occasions by Apple that batteries are, in fact, consumable items, when querying failing MBP batteries after ~2 years. Which is fine on a machine where you can buy and replace the battery yourself, not so much on a machine where you can't...
(Yes, I know "can't" is relative - but if you've paid for and want to be able to rely on your AppleCare agreement you can't go fucking about with replacing the battery yourself, so back to the question of "what happens if you manage to get through the best part of 1000 charge cycles in less than 3 years and your battery goes to shit?")
Hmmm. I'm hoping this is a way of getting extra eyeballs on Portal 2 so that the free DLC gets extra attention when it's launched next week sometime.
@AC - you're not much of an advert for copyright extension...
The problem with that theory is that copyright was originally introduced as a trade-off, well after the initial establishment of copyright as a legal concept - allowing creators & publishers the exclusive right to exploit their work for a defined period of time (and providing them with the ability to legally pursue anyone who infringed those rights), but also defining a point at which those rights ended and their work became part of the public domain.
What we've seen since is a shedload of people, some of them very well rewarded and some of them utterly abused and mistreated, wanting to change copyright and legal conditions to better suit themselves. There has to be some element of adhering to the original contract, even if the unexpected success of your creation means that you later realise you could've made even more money from it.
It's particularly suspect that it's generally publishers rather than artists or creators who start off the "ooh, copyright should last longer" - of *course* they want that, they *love* the idea of having exclusive rights to a given product for ever-longer periods, given that the cost of production is frontloaded.
The chances of people paying for a given cultural item if it is neither new (where new is, say, less than 1 year old) nor particularly well-regarded (where positive regard is subject to attrition as time passes) are inversely proportional to the amount of time passed since its original publication. Continually extending copyright to protect the ability of content producers to make more money from the same content is a disservice to society as a whole, because it directly undermines the public domain concept under which copyright was originally introduced. Essentially, rights-holders threatening to take their ball and go home.
And, well, fuck 'em, or at least fuck the ones who aren't willing to adjust to changing usage patterns, behaviours and technological landscapes. My expenditure on books, films, music and games is quite high now that I have disposable income available, but the only reason I have a desire for these things is that when I was younger I availed of pirated versions - because there was absolutely knack all (well, with the exception of poor-quality classical music performances) available in the public domain.
If said pirated versions hadn't been around and there hadn't been decent libraries either (which there feckin' won't be, given what our Tory Overlords are doing), I just wouldn't have developed an interest in those things and thus wouldn't be spending my money on the output of those industries.
TL;DR - rights come with conditions and obligations attached.
You tell me how we can discuss homosexuality without "promoting" it any more that we promote heterosexuality by talking about it, and then you might find some agreement.
Otherwise you do actually sound like a bit of a bigot.
Hmmm. I suspect the work of Sheldon Cooper lies behind this. How long before these are available as pets? (And how freaky would it be to wake up in the middle of the night to find a glowing cat silently watching/judging you?)
The Japanese had the Orchestral Game Music Concerts back in the 90s, the Yanks seem to have a good few universities where music and gaming nerds combine (presumably For Great Justice!) and the EU had the Play! Videogame Symphony concerts from 2006 to 2010.
It's surprising just how good some videogame music is (yes, even the older stuff), so it's always nice to hear that interpretations of it are spreading further afield.
Well, no. The people who call the subject of that discussion "a way of making money" are the people who for some reason don't want to expand their vocabulary, possibly because they're too busy trying to appear the sort of person who calls a spade a f@$%ing spade.
Until redundancy of terms because a significant issue, I'll always opt for having a greater vocabulary, because artificially restricting my ability to communicate effectively doesn't strike me as a particularly good strategy for anything much except self-sabotage.
TL, NMI (Too long, not much insight)
This article seems a very long-winded way of saying "What Jobs did well was envision and create an environment around Apple's equipment that made it easier for Apple customers to actually *do stuff* they wanted to do with said equipment". But that doesn't include the chance to whinge about people who use the phrase "business model" (and whether you like it or not, Andrew, plenty of folks in both tech and finance sectors use the phrase, because it's less cumbersome than most alternatives).
Well it's not like they'd admit it anyway, is it?
I've spent more on games through Steam in about 2 years than I would have done in the preceding 5, because the pricing and availability has been more in line with what I want.
I'd love to see more choices available, but GAME and most brick & mortar retailers strike me as being insufficiently forward-thinking to be able to devise a service that would be able to compete. Given how many brick & mortar retailers seem more interested in selling second-hand games (http://penny-arcade.com/2010/08/25) perhaps this shouldn't be a surprise.
The thing about an awful lot of modern comms tech is that it's built around the idea of avoiding single points of failure/loss of data throughput.
I've no doubt that criminally minded types were using their mobile phones to co-ordinate efforts during the riots - as they probably do even when there's *not* rioting going on. They probably also used mobile web access, mobile email access, Blackberry messaging, texting, and god knows what else. I read some reports claiming that some gangs were co-ordinating their efforts through young lads on bikes acting as messengers.
BT still have payphones in some areas, though they're getting rarer. Plenty of coffeeshops (and other businesses) offer free wireless, and some of it's still open-access. So effectively shutting down the kind of communication access that's being discussed here is not as simple as pushing some digital equivalent of a Big Red Button for certain services.
At issue is the idea that the rioting was aided significantly by this communications tech - but what we've seen doesn't really confirm or deny that. There's no real evidence to suggest that *without* access to said tech, those rioting wouldn't just have smashed things up anyway (but in a less organised manner).
This smacks a bit too much of a knee-jerk "LOOK, WE'RE DOING SOMETHING" response, and not enough like a "We've considered the circumstances and formed a rational response in the event of recurrence" response. I'm always unnerved by this sort of rush to action because it suggests that we might get yet more crap, poorly-worded legislation that can then be misused by prosecutors.
Is it a job requirement for the Home Secretary to not understand technology?
Based on recent postholders it certainly feckin' seems that way.
I assume that May is going to be entirely internally consistent in dealing with this, and demand that all telephony companies & ISPs cut off any service in such regions, prior to bringing in new legislation whereby access to communications technology of any sort requires a CRB check. Can't have those nasty crims communicating, after all...
As is evident from my previus post, I disagree.
It may be established that manufacturers of relevant equipment wouldn't get themselves sued for producing such equipment, but that's not the only issue.
You acknowledge that the iPod only significantly took off when the iTunes Store launched, providing a clear and obvious link between easily getting legitimate digital media from one central repository and syncing that painlessly to a portable player. Apple's success in doing this was key in driving wider take-up of the iPod as a portable player, and given the UK's comparative backwardness when it comes to digital media services it's not difficult to see that there are very few companies in the UK that would have been both in a position to negotiate that kind of agreement and invest in the R&D required to design a winning device (hell, even just investing in the R&D to design a non-shit player, based on other comments here).
If you remove the idea of building a media store to drive wider uptake of the device, you run into the issue that arose with the JB7, where in order to encourage people to buy the machine you have to encourage widespread behaviour that is technically illegal.
The fact that no case had ever been pursued in that manner is irrelevant - the behaviour involved is deemed to be against the law, and therefore your hopes of selling such a device (to play content that at the time couldn't be bought easily and couldn't legally be created at home) wouldn't have been particularly good. No bugger wants to find himself the star of the test case that ends up establishing a precedent that everyone else said was unlikely, and unfortunately there's always going to be a first person tried under any law. You've only got to look at the uses of the Extreme Porn law (a more effective way of hounding pirate dvd sellers through their more colourful pirated pr0n) to see this.
Hmmm. Hmmm, I say.
Diamond's Rio was the first one I read about, back in 98 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_PMP300. But yes, MP3 players as a replacement for CDs and MiniDisc players only caught on when iTunes came around and established a legal, easy-to-use system for buying digital music and syncing it to a portable player. (Same thing seems to be happening with the iPad to a certain extent).
The specific examples given in Andrew's article are interesting, but misleading and a case of focusing on something overly specific that doesn't quite represent the wider situation. If I were looking to invest money in a product or service which could, potentially, be deemed illegal under old laws, and my lawyer said "no, it's fine, nobody's ever been done for it" I'd be getting a new lawyer - because if there are no past cases establishing a definitive and specifically-applicable precedent, and the law says you're in the wrong, the smart money doesn't bet against the law. Just look at the Extreme Porn act FFS - pirate dvd sellers on the high street were getting busted using that act because it turned out to be more convenient to do them for selling DVDs depicting bestiality than doing them for being involved in copyright infringement!
I highly doubt that this is the only factor influencing the UK's economic development in terms of creating new technologies, but it's hardly a negligible one. How many companies would have taken the risk involved in creating something like iTunes when the music industry was still in denial about public desire to have digital music (and therefore unwilling to licence their library for sale through such services)?
Well, if you've installed it on your own phone then anyone using it without your permission is probably on the wrong side of the Computer Misuse act. That should effectively get you away from accusations of unfairly using your own device to catch some thieving goit using your property without permission.
Now, if you install it on your mate's/family's/OH's phone without telling them and start using it to spy on them, you're probably in trouble...
At least one numpty managed to make himself look suspicious
By posting a craigslist ad for 20 O2 iphone 4s for ~£300 a go on Tuesday last week. They may not have been looted, but would you want to take that bet?
Damnit the two situations are not sufficiently similar for them to be easily comparable.
It's not the same, though.
Over here the plod want the right to tell $TELCO to cease operations in a given area. That would mean forcing $TELCO to shut down its own stations for a given area as per uk.gov instructions.
As I understand it, the situation with the BART was that in their stations they happen to have installed their own cells that allow commuters to get access to $US_TELCO's networks. When the protest happened, the BART officials shut off these cells. This was only a problem if you were below ground and dependent on the BART-provided cells for access. And, well, if you haven't actually signed a contract for provision of a service anywhere, nobody's obliged to give you anything.
The only way you could compare the recent situation in London to that in SF would be if the riots were all based in Underground stations and made use of a currently-non-existent service provided by TFL to let commuters on the Tube get access to commercial telco networks.
I'm concerned about the double-standard at play here, but it's important to note the distinction between "Compelling a telco to shut off its service" and "shutting off a complimentary access point to a third-party service". They are not the same thing and there's no good reason for them to be governed by the same set of rules.
The Mini's always been a great idea let down by a price tag that's just too fucking silly for the hardware you get. Removing the optical drive from a home box like this and then offering you a Superdrive (the most over-priced USB optical drive I've ever seen) is just par for the course, sadly.
Nice job on treating what, in context, was probably a throwaway comment by the constable in question as if it were an official statement of position from the Met.
Hmm, there are a bunch of questions here
The first one that comes to mind is "what happens to the public interest aspects of this?" but the most important by a country mile is "Exactly how was this verdict bought from the judge?" because you just *know* there are a shitload of bioprospectors/biopirates cheering on at the notion that they might yet be able to patent stuff that they haven't invented but can exploit for massive wealth.
Most "free text" type promotions have a "fair use" limit of around 3000 per month. So if you're dealing with a group of eg 10-15 people who use texts the same way they would email (ie sending to all), it's more like a couple of thousand messages in a month to get that kind of bill. Which is a bit more like it.
I'm curious about how likely pay-to-play is to work with this sort of content when for the most part ITV's own accountants don't often bother with eg DVD releases or whatever. I suspect more people would be willing to pay with time (in the form of watching ads) than with actual money...
@Charlie - I think you may be missing my point
I agree that Apple should offer a compatibility test for Apple-made products. It would be very nice for Apple to offer a full compatibility test that identifies potentially-problematic 3rd party products that may cause a problem in the event of moving to Lion.
But (and it's a big but, the kind that Sir Mix-A-Lot might commemorate in song) *nobody's making you upgrade*.
There's no gun to anyone's head. There's no imminent loss of operability or functionality for anyone who stays on Snow Leopard. There is a significant marketing effort dedicated to convincing you that your life will be full of unicorn rides and blowjobs if you upgrade to Lion, but that's it.
So if you *are* one of those users who's not sure how to check whether the software they depend on for work will remain operational when using Lion, the easiest thing in the world to do is *not upgrade yet*. I know remarkably few IT pros who'd actually encourage end users to use *any* new, version 00 operating system, because the odds are far too high that said release will have bugs or compatibility problems of some sort.
There's only so many times people can be advised to not do something stupid before the response to a subsequent problem report becomes a Nelson-Muntz styled "Haha!". I can't feel sorry for someone who'll complain that marketing lied to them, because what the fuck else has marketing ever done?
Yes, the Unix world differentiates between point releases and major releases.
In the last decade, we've had, what, 7 OS X releases? All of which have had the same point release numbering system, and several of which have featured *exactly the same kind of problems as detailed in this article*.
What do we learn from this? That Apple's approach to version tracking is not quite the same as the Unix world's. Therefore, other assumptions from the Unix world (such as the impact of installing a point release) shouldn't be taken for granted when dealing with Apple products.
At some point, FruitMachine enthusiasts are going to have to accept that, marketing guff notwithstanding, installing a new release on launch date carries a non-trivial risk of something not working correctly. Just as would be the case with any other OS vendor.
Christ, I really don't see what's so hard about this. You'd swear it was some previously-unheard-of phenomenon rather than the same damn story we hear every feckin' time a new OS comes out on the market.
Here's a clue:
If your 3rd party software provider *hasn't* yet published their list of Lion-ready applications, *you don't proceed upgrade*. I'm not aware of any pressing requirements to have Lion running on systems that shipped with Snow Leopard, other than the usual raging-boner-for-the-latest-shiny that seems to afflict so many computer users (and not just Apple fans, I should add, before someone misinterprets that comment).
The policy of assuming no problems will arise when undertaking any project (whether one as minor as a major OS revision on a single computer, or one as major as rolling out a new OS to an entire corporate ecosystem) is one that will bring you nothing but misery and pain. But hey, don't pay any attention to me and my suggestion that putting a bit of thought into the maintenance and upkeep of a complex piece of machinery with a 3-4 figure price tag.
@Stacy - from what I've seen of the MS in-place upgrade process, you sound rather lucky. I've done several in-place upgrades (from 2K>XP, XP>Vista and Vista>7) and for the most part the system performance has degraded significantly after a few months so I've generally held to running clean installs rather than in-place upgrades.
In an ideal world, maybe
Oh come on - is this the first time that an OS upgrade has borked applications that worked fine in the previous version? No - and it's not an Apple-specific issue, either. It's an upgrade in the same sense that WinVista > Win7 is an upgrade - it's a substantial OS revision, and not something to be undertaken lightly.
Yes, Apple should admit that there are possible issues with in-place upgrades. They should probably also admit that there are profitable side-effects of not allowing users to replace their laptop batteries, or from making people pay £20+ a go for an adapter that lets them connect their FruitMachine to a non-FruitMachine display. They should probably also admit that occasionally the concepts that they implement with a very nice UI have already been implemented elsewhere beforehand.
Apple have very savvy marketing people. Do you really think they're going to sour their release-date marketing buzz by saying "careful now, some software might not work with the new version", when they can instead rightly point out that it's the user's job to ensure all their stuff will work with the new OS?
It has long been a very very obvious fact that, prior to a major OS change such as an upgrade, you should check that *anything* you depend upon for work or leisure purposes will be completely compatible with the new OS. Apple could do more to spread awareness of this, but it's still the user's own fault if they upgrade without thinking first.
Tl,dr; - No matter what the marketing droid claims, it's not a fucking magic box. Stop expecting it to behave like one.
So that was, what, four pages to basically whinge that upgrading a significantly-tinkered-with install of Snow Leopard didn't quite work correctly after an in-place upgrade to Lion?
What's that, you say? The problems were in no small part because your original install had a whole load of software that hasn't yet been approved as Lion-compliant? Well, I say "yet" - if you've got a wagonload of software that you need for work purposes, perhaps giving the developers more than 18 hours from the new OS being on general release to check for compatibility issues would have been the non-retarded^Wsmart thing to do, eh?
Yeesh. I'm not a big Apple fan, but it's really not their fault if you haven't bothered to make sure all your software packages are upgrade-ready before going ahead with the install.
Humans in general haven't demonstrated a particularly good species-wide ability to question those in power (whether the power be journalistic, military, political or educational in nature) and frankly if you don't think that newspaper editiorial edicts can have an influence on readership you're being very very naive/optimistic about the thought processes involved in human decision making.
"There was no coup, no revolution we gave it to him willingly. We were told and we did it anyway".
Yep, and this applies as much to the dodgy politicians as it does to Murdoch. The fact that there was more than one player in the game doesn't preclude the possibility that all the players are or were absolute twats with sociopathic tendencies.
And yeah, the NotW is just one sad example of what passes for news, and a sorry effort it is if what you want is investigative reporting and journalism worth a damn. But then the solution to the bigger problem is to get a better class of human and to put a bunch of them in a better class of society than we've currently got access to, so as feasible options go we're pretty much stuck with trying to give a bollocking to the aforementioned twats for their misbehaviour.
But the rot goes further back than Andrew's article mentions - hell, Thatcher's government should by rights have referred Murdoch's purchase of the Times to the Monopolies commission, but Murdoch convinced someone to bend the rules for him.
So yes, a large part of the problem is the political element but without a media tycoon playing Who Can Be The Biggest Bastard none of this could've happened. It takes two to tango and all that. Andrew's article goes too far and can be read to suggest that Murdoch is basically a publisher who was convinced to do naughty things by Evil Politicos Looking For Friendly Media Coverage, when the reality is more along the lines of "Convergent goals led to a coalition between Evil Politicos and an Evil Publisher".
Hmmm, I think you're a bit too forgiving, Andrew
While you're right to suggest that plenty of politicians share a healthy portion of the blame for the influence which is attributed to Murdoch's various media interests, you seem to have a selective perception of relevant facts in evaluating Murdoch's position.
You've only got to read John Pilger's article about the Murdoch media coverage of mistreatment of Aboriginal Australians, or the Sun's coverage in the run-up to the 1992 election, to realise that the man does appear to be willing to use his media assets to his own advantage.
I'm not happy to hear politicians or top police officers crying about they really wanted to change things but couldn't because The Bad Man was busy touching them in their special places with his Investigating/Publishing Organ, but there's also plenty of evidence to suggest that the Bad Man is, in fact, a Fairly Massive Bastard Indeed.
I agree to a certain extent
Having learned my way around Photoshop (at least for the fairly basic stuff I wanted to do) I found the most offputting aspect of Gimp at the time was the UI - not least because the version I first used had something like four different windows, each with specific and not particularly obvious purposes. The fact that the menu structure was nothing like what I was expecting, and the documentation wasn't particularly good, was enough to put me off for ages. I'm clearly not the only person to think this, as there's still some crowd who basically repackage GIMP into a more Photoshop-like UI as Gimpshop, which is to my mind much more usable.
But when you get right down to it...there's remarkably little that you can do in eg Photoshop Elements that you can't do or approximate in the likes of GIMP or Paint.NET. I'm not arguing that they're up to the task of replacing Photoshop CS5 for everyone who makes a living in graphic design - but on the other hand if you put the time in and learn your way around the software you can do with a combination of TeX, GIMP, InkScape and Scribus what would previously require Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign (or, worse, something like QuarkExpress). I say this on the basis that I know several freelance illustrators who've put together small print runs of their own comics work using said software packages.
It is interesting, though, that one of the less-appreciated aspects of commercially-provided software is the documentation and UI design. Good UI design takes a lot of time and thought, and in the context of a lot of FOSS packages which still have substantial dev input from the CLI crowd I can understand that putting a lot of effort into the less interesting (from a coder's perspective) task of UI design is not going to be a popular choice.
@That Awful Puppy
I understand your point, but to be fair, how long did that task take you with the proprietary software the very first time you used it? Because for any kind of complex task in a specialised field, I'd assume that you're going to have to invest x hours to get to grips with any new software package before you can use it in a manner worth a damn. Good documentation helps, but it's no substitute for having proper understanding of how the task you need to do relates to the tasks that the software can do for you.
I've found it generally takes me longer to learn how to use FOSS packages properly, but that on the whole I have a better understanding of what they actually *do* than I do with commercially packaged software. Which is fine if you're only doing something simple, but not if you're working on anything in-depth.
Right, so the problem here *isn't* that your users are costing your department money by insisting on high-cost equipment that they then treat like crap. Nor is it that you've clearly not investigated the possibilities offered by other providers. Nor is it that you can't differentiate between legitimate complaints (can't run software package x, can't access network y) and non-legitimate complaints (Wah, there are *so many* cables, by which I mean 4).
A non-Apple product along these lines wouldn't be offered on a "if you're lucky you get CAR support and about a week's turnaround time", nor would it involve cables that cannot be removed from the back of the monitor in the event that the connectors get damaged. But hey, don't let that stop you from projecting the blame for your office woes onto others...
No no no, you're all getting it wrong
This isn't about allowing (or turning a blind eye toward) dodgy donations, it's about leveraging private market forces in the area of political donations by removing such obstacles as dedicated and adequately-resourced oversight and the ability of the electorate/tabloids to uncover individual instances of underhanded dealings.
I look forward to the final phase of this project when the Conservative Party will announce its IPO.
Only if they've uploaded it and made it available. iPlayer doesn't operate in the same way as eg 4OD (which keeps a bunch of its shows available perpetually in a with-ads-interspersed format that's pretty good) - most stuff on there is only available for 30 days from when it was last broadcast OTA.
Particularly in the case of their biggest cash cow (as far as I can tell), the Beeb aren't going to willingly make it available for free if they can help it.