24 posts • joined 10 Oct 2006
Hope it's more reliable than the TX
I would be very concerned by that wafer thin screen. My TX1 has a very similar similar screen (identical possibly) and that has been nothing but trouble. To make matters worse Sony's customer care has been absolutely hopeless - complete bunch of muppets. I would be very wary about buying another VAIO - great while it works - not so great when it breaks - and it will break.
If don't like using them, then you shouldn't try writing them..
I mean GUIs.
Show me a developer that thinks a text editor / make / ant etc. is a better way to build a GUI that a proper IDE and I'll show you a developer that shouldn't be let loose near a UI project. GUIs aren't just a veneer you slap on some business logic, they are a whole different way of thinking about HCI, and these guys obviously just don't 'get it',.
This is precisely why Java has such awful UI support. The guys that created it come from a UNIX backbround, and honestly, truely believe that UNIX, with its vast collection of arcane commands and randomly formatted text files, represents the pinicle of UI achievment.
So the Java guys knew that had to give us a GUI api, but they didn't really understand GUIs, and they certainly weren't going to look and see how people like Apple and Microsoft did it, as they just made toy computers fo plebs. And so they gave us AWT - a system so primitive it lacked things as basic as modal dialogues - and soon, even they had to admit it was rubbish. So instead they gave us Swing - but that was still rubbish, and now it was really slow too. So they admitted defeat, and retreated to the server, where things went pretty well for a while, but soon they felt unsatisfied by the lack of really big, arcane text files to edit and so that gave us J2EE, and they thought it was good - but actually that was rubbish too.
And all the time they looked down their noses at the plebs with their Visual Studio and their VB and their .Net, and somehow failed to notice that these were the guys who were actually delivering useful applications that real users could actually use. Poor things. Don't they understand it can't be 'real' software if normal people can actually use it. Where are the all the free-text config files that you need to edit to make it work. All looks very noddy to me.... Just a toy...
Believe me there will NEVER be a good Java IDE for creating GUI applications. It's just not in their blood.
btw I use both Eclipse and Visual Studio pretty much every day. They are both excellent tools and in reality they don't compete at all. If you are a Microsoft developer you're going to use Visual Studio, if you're a Java developer you're going to use Eclipse. So which one is better, or even which you prefer is completely academic, as you don't really have a choice anyway.
Jobs icon as they don't have an Alan Kay one...
They don't get it
The main thing about the original Eee was that, at £179, it was so cheap you could justify buying one just to read email and browse on the move. Even ASUS seem to have slightly lost the plot as they push the spec and the price up towards regular laptop levels. This MSI thing is just a not especially cheap, really low-spec laptop - what is the point?
Mind you Expansys aren't exactly the cheapest place around, so maybe we'll see some more sensible pricing elsewhere.
Bean counters at the top
I think the problem stems from having people at the top who are motiviated purely by money, plus a reward system, built around share options and performance related bonuses, that actively encourages shorttermism.
Whatever you think of the iPhone, I think it clear that Jobs is motivated by more than money - he obviously has some emotional investment in producing stuff he thinks is cool.
Why Thomson isn't Apple
It looks cool - but why on earth do I want to use my telephone as a radio? And as an alarm clock? This is just sticking extra 'features' in because they can - and the fact that they will all be rubbish, and the UI will be painful is lost on them. "Hey it makes toast - cool". Well no actually - what would be cool is you concentrated on making it do the one thing it's supposed to do well.
I've been using C++ for over 20 years, and believe me it has changed in that time! Multple inheritance, templates, exceptions, standard library etc.
It's all very well saying you don't have to use these things, but developers just love to use the latest thing. So, in large, long running projects, where lots of different developers have worked on it over many year, you end up with code written using every concievable paradigm that C++ supports - all in the same project! OK - I know you're going to say it's a failure of management - but it does happen - I've seen it. And it's a complete nightmare.
At least with something like Java the intended OO paradigm is faily clear-cut, so code tends to be more consistent. (Although I fear Java may be going to the same way as C++. When will people learn that adding features to anything has a downside?
It seems to me that C++ falls between two stools. On the one hand low-level code - kernels, device driver etc. seem better written in C, with it's much simpler run-time requirements, whereas user-level applications seem better written in Java or C# - with their safer memory handling and extensive class libraries and so on. Which leaves C++ to scratch about in the hard-realtime embedded comms market, where it probably does make sense. But it's going to become increasingly irrelevant to the mainstream IT world.
Developing Countries benefit from higher food prices
One of the biggest problems for the developing world is that they can't sell their produce into the developed world - partly due to subsidies and tariffs, and partly due to the massive food surpluses in the west. So increasing demand, and therefore prices, for crops is not necessarily a bad thing for many developing countries.
I'm not suggesting there aren't any downsides, but I grow weary of the current 'biofuels are evil' cult. We have to face the facts that the days of cheap easy energy are over. Any solution we come up with is going to have drawbacks, and unless we want to return to a peasant way of life, which I fear is what a lot the greens would prefer, then we are going to have to put up with some downsides. Get over it.
"James Gosling, the Father of Java, today gave his blessing to the latest attempt to simplify the programming language"
Er. How can adding MORE stuff to a language simplify it? It's not like they can throw away anonymous inner classes.
No - Java is doomed to go the same way as C++ - with armies of academics, who are too clever to any proper work, adding more and more features to it, all in the name of making it 'more expressive', until eventuall it gets replaced by a new, cleaner, simpler language, and the whole process starts all over again.
Plus ca change...
Nokia don't care about Trolltech's cross-platform technology - they're just after a quick and cheap way to get their own Linux platform. Why? Because Apple has one and Google has one - so Nokia has to have one - simple as that.
Not that they aren't in need of a next-generation platform. Symbian really is ready for the knackers yard, and I guess it can't have been much fun being shown up so badly by an upstart like Apple, but I can't really see Trolltech bringing anything very valuable to the table.
Their technology might be very clever, if you want to write something that runs cross-platform, but like I say - that's not Nokia's problem. They want a platform to compete with iPhone and Android, and that means they need something which is highly optimised to get the very best out the hardware they have. Compare the fluidity of the UI on the iPhone to clunky, slow S6O UI on the N95, and remember they share very similar hardware, and you'll see that they need something a bit special to catch up.
Also - I can't help feeling that Android's approach of exposing all the low-level functionality of the OS as Java callable libraries, so that the high-level apps can be written in Java, is likely to produce a far more productive development environment than insisting everything's written in C++. It would also allow for some sort security environment to be implemented if that was required.
So - Nokia and Trolltech. The wrong aquisition of the wrong technology, by a company that has lost the will or the balls to develop any decent technology of it's own.
Let the flame war commense!
The big weakness of J2ME on mobiles, is that each handset vendor creates their own implemention of the platform - trying as best they can to stick to the spec. Even ignoring the various extensions, the reality is that each implementation is slightly different, partly down to vagueness in the spec. and partly down to bugs in the implementation. This means that, in practice, you cannot assume that a J2ME app that runs on one handset will run on another - (even if they are from the same manufacturer!) This places a huge burden on developers to try and test on every handset on the market (oh and of course even the SAME handset can have different firmware for different networks).
If Java is to succeed in the Digital TV field then there needs to be a single implementation of the core VM and libraries - leaving just device drivers to the set-top vendors. The obvious approach (and therefore the one least-likely to be taken!) would be to create an open source, or at least a community-based project to create such a platform. Sadly something tells me this is unlikely.
Nuclear is just so old hat
I think the key thing you all seem to be forgetting here is that Nuclear is just not cool. It's too 1950's B-movie, too much men in white coats staring at vast panels of dials in big white rooms.
Renewable are much more fun - more gadgetty. I can't buy a nuclear reactor for my house, but I can buy a wind turbine, or some solar panels, or a micro heat-and-power plant, or a bio-fuel heating system, or a ground source heat pump system, or anything - it's much better. Now if I could just figure out how to get a tidal system going I'll be set. Big water butt maybe?
Macs at Home
Also - remember that those market share figures include the millions of PCs bought to sit in call centres and offices. I suspect if you looked at HOME users the Mac market share is probably somewhat higher.
Other People's Money
This cyclical instability in the markets is inevitable while the people driving the market are not personally exposed to the risks. These guys get paid huge bonuses by taking the credit for making profits on the back of general rises in the market. The more they buy, the more the market goes up, the more profits they make and more their bonuses are. Underlying value is utterly irrelevant - so we get a bubble.
But - when the bubble bursts it's not these guys that take the losses - it's not their money - it's typically ours, through our pensions etc. OK - they might not get a big bonus, but that's hardly much of a downside, their basics aren't usually too bad anyway. And anyway the market's bound to turn around soon enough and the whole merry-go-round starts again.
"The principal advantage to real open standards comes from choice of implementation,"
Oh great - just what we need. Another hippy platform, with every application written using a different widget set, different fonts and colours, different key shortcuts and completely different behaviour. Yeah - that's its greatest advantage - sure.
While, of course, Google's platform is going to SUFFER, because all the apps use the same technology and look and feel the same. Oh and the fact it's supported by some people who actually make phones. Right.
Who says it couldn't happen here?
I think you'll find we have laws banning 'incitement to racial or religious hatred', which seems to be essentially what the Turks seems to have invoked here.
I'm sure we would like to believe that we our version of these laws wouldn't apply in this case, but that's just arguing over shades of grey. Bottom line is you can't say what you want about religion in this country either.
@Faith Schools - the main reason the government like them so much is that the relevant church contributes towards the funding. And if you've got money in your pocket the government is more than happy to sell you some easily moulded minds.
Symbian just looks silly
I'm afraid the iPhone makes the N95 and Symbian look silly. Symbian have created the most unpleasant development platform known to man (NewLC anybody), all in the name of efficiency, but the iPhone, which just runs a (not even particularly efficient) version of UNIX blows it out of the water running on essentially similar hardware.
Using the N95 is painful - everything is just so slow to respond - whereas on the iPhone, even with it's sophisticated NeXT derived Display Postscript display technology, manages to feel completely smooth. It's not clear to me whether Apple are doing something very clever, or Symbian are doing something very wrong, but either way, they're not just in a different league, they're not even playing the same game.
I just wish Apple would open up the iPhone up to third party developers - then we could finally consign Symbian to the bit-bucket of history where it belongs.
Stores cost money - shock
I don't want to let the facts spoil a perfectly good rant but it does actually cost them something to run these high-street stores - rent, stock, heating, lighting, staff (ok not much for staff :-).
Of course it's cheaper to buy the stuff online; but you have to wait for it, and you can't go into a store and kick it around. If you want the convenience of buying stuff from a store, you have to pay for it. I don't call that a rip off - I call that perfectly reasonable.
60% for something that basically doesn't work?! That's about a 'B' by my reckoning. I think 'F' might be more appropriate - lets say 30%. Sounds about right to me.
Spot the catch
Notice they're not talking about mini-USB - you know the thing we all already use, and have chargers for - they're talking about micro-USB - whatever the hell that is. Wonderful thing about standards etc.etc.
Moto invents the cordless phone?
"Motorola claims the benefit is that you can place handset basestations anywhere around the home, without the restriction of having to place them within cable distance of a phone socket."
Errm. You mean they're cordless. Not exactly an innovation - or are Moto so out of touch they've never come across a DECT phone before?
Needless Red Tape
The Data Protection Act no doubt has its value, but there it also brings with it an awful lots of entirely pointless red tape. If I store customer's details, subject to certain conditions, I have to register with the Data Protection Registrar. But since I don't have to (can't) tell them WHO I'm storing information about, the register itself is rather pointless. As an individual I can't go to the registrar and ask them who has information on me, so the provision to allow me access to my personal information, to ensure its accuracy is in practice just tokenism.
Of course for the register to act as some kind of global index into personal information would be impractical (and would involve the government creating some IT - which as we all know is impossible). So why not just admit that the register is pointless and scrap it. Save everyone a lot of time and money.
Somewhat lacking in detail...
Whatever you think about the value of the record-two, playback one feature that several other deivces offer, I was a bit suprised the reviewer didn't even mention this feature, or it's absense, in the review. He also doesn't mention whether you can rewind the show you're currently watching (continuous buffering), which I'd also want to know before considering a new unit.
Freeview DVRs are not new, yet there seems to be an incredible level of ignorance surrounding them. Try going in to a high-street shop and asking about whether this or that device supports dual-stream recording - you just get blank stares. I hope this new Freeview Playback brand manages to raise some awareness of these excellent devices.
According to Apple's site the iPhone's has "entirely new user interface .... letting you control everything with just your fingers". As opposed to what exactly? Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I tend to operate my phone with my fingers.
And please no dictaphone comments....
Too 'clever' for its own good
You hit the nail on the head when you say STL and Boost make 'clever use of templates'. C++ designers and developers seem rather too concerned about how 'clever' the technology (and by implication they) are.
I think the comments 'the very best programmers like C' while 'the very best programmers do not like Java' gives us a good insight into the spectacular arrogance of the C++ community.
Truth is cleverness doesn't pay the bills - solving problems does. Java or C# are simply far more productive languages than C++ and that is why they are in the ascendance.
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