630 posts • joined 5 Jan 2011
Going to Amazon and buying their home brand Kindle Fire is a bit like going in MacDonald's and thinking, I know, I'll buy their home brand cookery book.
My advice. Buy a good chair.
I had a knee problem a couple of years back. Due to an op that went wrong it swelled up like a balloon and became crazy painful. Being self employed I continued working but with my knee propped up. This put my back out. Badly. The two things, the knee and the back played off each other. Eventually the knee problem healed. But the painful back remained.
I used to be sceptical about the many reports you hear of x, y or z, being unable to work because of a bad back. While I remain sceptical of many cases, I now understand just how bloody painful it can be and how absolutely a bad back can destroy your ability to work, even when your work is confined to being done at a desk. I learned first hand, for example, that even spending prolonged periods lying down, whilst giving respite, can lead to deterioration of the problem.
I was beginning to despair as I could no longer afford the lost days work. Someone suggested I get a better quality office chair. My existing office chair already gave me back support and I was sceptical changing it would make much of a difference. I figured the cause of the problem had been my knee and my existing chair had adjustable lumbar support and since I was beginning to feel the pinch didn't feel I should be spending the money.
Anyway, I was ready to try anything. I went to John-Lewis and spent literally an hour moving from office chair to office chair to check which one felt best, decided there was no point in half measures and placed no limit on my budget. I ended up opting for a Herman Miller Sayl chair. It felt better for me than even the more expensive Herman Miller Aeron, the gold standard of healthy office chair design. I wasn't going to muck about, and was perfectly prepared to purchase the Aeron if need be. But the Sayle just felt marginally better for me and the engineering principles behind the subtle design of the "suspension cable" back appealed to my engineering mind (as you sit back in the Sayl, your own body weight causes the "cables" to subtly lift the small of the back).
I was stunned by how quickly my back improved. In fact it went from feeling extremely painful to better than it had felt since my teenage years (I'm now in my forties), in a period of just three days.
Now I've become a good office chair evangelist. It's difficult to convey just how transformative and revelatory the effect of a properly adjusted, well fitted chair can be. If you have back problems, don't hesitate, don't buy just anything, but test out the best chair for you. Make sure it can be adjusted and has a tilt back mechanism where the power required to tilt it can be adjusted and fine tuned (whilst looking to my eyes "slobby", being able to tilt back is good for your back). Lastly, don't let price be a factor. The best adjustable chair for you may be cheap and/or may be expensive, but you need to be able to try them out before buying.
Re: "A spokesman for Apple told El Reg..."
Rather seems Apple are getting criticised for not going further than already having implemented the features Google are only just getting around to implementing. Adults have full and complete control over all aspects in-app purchases. They can ensure passwords are always required or turn them of entirely. Apple made the changes last year in response to criticism from authorities in the US. Additionally anyone can get a refund for any in-app purchase made in error.
Apple are way ahead of Google in that regard just as they always have been for all manner of app permissions. They have, for example, now implemented a family sharing feature so families don't get hit multiple times for each kid they have that wants an app.
Re: 8 years for 15K
What pisses me off, is just this morning, again my bank trousered late payment fees for a credit card non-payment for an account I had set up and expressly requested the balance be transferred automatically at the end of the month. When I phoned up to complain, I had barely begun to say what the problem was and the operator had already started telling me "very sorry sir we will reverse the charges and have in fact already started to do so" Call me cynical but it was almost as though they were expecting the call and had the apology script already on the screen. No I'm not being a cynic. Happenings the drop money into the banks open pocket are far too frequent an occurrence for it to be an error. If it were truly an error, then sometimes things would happen that are in my favour. But they never are.
I wonder how many other customers have been scammed because they haven't had time to phone or haven't read their statements properly. We get annoyed about these scammers. But really who is worse? Someone who is scammer who is taking thousands, from the old weak and vulnerable, or a bank cynically working the margins as close to the line as possible diverting millions into deep trouser pockets and away from the old weak and vulnerable. Technically legal, but morally, rotten. Robbers and thieves the lot of them.
Re: slagging off the competition
"re. your other assertion about developers preferring IOS ... Sure, the margins may be higher on IOS but the size of the Android market often more than makes up for that."
You seem to have misunderstood what it means to say developers are earning on average twice the amount per app on iOS than Android.
Here's the background data for that one:
Re: slagging off the competition
Quite right. The difference is though, the I'm a PC, I'm a Mac ads hit the spot, because they traversed the period Windows Vista was on sale. Some of the Samsung ads are quite good but don't hit the spot in the same way. iOS generally has higher satisfaction ratings than Android and as a result more existing Android users are switching to iOS than iOS users are switching to Android. Re the wall-hugger ads, smartphone battery life in general, for all smartphone users, is crap and everyone knows that. iPhone battery life is actually relatively good and Samsung seem to be making a play about having replaceable batteries and also the new reserve low power battery mode. But few people carry round replaceable batteries, Samsung users feel just as afflicted by short battery life as iPhone users and all other smartphone users and in any case the subset of iPhone users who are like the subset of Samsung users who would carry a spare battery, have the highly effective option of the Morphie Juice Pack.
@Ratfox, the iPhone sells about twice as much, over previous years about 1/3 more. Consistently has done. You just would never guess it from reading The Register "Peak Apple" articles. You hear headlines about The Samsung S whatever outselling the iPhone at launch, but that is only because it is the launch month. At all other times they are usually far behind.
Additionally app developers make on average twice the revenue from iOS apps than Android apps make on the Google play store (that's about 4 times the revenue per active user)
Models per manufacturer is almost irrelevant, because most manufacturers shipping low cost Android handsets are making virtually zero profit (at least those outside china. Stats for China only suppliers are scarce). In fact last year, combined, all smartmobe manufacturers other than Samsung and Apple made less than zero profit. Samsung are primarily making their profit from the Galaxy range, which is why they held a sales crisis meeting late last year when it was clear sales were dipping.
Samsung recently have rebranded ALL there handsets as "Galaxy" range. In my view this is to obscure their worsening position in high-end handset market and to start reporting numbers for total number of mobes shipped, so they can still try and look like they are still performing well relative to Apple by publishing "bigger" figures.
The truth is the handset market is now like the Netbook market became. Wafer thin margins that will massively raise risk and strangle innovation. Android is playing the same role as Windows did for Netbooks and the promise to manufacturers that they can differentiate on top of it with their own UI implementation is slowly being withdrawn as it is being shown to bring fragmentation problems and as Google has now established a large enough user base they can start to dictate terms.
These market characteristics have lead Benedict Evans to point out it is best not to think of the smartphone maker as a single market, but rather a set of markets, some being worth a lot more than others. There's only one that is really worth being in, and that is the high-end market, and Apple continue to steadily expanding within it and continue to increase their domination of it. I know many El Reg readers don't like to hearing this and swallowed The Register's "Peak Apple" analysis that was based on nothing more than wishes, but it's the truth.
So this really illustrates The Register's nature as defined by negativity. Sure it's a mildly interesting tidbit. Yet Apple completed their WWDC conference this year, which was highly successful and packed full of genuinely interesting tech news and future direction for their platform yet there was barely a mention of what had occurred. Instead we have been witnessing a swing to the old and crusty. The Register has been focussing increasingly on an old fashioned IT administrator crowd. It's becoming like a bunch of ex-PC-World magazine journalists shaking a stick at the "Idiot young'uns who don't know how real computing is done." This has attracted the bitter cynical PC junior administrator crowd, many of whom were only ever really slightly more specialist PC system users tasked with little more responsibility than having to wipe the arses of other less Aspergic users, and bitter for having to do so. Now the world is moving on and job specs are shrinking further as IT infrastructure moves to the cloud, food for the bitter is getting squeezed out of the near empty toothpaste tube in the form of The Register articles.
Re: Samsung unclear about why the rebrand had taken place
"The term “Galaxy” – which was once solely the high end brand in the Samsung range – now embraces all of its Android phones, with the Ace and Grand Neo now becoming the Galaxy Ace and Galaxy Grand Neo."
Most probably because with their sales dip the brand distinction was making it clear they have been getting their arses whooped by Apple in the high-end market. They were selling at best 2/3 the number of Galaxy handsets as Apple have iPhones and now, with their ongoing sales dip and going from a vintage S4 release to a not so vintage Galaxy S5 release, while Apple have gone from a not so vintage 5 release to a vintage 5S release, it will have dropped to more like about 1/2 the number. They also know Apple seized the initiative in a number of technology areas: 64 bit computing, full finger finger print scanner, iBeacons, soon to be released handover features. They also know with the forthcoming larger iPhone the battery life will be massively improving, because one of the advantages of a larger handset is a relatively larger compartment space for the battery.
However they are still killing it with cheaper handsets (though of course facing stiffer competition in China), so I suspect this is a typical bit of Samsung obfuscation of the shipment figures to help protect their credentials with the tech press (they have already reported their sales dip as temporary and recovering by next quarter for two quarters in a row and can't say the same thing next time). Expect them to now make all sorts or press releases with implied (but invalid) comparisons of Galaxy sales figures.
Agreed. I think the indies should team up with another provider like e.g. Vimeo, who have always provided far higher streaming quality than YouTube and call Google's bluff. The independent labels are where the centre of cool is. Surely music is it's own promotion. Boring old Google couldn't hope to survive the loss of cool if the independents went elsewhere. Just look at the instant transformative effect music has on a product. Apple have understood this for some time and have been masters at exploiting the instant lift music can provide. C'mon indies, have faith in your power, go with someone else. Google will come running back to you.
A couple of reminders of just how effective music can be in advertising
Re: Serious biz users don't want Samdung Fandroid or iDrone Crapps
What do you find your iPhone doesn't do well that your Blackberry does? My business is app development and I would be interested to understand where there are weaknesses/opportunities etc.
Typical dickish misrepresentation by The Register and a shameful "reporting" on what the patent is really about. It's actually a very good idea and something I've been looking forward to for a while. Make it so that you don't have to enter security details when you are at home or at the office. So your phone can be unlocked when it is in your home but needs security unlocking when you are out and about. Also given your phone can now to be used as a key to unlock your computer through use of the new "handover" API announced at this years WWDC, this will be very convenient. When you are next to your computer with your phone, and you are at home, you will be able to set your policy such that the computer will simply be unlocked. When you are out and about and have your phone (with e.g. touch ID), your MacBook in bluetooth range will similarly also unlock. You might set it such that that only occurs at known locations like home or office. Wherever you want the policy to apply really.
It seems Jasper wants to be a bit of a mewling quim by trying to imply its' some snobby fear of muggers thing. Way to inform your readers Register.
Thereby proving how useless T&C's are anyway. Do we honestly believe there would be any less Facebook users if the clause had actually been included in time?
Re: There's a difference between
@nichomach - Useful additional paragraph on what you are saying in the article I linked to on the question of "Is the Apple charger worth it?":
"Apple's charger is expensive compared to other chargers, but is a high quality product. You should definitely stay away from the cheap counterfeit chargers, as they are low quality and dangerous. Non-Apple name brand chargers are generally good quality according to my tests, with some better than Apple. If you want to get an Apple charger without the high price, the best way I've found is to buy a used one on eBay from a US source. I've bought several for testing, and they have always been genuine."
Re: There's a difference between
@nichomach Agreed. Though (and I'm not disputing the thrust of your point in saying this), I think there are a lot more of the "intended to deceive" level of quality chargers inserted in the supply chain that end up even with reputable suppliers, than many realise.
I've noticed on many fronts companies are encountering supply quality challenges. A none tech example, I purchased some stainless steel cutlery from Ikea about 6 years back and it started rusting after a couple of washes. I'm sure Ikea have quality standards for stainless steel and this failed to meet them. The cutlery was manufactured in China. Perhaps the initial shipments were good. I'm guessing the quality of the supplied steel was surreptitiously switched, or a previously good supplier, delivered a below spec line, and the first Ikea knew about it was customer complaints (based, admittedly, purely on my belief that a Scandinavian company has a reputation and values such that they would not have knowingly ordered cutlery in steel of that low grade). Of course they should quality check shipments, but the quality checks are probably also built into suppliers contracts and the supplier now booted off the supply list or given a heavy ticking off.
We've grown used to big business having certain standards (Sheffield steel quality marks and all that) and I think some big businesses have had to re-adjust to the QS wild-west that is China and suspect, in no small part from a significant volume of anecdotal evidence (some of it my own like the above), quite a lot slips through the net and ends up with reputable suppliers.
Interesting read in this context. Teardown of an Apple charger versus a cheapie replacement:
Re: The same occulus ... and not the same and an Oculus Rift Creating CULTuring Machine World Order
Here's a tip. If you're going to write something impenetrable, try to make it good so there's a payoff for those that grant you the benefit of the doubt and actually try to read it.
"The update will allow Chromebook owners to enjoy the offline video feature that rival platforms such as iTunes offer to users who purchase and download their video content."
It's nice to know that offline viewing is now a video file feature. Next time I download an MKV or MP4 file I'll be sure to consult a features table to remind myself it is indeed suitable for offline viewing.
FFS, Samuri -> Samurai. Damned auto-regret. I do know the correct spelling, I assure you.
Oh dear. That is a bad faux pas. Especially as for ex POW's the wounds ran very deep indeed. I have a lot of respect for the Japanese and Japan, but one beef I do have is, when you look at the history, it's clear the Japanese have never been able to fully acknowledge the extreme extent of their cruelty during the Second World War. This has to be modulated somewhat and set in context. Japan had only just emerged from Feudal rule and in Japanese culture, no respect was paid to the vanquished. Japan was a nation with very deep intellectual and spiritual culture married to extremely constrained and harsh notions of civilisation. They had no notion that greater civility is shown by respecting your enemy when they are captured. The upshot was very many low level ball-sacks in a uniform felt they were showing superior Samuri spirit and culture when they cruelly tortured and degraded the POW's in their charge (and I mean really, fucking horrendously, degraded and tortured the POWs in their charge).
The dawning realisation that greater civilisation is shown by respecting your enemy, even if they have been vanquished was very hard for the Japanese to process, especially since it was evidenced by brash, loud, beer swilling 'mericans who after beating them, handed them back the keys to their country and economy. And frankly, most who sensed the truth of it, recoiled at the face they then saw looking back from the mirror, swept the whole thing under the carpet, and started pigging out on Samuri fantasy escapism that later transformed into what we now know as Manga.
"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things." - Steve Jobs
Seems to me Apple are recognising users really won't be interested in horizontal market general purpose smart watches. For now wearables have to be focused on a real and enduring need. Health and fitness tracking is highly valued by those who do it. I personally am an avid Strava user and can fully relate to the notion of an advanced health and fitness tracker which improves on existing offerings. This will be a smallish subset of the general phone user market, but an enthusiastic and motivated one. A general Galaxy Gear style smart watch; NO.
Re: Hmm, coicidence?
There was no security breach of the iPhone OS. There were users who had used the same passwords on their Apple accounts as on other accounts and a miscreant (or miscreants) having got hold of a password list (as can be purchased from many sites on the Internet), had managed to log into some iPhone user accounts and use the "lock a lost or stolen iPhone" facility to lock the user's out of their own phones. The facility lets you post a message to the screen when the phone is locked. The message said something to the effect "your phone has been taken over, pay x to y if you want to access your files again"
Actually the user could just log in to their iCloud account on any browser, and unlock it (though they would probably want to change their password first) If they had been so foolish as to use the same password on their email accounts, the hacker might also have taken those over, in which case they really would be stuffed. I didn't hear any reports of that happening, but lets face it, if they were using the same password with multiple accounts the chances were quite high some might have been so affected.
Re: Just what the world needs
Yes C# is one of the few developments to come out of Microsoft having a high degree of intellectual purity and rigour. It was designed by one of the best in the business and is IMO a very, very good language. And I'm saying that as someone who detests most things Microsoft.
Re: What do you do when your commercial skills become obsolete?
You either have the possibility of the in-attentive generating retain cycles or the inexactitude of garbage collection, there is no middle ground that doesn't make decisions you should be aware of and making yourself. Given the choice between the two, ARC, for the serious programmer is, IMHO, the infinitely superior option because you have full and complete control. Plus the memory analysis tools are superb so you can easily identify any accidental retain cycles. The only problem with ARC is that the use case for understanding reference counting is rarely encountered, but when it is, reference counting techniques need to be fully understood. That's OK for me and from the sounds of it, you also, because we were raised with it. But for programmers who have never had to learn the art I feel truly sorry. 99% of the time, they will never need the understanding, but when they do, boy will life be difficult for them.
Re: BadaOS all over again.
Samsung have successfully skated to where the puck was about 3 years ago, and now rather comically are trying to take a shot.
Re: Interested by iCloud Drive
Works across OSX and Windows. Not Linux though.
Thank you for letting me know that. And I wish I could care more, I really do, I just don't.
"iOS market share and mindshare is no longer large enough to move a market."
Just why is it app vendors still predominantly write for iOS first ?
"By far the most likely reason Apple bought Beats is simple: Despite repeated efforts, Apple has near-zero presence in the subscription streaming market at a time when music sales are plummeting fast in favour of these services."
It's a standard term in music industry contracts, that they have to be renegotiated in the event of a change of owner. So no banana. Yes they will want to take over Beats subscription streaming, but it isn't really anywhere in user numbers, so again no banana.
Oh gawd did I write that? I lived through it too, so actually know they were on Motorola first but was forgetting the dates and thought they went briefly to Intel before going to Power PC. Now thinking about it, I remember it was just a lot of *talk* about them going to Intel, (and there was also a lot of talk about PowerPC trouncing the Intel architecture, so of Windows converting to PowerPC). It didn't happen though, not because Power PC wasn't superior. Risk did offer real advantages, but because Intel effectively introduced Risk philosophy behind a kind of facade and basically kept ahead of the performance curve through shear money and scale talking.
"The King of the Lossy Codec purchases a bass-boosting acoustic-disruption hardware biz for $3 billion."
And that is precisely why Apple are buying Beats (apologies BTW, but this is in large part a repost of a post I made earlier, but is even more relevant to this article). Agree on the base-boosting acoustic-disruption line (but that doesn't change their popularity does it), but your line on the "lossy codec" says it all: The tech world has been caught on the hop by the popularity of Neil Young's PONO kickstarter project. Ultra-high def audio is proving a bigger draw with consumers than anyone imagined would be the case (the science case for it is not at all clear and more than a little contentious). Apple have a penchant for pushing standards to new levels and always seek to reduce the number of connections and simplify. They were the first to drop optical drives from their laptops. They were the first pushing FireWire. They moved from Intel to Power PC and back in their Mac/MacBook line and now look likely to move to ARM. They always move on and never fear burning some of their existing market to get to where they consider the leading edge to be.
I predict they are about to go all in on ultra-HD-Audio. The 3.5 inch headphone jack is now the oldest connector on their devices. They will probably replace it with a connection via the lightening port. Overnight 3.5 inch headphone connections will appear old fashioned and low tech. There will be a wave of upgrades. Apple sell half their kit via the Apple Stores where they can play kingmaker with which head-phone brand is given most prominence. Beats will needless to say have the new connector type. Users will still be able to plug in with a 3.5mm cable (via an adaptor for Apple kit and an alternative cable in the box with the Beats cans). But many consumers are nevertheless going to have at the back if their minds that they should go for the new standard; That 3.5 mm jacks have had their day. They will offer instant "quality" upgrade via their iTunes iCloud service (where tracks are streamed so can be upgraded to higher quality non-lossy bitrate for "free") and needless to say the Beats streaming service will offer the same. Even those who are dubious of the value of ultra-HD audio will have a nagging feeling they no longer have the best if they don't have it - that is simply human nature.
Further I believe Apple will publish the standard for others in the industry to be able to use the connector. Which they may well do, if reluctantly. At the very least Apple will succeed in muddying the waters re USB. This will simultaneously help them in their problem with the EU, who are soon to mandate a common connector for mobile devices. Apple will not want it to be mini USB 3 because it is a turd compared with their physical socket design and they way in which it isn't appropriate for headphone connections (where users often grope to insert the cable, sight unseen) will illustrate their point. When other companies have to compete by moving away from USB 3 to Apple's design or their own new design, the fact Apple are right on this will have been made clear. Apple will gain a small advantage over other companies playing catchup to implement a new standard and will have the appearance of being industry leading. Some companies will stick with 3.5mm audio connectors and hold the line there is no discernible difference (and they will most probably be entirely correct), but their sales will suffer anyway because with new standards out there the 3.5mm will simply start to feel old and new kit using it will suffer from the, albeit technically unjustified, whiff of premature redundancy.
If Beats is going to encounter, over the next two to three years, a huge spike in revenue in large part due to upgrade purchases, and also due to new ultra-HD customers being attracted to buying (albeit bass heavy) "quality" kit, it makes sense for Apple, who will be creating the conditions for that upgrade revenue spike, to own the company.
Re: no way
You are right that is a risk. If this is the right scenario, you're reasoning has lead me to think they will have an audio jack convertor connector. Users will want the latest iPhone and say to themselves I can just use my existing high end cans with the convertor. But then, once they have got the latest device, will dislike the fact their cans appear to be second rate because they are plugged into a lump of a convertor, so they will ask for a new set for Christmas anyway. I fully admit that in this case it will be fashion, or at least image at play over real benefit. But it will be highly lucrative nonetheless.
"Buying Beats was more about a a strategic alliance and a marketing tactic, nothing more."
I disagree with this point, not because I think it is anything other than a marketing tactic, I have to agree with that point if HD Audio is no real advantage. I happen to think it is a marketing opportunity Apple didn't particularly define but now don't want to be seen to be playing catch up. I'm guessing they will have reviewed all the iPhone connectors and the need for each, as they do from time to time, and will simply have concluded, in conjunction with the evidence of the PONO project, it's time to lead the pack in ditching the 3.5mm audio jack. They will probably get the device down to having just one connector.
There are a billion iOS device users out there. Everyone upgrading who wants anything other than the stock headphones is going to need a new set of cans. People will upgrade, even if they have existing expensive cans, because they will want latest tech, reason "I can use the stock headphones" and will do so but will soon miss their over ear phones and purchase new ones.
I also agree on your point about base heavy Beats headphones. I personally wouldn't touch them and will stay with my very unfashionable looking Bose's. But that said, I think for that, they are actually very good quality if simply preferentially heavy on the base. Many users are very happy for that and agree with that emphasis. Where Apple will gain is there will be a massive wave of upgrades and Apple will have control over the position of the headphones in the stores where 1/2 of all iOS device purchases take place. They are colourful, made of high quality materials and are a brand with Street cred. Just imagine Apple own brand headphones and its clear their brand wouldn't quite be right. If I'm right Apple are in a position to engineer a massive revenue boost for Beats and they figured they may as well own the company and reap the profits.
I respectfully disagree with your opinion on Apple, but wholeheartedly agree with your view on this "HD audio" trend. I suspect Apple and other tech companies will have been shocked by the massive level of support the PONO Kickstarter project attracted. Regardless of the actual value of PONO, no leading edge tech company will be sitting back and risking being seen as stick in the mud, no matter the real world merits and the public perception on this being ahead of the tech world, will have given Apple an opportunity I expect they about to seize with both hands.
By HD audio BTW, I am of course using the loose term that has come associated with the new ultra-high def audio standards brought into focus by Neil Young's PONO player Kickstarter project. It's hotly contested as to whether this new standard will bring real discernible advantages. For the leading tech companies, regardless of the relative merits, they will have to be seen to be adopting the newer "higher quality" standard. This is where "fashion" can genuinely be said to play a role, because I suspect blind audio testing will establish no one can actually reliably tell the difference anyway.
Starts off well, but then collapses into facile and shallow trope "what keeps Apple revenues flowing is just fashion"
But no, fashion is suddenly this incredibly powerful beast (true) that for Apple has become a perennial, because, er, suddenly the theory trips over it's own laces.
For a better insight into one of the main reasons Apple succeed, this article is a good read:
In summary Apple have design intent to their core. They avoid falling foul of the three design evasions:
1. The first design evasion "Preserving" - Apple have always been prepared to rip-up the blueprint for a previous design success where their competitors do not. Microsoft clearly have suffered badly from this evasion, and as this The Register article points out, where they have ripped up the blue-print (e.g. Windows phone) the result is much better.
2. Copying - Apple are perfectly prepared to copy but only after they have evaluated it is the best solution. They don't abdicate on the responsibility to place the design effort first and evaluate it is the best solution in the current context. Samsung have too often taken the copy first / think later short-cut. Their shameless equivalent of the Apple passbook is a good example of the level to which they are prepared to go in not thinking for themselves. It is pernicious because it can appear to help the company, but it also places an upper limit on user expectations as to what to expect of that company. It's a bit like saying I'll compromise my reputation to achieve scale. It can be done, but it's an existentially limiting trade to make. In life we all have to decide how we are going to live in that regard. If for example I become a photographer, and want to be taken seriously, I can't make a quick buck by shooting porn, or even doing low value magazines, and hope to easily recover my reputation as a top photographer.
3. Delegating - also pernicious because it dresses in the garb of reasoned scientific method. Microsoft fall foul of this problem (the office ribbon bar being an example). This is where design direction is surrendered to the uncoordinated masses through delegating the process to the results of focus group and user research. The abdicating "designer" always has an excuse to fall back on "our research showed..." Steve Jobs would give the Henry Ford quote to illustrate the problem of this third evasion. "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
Apple will fail if they start to diverge from their drive to put design first. Which brings me to their Beats purchase. I've been puzzled by this for some time and concluded Tim Cook had slipped up (I wrote my feelings up here and they seemed to be well received; http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/09/apple-looks-set-to-buy-dr-dre-beats-electronics#comment-35409955)
However, now I think that conclusion was wrong and it has suddenly clicked. Apple like to own the full stack. The oldest and most low-tech connector on a mobile device these days is the headphone jack. And we are heading for a new level HD audio. Apple like to be thought of as the technology firm who "owns" music.
Given they rarely allow themselves to fall foul of design evasion 1 - I predict they are about to go all in on HD audio. In Apple style they will simply wholly remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from all iOS devices coming out this year and moving forwards. In 2 years it will be near as dammit a forgotten connector. If they do this, there will be one hell of a user base purchasing new speaker/headphone tech with a new connector standard (possibly lightening and/ or a new higher throughput low power wireless standard / upgrade to low-power bluetooth). They have been losing some of their lustre as THE tech music company. By buying Beats, and going all in on HD Audio, they reap the profit from the inevitable Tsunami of consumer upgrade behaviour, and fully establish themselves as design leader amongst their peers.
"Nokia's cameras are considered to be the best in the business, whereas Apple's aren't"
That simply isn't the case. The DxOMark is the most comprehensive anal, exacting and science based of the benchmarks out there. Nokia's 808 is getting 77 on its' DxOMark and the iPhone 5S got 76.
Let's be clear, if I tape a point and shoot camera and a phone together it will offer better quality photos, be only a little bit bulkier and will be a lot better looking than the Nokia 808 (ok I exaggerate a little, but you get my drift).
Getting better quality is not difficult if you are not worrying about size. The fact the iPhone 5S is in 3rd on the overall DxOMark ranking for mobile phone cameras and yet has no raised camera lens/cowling says it all. There is some kick arse-tech in there. Sony are in first place with the Z2 scoring an astonishing 79. They, like Apple have no raised cowling, (though the camera housing is significantly larger on the Z2 than the iPhone 5S) and they are in a joint tech agreement sharing all phone-camera patents and tech with Apple.
Compare Apple/Sony handsets with the Nokia handsets that are normal handsets (e,g, that are not specialised units with enlarged cameras) and it's clear the Apple/Sony shared tech is further ahead. Though to be fair all these top camera handsets offer outstanding quality given the limited dimensions of the devices and the Nokia handsets are right up there mixing it with the best.
I'm sure this guy knows his stuff. I'm sure he will be extremely valuable to Apple and will bring some new thinking, but Nokia's mobile phone camera tech being "the best in the business" is one of those oft regurgitated seldom challenged Internet tropes that simply isn't backed up by the extremely comprehensive and science based testing of the DxOMark.
Re: Probably the death knell of the "industry"
Agreed, and some contributors to this thread appear to be of the view, if you have a dispute with someone but consensus on The Register is such that your position is the less supported, you should be denied access to the legal system. Never mind that common sense says if Sun retain copyright but such API's use is allowed under fair use, that would seem to be the right ruling. People forget rulings like this apply to cases far beyond the current case and where different matters might be under dispute.
To me it seems entirely correct such API's are considered a part of Sun's work product but that they should be usable by another company under fair use. That may well be the ruling that results here. If in the future there is a case where a company has ripped off API's plus implementation code (which hasn't happened in this case), it is reasonable that because, through theft of the latter, they have shown a certain intent, they can then be said to have gone beyond fair use so have also thieved the former. Such a distinctions are important when e.g. calculating damages. If API's are divorced from copyright entirely, subtleties like this are lost.
It seems to me the legal system is there to examine the law from all angles and refine it. Commentards alighting on a single issue with pitch forks and bales of burning hay, singularly fail to do so.
Simple. Buy an iPhone.
Seriously, as trollish as that comment may sound, there is no other way of looking at this than as the product of extremely bad design. Google dun bad. I understand there are other reasons you may not want to buy an iPhone, but on the basis if this issue, it's an answer.
Apple get criticised for it because of the implied delay, but they have a history of identifying which features benefit from careful planning, not rushing those features, and elaborating them with care before release. They did so with copy and paste (since copied wholesale by Android) and then multi-tasking and the result is superior OS control for preventing bad actors (Android's approach by contrast was more akin putting a bucket of money in the middle of the street and saying "now now everyone, be sure to only take what you need and leave enough for others" ). They erred on the side of caution and user control with app permissions, and compared with Android have generally got that whole area right. And they have taken the same approach with inter-app communications and data sharing (e.g, there is virtually non - except between apps owned by a single company and via registering to be able to receive process certain mime types). They knew it was something low on the feature list and that it has huge security implications. Few users really miss it/need it. Indeed Apple even restricted the shared clipboard facility when they realised there was a security threat. And if previously reliable sources are correct they are now ready to put a comprehensive framework in place at this years WWDC.
Generally the result is iOS, though more restricted, is proving to be far more secure (obvious major snafu's like the goto:fail cert bug aside - but at least such security issues when identified are quickly addressed with an update available to all users).
Re: "Beloved products like the iPhone..."
The word "love" has a wide range of meaning, and doesn't have to have a human target. When I say "I love spaghetti" nobody thinks I'm angling for a marriage, getting a boner over my plate of processed wheat - or, for that matter, cheating when tomorrow I express my love for Ravioli.
I personally find it strange when people aren't passionate about the things around them. We only have one life, and we should avoid valuing material possessions too highly, but then that thought can also in some senses be reversed; we only have one life and we shouldn't bother with crap or tolerate substandard design. The best design allows us to achieve our objectives while getting the hell out the way.
One of my own passions is typeface design. The typefaces I value are, without fail, in every case produced by people who are themselves passionate about typeface design.
I expect the designers of the things I buy to be passionate about what they design. This The Verge story about Leica gives the perfect example of what I mean:
Tell me the designers at Leica don't love what they do.
The prescient concept isn't from the verb "anthropomorphise," a more appropriate concept is the noun "aesthete." Personally I'm not a thoroughgoing aesthete; though I wouldn't mind being. But I am passionate about design.
And this is the real problem many have with Apple. The company, like Leica, produces products some suspect are for "aesthetes" and that attracts scorn. But if we are honest, most people want to be thought of as a bit aesthete themselves, and aren't because they haven't tried to educate themselves or have shied away from superior design due fearing it leads down a road to unaffordable expense (actually a fallacy, but a commonly held one)
I've noticed that when some people detect someone is adopting the ideal of an aesthete, they often feel challenged by it and get a bit nasty. They like to paint the putative aesthete as arrogant, pretentious or privileged and while sometimes (or even often) that may often be the case, it isn't necessarily so. The aesthete can just as often be a poor but passionate field photographer, filming an erupting volcanoe, or a farmer following Ruskin's rules for the English rural idyl. From the world of fiction, James Bond is a famous aesthete (yes he is arrogant, but also kind of cool).
The problem Samsung has is precisely that their devices are purchased by the kind of people who see being passionate about industrial design as grounds to be considered a bit of a dick. In the technologist market, the Samsung brand is identified with such people; they wear their disdain for anyone with a different view like a badge.
Wake up ! The result is before you and its called the Galaxy Gear :)
Re: Thank you Google
The problem with many commentaries is they think it is reasonable to make a false dichotomy. You are attempting to equate knowing the difference between privacy and anonymity with agreement with your position that it is ok for a company to have a camera installed in a public toilet. It isn't.
"The cameras are already there and we can choose not to use the public toilet if we don't like them."
Do you think people always have choice about when they need the loo? Do you really think the internet is a luxury people living and working in modern society have a reasonable choice about using? Or has it now become akin to a utility? I think the latter, and a civilised society expects certain rights to be attached. There is a long and proud history of such. When travellers used horses and foot, a visitor to an Inn could expect to be able to receive a glass of water at no charge. That was a reasonable right Inn Keepers, who were allowed to trade in Alcoholic beverage, we expected to provide for. The same, BTW as I have a right not to be observed whilst using a public loo. Think about it for only a short while and its clear your example is pretty fucking asinine. A company can perfectly well be employed to monitor the loo when the loo door is unlocked, but not when I have my trousers down.
"You don't want to pay for the toilet. You don't want the company to sell your shit. You don't want the cameras and you complain if the cubical runs out of bog paper or someone left a floater. Not only that you'll also complain if the company closes the toilet cause it's unfinancial because it's your god given right to have free toilets."
"You're anonymous but not private. Learn the difference."
You don't know any of that about me or the extreme extent to which I am discriminating in the language and concepts I use. But one thing I can for sure say about you is you have said the above because you think its ok to put words in other people's mouths and then criticise them as though that is who they are. Since you think it's OK to paint inaccurate pictures of people and dole out "lessons" I'm going to go one better and having painted an accurate picture of you, dole out a well founded lesson. There is never, ever an excuse for doing that and, indeed, doing so just makes you a dick; dick.
Re: Thank you Google
"Is it just me or are some people dumb."
Yep they are. Google do not operate in a vacuum occupied by Google and their customer's alone. When they scan emails they can also build a profile for users emailing gmail users and also those who have never even sent email to a gmail user but whose emails have got captured in a conversation thread that has been. When Google read a users address book, they get the email addresses and contact details of users who don't use gmail. Their data-store analysis activity and the data they store itself have implications far beyond Gmail users. It has made Google one of the most powerful intelligence agencies on the planet. You have not been granted mandate to decide this is ok for all of us, because you think critics are "are dumb" and that Google should be allowed to continue un-examined and without criticism
Re: It's not a bug, it's a feature.
"Our encryption algorithm is so sneaky it's doing exactly what we said it would."
Another shameless sham of a security story by The Register. The data protection feature on the iPhone refers to the ability to switch on file system encryption, in which case the entire contents of the user directory in the underlying OS is encrypted. If you don't opt for data protection (it's an option in settings anyone can use - personally I don't bother) and jailbreak the device, then the filesystem is accessible just like it is on OSX, Linux and Windows and you can, duh, read your files that are stored there. The contents of the mail and personal files folders, including attachments, will be sitting there unencrypted, just as they are on your Linux machine, PC and Mac (though each of those likewise have disk encryption options). Outrageous huh !
Stories like this really show The Register up for what it is. Melodrama above truth every time.
Definition of closed:
mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android-silver.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git
fatal: Authentication failed
Re: Nothing that innovative coming, then
Exactly. The commentaries on this thread are so driven by fanboyism they either have no idea of computer history or are simply prepared to lie. It is the achievement Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniac were famous for and that set Steve Jobs on the sometimes rocky road to massive success. They launched the first home computer, plain and simple. Before that it was all electronics kits or machines costing $19,000. No one can present any counter examples or justify their counter claims because there are non and there are no counter claims that stand up to even cursory examination.
I know, I can still remember the moment the Apple II arrived like it was yesterday, staring longingly at through the window of my local electronics store. There is even a commenter above quoting the PCW 8256, which was launched in 1985 a full 8 years after the Apple II (the Apple I was made of wood to order and was never manufactured in bulk).
There were in fact two others launches in 77 after the Apple II but neither were as good. The other two other launches being the TRS-80 and the Commodore PET. The TRS-80 was the better of the two. The Commodore PET was hampered by an unimpressive text display resolution so low as to seriously compromise what it could be used for. Don't get me wrong, in those days any such machine with a CRT display output and that could be used for programming was legendary. My first computer was the ZX81, followed by the Oric1 and the Commodore 64.
Re: Nothing that innovative coming, then
@TomH "Apple has never been first to market with anything"
Apart from that inconsequential development in IT known as the Personal Computer. So, you know, there was that.
Re: Don't understand the fuss
If my memory serves me rightly, ET was released before it was scrapped. I have a memory of an ET sprite with the head moving independently of the body (an overlapping second sprite). I didn't buy it but remember seeing it quite well. Surely someone somewhere has a copy.
Of course eventually their end will come. The question is when. I think later rather than sooner. Here's why.
Apple are notable precisely for not falling victim to the Inventors dilemma. They have a history of being prepared to cannibalise their own markets and existing revenue streams. So, for example:
They switched entirely from PowerPC to Intel and didn't try to maintain a PowerPC line for the sake of backwards compatibility.
They launched the iPhone which cannibalised the iPod. They launched the iPad which they knew, if successful, would undercut MacBook sales (and has).
They released the MacBook Air at a lower price point than the MacBook Pro, knowing it was a superior solution for the majority of existing MacBook Pro users.
With hindsight it seems obvious they should have done these things because with hindsight it is obvious their strategy has lead them from strength to strength. However contrast with Microsoft to see how the innovators dilemma can have a real effect. Microsoft were not prepared to cannibalise Windows and now have a commercially under performing tablet/Windows frankenstein OS. They were not prepared to cannibalise Office so are hanging on to an outmoded business model where their feature advantage and user base is steadily being eroded. For the sake of avoiding disruption they have clung to the OOXML file format, which utilises highly normalised data (which doesn't work well for collaborative working because the data involves relationships criss crossing the whole of the document file and isn't isolated to a unit the user currently happens to be working in). And they are being undercut by ever more capable free offerings from Google and Apple, which, in both cases support collaboration (and have highly denormalised file formats). Sure they don't yet have feature parity, but especially where Apple iWork is concerned, the general structure of the UI is far simpler, easy to follow and more effective. Collaborative capability, and Web based access by any users go a long way to overturn Office dominance and many of the advanced features are becoming less and less relevant in this modern socially networked world where work is increasingly done in small collaborative chunks (often utilising focussed vertical apps on mobile devices rather than generalised Mallet to crack and egg solutions like Office), and utilisation of long Office documents is breaking down.
In truth a business Apple can be usefully compared with is Disney. Walt Disney instilled a set of principles in the company and most notably, instilled a quality ethic and the expectation they should drive for excellence. Those principles have stood the test of time (that's the thing about principles, they tend to be timeless, so do). Sure following Disney's death, it is no longer the company it was when he was alive. But the principles he instilled have helped it endure nevertheless. I think the world has yet to wake up to the fact inventiveness isn't required for those principles to be effective and stand the company in good stead. Because Apple are a secretive product company, the general public and analysts alike can't see where the next hit is coming from. But if you have a company occupying the space Apple occupy and hold on to ensuring principles, success will follow.
Pure inventiveness is the wrong measure. Invention has always stood on the shoulders of the giants who have come before anyway. Execute on principles organised around regard for user needs and priorities. Work hard to do that and sure as eggs are eggs,innovative products will follow. To corrupt a phrase, innovation is after all 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.
Perhaps you can tell me what BSD is for and who is allowed to use it. Just you? Just your chosen band of OSS evangelists? Or anyone who follows the rules, including Apple? You do know much of BSD used by Apple is a commercial product, which Apple licensed? You do know that using some elements of FreeBSD has meant, in accordance with the rules they publish and maintain the core of OSX, Darwin, as an open source project/ repository and that it is available to the world? The same as they made WebKit available to the world. Remind me not to buy any of your work product from you. You seem to think anyone who buys a license to use something on an ongoing basis, if they didn't invent it, should find their right to use relinquished (and if not just what is your complaint?)
As for Google and Rockstar, contributors to this thread are forgetting a few key facts:
1) Google also competed for the Nortel patents the Rockstar consortium purchased. They lost.
2) The Rockstar consortium proposed the risk of losing the patents was great enough that all interested parties were better off biding in them as a consortium, a consortium Google were invited to join, but they turned down the offer. My heart bleeds for them.
3) Google claim they are anti software patents, but at the same time as making these claims I didn't notice them abandoning their own software patents for Adwords and page ranking through link analysis: the very software patents their business was built on and that meant Yahoo had to abandon the Internet advertising lead they once held to Google. Oh of course, Yahoo could have just ignored Google's software patents and competed with an Adwords clone. After all, listen to what Google say now to client device users and doing so is absolutely fine and dandy. The simple reality is Google are fucking hypocrites playing to the gallery where they know the gallery isn't interested in *their* software patents because they cover server side tech. By all means, Google, be against software patents, just don't be hypocritical while you are making the claim. Google's attitude is and always has been, "What is mine, is mine and what is yours is my own."
Yes agreed, though as I have said, Apple don't disagree with the facts and their rebuttal of the logic of the findings is an interesting read. Most haven't shown the detail:
So the question for Apple raised in their appeal, is what qualifies as a price fixing cartel. The court agree the agency model they put forward is lawful. So presenting the agency model as a preferred option, even if done so strongly, is not alone sufficient to say they behaved as part of a price fixing cartel. So the question was over the manner of the renegotiation to the agency model and if the publishers took co-ordinated action to force it on Amazon. Apple's argument is preferring to use the model does not make them culpable for forcing it on Amazon, it was the publishers choice to do that: and there is no evidence they took coercive action targeting Amazon and it can only be seen to be targeting them *because they were 90% of the market* - which, coming from the Anti-Trust authority, is not a good argument ! That logic also seems reasonable enough. They can't be convicted just for being happy to see the result.
They also go on to point out that though the agency model saw a rise in the price of new release books (which were priced at levels that other publishers could not match and used by Amazon to undercut competitors), it resulted in the price of books overall going down. It is reasonable to conclude that this was because for the first time, Amazon had effective competition for Ebooks. The data supports that and indeed that rather seems to back up that it is Amazon who are applying unreasonable market power. If simply the price of new releases went up that couldn't be said but that prices overall went down is very revealing of the dynamic at play.
Here's a more detailed write-up than the average:
- Asteroid's SHOCK DINO MURDER SPREE just bad luck - boffins
- BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
- Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
- Review You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
- FTC to mobile carriers: If you could stop text scammers being jerks that'd be just great