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* Posts by Mending

269 posts • joined 12 Mar 2012

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Reg hack fondles a sexy Pro: An Apple MacBook 13in with Retina display

Mending

I think he was comparing it to Windows 8.0

Which is about the only flattering comparison I can think of.

But seriously now, this is insane. You buy a nice MacBook Pro and install Windows 8 on it?

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Mending

Do not buy stock configuration, whatever you do

The graphics situation I can live with, but shipping 4GB RAM on the entry-level models is a huge blunder. It really hits their capability to handle running lots of browser tabs when more than one wants to have a loaded flash video, and that's something I do every day. It's like that situation a couple of years back when they were pretending 64GB was a serious entry-level SSD capacity. These laptops are born with a short lifespan unless you pay £80 and get a BTO option.

Frankly, the other issue is price premium-it's a lot over the 2013 Airs, which are trickling down into Apple's refurbished line up very fast now. If you do accept 4GB you can get an 11" Air from this year for £720 right now, so the premium on a vaguely pro Mac is about £300. £400 if you want a Retina display. You might as well save that, sell the Air next year and cash in for whatever shiny they've come up with buy then.

Personally, my Christmas purchase of a spare laptop looks set to be an old Thinkpad off Gumtree and an extra couple of GB RAM.

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iPHONE 5c FACTORY SHUTDOWN: Foxconn 'halts' mobe rebrand op

Mending

Yellow seems to be fine with Nokia

Well, I rather like Nokia's yellow phones. They look bright in a utilitarian way, like a piece of outdoor survival equipment that's designed to show up brightly if you drop it. Now, I agree that colour of green looks boring. And as for pink, well...

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LG’s G2: The phondleslab that wants you to TOUCH ITS BEHIND

Mending

"Now it's all possible"

'Now it's all possible' is the ad slogan here in the UK, and it's referring to...having the volume control on the back not the side. Great. Am I the only person that saw photos of this and thought the rear controls were a sliding cover over the camera? I would actually have been up for that.

Finally, YouTube informs me this is the default ringtone. Anyone used it who knows if it's really this bad?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQKLGrHje3s

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'Burning platform' Elop: I'd SLASH and BURN stuff at Microsoft, TOO

Mending

Re: Where's the roadmap?

Yes, but the Ribbon was an attempt to make the UI better.

Metro was a desperate attempt to create a touchscreen UI that wasn't just a ripoff of iOS, and then backport it to Windows to make all Microsoft products look like a family. In other words, a creation of blind panic.

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Mending

The odds of Microsoft ever bothering to develop Office for non-Android Linux are zero.

I mean, why bother? Most people who switched to Linux did so because they hate Microsoft.

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Mending

"Even home users would be tempted by an offer of continued support for £10-£15 per year (which is what a system builder OEM license for a Home edition costs over 5 years) because very few people enjoy the process of changing machines especially when there is a new UI to learn."

Microsoft do have training people, but that would require them to completely redevelop their business. They'd basically have to merge with an IT consultancy (maybe even a big one like Accenture or Capgemini, or buying out a division of someone like Serco or Capita) to get the manpower. The regulatory issues would be a nightmare. And even then, consumers would probably reject it. Is paying the money worth it if all you get is phone support from some guy in Bangalore reading a script at you?

I'm sure Microsoft could basically fire all their developers, ice Windows 8.1 as it is and sell it for years to come as a legacy, EOL'd project for a nominal sum for years to come. But that's not how they see themselves. They want to stay the biggest company in the world.

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Mending

Where's the roadmap?

Not entirely stupid. Selling off those divisions would net them a bit of money. I'm sure some idiot would be prepared to pay for them.

But it's clear Microsoft have run out of ideas, or at least are too scared of changing Office to ever implement any. (To be fair, the amount of whinging they got when they added the ribbon probably deterred them - but then I'm one of the four people who actually likes it, so I would say that...) From now on, it's subscriptions not selling software, holding your data hostage on their servers, and giving up on anything ever coming to make Office better. Oh, and handing your data to the NSA. They know they have no improvements to Office in the pipeline anyone would pay to upgrade to.

It's not fit for business users, but I'm excited about Apple making iWork free, with no uploading your data to Apple's servers. If anything could make Microsoft realise that they need to make Office easier to use and more predictable, it's that.

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Calling all PSYCHICS and ball-gazers: Can YOU predict a Microsoft strategy?

Mending

This is kind of academic

Office for Windows Mobile/Phone has always been feature-stripped - that's kind of to be expected, the advanced maths functions would level a phone processor - and I don't know of a single business considering buying into Windows RT.

I don't blame Microsoft for moving slowly, either. Apple just tried to rearchitect iWork into one unified codebase for iOS and OS X and it's not going great (basically they released it with loads of features missing - though to be fair the OS X update left you the previous versions in case you need them) and Office is way more complicated than that.

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Google and Samsung bare teeth in battle for LANDFILL ANDROID™

Mending

Android is becoming Google Phone

I've seen people online say that a problem with porting KitKat to the Galaxy Nexus was that Texas Instruments (who made the chipset) have quit smartphones. Doesn't exactly sound like an insurmountable obstacle, though.

There's great coverage on Ars Technica by Ron Amadeo about how Google are taking over android - basically the plan is to close-source as many goodies as possible and keep them for 'true Android' - they're still free for anyone making a true Android phone, but not for Android fork merchants. And many Android APIs for web services - in-app purchases and the like - depend on Google now.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/googles-iron-grip-on-android-controlling-open-source-by-any-means-necessary/

For me, on a Nexus 4, this isn't a huge problem yet, but it's alarming. I think my next phone might well be an iPhone, since it still has Google services if I need them, but Apple seem much less interested in grabbing all my data.

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Mending

Re: Comparison of openness

My reason for preferring Android is it feels more productive. It's easier to transfer stuff from one app to another - you just highlight what you want, hit share and choose the app you want to move it to - widgets mean I can quickly look at my e-mail, calendar and news in a few swipes across the homescreens. It also has SwiftKey, which is absolutely stunning. Utter magic.

The flip side is it's controlled by Google, who want to grab all your data. I've disabled most of the hooks like keeping a record of search history with my name attached, switching to Opera Mini and so on...

Also, many of these advantages are cancelled out for me by the fact that even my Nexus 4 has a truly laughable camera, rubbish plasticky edges and a totally uncalibrated screen. I suspect my next phone will be an iPhone. I'll have to use swiftkey in a separate note app, but I think I can live with that.

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Mending

Nexus 4 owner here - caveat emptor

It has major build quality issues. The camera is truly rubbish. The screen is very obviously inaccurate. The fake chrome edges wear away very fast. The glass back was a huge mistake. (I've been lucky so far, but who knows?) The battery life is depressing, though Android 4.3 did seem to make life a bit better.

The Nexus 5 appears to fix many of these issues, though obviously nobody's had long to look at it yet. If you want the best Android there is, I'd wait. I'm with you on killing carrier phones, though - one reason I bought the Nexus 4 was it gave me a way out. None of these things are show-stoppers (and it is great value given the performance and screensize), but they're all annoying. As I hate OEM Android, I'm considering switching to iPhone - for all Apple's flaws, they do get hardware right.

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Circling the RIM: BB10 becomes chamber of horrors for BlackBerry

Mending

Blackberry should have released BB10 before the Playbook

I'm convinced that was what killed them. All new OSs take time to become great, and they released the niche variant first.

If they'd released BB10 phones in early 2012, they'd have had that extra year to iterate before the Galaxy S III became a huge hit.

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Apple beckons fanbois back into its golden era... of, er, 2010

Mending

Please, Apple, think these things through

I'm an unashamed fanboi and this is probably great for most consumers, but seriously why did they have to spring this on developers? Would it really have hurt to announce to developers that this was going to happen? That they were suddenly going to have lots of one-star reviews as people downloading apps to old devices found they didn't dial home properly?

Isn't this the kind of thing Apple holds a massive developers conference to tell people about?

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Apple to uncloak new iPads, iMacs at October 15 event?

Mending

I think making the Surface toast would suit Apple just fine

I've posted about this below, but a bigger iPad would tell me one thing-that Apple are gunning for the market of Windows 8 tablets: people interested in using large tablets for document viewing, graphics and productivity in general. Makes sense in a way, if you can't or won't compete on price with Android and there's a rather inept competitor targeting the high end above you it must seem reasonable to target their market next. And Apple's huge graphic designer fan base would be very interested.

Snag is that many of those users want two apps running at the same time or one running in the background all the time with meaningful processor consumption like a data processing engine. iOS 7.5 with mini-apps like a music player or a news feed on the side of the screen like Windows 8, anyone?

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Mending

Ideas? Well, here's my wishlist

Macs running ARM? It's a nice idea, but it's unrealistic. Too much legacy software. No decent emulator. And Apple show every sign of commitment to Intel, especially releasing those Haswell MBAs with an insane 10 hour battery life. That's not the act of a company preparing to flee to ARM. Apple haven't decided to restrain Mac graphics power and optimise for battery life, they're heading for Retina everything. The big mystery is when they have the manufacturing capacity to start releasing Retina iMacs.

As for an iPad laptop-possible. Very possible, now Apple have made iWork free on new iThings-they clearly want to keep the iPad in as a business productivity device and not just a consumption and games machine. But would it really be better than a keyboard case? Wouldn't most people want to be able to use the tablet unit without a big heavy keyboard attached all the time? Wouldn't the kind of person who wants a laptop want to have two things open a lot of the time? It sounds like a distinctly niche product.

Here's my theory/hope: Apple invading the big-screen premium business-class tablet market. It's currently only served by Windows 8 computers, many of which have very iffy build quality and a very limited number of good touchscreen apps. A 15" iPad, especially with the ability to run mini-apps like a music player or a twitter client in a column down the side, could be awesome for people like designers wanting a drawing tablet with a screen and doctors wanting to look at scans.

Other than that: this seems like a very good date to spoil Google's launch of Android 4.4. Sweet dreams, chaps...

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BlackBerry: It's the end-to-endness, stupid

Mending

Meego is dead

"Why should they "reboot" with Android when they had a much better linux-based OS?"

It's dead, Jim. Accept that. Gone for good, sorry. Scrapping WP8 and choosing a platform with no apps, no developer engagement? Scrapping the ad campaigns that are at least generating growth? Even if the result was better, the Osborne effect alone would kill them. Nokia's cash flow isn't enough to support a six-month sales gap.

I don't care how much better than WP8 it was, launching it now, again, would be suicidal.

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Mending

They should try to hold on

I think, in retrospect, their big mistake was the Playbook. They had the time and the team and expertise to develop one modern touchscreen platform at a time, and they did a tablet one first. If they'd finished BB10 and not the Playbook OS in 2011, this could have been a very different story. I suppose, like everyone else, they didn't get how totally in danger their core market was. But hindsight's always 20/20.

As for plan-changing, I'm not convinced. BB10 is finished. It's not great, but it exists. It runs. People are developing apps for it. Blackberry can't afford to fork Android into a super-secure version-they don't have time, they don't have the budget. If I were them, I'd say the only option would be to hold on and try to recruit top sales people in individual countries where they have a foothold. And maybe hire whoever out there has developed good apps for BB10, and get them to generate further developer engagement. Same with Nokia, sadly-I think going with WP may have been a mistake, but do they really have the cashflow to shut themselves down and reboot with Android models? (Though that said, maybe they should beg for a bailout from Google? To compete with Samsung? It's a thought.)

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Chubby-chasing SEX TROLLS ran me offline, says fashion blogger

Mending

Well, obviously, a lot of these people are nonsense. But trolling has regularly got up to rape threats against women journalists in the past in the UK.

And if they've gone that far, frankly, it's more fun not to ignore them. If someone threatened me with rape, even if they were fat spotty scum living on the other side of the country who couldn't catch me if I gave them a hundred metre headstart, I wouldn't want them doing it to someone else, I'd want them getting a criminal record. Is that wrong?

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Wikipedians say no to Jimmy's 'buggy' WYSIWYG editor

Mending

Re: does not work

Citation with the new system is staggeringly bad. I really don't get why-the old cite web/cite book forms were actually very user-friendly indeed, and could easily have been reimplemented in the new system without confusing anyone.

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Mending

I think the visual editor should be available all users for simple stuff like minor text edits-that's faster on the visual editor if you have a modern PC, since no need to find the text you want to change inside the markup language console. For adding a lot of links, the old format is often faster since you can add them in typing, but if you can't remember exactly what the article you want to link to is called, the new way with its search function is more intuitive-you don't need to open another tab to check what exactly the article you want to link to is called. Pretty much standard text editor/GUI swings and roundabouts-they haven't reinvented the wheel.

As you say, letting people make major changes in the visual editor would be a disaster, though I'm convinced that it is the future, especially to get participation from people who don't really grok markup languages.

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Mending

Baby Steps

It's not great, honestly. But...it feels like the future. It really does. It's more user-friendly and simpler for novices in general (though the citation system is a piece of garbage). I think it will make it less complicated to use Wikipedia in the end, but no lie, it's a beta product right now. I use it for simple edits normally, but for complex ones I go back to markup.

(I'm a registered wikipedia user but have no engagement with the Wikipedia community on anything, so I don't have a stake in this.)

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Police probe IDIOTIC Twitter bomb threats slung at journalists

Mending

Stupid?

If some scumbag threatened me with having my house blown up for having the nerve to express my opinion about who should be on British banknotes while being a woman (I'm not a woman), I'd want to ruin their life as extensively and publicly as possible. So yes, I would call the police in.

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Mending

For all you fine young men out there thinking of trying this

Let me assure you that I'm a real expert at using computers and if you install AdBlock Pro there's no hope of them finding you. Right, everyone?

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British computing pioneer James Martin found dead in Bermuda sea

Mending

Worked at Oxford in admin during the time when the Martin School was being set up

My first job after uni, in fact. Smart guy, and very keen to make the future happen. Look at what the Martin School's doing, and you'll be impressed.

Never met him (talked to his PA a lot, though), but this really saddened me.

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Stock dips as fanbois complain of dodgy Wi-Fi on MacBook Air

Mending

You need to buy refurbished

That can normally get you a good 20% off if you wait for the right moment. Still comes with warranty.

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Report: Android malware up 614% as smartphone scams go industrial

Mending

If your phone is open anyone can get in

I own a Nexus 4 because many aspects of Android make me more productive, but the app situation is a nightmare. I would not recommend Android to anybody without a decent understanding of how computers and viruses work, ever. Assuming it was in a padded case with a screen protector and someone was popping in every now again, I'd be very comfortable giving an iPad to a four year-old.

This is why I scream whenever people suggest that iOS gets the ability to switch default browser or mail client or keybord or whatever-it's a nice idea but Apple have all but said they can't find a way to make it work with acceptable security given their status as a mass-market company selling products to people who are a menace to themselves.

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Mending

I blame Google

Google Play is a joke. I realise checking apps is difficult but Google chose to set themselves up in business on this. Their Europe headquarters is in Dublin-if they offered jobs sifting through all the scamware at £6 an hour they'd have a queue of takers a hundred yards long. Not good enough. I own an Android phone and an iPad, but I barely have any apps on my phone besides repackaging of a couple of web services I trust.

The other problem is the level of scamware that needs to see my location, calendar, contacts list and the like. I appreciate that Google tells people about this when they select apps to install but that seems more like a copout-the options settings on my Nexus 4 for restricting what apps can look at are barely existent. It's like Google aren't just running a spyware company, they're enabling scamware all round.

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Icelandic biz baron: 'I have a private jet waiting in China for Snowden'

Mending

Private jet standing by

Am I the only person reminded of the beginning of Inception?

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Microsoft Office 365 on iPhone NOW: No, we're not making this up

Mending

I guess it depends on whether you want Microsoft to be a competently run company or not

I'm sure Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Tim Cook, the PS4 team and the founders of Skype love him to bits. But unlike Nokia they don't depend on Microsoft for the future.

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Mending
Mushroom

Office for iPhone will destroy Nokia

If I worked at a company that focuses on selling Windows Phones, I would be coming after Steve Ballmer with a chainsaw today.

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Mending

The rules are there has to be no payup option Apple don't get a cut of

My guess is unless you have an account it just shows you a login screen forever. No way is Microsoft letting Apple get any Office 365 subscription money.

But seriously, what? Why no big launch? They can't seriously think keeping this quiet will save Windows 8, can they?

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Apple: iOS7 dayglo Barbie makeover is UNFINISHED - report

Mending

I hated early Aqua

It just looked excessive, and the stripes were just absurd. I've really liked Apple's progression in general UI-Leopard and Lion both did a good job at smoothing things down.

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Mending

Knocked together too fast

Basically Apple redesigned the interface of the most popular mobile phone skin in seven months. That's a tall order, and I'm not too surprised they needed to draft in extra help-remember Apple's marketing team aren't exactly amateurs at graphic design themselves. It looks better now (better than my Nexus 4, I think, and much friendlier than WP8) but I'm glad they admit it's not finished.

I think they messed up on planning and forgot that people would focus on the home screen. The apps inside look very nice but the home screen really does look unfinished. There's a good blog article on this by Matt Gemmell, comparing screenshots of a range of apps look like with iOS 6, and it's definitely to iOS 7's advantage.

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Interwebs taunt Sir Jony over Apple eye candy makeover

Mending

This has been hacked together in seven months

That's when they fired Forstall.

I'm overall quite pleased-for a rushed piece of work it looks very promising and it makes iOS 6 look very old hat. It's a bit rough but I've got the good kind of excitement.

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Mending

She says she likes it!

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Mending

Not perfect, but an improvement

Look past the home screen and a lot of it looks very good-a lot less cluttered, very clear and emphasising fonts, obviously been looking closely at Metro-but they annoying thing is it's better than Metro, it's so much less heavy.

Looking at it, my iPad looks pretty clunky now and my Nexus 4 looks a lot less sophisticated (though the improvements from Gingerbread to Jelly Bean have been amazing-apparently Google grabbed basically the entire webOS design team and I can believe it). I can't wait.

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Apple at WWDC: Sleek new iOS, death of the big cats, pint-sized Mac Pro

Mending

But the annoying thing is it's what Windows Phone should have been

Windows Phone is just ugly. To me at least. Black screen and solid black rectangles, all the same colour. It's like an experiment gone a bit too far, or maybe a really austere skin.

And seriously, Samsung need to get some better designers. I know they have them, I have some awesome live wallpapers designed by them on my Nexus 4.

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Mending

G5 iMacs were a bit of a disaster

See eggfreckles (blog by a former Mac store senior worker)-apparently repairing customers' inept repairs was a nightmare. He's convinced the experience left Apple determined to seal in everything and bring all repairs into their stores.

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Surprise! Republican bill adds politics to science funding

Mending
FAIL

Let me guess

He wants the US to drop climate research, drop malaria research and research how humans and spend more money on research into just how God created the world in seven days.

Oh, and he probably wants to stop research into gerrymandering, given the perfectly logical shape of the district he represents:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Texas.21st.Congressional.District.gif

(It's created to dilute the political power of San Antonio, a very liberal city, as much as possible.)

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Apple's next OS X said to be targeted at 'power users'

Mending

It's a 1980s feature

Everyone else has explained this here, but one of the things I like about Apple is their determination to make everything as logical as possible, and as legacy-free, for people starting to use computers and Macs today. The new 'duplicate' command feels weird, but it really does make more sense than 'Save As' which doesn't have the graphical cue that you're splitting the file into two differently-named copies which can diverge from each other.

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Mending

Launchpad is actually a pretty sensible idea for novice users

Macs didn't really have a start menu to open apps you haven't already got pinned to your dock before-only opening the applications folder or typing out the name in spotlight. (When I first used a friend's Mac-this would have been early OS X era-I got completely confused thinking the Apple icon was the start menu.) Launchpad fixes that nicely. I mostly open apps from Spotlight now since I like to have a very empty dock, but if I was a novice mac user starting today I'd appreciate it.

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Mending

I'm a power user and I like skeuomorphism

Well, not the Calendar, admittedly. Nobody likes that. But I liked the richness of the design in iOS when I first saw it, the feeling that I was reading an enchanted scrapbook that shifted as I moved my fingers over it and not just another kind of computer. It felt fun, like playtime. (Bundling Winnie The Pooh with the first iPads to show of the book-reader with a genius decision, it had me smitten from the start.) I really hope they don't lost that in the redesign.

The features rumoured for OS X sound great, but I wish they'd let me cut files, move somewhere else, and paste. Simple feature I miss from windows.

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Gnome cofounder: Desktop Linux is a CHERNOBYL of FAIL

Mending

Not user friendly

When it works, it's great. I would say that-because of driver issues, and Microsoft's greater resources-it hasn't been given a fair shake.

Fragmentation is the greater issue-though I like it in many ways, I wish Ubuntu had gone with GNOME3 and not Unity.

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Ubuntu 13.04 beta touts search privacy - before it hooks in eBay, IMDb etc

Mending

Because Canonical have never made a profit, ever

Canonical are burning money and need to do something about it. I don't urgently blame them for this-anyone who cares can turn it off.

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Apple 'insider' explains why vid adapter hides ARM computer

Mending

Re: Updates will be available

It'd happen silently-every time you plug the adapter into an iThing the iThing pushes the latest firmware onto it.

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Mending

This was really stupid

Having created a smaller port, they find they can't send 1080p video over it. So:

a) outputting from an iPad to a TV means horrible video quality

b) You can't use an old dock-to-hdmi and a new lightning-to-old dock adapter together, even though some Apple stores have claimed you can.

c) expensive adapters

I actually like Lightning on my iPad 4, and this isn't relevant to me since I don't connect it to a TV, but I bet this means Lightning has a very short lifespan-there's no way it'll be able to do 4K when that arrives.

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Review: Livin' in the cloud with Google's new Chromebook Pixel

Mending

The long run

Here's Google's other pitch, I think: people who grew up with chromebooks. Not now, but in the future.

So here's how it works: you're fourteen now. You need a first laptop. Your parents bought you a chromebook, because it was cheap, low-maintenance and backed up everything you did to a Google data centre. You grow up using Google apps for everything.

Three years go by. Google Documents gets better and better, offering more and more of Office's features for free-certainly all the ones you can imagine using. Google's Photoshop competitor doesn't offer everything, but it's good enough. You build up piles of files-saved webpages, homework, photos-all on Google's servers. Suddenly you're having to pay Google to store it all.

You're seventeen now and have a summer job. You can afford a first 'serious' laptop that will see you through university. You could buy Windows, but while you use it in school you don't know it well. You could buy a Mac, but you've never used one of them either. You've always used a chromebook. You'd like to have every photo you ever take backed up to a Google server, but that's pricey.

You get a Chromebook Pixel 2016. You know the system, and with 8TB storage for the laptop's likely lifetime (by now), it's a bargain-that's a decade's worth of photos and stored content. Heck, if you ever want a proper OS, you can still install Ubuntu on it. You probably won't, though.

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Mending

Special use, but...

Here's how I see Google's pitch with this: if you're a sysadmin considering switching a company to chromebooks, this is the laptop the CEO gets. It's a demonstration of commitment to ChromeOS's future, more than a laptop Google actually expect to make a profit on or make massive sales with.

And ChromeOS is catching up, you can even get IDEs for it, for heavens' sake. (Why anyone would develop on one I have no idea, but I suppose it makes more sense than doing same on an iPad, which I'm assured happens.)

One comment by many Apple bloggers: it's a neat way of proving Apple aren't so special. Google, in one jump, have basically built themselves their own Retina MacBook Pro, though they probably make a loss on them. Apple's chances of offering online services as good as Google's? Zero. So if Google can make using Google online services on a chromebook more luxurious than doing same on any other computer, they've at the very least probably blown cheaper Windows laptops out of the water.

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Groupon CEO Mason sent packing as shares continue to plummet

Mending

I have to admire his honesty

He seems to have been a crap CEO running a joke of a business, but that resignation letter is the most honest admission of personal failings I've seen in a long time. I wonder what working for him was like.

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