* Posts by David Black

93 posts • joined 13 Jul 2007

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How much of ONE YEAR's Californian energy use would WIPE OUT the DROUGHT?

David Black

Isn't this just a case of parasitic capitalism where the large agri-business are feeding off the public infrastructure without sufficient compensation. Impose higher taxes for water usage by farmers or production duties on their crops and you have the funding. Sure some farmers would stop producing and their costs of operation rise but that would then correctly incentivize others in more water rich areas to compete.

As for location... Well there are quite a few fugly blights already on the California coast, simply co-locate or alternatively use some of the vast amounts of land given over to the military bases for public good.

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Interested in building 'community' Mr Corporation? Please swipe here

David Black

Sadly the management and operation of many foundations is highly questionable too. There are a few with highly motivated and driven individuals who are awesome but many are populated with the dross from the product management and marketing departments formerly of the large "contributing" vendors, consuming large salaries with little justification. They then drift from one foundation to the next, spreading their little knowledge very thin for great reward.

Maybe there should be a code contribution threshold for being on the foundation gravy train payroll.

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Nissan Juke Nismo RS: Family hot-hatch SUV that looks a bit like Darth Vader's hat

David Black

Re: What about the increasingly vertical frontal aspect

You have the Internet and I'm fairly confident you could go find a decent source. But I would say that the progressive improvement of pedestrian safety (including children) is a massive leap forward in the last couple of decades (originally pioneered by Volvo). While those frontages may look more aggressive, they are MUCH softer and crumple friendly. Speaking as someone who has had his skull shattered by a vehicle (white transit if you must know), it's close to my heart and the response from regulators and vehicle manufacturers is fairly decent and progressive. Commercial vehicles are still a joke though and account for around half of head injury pedestrian fatalities when they actually make up less than 5% of all traffic.

If you don't believe me, bend over and run head first as fast as you can into a selection of stationary vehicles. 4x4s, saloon, sports, or convertible cars, even motorcycles... go for it, but I guarantee the one that'll hurt most is the ambulance you'll need :)

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Security world chuckles at Hacking Team’s 'virus torrent' squeals

David Black

Re: Starts to get sinister:

You mean when one unsafe conviction gets overturned on illegal evidence? I always had my doubts about "owning" of child pron materials on a machine as I'm sure most commentards here do... it is just so easy to plant through soooo many routes and this just proves the point.

I have no truck with kiddy diddlers but knacker finds it much easier to go "there's a PC, it has child porn on, you're knicked kiddy diddler" and the jury and courts agree pretty much unquestioningly. Rather than gathering the evidence from the vulnerable victims about the vile acts most likely committed by a family friend or relative (this descends into brutal disragard for those victims if they are in our care system). If all these "cyber crimes" are seen as a bit unsafe in terms of conviction, maybe the cops might go back and do that nasty police work and really help victims rather than just add to the puddle of human misery.

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EU threesome promises good times for data protection reform

David Black

Isn't the easiest and most efficient model just to create a market in your personal data, standardize it and that data about you always belongs to you and use of it must involve a monetary exchange? Want google's services... €99 but hey if you give us your personal information we'll give you a rebate:

search history - €25

gmail access - €25

maps/location data - €25

all other services - €24

Then we can actually chose who does of doesn't rape our personal information and we always have an opt-out right. Hey, if we're particualrly well connected, with lots of friends/followers, we might even make a buck or two just for existing :)

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Cops turn Download Festival into an ORWELLIAN SPY PARADISE

David Black

Facial recognition

There is a little irony that the best defence against the facial recognition is wearing the niqab... maybe part of a government scheme to get us all converted to Islam then tag us all as potential Islamic terrorists.

I hate festivals that impose all of this crap around your own booze and gate your movements across the site. V was the first to go batshit crazy plenty of others followed and now it seems Download has gone to a surreal new level. Festivals used to be about having fun but now it is about corporate identity rape and festival go-ers chatting senselessly through the acts and just posting endless selfies and never hearing or seeing a thing. Look at me, I'm having fun...

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So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

David Black

Re: However...

Thumbs up for that too and maybe an explanation of how the state owned companies of other states are so keen to own our former state owned companies... that has never made much sense to me.

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Encryption is the REAL threat – Head Europlod

David Black

de Boise principle

If you can't capture and convict on a crime, move the definition of the crime closer to regular behaviour. Clearly the next step here is to extend the law and prosecute those who use encrypted comms as terrorists.

So many examples of this with everything from speeding (we enshrine the right not to self-incriminate but we made a crime of failing to disclose the driver) to nasty porn laws (rightly designed to protect victims but now covering cartoons and illustration... I'm guessing Rolf Harris proves the point).

Strangely such ambiguous and wide-ranging extensions of laws rarely impact the ruling elite (no general "financial manipulation" law?) and are only applied to the masses.

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3 spectastic Lumias for price of 1 rival flagship: Microsoft sells biz on cheapie experience

David Black

One for the kids

I been handed a new Windows Phones every year for the past 3 from our Corporate IT team and I tried really hard with 7.5 and 8 to like it but it is just that long list of niggles that reminds me of the old days of smartphones where it is just so nearly awesome but not quite. So I pass my annual new device on to my ex (lawyer - they never update anything, still running XP and old blackberries) and she gets by just fine - she mostly uses her phone for, amazingly, calls and texts. But though our young daughter likes the live tiles and the easy to use interface, she just hates the apps and wants her mother to get an iphone.

Decent kit with decent price points makes it VERY appealing for a young audience but poor app support and no imessage (I know, I hate that proprietary lock-in too) probably doesn't make the sale.

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YOU. Your women are mine. Give them to me. I want to sell them

David Black

Surely someone round here could reverse engineer the ContentID algo and create an "auto-violater" content creator that will trip the engine but would be so obviously different to human viewers. Make it easy to generate violating content and render the engine useless and they'll improve the engine or end the insanity (hopefully).

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Microsoft just saved Windows Phone... Now stop whining

David Black

Or you could pick-up a 4 year-old Nokia N8 for £30 on ebay... superb HDMI output and a great built-in camera... odd that the burnt platform's replacement still never quite got there.

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David Black

Yep, Nokia always sold MANY more low-end candybar phones when it had the impressive looking communicators on the shelves... "Want one one of those sir?" "er, yes but I only have 40 quid so give me a 5110".

Complete mystery as to why MS don't see the importance of a low selling high-end flagship.

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David Black

Nice article, just wonder if it really needed to be Windows for that "featurephone" world.

Guess I'll always wonder what could've been without Elop burning his platform and chucking Nokia in the bin.

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Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

David Black

Removable batteries?

Doesn't it seem somewhat obvious to just make the battery removable? You'd pull in to whatever equivalent of a filling station would be... stop over a unit that unclips your current battery, clips on a new one, charges you for the capacity you now have and you drive away... could take less time than a current fill up.

Sure batteries would need to be standardised but we accept that for our fuel today and all that infrastructure. Stations could then charge the batteries when power demand was lower and have the option of solar during the day charging. No nonsense with millions of charging points everywhere you'd want to park a car.

Current limits would be on cost as at present the battery and its tech development probably make up about a third the price of the car... If there were ways of drawing this closer to the actual material costs (and we actually focused research on driving cost of battery down, not capacity up) then a pack could be circa low hundreds (you could just go lead and acid to be real cheap!) so storing and charging lots wouldn't be an insane cost for the filling station. If you could swap the battery in 10 secs, you wouldn't care so much about range, enough not to be constantly interrupting, but not so much to make the battery cost too high. 150-200 miles would work, particularly with doing your own overnight drip feeds where possible.

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REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control

David Black

I suspect it's not a great discussion to participate in on a public forum. Though I too am somewhat curious, it's more likely to have me wearing orange and eating my dinner through my arse than generate intelligent public scrutiny of how a system's vulnerability could be harnessed in a dangerous way and what could be done to mitigate it.

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David Black

Re: Failure rates

Technically because of the limited lifetime of physical components and their probability to fail characterised by MTBF then the longer you have gone without a failure, the more likely one becomes. As someone who was stuck on my own with a small child to amuse from 3pm to 11pm at the boarding gate (the shitiest wasteland of an airport) I'd love to know who to strangle.

Also, given the massive increase in electronic devices, why do airports have so few power sockets anywhere? There was only 1 (until the revolting passengers also started unplugging the seemingly pointless flight information screens) outlet for a room designed to hold about 400 people.

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Yotaphone 2: The two-faced pocket-stroker with '100 hours' batt life

David Black

Re: Brazil, China, Japan, Finland, France, Korea, Mexico, Russia, TaiWan, ISA can, so why can't ...

Well when I worked for Vertu we seemed to be doing all that.

We often do a lot and don't have much recognition in the UK, like most of Nokia's design and Symbian for software were all UK and could be argued led the mass-market to smartphones.

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France KICKS UK into THIRD PLACE for public Wi-Fi hotspots

David Black

Re: Not my experience

Thanks for the explanation... did wonder why it was so hard to find a cafe or bar with any sort of "public" wifi.

I'm not sure of the network affiliates... that wasn't at all clear when I was there and the login hangs were a thing of legend. Cheap 3G SIM and hope for signal was the best bet :)

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David Black

Not my experience

Spent quite a lot of traveling time in slightly more rural France over the summer and I can honestly say that finding a wifi hotspot was rare and finding a free one near impossible. Most of the wifi were tied to a telco provider and you need to be a landline customer to use them so for the people who'd benefit most (cheapskate tourists like me) then it's a waste. On the other hand in the US, I find lots of free wifi in most locations where there are buildings and grab a free ride and Skype til my hearts content. In the UK it's somewhere between the two. Only anecdotal I know and YMMV but the report isn't really about the human benefit.

One other point should be landmass coverage... it doesn't matter that I have 200 accessible wifi points here in London right now, I'm only using one, but finding a single one in the cafe in Tomintoul was much more valuable and it was the only one for many, many, many miles.

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Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author

David Black

Dead horse still getting flogged

I think that for shareholder value, OPK was probably about the worst CEO... he oversaw an Enron like collapse of the share price.

The Elop memo that killed Symbian was cruel and unusual at the time and probably did wipe out the last European phone OS at a stroke. I only wish there was a little more precision though, even these guys seem to mix the Nokia S60 UI (which was a dog) with the Symbian platform (odd, frustrating but effective). The idea that putting touch on Symbian was a ridiculous idea doesn't make sense as UIQ and numerous others were already doing it quite well (even before the iPhone)... putting touch on S60... ah, well.

Anyway, time has passed, we can all laugh about it now.

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Please work for nothing, Mr Dabbs. What can you lose?

David Black

Smiles

There are too few of them in the world... I can't make a money grabbing corporation smile but I can make my 83 year old neighbour who'd just lost all her pics of her great grandkids (win 8.1 remapped the pictures folder). No whisky, no marmalade, just the biggest smile ever.

Life's too short,

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Technology is murdering customer service - legally

David Black

Re: Do I have to talk to someone

As a Glaswegian, I resemble that insightful comment :)

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David Black

Do I have to talk to someone

I must confess to hating phoning and talking to people about my problem(s)... maybe I'm just autistic spectrum or something but I really like just doing it myself and sorting my own shit out. Phoning a friendly but 99.9% useless person, labouring through my various issues only to get a "oh, I'm not sure" response just makes me feel crappy. I even avoided getting much needed knee surgery for 5 years as I had to phone up the private health insurance company for "authorization" at every step in the process. 6 months ago they replaced it with an onlne system, and bingo, surgery 4 weeks later :)

I'm sure I'm not alone. Human interaction with people who don't know or care for you is highly overrated and a bit "phony" (pardon the awful pun).

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Is this photo PROOF a Windows 7 Start Menu is coming back?

David Black

Re: Someone must be blind to think thats a Window 7 Start Menu

You didn't design Visual Basic 1.0 did you? Seems suspiciously familiar to that 90s paradigm of every current selection filling the screen and lots of blanking inbetween.

Context switching is a bad thing for concentration and part of the reason for overlays is to let you retain your visual reference and enable your brain to focus on a limited subset of information delta. It's probably even more vital as screen sizes are heading upwards and the idea of frequently swapping the entire field of view could be regarded as a form of torture. On a 9" tablet, not such a big deal, but that's always where Win 8 seemed to belong.

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FLIGHTMARE! Inflight cell calling debuts, dealing heavy blow to quality of life

David Black

Re: Not a "debut"

Glad soeone mentioned that, I thought I dreamt it myself. I guess the "problem" they are solving for is that the Virgin picocells aren't licensed for use in US airspace so when you get over the Atlantic, they actually switch them off which depending on routing can be 3+h before you land. Sure just fixing the licensing might be a better option.

Great service though and my 15 second call did get my cat fed :)

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Ohh! The PRECIOUS! Give it to uss. We WANTS it: Shiny iThings coming in 2014

David Black

I think you were looking for the HS2 thread... even Apple don't have that much money to burn

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You're more likely to get a job if you study 'social' sciences, say fuzzy-studies profs

David Black

Wish I'd done a social science degree being honest. Sure I've earned a great salary and had plenty of travel and great career progression but something inside me just aches to be a "fluffy" and work in politics, HR or marketing. I love people and IT can be so anti-human at times.

And for the record, my boss is a psychology grad who taught dance for 5 years... she seems to be doing pretty well in IT, better than me in fact :( Maybe she just does the politics a bit better?

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Analyst says Brit rail broadband plan is TRAIN CRAZY

David Black

70% coverage by 2019... that's the issue

As someone who regularly does the long round-trip of London-Plymouth, I can vouch for the terrible lack of 3G connectivity. Sadly I used an app a couple of weeks agao to track my connection: in a 4 hour journey (6 at weekends, thanks Network Rail for those weekend "scenic" routes) I had 54 minutes of connectivity, most of that fairly sporadic and only really stable on the run from just outside Reading to Paddington. The longest period was 46 minutes of no data at all. On a major intercity route in 2013, that's quite frankly disgusting . Why are we even considering HS2 when there's such low hanging fruit to pick. Worse still is that when I ride what always was regarded as "the worst, most over-priced network in the world", Amtrak, I get free, fairly stable wifi for the equivalent journey of New York to Boston :(

As a side note, I'm actually surprised at how much I miss connectivity. I used to enjoy doing some nice work unplugged and getting through it without distraction. But now I always find I need access to some file/presentation held in a repository or acess to cloud based business service. Sad, but I suspect I'm typical and 2019 for 70% coverage is just too little too late.

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EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

David Black

Cool, everyone in Europe will have a standardised cable pluged into all their devices until they walk to the wall socket in the various Eurpean nations and, er, fail :(

So we'll still have different changers and socket adapters for those on the Britich Isles.

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South American with a dumb phone? Think Facebook can't get to you? THINK AGAIN

David Black

SIMs can be updated to add additional SIM Toolkit Apps OTA... but it depends on the SIM and it's capacity etc. Actually I think a lot of people would be amazed at the capabilities of a smart SIM... not quite Raspberry Pi but certainly great for demonstrating basic programming (some are even Java based). Shame the kit is all targeted at the operators.

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PM writes ISPs' web filter ads for them - and it must say 'default on'

David Black

Re: Official! Cameron + fiends = Shit for Brains

Democracy can only work if you have a diversity of opinion. Much as I loathe Cameron and all he stands for, where's my choice? Can you think of any credible politician who would stand against this?

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Pure boffinry: We peek inside Nokia's miracle cameraphone

David Black
Headmaster

Re: congrats

There are quite a few women in that team too.

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STEVE BALLMER KILLS WINDOWS

David Black
Happy

That old not-really Petronius quote comes to mind

"We trained hard ... but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization."

'tis the begining of the end :)

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Sleek Nokia Lumia details EXPOSED ahead of Thursday's disrobing

David Black
Meh

Re: 32GB

I think you answered your own question... video! A fairly small number (in my experience, about 12ish) of 3-5 min 1080p HD quality video will fill that memory up nicely when used normally (default vide settings, some apps and music loaded too).

And as for SkyDrive on the go, you are having a laugh. do I really want my phone syncing gigs of data on 3G-ish connections??? I take it you don't use the phone for calls and web browsing much or like the battery to last more than a few hours. And my home wifi might be ok but I don't think I've ever been to a hotel where the wifi wasn't the preverbial whores knickers let alone able to transfer data.

I'm no hater and I can't see why is anyone supporting the absence of removable storage on this device?

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REVEALED: Google's GINORMOUS £650m London Choc Factory

David Black
Windows

FUGLY

Just what Kings Cross needs.

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At last: EU slashes mobile roaming fees

David Black
Pint

Re: Information required

Did a similar-ish journey from Barcelona to Copenhagen and the total data cost for 3 days was only about £60 on an O2's bog standard tarrif two months ago (no idea of specific MBs pulled down for maps as it was pulling in emails too)... I thought it was pricey but didn't have the choice and my company picked up the tab. Still prefer a proper Garmin sat nav for driving but Google maps rocks when you are lost and have only a rough idea of what you are looking for as a bar called "Stripe something" gets matched to the nearest hit but my dear Garmin wouldn't have a clue.

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The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

David Black
Happy

and flicker too

Saying that the 25 fps etc. was nothing to do with vision isn't quite true, the frequency was set based on the preception of flicker in an incandescent bulb, 25 Hz being about the point where most people find the flicker imperceptible (sure there are some that argue that they can see flicker up to 100 Hz, but hey there are audiophiles that get upset with the sound of distant bats aparently!). The 25 Hz obviously went to 50 Hz when we jump to AC and bingo.

A great article, very interesting. I know that there are other coding techniques using models etc. that actually "inerpret" what is being viewed then render that. These have the potential to make the whole framerate/resolution discussion a little redundant. If you're in the mood for a follow-up piece, I'd love to know more.

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Nokia Lumia 925: The best Windows Phone yet

David Black
WTF?

Re: Looks good

"And as far as I can see all the apps I need are available."

Really? Wow I wasn't aware there was a shill payments app.

Seriously, Win 8 may be many things but a world of 3rd party support and apps it isn't.

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New material enables 1,000-meter super-skyscrapers

David Black
FAIL

Re: So how does this enable super-skyscrapers?

Yeah, good call on the "bull":

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

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Forget tax bills, here's how Google is really taking us all for a ride

David Black
Joke

Re: ATTENTION COMMENTARDS

There is a delicious irony in there... criticising one company for ignoring the "market" rules and rewriting them to suit themselves and then enforcing a comments policy which removes any criticism of yourselves.

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Microsoft tweaks WinPhone YouTube app to fix Google gripes

David Black

Re: Hmmmm . . .

Tripe? Really, I take it you don't develop applications, the established user base is "slightly" critical as a potential market.

http://www.zdnet.com/android-accounts-for-74-percent-of-smartphones-sold-in-q1-samsung-reigns-7000015335/

Gartner's figures for Q1 still show Win Pho behind RIM though more like a seventh of iOS.

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David Black

Re: Google could release their own app

"WinPhone doesn't need a Google Maps app. The Nokia one is free and better"

While I'm a big fan of offline map use, it really is about getting you to your destination (and preferably the actual destination you were intending). Much as I dislike feeding the spymasters, there's nothing that comes close to Google Maps for getting you where you want to be.

Wouldn't you at least like the choice on your Win Phone? Or maybe you know where to find the good astroturf shops.

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David Black
WTF?

Re: Hmmmm . . .

"Bigger than Blackberry now. A tenth of iPhone and growing."

Source? Including established user bases? Bollocks - just sayin'.

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MYSTERY Nokia Lumia with gazillion-pixel camera 'spotted'

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Cameron's Tech City: Desks? Yes. Cash? Yes. Coders? Nope

David Black
Childcatcher

Live with parents

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't a big driver of the start-up culture of California in the 60s through 00s the garage? Said garage wasn't in their tiny appartments in over-priced cities but generally fairly well to-do suburbs of the burgeoning middle-class parents. No over-40 with kids and much sense would stay in London so surely Shoreditch is the worst possible location. Silicon Surrey might have been a better bet. I seem to remember the pharma companies liked Surrey cause they could pay below London rates and generally pick-up highly qualified female (typically) 2nd wage earners who valued other aspects of work more than the salary. Those folks should have pretty grown and qualified kids now...

But good luck to anyon planning an IT park stretching into the world of NIMBYs that rings the M25 :)

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Google 'DOES DO EVIL', thunders British politician

David Black
Coat

Tax on business is fair

I'm not sure why so many people are so keen on defending Google here. I guess our society has lost its sense of right and wrong and redefined it based on "what you can get away with". Shame really.

But as to the appropriateness of taxing business... it is simply a way of they contributing to the society and paying for the resources of that society that they consume. Health, education, transport, military, police etc. are all provided by centralized government (whether you think that right or wrong, it is the way it is) and must be paid for. Do Google make business profits from the safe, socially stable UK with it's healthy and educated people? If yes then they have a liablility to contribute to the UK public finances at a fair level. Not really that questionable to me, maybe I'm missing something.

I take it all those defending Google's actions here are willing to pay a higher proportion of their earnings in tax to enable Google's behaviour as someone has to pay for our country.

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Australian Gartner chap slams gov-funded IT education boost

David Black
Meh

Taxes

Good point well made. I think many more taxpayers will have doubts about supporting an IT industry that has so many promoinent leaders that seem to have issues contributing taxes back into the very society that fueled their growth. We already see a cynacism towards anyone in "banking" that seems to extend to the lowliest branch worker upwards based on the strategies of a few of those at the top of that industry.

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Full metal jacket: Nokia launches new Lumia 925

David Black

Re: round objects

Sorry, I just assumed that most reg readers might understand the concept of an ecosystem around an OS.

You can't and won't find the apps and support for your device that other owners of other OSes will. Things are slow to get to the device and the experience will not be great for a £500 phone and you may regret your choice due to such factors beyond the specifics of the device.

Hope this helps. And I don't work in Marketing but was an Senior Engineering Manager at Nokia until recently.

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David Black

Re: round objects

Actually, I was just drawing attention to the fact that the world around the device is crappy. It should merit a mention, particularly when it really is the thing that makes a £500 smartphone really worthwhile.

And yes, Linux is a "nearly" OS. I have no bad feelings toward Win Phone or other "nearly" OSes, just giving some feedback that many people may be disappointed with the experience, regardless of the device.

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David Black

Sure... I just hate the fact the there's no real support in the wider app world for the devices. Just looking at the 20-30ish apps I have on my iphone then I only get 2 in the windows store and about 3 where I get the functionality online. None of my banking stuff, no BBC or Sky to watch the footie when I'm out, no ski tracker, no guitar tuner... just a snapshot of the things I can do with my iphone that I can't do with my Win Phone. There's just so much around the iOS and Android worlds and so much choice that removing it feels like reverting to a featurephone.

I'm not disputing that the OS is "slick", "lasts for hours" or is "funky" but without all the other "stuff" and an engaged world, it just feels like you're always on the outside and missing out.

And for the record, I've never used Instagram in my life and I hate the iphone but love the world that revolves around it.

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