3335 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007
Re: Pasta, pasta, beans, pasta, pasta, pasta, beans and pasta
No one in the UK would have to live on £1 of food a day. Indeed the campaign seems more focussed on extreme poverty in 3rd world places.
On the bright side
30,000 is not many people affected.
Re: I bit the bullet yesterday
"I do wonder whether all these Unity haters have ever actually used it for more than 5 minutes."
I have and I hated it. The global menu is great on a netbook where vertical space is at a premium. It is not good on a larger screen where a global menu is very confusing and increases the amount of mouse travel. The floaty elevator style scroll bars are great when space is at a premium but really terrible when it is not. The always-pinned-to-the-left launcher is fine on a single monitor and when all the icons fit in that vertical space but no good if they do not.
Ubuntu isn't a *bad* desktop these days. It's usable and I can live with it. But it feels to me like they've polished a turd. At least global menus can be disabled which I suppose is a concession that maybe it wasn't a good idea in the first place.
Re: HTC One M8
Yes the Lumia 520 has such a mode. It assumes of course that the little kiddies ask permission before being allowed to play so you can set it up for them.
A "dumb" watch lasts for years on a battery and has an always-on display. It also doesn't care what brand phone you have in your pocket, or even if you have a phone.
While it's too much to expect a smart watch to last for years on a charge, it is not acceptable that it only lasts days. Nor is it acceptable that you have turn the display on to see the time. Or that smart watches are tied to particular handsets or phone operating systems.
I think once a device appears that overcomes these issues it will sell a lot better than they do now.
Windows needs a start menu replacement
I don't understand why Microsoft is so resistant to hooking up the start button (which they finally reinstated) to a mini metro which serves the same purpose as the old start menu did. It doesn't have to function exactly the same but it should provide something analogous to the old behaviour, i.e. a place for people launch apps and access services and settings from a single place rather than functionality smeared over different screens and slide-ins.
Should have told protesters where to go
As a private citizen he made a modest donation to a campaign for reasons he did not make public and presumably had no intention of disclosing except for donation laws. And none of which has anything to do with making a web browser. He should have told the protesters to go bother someone else.
It wouldn't have been the same film with another tall actor of similar build covered head to foot in prosthetics and fur.
Re: "but all of your video is stored in the Amazon cloud."
Buffering is the least of your worries. If your movies and shows are stored in the cloud, they are tied to Amazon services and devices. Forever.
Re: Slide to unlock
"Prior art. My image scanner has a slider to unlock it. "
The prior art would be any number of bolts, latches and levers which work in the exact same way in real life. Apple basically patented a virtual latch.
Slide to unlock
This is such an obvious feature that it's a wonder it could even be patented.
Even so, most Android devices have avoided this metaphor and used something virtually analogous. For example, the stock Android 4.x requires a person to drag a ball and drop it on the perimeter of a circle which just so happens to be a slide to lock arrangement. I assume Google would point out the ball can be dropped anywhere on the perimeter but its the same deal.
And Samsung has stuck a screensaver with a swipe to unlock message. It doesn't say where to swipe to unlock but it works the same way - drag the finger some appreciable distance in a straight line and the screen unlocks.
Simply put, swipe to unlock is achievable in other ways but the original patent is so obvious it should not have been granted in the first place.
Not bad tablets
I have an 8" Tab 3 and it's a slick little tablet. Resolution isn't anything special but the screen is very sharp, bright with no bleed. There is a higher res Tab Pro model but IMO it costs too much. Biggest gripe is the cost of the covers - although there are some really good covers on EBay for much less.
Most Samsung devices can be rooted and flashed. Russia could build a fork of Android without all the Google stuff in there if they so wished, or security harden it, or disable certain functionality like camera / microphone.
The biggest danger is some 3rd party builds still use binary driver blobs which could potentially contain exploits or backdoors. Supposedly some Samsung devices have suffered precisely that problem recently. They'd really want to build as much as possible from scratch.
Now I'm looking forward to VR even more
Now I can sit on the porch of a virtual farm waiting for my crop of strawberries to be ready to harvest.
People have bought these tablets, they just don't know it
Alibaba is filled with generic 7" tablets of varying configurations and lots of stores flog them under various nondescript names. They're fine for kids although the battery life tends to be terrible.
Re: Why not just Borg the android runtimes?
"Perhaps because QNX as used by BlackBerry isn't Windows Phone: it is an extremely robust microkernel OS that can be used to host all kinds of stuff in sandboxes, so the evil that lurks in Android runtimes can be kept from messing up your phone."
QNX provides a POSIX api which certainly makes it a lot easier to port a Android layer but there is absolutely no reason that another kernel couldn't do it just as well.
In fact it's already happened, e.g. FreeBroid is an Android layer running on BSD and Windroy is an Android layer running on a Windows kernel. These are obviously enthusiast efforts. I assume that Microsoft with infinite money and resources could port Android and make it almost seamless if they so desired.
But it's less about the technical challenge and more about politics and marketing. If Windows Phone supported Android seamlessly, then what incentive is there for anybody to write native Windows Phone apps? There isn't any. The only reason Blackberry went down this route is pure desperation.
Re: My wife has a Lumia
I expect so, but it's possible to backup most apps. It's not hard to imagine someone doing that for this particular app if it lets someone get free satnav on other devices. Depends what else it does on the backend - calling services only available for the X platform.
My wife has a Lumia
It's her second actually. First was an 800 which was okay but it packed in unexpectedly. The second is a 520 which was selling cheap and not a bad spec for what it is.
I like Windows Phone's basic experience. It is very easy to use and the GUI offers just enough customizability to make it personalizable. Where it begins to suck is in the choice (or lackthereof) of apps and a general feeling that the experience despite its ease is still inferior to other platforms.
Probably the best thing about the platform is not the platform but a free app Nokia bundles in the phone the - "Here" is an offline satnav app. This is handy for holidays or just when you have no internet coverage. I wonder when the X series arrives if we'll see a version for Android, or people providing instructions for sideloading it onto other handsets.
Re: Things change.
It was only pointless, if you consider there being no cost to Ireland of sticking with a system of weights and measures that only one other country in Europe used and that only a handful of countries in the entire world used.
Re: Things change.
Yes things change but look what happened Ireland when it changed from MPH to KPH.
Electricity went out for weeks, riots started, people were forced to barricade themselves in their homes, murders went up 3000%, rickets and polio became commonplace amongst infants, and 1/3 of the population starved to death.
Actually I lie. Road signs began switching on the day of changeover, it took about a month to complete and life generally went on exactly the same as before.
I really don't see any problem here at all
I assume the basic dimensions of the coin will be shortly available meaning any supermarket trolley being made today could be future proofed for 2017 by the simple expedient of providing two slots - some supermarket trolleys take a euro or a pound so it's entirely possible. How long does a trolley last anyway?
As for vending machines - coins and notes change all the time and most machines are reprogrammable. I don't see how a new coin would pose a problem since the firmware can be updated when the machine is serviced.
The UK shouldn't find itself in the US situation where their banking and vending machines industries made such terrible assumptions about the size and shape of their currencies that it is virtually impossible to change. Look at the collective hair pulling that goes on over there whenever they try to introduce a dollar coin.
There are G-shock watches that almost qualify as smart watches - they implement bluetooth and have limited interaction with phones - bleeps for messages, incoming calls etc. They show the direction smart watches should probably be going - stop trying to be a phone, or ape a phone's display and just provide simple interaction with a phone if the owner happens to have one.
Re: Once again
Smart watches as they exist right now are seriously flawed devices which require constant charging, usually turn off their display when not in use, cost a lot of money, are tied to smart phone platforms and don't offer much functionality to justify the "smart" tag.
It's not about being a luddite. I'm quite sure in time some of these issues will be addressed. Maybe Google / Apple have some product in development which lasts a month between charges or tops up from kinetic energy or solar. But I simply don't see the attraction in them as they exist right now.
Re: What's the big deal with charging every day?
The big deal here is that a "dumb" watch doesn't need charging every day, so why does a smart watch? What is it that the smart watch does which justifies this additional hassle of remembering to charge it? It's bad enough to have plug sockets for charging phones and tablets, but now watches?
And because smart watches are such power hogs they do things which make them even worse than a dumb watch. For example, the first watch I owned was a 1978 Ingersoll. It's LED display burned through batteries so fast it made me push a button to show the time. Now it's like history repeating - I think smart watches are no further along their evolutionary path than my Ingersoll was.
I think smart watches need low power always-on displays - anything from LCD to mirasol. And to use low power bluetooth and open profiles for communication with other devices so they're not tied to a phone OS or platform. And to dial back on their functionality accordingly to keep their power requirements low. Give them a few more years and we may actually see some of these things. For now, I think they are largely gimmicks in search of a purpose.
Re: How hard to port?
The Admob SDK doesn't use Google services so there's your answer. As for another potential market, yes it is but it has to be balanced against the administration, testing and support associated with multiple stores.
For example if I upload an app to Amazon's store, then all the banner art is a different size and fields are different which is a pain. Then I can't use any Google services. Then Amazon wants to push their own services on me and punishes me with lower prominence if I don't (so called Developer Select). Then the submission process is different and very slow. Then Amazon puts onerous restrictions on the price I can set for my app while allowing them to discount it any way they please.
So supporting this one other store requires at least 2 or 3 hours at a shot, and if I want my app to qualify for developer select it means far more overhead to maintain 2 branches, and merge and test them for each release.
I'm sure Nokia's store won't be substantially different - a bunch of things done differently that act as a time sink. So that's why if Nokia give me a phone I might make the effort but I'm sure as hell not going to otherwise, or until the device sells in quantity to make me change my mind.
Re: How hard to port?
Yes, the 70% of programs which don't make use of Google services. Which would include location, maps, leaderboards / achievements, piracy / DRM checks and cloud storage. The problem is a lot of apps DO use those things.
And will authors go to the huge effort of stripping out or replacing that code with Nokia-a-like versions just for a miniscule user base? Maybe some big apps will but many others won't.
And even if they don't use the backend, the author still has to go to the not inconsiderable effort of testing the app on Nokia's device, uploading it to their store and doing so in perpetuity. Again for a miniscule user base.
The same strategy failed for Archos, it failed for RIM, it failed for Nook and it will fail for Nokia. Even Amazon which has the clout to sustain a large rival app store and I wouldn't call that a blazing success either.
Re: It shouldn't need to persuade devs
"That's a bit like saying everyone should use the same version of Linux. They want their own OS, but using Android saves 90% of the work."
Not at all. I'm simply observing the reality here - porting apps to different app stores is a massive pain in the arse. Every store wants different resolution screenshots and banner art. Every store has a laundry list of things an app must or must not do. Every store has a different payments approval process which can take days sometimes.
And a franken-droid platform that lacks google services is even more effort. That means creating, maintaining and testing two branches and basically doubling the release effort. This other app store would have to be amazing to justify the effort.
As I said, if Nokia start handing out a phone I might sign up and go through the effort of uploading. Once. It's hard to see how I could even know my app worked without a physical device to test it on. Emulators are no good for games or multitouch apps.
It shouldn't need to persuade devs
If Nokia had been part of the standard ecosystem, including (shock horror) including the Google apps it would have picked up support for free. Virtually every app in the store would work on their device. They could have still personalised the experience, even putting their own launcher on top. Even putting their own apps and app store on the device. But they didn't.
But if they want to give away phones in a desperate attempt to pick up devs, then I'll certainly sign up. It won't do them any good though. Blackberry did the same thing, giving away Playbook tablets and SDKs to rebundle android apps. It turns out that supporting multiple android-a-likes with different app stores is more bother than its worth.
A nice idea
I like the idea of a new multi sided coin but the mockup really doesn't show much. Someone has just cobbled together a "best guess" of what it may look like based on the 12-sided description.
It would be nice to see a coin utilising a metallic ink, a complex blended pattern of alloys, a hologram, micro etching, or even an rfid to combat forgery. I assume some or all of those things are what they intend. I could see the nutcase brigade exploding with rage if an rfid were put in the coins, even though the coins would be so transient as to be useless for tracking people.
Re: A few problems with these things
a) The Occulus Rift isn't on sale in its final form so I fail to see how we can know what it will cost at retail. Realistically it's going to be at least $300 but more likely $500. And Sony have never been known for selling kit cheaply.
b) Yeah and it costs a fortune. Look up "oculus rift recommended cheap graphics card" and they're talking of cards which set you back at least $300-500. Then you have the PC which goes around it. It's not cheap. In the context of this story, a PS4 is certainly more affordable, but what does it mean for the resolution, framerate and graphics it can push out? A low framerate exacerbates problems with lag so I would hope it delivers at least 720p60 per eye.
c) And it's still there and it'll always be there. It's caused by a combination of issues - lag, field of view, focus (or lack thereof), jitter, disorientation. Maybe they can minimize the issue but I doubt they will ever do away with it. Some kinds of games may be more amenable to the tech than others.
VR is certainly cool but when it comes with a massive price tag and known issues the question is how many people will bother with it. Look how many people bothered with 3D gaming (not many) and ask yourself why VR should be any more successful.
A few problems with these things
a) Headsets will be expensive, instantly rendering them a niche product
b) Hardware to generate the images will be expensive. It's probably beyond what a console could push out, including the PS4
c) VR can cause extreme nausea due to motion sickness, disorientation
There's no doubt that VR is cool but whether it is cool enough to overcome these things remains to be seen.
The OS should not matter
I'm sure it suits Apple, Google or Samsung if the watch is tied to a phone OS, but it sure as hell shouldn't suit anyone else. These devices are transferring quite basic information between phone and "wearable". There really should be no reason to tie devices together in this way. There should be bluetooth profiles that correspond to these uses and the each end simply implements the profile.
Aside from that, there is no evidence that this latest push into smart watch / "wearable" land has solved the fundamental problems with these devices - battery life. A smart watch which lasts a pathetic day or two between charges is less smart and more dumb. Why do they even need these fancy battery sapping sometimes-on / sometimes-off displays just to tell the weather or convey basic information anyway?
The places around here with that Just-eat sticker in their windows
Are the sorts of places you'd never ever want to order food from.
Re: resurrecting Microsoft Reader?
Microsoft ran a free book promotion for a while and I built up a collection of e-books for MS Reader. I can't say I liked the reader software though. I only used the desktop version and it was so basic as to be frustrating. Someone released a tool called clit which de-DRM'd the books and I found it easier to decompress them and read them in a web browser.
We need a follow up story
Where Mr Frostnova expresses indignation that various computer systems around the world have built in assumptions about the length and form that names take, and how dare they break when confronted with an unconventional name.
If that sounds absurd, it's already happened on at least one occasion with a person whining that Google+ didn't recognise their 1-word made-up name.
I think Fedora would be the best place to experience GNOME. The projects tend to cooperate quite closely so Fedora 21 will go out with 3.12 and their schedules are aligned to facilitate that.
It will be interesting to see what happens in 3.14 which is when Wayland will most likely be enabled by default. Ubuntu has chosen to develop their own display tech called Mir so it puts the GNOME flavoured Ubuntu in an interesting situation.
Does this mean I can get a discount?
Dell installs all kinds of crapware on their PCs. Why is there no checkbox during checkout where I can get a discount by saving Dell the trouble of installing this shit on my new PC? Ah but someone might say, it's because Dell is paid to put it on there, in which case, how much is Symantec and others paying and how does it compare to £16 for Firefox.
Second, call me skeptical but I would think that Dell of all companies has the capability to rapidly install software onto machines and if it involves any time at all, we're talking seconds. More likely they already maintain a multitude of software images with various permutations and some added ones with Firefox on them is no big deal.
Of course he ignored their commands
Everyone knows you have to throw a bucket of cold water over them
What's the point?
Being able annihilate an entire month's data limit in the space of a few minutes isn't very useful to anybody.
The kinds of ads I object to
I don't really care about the text-only type ads that Google and others throw out. They're not a major security issue, they don't consume many bytes of traffic and they don't interfere with the page.
The kind of ads I despise are animated banner ads and interstitials and yes I will strip them out. They're distracting, consume large amounts of bandwidth, hog CPU and occasionally offensive (e.g. porn). In these days of HTML5 it doesn't even matter if these ads are flash or not. The HTML5 based ads probably hog more CPU than even flash since they all run on the browser's thread.
Another modern annoyance are the Facebook, Google, Digg, Pinterest, Yahoo links plastered over every page. They are a serious privacy concern and I block those out too.
Re: Insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting different results
C++ seems to have done pretty well for itself last time I looked. The main reason to use C in preference to C++ is for low level APIs and functionality where name mangling, exceptions etc. might get in the way of things. For application level programming there is little reason to use C if C++ is available.
I don't see the situation being analogous for JS though since JS is compiled at runtime whereas most of these JS++ wannabes are compiled at development time and the translated JS is compiled again at runtime. They're basically acting like cfront with the second compilation deferred until the page is loaded.
It's a damned shame these companies can't just bypass this BS altogether - define a cross platform LLVM runtime (like PNaCl but with appropriate concessions to other browsers) and let people develop in anything they like. JS as the intermediate form is the problem here.
I've heard they should be called Dunning-Krugerrands
Re: Looks like a black hole
They possibly are but at the same time it would be incredibly difficult to offload all that cash and exit with money without arousing suspicion. Exchanges match buy orders to sell orders. A thief selling a mountain of bitcoins is going to collapse the price just by selling, which means they would have to do it over a very long period of time.
The second problem is that bitcoin has a transaction chain. Somewhere in that chain it has a transaction that corresponds to the fraudulent withdrawals from Mtgox. It might be possible to launder a small amount of bitcoin through a laundering service (i.e. I give bitcoins A to the laundry and it gives me bitcoins A' from a separate pile, thus breaking my connection to the theft), but we're talking of a massive heist. It would be impossible to launder. Statistical analysis of who is trying to sell all those bitcoins would probably point straight at the perpetrator. Transactions are also distributed over P2P.
I suppose its even possible that as transactions of the theft fan outwards from a particular node or nodes in the network that someone with sufficient nodes of their own could figure out where those transactions originated from.
Re: Virtual currency banking has been done before
The difference with EVE online is that the scams were considered completely legitimate in the game world since they didn't violate the rules of the game or use exploits.
Somehow I doubt applies to these real world scams. When the proprietors of Mtgox are caught they'll face the music. Not that it will help any of those people who "invested" in this exchange.
Bitcoin was never much more than a crowd sourced ponzi from the beginning. Early adopters who'd mined out the easy money hyped it up to attract new investors and the exited with hard cash. Eventually the speculation bubble would burst and the cycle would repeat. I expect this latest collapse will be a tad harder to recover from than previously.
Re: What a load of bollocks
"I suggest you ask Amazon, as they have done exactly the same thing with the Kindle devices."
A slightly different situation since Amazon.com is an extremely popular website that sells products, books, movies, music and apps and can therefore prominently market its device. Go visit it right now and chances are they're pushing the tablet on their front page.
But for all of Amazon's efforts it is still a tiny fraction of the users of Play store and the selection and price of apps on the Amazon app store reflects that.
Re: Forking from the inside.
"True, but you're talking about perhaps less than 100 lines of code different between the two versions, and it's code that will be concentrated in maybe one or two methods in one or two classes."
Clearly you've never used APIs such as these. The banner ad code might be 100 lines. The licence validation service might be 600 lines (which must be heavily modified, obfuscated, duplicated and smeared around the app so it is difficult to rip out). The cloud / achievements / game scores another 1200. This isn't because Google's APIs are complex but they must handle various network events like connect / disconnect, retry, account signon / off and weird edge cases that occur in phones.
It's quite flippant to say "java is very good at hiding details". Getting it working for a single backend is bad enough but yes I could write abstract it and support different backends. I'm sure I could support Gamecircle (for example) assuming my time was free since that's another full 2 or 3 days of integration and a constant overhead to maintain thereafter (e.g. if I logon to Google's server to add an achievement then I must also logon to Amazon's to do it too).
Aside from that, it takes me a full day to make ready, test, package, sign, tag and deploy a version of my app per store. I know this since in the past I have supported my apps on Playbook, Archos and Amazon stores. Oh how I love how each store insists on different sized banner art and some of them take an inordinately long time to approve apps!
Will I support Nokia's app store too? Nope. I'll assume that Nokia users will sideload Play store and if they don't or can't, then the platform is DOA anyway.
Re: Forking from the inside.
"In-app freemium apps, DRM, advertising, "achievements" are useful things? :)"
In-app purchases aren't just for freemium apps. Consider an app which won't let you buy comics or magazines from within the app. Or an app which is trialware & free but lets people unlock the full functionality for a sum of money. Or a game which features episodic content or extra levels.
DRM is extremely useful if you've sunk months or years into an app and don't want to see it appearing on various piracy websites loaded up with malware.
Advertising is useful for developers who want to offer an app for nothing. Many extremely useful apps are only free because advertising revenue makes it profitable to do so.
Achievements, high score tables etc. are quite obviously desirable in games. The APIs also allow cloud storage which is useful too.
Now there are 3rd party APIs for some of these things but they're just as proprietary as Google's. e.g. Nokia claims to offer APIs for some of this functionality. Clearly they're okay when it's *their* proprietary APIs, just not when it's somebody elses. I also really don't buy the "proprietary" argument in the first place since the app itself is proprietary. It's just designed to work in a particular framework of APIs that the vast majority of handsets support.
It's no good blaming the apps that one handset decides on purpose not to comply with that framework and thinks that offering an analogous but different subset of APIs is a good plan.
Re: Forking from the inside.
The thing is, apps use those APIs because they do useful things. e.g. facilitate in-app purchases, piracy detection, deliver advertising, integrate with game features like achievements etc. and they're supported by the vast majority of phone devices.
It's very easy to harumph that apps use proprietary APIs for those things, but almost all APIs for those things are proprietary.
Secondly, if an app developer wants to support Nokia's device they'll have to build and maintain two separate branches of the same product and build, package, test and upload two versions of it. This is an odious burden and many apps simply won't bother - or if they do they'll jack up the price Nokia's app store to compensate for the effort.
There is nothing that would have stopped Nokia getting itself certified to ship with the Google apps and services except they chose not to. They could have thrown some value add apps onto the phone (or for free on the app store exclusive to Nokia devices) as a product differentiator. They could have stuck their own store app on the device too if they wanted.
They just chose not to. If they're lucky someone will figure a way to painlessly side load the missing functionality. If not, Nokia will reap what it sows.
A complex guy
It doesn't surprise me that he is a complex individual. If you watch interviews with the guy there is something very strange in the way he talks - it's monotone, robotic, intense. Like he's on a different plain, or more likely suffering some mild personality disorder.
I don't see it being very practical though e.g. how long would it take to fold up that massive parachute after landing? What happens if it's raining or windy?
Since it's slower in the air than on the ground (and slower depending if the wind is behind) so it's probably most useful in areas without an adequate road network, or where there are perhaps rivers or other natural obstacles to cross. Maybe it would be useful for some kind of "flying doctor" type role.
- Updated Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
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- Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
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- Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders