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* Posts by DrXym

3483 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

POW! Digia straps Qt into ejector seat, gleefully pulls handle

DrXym
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Re: Programming Language?

QT is bundled QML / Qt Quick so it does have a scripting language that you could write a substantial part of your UI in.

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'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

DrXym
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Re: Case Sensitive File Systems...

"case Sensitive File Systems... ...are a pain in the arse for the average user (more so on command line based systems, less so in GUI environments), "

The problem here is you're conflating how the file system works and how the user interface presents it to a user.

Let's break down how a user interacts with their computer.

1. Most users point and click through a file explorer or some app gui. It makes no difference to them if the FS is case sensitive or not since they just click on the file they have made previously in some way.

2. What about the command line? The command prompt can do case insensitive autocomplete automatically. Or it can even be a flag. e.g. in bash do this - "set completion-ignore-case on" and now autocomplete is case insensitive. Was that hard?

3. What about file search? Same again, make it case insensitive.

Moving the case sensitivity up to the UI means issues like upper/lower/title case is handled in a layer best suited to handle them. Baking it into a low level driver is a terrible idea, e.g. is the FS supposed to know the upper / lower case of cyrillic characters. What other Unicode tables have case folding rules. Why is this all happening in a driver?

File systems should be as unambiguous and precise as possible. Second guessing malformed paths or names (such as those with the different case in their path from the ones on disk) just adds complexity and weird edge cases in a part of the operating system which can ill afford to have them.

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DrXym
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The thing I hate most about NTFS is not the lack of symbolic linking but its case insensitivity and the inability to overwrite a locked file. Case insensitivity causes no end of issues with source control systems like Git and locked files cause most of the ubiquitous "You must restart for this update to take place" issues.

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DrXym
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New start menu

If that's what it really looks like then I'm comfortable with that - a mini metro that appears over the desktop is much better than the brain fart inducing context switch out to another screen. And metro apps which live as windows on the desktop.

Both basically mean that start menu could be switched off completely for those who don't like it. I think the start menu is fine for tablets and some people may still prefer it on a desktop.

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Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales

DrXym
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"Settings, Apps, Built In Apps, Disable."

It's still taking up space and the power of the default means most people won't do this.

"Job done. Sure it might still be taking up a few hundred Kb of space, but it's disabled, and there are no launcher icons, so for all intents and purposes, it's removed."

It's better than nothing. It would be better yet if the phone actually ASKED on a factory reset if you wanted to fetch certain partner software from the Play store or the manufacturer's website and if you said no, that would be the end of the matter.

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DrXym
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I should add that even Google is locking down the user experience these days. Their so-called Android Silver phones look like their response to fragmentation and as a way of shutting rivals like Facebook out of handsets.

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DrXym
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"MS are just being strict about installing crapware. Good job too."

Nokia phones are full of crapware but you can uninstall it which is a good thing.

But Microsoft having total control of the user experience and system specifications which doesn't leave as much room for the handset maker to make their product distinct from their competitor's.

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Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID

DrXym
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Don't see what the fanfare is about

$100-120 would have bought someone a a relatively low spec Android phone for quite some now. What's the big deal here? I guess it brings some form of software quality assurance to the One products which might have been missing previously but that's about it.

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Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water

DrXym
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"I foresee a "fire sale" of cheap devices on he horizon. Could be some bargains to be had as the stock in the shops is sold off."

Except for any sim free phones they might carry the rest are probably on a sale or return basis.

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Bloat-free, unlocked Moto X to be dubbed 'Pure Edition', says report

DrXym
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Re: I don't know why they even bother with crapware

"SIM free won't save you from the manufacturer's bloatware."

No but it saves you from the network provider's bloatware on top of the manufacturer's bloatware. It also tends to make it easier to root the phone if you want.

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DrXym
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I don't know why they even bother with crapware

Some phones come "preloaded" with Facebook, Twitter etc. which are invariably obsolete even before the phone is turned on. What the hell is the point of this? It just means the manufacturer is burdened with additional testing and the user has junk they don't want eating up space, undeletable and potentially affecting their device's performance and security.

It's an utter waste of time. If manufacturers absolutely have to put crapware on a phone it should at least be in a writable partition and better yet the user should be asked when they turn the phone if they want it installed or not.

Networks like Vodafone, O2 etc are even worse for the shit they preload. It's best to buy SIM free just to avoid bothering with any of it.

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Sellouts! Fans snap up iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders to avoid store queues

DrXym
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I didn't realise the iPhone 6 was time limited

I was under the impression that the iPhone 6 would launch and would be on sale until an iPhone 7 appeared - a period of potentially 18 months. Only chumps preorder or queue up to buy a device without knowing what it will be like.

We saw with the iPhone 4 that phones can look very lovely and yet have crippling issues in the real world. Would it kill anyone to wait a month to see if the iPhone 6 partly justifies its enormous price tag by at least working properly?

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iPhone 6: Advanced features? Pah! Nexus 4 had most of them in 2012

DrXym
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Re: NFC woes to come

"I can see the banks jumping onto Apple Pay, and leaving Android handsets with NFC by the wayside as they have been doing since 2010."

I doubt it. Banks probably resent Apple pay as much as the retailers - it's another finger in the pie and ultimately could see the banks becoming the funding source but not profiting from the transaction. Retailers are bound to be hit too with higher transaction fees. Most probably their point of sale systems might cope with multiple NFC payment schemes but they might well resent/favour particular ones if it cuts into their profits.

The optimal solution for bank / retailer would be they continued to issue proximity payment cards and if Visa / Mastercard released a payment app for a phone that the card could be registered with. The finger to pie ratio stays the same as does the transaction charge.

Also from a personal security point of view it seems a bit dodgy to wave around a £600 phone for all to see, particularly if a potential thief knows it's loaded with cash too.

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DrXym
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The main use for NFC has not been realized

I want to steal the RFID from Skylanders figures and play them back from the phone. Is there an app for that?

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DrXym
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Stop listing the price on contract

Saying the phone is $199 on contract is meaningless without knowing the cost of the contract. The contract can be (and is) jacked up to cover the price of the phone and plan/cost covering one phone might not be the same as another to obfuscate this.

All that should ever matter is how much the phone costs in an unlocked SIM free state.

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Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

DrXym
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Re: Registered office.

"Could you please point out where a scenario like that has ever happened in the recent past? Thank you."

Sure there you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90swN5hCtjI

Here's another:

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/mass-panic-in-cyprus-the-banks-are-collapsing-and-atms-are-running-out-of-money

If I lived in Glasgow or similar. I would be very strongly inclined to make a trip down south and withdraw as much of that money from a machine that dispensed UK sterling. Or I would buy another currency, gold or some other tangible thing. And it would be an extremely sensible thing to do too - it's called hedging. I might also think of opening an offshore account in sterling on the Isle of Man or similar and moving all my savings to it.

If you want a British example look at the Bradford and Bingley collapse where queues went down the road and the panic only stopped when the government stepped in. Incidentally the Bradford and Bingley highlights why a lender of last resort (i.e. a central bank) is important to guarantee savings and prevent a total collapse. Scotland won't have one of those which is why the banks are moving their domiciles - if a run happened they would be dead in days.

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DrXym
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Re: It will be business as usual.

"Scotland will continue to use the pound. "

Yes but they won't be able to print money (beyond some fixed ratio), or be a lender of last resort, or set interest rates. Because there is no lender of last resort, a bank run could wipe out the banks. That might explain why the banks are moving south to protect themselves and limit their liabilities.

It might take years for Scotland to build enough reserves that they can have a central bank. This is why the option to 1:1 track sterling is a fraught idea - no economic control and extreme danger of bank collapse. Basically their notes would be equivalent to Itchy and Scratchy bucks until it is underpinned.

"Scotland will not get thrown out of the EU. "

It's not a case of being thrown out but never being in it in the first place. Even if EU does fast track them to rejoin what the hell was that business about independence for? Any sovereignty they gain by leaving the UK is lost by becoming a little provincial state in Europe. They might find themselves sharing a common cause with the UK on a lot of things going into these Euro battles but that's not guaranteed particularly if the UK is emboldened to leave entirely. And if they use the Euro then bang goes their economic sovereignty if they suffer a collapse like Ireland.

"Were I Scottish, I'd be far more worried about what happens after a no vote."

I'm not sure why. Scotland would probably get a few more devolved powers while still enjoying the benefits of being part of the union - free trade zone, a single currency, economic stability, common foreign & military policy etc.

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DrXym
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Re: Banking Jobs

"You do know that both RBS and Lloyds have said they do not foresee moving *any* jobs? Just their registered offices?"

To begin with. Regulation might force them to move at least some of their core operations into the economic zone they operate and are domiciled from.

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DrXym
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Re: Registered office.

It's less and "consider" and more "will". Banks and economists have already said why - banks need a central bank and they need a treasury and they need to protect their existing capital.

Leaving themselves in a country which has no credible currency options in the short term, no central bank, no treasury, no foreign reserves would be corporate suicide.

So they'll first move their domicile to the UK, move their assets and probably move their existing operations over too. All that will be left in Scotland are the things that can be left there - call centres perhaps (unless the English suddenly develop an extreme aversion to Scottish accents), regional branches, currency exchanges etc.

I would not be surprised at all if in the days following a Yes if there is total chaos in Scotland as people attempt to move their life savings out of banks or drive to places like Carlisle to withdraw money in UK sterling notes.

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Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts

DrXym
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"How do you know the battery life is too short?"

Read this:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/apple-watch-battery-life-iwatch-will-need-charging-every-day-9726008.html

Most other smart watches have comparable screens and performance characteristics and pack a ~ 300mAh battery which lasts a day. It should be no surprise that an iWatch has a similar performance.

Of course maybe someone might produce a battery with 10x the energy density or some kinetic / solar charger which sustains the device far longer, or a uses a passive display tech. But in the current form these watches are basically gimmicks and not very practical.

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Amazon axes hated Fire Phone price: 99 pennies but a niche? Ain't none

DrXym
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Should have sold it SIM free

Flog it for less than a similar spec Android phone and it'd probably clear out. Especially if it turned out it could be flashed to proper Android.

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Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?

DrXym
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Re: OnePlus One

"They're trying to build Apple style frothing fanbois attention while they wait for component costs to drop, hoping none notice the value for money eroding away as the phone ages. Obsolete before launch still seems the most likely outcome."

That's a pretty absurd strategy if it were true. New phones have perhaps 6 months to capitalize on their sales before they get displaced by new models or knocked down a peg on the price ladder.

More likely is they CAN afford to sell the phones at this price and make a profit in the process.

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Moto 360: Neat gizmo – if you're a rich nerd

DrXym
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Re: just me ??

E-ink is always on but it still consumes power to change the display. The likes of the pebble watch try to minimize updates to reduce power consumption. e.g. one watch face only shows an approximate time. Personally I'd like to see mirasol appear in watches so at least the display is in colour. But no smart watch gets anywhere close to the power consumption of an LCD.

Maybe a kinetic / solar face combined with e-ink or mirasol would be enough for a watch to provide timekeeping functionality even when it doesn't have enough power to do anything more.

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DrXym
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Re: Google Google Google

Google bought Motorola Mobility for its patents. They're currently in the process of offloading the stuff they didn't want onto Lenovo which is looking for a way into the mobile market.

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DrXym
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Closest thing to a smart watch

The only watch I would consider "smart" so far is the Casio G Shock. It manages to offer very simple connectivity with a phone such as incoming call, new message and a find my phone function. It does this using a very low power bluetooth protocol and it has apps for iOS and Android.

Most of the so called "smart" watches out there are next to useless. They last a day or two on a charge and have displays which turn off to conserve power. The non time-keeping functionality is largely superficial and is bound to functionality in a phone. That IMO is not "smart" and it is IMO why these things are lame.

We'll have to see what Apple does with it's watch but I'm not expect it to be much different. I'm sure they'll have some gimmick or angle (e.g. health monitoring) but it'll suffer the same issues as other watches regardless of the platform they're locked to.

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You are here => Earth is in 'the suburbs' of an IMMENSE HEAVEN

DrXym
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Too bad there is no such thing as a total perspective vortex

War criminals, jihadist and assorted other murderous / religious loons would all benefit from a stint inside.

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Scared of brute force password attacks? Just 'GIVE UP' says Microsoft

DrXym
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Re: Some truth to some of what they say

"Or it was reversibly encrypted."

Encryption or not is largely irrelevant. Industry practice is to salt and hash because a thief could steal the key while they're stealing the database.

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DrXym
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Some truth to some of what they say

I've had occasions where I click on the "I've forgotten my password" link and it's sent me back my PLAINTEXT password. In other words they never hashed it in the first place. This is indicative of a site which doesn't know what it is doing and is therefore likely to be hacked.

Using a strong password on such a site is an utter waste of time and exposes other sites which take more care to salt and hash their passwords.

These days I tend to rate sites in tiers - throwaway forums, one shot things, semi-frequent forums, online shopping / gaming stores, payment systems, banks & utilities. As I go up the tiers I become more stringent about security - the bottom tier may all share the same throwaway password. A tier up I might use a stronger password, with some uniqueness. Above that the passwords are all unique. By the time I get to banks / utilities it's usually augmented by whatever hard tokens, pins etc. that they issue. I also use different email addresses for most forum activity than I do for real life activity - I even use the likes of mailinator on the bottom tier. Everything is stuffed into Password Safe.

Nothing can stop a site being hacked, but hopefully it minimizes the damage. If a site is compromised I review which sites share the same email/password and change them.

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Firefox 32 moves to kill MITM attacks

DrXym
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Re: Ah but..

It might be annoying that you have to pass a second stage of verification to complete a purchase but it does protect against fraud. It protects the merchant (because fraudsters won't bother with a site which is protected this way). It protects your card from fraudulent activity. And It gives Visa / Mastercard the chance to do extra authentication and traffic analysis that might spot fraudulent activity in progress - e.g. a bunch of failed transactions across an IP block in Romania is not a pattern that individual stores might spot but Visa / Master could.

And there is no reason either that the security questions have to be correct. If you're asked your mother's maiden name then enter something non obvious - e.g. Kerplop. If your asked your first car then enter Horsemax 5000. And so on. Store the answers in Password Safe so you can reference them. Now you're safe.

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Apple 'fesses up: Rejected from the App Store, dev? THIS is why

DrXym
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Re: An example to follow

"Your forgot the 95% of apps on Play that ask to too many permissions for no good reason."

Personally I think Android's permission system is a joke - upfront, broad and irrevocable permissions are a bad idea but I don't see that has much to do with "curation" so much as Android's half assed security model.

Personally I think the Play store should put extra weight on apps which ask for extra and unusual permissions compared to their peers so they sink faster unless their ratings keep them afloat. I also think that Android should allow particular permissions (contacts, gps and telephony stuff in particular) to be revocable at the install dialog and after installation regardless of what the app says it needs.

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DrXym
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Re: An example to follow

"If only other app stores were as selective!"

Yeah, we'd miss out on the following:

* Alternative browsers - as in proper browsers with their own web engines

* Alternative dialers, keyboards, launchers

* Emulators for consoles, old computers, arcade boxes etc.

* Shells and root tools

* Firmware flashing & management software

* Software that uses a programmable runtime of any kind

* Betas / alphas of interesting software

* Applications with their own payment models / infrastructure

* File managers

* P2P clients

* Bitcoin wallets

* Anything remotely sexually suggestive (except for when it's okay)

* Anything critical of public figures (except for when its okay)

* (For developers) a release turnaround measuring in minutes instead of days

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Uber alles... nein! Deutschland imposes NATIONWIDE BAN on taxi app

DrXym
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Re: You mean the government bodies are feeling the heat??

"Apart from it's not like the regulated taxi drivers have never been involved in assault or worse."

Exactly. Even when drivers are vetted a few rotten apples slip through. Now imagine no vetting process at all. Is that a better situation or a worse situation?

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DrXym
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"The buggy whip makers will go down fighting to the end or should I say the taxi cartels are feeling the heat."

The taxi "cartels" are a licenced and regulated industry whose drivers are required to undergo criminal background checks, the knowledge to drive to locations, and who drive vehicles which are safe and up to spec to public transport regulations.

Whereas Uber is none of those things. You could be picked up by a convicted rapist in an ininsured car for all you know. I doubt Uber or its rating system would give you the slightest clue either. That's the fundamental issue here.

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Apple, FBI: YES we're, er, looking into the NAKED CELEBRITY PICS. Aren't you?

DrXym
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I smell lawsuits

One of the most grievously annoying things about all these cloud services is how pushy they are. Install DropBox and it helpfully assumes you want to upload photos by default - I was caught out and had to disable it. I'm sure iCloud is just as pushy with new iPhones.

And since none of these services see fit to allow the end user to encrypt the data before uploading it means that anyone can log in from another computer and steal everything that is there. A computer literate person might understand the risks and nuances of cloud storage but clearly a lot of people including celebs do not.

So it'll be interested to see where the sueballs land. I am expecting Apple will find itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit from some of those affected if it transpires that a) it didn't delete pictures when it should have, b) it didn't ask the user about their cloud sharing options in every circumstance, c) the cloud sharing options were defaulted to an unsafe setting d) the option to disable the sharing was buried in the settings or accompanied by scary vague warnings to discourage changing it e) the service was inadequately protected.

Apple had better hope the leak was from somewhere else.

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Alienware injects EVEN MORE ALIEN into redesigned Area-51 gaming PC

DrXym
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Just two design principles?

I think there are actually three design principles, the first being pure marketing bullshit and that feeds into principles two and three.

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Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy

DrXym
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The ratings aren't much use

I'm sure they say if the driver turned up on time. They're not going to say whether the driver has a previous conviction for rape or if the car failed its MOT or has no insurance. Unless Uber / Lyft are required to comply with the regulations for licencing, knowledge, vehicle safety and criminal background checks that other taxi companies do, I think it right to question their business model.

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Nokia: Read these Maps, Samsung – we're HERE for the Gear

DrXym
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Re: If they put Here into the Google Play Store

I don't see why they wouldn't. They'd probably be delighted if Nokia sold it for a sum of money too since they'd get a % cut and it wouldn't directly compete with Google Maps or Waze.

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One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot

DrXym
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Let's see how far the Apple analogy goes

We'll only know if they succeeded in doing an Apple if in 5 years everyone thinks Dyson invented robot vacuum cleaners, forgetting how the likes of Roomba have been on sale for years now.

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Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch

DrXym
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"but...Tizen?"

A better question - why should it even matter?

If the watch communicated with other devices using open protocols then it shouldn't matter a damn what the watch or the other device was running.

But Google, Apple, Samsung et al all want to smart watches to tether to their phone operating systems and their services. So now the "smart" watch is just a dumb terminal onto a specific brand of phone or phone OS.

And that's on top of other problems these devices have like displays which have to turn off to conserve power.

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Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store

DrXym
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Re: Icons

All platforms are going for a flat look and moving away from skeumorphism. I think Microsoft's problems are multiplied because they didn't just go flat, they went monochrome. Most of the tiles are a single colour with a single colour on top. I think the situation is *slightly* better on Metro than Windows Phone because there tends to be more going on in the live tiles, tiles are available in more sizes, and tiles that launch desktop apps show the traditional icon.

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DrXym
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", I can say that the entire 'metro' experience of win8 has done NOTHING for me. I find Win8 quite usable as a desktop system when augumented with Classic Start Menu, but there's absolutely zero of interest to me in that Playskool/Fisher-Price world of lavender and teal blocks and full screen 'apps' that do nothing useful."

Microsoft were making a beeline to tablet land with the metro interface. I am quite certain that during Windows 8 the devs were told to forget about mouse / keyboard experience and push to get something that worked on a tablet.

They screwed it up pretty badly in 8 though in fairness 8.1 SP1 has fixed the roughest edges. If they implement something compact and analogous to a start menu in SP2 or 9 then I think most of the complaints will be overcome.

As for apps I don't find them any worse than other mobile apps. Some of them are rather good - the Netflix app is really nice and Microsoft have some good stock apps for email, browsing, weather, maps etc. I even use some of them when the tablet is docked up. But I still mostly use the desktop.

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HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE

DrXym
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iOS / OS X hybrid

I think a tablet / hybrid which can run both iOS and OS X software could be a major seller for Apple assuming they can work out the experience properly.

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Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins

DrXym
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Re: XBMC & Media Hubs

"You need to research difference between MPEG4 H.264 DVB-T (SD & HD) (or DVB-T2 MPEG4 H.264 HD) and ripped discs. "

I think you need to research the meaningless gobbledegook you just threw out. H264 is a codec. DVB-T and DVB-T2 are broadcast protocols for encapsulating data in streams. As far as a decoder is concerned it is of supreme indifference where the video / audio came from as long as it conforms to the spec.

"The Pi was NEVER intended as a Media Box solution (it's not even cost effective as one). "

The Broadcom Soc in the Pi was designed to go in blu ray players, satellite boxes and so on and hardware decoding of H264 and AAC is unlocked. It's the very definition of a media solution.

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DrXym
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Re: The B got a memory memory in a previous rev

"It's an educational device, not a device that allows you to pirate movies and stream them around your home.."

Interesting. And there were people thinking that a device built around a media SoC, which has a LAN port, an HDMI output, H264 and AAC hardware decoding unlocked and 2 major media player dists might reasonably be used that way.

The negativity about wanting the Pi to improve and become more suitable in more situations is absurd and baffling.

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DrXym
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Re: Going multicore

"The problem is that once you bump the processor up to something more modern, your software compatibility goes out the window,"

I don't see the issue really. A Pi runs whatever you load onto the SD card. If dists are built to the new Pi specification then they'll run the same way as they do now. End users download a dist, stick it on a card and boot it. They might have to recompile their code but presumably they wouldn't have bought the new Pi if they weren't prepared to do that.

"The Quad Cores are coming (in a month or two). But they are very different beasts from the Pi and the O/S's they run are sufficiently different that the Pi's biggest asset: it's base of user software, would have to be restarted, reported or redesigned."

No it wouldn't. Most client side software would work exactly the same whether it was on one core or eight cores. Most existing Pi code runs in a single thread or uses threads sparingly. The only change of moving to a multi core processor is that the kernel scheduler allows more processes / threads to run in parallel so the experience is more responsive, particularly if combined with a higher clock speed.

"While that may not be such a bad thing - it will take the wind out of the Pi's sails and given that there are so many other products already in the SBC multi-processor market, it would be difficult for the Pi to regain its old pre-eminence."

I don't see it doing that at all. A more powerful Pi would have wider appeal particularly for people looking to build out desktops, media players from it.

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DrXym
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The B got a memory memory in a previous rev

The B started with 256MB and it was bumped up to 512MB in a later rev.

I think it wouldn't hurt to bump up the processor in a model C. Multi core SoCs sell for a few dollars which is cheap enough to consider throwing into a later Pi. Add a soft reset / standby and suddenly it's useful as a media player or an Android device. The model B could just about power XBMC but it didn't win prizes for responsiveness.

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Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome

DrXym
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Built-in flash isn't necessarily any more secure

It just means when a vuln is discover Google are more in control of the patching cycle which is an extremely good thing.

The problem with Flash player is not so much the player as the execrable update process. Adobe's Flash updater makes users run a startup process, go through half a dozen clicks (while their browser is closed), avoid installing crapware toolbars by accident and generally does everything to discourage people from using it at all. Is it any wonder people don't keep their plugin up to date?

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DrXym
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Re: Cupertino?

Mountain View and Cupertino are practically next door to each other though Google and Apple's HQ would take you about 20 minutes to drive between. Yahoo is closeby too.

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Huawei: 'Tizen has no chance', Windows Phone is 'difficult'... it's Android all the way

DrXym
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Let me guess why networks want Tizen

Probably Samsung have promised them a cut of the profits.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

DrXym
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Re: So they force him to use Word hmm?

"I think you underestimate how much Word gets used as a format. Mr. Stross has written a lot on how the process works, and I don't think you're far wrong on why it gets used. Most of the cost of producing a novel from a manuscript is in the editing, and Word is the de facto standard. Microsoft have been destroying the alternatives in the word-processing market, and nobbling the process that sets standards, and there isn't a practical alternative for what the publishers have to do."

Exactly. There isn't a practical alternative. So moaning about Word seems to overlook the fact that there isn't anything much better. The publishers need a common tool for collaborative review and have settled on Word because it is ubiquitous and works relatively well.

And this is for review purposes when the manuscript is mostly in draft. It doesn't mean the author has to live their lives in Word. They could write in markdown for all it mattered or some ancient DOS word processor. Providing they submitted in a format that the editor could open. The likes of George RR Martin does exactly that. And it's not like someone can say "ah by George RR Martin can dictate his workflow because he's so famous" because he's been using it for years and before his fame.

Authors probably find the whole process of editing to be tedious. In a large book it probably does mean throwing a file back and forth many times. And perhaps Word isn't perfect for the job. But the alternatives are no better. The editor could send stacks of manuscript with red ink and postits. Or maybe they could maintain an exhaustive side document of issues and have the author reference it. But neither is particular good

As for ODT I did not mean to say the editor and author would be switching back and forth between it and .doc but that if another tool were better for the purpose then they could aggree to use that and then convert at the end. There isn't much that a format has to remember - basic structure and formatting. All the rest would be done during typesetting.

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