2923 posts • joined Wednesday 18th July 2007 13:08 GMT
Never got the point
Having to look through someone else's holiday pictures is torture. Why on earth would I want an app which essentially amounts to same thing?
Altavista could have been Google
Altavista died a death because its search results became so polluted with noise that it was rendered effectively useless. Websites would show several thousand keywords into meta data or hidden text and appear at the top of the search results regardless of their relevance. On top of that Altavista had a really crappy site and only showed a handful of results at a time.
That's why Google squashed it. It was able to deliver relevant results quickly and was to resist site's attempts to boost their ratings with meta data.
Bing is the only other search engine which comes anywhere close to that and these days either of them delivers decent results.
I could see this being true
If the server in question is just a print server or something, then there is no reason to care what it's "local" time is because nobody will see it. So I could see the potential for a server to be running on UTC because there are no users per se, just an Adobe print server or what not which embeds UTC into the meta data.
There are also very good reasons some times when UTC *should* be used. I to write code which talked with a trading system that returned trading tickets as a date / timestamp in Eastern Standard Time. So I had to write code which converted EST back to UTC using a timezone database and with the added risk that the timezone db on the client and server boxes might not contain the same values. Just because the server admins and server software authors couldn't be arsed to return a UTC formatted string like they should have.
Another time I was writing set top box software which showed a electronic program guide. I *insisted* that the server returned UTC simply to avoid stupid situations like the above, especially when times go back or forward an hour and the EPG is supposed to show a program which in local time could end 30 minutes before it even started.
"Just hit the "Win" key, start typing "cal..." then ENTER. There. No need to invoke any search option, gestures and such."
Thing is you can do that in Windows 7 and it still does it better. Hit Windows button and the start menu comes up with the search in focus. Hit Windows button in Win 8 and it dumps you in start menu and you're expected to know without any visual clues that something happens. It's not intuitive, and the manner in which most people launch apps through an icon is a pain in the backside.
It's simply not better.
"Jakob Nielsen, ever the wag, says it should be called 'Microsoft Window'. "
Theoretically you can drag and drop a metro app and plonk by the side of another app including the desktop so it just barely qualifies in the plural. But it doesn't work very well in practice so I wouldn't see a huge use until MS somehow figure a way to detach metro apps into windows on the desktop.
I don't really mind metro as I said, it's just that the desktop and keyboard and mouse are treated like an afterthought and the desktop workflow is all wrong.
The one gripe I have with metro apps is just like Windows Phone, when they're not in the foreground, they're serialized suspended and some apps really don't come back to life gracefully. e.g. Microsoft's own Mahjong game doesn't like being suspended and never resumes properly where it left off.
I think people moan about it because it should have never come to this. There is nothing wrong with revamping the UI and in many ways I like Metro. But it breaks the fundamental rule of UI design - if you rewrite the UI make damned sure that the new thing provides the same functionality or matches the workflow better than the old thing.
This is absolutely not the case in Windows 8 where simple tasks suddenly become an exercise in frustration.
E.g. Say I want to fire up a calculator to verify something in an app. I must either to go out to metro and show all apps or I have to make incantations on the right side of the screen until the bar appears, click Search, type calc, click. It takes clicks, gestures and choices to accomplish. It causes brainfarts because the desktop disappears while trying to launch the damned app and causing the user forget the reason they ran it at all.
Metro also suffers from a pathological case of dumbing down. I can't group tiles for example, or zoom out to show more tiles at once, or see recently used apps somewhere, or sort tiles in a group by name, or multi select and pin multiple apps at once.
I hope Microsoft realise how awful it is and set about providing a decent experience. It doesn't mean bringing back the start menu but it does mean addressing the very real needs of people who aren't stabbing the screen with big fat fingers and actually have to work in front of a computer and do stuff all day.
The comparison to iOS is very weak. The iPhone was the successor to the iPod. There was never any confusion in anyone's minds that it might be OS X. Indeed for some time and still now to some extent, you needed a computer to sync tunes or movies so nobody saw it as a replacement. And the iPad was introduced as a big iPhone.
On the other hand Microsoft are pushing out Windows 8 and Windows RT at exactly the same time, with exactly the same front end. And RT even has a desktop mode even if it's just a hack for MS Office. There will be devices where it will not be obvious at all whether they're Windows 8 or Windows RT - even Microsoft plans two versions of the Surface and there will be devices like Asus Transformer which look like a netbook but might be constrained to RT. There is also 15 years of expectation of backwards compatibility which are suddenly broken.
So the opportunity for confusion is there and I believe many people will be sorely disappointed and annoyed when they discover Windows RT is gimped and isn't really Windows at all.
Demand might be phenomenal
The Surface is an overpriced, underpowered tablet running an unpopular OS. If they want Windows RT to become popular, something has to change and the most obvious thing to do is cut the price. I don't know how Microsoft did it but they managed to out-greed Apple with their pricing.
I think if you built the ZX Spectrum there would be little reason to use the original circuits. Could probably emulate the lot on some cheap ARM chip and throw the whole design into a look-a-like box with 100 games flashed into it too.
Re: Wind-up Radios
I have a wind up LED torch and I find it quite useful. It's wind up in the sense that there is a handle attached to a dynamo and you turn it for 60 seconds and it stores enough charge for maybe 10 minutes. It's fine for putting the rubbish out or going up in the loft. I have another torch I got in poundland which has a squeeze handle and is okay at a pinch but doesn't hold much charge.
I was once given a Baylis clockwork radio and the thing was more trouble than it was worth. As a radio it had an excellent sound but it only lasted 10 minutes per charge. The windup mechanism packed in after 20 winds and would rapidly spin itself out without charging anything. Gravity should in theory be simpler providing the drop was correctly regulated.
Anyway there is potential for these things in Africa but I think most will just end up being sold with the rest of the shit that Marks and Spencer, Debenhams etc sell around christmas time along - golf ball polishers, fart noise keychains, whiskey flasks, Stig mugs and suchlike. A crappy stocking filler.
I do think tech can help developing nations though. Especially solar stuff - cookers, stills, lights, radio etc. People have to trek for miles to get fuel when they are sitting directly under a giant fire ball capable of cooking their food for them with the aid of a few mirrors.
This is nothing new
I recall seeing gravity powered radios almost 10 years ago working on the same principle - a cord with a large weight (e.g. 10kg) on the end which was slung over the nearest tree or pole. Same principle except for what the generated current is being used for. It's essentially the same as those clockwork radios except the potential energy is gravity instead of a spring.
I assume a light wouldn't draw as much power as a radio so it could either last for longer, or the gravity drop would be less, or some other variation. There are plenty of wind up torches too. Could probably produce gravity powered USB charger too assuming the weight and cord length was sufficient to make it viable.
Re: Not very "Green"
Because Apple wants you to throw away your computer / tablet / phone every few years and therefore they make it extremely expensive to service.
I'm more surprised that various regions such as the EU put up with this.
"Note that the 386 is no longer supported, this includes AMD/Cyrix/Intel 386DX/DXL/SL/SLC/SX, Cyrix/TI 486DLC/DLC2, UMC 486SX-S and the NexGen Nx586."
Some chip manufacturers played fast and loose with the numbering so they might have said 486 and supported the instruction but internally they might have had a largely 386 architecture such as bus. Anyway I expect they're dumped for their rarity and disuse as much as anything else - who knows or cares if they work because nobody has the hardware to actually test them.
Dangerous surveilance code?
It's some stupid affiliate link. Arguably Ubuntu shouldn't have put themselves in this position but it's hardly the end of the world even in the worst scenario. Ubuntu should have thrown some checkbox setting somewhere which definitively disables the feature and that would have been the end of the matter.
Call me old fashioned but I would rather not have "smart" technology baked into my TV or monitor. It becomes bitrotten or obsolete so quickly that its more prudent to buy a dumb TV and a set top box.
Re: iPads feeling expensive now
There are some Android tablets which have a different aspect ratio screens, e.g. the Archos 80 has a 4:3 screen.
As for Google, I don't see them being any different in their own way than Apple or Microsoft when it comes to tablets. They all jealously hoard as much data as they can about you so they can use it to sell advertising and so on.
If you feel strongly about it, there are options. Many Android tablets can be rooted so you can obtain a custom rom which don't have apps you don't wish to use. A less extreme measure would be to avoid the Google apps and use alternatives, e.g. Yahoo mail instead of GMail, Firefox / Opera / Dolphin instead of Chrome and so on.
Can't help but think
That their cause would be served by having a better name than MariaDB.
The Times isn't too bad. The really scary papers at the moment are the Daily Mail and Telegraph which have lurched far more to the right than the Times ever has.
Re: Even better bargain
"No. There's no excuse for reading the Mail."
There is if you're a closet xenophobe and bigot and want your worst fears confirmed on a daily basis via one distorted article after another.
Google, Amazon and Starbucks have obligations to their shareholders to make as much money as they possibly can which includes keeping as much out of the tax man's hands as possible.
If the government want them to pay more, they should close or limit the loop holes that these companies are using.
Trying to guilt them out is just wrong. They're only doing what the law allows them to do. It's the same as the faux outcry when Jimmy Carr got caught using some offshore account.
Neither Facebook nor Zynga is particularly likeable. Zynga is a "game" company with the unfortunate habit of ripping off other company's games, turning them into thinly veiled skinner boxes and monetizing the hell of people addicted to them. Facebook is the company which hosted and gave them preferential status while all this crap was going on for a cut of the profits.
I wouldn't feel sad if either of them failed, but Zynga would be a good start.
"i like the idea of the secondary screen though. i wonder if sony will allow people to use a vita in the same way?"
The PSP could be used for remote play and video / music with the PS3. The main limitation was that since it had only one nub there weren't a huge number of games which explicitly supported it. I suppose the Vita could act as a full controller so maybe it could remote play any game with some firmware support.
I wouldn't be surprised if Sony has a lot of patents on the remote play and if Nintendo has licenced them.
"If your Nvidia drivers are acting up do you blame Microsoft? nope."
I'd blame Microsoft if it was a Microsoft branded box, designed by Microsoft, running a Microsoft branded operating system, built to Microsoft's spec and sold through their own store.
Re: Just watch as nothing happens
No, what I am saying (and I shall say it in detail to avoid you having to put words in my mouth) is that the press complaints commission is toothless and the newspapers like it that way. It's not worth complaining because it rarely acts and if it does it usually just issues a mild slap on the wrist. The only other recourse is the courts and it should be obvious why many people do not take that option. So the press cynically calculate they can commit the worst abuses knowing they're rarely get punished for it. And this isn't happening in the public interest either but to sell newspapers.
It's also clear the government needs the press on their side and is scared of the press. Look how chummy Cameron was with Rebeccah Brooks for example. Look how prominently UKIP has featured in the last few weeks (certainly not for the importance of the story. The press is overtly threatening the Tories by trying to split their support base across some other party. The Daily Mail and Telegraph has been particularly virulent of late in this regard.
It was fortunate that the phone tapping scandal was so big that not even the government could deny calls for an inquiry into press conduct. But that doesn't mean the government will necessarily legislate. They'd far prefer the press "voluntarily" submit to some stronger form of self regulation. They'd prefer to pretend they cannot legislate, despite the fact that broadcasting is legislated and manages to function. So expect the government to weasel out of doing anything and for the new "voluntary" regulation to be so emasculated as to be useless.
One hopes that enough members parliament, under the guise of "cross party support" if necessary have the balls to legislate even if the government does not.
ZombiU has had pretty favourable reviews and looks interesting not just for the game itself but perhaps a turn in direction for Nintendo to offer a more "hard core" game.
But most of the ports have been met with "bleh". They're not especially bad but neither do they demonstrate any advantage over the original games. Case in point would be Arkham City which has be criticised for poor frame and for releasing at a time when the game is in the bargain bin on other platforms. E.g. it's turning up on PSN+ next month as that month's main free download.
I think it's absolutely obvious that the Wii U was designed to bring it up to the current console generation tier but absolutely no further than the bare minimum. There are enough comments from developers to suggest that the CPU in particular is pretty weedy even in comparison to the 360 and PS3 which let's not forget are 5 years old.
Re: Just trying to protect their balliwick
Of course they're trying to protect themselves. It's not in content provider's interests to allow Apple, Amazon, Google or any other service gain the upper hand because who wants to deal with a monopoly? It's better to have competing services since the risk is spread out and they can be played off against each other.
That said, neither the service or content providers are playing fair by consumers. The prices of movies and shows and books are virtually identical from one service to another due to contracts that prevent content from being sold cheaper on another service than it is on the one the contract covers. So there are lots of vertical markets but no actual competition, just a land grab as services try to lock more users into their own service than other ones. And of course you can't take your content with you if you leave either.
Just watch as nothing happens
You only have to look at the apoplexy affecting the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Sun in particular at the moment to see the overt hostility to any form of regulation. This of course has nothing whatsoever about their fears of censorship and everything to do with them afraid of being held to account if they repeat some of the atrocious things they have done in the past. The press complaints commission was a poodle and that's just the way they liked it.
The government will make a lot of sympathetic noises and do its upmost to not do anything at all. Press regulation would make the press cross and if the press are cross they'll take it out on the government.
Didn't you know? The scientific consensus that climate change is real and there is a strong anthropogenic contributory factor is just a conspiracy by a secret cabal of environmentalists and hippies!
Re: Why do you keep lying, Lewis?
Lying by omission, or cherry picking. e.g. comparing an unusual spike in 1998 to current temperatures to pretend that the overall trend was not upwards. Which it is.
Re: Stop the cherry picking
Cherry picking is where someone only picks out facts they like from a large set of data and then puts their own spin on it to downplay the overall picture or trend.
Mr Page does it every single time and this time is no different at all, choosing an arbitrary pair of dates to compare out of an entire range and ignoring a very clear trend upwards over a longer term. The original article cited is here:
It has a nice big graph and the trend in that graph is obvious. Below the graph is a table broken down by year and dataset.
Let's see if you can figure why 1998 was chosen to compare to 2012 instead of say 1995,1996,1997,1999,2000,2001,2002 etc. Answer - because a large spike in that one year could be used to downplay and pretend that the average temperature hadn't actually risen by around 0.2C in the intervening decade as the trend clearly shows it had.
This is just a typical example of these stories on the Register - wilful misinterpretation of the evidence. Cherry picking. And you know it. It even had a light dusting of quote mining at the end using Peter Stott's words made in one context to validate a misrepresentation of the original article.
You can't blame a single event on climate change. But you can track extreme weather events over time and measure the frequency that they occur. If that frequency is increasing then it reasonable to conclude that a contributory factor is likely to be climate change.
Stop the cherry picking
It's transparent and boring.
Re: MP stands for Media Prozzy, right?
"Good idea! How should they do that then? Pass a law that says don't use any of the hundreds of tax loopholes that exist, pretty please? If it were that easy, d'you not think they'd have done it by now?"
Well passing legislation would be a whole lot more effective than moralising about people and companies exploiting those loopholes.
There is a reasonable explanation for this
iPhones are typically sold on expensive tariffs that bundle data. Android phones are more commonly sold in a mix of tariffs including PAYG, and sim free where data might possibly be opt-in and may be more limited.
So it affects usage habits. e.g. I pay for 700MB data as an extra on my PAYG plan which is enough for mail and some casual web browsing but I'm not going to be watching YouTube videos through it any time soon. And I have wifi at home so it's only for when I'm out and about - as soon as I get home the phone automatically switches across.
Re: Ah memories...
I attended a conference in Galway where there were various speakers talking about the future of the internet - semantic web etc. One speaker quite seriously believed that Second Life was going to replace the internet, that companies should be building out a presence on Second Life. I thought he was delusional.
VCDs were extremely popular in Thailand and places like that. Even 5 or 6 years ago. They were easier to pirate than VHS cassettes and karaoke was another popular use.
I actually owned a Philips CDi which with the Amiga CDTV 32 (with MPEG-1 expansion) represented the pinnacle of market penetration in the UK, i.e. none whatsoever. This wasn't surprising given that VHS had better quality and most people owned recorders which could record off the TV. Fortunately the CDi was a prize in a competition so I didn't have to regret buying it.
It might appeal to a certain mindset to make the trip, but the first question I'd ask them is, do you really want to live in an enclosed space surrounded by frozen arid tundra where absolutely nothing can survive and catastrophe is one broken machine / widget away.
Settlers colonised the America's spurred on by promises of land, rich soil, gold, and other tangible things. What is there on Mars?
Re: blame the network ?
"Also a battery that doesnt even last a day ? On a new phone ? That's another reason not to buy it."
Heh it's a step up from what happened with the Lumia 800. Some phones including mine had duff battery firmware which ran the phone down in 6 hours. And it'd be dead as a dodo after that unless you plugged it into a wall socket. Charging from a USB cable connected to a PC did nothing. Took them many months to fix the issue and even now the phone has to be charged daily.
It's also strange that one of the claimed benefits of Windows Phone is better battery life - that apps can't run things in the background, that stuff like streaming, push etc. are forced through the built-in OS services. The theory being the more the phone is idle the more power it saves. Which is fair enough though in practice it hasn't been realised in appreciably better battery spans for WP devices.
Is it that surprising?
Lots of SoCs contain functionality which you don't get to see or use. For example Raspberry Pi has MPEG-2 and VC-1 support in hardware but you have to install license keys to enable it. Without the keys the functionality is disabled.
The Snapdragon S4 Pro claims LTE support so it's not surprising that some functionality is there. Maybe Google even tentatively intended to support it now or in a future version of the phone, leaving in some engineer screens but pulled back at the last minute.
Re: "OS/2 also needed a couple of extra megabytes of RAM"
I tried 2.1 in 4MB. It ran but just barely with the VM going into overddrive to keep up. I bought 16MB for a whopping £600 to get it going acceptably. Even though Warp was a bit less memory hungry it still needed more than Windows 95.
Re: Long story, short version
"Warp 3 rings a bell."
OS/2 Warp was OS/2 3.0. To my recollection it didn't fix the message queue issue. I had to use a console command called watchcat to kill processes which hung. I'd stab some key combo which put watchcat to full screen, kill the offending process (normally the thing I was writing) and proceed. Still a pain in the arse.
I was done with OS/2 before Warp 4 (OS/2 4.0) so I didn't have any first hand experience.
It would not surprise me at all if the single message queue thing was easily fixable, but IBM being IBM chose not to for fear of breaking badly written software which used the message queue as some kind of primitive sync lock.
Re: Putting a D-pad and buttons on their phone ...
The N-gage's controls were the least of its problems. This was a device which required you to remove the battery to replace a game cartridge. That and other questionable design decisions doomed it.
Anyway at least one Sony Ericsson phone shipped with a slide out game pad.
The issue is that most mobile games completely ignore such a controller even it's there on the device because so few devices have a controller. If Google / Sony / Whoever want to see more controller enabled games they need to be handing out SDKs like toffee to make it happen and open developer's eyes to the possibilities.
The controller doesn't even have to be built into the phone - most phones and tablets have bluetooth. Theoretically I should be able to pair a PS3 controller to some random phone / tablet and play a shooter but can I? Only if I root the device and go through a stupid rigmarole which means 99.99% won't even bother. Why Sony doesn't make it easy to pair their controllers with a PC or tablets is beyond me.
The point of the Wii U
Is to get Nintendo on the same performance / development tier as the PS3 and 360. Developers can take 90% of the code, graphics, audio and other assets from these other platforms and reuse them on the Wii U. It means at last that Nintendo might actually see some decent 3rd party support, albeit just as these two other consoles are enjoying perhaps the last 18 months of their lives. It's basically 5 year old tech dressed up with a gimmick controller and a high price premium.
Re: Long story, short version
OS/2 was actually price competitive by the time of OS/2 Warp, especially if you bought the Red version without Windows in it. Windows didn't catch up until NT 4.0.
However, Windows 95 had two non-technical advantages over OS/2 - it looked nice and it behaved sanely.
It also enjoyed one technical advantage which used to piss me off no end with OS/2 - every process had its own windows message queue. In OS/2 if one process was in its WNDPROC, then every other process was blocked. If the process never returned from its WNDPROC (e.g. infinite loop, debugger breakpoint etc.) then the whole GUI hung.
Anyway IBM's failure was 50% their own internal politics and lack of vision, and 50% Microsoft sticking the boot in, engaging in anticompetitive practices such as licensing deals where PCs paid a Windows tax whether they shipped with them or not. I remember even IBM PCs used to ship with Windows. When a company can't even persuade it's own PC wing to ship an OS, then they may as well give up right there.
Re: os/2 pricing to fail
I think the difference in attitude between Microsoft and IBM could be most seen in their treatment of developers.
While MS had a developer program you could also obtain a Windows SDK with a compiler for nothing. You could also buy Visual C++ (and Borland C++, Watcom etc.) at consumer affordable prices. The tools were also user friendly and backed up by good quality documentation.
On OS/2 you were expected to pay a large sum of money for C Set++ and another large sum of money for the OS/2 developer connection to get the SDK and inevitable stream of patches. And there was no IDE for the tools. Not even a decent editor. It took IBM until VisualAge C++ to get an IDE and anyone who has used VisualAge knows what an abortion it was. Borland did actually dip their toe in the OS/2 market and shipped a proper IDE, one which was actually quite good but the compiler and support libs were so buggy as to be almost unusable.
So they severely tested their developers while Microsoft was doing everything they could to help them. And this had a knockon impact on the amount and quality of the software that each platform subsequently enjoyed.
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