* Posts by Shane Sturrock

100 posts • joined 13 Sep 2007

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Apple WINS iPod antitrust fight, jury nixes BILLION-dollar payout bid

Shane Sturrock

It was all the fault of the music industry

As I predicted while this case was going on, it all came down to the contract with the music labels who were insisting on the DRM. They required that Apple ensure the security of the system and since Real was able to reverse engineer it the software wasn't secure so that had to be fixed. Jobs specifically said he didn't like DRM and pressured the industry to drop it. He won, and we all won. You can buy music from iTunes and play it anywhere you please now, and they even improved the quality.

If only the movie and TV industry would figure this out and I wouldn't have to buy my Blu rays and rip them to get a version that plays on everything because they're pushing UltraViolet which sucks massively (have you seen the picture quality of their so called HD versions, let alone the SD ones?) It is good to get iTunes codes but even then I typically rip my own copy. I don't share these, I just want a version that is a decent resolution and bit rate. I don't play the Blu rays often despite having 4 players now simply because they take so long to start up when I can just go to my Apple TVs on one of the TVs in the house and fire up the movie or show I'm interested in and it knows where I got to, what I've watched and so on. Discs are a great way to purchase high quality versions though so I'm not too fussed about the current state of play but really, UV is appalling and the hoops necessary just to redeem the code are maddening.

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Blu-ray region locks popped by hardware hacker

Shane Sturrock

Discs?

Riiiippppp

I bought it, I own it, I rip it, I put it away and never use it again.

0
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DEAD STEVE JOBS accuses Real Networks of 'hacking' iPods

Shane Sturrock

Contracted DRM requirements

This all comes down to DRM. The music industry insisted on it or they wouldn't let Apple sell music through iTunes. They had similar deals with other companies such as Microsoft who also sold DRMed music for the Zune and that wouldn't play on an iPod.

Real tried to get a piece of the action by faking Apple's DRM scheme and there's little doubt that this hack would have needed fixing otherwise the music industry would pull their right to sell any music but we haven't seen the contracts so can't say for sure. Whatever the issue, stores selling non-DRM music never had a problem selling to iPod users.

In the end, the finger of blame points squarely at the music industry. Jobs didn't like DRM and wrote a long letter about just why he thought it was a bad thing. Eventually, we got DRM free and higher bit rate music from iTunes because Apple had the power to force it to happen. Those files play on anything that can handle AAC files. That's where we are today. This lawsuit was a symptom of what the music industry was doing rather than anything specific that Apple was doing other than meeting the terms of their contract with the music industry. Sure, Apple used the strength of the iPod and iTunes to their advantage but in the end we all got a better deal because DRM music is all but dead now.

5
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Bought an iPhone 6 Plus? Odds are you've binned the iPad

Shane Sturrock

Phone apps are still phone apps

I've got an iPad mini and recently bought an iPhone 6+ to replace my old 4. I expected to drop the mini and just use the iPhone thus reducing my device list to my rMPR and a phone but as it happens, the iPhone 6+ still runs iPhone apps and not iPad apps and many of them don't handle landscape well. The built in Apple apps do and Mail is a revelation on the 6+ but I still prefer true iPad apps in many cases so I've kept the iPad and now just have a bigger phone than before. On the plus side (no pun!) the phone's battery life is way better than the iPhone 4.

I'll likely get another iPad in a year or so once this one hits three years old, so no, the 6+ doesn't make an iPad redundant but I think I'll go for a bigger one next time, maybe even the rumoured 'Pro'.

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Oh BOY! The MICKEY MOUSE Apple Watch is no heart-throb

Shane Sturrock

Satnav

I was on the fence about it - I thought there might be some cool stuff and I liked the fitness features but I could just as easily get one of the many other fitness trackers for that. However, since I ride a motorcycle I had been hoping Google Glass would give me a working satnav solution for the road rather than a bulky phone case on my handlebars (which frankly don't have room for one, sport bike and all that) but then I found out the Apple Watch will allow you to navigate by tapping your wrist. OK, that's cool. Sold. Oh, and fishing my phone out to switch music tracks or struggling with the remote on the headphones (which I don't use because they're crap and I've got ATH-M50Xs instead), well the watch does that too.

Like the iPad I suspect this is one of those 'I don't get it so it must be crap' situations, and once we've got the gadget we'll find all sorts of uses for it. Except the Edition version. That's going to be bonkers expensive so I'll likely get the cheap one to test the waters like I did with my first Mac, iPhone, iPad and so on.

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Samsung to boot out Shin after Galaxy S5 tanks – report

Shane Sturrock

Re: Good hardware... but

I stopped buying all Samsung gear after they dropped support for my almost new Blu ray player just because they had released a new version. The last firmware update they put out for mine knocked the audio out of sync and after months of waiting for a fix which never came, I returned the player (it was 6 months old at this point) to the store for a Panasonic - the consumer guarantees act in NZ gives you the right to reject a device as unfit for purpose if the manufacturer has failed to rectify the issue and I had returned my original one which was replaced and as soon as I tried to play a new Blu ray it needed the update and bam, the audio was out of sync again.

Samsung may make good hardware, but their software is appalling and I won't be caught dead with their kit again.

2
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Got an iPhone or iPad? LOOK OUT for MASQUE-D INTRUDERS

Shane Sturrock

iOS 7.1.3?

I wonder if Apple will release an update to iOS 7 since my old iPhone 4 can't run iOS 8 or are they just going to say that's it and leave all those phones vulnerable? As another reader said, this is where a jailbreak kicks in nicely but realistically, Apple should at least patch such nasties as this since they were still selling the iPhone 4 just a year ago.

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All but full-fat MS Office to be had on iPads, Droidenslabben for NOWT

Shane Sturrock

Re: I remember

I remember when schools taught computing rather than just IT and office. Of course, that was back in the 80's when the BBC micro was king. My son just expressed an interest in learning to program so I pulled out the Sinclair Spectrum and let him get on with it. Sir Clive would be proud, but I'm saving the BEEB for once he's more familiar with the language. Single keyword entry was such a nice feature.

Anyway, he is happily unaware of IT and just wants to know how computers work and how to program them. Microsoft getting such a stranglehold on schools has been a terrible detriment to those kids who were really interested. Thank goodness for Linux.

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Windows XP market share FELL OFF A CLIFF in October

Shane Sturrock

Re: The truth hurts

The desktop is slipping down the charts for how people access the internet. When most people use phones and tablets to access their e-mail, websites and so on, where does that leave poor microsoft? King of an ever shrinking sphere with limited influence.

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PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY

Shane Sturrock

Re: Regrets

Wipe it and set it up as a new iPad. I did that with my iPad mini 1 (basically an iPad 2) because it was constantly stalling doing anything. After a fresh setup it is all smooth and a pleasure to use again. I've since wiped and re-setup all my other iOS devices right back to my iPad 1 which with a fresh install of 5.1.1 is like new, and even my old iPhone 4 appreciated a fresh install of iOS 7.1.2 and is responsive unlike after the upgrades.

Upgrading an iOS device works OK for a generation or two, but it is good to wipe and start fresh if only to get rid of all the crap apps you've installed over the years.

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Big Retail's Apple Pay killer CurrentC HACKED, tester info nicked

Shane Sturrock

CurrentC dead on arrival

Apple in particular has a policy of not allowing apps in their store which compete with functionality provided by the phone. Apple Pay is in the phone so CurrentC won't be able to get their app into the Apple Store. Google would be well within their rights to do the same and block it. If no-one can install the app on iOS, or they have to side load it on Android, then the whole thing will fail.

Dumb idea anyway to let merchants have access to your bank account. Credit cards exist for a reason, and the one time use token systems that Apple and Google have are safer than a plastic card any day.

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Fanboi-and-fanfare-free fondleslabs fail to fire imagination

Shane Sturrock

Evolution of the device

I still have an iPad 1 which I use daily because it happens to sit nicely on my cross trainer. I also have an iPad mini 1 which also suits my needs and while it was horrible upgraded to iOS 8, a full wipe and install and then putting back the apps I actually wanted fixed it right up. I've noticed a reticence to rotate the screen so I suspect this is an issue with iOS 8 rather than anything specific to any of the iPads.

I'll likely replace my current mini in another year or so once it reaches three years old which seems about right. The original iPad got so many things right, a giant change isn't needed, just a natural evolution of performance and additional features. The main difference is the software in the app store - when I got my iPad 1 there wasn't much about but it quickly appeared. Android is still behind the game and Windows tabs are miles back. The market is maturing and the iPad is still selling well because it is still the best choice.

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Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'

Shane Sturrock

Don't trust them

I got thrown out of Redmond for mentioning Linux a few years back with the person I was meeting declaring "we don't work with Linux companies, I'll get you a cab." This after I sat through his presentation on his XP laptop which kept blue screening every time he plugged it into the big screen but when I did the same with my Linux laptop (KDE themed to look like Windows 2000) it was all fine so he didn't realise I was running Linux until I said so. Boom, shown the door.

The fact is, MS has had to learn to put up with Linux, especially in clusters and cloud as they're nowhere near the behemoth they were on the desktop but you can guarantee that this change of heart will be very short lived if people trust them. Remember, embrace, extend, extinguish? Just where are we with this right now?

5
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Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

Shane Sturrock

Gamers only?

WinTenDo.

9
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Surfing the web from Android? We KNEW it – sorry, iOS fanbois

Shane Sturrock

Re: RE: Fanbois and Apple's Cash Mountain

When a company makes a product you like and would want to continue getting support, it is important that company has a healthy stash of cash. The only reason Apple got through the 1990s was it had a goodly sized cash reserve - don't start claiming that MS saved them with their little investment, it was a cash settlement to stop the legal battles between the two and Apple had $1billion in the bank at the time so weren't in any danger of running out of cash but they had little chance of growth if MS pulled Office from the Mac.

In the end, the cash mountain means Apple doesn't have to compromise so much and can give its customers a product that is just better because they can stick deals down the throat of the phone companies for instance which is why the iPhone was so much better than every other smartphone at the time. The same goes for software for the platform - they can afford to develop best in class applications for their platform and give them away rather than relying on other companies to support them. Look at Java - Apple had to port Java, and support it for years because Sun wasn't interested.

If MS had no mountain of money, they wouldn't have been able to do the Xbox, or blow huge chunks of cash on the disaster that is Windows Phone. However, MS hasn't historically owned the hardware so have been reliant on hardware partners to cobble things together and thus we get the race to the bottom with poor build quality and components. When MS builds the hardware themselves they do a pretty good job - Surface is a nice premium piece of kit although misguided as far as reading the market. Then again, they can also get it horribly wrong - my Xbox 360 has RRoD'd three times and that isn't unusual. MS couldn't have even stayed in the market without the huge pile of cash. Apple is just the same. The difference is I choose to buy Apple gear out of my own pocket. Except for the Xbox 360 and I really really wish I had just sucked it up and bought the PS3 at the time but I won't be fooled this time around and the Xbox One can stay right there in the shop, thanks.

The problem with Android is it is the same race to the bottom that plagued PCs. Sure, there are some really good phones and I've been tempted but they're just as expensive as the iPhone unless you're willing to put up with some custom version of Android which doesn't work half as well as the pure thing, plus I happen to like the integration between my iPhone and Mac which again is a benefit of Apple having a pile of cash. Doesn't Google also have a large pile of cash?

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Say goodbye to landfill Android: Top 10 cheap 'n' cheerful smartphones

Shane Sturrock

Re: 75 bucks? WTF?

Not sure about the exchange rate on Gil Gerards unfortunately. Back in the day I suspect you could get a lot for your 'Buck' but these days he's looking more like Jabba the Hutt.

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REVEALED: Reg trails claw along Apple's 'austerity' 21.5-inch iMac

Shane Sturrock

Re: Mundane, these days, includes home videos

I ran iMovie fine on my old MacBook Air which had specs very similar to this machine although the RAM was half the 8GB of the iMac. I've even got a 2009 Mac mini upgraded to 8GB and a 960GB SSD which happily chugs away with iMovie too even with just a Core 2 Duo rather than i5.

Compared to my PC running Windows 7 on a Quad Phenom with 4GB, all my Macs run rings around it. Specs are one thing, but the OS is something else. The Mac is a whole package and I can certainly see where users would like this machine. Not to mention, once you've run it for five years, you can always buy a mini and plug that in and use the iMac as a screen instead. Personally, I bought a 20" cinema display back in 2004 and I'm on my second Mac mini with that having retired an old G4 PPC model when switching to the Intel one I currently run. I'll probably run it for another year or two and then buy another. Perfect little workhorse.

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Alienware says it WILL ship a Steam Machine in 2014 – running Windows

Shane Sturrock

Re: How would this really differ - from an Xbox

I have a Windows box for gaming and an Xbox 360 controller is OK in big picture but too many games don't support it or only partially support it so you can't really get away from needing a keyboard and mouse attached. The benefit of the Steam controller was that it could replace the keyboard and mouse for games that didn't support a console controller. This thing is a rather underspec Windows box with all the attendant baggage. I wouldn't give it a space under my TV without the Steam controller.

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Kiwis get cracking with gigabit residential broadband

Shane Sturrock

Fast network to the home is all well and good, but it doesn't really help when the trans pacific link is still dog slow. I'm sticking with ADSL2 for the moment because that isn't currently the bottleneck.

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Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

Shane Sturrock

Re: That's what my boss used to shout

You can still buy a brand new (admittedly very cheap) android phone with Gingerbread. I was issued a Gingerbread phone about four years back and it was terrible - one of those slider things with the physical keyboard which kept slipping out and was pretty useless for my big thumbs. The battery life was dire too. I ended up buying the iPhone 4 out of my own hard earned cash and I'm still running that. It is struggling a little under iOS7 but still works pretty well. I've tried a few of the latest Android phones and like the Nexus 5 a lot but I have to say that the integration of iOS8 with OS X.10 is swinging things back in favour of iPhone. Whether I go full retard and buy the latest and greatest or just dial it back several notches and get a used 4S so I can get the features I'm after and keep my current set of peripherals is the big question.

The reality is that Android has indeed come on in leaps and bounds, and Google is pushing Apple hard and vice versa. If it is your money, spend it wisely. I'm a Mac user and I've enjoyed my iPhone 4 a lot more than any other mobile phone right back to the old Nokia 5110 I started with. I buy Apple gear because it works well for me and is by far the best value for money due to the lifespan of the hardware. My cash, my choice.

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Bing's the thing in Microsoft's push for cheap Windows devices

Shane Sturrock

Re: Anti-trust?

Antitrust oversight is over now so MS can get back to business as usual without all that pesky business of the government looking over their shoulder. It will likely take years before their behaviour lands them in court again so they've got time to really screw the market over again like they did in the 90's if we let them. Of course, the world is a very different place today as there are far more options for internet access than just a PC so they don't really have the same hitting power they did back then. Still, best to be safe and not buy any of their stuff just in case.

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Valve's Steam streaming service lets you play games on the toilet

Shane Sturrock

Works surprisingly well even over wifi

I tried a few games on my Mac mini via ethernet and they were fine. There was a little mouse lag but switching to my Xbox 360 controller masked that quite well. Some fast games will put you at a disadvantage but I can now play Train Simulator on my Mac. How far we have come.....

Seriously though, I even fired up my retina MBP over wifi and was able to play most games pretty well. There was obvious video degradation when playing Just Cause 2 but if I dropped the resolution that could be handled. Again, lag was a bit of a problem but I suspect my slow network wasn't helping things.

All in all though, a wired dedicated SteamBox able to access games from my Windows box would be of more value to me than a PS4 or XboxOne simply because I already have a large game selection and many many more for next to no money.

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Microsoft Surface 3 Pro: Flip me over, fondle me up

Shane Sturrock

This hybrid laptop/tablet approach still doesn't work

I just replaced my three year old MacBook Air with a new Retina MacBook Pro 13" and bumped the specs to 16GB RAM and 500GB SSD. That's a serious little laptop right there. I can run VMWare Fusion with multiple OS's each with plenty of RAM to do real testing, and the speed of the SSD is amazing. A huge step up from my old MBA. Add my trusty iPad and iPhone and I'm all set. I've got the perfect laptop, along with a phone and tablet which have oodles of great apps and work really nicely together. Nailing all that functionality into a single device is the dumbest idea ever. I see people on planes struggling to use their Surface Pro, especially the front seat guys with the wobbly tables that come out of the arm rest and I'm happily able to pull my iPad out of my bag and kick back. If I need to do some work, the MacBook Pro is there too and it is small enough that I barely notice the extra bulk over the Air it replaced.

I know we all know this, and I know we all told MS what we thought long before Windows 8 hit the shelves but they persisted anyway. Their app store is terribly weak, the OS feels like the front of a ford cortina welded onto the back of a tractor the fit and finish is so bad and then they stick out this wobbly piece of kit which just has to have a stable desk to use in which case, why not just get a laptop? The next round I may even forget the iPad and just get a bigger phone as I've had a play with a few of the modern Android phablets and they're really getting there. I don't think there's much to touch the Mac laptop for the moment, especially not with Windows on.

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Microsoft: You know we said NO MORE XP PATCHES? Well ...

Shane Sturrock

MS created this situation

MS actively tied features into XP and IE to allow them to lock users onto their platform at the time. Unfortunately, a lot of developers went along with this and built tools and websites around IE6 and were so tied to it that they couldn't work on even later versions of IE which is why there are still IE6 users out there. This quackery hackery of theirs also made it exceedingly difficult to get off XP in the future and now we're seeing the results. All that money put into technologies that would only work on XP forced the OS to stay around for as long as it has and then stinkers like Vista, Vista again but with the rough edges knocked off (7) and now 8 (just no, really, no) why should anyone be surprised that XP still holds 30% of the Windows market?

Will the customers learn from this and avoid this sort of lockin in future? I don't know. The proliferation of other platforms may prevent it because creating an environment around a single browser version isn't practical today so I'm hopeful at least.

For now though, MS should be made to support XP because they can't claim they didn't make this problem in the first place. I don't care that it is old, it still works for a lot of people.

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Not sure if you're STILL running Windows XP? AmIRunningXP.com to the rescue!

Shane Sturrock

Not a reliable test

I am not running XP apparently - but I am although I'm using Chrome rather than IE8. If I use IE8 then it correctly figures out that I am running XP, but not with Chrome.

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MEEELLIONS of unloved iPhone 5Cs gather dust in warehouses – report

Shane Sturrock

Easy fix

Apple needs to add these two options - black back for the black screened phone, and a white front for the white backed one. Do that and they'll sell fine. Give up on the dayglo colours as cases do that but a nice all black or all white phone of the 5c design wouldn't be so fisher-price. I'm running a white iPhone 4 and am looking to run it for as long as possible but when replacement time comes I would like something that is as aesthetically pleasing and the 5c in all its colours isn't.

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Big Content wants Aussies blocked from Netflix

Shane Sturrock

You know what? I would happily use the likes to QuickFlix if it had the content. There's bugger all there. My TV and TiVo are both capable but a bunch of sad BBC back catalogue and a smattering of movies I've already seen long ago isn't going to cut it. The problem isn't the companies trying to deliver, it is the contracts that mean these companies can't get the material while Netflix can. Now, I don't use Netflix either but I know plenty who do and the cross border issues for content occur there too. In a world with digital delivery this all seems pathetic. It reminds me of years back when I used to buy LaserDiscs from the US and the importer told me they couldn't send me the copy of Jurassic Park I had ordered because Pioneer UK was releasing it. It didn't matter that the UK release was much later, or that the speed was wrong (4% pitch up) or that I had ordered the CAV special edition. In the end, I got the version I had pre-ordered but this is just the same old refrain. As long as the borders exist in the media companies peanut minds, the consumer will get shafted and treated like a thief when we are in fact paying for the material. Film distributors like the record companies have no reason to exist in the digital age so they try and legislate themselves into relevance.

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RISE of the MACHINES and Bitcoin: Bill Gates' Reddit tech predictions

Shane Sturrock

Re: Gates FAIL

I agree. I'm old enough to remember the microsoft of old when Bill was in charge. It was under his tenure that MS was dragged into court multiple times for anticompetitive behaviour. The company built a monopoly by shutting out competition after they got a lucky initial start with DOS (bought from a poor shmoe in Seattle) and then took many iterations to get their version of Xerox' GUI to be anything like as good as Apple's (remember Apple paid Xerox in Apple shares for access to the technology, Bill just stole it) and they got to power by being cheap. Then along comes Linux which is even cheaper and the dirty tricks really started (Halloween documents anyone?)

Once the courts found them guilty and should have broken the company up, Bush came in and killed that so they then became the Ballmer run has been we see now. Can this new guy turn the ship around now that they've lost the bi-annual upgrade revenue with many people running their PCs for much longer and buying portable computers AKA tablets and phones instead of a hulking box stuck on a desk (remember you couldn't buy a PC without a new Windows license even if you already had one because they weren't transferable, and yes, you could build your own and migrate across but most people didn't and those sales were like printing money for MS)

I can see what Gates is doing with the money that should be good (although I always worry that the money will come with ties such as when he wants to encourage children to program but only on Windows) but we should remember how he got here and not be fooled by the image he is carefully presenting today.

As for his predictive ability, yes he completely missed a lot (MSN?) but even when he is onto a good idea it generally gets hobbled by MS tying it to other products and if you don't go all the way with MS it is difficult to go anywhere. That's where Google wins these days. We dumped Office largely not because Google products were better, they're not, but the interoperability is there and we can access the material from any device anywhere. That's important and when you compare the cost against the MS options there's no contest.

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Dead Kim Jong-il's OS makeover takes a page from Dead Steve Jobs

Shane Sturrock

Norks.... Are you calling them a bunch of boobs perchance?

0
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Plastic iPhone 5Cs? Nah, we'll flog India our OLD iPhone 4 models - report

Shane Sturrock

Re: Fragmentation alert!

I'm running iOS 7 on my three year old iPhone 4 and see no reason to upgrade as it is still in perfect condition and does everything I ask of it. I don't expect it will get iOS 8 but unless there's some really fabulous feature, I'll stick with the 4 and get every last cent of value from it. My colleagues are already replacing their android phones, some have done so twice in the time I've been on the 4.

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A whopping one in four Apple fanbois uses OBSOLETE TECH

Shane Sturrock

Sorry, but I have an iPhone 4 as does my wife and both are on iOS7 just fine. The upgrade brought almost everything that iOS7 had to offer to this old handset and it performs decently. Some of the effects aren't there (parallax, blur on the notifications drop down) but otherwise it works. I like the new controls for shutting down apps and the control panel that comes up is a bonus for turning bits and bobs on and off. I've had this phone over two years and will definitely run it for another year and then consider my situation once iOS8 drops as that will definitely drop support for the iPhone 4. Then again, the hardware is still pristine and it still does everything I've asked of it. The few times it does get slow there's some app running in the background but shutting down that fixes it. I've found iOS7 improves my phone so I'm happy with the upgrade.

I've still got an iPod Touch 4 which is running iOS 6 and going back to that, or to my first gen iPad on iOS 5 feels like a step back for sure. Then agin, both those devices still work and are useful to me so they'll stick around as I tend to run my Apple gear for as long as possible which is why I feel it is good value. My Apple laptops typically do at least 5 years service which with the sort of travelling I do and the constant banging about they get is about five times what I ever got out of other brands unless you're talking ThinkPads (the real IBM variety) which were every bit as expensive and not as nice to use.

Label me a fanboi if you like but I've been using Apple gear for a decade now and I have always liked the hardware. Sometimes the software has been a bit twitchy but they generally fix it pretty quickly and their customer service is second to none.

My next phone won't be an iPhone 5S, it might not even be an iPhone 6 but it will be an iPhone.

3
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Schiller: 'Almost everyone' at Apple works on iPhones - not Macs or anything

Shane Sturrock

Re: yeah right.

Jeeze, Apple didn't 'need' $150 million from Microsoft. They still had $1,000 million in the bank. The problem was they were in a long and drawn out legal fight with Microsoft and Jobs decided that it wasn't worth it so as a face saving deal and a way to cement the relationship, Apple sold $150 million of shares to MS - they were non-voting stock so MS couldn't do anything with them. The deal enabled both sides to pull back from a futile battle and kept Office on the Mac. Jobs saved Apple by killing off the multitude of slightly different product lines and getting them to focus, plus Apple based Mac OS X on NextStep which gave them a real operating system.

Jobs saved Apple. Not MS. I agree Apple would probably have run out of steam and been bought up by some other company if Jobs hadn't come in (Apple essentially paid Next to take them over) but it was never because they needed MS' money to survive. They needed Jobs. The real question now is whether Jobs would continue with the war against Samsung at this point or would he decide that it wasn't worth it as he did with MS because it was well known he fought MS for a long time because they were 'stealing my stuff!' (go watch Pirates of Silicon Valley) and it appears Apple is at a similar situation now. The difference is that the company doesn't focus on market share but profit and you have to understand that in a market growing as fast as smartphones, losing market share isn't a surprise when you basically owned the market but they sell a whole lot more iPhones now than they did even a few years back. Sure, they could make a really cheap nasty phone (as the 5C was rumoured to be but didn't turn out as such) and gain market share but at what cost to their bottom line? Samsung sells a lot of crap phones with the Galaxy name and those are what drives market share.

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How to relieve Microsoft's Surface RT piles problem

Shane Sturrock

Transitive could allow them to run x86 on ARM

Apple went through a transition from PPC to x86 with OS X and used Rosetta based on Transitive technology to do dynamic recompilation. Performance of PPC code fully emulated (such as a PPC compiled command line executable) was dire as I remember testing one and seeing it ran at about 10% of the speed of a native binary. PPC emulation was always hard - look at how well PearPC worked for example. The thing that made Rosetta work so well was that the majority of code that an application like MS Office:mac was running was actually calls to OS provided libraries and by recompiling those to native x86 and using Rosetta to recompile just the non-graphical parts PPC programs actually ran pretty well.

Could x86 binaries run reasonably on an ARM compiled version of Windows using an equivalent of Rosetta? Sure, why not? Why didn't MS do so? Probably cost since they're already taking a bath on the devices but it seems that they would have had much more success if they had been able to bring all the Windows applications along for the ride and provide a way of dealing with multi platform 'universal' binaries like Apple. I wouldn't even worry about trying to run 64 bit x86 on ARM as there's still plenty of legacy 32 bit code out there but this is all academic. MS screwed WinRT from the outset.

0
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Here's what YOU WON'T be able to do with your PlayStation 4

Shane Sturrock

Steam and WiiU for me then

I'm going to try SteamOS on my PC (games being the only reason I have Windows installed) and buy a WiiU. Sony and MS are both shafting their customers and I'm not willing to pay them for a reaming.

4
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Samsung is officially the WORLD'S BIGGEST smartphone maker

Shane Sturrock

How many of these are nasty Galaxy mini landfill phones?

Samsung makes a mind boggling range of smartphones. Some are good, some less so, and then there's the bottom of the range cheapies. Would be interesting to see what proportion of their range accounts for their volume. A good Android phone is a nice device (our office has pretty much all bought Nexus 4's) but my experience with Samsung phones hasn't been so good as I don't like their attitude to updates or the changes they've made from stock Android. However, it is painfully obvious that many people are buying based on price and the 'galaxy' brand which is why they've spread that all over their range. What I don't tend to see is much loyalty with buyers of their phones and their practices regarding updates and the recent region locking issues don't endear them.

2
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Pop OS X Mavericks on your Mac for FREE while you have LUNCH

Shane Sturrock

Re: And now the world waits...

OS X v7 (aka Lion)

OS X v8 (aka Mountain Lion)

OS X v9 (aka Mavericks)

OS X is vastly different from the earlier Mac OS (9 and earlier) and based on a UNIX core. The X is a play on that UNIX naming and they don't really want to lose it so for the life of OS X it will always be OS 'ten' and every new version will be numbered as a 'point' release. Forget about the 10 part and focus on the next number to understand.

Speaking as a software developer, version numbers are largely arbitrary anyway. There's very little that says you've done enough to justify a whole new version. We've even gone so far as to decide right at the last minute that a point release should end up being marketed as a whole new version just because. The end user perception of what a full release is obviously drives much of this from a marketing perspective.

As with each previous release of OS X, there's enough in Mavericks to justify a new version number. MS going from Vista to 7? On the face of it, not much to be honest, especially when you look at Vista SP2 where performance is little different from 7 in practice. Some things 7 did better were how it managed the services it ran on startup because Vista is a real dog for some time after it boots until things settle down. 7 is better but mostly it works like a Vista service pack with just some visible changes like the new task bar.

Just understand that arguing that OS X Mavericks is just a service pack sounds pretty ridiculous to someone who works as a software developer and knows how arbitrary numbering really is.

0
0

Apple: Now that you've updated to iOS 7... YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK

Shane Sturrock

Re: FFS

At least with my iPhone I can rock up to any phone shop in the world and buy a SIM that will work in it since it was bought unlocked as is required by local law here in NZ. Go buy a European Samsung phone and do the same, I dare you.

3
9

iOS 7 SPANKS Samsung's Android in user-experience rating

Shane Sturrock

Re: Can you spell horseshit?

I have to admit that I updated my iPhone 4 and iPad mini to iOS7 and instantly regretted it. My eyesight isn't what it used to be and I struggled to find thing with the super fine text. This looked extra bad on the iPad mini which doesn't have a retina screen because the standard fonts are so fine they are poorly rendered when the screen has so few pixels to play with. Turns out though, somewhere in the beta testing Apple noticed and if you go into the preferences->general->accessibility options and turn on bold text, then reboot, your device comes back with much more legible fonts for these old eyes. Much happier now with iOS7 and it even runs decently well on an old iPhone 4 so I can keep the old girl around for another year or two before rocking up and buying the latest smartphone. Who knows, by then it will be clear Android is the way for me to go but at the time I got the iPhone there were too many 'droid phones around running Gingerbread which was horrible.

6
0

Peak Apple: Samsung hits DOUBLE the market share of iPhones

Shane Sturrock

Re: anyone know the breakdown

The cheap Samsung Galaxy mini is a piece of crap and an embarrassment to the brand. The trouble is Samsung puts out so many different phones under the Galaxy brand and some are good, while some are terrible. So many sizes, different configurations for the same phone in different markets, a terrible twist in Android too. Apple can't and won't compete with that - the legacy of Job's tenure is simple choices. They will likely stop making the iPhone 4 and 4S when the 5C is available to rationalise their product line and make a good profit. That's the real question - Apple makes good money on all their devices and can they continue to do that with falling margins? The majority of smartphone manufacturers make next to nothing on theirs, just Samsung and Apple grabbing the lion's share of profits. Seems like Samsung is Microsoft this time around and Apple is Apple again.

10
2

Microsoft Surface sales numbers revealed as SHOCKINGLY HIDEOUS

Shane Sturrock

You are obviously the target market - you can see the benefit of a tablet cum laptop. Unfortunately, there aren't many of you. Personally, I like a full laptop and an iPad rather than having it all in one device and I appear to be the more common customer. I think they misjudged the numbers who would buy their vision incredibly badly which, while surprising to Microsoft, comes as no surprise to anyone else.

12
0
Shane Sturrock

Re: Where can I buy one?

JB Hifi has them. They have a large selection of Windows tablets, along with a surface RT and Pro side by side in the one near where I live. They also appear to have customer repellant sprayed on them or something given the crowds around the Apple stand and tumbleweeds around the Microsoft stuff. A salesman told me that they were selling lots to students who wanted Office on their tablet. I think this must be some new use of the word 'lots' of which I was previously unaware because it sure looks like none to me.

5
0
Shane Sturrock
FAIL

Re: Too bad

The classic Windows UI on a tablet has been available for over a decade and people weren't buying it. The iPad doesn't try to be a Mac and uses a completely new finger friendly UI. Windows RT still has a desktop of sorts, along with the cut and shut Modern UI but with very few apps since there was no strong Windows Phone store environment the RT could pull from. It is an OS that is undiscoverable and still has the flipping Windows desktop to access Office (or part of it at least) which is decidedly un-finger friendly so what you get is a floppy sort of of laptop where the screen won't stand up unless it is on a flat surface and where you really need a keyboard of sorts to handle the app most users buy it for which isn't a modern app anyway, and the whole thing looks clumsy compared to an iPad which knows it is a tablet and doesn't try to be anything else. None of this is surprising, nor is the fact that customers haven't miraculously appeared for the thing.

17
0

Apple needs help: iWatch, 'Retina' iPad mini delayed until 2014?

Shane Sturrock

A6 probably, not A5X or A6X

There's no need for the 'X' type chips because those are built to drive a retina display (4x the pixels to move) so they'll likely put an A6 in if it continues to run with the 1024x768 display of the iPad1/2 and current mini.

I'm not surprised they're struggling - many have asked why Apple can't do this and yet the Android tablets have higher resolutions than the iPad mini, but they don't have the number of pixels moving around in a mini size, in fact typically they have about half as many. Apple won't want a thicker heavier iPad mini sticking out a lot of heat as they had with the iPad 3 so they need to wait for denser batteries or more efficient CPU/GPU and displays to get there. Since the display is the biggest drain on the battery that is the limiting factor since a retina display needs a much brighter backlight. They probably need a new display technology to make it really work (IGZO?) and that would likely land on the full size iPad first.

0
0

Euro PC shipments plummet into bottomless pit of DOOOOM

Shane Sturrock

Re: Perhaps the enforced Microsoft Windows monopoly does not help...?

I'm not sure why this 'very rich' meme continues in relation to Apple laptops. Ten years back, I was buying a new PC laptop every year because the things were built down to a price and simply fell to bits. I looked at better built models (had to really so I could run Linux on them as the really cheap laptops were full of Windows specific gear) but even up at the 1500 quid bracket which was the price of the last Windows laptop I bought, it didn't last more than 12 months before it was a wreck. Toshiba Satellite Pro 3000 just in case you're wondering. Case was cracked, screen backlight died, battery died, keys would fly off the keyboard, power supply cord frayed and snapped, hard drive failed, all just because I carried the thing around in a laptop back all over the world. So, my annual laptop purchasing trip had me looking at the iBook G4 which had just come out and it was 500 quid cheaper than that Toshiba and ran UNIX natively so I figured what the heck? Ten years on, that machine still works. I had a solid three years of main machine use before I bought a MacBook Pro in 2006 which cost 2 grand admittedly, but here we are seven years later and that is still in daily use despite me coming off my bike a couple of times with it in my rucksack and it having a few dents. Now I'm on a MacBook Air and loving it. It may have cost a bit more than the cheapie little Windows laptops but it isn't made of brittle plastic and it isn't bogged down by Windows and all that anti-virus muck so it zips along really well. I'm not rich and I buy Apple because they have a proven track record in my hands as good solid machines. I do have a Windows desktop but I don't like it much and just replaced it as my main desktop machine with a Mac mini which may have half the processor cores and be the size of a sandwich, but it is way faster in actual use than Windows 7 ever was.

0
2

Microsoft splashes big bucks to blast Google Apps

Shane Sturrock

Re: Lucky

I keep an XP VM with Office installed around just for this purpose. I actually have Office:mac 2011 too but if I was still purely on Linux, either Office on XP in VirtualBox or Crossover Office would do the trick for running MS tool without borking my entire life by having to run that dog's breakfast that is Windows for everything.

1
0

Oracle loses appeal in HP row over Itanium

Shane Sturrock
FAIL

Re: Lots Of IT Propaganda Whores Here

"In my humble opinion, dropping the Alpha was possible HP's worst move of all if they had any intention of being in the non-commodity hardware business."

Pretty much anyone who had any experience of Alpha would agree. I programmed Alpha and had a few as home machines running 64 bit Linux at a time when the FP performance for a 21264 box was 8x that of the fastest Intel processor and for integer work, having 32 full 64 bit registers, register renaming, instruction reordering and four independent integer pipelines with two floating point all lead to a very very fast CPU which you could write assembly for almost like a high level language. For years various wags had been claiming Intel would roll into the 64 bit market and take over with Merced. Well, that didn't happen and while HP had been busy working with Intel to develop it and kill their own PA RISC, Compaq bought DEC and got the Alpha business and continued to develop it. When HP bought Compaq, they killed Alpha because it competed with their own plans. That was a mistake. They took the best performing, most scalable CPU architecture on the market and killed it when it was the speed king and they replaced it with an untried architecture which relied on very smart compilers to get any performance (anyone else remember the dreadful i860 from Intel?) and of course that didn't work. Many Alpha engineers hit the market, quite a few got sucked into AMD and the Opteron was the result and it has taken years for Intel to get properly competitive with those and they could only do it because of their strength of market position and deep pockets.

Itanium is the CPU equivalent of Windows 8. It deserved to fail. If only HP could suck it up and relaunch Alpha but it is likely much too late so we get the modern day x86_64 architecture which, while compatible with ia32, is horrible to code for (limited registers, bolt on vector operations that you have to jump through hoops to use and so on) but at least they're cheap.....

2
1

Google Maps becomes Apple's most popular app

Shane Sturrock

Errors in google maps too

These companies must hate the antipodes because both sets of maps are full of errors. It may not be as bad as getting lost on the way to Mildura, but Google Maps shows a bus stop outside my house which isn't there. It is about 100m further up the road, and street view clearly shows this but Apple got vilified for having errors in their map data, yet Google also has them too. Even in the US there are problems because I went to visit a friend in Alabama and Google Maps put his street address two miles further down the road than it actually is. Sure, we can and do report these problems, but there must be something wrong with the source database or how the data is being modified to get to these apps because they are both difficult to rely on. Even the public transport feature of the new Google Maps app doesn't seem as good as the one that was in the old Apple built one sadly. Still, the existence of the app was enough for me to finally upgrade my iPhone to iOS 6 so we're getting there.

3
6

Hearts, minds and balls: Microsoft's Windows 8 Surface gamble

Shane Sturrock

Re: @Shane Cygwin.

How about deep directory trees? I use those a lot and Windows still can't handle working with paths that are deeper than 256 bytes despite NTFS supporting over 32KB path/filenames. That means many tools have real problems in deep directories because running the command line environment doesn't work and the tools will report files as missing. Try copying directories this deep with Windows Explorer and you'll lose data too. Cygwin is a shim on top of a bad OS so I choose (along with around 90% of my contemporaries in the field) to use a Mac because it isn't that much more expensive than a decent Windows laptop (in fact, many times it is cheaper) and runs UNIX tools natively. I previously ran Linux only from 1995-2003 when I switched to Mac OS X because I needed UNIX on the road.

There are tools I use my iPad for but the use is different to a laptop so I have both and neither is compromised by trying to be the other.

8
1
Shane Sturrock

Re: Not getting either RT or Surface Pro

Our entire company switched to Google Docs because it gives us the ability to share and collaborate on docs much more effectively. MS Office rarely gets used by us any more because all our material is rapidly finding a place on Google Docs since it is so easy for us to share and edit without the formatting getting messed up by moving between platforms as we have windows, Mac and Linux users. Open/LibraOffice aren't a solution, and MS Office doesn't share docs reliably enough with itself on Windows. let alone Mac OS X without even factoring n the users who run OO.org. Google Docs avoids all of this and means we don't have to email docs around either. The ability to see other users editing the same document is really great too. Despite the minor limitations of Google Docs, the advantages are very compelling and really, a lot of the fancy formatting features of MS Office are overkill.

11
0
Shane Sturrock

Re: El Reg just doesn't get it.

I love how "real work" TM always means the ability to run MS Office. I have done real work on computers for thirty years and rarely need to use office since I'm a scientist. Oddly enough, I have an iPad and find it plenty useful. The problem with Windows is it doesn't support the majority of software I run without having to install suboptimal solutions such as Cygwin which means I can't use it for my real work.

Office documents are only a single category of work computers are used for and those of us who actually program and do science have always found windows to be a suboptimal and retarded environment. Windows Pot8o has done nothing to improve the situation.

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