57 posts • joined Thursday 13th September 2007 19:36 GMT
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.
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.
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.....
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.
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.
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.
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.
Still no substitute for google maps
While I'm old enough to remember the early days of google maps when it was laughable compared with mapquest, today it is the best so I've stuck with iOS 5 on my iPhone. This is mainly for the public transport directions which have been really useful in foreign cities. I tried HERE in my home town to see how it did with a bus journey home and while google offers a single bus journey, HERE wanted me to take three and the journey time was substantially longer. It needs to get better to be viable, and I'm also not keen on the flat colour scheme which reeks of Windows Phone.
I'll keep waiting for a new google maps app and then upgrade to iOS 6.
Re: "Microsoft actually writes fantastic software"
That list, is it meant to be the crap software? I've experienced much of it and it all frustrated me in a number of ways. Even the much vaunted Windows 7 is a pain the arse many times and still chews through clock cycles like the bastard offspring of Vista that it is. Exchange? Wow. Just Wow. And AD? Oh my...... I've played with Win8 and found it quicker than 7 but otherwise very frustrating. Stick ClassicShell on it and it morphs into 'good' old Windows but still struggles to hide some of the cut and shut nature of the OS. As for Windows Server, I'm not even sure why that should still exist in a world of Linux servers but there's no accounting for taste and I guess if you've been raised in an MS only environment it sort of makes sense but those of us who have more diverse experience know it is easier to run a solid Linux server environment.
Re: why buy a £269 iPad Mini when you can have an equally serviceable Nexus 7 for £199
We just got a Nexus 7 (16GB version) here in the office for testing and it is built down to a price. It feels cheap, the screen aspect ratio isn't good for browsing because in landscape mode there isn't enough height and in portrait mode it is too narrow to use. It feels flimsy and isn't all that quick. Everyone agrees it isn't an iPad killer, less so an iPad mini killer. I know I would feel quite ripped if I had one and then tried an iPad.
Re: Uh huh.
Air Video Server running on my PC streams anywhere in the world, compressing on the fly so I don't even need to have a copy on my phone. Just fire up the client where I've got Wifi (it works over 3G too if you have a decent data cap) such as in a hotel and browse my movie and TV show collection. No problem.
Goldeneye 007 Wii?
Why pick Goldeneye Reloaded and not mention that the game originally appeared on the Wii. I picked it up a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Certainly the best FPS on the Wii and graphically it isn't too bad. Textures are a bit thin on the ground but it plays well and recreates much of the original N64 version well. Choice of controls (Wiimote+nunchuck, classic controller or GCN controller) mean it is very playable. I ended up settling on my GCN Wavebird.
I have an iPad and an iPhone and they both serve their purposes. The tablet works best for sitting down and relaxed browsing while the phone is great on the move and can access data anywhere without me having to deal with a gigantic device. I didn't bother getting the 3G iPad because I can tether off my phone so I usually have the iPad in my backpack and can use it when having a coffee or just work from the phone. Don't see either leaving my life soon as I don't want a phone as big as a tablet, or a tablet as small as a phone (see the Galaxy Note which is ridiculous and hilarious in the hands and held against your face) though I may be tempted to switch to a 7" iPad if one surfaces if I can deal with the smaller screen but to my big fingers the 10" is about right so maybe not.
Where does this leave my MacBook Air? In my bag most of the time when travelling although I use it all day at my desk. The combination of MBA, iPad and iPhone is fantastic though and I can't believe how much I can do on the road these days.
Returning to the roots of computing
Back in the late 70s and early 80s before the rise of the IBM PC and compatibles, schools taught pupils about computers. We learned Boolean algebra for crying out loud. The understanding of the principals of computers prepared us for an industry where you will succeed if you can self educate. Teaching students to use MS produces prepares them for a life of drudgery and servitude with little way out. Other countries would do well to model their computer literacy on what the UK is planning and get away from the idea that a computer is just an electronic typewriter or adding machine.
Should have dropped "simulator" years ago
When I was learning to fly the school had an MS FS and Xplane setup. I had Xplane at home and it was quite challenging and I used it and Flightgear to practice circuits without the cost just to get the repetitive steps down pat. When I tired MS FS the first time I did a perfect takeoff, circuit and landing. Smooth as silk, I let go of the controls and declared it unrealistic because I would never have been that smooth in a real aircraft. Xplane was never so friendly but a far better training experience.
Windows in name only
If these tablets are to compete with the iPad they will need to be based on ARM, not Intel in which case they will have no apps since Windows on ARM can't run Intel binaries. You also only get the Metro interface. Intel based tablets may as well just be a laptop and likely will but with a touch screen bolted on. Battery life will be lousy and so you'll end up tied to a wall socket. So you lose one of the main benefits of Windows (applications) to get competitive battery life, or you lose the battery life and endp with a compromised tablet which will likely cost a bomb. Apple succeeded because the iPhone already had an app base that the iPad could run. MA better get the devs on board quickly with Metro or they're screwed.
Interesting that you should say they're a fad. I've had my iPad for over a year now and I carry around a MacBook Air, iPhone 4 and the iPad. Of the three devices, the iPad gets the most use because it has the best browsing experience and sits nicely between the power of the laptop and the portability of the iPhone. I use all three devices in my daily work, but at home it is the iPad that sits next to the sofa. Sure, I can pull the laptop out and it has features that make it better for e-mail for instance, but it is a faff and I can't sit as comfortably as I can with the tablet. I would say tablets are here to stay and they work really well in their intended role.
I can't sit through more than an hour of '3D' before I have a splitting headache and I'm not alone. I actively look for the 2D showings and it has got quite difficult so I go to the cinema far less and wait for the Blu-ray release and rent it which is far cheaper and with a 100" HD projection system, the home experience is better.
It was a CM-5, not a CM-2. I programmed on a relative of the CM-2 (the CM-200) and it didn't look like the CM-5 in the film, not that any of them were particularly quick. The CM-2 series was limited by using a SPARCstation to control execution so compiling code on the host actually slowed down execution on the CM-200. The CM-5 used SPARC2 CPUs so wasn't really all that powerful either. They only used it in the film because it looked pretty but Thinking Machines failed shortly afterwards because their machines were uncompetitive compared with cheaper machines like the MasPar. I ported my C* code from the CM-200 to MasPar's MPL and it was faster on a 1024 processor box than it was on the 16384 processor CM-200.
They better keep providing schedules
I bought one of the TiVo HD Freeview boxes here last year to add to my old series 1 Thomson that I brought over from the UK and hacked to work in NZ. Both are still running nicely and it gives me three tunes, two HD Freeview and one SD plugged into my Sky box. Not sure what I'll do if they stop providing TV schedules - hopefully the OzTiVO guys will figure out how to get it on so the new machine will keep going otherwise my 10 year old series 1 will carry on and the new one will be junk.
Tried lots of alternatives but always prefer TiVo. Even the original one is still better than anything else out there.
CDs widely available in the 80's
I got my first CD player in 1986 as a rental bundle from Radio Rentals along with a VHS HiFi machine. HMV, WH Smiths etc all had decent racks of CDs available and covered most of what was available on vinyl. Most of my CDs date back to my flirtation with the format between 1986 and 1989 at which point I stopped messing with more and more expensive CD players culminating in a Cambridge CD2, bought a decent turntable and went back to vinyl.
Any torrenting or just copyright material?
What isn't clear is whether they're just going to look for bittorrent users and slap a cease and decist on them or actually check what it is that the're seeding. I regularly use bittorrent to get linux distributions because it is much faster so are they going to stop me doing that? I have a crazy amount of DVDs and Blu-rays, not to mention all the dead formats like HD DVD, LaserDisc and VHS I've previously bought into. I have supported the movie and TV industry to the tune of tens of thousands of $ and have a wall full of discs. Lately though, since they seem to charge double the price for movies here versus elsewhere I don't feel like buying so much any more and tend to just rent or wait for the free to air broadcast. Are they going to start blocking that too? Perhaps if we didn't get overcharged so much, they wouldn't be losing so many customers.
I guess I'll have to find something else to do rather than watch films and TV. Oh darn
I moved to NZ nearly four years back and brought my Uk Thomson TiVo S1 with me because I knew there was a group over here that had hacked up install images and EPG services since TiVo wasn't officially available here at the time. OZTiVo if you're interested. Anyway, suitably hacked and hooked up to an EPG run off XML scraping scripts and my TiVo almost works like it did in the UK. Some features aren't there such as onl recording one showing of a particular episode but we deal with it.
I have since bought one of the cheap Freeview TiVos they have been offering which has dual HD tuners and no subscription but I've kept my hacked S1 to run off our Sky Digital box since the new TiVo has no analogue inputs. Even so, we've now got three TiVo tuners and plenty of HD so don't have to miss anything or watch ads. MySky (equivalent to Sky+) sucks.
projector versus panel
A modern HD projector is like going to the cinema. A digital cinema at that. I recently saw Tron Legacy (ick, but rhe ticket was free) in 2D 35mm and the picture was far inferior to what I get at home on my modest HD DLP setup. Technically, 35mm should be better but the typical cinema setups never are. A digital cinema image is impressive and that is what you can get at home. It depends how much you want to spend but even a single chip DLP is an impressive image thrower and the scale of the image makes any plasma or LCD look very poor by comparison. Properly calibrated and fed with good HD material, a projector is definitely the way to go if you don't mind having the dark room and needing to have another smaller TV for normal viewing.
Not for home cinema buffs
Any home cinema buff worth his salt is running an HD projector on a wall size screen. Mine is 100" and drops down from the ceiling. It makes 50" screens look like a little telly and you don't worry about black bars (not that a film buff would). Finish the film and put the screen away and you're back to a normal living room. I have a small 27" LCD for normal watching which doesn't dominate the room when off. I would like a blu ray player to keep subtitles in the image rather than letting them slip into the black bars so I could matte my screen to the exact ratio safely but that is another issue entirely.
3D TV doesn't work
I've tested a few sets in stores and the elephant in the room that no one seems willing to admit to is that there is a very small sweet spot for 3D TV. For a screen this size, you need to sit around 2m away from it - no more and no less. Sit too far away and your brain interprets scale incorrectly. I watched a demo of some stage dancers on a 46" Samsung set and when you were 2m from the screen the effect was very good but as you pulled back to normal domestic viewing distances, the performers appeared to shrink in stature so the looked like puppets.
The reason 3D in a cinema works at all is because the screen is so large but even in the cinema if you sit too close or too far away the effect is ghastly and gives you a terrible headache. I saw Up in 3D and sat dead centre in the cinema and the effec was very convincing, but for Avatar I was stuck up close and left of the screen and it drove me nuts and ruined the film. Watching it at home on my 100" HD projector from BD is a much better experience. 3D? No thanks, I'll pass.
Not a toy
I've had my iPad for a couple of months. It has largely replaced my 15" MacBook Pro for casual use. I took it on a trip to the States last month in addition to my laptop and I used it for pretty much everything. The onl reason I got the laptop out was to watch MegaVideo which uses Flash. The fans kicked in and ran it ran the battery flat in a little over an hour.
I keep finding new uses for the iPad. AirDisplay makes it into a cool third monitor for my laptop in addition to the builtin one and my cinema display, AirVideo streams movies and TV shows from my server and SplashTopRemote provides very high performance remote desktop which streams FMV and audio. Sure, it is basically and adjunct to my main machine but it works well, the battery lasts for 10 hours, the screen is good and most web pages render properly. Best of all, can whip it out and it is instantly on and it doesn't cook my nuts like a laptop.
Saying it is a toy is missing the point entirely. It isn't a full computer and shouldn't try to be. What it is is the first usable tablet because it drops all the desktop cruft.
In terms of absolute sales I guess the ATV was unsuccessful largely because people couldn't see it for what it was and always wanted it to be a full media centre PC. The fact is, in my AV system I have a TiVo, Blu ray, Xbox 360 and ATV and the ATV gets by far the most use. I've encoded all my DVDs for it and stuck them in iTunes on an old Mac with a 1.5TB drive attached so we're never short of something to watch.
The instant access beats the heck out of DVDs and the simple UI makes for a very neat device perfectly designed for what it does and even my three year old son can use it. I'm sorely tempted to get one of the new ones for a second room since most of my material is streamed but I'll keep the original if only for its ability to buy movies directly from iTunes.
Everyone I've shown it to has been amazed but then the same is true of my TiVo and that failed in the UK market too sadly.
Windows isn't 90%
Malware developers concentrate on Windows because it is easy. Users are uneducated and anti-virus products are after-the-fact solutions so if your signatures aren't instantly updated you're going to get p0wned.
The iOS, Mac OSX, Android, Linux, Symbian and PalmOS would all be very attractive targets because they are quite likely more prevalent than Windows these days and yet they still don't get anything like the activity.
Market share of Windows is a smoke screen. Windows is insecure largely due to the users and the way much of the software out there still requires admin rights to work properly.
Windows != real computer
I've said this before and I expect I'll say it again but I never thought I would see the day when a Windows PC was declared to be a real computer when compared with a bonafide UNIX box (Mac OS X is certified UNIX, based on NextStep which was in turn based on BSD, so no, not repackaged Linux).
A sad sad day. The simple fact that on a Mac, I can open Terminal.app and have all the glory of a full bash environment negates any comment about Macs not being real computers. In bioinformatics (my field) Macs are the overwhelming choice of platform.
The worst part about 3D TVs in the home is that the screens are too small. I was testing a set in a local store using a demo of some live stage performers and everyone looked tiny. What I found was that the closer I got to the screen, the more lifelike their size appeared until I reached a distance of 1m at which point the visual effect was very good. At any distance further though the miniaturisation effect kicked in again.
3D works in the cinema because the screen is very large and almost fills your field of view. Shrink the screen and the 3D effect shrinks too so I can only conclude that you'll need a massive screen in your living room for 3D to actually produce a realistic image and by massive I think you're looking at one over 100" diagonal.
Of course, this all ignores the ridiculous high price for the active glasses with their inherent flicker (drove me nuts after a while) and the fact that the screen looks quite dim as a result of them but those are minor next to the scale issue.
The problem isn't MS exactly
Although the first time you boot the computer it brings up a license agreement (at least the last time I started a new PC it did) and if you click 'No' it says you should claim the cost of the license back from the manufacturer, but few are ever successful. Whether this is because the likes of Dell just don't want to support non-Windows machines (try getting support for a PC with Linux installed, I've had to put Windows back just to get them to accept a broken keyboard) or they don't want to reveal what the license actually costs them (very little indeed compared with the retail cost of Windows) I can't say. It may well be to do with the contracts with MS since that wouldn't be the first time.
It should be easier to buy a PC without Windows pre-installed but MS has been pushing the idea that so called 'Naked PCs' are just going to have pirated copies of Windows installed totally ignoring the Linux angle. At the end of the day I gave up buying PCs and putting Linux on and went with Apple where I don't feel the need to wipe the OS to get something more powerful as I do every time I use a Windows box.
I think in the context of this quote they mean stable in the way that Vista was Windows 6.0 and 7 is Windows 6.1 so yes, stable as in doesn't really change other than the marketing gimmick of upping the number. Of course, the fanbois will come out and say that Snow Leopard only went up by .1 too but it was always the intention of Apple to refine Leopard. Guess what, MS even copied that by refining Vista and releasing it as a whole new OS.
Windows 7 *IS* Vista
I have XP, Vista and Windows 7 on my Mac in addition to Snow Leopard. Vista is as expected dog slow whereas XP is tolerable. Windows 7 started well but it seems to be getting slower and slower over time. It certainly isn't as fast as XP but that is only to be expected and it is definitely an improvement over Vista but only time will tell if it suffers the same bogging down that Windows always seems to suffer until you wipe it and reinstall.
The problem with Ballmer above all is he is simply an embarrassment. He is simply the wrong man to have in charge of the company. Actually, scratch that, he should stay a good long time and MS should continue to flap about pouring money into diverse areas in the hope that they can expand their reach. And no, I'm not bitter because my Xbox 360 has just RROD for the second time.....
Back when I first got a 16:9 set in 1992 I started collecting LaserDiscs but for many films the studios would use the black part of the picture to hold subtitles and assume it was being shown on a 4:3 set so if I zoomed the picture then I would lose the lower line often. With the switch to DVD and native 16:9 support this practice has continued and you still get subtitles in the black part for a 2.35:1 film so on this new TV you will lose the black bars but also lose the subtitles. I used to matte my projection screen for 2.35:1 but these days I just put up with a 16:9 100" screen even when watching 2.35:1 just because of the subs even on Blu-ray. Not to mention the fact that films like The Dark Knight which switches ratios between the IMAX portions and regular 35mm sections.
It just isn't worth worrying about. Paris because I suspect she is stupid enough to buy into this thing just to get rid of the black bars.....
I have a MBP which I bought in April 2006. It is still on its original magsafe power supply. My only complaint is that the thing is enourmous compared with the one that comes with current machines. However, there are no signs of the cable fraying despite the machine being used every day since I bought it. These people must be very rough either in how they handle the cable, or how they wrap it up. The cable on my previous Windows laptop (Toshiba) rapidly fell apart because they didn't provide the nice hooks to wrap the cable around as Apple does with theirs.
Of course, if they recall the power supply, I won't complain and will happily take the smaller (safer?) replacement.
I'm on my third DLP projector now having first bought into the tech back in the mid 90's. The choices for projection at the time were CRT which was scanline city even with a line doubler (expensive) or even a quadrupler (very expensive) or LCD which was like watching your film through a screen door. DLP was a revelation by comparison. Sure it was noisy but it had decent black levels for the time and the colour wheel meant that every pixel could be any colour. My latest one is HD and it looks amazing when driven with a Blu-ray or HD DVD. The local digital cinema also uses DLP and I saw Watchmen on it and it was incredible how crisp and flawless it looked compared with their 35mm projectors in other screens.
It is funny, I've seen 100" plasma 1080p screens and the pixels are way more obvious than with a DLP projecting at the same size and resolution.
The push to EVs and hybrids etc may seem like a good idea but frankly the problem is the car in front. You know, the one that isn't moving and is stopping me from getting to my destination. It doesn't matter what power source that car uses, it is still in the way and I can't get past.
Until society realises that sitting in a traffic jam is what makes the car a pointless technology for commuting we're still just rearranging the deck chairs. Last year I bought a scooter and I have used it for my daily commute every day since. I get over 100 mpg in traffic and my journey over 15 miles through busy streets always takes me the same 35 mins. In a car it takes over an hour on a good day and some days it can be nearly two.
Installed a trojan, big whoop.
If you download pirate software for any platform you are already on dodgy ground. It is quite likely for the software to have a trojan included as was the case here. There really isn't much an OS can do if the user installs malicious software.
I'll pass I think
I have the original T.264 and I don't really use it any more since I did some straight comparisons against HandBrake 0.93 and found that H.264 encodes are about half the size from HB and don't have all the blocking and artefacts that the T.264 produces with the AppleTV preset. I'm really disappointed with it since the picture is clearly sharper from HandBrake and the encodes are reasonably quick on my Core Duo MacBook Pro. I expect to get a faster machine at some point anyway and I think the extra encode time is well worth the disc space saving and better picture. Oh, and I can preserve the 5.1 DD audio with HandBrake too.
Skull and cross-bones despite it not being piracy if I'm ripping my own DVDs.
This isn't about IE, rather Windows
Look, IE was bundled to protect Windows. This has nothing to do with including a browser per se so it doesn't mean that Apple has to remove Safari or Linux can't be shipped with Firefox. Microsoft didn't just include IE, they forced it to be part of the OS that could never be removed. To compound the problem, they also made sure that IE wasn't standards compliant and that their web page design tools wouldn't work on anything else. Finally, after IE was established they killed the versions for UNIX and later MacOS and make IE Windows only.
IE was all about a land grab. MS was late to the internet party and Netscape was talking up the idea of using the browser as an app delivery platform. If successful, the Windows monopoly would have been broken and MS just couldn't risk that. By making IE a forced part of Windows, preventing OEMs from including other browsers and by making IE non-standard so that other browsers couldn't render pages designed for IE they made Windows the only viable way to work on the internet (or that is what they planned anyway).
In the end, the internet has reacted to MS and prevented them from achieving their aims. Firefox is a product of their aggressive move which effectively killed Netscape and forced the company to open source the browser. Sitting on IE6 for 5 years meant that developers really felt the pain. If you can remember the time when 95% of users were on IE and how tough it was to browse using anything other than IE you will remember how close to winning MS got.
This ruling is about their illegal use of their monopoly to grab control of the internet and their continued attempts to prevent other browsers from being shipped by default on Windows by OEMs. Technically, there is nothing to stop an OEM from shipping Windows with Firefox as the default, except they still can't remove IE and MS will also still react badly to such an OEM.
As for Safari on the Mac? I can remove it from the OS and it is gone entirely. Also, you may think Safari is crap but it is at least standards compliant thanks to KHTML/Webkit.
Still got and use my LD player
My Pioneer DVL-919E still has pride of place in my AV system. I have a few hundred LDs that I bought back in 1992 or so when I got my first widescreen telly and the quality of VHS releases on it was impossibly dire. My first LD, T2 SE (18 cert while the VHS version was a 15) still plays perfectly. I've only had a couple of LDs die from rot but I've also lost DVDs the same way.
Picture quality wise, LD is a little softer than a good DVD but the best LD can be better than the worst DVD. DVD does have the edge though these days. The main issue with LD was the quality of the masters at the time. Generally, they were analogue telecine transfers and you got a fair bit of interlace twitter and jaggies. The THX Star Wars box set is a good example of what LD can achieve as it still looks excellent today.
On a regular flat panel TV, LD is still very decent and few would be able to tell the difference between it and DVD. On my HD projector, it does look pretty soft and the chroma noise can be a problem some times (always the achilles heel of LD) but you quickly forget and just enjoy the film. LD pioneered the commentary track and extras, along with full widescreen presentation. Eventually it would be possible to get LDs with Dolby Digital and even DTS sound. I still have my DTS edition of Jurassic Park on LD and it is amazing. As for grumble, yes it was available and the picture quality was very high.
Side changes were an issue but we used to have friends come around for films and we would stop for refreshments at the side change. Side flipping players became the norm late on and could stop a disc, switch the laser to the other side and spin the disc back up in less than 10 seconds which is pretty impressive given their bulk.
In Japan, they even had anamorphic (Squeeze) LDs and went as far as putting Hi-Vision MUSE format discs out along with players which could also play standard NTSC LDs. For a format that started in 1972 and was brought to market as LaserVision in the late 70's it has done remarkably well.
Nothing new here
Microsoft doesn't care if a name or acronym is already in use. I remember when they started talking about DNS back in the late 90's and what they meant was their "Digital Nervous System" and not DNS as everyone else knows it. See the following article for example:
Nasty up close
One of the local stores here in Auckland (New Zealand in case you were wondering) was showing a 100+" plasma. The pixels were pretty vast even though it was 1080p. You don't want to be anywhere near one of these things to appreciate it. Of course, the funniest bit about this is that they were driving it off a standard def signal over composite!
Frankly, I'm not interested in housing something so large that permanently takes up a whole wall. My day to day watching TV is a 27" LCD and that is fine. It accepts the output of my HD Freeview box and so on and doesn't look too bad running SD material. I also have a 720p DLP projector currently running on a 70" screen but I have run it at 120" at another house. The picture is excellent and you cannot see the pixels from a normal seating distance (about 3-4m). Anything higher res might be nice but 'willy waving' over 1080p or more is silly for any screen you might want in a domestic environment and any display that is only 50" or less that looks worse with a 720p source than a 1080p one most likely has some horrible scaling issues.
Symbian ruined on Nokia
I was recently issued a Nokia e61 3g phone and it is simply awful. I don't blame Symbian, as you said it is the horrible user interface. E-mail is woefully slow, the keyboard is pointless. Everything just takes an age to happen. Even the web browser is useless and I am sick to death of having to wait while the phone decides to finish whatever the hell it thinks it needs to do when I am trying to make a call. Not that Windows Mobile phones are any better.
I have played with an iPhone and Apple really gets it. A slick, useable interface done right and when you need to make a call it lets you. All of the other smartphones forgot how to be phones while trying (and failing) to be internet devices.
Worse having Vista pre-installed
Having a PC with XP pre-installed and a Vista capable sticker is one thing. At least the machine will work well unless you actually install Vista. The real problem is that the PC companies are selling PCs pre-installed with Vista that aren't capable of running it. I recently bought a Compaq PC with Vista Home Basic pre-installed. For a laugh I booted it up and gave it a whirl. Horrible horrible horrible. If I hadn't intended to wipe it and put CentOS Linux on it instead it would have gone back as unfit for purpose. After all the updates and so on the machine still took 10 mins from power on to useable desktop. Woe betide you actually want to open IE and Windows Explorer at once. Wait...... wait...... still waiting....... Why are companies even bothering to sell machines so under specified, 512MB is NOT ENOUGH! It comes down to being cheap. To me, a computer that cannot be used isn't cheap, it is a waste of money. MS and the computer manufacturers are all responsible for this mess and people need to stop rewarding this behaviour.