* Posts by Thomas

265 posts • joined 17 Sep 2007

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Palm Pre's inner iPhone revealed

Thomas
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@Anonymous Coward

If you'd actually used an iPhone, you'd be aware that it's browsing experience is substantially better than any device Nokia have put out to date. People who have adopted the iPhone are those that have been willing to sacrifice MMS and video recording in order to get a browser that is actually usable — with the advantage of the fixed price data tariff that was previously rare (yes, a fault of the carrier, not anyone else's hardware).

People like you might be obsessed with tick chart feature comparisons (oh no! The iPhone can't do WAP! It doesn't have replaceable covers!), most consumers care about functionality and are happy to trade a leap in functionality in one area they value for the absence of functionality in others.

You seem to be attempting to extend a dislike for Apple's laziness in skipping a few less interesting features to their entire customer base. I suggest you attempt to get some perspective.

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Hackintosher to open US storefront

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"Apple-labeled"

For those who don't know much English, there are two types of noun. One is the common noun, which identifies a class of things, the other is a proper noun, which identifies a unique thing. Common nouns appear with a lowercase letter, as in "I'm going to the shop". Proper nouns appear with capitalisation, as in "I'm going to Shaftesbury Avenue".

This rule is taken to extreme in legal contracts, where they tend to apply the slightly different rule that anything that is unique for the purposes of that text is a proper noun.

According to either construction, "Apple-labeled" therefore means "labelled by the unique entity, Apple". If Apple change their logo but continue labelling their computers then you can continue to install that copy of OS X on them. If someone other than Apple labels a computer but happens to use a picture of an apple, then that doesn't mean you are within the licence rules.

Surprisingly enough, the 'I don't really know the language' defence is rarely a winner, in the same way that if I, sitting here in the UK, decided that I wasn't bound by any software licence because the document Apple gave to me is a 'license' and that's exclusively a verb, the ruling would be unlikely to be in my favour.

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BlackBerries outselling Apple iPhones

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BlackBerries have probably been outselling the iPhone since Day 1

You know, if you add all the BlackBerries together. And maybe politely ignore the Storm. I expect it's all to do with business readiness. I quite like the iPhone on which I am typing this message, but I'm not enjoying typing it.

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Apple eyes patent for web silence

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To be applauded

For further speeding the reform of software patents, I hope.

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Rebuffed by western cellcos, Dell turns to China and retailers

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But that we could cut operators out of these decisions...

Maybe they didn't like the Dells because they don't do mobile television? That's something consumers really really want!

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Microsoft extends Red-Ring-of-Death cover to fresh Xbox fault

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@ sleepy

Gosh, you're optimistic aren't you? I expect ARM/Linux will slowly erode the bottom end of the netbook market, but I'd be surprised if Microsoft are irrelevant by October 2010.

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Hardly news

Microsoft sell a shoddy product; beat their comparable rival by selling dirt cheap.

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Hack-off contestant dubs Apple Safari 'easy pickins'

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Kind of odd though

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Apple software is vulnerable, it just seems odd that the unit of measure used by this article is the number of people that another person thinks are likely to use vulnerabilities at a hacking conference.

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Ofcom wants mobile TV spectrum pulled

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Nobody wants mobile TV?

Are you crazy? Millions upon millions who bought WAP-enabled phones and routinely engage in video calls are clamouring for it! You speak as though TV audiences overall are in decline and mobile TV is merely an expensive way to deliver more of what people already have more than enough of in a very inconvenient format.

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Hollywood to totally recall Total Recall

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Not so much a rehash as a hash?

Better special effects make a better movie only if your main interest in movies is the special effects. In which case, the rest of the industry is now so adept at taking your money with week after week of films about superheroes that you're not likely to be especially interested in a film about a man that can't fly.

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BlackBerry advert sticks it to Apple

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Would it be more forgivable if the handset was't substandard?

I'm inclined to say 'no'. But that may be because I'm older than 12 and, as a result, am not generally very impressed by schoolyard bickering.

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Ballmer bets on R&D amidst Meltdown

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He's probably right

You know, about not being too worried about losing money while they have so much of it and everyone is losing money, but to focus on positioning for when the market next goes up.

However, I can't help thinking that the Windows 7 for netbooks line explains why they've gone to so much effort to push Windows XP onto netbook producers now. Consumers already associate having Windows with having a 'proper computer', now let's see what netbook manufacturers will do in a couple of years when they can either add an extra £50 to the current Windows license cost or try to switch back to Linux. Why can't they see they're busy digging their own graves?

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Apple squeezes JavaScript juice from Safari 4 beta release

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Quite nice

Riddle me this: what do you get if you take Safari 3, speed up the Javascript, throw in Opera's speed dial, Chrome's address-bar-in-the-tab and Firefox's awesome bar (without the user alienating, idiotic name)?

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Mobile phones to get universal charger

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Conflating issues

What has the shape of the connector got to do with the power efficiency of the transformer? And why make no allowance for the fact that most iPhones and a significant chunk of all other phones (I'm singling the iPhone out because it is so closely connected with iTunes, take it as a slur if you must be childish about it) are charged nowadays by plugging into a computer, not the wall?

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Apple sued over iPhone smooth scrolling

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They spent millions developing that idea?

Someone said "what about if we did mip mapping, like on GPUs, but only generated the detail levels when they're needed?" and that cost millions?

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Microsoft goes retail with own shops

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The Apple store was borne out of necessity...

... in that circa 2001, before the iPod, nobody else really stocking Apple computers and Apple had negligible visibility on the high street. Maybe Microsoft's store is a similar tactical move - purely to reclaim consumer mindshare irrespective of potential profits and/or the ability to show much more than the Microsoft and Windows logos in their shops?

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Taliban man loves his iPhone

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Yes, I think I've spoken to this person...

... the Apple fan with the ridiculously extreme views who won't tolerate dissent? I'm sure I've seen him around on the internet.

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Apple White MacBook Early 2009

Thomas
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@Rob Beard

No, you're wrong. The 'Late 2008'/whatever additions are used by Apple on the service manuals and other support pages only, and are used there just because the various bits of hardware really do change. If you went into an Apple Store or used the electronic store then you'd just see that it is a white, plastic MacBook.

As I'm sure you noticed in the text of this article, "in January, with virtually no fanfare at all, Apple went and upgraded the white MacBook".

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@Dan

Should be more than fast enough for XP in a virtual machine - both Parallels and VMWare now even do things like pipe 3d graphics to the 3d card (albeit at a speed penalty, but nothing like the cost of software rendering). Alternatively, if your wife has no interest in OS X at all, you could install XP in a boot camp partition and have the machine boot into that entirely instead of OS X, giving it full unmoderated hardware access.

@ all the price people, the hardware is well within the range of similar Window devices of similar build quality; there are cheaper Windows boxes and more sturdy Windows boxes for sure, but I think the hardware alone isn't disproportionately priced - especially when you factor in things like operating volume and the two-finger scroll. Personally I just like the software - not just OS X but iMovie, iDVD, etc.

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Thomas
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Angels in America

I used to work with someone who looks exactly like Ben Shenkman. True story.

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Amazon: Kindle 2 to sell internationally

Thomas
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@AC

Nope, as Mage says, eInk displays make each and every pixel either a solid white or a solid black. So they reflect light just like real paper and don't let light through from behind just like real paper. The advantage over LCD — besides the massive power savings for static displays — is that the contrast ratio is very close to real ink on real paper. Quite probably a front light would work, albeit with the uneven distribution of light that they tend to have.

However, I'm not familiar with any eInk technology that involves physical rotation, I think most use electrophoresis.

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Thomas
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@AC

A backlight wouldn't allow you to read it in bed unless you were positioned behind the screen and adept at mirror reading. It's not an LCD display.

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Joker must retire, insist Heath Ledger fans

Thomas
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I wish someone had done this for Brandon Lee

Has anyone else seen those Crow sequels? The original may have been a relatively light genre piece, but at least it was enjoyable!

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Amazon unveils Kindle 2.0

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@AWeirdoNamedPhil, others

Surely the four day battery life and the screen flashing on page turns is related to the eInk display? Those displays tend to update slowly and consume power to change state, but subsequently retain an image without power. While the user is just reading a page of text, the device could in theory power itself down completely.

It strikes me that you therefore get not only a much, much better reading surface than an Eee or iPhone or whatever, but also one that is thoroughly unsuitable for most normal desktop tasks.

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'I HOPE YOUR HOUSE IS NEAR THE SEA HAHAHAHA!!!!'

Thomas
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I'm not usually a fan of Orlowski's articles...

... but I couldn't find a fault with his sole climate change article this week. Seemed like perfectly good journalism to me; we all know from previous op-ed pieces that he, ummm, doesn't agree with outlets such as the BBC on current climate change science but that piece was entirely neutral. Or maybe the flamer thinks Orlowski is some sort of witch and will melt if he comes into contact with water?

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EC will force users to pick a Windows browser, says Microsoft

Thomas
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@Anonymous Coward "How will new users get onto the internet?"

Your argument is that Apple are a monopoly because they are the only people that make Apple computers? Some sort of satire perhaps?

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Thomas
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@Simon Painter, Lozzyho, an AC, Nick, Eddie Edwards, Allan Rutland, JonB, Adam West

@Simon Painter (and, I guess, AC "Pants" and Lozzyho)

The EU responded to a complaint filed by Opera. If you consider this trolling then I guess in your preferred world, the various legal bodies set up to oversee things just ignore complaints if they relate to rich people?

@Nick

The word used is TIED, not BUNDLED, and the issue is the market effect of tying that particularly non-conformant browser to the OS. What's good for the goose is good for the gander; any company that causes damage to the market by abusing a dominant position is liable to face similar findings. I'd be interested to hear your argument about how the Microsoft calculator is tied to Windows and has failed to conform to relevant standards thereby distorting the market.

@Eddie Edwards

Largely as above. And the EU have ruled only on the actual browser, not on the framework.

@Allan Rutland

As per the above, long discussions about whether or not vendors should be able to bundle browsers are purely straw man arguments.

@JonB

Per the article, this judgment was "sparked by a complaint by rival Opera Software in January 2008". I therefore believe that Safari did exist - if that makes it 20 years old by your personal arithmetic then so be it.

@Adam West

The word monopoly has been used by the commentators; the law speaks only of a dominant position. So you're correct, but it's not relevant to the EU ruling.

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Thomas
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@the various Apple bashers and other people who can't read

Per the very article you are responding to: "Opera alleged Microsoft was continuing to abuse its dominant position by tying its browser to Windows and by not following web protocols."

From this article we therefore must assume that the EC's decision is based on the findings that (i) Microsoft abuses its dominant position by typing its browser to its operating system; and (ii) Microsoft abuses its dominant position by having its browser not follow web protocols.

Neither OS X nor Ubuntu have a dominant market position. They are therefore not in a position to abuse their dominant position. This law is evaluated from the point of view of end effect on the market, not hypothetical abstracts.

The issue is not merely that the browser is installed with the OS, it is that it is tied to it. So the degree to which the OS is set up to break if the browser is uninstalled is relevant. Things like having Windows Update work through Internet Explorer only are presumably relevant.

Also part of the decision is Microsoft's unwilligness to follow web protocols. Conversely, both Apple and Canonical ship browsers that try very hard to follow web protocols.

Furthermore, the EC have made the ruling on the basis of a complaint. At present no complaints have been lodged against Apple or Canonical.

If you try to argue that this shows anti-Microsoft bias for the pure reason that Apple and Canonical bundle web browsers then all you are showing is that you aren't even close to understanding the issues at and and are probably just spouting your own prejudices.

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iPhone SMS error bug won't go away

Thomas
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Nice article though

Three cheers for The Reg for an extremely balanced Apple-related article? If only the internet had a few more of those...

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Time to axe Microsoft's Zune

Thomas
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The Zune 1 was tangibly worse than the competition

30gb might not be enough for some people's entire music libraries, but it is enough for several days of audio. Good luck trying to navigate that with the original Zune's discrete button controls, and try not to feel too ripped off that they're designed specifically to look like a click wheel, in an attempt to pull the wool over your eyes.

After that, it's the second generation Zune versus the iPod Touch. I think the various comments above mine are correct - the only people who would be likely to be swayed by Microsoft as a brand are significantly more likely to be swayed by Apple. People who feature hunt are no more likely to pick Microsoft than e.g. Sansa. In fact, they're probably more likely to pick Sansa because of the extremely negative press that Microsoft have bought themselves among the technically knowledgable with Internet Explorer, five separate editions of Vista, XPS, the killing of ISO, etc.

Since the Zune launched, the world (including even Apple) has ditched DRM for music. Surely there's now no way Microsoft can achieve what they want? The best they can hope for is a small chunk of a commodity market. They should either ditch the Zune or chuck it out to whatever departments makes the keyboards and the mice. And kill its requirement for it's own special synchronisation software and marketplace. Apple can get away with that because of their marketshare, Microsoft can't given that they also supply the synchronisation software that everyone else uses with their OS, that nearly everybody uses.

That all said, from a brand positioning point of view it might make sense for the shareholders to keep the XBox. If they kill that then will Microsoft have any meaningful quantity of fans? The whole world sitting every day through Windows, Office and Outlook simply because of a lack of alternatives isn't going to last forever and Microsoft are going to need to appear something other than stodgy and belligerent.

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Microsoft's Windows Vista 'Capable' bill could hit $8.5bn

Thomas
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@Stu Reeves, sleepy

Stu: that's an example of using one product at a different scale. The Microsoft allegation concerns misleading advertising. They said simultaneously "this is Vista" and "this machine can run Vista". They did not make it clear to most consumers that the two references to Vista were not to the same set of software.

It is a matter of measure and degree and whether, on the specific evidence, the judge thinks that Microsoft made statements that were likely to be misleading. It's not about abstract arguments, in the same way that the EU's recent Internet Explorer decision is about the specific effect on the market as it was at the time of bundling that particular browser in the exact manner that Microsoft did so, not on the abstract notion of whether OSs may come with browsers.

sleepy: if that's true then Microsoft may be able to recover against Intel should they lose this case, or have Intel brought into the current case as a codefendant. The severity of Intel's actions would determine what proportion of any fine Microsoft could recover.

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Thomas
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In agreement with JC + more

The question is whether customers were deliberately mislead, which I guess is a similar test to the the UK contract law concept of misrepresentation - you can misrepresent by selectively giving half facts if you intend them to be misleading, even if you haven't technically said anything false. For example, if I were a car salesman and someone said "is there much wear on the gearbox?" to which I replied "the car is only a year old and has less than 1,000 miles on the clock" then that would be misrepresentation if I conveniently omitting to mention that I switched the gearbox with one from a twenty-year old car that morning even though technically I'd not have said anything false.

As JC says, if the court feel that Microsoft said to most customers "these machines can run Vista, and this is what Vista can do" then it doesn't matter that industry insiders with specialist technical knowledge happen to know that Vista is a range of products rather than one.

To focus on whether what Microsoft said could be construed as true is to completely miss the point and to ignore the actual law.

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Mac malware piggybacks on pirated iWork

Thomas
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@Pierre

The default is to require the superuser password in order to install things like this trojan, which go in the StartupItems. However, by default the permissions are set up so that no password is required to read or write to /Applications, so for someone running a Mac with the default security, a trojan that presented itself as an ordinary drag install application* and, when run, modified something like Safari would have no problems. OS X v10.5 has a warning dialogue that pops up the very first time you run an application that has been drag installed to the effect that you should make sure you trust the source before you run it, but I doubt that purchasing a Mac instead of a Windows machine suddenly people more willing to read warning messages.

My /Applications requires a superuser password for write privileges, but I'm cautious.

* 99.9% of applications are drag and drop to install, iWork comes as a package, so runs through the built-in installer.

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Thomas
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I guess they'll all have to warez themselves a viru

In order to obtain this trojan, you need to download the warez iWork, then type in your superuser account name and password. That does make it somewhat hard to feel sympathy for infectees.

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Apple drops white Macbook processor speed

Thomas
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@Pierre

If you're having to buy a new laptop every year then I think you might be engaging of something of a false economy.

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Thomas
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The new processor is likely to run software more quickly...

... being backed by a 1066Mhz bus rather than an 866Mhz one. In addition, it seems that the default amount of RAM is now 2gb, not 1.

Anyway, a cheer for the cheapest Mac I would be interested in now being cheaper (albeit not cheap), fifteen cheers for Apple managing a substantial product update without some ridiculous hyped-up launch.

All eyes on the Mac Mini for the next silent upgrade?

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New OS X research warns of stealthier Mac attacks

Thomas
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Surprised, anyone?

So, the Mac I use daily is not invulnerable to attack. That's not really news, is it? Apple were late to introduce address space randomisation, so it's no surprise that it isn't perfect yet. But like Microsoft, we should probably applaud them at least for acknowledging the problem (well, as much as Apple ever do, in that we can guess they've acknowledged it long after the fact from their subsequent actions) and beginning to tackle it?

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Apple in iWork piracy boost

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@raving angry loony

You're happy with OpenOffice? I chucked it as soon as I observed that command+cursors skips back and forward words as expected, but the shortcut to highlight words is option+shift+cursors — which makes no logical sense and is extremely awkward to do physically.

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Conficker seizes city's hospital network

Thomas
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A pure configuration problem?

I'm pretty sure Windows has a "notify me when updates are available, don't automatically download and install them". That said, if they can find the ecosystem to support it then the NHS really should switch to Linux for simple budgetary reasons.

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Mac mini said to get Ion innards

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The Atom... like the MSI Wind, etc?

I'm rubbish at this stuff - are we essentially being told that, at least per the rumour, the next Mac Mini will feature hardware similar to all those netbooks that some people with no regard for intelectual property laws have been installing OS X on, but with a separate GPU? If so, surely somebody already has a reasonably informed opinion on how well OS X runs on broadly that sort of hardware? It'd certainly be more helpful than an apparently entirely speculative op-ed piece.

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'Interfering' BT Vision attracts campaigner glares

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@AC

I think most powerline ethernet thingies apply encryption - there's certainly a relevant standard and at least one of the major brands comes with the feature to automatically propagate an encryption key if you have physical access to the plugs.

Hopefully it's more secure than WEP was...

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Steve Jobs takes medical leave from Apple to focus on health

Thomas
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To add my thoughts to everyone above (except Aaron Holesgrove)

I don't wish suffering on anyone and I hope that Steve makes a full recovery.

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Apple prices MacBook Pro battery surgery

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@"Mactards"

Either that or they'll all be subjected to extreme bile and ignorance, irrespective of whether they consider a sealed-in battery to be acceptable. "Oh, guess what, you enjoy one or more products produced by a company that doesn't always launch the best-in-class solutions; ergo you must be a sheep". Definitely a logically rigorous argument, probably as defensible as "You bought Windows, therefore you must be in favour of talking paperclips and MP3 players that can't handle the final day of leap years".

To the original author: what does that final sentence about the warranty have to do with anything? Either it's a cheap shot or you neglected to mention something in the preceeding text; I prefer to believe the latter.

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Thomas
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@Jeremy

Microsoft don't manufacture computers, so I don't see how the comparison is relevant. I suppose they manufacture XBoxes which are a lot like computers, but they definitely don't fail permanently within three years of purchase. Honest.

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Apple to push Nokia into smartphone second place

Thomas
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Hopefully a wake-up call?

I think other providers are going to have difficulty catching up with the AppStore in the short term, hopefully this prediction will shake a few companies out of inaction. I guess it's a further argument in favour of OS standardisation across handsets - though without a single company at the top controlling the whole thing we're unlikely to see a product as smooth as the AppStore. Probably the other players will just mess around with poor market strategies (the analogue of subscription music services as a rebut to iTunes) until someone hits on just doing the same thing with fewer end-user restrictions. Or worse, the networks will decide to set up their own handset agnostic application stores, so developers will need to work alongside 30 listing agencies rather than just 1 and have to deal with greatly increased support costs and users will be confused when handsets either aren't marketed clearly enough to make it obvious what they'll run or else by the marketing connected to handsets trying to make it obvious what they'll run.

So, it'll probably be like PCs - commoditised hardware, most of it running the exact same OS.

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Experts trumpet '25 most dangerous' programming errors

Thomas
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@Vladimir, Tom Cooke

Vladimir: I suppose you could always download the open source parts of OS X, such as the kernel and the HTML rendering code - that'd give you a pretty good insight into the bits that most people and applications are likely to touch irrespective of whether Jobs wants you to.

Tom Cooke: yeah, I noticed that. It's probably slightly misleading to say that the list has been formalised; the problems that are part of the list have been formalised, the list itself is written in parts in a broken 13-year old's blog English.

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Palm Pré WebOS: the UI in action

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The iPhone seems to beat this one in only one area...

... WebOS applications seem to be explicitly limited to HTML+CSS+Javascript offerings, as per the original iPhone firmware. Apart from this, and without really being able to be too certain on just the video evidence, this really does look like someone beating Apple at their own game. Good work, Palm!

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How you pay for tomorrow's scares, today

Thomas
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The BBC posting a barely researched article on climate change?

Gosh, next they'll be hiring Americans to write troll articles about climate change and referring to everyone as a 'tard or a member of some cult or another for cheap sensationalism. Thank goodness The Register is here to look out for us.

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Microsoft smooths Windows 7 snafu

Thomas
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Download seems to work for Internet Explorer 7 users only?

Or maybe it's just me?

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US doc demands $1.5m for donated organ

Thomas
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He's acting like an idiot

But I guess he's quite emotional right now. Hopefully the courts will slap him about over the kidney thing and give him access to his kids.

@Sarah Bee - housework starts with an 'h'. Can you say 'h'?

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