* Posts by Sean Timarco Baggaley

1042 posts • joined 8 May 2009

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Bin Apple's $500m patent judgment, US DoJ tells Supreme Court

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Trump is "popular"...

...for very small values of "popular".

He is popular with some elements of the Republican Party. Democrats (and many career Republican Party members) can't stand the man, but I can't deny he has a gift for self promotion and wearing invisible clothes.

The problem with the US Constitution and Bill of Rights is that they're treated as holy gospel, rather than some opinions of some slave-owning landowners. (Sometimes, I wonder just how many US citizens actually understand the meaning of the word "amendment". The v1.0 release didn't even include that oft-quoted* "right to bear arms" bit.)

It's also worth nothing that another country rather closer to the UK effectively copied and pasted it into their own constitution. That country is Switzerland. If you ever wanted to know what the men who drafted that document actually intended, I suggest taking a closer look at the Swiss political system.

As for the obstructionism: this is inherent in the nature of the legal system in use. The US inherited the UK's Statute Law system, which starts from the principle that everything is legal unless a law decrees otherwise. Banning something therefore requires adding new laws, increasing the number of laws on those statute books and making life just that little bit more complicated for the legal profession.

By contrast, most continental European nations use the Roman (a.k.a. "Napoleonic") System, which takes the opposite starting point: all things are illegal unless a law states otherwise. Thus banning something in France or Spain merely requires deleting the laws that allow it. Unlike the UK and US, this tends to make the nation's body of laws smaller.

(This is one of the less-publicised problems with the UK has had with the EU: Most EU members use the Roman System, so simplifying their laws makes sense. This means EU Directives tend towards banning things as, for most member states, that means removing laws from their books, not adding to them. But the UK has to add reams and reams of pages to its groaning statute books every single year to keep up with these changes. The two systems are fundamentally incompatible.)

In both systems, there are often unexpected consequences and corner cases that complicate matters, which is why good lawyers get paid so much. In the UK and US, laws are refined over time by judicial precedent: a judge makes a decision in a case and, if that decision sets a legal precedent, it is effectively treated as part of the related laws and used to decide similar cases in future. (As the UK and US legal systems are so closely related, it's not unusual for a judgement made in the UK to also be used as a precedent when deciding similar cases in the US.)

The upshot of all this is that Statute Law systems tend towards bloat. As legal systems are the closest things our societies have to an operating system, this is not a good thing. Even lawyers agree on this. (The relevant bit is towards the end. It's a fascinating programme.)

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Even in remotest Africa, Windows 10 nagware ruins your day: Update burns satellite link cash

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Oh for...

From the original article:

"I just came here recently to act as their pilot but have IT skills as well. The guy who set these PCs up didn't know how to prevent it, or set a metered connection. I am completely livid."

What heir to the throne to the Kingdom of Idiot chose to deploy a CONSUMER version of Windows to people operating in what is effectively a fucking war zone?

And why should an operating system primarily aimed at people who run solitaire, some version of Office, and/or Call of War: Shooty Shooty Bang Bang 7 should arrive out of the box by default with settings to make it suitable for mission-critical situations such as the one described in the article?

It's behaving exactly as it bloody should be! What the hell else do you expect? Mind-reading features? Microsoft certainly haven't produced an ad where some suspiciously handsome chap with a large gun asks Cortana to "Activate Going For A Ride In an old Toyota Hi-Ace with a BFG in the Back Mode".

Do you (and the article's alleged "writer") seriously expect a simple, one-button setting during the installation process asking if your PC is in a glorified hut prone to intrusions of gunfire and shrapnel?

How many extreme edge cases like these are Microsoft supposed to allow for out of the box?

Is this PC being used to control a surgical robot? [ ]

Is this PC being used to manage sensitive patient records in a hospital? [ ]

Is this PC being used to operate ICBMs in a nuclear submarine? [ ]

Seriously people, how hard is it to use the right damned tool for the job? Stop blaming others for your own mistakes.

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Fact: Huawei now outspends Apple on R&D

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Chalk, Inc. spends alightly more on arbitrary metric than Cheese Corp.

And since when did quantity equate to quality anyway? Loads of companies spend more than Apple on R&D – however their accountants are defining it for this financial year.

The hard question is what they're spending that R&D money on, not merely how much dosh they're splashing about to reduce their tax exposure.

Finally: what's with this insistence that all corporations are all somehow directly comparable? Huawei are almost exclusively focused on the communications sector of the IT industry. Apple have fingers in rather more pies, including music streaming services and boutique laptops, while Samsung build everything from silicon chips to cargo ships. You might as well have written an article on how Google have spent more money on bananas than Fincantieri.

Microsoft have been milking Windows and Office for well over twenty years now; why should Apple be in any more hurry to invent yet more markets they'll only be sued over by trolls in East Texas? It's not as if they're short of a few bob.

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Swiss effectively disappear Alps: World's largest tunnel opens

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Never happen here.

The high cost of HS2 is primarily because it's had to swallow up the costs of rebuilding Euston. (Network Rail were about to green-light a rebuild to their own design around the time HS2 was announced. Network Rail then realised they could get HS2 Ltd. to pay for their grand plan.)

It has also been forced to put lots more of the line into tunnels to appease the usual NIMBYs and BANANAs along the route.

In fairness, the Channel Tunnel isn't all that much shorter and is still working today. It also took rather less than 17 years to build, though the high-speed link (today's HS1) took substantially longer to design, build and open.

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The Windows Phone story: From hope to dusty abandonware

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Windows Phone FAIL

Speak for yourself. I've owned both a Nokia Lumia 1320, and currently have a Microsoft Lumia* 950 XL. The 1320 is now used by my sister and is still going strong.

As for the so-called "app gap": this is very much a relative problem. I'm a mild-mannered translator by day, and I've had no problems finding the apps I use in the store. Everything I once used on iOS has its equivalent version on my phone.

I even use the Continuum feature with the Dock. It's great for media, but also for writing work, using a decent Bluetooth keyboard. I can plug USB pen drives and even proper external hard drives into it and they show up in the file system. (My only quibbles are some inconsistencies in the GUI between mobile and desktop, and the lack of built-in support for networks, but there are apps that can do that too and they're pretty seamless to use.)

The fact that I can just plug the thing into any HDMI-capable TV and use it for actual work is just mind-boggling given what phones were like just ten years ago.

Finally, it's surprising how many media pundits insist that failure in the UK or US market somehow equates to failure everywhere, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. After all, Apple used to have a tiny market share for most of the 1980s and '90s, but that didn't stop them trying.

* This, I think, is why MS decided to cull the rest of their Nokia purchase. The "Lumia" brand is so closely linked to Nokia in most people's minds that it made no sense to keep any of it; even I've occasionally referred to my phone a "Nokia Lumia 950 XL".

Note, too, that Microsoft already had their Surface department in place before the Nokia purchase and had been building other hardware for decades. All they needed from Nokia was the mobile phone design and manufacturing experience. Now that they've sucked that marrow out of Nokia's bones, it makes no sense to keep its carcass.

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Surface Book nightmare: Microsoft won't fix 'Sleep of Death' bug

Sean Timarco Baggaley

"Sleep", "Hibernate", etc. are engineering kludges.

<RANT>

I grew up using computers like the ZX81 and the RM Link 380Z, so I don't expect anything like perfection. These days, I'm happy if I only find myself swearing at the f*cking machine once or twice a day. They're all shit. Every single manufacturer. Every OS. All of them. And don't get me started on the Internet, which is an entire onion's worth of circles of Hell unto itself.

There are many, many things wrong with the IT industry, but Microsoft and Apple aren't one of them. It is notorious for fetishising its past, while rarely learning its lessons. After 30-odd years, I'm resigned to seeing few IT products on sale I would consider genuinely fit for purpose. Almost all of it is unspeakable shite. But I don't expect the moon on a stick from an industry so conservative and close-minded that it still thinks an ancient relic like Unix is cool.

"Sleep", "Hibernate", etc. are all engineering kludges. They exist only because it takes so fucking long for a modern computer to boot up. A Sinclair ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64 could boot into a complete (albeit text-based) IDE in less than a second, while a modern laptop takes noticeably longer, regardless of its operating system, and despite the latter having many orders of magnitude more processing and graphics power, as well as an SSD for storage. Only in this industry can we take huge steps backwards and call it progress.

And yet, somehow, operating systems based on Unix (or derived, however loosely from VMS) are still considered this industry's state of the art. Which is like Volkswagen or Toyota pointing and worshipping at the altar of British Leyland's engines and chassis designs.

</RANT>

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Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Wasting money

This.

None of the kit I own is new. I prefer to buy close to high-end and run it into the ground. My MacBook Pro (17", early 2010) is still going strong and had an SSD installed a few years ago. (This is by far the best upgrade I've ever done; the difference in speed and responsiveness was a revelation.) It also hasn't been switched off since February, and that's only because I was rearranging the office.

My other machine is a second-hand Microsoft Surface Pro 2 with dock, and I currently use a (second-hand) Surface 3 for a tablet. (The 2GB / 64GB SSD model. I've actually used it for work, but in hindsight, the 4GB model would have been better.)

None of them have any trouble sleeping, though both the Surface models have problems with their graphics drivers. ('Scuse me a moment while I wave my fist angrily in Intel's general direction.)

Sometimes, a company goes through a particularly bad patch – Apple's G4 Cube springs rapidly to mind; and that was under Jobs' tenure – but they've all been there. Even car manufacturers get it wrong. The sign of a good manufacturer is their customer service. Apple tend to have a great reputation for this, though given their target market, that's hardly surprising.

Microsoft are still learning. Like many corporations, they're probably going to have to learn this the hard way, as shareholders and board members tend to be ornery bastards with egos to match. Risky revolutions are a very tough sell to them, so it becomes a long process of chipping away at their objections until, suddenly, it's already a fait accompli.

But it was ever thus; these things happen in cycles.

*

Incidentally, for those curious about the Secure Boot feature: yes, it's there. Yes, it can be disabled in the UEFI settings. They don't give you a lot of options other than "On/Off" though. When it's off, the "Surface" logo on boot-up appears -- in an excellent example of poor graphic design* -- against a red, rather than black, background.

* (The image has no transparency, so you get a small black box behind the logo. It looks more like a hardware glitch.)

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Victims stranded as ID thieves raid Aussie driver licences

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Once a drivers ID is stolen?

"Conditional, not across the board, but still thinking about it."

For very small values of "thinking", I assume.

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Cock fight? Not half. Microsoft beats down Apple in Q1

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Apple vs. Oranges

"Apple are DOOMED!" pieces have been making the same regular (and, if history is any guide, wildly inaccurate) predictions since long before Steve Jobs returned to Apple. Hell, idiots pundits were saying much the same thing even during the 1980s. They have yet to be proved right. Or fired for their incompetence.

As others have pointed out, Apple aren't about to go bust with their iPad products. Their sales are slowing down, yes, but the sales graph is still pointing up. Just not as sharply as the near-vertical line they started out with. This is part of the normal cycle for any product category: create a market; sell the product like hot cakes; the market saturates; look for unsaturated markets and / or create new markets with new products. Hence all the interest in India and China.

I'm not sure which barrel all these pundits were scraped our of, but few show signs of having passed a Commerce 'O' Level, let alone an MBA.

Perhaps the iPad Pros have done rather poorly in the UK because – get this – Apple only offers a US Keyboard Cover, not a UK one?

I'm platform-neutral. I'm old enough to have owned and programmed on the Sinclair ZX81. I learned a long, long time ago that there is no "best", only the "least shite for the task at hand, for now". I currently own a Surface Pro 2, a Surface 3, and a MacBook Pro (2010 model, so getting on a bit). I've owned a couple of iPads and an iPhone 4 too.

The Surface range are eating the old laptop PC market's lunch, much as the traditional laptop overtook the even more traditional tower-case PC. Like all personal computers (and every other consumer electronics device), they're an inherently compromised design. But here's the key point: they're compromised in a different way to Apple's products.

The Surface range's design makes them a great fit for corporate and enterprise markets, which are Microsoft's bread and butter.

Apple's equivalent markets are the consumer and, in some fields, prosumer markets. There is some overlap – professional graphic designers and videographers are also businesses – but nowhere near as much as the media are suggesting.

The media love telling stories and projecting their own narratives, and everyone knows a good story requires conflict. The media have been implying conflict between Apple and Microsoft for years, and it was true for a very long time. Unfortunately, it's not true now. The real battle today is a generational one: both Apple and Microsoft are children of the 1970s. Their rivals are a lot younger, hungrier, and more ruthless too.

While Apple and Microsoft aren't exactly tap-dancing arm in arm down the street, gazing longingly into each others' eyes while singing show tunes, their old rivalry has been reduced to the wisecracks and light bickering of a Cary Grant movie. They have more important enemies to fight now.

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'I thought my daughter clicked on ransomware – it was the damn Windows 10 installer'

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Barrel. Scraped.

"I volunteer as a recorder with a Talking Newspaper charity..."

So... nobody thought to disconnect the machine from the network while working? Odd. That's often the first thing you get told to do by experienced audio engineers.

Furthermore, a computer capable of handling voice recording through Audition (or even Audacity) costs peanuts today. Christ, you can even do multitrack audio recording on almost any tablet or smartphone! Didn't anyone in the room bring such a device with them? Nobody had access to a spare laptop? Nobody knew where to get one?

"I let my six-year-old play Minecraft on my gaming rig."

Of course, blame Microsoft for your decision to let your apparently illiterate six-year-old child play unsupervised with your expensive gaming rig. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

"...and that’s disaster for the box that’s meant to be streaming music to listeners 24/7."

Are you seriously running a mission-critical server on a box with a consumer desktop version of Windows installed on it? You are aware that there are versions of Windows that have "Server" in the name? Why do you think that is?

*

Not one of the cry-me-a-river "stories" in this article holds up to scrutiny.

Vista is nine years old. Windows 7 is almost seven years old. How long do Android devices get support for? How long is that LTS version of Ubuntu supported for? What about Apple? Yet Microsoft is expected to provide ongoing support and patches for longer than their rivals, for free? Why? Only the heir to the throne to the Kingdom of Idiot could seriously expect this at the consumer level.

Corporations don't have to put up with this because (a) they pay Microsoft for their licenses, and (b) they pay their own IT people to set and manage their own updates. And they also have the option of paying Microsoft for ongoing support for legacy versions of Windows too, if they really feel like it.

Home / individual users are farming their IT support out to Microsoft directly, who are offering their support as a service for "free", using much the same definition of "free" as Google, Facebook, Twitter, et al.

You get what you pay for. The moon on a stick costs extra. Welcome to the Wonderful World of Corporations. Damn right they're in it for the money! All of them! Always! Microsoft, Apple, Google, Red Hat, Oracle... every damned one. If anyone tells you otherwise, they're lying.

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Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: I quite like Windows 10

Or, you know, maybe your opinion isn't actually representative of the majority of PC users. None of the people I know who run Windows 10 actually give a toss. Hell, many still think their operating system is called "Microsoft Office"; few of them could tell you what an operating system is.

Unless you're running on a tablet of some kind, most people will barely notice the difference. It looks very similar to Windows 8.x, which has been around for a while now. Windows 7 is pretty ancient by IT standards, being released nearly seven years ago. It's roughly the same age Windows XP was when Vista was released in 2007.

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Intel has driven a dagger through Microsoft's mobile strategy

Sean Timarco Baggaley

It's not just Microsoft.

Apple are also reliant on Intel investing heavy R&D into CPUs that can crunch lots of data without hammering the power. Their MacBook range is built on the same "Core M" CPU as used in Microsoft's own Surface 3.

If Intel are effectively giving up on all this, then they're placing Apple in a similar situation to the one they found themselves in back in 2003, when they had similar problems with PowerPC.

Now here's the thing: AMD have licenses for both x64 and ARM. They even have chips that include both on the same die, though the ARM part is usually one of the smaller ones. It doesn't take a genius to see how they could reverse this, with the ARM part doing the heavy lifting while a couple of x64 cores are retained to provide legacy compatibility when plugged into a dock.

Coupled with AMD's graphics IP and this makes AMD a rather tempting purchase for Microsoft, who then have everything they need to design and build their own hardware, from phone to Xbox, effectively in-house, allowing a managed migration away from Intel's legacy architecture to something less monumentally shite.

Apple already have their own ARM-centric chip design teams, and an ARM version of OS X is doubtless already up and running in their labs. They also have a strong track record in switching architectures (680x0 >> PowerPC >> x86/x64), and no worries about legacy software, so switching to ARM isn't going to be a huge deal. Remember, Intel aren't giving up on the Xeon end of the market, so the Mac Pros should be fine for a while yet, though with GPUs already doing so much of the grunt work these days, it may matter less and less whether even these run on Intel or ARM.

As for Office: this used to run on a number of different architectures and platforms, and has even made the transition from 680x0 to PowerPC in its long lifetime. The key problem isn't porting to a new CPU architecture, which would require spectacular levels of incompetence to cock up in this day and age, but the fact that it's a very old app designed in an era when WIMP and CLIs were the only user interface games in town.

Furthermore – and this is something too many people forget – MS Office is itself a major development platform. There are entire industries that have built up around integrating Office into their own custom solutions. When people talk about Open/LibreOffice, they conveniently forget all this; some businesses have invested 6-7 figure sums into customisation that cannot be trivially ported to another office tool platform.

Which means Microsoft need to find a way to support all this stuff on anything from a tiny 4" touch-screen smartphone to a 55" Surface Hub, by way of a conventional laptop. This is a big ask, but it's likely they realised they had to bite this bullet a while ago. They just weren't expecting it to be shot into their face so much sooner than expected, nor by such an old friend.

*

While I don't think Microsoft are even remotely perfect, they do currently sell the only mainstream alternative to the myriad thinly-disguised flavours of Unix out there. Given how often the Commentariat prattle hypocritically on about "choice" and "freedom", I, for one, would rather Windows stay. Without it, the only "choice" is Unix, and the only "freedom" is to choose one slightly different flavour of Unix over another. There is no way that ends well.

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Miguel de Icaza on his journey from open source to Microsoft: 'It's a different company'

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: BSD license

"(even for software which patent lawyers refuse to admit is not patentable because it [is] a branch of mathematics)"

Anything can be expressed mathematically.

Mathematics is a collection of thematically connected, artificial, highly symbolic languages, so claims that something is "a branch of mathematics" are equivalent to claims that something is "a branch of French". If you can express a concept mathematically, you can express it in any other language. That's what languages are for.

Despite repeated attempts by many in the IT industry to imply otherwise, programming really is just a branch of translation. Nothing more, nothing less.

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UC Davis chancellor suspended after headlines like this one undo $175,000 online name-scrubbing efforts

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Dear Lawyers,

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why every lawyer insists they will defend their client "vigorously". Do you all use the exact same script template when drafting public comments and press releases?

Here's a tip, offered pro bono.

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Windows 10 handcuffs Cortana web search to Bing and Edge browser

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Proprietary code hardwired to use proprietary APIs to do stuff shock!

Film at eleven.

Seriously? This is "news" now, is it? Can you name the wide range of search engines and browsers Android's "Google Now" uses? What about Siri: how flexible is she with her choice of sources and rendering engines? Or Amazon's Alexa...

Why the hell do people demand Microsoft's code run on magic and rainbows when none of their competitors are required to do so?

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Windows Home and Professional are aimed at individual users...

... not large corporate networks.

MS' primary assumption is that BOTH Home and Pro users will not usually have professional IT administrators to support them. That means Microsoft themselves have to do that.

Hence the alleged "nagware".

This is MS making it crystal clear that they are simply not willing to provide endless ongoing free support to Home and Pro users for older versions of their OS.

The only reason Windows Pro connects to AD and the like is because many freelancers need to be able to connect to their clients' networks to do their work. It is not intended to be installed on clients in a complex corporate network environment with paid IT staff.

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Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Poor IT Standards at this outfit

"They are businesses in their own fields, not in computing; they should not be required to run the overhead of an IT department to deal with what they've been sold."

By that logic, the following also applies to all businesses:

They are businesses in their own fields, not in accounting; they should not be required to run the overhead of an accountancy department...

They are businesses in their own fields, not in sales; they should not be required to run the overhead of a sales department...

They are businesses in their own fields, not in writing; they should not be required to run the overhead of hiring people who can spell...

Etc.

For fuck's sake, IT isn't new. We've had PCs in some form or another since the early 1980s, and financiers were getting share prices over telegraph wires well over a century ago; why the hell do people still act like the computer was only invented last week?

Computers have been a basic component of damned near ALL businesses for well over a generation now. There's no excuse for skimping on an IT department, and yes, the TV station in question has either done precisely that, or they have hired incompetent staff. Any competent IT admin today knows where to find the support pages on MS' website.

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Utah declares 'war on smut'

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: If porn is so bad

I've often* wondered why Tyrannosaurus Rex always looks so angry.

* (Why no, I don't get out much. How did you guess?)

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HTC 10: Flagship goes full Google – but the hardware's top notch

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: The price is out - it's £570

950 XL owner here. Don't regret the purchase at all. Lovely piece of kit. Its Continuum feature makes it a surprisingly good machine for getting work done on as well.

And yet, even the 950 XL model is cheaper than HTC's new toy, despite doing a lot more, and it has been available for a couple of months already.

I was expecting better from HTC. All I get from this is a big, fat, "meh."

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How Remix's Android will eat the world

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: "Remix OS with...

"What matters is whether Windows 10 devices are selling. The phones aren't."

Yes, they are. Not so much in the US, granted, but that's a relatively small market, and a pretty saturated one at that. It may sound counterintuitive, but I doubt MS are losing much sleep over it. There's a good reason why Satya Nadella is in charge at MS, and not some guy with a more Western-sounding name. Asia is a vast market, and nowhere near saturation point. Even Apple are becoming noticeably less US-centric of late.

Note, too, that MS are more focussed on the business and enterprise markets, not consumers. This shows in their approach to development, such as App Studio, which lets almost any corporation throw a basic app together. This may seem trivial to Anglophones, but it's a big deal in countries where English isn't the national language.

Any serious business, in a constrained economy like Italy or Greece, has to look at overseas markets if they want to grow their revenues significantly; the home market just isn't that big, and there aren't any major export markets that speak their language. That means their IT infrastructure needs to support multiple languages, in multiple countries, each with its own regulatory quirks, as a matter of routine.

MS gets this in a way their rivals do not. Their tools and support infrastructure make it a lot easier to handle this either in-house, or through local contractors. Both would be a lot cheaper than farming it out to a team that doesn't even speak the same language.

Microsoft made over $15 billion last year alone, and any business that has been consistently profitable since the mid-1970s clearly knows how to play the long game, or it would have gone bust many years ago.

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Sean Timarco Baggaley

Recall my point about "quality > quantity"?

That. Though I admit, I should have focussed more on that point in my original post.

A couple of years ago, you'd have had a hard time just finding apps for the major social media platforms (to pick one sector at random). Today, all the big names are present and correct, and most of the 2nd-tier ones too..

Once you have a critical mass of solid, front-line apps that meet your needs, the platform is fine. I don't care about the many thousands of crapware and glorified web links in an App Store, any more than you or anyone else does, so it doesn't matter how many of those there are on either platform.

Apple's App Stores beat both Windows and Android / Google Play stores by a country mile precisely because they put a bit more effort into sifting out the really, really shit stuff. Some still gets through, but it's hard to find an app on there that looks flat-out ugly. (Although this may have changed as I haven't owned an iOS device for two years now. I'm using OS X and Windows at the moment.)

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Sean Timarco Baggaley

"Remix OS with...

...Google Play Store has something rather important that Windows 10 Mobile doesn't: apps. And lots of 'em."

Sorry, but quality > quantity every time. I don't care how many hundreds of thousands of poorly-designed apps there are on Platform X. It's only the quality ones that matter. Always.

Windows 10's App Store already has more apps available in it than iOS did after the same period, so it's hard to paint it as a failure. Yes, it has some way to go before it catches up with its rivals, but it's shockingly ignorant of the IT media to demand Microsoft have an App Store stuffed with as many apps on launch day as Android or iOS do now, when none of their rivals had more than a small number of apps on theirs when they started.

What matters here is whether Windows 10's App Store is catching up, not just in mere quantity, but in quality apps from major names. And they are.

That said, Apple still wins the quality war hands down: they are a lot stricter about enforcing UX guidelines than either Google or Microsoft. I think there's a lesson to be learned here.

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Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Which way round are the slashes?

" And in 1971 the problem was still to make computers tolerably easy to design, program and pay for. Internationalisation was in the unforeseeable future."

Balderdash and piffle. Multi-lingual communications have been very much a thing long before computers came along. That some ignorant beard-strokers failed to realise this is entirely down to ignorance on their part. They don't get to rewrite over a century of telecommunications history to excuse their lack of knowledge.

Contrary to popular belief, international telecoms and data transmission was not an invention of the computer industry. Many bankers and financiers were routinely getting their news and share prices via telegraph ticker-tape systems as far back as the 19th century. Character encoding is therefore a concept that predates the invention of viable electronic computers by some decades, and UNIX itself by almost a century.

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Mud sticks: Microsoft, Windows 10 and reputational damage

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Windows 10 -- why so broken?

1... is either a driver or hardware issue. That it works with the lid shut suggests a driver problem.

2... is very clearly a driver issue.

In neither case is Microsoft responsible for the problems. (I'm running a second display on this very PC. It's a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and has given me no problems at all. Smooth as silk, and an excellent advert for Windows 10. Unlike the cheap, low-end Lenovo my dad has been saddled with, with its painfully slow processor, mechanical hard drive, and meagre 2GB RAM.)

I've had problems with my MacBook Pro over the years due to poor drivers, so this is hardly a Windows-specific problem. In each case, the offending peripheral was taken back for a refund.

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Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Windows 10 is not cause of down trending PC sales

The Register is a niche website read by some, though by no means all, IT professionals. It's the very antithesis of "representative".

Lots of people in this thread are basically repeating the same bilge I've read over many, many years in this industry regarding previous versions of Windows. ALL versions of Windows "sucked" according to the opinions of the conservative, blinkered, addlepated bollocksmongerers known to everyone else as "the IT industry". Remember, many of those people wittering on about irrelevances like "Linux Mint" are the same people who will happily argue the toss with you about tabs vs. spaces, Vi vs. Emacs, and so on, and on, and tediously on.

This is the same industry that genuinely believes Unix design foundations laid down in an era of Winchester disks and Wang terminals are still even remotely fucking relevant today. They're not. The ONLY reason *Linux and *BSD are used at all is because it's a shitload cheaper to piggyback a project on those than to write your own kernel from scratch. They've survived because they are free. As in beer. Not as in speech.

Want to know why hardly anyone uses encrypted email? Because it's a pig to use. It's all very well coming up with the code. I'm sure some of you could write the relevant code in your sleep. Unfortunately, too many of you are designing the bloody UIs in your sleep and making the few genuinely useful features you come up with so insufferably painful to use, only masochists can be arsed to do so.

For the love of Codd, please, please stop banging on about Open Source this and Free Software that. You're utterly missing the point of IT, which was NEVER about the software. Software is a means to an end, and that end is making the user's life easier, not harder.

3
29
Sean Timarco Baggaley

Second verse! Same as the first!

Interesting that the article referred to XP as if it were considered an example of shining perfection on its release and not, say, a product derided for introducing hardware-linked Product Activation and a "Fisher-Price" UI.

Microsoft, despite their PR department's repeated attempts to suggest otherwise, have always been a developer tools company and their operating systems are essentially a collection of APIs for their developer tools to target. That they just happen to include some consumer-oriented GUI features is mere icing on the cake, but it's developers they're after first and foremost. That's how you lock corporations into an ecosystem. Apple did it for consumers and are often credited with inventing the ecosystem concept, but Microsoft have been doing it – whether intentionally or not – since the 1970s. They just weren't targeting the consumer market.

UWA is there to brutally stab Win32 (and MFC) in the back and put it out of everyone's misery. (The reason for this can be gleaned from the name: the "32" stands for "32-bit". This is a truly ancient API and needs to go.) The universal app format also reduces development overheads for custom enterprise apps. And those are the apps MS want to attract.

MS couldn't give a sparrow's fart about the consumer space; there's little money in it outside the deluxe, high-margin sectors. They don't mind if *Linux and the other Unices eat that up. No. They want the enterprise customers. The "99%" are free beta testers, nothing more, which is why Windows 10 is being offered to us for "free". And that also explains the telemetry.

"But," you ask, "what about privacy?"

With over a billion users on Facebook, I think Microsoft are perfectly within their rights to reply with, "What about it?"

Clearly the vast majority either doesn't care about privacy, or simply can't be arsed with all the faff and palaver involved in crypto certificates and the like. We don't mind jumping through those hoops, but we're a tiny minority living in the really unfashionable end of the IT industry. We're not even on Microsoft's radar, except as potential developers.

The rest of the world is happily sexting, and tweeting compromising photos at each other, while confronting random strangers in Croydon about the bombings in Belgium. (Then acting all surprised when they learn, the hard way, that "Freedom of Speech" does not mean "Freedom from Consequences".)

Microsoft have already ceded most of the low-end and mid-range consumer markets to their rivals. They can try and claw some of it back, but most of the money – as Apple have repeatedly proved – is at the high-end, so why even bother targeting anything else? The tightwads of the population have repeatedly shown they don't mind trading personal data for free stuff.

This is why even the cheapest, Atom-powered Surface Pro 4 model costs a fair chunk of money. MS are primarily aiming at corporations. Big corporations. Big corporations who need custom software, and vast quantities of IT kit to run it on and manage all the bits and pieces. Apple aren't playing in that space, and *Linux is too fragmented and politicised to be a major player. You can build a UWA app for Windows 10 using point-and-click tools so easy to use, almost anyone can do it.

For the old guard, there's still *Linux and *BSD. (In other words: Minix, or Unix. Or you could always use OS X, which is also, er, Unix. So much for choice and innovation, but that's IT folk for you. They make most conservatives look like love-happy hippies by comparison.)

1
20

Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station

Sean Timarco Baggaley

"Why is cleanup so hideously expensive?"

The problem was never the reactors or waste products, which can be simply shovelled into the nearest convenient tectonic subduction zone. No: the real problem, which governments have tried to hide over the years, was the giant lizards, insects, etc. that rampaged through small villages and towns.

Unsurprisingly, the insurance premiums shot right up because of all that mayhem, making nuclear fission uneconomical.

As a PhD in Pure & Applied Comparative Conspiracy Theories*, I can assure readers that there is ample documentary and film evidence -- most of it produced in the 1950s and '60s -- to support my thesis. Some of it can even be found on YouTube.

* (From Oxbridge Dubious University.)

48
0

US rapper slams Earth is Round conspiracy in Twitter marathon

Sean Timarco Baggaley

"...to correct at least 500 years of misinformation that the world is not flat."

I note the qualifier, but...

That the earth was round has been known for millennia, and most likely goes way back into prehistory. No successful seafaring people could have believed the world was flat: seeing other ships approaching over the horizon trivially proved that wasn't the case.

13
0

How to save Wikipedia: Start paying editors ... or write for machines

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Wikipedia...

... is what Yahoo! wanted to be when it grew up.

It's a glorified search engine with knobs on. It only pretends to be an encyclopaedia on the Internet, but it is, at its core, a curated catalogue of links with an executive summary of the topic those links relate to.

This is why Google have been so intent on co-opting it for their own ends: they're using Wikipedia to paper over the increasingly large cracks in their own search engine.

3
3

Trump's new thought bubble: Make Apple manufacture in the USA

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: You know the good thing about DT?

Yes, yes, I know all that. I never said his lawyers would win.

It's all about publicity. It always was, and always will be. That's what Trump does. He's the US' answer* to Richard Branson.

The main thing is that flinging lawsuits and accusing the UK of rights abuses, real or otherwise, gets him more publicity and makes the UK look like it's run by cowardly, clueless, overpaid bletherskites who are incapable of doing anything other than react, badly, to professional outrageists on Twitter.

* (I am, of course, assuming the question is: "Bet your favourite narcissistic billionaire doesn't have a worse hairstyle than ours.")

2
0
Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: You know the good thing about DT?

Trump may be playing a blustering ignoramus on TV, but Boris Johnson has been doing just that for decades now, so it's hardly a new technique.

However, the Human Right of "Freedom of Expression" has nuances that many people seem to be unaware of:

Most such Human Rights apply specifically -- and ONLY -- to governments. I.e. they are there to protect us from being arrested, or similarly sanctioned, because of something we have said. While there are exceptions, such as incitement to violence, the fundamental principle is that you can say your piece without fear of arrest, exile, or other government-mandated punishment.

However, these rights do not apply to private entities or people. A pub landlord is not obliged to allow Trump to spout his bollocks in his bar, and is perfectly entitled to ban him from entering. The Register's forum mods are also perfectly entitled to delete posts or ban posters whose jib they don't like the cut of.

If the UK government were to ban Trump from even entering the country purely on the basis of the man's opinions, no matter how ignorant or misguided, this would be such a blatant violation of said freedom that Trump's lawyers would have a field day suing the UK over it.

People who insist on silencing those who disagree with them, instead of having the balls to defeat their opponents' arguments through reason and debate, are part of the problem, not the solution. Banning is as undemocratic as exiling your enemies to Siberia.

5
1
Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: For a guy that claims to be a "businessman"

The one thing China does better than (almost) everybody else is scale. The US has nothing that can crank out products at the rate Foxconn's factories do.

It's not just about the assembly or cheap labour either, but the vast logistics chains that support those megafactories. There isn't anywhere in the US that could handle the sheer quantities of physical stuff that has to be shifted around to keep all those massive factories fed with raw materials, individual components (which are often also made in China), and so on, while all also coping with the finished products that have to be shipped out again. Some of China's container ports make even Rotterdam and the Port of Los Angeles look like tiny fishing villages by comparison.

Apple only build the Mac Pro in the US because it doesn't sell in anywhere like the vast numbers their other product lines do, nor did they ever expect it to do so. They only make them at all because it looks bad for their image if they show people around their own campus and reveal loads of boring Dell workstations being used instead of something shiny with an Apple logo on it. The Mac Pro isn't so much a workstation as a branding exercise.

The US (like the UK) has an economy based around intellectual property, not making physical products. Making stuff doesn't actually pay that well. This is why Apple, despite a big fall in share price lately, is still valued at over $500 bn. By comparison, Foxconn is worth a "mere" $87.3 bn. And they don't just make stuff for Apple.

9
1

Test burn on recycled SpaceX rocket shows almost all systems are go

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Desparate or Greedy

You appear to be confusing rocketry with airships. The Zeppelins of old used hydrogen instead of helium, because the US had a monopoly on the latter. Hence the Hindenburg disaster.

Rocketry was very much in its infancy at the time of WW2, but given that all rockets are essentially gigantic fireworks, "unstable" goes with the territory, and always has done. As long as we stick to rocketry, there will always be an unexpected bang every so often. The goal is to keep those bangs as far apart as is humanly possible, but there's a limit to how safe these things can get.

Besides, all new transport technologies go through a long period of incremental refinements and improvements before people see them as truly safe. It took many decades for the routine adoption of fixed block signalling on the railways, and there are a hell of a lot more of those than there are rockets.

The DeHavilland Comet's inadvertent discovery of the problem of metal fatigue is another example of how innovations in a technology can throw up brand new problems that require solutions. Reusable rockets are unlikely to be an exception. This is why the likes of SpaceX should be encouraged: if nobody tries anything new, we'll never learn anything new.

5
0

David Bowie: Musician, actor... tech admirer

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Old bloke dies of cancer.

Elton John to slightly rewrite "Candle in The Wind" for funeral.

He was the King of Hearts.

Etc.

The Daily Mash headlines practically write themselves.

0
5

Rejoice, Penguinistas, Linux 4.4 is upon us

Sean Timarco Baggaley

You're probably thinking of Microsoft's PowerShell, which has actually been there for years. It's just being highlighted for its scriptability -- a useful feature for server administration.

GUIs can be scriptable too, but it hasn't really caught on. Apple's own "Automator" GUI-based scripting code generator isn't notably quicker or easier to use than a conventional shell scripting option, due primarily to its primitive approach to the concept that has never been refined.

As for Linux in the server room, car, TV, etc., this is an irrelevance. Nobody, aside from the occasional nerd, knows, nor cares, what OS is used in that sealed box that keeps dropping their fucking ADSL connection every few days for no good reason. All they know is that switching it off, counting to ten, then switching it back on again "fixes" the problem.

(It's also worth noting that, chances are, that cheap and cheerful ADSL router in your home has never had a firmware update. Ever. So it's full of more security holes than a good Emmentaler cheese.)

3
4
Sean Timarco Baggaley

I'm not a fan of any flavour of UNIX generally, but I've used GNU/Linux, and even the occasional *BSD flavour over the years, and although they were pretty rubbish for desktop use in the past, they're pretty usable these days. For users with basic needs, Mint and Open/LibreOffice will do the job just fine. The CLI isn't needed anywhere near as much as it used to be, though some distribution installers still have room for improvement.

Unfortunately, "almost, but not quite, as good as the commercial options" isn't enough. You need to be quite a bit better than the market leader to steal their lunch.

5
1

Windows 10 phones are not dead yet. Acer, Alcatel OneTouch just made some new ones

Sean Timarco Baggaley

I realise few people here believe there's a world outside the Anglosphere, but...

...you'd be surprised at the market share of the Lumias (and other Windows devices) in the non-English-speaking world. Windows-based phones own about 10% of the Italian market, for example. (Then again, Italians seem to be rather better educated on privacy issues too.)

Android has its pros and cons, but privacy isn't something one tends to associate with Google. Localisation also tends to be very hit and miss, especially for the custom skins / launchers. Microsoft, on the other hand, do localisation very well. They're also pretty good at privacy, even if you do sometimes have to dig down into the Settings app to disable some of the "newbie-friendly" features.

As for the app situation: every Universal Windows 10 app supports ARM, and there are already more of them than there are Windows (Phone) 8 apps. If your app isn't there, there's always SSH or the remote desktop option. And Continuum means you can do the latter on a larger display.

Also, a little basic research would show that Continuum can be used entirely wirelessly, using Bluetooth mice, keyboards, and a compatible HDTV (which is pretty much any TV with the word "Smart" on the packaging). The "Desktop Kit" -- or anything like it -- is therefore not required.

Most users of the feature are unlikely to be attempting to write a novel or 300-page report on the thing anyway. As someone who's had to wear glasses since I was six, not having to squint at a recreation of a hi-resolution desktop on a 6" display is a *very* useful feature. Not all of us IT folk have perfect vision.

This is very much a v1.0, but it'll be interesting to see if the rumoured "Surface Phone" comes with an Intel CPU. If it does, and they've smoothed off Continuum's likely rough edges, I suspect it's going to do quite well. (It'll also be interesting to see how well it handles gaming, though lag may be an issue if using Miracast for the display.)

5
5

The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Impressionist and comedian Alistair McGowan...

...pointed out in a recent podcast interview that he realised there's an entire generation today who literally have no idea who some of the people he was doing impressions of are.

It's become clear that there is increasing knowledge fragmentation in the sciences, with some branches barely even acknowledging the existence of the others. But McGowan pointed out that pop-culture has the exact same problem: People specialise more, and content producers have become ever more focussed on those specialisms.

20 years ago, we (in the UK) had just the four TV channels, while Sky and cable TV were still relatively niche outlets. *Everyone* got the Spitting Image jokes about John Major and Steve "Interesting" Davies, because the news and the snooker were practically impossible to avoid entirely.

Even people who'd never willingly choose to watch Coronation Street or EastEnders would get references to them because, despite their best efforts, they'd still occasionally bump into both programmes on occasion, simply because there was usually bugger all else on.

Today, audiences are *much* more specialised, and so are content producers. Snooker fans can watch snooker any time they like on Eurosport and its ilk, but those of us with no interest in the sport wouldn't be able to name a single one of the current generation of players. Ditto for football, or any other sport. Gone are the days when a BBC 2 programmer would be shunted off to the middle of the night because a sporting event has overrun.

Similarly, there are those who watch reality TV shows religiously, while others avoid them like the plague and wouldn't know who Mary Berry was.

It's therefore not surprising that many pop-culture references are increasingly falling flat. There aren't enough hours in the day to watch "X-Factor" and "Downton Abbey" and binge-watch "The Walking Dead". Hell, I've yet to see a single episode of "Breaking Bad" or "Game of Thrones". The same will be true for many, if not most, of your readers.

Your writers will have to be funny the hard way.

32
0
Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: How about improving comments?

"It would be nice if I could somehow see fewer stories that don't interest me, and more that do... but I don't know how you'd make that happen."

It's doable, but it does require some kind of user login system. Most news aggregation systems let you hide topics that don't interest you, allowing them to fine-tune the front page to your personal preferences. Even YouTube offers up "Recommended for You" lists of videos on its landing page, where you can dismiss suggested Channels to help it work out what sort of thing you prefer.

This would require some more back-end server work on El Reg's part. I don't know what CMS they use -- I suspect it's an in-house one -- so I have no idea how much work it would need to make it happen.

0
0
Sean Timarco Baggaley

"The Register on Sunday"?

Instead of killing off the Weekend string entirely, why not set up a sister site specifically for it?

I only ask because it seems the Weekend articles were doing their job of attracting readers over the usually dead weekend period. This also gives you an outlet for some "Weekly Round-up of [INDUSTRY SECTOR]" pieces, which would be helpful for people like me who are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the ever-increasing torrent of headlines on the front page.

As we get older, we find our free time tends to shrink due to other commitments, so some weekly summary pieces would be a good fit for your older readership. You've been around for over 21 years now, so those of us who started reading El Reg in our early 20s are in our forties now.

This might even be a sufficiently attractive carrot to work as a subscriber-only feature. You can still have ads as well. (The BBC is almost unique in the West in being a license-funded public service broadcaster with no third-party advertising in its home nation. Italy's RAI, and many other similar public-service national broadcasters, all have license fees *and* advertising. If it's good enough for them...)

*

A "Sunday Edition" might also be a good place to try out multimedia content, though I agree with the other comments on this: keep the focus on the words, not pictures. (It's illegal to watch a video in the car anyway, and most commuters on public transport would prefer to listen, not watch, while travelling to and from work. Otherwise they're likely to keep bumping into things and falling off platforms in front of trains.)

Some of those weekly roundup pieces might be good fodder for a weekly "Register on Sunday Podcast" -- there's no need for video unless you have something more interesting to show us than talking heads -- but please, Codd, do it properly. There's no shortage of "bunch of friends rambling on boringly about stuff on a sofa"-style podcasts. There's a bloody good reason you don't hear this crap on Radio 4: it's seriously dull to listen to, unless your mates happen to be professional comedians, are great raconteurs, or have natural wit. Chances are, none of your friends is a closet Peter Ustinov or David Niven.

You have professional writers: use them. Prepare the piece. Script it. Rehearse if possible, or at least have a read-through before starting. Record it properly and professionally. If you're doing video, then, for f*ck's sake make better use of it than the usual tedious talking heads, otherwise you might as well go audio-only. Put some graphics and simple animations in if you're trying to illustrate a complex subject. Otherwise, don't bother. Radio has way better visual effects than television could ever afford.

Finally, edit it down ruthlessly, even if it means you end up condensing five days of pieces on cloud storage into thirty seconds. If I wanted to spend hours ploughing through multiple articles on cloud storage technology, I wouldn't be listening to a "summary" podcast in the first place.

I would be willing to put my writing and editing skills where my mouth is, but I'd be surprised if you don't have at least one person on the team who can do it too. It's not that hard to learn.

7
0

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Star Wars Special Editions

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Agreed.

I'd also like to point that some of the context of the SE release's changes is being forgotten: these were released to the cinemas just before the first movie in the new trilogy. CGI Yoda and Jabba make a lot more sense in that context as the alternative would be a very jarring change.

These movies were always aimed at kids first and foremost. Nostalgic adults were never the target market, despite their staggeringly selfish sense of entitlement that suggests otherwise.

Kids in the late '90s were used to CGI effects. In these prequels, Yoda leaps about the screen during fight scenes in a way no puppeteer could possibly replicate. Having him appear as a glorified Muppet in what is supposed to be a sequel to those films just wouldn't look right.

Yes, to us it'd be fine, but that's because we're old enough to remember, and understand, the context. But the target audience of those prequels didn't grow up with motion controlled models -- something that, frankly few special effects teams ever got right. (By far the best was Derek Meddings, of Thunderbirds fame.)

Lucas kept tinkering with these movies precisely because CGI technology itself is still a moving target. Only in recent years has the technology's rising curve begun to level out. We're pretty much at the point where anything you can imagine can be filmed now.

And Lucas was a pioneer of technology in cinema, pushing the THX certification system to ensure cinemas could produce audio decently. (RoTJ was the first of the Star Wars films to use it.) He also created LucasArts, ILM, Pixar (in its original form), and was clearly much more interested in the techniques of moviemaking than in storytelling itself. Lucas' most successful franchises are basically pastiches of 1940s Republic serials.

If Lucas was the movie industry's Bill Gates, then Spielberg was its Steve Jobs.

3
4

Let's shut down the internet: Republicans vacate their mind bowels

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Fucking appalling

The only way anyone can take out the Internet at a local or regional level is by physically deleting its users.

Considering the USA is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons (twice) against civilians during a war, I wouldn't put it past Trump, et al, to resort to the nuclear option. Assuming they can find any nukes that still work. And assuming Trump can work out which of the buttons he needs to press.

"Uh, it's the big, red one, with 'Make Go Boom!' printed on it, Mr. President!"

"Excellent! Now, get me off this thing, Broussard! This hairpiece form is tiring to hold. I must splinge into my original shape for a while!"

"Certainly, Mr. President. Would you like me to clean the spittle from your dummy too?"

"Yes, clean the Trump up. And be more careful: you left some drool on his shirt last time."

9
0

Samsung appeals to Supreme Court to bring patent law into 21st century

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Design Patent approximately UK Registered Design

Please, do point us at the phone that was identical to the first iPhone, including its user experience, that Apple have allegedly infringed. I owned a bunch of so-called "smartphones" during the '00s and sure as hell don't remember seeing anything that was as usable as the iPhone.

And no, anything with "XDA" in its name doesn't count. A stylus-based UI running on archaic versions of Windows Mobile is nothing like the iPhone UI. Not even close. That's the whole point of this lawsuit.

Again, forget the raw technology: It's the user experience that makes the difference, and that's why Apple deserved to win this case. I remember those early Samsung clones, and they really were utterly shameless rip-offs. That they've changed their ways since then does not change this fact.

2
13
Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: The law is a Ass

No, sorry, Apple are ALL about the User Experience. The technology has never been a big deal for them. The iPod wasn't the first MP3 player, but it was the first successful MP3 player precisely because it had a UI worth a damn.

Apple weren't the first to market with fingerprint recognition either, but they were the first to do it well enough that people were willing to use it as a matter of routine. The underlying technology really was different.

This is what Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, and their ilk have ALL failed at, and they have failed epically. They forgot that, for all those whiz-bang functions to be of any use, they had to be usable. It's why Nokia's smartphone range sank without trace once people realised that a multi-touch display could be operated with one's own fingertips, instead of requiring a clumsy stylus.

THAT is what Apple were -- and still are -- protecting. They spend loads of money on R&D, including developing their own OS and multiple user interfaces. Those user interfaces are the whole damned point. They are what Apple do: User Experience, not technology for its own sake.

And no, the user experience does not begin and end with round corners and a grid of icons. Anyone who genuinely believes this is what the lawsuit was about has utterly missed the point. Samsung's early iPhone rivals were very, very obvious rip-offs. Right down to copying the same fucking icons!

5
15

After Death Star II blew: Dissecting the tech of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Leaving aside the fact that a good director and movie studio would hardly put all its money shots in the trailer, commercial aircraft and trains typically have operational lives of some 40 years or so. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that, in the future, a further 10-20 years could be eked out. (The Isle of Wight is still using trains passed down from the London Underground. They date right back to 1938!)

Boeing are still making 747s - though possibly not for much longer given the poor sales of late. They are using different materials, and the interior fit-out has changed over the years too, but it's still recognisably the same base design today as it was when the first one flew in 1969.

There's also the small matter of technological plateauing. Look at the smartphone industry today: it's all just variations on a rectangular glass slab. You'd be hard pressed to tell them apart from the front. Even automobiles now all look very similar. Also, the latest and greatest technology isn't always the best: The Allies didn't have the best tanks in WW2, the Germans did, but they were also much more expensive to produce.

Short of some major new technological breakthrough occurring, I wouldn't expect a galactic empire to be all that fussed about cranking out loads of the same old same old, as long as it works. If the production is automated, even better. It means you can crank out loads of them while saving up your money for that big shiny new toy you have your R&D people have been dangling before your covetous eyes, while being very careful to avoid any mention of its design flaws and many health and safety issues. After all, those can be ironed out later in the Mk. II version.

It's possible I may be overthinking this.

10
0

Donald Trump wants Bill Gates to 'close the Internet', Jeff Bezos to pay tax

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Crimes against humanity? On what basis? I don't recall either Reagan or Thatcher murdering millions of innocent people.

Contrary to popular belief, being unpopular or offensive isn't a crime. There is no such thing as a "Right to never be offended". Such a right would be entirely incompatible with Freedom of Speech/Expression. You can pick one or the other, but never both.

3
0
Sean Timarco Baggaley

Is it just my imagination...

...or is the small furry creature sitting on the mouthy puppet's head doing a bang-up job here? He/she/it should win an award for this galactically epic piece of performance art.

Trump was clearly the inspiration behind Pixar's "Ratatouille". The reality was so bizarre, nobody would have believed it, so they naturally went for a more plausible storyline.

8
0

Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL: Clear thoughts of Continuum with a snazzy camera

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: So...

As opposed to Android phones where you're lucky to get even a single, solitary update after release?

The only Windows phones that are definitely not going to be able to handle Windows 10 are those with low built-in storage. (I.e. anything with 4GB built-in flash or less.) If you bought one of those, chances are you didn't pay much for it to begin with, and it's already given a few years of service as I don't recall seeing any models with such low storage space in the last two years. I'd consider 8GB the bare minimum for any modern smartphone OS, and even that's pushing it.

As for not upgrading from Windows Mobile 7.x to 8.x: they're *completely different* OSes, with very different hardware requirements. Even Windows 10 also has plenty of under-the-hood changes from Windows 8, so it's hardly surprising some of the cheaper / low-end models aren't going to be able to run it. This sort of thing happens all the time in IT. I don't understand why you'd expect any company to deliberately cripple their software to support obsolete hardware.

2
1
Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: So...

"It took until v3.1 for Windows to finally be half-usable even then it would BSOD under load 2/3 times a day"

(sigh)

Bloody kids these days. Can't even be arsed to troll properly!

Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows ME were built on top of MS-DOS, which handled any crashes in its traditional manner of unexpectedly rebooting the machine or locking up. You needed to be running an NT-based version of Windows to get BSODs. Those didn't appear on consumer PCs until Windows 2000 and XP.

Now, try again, but this time put some bloody effort into it.

9
1
Sean Timarco Baggaley

So...

...it's an excellent phone, and a damned good camera as well. Sounds like Microsoft cherry-picked the best organs from Nokia's twitching corpse for the transplant. Sold. I'm buying a 950 XL. My Nokia Lumia 1320 has given me sterling service, but my sister has been asking me less-than-subtle questions about when I plan to upgrade it, and can she have it when I do, preferably for Christmas, pleasepleasepleaseprettypleasewithacherryontop. Or words to that effect.

I agree that Windows 10 Mobile is still a bit rough around the edges, but it has a hell of a lot of potential and it is already quite usable now. MS really needs this to work, and their track record on iterating and pig-headed stubbornness is a good one: It took until v3.1 for Windows to finally catch on, so they have form.

When I buy a phone -- or any computer for that matter -- one of my main criteria isn't just that it be good *today*, but what its prospects are for upgrades over its lifetime of service. Microsoft have been very good at providing good updates and upgrades over the years, whereas the same cannot be said for the vast majority of Android devices. (Apple are good too, but they didn't have a big-screen phone when I switched and none of their current iPhone models has sufficient on-board storage for my needs.)

4
1

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