* Posts by Sean Timarco Baggaley

1042 posts • joined 8 May 2009

Judge: Your boss has no right to your emails held by a third party

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Cock-up, not conspiracy.

Somebody failed to do their Due Diligence properly, and it wasn't the CEO of Fairstar.

Somebody's going to get either a severe bollocking, or, (depending on their contract and pay grade), the sack over this. That 'somebody' will be a Dockwise employee somewhere in one of the management tiers. And they'll deserve it too. Failing to check Fairstar's accounts are solid before buying them up is what Due Diligence is for.

China's IP boss says West distorts piracy problem

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Baby / Bathwater Ejection Situation

"The erosion of right of first sale, the mentality of "it's not yours even though you paid for it", the avaricious principles of pay-per-view and pay-per-listen, the inherent idiocy of DRM, the destruction of the public domain"

There's a big difference between the concept of Intellectual Property, and the implementation of Intellectual Property legislation. Conflating the two is part of the problem, not the solution.

The problem is not that IP exists at all, but that the existing legal frameworks for IP are obsolete and urgently require a serious refactoring and UI clean-up.

Hacker sentenced to six years – WITH NO INTERNET

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: @ That Awful Puppy

"its funny that more americans know about the Manga Carta then Brits these days though. "

And it's depressing that you seem to have no clue how the British legal system works.

Old laws do not need to be repealed if they have been made obsolete by later laws. That's why British MPs don't spend much time repealing old laws: they just haemorrhage new ones that supersede the old ones and effectively make the latter redundant. Repealing an old law is extremely rare, time-consuming and usually unnecessary. It's much more efficient to spend the time in Parliament – there isn't much of it – working on new stuff than performing basic spring cleaning.

Not that a bit of spring cleaning in the UK's legal system wouldn't be appreciated; it's become a lot more complicated than it should be. But that's another debate entirely.

A bitter spill to swallow, or 'how to smeg up your keyboard'

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Back when I was an IT admin for a small private school...

... I kept a box of mice and keyboards. Two of the computers (hand-assembled Asus "Pundit" models) lasted well over 11 years, but none of the keyboards did. But then, that's why I specced cheap, £5 keyboards at the time, and bought a bunch more than we needed to ensure there were spares. The average lifespan was about 2-3 years, despite the "NO FOOD OR DRINK IN THE CLASSROOMS" notices. (The worst culprits were the teachers, oddly enough.)

The mice were the basic Microsoft models, bought by the boxful for peanuts. I miss the Naksha mice I bought for my Atari STFM, but Microsoft's plastic rodents are very good too.

I'm a Mac user myself, but even I draw the line at Apple's mice, which have been spectacularly shit since Mr. J. Ive's rise to power. He does a mean case, but he couldn't design an ergonomic mouse to save his life. I do like their trackpads though, and OS X (and Windows 8) really come into their own with one of those.

Apple's keyboards are a bit 'meh' though. Mercifully, OS X doesn't care what kind of keyboard it's talking to, as long as it's USB or Bluetooth compatible; only the location of the "@" and quotation marks keys change in the UK layout, while the Windows key becomes the "CMD" key (so it's in the right location too). Microsoft used to make some lovely ones, but I haven't been impressed by their recent offerings. I keep meaning to check out Logitech's alternatives, but as I live in Italy, I'd need to order from the UK to get one with the right layout.

But, for once, I agree with many Apple-haters here: Apple generally suck at designing input devices. (The rest of their hardware I quite like.)

Bird of Prey: 1980s IT on on the small screen

Sean Timarco Baggaley

To be fair, the BBC Micro was available for cheap to the Beeb – it was their name on the case after all. They'd have had dozens of them lying around for use in their IT programming, so why not use one on the TARDIS console to provide some cut-rate CGI? Hiring Fred Harris to program it to draw some basic shapes instead of paying someone to provide Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy-style animations is a lot cheaper too. (The computer was used as an integral part of a few stories, so it wasn't just eye-candy.)

If they'd nailed on a Commodore VIC-20 instead, you'd have a valid complaint, but a BBC-branded computer in a BBC TV series was always going to be cheaper. And the BBC's status as a public broadcaster meant they couldn't accept advertising from third parties back then anyway, so using their own computer was probably their only option.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

For ex-pats with an iPlayer Global subscription...

... "Bird of Prey" has been available on that for a while now, so no need for a DVD if you live abroad and have an iPlayer Global subscription. They haven't gone out of their way to advertise this though.

Given the parlous state of Italian TV – RAI really has gone downhill over the decades – I have no problem with paying for the iPlayer Global subscription. Even "Father Ted" and "Black Books" are on there. (The "Global" app seems to include some ITV and Channel 4 archive programming too, so I'm guessing it's a UK Gold-style joint venture behind the scenes.)

No "Blake's 7", and only a few Doctor Who stories from the archives – mostly converted from what looks like the original archives rather than the restored material used for their DVDs. Which is a shame, but not surprising given that they can still milk more money out of SF fans for those.

Firm-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's tax dodge profit shift? Totally legit

Sean Timarco Baggaley

What about a flat business rate option?

You want to do business in the UK? You pay X% of your revenues. That's revenues, not profits. If you have a fixed percentage to pay, it becomes an easily budgeted 'cost of doing business', so you just include it to your business plan's budget section and allow for it accordingly. Only if you can prove you made a loss do you get to avoid paying it. Throw in an initial 3-year 'holiday' for new (small) businesses to give them time to get up to speed. If said business hasn't yet made it into the black by then, they probably never will.

Existing multinational corporations do not get such a 'holiday' as they should have the damned money in their corporate capital expenses account already.

Of that percentage fee, 50% goes to the local (or regional) council, the rest goes to the Treasury. That gives local councils some leeway if they want to offer reduced rate incentives to attract certain types of business to their region.


An alternative is to require that any business operating in the UK must be entirely independent of the rest of the business, which is limited solely to "holding company" status. Profits can only be paid up to the latter after UK taxes have been paid. The UK operation effectively acts like a national 'franchisee' of the multinational 'franchise', so even the IP stuff changes into predictable flat-rate annual fees (or per-sale royalties) that must be within bounds approved by HMRC.


Or there's a variation on the 'Transaction Tax' approach currently bumbling through the EU: simply charge a transaction fee for any payments made to locations with different tax rates, with the amount based on the difference between said rates. The likes of Bermuda and the Canary Islands may well piss and moan, but they only have themselves to blame.

There are always options to solve problems like these. You just need to be more creative than the accountants.

Businessweek: 'It's Global Warming, Stupid'

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Why the Denial?

I sit corrected: it appears BusinessWeek does indeed consider "Climate Change" to be inherently anthropogenic given the tone of their article.

Perhaps they could explain how they know this kind of event is unprecedented given that accurate weather records go back a couple of hundred years or so at most. For all anyone knows, there might have been three such storms in quick succession during the 1300s.

There is insufficient data to make such claims.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Why the Denial?

Who's "denying"?

Not once was the word "Anthropogenic" used in the original (El Reg) article. It only ever mentions "Climate Change". Are you implying that all climate change is anthropogenic?

Apple updates iOS 6, Safari

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Not updating

Seriously? Google's maps can be accessed through Safari on any iOS device: just visit maps.google.com. It even offers more features than the old app. Did it not occur to you to try it? You can even pin the page to one of the iOS home pages if you want, so it opens up like an app.

There are also any number of (often free) GPS navigation apps for iOS devices. Those even give you offline maps, albeit without the pretty aerial photography.

As for Apple's own Maps app: there's nothing wrong with that either. The dataset is not part of the application itself, so why you expect an iOS update to fix it escapes me. The iOS Maps application has barely changed: the only new bits are the vector-based data handling and the 3D "flyover" feature. That's it. Everything else is much as it was in iOS 5 – even down to the littler page curl in the lower-right corner.

The mapping data itself is stored in a database on some servers and downloaded on demand, and that's what is being so heavily criticised by people (who presumably don't live anywhere near me in Italy).

The Maps app is just an intermediary – a client. No amount of iOS updates will change that. Your post shows a shocking amount of ignorance about how this kind of application works. Which is impressive given that this is an IT website.

Google's mapping data was shit in the beginning too. Where I live, it's still pretty mediocre, and dangerously outdated in places. (In fact, Apple's dataset is better than Google's and even has the local roads – including a ten-year-old bypass that Google's database still doesn't seem to know about – labelled correctly.)

So Apple clearly don't have a monopoly on dodgy map data. Google have, however, had rather longer to sort theirs out. I wonder what their excuse is.

Analyst slams Apple innovation FAIL

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Many years ago, Steve Jobs learned a very important lesson.

Years before Microsoft eventually released Vista, they announced every single major feature they intended to put in it — and then some; their plans to include a fully database-driven filesystem didn't make it, for example.

By the time Microsoft Vista finally made it out the door to universal indifference, Apple's OS X already matched it feature for feature, but usually better designed and more refined. And that was the "Leopard" release series, not the later "Lion" ones.

Vista proved less than successful, in part because Microsoft effectively told everyone what they planned to do so long in advance that their rivals had plenty of time to catch up. Even GNU / Linux desktop GUIs were able to out-Vista Vista when it appeared on the scene.

Steve Jobs never made that mistake. He even went so far as to use misdirection and outright deception to ensure Apple's rivals were frequently wrong-footed.

That's what good CEOs do. There seem to be distressingly few of them about.

British judge: Say you're sorry Apple... this time like you MEAN it

Sean Timarco Baggaley

"Here's to a contempt of court charge."

Eh? How is a statement of fact "contempt of court"?

Seriously, do you even have a clue how the law actually works in the UK? I suspect not.

Apple will have written that apology statement on the advice of their UK lawyers. If Apple's UK lawyers – who will be very expensive lawyers indeed – let this through, they presumably have a damned good reason for doing so. Not least, because that very paragraph highlights the inconsistency in how cases like these are tried around the world.

If IP law is to survive, it needs to adapt to changes in its context. Right now, the fact that Samsung can be fined $1bn+ in one country, while it's let off for being "uncool" in another, is really not helpful for global trade. It makes economies of scale much harder to achieve if you have to modify your product for random nation states.

It also means you need to retain an army of lawyers in every nation you intend to sell to. That's a lot of lawyers. Suddenly, your legal department becomes a major cost centre and that's bad for business.

Consider, too, that the original case was over Samsung devices running the 1.x and 2.x Android releases, not the current releases of that OS. Only a blind imbecile could claim that Android, back then, wasn't basically a flagrant knock-off of iOS.

Fundamentally, none of this litigation helps Apple. Some of it is simply legally-mandated (yes, it really is) IP protection, but there's clearly an element of politics here. They're highlighting major flaws in current legal systems the world over. When it takes longer than the product's entire shelf-life just to get your day in court, what's the bloody point of going through such motions? Apple had no chance of stopping Samsung's products being sold and they damned well knew it. So why go through the pantomime of a full court case?

That such legal disputes can drag on for so long in an industry known for rapid change is itself a major point of contention, but most of all, it reveals a number of major weaknesses in national legal systems: they're just not fit for purpose any longer. Major changes are needed.

Apple didn't start this tit-for-tat cycle of litigation. They could easily have settled out of court (or even just bought the plaintiff outright); they certainly have the money. That they haven't done so implies there's something else going on here.

This isn't business. It's politics.

Felix Baumgartner sadly turns out to be blinkered FOOL

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Are you going to condemn everyone who thinks this way?


If you're going to express an opinion on something you know feck all about, you don't then get to complain when someone who knows rather more about the topic calls you an ignorant fool. Not all opinions have equal value and, while I'm happy to protect your right to express one, I am not morally, ethically, or legally obliged to agree with it.

There is even less excuse today than there was a generation ago for being wilfully ignorant on a subject you intend to hold forth about. The internet has been around for nearly two generations now; the world-wide web for nearly one generation. Even sodding Wikipedia is over a decade old now. There's really no excuse for such behaviour any more. None. If you can't be bothered to make sure your opinion is an informed one, I have only one question for you: Which part of the word "sapiens" do you not understand?

Life's too short to suffer fools, gladly or otherwise.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: What's bothering you Lewis?

The best way to save this planet is to get Homo Sapiens off it.

If we can crack space exploration on a commercial scale, we will have no lack of resources to exploit, because pretty much everything we need to survive is spinning about up there in space, mostly in the form of large, easily processed, lumps.of rock. And that includes carbon, metals and even water ice.

By cutting our species' umbilical cord with Gaia, we need no longer worry about Climate Change, or any of that stuff, because it won't matter any more. Our species will have left its cradle, so we can let the planet's ecosystem rebalance itself of its own accord, without any need to meddle with it, or even artificially twist it to our own requirements — an increasingly popular refrain from some of the more extremist environmental Chicken Littles, despite their attempts to word it in more palatable phrasing.

Google stiffs Samsung on price, now wireless charging too

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: This is new...

A "Fruitdroid" who needs to do something an iPhone won't let him do will – and this might surprise you – buy another phone. Shocking, I know, but, contrary to what you appear to believe, Apple don't point a gun at your head and force you to buy their stuff when you walk into one of their stores. I've certainly never been held hostage in one.

I've even heard one Apple blue-shirt suggest a customer buys a particular model of (Windows-based) laptop instead of an Apple one after hearing their litany of requirements and budget. If they know you can't afford the model that would fit their needs, they'll be happy to suggest a low-priced competitor. It's not as if the customer was going to buy from them anyway, and they'll leave with a good impression of Apple's customer service too. (See one of my other posts on this thread for why that's a good thing for Apple.)

On styluses

Having owned a Sony-Ericsson P900 (and its predecessor) in the past, both of which were stylus-based, I can't say I've ever felt the need to own another stylus-based device since. My carpal tunnel hates the stylus grip position with a passion bordering on righteous anger, so I'd be in pain within minutes. (In fact, I haven't been able to write much of anything longhand for years as a result. In any case, I've been able to type at over 120 wpm. since my primary school days, so it's no great loss. My handwriting has always sucked anyway.)

That said... I'm surprised there hasn't been more call for handwriting recognition of Gregg* Shorthand on stylus-based devices. It seems such an obvious move for those who can write, and I'm well aware that many find handwriting more comfortable than typing. Despite a brief flurry of research papers dating back to the early '90s, there don't seem to be much work on this in the Android space today, which seems like a gap in the market to me.

* The UK's preference is for Pitman Shorthand, but that relies on line thickness as well as line length, which means the stylus would have to support pressure-sensitivity. It also adds complexity to the recogniser code. Studying the two, it seems to me that Gregg's is the better fit for tablets and 'phone-pads' like Samsung's "Note" series.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: No SD card - not much of a problem

... or I could just buy the 64GB model and not have to faff about with tiny, irritating pieces of plastic that will be instantly lost down the back of a sofa within picoseconds of having been removed from that bloody maddening blister pack that always manages to find a way to slice strips off my thumb.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

And I can't say I miss the manual file-handling bollocks either. Quite why anyone thought implementing that feature from Windows CE / 6.x was a great idea escapes me. Sure, it's 'flexible', but it's also a world of hurt if you're the "good with computers" member of a family that refuses to listen to your advice when making its IT purchasing decisions, but is more than happy to waste hours of your life afterwards when they can't work out which of the myriad bloody menus and icons is the gateway to a particularly obscure* setting.

* (for very small values of 'obscure'. Like "How do I setup the internet connection with my service provider?")

Apple axed Brit retail boss for doing his job well - TOO well, perhaps

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Apple's business is entirely about selling hardware.

Everything else is marketing. And I really do mean everything here: from OS X to their Apple Stores. Why do Apple make OS X and suites like iLife? Because it's very hard to demo a Mac without them.

One of the main problems with the likes of PCWorld and Comet is that they're only interested in telling you about the bullet-points on the packaging. They'll tell you what the computer is, what's inside it, and any amount of other irrelevant rubbish no customer who isn't interested in IT actually gives a toss about – and they'll even get that much wrong – but heaven forfend that they show a customer what the magic box can do.

That's where Apple's stores get it right, and it's why Apple created software that shows their machines off to such great effect. They don't need to hire "salespeople", because their machines practically sell themselves. So they can focus on hiring experts instead. People who really do know what each one of those devices actually does and – crucially – how it can help a (potential) customer do what they want.

Apple are only interested in selling their shiny hardware. Everything else, from the various iStores and 'ecosystem', their retail stores, even OS X, iOS and the other software they produce, is just marketing.

It's a laser-like focus that no other business seems to have grasped. Certainly damned few "analysts" and pundits have managed it. Including the one who wrote the article.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Disgusting...

You'd have a point, if Tim Cook's announcement hadn't been on the IT media's calendar for some time beforehand. He could no more have predicted this than anyone else, but why should a company in California stop everything because of a storm over a thousand miles away?

The USA is a big country, with three time zones and fifty States. History has shown that it'll take a lot more than a stiff breeze and a slight moistening of one coast to bring its economy crashing to a halt. Just ask the folks of New Orleans.

Forstall ousted from Apple after refusing to apologise for Maps

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: For every anecdote pointing out a flaw in Apple's mapping data...

"All your anecdote suggests is that where Google Maps is a bit crap, so is Apple Maps, but sometimes Apple is a bit better."

You appear to have misunderstood me: Google's map data for my neck of the woods wasn't "a bit crap". It sucked horribly and was effectively useless. Until iOS 6 was released, my town was shown by Google's own data as being entirely hidden by cloud cover – a problem many have complained about with Apple's own app, so it's clearly not unique to the latter.

Not one centimetre of my town was visible in the iOS 5 Maps app. Not one. Let me repeat that in italics: None of it was visible.

And it matters not one iota if Google has better mapping in the US or UK because — and I'll type this out very slowly, in the unlikely event that it might help your reading comprehension — most of the planet's population does not live in either country.

Never, in the entire recorded history of Homo Sapiens, has "Your Mileage May Vary" been more applicable.

The only "mistake" Apple made here was in not labelling their Maps app a "beta". For some inexplicable reason, nobody seems to mind when Google expect their "community members" to work for them for free, while photocopying their personal data for advertisers, as long as there's a pretty little "Beta" image somewhere on the screen. This despite Google having plenty of money swilling about themselves.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

For every anecdote pointing out a flaw in Apple's mapping data...

... I can point to plenty more in Google's. Particularly in Italy, which still gets lousy coverage in Google's database. (Including the same cloud-cover issues people have complained about in Apple's database.)

Apple's app is the only one to correctly label the bypass road that runs past my town here, for example. Google's data would have you drive right through multiple medieval towns with no less than four dangerous hairpin bends on steep gradients. (The bypass, which was completed a few years ago, isn't even labelled correctly by Google.)

Neither database is perfect, because global mapping is always an ongoing process. There is not – and may never be – a 100% perfect dataset. So I don't think the "Maps apology" (which is just a PR stunt) is the real reason for Forstall's continued fall from grace.

However, it's clear from reading various articles on Forstall that he's not easy to work with, with some accusing him of stealing credit. A number of ex-Apple employees have been less than effusive with praise for him, with some pointing out that the "Antennagate" issue also happened on Forstall's watch. (It seems there was a software-related component to that, which Forstall denied, but which turned out to be the case: The signal strength meter clearly used a different algorithm to most of Apple's competitors back then and this was changed shortly afterwards.)

It's also worth noting the suggestion that Forstall "was once considered" for Job's role – my emphasis. As Steve Jobs had plenty of time to prepare before his death, it's unlikely Tim Cook was chosen over Forstall without Jobs' say-so, so something clearly made him decide against his own protégé.

In any corporation of this size, you need to have a rock-solid team that can actually work together if you're going to keep the ship steady. Forstall doesn't appear to be a team player. His departure could signal a number of design changes given Ive's extended remit. It'll be interesting to see what happens next.

UK's Intellectual Property Obliteration office attacked by Parliament

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Intellectual Property is Theft - Marx (Groucho)?

What he ("Gordon 10") said.

For some bizarre reason, humanity seems to be losing its ability to understand concepts, ideas and philosophies properly. Everything is either black or white, yes or no, on or off. Hardly anyone (except Orlowski and a few others) seem capable of consider even the possibility of a middle ground. Of moderation. Of finding a path between the two extreme alternatives that doesn't involve throwing all of at least one baby's toys out of his pram.

This bi-polar, "you're either with us or against us", utterly irrational philosophy of extremism in all things is why the USA's political system is so f*cked up. As is the UK's, which has also lost its moderating influences.

We're raising a generation of people who have no concept of grey. Only of black or white.

Forgetting Microsoft: How Steve Ballmer's Surface could win

Sean Timarco Baggaley

It does exactly what it says on the tin...

... and does it pretty damned well.

The only smart-phone device I've been asked to help decode for a relative is... an Android one. (Running one o the 2.x releases. It's a Samsung Galaxy Advance.) That device's GUI is such a godawful pile of shite, it completely explains why Apple's kit sells so well. It's exactly what's wrong with the old school approach of leaving design entirely to programmers with no imagination, creativity or design talent. Not for nothing were the first few major versions of Android referred to as a nasty iOS knock-off that completely missed the point. And the 2.x releases are still by far the most common.

There is such a thing as "too much choice". Ask any good designer. There are textbooks and such explaining all the science behind it, you know. It's not as if Ive and his team just make this stuff up. You can even get degrees in design. It's a science, not an art. Cognitive Science really does exist.

Reading the endless wanking here about how much "better" [INSERT PRODUCT OR OS HERE] would be if it offered millions of pointless options and features only a tiny, tiny minority would ever bloody use is shocking. This is supposed to be an IT site. You'd think, after nigh-on 15 years of companies like Apple proving the value of good design and integration, some of you would have grokked it by now.

The days when the programmers and nerds who worship solely at the feet of the fallen gods of Technologis and Bulletpointia are over. Just deal with it and shut up, because you're not just wrong. You're not even part of the problem with the IT sector today. You ARE the problem.

Dyson alleges spy stole 'leccy motor secrets for Bosch

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Re - I used to think dyson was a prick...

"As for innovation, the cyclone priciple was known about for donkey's years prior to it's use in the household vacuum cleaner.. "

Ah yes, the traditional application of that age-old Hindsight Obviousness Principle: it was used in markets C through F for "donkey's years", so its use in market A must have been "obvious" and the fact that nobody else appears to have actually done so, despite said claims for "obviousness" is utterly irrelevant.

There's a big difference between knowing a particular set of technologies might work in a different market, given substantial R&D to work out the kinks, and actually putting your damned money where your mouth is, taking the gamble, doing that expensive R&D work, then designing, marketing and selling the new product.

Dyson didn't just buy in some off-the-shelf components and nail them into a box. A lot of design and research has gone into their products. (Yes, their marketing gets hyperbolic, but then, so does Ford's. And you wouldn't believe the industrial quantities of bullshit the likes of Beiersdorf get away with. They make even Apple's marketing look humble by comparison.)

No GPS in the iPad Mini Wi-Fi: People are right to criticise

Sean Timarco Baggaley


I've heard of it. I've rarely bothered with it. I've driven from London to Rome with nothing but a list of major town / city names to look out for on the way. (From Calais, follow signs for Paris. As soon as you see signs for Bruxelles, follow those. As soon as you see signs for Luxembourg… and so on. All the way to Rome. No GPS. Not even an up-to-date Europe-wide map.) I did get slightly lost near Strasbourg thanks to some major road works, but that only set me back a few minutes.

I find I can navigate just fine using those "signpost" thingies that every bugger else appears to ignore.

I've known people who swear by GPS navigation, but these same people often regale me with tales of how their GPS "failed" them by sending them the wrong way down one-way streets, ignoring the existence of new, much better, roads, and so on. What boggles the mind is that, in many cases, these people must have deliberately ignored signage that would have avoided the problem entirely. GPS was meant to be an aid to your own navigation skills, not a complete replacement for them.

Google's mapping data is no better – and often quite a bit worse – in this neck of the woods. TomTom's database at least labels the roads correctly, instead of suggesting that the main route to Viterbo isn't to take the nice, quick, series of bypasses built and opened over the past decade or so, but to drive instead right through the centres of no less than three medieval towns, all of which have dangerous hairpin bends and even some 20%+ gradients.

But this anecdata does not count as "evidence". For every "Google Maps is way more accurate than Apple's" anecdote, there will be one that suggests otherwise.

This is not a winnable argument.

Journalists this very well. Hence their trolling. Yes, this very article is a troll. Comment threads like these are exactly what they – and their advertisers – want. And we've all fallen for it.

I do hope The Register finds a better way to keep the money coming in. Click-based advertising is clearly affecting the quality of the content for the worse. I think I'd prefer it if they went with dedicated section sponsors (with the proviso that said sponsors have no editorial control).

Apple loses UK 'Samsung copied us' appeal: Must publicly GROVEL

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Dear Apple - here is where you went wrong..

"I think it is more like the wish for total control over a selected market."

Or it could be that Apple have a very different design philosophy to most of their competitors.

Apple released their first iPhone (which didn't even support MMS or copy and paste) and – suddenly – every competitor was jumping on the finger-friendly-multitouch-screen-with-no-stylus bandwagon. All of them. Seriously, it was embarrassing to watch. The first iPad also caused a similar scramble, with a flurry of announcements of utterly shite "me-too" knock-off products. (Remember, this is the period when this lawsuit was initially launched. We're talking about the first -gen devices that ran Android v1.x and v2.x, which really were blatant iOS knock-offs.)

There's no point claiming the ingredients are all that matter when the correct proportions clearly make such a huge difference.

People keep claiming Apple's devices are "obvious", but if this was truly the case, Apple shouldn't have been the first to market with usable devices combining the relevant technologies. Many devices seem "obvious" in hindsight. This is not a defence.

Good design is a holistic process. The whole package is what matters, not just bits of it. Any company (or lawyer) arguing otherwise is harming the industry, not helping it. And this has been Apple's approach since at least the late 1990s, so why this still seems such a shock to so many escapes me. Apple have never tried to hide any of this.

And Steve Jobs made no secret that Apple had patented the iPad to the hilt. He literally said just that during his spiel at the first iPad's launch. Steve Jobs didn't f*ck about making idle threats and really knew how to hold a grudge.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: ^^^ That ^^^

Like I said, they'll have to spin it just right. But Apple pay some very expensive people an awful lot of money to do just that.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

^^^ That ^^^

The judge has pretty much handed Apple the opportunity to run a "Samsung officially ruled as not as cool as Apple" advert in the form of an "apology". The judge actually made that assertion about "coolness", so running such an "apology" would not be grounds for contempt of court if done right.

As an earlier poster says, I think Apple (UK) will see this as more of an opportunity than a problem. They might even pay to put their "apology" on some posters.

BOFH: Uninterruptible patsy supply

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: As for UPS's

"The most important part is the first 'U', that being Uninterpretable"

Well, that explains the instruction manuals they come with.

Apple iPod Nano 7G review

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Your quibble would make sense...

... if the new iPod Nano didn't have any buttons.

It does. It's the previous generation that didn't. (The tiny square one.)

That horrendous iPhone empurplement - you're holding it wrong

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Macturbate / mac-tur-bayt (verb)

3/10. Must try harder.

There is a crucial difference between a "Mac" and an "iPhone": the former is Apple's branding for their traditional computers. The latter is a phone. Apple don't let their "Mac" branding anywhere near their iDevices, so your "joke" falls flat there, hence the mark above. It helps to do some research first, otherwise the joke simply doesn't work.

I own some Apple kit myself, so here's what I came up with:

It's surprisingly difficult to masturbate with an 27" iMac: You really don't want to be holding it the wrong way, or you'll be in for some seriously painful Apple-bashing!

See? Anti-Apple gags aren't so, er, hard. You just have to think different.

Thank you! Thank you! I'll be here all evening! Do try the fish.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Lack of 'Real World Testing'?

Seriously? Do you weirdos genuinely believe that a device like this gets minimal testing and is cranked out the factory the moment the designer emails the plans to Foxconn?

1: The "Antennagate" bollocks was bullshit of the highest order: EVERY bloody phone suffers signal attenuation to some degree if you cup it in your hands. If humans were entirely transparent to electromagnetic waves, (f)MRI scans would be of absolutely no bloody use whatsoever. You can replicate the exact same attenuation on any damned phone. As I own an iPhone 4 myself, I have plenty of first-hand evidence that there's absolutely nothing wrong with its reception. If anything, it's better than most phones at getting a signal in poor signal areas. (As I also live in the Italian countryside, poor signal areas aren't that uncommon either. Although networks that support 3G, let alone 4G, are still shockingly rare outside of cities.)

2: Even amateur photographers know you're not supposed to point cameras at light sources, or even close to them if possible. Lens flare has existed since the invention of the fucking lens. It's normal. Christ knows what they teach kids in schools these days, but ten minutes on Google would have told these ignorant idiots what they were doing wrong.

The customer is not always right, not matter how much they think they are. There is no such thing as "foolproof" technology; only "fool-resistant".

10 million iPad minis to 'outshine' their big brother this quarter

Sean Timarco Baggaley

"LOL"? Seriously?

The sound of crickets chirping.

A soft breeze rolls some tumbleweed across the dusty, empty street.

In the distance, a lone coyote howls at the moon, over the sad, shivering, sobs of a wannabe comedian who has not only utterly failed to be funny on the internet, but who also laughed at his own pathetic "joke".

US trounces UK in climate scepticism jibber-jabber

Sean Timarco Baggaley

@AC, 06-OCT-2012, 09:11 GMT:

There's one problem that the "We must help the Developing World" argument falls down on: the body of human knowledge and understanding has increased dramatically since the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Factories and energy generation systems have improved in leaps and bounds, becoming far, far cleaner than they used to be—and improving efficiency (and profit margins) in the process.

Africa, India and (to some extent) China all have the benefit of that body of knowledge. Nobody is powering mine pumps with Newcomen Atmospheric Engines, for example. Not even the Chinese. All those developing nations are getting a jump-start over our Victorian ancestors by bypassing all those older, dirtier, inefficient systems.

So, no, I'm not going to cry over the rampant, idiotic tribalism in many (though not all) African nations that results in an endless series of thugs and crooks being placed into positions of power. That's their own damned problem. All your points would be addressed by local political actions in the affected nations. That Sudan has been mired in warfare for so long has bugger all to do with Europeans or Americans. (Yes, it's a conflict over resources, but that's true of all wars. If it wasn't oilfields, it'd be water, agricultural land, or some other resource. Modern industrialisation changes nothing.)

However, given the increasing desertification in many developing nations, a bit of global cooling wouldn't go amiss. Why should we attempt to freeze the Earth's climate in its present state, when we can cool things down a little and reverse some of the desertification, increasing agricultural land, and improving the lot of many developing nations?

Who's to say what is "normal" for the world's climate? Where's the evidence that stopping the climate now and keeping it in its present state is the "right" thing to do for the entire planet's population? How is it better to make climatic conditions more amenable for the developed nations than for developing ones? And who gets to decide how much change is "enough"?

I'm a Type 2 with a little of Type 3. The Earth's climate has been changing since the Earth formed. What many here seem to desire is Climate Stasis, which strikes me as incredibly dangerous. We still have no real idea how the entire Terran ecosystem works in all its spectacular detail. We still see a regular drip-drip-drip of papers pointing at some newly-discovered mechanism that nobody had considered before. As long as those papers continue to appear, NOBODY can say, with any conviction, that we "know" how it all works. And that's why I'm skeptical about all the political bullshit that's been flooding from the mainstream media and ignorant politicians, (though I admit "ignorant politician" is increasingly tautological).

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: flat earth

Sorry, that's a myth started (allegedly) by the Victorians to make themselves feel more superior. There is absolutely no evidence of the assertion. Sailors would have had a lot of trouble getting anywhere if they'd genuinely believed the Earth was flat.

It's pretty bloody obvious that it isn't just from the existence of a horizon: you can see vessels coming over that horizon. If the Earth were indeed flat, that wouldn't be possible. And you only have to hold a particularly smooth pebble up to your eyes for the basic principle to click.

You may be confusing attitudes towards Heliocentrism vs. Geocentrism, which is a very different topic.

Steve Jobs is STILL DEAD

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Apple made $40 billion profits in the year ending June 2012, on a revenue of $149 billion

27% profit margins aren't that amazing. They're only high by IT industry standards.

If you want to see real shafting in action, take a look at how much money from fuel is actually taxes.

Sean Timarco Baggaley


I sit corrected.

I do remember him being there by the early '80s and just assumed he'd been there from the start. (My memory's a bit hazy at the best of times.)

Sean Timarco Baggaley


Henry Ford's name is still trotted out on occasion; the Kelloggs also had a full-on Hollywood bio-pic made about them. (And those two really didn't get on!) This isn't new.

Personality cults are hardly uncommon in any case: celebrities have entire racks of magazines dedicated to gossip about them, photos of them, and so on.

But... Steve Jobs actually made a difference. He turned Apple from a sinking basket-case everyone else—yes, Dell, I'm looking at you—had already written off, into a company that now dominates multiple sectors and makes an impressive profit. (It won't last forever; these things are inherently cyclical.) Jobs basically turned Apple from a company that made poor products nobody wanted into a company that made very good products millions upon millions of people wanted—demanded, even—to the extent that the company actually has genuine fans who go to the effort of queuing up outside of stores to buy the products.

This is, when you think about it, Business 101: it's how business are supposed to work. That so many people still don't get this makes it clear how poor our education systems have become.

Bill Gates is also likely to be similarly treated when he (eventually) passes away. Microsoft, for all their flaws, did manage to get a PC in every home—something Apple never managed—at affordable prices. Considering how much a 486DX/2 used to cost over 20 years ago, it's amazing what you can pick up now for about $400. And, when you compare the likes of WordStar on a CP/M computer in the early '80s to Microsoft Word on a modern PC, the difference is staggering.

No, neither Bill nor Steve were people you'd necessarily want to spend an hour in a broken lift with, but few great CEOs ever are: you really do need a level of ruthlessness and pragmatism if you're going to succeed in such a role; "business is war" is a cliché for a damned good reason.

People with that kind of drive and passion are just as OCD about their own passions as a FOSS fan is about GitHub, or a hardcore trainspotter about locomotive numbers, or sports fans about their favourite teams. Passionate people tend to obsess, even if only a little. Jobs was an aesthete with a gift for business and salesmanship. Gates was more of a pragmatist, but also had a talent for knowing bullshit when he heard it.

Even the UK's own Sir Clive Sinclair—who's had a TV programme made about him (and Acorn's Chris Curry)—and Sir Alan Sugar had famously abrasive personalities.

Ballmer's position is difficult, but Windows 7 did come out on his watch, so that's a big plus. The jury's still out on Windows (Phone) 8. To be fair, filling the shoes of a man who snatched a massive IBM PC contract from under Digital Research's nose, and even pulled a fast one over Steve Jobs himself back in the day, was never going to be easy. But Ballmer was one of Microsoft's co-founders and was there from the start. He might not have been a programmer the way Gates was, but he's been at MS long enough to know who to trust.

Firefox's birthday present to us: Teaching tech titans about DIY upstarts

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Vendor lockin

Vendor Lock-in was the norm. Open platforms are, and always have been, an exception. The Atari ST didn't run Amiga software. The Commodore 64 didn't run software written for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. And so on. The only "open" platform is the IBM PC Compatible, and even that was force open by Compaq's clean-room reverse-engineering project.

Nobody expects to be able to run an iOS app on an Android device, but then, you'd need to redesign the UIs for each version anyway, or you'd end up with a piss-poor lowest-common-denominator interface that nobody would want to touch with a 10-foot stylus, let alone their fingertips.

"But I can't do this for anybody who owns an iPhone, because all of their music is on iTunes."

You claim to have installed Linux on people's PCs and they find it "easier to use"—presumably these people never, ever, play any games— yet you can't copy some MP4 files out of a folder named "iTunes Media"?

You do know iTunes hasn't DRM on music for years now, right?

(It was Steve Jobs who convinced the music publishers to drop DRM, incidentally. Someday, the more rabid fanatics and extremists in this industry might at least have the decency to give him a little credit for that.)

Microsoft's Bing bods exploit fanbois' Apple maps misery

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Oh for f*ck's sake...

Mapping is a perpetual beta, regardless of who's doing it. All Apple's Maps app has changed is its underlying databases—instead of Google's APIs, it hooks into TomTom (and others) instead, with the only real end-user addition being the "Flyover" feature. Aside from that it's the same bloody app!

Now, while Google's mapping data is very likely excellent in the US, I've found it tends to become less and less useful as you get further away from that country. For large tracts of the Lazio region here in Italy, its satellite imagery suffered from the exact same problem others have reported: cloud cover obscuring the ground! That only changed this year (and they're still using some shockingly outdated aerial photography data too.)

Of course, I don't think it's a surprise that many of the Apple Maps haters are outside the EU: TomTom are based in Amsterdam, not the US, so they're naturally going to have a European bias. Apple (based in the US) are integrating other companies' imaging data with TomTom's databases, so it's going to take a while before it all clicks, but no v1.0 release has ever been perfect. Even so, Orvieto gets a lot more detail from Apple's database than Google's. As does most of the Viterbo province, come to that. (The pins can be a bit off in places, but it takes seconds to report the correct position. Google's system suffers from similar inaccuracies here in Italy. It's not an easy country to map.)

(One thing that has surprised me is just how useful that "Flyover" feature is: Rome is a bastard to navigate if you're not used to it, but the 3D modelling for the city is staggeringly detailed and makes Google's version look half-hearted at best. Zoom into the Colosseum and compare it with Google. You'll see the difference immediately. Apple really have nailed the UX on their first attempt. Unlike StreetView, these kinds of 3D overviews are actually useful in providing useful navigational context in busy cities, though they're quite so useful in smaller ones.)

Freetard-idol rock star Trent Reznor gives up, signs to major label

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: The Good Old Days

Would that be the same Amanda Palmer who recently raised around $1.2 million on Kickstarter, spent a quarter of a million of that money on paying off her personal debts, failed to budget and project-manage her expensive hobby, pissed the rest of the money up the wall, then asked orchestra musicians—who are already paid peanuts as it is—to volunteer to play at some of her concerts for free?

All this while also being the wife of a multi-millionaire?

That Amanda Palmer?

And you seriously believe her thoughts and opinions on how to run a business properly are worth listening to, given the clear evidence of her utter ignorance and incompetence?

No wonder Western economies have tanked so badly: nobody seems to understand how to run businesses any more.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Of course it was devoid of any "real NiN-ness"!

It wasn't SUPPOSED to be Nine Inch Nails, for f*ck's sake!

Reznor specifically branded it as an album from his new project, "How To Destroy Angels", NOT as a "Nine Inch Nails" release.

Does Reznor not have the right to put out different music? Or is he doomed to forever stay stuck in that scratched old groove, playing the same stuff for the rest of his life?

Musicians who play a lot of live performances are people, not machines. They like a bit of variety. After a while, even your most popular track becomes a bloody chore to play. The fans only hear you play it live a couple of times a year, but YOU have to play it every sodding day.

It's the main reason bands that do a lot of touring keep mucking about with their repertoire, tweaking a little hear, adding a longer solo there, and so on.


Sean Timarco Baggaley
Thumb Up

Agreed. That emperor has no clothes.

People prattle on about Peter Molyneux as if he were some robed prophet of game design who handed down tablets of his wisdom from a throne to minions who did the grunt-work of actually making it work. (And how often his hagiographers forget his utter flops. "Hi-Octane", anyone? "Fusion"? "Project Milo"?)

In 1990, Bullfrog was still a handful of people in a flat above a shop in Guildford, not far from the railway station. They worked together. As a team. Molyneux was a programmer, not a "Game Designer"—which, as a formal job title, barely even existed in the (British) computer games industry back then. You usually had a bunch of ideas and just tried different gameplay mechanics, making stuff up and occasionally relying on serendipity, refining it all as you went along until you got something that worked and played well. Games simply did not spring fully-formed from the brow of a single "game designer" unless that designer was also a lone developer.

"Populous" was no exception: Its core mechanic came from an isometric map editor (by said Glenn Corpes), which already included the land-modifying mechanic. A number of ex-Bullfrog employees have said this, which makes a mockery of the "Peter Molyneux designed Populous" myth that this article perpetuates.

Molyneux's self-promotion skills have allowed him to wrap an all-too-willing bunch of fawning games media "journalists" around his little finger. It's great PR for both him and his company, sure, but he's also the reason there's a "Bloaty Head Syndrome" in "Theme Hospital".

Game design is bastard hard at the best of times: you're often having to deal with variables that are well outside your control—publishers interfere; marketing people make idiotic suggestions; an unexpected buyout of a major IP rights-holder results in projects cancelled almost overnight, and so on.

To professionals who have actually worked in the games industry, Peter Molyneux's primary achievements are his business acumen, his exceptional self-promotion skills—at least Steve Jobs gave credit where it was due—but, worst of all, his appalling habit of hyperbolic over-promising, poor project management, and disappointing under-delivery.

When I read hagiographical pieces like this one, the sheer scale of such wilful ignorance is staggering. It's a shame too, as "Populous" was indeed a fine game for its day.

Molyneux may have been the group's front-man, but Bullfrog's successes were team efforts.

This article is flat-out insulting. Give the entire Bullfrog team the credit they deserve, please.

Apple iPhone 5 review

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Obviously A Fanboi ...


"With iOS the support to share with Twitter and now Facebook is baked into the OS and doesn't seem to be expandable."

It is: there's an API and documentation to allow anyone to add this stuff. Nice try though.

Re. the review: it's a bit shallow, but so are El Reg reviews for everything else.

As for the reviewer's verdict: GUIs and user experiences are very subjective. Personally, I detest Android's UX and wouldn't touch an Android device with a 100' pole. Google's "Big Brother" freeloading business model. ("Give us all your personal data for free, so we can make a mint entirely at the expense of your privacy!") Bugger that.

I'd rather have Apple's "Gated Community" approach, curation and all. At least you know where you stand with Apple. They don't try to pretend to be anything other than a hard-nosed purveyor of well-designed consumer electronics.

Yes, techies and nerds hate Apple's mollycoddling, but they do have a choice: they can buy an Android device instead.

There is room for both. Hell, there's room for Windows (Phone) 8 too. (Yes, I rather like Microsoft's effort at creating an original take on the multi-touch UI. It's a shame Android—as is so common with Linux-based OSes in general, opted for just ripping-off a commercial UI instead. FOSS may have many benefits, but genuine UX innovation clearly isn't one of them.)

As for the maps: It's a v1.0 release! What did you all expect? You can still access Google's own Maps site, or download Google Earth if you prefer.

Google's labelling is a real pig's ear, often barely legible, and rarely useful either. Their photo strips often have poor alignment at their edges, so roads suddenly become offset from one tile to the next. Resolution—until very, very recently—was also terrible in rural Lazio, for example. For years, a big chunk of the Province of Viterbo, particularly around the lakes, was entirely obscured by clouds at some zoom levels. So, no, Apple aren't alone in having problems satisfying everyone all of the time. Mapping the planet is the very definition of a work in progress—all such maps are in permanent beta and will never, ever be 'finished'.

Apple's vector-based system is a vast improvement from a UX perspective however. Unlike Google's effort, I can actually read the labels and even tell the app how big I want them!

Yes, "flyover" is a bit of a gimmick for locals, but I can see how tourists would find it useful for orienting themselves—especially in "Old World" cities like London, where the streets aren't as clear as the US' simpler grid layouts.

Apple iPhone 5 hands-on review

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Wow. Samsung's best clone yet... oh, I see my mistake

The earlier iPhones didn't have a 4:3 screen. They had a 2:3 aspect display, which is sort of "widescreen-ish".

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Not so much "run out of ideas"...

... as working in a commoditised market. Everyone and his dog is selling almost identical phones now. There's only so much you can do with the form-factor. It's a phone. Phones have to be held up to your ear, while still being long enough to pick up your voice. Make the device too big and people complain that it won't fit in their pocket. Make it too small and they can't see the screen properly and tap on the virtual buttons.

The first iPhone pretty much nailed the physical design for a multi-touch pocket computer / PMP combo with built-in telephony and networking support from the outset. Every subsequent model has been about refinement and evolution, not revolution.

This is normal for Apple: they tend to pick a design language and stick with it for a few years. Their iMacs have looked pretty much the same since the iMac G5, released around eight years ago. They've stuck with that all-in-one "big-screen-on-a-stick" design ever since.

Apple's designers tend to wait until a new, enabling technology—something that changes the rules, or at least allows the writing of new, much better, rules—becomes readily available at viable prices before radically altering designs to take advantage of it. The iPad wasn't possible before 2010: the components were simply too expensive. Similarly, the iMac G4 wouldn't have sold many units if it had been released much earlier as LCDs were still very expensive back then, even at those sizes.

Apple were stung badly very early on by their problems with the Apple Lisa: good technology, but far, far too expensive. It barely sold. Even the first Macs were on shaky ground; their designers went too far the other way in cutting features and released a machine that was sorely in need of more RAM. They learned from both and this is why, when they do get it right, they stick with that formula until the Next Big Thing comes along.

The iPhone isn't going to change that much until some radical new technology becomes cheap enough to interest Apple's design teams.

Neither is iOS. Despite all the criticisms, iOS works. It's simple. It's easy to understand. It doesn't spam you with shovelware from operators. It doesn't shove some random GUI overlay at you. It's consistent. In the consumer electronics market, consistency is a very good thing.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: @ Mr Brush

You've clearly never seen Vertu's prices. No, that's not a typo: you're looking at a Symbian phone that's being sold for £10000. Ten THOUSAND pounds.

And that's not even close to being their most expensive model.

THAT is a "luxury" phone. The iPhone isn't even close.


Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Idea

Homo Sapiens' rampant copulation is not the pigs' fault.

Should ovine, bovine and porcine species be punished for having been domesticated by humans over thousands of years?

Ultimate bacon sarnie scrap starts to sizzle

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Dogmatism

The classic bacon butty—note the lack of the word 'bread' there; you are NOT supposed to taste it. Bread intended for sandwich purposes exists solely as a form of container—is bacon + sliced white + a thin scraping of butter + a thinly applied application of any (optional) condiment. That is God's Own Bacon Sandwich. Fact. It's right there in the Sacred Gospel of St. Beaton, Chapter III, Verses 1-9, (see also: Appendix A, page 339).

'And Lo! The Lord did say, upon the morning of the seventh day, that he got "fucking hammered last night! I could murder a bacon butty! I think I'll take today off and let those humans sort things out for themselves. I can't be arsed to fix the bugs in their firmware." And He did say unto his chef to use two slices of "that cheap white sliced bread". "Two slices!" He intoned. "Use ye not three slices! Nor four! Five is right out!

'And the Lord continueth, "What's with all the lisping? Just write 'continued', for Me's sake!" And lo! It came to pass, for he continued to define the Holy Butty of Bacon: "Four rashers of bacon, well fried to slight crispness"

'And Lucifer, replied: "So, you want it al dente, then?"

'And The Lord shot back with: "None of your poncy foreign speak. You know I can't hear italics! Just dip the bread in the bacon fat to moisten it and insert the bacon between the two slices. And none of that mustard or ketchup shite, or I'll kick your arse down to Hell quicker than you can say Beelzebub, bub!"'

You all know what happened next. Lucifer cocked it up and added some HP Sauce to the sandwich. His Godness unsurprisingly took a dim view of this and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how YouTube comments came into being, with Lucifer forever condemned to be their sole moderator.

If you're an irreligious fellow, you could classify the deviants as suffering from Baconic Spectrum Disorder, but for the Church, this is clearly a bacomenical matter.

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