* Posts by Sean Timarco Baggaley

1042 posts • joined 8 May 2009

Gabe Newell: Windows 8 is a 'catastrophe' for PC biz

Sean Timarco Baggaley

"Why do you think they required that ARM-based systems *must* have Secure Boot enabled?"

Because Microsoft aren't interested in letting the ARM platforms be "open". Selling open hardware platforms is a terrible way to make money.

People have clearly forgotten that IBM never, ever, intended their PC to be an "open" platform; it took Compaq's clean-room reverse engineering of the original IBM BIOS before manufacturers were able to sell IBM's PC clones that were 100% compatible! IBM hated it, got litigious, and ended up ceding the market entirely to a bunch of parasites whose entire raison d'être was to simply copy someone else's product without paying for the R&D.

Even Apple tried letting others make "Mac-compatibles", even selling licenses for their OS at the time. It damned-near bankrupted them. Shutting that part down was one of Steve Jobs' first moves on his return to Apple.

As a method for making a profit—which is, after all, what businesses are for—selling "open" hardware is as stupid as it gets. Microsoft don't let you install Linux on an XBox 360 either, for much the same reason.

Google Nexus 7 blighted by brightness blunder

Sean Timarco Baggaley

@Barry Shitpeas:

The report comes from a chap working for DisplayMate, a company that specialises in professional display calibration tools for high-end professional graphics work.

Computers display graphics on RGB displays. Printers use CMYK and Pantone™ process / spot colour systems instead. The two systems have colour gamuts that do not map directly, (or, in the case of some special Pantone™ colours, like silver and gold, at all), to each other.

In case you hadn't noticed, printing on paper (and other materials) is still quite a popular choice, and this requires accurate colour calibration. Calibration ensures the shade of red on your screen is going to be printed in exactly the same shade on your printer.

Congratulations! You are to graphic design what Stephen Fry is to technology. And that's not a compliment.

Mac malware Crisis as Apple lets slip its Mountain Lion

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Just for technically illiterate sheep


"Sheep mentality"? Really? You're accusing Steve Jobs, the late Douglas Adams and even Richard Dawkins of having placid, ovine natures?

Yes, Apple have deliberately gone for a "gated community" approach. They've made no secret of this. Anyone who thinks otherwise clearly hasn't been paying attention.

Of course, if you're going to rip the piss out of a group of people on the grounds that they don't know much about your pet obsession, I assume you don't mind if those same people take the piss out of you for knowing sod all about police work, military tactics, education, writing, management, golf, 3D modelling, graphic design, rocket science, or neurosurgery.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

@Dave Oldham:

Ah, another child who fails at Internet 101: "How To Search The Internet And Not Look Like An Idiot."

The popular myth is that Macs (since OS X became the standard OS for them) don't get viruses. To be fair, this is technically correct: there are indeed no known viruses on OS X.

Older, pre-OS X versions of the Mac OS did occasionally suffer from the occasional virus as that older OS had a much more basic security model and barely supported multitasking properly. (It shared a lot in common with pre-NT versions of Windows in that area.)

OS X was derived from NeXTSTEP, which was in turn built on a BSD UNIX variant. UNIX was designed from the outset as a multi-user operating system and has a very strong security model.

The article is not talking about a virus however. It is talking about a trojan. A trojan requires user interaction to install itself, usually by pretending to be something the user might want to install—hence the name, "trojan". It relies on the weakest link in any OS' security chain: the users themselves. By default, OS X 10.8 ("Mountain Lion", the version that was released today) prevents any unsigned application from installing. You have to go into the Preferences panels and explicitly tell OS X to allow unsigned application to install too.

A good IT Admin will set that same Preference panel to its most paranoid setting: "Only allow Mac App Store apps to install." This adds an additional layer of security.

Furthermore, the trojan in question is actually a vulnerability in Oracle's Java VMs, not OS X itself. Note that it attacks Windows as well, and requires the user's password to actually install its nasty bits.

Apple haven't been responsible for the OS X version of Java since the release of OS X Lion. Neither are Microsoft responsible for bugs in Oracle's Java VM for Windows.

The security failure lies with Oracle.

Granted, it'd be nice if the OSes were 100% bulletproof and perfect, but the OS that can unerringly spot a user doing something seriously bloody stupid has yet to be developed. Not even GNU / Linux is impervious to such social engineering vectors.

And yes, GNU / Linux-based web-servers are hacked on a frequent basis. What do you think many of those hacked databases full of emails, passwords, and other user details we keep hearing about were running on? BeOS? Why do you think there are companies out there offering specialised "security hardened" Linux distros? If GNU / Linux were that secure out of the box, such distros wouldn't be necessary, would they?

There is, in fact, only one way to ensure you never get hit by a trojan: never install any software you don't trust. On Macs, that means sticking with the curated App Stores for the most part, and only venturing outside the gated community when you really need to. Apple won't stop you if you're determined to go on such an adventure. That's Apple's fundamental design philosophy: you can't assume your users are trained in IT administration, so you simplify things for them and reduce the need for such training in the first place.

The best anti-malware solution is to not install malware in the first place.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Am I the only one...

... who's disappointed that the British English "Siri" voice wasn't based on Peter Tuddenham's?

I've had mixed results with Siri. British English has a far greater variation in accents and dialects than is found in the US, so I suspect we'll see "Scottish English", "Welsh English", "Geordie English", etc. eventually. (Irish English accents might be covered by US English though; the Irish influence on most of the east coast American accents is very noticeable.)

Windows 8 'bad' for desktop users - Gartner's one-word review

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Well Duh!

"Some will use laptops, and tablets, but I'll wager the bulk of them use some sort of desktop PC."

You haven't been paying attention then: 75% or so of ALL PC sales over the last few years have been laptops, not desktops. Offices cost money to fill and run; why spend money on big, fat, desktops when a cheap laptop will do the job just as well, and use less electricity?

And those laptops now tend to come with multi-touch capable touch pads. (The ones found in most of Apple's laptops are made by Synaptics. You may have heard of them.)

THAT is why Microsoft is moving away from the mouse, which was always a terrible input device. Most RSI is caused by the mouse, not the keyboard. I haven't bothered using one in six months now and my carpal tunnel problem has thanked me for it.

'Sacrifice another goat!: iCloud is Apple's biggest failure before Google

Sean Timarco Baggaley

@Matt Asay:

Enough with the tired "market share" straw-man. You know it's bollocks. We know it's bollocks.

A good CEO is only interested in profits—they're running a business, not a charity. There is no "tablet" market. There is only the iPad market... and a much smaller niche with some cheap knock-offs selling at half the price for a third of the features.

Sure, iCloud may yet prove another flop—the night is young—but Apple have enough cash in the bank to just buy their way into the market if need be. Though I suspect they'll just ask Microsoft to let them rebrand some of their offerings instead. They already did it with AIM: Apple's "iChat" instant messaging service relied on the AIM protocol and back-end behind the scenes.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: iCloud works for me.

Ditto. iCloud hasn't glitched once and does the job perfectly.

Google Mail, on the other hand, STILL can't even do IMAP or CalDAV properly. I'd use the Microsoft Exchange option, but I'd much rather just switch to a company that can read a f*cking RFC every once in a while.

Speaking of Microsoft: that company includes Hotmail, which was doing free email long before Google thought of that particular "innovation". And Microsoft have been doing SaaS for years. 1&1 Internet will lease servers running Exchange and / or Sharepoint if you wish, and they've been offering that for a few years already. Exchange + Sharepoint crap all over Google's offerings. From orbit.

On top of which, Microsoft will even sell you all the components to run their complete "Office365" service in-house, on your own datacentre. That's the kind of control I like. Google don't offer anything anywhere near as good.

If it's the "cloud" and "SaaS" you're after, forget Google. Microsoft have been spanking their arses raw and bloody in the corporate space for years. Their consumer-space SaaS / Web-based offerings have been improving in leaps and bounds. Apple are in the business of selling hardware; I don't think they'll mind jumping into bed with Microsoft again if necessary. They've done it before.

That doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for Google. If I were them, I wouldn't be popping the champagne corks just yet.

Apple finally grabs apple.co.uk – after just 16 years

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Apple didn't "molest" or "hassle" anyone either.

Clearly, as far as you're concerned, "context" is just something that happens to other people.

Like "reading comprehension".

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: And over in the Android world....

Apple didn't "molest" or "hassle" anyone either. Or did you fail to read the article?

Your point...?

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Just in time to avoid that Samsung climbdown in the UK

Oh, please! Judge Birss gave Apple a very, very obvious "out" here:



We hereby apologise to Samsung and their customers for any suggestion on our part that Samsung's Tab product was a copy of our own iPad.

According to UK law, we were wrong to imply that Samsung's tablet device was as cool as our own iPad. Judge Birss himself declared, in his ruling on the matter, that Samsung's products clearly did not copy the iPad as they 'do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool.'

Apple make cool products. Samsung's product is officially uncool. Therefore, Samsung did not copy Apple's products. QED.

This legal ruling means our own product is therefore too cool to be confused with Samsung's less cool product and that Samsung therefore were not copying our product. Any customers who inadvertently purchased Samsung's Galaxy Tab product in the—clearly mistaken—belief that it was as cool as our own iPad should therefore contact Samsung customer services directly for a refund.

Where there's brass, silver and gold ... there's also muck

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: “will showcase the great diversity and quality of British food

Oddly, the concept of the closed pie is unheard-of in Italy. Italians have no direct translation for the British pie: they have to use their word for 'cake' instead.

The reason the British don't drown their meat in ridiculously overwrought sauces is because the meat actually tastes good on its own. Gravy—made from the meat's own juices—is more than sufficient.

Meanwhile, despite all the ignorant pointing and laughing at Wales' national dish, the Italians have umpteen variations of, basically, "stuff on toast". Including one that's basically four cheese on toast: "Quattro Formaggi" pizza.

The French are famed for touting the kind of foods that peasants only ate out of desperation to idiot gourmets who are happy to pronounce bits of snail smothered in sauce to hide their blandness as worthy of being considered a national dish. Meanwhile, the rest of the population is more than happy to eat roast beef*, sandwiches (using French bread; bloody wonderful) and a myriad of pastries.

* ("Beef" comes from the French word, "boeuf". Meat used to be very expensive, so only the most toffee-nosed of ponces got to eat roast beef with all the trimmings at first. And those ponces were, for a very long period, speaking French. If this had been a peasant dish, it'd be called "roast cow".)

Ocean-seeding experiment re-ignites geo-engineering debate

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Your Byline

"This is a clear slander of the scientists and engineers who are working toward an engineering solution to maintain an optimal climate for humanity and the natural systems that are important to us. "

Because, of course, that's a perfectly acceptable form of buggering about with our environment and cannot possibly cause any harm to the Earth's ecosystem.

And, of course, we know so much about our planet's oceans! Why, we know more about them than we do about space!

Oh, no, wait: it's the other way round, isn't it?

Climate Control / Stasis is a far more dangerous option than simply adapting to the climate's natural changes. Humans are good at adapting to different environments. The same cannot be said for all the other species of plant and animal life we share our planet with.

Java won the smartphone wars (and nobody noticed)

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Call quality

I honestly don't get all the vitriol against current phone call quality. Most of the problems are due to the networks, not the phones themselves.

Actual call quality, in terms of sound, is no different here than it is in Viterbo or Rome. In Viterbo, I'm more likely to get a dropped call, but so is everybody else: the city is extremely hilly and there just aren't enough masts yet.

I live in a rural part of the Lazio region, between those two cities. The geography is similar to the Welsh Highlands, with added earthquakes. I get decent enough sound quality in a large town or city, but out in the small village where I live, the signal is dire. I don't even get an "E" symbol on my iPhone 4, let alone a "3G": it's just plain old Mk. 1 GSM.

But I had far worse problems with my Nokia 6310, which was literally the cheapest phone I could find with Bluetooth support. Nokia had a reputation for great call quality, but my iPhone 4 sounds a hell of a lot better than my old Nokia ever did. (And it's better at finding a signal too, which gives the lie to that "Antennagate" bollocks.) I've noticed any notable difference in sound and call quality with my brother's Samsung and his wife's LG. Both are pretty old "feature phones", bought around 2009.

It doesn't help that many landlines in Italy have been converted to Telecom Italia's awful VOIP system. Phoning a landline today often results in a nightmare of blips, clicks, dropouts, and weird Autotune-esque audio artefacts. Phoning a mobile usually sounds a lot better.

Battery life? Okay, I'll grant that I'd like my iPhone 4 to last more than a day, but 24 hours is a pretty good battery life for what is, after all, a computer more powerful than any of the desktop PCs you could buy just ten years ago.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Obj-C is indeed a fast compiled language. It does have a runtime component that handles the messaging and reflection aspects, but Objective-C is also a pure superset of C, so you can write C code too. It's "C with OOP" done right. (Yes, C++, I'm looking at you.)

Java? Meh. I've had reason to use it in the past and it's everything that's wrong with BDP*: you're endlessly subclassing and subclassing just to get even the most trivial of things to happen. Look at how much easier it is with Objective-C (and Cocoa) and you'll soon be wondering precisely which fresh circle of hell Java and C++'s designers will be given when their time comes.

The main reason I stay away from Android is because its development tools are so poor and the ROI is terrible. Eclipse is no substitute for a proper IDE that doesn't suck.

* ("Buzzword-Driven Programming".)

Sony preps PS3 with old-school design

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Ah, smokers! Bunch of eye-wateringly foul-smelling pillocks who seem to enjoy pissing staggering sums of money up the wall to feed their drug addiction.

And a jolly good thing too! The UK needs the tax revenues. The shortened lifespans and agonising deaths are merely icing on the cake. Keep it up! (Just don't do it near me, please. I have enough problems with allergies as it is.)

PayPal is bleeding market share and it's all eBay's fault

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: GumTree

"(I also had issues with the bank allowing me to go £300 overdrawn on a single £600 transaction)."

The UK's retail shyster banking system uses the "no annual / monthly fees" lure to get you on-board, before they spam you with hidden charges, such as £35 for an automated form letter that tells you you're now overdrawn (because they've just charged you £35 to send you the letter telling you about it—I'm not kidding: this genuinely happened to me.)

In mainland Europe, you pay a monthly fee instead, but for that you never, ever, ever get overdrawn unless you have an agreed overdraft. (In Italy, overdrafts are unusual for current accounts; they're mostly reserved for business accounts.) There are no other fees. None. That monthly fee is their sole source of profit, which makes it all nicely transparent. (Oh, and in Italy, most banks are still very much local affairs—some are cooperatives—with a cast-iron mandate to invest and loan money to local businesses. They're not allowed to just keep saying "No!")

One of the great benefits of being in the EU—however tangentially—is that the freedom to travel, live and work in any EU nation applies just as much to us Brits as it does to any Pole or Swede.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: No alternative to PayPal here

Strange that nobody seems to have heard of Clickandbuy? Based in the EU (and, yes, that includes the UK). PayPal-ish service.

They can't be that unknown given that Apple's iStores support it.

Cockfighting Reg hack cursed with cancer

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Oh, the sophistication of your whit! You have truly attained new heights of humour!

@Ben 50:

I suggest you look up the word "sanctimonious", "prejudiced" and "little tit" in a dictionary.

And look up "wit" as well, while you're at it.

Microsoft pops preview of 'biggest, most ambitious' Office yet

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: So...

I hope you are aware that the vast majority of computers sold over the past few years have been laptops, not desktops. The writing has been on the wall for the mouse for some time. Apple spotted that writing a while ago, hence all those multi-touch gestures in OS X Lion. Windows is moving in the same direction, hence the "Metro" UI.

It does take a few days to get used to the trackpad, but it's worth it. Your RSI will certainly thank you for it as the mouse is by far the biggest cause of that category of health problems.

For desktop users, the mouse will continue to be supported, but there are already multi-touch trackpads available for desktop PCs. I recommend Wacom's "Bamboo" range, which includes built-in multi-touch support in all but one of the models.

Apple fails to block stolen iOS in-app content

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Nice to just to know Apple has a thorn in its side at the moment.

"Apples current ongoing ecosystem is the most restrictive in existence today."

Can I assume, from your choice of icon, that you believe the GPL v3 to be the epitome of "freedom"? Despite, y'know, the existence of the Public Domain, which places no strings on your gifts to the community whatsoever? I know what I'd use.

At best, Apple's is a "gated community". To claim that it's "the most restrictive in existence today" is the height of hyperbolic bullshit, you blithering hypocrite and FOSSer.

"You can't even load their OS on non-Apple hardware, thus preventing Hackintosh's."

Apple tried licensing their OS in the past. It failed epically and damned near bankrupted the company—killing off that part of the business was one of the first things Jobs did on his return to the company, and rightly so. Apple are a consumer electronics company, not just a glorified developer tools company with a profitable sideline in running-gag operating systems and office productivity applications. Apple's management would have to be suicidally stupid to even consider such an idea again.

But please, do feel free to regale us with more of your scintillating ideas.

More Steve Jobs iPad mini attacks from beyond the grave

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Steve Jobs made the crucial point that screen size dictates UI design, and this is crystal clear on the iOS platforms: a "universal" app that runs on both iPhone and iPad has two different GUIs, not just one.

Contrast with Android where many app developers simply stretch their small smartphone GUIs up to fit a larger tablet display, with no other concession to the display's size and its opportunities for providing a richer, more streamlined, user experience.

Steve Jobs nailed Apple's design philosophy with this one paragraph:

"You're looking at it wrong. You're looking at it as a hardware person in a fragmented world. You're looking at it as a hardware manufacturer that doesn't really know much about software, who doesn't really think about an integrated product, but assumes the software will somehow take care of itself."

Hardware without software is just a brick. Software without hardware is just bits in the aether. You cannot separate the two during the design phase for a product. This has ALWAYS been Jonathan Ive's design approach and neither Ive nor Jobs have ever made a secret of this, despite their competitors' best efforts to jam their fingers in their ears and sing "La-la-la! We're not listening!"

Again: Apple have never made any secret of their holistic, unified hardware-and-software-combined design approach. Ever. Even Microsoft have finally twigged that it makes sense to control both aspects of the design instead of just the one. They've since had a roaring success with their games consoles, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if their "Surface" tablets do better than expected too.

The IT industry's old guard—including the crusty beardos in the IT media—are still obsessing over raw technical specifications, feature bullet-lists (utterly ignoring their usability, which is a damned sight more important than their mere inclusion), pointless benchmarks, and other such nerdy bollocks. So much for being progressive: there are more conservatives in the IT industry than there are in the British Tory Party.

Yes, you can be sacked for making dodgy Facebook posts

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Lets take it a bit farther

"The conversation is not public, but it has come to the employers attention through being verbally told. Would it still be legal to fire him?"

Yes. It's not an invasion of your privacy if your employer was given the information by your ex-friend. Your employer didn't do anything except listen to (or read) something that was given to them voluntarily.

Your ex-friend could be accused of unethical behaviour, or just being an arse, but that's still not a crime.

The mistake was making the post. What happened to it afterwards was pretty much inevitable: Facebook is an ad-supported website and therefore about as private as Speaker's Corner in London's Hyde Park.

There's a damned good reason why so many people in the past kept a secret diary: it gave them somewhere to vent their spleen without the problems described in the original article and this forum thread. You had to (a) know that diary existed, and (b) gain physical access to that diary, in order to get at its contents. It's a lot easier to prevent at least one of those happening than it is to undo a post to a social network or online forum.

Sleek new Macs violate fanbois' Retinas with display garbage

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Reply?

I can only assume most of the readers here don't remember what The Register originally looked like.

"Biting the hand that feeds IT" has always been up there in the masthead, but El Reg also had another slogan: "Integrity? We've heard of it!" This seems to have faded out of use in recent years, which is a shame as it made it clear exactly where the site stood. There was also a truly laser-like focus on IT matters.

Sadly, the British concept of the 'Red-Top' tabloids doesn't really exist on the other side of The Pond, so that element has also faded away. All that's left is the attempts at Sun-like sub-headings.

I preferred the site when it was more focused on its core subject matter, its satire more biting, and a heavier load of irony and wit. Most of all, it the content selection and writing style is all over the place now. We might get solid, serious, reviews, while the next piece might be a bit from the Out-Law folks, followed by some biting bit of irony-laden satire, a retrospective on some old microcomputer, and a Special Projects Bureau update on the best cure for the morning after the night before. And on top of all that, there's a random sprinkling of Climateballs pieces.

And that's before you get to the likes of Matt Asay, the purpose of whom I have yet to ascertain, let alone why I'm expected to give a flying toss what the FOSSer thinks about anything.

There's no consistency. At all. Which might not be a bad thing, but then there's the poor quality control, with factual errors, typos, and whatnot.

This is the internet. You cannot hope to be first every time. What you can aim for is to be right.

Oiling the big wheels that keep the Paralympics moving

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Not every day you get to read...

... an article about socket scientists.

(What? Was it something I said?)

Religious wars brewing in ICANN gTLD expansion

Sean Timarco Baggaley

@Graham Dawson:

"And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein." – King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

In other words: "Go! Fuck! Frequently!"

The Abrahamic religions clearly have a problem understanding this. It's not even subtle.

Retina MacBook Pro nukes Apple's green credentials

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Dichotomy, eh?

"Massive design FAIL by crApple then. My last lappy came with 512K ram,..."

Massive reading comprehension fail by you, then. SteveK was referring to the Mk. 1 iPad. You know: the one everyone was saying would never catch on and wouldn't sell and which was going to flop.

Some "design fail".

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Yes you can replace the battery

"Soo...$200 for a battery and fitting when I'm perfectly capable of getting one from a third party for a fraction of that price and fitting it myself (or would be if the machine was easily serviceable)"

Which it isn't, so you can't do it yourself. So your argument makes no sense. I can't upgrade the RAM or flash storage in an Android phone either, but nobody seems to be whining about that.

Where, exactly, is it engraved in stone that computer MUST have user-serviceable parts inside? They're all consumer electronics now. The days when computers were subject to the likes of geeks and inveterate tinkerers are long over; those people are a tiny, tiny fraction of the market. And they're welcome to just go buy a PC and shove some flavour of Linux or BSD on it.

Also, the original Wired article (written by an iFixit guy, so hardly unbiased) repeats the myth that the batteries in Apple's laptops are only good for 300 cycles. That hasn't been the case since the very first MacBook Air: the one in my 2010 MacBook Pro is rated for one thousand cycles and, at this rate, will last me another ten years yet. (Remember, that "1000 cycles" figure is when the battery can only hold 80% of its original maximum capacity. It'll still work for some time after that number of cycles has passed.)

And, as others have pointed out, Apple are legally obliged to recycle all their products themselves, for free, thanks to EU legislation. (They're also obliged to offer a minimum 2-year warranty throughout the EU, no matter what the likes of PC World in the UK believe. And, yes, this applies in the UK too. So I doubt very much that they're deliberately fitting their new computers and devices with batteries that have any chance of expiring with that period—or even the three years of their AppleCare warranty, which they sell for peanuts to educational purchases such as students.)

As for the industrial-strength glue, I have one word for you: industrial-strength solvents. When you're recycling an old, dead, computer, you're not that fussed about being gentle with it.

Nutter bans Apple purchases over environmental fudging

Sean Timarco Baggaley

@Karl H:

"with non standard keyboards..."

The good thing about the IT industry is that it has so many standards...

You do know that the Mac keyboard has been around since 1984, right? It hasn't changed.

The current Windows keyboard—with that "Windows" key and the "context menu" key—has only been around since 1995. Which one is "non-standard", again?

A for "well overpriced", can you show me a tablet that has at least the same specs as the iPad 3, but which costs substantially less? (Hint: No, you don't get to arbitrarily assume I "don't need" a particular feature. It must be AT LEAST as good as the iPad 3. Including the display.)

Study: Climate was hotter in Roman, medieval times than now

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Stuff Lewis Page and his idiotic agenda

@Anonymouse Coward (12:23 GMT):

Really AC? "Climate Deniers"? Hypocrites, much?

Being skeptical about the extent and relevance of the "Anthropogenic" component of "Anthropogenic Climate Change" does NOT imply denial of the existence of the process of climate change itself. Yet screeching "Climate Change Deniers!" and "Denialists!" at anyone and everyone who disagrees, regardless of the details and nuances of their arguments, is very much a keystone of the Alarmists' approach.

Either it's wrong for ALL sides of the debate to use stupid ad-hominem insults like that, or it isn't.

Which is it?

Apple cracks down on black market in iOS beta passes

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Technically illegal, I think

There are two legal elements in play here:

1. It's a breach of contract on the part of the developer. All developers are required to sign an NDA when dealing with developer previews and beta releases from Apple. Quite why any developer would stupid enough to think it a good idea to sell on their licenses to such software to third parties escapes me: they must be seriously hard of reading.

2. Copyright law applies to Apple software just as it does to The Beatles' White Album. The reseller has no right to sell Apple's property without Apple's permission. So, yes, it's illegal in the "criminal" sense too. Hence the use of the DMCA to take down the offending websites.

Lowery: The blue-collar musician at the eye of the copyright storm

Sean Timarco Baggaley

@Jason Hindle:

"However, there has pretty much always been mega corps involved and unless a band owned their own publishing company, their cut per record sale has always been small."

"small" is still > bugger all. This is the fundamental point of the anti-counterfeiting argument. Those mega-corps have as much right to recoup their expenses as the artist does, and the vast majority of artists are fully aware of the contents of their contracts. They sign anyway because a little bit of a big slice of cash is still a shitload more than they'll ever get from freeloaders, who will pay the artist precisely bugger all because this—in their tiny, misguided and ignorant little minds—is apparently going to harm the big record labels. Even more bizarre is the attitude that artists are supposed to thank them for this!

The ONLY people who are hurt by counterfeiting and the anti-Copyright movement are the artists. Google are actually salivating over the prospect of free access to every book, photo, video and music track ever created in order to sell you advertising on the back of it.

Be very, very careful when advocating an anti-Copyright position. Follow the money. Killing copyright protection for the artists will ONLY benefit the very mega-corporations you profess to detest.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Music Schmoosick

"I can knock off a relatively good poem in about half an hour. Come back to it a day or two later to give it a once over, maybe change a phrase or a couple of words. Another half an hour.

I dare say a good musician can do something similar. There are thousands of words to make rhymes with, so it is all very easy for me. There are only 7 notes and therefore not many thousands of combinations to couple."

You must really, really hate The Beatles then. Their early songs included such deep lyrical gems as: She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah! And the not at all trite and shallow: Love Me Do

Both "timeless classics". Apparently.

Personally, I can't tell the difference between those song lyrics and any of the modern teenage angst shite currently in the charts, but I appear to be in a minority shared, it seems, with yourself.

Incidentally, there are rather more than "seven notes" in music. I can see 49 of them. Just because they're labelled here in the West using a cyclic system based on letters and numbers, it doesn't mean there are only "7" of them. Each pitch is different.

By your logic, there are only ten numbers, and arithmetic is therefore all lies.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: "get a real job" ? Interesting concept ..

Italian singer-songwriter Max Gazzè (who those of you outside Italy won't have heard of) is a pretty big deal in his home country. He's famous enough there that he gets recognised in the street, and he's been pretty successful as Italian musicians go over the past ten years or so.

And, yes, he gives a lot of concerts. During the summer, he's gigging at hundreds of towns and villages around the country, often out on the road for days, for very little return—many of these concerts are benefit gigs for the likes of the earthquake-hit Emilia Romagna. I know this because he's a relative—I've even watched him recording a track. (That process takes days, incidentally. Not everyone musician has "DJ" or "MC" in their name and sits in front of a computer with a copy of Garageband, Reason, or Acid Pro, to knock out a remix or dance track in an afternoon.)

And yet... he's made a tiny, tiny fraction—usually only five figures in any one year once everyone else has taken their cut—of what an investment banker makes for not having a fucking clue what it is he and his colleagues actually do for a living. That banker is paid ridiculous sums of money to click a few buttons that move vast sums of money around in a glorified international online casino, placing vague bets on financial "products", the contents of which appear to remain a complete mystery to all involved. Oops! We just bankrupted Iceland and brought the US, the UK and the entire Eurozone to its knees! Sorry! Can you give us some money to tide us over and keep us in the manner to which we have become accustomed? We promise not to do it again! Scout's honour!

And yet the ire of the technorati is focused with laser-like precision on... artists. People who actually create something are getting punished, while the arseholes who created this global recession...? They're merrily spending their multi-million-dollar bailouts and bonuses. You know: the bailouts our governments unilaterally decided to pay them out of our own damned pockets. And those bonuses are apparently required in order to "attract the best talent". (Again: this is the same "talent" that has been placing billion-dollar bets on financial bullshit packages that they don't even understand. Remember that whenever you hear of more bonuses being paid.)

Are we punishing these bankers? No. They get rewarded. Handsomely. At our expense.

Are we punishing the politicians who blundered so badly? No. They, too, are simply re-elected and rewarded.

There are far, far more deserving targets of your ire than people involved in an industry that's going through a painful transition. Musicians, writers, photographers, game developers and filmmakers have just as much right to earn a crust as you, or anyone else. The creative industries will adapt. What they need are viable solutions, not a horde of ignorant whiners complaining that they have to pay for services rendered.

Sean Timarco Baggaley


Adele was with XL Recordings, related to the Beggars Group. Their current roster includes Sigur Ros, Radiohead (and Thom Yorke's solo works) and The White Stripes. In the past, they handled The Prodigy, among many others, so they're not exactly unknown. They're quite big by "indie label" standards. They're also "independent" only in the sense that they're not owned outright by a major recording label, but they do have very close ties with Columbia Records.

I do think the "Mega Corporations" get a lot of stick here and it's not entirely deserved. Yes, many industry CEOs are old, crusty and need a good ousting and replacement by people who actually "get" technology. But that's the norm in any industry that's been around this long. Transitions are painful when the very business model upon which your business is founded is being chipped away beneath you and you don't know how to solve it. All those employees have bills to pay too, you know. These corporations are just a big collection of people, most of whom are not rich and are just as much a part of that 99% as you are, all trying to earn a crust; they're not inherently nasty; their bosses are just fighting increasingly desperately to keep their jobs.


There are two key challenges facing musicians today:

1. How do I make my music?

2. How do I get my music noticed?

Both steps originally required the assistance of those mega-corp major music labels. They paid a loan up-front to the musicians, taking a gamble that the album would make a profit. (Most did not.) This still happens today, but for a much, much smaller roster of artists who are considered more likely to hit the jackpot. Risk-aversion increases rapidly when your industry is being threatened with major disruption, so this is hardly a shock.

Today, you still need outside funding if you're working with orchestral music, but for most genres, you can create a perfectly commercial track in your bedroom, with the only expense being that of getting it mastered professionally if your home setup isn't up to it. (Mastering is all about getting the most out of a recording and making it sound good on all the various media, in all the various supported combinations of sound reproduction, such as simple stereo, 5.1 surround, Dolby Digital for cinemas, etc. This requires seriously expensive audio kit and an engineer with very good hearing.)

That just leaves the second stage: getting yourself [i]noticed[/i]. When the barriers to entry in any industry are lowered by technology, the industry inevitably goes through a painful phase where pretty much anybody thinks they can make a hit single—and they try and do exactly that.

This was most obvious in the early days of DTP and website design, with any number of horrific, eye-gouging, multi-coloured, multi-font excrescences appearing overnight as people with no training whatsoever decided they could have a go at it too. Mercifully, the days of Geocities websites are (mostly) over.

But it also meant that an aspiring musician with actual talent now had to get himself noticed in a massively expanded ocean of mediocrity and shite. Marketing and self-promotion come into play. Concerts can help, but you can't just go hiring Wembley Stadium or the O2 if nobody's ever heard of you: You need to invest time, effort and, yes, money into making people aware of you and your music first. You need to climb the ladder and keep on climbing, exposing yourself to the media, doing photo-shoots, the odd panel show, umpteen interviews, etc... despite little of this having anything directly to do with the songwriting or performing you so love to do.

THIS is where those mega-corporations do have a lot to offer: they have connections, they know people, they can get you airtime in adverts, or even a movie if you want. They can speed the process up dramatically.

Fundamentally, when you're running any business, your goal is to improve the bottom line. And the music industry really is an business. Artists who are happy to give away all their songs aren't in that industry: they've self-selected themselves out of it and shouldn't get to vote on how it works.

For the remaining 99% of "lower middle class" musicians, engineers, producers, lyricists, etc. making music is how they pay their bills. These people have a right to be paid for their labours as you have a right to get paid for yours.

If anyone disagrees with that on principle, they shouldn't get to vote either.

Global warming: It's GOOD for the environment

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Soo

"We don't know if nature can handle that CO2 load"

Sure it can. It's Homo Sapiens that's going to suffer; the Earth would get along just fine without us.

Mark my words, NONE of this alarmist "Anthropogenic Climate Change" bollocks has a damned thing to do with "saving" the planet. It's an entirely anthropocentric philosophy to lock the Earth's climate and stop it going where we don't want it to go. This is entirely about Climate Control, not climate change.

The planet's climate would be changing even if our species had never evolved far enough to give the process a name. It's normal. Yes, we are undoubtedly having some effect on it, but we sure as hell don't know exactly how all the many complex systems and feedback loops involved work and interact, so anyone who claims to know all the answers is, bluntly, talking absolute rubbish. We know plenty about space, but next to f*ck all about our planet's oceans, their internal climate systems, and how they interface with the gaseous one we live in, for example. The last thing any scientist worthy of that name should be advocating is making deliberate attempts to twist and wrench the planet's climate to do what we want it to do.

We're humans. We're adaptable by our very nature. We've already survived an ice age—and that's before we'd even invented writing! Our species already lives in environments as diverse as the deserts of the Middle East, the Arctic tundra, in towns, cities, nomadic tents—you name it. The Japanese have built major conurbations on land extremely prone to having a bit of a strop: they've adapted to that too. Hell, So no, we are most emphatically NOT going to die out because the sea levels might rise a mere centimetre or two each year over the next century. We may have to rethink zoning laws in coastal cities, but we've done that before. Coastal erosion isn't going to end just because we stop using internal combustion engines.

Mozilla shoots down Thunderbird, hatches new release model

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: My email reader/writer is ...

Vi? Pah! N00b!

Ed rules. Why use a full-screen text editor when a perfectly good old-school line editor option is available?

Full-screen editors are for idiots who only think they're good with computers.

Door creaks and girl farts: computing in the real world

Sean Timarco Baggaley

You can't please all of the people, all of the time...

... so every manufacturer worth its salt only aims to please some of the people, all of the time. This is why they distinguish between different markets.

I have no sympathy for Mr. Dabbs, whose article boils down to a very long straw-man that even manages to contradict itself.

Annoyingly, as this article and many of the posts in this forum thread prove, many of the people these manufacturers DELIBERATELY do not target PERSIST in shoving their tiresome and utterly worthless opinions in everyone else's faces, as if THEIR particularly tiny slice of a market was the only one that mattered. Got news for you: it doesn't. If you think your market really is that big, you've just told us how many gaps there are in it to fill, so get filling and earning those millions you clearly believe the likes of Apple, Dell and HP are missing out on.

Or, you could just find a manufacturer who makes the product you need, and buy that. Problem solved.

No need to go pissing and moaning around the internet about how unfair it is that you have to go out of your way to buy computer kit that can support 20-year-old overpriced obsolete shite. Yes, governments can often impose idiotic requirements, but maybe it'd be in ALL our best interests if you explained why they should update their requirements every five years or so, if only to save us taxpayers a bit of money!

Or you could just nod your head, smugly, while gouging the rest of us for millions instead. I think I can guess which direction your moral compass is pointing in given your actions so far.

And the best solutions for developing countries are education and development, not handouts of toxic second-hand tat. Try calling the likes of Foxconn in China and asking them to build you a big batch of cheap Android-based tablets with USB sockets and cheap USB keyboards. Given that they're selling cheap Android slabs to the West for well under $100 already, there's really no need to rely on the like of OLPC and their misguided ilk. The Chinese also do a good line in cheap(-ish) solar panels.

A little less tribalism and religious extremism, and a little more cooperation, would also go a long way.

Shuttleworth: Why Windows 8 made us ditch GPL Linux loader

Sean Timarco Baggaley


"PCs however have ALWAYS been open "

No. No they haven't. Seriously, would it kill you to do some research before posting your reply?

IBM copyrighted their original PC BIOS. It took a few years for Compaq to create a complete clean room reverse-engineered version of it for their own clones, and other companies followed their lead. THAT was how the closed IBM PC platform was forced open. This was never IBM's original plan for the PC.

Prior to that reverse-engineered BIOS, there were a bunch of "nearly-compatible" PCs from the likes of Apricot and others which could run most PC software, but were never 100% compatible due to hardware specifications and BIOS differences.

In fact, almost every personal computer—from the PC right down to the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga and even the humble ZX Spectrum—was designed to be "closed", not "open". Such "closed" systems were the norm, not the exception back then.

Linux (and other operating systems) running on PCs has always been an aberration. As the industry moves away from the traditional PC form-factors, the GNU / Linux community is going to be facing an awful lot more of this sort of thing. Once you get into the "design the whole widget" mentality, the arguments for making your platform open fall by the wayside. Even Android is effectively closed.

Demanding that for-profit corporations with vested interests in closed platforms accede to your demands for openness is futile. It just opens them up to greater support costs, which is a cost most would rather avoid. A better target for the GNU and FOSS communities' efforts would be in designing their own, open, secure platforms built around their open software. It's not that difficult as most of the components would stay the same.

California clears way for Steve Jobs' 'private Apple spaceship'

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: What's interesting to me...


Two problems with your pathetic joke:

1. Bill Gates was no great philanthropist while running Microsoft either; it wasn't until he left the company he helped found that he suddenly found a convenient conscience and started giving away his billions. Steve Jobs never had that chance: he was only 55 when he died last year and had only stepped down as CEO two months earlier on health grounds. It's likely he was undergoing treatment for much of 2011, but it was too little too late.

2. You appear to be fine with the faux-philanthropy of the CEOs at, say, Asus, Acer, HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Dell, etc. who donate a tiny fraction of their money, while giving thousands of jobs to China and India?

At least Apple are employing 13000 Americans in non-menial, high-value jobs. Those jobs pay handsomely, so Cupertino and its community will very definitely benefit from the taxes all those employees (and Apple itself) will be paying. Whereas Apple's rivals remain happy to invest more and more of their money in China and India while keeping their "home" offices stripped of everything but accountants and lawyers.

That's worth a damned sight more to the US' economy than any amount of cheesy giant-cheque press-releases and marketing bullshit costing a tiny fraction of a percent of a corporation's net profits and used to reduce corporate tax liabilities.

(Besides, many charities are far from the goody-two-shoes people seem to think they are. How much of each donation goes on paying the six-figure salaries of their bosses?)

Gates can afford to be philanthropic: he has the time and the money. Jobs never had the time, although we have no idea whether he donated money anonymously. Personally, I'm not sure I care what someone does with the money they worked their arses off to earn. Spend it, give it away, or commission a solid gold Ferrari. It's none of my—or your—fucking business.

'Apple is corrupting App Store downloads', warn angry devs

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Good Ol' Apple

"Give us 30% of your takings and we'll make you look bad..."

How old are you? Six?

Because, of course, glitches like these never, ever, happen to anyone else, and, obviously, making their developers "look bad" is entirely in Apple's best interests. There's nothing Apple's customers love more than a lousy user experience and shitty apps that don't run, right?

Even Amazon and Google have had data centre problems, and they've been running huge international networks of gargantuan data centres for years. Apple's track record in this field has been rather less than stellar, as anyone who had the misfortune to use their "MobileMe" service when it launched will attest.

Also, Apple have a long-standing policy of not returning El Reg's calls, so their lack of a direct statement is hardly a big surprise. It's become an El Reg running gag over the years, because Apple never tell them a damned thing.

Menage á tablet: Apple vs Amazon vs Google

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: iOS has a good UI?

By your own admission, yes, it does.

The very definition of a good user interface is that it "gets out of your way".

Apple's design philosophy is, basically, "KISS" so, yes, iOS is deliberately designed to be "simple".

Choice is a means to an end, not an end in itself. This is something the Open Source communities seem particularly blind to. A choice that isn't meaningful or useful is of no interest to most people and can actually interfere with their tasks, so Apple's designers are very ruthless about paring their interfaces down to the absolute minimum necessary. Good design is as much about knowing what to leave out as it is about simply adding new features.

For the vast majority of use cases, iOS is spot-on. Only a tiny minority of users will bump into the edges of its design hard enough to feel the urge to complain about it. The same can be said for Microsoft's "Metro" interface.

Android is the exact opposite: it takes the traditional FOSS philosophy of "We include everything, including the kitchen sink, and damn the usability!" approach. That is going to bite Android in the arse hard. Already, we're seeing devices launched with versions of Android that are easily two generations ahead of the vast majority of the market. Why would I target ICS and Jelly Bean when fully 70-80% of Android users are still running the 2.x series? Android is already suffering from the Lowest Common Denominator Effect, where most developers target the largest market sector. As the 2.x series was intended for smartphones, almost every app you run on your tablet will be just a stretched phone app, with very, very few exceptions.

Incidentally, the above is exactly why Apple deliberately chose to make iPhone apps look crap on the iPad. Yes, they're usable, but they're clearly not at home on that platform. This encourages developers to do the right thing and treat the iPad as a separate target, instead of just relying on the underlying OS to stretch their mobile phone user interfaces onto a 9" tablet display the way many Android developers do.

Microsoft are taking a similar hard-line stance with their Windows Phone 7 / 8 and Windows 8 releases: you're expected to target the form-factor, not just the OS.

Google used to be good at design once. Their original search website was a study in minimalism.

Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet, Android 4.1 and Nexus Q

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Errr...

To be fair, they are having to work with NVidia. You know: the company that Linus Torvalds said "Fuck You!" to, at a conference, on video.

For the terminally slow on the uptake: Android is a Linux distro.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Poor apple lawyers!

That 'Q' is bizarre. It does less than an Apple TV*, yet it costs three times the price? Also, the "hackability" thing is just manufacturer shorthand for "We can't be bothered to do all the work, so we'll let our customers do it for us! For free! And we'll make money off their development efforts!" Nicely done, but then, we're talking about a company that makes its living selling you to advertisers, so hardly a surprise.

The tablet's pricing is the only genuinely interesting bit of news. As another poster said: this is going to hurt Amazon's Kindle Fire sales badly. Especially as Amazon still haven't managed to ship any outside the US.

The "Made in the USA" thing doesn't mean much outside of the USA, and, of course, increasing automation means factories aren't going to be employing all that many people, regardless of the country they're in, so I don't see the point of the jingoism.

* (Yes, they can be trivially jailbroken too, so they're no less "hackable". The only difference is that here, Google is making a virtue of releasing unfinished software and expecting others to finish the job for them. Without pay.)

Apple iPhone turns five this Friday

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Speaking as a Fandroid

Eh? What's that got to do with this "walled garden" concept you guys keep whining about?

Nokia phones ran Symbian, which suffered the same problems as Android does now: too much fragmentation. Apps that ran on one device were not guaranteed to work on the next. THAT is what end users care about. If you can guarantee that their investment in software will not be destroyed when they upgrade to another device, you win. Apple do this by applying the "KISS" philosophy religiously.

Symbian's woes are probably a good indication of Android's future too. The more "open" your platform is, the more prone it is to fragmentation, both technically and politically. MSX was another example of the failure to standardise properly.

We've seen articles mentioning the myriad cheap Chinese Android-based devices, but how many of those have that Android logo? How many will even run anything newer than Android 2.2? How many will run all the apps I might want to install that ran just fine on my previous Android device?

With Android, switching from one such device to another within the same ecosystem, can burn my investment in software. There are plenty of Android apps that are effectively locked to only a small number of devices. Most developers simply can't afford to buy the thousands of Android-based devices for testing, so they'll build for a tiny subset and leave it at that. This leads to a feedback loop: only a few devices are "officially" supported, so end users will tend to buy those; all that talk of "choice" becomes meaningless in the face of this situation.

After a while, your investment in applications for your mobile device may become greater than the cost of the device itself. If you want users to buy your applications, you MUST offer them continuity of support even across devices within the same ecosystem. At present, Android users have no guarantee that their next Android-badged device will run all their existing applications, so they're naturally going to be more cautious about what they buy, hence the infamously poor sales figures for the platform.

Developers are favouring iOS precisely for this reason. Even Microsoft have already committed to recompiling all their WinPho7 apps in their app store to run on WinPho8. All by themselves. Developers don't need to do a thing. From an end user's perspective, this means when they come to upgrade their WinPho7 device, they'll still be able to run all the software. That is the kind of certainty you need for a platform to succeed in the long term. Microsoft are actually getting this bit right. Google are not.

Android is the only mobile OS out there that doesn't offer that level of certainty of continuity. It's an ecosystem of thousands of walled gardens! If I buy a Samsung Android phone, I have absolutely no guarantee that my investment in Android apps will work on rival phones—or even with Samsung's other Android-badged devices.

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Except the...

One word: AirPlay. No cable required.

Also, for those blethering on about SD Cards: you have heard of EyeFi, right? Again: no need for adapters, cables, etc.

When people buy Android kit, they'll buy accessories that meet the demands of that particular ecosystem. Owners of Apple kit will do likewise. Guess what? The Apple ecosystem is not the same as the Android ecosystem! Who knew?

Android Firefox: Screaming, awesome, you'll go blind etc

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Dolphin's great

"I'm an Android user. By definition that makes me neither a MS or Apple user, which means my default position is not bent over the desk begging to be buggered raw by the dictates and whims of multi-million dollar businesses."

Waiter? I'll have whatever he's drinking! Whatever it is, it clearly dulls the mind, the wits, and divorces you entirely from reality.

(And facts. Like Google being a multi-BILLION dollar business.)

Apple will only reinstate mute kids' app if makers win patent case

Sean Timarco Baggaley

Re: Open Letter

The "Speak For Yourself" case is nowhere near as simple as you think it is:

1. The "Speak For Yourself" software clearly uses very similar techniques to those offered by Prentke Romich.

2. The "Speak For Yourself" software was developed by EX-EMPLOYEES of Prentke Romich.

That second point is very, very important and appears to be getting ignored by far too many people. It's one thing to claim you created something independently. It's quite another to let an employer spend its R&D money developing a tailored user interface, then resign and set up n direct competition with your ex-employer using what appears to be the exact same damned user interface in your own (rather expensive) product.

Whatever the truth is, it's not for Apple to decide one way or another who is "right" or "wrong" here. Part of any developer contract you'd sign with the likes of Apple includes an explicit "Is this ALL your own work?" clause. If you knowingly signed such a contract—and you don't even get to release an iPad app on the App Store if you didn't—you don't then get to blame anyone other than yourself if your application was withdrawn because it turned out you lied, and you were caught doing so.

Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo

Sean Timarco Baggaley

@Andrew Orlowski:

"...doesn't include a Thunderbolt cable, and at £39, this isn't cheap."

Compared to the price of the unit itself, it's not a huge proportion of the price, and it's still in its early days. Firewire and USB both took a while to catch on too. Oddly enough, it took Apple to give both the push they needed.

At least those Thunderbolt cables cost £39 for a reason. They're active cables, not just a bunch of wires wrapped in plastic: there's a chip at each end too, and THAT is why the CPU activity monitor showed nary a blip.

Believe me, USB 3 sucks for professional video work: USB uses a lot more of your valuable CPU cycles—cycles I'd much rather were being put to making me money, not making up for a cheap consumer piece of tat's failings.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019