* Posts by Mark .

1859 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

Mark .

Re: charge outrageous amounts for data

For anyone on contract, it's hard to separate the costs to the user, but it's common these days to have unlimited texts, and I have more minutes than I ever would use, but it's data that is the most limiting.

Even on PAYG, SMSs can be cheaper to the user if you only send a few per day, if you're not using Internet (but if you are using Internet, then sending extra messages through the Internet is much cheaper).

Mark .

Re: A beelion users can't be wrong (can they?)

Yes, if only there was a way to send a message to someone without using SMS. Thank god that Whatsappthingy came along. It's annoying having to rely on SMS all t

MtGox claims to have a fix ready for Bitcoin withdrawal woes

Mark .

Re: Bubble has burst ..... ?

"I had a look at one of the stats sites yesterday, which indexes multiple exchanges. And it looks like a transaction of 0.1 BTC can change the global market price by about 0.5%!! Sticking 1,000 transactions through in an hour, rather than the more usual couple of hundred, can move the price down by 5%."

Citation needed? Currently based on the Bitstamp order book, 5663 bitcoins would be needed to drive the price down 10%; 66 bitcoins would be needed to drive the price down 1%. This doesn't include orders that aren't on the books (people manually trading, or bots).

True, volatility is a problem for international transfers (and is why a larger market cap is a good thing), but it isn't as large an issue as you describe.

Doing international transfers with my bank is £15 for within Europe, £25 elsewhere. The zero loaded credit cards (if I even had one) presumably wouldn't help for transfers to individuals.

"So given BitCoins are a massive risk, and are crap as a way of dealing across foreign currencies, I struggle to see what the point of them is."

Risk reduces with time, and it will grow more useful as a Paypal alternative, for example. Many countries also have poor support for online bank transfers (e.g., even the US - it's nothing like what we have in the UK).

Mark .

Re: bigger design flaw

But that's because you haven't kept the backup up to date! The way to do backups is documented, so you haven't found a flaw in anything, you've just shown how to do it wrong. (Do you back up your data by only backing it up once, then hope it's magically up to date when your computer dies a year later?)

It would be better if one only needed to do a backup once. But then, such clients exist (e.g., Armory).

Mark .

Re: Bubble has burst ..... ?

Other exchanges are $600-$650 (Mt Gox price hasn't been meaningful for months due to difficulty in withdrawing USD from it). If $1000 to $650 is a "bubble", then sure, the Bitcoin bubble has burst, just as it bursts regularly, and has done several times in the past. It also booms multiple times too.

But I don't see how this means people are bored (nor does it have anything to do with tulips, which don't share any useful properties of a currency - not to mention "X is a bubble, therefore Y must be a bubble too" doesn't seem a good argument to me). I mean, in April the bubble burst to around $60, but now it's at $600. I'm not convinced how an increase of 10x in less than a year is a bubble bursting, or people getting bored of it?

The thing to remember is that the "Bitcoin is a bubble" critics have been saying this since the price was increasing from around $20 last year. The fact that Bitcoin later on drops from $1000, but only to $600, hardly proves those critics right. Any useful prediction about Bitcoin needs to include timescales and prices - anyone can say the price will go up or down in future (I'm sure it will do both!)

Wanna use Bitcoin on your site? BitPay's open-source library wants to help

Mark .

Re: I'll use virtual currency roughy ...

Yet you're happy to comment virtually.

Silk Road reboot claims: Hacker STOLE all our Bitcoin funds

Mark .

Re: As this is a virtual currency, has a theft actually occurred?

This is assuming the set of people using Bitcoin to buy drugs on this site are the same set as the "libertarians" claiming Bitcoin is totally free of taxes and laws (not to mention that most Bitcoin users are neither).

Using an irony hammer is easy, when you're using it to hit a straw man.

MtGox takes heat as reasons for Bitcoin FAIL surface

Mark .

Re: @Vega This would be a good moment

That was the drop on Mt Gox. Bitcoin withdrawals have been stopped, with fears that Mt Gox might not be able to supply all the required bitcoin, which means you have people selling bitcoin for USD, lowering the price.

The reason we see a drop on other exchanges (though it's already far less than 30% now) could be:

People think it is a problem with Bitcoin, even if it isn't. The price drops because people sell, which has nothing to do with whether the reasons why people sell are real or not.

People guess bad news means a price drop, so sell in the hopes of buying back lower (which makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy).

People hoping to take advantage of arbitrage - sell a load of bitcoin they have on Bitstamp etc, buy the much cheaper bitcoin on Mt Gox. This will tend to equalise prices, but means the cheaper bitcoin on Mt Gox will affect the prices on other exchanges.

Yes, one exchange can affect the others' prices, but the OP was talking about the technology, and whether the problems here could be faced by other exchanges.

Mark .

Re: BCs credibility problem

Bitstamp daily prices have gone from ~$800 to ~$690, a 14% drop, not 30%. (Going by MtGox-only prices is meaningless if you're comparing to the price change of the US Dollar as a whole, rather than just one on exchange that's disallowed withdrawals.)

Now, that's still large, but I don't think the greater changes is due to the reasons you claim. For starters, if higher drops are due to lower confidence in Bitcoin as a whole, then how do you explain the massive increases? Sure, it is due to changes in confidence, but rather, it's confidence on Bitcoin's future value, not confidence in Bitcoin as a technology - if what you said about people's views on Bitcoin were true, it seems odd that this view widly changes so often!

I don't think Bitcoin is that much harder to understand than banking, if in both cases we're allowed to ignore the "real" details (though yes, Bitcoin is still harder to use, and improvements in the products are needed, and will no doubt come, but I don't think that's anything to do with confidence).

The most obvious reason why the price changes by greater amount than the US Dollar is that the market cap is vastly smaller, plus it's dependent on only a few exchanges (last year, Mt Gox was the dominant exchange, so thankfully things are improving).

And I would say the opposite - the critics said it was a bubble that will come collapsing down the moment a flaw is discovered, yet despite these problems, it's "crashed" to a value that's still over five times the value it had in October(!)

Bitcoin value plunges as Mt.Gox halts withdrawals and Russia says 'nyet'

Mark .

Re: Interesting

True, but I still think there's a difference in your example. What does the content represent? In your example, there is intent to commit a crime, but in the Bitcoin example, the mere manipulation of numbers in a network would be illegal.

Although I think the real issue is not that it would be criminalising trading of numbers - I still think that theft of Bitcoins should be treated as theft of anything else of value, even if it's "just numbers". The worry would be criminalising trading of a currency at all - has there been any precedent for this?

Mark .

"leading Bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox "

Not since last April. http://bitcoincharts.com/charts/volumepie/ shows Bitstamp leading, Mt Gox in 3rd place. For several months it's been hard/impossible to withdraw money in USD, significantly limiting its use.

"That last point was certainly proven this week, when news of Mt.Gox's withdrawals problem sent the real-world value of a single Bitcoin – which had been stable at more than $900 for some time – into a nosedive that bottomed out at $660 before recovering slightly to around $760."

Where are these figures from? From http://bitcoincharts.com/charts/bitstampUSD , on Bitstamp (the actual leading exchange), the value was hovering around $800, hasn't been above $900 since 12 Jan.

Quoting Mt Gox prices is misleading, if you're trying to imply what Mt Gox's effect on the rest of the world was. Its prices have been inflated for months due to the difficulty of withdrawing money (so people can't actually take advantage of the higher price) - that inflation is now lost, since people can't withdraw Bitcoin either, making the price somewhat meaningless for anyone who hasn't already got money on Mt Gox (and even those who do, can't actually do anything with it other than trade back and forth). Yes, there was a drop in price, but not to the magnitude that The Reg claims. The sooner Mt Gox becomes insignificant and stops affecting Bitcoin prices for everyone else everytime it messes up, the better.

Apple ticks off trigger-happy Bitcoiners with App Store snub

Mark .

Re: Delusional

So if it's no competition, why does it get blocked in the first place?

And that's 120,000 users (as well as far more if we include more popular platforms) who have gone and downloaded this out of choice, as opposed to it being the only way to purchase something on their device, or the only advertised way to buy a TV programme/film/album. You're right, it's not competing - because Apple doesn't do competing.

Mark .

Except if someone's storing it on a mobile wallet, there's no way an exchange can run away with that money. In general, storing non-trivial amounts of bitcoin on an exchange is a bad idea, but that argument doesn't apply if we're talking about a mobile wallet - indeed, a mobile wallet is one of the things you can use to easily transfer your bitcoins away from an exchange, so Apple are certainly not doing anyone a favour!

Oi, Android devs! Facebook wants your apps to be more secure

Mark .

Re: @Mike Green - Security? How about letting US have a choice...

I think this would be a good thing, though one of the headaches it creates for developers is having to put up with the 1 star reviews for people who disallow permissions, but then complain it isn't working right. I think a better solution for that would be to create a rating/review system that doesn't cater to the "vote down for trivial reason even though I got this app for completely free" whiners, but sadly it looks like the 5 star rating system is here to stay.

For optional features, this could be handled if blocking a permission meant the app could tell the permission wasn't available, and simply not allow that feature.

In the meantime, vote with your wallet/downloads - don't use something if it claims permissions you don't think are reasonable, and reward an app that does it better.

Unmanned, autonomous ROBOT TRUCK CONVOY 'drives though town'

Mark .

Re: I so want driverless cars to have full independant licences

"I'll bet they ensure that the law says that the person in the car is 'in charge' of the AI and must be sober."

In fact I believe this is already covered by the law - e.g., consider cases where you have a learner driver, who must be supervised by someone with a licence. They still have to be sober, and this is covered IIRC by some law about being "in charge" of a vehicle. AI cars that still require a licensed driver to supervise will no doubt still be covered.

It'll be interesting how things go if the law is changed to allow truly driverless cars, without a requirement for anyone to have a licence. It would be a shame if Governments try to insist that there is still a notional person "in charge" of the vehicle - this would also limit applications such as driverless taxis.

The TRUTH about LEAKY, STALKING, SPYING smartphone applications

Mark .

"can" is not the same as "does".

This study seems meaningless without knowing what those applications do. So an app requires location permission - but if it's an app which requires location by its very nature, then why is this an issue? Admittedly 1/3 seems rather high, but then I have no idea what the distribution of application types is.

"locate and open private photographs on smartphones"

If private is in an application's private space, I'm not sure this is true. If private just means in the standard picture folders on Android, then yes, they're accessible to all applications. Just like I can open up my picture in GIMP on Windows or Linux. Perhaps there are better ways to do this (e.g., marking folders as only accessible to a whitelist of apps? But then there's also the trouble of making it user-friendly) but I don't know of any OS that's done this kind of thing yet - the study seems to regard any access of data by an app as "bad", without understanding how almost all OSs currently work.

"can divulge email addresses over the internet"

Does this mean they have Internet and email address book permissions, or that they are actually doing this?

"Sutton credited Apple at least with acting to address the problem."

Because clearly it's better that we're all wrapped in cotton wool and can only run on "our" device if someone else lets us. It's this kind of attitude that's led to making it increasingly difficult to run software without extra "Yes I'm really sure" clicks.

The Mac at 30: Hardware and software wars – again and again and ...

Mark .

The Macintosh is 30 years old, but it's not 30 years of the Macintosh

The Macintosh is a device of the past - today "Mac" on the other hand is a brandname for their x86 PCs, similar to Dell's Inspiron or ASUS's Transformer. Different hardware, different software (and is only the same platform as much as Trigger's Broom is the same broom). I would say only the name is the same, but even that's not true - Macintosh was finally dropped as a brandname some years ago.

MPAA spots a Google Glass guy in cinema, calls HOMELAND SECURITY

Mark .

Re: Did he mount his Glass on a tripod?

On the plus side, you get to watch the movie without risk of interrogation and detained by police. Once again, paying customers get treated worse than people pirating... (I wonder if he'll even get a refund.)

Mark .

He wasn't breaking the law.

MANIC MINERS: Ten Bitcoin generating machines

Mark .

Re: earning...

And even if he isn't selling, I'm not sure what the difference is between perceived value and value is. Is my house only worth so many "perceived pounds" rather than "pounds"? Sure, when it comes to valuing things, it's clear this is dependent on if you sold it at the current market rate, but that's true of anything. No one says their house is worth "perceived pounds", because that's assumed, and no need to be stated.

On another note though, I'd argue that it's better for Bitcoin miners to argue that they aren't "earning" it, as that would make them liable for income tax (capital gains tax on the other hand means most people wouldn't have to pay any tax, unless the value is more than the annual threshold).

Mark .

Re: Is it me?

The safest way to make money is put it in a bank account - and enjoy your 2% interest if you're lucky. But when comparing investments, there are a range in both risk, and potential returns.

Also why is it either/or - I'm sure anyone into making Bitcoin mining devices bought or mined some bitcoins much earlier... They also probably test their machines by actually mining bitcoin (where as someone making a spade wouldn't necessarily go and dig for gold, as you need more equipment and effort than just testing a spade).

Mark .

Re: I'm not some kind of hippy or anything, and it's an interesting experiment....

Says you, using an electricity-consuming computer to post it.

Let's seem some stats - how does the power required for the Bitcoin network compare to other things, such as power to run banks and so on? Or indeed, what about the energy required to mine gold?

Claiming that any use of electricity is absurd, as you could use that argument against just about anything. This is like the "Let's save the planet by turning off lights for one hour" argument from people who then continue to use electricty the rest of the time.

Wells Fargo gathers bank 'n' gov bigwigs to discuss Bitcoin 'rules'

Mark .


"X went back to its original value, therefore Y which is completely different to X is going to go back to its original value"

Hmm, not convinced. As you say yourself, tulips are very different to Bitcoin. When it comes to being a currency, store of value, means of transaction, Bitcoin have all sorts of advantages that tulips completely fail at.

I don't think anyone disagrees that Bitcoin is a "bubble" in the sense that "current value is significantly propped up by speculation", but it is completely unclear as to whether Bitcoin may grow in use (and hence the value may become supported by actual use), or be doomed (and the value collapses to near nothing). I don't see that the latter is a certainty, as the tulip critics seem to imply.

Google gobbles Wi-Fi thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 BEEELLION IN CASH

Mark .

Re: I don't get it

I don't know about their system, but I can speak of the advantages of systems already available and mainstream today.

So your house is heated all during the day when you might be out at work? Ideally it should be possible to set schedules for different temperatures depending on time and day, which is a lot easier to do using a web page on a computer than fiddling with the awkward UI on a small thermostat LCD.

If I'm out for a few days and have turned it down, it's nice to turn it up before I get back, so I don't arrive to a cold house.

The only thing I'm not convinced on is whether it actually saves money - it's much easier now to just up the temperature every time I'm feeling cold from my Android phone, tablet or Windows laptop, than have to get up and go and find a jumper...

Mark .

Re: I should create a company

Already have it today, I can control my heating anywhere through an Internet connection, with standard British Gas boiler. No doubt we will see more of this kind of thing in the future.

If that's true, I hope this isn't anything like an ipod - no thanks, I don't want every device from fridges to kettles set up so that they're suddenly only compatible with a system from one manufacturer, ignoring every other system that uses open standards. And then even the people that do go along with it find that all their kettles and fridges have to be replaced, because the one manufacturer changes their dongle socket interface.

Two websites you should show your boss if you want to be paid in Bitcoin

Mark .

Re: Sign me up!!

As clearly explained in the article, you can choose whatever proportion you like, so it's not about being paid entirely in Bitcoin.

What's the worst that can go wrong? Er, you lose your investment. No different to any other kind of investment. I find it odd the hostility that some people seem to give it - do you view all high risk investments the same way? Putting all one's money into a high risk investment is risky, but a sensible investment strategy is to put one's savings into a range of investments of varying risk.

Mark .

Re: Alternatively...

Covered in the article: "It is an easier way to get Bitcoin than going through an exchange"

How true that is depends on which country you are in, and which exchange you want to use, but in many cases the general lack of exchanges means hassles with transferring money internationally in order to then buy.

Mark .

Re: The ones who were paid in them previously and made huge profits seem that way

The discussion here is about those who were *paid* previously, so I don't see what mining has to do with anything. The increase in value is nothing to do with pyramid schemes, but simple supply and demand.

"those who started it"

Surely anyone was free to do Bitcoin mining at any time they chose.


Mark .

Re: Oh for f**k's sake....

"It is possible that they are targeting them buses because of the higher publicity value though?"

Indeed - and furthermore, for all we know, people could be doing all of the sensible things he suggests, but it's only coverage of the disruptive Google protests that gets all the media attention.

Mark .

Re: Oh for f**k's sake....

"get in my fucking way."

Though, isn't this the entire problem in the first place, private buses in the way of the public's bus stops?

Although judging by the plans to charge companies a minimal amount, it seems the issue is it's entirely legal to use public bus stops in California. If they did things the way that many cities did, making it illegal to park on spaces reserved for public buses, this would be dealt with by handing out fines.

Vandalism isn't a good thing, but nor is there a god given right to use public bus stops and so on in a private vehicle, no matter how much it makes sense for the passengers. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Note that we don't actually know what other efforts activists are making, it's just that the bus protest received international news coverage, whilst everything else gets ignored.

Bay Area plots Googlebus tax after local residents riot

Mark .

Re: a private vehicle in the state of California is at a public bus stop.

Sure, but that's an argument on what you think the law should be, not what it actually is. Perhaps the law should allow private buses to stop at places that private cars can't - some people in California think it should, but on the other hand, at least some people in California disagree.

Google and its employees are also free to protest and lobby to change the law.

Mark .

Re: Commune of California!

"As I check the constitution there is nothing about people being entitled to rent they consider "low" in sunny areas they prefer to live in. Deal with it."

Also nothing in the constitution about being able to park a private vehicle where you like. Deal with it.

I can see various points of view - but on neither side does this seem a constitutional issue, nor is anyone claiming that.

Mark .

Re: Fair's fair

" They could stop their private buses anywhere that it is legal to stop a private vehicle, and do pick ups there, it is just more logical and less inconvenience for everyone else to use a regular 'stop'."

Well there's a point, what is the law for private drivers who stop and wait at the marked out region for a bus stop? I mean, here in the UK there seem to be all sorts of rules and restrictions for things like stopping, parking, bus lanes and so on - and a private company wouldn't be exempt from them, or treated like a public bus, no matter how much you argue that it's more convenient.

If that is legal in the state, then it seems fair enough - though a fair response from the state could also be to change that law. If it isn't, then never mind payments, they should just hit them with the appropriate fines. The argument of "it's legal to stop anywhere else, so it's just as logical to do it here" doesn't work if it isn't legal there.

Mark .

Re: Excuse me?

Okay, perhaps the state (and the people) shouldn't be paying "a damn penny" for private buses to be using the public bus stops, and if the companies or employees don't like it, they can move. Your logic works both ways.

Two wrongs don't make a right - sure, prosecute those engaged in illegal actions like vandalism too. That is not pandering them, unless you're suggesting that every tax payer is guilty of assault.

Not that there aren't other options - if public transport was better for everyone, this problem wouldn't exist. And if companies located themselves so walking, cycling or public transport was an option rather than cars or employee-only-buses, then that would be good too.

Samsung whips out 12.2-inch 'Professional' iPad killers

Mark .

Re: They're playing to the dummies in the market...

Personally I'd much rather have a portable laptop (Samsung laptop or similar) than a pure ~10" tablet. But your argument does seem contradictory - you say this Samsung has no point, as it'll get slayed by laptops on every technical score, but ipads are fast enough to do what is asked of them? Which is it? Is something okay as long as it's fast enough, or not if it'll get beaten on specs by a laptop?

The weight difference isn't that huge - some people were evidently happy with 600-700g 10" tablets for years (including ipads), whilst the lightest laptops are around 1Kg (I think the lightest is a Sony just under 1Kg; ASUS's T100 is just over 1Kg). This Samsung tablet at 750g is still much closer to those tablets. Furthermore, 12" laptops are going to be heavier still.

You can argue in favour or against the larger tablets vs laptops, but I don't think this Samsung device makes a difference to that argument - any advantage or weakness or weight or specs is shared by the other tablets.

"OTOH going smaller doesn't achieve much"

I disagree - I intentionally didn't get a permanent case for my Nexus 7 for that reason, and the time when weight is most important is when it's in my hands. So having under 300g for a tablet that's meant to be hand held device is important in my opinion, and much lighter than any ipad heavy or other large tablet. It also means I can hold one handed, and use with my other hand - meaning it's easy to use without a desk, laying it on my lap, and I can easily use it standing.

When it's in my bag, the weight is of little relevance, I don't notice it any more than I notice my Samsung netbook in my bag. But the size is important - I can slip it into a side pocket of a bag, it takes up that much less space, and I can even put it in a small bag or even my pocket (just about!) which would be impossible for larger tablets.

Mark .

Re: Sounds like a fringe use case?

I'd rather an ASUS Transformer Book - very light as a laptop, and can convert to an even lighter tablet.

Still, choice is a good thing.

Bitcoin blasts past $1,000 AGAIN after Zynga accepts cryptocurrency

Mark .

Re: Gimmick

The transaction rate limit, and issues to do with the large blockchain size, are covered at https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability .

"The 'value' in BTC lies entirely in the speed and processing power of the network, speed and power which will have to increase along the upward curve of BitCoin usage for it to succeed."

Well, I'm not sure that speed and processing power increasing in the future is that far fetched...

Mark .

Re: Gimmick

The pub 5 minutes' walk away from me accepts Bitcoin. Its usage is still low, but hardly to the extreme you claim.

Some of its more obvious potential uses are replacing the dependence on Paypal for online payments to small traders, avoiding large fees for international transfers, and allowing individuals to transfer money without faffing with cheques (at least in the UK, we can do bank transfers, but in many countries like the US, this isn't an option in most cases).

You're spending WHAT on iPhone 6? Wells Fargo downgrades Apple stock

Mark .

Re: New features != "must have" features

"Apple was the first to put all the stuff in the first paragraph together into one phone"

It was the first one to have multitouch, and all of the other things were fairly standard things, so it trivially follows that the iphone was first to have the complete set. But that doesn't mean it was actually first with those other things! This is just cherry picking your featureset, and I could do the same for any first by another company. If you're doing an AND of features rather than an OR, then simply being first with one of those features, means the product will also be first with that one feature AND many others.

E.g., for the first phone that could do Wifi (a Nokia?), I could say also "It was the first phone to do Wifi, and [long list of bog standard but useful features]" - well no, that's not anything new, I've just rephrased the being first with Wifi. Similarly I could say Nokia are the first company to do GPS for maps/directions, full desktop browser, multitouch screen, wifi, MEMS/gyroscope sensors, a camera of sufficient quality to produce acceptable pictures when picture-taking _is_ the goal of one's day, the ability to install third party apps that have access to an API comparable to PC apps are a must have in any smartphone. By subtely upping the camera requirement, I've moved it back to Nokia. Same if I included sat nav.

The 2007 iphone couldn't even run apps at all. Does IOS really run exactly the same browser as desktops? Not that I see why that matters - Nokia don't have their own desktop browser, so that's an unfair comparison. Decent browsers were available, like Opera Mobile. Since browser choice is a personal preference, I'd much prefer a platform that let's me use any browser I choose.

"Since then, there has been nothing added to smartphones, either from Apple or Android, that contained something that nearly everyone finds useful and has become a must have for every phone made."

I'd agree that many things being added are gimmicks, but I'd still include sat-nav, a decent size screen (4" minimum) and resolution (800x480 at least - even Symbian's 640x480 was better than the iphone) as important too, so for me phones didn't mature until around 2010-2011, and it was Android leading the way (with Symbian the contender). The 2007 iphone wasn't even close, with its lack of apps, 3G, and even copy/paste.

I'd also add that multitouch is as much a gimmick as any gimmick today - it's useful, but not revolutionary. I want to use a phone one-handed sometimes, and a multitouch UI is a much bigger prevention than large screen sizes. If anything, credit should be given to the little-publicised one-touch zoom that Google have started to introduce into Android (double-tap, then move finger up or down - annoyingly it's not OS-wide, and confusingly the zoom direction in maps is reversed to that of Chrome!)

I agree with your last paragraph, but doesn't that apply for multitouch too? Apple didn't invent capacitive screens, they just happened to be first to market for phones with that one feature.

Mark .

Re: They haven't since about 2007 (@AC)

So Apple did 2 things 6 years ago - I don't see why we constantly have to hear about that, and not the lots of firsts achieved by other companies. No, I won't write off the iphone, but it was the media that decided to ignore every other phone!

The GPU claim is just a property of being newer - is Windows RT better than Linux, because it was written in a time when GPUs can be assumed? No. Newer OSs that come out will in turn be able to assume things that IOS could not, but that doesn't automatically make them better, let alone an argument for being revolutionary.

"And more or less everything else to happen in computing since at least 1980."

I don't know what you're on about with styluses and key combinations - my 2005 feature phone launched apps via icons, it's just now I touch the icon rather than using arrows to move a cursor. Once you've switched to a touchscreen, saying to touch the icon (the same way we click on non-mobile OSs) is bleeding obvious. If there's some magical new UI that IOS introduced in 2007, it can't be anything that I've seen on Android, yet I get by just fine.

"It also implicitly attacks Android. Android has conquered the market by being a million times better than the near-unusable pre-iPhone rubbish."

Android today is much better than pre-2007 stuff, it's also better than pre-2008 stuff. It's called progress. But I found touchscreen Symbian perfectly fine compared to anything else of the time, despite being the single-touch 5800. And yes, it had more than two levels of zoom (you don't need multitouch for this). Multitouch gestures are useful, but this is a tiny improvement compared to having a touchscreen at all, which is what makes the difference. I don't care for fancy gestures and swipes (I'm not a fan of all the gestures on Samsung's Touchwiz either, give me vanilla Android any day). If multitouch is the revolution you claim, then how come the complaint today Apple fans make of Android is that the phones are too big to use one handed - how do you use multitouch one handed? Apple were first to market with multitouch, but that's it - it wasn't a revolutionary new GUI, anymore than any new gestures that Samsung add to Touchwiz (or Nokia did to Meego, which was heavily swipe based) makes a revolution either.

And it is you who is attacking Android. Android was popular precisely because it didn't drop all the features like IOS, but built and carried on the success of Symbian.

Your comments about what Nokia couldn't do with development tools also make no sense - they switched to Qt, one of the best toolkits I've used, and development was as good as Android's for the time (some things were not as good, but some things were better). Symbian remained the number one platform until 2011, and continued to outsell IOS until the WP switch.

As for AT&T, if they offered unlimited data to the minority of Apple users and not others, that's not something to praise.

Mark .

Re: They haven't since about 2007

It's partly true, but only really for Apple, not other manufacturers. Nokia didn't shed features for Symbian AFAICT, and kept all of the things he listed, whilst continuing to add new features.

Android may have lacked features in the very early days, but nowhere near the extent that iphones did. I guess another example might have been MS ditching Windows Mobile for Windows Phone, which was very dumbed down in an IOS-like manner, and has gone through the same phase of having to add basic features. He is right that most of the changes from iphone 2007 to iphone 4 was playing catchup to what other phones had years ago - indeed, until then, at least, it wasn't even a smartphone.

Seoul-blackening disappointment for Samsung backers as stock droops

Mark .

Aren't "Apple" ARM CPUs manufactured by Samsung anyway? (They were in the past at least.) Yes, I'm sure that the company that makes most of the hardware in iphones and ipads, and produces their own cutting edge hardware, will be unable to make a 64-bit CPU when it's actually required. Devices with finger print readers aren't new.

"Add to that Samsungs mis-steps with region locking and their sWatch plus would be surprised if we did not see a larger screen iPhone this year."

The Galaxy Gear sold 800,000 in 2 months. Interestingly, that works out to be pretty much the same rate as 1 million in 76 days, a figure that for Apple was hailed as a runaway success.

A larger screen iphone would either annoy the people saying they don't like Android phones for being too large; or would have to be a separate model, thus further fragmenting the broken promise of "IOS is better, because there's only one, no two, no three models to develop for". Perhaps it'll be shipped with a free comfy chair.

Mark .

Who cares what device people use - so an Apple user orders something on his iphone or ipad, whilst I a Nexus owner prefer to use the laptop I already have, and suddenly that's a win for Apple? No, I still like my Nexus too, and use it for plenty of other things.

The real question is why only 29% of orders were done on tablets/phones, despite all this hype of how tablets will replace PCs. Perhaps this stat shows the answer - it's only Apple users who actually think that.

"(despite apparently selling less volume of devices they are actually used far, far more)"

I love how that when Apple do poorly at something, it's spun round to be a positive using the trick of "They score highly at A, despite being less at B". I might as well say, look how Android devices sell much better, despite not being used as much...

"Of course it's not a perfect metric but like other studies of web usage it's a pretty universal one"

It's a terrible metric. Ordering online something at Christmas is a tiny proportion of typical computer or phone usage, whilst web page access is reasonably a fairly big proportion of it. Even for web page usage, it is known to have problems (e.g., device identification).

Furthermore, no one actually ever gave a damn about which device was used more for the web, rather, it was a statistic used to infer what the sales were. If we actually now have better more direct evidence on the sales, if it turns out that IOS is used more for online ordering this xmas than Android, all that tells us is that online ordering at xmas is a terrible metric for judging sales. The fact that they're used more for online ordering at xmas is not a metric that anyone actually cares about.

(Maybe we should put the stats together, and infer that people were using ipads to order their new Android tablets...)

US Department of Justice details Kim Dotcom evidence

Mark .

Re: To those who approve of Kim Dotcom

When Marx wrote that in the 1840s, US copyright lasted at most 42 years, not the 120 or life+70 years that it is now. When you claim there are only two possible states of having or not having copyright law, which version of copyright law are actually referring to?

I take it you think Youtube should be taken down, with criminal charges made, too then?

How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

Mark .

Re: "the I-phone was invented"?

Hear hear. At least the Register gets it right that Apple were first to market with a multitouch phone, rather than touchscreen phones, though the importance is overstated. The the difference between touchscreen and non-touchscreen is far bigger than the minor additional benefit of multitouch.

Indeed, a multitouch UI can be a pain, as it means that you can't use it one-handed. A good UI should be designed to work with singletouch too (odd how now, Apple users criticise Android phones for being too big to use one handed, whilst portraying multitouch as the single most important thing ever...)

Nor are Apple the biggest tech company (that argument is only on one hand-picked stat, and not by many other more useful metrics). Biggest at getting endless media hype, maybe.

If the Register wants to talk up Britain's part, then how about giving coverage to ARM, the company that designs the processors in almost every mobile device, from the minority of Apple products, to the 80% of Android devices. But no, let's not let facts get in the way of Apple Apple Apple - better to pretend Britain's involvement is nothing more than a "could have made a 2007 dumb phone that was massively outsold by Nokia".

First China banned Bitcoin. Now its crooks are using malware to steal traders' wallets

Mark .

Re: Mark So, what got stolen?

Okay, you're making a completely different argument to the OP's argument about legal tender and WoW gold, which is what I was addressing.

The question of whether courts would recognise the value of Bitcoin as legal value or covered by criminal or civil law has AFAIK yet to be tested. Note that being "virtual" shouldn't be a reason (or at least, the same argument could be made for things like digital goods - I would have thought that depriving the owner of the files, or destroying them, would still be covered by criminal and civil law). I would hope that a sane court would see this as covered by criminal law (and not just for hacking, but for the money taken), but there's no stopping a court making a dumb decision. And yes, there is the practical issue that the police may go "What's Bitcoin?" However that's a separate argument.

Consider the authors of Cryptolocker if they are caught - of course, they're guilty of writing viruses no matter what, but don't you think the police and prosecution are going to try to get as heavy penalties as possible for the extortion charges they made? Do you think the prosecution will argue "They demanded users pay $X to them, and made $Y profit as a result of their activities"? Or do you think they will say "Well it's annoying they encrypted people's data, but it didn't cost anything to decrypt it. They didn't make anything from this, because Bitcoins have no value"?

And all the Governments saying that Bitcoins are subject to tax - how can that be true, if they have no recognised value? Clearly, the Governments are recognising their value for tax purposes at least.

Out of interest, is there a concept of "legally recognised"? There might be areas where the question of how much something is worth is questionable (e.g., if someone steals a unique rare art, who decides its value - presumably there is already some means by which laws judge this). But is there an example of something with significant market value, but which is not recognised legally as having value? (Perhaps one example might be things illegal to possess like drugs - I'm not sure if this means it's not possible to be guilty of stealing them, or simply that no one ever gets prosecuted, when you'd both be guilty of possession anyway...)

Insurance is again a different argument - insurance companies typically write what terms they like about what is covered, so not covering Bitcoin wouldn't mean it isn't theft. Indeed, many insurance companies have rules about how much you are covered for cash, even though cash is legal tender!

Mark .

Re: Serious Question

On Bitstamp all withdrawals have to be approved via email. I guess the flaw in that is that they could change the email - on Bitstamp this is only possible my manually contacting the admins. I don't know what kind of checks they do for someone trying to change their password (but it would be easy to say, email the old account, to alert people of someone trying to change an account without them knowing).

Mark .

Re: So, what got stolen?

Or also no different to a car, house or gold. I don't see how not being legal tender means it doesn't count as theft.

China's central bank hit by DDoS after Bitcoin blitz

Mark .

Re: ...Bitcoin is eventually forced from the PRC...

Bitcoin doesn't. This example shows how Governments can control their currency, in a way that they can't control Bitcoin. The problem is that if you don't yet have Bitcoin, and what to buy it using a country's currency, then obviously you are still subject to that Government's control. Though yes, it is kind of amusing that the hardest thing about obtaining Bitcoin is the very thing that Bitcoin can solve.

Mark .

Re: BitCoin Replacement!

Jokes are meant to be funny. Possibly the sound was the sound of my point which you completely missed.

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