* Posts by Mark .

1859 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Another day, another Bitcoin burglary as Bitcash.cz goes titsup

Mark .

Re: Enjoying every minute of this

"I don't have any solid evidence for my belief that Bitcoin will eventually crash and burn, just a gut feeling."

As I say, without any kind of timescale, it's not much of prediction - I believe that Bitcoin will _eventually_ crash and burn, but that could be anything from tomorrow to 100 years, or the end of the Universe :)

Do you think it's going to crash and burn (i.e., going to zero, or at least a tiny fraction of today's value) say, within the next 5 years? Or sooner, even?

"It seems to incredibly vulnerable to rampant inflation, you only have to look on eBay to see the silly money that people are bidding. I mean, $1200 for 2 BTC?"

There's nothing special about the price of "1" bitcoin, so there's no intrinsic reason why a Bitcoin at $600 should be expensive or cheap (note that the price on exchanges is around $400 - if people are paying more on ebay, that does seem odd). From the point of view of bitcoin as a currency, it has the curious property of having deflation (I mean, if the value of UKP drops so that prices for us go up, we call that inflation, even though it becomes cheaper for someone to buy UKP with USD).

"The optimism of a few years ago that soon every online retailer would accept Bitcoin doesn't seem to have borne fruit."

Again it's a question of timescale - neither has the prediction that Bitcoin would crash and burn come true. It has grown, and more places accept Bitcoin. Personally I think it's still way too early for mainstream use, but there's still lots of potential for growth. I don't think this will happen very soon (next year or two), but in 10 years, who knows. I think more exchanges are needed as a first step - currently many people (including in the UK) have to do an international transfer to buy/sell Bitcoin, which usually incurs fees, meaning you get lumbered with the worst aspects of ordinary currency, and negating one of the best potential uses of Bitcoin (if I could buy Bitcoin in the UK, I could then trivially send via Bitcoin anywhere in the world without any fees or 3rd parties, and the recipient could then transfer back to their local currency if they choose - there would be the cost of the Bitcoin exchange, but this would be typically far less than currency exchange rate costs, international Bank transfers or Paypal costs; also if Bitcoin was more commonly used, people wouldn't have to transfer to/from other currency).

I think that as people get richer, they start to spend some of their coins to cash in - someone who buys now won't want to spend anything; someone who's seen a 10x increase might decide to at least spend 10%, to recoop their investment. As Bitcoin becomes more mature, presumably the growth will then start to slow.

Also for businesses, the uncertainty over Bitcoin (as well as needing to spend the money) is a reason to sell coins - if a businesses receives payment as Bitcoins, they would presumably convert them to their usual currency to work with the rest of their business operations (a chain of pubs that accepts bitcoins in the UK operates this way - they accept Bitcoin, but these are sold on rather than hoarded). Business owners might decide they want to invest in Bitcoin, but that would be a separate decision for their savings, just like anyone else - people would be less willing to risk their business on it.

Mark .

Re: Enjoying every minute of this

I'm not sure how it's different to existing currencies - theft of money may be just "moving around that system", but it's still theft. (In normal currencies, central banks can print more money, but I don't see why that's an important distinction here?)

Care to put a timeframe on that "eventually"? I mean yes, the currency may well be gone in 1,000 years time, but if in the meantime it becomes mainstream at 100x the current value, I'm not sure that would prove you right.

Bitcoin does have value, and I would have thought courts would see it as theft (though getting police to track it down may be another matter). Most currencies today have no intrinsic value; and even for physical goods, in many cases the cost is governed by supply and demand rather than an "intrinsic" worth.

Chinese Bitcoin exchange disappears, along with £2.5m

Mark .

Re: Plus ça ne change jamais

Yet when the main exchange for illegal trading got taken out, the price also - after a very short drop (of a matter hours) - went up.

For your second point, well, how is it different to any other high risk investment? High risk investments typically have higher returns "a free lunch" but a higher risk "shit sandwich". I find it odd that Bitcoin seems to attract such ridicule, especially when the evidence shows the high risk seems to be paying off (even people who bought at the height of the last bubble right before it burst will now have earned 30% in 7 months, which is pretty good going). If one year someone put 90% of their savings in a bank, then 10% into a high risk investment account, you wouldn't be going on at them about wanting free lunches even if they get shit sandwiches, would you?

Mark .

"The whole Bitcoin thing is going to implode on itself, and has already started to do so."

In what way?

I mean yes, I agree with your post that people should be careful before sending money places, but I'm curious in what way Bitcoin as a whole is already starting to implode?

BIG, CURVY Apple models: Just right for SLAP AND TICKLE

Mark .

Re: uncritical acceptance?

Edit: Actually never mind Windows tablets - pressure-sensitivity has existed for years on Samsung Galaxy Notes, available in 5-6", 8" and 10" sizes (as well as some of the Windows tablets). It's through a pen - I don't know if they have it for pure touch - but for most purposes (e.g., a drawing application), that's preferred. Musical instruments are the most obvious use case for pressure-sensitive touch, but things like a keyboard are terrible without a big screen (I tried on my Nexus 7, but it's just a toy or gimmick at that size). Using it for the UI seems something that would be terribly unintuitive in most cases - people would have no idea whether clicking something was meant to do something, or if they have to instead click it harder or softer. And a Z direction for navigating applications already exists, it's called having a folder hierarchy that my old feature phone could do 8 years ago.

Mark .

Re: uncritical acceptance?

Indeed, and won't it be one of those two companies making the screens that Apple will get credited for? Unless they've started moving into screen manufacturing themselves.

I thought pressure-sensitivity already exists on some Windows tablets, though that's just for real work, I guess no one's exploited it for fart apps yet.

Bitcoin burglar bags a million bucks

Mark .

Re: Monopoly can be a hard game ..

"As an aside I can’t see what bigger risks the early adopters took? If my understanding is correct there are two ways of obtaining bitcoin either, buying or mining. Both of which were cheaper for the early adopters."

It was much cheaper, hence a far bigger chance of rewards, but they also had the far bigger risk of whether Bitcoin would go anywhere.

Consider - I'd argue that even now, Bitcoin is nowhere near its full potential. It's use now is fairly minimal. If it were to take off, the full market cap could be far greater. So whilst you won't make as much as those early adopters, you could still make far more than investing in more traditional means (especially with today's poor interest rates). So are you buying as many Bitcoin as you can?

If you are, then great - and I too am wishing I heard about Bitcoin sooner. But if you're not, then why not? Because you think there's a risk of losing your money? Then how is that different to the people who heard about Bitcoin one or more years ago, when although the potential rewards were higher, the risk was also higher, with Bitcoin far less well established?

If you think "sooner or later is likely to burst leaving the investors with nothing", then even the early adopters won't have anything. Unless they bought low and sold high, in which case, it's making money just like on the stock market - it's easy to say it's easy money with hindsight. Is it a bubble now? These recent sudden increase suggests there will be a correction. But it's worth noting that with the previous "bubble", although there was a sudden drop in April, the average price still went from around $10 to $100.

As for its use, even without it being adopted as a currency by a country or other large organisation, I can see it having a use on par with Paypal - making it easy to send individuals/small businesses money, as well as do international transactions, without relying on unregulated 3rd parties, Visa fees, Bank fees and so on. And that's still quite a substantial use. Regarding illegal use, curiously after the main black market trading site got shut down, after a short term drop (order of a few hours), the price recovered and has shot upwards.

"But that said the various legal organisations will oppose that sponsor."

In what way?

Mark .

Re: Monopoly can be a hard game ..

The risk is whether Bitcoin would ever amount to anything now - it's easy to say it's easy money now with hindsight. And yes, some people certainly got lucky, any maybe that's unfair, but then that's life. It's annoying, but not an argument against Bitcoin.

"Satoshi Nakamoto" no doubt is or are rich, but then, this wasn't money for nothing - they did create something that would have been technically difficult to create, that (AFAIK) hadn't been done before, and something that took off. I'd have far more criticism/envy for people who say, create a social networking site years after everyone else does it, with no apparent means of making money, but somehow end up being the ones to make billions :)

"If that isn't the sign of a Bubble I don't know what is. The only difference is that unlike other Bubbles BitCoin can burst as many times as it wants, because it will always reinflate."

So it's definitely a bubble, except that it's nothing like a bubble.

Mark .

Re: Monopoly can be a hard game ..

Early adopters who take bigger risks getting higher rewards doesn't make it a pyramid scheme - by your logic, investment in a company is a pyramid scheme: the early investors may never work again, whilst those who join the party late may not make anything from it.

I'd argue that even at the current sudden all time high, Bitcoin as an investment, whilst it won't make you rich, offers better returns than investing in a bank or most shares. Of course it is also a high risk, but then you were happy to ignore the even higher risk that early adopters took.

Mark .

Re: Monopoly can be a hard game ..

"if bitcoin was truely worth anything, underfunded schools/universities/Hospitals/Governments/Crims would have students/Slaves doing it by hand if need be"

Doing what by hand?

I'm also unclear how "truly worth" is different to "worth" - sounds like a No True Scotsman - Bitcoin evidently is worth something right now, and that's no less "truly" than anything else.

Google's Nexus 5: Best smartphone bang for your buck. There, we said it

Mark .

Re: Earbleedingly loud music on public transport..

Nope, the iphones aren't the best selling phone platform (or if you mean individual model - "the iphone" isn't an individual model - the best selling model of all time is the Nokia 5230).

I don't think sales tell us much here - Android sells massively more than iphones, and most of them have SD cards, but I wouldn't say they sell more because of that one feature anyway.

I think no SD card wouldn't be an issue if there were also options for plenty of built in storage - so iphones don't even count as another example, because they've had 64GB options for years. So even if you are saying the Nexuses should be like the iphones, then by that logic, there should be 64GB options.

I manage with the 16GB on my Galaxy Nexus, but it would be nice to be able to just stick all my music on it (~26GB) as well as a load of videos. Streaming music helps, but is of limited use on many people's data allowance, or when in areas of poor coverage, on the underground, or roaming, as well as not being a solution for video. At least there's a 32GB option now, but 64GB would be useful. Still, choice is good - I'm not going to moan too much, as I have the choice to pick one of many other Android phones.

TWO THIRDS of Retina iPad mini shoppers will weep this holiday season

Mark .

"64-bit architecture, durability, ease of operating system upgrades and richness of the Apple ecosystem ... makes the math work."

64-bit? I suspect Android devices will have 64-bit when it's required for RAM, but otherwise it's just a spec - and Android devices are doing fine on things like CPU performance and RAM (the original ipad mini only had 512MB, even budget Android tablets have more).

Durability? Are we using them as bricks to make a house?

OS upgrades, fine on a Nexus 7 at least.

"Ecosystem" is spin for "hardware lock in", something not to be praised. But on apps, Google leads - first to a million. (And don't say there are more apps optimised for an ipad - that's a 10" device, so not optimised for an 8" device.)

We're not value-centric, we got the best device for any amount of money. Even people buying Tesco's value Hudl got a tablet with higher resolution and twice the RAM as Apple's offering of the same time.

HTC chief exec to focus on designing new mobes, sticks Wang in sales etc

Mark .

"HTC has been enduring a slow topple from the top of the smartphone heap, joining mobile-makers like Nokia and BlackBerry, which were once the cream of the mobile crop, at the bottom of the list."

Nokia have indeed toppled all the way from first to second place! It's just that most the mobiles they sell aren't Windows Phone ones, but they're ahead of Apple, second only to Samsung.

Post-PC world? POST-MAC WORLD more like

Mark .

Re: Peak Register

It was the improved technology of mobile ARM processors, RAM sizes, flash storage space and so on that made it possible.

Also tablets were around and popular for years - we just called them smartphones, PDAs or portable media players (which in 2009 were devices with an OS, Internet access and apps - i.e., a tablet).

Apple were the first ones to make a 10" tablet by making a bigger smartphone rather than trying to downsize a PC (something we're only seeing become possible now, largely thanks to Intel's improvements). That's not a technological improvement (making things bigger is usually easier...), but a marketing one. They also had the benefit of vast amounts of media hype and free advertising, whilst Android tablets were ignored until 2012. And we shouldn't forget that Apple said that a tablet had to be 10" - yet now it's shown that 7-8" devices (as well as 5-6" devices come to that) have a huge market. Apple can be credited for spotting the market for 10" ARM devices, but then Samsung can be credited for realising the huge market for 5-6" phones - and who can be credited for realising the market for 7" devices? I never hear any praise for who was first to release that size of ARM tablet.

Mark .

Re: Peak Register

"PC market sales have collapsed 8.6 percent. While Apple's sales of PC form factor devices have shrunk 2.3 percent."

Which means that they have shrunk less than average - but it's still the fallacy of comparing Apple to all other PC manufacturers. So they're not doing as worse as some, but they are doing worse than others, with some even growing according to that article.

Not that there's anything wrong with it, but it also means they aren't immune to the slowed growth in PCs (Macs are PCs, after all - to claim otherwise is just marketing).

"Apple introduced the tablet form factor"

They introduced the first 10" device perhaps - but then, we should also note the first company to introduce the first 7" device, that are now doing well.

There is indeed the point that a slowed PC market for Apple doesn't matter, because they have tablets - but I would extend that to other companies too. The companies making tablets and indeed phones are those making PCs.

The whole "PC market is dying" is a load of media drama. A slowing market doesn't mean it will collapse; a growing market doesn't mean everyone will switch to it. People will buy phones, tablets - and laptops. And since companies like Samsung, Asus - as well as Apple - are making those phones, tablets as well as PCs, they'll do well.

With the increasing number of laptop/tablet hybrids, it becomes meaningless to talk about them separately anyway. Really, these are all personal computers - far from being a decline, we're today seeing an explosion in the market for personal computers, albeit not all of the same form. It's like claiming PCs are dead because fewer people are using desktops - well no, laptops are still personal computers.

Nokia tears devs' hearts out, shutters Symbian and Meego stores early

Mark .

As a Symbian developer myself - on the one hand, I think it is a mistake to not allow updates, and does contradict the 2016 promise. And I think that they could cut costs more effectively by just cutting the often moronic QA, and adopt a more automated application upload model like Google Play. On the other hand, well, I'm being pragmatic, I realised this day was coming sooner or later. The significant event was losing Symbian, which we've known would happen for over 2 years (although it's not like most the media even acknowledged its existence until after the fact). But actually, I wish WP well - whilst I love Android, the market does well with choice and competition. Much of the cost of losing Symbian is because of losing a massively successful OS, with that not being filled by another OS, leaving us with less choice.

This also highlights the problems of having all or most software distributed through a single site. At least it's a possibility to distribute them elsewhere though, on Symbian. This isn't going to make me flock to IOS.

"Nokia ran down most of its Symbian operation sooner than it had anticipated, as sales fell off a cliff"

I think that's a bit backwards - sales held up very well for the first year or so, and IIRC over 100 million devices were sold after the January 2011 announcement of the WP switch. And sales fell because of dropping the support - fewer new models, hardly any marketing, and no or little distribution in most countries.

"We can only surmise that someone forgot about Elop's commitment during the Nokia-Microsoft negotiations, and it fell through the cracks."

Except Nokia phones division isn't yet part of MS, so this isn't an MS decision.

RIP charging bricks: $279 HP Chromebook 11 charges via USB

Mark .

Re: Why? @AC 6:25

I think Chromebooks are a great thing for some people- though I'm not convinced by the "PCs get slower" argument. I've seen Android phones and tablets get slow over time, and I hear people say the same things about old IOS devices too, it's only less noticable because people are used to upgrading every 2 years. If anything, I'd argue it's more the other way round, given that people can use PCs for years, something unthinkable for phones unless it's a cheap dumb one.

Issues such as increased software requirements from the OS, apps or webpages apply to any platform. One of the biggest problems for Windows seems to be people who end up installing ridiculous numbers of browser plugins. If Chrome is immune to this, one could improve things by installing Chrome on any PC they use.

My biggest dislike of ChromeOS was how much of the apps in the Chrome Store didn't work, due to needing native plugins only available for other platforms(!) Still, I'm glad to see alternatives for low cost laptops, and devices with keyboards, rather than just tablets.

Dear Apple: Want to stay in business? Make an iPhone people can afford

Mark .

Only yesterday, we had an article with poor stats spinning things in favour of the iphone (sales in the US). I heard the claim that when there was next an article spinning things the other way, all the Android fanboys would be arguing the other way, taking the article as fact and using it to support their point of view.

Well er, where are they? Whilst the iphone article yesterday had lots of people trying to defend it, there appears to be a complete silence from people trying to defend this article. Maybe the truth is that some of us do care about accurate reporting, and if someone wants to argue for Android, there's a lot better arguments and evidence to use.

Mark .

Re: 2nd hand sales

Actually it's more than that - the older models are still on sale as new, so it's long been the case that Apple have had cheaper models (including much cheaper than the not cheap "C" - I wonder what else that letter might stand for). A few months ago, I saw the ancient 4 going for £15/month on contract.

I suspect that much of their growth has come from people being able to buy at lower prices. When you see quarterly sales figures for Apple, there's certainly not all from the latest model.

Mark .

Interestingly this is exactly the same thing that was said of Nokia a few years ago - there the effect was even more dramatic, not only were their sales were growing, Symbian was also the number one platform until 2011 (which iphone has never been), but the media just reported how they were doomed because their share was dropping (the difference is that, unlike Apple, Nokia were the early starters of smartphones, at one point with as high as 60% or more share, where I don't think Apple have ever been much above 20% - they had some growth in the early years, but have now stagnated and may fall as Android races ahead). Instead back then Apple got all the praise, because they were growing, where as Nokia were falling, by market share. At one point in 2009, Symbian sales were increasing faster in absolute sales than iphones, but the market share still dropped, and so guess who got the positive publicity - statistics can be very misleading. I did wonder if this might turn round and bite Apple at some point - and indeed, it has.

Reinvented the smartphone? The 2007 model wasn't even a smart phone or feature phone (couldn't do apps). They've introduced some new features over the years, but by that, you could say every company has (re)invented the smartphone.

Apple's new iPhones dope-slap Samsung in US

Mark .

Re: 5S and 5C impressive for different reasons

I'm sure it's fine, but the problem is that this small feature is trumpeted as being the best thing ever - and then you launch into your marketing speech praising everything about them - whilst other features for companies are ignored. Why not praise the face-unlock in Android too? (And I don't use the fingerprint scanner in my laptop, not because it doesn't work, but because it's quick enough typing a password; I don't use face-unlock either, finding in pin Just Works fine.)

Same as with "retina" - why aren't you praising every other increase in resolution, before and after, since apart from 2010, it's been other phones that have had the highest resolution?

Most other companies only include technology if it improves things. Everything you say applies to most other technology companies - Microsoft and LG included (I love my LG TV, and I'd gladly upgrade to an LG Nexus). They're not special. Other companies aren't perfect, which as you say isn't any different either.

So to conclude, they're just like any other company - no need to evangelise.

"not merely shovelling raw, unprocessed technology into a box for its own sake"

I'll remember that when I hear someone credit for having the first 64-bit phone. Or going on about "retina".

Mark .

Re: Shall we all bookmark this thread

Assuming we get an article - that's the problem, we only see this vast range of media hype when it's the iphone.

It would be nice to have actual sales data of comparing company or platform sales, over yearly basis, and covering a range of countries, rather than biased reporting (for any side), but evidently such facts and rational reporting has no place in most the media!

Mark .

Re: Stop press! Newer phones outsell older phones!

I agree (endless hype and advertising here in the UK too) - but also Apple have long held the "single best selling device" for years even worldwide I think (which as I say in my other comment, isn't due to higher overall sales than other companies or platforms, but far fewer models). So it's interesting that we've gone from "Always having the best selling device" to "It sometimes does, and sometimes doesn't", even in the iphone's best market, the US...

I think a rough history from the media is:

2007: Apple sell a million in 76 days (let's forget sales of Symbian, Blackberry and even Windows Mobile)!

~2009: iphone sells more than Android! (what's Symbian?)

~2010?: Okay, Android sells more, but Apple sell more than Samsung (who are Nokia?)

2011: Okay, Samsung sell more, but the iphone is the best selling phone!

2013: For this month, in one country, the newly released iphone is the best selling phone!

And when a Samsung device reclaims the lead, mark my words, the trick will be to combine the 5S and 5C sales together as if they were one.

Mark .

Only news when it's Apple...

It's also worth noting that this is just one country, one month (and one survey). So, given the large numbers of countries that phones are sold in, and the 12 months a year, why isn't every time a phone is best selling in a country news? (Especially as the US market has always been very different to the rest of the world - e.g., Nokia never having had much presence, it always being iphone's strongest market, and Android has far less of a lead.)

There's also the point that Apple always do better on individual devices sales, because they have far fewer devices - if we're really comparing Apple to Samsung, then we should compare Apple to Samsung. How do total sales compare I wonder?

From the article:

"The sales stats are striking, seeing as how Apple's new iPhones didn't go on sale until September 20"

Well no, not really, because you have all the rush of early buyers and pre-orders. If anything, I would expect this to favour the phone just released, and it's a known fact especially for Apple that their sales are very seasonal. Will we get a news item if in 6 months' time, the S4 is leading again in the US? And 9 million? IIRC the S4 was 9 million on pre-orders alone, and that was for *one* phone, not two.

Samsung denies benchmark cheating, despite evidence

Mark .

Re: Shamsung give you MOAR!

But Samsung develop their OS on top of Android, and design their CPUs. True, they don't design Android, but Apple don't design the CPU cores, or manufacture important things like the CPU or the displays. Apple do some more things (like the OS), Samsung do some more things (like making the CPUs and displays). I'd argue that Samsung are a lot more vertical in that they take an Open Source OS, and then build, design and manufacturer everything on that, but it's really just a matter of opinion on how you compare. It seems odd to try to compare that one is somehow "better" here. Why is being vertical better anyway - were you praising the MS buyout of Nokia phones division? I don't really care how a company delivers me the product.

Mark .

Re: Shamsung give you MOAR!

Ah I see - when Apple has an advantage, like 64-bits, or vertical integration, it's an advantage. When Samsung has an advantage like frequence, battery, cores, it's "inefficent that they need it". I could just as easily spin it round and say how it's inefficient that they need 64-bits and vertical integration to compete (read, sell half as many phones as Samsung sell Android phones, let alone the other phones they sell).

Maybe we should compare phones on the end results - I know what I prefer. Oh, and if I'm annoyed enough to be turned off from Samsung by this, I'll go with LG, HTC, Sony, or any number of other companies without having to change platform. What's Apple got to do with anything?

Mark .

Re: as a geek

Where as I can type better on a Galaxy Nexus screen than a smaller 3.5" Nokia screen. I don't think there's an overall winner here. But that doesn't mean size has no effect, it means different people will have different experiences. Plus he did say he had bigger hands (and I find bigger screens are nice for all sorts of other reasons).

Different experiences is also why it's good to be able to install different keyboards - and I agree with the other poster, swiping (now standard in Android) can making things much faster (though not everyone gets on with that method).

This point is also worth considering for all the people saying we should throw away our laptops for ipads - imagine, those people having to type the same speed as a small phone screen. I did notice myself that whilst a 7" tablet on my Nexus was better for typing than the Galaxy Nexus, it was only very slightly better (and still nowhere near as good as a real keyboard).

Amazon's EYE-OF-SAURON KindlePhone will watch you with FOUR cameras - report

Mark .

Never mind Amazon, I want a Tesco phone, if the Hudl is anything to go by - reasonable specs, low price, close to vanilla Android, and (unlike the Nexus) a microSD slot. With their brand recognition and media coverage they'll get in the UK, a lot of stores to sell it in, and they have their own mobile network (albeit using another carrier), it could do quite well in the UK...

Third of Brits now regularly fondling their slabs, say beancounters

Mark .

Re: look at the web logs

An interesting point is that Symbian devices are also counted as running Safari mobile browser for some reason, at least on Google Analytics (I know this as my web pages for my mobile apps get a lot of Symbian hits, and these definitely aren't IOS users). Whilst to be fair Google Analytics does recognise it as Symbian when you look at the OS page (which is how I can be certain of the issue), I do wonder if there are any surveys that simply look at the mobile browser, and miscount Symbian as IOS... (Given Symbian was the number one platform until 2011, and outselling iphone for some time after that, this effect could be quite significant, for much of the period when the media were claiming IOS dominated mobile web access.)

Mark .

Re: look at the web logs

So an ipad mini is cheaper than a Nexus 7 if you look at resale cost?

Well fine - I don't care, I can afford to buy the better quality product. I guess ipad sales must be higher because they're cheaper, most people would rather have a Nexus 7 if they could afford it...

Mark .

Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

If a company is supporting the minority of IOS users and not Android, the fault is with the company. The TV companies don't get it - people who download TV can watch it on any device they like.

I'm not convinced there are more "tablet" apps - but again even if it was, the fault is with the companies, not the product. This is ill-defined anyway - smartphones and tablets are the same thing - and if you mean for large screens, then why does an app designed for a 10" ipad work well on an 8" ipad mini, but apps designed for a 5" Android phone don't work on a 7" Android tablet? Funny how having less software was never a valid criticism against Apple for Macs...

And if I want to do something productive, I'm going to be using Windows or Linux, on a device with a keyboard and touchpad, not a fisherpricepad.

Mark .

Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

As a Nexus 7 buyer, I realise I've made a terrible mistake - it's shocking, for only a mere extra £100, I could have got myself something with a much lower resolution, quarter the RAM, slightly heavier, and an ecosystem with less apps. I'm kicking myself, I tell you. I bet all those Hudl buyers are kicking themselves too - I mean, their devices with higher resolution, double the RAM, all just to save a further £120.

(And seriously - when I want something more functional, I use my laptop running a real OS.)

Tesco's new fondleslab winks at Apple's stealthy NFC assassin iBeacon

Mark .

Re: Maybe I'm missing something here...

So, instead of queuing up to have my basket or trolley full of items scanned (which can if I prefer be done without any human interaction, using the now commonplace self-service checkouts), I now have to queue up for someone to check that the items in my basket or trolley now match up with my receipt?

This might work for shops where you buy a single item (though even there, I don't see how it's quicker than the self-service checkouts), but doesn't scale for shops where you might want to buy more than one item.

"Staff can also spend time helping customers rather than just processing payments"

A single person can already keep watch over several self-service checkouts, freeing staff up for helping customers. A single person can't check receipts of more than one customer at once.

Travel much? DON'T buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Mark .

Re: This is a hoax, right? @ Mark .

It's bad in that there's some kind of locking that would say cause problems if you wanted to import a device from elsewhere. On the other hand, it doesn't seem it would cause a problem for people who wanted to travel and pop a local SIM card in abroad, which is what would cause far bigger problems for most people.

I agree the statements are badly worded, it really needs some concrete evidence to see what is actually going on here.

Mark .

Re: This is a hoax, right?

http://sammyhub.com/2013/09/26/european-galaxy-note-3-and-other-samsung-devices-are-now-region-locked/ has an update from Samsung:

"Apparently, it is not region locked as the sticker wants us to believe. According to a new statement given to All About Samsung, an activation in Europe will permanently unlock the device for the user to use in any part of the world."

'200 million' fanbois using iOS 7 just a week after release - study

Mark .

Remember "iPhone 4S fans ruin 3G, calls, texts for EVERYONE"?

Not this Apple-spin masquerading as news again.

1. Quite frankly, who cares - if you want to run the latest Android version, get a Nexus. Otherwise, stop complaining.

2. Remember what happens when the latest IOS is pushed out without the service providers being able to test it?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/11/vodafone_ios6_1_software_problem/ - "iPhone 4S fans ruin 3G, calls, texts for EVERYONE"

3. When Apple release an update, features are still disabled on older phones. So it's misleading to say that all these phones are running "IOS 7", when that may be different operating systems on different phones. On WP, they labelled them differently (WP 7.8 vs 8). On Android, yes it might be a bit more annoying that older phones may not get a newer OS at all, but if they're not capable of running the new features, it's not much difference. Also remember that most Android phones don't run vanilla Android, so comparing Android versions is misleading, instead they run OSs that go on a different release schedule (e.g., a Samsung S4 is already running the latest version of TouchWiz - whatever Android version it's based on. Similarly I don't know if Android 4.3 uses the latest Linux version, but even if it didn't, that doesn't mean my Nexus isn't running the latest OS version, because it doesn't run plain Linux).

4. Let's compare on when different platforms get features, rather than an arbitrary thing like "OS version". Since Android phones already had the IOS 7 features months or years ago, who cares?

Point 2 is a particular issue. If it was just the case that it caused problems for iphones, well you've got the tradeoff between quick updates and full testing, where it's a matter of opinion which balance is best. But when it comes to messing things for *other people* that's inexcusable.

I'm worried that Apple are still allowed to push the updates out despite the risk to other users, and if nothing else, it's a double standard if they are allowed to do this, but other platforms still have to be held up by the networks.

And it's also sad that people are still spinning this as a plus point for Apple, when it has this known risk to *other users*.

Full Steam Ahead: Valve unwraps plans for gaming hardware

Mark .

Re: This is really stupid

But the first iphone couldn't even run apps (nor was it a smartphone), and by the time it did, other platforms like Symbian were full touchscreen (not to mention the other phones like from LG that were full touchscreen and with apps before 2007). Maybe it helped putting an applications downloader on the phones, but then even with every other platform doing that, Apple still is often catered for first for no apparent reason. Perhaps it was that they made it so that you could only release through their store - an insidious business move that thankfully most other platforms haven't followed.

Indeed, the iphone platform is a perfect example of how it could still work for Valve, even without beating the incumbents - the early iphones sold poorly, and Apple have never beaten Nokia and Samsung, but they've still had sales grow over the years, and made plenty of profit from them. Similarly Valve don't need to have an overnight success (which the iphone wasn't, despite what the history revisionists claim), or beat Sony/MS - as long as they have sales which grow over time, they can make money. They can also make money from their store - Google now leads in number of applications, but Apple will still make money.

Mark .

Re: Watching with interest

I was also pleasantly surprised to find that even Intel HD graphics, albeit slow, seems to have much better driver support (the older GMA wasn't just ridiculously slow, but also had problems that certain things were buggy, especially with OpenGL).

Mark .

Re: Watching with interest

The problem isn't that the spec might be upgraded occasionally, the problem is that there might be many kinds of different spec from different OEMs.

Also, things like HDMI and hard drives aren't anywhere remotely near the same kind of hassle (for users and developers) that things like CPU and GPU are.

Samsung unveils Galaxy Note 3: HOT CURVES – the 'gold grill' of smartphone bling

Mark .

Seems like a good idea to wrap round the side to finally give us a real full screen device, though nothing revolutionary yet - I think the killer will be phones that fold out into larger displays.

Reuters: "In January Samsung, which has taken over from Apple Inc as the global smartphone leader"

I'm glad they've recognised Samsung as number one, but they mispelled Nokia again... (not to mention this happened 2 years ago, and is old news - Samsung is well established as the leader now). The attempts to shoehorn an Apple reference into an article nothing about Apple know no bounds.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX: Bezos dives into tech-support MONEY PIT

Mark .

Re: It is a locked-down, readercentric tablet!

Can you install Google Play onto it? That was the big disappointment about earlier models - good hardware, but a shame to fragment Android like that.

British Gas robo home remote gets itself into hot water

Mark .

Re: What a waste of time and money

"what happens if the internet dies?"

I believe you can still control it through the thermostat controls the old fashioned way.

If they get hacked, aren't the account details they already have more of a worry than the heating/temperature? (Conceivably it could be a way to infer if someone is away on holiday I suppose, though seems rather overkill compared to more obvious methods.)

Mark .

Re: What a waste of time and money

When on holiday, it's handy to turn the heating off (which can include after you've already left if you're short of time), as well as being able to turn it on shortly before you come home, so you can come home to a warm house.

At home, it's nice to be able to set a weekly schedule with a big screen rather than using the small thermostat screen with its fiddly controls (and by that, I mean using my 17" laptop, not some titchy phone/tablet - it's a shame they don't have apps for say Windows x86, as it seems odd that I have to reach for my much smaller phone, I never understood this obsession for only providing apps for phones, but at least it can be accessed through a website for unsupported platforms).

So yes, remote control does have it's uses, and it's also more than remote control - it's about providing better user interfaces through standard devices that people already have. Though I'm more sceptical on whether this actually saves heating bills - it now seems all the more easy to turn up the heating whenever I want...

And yes, you're right that some people don't seem to get thermostats - sometimes I have to explain that putting the temperature up higher doesn't make it get hotter faster, rather we should just set the temperature that we want.

iOS 7 SPANKS Samsung's Android in user-experience rating

Mark .

Re: This is clearly bollocks

Oh, I have a personal pet troll, someone criticising other people's history when they themselves post anonymous.

If I'm fanatical about something, it's facts and evidence. Which this study seems to lack. I'd criticise a survey that put Android on top too, if it used this kind of logic. I'd never use such a study in favour of a platform (except in response to another study perhaps, to show how meaningless they are). If the things I criticise often tend to be when people are arguing for Apple, it's not my fault the arguments are more likely to be flawed, or we simply hear more astroturfing for Apple. I'm not the one resorting to insults.

And yes, how absurd that people had choice in their phones, we were clearly all forced into using Android against our will.

I don't think many get Android free (maybe "free" on contract, but that will be even more common on iphones). Not sure what you mean by default - many see iphones as the "default" due to the far greater free advertising it gets. How many people know they have "IOS"? And yes, it is a nuanced market, which is why any attempt to claim that one must be the best is flawed - I'm not claiming any platform is objectively better, just fed up of the astroturfers telling me what I'm supposed to like better.

Mark .

Re: Horseshit indeed.

But he still has a point that it's easy to make mistaken assumptions about what the "average" person wants (who in practice may have very different preferences, as well as very different skill levels). The average person isn't the author of this study. The average person isn't an iphone user either, with more buying Android - and most less-techie people preferring to stick with a phone that has a physical numeric keypad, because they find touchscreens and icons confusing.

Mark .

Re: Only one Android?

But it still doesn't explain why 2 IOS versions are picked.

It also makes it somewhat pointless - if the point of the survey is to say "Hey actually, we think this other platform is more usable", then actually pointing out the other Android UIs/manufacturers would be more useful. A comparison of different Android UIs would have a better chance of being impartial and objective. They'd also be informing people on things they might not be aware of.

And on comparing platforms, it misses one of the greatest strengths of Android, for people to pick what they prefer. It doesn't matter if the authors think Samsung's UI sucks, if another Android UI does better. It makes no sense to ignore simply because they aren't as popular - IOS and WP aren't as popular either.

Mark .

Re: so does that mean

Note though there were high end ultra-portables long before the Air and Ultrabooks. The main problem is one of marketing, with people not being aware of the options. And my 10" Samsung is still more portable than any Air :)

Mark .

Re: This is clearly bollocks

And before that, we had a platform that couldn't even do basic UI tasks like copy/paste - yet I remember the fans telling us how not only was this not a problem, but it was better for it!

The whole thing is nonsense anyway - like, if I want to know what my user experience is, rather than going by my experience as a user, I should instead consult some "analyst"? I know what I like, and so do a billion other Android users.

Glowing Nook knocked to under 50 quid for Xmas

Mark .

"I do wish e-readers would ditch e-ink for something else though."

Get a tablet, then?

New iPhone sells out, millions in hands of lucky fans, Cook cock a hoop ...

Mark .

Re: @Mark

And "the iphone" is not a single telephone, but a whole telephone platform, which is why comparing to Android phones or Symbian phones is accurate. Alternatively, it's all the telephones sold by one company, which is why comparing to Samsung or Nokia telephones is fair. The idea that "the iphone"s "spent years kicking seven shades of shit out of the competition's TELEPHONES before they managed to catch up" is pure fantasy with no factual basis. The iphone 5S that you refer to was not released in 2007.

Comparing individual devices has problems (if one company sells 101 ice creams, whilst another sells 100 ice creams and 100 more ice creams with flakes, you're telling me that the former is more successful?) But if you want to compare by single devices - well firstly, that 9 million is halved, as it's for two devices. Secondly, know what the best selling smartphone is? It's the Nokia 5230, released in 2009.

If you're going to get so enthusiastic about selling telephones (who cares? Do you go on that company X sells more washing machines than everyone else?), at least get your facts right first, so you enthuse over the correct company or platform.

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