* Posts by ThomH

2288 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Behold iOS 11, an entirely new computer platform from Apple

ThomH

Re: Typos a Gogo!

"I come from the past and can see that much has changed. Tell me, what are these strange metallic boxes that now dart down every street?"

"Why, those are cars! Did they not have those where you come from?"

"Sure, we had cars. But these are nothing like the cars of 30 DAYS AGO!"

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ThomH

Re: Is this a step backwards?

No, it's fine, because it's not a "proper files app" in the sense of the Finder. It primarily allows you to navigate your iCloud, Dropbox, etc storage and maintains local caches of that, providing applications with pipes into and out of that conceptually remote storage. It doesn't expose the native file system. You can't investigate /Applications or /Library or /usr/bin anything else. iOS-level sandboxing still applies.

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Sacre bleu! Apple's high price, marginal gain iPhone strategy leaves it stuck in the mud

ThomH

Re: £1,149

Per Apple, FaceID doesn't work if your eyes are closed. Or you can hit the power button a few times to disable FaceID until your security code is entered as you see the police approaching.

Or you can just rely on it not really working very well.

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Apple: Our stores are your 'town square' and a $1,000 iPhone is your 'future'

ThomH

Re: These "new" iPhones

No, you're wrong. The demoer used a from-offscreen-bottom swipe to dismiss the current application rather than an on-screen home button.

So to answer your entirely-proper question: Palm.

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

ThomH

Re: Sound @SpeakNoEvil

I'm not persuaded I agree on DACs: I don't actually agree with the decision to remove the headphone socket but given that it's gone, the only analogue output a modern iPhone has is its built-in speaker. You're not going to get any benefit out of putting in a good DAC for that.

Incidentally, I checked: third-party DACs are available. You don't have to use the $9 one Apple sells. For those with a real love of cables, USB DACs like the Dragonfly are usable via the lightning to USB adaptor.

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Mega VR roundup: Lots happening in the virtual and real worlds

ThomH

I just switched jobs from one that provided a Vive and an appropriate computer in my home to one that does not. So mine has been returned. But it was just just occupying space so no big loss — the novelty wore off pretty quickly and the things it adds through freedom of movement (within bounds) and a more immersive display just run against the things it takes away, such as the ability to use software for more than twenty minutes without nausea, or to do anything that requires you be less immersed, like have a conversation. We hadn't used it in months.

I think it'll end up like 3d cinema though. It's not an expensive thing to add, and a certain audience will continue to want it. You just might have to pay an extra £10.

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Apple pulls massive HomeKit chip U-turn to keep up with Amazon Echo and Google Home

ThomH

It's HomeKit news, so: if a tree falls in a forest, etc. Home automation is the biggest consumer hit since 3d television.

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systemd'oh! DNS lib underscore bug bites everyone's favorite init tool, blanks Netflix

ThomH

Re: I wonder what the excuse will be this time.

I searched and discovered that per its authors: "[i]n contrast to the glibc internal resolver systemd-resolved is aware of multi-homed system, and keeps DNS server and caches separate and per-interface". So the justification for a new resolver was machines with multiple active interfaces, that possibly go to different networks.

The justification for bundling that new resolver with the init system? No idea. For distributions switching to it despite it not functioning very well? Clueless.

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Tapping the Bank of Mum and Dad: Why your Netflix subscription is poised to rise (again)

ThomH

I think the problem with that theory is that between 2015 and 2017 Uber's share of the market declined from 92.32% to 78.23% by spending, from 89.59% to 75.31% by total rides.

So the pitch is: hey, we're a well-known company although we're not currently profitable, and our market position is declining. Please invest?

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ZX Spectrum reboot firm gets £52k court costs order quashed

ThomH

Re: The best justice in the world?

Who benefits from decisions being open to appeal, and being made only after substantially more enquiry than asking a stranger what they think after reading a few hundred words? Almost everybody. The few cases that end up being ridiculous don't outweigh the hundreds of thousands that quietly and rationally reach an unglamorous conclusion. Especially since the Woolf reforms a couple of decades ago, which actively reward reasonable behaviour.

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You know this net neutrality thing? Well, people really love it

ThomH

Re: it's NOT the FCC's job - that's why

You don't agree that internet communications occur by radio, wire or cable, or you don't agree that they run between states? Or maybe you're speaking out against the Communicatioms Act 1934 that frames the FCC as a body that protects consumer access to those sorts of communication tools?

12
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WebAssembly fandom kills Google's Portable Native Client

ThomH

Re: I'm curious

WebAssembly is a byte code. It's executed via JavaScript only if your browser doesn't support WebAssembly natively, in which case a reference implementation of the WebAssembly machine in JavaScript is available.

So it's different from asm.js as that was just a JavaScript subset. A hypothetical browser could run WebAssembly without a JavaScript implementation.

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PAH! Four decades of Star Wars: No lightsabers, no palm-sized video calls

ThomH

Re: Bah!

When I was at school, we were told that we were not allowed to end stories with "and it had all been a dream."

Therefore the most popular ending became "and it had all been a dream. So I went downstairs and had breakfast."

1
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Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap

ThomH

Re: And still shovelling Android

I prefer iOS to Android enough to pay the difference and accept the restricted choice but if anybody is offering €5k/month then I'll switch. Fee negotiable, can discuss goods in lieu of payment. But call fast, as my availability is limited.

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Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web

ThomH

I'm more annoyed by the AMP interface while I'm on a page. That huge header that sort of tries to implement similar appearance/disappearance behaviour as my browser bar but gets it all wrong so as just usually to be in the way, and the way that the slightest hint of a leftward or rightward movement in your scrolling causes you to push the content left or right, unlike every other scroll area in the OS where some intelligent leeway is applied.

Actually, "decided to reimplement something the phone does natively, got it wrong" is a recurring theme of Google. Witness the scrolling on the mobile version of Google News, or the back button behaviour in the beta Material version of Youtube.

I'd vote with my feet by disabling AMP if I could. It's something I want about as much as Google+. Maybe I should just take the hint and find a new search engine?

12
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TensorFlow: I want to like you, but you're tricksy

ThomH

Re: Did I understand the example?

Nevertheless, I am suitably ashamed given the simple explanation that it's about generalising patterns across lots of users, not about building up a concept of each individual user. Kudos to Seajay#.

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ThomH

Did I understand the example?

As phrased, it appears the author attempted to determine the relationship between users and their feelings towards the arbitrary IDs that were assigned to films they like*. "Oh, this user liked 1248964 and 2569964? Then clearly they'll like 15673964. Whatever it may be."

I guess that if IDs were increasing and assigned at time of release you might figure something out about the user's favourite periods. But if they're GUIDs then, ummm...

* as "The dataset consists of rows of data with a user ID, a film ID and the user's rating of the film. [...] although the dataset includes details of the films ... this information is not used at all by the model."

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Don't stop me! Why Microsoft's inevitable browser irrelevance isn't

ThomH

Chrome uses Blink, which is not an acronym, which is zero years "ahead" of WebKit as both are actively developed. Both are GPU accelerated.

A six-year old presentation on the GPU rendering deployed by WebKit: https://www.slideshare.net/joone/hardware-acceleration-in-webkit

At random, one of the many WebKit bug tickets that has been resolved within the last week: https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=171129

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ThomH

Re: It won't be seeing my computer

Installing Chrome in 2017 (on a Mac, at least) is like installing Microsoft Office was in 1997: it'll fill large parts of your UI with undesired mess (e.g. creating separate Launchapad icons for Gmail, Google Maps, etc) that it periodically automatically reinstates, and you can chuck an extra minute onto machine startup time as it aggressively squirrels its update service into your machine startup process.

So it won't be seeing my computer either.

(Evidence: http://www.cio.com/article/2993065/os-x/os-x-el-capitan-remove-unwanted-google-chrome-apps-from-launchpad.html https://www.wireload.net/products/guu-google-update-uninstaller/ )

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Another ZX Spectrum modern reboot crowdfunder pops up

ThomH

Re: Rick Dickinson

Bod's right, despite the voting. The video makes it clear that they've added some new video modes but that's it. Removing the clash from old titles automatically is a reasonably hard problem; pixels and colours are in separate locations so they're not adjusted atomically. Many games write pixels for sprites but not colours. So you've got to make guesses as to which colours go with which pixels probably by temporal properties. But if it's flick screen, maybe it sets all colours to black, draws the entire frame of the next screen, including initial sprite positions, then sets the real colours to avoid visible setup. So then the two things are really quite far apart and are separated by an action you'd like to capture distinctly.

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ThomH

Re: SAM Coupé beat them all by decades

It sounds like the Next's FPGA will be configurable as multiple targets; the FAQ explicitly says not the Sam from launch, but possibly later. So there's some hope.

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ThomH

Re: Rick Dickinson

The Spectrum + and the original 128kb looked much like the Next does, taking cues from the QL. Though they were probably the least-seen Spectrums, sandwiched briefly between the original and the Amstrad versions.

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ThomH

Re: Why?

Whether it's an emulator could get a bit semantic (it's clearly not a software emulator, but via software is not the only way to be an emulator). It's the same cause and effect though: a reimplementation of the derived specification, the accuracy of which depends more on the implementation than anything else. So it's how much you trust the creators.

That being said, it would technically be a better rendering than my computer because my computer runs at a fixed 60Hz, unlike the Spectrum's 50Hz. It could also technically beat a Raspberry Pi as usually configured if the inputs and outputs don't accrue USB latency.

But I'm not sensitive enough to notice the latter, and am not sure the former even bothers me all that much.

2
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Base specs leak for Windows 10 Cloud – Microsoft's wannabe ChromeOS assassin

ThomH

Re: Me Too! (?)

The HoloLens is a unique offering; it doesn't seek to replicate an existing competitor, and offers something of value for a variety of industrial applications. I guess the Magic Leap will be the main competitor but right now you can buy a HoloLens evaluation kit, you can't buy a Magic Leap anything.

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Trump's self-imposed cybersecurity deadline is up: What we got?

ThomH

Re: STOP THE PRESSES!!!

As in:

Read my lips, no new taxes. I did not have sexual relations with that woman. There's no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.

That's the last 30 years covered. Is everybody happy now?

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Game authors demand missing ZX Spectrum reboot royalties

ThomH

Maybe you just didn't hear the phone go because you had the music track from Side B of Confuzion turned up too loud?

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H-1B applications down after Trump's 'American techies first' rhetoric

ThomH

It's not just the H-1B, it's all visitors

Per The Washington Post, "[t]he result [of a strong decline in interest in flight purchases] could be an estimated 4.3 million fewer people coming to the United States this year".

Given that, I think the factors causing a decline H-1B applications will not uniquely be potential changes to the H-1B programme.

8
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Apple nabs permit to experiment with self-driving iCars in Cali

ThomH

You think Apple's take on an autonomous car will be KITT?

0
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ThomH

Re: Only one button on the dash...

Or, if it's anything like the one button on my iPhone, it fails to recognise your finger more than half the time, and then opens Siri when you try to summon the pass code screen. As obviously a swipe to unlock was too easy.

3
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iPhone-havers think they're safe. But they're not

ThomH

Re: Any indication

One of the activities that amounts to spyware per the article is merely monitoring location; that's permitted by the iOS SDK because it's useful, and if you were consuming the coarse updated only, wouldn't show the GPS activity icon because they're based on cell tower signal, not GPS. So there's no need to have rooted or hacked anything — you can be doing exactly what Apple intends to permit, quite possibly on purpose, and still be considered by Nokia's software to be suffering from spyware.

1
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Yet another job menaced by AI! Uh, wait, it says here... Dance Dance Revolution designers

ThomH

Re: Easy!

Although us Brits spend ours reversing around corners and parallel parking, the reversing portion of the Californian driving test is merely: reverse in a straight line. So you need to employ all of your spatial abilities and focus on remembering NOT to turn the wheel while also keeping your foot depressed.

I'd dare imagine those of us who have taken the Californian test would excel at the DDR version of 4'33".

2
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'Clearance sale' shows Apple's iPad is over. It's done

ThomH

Re: Education PC seller says Apple is no good in that market

The Apple II didn't just fail to see much international usage in education, it generally didn't succeed internationally. But its method of colour generation* doesn't map to the world beyond NTSC** so that's not so surprising.

* a pixel clock that is four times the NTSC colour clock, with the developer required to store a suitable pattern of pixels to create appropriate colours. So a hypothetical PAL version would need a clock rate around 20% faster, and developers would need to rewrite their software for a different aspect ratio display and to deal with the phase alternating part of PAL.

** although the Oric pulls a similar trick, outputting four discrete levels for per colour clock (assuming a solid colour; the clocks are asynchronous), it does it in hardware via a small colour ROM. The programmer just asks for colour N, and the rest is taken care of.

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New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature

ThomH

Re: Meh!

Maybe we should discuss in late December whether this really was " it for the year in terms of 'new' ... stuff from Cupertino"; I'd be highly surprised if the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone passed without Apple doing something interesting (for Apple's definition of 'interesting') to the design.

My primary problem with the iPad is that they're on the iOS deprecation curve. My computer is a 2011 MacBook Air. I am aware that it is a little slow and that RAM is constrained but it's running the latest OS and applications at a workable speed. I'll upgrade at some point because I'm still an active Mac user. The iPad we have is a year younger, being the third-generation model, but cannot run the latest version of the OS and is a dirge with the version of iOS 9 that represents its last gasp. As a result I'm unlikely to upgrade, because I essentially no longer use an iPad. So why buy a new one?

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Bloke cuffed after 'You deserve a seizure' GIF tweet gave epileptic a fit

ThomH

The story is: someone set up an account with a name intended to deride a particular religion, then sent the message "You deserve a seizure" to a known epileptic along with a seizure-inducing image.

... so you've decided to blame the victim and add an extra paranoid dig at his religion. It's pretty easy to disagree with your assessment of this story.

The sad thing for the rest of us is that people with nothing to contribute to the world have a lot of spare time for Twitter.

13
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Huawei's just changed the way you'll use Android

ThomH

Re: This one amazing trick...

In the early noughties, David Bowman was a promising astronaut on his was to Jupiter. You won't believe what he looks like now!

0
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Shopping for PCs? Ding, dong, the Dock is dead in 2017's new models

ThomH

Re: For the USB "Which side is up?" crowd...

Just look at the cable: the side with the USB logo is up. Problem solved unless your cable cleverly carries the logo as black plastic on black plastic and/or your port is vertical.

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Up close with the 'New Psion' Gemini: Specs, pics, and genesis of this QWERTY pocketbook

ThomH

Re: It was the software that made the Psions so great

This reflects my feelings; the Psion worked well because of the combination of hardware and software. Producing a modern version of the hardware alone isn't the main part of the task.

There's a System 3 emulator that escaped from Psion beach in the day for DOS compatibles; you could DOSBox away the problem if only needs hadn't changed. But now the first thing somebody is going to ask for is email, then the ability to edit those Word documents and Excel spreadsheets that he keeps getting by email, then why not throw a browser on, then please just show a normal desktop. So I don't really think you could recapture what the device was.

1
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Nokia’s big comeback: Watches, bathroom scales, a 3310 PR gimmick, Snake, erm...

ThomH

Re: Makes you wonder

It's not just Google that benefits from Android; Microsoft makes quite a lot of money too, via patent royalties.

0
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Artificial intelligence 'will save wearables'!

ThomH

Re: You'd need a generation of early adopters first...

Isn't that what the Pebble was?

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Omg, that is, like, sooo 2007... Retromania set to grip this year's MWC

ThomH

Says it all about smartwatches

The two use cases suggested — discreet step counting plus a buzz whenever I receive a message — are just about all I am interested in. But then why would I buy a smartwatch at all?

1
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Elon Musk promises Tesla investors Trump won't send him to Mars

ThomH

Re: At Tesla forever?

With Jerry Van Dyke to star in the short-lived sitcom spin-off?

0
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Nokia's 3310 revival – what's NEXT? Vote now

ThomH

Re: 3 1/2 inch floppy drive?

My understanding, from The Italian Job, is that only the country's topmost computer expert is sufficiently qualified to replace the reel-to-reel tape on a computer.

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ThomH

Re: Snoop-proof

Sir, your Snake score is in the same range as those discovered on the handsets of previous national threats. Therefore we are detaining you as a national threat.

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Vinyl, filofaxes – why not us too, pleads Nokia

ThomH

Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

If there are only 13 options then you can store log13(2^56) digits, which is around 15.13.

1
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Microsoft foists fake file system for fat Git repos

ThomH

Re: Git Submodules?

One suspects that the Windows repository has been ported from repository to repository going back to time immemorial and is not modular because an earlier system did not allow it to be modular, and it'd now be an unfathomable amount of work to refactor.

0
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Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

ThomH

I believe it's (i) a courtesy to the departing actor, who doesn't need to be coy about seeking work; and (ii) a convenient opportunity for marketing.

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ThomH

He could finally clear up the average episode's ambiguity as to whether it is Christmas?

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ThomH

Re: Absolutley Brilliant

Just do a Never Mind the Buzzcocks/etc and line up a series of single-episode guest Doctors?

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ThomH

Re: Not that bothered..

Joseph is tied up with US-based time travel right now, alas.

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Apple weans itself off Intel with 'more ARM chips' for future Macs

ThomH

I'm pretty sure they spun-off ClarisWorks

Didn't they? Suggested correction: "The Cupertino maker of HyperCard".

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