* Posts by ThomH

2518 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Buzz: iPhone 5 arrives September 21, demand 'unprecedented'

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Hype

Kudos for admitting your bias, and you're quite right about the pointlessness of unattributed quotes, but Apple's Chinese suppliers also supply all of the major Android manufacturers. The one other company you mention is also notable for having been found guilty of leading a price-fixing cartel as recently as 2010 so I'm not willing to say either is better than the other from an ethical point of view.

Samsung flogs 10 million Galaxy S IIIs in 7 weeks

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Re: Not bad... (@JDX)

Given that Android to iOS marketshare is about 5:3 (source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/02/comscore-may-2012-smartphone/), that's a cheerleading victory for Android amongst The Register's ranks. Apply your own prejudice to decide to what extent, if any, Android users skew towards the technical versus Android users being more vocal versus Apple users being more vocal but Android users really skewing very much indeed towards the technical.

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Not bad...

If anyone thinks specifications other than those that can be perceived directly like screen size sell phones then they're living in a fantasy world. Customer satisfaction is the main factor, both by word of mouth and because salespeople understand that their commission is safer if they push a phone with a low return rate. Hence Samsung are rightly being rewarded for launching the latest in a pretty decent series of phones.

Clock rates, core counts, memory sizes, etc, mean basically nothing unless and until they actually become detrimental to the user experience.

For evidence of this from the other direction, see any of the postmortems on Windows Phone 7. No-one has ever said 'it would have succeeded except that customers are no longer willing to buy single core phones' and of the did they'd be laughed at.

Google Nexus 7 shipping cock-up enrages fandroids

ThomH Silver badge

I don't think they love any of these corporations so just pragmatically buy whichever device they're most attracted to, completely blind to the troll wars that go on amongst certain users in forums like this. I'll wager that 99% of people that pick up a Nexus 7 from, say, the shelves of Tesco, will at no point have a conscious thought about the ethics of Google versus those of Apple or Microsoft.

The brand will make them confident the device is going to work well and the rest of the decision will just be features (as in, actual tangible ones, like 'surfs the web', 'plays Angry Birds', 'can be plugged into the TV', not the child-like 'OMG! It's got a triple-core 987Mhz GPU!') versus price.

More Steve Jobs iPad mini attacks from beyond the grave

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Perhaps not 7"...

When two devices are the same aspect ratio you can just divide the one diagonal by the other and square what you get — that makes 65.49% in my book.

Doing it all at length, a 7" 16:9 screen has a width of about 15.5cm and a height of 8.7cm. Surface area is about 135 square centimetres.

A 9.7" 4:3 screen has a width of about 19.7cm and a height of about 14.8cm. So surface area is about 291.6 square centimetres.

A 7.85" 4:3 screen is approximately 16cm by 12cm, for a surface area close to 192 square centimetres.

So the 7" is about 46% as large as the 9.7" and 70% as large as the 7.85". The 7.85" is about 42% larger than the 7" and almost 66% as large as the 9.7". The 9.7" is about 117% larger than the 7" and 52% larger than the 7.85".

So that no doubt clears everything up!

Sleek new Macs violate fanbois' Retinas with display garbage

ThomH Silver badge

Re: What are you on?

To my great disservice, I've hired developers like that in the past...

iPad Mini maquette spied on web

ThomH Silver badge

Most reasonably expensive cameras are usually 3:2 because 35mm film was (a 35mm frame slightly confusingly being 36mm by 24mm). Conversely, point and shoots tend to be 4:3 and really really expensive cameras tend to ape medium format film so they produce square pictures (in homage to 120/220-style film's 60mm x 60mm).

I agree with the posters above; black borders around some video consumption is not enough of a reason to significantly deviate from standard paper sizes in an approximately paper-sized device that often shows paper-style content, whether actual 'print' material or just the web.

UK judge hands Samsung win for being 'not as cool' as iPad

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Looking for a new job methinks

To cut your argument down to its essence: "Dear everyone who does anything on the internet, I'm afraid that you are a simple person with special needs. Lots of love, AC"

Newton said: "Truth is ever to be found in simplicity"; I guess Newton's works on maths, physics, philosophy, etc, were just aimed at simple people to achieve simple things?

ThomH Silver badge

Simplest solution: allow summary judgment on patent issues. So Apple and Samsung go to court, Samsung argue at a preliminary hearing that 'actually, slide to unlock (or whatever) isn't patentworthy', and if the judge agrees then the patent is invalidated right there and then. If all relevant patents are invalidated then that obviously opens the door to summary judgment on the entire claim.

Ideally there'd then be a separate appeals system for the patent. So if Apple wants to argue that the relevant patents are valid then they can go and do that at their own cost, entirely on their own. If a higher court holds them as valid then they can come back and reintroduce them to the main claim. The main claim can be stayed at the request of a patent holding party for the duration of the patent-related appeals process.

Net effect: if you go to court on a flimsy patent, expect to have to spend your own money defending just the patent while whomever you sued carries on as usual.

I guess patents would have to be extremely simple before most judges would venture that far but at least it would move the centre of the debate.

Apple cracks down on black market in iOS beta passes

ThomH Silver badge

Technically illegal, I think

The developer programme licence limits devices that may be added to your account to those that are actually used for development. The iOS beta is then distributed under a non-disclosure agreement that limits its use to that same class of devices.

That, plus active enforcement, sounds like enough to establish that Apple intend the betas to be trade secrets.

So developers that breach their contracts with Apple are conveying trade secrets without authorisation and those that buy into this sort of scheme are buying trade secrets.

That being said, supposing Apple stop at just having the sites taken down I think they're acting proportionately.

Facebook: Our phone app DID seize your email

ThomH Silver badge

Re: yeah yeah, it was a bug...

Of course it was a bug, and it's just really, ummm, unfortunate that the same bug managed to manifest on both Android and iOS.

Web stat WTF: iOS beats Android 3 to 1, iOS and Android tied

ThomH Silver badge

My reaction is to assume the latter; iOS devices are much more likely to come on a contract with free 'unlimited' data than Android phones. It's a natural result of Apple not being competitive at low price points.

So what conclusions to draw? Nothing we didn't already know: failing to support either iOS or Android is going to cost you a large chunk of your potential market.

Second win for Apple as Galaxy Nexus sales banned in US

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Re: Don't think Samsung will be too upset...

There's a precedent of sorts; Edison managed to collect sufficiently many patents for film equipment that he was able to force a ridiculous array of rules on the nascent industry, including permissible running times, subjects that could be covered and a bunch more. The net effect? American filmmakers moved to Hollywood, about as far as they could get from Edison, and ignored him.

I guess skipping the US would be analogous here.

Half the team at the heart of the RBS disaster WERE in India

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Re: Mr. Wak

The issues related to outsourcing, and highlighted in this article, tend to be about communication and oversight — stemming from the physical distance between one set of staff and the other, and the way that decisions about how to distribute work are often money-oriented and made by people that can largely ignore the consequences.

Conversely, you seem just to dislike Indian people.

It's a nation with a population of 1.3bn so you'd expect a few bad eggs, and if everything else were equal you'd expect failed companies to be significantly more likely to have CEOs and other employees from India than from almost any other individual country. Similarly individual wrongdoers should be much more likely to be Indian, just like people who scratched their left ear yesterday are much more likely to be Indian.

What doesn't follow is that Indians are much more likely to be individual wrongdoers. To argue that is to fall for a trivial logical fallacy — a statement does not imply its inverse, e.g. "thieves are likely to earn less than £1m a year" does not mean that "those that earn less than £1m a year are likely to be thieves".

Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet, Android 4.1 and Nexus Q

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Re: Errr...

No; my memory may be at fault but I think I'm right to say that Android 1.x and 2.x essentially rendered everything in software, including real-time interaction responses like scrolling. No GPU caching at all.

3.x introduced the first version of offloading to the GPU and 4.x has consolidated and updated that so that basically everything happens on the GPU — it's not just a cache for a compositing window manager, it's actually doing the drawing. So it's like QuartzGL or WPF on the desktop.

Based on released benchmarks, it's really good stuff.

Atari turns 40: Pong, Pac-Man and a $500 gamble

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Atari joysticks

I'm a big fan of Atari joysticks; when gripped so that your right hand is nearly flat to the top of the base with the stick at the base of the join between your thumb and your palm, the fire button being under your left thumb I think they're quite comfortable.

Apple iPhone turns five this Friday

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Speaking as a Fandroid (@revisionists)

Starting with the N95 — released more than a year before Apple had an app store — Nokia instigated the 'Symbian Signed' programme, which involved locking those and subsequent handsets down so that they could install signed applications only. By Feb 2008, still several months before Apple had an app store, Nokia announced it would now sign apps only for those paying Nokia a subscription of US$200/year and fulfilling certain other criteria.

That's probably what's being referred to here as a walled garden. It's not as strict as Apple's rules but it's exclusive centralised control nevertheless.

Nokia's documentation on the scheme remains available at http://www.developer.nokia.com/Community/Wiki/User_guide:_Symbian_Signed and a bunch of blogs and news reports to confirm dates are easily found with Google.

Bonking for money to be built into the next iPhone

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Is it needed?

My bank have put contactless payment into my debit card already, despite my complete lack of interest. That said, it's actually proven useful quite a few times — a bunch of lunch places around central London take it, and even a few pubs.

But do I want that in my phone? Not really. It doesn't feel like it would add anything that I don't already have, and it'll probably be completely unclear who I'm meant to ring if the thing is lost or stolen and who is responsible for any resulting charges made that amount to theft, and I'll also have the risk of malware.

I guess it's an easier sell in places like the US where they haven't even quite evolved to putting chips in cards and cheques are still routinely used for all manner of transactions.

Microsoft's Surface plan means the world belongs to Android now

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Typical Asay gibberish

On the plus side, at least his claim that "[In BRIC countries] it's all about Android" followed by a chart showing Android at 29% share versus iOS at 24% in South America and shares of 38% versus 30% in Asia gave the game away relatively early. By his reasoning it's all about iOS in Europe and America (spoiler: it most certainly isn't).

Sony outs Google TV set-top box

ThomH Silver badge


I would have cited the cost, lack of consumer knowledge and the speed at which online services are being integrated directly into TVs, but to arrive at the same conclusion. Even amongst those who want this sort of set top box, at twice the price of the AppleTV and the Roku they don't seem likely to capture any sort of consumer.

Apple's iPhone 5 connector said to be a control freak

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Rip off

Check out the sales figures — there are a lot more people than the tiresome Internet flame brigade buying Apple products.

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Not the first time

You're absolutely right — specifically the port carried both Firewire and USB, the Firewire pins being one source of power that iPods could charge from. The Firewire functionality was removed so those chargers that supplied only via that connection ceased to function.

If they swap connectors, expect adaptors to flourish.

Why I love Microsoft’s vapourware tablet

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Problem is marketing (@fiddley)

Every iOS device released so far has enjoyed at least one new major OS release. Every device manufactured in the last two years is compatible with its 6.

WP7 phones continue to be manufactured now, but not one of them will ever receive the major OS update expected this year.

Are you actually incapable of seeing why the latter deal is significantly worse than the former?

Nintendo supersizes 3DS

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Am I the only person here who likes their 3DS?

I think its main problems are that the hardware isn't as cheap as 'free with a mobile phone contract' and the games then don't cost 69p, despite the perception that many of the gimmicky third party titles aren't even worth that.

It's Android and iOS that Nintendo should view as competition, not Sony.

Apple flat-screen TV to ship by holiday season?

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Unique remote control?

No need to imagine it — just check out a third generation iPod Shuffle (the intermediate one, before they all but reintroduced the previous model).

Pegatron named as Microsoft Surface fondleslab foundry

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Re: @ThomH (@AC)

If you retread my post, you'll see I argue that there's an insufficient distinction between an iPad 2 and Microsoft's ARM tablet. I'm going to take it as given that you're not trying to say the same thing about the ZX81.

Specifically, the two devices are about the same size, have about the same screen resolution, and since the iPad 2 is approximately the same speed as the latest model we're probably talking the same sort of order of performance.

ThomH Silver badge

It's not even roughly the same. The iPad 2 is currently available for $399 — two thirds of the cost of Microsoft's ARM tablet — and is a device on which Apple make a profit. And since it's not the flagship product I doubt Apple would have any qualms about dropping the price if Microsoft became an actual threat. Apart from ports there also seems to be no sufficiently obvious way in which Microsoft's ARM tablet is a better pick.

So, yes, I agree completely. Trying to usurp the existing dominant player with a product that isn't obviously better and isn't significantly cheaper is lunacy. Amongst others, Amazon's approach is much smarter, and I bet they'll have managed at least a European release before Microsoft manages to get any hardware out.

Adobe feeling drained by new model, but hopes things will improve

ThomH Silver badge

Re: People are sick of Adobe

GIMP isn't an acceptable replacement for Photoshop for most professional purposes. The big killers are that they're still working on getting support for more than 8 bits per channel into the main code base, and seem to have no announced plans with respect to CMYK. In terms of many of the professionals that use Photoshop, the extraordinarily lazy official OS X port (ie, it's X11 based*) and out-of-date third party versions (eg, Gimp.app is still at 2.6.0) is an issue too. And that's without even getting started on the interface, which isn't just different from Photoshop but often in direct contradiction to the norms on both Windows and OS X.

That being said, I personally consider it invaluable — entirely as a non-professional, you understand.

(*) which means it takes forever to run, uses widgets with different behaviour from the rest of the OS, fills your hard disk with hundreds of megabytes of 'font caches' as it duplicates functionality built into the OS, etc. It's the way X11 apps run on the Mac I'm complaining about, and nothing more.

Microsoft takes on tablets with keyboard-equipped Surface

ThomH Silver badge

So it's not an iPad, not a Transformer...

... but somewhere between them? Tablets are hot but Microsoft's core computing competency is 'things with keyboards' so what they've done is probably the smartest move they could have made, albeit that moving a lot earlier would have been a lot smarter.

As noted by almost everybody else, success will probably depend on pricing, screen quality and battery life, none of which we yet seem to know anything about.

iOS was SO much more valuable to Google than Android - until Maps

ThomH Silver badge

@Peter 48 (Re: @Bob and lower IQ)

Since 2006 Microsoft have launched Windows Vista and Windows 8. In the same period Apple have launched 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7. Both have their next release planned for this year.

So, totals to the end of this year will be: Microsoft: three releases, Apple: four.

In your estimation, that's three times as many paid-for releases as Microsoft?

Apple 15in MacBook Pro with Retina Display

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Can we please stop calling it the "Retina Display"

I'd rather we didn't use pointless jargon like WUXGA too. It's about as useful as kibibyte.

ThomH Silver badge

Re: ....you failed.

geejayoh — "I know the rights for the Thunderbolt trademark have been transferred to Intel now. But there still has to be something in it for Apple."

To summarise your argument: if we take it as given that Apple is evil then that leads inexorably to the conclusion that Apple is evil.

Apple must be tried for the bug in every fanboi's pocket

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Lies

Third party apps definitely were able to make use of the data, though I think not directly on the device. Applications running on a Mac or Windows PC could slurp it out of iTunes device backups (unless the user had chosen to encrypt them, but unencrypted is the default and there's no click-through prompt or anything like that).

Apple juggernaut cranks out big, big numbers

ThomH Silver badge

Re: 1,700: New APIs in OS X Mountain Lion

They seem to conflate new methods with complete APIs — so if they had added, say, the method arrayByAddingObjectsFromArray:range: to the object NSArray (which they wouldn't, because it'd be redundant) then that counts as a new API.

ThomH Silver badge

Re: A question on the subject of pixels

To add briefly to those that have commented above on why a camera's 5 megapixels usually don't look very good; the Bayer filter used by 99.99% of cameras has an extremely low entropy and hence introduces significant aliasing. Almost every camera with a Bayer filter therefore performs lowpass filtering as part of the demosaicing process (the main exception being Leica, Leica owners generally being aware of the issues and able to do what they think is intelligent in software after the fact).

So cameras explicitly go out of their way to ensure the 5mp contains less information than it could, even if sensor size, quality of lens, etc, weren't problems.

ThomH Silver badge

Re: All that and no new Mac Pro

I still find the assertion that it's impossible to program with a two-year old GPU laughable (though possibly my memory is at fault; did they have programming before 2010?) but it seems Apple have sided with the critics for once. The 'new' text has been removed from the Mac Pro on the official storefront.

ThomH Silver badge

Re: All that and no new Mac Pro

On the contrary, Apple launched new Mac Pros today.

Despite your assertions to the contrary, I think that most developers, like myself, will be insufficient interested even to be able to tell you what's changed.

iPhones, iPads to be FULL OF FACEBOOK and NOT GOOGLE

ThomH Silver badge

Re: auto stuff

Shush! You'll get yourself banned from reading Apple news!

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Apple introduces 'next generation' MacBook Pro with retina display

ThomH Silver badge

Let's have screen resolution become a talking point, please

So that the industry can move on from its screen resolution plateau. I don't particularly care that Apple have moved first — it really says more about their category of device (ie, the expensive end of the market) than anything else.

Android activations near a million a day

ThomH Silver badge

900,000 isn't unrealistic. According to the best figures I can find quickly, during Q1 2011 Apple sold about 378,000 iPhones a day and 157,000 iPads. I've no idea about iPods, but presumably if we were to assume that in Google's terms each device gets counted as a single activation then we can conclude that Apple — then already behind Android in shipment totals — were doing at least 525,000 per day a year ago.

So for the OS that outsells Apple in a rapidly expanding market to be doing 900,000 a day a year later seems entirely realistic.

ThomH Silver badge

Re: I'm guessing Apple are rewriting their slides as we speak.

Apple's figures have so far always matched between public announcements and those required by law to be accurate (earnings calls, audits, etc).

Insider cuts into Apple, peels off Intel Mac OS X port secrets

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Oh, c'mon.

You mean other than the kernel, the drivers, the windowing system, the binary format, the filing system and the system- and user-level libraries?

At last! The Wi-Fi chip that'll beam video from mobe to telly

ThomH Silver badge

Re: QoS fail?

It sounds like it may be so that the computer and the display device can set up a little ad hoc network of their own, meaning that nobody else ends up suffering because of the high bandwidth stuff going on elsewhere.

16GB BlackBerry PlayBook flushed away by RIM

ThomH Silver badge

Fact check

A search on Amazon for the Playbook reveals the price difference between the 16gb and 32gb Playbooks to be $85.69. On Apple.com the difference between the 16gb and 32gb iPads is $100. I'd suggest that the step up is therefore a very comparable size. Though you'd be an idiot to take it because the 64gb Playbook is then a mere $21.39 more than the 32gb (versus another $100 between the respective iPads), which I assume is the sort of difference you were referring to.

Those are all at the actual street prices, of course. The Playbook's RRPs appear exactly to mirror Apple's.


ThomH Silver badge

The OS wasn't that much of a performance problem

The Classic OS didn't preemptively multitask, so it used CPU cycles only when you let it. The routes it exposed to the video and audio hardware also weren't all that much of an issue.

More of a problem was the Mac's high resolution display. As per the article, the small portion of the screen given over to the 3d display in the original Marathon was 320x240 — already larger than Doom's entire screen, at a time when pixel painting was definitely the bottleneck.

The Mac versions of classic games are usually worth checking out though. You're not going to find 640x480 versions of Prince of Persia, Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, etc, anywhere else.

Leaked Apple inventory list hints at new non-iOS hardware

ThomH Silver badge


The sad thing is, the new models probably won't even be more expensive. They'll probably be indistinguishable but for incremental component improvements.

That being the case, and I can now see that El Reg has done basically everything it can to turn what would otherwise be a single sentence into an entire article. But when's the last time the release of a new computer really excited anybody?

ThomH Silver badge

Reporting for the Where's Wally generation

The game: try to spot the story amongst the tedious playground bile.

Apple quietly reveals iOS security innards

ThomH Silver badge

Re: iOS is 100% unhackable

I think you're living in the realm of the straw men; this document does not claim that iOS is 100% unhackable. It merely documents that Apple has taken many of the steps that the industry advocates in order to secure their OS.

The only person you'll hear an unhackable claim from is an inveterate troll. You can point them at the latest jailbreaking tool if you want instantly to win that argument.

Strong ARM: The Acorn Archimedes is 25

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Memories... (@Cupboard)

Could that have been one of Europress's Fun Schools?

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