* Posts by ThomH

2518 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Android passes iPhone in mobile ad race

ThomH Silver badge

Not quite right...

Per the pie chart in the article, of smartphones there's a 32% market share for iOS and 46% for Android. Smartphones are 60% of the total, so that's 19.2% to iOS, 27.6% for Android. I think your Android answer suffers from being a summation only across the top 30; you have to assume a whole bunch of other handsets are Android powered, which I guess cuts to the issue of the iPhones being lumped together.

ThomH Silver badge


... Apple have their own advertising network in iAds, which is trivially easy to implement in an application and for which most developers will already have suitable payment details set up. Is anybody willing to guess that Apple are supplying any statistics whatsoever for surveys like this?

Ad supported apps may be a larger proportion of the Android Marketplace, but are there really more of them in absolute terms?

I have no doubt Android devices are ahead in the US given that they're cheaper and more widely available (re: carrier exclusivity), I'd just like to know more about how the numbers were collected and can think of factors that could skew them either way.

Open source Java 7 for Mac code appears

ThomH Silver badge

I don't see the anti-competitive angle

Assuming you can't bundle the Java runtime into your app (hence: no other optional install components required), just distribute somewhere other than Apple's App Store. Apple have themselves donated a large chunk of previously proprietary code to help the OpenJDK team start getting up to speed, so they probably have some sort of interest in keeping Java available in some form (keeping university science students on board, maybe?).

ThomH Silver badge

Good for Mac owners

People with much more specialised knowledge are going to be maintaining the OS X port of Java and this effectively makes it an optional install, so it cuts a feature that few use from the list of things you have no choice about the installation of.

I guess the main risk is that, ala VLC, Gimp, OpenOffice and Firefox in the days before 3.0, Mac users are going to get a rubbish second class user experience. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Apple posts dev-only iOS 4.3

ThomH Silver badge

Ah, an American in the house

*cough* "could care less" isn't idiomatic outside of the US... *cough*

Regardless of what the article says, I don't think AirPlay is usable for moving any old output around. My understanding is that bandwidth concerns limit it to compressed video. Since the iOS devices don't really have the stuff to perform video compression as well as whatever else they were already doing, that limits it to video that has already been compressed — i.e. anything you'd currently stream over the internet or add yourself via iTunes.

Google axes Jobsian codec in name of 'open'

ThomH Silver badge

Flip reversing it

Flash supports H.264. Some, but no means all, browsers support H.264. As a content provider, you can (in theory) therefore keep a single encoded video and serve it in either a Flash container or an MP4 container as the browser will accept. Per the current version of Flash, you definitely need that H.264 video in order to reach the majority of end users. So whatever licensing issues may apply to Flash, you're already having to navigate them. From that point of view, H.264 as a supported <video> tag codec is a big technical win.

Of course, I take Google's point that integrating something that is patent encumbered into the core stuff of the web — whether by specification or by common practice — could stifle innovation and raise costs in the future. See also: the GIF debacle. WebM hasn't been litigated yet, which is a worry, but the simple act of muddying the water is likely to be beneficial while the standard is still up in the air. I'm willing to take Google at face value when they say that they expect WebM to be litigation proof; their very selective stands against proprietary technology may be self serving but in this instance Google's best interest aligns with the web's best interest.

What I don't put any stock in is ad hominem attacks on anyone that calls Google hypocritical. Even supposing that all those calling Google's stance hypocritical are doing so through a vested interest in the Apple ecosystem and that Apple themselves take hypocritical positions, how does that exonerate Google?

For my money, the people Google are being hypocrites and we're all benefitting as a result.

ThomH Silver badge

Net Applications would seem to disagree

Android is irrelevant in terms of browser market share. Chrome is the big hitter, and rightly the focus of the story. Per Net Applications, Chrome is the third most popular browser, pushing 10% of the entire market for browsing the web. All the Android devices put together manage just 0.4%. Chrome + Android is about double Safari + iOS, but with the caveat that Chrome (and, usually, Safari, though on some devices you have to install it yourself now) can fall back on Flash support.

iOS versus Android? 1.69% to 0.4%, with iOS up 0.33% during November, Android up 0.09% but by a larger proportion compared to where it started. Neither significant enough in numbers terms to really have an effect.

ThomH Silver badge


"I suspect Apple would not have released their webkit version to the world, if it weren't for the GNU license of its original code that required publication."

This wouldn't seem to fit with Apple's recent release of Clang and their older decisions to open source stuff like Darwin and the entirety of WebKit — including the Javascript interpreter that they developed from scratch and various other bits additional to the stuff inherited from KHTML.

Apple 4 Verizon. True

ThomH Silver badge

It's not Android owners in general

There is a group of people that have issues with everyone different from themselves. They see the world in stark black and white tones. Since they're consumers, some subset of them end up with Android phones and come on places like here to shout at everybody else. Similarly, some subset of them has iPhones and probably another is still very happy with a Nokia 3210.

So it's not Android owners you want to be unhappy with, it's a completely orthogonal set of idiots.

Apple refuses frozen iPhone repair

ThomH Silver badge

You have to assume the iPhone normally works at -11

On the basis that they've sold millions of them over several years, yet this failure is newsworthy. As far as I'm concerned, the story is that Apple's customer support people are acting like asses.

The Girl with the NSObject Class Reference tattoo

ThomH Silver badge

Reminds me of...

"This fictional account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is still of interest to outdoor-minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant-raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other chores and duties of the occasional gamekeeper. Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savor these sidelights on the management of a Midlands shooting estate, and in this reviewer’s opinion the book cannot take the place of J. R. Miller’s Practical Gamekeeper."

— Field and Stream Magazine's review of Lady Chatterley's Lover, November 1959

Apple 'cans restocking fees'

ThomH Silver badge

Restocking fees are just one of the (alleged) reasons

Other reasons for things costing more over here: VAT, the Distance Selling Regulations, higher taxation in general. But we get things like free hospitals and increased consumer rights out of the deal.

ThomH Silver badge

But if he was thinking of the Distance Selling Regulations...

... then it seems a bit odd to single out the UK, given that they are an EU directive. From Google alone, I can find some case law that The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 have been used to quash restocking fees based on the prohibition of terms "requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his obligation to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation;", but without a proper law library at my disposal it's difficult to find anything more specific than that. And the standard Sale of Goods Act and Unfair Contract Terms Act bits prohibit a restocking fee for faulty merchandise, but that isn't really relevant.

Android's Gingerbread finagled onto iPhone

ThomH Silver badge

Don't believe the propaganda

Although Apple products hold their value quite well, I doubt you'd end up paying £500 for a device that originally cost £500 and is now two generations out of date.

If you're looking for a cost argument for this hack (which I don't for a second believe that the team responsible considered at all), it's to repurpose a hand-me-down handset.

Apple unwraps app store for proper computers

ThomH Silver badge

Besides the plentitude of freeware within the App Store

There's macupdate, versiontracker, tucows, etc, etc. In summary: Apple still list and provide free software, lots of people outside of Apple continue to list and provide free software.

Your conclusion is unsupportable.

ThomH Silver badge

It's not a package manager

It's a lot simpler than that. It's just applications. In fact, it's just an application storefront that can download and install the things. And keep track of your licences. But there's no uninstallation and no dependency tracking — though per the admissibility rules there are also no dependencies. But it's a technical difference nonetheless.

This is news because (i) it's the first major push to create an electronic store for desktop software; and (ii) some people fear it points to a locked-down future for Apple's desktops. I don't agree with them, but nevertheless it makes the story more interesting for a bunch of people. The story also contributes to the iOS versus Mac OS narrative.

Compared to a Linux package manager, the newsworthy differences are infrastructure (ie, paid apps, lots of commercial developers and commercial release cycles) and prominence. You're right that, technologically, there's nothing new here.

ThomH Silver badge

Not tied to iTunes (the software)

The App Store is a separate program, though it does use your iTunes login. Sadly the linked terms and conditions (http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/uk/terms.html) still make such heavy reference to iOS devices that I strongly suspect some sort of error at Apple's end. Taking them at face value:

"(i) You may download and sync a Product for personal, noncommercial use on any device You own or control.

(ii) If You are a commercial enterprise or educational institution, You may download and sync a Product for use by either (a) a single individual on one or more devices You own or control or (b) multiple individuals, on a single shared device You own or control."

It's a bit weird that they seem to want you to be a commercial enterprise or educational institution before you can share your software on a shared device, but I doubt you can cherry pick the bits you want so I'd expect it to end up being install on one device for as many users as you want or install on as many devices as you want but only for one user. A reference elsewhere limits each device to carrying software linked to up to five iTunes accounts, but that's even deeper within iOS-worded territory.

ThomH Silver badge

Bigger than you think

I think latest figures are something of the order of 5% of all computers worldwide, 10% in the US across all sectors but something like 25% at retail. Previous statistics from people like 2d Boy have suggested that Mac owners are responsible for around 40% of revenue of indie software in a straight Windows vs OS X comparison.

That all being said, OS X users account for only around 8% of usage of Steam according to Valve. It's unclear what they contribute as a share of revenue, but a very large portion of Steam content is unavailable to Mac users so the comparison is probably hard to calculate in a fair manner.

In any case, a new consumer oriented means to purchase software for Macs only is of real interest to the community. The Mac share of potential customers definitely isn't negligible, even though it may be small.

iPhone-wielding chumps rush to give data to phish sites

ThomH Silver badge

@Lionel Baden

I suspect that "That's simply because unlike a BlackBerry, with the iPhone you actually can browse the net!!" was the AC's explanation of why his claim can be seen to potentially have objective validity.

Alternatively, see the NetApplications report for December (http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8) — iOS browser share is 1.69%, BlackBerry is 0.13%. So if the statistic were 'user of an iOS device' (rather than explicitly an iPhone) versus 'user of a BlackBerry', you'd expect to see exactly 13 times as many of the former falling for scams, all other things being equal.

RIM reveals 4G PlayBook plans

ThomH Silver badge

This is the tablet that requires a BlackBerry?

As in, if you've no BlackBerry then you don't get email or a calendar on your tablet? Or maybe I've fallen for propaganda?

Microsoft embraces ARM with Windows 8

ThomH Silver badge

Another use for their VirtualPC purchase, perhaps?

VirtualPC built a full-software x86 emulator and sold it for the purpose of running Windows on PowerPC Macs, were bought by Microsoft and their core technology is used in the XBox 360 (a PowerPC machine) to run original XBox (an Intel machine) software. If it's not completely PowerPC wedded, is it possible they could use the x86 emulator the same way Apple used Rosetta, to support old x86 apps on the ARM platform?

It's also a fantastic opportunity to emphasise Win32 as the past and .NET as the only way onward.

I wonder how companies like Adobe are going to take the news, being famously bad at keeping up with software transitions.

Amazon Kindles love for Windows and Android

ThomH Silver badge

Works well on my Nexus One

Though even OLED doesn't touch E Ink for comfort. It's a step up from the iPhone LCD though.

Beastly Android will batter Apple's iOS beauty

ThomH Silver badge

Completely agree

"The biggest reason for this consumer adoption is the robust developer adoption Android has engendered." has to be one of the worst pieces of analysis ever published by El Reg. Android phones tick more feature boxes and come at a lower cost. That's the end of it.

Standard smartphone charger to dominate in two years

ThomH Silver badge

Why are people surprised?

Apple ship every device with a USB cable and a wall plug that exposes a USB socket. So the USB charging route is already what they provide. Whether the European standard mandates a male or female micro-USB or whatever, it's just an extra cable. Doesn't change anything about the software stack or the device hardware.

There's a rumour Apple will add a USB socket to the next iPad rather than continuing to supply it as an optional accessory, but that's an orthogonal issue and any such socket would likely be restricted to use with digital cameras, keyboards and audio in/out devices just as the current accessory is.

ThomH Silver badge

The dock connector does more than micro USB

It also carries things like analogue video and line level analogue audio, which facilitate the majority of docks. Replace it with micro USB and you'd either have to add a variety of extra ports or require many docks to add USB, memory and digital-to-analogue hardware.

Of course proprietary is bad and proprietary and licensed worse, but it's like saying that Microsoft should have replaced win32 with POSIX. The two may overlap in some usage patterns but otherwise are designed to provide very different functionality.

Amazon: 'iPad LCD tablets no threat to Kindle'

ThomH Silver badge

A backlight would be a very bad idea

E Ink screens are completely opaque. They don't let any light through. The complete effect of a back light would be some light seepage around the edges and no change to the page. It's like asking for a backlight on a book, if the pages were made of cardboard. What you want is a front light, and it's substantially easier to get close-to-constant lighting across the page if you don't attach that to the device. In summary: with a Kindle you're in exactly the same position as you are with a real book.

School caretaker harassed after Islamists hack EDL

ThomH Silver badge

You're attacking a straw man

The popular press is very slightly right of centre, as have been all the governments here since 1979. It's Tony Blair that attempted to extend the detention limit for terror suspects to 90 days and Tony Blair that essentially made all offences arrestable. "You're either with us or against us" is a refrain of the right, as demonstrated by George W Bush.

Political beliefs may cost you your job but in the general case that's nothing to do with either the left or the right. The mainstream looks poorly upon extreme political beliefs of either leaning and people tend to try to avoid controversy.

ThomH Silver badge


Only once in the last year have the EDL managed a protest without a UAF counter protest, which was September 11 2010 in Oldham. The EDL again attacked a police car.

The normal pattern is that the EDL outnumber the UAF, such as on January 23 in Stoke-on-Trent when 1,500 EDL supporters turned up versus 300 UAF supporters. I guess that wasn't enough UAF supporters to care about because the EDL again attacked the police.

ThomH Silver badge

@kissingthecarpet, anonymous coward

It's not newsworthy, but I think this sort of thing is why I'm not currently employed in a school...

ThomH Silver badge

Speech isn't really the issue

You're free to do or say whatever you want, but the state will intervene if you commit a crime. In this case I think the anti-EDF sentiment is likely more justified by their history of violent marches surrounded by a litany of other public order offences, including direct attacks on police. Wikipedia seems to list 19 in the last 16 months.

Microsoft's Office nagware dead in icy water

ThomH Silver badge

I still don't understand the ribbon hatred

It just moves everything back into drop down menus, with the caveat that menu entries are buttons rather than text. Which is good because people can recognise images a lot more quickly than words. I guess the only caveat is that if you have automatic hiding disabled then the drop down menu doesn't automatically, ummmm, undrop.

ThomH Silver badge

Not really with you on pricing

Even ignoring the introduction of the Home and Student Edition as a replacement for the Student Edition in 2007, which significantly increased the number of people eligible to buy the cheapest version, Office Small Business Edition 2003 launched at $449. Whereas the comparable Home and Business edition for 2010 launched at $279.99.

It is difficult to think of reasons to continue buying it, however. Any copy from the last 10 years will do and there are so many other options now.

Apple iPad vs... the rest

ThomH Silver badge

@M Gale

I suggest you obtain a dictionary. I looked up 'toy' in mine and it seemed not to mention anything about your arguments re: (i) Steve Jobs; (ii) whether a device is locked down, (iii) its price or (iv) a repeat of its price. It seemed to go with a toy being "an object, esp. a gadget or machine, regarded as providing amusement for an adult". Has a netbook ever amused someone? If so then it's a toy.

Maybe you could argue that it's merely a toy? Then the presence of VNC and office productivity applications would appear to prove you wrong. E.g. it has at least one program that can open, edit and save Word files, displaying each page of A4 at very close to A4 size and with which I can interact with via either a soft or a physical keyboard. That's indisputably a full productivity application.

Possibly you want to say that most people use it as no more than a toy, that its problem is a combination of its demographics and the majority of the software available for it? In that case it would seem odd that the productivity applications are the biggest sellers.

So, it is exactly like any other computer in being a toy. It is by no measure merely a toy and use for more serious purposes seems to be common.

ThomH Silver badge

Re: Re: Sales figures say otherwise.

I think you've lost sight of your argument. Are you now arguing that releasing the first product that consumers notice in a particular product area and achieving Playstation-level sales immediately doesn't make that arguably a defining product of the year?

I accept that it's more difficult to establish the iPad as a causative factor in the ongoing demise of the netbook — I'd put the blame there more on a general lack of direction within the market. El Reg originally dubbed them small, cheap computers and all you can say about them now is that they're definitely still computers.

ThomH Silver badge

Sales figures say otherwise

As widely reported, if you (somewhat artificially, but bear with me) count the iPad as a computer then Apple jump from being America's fourth largest computer supplier with around 7% of the market to being America's largest computer supplier with around 25% of the market. Like the product or not, that would appear to be a major splash and a product that is likely to have substantially overshadowed niche parts of the computer market.

Given that those are numerical facts and you supply no evidence whatsoever, I'm inclined to agree with El Reg's assessment.

Microsoft boss to wave tablets in CES faces – again

ThomH Silver badge

One day we'll all reminisce...

"Remember the period 2000—, when Microsoft attempted to gain market traction with tablet computers at CES every single year?"

Google revives ‘network computer’ with dual-OS assault on MS

ThomH Silver badge

And how many years did it take Nokia to ship a phone with a colour screen?

The iPhone had a colour screen from day one.

Please understand the actual point that I'm making.

ThomH Silver badge


The browser that comes with iOS is entirely open and, even if it weren't, third-party browsers are available — including Opera Mini. Your claims are verifiably false.

Angry Birds find new way to take your money

ThomH Silver badge

I'd agree, but...

... the nag screen every time I launch the thing to log in to some online service for high scores and achievements that I don't care about and hence am not willing to give my contact details to already caused me to uninstall Angry Birds.

Apple iPhone 4 vs... the rest

ThomH Silver badge

iTunes does just work out of the box

It fulfils the purposes of syncing your phone, allowing you to purchase music, apps, etc and - if you have one - slowing your Windows PC to a grinding halt. It just works and it just works slowly.

OS X 10.6 includes a faster, neater rewrite of QuickTime (operating in parallel for now, until codec support improves), the Windows version of Safari eventually became a proper Windows application and iTunes appears to use the outdated Carbon framework even on OS X so there is hope for a dramatic fix in the near future. Not that it's much comfort.

iPad to lose weight, gain eye

ThomH Silver badge

So then you'll never buy any product?

This is how Apple works: every year a new version of the product, with a bunch of features not present in the preceding iteration. Most other manufacturers do the same thing, but by supplying the improvements as and when they're available rather than sticking to an annual launch cycle. In any case, any product you buy will be 'less' than the current product a year later by at least one metric that interests you.

ThomH Silver badge


Fragmentation basically isn't an issue here. I'll bet that if Apple do anything then they'll increase the pixel count by an integer multiple, just as on the iPhone. So you don't even get scaling artefacts on software that was hand designed to the pixel on a lower resolution device.

Mozilla vows Google 'Crankshaft' riposte

ThomH Silver badge

Not just that

Mozilla aren't promising improvements, they're promising to match Chrome.

"We're hoping to be as good as the competition in the future, in the areas we're willing to talk about" isn't much of a sales pitch.

Infinity Blade

ThomH Silver badge

A thoroughly uninteresting game

It's not that you can't achieve art in a self consciously constricted piece of genre media, it's just that they seem cynically to have sat down and decided what game the sort of audience that puts a lot of weight on graphics would want to buy.

Nick Cave smashes speed camera with Jag

ThomH Silver badge

This being the Internet and all

There's probably a whole bunch of people that feel very strongly about apostrophes ready to point out that "Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Murder Ballads" (reading the cover exactly as printed) is a statement, not a title.

But not me, because I'm a fan.

ThomH Silver badge

That camera was just one day away from retirement!


Why is Google's new Nexus S like no other smartphone?

ThomH Silver badge


No, they're not cancelling it. One of Boris' first moves was to cancel the existing contracts, but TfL have subsequently put new agreements in place at least up until 2013. It's all a Blairite public private partnership, so the messages about lifespan and cancellation tend to be a bit confused and never completely definite.

Google speeds Chrome JavaScript engine with 'Crankshaft'

ThomH Silver badge

Well into diminishing returns now, surely?

Google still seems to be fighting the last war while Microsoft skipped that one and are aiming to make hardware rendering of interactive content the next flashpoint. I'll wager that however much the Chrome beta reduces Javascript execution time, it's still behind the IE9 beta on canvas content. And I'm saying this reluctantly as a Mac user to whom the IE9 engine isn't going to be available.

Today I'm going to add up the total number of seconds I lose to waiting for Javascript to execute.

White iPhone inbound for spring of 2011

ThomH Silver badge

I'm curious how often Steve does this

Where 'this' is announcing a product they expect to be able to manufacture without actually being completely certain yet. Assuming it has occurred more than just this once, I'd hate to be someone downstream in Apple's design team.

Apple says no to Android-oriented iPad mag

ThomH Silver badge

@James Butler

It wasn't pre-release hype. Apple continued to follow the line that the web browser is how people deliver applications for the iPhone for the first full year of sales. The jailbreaking community and various aggressive blogs forced their hand, and I assume that App Store revenues have cemented their change in direction. However, it's a sign of their attitude in general that I almost feel I have to say that they're dedicated to keeping the browser completely open.

See my post history on other threads for my willingness to jump in when people are making unsupported claims or overreaching on an issue, but on this issue I think the analysis is correct: here Apple are damaging their consumers, damaging their own reputation and damaging the marketplace. Their controlling tendency is going to cost them, even if it takes death by a thousand cuts rather than a single, watershed moment. If I were a serious content producer I would continue to pursue an iPad distribution channel for the simple reason of market share; I would nevertheless ensure that everything I produce is easily portable elsewhere. Pragmatically I'd want to fully embrace the iPad to maximise profits right now, but I'd certainly have an exit strategy in place.

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