* Posts by veti

3015 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

PayPal founder funds 'tornado-driven' power plant

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Re: That technogy already exists.

No, CHP is different. That's when you take the heat output and sell it as heat, which is incredibly efficient if you happen to have someone or something nearby that wants a lot of heat.

What the GP was talking about was "combined cycle" generation - you take the waste heat from your primary generation process, and and use it to generate yet more electricity, thus increasing your overall efficiency.

Two entirely different principles, and not entirely compatible with each other (i.e. you can't do both with the same plant, at least not without seriously compromising efficiency).

Vatican shrugs off apocalypse, fiddles with accounts dept

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Re: Flat Earth Experts

They were better informed "then", than you appear to be now.

Clue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

Frack me! UK shale gas bonanza 'bigger than North Sea oil'

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I noticed that. There's a weird superstition grown up in America, which the author seems to buy into, that 'energy self-sufficiency' has some relation to 'cheap fuel'.

Newsflash: gas, like oil, is a global market. If world prices double, what makes you imagine that people who produce it in the USA will continue to sell it there at depressed prices, when they could easily multiply their profits by exporting it?

And yes, of course the oil companies will continue to make obscene profits. How else could they continue to buy off their own investigators? To say nothing of the press.

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Re: Lobbying

I for one am glad that Shell and BP are spending money on renewables, both from an environmental perspective and as someone who wants those companies, as pillars of the economy, to have a future.

Like when IBM branched out from making manual typewriters into computers - it makes perfect sense that they should research the next generation of technology, even while they're still making money from today's.

In 30-40 years' time, I like to think, neither of those companies will still be considered an 'oil' company. They'll have reinvented themselves as 'energy' companies, and will be household names as purveyors of solar panels and wind turbines and inverters and batteries and all that jazz. And that's a good thing, and we should applaud it.

Pentagon hacker McKinnon will NOT be prosecuted in the UK

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Re: Re His decade of stress ends today

It's worse than that. According to US law, they have absolutely no problem with snatching him off the street in London, bundling him onto a plane and flying him out to the US without even telling the British authorities or government what they're doing.

Upon arrival, they can (of course) prosecute him for whatever they want, up to and including "entering the US illegally".

See http://catherinem.wordpress.com/2007/12/31/right-of-extradition-of-british-nationals-to-usa/ for more details.

London Blitz bomb web map a hit-and-miss affair

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More than that: reports may have been deliberately falsified, so as not to give the enemy too much feedback. This was definitely done for the V-1 attacks in 1944 - the army, via the War Office, told the press to report the sites and times of attacks as they (the War Office) told them to report, not as actually described by witnesses. The idea being to mislead the Germans about where their bombs were falling.

I don't know if any similar programme applied during the Blitz, but it's not impossible.

UK climate expert warns of 3-5 degree warmer world by 2100

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Re: Tipping point

Okay, one of those links mentions a genuine (and long acknowledged) goof by the IPCC. The other - points to a general-purpose propaganda hash by Lewis Page that, as usual, completely fails to cite any specific examples of anything.

I should, perhaps, moderate my earlier statement. Of course you can say whatever you like. What got to me was your challenging of your own downvotes, basically criticising others for failing to refute an argument that you haven't even made.

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Thumb Down

Re: Tipping point

Oh, fercryinout...

Look: you don't get to say "I remember all the times various unspecified people were wrong, so now I demand citations to prove that the people I don't believe in are right".

When you can properly cite the "back peddling [sic] and many failed (and some hilariously bogus) predictions" that haven't come true, then maybe someone will take the time to refute your examples. Until then, you can eat your downvotes like a good little anonymous coward.

Court ruling means Kim Dotcom can sue NZ spooks

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Re: You can sue anybody

Really? When exactly did Congress vote to fund an agency to violate the sovereignty of friendly countries, to tap the phones of civilian businessmen, in order to enforce Hollywood's copyrights? Perhaps you'd like to nominate this agency as a candidate to be thrown over the fiscal cliff.

And when you've researched the answer to that, perhaps you could point to where it says that the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply to "foreigners of the US".

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There's a reason for that

It does happen - remember Dmitry Sklyarov? - but 'nice people', by definition, are not publicity whores and don't know how to milk it like Dotcom does.

Dotcom is scum, but he knows how to play the media. Oops, sorry, that should be: "Dotcom is scum, and therefore he knows how to play the media."

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Kim Dotcom wouldn't know what "the high road" was, not if you gave him your car keys and an iPhone to navigate and told him it was the way to eternal bliss. The man is a natural-born bottom-feeder.

Being responsible, creative and motivated means you aren’t

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Words Employers are Most Likely to Search For









'Facebook is completely undreamt of even by the worst spying nation'

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Re: Hypocracy

Yeah, well... if you happen to know the addresses of any would-be legislators "who will act more honestly", please do share.

We've looked, and frankly it's a gruesome choice. Most people with the brains to understand the tax system are too busy making money to want to change it; and most people who do want to change it, don't understand it, and therefore vote for their choice of knaves, idiots or lunatics who believe or claim they can do something about it.

Chinese student fails job interview because of iPhone

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Re: depends


Or possibly one interview question took the form "So, what have you been doing since your finals?", and the answer was "Writing this iPhone app, see here...". Or maybe it was "How do you manage your time?", and the answer was "I keep my to-do list right here". I can think of a dozen interview questions that might reasonably provoke me to whip out an iPhone, if I had one.

But if I were this guy, would I really want to work for a place that admits to working people like slaves, and appoints peons like this interviewer to positions of authority? I'm thinking he had a lucky escape.

Adobe demands 7,000 years a day from humankind

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Re: Much ado about nothing

The difference is that I can go to the corner shop and buy a book of stamps, without being asked to sign a form saying that I've read and understood the Montreal convention. Same with the other examples you cite.

And I seriously doubt if the EULA has any effect whatever when it comes to disclaiming the sort of responsibility you're talking about. So far as I can recall, the makers of typewriters never felt it necessary to include disclaimers in case someone used them to write bollocks. In order for Adobe to be at risk in the situation you describe, I'd have to show that when I typed and checked the formula, it said one thing, but when you viewed and printed it, it had transformed into something quite different. In that situation, I honestly think Adobe would have some explaining to do, no matter that their EULA clearly states "This software doesn't actually work, for any meaningful or reliable value of 'work'."

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Re: Good to see someone noticing...

I think that started pre-Blair, but I wouldn't like to say exactly when. I remember John Major's administration was pretty laid-back, morally speaking. Looking back, I think we could pin quite a lot of blame on 'Yes, Minister'. That was the show that set, for a generation, our base expectation that public servants were ruled by selfish interests, with public service coming (at best) a poor second in their priorities.

The irony about EULAs, as the article hints but fails to say outright, is that they create a regime where the only people allowed to use your software fall into two camps:

(1) IP lawyers with way too much time on their hands

(2) liars and fraudsters.

Which, as you say, sets up the expectation for their ongoing relationship with the customer. They detest and mistrust me, and I'll repay that confidence by screwing them over if I get the ghost of a chance. Nice one.

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Re: public domain

I think the poster who started talking about Finland was confused. There's a difference, in European and international (but not American) copyright law, between "moral rights" and "commercial rights".

Moral rights mean, basically, the right to be identified (or not) as the author of a work, and the right to object if someone distorts it and falsely attributes it to you. Commercial rights cover the copying/distribution/etc. issues that attract all the attention.

In Finland, as in every EU country, "moral rights" can't be sold, but "commercial rights" can.

Hope this helps.

Twenty years of text messages: We've reached Peak SMS

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Re: OMG!!! H20BD SMS TXT!!!

Well, sure, you can write like that if you want.

But with a decent predictive texting phone and a basic keypad, it would be quicker and easier to text "Be careful what you wish for".

Txtspk is useful in three cases: if your message is more than 153 characters long and you want it to be less (rare); if your phone isn't programmed for the language you're using; or if you want to use slang to show your kewlness. Any other time, it's actually more work than typing standard words.

Who's using 'password' as a password? TOO MANY OF YOU

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Re: Double Fail

I'd like to put in a brief mention for every two-bit blog that wants you to create a separate login just to comment there. (El Reg, I'm looking at you, among others.) Fercryinoutloud, we're not handling money or secrets here! Just let us use our Google/Disqus/Wordpress logins, thank you very much.

Oh well, I guess it could be worse - they could be using Facebook.

Scientists build largest ever computerized brain

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Re: I'll be really impressed

Yep, this point is consistently glossed over whenever journalists get on the 'artificial intelligence' bandwagon:

Brains don't develop in isolation. Your brain is tied into your body by a lot more than mere nerve ends. It gets input (prefiltered) from your senses, and every goal and idea it has is geared in some way to serving the needs of your body.

To put it another way: if the words "hungry", "cold", "hot" , "tired", "sleepy", "painful" or "horny" meant no more to you than the names of the seven dwarfs - what exactly would you think about all day?

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Re: How about ..

@AC 18:03: The idea that you can only influence politics by working through one of the two main parties is a pernicious myth.

It doesn't take any party affiliation at all to submit evidence to a select committee, which can translate directly into changes in law. I've done it, both in the UK and in New Zealand. If there's a subject you actually care enough about to educate yourself on, to the point where you can say something worthwhile, then you too can speke ur branes to the people who are in the process of revising laws. All without having to suck up to anyone, and regardless of how safe or otherwise your constituency is.

Apple ships 'completely redesigned' iTunes 11

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Maybe they're trying to draw a contrast with Windows 8. Even Microsoft's own lackeys use qualifiers like "probably" or "arguably" when they try to paint that as "the best Windows yet"...

‘Anonymous’ takes down Texan RFID-tracking school

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Re: Yawn

@Mike Hock: Yes, of course if you view Anonymous as a group then "they" appear "childish, incoherent and inconsistent". That's because it's not a group.

Analogy: when there's a movie in which aliens devastate and oppress humans, and then a movie in which humans do the same to aliens (think 'Independence Day' vs 'Avatar' or 'District 9'), do you accuse Hollywood of being "incoherent"?

Who do you think will be locked up? The kid who launched the attack? - OK, first off - proportion check. Even if they can track down the kid, prosecute, and convict them, the worst they'll get is a maximum of six months, which might be enough to make them reconsider the ethics of DDOSing. And since each step of that process - tracking, prosecuting, convicting - is fraught with the possibility of expensive failure, it's unlikely that anyone will bother.

Even if they do, in the most extreme scenario: the school still has to stand up in court and explain - to a Texas jury, no less - why they're so eager to violate a good Baptist girl's religious convictions. How do you think that will work out for them?

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Re: Yawn

If they claim to be 'Anonymous', then basically they've got as good a right as anyone to be called by that name.

That's how 'Anonymous' works, by design. It's not a group, it's more like a flag that anyone can pick up and drop at will, whenever they feel like it.

Granted, taking down a school's website is hardly streets-red-with-the-blood-of-oppressors revolution, but it's the sort of thing that would, at least briefly, attract the attention of the school's authorities (if not anyone else), so there's an outside chance it might actually have a worthwhile effect. I, for one, applaud the effort.

Gangnam Style beats Bieber Baby, becomes biggest timewaste EVER

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Re: Lies, damn lies, statistics and Google statistics

I would assume that the total number of watches may be accumulated over the lifetime of the video, but the 'most watched' would reflect the number of views in the past (short period, maybe 1 day, maybe 7 days, whatever counts as 'a unit of time' in YouTubeland).

So that's not a discrepancy, unless you have at least two timestamped screenshots showing the other video's views growing faster.

WWII HERO PIGEON crypto message STUMPS GCHQ boffins

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Re: one time pad

The British army, backward as they were, had discovered radio by World War Two. It's unlikely to be from them.

More likely, a message from a spy who didn't have access to, or didn't dare to use, radio. Although whether the pigeon was sent by a British spy in occupied Europe, or by a German spy in Britain, is of course open to speculation.

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Re: I hope ..

That was my first thought too. What a perfect wind-up...

"Here, look what I found up my chimney!"

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Re: My characters

Just don't try reading it aloud...


Pirate cops bust LITTLE GIRL, take her Winnie-the-Pooh laptop

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Re: Orlowski will be able to put a positive spin on this

"The artist" can't do much. She can make legally-irrelevant statements in her choice of forums, but as far as actually altering the course of the prosecution is concerned - nope.

About all she could, in theory, do is to pay for the kid's defence and maybe buy her a new laptop. But bear in mind that "big in Finland" does not automatically mean "multi-millionnaire". It's a small market. Would you be willing to pay that kind of money to help a complete stranger? If so, there are probably more deserving cases for your charity.

For the future, of course - when her contract is up for renegotiation, she could hold out for some level of legal control over enforcement of copyrights in her works. But that wouldn't help this family.

Texan schoolgirl expelled for refusing to wear RFID tag

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Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

@AC 15:43

Thing is, no-one cares enough about the precise wording of 'War & Peace' to make that claim. You're not about to take a (translated) quotation from it as evidence that all Russians are savages, and a Russian isn't about to take a quote from it as their reason for stoning an adulteress. It just doesn't matter that much.

The Koran does. The precise wording of it is incredibly important. To get a feel for just how important, consider that the Gospel of St John refers to Christ himself as "the Word" of God.

To Muslims, the Koran isn't "their equivalent of the Bible", it's "their equivalent of Jesus Christ". That's part of the reason why they get so upset when people burn it.

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Re: Christ (oops!) bloody religion again???

Most non-Muslims who think they've "read the Koran" are wrong. Unless they happen to read Arabic, then what they've read is a translation of the Koran. And once translated, it's no longer "the Koran".

This is because (Muslims believe) the text was dictated verbatim to the Prophet, who took it all down in proto-shorthand. Therefore the words of the Koran are God's own words, i.e. perfect. Once translated, it loses that property and becomes mere human words.

There are myths from the early days of the faith, of heathens hearing the divine Words and being converted merely by the sound of them.

Sandy 'Mary Celeste' Island undiscovered - again

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Google Maps' satellite image shows it as a, basically, black spot. So I guess there's *something* there.

What I wonder is: who named it "Sandy Island"?

4chan founder Moot threatens site for using his handle

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Re: Moot

Microsoft's ultra-generic naming style is incredibly irritating, but I actually have no problem with their claiming trademark rights to "Windows" in the context of a computer OS. That's what trademarks are for, to protect innocent punters from being confused by similarly-named products.

In this case, I don't quite see where the potential for confusion comes from. Sounds like a shakedown to me. I wish moot.it all the best, and I hope their security infrastructure and policies are ridiculously uptight.

Boss wrong to demote man over anti-gay-marriage Facebook post

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My favoured solution? Strike all mention of "marriage" entirely from civil law, make it so that only civil unions have any legal weight. All existing marriages at the time of the change would automatically be converted into civil unions.

Then any church (or mosque, synagogue, temple, or bowling club for that matter) can marry whoever it likes, and can refuse to marry whoever it doesn't like, and that's purely a private matter between them and their members.

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Re: Just a thought....

"supposed to be preaching"? Who, pray (pun intended) tell, is doing this "supposing"?

Swedish woman cuffed for sex with skeleton SHOCKER

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'... bits of which she used as sex toys in an "unethical" manner. '

I'm wondering if there's an "ethical" manner to use bits of skeletons as sex toys. Maybe if you got the person to sign some sort of permission while they were still alive...?

'... initial suspicions of murderous foul play later gave way to the realisation of something rather more macabre.'

What does it say about us, that getting it on with a femur is regarded as more macabre than 'murderous foul play'?

German city dumping OpenOffice for Microsoft

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Re: I've got LO installed and some of it doesn't impress me

It's my experience (about 4 years out of date now, admittedly, but I haven't seen anything to make me think things have improved) that OpenOffice does *not* clone MS Office features. It appears to, but nearly always, when you look closely, there are subtle differences.

Not surprising, when you consider that there are subtle differences between MS Office's implementation of its own features. (For instance, if you apply a 'bullet list' using the shortcut on the 'Home' ribbon, the result is a different list style - even it if looks identical - from what happens if you do the same thing by changing the paragraph properties.)

Author of '80s classic The Hobbit didn't know game was a hit

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Re: Does anyone know the etimology of the word "Inglish"?

I was about to post sympathising about Google. It's maddening when they 'correct' your speling and absolutely refuse to believe you want to search for what you typed.

But then I tried it for myself, and got this on the first page of results:


Hope this helps.

Republicans deny Hollywood pressure to pull copyright proposal

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Of course Hollywood didn't "pressure" them...

Why would it need to?

The world and her dog knows that Big Copyright overwhelmingly supports Democrats. That means that, if there's ever going to be this sort of copyright reform in the USA, it has to come from Republicans, because Dems can't bite the hand that feeds them. So far, so good.

The relationship between Hollywood and Repubs isn't "Here's some money, now shut up". It's more like "Ooh, how interesting. Yes, of course we should have a full and free discussion of these difficult issues. Of course, if my vital interests are under scrutiny I'll have to vastly increase my political spending, and we all know who that money is going to, don't we?

"Oh - you don't want to talk about that after all? That's fine, then."

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Re: copyright /= patent

Yesbut, that's the wording in the constitution that's used to justify copyright laws as well. If you say "that doesn't apply to copyright", you're basically saying "US copyright laws are unconstitutional in themselves".

(And I don't believe the Supreme Court would agree with you on that.)

SECRET 28 'scientific experts' who Greened the BBC - Revealed!

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Re: re: one piece of real evidence

Even El Reg knows better than that.

The Antarctic is getting steadily warmer, just like the rest of the planet.

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Re: How Can The BBC's Actions Be Justified?

Contrary to the "story" here, the BBC makes no pretense of "impartiality" on an awful lot of controversial topics.

For instance, you won't hear documentaries on the BBC about the belief, widely held to this day in parts of Africa, that HIV may have nothing to do with AIDS. You might hear a brief mention of the theory that it was invented by the CIA (or someone) as a pro-pharmaceutical, anti-African plot, but only in the context of a segment saying "this is how paranoid some people are".

Likewise, you won't find much sympathetic coverage of 'intelligent design' on the BBC. Evolution is treated as established, uncontroversial fact. Why is El Reg not up in arms about that blatant liberal agenda-pushing?

"Impartiality" is appropriate when covering disputes. The BBC has the right - indeed, the duty - to make a judgment call as to whether a scientific subject is genuinely "in dispute", or whether the only argument is coming from axe-grinders, agenda-chasers, demagogues and lunatics. To call that decision "unprecedented in peacetime" is just plain false - trolling on El Reg's part.

35 US states petition for secession – on White House website

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Black Helicopters

Re: where?

Yep. This is the biggest single problem facing the whole of the world today: where?

When there's a frontier, it's easy. When the world is divided into 'civilised' and 'barbarian' lands, and the former will smile upon you doing whatever the hell you like in the latter, it's easy. There's no shortage of places to go and carve out a niche for yourself.

But when the whole of the world is occupied, divided up between people who (we've all decided to assume) have a reasonable legal right to their own patches, what then? Where should the young, ambitious people go? Or to put it another way: whose land, specifically, are they going to steal?

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Texas is the only consistently-Red state that could theoretically pay its way independently of the federal government. I say "theoretically", because that calculation doesn't take account of the indirect subsidies Texas enjoys in the form of US defense contracts and army bases.

(Of course, most of the state's real wealth comes from the distinctly-liberal-leaning big cities - Houston, Dallas, San Antonio.)

Some Texans think oil would see them through, which is an incredibly shortsighted view. Oil won't last forever. And even while it does, you don't want to live in a 'country' where one decent hurricane could wipe out your exports for six months.

Submarine cable outage hits Kiwi internet

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So... in the middle of the night, there wasa partial outage affecting a few customers. This is a 'catastrophic failure' how exactly? For my part, I was at work (in Auckland) by 7:30 that morning, opening VPNs to Australia and the USA, and noticed absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.

Curran and Dotcom are both publicity whores - they'd swear to deliver the first Kiwi on Mercury if they thought it would win them a few headlines. Dotcom, in particular, has not promised he'll invest any money that he's actually got - instead, he's offering the millions that he's going to make by suing Hollywood for ruining Megaupload. I, for one, am not holding my breath for that.

Apple puts less of its takings into R&D, hires more sales cultists

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Re: Apple has never done any R&D

Yes, but Silicon Valley's idea of a great R&D company is Google.

That's how we end up with such triumphant offerings as Google Answers, Buzz, Wave, Knol - remember Knol? - which thousands of people waste years of their lives on, before they vanish into the sinkhole of justly forgotten apps.

Apple focuses on doing one thing - user interfaces - well. When it tries to broaden its competencies and re-implement things that others have already done, that's when you get Apple Maps. When it takes an existing idea and works exclusively on making it easier to use - well, that's when you get the iPod.

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Apple is good at marketing. Someone needs to be.

The iPod wasn't the first MP3 player, but it was the first one that mainstream users actually wanted to use. Because Apple was the first company to take the user interface seriously, rather than seeing it as something bolted on at the last moment to the "interesting" bits of functionality underneath.

That's Apple in a nutshell. While other tech companies say "Yeah, great function! Now stick an interface on and ship it!", Apple *starts* from the interface and works down from there.

And - who'd've thunk it - turns out, that's what a lot of people actually want.

You don't have to be a card-carrying Jobsfanboi to acknowledge that Apple, and Jobs in particular, have made an enormous difference to how we view and use technology. And they did it by focusing their engineering, not at the 1s and 0s and the silicon and the discs, but at The User.

That's - well, many companies would call it marketing.

Windows 8: Is Microsoft's new OS too odd to handle?

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Re: Prettier interface? 1366 x 768


How Bodyform's farting 'CEO' became a viral sensation

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How hard was it, really?

The original post was hardly - well, original. It was a staple of stand-up comedy for years after tampons first started to be advertised on TV (sometime in the 90s, don't remember exactly).

I find it deeply not at all surprising that people who work in the business had already thought about it, and were primed and ready to respond to it when it came up yet again in a forum where they could respond.


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