* Posts by slhilly

41 posts • joined 5 Apr 2010

Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues


Oh, and on the GM algae point

1. It's 20 years on and hasn't delivered shit

2. It attempts to address CO2, which is self-evidently a massive issue, but wouldn't do jack for air quality, noise levels, vibration levels from running engines, congestion, obesity levels etc etc. There are better solutions that address more of the issues

3. It brings its own potential risks and downsides. It isn't obvious that producing large amounts of GM algae is a good thing.

So it's really not that surprising that FoE was cautious about GM algae vapourware and was more inclined to look at cycling, public transport infrastructure etc as better solutions.

Nor, tbh, is it a surprise that you are continuing to moan about their mean rejection of your favoured technofix many years later, despite much better technofixes coming along since then (Renault Zoe, anyone?)


Yes, of course, you're absolutely right, Andrew. Public health campaigners aren't in fact doctors dedicated to improving health for everyone, they're all just thin-lipped puritans. And they've got no reason whatsoever to be cautious about accepting a tobacco company's claims about the relative risks of its new product. Except of course for the decades of lies and misinformation that spewed out of Big Tobacco.

It speaks to a particular mindset when, given the choice between taking PMI at face value and taking public health campaigners at face value, you go for the former.

Inside our three-month effort to attend Apple's iPhone 7 launch party


Re: All this talk of Apple "not admitting the truth" and yet..

But not only does Apple not have a "process for disseminating impartial information", Apple is *not obliged* to have such a process. Indeed, it would be mad for Apple to have such a process. That's the job of the journalists.

Has the UK Uber crackdown begun? TfL opens consultation on private car biz


Uber wants to have it both ways in London

It doesn't want to have to bear the costs of hackney carriage licensing, yet it wants to provide a service that it materially equivalent to ply-for-hire.

And it wants to be treated as a private hire service, but won't perform the one part of a private hire service that users can't get from black cabs: advanced bookings (and therefore an ability to rely on them to, say, get to the airport or a morning meeting or Sunday football).

Time for them to shit or get off the pot, I say.

iPhone 6: Advanced features? Pah! Nexus 4 had most of them in 2012


Re: NFC woes to come

It's a good rule of thumb that every security feature gets defeated. Locks and safes are rated for how long they resist defeat, not for being undefeatable. Chip and pin was defeated within days or weeks of coming out.


It's not whole-hog-or-none. Security features can stil be useful. They reduce the pool of attackers with the tools to attack successfully, sometimes dramatically. They slow attacks down. Etc. Touch ID is just an example of this -- not going to concern the FSB or a technically minded organised crime ring, but very likely going to slow things up for a random mugger wanting to use your iPhone

100% driverless Wonka-wagon toy cars? Oh Google, you're having a laugh


We're talking about signing for Amazon deliveries, not getting into Vauxhall Cross! What do you think happens to parcels at the moment? Some poor sod on a zero hours contract asks you to scrawl your signature on his handheld, that's what. He might ask you if you are X, but he's waiting for you to say yes, not no. Secure drop services are already looking to solve authentication issues. I can imagine secure, automated delivery to a lockbox as a killer app that works well for a driverless vehicle.

Vile Twitter trolls thrown in the cooler for rape abuse tweet spree


Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me? As far as I know, walking across a car park is not a crime. It does not require condemnation. Rape, on the other hand, is a crime, and does. I hope to Christ you never ever have a daughter. Or a female partner. You realise that the exact same argument is made by the Taliban? "If women will persist in walking around showing their hair like the slags they are, without a male guardian present, then how can any self-respecting man be condemned for raping them?"

Get a fucking grip

REVEALED: How YOU PAY extra for iPHONES - even if you DON'T HAVE ONE


So the answer to a concern about potentially anticompetitive behaviour is ... anticompetitive behaviour between networks. Brilliant!

Apple will FAIL in corporate land 'because IT managers hate iPads'


Re: אֵין כָּל חָדָשׁ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶש

Shlomo HaMelekh *and* Grace Hopper in a single post. Truly, כּוֹסִי רְוָיָה!

Apple designer Sir Jony Ive holding up iOS 7 development: Report


Re: It's really not that urgent (I don't think)

I disagree about the Maps app. I've not seen a content error in quite a while, but there are things I want to be able to do, such as look at alternative routes, or switch transport mode, that just don't work very well.

Agree that the bookcase apps are especially rubbish.

'It’s called capitalism. We are proudly capitalistic. I’m not confused about this'


Re: Freedom goes both ways...

Well, you're free to point out that *you think* his use of the word 'evil' doesn't make much sense. And you're free to explain your reasoning, if you don't mind making a prat of yourself in public. Very generous of you to do so, saying that you believe that any act that is practical and within the law is de facto not evil. I'd love for you to expand:

- why does practicality have a bearing on whether an act is evil or not?

- do you believe that the law perfectly reflects (defines?) what is evil or not? if you do, there's a whole bunch of subsdiary questions to work through, eg how do you explain changes in time and between countries in law? does something that is evil in one country become not evil in another country because the law has changed? are laws that sanction acts such as killing of people because of their skin colour evil or not evil? etc

If you don't, then you need to explain why you've not acknowledged a category of acts that are evil but not illegal.

Thank BRIT eggheads for new iMac's sexy seamless knife-edge


Re: @h4m0ny


Do we really have to go through this again?

I strongly doubt you have an equivalent set of specs -- put up or shut up. Plus, I suspect you have said of various Mac features "I do not value this, therefore I will not price it".

Organic food offers basically no health benefit, boffins find


Re: Efficiency vs Etthics

You asserted that the key consideration is energy input. Others will disagree with you, and think things like pesticide loading or oil requirements are just as important. And your analysis is really incomplete: pesticides and artificial fertilisers are very energy-intensive, and they aren't used in organic food. And virtually any meat, under any system, costs a lot more in terms of energy than growing veg. So if your prime concern is cutting energy use, you should be railing about the necessity of adopting a wholly or mainly vegetarian diet, which would deliver large-scale savings especially in the West, not moaning about organic agriculture, which remains a tiny part of modern farming.


Re: If it said "Monsanto free" rather than "organic"

So what? Many toxins only need to be present in small quantities to cause harm. And the fact that some plant-derived chemicals are harmful is not only well-known (it's why you pick mushrooms in ignorance at your peril), it's also completely irrelevant to whether or not human-derived pesticides are a good or bad thing.

Patent flame storm: Reg hack biteback in reader-pack sack attack


Re: Come off it

Why aren't they a good thing?

Your description, using words like "mediaeval", reminds me of Robert Heinlein's description of sex as the "slippery friction of mucous membranes", ie using emotively-loaded language to discredit an idea. You have to show why the fact that patents originated a long time ago means they are a bad idea. Many old ideas are quite good. Many are bad. It's not age that makes the difference. Similarly for your other terms / complaints: "government-backed", "monopolies", you have to say why these are bad ideas.



Re: Fixing the patent system

No, allowing Apple to patent the shape of the iPhone is a lot like allowing GM to patent the shape of a Chevy model. And funnily enough, that happens all the time. Here's just one example for you, but there are many many more:


I really don't understand why people persist in believing that design patents (and trade dress protections) aren't routinely used in other industries...

Cook's 'values' memo shows Apple has lost its soul


Re: Cloud talk

Shame you proved yourself dumber than the jury by not even knowing that there aren't 12 members for this type of case...

Apple: Samsung was in 'crisis' over our iPhone awesomeness


Re: Conflation

So you asked some questions:

1) Can you really patent minimalism?

I think the box comes under trade dress, rather than patenting. And there are plenty of ways of differentiating -- Sammy's picture could have been of the phone at an off-angle, it could have been a picture in situ rather than contextless, there could have been icons emerging from the phone, etc etc. You just need to google "Android phone box" and you can see the endless creative ways there are of differentiating products on the shelf.

2) Can Apple sue because of a similarity in the box (vs the device)?

Yes, a manufacturer can sue (and win) because of packaging similarities.....because of your third question

3) Are Apple arguing the box is a significant part of the purchasing decision?

Yes. Same way that Coke can go after manufacturers who use the same shape bottle and the same labelling....and same reason that own-brand cola labels are so often red. Red = trusted brand colour for cola for many consumers. Apple are also arguing that the combined effect of all the similarities is what really counts in confusing the purchaser.

Re the cable interfaces. Just google images of "USB plugs" and you will see that the vast majority of USB plugs do not look like iPhone USB plugs. A typical USB plug looks like this:


Surely you can see how the Sammy and Apple plugs look far more like each other than either looks like this plug? In fact, you'll have to hunt pretty far and wide to find a USB plug from any other manufacturer, phone or not, that looks like Apple's or Sammy's USB plug.

Seems to me that you're not too sure of the differences between trade dress, design patents and utility patents.

As to the ethics of it, I think it's pretty straightforward. You develop a lovely shiny new toy that popularises some technologies that have been around and about for ages, but which no-one has previously been able to make come together smoothly. You put huge effort into making sure your toy looks beautiful and distinctive, so that people recognise it instantly and want to hold it. You launch it. Some other bugger comes along and copies your toy, including how it looks, so that consumers can't much tell the difference between the thing you brought to market and the thing the johnny-come-lately brought to market. Not very fair. That's the ethical case. It would operate the same way for someone who made a knock-off of an Aston Martin. Even if the engine under the hood was different, you can't just copy the same lovely body shape and pass off your car as being an Aston. It's Not On.


Re: Conflation

That is a truly amazing set of images....the cumulative effect is really something.


Re: Conflation

1) Why do people misremember the past in this way? It's really bizarre. What touchscreen mobiles were in common use at the time of the iPhone launch? I didn't know a single person back then who had a touchscreen phone.

2) Why are some people unable to read properly. The GP was saying that Samsung's packaging was similar to Apple's, not that other phone manufacturers didn't have any packaging. What a weird inference to make!

3) Who claimed that Apple invented the touchscreen? Neither Apple nor the GP? You are tilting at windmills and people are laughing at you for doing so.

Will Samsung's patent court doc leak backfire spectacularly?


Re: Justice is about truth, not timescales

Your understanding of the law is pretty broken then. You're thinking of CCRC case reviews or some such. Civil law in the US certainly does have time limits for introducing evidence, because if it didn't then litigation would be dragged out forever as arbitrary bits of information were presented as newly discovered evidence.

All this is leaving aside that the information being discussed is something immediately accessible and obviously relevant to Samsung's case. What on earth was going on that they didn't think of it until so late in the day?


Re: @ Geoff Campbell

Private Eye also regularly points out that the Yanks don't seem to have this problem -- they cut through the complexity and get their convictions. We have a lot to learn from them on this count...

Beak explodes at Samsung's evidence leak in Apple patent spat


Re: Judges are just senior lawyers

Oh gawd....

"One that works. Specifically, one that does not involve members of the group who make money from prolonging the legal process being in charge of that process."

You do realise, don't you, that one of the points of the rule that Judge Koh was enforcing was precisely to prevent unnecessary prolongation of the trial process?

"Also, one where precedent is not used to overrule the decisions of the elected legislative bodies even when the precedent is obviously wrong and flies in the face of written law."

If you don't like precedent, move to a country in mainland Europe like France. They don't use precedent there.

"Also, one where judges can be sacked for persistent poor performance and repeatedly having their decisions overturned on appeal."

This can happen now. But you have to tread very carefully to ensure that judges are not sacked for having reached inconvenient decisions for the state or populus. And in the US, of course, judges are often elected.

"Also, one where the rich are treated equally with the poor.

Also, one where the police are treated equally with the non-police.

Also, one where the punishments are decided on the basis of what actually reduces crimes instead of what gives the editor of the Daily Mail a hard-on."


"Also, one where lawyers who present evidence they know is false are tried for perverting the course of justice."

I've not heard of miscarriages of justice involving this.

"Also, one where lying to obtain money is tried as fraud even if you are in charge of a bank, instead of magically needing "special powers" in order to bring a case."

This is not a shortcoming of the legal system, it's a shortcoming of our political system.

"One where shooting an obviously unarmed, non-threatening person dead while they read their paper on the Tube leads to life-time sentences for the perpetrators instead of promotions.

One where killing people with a car is not regarded as less serious than stealing a few cans of beans from a shop."


"One where juries are allowed to ask questions and are able to refuse to hear further testimony from a lawyer who is clearly just running up the bill or obfuscating on purpose."

There are plenty of downsides to allowing juries to ask questions or refusing to hear evidence. Quis custodiet etc etc

New iPad sales hit 3 million in first 4 days


Re: How is this measured?

I'd wager from your answer that I know a bit more about what marketing is than you do. Marketing is not "lying to the public by overinflating your sales figures in a way that will be readily spotted and land you in terrible trouble and is completely pointless because you already make cash and profits at truly epic rates and so there is no value greater than the cost in behaving this way".

Marketing is understanding what your customers will really value and then ensuring they are clear about how you are delivering against that. If you want a technical definition, here's one with some input from an HBS marketing prof, too:

"Marketing is the management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. As a practice, it consists in coordination of four elements called 4P's: (1) identification, selection, and development of a product, (2) determination of its price, (3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer's place, and (4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy.

As a philosophy, marketing is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction. Marketing differs from selling because (in the words of Harvard Business School's emeritus professor of marketing Theodore C. Levitt) "Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariably does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs."


Re: How is this measured?

Are you being intentionally thick? This is an Apple press release. How do you think these numbers are measured?? Of course they come from Apple.

Do you have any evidence -- or even a link to a story -- to show that Apple has ever reported initial stats that were higher than reality?

Hands on with the Apple iPad 3


That's the way Apple pricing has always worked, IME: the entry level is a bit cheaper than the next level up, but not massively cheaper, so that you are genuinely torn about whether to step up. The same philosophy applies throughout the range

Intel ignores Steve Jobs, adds touchscreen to Ultrabook


Interesting about Excel...I think there's actually a case for a bit of both worlds here....Excel is quite a non-linear app -- ie I might fiddle with cell A51 and then cell BG204. Moving from one to the other using either keyboard shortcuts or the mouse is definitely suboptimal compared with being able to just touch the cell I'm interested in. Similarly, selecting a range would be much easier and faster with a touch input than it is with a mouse or keyboard shortcuts. And resizing the page through pinching is superhelpful. I speak as a long-term user of Excel on Windows and a newbie with Numbers on iPad.

Eyes on stalks: ancient predator a real monster


Wonderful Life was a fantastic book!

The article reminded me a bit of a fun SF novel called Fragment by Warren Fahy, featuring terrestrial mantis shrimp. Yoiks!

Swedish college girls now twice as slutty as in 2001


That would be women, not girls. You know, adults, as opposed to children.

Do you think that the "number of girls [sic] trying to exploit the law" is enough to explain the difference between condom usage a decade ago and condom usage now?

Sky makes iPad trolley for square-eyed shoppers



If I have a shopping trolley with an iPad on it, I'm going to use a shopping list app, not Sky.

Docs and devs: Health secretary wants healthcare apps



The person who appears to be living in a different world here, Elmer, is you. Of course, lots of people can't afford a smartphone. But there are millions of the damned things in use in the UK, and promoting some good health apps is a perfectly sensible thing to do. In what way would it be better to wait till penetration reached 90% or 95% or 99% or even 50%?

Sounds like you were just looking for an excuse to moan, tbh.


You definitely *are* old-fashioned

It was moaning from people like you that persuaded Lansley to *abandon* targets that you think were unimportant and that had been brought in by the Labour government. The effect remains to be seen, but there's not a business in the world that doesn't define and track key metrics, even at the expense of some perverse behaviour and gaming, so I personally doubt that it's going to be helpful.

As for not particularly wanting choice, just stop and think about what you are saying. You are saying you are happy having no choice. What if you had no choice but to use a local hospital where treatment is like it was in mid-Staffs a few years ago? Or a GP who has been dismissive of your concerns when you saw them? How is that a good thing?

Behind Apple's record sales are signs of desperation


Patent costs are insignificant fraction of expenses

There's a reason that Legal isn't the third major category of reported expenses in company accounts alongside R&D and Marketing & Sales -- it's just not that significant. I doubt that it amounts to even 1% of the total costs of development for the iPhone.


Classic example of a nerd's misunderstanding of Apple's offer

Apple's offer to consumers has never been "we'll be the first to bring out Feature X" (eg printing from phones). Its offer has been "we'll be the first to implement this feature in a way that most folks will find easy and worthwhile". Did you really not know that?

Fukushima fearmongers are stealing our Jetsons future


Mining metals...

Thanks for pointing out that you need to mine metals to produce solar power. Here's a really tricky question for you: does building and operation of a nuclear plant involve mining any metals, do you think?

Steve Jobs bends iPad price reality



He didn't miss the point. You did. Jobs was saying that no-one has been able to produce the experience of an iPad for a competitive price. Motorola produced something in the same ballpark, but could only start their pricing at the high-end of the iPad line. I guess we'll never know, but I presume that Motorola found that they couldn't produce a 16gig wifi only xoom at say $400, and so plumped for higher specs and higher prices instead. Others have produced things that are cheaper but do not replicate the quality of the iPad experience closely enough.

Antique Nimrod subhunters scrapped – THANK GOODNESS!


Stoopid post

Whatta stoopid thing to write. The shuttle coped with conditions just a tiny bit more extreme than a 15m pitch on a carrier deck, what with actually flying into space and all. The requirements are orders of magnitude more complex than those for a military plane.

Romford coppers try to stopper young snapper


The audio is fantastic

It's really clear that what's happening is that the officers are getting more and more irritated by the photographer's refusal to just do what they want him to do. They clearly don't "get" the idea that people don't have to do what they say simply because they're police officers. They think "if I've asked nicely, and I'm a copper, he should bloody well do what I've asked". They think their authority stems from their uniform, instead of the law. It's a cultural thing that needs tackling.

NHS Trust boards spew out oceans of paper



Here's mine:


What's yours?

If you don't want to count partners as managers because they're the owners, you'll weaken your argument, not strengthen it. The directors / senior consultants / senior managers / managers etc who manage the associates / consultants / auditors who do the legwork, will be more numerous, not less. And the denominator will have reduced by the number of partners as well.

I notice that everyone is latching onto the E&Y example but ignoring the big corporates examples I mentioned as well.

There is a separate argument to be had about whether a partner at EY is, by virtue of being an owner, bearing (some) business risk (let's see how that goes with the LLP structure and Lehmans) and facing clients, doing a job that is truly worth 6 to 7 x what an NHS CE is paid.

My wife works for a big 4 and while there are some very good partners, she might laugh in your face at the hero-worship you are exhbiting for big 4 partners in general.

GCHQ imposes Whitehall iPhone ban


Your experience is not everyone's experience

I have a Bberry and an iPod touch, my wife has a bberry and an iPhone -- both of us type way faster on the iDevices than on the bberries. The only exception is typing in the dark in a moving taxi, when the physical keys help ensure a bit more accuracy. I know a fair number of others with both devices who type much faster on their iPhones too.

Skewing statistics: Booze, money and sex


Triple wtf-ery

1. Voluntary transactions, in relation to tobacco. I doubt even BAT would try to push that particular line any more.

2. You're accusing Professor Michael Marmot, Chair of the global Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, of lying about the topic he's given over his professional life to, by -- so you say -- knowingly and wrongly asserting that all health inequality is caused by income inequality? And you're doing so without providing a direct link to the exact quotation where he does what you assert. That's, um, brave. I see from the Exec Summary of the report that the Review concluded as a key message that on the face of it flatly contradicts what you've said: "Health inequalities result from social inequalities. Action on health inequalities requires action across all the social deter- minants of health." Neither social inequalities nor social determinants of health are defined upfront as narrowly as income inequalities. I think that you've either misunderstood the report or are guilty of the same sin you are busy accusing others of -- deliberately misrepresenting the facts, ie lying. So, links please, with chapter and verse, or if you had any moral guts, you'd apologise.

3. Your income calculation is just bizarre. The fact that a few people are able to benefit from subsidy on a 3-bed council house in Westminster that is worth, according to your unsourced "report" £20k per annum doesn't mean that this is true of everyone in the first decile. The first decile includes people living in shitty one-bed flats in the Gorbals, East Manchester, Tower Hamlets etc that is decidedly *not* worth a £20k per annum subsidy -- I'm not even sure if the few council tenants in 3-bed houses in Westminster would even *be* in the first decile. But also, way to missing the point, there's lots of people who want council housing who can't get any at all. They sleep in B&Bs and on mates floors and sometimes on the street. So they have none of this very exciting £20k pa subsidy that you think everyone gets. Equally, for pensions, lots of people aren't even entitled to a State pension, and if you're poor, you'll die before you've had much of the benefit. In fact, if you're in the Calton in East Glasgow, your life expectancy as a man is 54. And you'll have been killed by tabs and booze, most likely. Oh, and that statistic comes from Marmot's global work for WHO, so there you go, you can discount it now for coming from a nasty mean liar who pretends that -- God save us -- poor people exist in Britain and have a shit time with their health as a result.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019