* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Windows 8 to grab iPad market share wrested back from Android

DougS Silver badge

Re: Pricing, pricing, pricing

The way Apple and Microsoft sell to corporate users is completely different. Microsoft sells to the corporation, who then distribute the hardware using MS software to all their employees.

Apple sells to individuals, some of whom work for corporations. When enough individuals in a corporation (or a few higher ups with a lot of pull) get Apple products and want to them use them for corporate purposes, they pressure the IT department to support them. You know, the BYOD (bring your own device) thing. The IT departments hate this, so Microsoft is hoping by offering a tablet they can get the IT department to tell everyone that if they want to use a tablet they have to use a Microsoft one, and not Apple or Android.

I think you're right that it's too late though, Apple has sold way too many tablets to corporate users that who won't be willing to give it up just to switch to a corporate supplied (and controlled) Surface tablet.

Microsoft isn't addressing consumer needs because they view keeping control of their corporate market as job #1. If you let Apple and Android tablets gain a foothold, you break the Microsoft corporate ecosystem they've cultivated over the past two decades from Office and OS software on PCs to OS, SQL and Exchange software on servers.

If corporate IT departments start buying into BYOD (which is attractive to CIOs because when people Bring their Own Device, CIOs save money and can provide a lower level of support for it) then it isn't far to travel for employees to bring in MacBook Air and Chrome laptops, and at that point the argument for using Exchange and Windows Server as opposed to cheaper Linux alternatives or using MS Office instead of LibreOffice or Google Apps begins to break down. If that happens, Microsoft would become much smaller than they are today, and would have Ballmer's total lack of vision to blame.

DougS Silver badge

Everyone is just guessing about the size of the tablet market and who owns it

I saw another analyst firm today that announced that tablets would be outselling laptops by next fall (better crank up the tablet production lines if that's gonna come true)

The expectation is that Android will take share from Apple due to price just like it did in the smartphone market, but a lot depends on the pricing of the Android options, what Microsoft does with its pricing since nothing at all has yet been announced, whether Apple introduces a smaller iPad and if so what its price is, whether they keep iPad 2 around as a $299 option next spring like they keep two old iPhone generations around, etc.

I don't know why anyone pays these market research firms anything, two years ago just after the first iPad had been released, none of them thought tablets would amount to much of anything in the market. Three years ago they had netbooks taking over from laptops in a few years. They just look at current trends and extrapolate them to the future. Any of us could do that, if they aren't providing analysis better than what you and I can do with graph paper they have no value. If they told us how quickly the tablet market would grow before Apple even introduced the iPad, or told us netbooks would flop during the peak of their hype, then they'd be earning their fees.

HTC's 4G patent beef could get iPhone 5 BANNED in US

DougS Silver badge

Re: What passes for reporting around here?

Perhaps so, but I've read that Apple owns 5% of all LTE patents (probably due to their acquisition of Nortel's patents) so if it comes down to a LTE IPR war then Apple will have guns big enough to blow up everyone else just as they themselves are blown up.

The end result could be that all LTE phones are pulled from the market and we all use DC-HSPA+ (which is faster than almost all current LTE implementations anyway)

DougS Silver badge

These patents must be FRAND if they are necessary for LTE

You're assuming that these are FRAND.

LTE is a global standard that did the usual FRAND patent pool thing, so any patents that are required to implement it are covered by FRAND licensing.

If companies are coming to Apple and asking them that they pay the same dollar amount per phone as anyone else for using their patents and Apple doesn't pay, then Apple is in the wrong and should be found liable for willful infringement and pay triple damages. Stopping sale of products is not an option under FRAND licensing rules, but triple damages is basically 3x more than they'd otherwise pay plus they have the pay the other guy's legal costs (which are notoriously easy to pad when someone else is footing the bill)

If companies are coming to Apple and asking them that they pay far more than the same dollar amount per phone as anyone else for using their patents (i.e. asking 2.4% of the retail price of the entire phone, rather than 2.4% of the price of the baseband chip that actually uses the patents) then Apple is fully within their rights to not pay until the company agrees to let them pay the same price as they charge anyone else. This is the "ND" (non discriminatory) part of FRAND licensing. Just because Apple is suing you over something else doesn't mean you get to charge them more, if you don't like this you should have not taken part in the LTE standard and your patents wouldn't have been used to create it.

I know Apple haters don't like this because they want to see Apple get raked over the coals, but while you may cheer if Apple gets screwed by FRAND patents for 3G and 4G, don't forget that Apple holds a bunch of patents necessary to implement MPEG2 and h.264, among others, so they could turn around and use those FRAND patents in the same way if FRAND abuse were to be upheld by the courts. And who knows what all they got when they bought Nortel's patents. Besides, forget what Apple would do, think what NPEs would do if they got hold of some FRAND patents and decided to hold everyone hostage for $100 a phone if they wanted to support LTE or video.

DougS Silver badge

Why Apple fans assume people don't buy Apple is because they can't afford it:

Simple: for the same reason Apple haters call them overpriced toys. They hate that others have made a different choice as they did and assume the others chose wrongly, so they feel a need to justify their own choice by denigrating those who chose differently.

It is funny because an iPhone costs pretty much the same as a GS3, so obviously every GS3 owner could clearly afford an iPhone if they wanted one. Since both cost a similar amount to build, both Apple and Samsung are making a huge profit margin on each one sold. Thus both easily qualify as "overpriced", if you are using the "Apple is overpriced" definition of overpriced as creating large profits for the company selling them. Everyone who bought either one obviously believed they were priced fairly, or they would have bought one of the many phones that costs far less than either.

Samsung accused of sex discrimination in China plant

DougS Silver badge

Makes sense that these stories involve Apple and Samsung

The activists trying to change China's working conditions don't get much traction unless they can link the labor practices to a big name firm like Nike, Walmart, Apple, or Samsung. No point in saying some brand no one has ever heard of that's only sold in a department store chain in Idaho is being made with slave labor...

HP preps designer desktops for Windows 8

DougS Silver badge

Can someone please tell me

Why the hell I would want a touchscreen on a desktop machine? Has anyone ever tried to spend even a single afternoon reaching up and touching their screen a few times a minute? For single finger touches it is obviously inferior to a mouse 100% of the time, so it is only for multitouch gestures that you'd prefer a touchscreen. Maybe you want to reach out to a picture and do some pinch zooming, but how many people do that often enough that it is going to be a win for them over the old fashion ways we do this today via mouse?

On a laptop I could sort of see it for some who actually use them on their lap - while I wouldn't want a laptop with a touchscreen, at least you are close enough to the screen and not necessarily reaching out in such an unergonomic way as you must with a desktop.

I predict these touchscreen desktops never get used as touchscreens beyond the first week, after the users start waking up with shoulder pain. Once the first reports of "touchscreen shoulder" RSIs start coming in, they'll quickly disappear from the market for fear of lawsuits.

Mars probably never wet enough for life, nuclear bomb crater indicates

DougS Silver badge

How did we get water on Earth?

The theories I've seen say it from comet strikes, if so Mars should have got plenty of water via the same mechanism (modulo its smaller size/gravity well and being further from the Sun and thus a slightly harder comet target) If so, where did the water go? It could have gone underground, or it could have evaporated away due to solar winds.

On Earth the magnetic field keeps solar winds from stripping away our atmosphere, which in turn depends on us having a liquid iron core. Mars likely had this as well, but IIRC doesn't have much of a magnetic field now. The core probably solidified due to a combination of being too far from the sun to replenish heat at the same rate, being smaller and thus radiating interior heat faster (bigger surface area per volume than Earth) and lack of a large moon's gravity causing tidal stress that heats up the interior of our planet (plus we're closer to the Sun so get a bit of additional help in tidal stress from the Sun) Some of our heat may come from uranium in the core, but if so presumably Mars would have this as well.

If Mars used to have water, and a magnetic field, but lost the magnetic field, as the water slowly evaporated on the surface instead of falling back down, the solar winds may have carried it out into space. Snow still falls on the poles, assuming that is water snow and not CO2 snow, perhaps there is just enough of a magnetic field to provide some protection from solar winds stealing the last of the water at the poles.

Oracle hits reboot on Itanium software development

DougS Silver badge

The damage is already done

Even if Oracle supports Itanium as normal for the next decade it won't change the fact that there was 18 months of uncertainty for HP-UX, and people spending millions on hardware hate uncertainty - this is why "you can never get fired for buying IBM" and later "you can never get fired for buying Microsoft" became rules to live by for cautious IT managers.

There will still be people worried that Oracle won't give proper support on Itanium, or will try some other legal manuever down the road, or will dump support when the contract with HP expires (not sure when that is, but I presume it has to expire someday?) The people who already fled HP-UX or are well into their migration plans will not come back as a result of this. Oracle permanently damaged HP's HP-UX market. HP may be able to get damages from them but they probably won't amount to what it costs them in the long run.

It'll also make it much more difficult for HP to migrate HP-UX to x86, if they ever want to do that, or even to add HP-UX compatibility into Linux. They know Oracle will be waiting in the wings ready to cut off HP-UX on Itanium if they can find an opening, and make HP-UX customers more concerned about its future than they already were the past 18 months.

Personally I think this was a calculated move by Hurd and Ellison, who did it knowing that they couldn't abrogate their contract with HP and would probably end up owing them damages. They just hoped to keep its future uncertain for long enough that it was damaged enough it became unviable, and they'd pick up enough former HP-UX customers to offset what this costs them. The only real winner here was IBM, who picked up AIX and DB2 customers out of this mess without spending a dime!

US job market sneezing, blowing nose: Will we catch cold too?

DougS Silver badge

The construction employment figures are the key to this

If you look at graphs of construction employment over the past 10 years, you can see that over half of the changes in the unemployment rate during that time can be accounted for by the construction industry alone . Construction typically leads in recoveries, as low interest rates lead to more construction activity. Problem is, that doesn't work when the recession was caused by too much construction in the first place, thus explaining why the low interest rates have not helped this recovery like they have in the past.

From the post 9/11 recovery up until unemployment started creeping up in late 2007/early 2008, the construction industry was very overemployed to support the housing bubble. Now because there are still more houses than are needed (in many areas, not all) the construction industry is quite underemployed. As the excesses are worked through in more areas and reach a "normal" (i.e. sustainable) amount of construction, that industry will hire more workers. And having more money to spend, those newly employed workers will help other businesses through their spending, rather than increasing the deficit by collecting unemployment or welfare.

This will happen in the next four years regardless of which guy wins, but you can be sure the guy sitting in the White House will take credit for it. I think both parties realize this, which is why they believe it is a particularly important election. If Obama loses, the republicans can point to the recovery as "proof" their plans worked, whatever they do. Likewise, if Obama wins, the democrats can point to the recovery as "proof" that Obama's policies were right all along, and they just needed more time to take effect, as he's been trying to argue lately.

Neither party wants the other in power when the economy recovers, as it will lead a long term shift in party affiliation, just like happened in the early 80s when Reagan presided over the last major recovery (which was mainly engineered by the Fed raising interest rates sky high to kill inflation with some credit due also to the stimulative effect of massive defense spending increases) The only thing that has left the democrats competitive in the face of this shift has been the fact that the population growth has been mainly latinos, who tend to vote democrat to a large degree. If Obama wins, and takes credit for the inevitable recovery, the republicans are going to have to make major changes in the makeup of their party to be viable - they probably will have to do so eventually anyway, but this would hasten that day.

It is stupid that people blame or credit the president for stuff like unemployment or gas prices, but that just shows the stupidity of the average voter, and why campaigns are insulting to those with higher than average intelligence (which on a site like The Reg, is probably 99% of us, Apple v. Android fanboy wars notwithstanding)

Laptop innovator Moggridge dies aged 69

DougS Silver badge

TI-700

Actually preceded this guy's first "laptop". Granted it was a terminal not a computer, but it had the same basic hardware except it included a thermal printer (and 300 bps acoustic coupler modem) instead of a display. Built to fit in a suitcase. Not exactly light, I feel badly for anyone who ever had to lug this around with them on the road!

Thomson joins vid-streamers' rush for MPEG-DASH

DougS Silver badge

Re: Scalable Video Codec

Why is this stupid? Just because there are ways around it doesn't mean that the simpler solution of pre-encoding isn't better. Throwing away data on a higher bitrate to achieve a lower bitrate will always give lower quality than having it directly encoded for the best possible quality at the low bitrate.

Does this "waste" storage? Sure, but storage is cheap. Does it waste CPU time encoding multiple times? Sure, but that's an up front one time cost, whereas scalable codecs require more CPU on the client end - undesirable when you have mobile clients on minimal power budgets.

Hold the chips: Apple axes Samsung RAM order for iPhone 5

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ahem

Well after sanctimoniously lecturing me with your comical 'facts' you now look like a giant bellend. Well done.

----

Because other people corrected me and you choose to agree with them it makes me look like a giant bellend? (that's a new one on me, not sure if I should be insulted or laugh at you typoing an insult...) Here are a couple links that say pretty much what I did:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#Apple.2C_DEC.2C_Intel.2C_Marvell:_ARM6.2C_StrongARM.2C_XScale

http://www.ot1.com/arm/armchap1.html#advanced

I said Apple worked with Acorn (sorry forgot about VLSI) to design a new version of ARM, which was the first one suited for embedded use rather than being used in the Acorn PCs. Wikipedia says that Apple started working with Acorn in the late 80s, the other article says Apple didn't start working with them until 1990, after they'd already started work on a lower power version suitable for embedded use. So maybe I was somewhat wrong, and maybe not, depending on which source is correct.

Regardless of the exact timeline of events, the reason I brought it up is that it is lost on most people today that Apple actually has more history with ARM than anyone selling smartphones or tablets today, and they not only design their own ARM SoCs today, they were involved with designing ARM cores over two decades ago.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Ahem

"A4 and A5 are Apple-designed ARM derivatives"

Derivatives is the key word. You must remember Apple engineer fuck-all themselves. They simply take something already invented, put it in a glass case and then claim everyone else is copying them.

----

Some fandroids go to enormous lengths to make themselves look stupid. Yes, they are "derivatives", in the EXACT same sense that ALL the other ARM SoCs used in Android phones whether made by Samsung, HTC, or whoever are. ARM Ltd licenses out the design to lots of people, Apple and Samsung among them.

But here's one fact that should really stick in your craw. It was APPLE, back in the late 80s, that teamed up with Acorn to turn Acorn's RISC CPU into what became the ARM architecture. They designed it specifically to use in the Newton. People who say Apple engineers nothing should read a little history so they know who helped design the first version of the ARM architecture and used it to design one of the first (if not the first) PDA nearly a quarter century ago.

Getting ready for the inevitable downvotes from fandroids who downvote anything that praises Apple or calls out anti-Apple bullshit.

Why is the iPhone so successful? 'Cause people love 'em

DougS Silver badge

@Manu T

Why do I get the feeling that if this survey showed Samsung ahead of Apple you'd be screaming about it from the rooftops as proof that Apple owners are idiots, but since it doesn't show what you wish it would show, you are attacking JD Power (who has been doing customer satisfaction surveys for longer than either of us has been alive) and attacking the methodology.

It is interesting that you claim that having more products should lead to lower satisfaction. If that is true, then why doesn't everyone adopt Apple's strategy of having one or at least fewer products? I think you should consider that with a large product line, it is much more likely that someone buying a Samsung product gets exactly what they wanted, whereas when you buy from Apple's much smaller product lines this is less likely.

It is like comparing two ice cream shops, one has 31 flavors and the other has two. The one with 31 flavors should theoretically please more people, because not everyone likes having chocolate and vanilla as their only choices. But if the one that has only chocolate and vanilla has really damn good ice cream, people will still go there and leave satisfied even if they still wish they could have raspberry.

DougS Silver badge

@skelband "10 million in the first week"

When an Android fan sees iPhone selling 10 million in the first week, it tells him the iPhone sucks because all those people want to abandon their iPhone for a newer model.

When an Android fan sees Galaxy S3 selling 10 million in the first month, it tells him it is an awesome phone, and people are finally starting to realize iPhone sucks and Android rocks.

I'm sure you also have a good explanation for why Apple is at the top of customer satisfaction stats and Samsung rates below average.

Titans of tech: Why I'll never trust 'em

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple's Success

"Mediocre product with limited choices"? In what way do iPhone and iPad fit that? You say in another post you prefer Samsung's design, so perhaps a better question is, in what way are Samsung's phones and tablets not mediocre where Apple's are? Is it simply because Samsung has a big product range in both ranging from high to low end with many different form factors and options, where Apple has only one phone and one tablet (not counting the older models they sell at a discount)

Design is obviously an individual thing, some prefer Samsung as you do, others prefer Apple. It is funny how some people (typically techies) who prefer Android seem to want to justify their decision by claiming that Apple is all marketing, implying that people who choose Apple are choosing wrongly because they are falling victim to marketing, whereas people buying Android are obviously smarter because they don't fall for that and make the right choice. The problem is, you are using a definition of marketing so broad that I could equally claim Samsung is all marketing, because the fact they have a wide product mix is every bit as much of a marketing decision as the stuff like doing QA so you only release products that are "done" you point to as Apple marketing. When most Apple haters say "Apple is all marketing" they are basically implying that Apple is getting people to choose the wrong product by brainwashing.

Apple knows its design choices aren't for everyone, they simply produce what they think is the best product for a wide swath of the (high end of the) market and people who agree will buy their product. They do quite well with that, and don't see a need to try to cater to everyone by going after the entire market. Those who disagree with Apple's design choices, because they wanted a larger screen on their phone, wanted LTE capability even when it meant sucking down their phone's battery in half a day, wanted to have access to alternate app stores with no controls, and so on don't choose Apple. When you have only one product in a segment like Apple does (again not counting the old models) then you know your design won't please everyone AND you are telling the world THAT YOU KNOW THAT AND YOU DON'T CARE.

I think it is that "and don't care" part that really pisses off the people who don't like Apple - how DARE they produce only one product when it isn't the one you want? People are used to companies catering to them by presenting them with more options to make them feel like the company cares about their opinion, and Apple doesn't even try to maintain that facade. It is as if a car company sold only one one sedan, one sports car, and one pickup. What they think it should include comes standard, there is no optional equipment. It is just a very arrogant "take it or leave it". It pisses these people off even more that Apple is so damn successful with that arrogant attitude - they feel like the market should punish Apple for that, and the fact they have so many customers means it MUST be something else, these people must be brainwashed or something. They just don't understand, because Apple's design choices didn't fit them.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple's Success

I never suggested Apple did anything revolutionary with the iPhone or iPad technologically. They didn't invent a new battery chemistry that was 4x better than previous so they could power something in that form factor where before it was out of reach, or make a breakthrough in GPU technology that let them get good graphics performance on a sub watt power budget.

What they introduced with iPhone and with iPad others could have done, the technology was there. But having the technology AVAILABLE and knowing what pieces to put where are two very different things, as is evidenced all of Microsoft's failed attempts in the tablet market versus Apple's hit on their first try. Knowing what to release and being willing to wait to release it until it is done properly is FAR more important for market success than merely having access to the technology. What you dismiss as no big deal is something that everyone else misses. Even after seeing Apple do it, they still don't get it. Look at the TV market, if Jobs really did rethink the TV the way he rethought the tablet, they'll sell a ton of them, and everyone will say nothing in Apple's TV was new or revolutionary, but it won't be the individual pieces of tech, it'll be which ones are chosen and how they're put together - with thought, rather than trying to create a longer list of mismatched features than the competition.

The joke has always been that Microsoft gets it right on the third try. They just throw stuff out there and see what sticks. Unfortunately that leads to a lot of failures, so people don't trust them. Even if one thinks something Microsoft does might be pretty good they'll want to wait around and see what everyone else thinks before they commit to it, lest it be orphaned like OS/2, Alpha NT, Zune, the original XBox, Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7.x.

I'm curious, why do you bring the enterprise into this when talking about Apple? Apple is doing pretty damn well selling to the consumer, why should they give a shit about the enterprise? Sure, there's plenty of money to be made there, but there's also plenty of money to be made selling cars or creating the next generation of opaque financial products on Wall Street. One other reason for Apple's success you ignore is that they have a VERY narrow market. They choose carefully what markets they'll enter and limit their product offerings. Again, this differs greatly from what everyone else does, who try to segment the market to death with a ton of offerings from top to bottom, with a bunch of customizations at each level. People hate shopping for toothpaste and seeing 20 different kinds of Colgate, humans can only handle so much choice without causing internal stress. Apple gets this, something that almost everyone else selling to the consumer does not.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple's Success

I disagree. Apple did well with the iPhone and iPad not because of great marketing but because they are very good at not being bound by the limits of what other products on the market do (or claim to do) I guess you can say that's great marketing because it's recognizing what people need rather than what they think they want, and being willing to create products that don't try to be all things for all people like Microsoft did in their tablet efforts.

There were smartphones before iPhone, but it was the first with a full browser and a large enough screen that it was actually usable. Apple showed there is a much bigger market for a phone that does a great job of browsing but can't run apps than there is for all the predecessors that did a terrible job browsing but let you install apps. They didn't add apps until a year later, and while they're obviously very important, Apple realized that a great browser and some simple built in apps would make a device that's useful from day one, rather than relying on developers to create apps leading to a bad user experience for the early adopters who buy before there are any apps.

With the iPad, they recognized that years of previous failed efforts to sell tablets by others had to tried to do too much. Microsoft always looked at the problem as "how can we make a tablet that's a replacement for a PC?" where the person replacing the PC were MS engineers and their friends who used PCs for pretty much everything under the sun.

Apple recognized that there a lot of people who have very limited needs from their PCs, and use them primarily to consume content, not create it. So they didn't even worry about making it work for people who need a word processor or spreadsheet or photo editor. They made it work great for people who browse the web, check email, watch videos and perhaps do a few other simple things. There are a lot of people who are like that, who only bought PCs to be able to email their friends and surf the web and don't buy or install third party programs.

You see this showing up as tablet sales grow at a very fast rate while PC sales have been esssentially flat for almost two years now, and Intel just issued a warning for Q3. Some may think that Windows 8 will turn that around, but the only chance Windows 8 has at stopping the iPad's sales momentum is if people start buying Surface instead (which I doubt, because by pushing the Pro model they continue their mistakes of trying to be all things to all people) PC sales have peaked and will never resume growth again, tablets fulfill the needs of many millions of light users who no longer need a PC in their lives at all.

Listen up, Nokia: Get Lumia show-offs in pubs or it's game over

DougS Silver badge

Re: great article, thanks for standing your (unpopular) ground

It is always the "next version" of Microsoft's phone OS that is supposed to be the killer. I remember all the hype around 6.5, but when it came out everyone was all about 7.0. When 7.0 came out, it was wait until 7.5. No sooner was 7.5 out the door and the hype machine cranked up about Windows 8.

You will know if Windows Phone 8 flops in the marketplace like its predecessors if before the end of the year Microsoft starts talking about all the stuff they are adding to 8.5 or whatever the next one is called.

The only feature in Andrew's list that really sounds like something I want is being able to photograph in low light. That's purely hardware, they can hype "Pureview" all they want but without a sensor capable of gathering smaller amounts of photons without introducing noise, no software in the world can help you take pictures in the dark. This is something that Samsung or Apple or HTC can easily replicate by buying the same type of sensor, it isn't magic technology just technology that costs a few dollars more than what the other guys are paying these days. If the marketplace shows that there's a demand for it high enough to be worth adding a few dollars to the BOM, it will be added to the competition, so this advantage would only last as long as it takes to get the Galaxy S 4 or iPhone 6 out the door next year.

The rest of this stuff is just useless. Wireless charging, who cares. I don't see a lot of people getting excited about the Android phones that already offer this, so why should they care when it is a Nokia/MS phone? Only geeks would ever care about this purely as a way to brag to their geek friends, the average person will yawn and ask "why is it so hard to plug the end of a cable into the phone?" It is silly in the real world where you don't have wireless charging mats laying around everywhere. When you travel, would you rather carry around a tiny cable you can attach to a USB port (with perhaps a small power adapter if you won't have access to a USB port) or something the size of a mousepad IN ADDITION TO the cable and power adapter? Yeah, that sounds convenient! If it becomes so widespread that these mats are everywhere then fine, but at that point it would be a standard feature in every phone.

Describing the "shake your phone" thing as a pub trick is apt, as it is totally a pub trick that matters not in the real world. Unless you have Parkinson's, you don't need a phone with better image stabilization than the ones already on the market.

The bonk to play music is also rather dumb. The "bump" app on iPhone has been able to do this for a couple years, and I'd be totally shocked if the same capability wasn't also on Android. Not that anyone who owns either phone thinks it is useful enough to brag about, which is probably why Windows Phone buyers haven't heard of it so they think it is something new and cool.

Apple to launch streaming online radio service?

DougS Silver badge

When has this ever happened?

Point out when Apple has ADDED a new built in app and got rid of all the competing apps in the app store? They have a built in weather app, but I can use the Weather Channel app. They have the search bar built in, but I can use the Google Search app. You can use other apps for email, calendar, alarm, and so on.

They don't let you replace functionality INSIDE THE OS, like replacing the keyboard that all apps use, but that's a different thing since the music streaming isn't an OS service like the keyboard.

But please, don't let facts get in the way of your hate.

Hackers claim to have Mitt Romney's tax records

DougS Silver badge

Not voter fraud, but offshore accounts

Well, I'm not sure why he would want so badly to vote in Massachusetts unless one of his kids was running for something and he really wanted to be able to vote for him. It'd have to be a pretty local office for one vote to matter very much.

I still think the reason is because of the offshore account amnesty the IRS offered in 2009 where those who had offshore accounts they hadn't been paying taxes on could pay the back taxes they owe (and some penalties I think) but would not be prosecuted, if they declared them within the amnesty window. This would have shown up on 2009 tax returns, and would be pretty embarassing for a guy running for president.

This seems the most likely, as it accounts for why he would only release 2010 and 2011, even though when he was vetted by the McCain campaign as a possible VP pick in 2008 he gave them 23 years worth. He'd probably be happy to make public those 23 years, but if he took the amnesty the 2009 return would be a campaign killer for him if it became public and it could be proven it was his genuine return.

Even if someone did steal his return Romney may have requested that PWC say they found no evidence of a hack even if they did so he can try to claim that the returns eventually released are fakes. If they really do have something they'll release it at some point - they are just seeing if the Romney campaign is dumb enough to pay $1 million in untraceable hush money before they release it anyway.

This is really the only thing that makes sense for why Romney is willing to take the heat for not releasing more years of taxes, especially when his own father set the standard for modern campaigns by releasing 12 years of returns. Any amount of heat is better than what would happen if it were shown he was illegally dodging taxes via offshore accounts. Worse yet, this would have still been going on during his previous presidential run in 2008! Even if he somehow still got elected he'd have lost all credibility to speak about any type of tax reform.

It is kind of funny this happened, as I had been speculating to a friend about this a couple months ago and I told him that there are probably too many people who have had access to his returns that may have stashed away a copy, either at his accountant, at any banks he's given them to, or even within the IRS itself. There are some people so partisan they'd be happy to go to jail for a few years if it insured "their guy" got re-elected. I didn't expect a hacker, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Google's stats show few Android tablets in use

DougS Silver badge

@Mending - great ideas dying

Why would the Android OEMs want Google to include all their great ideas within Android itself? If everything they do is folded into Android so all licensees have equal access to it, then there is no reason to buy Samsung over HTC or LG over Sony.

The OEMs want to be able to differentiate so customers have a reason to buy THEIR tablet over the competition's, if Google steals all their ideas then they are reduced to competing with each other on hardware alone.

Photos of 'iPad mini' body stir rumor pot

DougS Silver badge

Lack of a SIM slot would not be surprising

It would be a secondary method by which to segment the market between the 7.85" and 9.7" devices. Coupled with a single standard memory configuration (16GB, at a guess) it would provide a single product with a single price. Then you don't get hung up with price lists where high configurations of the small tablet overlap with low configurations of the large tablet.

You end up with $499 for the latest and greatest iPad (plus more if you want 4G and/or more memory) $399 for the previous generation iPad and $299 (my guess) for the little one. Apple likes things neat and clean like that.

Mozilla dumps iOS, pulls Firefox Home from iTunes Store

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

@Steen Hive

Depends on what you call a "market". Apple uses its monopoly on iPhones to unfairly inflict anti-competitive influence on the market for all applications on that platform Closed platforms are by definition ant-competitive in their respective application market..

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Legally you can't define a single product as a market for the purposes of monopoly. Go try and sue Ford for being anti-competitive in the market for Ford Focuses by not letting you order from the factory with a Toyota engine and see how far you get.

If you REALLY want a Ford Focus with a Toyota engine, Ford doesn't stop you from buying one, pulling the engine, and figuring out how to cram a Toyota engine in there. Likewise, Apple doesn't stop you from buying an iPhone and jailbreaking it if you don't like how they run their app store.

DougS Silver badge

@Nate

There are a few requirements that have to be met for Apple to be successfully sued as anti-competitive:

1) monopoly position

2) relevant market

3) abuse of monopoly to unfairly leverage their position in another market

Let's look at each one:

1) Apple has 70% of the tablet market, not sure if that's a monopoly. Its a far cry from the 95% of the PC market Microsoft had when they were fighting the US DOJ in the late 90s, and even that case wasn't a slam dunk in court.

2) Is the "tablet market" a relevant market? It's certainly not nearly as relevant as the overall PC market, but if it continues to grow (and Apple maintains or increases their percentage) then maybe it will be seen as such. The fact that iOS is used on tablets and smartphones makes it easy for Apple to argue that both together are a "mobile device" market, in which Apple trails Android, and where Microsoft has some built in advantages that may lead to them gaining market share in the future via OS compatibility of mobile devices, PCs and servers.

3) It is difficult to see how Apple refusing to allow competing browsers on iOS is trying to unfairly leverage their position in another market. Firefox is not in the anywhere near the same position relative to iOS that Netscape was relative to Windows. At the time, if you wanted to use a browser, you had to use a PC, and 95% of PCs ran Windows. Today if you want to use a browser you can use a PC, a smartphone, a tablet, a game console, a smart TV, and so on. If one competitor that somewhat dominates a tiny portion of the overall potential browser market is refusing to allow competing browsers, it is much less of a problem than when Microsoft killed Netscape.

Given that Firefox has almost zero penetration on Android, the largest mobile device OS, it is going to be REALLY difficult to argue that not allowing Firefox on iOS is hurting it. If Firefox was available in the app store, it'd probably struggle to get more than one or two percent of iOS users to install it. i.e., about the same as the percentage of Android users who will ever install it.

Apple confirms 'surprise' September 12 event

DougS Silver badge

Re: There is no iPad Mini being mass produced right now.

It would be Tim Cook 2nd terrible mistake after having put Apple at risk giving money to its shareholders, something Steve Jobs never wanted to do because then investors might start to bring any Company/Corporation down too easily.

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Steve Jobs wasn't against giving money back to shareholders. After all, what is Apple going to do with it, save it in the bank until they someday say "we're out of ideas, we're liquidating and giving shareholders their share"? He just didn't like the idea of committing to dividends or share buybacks that would compromise the financial stability of a company. Given that Apple was paying a dividend when it came near to running out of money around the time he returned, it's not an unreasonable position.

But with over $100 billion in the bank it's beyond silly to hold on it when even if everyone in the world stopped buying Apple products at once they'd have enough money to pay their employees and keep operating as if nothing had changed for many years.

The emails at the Samsung trial proved that even Jobs' mind had been changed about the 7" tablets. There are several claims of Apple ordering large quantities of 7.85" displays that lead one to believe Apple is doing a smaller iPad (though they may call it "iPod video" or something, who knows) I doubt they'd announce it next week since they want the spotlight on iPhone 5, but maybe next month when the iPhone 5 hype is tapering off a bit and people start thinking about their Christmas lists a $299 7" iPad would be a nice addition to Apple's product line, whatever they call it.

But no, we're supposed to believe the ravings of a random guy posting to The Reg that HE knows the real story better than all the guys who actually have connections to the companies making and assembling components. Forgive me if I don't discount the rumors being reported from multiple sources because YOU say they're all wrong.

Elon Musk says he's planning a 'supersonic, electric hover jetplane'

DougS Silver badge

This is what the republicans mean when they say millionaires are job creators

He's investing his money and creating jobs (and the future) by starting SpaceX, Tesla and perhaps this VTVL electric superjet company. Unfortunately there are too many millionaires who just give their cash to hedge fund managers to speculate on currency and commodity futures, which only creates jobs for hedge fund managers.

Too bad there aren't more of the former than the latter, then we wouldn't still be talking about how crappy this economy is.

Global strategic maple syrup reserves hit in Canadian mega-heist

DougS Silver badge

Can't see how it matters

OK, it matters for those who it was stolen from, but it isn't going to affect the supply or price much presuming thieves want to cash in on it by selling it, rather than just dumping it into one of the Great Lakes in an attempt to short pancake mix futures.

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

DougS Silver badge

Re: Freetards don't get it

No, they don't think they are entitled to use them for free. Just to pay the same dollar amount as everyone else pays. Not have everyone else pay 2.4% of the cost of a $10 chip while they have to pay 2.4% of the cost of a $500 phone. That violates the "ND" non-discrimatory deal they signed up for when they became part of the standards process and submitted their patents for inclusion in the standard.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Come on, Mr. Orlowski, you can surely do better

Two of Apple latest patents to use against Samsung are slide to unlock (now how many public and private toilet doors are using some sort of a latch that slides horizontally ?) and text correction (who would have thought of that ?) You're trying to tell us Apple deserves protection for this piece of brilliant creativity ?

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Apple should not be able to patent the IDEA of text correction, but if they specify the steps of how it is done on an iPhone I don't see why it shouldn't be valid. Text correction as it has been done on computers for years isn't the same as text correction as it is done on an iPhone, because the touchscreen and small keyboard with zero tactile feedback mean you miss the letter you intended to hit in a way that rarely happens on a real keyboard, and it is also possible to determine where you hit the letter you did hit (so you can use that information to better guess which letter was intended)

Different methods can be used to learn what words a user commonly mistypes/misspells (i.e., your iPhone eventually learns when you type fuck you mean that, and not duck) It could also take grammar into account to correct their/there/they're its/it's and so on (it doesn't do this, but that would be a way for competitors to roll their own version that doesn't violate any Apple patent should it be upheld)

I'm sure there is plenty of other ways to improve it that it either already does, or doesn't do, so the fact Apple is apparently trying to enforce a patent on it doesn't mean that they are claiming that they own any possible implementation of spelling correction on a touch screen phone. If they are, then it should not have been approved as it is not possible to patent an idea.

Slide to unlock may be a silly patent for which sliding door locks may or may not constitute prior art for, but it is most certainly a patent on a specific implementation and not an idea, as there are a lot of ways to unlock a phone that don't violate it. Such as the zig zaggy dot drawing that Android uses, hitting hard buttons in various ways, pressing and holding one or more fingers on the screen in a certain location, using the front facing camera for face recognition or eye detection, embedded thumbprint sensor on the home button (rumored to be coming in a future Apple device) and so on.

DougS Silver badge

Re: patent office

Maybe the patent office should be made (partially) liable to the quality of patents they award ?

If an awarded patent turns out to be without merit through prior art the patent office will have to pay a certain amount of money to the applicant. But if the patent office finds prior art for something that the applicant tries to patent, the applicant has to pay a fine.

Just a thought

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This idea stacks the deck even more in favor of big companies! They can afford the fine for filing a patent in which prior art is found, but this makes it less likely for the little guy to risk it (and if you say "OK, how about if the fine is based on the size of the company", big companies will create separate corporations to file each patent so they only pay little fines)

DougS Silver badge

It would cost a fortune to screen all patents up-front when they are applied for, but perhaps there could be a pre-screening process by relevant experts when someone tries to enforce a patent. In other words, it would be easy to get a patent, but to enforce it, you couldn't go straight to law - there would be a process to decide whether it should have been granted in the first place and, if the application was found to be frivolous, the patent would be cancelled and the assessment costs borne by the applicant.

Possibly a six-month ban on making new applications could also be imposed. Repeat offenders (not necessarily Apple!) could face having all their other patents invalidated.

Where a patent makes sense, this would still deter people from infringing it, but it would also deter frivolous patent applications and legal proceedings.

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When you think of new schemes, you need to always think about ways in which your great ideas can easily be gamed and overcome.

To wit, you can't punish offenders by taking away their old patents. If you do, they'll just incorporate a separate company to own each of their patents, so the "all their other patents" you mention say should be taken away would always be exactly zero.

You also suggest this new examination system that kicks in when a patent owner tries to go the legal route. What if they don't sue, and instead go the backdoor route and talk quietly under NDA to people they think they are violating their patents, as Microsoft did with Android OEMs?

Instead of that, it has also been suggested by some that after initial approval by the patent office, to-be-issued patents could be published for some time period (30-90 days?) to allow competitors and other interested parties to attempt to provide prior art, show they are obvious, etc. That's fine for say Apple's patents, as there is now a small army of Apple haters who will gleefully commit their time to googling and thinking they are qualified to know what prior art consists of. But what if Apple started patenting under shell companies to avoid having it known which patents are theirs? What if some company no one has ever heard of patents something obvious, but no one cares, until it is approved and they become the next patent troll looking a billion dollar payday over something ridiculous like embedding video in a web page? What if some company that is today's darling becomes tomorrow's evil company du jour?

Windows Phone 8: What Nokia and Microsoft must do

DougS Silver badge

Re: Swings and roundabouts

(WP must be bad then, given how atrocious the auto-correct bloopers are that people post for Iphone.)

Those autocorrect bloopers you see are almost always not from people typing exactly what they wanted and having the phone correct them, but from typoing one/several letters. The iPhone's autocorrect isn't perfect, and obviously perfect is impossible anyway, but it is surprisingly good.

It is actually good enough in practice, at least for my particular typos, that when I'm typing I generally go much faster than I could if I was trying to actually hit each letter properly, instead relying on the phone to fix it for me. Sometimes I will type a word that is complete gibberish where I missed EVERY letter in a long word and it gets it right in the end. This is simply a function of the dictionary matching up possibilities with adjacent letters/missed letters/common misspellings, so it is actually easier for it to get longer words right then it is shorter ones, though it depends on what other words you could have made from the particular gibberish.

I have no idea if it is smart enough to take into account when I'm missing 'h' for example and hit 'n', if I'm hitting right on the 'h' and 'n' border it is more likely to think I meant 'h' or if it just sees 'n' and considers h,j,b,m and space equally as possible alternatives. Given how well it works for me I suspect the former.

Like I said it's not perfect, but it gets it right most of the time, which is why I just go with it and use the delete key and try again more carefully if I don't get what I want (and yes, sometimes it is rather humorous) Avoiding having my texts immemorialized on an autocorrect humor site is avoided by double checking what I just wrote is what I intended before hitting the send key, which is luckily far enough away that when I'm typing wildly I don't accidentally hit it :)

My girlfriend observed the same thing as me when she switched from BB to iPhone last fall. She used to fly on that BB keyboard and was skeptical about ever being able to be as fast on the iPhone keyboard, and was pretty frustrated the first couple weeks, but once she started to trust the autocorrect she thinks she's even faster now than she was on her BB.

I've never seen a single Windows Phone device in the wild, nor played with one in the store, so I have no idea how its autocorrect compares to iPhone's. Apple has had a lot longer to tweak it too, I would guess that iOS 1.0's autocorrect was not as good as today's. It seems better to me between 3.x (my first iPhone was a 3gs) and today, but I don't know if it has been improved significantly or I have been trained by it :)

Apple and Google in talks to end patent war?

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS Bad for free software

It interests me that Apple, who were big on taking names and kicking ass past week are now in talks. As in actual negotiation that doesn't involve courtrooms.

I don't think it's surprising. Tim Cook isn't Steve Jobs, he is a great operations guy but he lacks Jobs passion, obsession and temper. He is probably less interested in continuing forever with the "going nuclear" strategy that Jobs set into motion before he passed away, and may be more amenable to a negotiated settlement.

Apple just had an important court victory, so if you ever want to talk, now would be the time as their negotiating position is fairly strong - it would of course get stronger if the verdict is upheld on appeal, but who knows how long that takes if it has to go all the way to the Supreme Court, and there is the risk it would get much weaker if the verdict is overturned. If Cook has been looking for a time he could do this, without it seeming "too soon" and stepping on Jobs' legacy at Apple by taking a 180* turn from Steve's "going nuclear" policy, this is that perfect time he's been waiting for.

Google's williness to talk would likely have more to do with keeping its Android OEMs in line. If those OEMs get nervous about having to fight and possibly lose to Apple, they may build more Windows devices and fewer Android devices. Google doesn't want that, because for all the storm between Apple and Google over Android, that's really the only thing that Apple and Google compete on. Google and Microsoft compete on far more fronts, including Google's main business of search, and would probably be willing to give up something to Apple if it helps them beat Microsoft.

While Android fans keep denying that Apple has any relevant patents at all, Google obviously felt differently in the emails warning Samsung over this that were made public in the trial. What Android fans think about the strength of Apple's patents is irrelevant if Google feels differently, and even if Google believes Android OEMs could ultimately prevail over Apple in court, it would take years longer and in the meantime Windows Phone could gain a lot of market share. Android OEMs like Samsung, HTC and LG are not loyal to Android in any way, they are loyal to making a buck. If they think they can make money with less risk selling Windows Phone devices, they'll do so, and will sell fewer Android devices as a result. That hurts Google's bottom line, and they'd be willing to do whatever it takes to avoid it, even if they have to hand Apple a victory that Android fans won't be happy with.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @DougS Bad for free software

I didn't say Google would give Apple any money, just that Google might come to an agreement that would make it easy for Android OEMs to settle with Apple and pay them licensing fees like they already do to Microsoft. Consider Google's position here. They give away Android, but make money on advertising when Android users use Google services. So they have two goals in mind:

1) make Android as widespread as possible

2) encourage OEMs using Android to not override Google services (i.e. limit stuff like Kindle Fire)

Apple's win over Samsung has had to throw some worry into the Android licensees. Google doesn't indemnify them against patent lawsuits, while Microsoft does for Windows Phone licensees. Android is free from Google, but the Android OEMs have all (or pretty much all) come to private licensing deals with Microsoft where they pay an undisclosed sum (rumored to be $5-$15) per phone for Microsoft patents used in Android.

If the Android OEMs figure out the licensing costs and potential costs to Apple (legal costs when they get sued win or lose, plus damages and/or having their products banned from the market if they lose) they might figure going with Windows Phone is a better deal. Even if it costs more they know EXACTLY what their costs are, whereas with Android it is unknown because of the legal uncertainty surrounding Apple's patents. This is an incentive for Android OEMs to partner with Microsoft and start producing Windows Phones and decrease their production of Android phones, which would cost Google future profit. It would also reduce choice and variety in the Android marketplace as resources are diverted to marketing models running Windows Phone.

Therefore I suggested Google might mutually agree with Apple on a list of Apple patents that Android violates, and in return get Apple to agree to standard licensing terms that would be available to any Android OEM running stock Android or something close to it (i.e. skins, but probably not layers like TouchWiz that significantly alters stock Android) This costs Google nothing, and helps Android by eliminating legal uncertainty. OEMs wouldn't have to worry about Apple suing them if they decided to sign a licensing agreement with Apple - which they have already done with Microsoft so it's just another cost they'd account for when planning products. Importantly, this also benefits Google because the OEMs would have an incentive to use stock Android, or something very very close to stock Android - which as I understand it is something a lot of Android users would prefer as well.

There is no reason for Apple and Google to be talking at this time unless Google is trying to come to some sort of deal with Apple. If Google wanted to "talk about how crazy this all is" and somehow try to get Apple to quit suing without giving them anything (which seems to be what you're wishfully thinking) then they sure as hell wouldn't do it right now, just after the Samsung verdict. You don't get someone to try to quit suing you the moment the courts just handed them a victory, that's coming at them from a position of weakness.

As I said in my previous post, I know Android fans wouldn't like this. But I don't see how it would be any different from the licensing fees they already pay Microsoft every time they buy an Android phone. Why should Microsoft's patents in smartphones be any more valid than Apple's? Yes, Microsoft has sold smartphones for much longer, but the smartphones they sold pre-iPhone were completely different. And yes, Apple hasn't sold smartphones for very long relative to some others, but they bought companies like Fingerworks in 2005 who pioneered multitouch, and therefore presumably own at least a few important basic patents applicable to modern smartphones. It doesn't matter if Apple invented this stuff itself or not, they obviously recognized it was important before anyone else did otherwise they wouldn't have been able to buy Fingerworks because Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia or RIM would have already owned them and their patents.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Bad for free software

Today Android is free software but nearly every Android vendor has quietly agreed behind the scenes to pay Microsoft some sort of unknown licensing fee. So there is certainly a method by which Google could reach an agreement with Apple to stem the tide of lawsuits without compromising Android's freedom.

If Google wanted to get Apple off Android's back they could come to an agreement that acknowledges patents xxx, yyy and zzz owned by Apple are used in Android, and Apple agreeing to license those patents to anyone for a certain sum per device (either a fixed amount or percentage of sales price) - essentially creating their own FRAND (or ND perhaps, if you think any price over $0 is neither Fair nor Reasonable where Apple is concerned) for some basic smartphone functionality. In exchange for this Apple would agree not to sue you for anything in base Android. This would bring some certainty to Android as they'd know exactly what they are paying (rather than unknown legal bills) and know if they don't stray far from stock Android they never have to worry about Apple.

Google could then recommend but not require phone OEMs using Android sign a license agreement Apple. The Android vendors would realize this is in their best interest since Apple's position in any lawsuit would be strengthened via Google's published agreement that certain Apple patents had been used in Android. This wouldn't address extensions to Android like TouchWiz, but that "omission" would serve Google's interests because Android vendors would be more likely to run stock Android, or at least stay closer to stock Android aside from some simple skins to make their phones look different from the other Android phones.

This should mean Android phones would be updated more easily/quickly and reduce version fragmentation, as well as make it much easier for Android owners to install stock Android on their phone - Google might even require providing some way to make this a bit easier for non-techie owners as part of the Apple/vendor licensing agreement. Google could exert more control over Android and prevent fragmentation that doesn't monetize Android for them (i.e. Amazon) via a backdoor agreement with Apple that Apple refuse to license to those who are doing their own Android fork.

I'm not suggesting this is a solution that Android fans would like, they'd hate to line Apple's pockets with every phone they buy - but they are already lining Microsoft's pockets with every phone they buy, and I can't imagine any way in which that's more preferable other than perhaps hating Apple slightly more than they hate Microsoft. But it would remove any potential cloud of uncertainty that exists around Android now, especially with Apple's recent win over Samsung (even though that mostly involved TouchWiz and the look of the phone, the popular non-tech press seems to have incorrectly reported it as a win over Android)

This also wouldn't address Apple's claims on design patents, but Apple probably realizes this is the weakest part of their case, and if they had a license agreement with a vendor that covered Android and the vendor didn't stray too far from Android so that design/trade dress was Apple's only issue in a lawsuit, it better be well damn indistinguishable from an Apple product save for the Apple logo if they expect the case to go anywhere. This kind of ultra blatant knockoff copying is really only an issue in China - sometimes they even put an Apple logo on it, but good look trying to stop those in Chinese courts any better than Gucci can stop the knockoff purses in Chinese courts.

Windows 8 tablets unwrapped in Berlin: Dell goes keyless for ARM

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

Trying to be both a laptop and a tablet

This is a bad idea, if you try to do both, you will do neither well. It's a bad idea from a software perspective, but even worse from a hardware perspective.

The reason people have tablets is because they are much more portable and easier to use (because of the reduced functionality and simpler OS) than laptops. A laptop that "converts" into a tablet is a stupid idea, because you lose the benefits that make people want a tablet in the first place. I guess Windows 8 will make a good tablet OS, but paying for it in terms of having to deal with the Metro mode on laptops and desktops is too high a price to pay. They confuse the market too much by running full Windows on tablets, they should have done Windows RT only (but with a better name) and the non-pro version of Surface only.

Adding a keyboard to a tablet is fine, this isn't new as Logitech and others were selling keyboard covers for iPad for a year or two now - if you do much typing this is necessary. But adding a keyboard to a tablet doesn't make it a laptop, even if it is running the same OS laptops do. Again, with Windows 8 on the Pro version of Surface and it's imitators, you can use the desktop version of Windows 8 on your tablet in keyboard and mouse mode. But having a keyboard that lets you type on your tablet in a pinch is different than expecting it to be a keyboard for normal PC computing. Those keyboard covers and foldable keyboards really suck for extended use, so it is not a substitute for a road warrior laptop usage model.

I think the direction Microsoft is going in trying to be all things to all people for both hardware and software is doomed to fail by trying to please everyone. They are deathly afraid of legitimizing tablets as a proper product category by jumping in with both feet, so they are trying to position this hybrid solution that keeps people's feet halfway in the PC world for both hardware and software.

This will fail, as it will result in too many dissatisfied customers in the long run who aren't happy with their purchase and might look Apple or Android's way for their next purchase as a result. iPads and Android tablets are limited in their functionality, and can never replace everything you can do with a laptop, but a huge number of people have more limited usage that fits beautifully into the tablet model. Microsoft's hedging on their tablet strategy will cause them to lose more and more of these people from the Windows world forever.

Intel adding wireless power sharing for smartphones and laptops

DougS Silver badge
Paris Hilton

So on the one hand...

We have this batshit crazy effort to save the planet by avoiding wasting the one or two watts of power drawn by "vampire" chargers plugged in but not having anything connected to them, and on the other hand we have people pushing for this wildly inefficient charging scheme that will waste far more power than a charger left plugged in all the time will, all because people are too damn lazy to plug the end of the charger cable into their device or want to do some fanboy bragging that their device does this and the other guy's doesn't.

OK. Just wanted to make sure I understand properly before I shoot myself.

Paris icon, because the ironic dichotomy of this makes her sad....or would, if she knew what dichotomy meant.

Disable Java NOW, users told, as 0-day exploit hits web

DougS Silver badge

"Sun need to make Java environments safe"

THEY CANNOT! Java has been around for how many years, and we still see these types of attacks! It will NEVER be secure, unless they use virtualization technology so that the isolation is enforced by hardware rather than software.

DougS Silver badge

"how will the picture be better when cross-platform HTML 5 and HTML 5 video are standard"

The problem with Java and flash is that there is one single company with one single codebase that covers every implementation. If there is a security hole, it affects everyone.

HTML5 does not suffer from that issue, there are separate codebases for IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome. An HTML5 bug in Firefox will not affect Chrome. An HTML5 bug in IE will not affect Safari. OK, Chrome also uses Webkit, so depending on what the bug is it might affect both Safari and Chrome, but at least that's not everyone.

This is important because if there is a bug announced tomorrow that affects every version of Java (rather than fortunately affecting only 1.7.x like this 0-day exploit) and you MUST run Java as some people here have reported they must, you are effectively screwed. If you MUST run HTML5 and there's a nasty 0-day in Firefox, you have the option to safely use IE or Chrome until Firefox is updated.

DougS Silver badge

Such as?

What high profile websites require Java to be enabled? When I last reinstalled my laptop I forgot to install Java and it was over a month before I noticed. I have never noticed Java's absence on my iPhone. Never. Not once.

Flash is going away too. While there are still plenty of videos that require flash on the web, sites that require it for navigation are becoming quite rare, and the videos are less numerous than they used to be. Now that Android can't run flash in the future, that abomination should quickly disappear from the web entirely, at least from any sites that ever hope to attract any mobile users at all.

It's a good thing cross platform stuff like Java and flash are going away, too, because anything that potentially provides a single attack that works against pretty much everything out there is a disaster waiting to happen. Java code has run in a sandbox since version 1.0, and it still isn't safe even now, so it's quite obvious it never will be. Good riddance.

Maybe someone will try again in the future, running the cross platform managed code in a VM, since they obviously can't be trusted to program a secure sandbox.

IDC: Trying to flog PCs? It's not going to happen

DougS Silver badge

They are wrong about 2013 and on

The PC market is in permanent slow decline. Tablets will take the place of PCs for a large number of people with simple needs (email, facebook and browsing) who formerly had no choice but to get a PC to serve these needs. You know, the people who bought their first PC so they could use those free CDs that AOL kept mailing out. They will also replace some PCs in multi-PC households. Tablets are more portable than even the lightest Ultrabook, less prone (at least today) to malware, and being simpler in their functionality are also more user friendly in their operation.

Tablets don't replace PCs for the types of people who read the Reg, but they do for the types of people who closely follow the latest celebrity gossip.

Why the Apple-Samsung verdict is good for you, your kids and tech

DougS Silver badge

Other silly design patents

Apple haters can talk about how stupid they believe Apple's patents are and how "this will be definitely turned over on appeal" all they want, but that's just wishful thinking or wishing the world worked the way they believe it should, rather than how it actually does. In the real world (or at least in the US, if you consider us outside the real world) we have software patents, and we have design/trade dress patents. If you don't like it, write your congressman to change the law. If you just complain and hate on Apple, you aren't fixing the problem because everyone files these sorts of patents all the time.

If you think Apple is doing something crazy and abusing the system in a way no one else is, think again. Levi Strauss has successfully obtained and defended the stitching on the pocket of their jeans. If you think that's nuts, Cadbury has managed to patent a COLOR. They own the rights to that particular shade of purple in their packaging when used in chocolate bars or drinks. They've defended this successfully in the UK - given where they're based, it's perhaps not so surprising that they should experience less difficulty than Apple has in trying to defend design patents in the UK courts.

Though I'm sure there are some Apple hating Cadbury loving UK residents who could come up with some sort of justification that makes sense only to them as to why trying to patent a rectangle with rounded corners and edge to edge glass is totally ridiculous, but patenting a color is perfectly reasonable :)

China Mobile to roll-out 16GB MEGA-cloud platform

DougS Silver badge
Big Brother

Comparing a business to the Chinese government

No is one is comparing storing data at Apple or Google to giving it to the Chinese government. We're comparing giving it to the US government to giving it to the Chinese government. Because if you think that Google or Apple won't give up your data should the feds ask, you are deluding yourself. They won't tell you they are doing this of course, it'll be done via a law we aren't allowed to know about that Google and Apple aren't allowed to tell us about, just like the wiretapping that all the big US carriers did (except Qwest, but they probably are no longer safe since they got bought out by Centurylink, convenient wasn't that?)

Of course, if you are not a US citizen, you may not care too much if the US government looks at your data, so long as you aren't doing anything terrorist related. Or drug related. Or money laundering related. Or help Wikileaks. Or any other "subversive" organization. On second thought, even if you aren't a US citizen you probably should be concerned about giving your data to the US government...

DougS Silver badge
Holmes

Does it matter where you store it?

If you care about privacy, you should encrypt it whether it is stored in China or stored in Amazon's, Apple's or Google's cloud. If it is something where privacy is unimportant, like your mp3 collection, then it doesn't matter where you store it - though presumably the network would be faster from a cloud that isn't on the other side of the globe!

I think one should assume that any cloud provider will give up everything to the local government, anyone who believes their government is better in this regard than the US or Chinese is fooling themselves. Between the two, I'd rather have the Chinese government get hold of my stuff than the US government. China has less reason to care about digging into my private information. Likewise a Chinese citizen should rather use a US based cloud than China Mobile's (though China's great firewall may block this)

DougS Silver badge

Re: To be fair...

iPhone 5 will most likely using Qualcomm's MDM9615 baseband, which supports everything the iPhone 4S chipset does, along with TD-SCDMA and China Mobile's future TD-LTE standard (along with regular old LTE for the US market)

Of course, this doesn't guarantee they enable it to receive the specific frequencies, but even in the absence of a deal with China Mobile it would make sense for them to do so. There are millions of jailbroken iPhones on their network today running at Edge speeds, so the demand is obviously there even if China Mobile and Apple can't come to terms to offer it officially.

Samsung fights to stay on US shelves as Apple calls for ban

DougS Silver badge

No bounceback on S2 and S3

I wasn't aware of this, I assumed they had the same TouchWiz layer on all of them. So the S3 may be safe after all.

Makes me wonder how many other UI differences there are between different Samsung TouchWiz devices. Is there a Galaxy version and other versions for other Samsung phone lines?

DougS Silver badge

S3 not exempt

It likely doesn't violate the trade dress patents, but it would still violate the UI patents like the bounceback. I'm not sure how Apple would go about asking for it to be banned since it wasn't a subject of this trial. If it requires a whole new trial, Samsung can release new versions faster than Apple can win lawsuits, so even if they end up having to pay damages there wouldn't ever be any bans on current products.

Of course, if it ever gets to that point both sides would probably realize it is easier to just come to some sort of licensing deal similar to what Samsung and the other Android makers already has with Microsoft.

Or they could modify TouchWiz so it doesn't hit the Apple patents in the trial, since AFAIK none of the patents at issue in this particular trial involved Android itself, but rather Samsung's TouchWiz layer on top of Android.

Jury awards Apple $1bn damages in Samsung patent case

DougS Silver badge
Megaphone

@Dante - software patents

It isn't as though this is the first case that software patents have been found to be vaild. While I agree with you that software patents (or even worse, business method patents) are stupid and shouldn't be enforceable, there has to be some way to prevent what Samsung did by creating a 156 page document detailing all the ways iPhone was superior to Samsung at the time and should be copied. In every case they were copying Apple. Why not copy RIM, or Palm, or Microsoft or other Android vendors? It looks like they didn't even consider this, they believed Apple was the best and wanted to take a shortcut to matching them via wholesale copying.

Maybe we need a new class of patent that covers more the entirety of a product's functionality rather than trying to claim patents on each individual thing. Because the problem really isn't copying a single feature, if the only thing that Samsung had copied from iPhone was bounceback scrolling, I'd say it is stupid to enforce that. Even if Apple had been the first to ever do it I'd say it doesn't deserve a patent. I think Samsung's 156 page document is the real smoking gun, and shows the real problem. There needs to be something to prevent what Samsung did.

If Samsung wasn't allowed to do a wholesale copy of 156 pages of iPhone features, and had been forced to come up with their own solutions (which sometimes might be the same as what iPhone did, and sometimes might be different) then they wouldn't have got to where they were as quickly. But they'd have a product that was uniquely theirs in the same way iPhone is uniquely Apple's. And they probably would have come up with some superior solutions to the things they copied.

Take, for instance, bounce back scrolling. That's just one way to solve the problem of how to let the user know he's reached the end of a scrollable area. It could make a sound, it could light up the edge, it could produce some sort of animation, it could show the scrollable area crumpling and then springing back. I actually think the latter would be cooler than the bounceback, but Samsung never even considered alternatives, they just went for the easy route to copy Apple.

If they hadn't copied Apple and tried to come up with their own solutions to the 156 pages of problems they identified, they might have thought of the crumpling, and had something cooler than what Apple has, rather than just having the same thing Apple has. They would have come up with some better solutions in some places, worse solutions in others, but it would be an original work. Any work where there's a 156 page document showing your product's deficiencies that recommends copying a single competitor shows precious little effort was directed at coming up with better solutions.

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