* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Chinese smartphone shipments outstripping feature phones

DougS Silver badge

The article makes it sound like this should be surprising

It should not be. Anyone with a clue knows that in a few years there will be no such thing as "feature phones". Even the cheapest phones will be smartphones, most likely all running Android. The cheapest ones may be so low spec they aren't able to do a whole lot more than call and text with some rudimentary browsing, but they will still count as "smartphones" by the current definition.

If you want to see how the smartphone market will look in a few years, just look at the entire mobile phone market today, and all those feature phone OSes (stuff listed as "Java", Series 30/40, etc.) can be pretty much counted as Android, some of the Symbian market goes to Windows Phone, add a few percent to iOS since iPhone will continue to grow a few more years and there you go. Probably 80-some percent for Android, maybe 10% for iOS, a few percent for Windows Phone and a couple percent for "other". RIM will be bought out for it's patents and there will be no Blackberry OS in a few years time.

Maybe the Firefox OS for phones will take some of the low end share that would otherwise go to Android, as another "free" competitor it has a chance of doing so but it's success or lack of remains to be seen. Samsung has talked about doing it's own OS (Bada I think it is?) so given their current hardware market share it could be a decent chunk of the mobile market in a few years, but that's really the only other one that could possibly have a noticeable market share in a few years time.

HP patents teleprompter-esque transparent screen tech

DougS Silver badge

Re: Questionable utility

You can already do that using the rear camera, without needing any advances in screen technology nor battery technology to do so. And your fingers won't get in the way of your view (unless you have them covering the camera)

My point is not that being able to overlay graphics and real world view is useless, just that the idea of a transparent display for personal use is. Do you really want to look through your phone at all times? How easy is reading text going to be on a transparent screen? Sounds like trying to read text written on a projector transparency held in your hands. Ugh!

So you'll need some mechanism to block the ambient light from the back of your device 99% of the time. If so, why go to all the hassle and expense of equipping it with a transparent screen and transparent battery (or I suppose a super advanced battery that's 10x more energy dense so all the electronics + battery can be hidden in the bezel surrounding the screen)

Obviously there are commercial uses for this, like for advertising - though only advertisers will be excited about this. Who really wants to look out an airplane window as you're coming in for a landing and have the view overlayed with the locations of McDonalds in the area? Or ads for tours of landmarks showing up as you pass over them? Or worse yet, totally unrelated ads, like a Coke ad that keeps pulsating next to you in your window seat at 35,000 feet for four hours? For personal use, I stand by my claim that it is useless. No one will want this on their computer monitor or TV, and on phones or tablets it can be and already is being accomplished via the rear camera.

DougS Silver badge

Questionable utility

Aside from the well promoted example of augmented reality in a smartphone for mapping, there isn't much use for this. Who wants a screen you can see through on your computer? What use could it possibly have? I don't want to see my wall behind my screen, and if it had it in front of a window I'd certainly not want the distraction of seeing what is happening outside when I'm trying to read something.

I think it would be far easier to have the rear camera on a smartphone create the illusion of a transparent screen, without inventing stuff like transparent batteries that no one ever seems to remember are also required for a smartphone to have a transparent screen. There are already texting apps that do this so you can see where you're going when walking and texting. Keeps you from walking into fountains or down manholes and ending up on youtube!

One big thing in favor of using the rear camera is that it can be turned off. Which any reasonable person would want about 99% of the time.

Google denies Redmond report of a spamming Android botnet

DougS Silver badge

Google is copying Apple here

By sticking their head in the sand and denying this before they've even had the time to look into it. Whether or not there is an Android botnet in this particular instance, there is certainly no reason such a thing isn't possible via either a malicious app or good free app where the author decides after several updates that get it onto a million phones that he wants to make a bit of extra cash.

People rightly complain about Apple's "ignore it and it will go away" attitude towards security threats on OS X, which the flashback trojan recently proved to be stupid. Funneling everything through the app store and requiring review may make iOS somewhat more secure from app threats than Android, but it's not foolproof. OS X and Android be based on Unix gives them better security, but certainly not perfect security.

The default response to any accusations of malware on smartphone OSes should be "we will work with the reporter of this issue to determine if its a real threat and make a public statement when we know, with a follow up plan of action if it is found to be true." Sadly Microsoft may be ahead of both Android and iOS in this regard since they'd already had their wakeup call on PC security a decade ago.

Apple's UK smartphone lead shrinks

DougS Silver badge

Quad core is not "twice as fast"

iOS supports multithreading just fine - it is based on the Mach kernel, just like OS X (it started as a stripped down OS X) which has done multithreading since before Linux even existed. You may be confusing multithreading with multitasking. While iOS does full multitasking, full functionality isn't exposed to 3rd party apps to prevent poorly written apps from sitting in the background sucking down the battery - its part of the walled garden approach Apple users that many Android users criticize.

Properly writing multithreaded software is HARD. Even browsers don't do a very good job of using threads, at best they'll use a separate thread for a plugin or separate threads for tabs. How many people are going to use tabbed browsing on a phone, and actually have multiple tabs downloading/rendering at once? The whole point of phone apps is small applications that perform a few simple functions well. They don't need a bunch of threads, and certainly anything that is maxing out several cores at once for any length of time is going to suck the life out of your battery so fast you won't be able to use it long.

I'd love to hear some examples of specific apps that not only make use of >2 threads on an ongoing basis (i.e., not just for a few limited cases) and are actually maxing out each core with every thread. An app that has 10 threads but only uses 5% of a core on each could run just as well using half a single core.

Even PC applications rarely use quad core CPUs effectively, for the vast majority of PC users you could replace their quad core CPU with a single core CPU and they'd never notice the difference. That majority is far vaster when you consider phones.

DougS Silver badge
Facepalm

@Xanderj

Why in the world had it "better be quad core"? What can you do with a quad core phone that you can't do with a dual core phone? I take it you must be from outside the US, since the S3 model sold in the US has a mere dual core, which you consider unacceptable.

This type of obsession with useless specs that don't deliver any real world benefits is the whole reason why there are any phones at all with quad core. It is totally pointless in a phone, or a tablet for that matter. If you won't buy the iPhone 5 if it has only two cores then you better get used to that S3 or figure out what other Android phone you want to switch to if you are in the US and are therefore currently forced to endure the humiliation of using a phone with a mere two cores.

Apple would rather beef up the graphics performance than waste die space on CPU cores that aren't needed, so not only do I think the iPhone 5 will be dual core, I suspect the new model in 2013 will as well. I could see saying "it better have LTE", "it better have a bigger screen", or even "it better have NFC" (if you actually have some use for NFC) Rumors seem to indicate it will have all three. LTE at least is a 100% certainty.

If Apple announced iPhone 5 and didn't let on how many cores there were though word was that it was quad core, but a month after you got yours it was discovered it was only dual core after all, would it suddenly seem slower or otherwise deficient to you?

US trade body to 'revisit' Motorola's sole patent win over Apple

DougS Silver badge
Megaphone

@ChrisInAStrangeLand

Sorry, you're wrong. Motorola VOLUNTARILY submitted their patents to h.264, 3G, and so on to standards organizations. If you do so, you MUST license your patents under FRAND terms, and must charge everyone the same rate.

What Motorola did was pull a switcheroo designed specifically to screw Apple and Microsoft, and probably others, but these are the two we keep hearing about lately in Motorola lawsuits. Motorola had formerly licensed these patents to chipmakers like Qualcomm who built chips that did 3G. Maybe they got 2.25%, I assume this would be where that 2.25% figure comes from. For a chip that costs a few dollars, that wouldn't be unreasonable. Though most such deals are just flat rates of a few pennies per chip regardless of what the chip costs...obviously if you have 50 patent holders it is mathematically impossible for them to all charge 2.25% of the price of a chip!

Motorola's screwjob was to change their deal with Qualcomm to specifically exempt Qualcomm from paying royalties for chips that are sold to Apple. This meant Apple was now receiving chips that didn't have the royalty already paid, then they went to Apple and demanded 2.25% of the retail price of an iPhone. FRAND patent holders who charge x cents each for use of their patent wouldn't be able to do this, but if Motorola got away with charging Apple 2.25% then every owner of a FRAND patent who charges by percentage of sales price on a small portion of a device would do the same thing.

So if an owner of the patent of the industry standard diagnostic port (OBD) every car has was collecting 1% on the cost of the chip to interface the ODB port to the car's electronics, they could pull the chip license and suddenly start collecting 1% of the sales price of EVERY AUTOMOBILE ON EARTH. Now imagine there are a dozen patent owners in the ODB pool with similar deals, and look forward to spending an extra $5000 on each car you buy for the diagnostic port which you don' t even care whether it's industry standard or not!

Kodak's using bankruptcy to rob us of our rights – Apple

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple NEVER does the right thing

But I suppose you believe Google's "do not evil" crap, even after all the evil they've been shown to be doing the past few years? Apple is shit, but so is Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and so on.

They are all out for what is best for them, and consumers are only there to be cashed in on as best they can. Its just that all these companies cash in on us in a different way - Apple by selling to the high end only, Google by selling our personal details and advertising to us, Samsung by selling to us in volume from low to high end, Microsoft by abusing a monopoly to keep selling to us until we die.

Apple flat-screen TV to ship by holiday season?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why would Apple sell a 4K TV when there's no 4K content?

Laptops don't "need" 3K, but some people are willing to pay for it because it does improve your experience (show more detail in photos, sharper text, angled lines look smoother, etc.) Whether that's worth the extra cost or not is up to the buyer, as (for now at least) you can still buy one at the traditional resolution for less money.

4K in a TV offers nothing, and while I'm sure there are a few videophiles who would pay over the odds for a 4K TV, in a mass market product it would add a tremendous amount of cost without giving the end user anything in return. Even the "Apple is all marketing" Apple haters wouldn't believe that Apple could sell millions of people on paying an extra $1000 for a 4K TV by convincing them that their 1080p content will somehow look far more amazing. Anyone that has viewed what a DVD (480p) looks like on a 480p display versus a 1080p display will quickly agree that interpolating additional pixels doesn't do much. Then pop in a Blu Ray and suddenly all that extra resolution is worth it.

Now if Apple could get a bunch of films remastered on 4K and sell them via iTunes (for those who have no broadband caps, otherwise a couple movies would blow your whole monthly cap) I suppose they could sell it as the high end model, but I still think it would be a tiny market as the additional cost isn't worth it since even with the 4K remastered movies, 99% of your content would still be 1080p at best.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Remember the Thunderbolt launch demo..?

Which is probably the next version of the 30" Cinema display, which would ship when the new PowerMac model ships next year.

Why would Apple sell a 4K TV when there's no 4K content? When Steve Jobs claimed he "cracked" making a TV simple to use, I don't think his idea was "I'll make it just the same as current TVs, but with 4K resolution!"

Microsoft rejects Google-Moto patent pact proposal

DougS Silver badge
Mushroom

Good god, why do none of you morons understand how FRAND works?

Here is how a patent becomes FRAND: the patent owner submits it for inclusion into a standard being put together by a standards organization. That's it, that's the one and only way. Companies don't have their patents made FRAND against their will, they do so VOLUNTARILY and are under no obligation to do so. There is no method by which patents can become FRAND against the wishes of the patent owner. But once you submit it there's no changing your mind about that. No takebacks, even if Motorola wishes there was so they could single out Microsoft and Apple for much higher royalties than anyone else pays (if nothing else violating the 'ND" non-discriminatory part of FRAND)

If the 5G standard was being put forward tomorrow, and it could work via method A and method B, and I had a patent without which method A could not be made to work, I would have two choices. One, submit my patent for inclusion in the standard, and if method A is chosen, get perhaps a penny for every 5G phone sold in the next decade or two. Two, choose to keep my patent to myself, in which case the standards organization would have no choice but to go with method B, in which case I'd probably never make much from my patent unless it was useful for something else I did, or I could find someone infringing and collect royalties from them.

So quit your whining about how poor Motorola is getting screwed because they have FRAND patents while Apple and Microsoft's patents are not FRAND. VFAT is a stupid patent which shouldn't have been awarded, but it sure as hell shouldn't be FRAND, because Microsoft has never submitted it to any standards organization. It may be seen as "de facto standard" by some, in that for some reason Android makers feel it necessary to support VFAT. But just because others feel it is useful, or even essential, or as much of a standard as 3G is, doesn't mean that the patent becomes FRAND by popular demand. That's not how it works.

If Android vendors really are paying MS $5 per phone or whatever it is for that one patent, that's their own damn fault. No one is making them use VFAT, and it is certainly not integral to Android (which, being Linux, probably uses ext3 or something internally, or should if it doesn't) Since neither MS or anyone else has ever fessed up to how big the license fee is and what it covers, the talk about VFAT is all speculation anyway.

Sony taps bug peepers to kill gloss-screen glare

DougS Silver badge

Film?

Do they mean something that becomes part of the glass, added via CVD or something similar? Or do they mean film, as in plasticy coating that solves the reflection problem but brings back the potential for scratches that was a big annoyance in the early 2000s until phone makers got wise and started using glass instead of polycarbonate for the screen?

Kodak says Apple patent moves prevent any end to its misery

DougS Silver badge

Gotta love Apple haters

When Apple sues someone, the patents in question are obvious and never should have been granted. When someone sues Apple, Apple is stealing other people's innovations they deserve compensation for.

These patents are as low in quality as 98% of the patents Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Motorola et al have been suing each other over the past few years. Stuff like showing low resolution previews of images while still recording in a higher resolution, and tagging photos with additional information like where it was taken.

For every invention which really is something novel, like SWYPE for instance which I would argue qualifies, there are dozens of obvious patents like visual voicemail. I'm sure I was only about the millionth person to wish my cell phone's screen could display a scrollable list of voicemail messages similar to how call history worked on my Nokia. Took me about a week or two after owning that first cell phone to think this one up.

Maybe we need a website for people to put down their "obvious" ideas and timestamp them, to offer a free way to invalidate stupid patents. I should patent the idea of this website! Actually, nevermind, it was too obvious to me so someone has undoubtedly come up with it already. Anyone got the URL so I can bookmark it? :)

'Unbreakable' Samsung Galaxy Note II to take on iPhone 5

DougS Silver badge

Unbreakable? Color me skeptical

As far as I'm aware, Gorilla Glass 2 is the best stuff out there, but its hardly unbreakable. Just less breakable than other glasses. Is this using some sort of polycarbonate? If so, unbreakable yes, unscratchable, not hardly.

If there was a screen material that was unbreakable, unscratchable and didn't cost a fortune (so there's sapphire as used in Vertu out the window) then it would have been used before. If Samsung invented something totally new that allows this, there will be a lot of SGS3 owners mightily pissed off!

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

DougS Silver badge

Assuming Google Maps remains as an installable app...

Then I figure iOS users win either way. Either we get a better map product from Apple than the totally outdated crapfest that the current Google Maps app is, or Apple gives us a crap app but Google is induced to give us a better app hoping to get iOS users to install it.

I know some think Apple will ban a Google Maps app on the grounds it competes with iOS features, but they allow the Google Search app even though iOS has search built in to the phone. Perhaps Microsoft might get into the game at that point and make a Bing Maps app available too. If we go from one app to three I'd be thrilled, because competition would insure things improve a lot.

While there are some other things I'd improve, I realize they are niche things. I think crap like 3D views are niche too, I certainly don't give a damn about them. Just getting turn by turn is all that is required. Having the maps and satellite photos as up to date as possible is also nice.

Apple 13in MacBook Pro to fall into line this autumn

DougS Silver badge

Re: price point

Apple, and their suppliers, can take a longer term view. They can take a temporary margin hit as production is ramped up, knowing they'll be fine in six months once the kinks are ironed out and things are humming along.

A typical PC maker, operating on thin margins competing with other PC makers operating on thin margins, doesn't have nearly the flexibility to do this. When they do something new and expensive, they charge more for it, then when it becomes cheaper they reduce the price. They'd rather not, but their competitors will if they don't and it'll hurt them worse than the lower price.

Apple prefers to keep the same price for something over its life, or at least until it gets updated. They can do that where PC makers can't because Apple is the only vendor of products that run Mac OS and iOS, as opposed to being one of many vendor of products running Windows or Android. Apple likely plans their pricing based on a target margin over the life of a particular product configuration. That is, when they introduce a new iPad with a retina screen and the bigger backlight and battery required for it, they have a particular target margin in mind. They will undershoot that margin at first, since the components cost more initially, but overshoot it by the time the product is ready for a refresh, when components drop in price. If they plan correctly, they get their target margin. Almost certainly, their suppliers take some contractual risk as part of this too - or maybe the suppliers take all of the risk, Apple does huge volumes and can put the squeeze on suppliers as a result.

So I don't think it matters whether the cost of 13" Retina screens is lower by fall or not, what matters to Apple is the average price from fall 2012 to fall 2013 (or whenever they next plan to upgrade the product)

'Scientists' seek to set world social, economic, tech policy at Rio+20

DougS Silver badge
Stop

"hard limits on the volume of fossil fuels under the ground"

This is obviously true (unless the abiotic oil nuts were actually proven right) But this, along with the limits on the efficiency of engines and so on don't matter once we get fusion working. Unless you believe that's in insoluable problem. I suppose the constant predictions of "in 20 years" for the last 40 or so made by overly optimistic scientists seeking funding don't help people's perception of the likelihood, but while it isn't any day now by any means there has been a lot of progress over the years that's brought us a lot closer. Its just a really problem to make a controlled star in miniature, unfortunately.

The world should be devoting more of its resources in terms of money and the best and brightest towards finally cracking this, since it's the fix for so many problems facing us. Fossil fuels become irrelevant. With essentially unlimited electricity generated via fusion reactors, you can synthesize fuel from scratch less expensively than pumping it out of the ground. You no longer need to waste arable land growing fuel as we've been doing lately. But you could if you wanted, since we'd no longer need arable land to grow food. Or even sunlight for that matter, we could grow food anywhere we could generate power, even underground or in basements (unless the cops think you're growing pot and bust down your doors) You solve the nuclear power dilemma by making it irrelevant and unnecessary.

I'm sure the luddites would start worrying about global warming due to the waste heat of all the fusion power we were generating in this brave new world, but at least for this (as opposed to CO2 induced AGW) the math is quite simple, so you can calculate energy generated = heat generated and compare that to the heat being input to the Earth from the sun every day. Unless (or perhaps until, the luddites would fear, and possibly correctly in this case) Earth became like Asimov's Trantor or Star Wars' Coruscant the additional heat input would be such a small fraction you'd see it expressed via scientific notation rather than a percentage figure.

DougS Silver badge
WTF?

Re: What's so damn bloody annoying

Of course you can get growth without any additional energy input. If all the people who are unemployed worked from home carving pieces of wood (cut down by other unemployed people using axes) into useful objects (wooden spoons, baseball bats, chair legs, etc.) they've increased the GDP of their country without any energy input.

A silly example, to be sure, but scientific advancement makes an economy more productive with the same or less amount of energy all the time. Consider the effect of using a computer to plan shipping to reduce the miles travelled/fuel used, or reduce the wait times between stops, or even do stuff like avoiding long waits for left turns (UPS actually implemented this) Or if you already have some task like this which requires massive computer power, you get a new computer that uses 10% of the electricity to perform the same task.

There are the types of major advancements that can massively increase productive ability, such as the Hall process for extracting aluminum, or the ability to make productive use of something which formerly had no use (i.e. uranium, various rare earths) or make better productive use of something we already had but used less efficiently (i.e. iron replaced by steel, using sunlight for electricity instead of just heat and light)

All these predictions about the future are totally tossed on their ear, at least as far as energy use, global warming and pollution/clean water go when we finally figure out fusion. The luddites are afraid this will happen before they can scaremonger people into going back to the 18th century.

Court delays Apple Proview ruling

DougS Silver badge

Re: Worthless

Exactly right. I guess some people hate Apple so much they think the only reason the product was successful was because it was called the iPad. If it was called the iSlate or iTab, I believe it would have been just as successful.

I remember when it came out a lot of people hated the name, and made jokes comparing to Stayfree maxipads. Now some people think it is so valuable that Apple totally screwed this poor Chinese company out of billions. It is worth billions because of Apple. It was worth essentially nothing to the Chinese company since they had already stopped selling products under that name, they were happy to get the $35K, but now think they can take advantage of the rather corrupt state of the Chinese judicial system to get more.

Inside HP's latest global bit barn

DougS Silver badge

Tailgating

How do they tell the difference in weight between two little guys and one fat guy? Is your prox card encoded with your weight?

Bye, bye Apple. Now Facebook's the global app kingmaker

DougS Silver badge

Re: Massive flaw in this argument...

I believe the idea is that you discover apps your facebook friends are using, not those that have the most likes overall. Otherwise there would be no benefit to integration with the app store, as they already let people submit ratings (which are 'likes' on a 0-5 star scale)

Just because Angry Birds the most popular game overall doesn't mean that five of your friends haven't discovered some obscure game they're playing against each other, so maybe you give it a chance based on that. You like it, then other friends of yours see that, and it snowballs. At least that's the theory. It would offer a different avenue to popularity aside from the current one of being fortunate enough to get featured status in the app store.

Obviously people who will have nothing to do with Facebook won't get anything out of this, but it doesn't hurt their experience either.

The incredible shrinking NAND: I'm MEELLLLTING

DougS Silver badge

Good use for obsolete fabs

If you have a leading edge fab today, rather than spending billions to upgrade it, maybe you keep it online and five years from now are producing flash at a geometry where it still makes sense. A fully depreciated fab could probably compete pretty well...

This is a problem for the purveyors of all flash arrays or those claiming SANs will go away and be replaced by local flash storage on servers, but for the more reasonable solution that's a mixture of flash for the heavily used data and old fashioned spinning disks for the bulk data, having NAND technology at a standstill is not a showstopper.

We've been hearing about "next generation" storage technologies since bubble memory in the early 80s, nothing has ever displaced RAM and spinning hard disks, except for NAND, which after replacing floppy drives has grown up to find a comfortable spot between RAM and hard drives. So I'm not holding my breath on any of these technologies, particularly PCM which has been overhyped with nothing to show for it for about a decade now.

Apple iPad sales drop by DOUBLE DIGITS in Europe

DougS Silver badge

Re: Yes, there is really a market for these devices

I don't know a single person that has ever upgraded the CPU in their laptop. And that's said as someone who has built every PC I ever owned, dating back to 1997. The vast majority of people would be deathly afraid of the idea of removing the two screws on the bottom to upgrade the RAM, and wouldn't even know where to begin when confronted with the concept of upgrading the hard drive, so the idea that not being able to upgrade the CPU in a laptop matters to anyone to the 1% of people who are hardcore geeks is laughable.

I remember a few years ago how Apple haters thought the iPhone's non replaceable battery (it actually is replaceable, but the difficulty of doing so is comparable to upgrading the CPU in a desktop PC, so few people would dare try it) was a terrible terrible thing. Funny how that's a criticism that's rarely levelled anymore since some Android phones started doing the same thing.

Similarly, I am amused by the idea of a Mac laptop's inability to get a CPU upgrade as being a problem, especially since PC makers are pushing ultrabooks, every one of which has the CPU soldered onto the motherboard just like in Macs! Pick something that matters to complain about, like the loss of the RJ45 port, or the apparent discontinuing of the 17" model...

DougS Silver badge

Yes, there is really a market for these devices

Or do you not have a laptop or PC? Both are refreshed all the time, though the more major refreshes tend to occur roughly yearly to match Intel's tick tock cadence. Do you have a TV? Most are refreshed on yearly cycles. Do you have an automobile? Most are refreshed on yearly cycles, and like iPads and iPhones, get some small refreshes on a yearly basis plus bigger refreshes a bit less often.

Just because Apple introduces a new iPad or iPhone, or Samsung introduces a new Galaxy S, doesn't mean that your older model is suddenly worthless. Those who buy these as a fashion item may want to have the latest model, but that's a rather less expensive affliction than those who insist on having the latest fashion in clothes or whom trade in their car for the newest model every two years like clockwork.

Operator subsidy, or lack of same, is also irrelevant. It would really only matter if you bought a model with cellular, which I don't see as being all that necessary for a tablet. All it does with phones is hide the true cost, which is not really all that different than how people who buy a new car every two years think (i.e., trade the old one for a new one in exchange for essentially adding two more years worth of the same payments you were already making, which means its "FREE" lol)

I don't even understand the point of your complaint. Are you saying that tablets should never be updated, so you can buy one and never need another one until it breaks, like how you buy a washing machine or a hammer? I'd prefer some technological advancement, and am willing to accept the risk that my product will become (gasp!) outdated in comparison with what else is out there over time.

Average selling price of tablets drops 21% in three months

DougS Silver badge

Bit of a problem for Microsoft

Tablets capable of running full on Windows 8 (as opposed to merely being a larger screen version of what phones run, like Apple and Android tablets do) are going to cost more. I'm gonna guess they'll probably be priced closer to $1000 than $500, because they know they won't be able to compete with Apple on price, let alone with Android, so they might as well price them high enough to make a decent profit and give up any aspirations of penetrating the consumer market to any real degree.

'iPhone 5 case' sparks supplier fondle frenzy

DougS Silver badge

Speaking of not feeding the trolls

Of course it has to be an Apple employee, no one else in the world has an iMac. Certainly not someone interested enough in Apple related things to blog a video about a possible iPhone 5 leak!

I agree with you halfway though. I think this may be an intentional leak from Apple, but it's 50/50 that it's an intentional leak of a fake iPhone 5 body. Given that prototypes have escaped Apple before the last two releases, you have two choices to avoid having this happening again and letting out your secrets before the big announcement:

1) make your crazily tight security even tighter, if that's even possible - however, the only way to completely avoid lost/stolen phones is to not let them off campus at all, which means less testing (i.e. greater risk of Antennagate part deux) And no matter how good Apple's security is, once Foxconn builds one they are the weak link in the security chain.

2) use a decoy strategy, sort of like how ICBMs have decoy warheads to make shooting down the real ones more difficult. First, you'd have test runs of more than one iPhone 5 form factor, so if parts leak from the suppliers you're covered so long as the wrong part leaks or multiple parts leak. You could also "lose" one of the wrong ones or have it accidentally seen by a reporter if you want to muddy the waters in case a real one gets left in the bar again next month.

If the new one is bigger, they can't hide that inside a case making it look like an older model as they'd previously tried to do. But they could hide it in a case that makes it look like an Android phone. Maybe people in Palo Alto bars should be keeping an eye out for Android phones that have iOS' icons on them :)

Google Maps adds aircraft, tricycles and skiers to cover all bases

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple iMaps?

Another clueless Apple hater. Or perhaps you are unaware that both the Mach microkernel that's at the core of both iOS and Mac OS X as well as Webkit that is at the core of Apple's Safari browser (as well as the Android browser and Google's Chrome browser) are open source projects to which Apple are one of the largest contributors.

Apple is obviously nowhere near as open source friendly as Google is, but Google is out to make a buck just like everyone else. They're happy to open source Android because they make money from it via advertising (by driving traffic to their search engine and other services which generate ad revenue) rather than licensing, but you don't see them open sourcing their search engine, or the Street View photos, do you?

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple iMaps?

It doesn't have to be better than Google's updated version is, or even as good as the current version is. It only has to be better than the absolutely shitty way outdated and never updated version of Google Maps iOS is currently cursed with.

That's a pretty easy target.

Keep in mind that while Google owns the streetview images etc. they do NOT own the maps data and images. Both are licensed from someone else. If they wished to, Apple could license the same data, though having 250 million iOS users crowdsourcing updates to OpenStreetmap ought to get it caught up in quality pretty quickly. That's assuming Apple has some easy method for users to note new streets that aren't on the map, closed streets that have been removed, or whatever else might keep the open source map data at a lower quality than the paid-for licensed data Google Maps uses.

Presumably there would be some type of quality control for these updates. i.e., don't update the data until enough people note it, to avoid hooligans with hoax updates sending grannies off a cliff on a road that doesn't exist. True, this has already happened with Google Maps as well as "professional" GPS devices like Garmin, but if/when this happens with Apple turn by turn directions it'll make much bigger news, as most things good or bad about Apple tend to these days.

NTT demos double-sided see-through smartphone

DougS Silver badge
Megaphone

Re: Apple will innovate this now - you'll see it in a few years time

No need, they've already been investigating something along these lines well over four years ago (this article is dated March 2008) But I'm sure Apple haters like you will still claim Apple is copying NTT if they actually did introduce something like this...

http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/apple-transparent-displays-patent#!/photos/16125/1

White AMERICANS will have become MEKON brain-men by 3000AD

DougS Silver badge
Gimp

Predators and prey tend to evolve in tandem, so...

This fits perfectly with last week's first appearance of a bona fide zombie attack in Miami!

Metal mask icon because its the only thing that will save my braaaaaaains

Microsoft and Nokia dub Google troll moan 'desperate', 'frivolous'

DougS Silver badge

Re: Actually.....

Oracle thought that was true and they just got their heads kicked in. I guess the skinny kid knows karate or something.

They didn't get their heads kicked in, Oracle went after them with claims the judge didn't agree with. If someone else comes after Google with claims a judge does agree with, Google's small patent portfolio outside of Internet search could present a real problem for them, as it makes a cross licensing deal a non-starter.

Steve Jobs was top of the flops, says Apple's Tim Cook

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FAIL

@Anon 17:43

Sorry moron, Apple DOES design their own chips. The A4, A5, A5X, etc. were designed by Apple, they are not "renumbered other people's products". Yes, they use an ARM core licensed from ARM, similar to how NVidia, Samsung and the many other ARM licensees start with the core and then do their own design with it. The only Android vendor not using off the shelf CPUs is Samsung. And before you say it, yes Samsung does fab Apple's chips, but no, they had nothing to do with the design. Just like how TSMC fabs Nvidia GPUs but had nothing to do with the design.

Probably no coincidence that the two companies who do much more of their own design than the rest of the herd, Apple and Samsung, are also far and away the two most successful at selling both phones and tablets.

Leaked snaps said to confirm iPhone 5 speculation

DougS Silver badge

If I was Apple

I'd make sure about one fake iPhone body was "accidentally" leaked per month in various ways in the runup to the release of the new products. With different sizes and form factors, randomly moved or changed connectors, etc. Maybe have one in Zune turd brown to get the four Zune enthusiasts up in arms about how Apple is copying Zune.

Then if something real does escape (or gets left in a bar) it would just be treated as yet another rumor. I guess nobody remembers the two "iPhone 5" bodies shown off in similar pictures around this time last year, neither of which looked anything like the iPhone 4S that Apple actually started selling last October. Given how 98% of the talk until the weekend before the official announcement was about the "iPhone 5" with a curved metal back, I'd say it worked pretty well.

There's zero chance of Apple using a USB connector, since the 30 pin dock connector does a hell of a lot more than what USB can do (such as video output, so there's no need for a separate connector for the 2% of people who want to hook their phone to their TV's HDMI input) Sure, Apple could introduce a new dock connector with the pins closer together and maybe with some changes to the electrical specifications so that there could be a Thunderbolt adapter down the road, so if this is real that's what I'll bet this is. They've had the same dock connector for a decade now, probably about time for an update...

Foxconn to create workers' paradise?

DougS Silver badge

@dgharmon

People already hated Microsoft, so no one would have cared if that had been reported. Most Android phones are produced in China as well (even Samsung is moving its production to Taiwan) but no one cares about that either. They aren't Apple.

Whether its fair to Apple or not is irrelevant, the fact is that the way it is been reported in the media makes Apple look bad, and thus they'll want to do something about it.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @Tim Worstal. That actually makes a lot of sense and did not at first.........

Sometimes in a big company something like what Tim says only becomes obvious after a while. i.e., there is turnover, and managers close to the ground see how constantly having to train new workers adds cost and reduces productivity, but the message gets lost as it moves up the management chain.

Having the bad publicity associated with the visibility of Apple fall onto your company, plus have your biggest customer (Apple) getting negative publicity and probably putting a lot of pressure on you to fix it ASAP or lose their business, may provide the initial impetus to give a look at things. They check out various scenarios to see what the effect on the company would be, one which is "give people a big raise", and perhaps only then do upper management fully realize how much turnover is costing them since they're looking at it much more closely than they had in the past.

Migrating data from storage arrays

DougS Silver badge

Doing it all at once almost never happens in the real world

I agree with Lusty, typically you don't migrate an entire large array's worth of data all at once, unless it is all related to a single application (i.e., SAP) The length of time is exponentially proportional to the number of servers/applications attached. Usually it takes some months, with the first step involving triage to prioritize servers based on:

- how easy it is do

- how easy it is to get the approvals from the business owners, DBAs and OS admins

- how many roadblocks you get based on "these servers should be excluded because they will replaced soon"

After that you have a schedule that already runs longer than you would like, and you see further delays based on how many planned migrations get rescheduled one or more times due to something unrelated (there are performance issues with this application right now and we don't want to add more variables while we're trying to track it down) to completely unrelated (its end of the quarter so we're instituting a company wide change freeze for two weeks because some bozo screwed up a routine VPN change last quarter which caused the CFO's email to go down the night before earnings annoucement)

Eventually you may have that giant storage system running with just a couple of attached servers but business owners who are politically powerful are able to keep roadblocking storage migration because they don't see it benefitting them personally and thus don't want to take any risk, even if it is essentially zero risk. If you're lucky you can produce figures for upper management showing how much keeping that old array on lease/support is costing each month that convinces them to move, if you're unlucky you end up with that almost but not quite migrated array hanging on for a year or two longer (I've seen this happen, and with big EMC arrays that undoubtedly cost a fortune in monthly fees that were less than 5% utilized after the almost migration)

Foxconn receives Apple smart TV order - report

DougS Silver badge

2.35:1 is worse than 4:3

Talk about a niche market! Unless you also hope Apple starts selling lots of 2.35:1 content via iTunes and you never watch any broadcast/cable/satellite TV or classic movies it seems like a pretty dumb idea.

Anyone aside from a videophile snob who thinks that having a 2.35:1 set means you deign to watch only the very limited amount of 2.35:1 content available would be relegating most of their viewing to having black bars wasting some of your screen. Just like a 4:3 set, except that the black bars will be larger, and on the sides instead of top/bottom.

DougS Silver badge
WTF?

@JEDIDIAH

What the hell? You think modern TVs have a simple menu system? Seriously??? Is that why I have to press an input button, then up/down buttons and then a selection button for something as simple as changing from one HDMI input to another? If you've ever used a Harmony remote, you'll know that the current TV interface is horrible and could be massively improved upon.

Whether you believe that Apple changed people's perceptions about what a cell phone could and should be, or whether you think that it was inevitable and Apple's contribution to that is vastly overrated is irrelevant. The fact remains that what people think of as an easy to use and functional phone has totally changed in the past five years. People might have thought their Blackberries and RAZRs were easy to use back then, but most people were unable to set up their Blackberry for email without help, and WAP browsing was so unfriendly that few ever used it after the first few initial attempts.

Doing the same crappy menu system but making it look prettier is not something Apple would bother doing. I have no idea what Apple will be doing, but I think its a safe bet it'll involve a touchscreen remote (so the haters will claim they stole from Harmony, even if what they do goes well beyond what it does) While everyone seems to assume it'll be all about Siri I'm skeptical, but any usage of Siri will involve the remote NOT the TV. Its hard enough having something right in front of your face properly recognize your voice, you'll never do it reliably across the room in a noisy house, nor would you want to if you've ever had a "fight for the remote" in your family - "TV, change to SpongeBob", "TV, change to the Lakers game", "TV change to SpongeBob", "TV change to the Lakers game dammit!"

Crazy Geckos: Nitot on Mozilla's post-Firefox mobile crusade

DougS Silver badge

"Lost its memory hog"??

Hardly. I am running the latest Firefox on a totally up to date Fedora 16 install and noticed it became slow earlier today. It had a resident size of 5.7 GIGABYTES!

That was enough to make me download Chrome and decide to give it a try. I'm not big on Google getting access to my browsing habits, but a functional browser may be the trade I have to make...

Facebook ninjas scale wall, pluck iPhone techies from Apple's garden

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

Two or three years too late

The time to do this would have been when Facebook had its maximum popularity amongst teens. A Facebook branded phone could have had some "cool" factor back then, but now Facebook is something their parents and maybe even grandparents use. That's about as uncool as it gets. That's why a lot of teens do most of their "social" on Twitter now. They still have Facebook accounts but don't use them the way teens were a couple years ago.

I don't think there was ever any way for Facebook to sell a phone to anyone over 20, unless it defied all logic and was actually a better phone than anyone else's phone. Good luck beating both Apple AND Samsung. Given how much doubt there is about the ability of RIM and Nokia to challenge those two, the idea that Facebook could do so is laughable.

I'm sure the marketing group at Facebook thinks this is a grand idea, they already have a lot of information on their userbase, as far as who their friends are, where they go (if they checkin), and sometimes even who they spend time in real life with (via photo tags) Now they could get information on where you are every minute of the day, everyone you call and text including how frequently and what time of the day, and if enough others had Facebook phones get an even better picture of who you spend time with in real life by seeing which ones are at the same location. Valuable information for marketers. Perhaps valuable enough to sell an iPhone/Galaxy class phone for "free" with subsidy? That's the only way I see the Facebook phone succeeding...

ITU adopts two ultra-high def TV specs

DougS Silver badge
Facepalm

3D didn't work, gotta think of another way to force an upgrade cycle

I can see 4K being useful for some, there are TV size/distance viewing combinations where you can see the pixels on 1080p, and 4K (2160p) would eliminate that. 8K is useful for nothing other than looking cool when you're standing two feet away from a 150" TV and saying "wow, it looks amazing". It will, but once you sit down you wouldn't notice the difference it someone hit a button on the remote to change it to 4K.

Even though it won't have a lot of people who really go out of their way to want it, 4K will be pronounced a success. But like 3D, it'll have high sales figures not because people actually go out of their way to get it, but because it'll be included on all the non low end TVs.

The one good thing about 4K is that it'll make 3840x2160 the new standard on computer monitors. Unlike on TVs, 4K really is very useful on computer monitors, because you are sitting much closer to the screen and because you view a lot of static images on a computer.

Steve Jobs' death clears way for vibrating Apple tool

DougS Silver badge

Re: "the great man" Please...stop sucking up...He's dead already.

Not saying its novel, just saying that there isn't anything like what the patent proposes available today. Whether the addition of haptic feedback makes a big difference in the usefulness of a stylus would remain to be seen.

If Apple does introduce some sort of pen/stylus just wait for all the Android fanboys to claim Apple is copying Samsung or whoever. Nevermind that Apple had a PDA that used a stylus 20 years ago.

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

Re: "the great man" Please...stop sucking up...He's dead already.

I must have missed the part where the pens I see in your google search offer haptic feedback. I still have no desire to have a pen on a tablet (let alone on a phone, urgh) but if I was an artist who wanted to use it to draw on, or was one of those insane people who thinks having their tablet recognize their handwriting would be faster than typing or more reliable than voice recognition, maybe I'd care.

Nokia and Symbian still number one in China

DougS Silver badge

Re: What is the difference between a smartphone and a featurephone?

"Smartphone" is an irrelevant category these days. In a few years there will be no such thing as a "feature phone", so the quicker we start talking only about the phone market rather than the smartphone market the better off we'll be.

The people buying feature phones today do so because its the cheapest phone, and they use their phone only as a phone, not as a small computer. In a few years there will be no "feature phones", the cheapest phones available will be extremely low end stripped down Android phones.

Obviously some will upgrade to a real smartphone (Galaxy S, iPhone, Lumia 900, or whatever) but many people will never use a phone as anything other than a phone.

Sunshine nudges asteroid into odd orbit

DougS Silver badge
Boffin

New Reg unit of distance

Based on the content of this story I propose a new unit of measurement for the Reg. The flyover. One flyover is the distance between New York and Los Angeles.

HP started then spiked HP-UX on x86 project

DougS Silver badge

Re: Wow, HP realy are slinging there own mud about

HP-UX ran on M68K CPUs in the 80s. The port to PA-RISC was easily accepted by customers since PA-RISC performance was a massive step up (it, along with DEC Alpha, held the performance crown for much of the 90s)

Boffins cram binary data into living cells' DNA

DougS Silver badge
Alien

Prior art

Aliens already did this. What we think is our "junk DNA" is actually links to some sites on the galactic Internet, which we'll be able to decode around the time our technology is good enough to connect to the galactic Internet.

Unfortunately its been a while, so these links are about as useful as links on Earth's Internet to geocities and myspace are today.

Apple's trial experts are 'slavish fanbois who believe in magic'

DougS Silver badge

Re: or get an independent source

How's that supposed to work then? Just because you work for Nokia or RIM doesn't mean you might not have a bias one way or the other for or against Apple or Samsung. Neither side will have experts testify without knowing what they are planning to say, so they'll only select those who agree with their position. No difference from the situation now, in other words.

The only role for truly independent randomly selected experts would be if the court were to employ them, but such a thing doesn't exist in the US court system. Failing that, your desirability as an expert witness will hinge on you stating what the party signing your check wants the judge and jury to believe.

RIM-Moto sketch THIRD nanoSIM design as peace offering

DougS Silver badge

Why should Apple want this?

Apple (nor any other phone manufacturer) has zero incentive to make it harder for people to swap SIMs, its the carriers who have reason to make it more difficult. The inability to unlock the AT&T iPhone until recently was likely something contractual Apple had to agree to in order to get AT&T to agree to other terms Apple wanted.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Why do we need SIMs at all?

A software SIM doesn't eliminate the ability to move your account between phones, there are some obvious ways this could be done. The fact you can't do this in CDMA is most likely a deliberate oversight. Carriers have no incentive to make switch phones and/or providers more easy, and some obvious incentives to make it difficult or impossible.

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