* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

RIM-Moto sketch THIRD nanoSIM design as peace offering

DougS Silver badge
Facepalm

Why do we need SIMs at all?

Can't this be done with software? I remember rumors from a couple years ago that Apple was working on eliminating the SIM and doing it in software, but that talk died down soon after. Either it was false, or Apple was shot down hard by the carriers who presumably fear the ease with which someone could have a phone with a half dozen SIMs that automatically picked the best rate for each call or data connection depending on where one was located at the moment.

Steve Jobs' death clears way for rumoured 4in 'iPhone 5' screen

DougS Silver badge

Phones as fashion items?

Phones used to get smaller and smaller, now they're getting larger and larger. Maybe they're just fashion items and change sizes like women's hemlines and heels raise and lower. At some point phones will be too big and few people will buy the bigger ones, and the trend towards making them smaller could eventually return (maybe helped by fashion, i.e. if tiny purses become popular again women won't want huge phones, if small pockets become popular in men's fashion then 5" phones won't fit, etc.)

When Apple first introduced a 3.5" iPhone it was huge compared to the screen of every phone that came before it - and the size of the phone itself was larger than almost everything too (it was thinner than all the flipphones but much wider and taller) I guess everyone has forgotten the early rumors about Apple doing an "iPhone nano". It sounded reasonable at the time since there were so many who thought it was gigantic compared to the phone they had, now the idea of going smaller than 3.5" sounds laughable.

This idea that a change in size could never have happened with Steve Jobs alive, or that there's no way Apple would ever have two sizes of iPhone is crazy. Jobs hated large product lines, that much is true. When he came back to Apple they had something like 15-20 different Powermac models and he whittled it down a just a few. But not to one. He never said one size fits all or they would not have multiple MacBook Pro sizes, two MacBook Air sizes, three different iPod form factors, etc.

Greenpeace targets Apple with 10-foot Pod stunt

DougS Silver badge

Re: Greenpeace makes a fuss...

Greenpeace accused Apple of using dirty coal power for its new datacenter, Apple put out a press release stating the entire 20 megawatts it used would be generated via solar panels and biogas (from a nearby landfill, turned into electricity with Bloom fuel cells) Greenpeace then accused Apple of lying about the amount of power its datacenter used, saying a datacenter that size would consume 100 megawats.

I must have missed the part where Greenpeace are such experts they are able to determine the amount of power a building will use, when they only fact they know about it is its size and that it is a datacenter.

I have a feeling that even if Apple produced the utility bills showing $0 in utility electric usage, Greenpeace would still claim they are lying. If Greenpeace really cared about dirty coal power they'd go picket in China where the coal power is much much dirtier than it is anywhere in the US.

Instead they camp on Apple's front lawn because:

1) Anything involving Apple will get them in the news

2) They feel guilty using iPhones knowing they aren't as green as the alternative of two cans connected by twine (but they are fine with Foxconn employees committing suicide, fewer people on the planet consuming resources is a good thing in their eyes)

3) Camping on Apple's lawn is a much cushier protest than camping out in Antarctica to protest something involving penguins

4) Sunnyvale's jail is a lot nicer than the Chinese prison they'd get tossed in if they tried protesting like this in front of a business using dirty Chinese coal power

Next-gen MacBook Pro, iMac make benchmark site debut

DougS Silver badge
Thumb Down

"Hundreds, if not thousands of dollars?" Please send me your name, I'd love to become your vendor!

USB2.0 gigabit adapters are $20. Fine, USB2.0 only rates half a gigabit and probably does only a quarter gigabit in actual use, but how much bandwidth do you REALLY need, versus just want because you think it may save you a few seconds now and then?

The Thunderbolt connector will be fine for replacing firewire, as it is essentially external PCIe it will be able to connect anything you want. There isn't much out there now, but that's mainly because there are hardly any Thunderbolt capable PCs these days. Apple refreshing their Mac line will create a market and quickly change that.

If Apple listened to every whiner complaining about getting rid of a port most people don't use, the MacBook Air would be an inch think thanks to having to include Appletalk, ADB, SCSI and a floppy drive!

Foxconn chief: we're gearing up for Apple 'iTV'

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C'mon guys

I love reading these comments, people are slagging on Apple and saying it will suck because it'll just be the same as having an Apple TV hooked up to your TV, and be no different from the other "smart TVs" being sold.

Pretty much what people were saying in 2006 when the rumors about an Apple phone really started to heat up and everyone was saying it would basically be a Razr that synced to iTunes. They were way wrong then, and they'll be wrong now. I don't know what Apple is coming up with, but I do know it won't be a warmed over version of the lame "smart TV" features that all the TV vendors have been adding on lately to the collective yawn of consumers worldwide. It also won't be the same thing you could get by hooking up an Apple TV or other set top to your TV, except without cables.

If all Apple does is save one power cord and one HDMI cable by having the set top built into the TV, I'll be first in line to join the Apple haters in saying it sucks and only fanboys would buy it. But what will they do if it redefines the market like the iPhone did, not necessarily by inventing something that had never been invented before, but taking a lot of things that mostly had already been invented but just implemented poorly and never working well together until Apple rethought it? I suspect the Apple haters will still claim it sucks. They'll claim Apple didn't innovate, they either copied or were just lucky to be first to market with obvious ideas. And ignore how the next TV they buy is a way closer to Apple's new set than the ones on the market today.

China begins work on world-beating MEGA power cables

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Re: Anyone else notice the timescales here?

Building roads and power lines are the kind of public works projects that are easily parallelizable, so while they may do two miles a day on average, its not like there will be one team that makes two miles of progress every day starting on one end and moving linearly to the other.

There's enough people there, enough resources/manufacturing capacity, and more importantly so little red tape in a command economy that they could probably finish it this fall if they really wanted to...

7.85in 'iPad Mini' said to sport retina screen

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@tmTM

Dunno about the iPod touch but the iPhone 4 and 4S have had retina screens since summer 2010.

Intel plans massive push around touchy-feely Ultrabooks

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@Anon 08:28

Actually Apple had to ask Intel to create a new SKU for the original MacBook Air.

Intel didn't have mobile CPUs able to fit in such a small/thin laptop as the one Apple wanted to design, so Apple asked Intel to create a new version of the Core Duo that was 60% smaller than what was available on the market (the CPU die itself is the same size, but the package that actually sockets into a motherboard is typically much larger and thicker than the die to allow wider pin spacing and reduced mechanical stress)

After Apple's initial success with the Air, Intel started selling that special SKU that was originally Apple-only to other OEMs, and later started pushing the whole Ultrabook thing. I'm not saying you should give Apple credit for "innovation" for making a thinner laptop, but they did innovate by figuring out what was stopping them from building something smaller and thinner than anyone had previously, and went to Intel (and other parts makers, I believe) and got what they wanted. If Apple hadn't gone to Intel asking for this, there might still be something like "ultrabooks", since sacrificing performance for portability has become practical for more and more people for whom CPUs are already way more than fast enough (i.e., this wouldn't have worked 10 years, a CPU that could fit into such a small package would provide performance far too pathetic to drive Windows) But they might not be quite as thin as it isn't clear that Intel would have offered these smaller models of their existing CPUs without Apple originally requesting it....or they would have come along much later.

Point is, Apple took the risk in creating something when no one was sure it would be a popular product. All of the effort in designing and marketing the Air would been for naught had it been as poorly received as, say, the Mac Cube a decade earlier. PC OEMs like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, etc. operate on low margins and thus tend to play it very safe. New product ideas come from the risk takers, not just Apple but also the small botique PC makers. The big guys take ideas from them too, or in some cases just buy them out entirely (i.e. Dell buying Alienware)

Nimbus boots EVA out of Mitsubishi

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You get what you deserve when you go the budget route for SAP storage

n/t

WiFi Alliance pimping Passpoint

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FAIL

Why would I want this?

You say its designed to let mobile carriers charge us more money and let the RIAA and MPAA bring their DRM into our home networks? Yes please, sign me up!

There better be a different symbol than the standard wifi icon on your phone when you're logged in this way, otherwise how could you know you are being billed for your usage rather than just connecting to a free wifi network your device has remembered?

Not sure how this is supposed to work with the DRM in the home, though if its the usual sort of RIAA/MPAA scheme for accessing DRM protected content it will only work using your Windows PC, or possibly OS X also, but only if they're feeling particularly kind. Linux/Chromium/whatever would be right out. In the mobile world iOS and Windows Phone, being locked down, would be fine. Android, being open and tainted by the evil Linux demon, would be left looking in from the outside. Well, maybe it would be allowed in, but only if you use only the carrier provided version of Android and firmware. No rooting or upgrading to the standard open Google version or you lose access to all that juicy DRM protected content.

It doesn't sound like it does anything useful for consumers, other than save you a moment or two logging into pay hotspots (something I personally never do, everywhere has free wifi these days at least in the US) Its almost as one sided a deal as the Clipper chip, and we know how far that went...

VW STUNS WORLD+DOG WITH REAL HOVER-CAR!

DougS Silver badge
Devil

Missed a trick

They should have claimed it works via some sort of magnetic repulsion from iron, and thus would work only on concrete surfaces (due to the rebar) but not on asphalt or off-road.

I think if you add some appropriate sounding disclaimers to make it sound like a slightly imperfect thing that needs more refinement rather than the revolutionary breakthrough it appears as here and they might have fooled a few more people. Or at least some Insane Clown Posse fans :)

TSMC zaps 3.1GHz ARM processor with 28nm shrink ray

DougS Silver badge
Stop

Article is a bit misleading

Yes, Apple is using a shrunk version of its A5 in some of the iPad 2s now rolling off production lines, and when tested those show 16-29% better battery life. However, the article really ought to point out that the screen is the dominant power user in a tablet, so the power savings realized via the shrunk A5 is in fact way better than 16-29%.

If there were some benchmarks run with the screen shut off, in airplane mode, etc. to minimize as much as possible the non-CPU related power usage factors, we'd have a better idea of the improvement from this shrink.

Ghost of HTML5 future: Web browser botnets

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Joke

@Not That Andrew

He's the first HTML5 code to become sentient? This problem is even worse than the article indicates.

Samsung DOUBLES profits on strong phone sales

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FAIL

Sorry Bob, you're a moron

Siri wasn't Apple's intro of voice control, they've had it since the 3GS which was introduced just under THREE years ago. Siri just enhanced the existing voice control to do much more. Of course there were phones that did some form of voice control before the iPhone let alone Android were even on anyone's drawing board. Seems a rather obvious "innovation" for a device that people talk into, doesn't it? Giving either Android or Apple credit for the innovation of telling your phone "call Mom", even if one of them had been the first, is pretty ridiculous since computers have been capable of understanding simple phrases for at least two decades. The innovation will occur not in the understanding of properly enunciated speech in simple "verb object" form, but in the understanding of all grammatically correct sentences, plus some common forms of grammatically incorrect sentences, slang, abbreviations, mumbling, etc. Siri moved the bar somewhat on that but we're still much closer to the start than the finish on this.

Not sure what a "widget" is, but I'll give you the pull-down notifications if you're willing to give Apple the pop-up notifications since they appeared on Apple before Android. Both pull down and pop up notifications have existed in applications on computers for years and were thus already an obvious addition to phones for everyone except patent examiners and fanboys.

As for quad core....this is an innovation? When Apple moves to 1GB RAM from the 512MB used in the iPhone 4/4S will they be copying Android's "innovation" of having 1GB? You seem to be playing pretty fast and loose with that word, suggesting you don't even know what it means.

Anyway, I fail to see why iPhone needs four cores. I also fail to see why Android phones needs four cores, except to compete on a naive specifications basis with other Android models for the purchase of clueless fanboys like you who think those extra two cores matter for anything but a bullet point spec war. Cores 3 and 4 are wasted on desktop computers for the vast majority of PC buyers, and no one is crunching massive spreadsheets or compiling code on their phone!

Analyst: 'revolutionary, compelling' iPhone 5 out in October

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Boffin

Re: It needs it's curves back

Actually, liquid metal is transparent to GSM/LTE frequencies, so there's no need for glass in the back! Nifty, huh?

Extra points to Apple and Corning if they can eventually figure out how to make a super Gorilla glass incorporating liquid metal instead of aluminumosilicate, which retains the elastic properties of liquid metal as well as retaining (obviously) the transparency of glass.

If it was possible to make such a glass, a device built with it would be almost impervious to any conceivable accidental damage, and THAT would provide the basis of demand for a post iPhone 5 upgrade (after, of course, a still-obscenely-profitable but boringly incremental iPhone 5S "no big deal" upgrade ala the 3GS and 4S)

But even the regular liquid metal back would be a nice improvement in durability, and presumably the iPhone 5 will use the next-generation Gorilla Glass 2 and lack the metallic band that makes landing on edge a problem for the 4/4S design.

This interactive wind map is a Big Data lava lamp

DougS Silver badge

Works for me in the latest Firefox also. Whatever browser you're using must be out of date.

The future of the fondleslab belongs to the Fire

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FAIL

<$400 as "cheap"

Its quite possible that every tablet sold, including Apple's, will cost less than that in 2016. Consider this. Right now Apple sells the new iPad for $499 (in the US, I know you folks across the pond get screwed on exchange rates, but ABI Research is an American firm, thus I'll consider only US prices) The production costs are estimated to be a bit over $300 for that base model, raising up to a bit under $400 for the top end model with 64GB and 4G.

There are some things that won't change much between today's new iPad and the iPad of 2016. The screen is going to be the same size (if Apple changes it, it will be to add a smaller version, not a larger one) and there's no point in better resolution. Unless there's a breakthrough in screens that look as good as today's even under direct sunlight the iPad 2016 screen will cost much less than today's. 4G will be mature technology by then, and 5G won't be out yet, so 4G chipsets will be cheap and sip much less power than today's monsters that drain Android handsets batteries in a few hours of talk time and required Apple to add 60% more battery to get slightly lower battery life in the new iPad. So both the 4G chipset and the battery will cost much less in 2016. I'll argue that CPU will cost much less too, because aside from going to a 64 bit ARM, and clocking it a bit better, there won't be any major improvements there - just as with Intel, they've run into a wall with limited improvements in straight line code performance, so they are left adding cores. IMHO anything beyond dual core is pointless in a tablet (let alone a phone) but certainly even the Android fanboys in love with specs would be hard pressed to come up with a reason to go beyond a quad core CPU in a tablet. Maybe they'll use all the extra CPU real estate to make the GPU better so the games can become like those on today's Xbox 360 and PS3, but barring that the CPU costs less in 2016.

Combine all that, and even with new ideas that I haven't though of, I think its reasonable to believe that the iPad of 2016 costs less than $200 to build, allowing Apple the option of selling it for $399 instead of $499 like today (or maybe just making more on it, if people still by them by the millions each month) Android competitors would probably rarely sell above $299, and many tablets that were spec-wise very similar to iPad 2016 could be sold for $199 by the vendors who don't mind razor thin margins. I'd say $200 or $250 at most will be the dividing line for "cheap" in 2016. As usual, the research firms only look at today and extrapolate into the future, just like the idiots who said MS Phone would take 20% of the market by 2015 which was miraculously almost exactly Nokia's ownership of the phone market at that time. Now that Nokia is plummeting if they did the study today they'd probably predict much less for MS Phone, even though its Nokia that's having the problems and MS Phone's prospects haven't changed all that much for good or for bad in the intervening few months.

Record-breaking laser pulse boosts fusion power hopes

DougS Silver badge
Mushroom

That seems unlikely

If it "exploded", it couldn't have been in contact long enough to glow yellow hot. It certainly wasn't my experience when I did something similar. When I was in high school my lab partner and I dropped a large screwdriver across the terminals of a 12v auto battery the teacher had sitting in the front (this was before class started) There was some sparking, and the screwdriver welded itself to the terminals. It probably got really hot - no way to know as while it wasn't glowing no one was brave enough to touch it other than the teacher trying to knock it off with a wooden ruler.

Fortunately we didn't get in any trouble, since the teacher was the kind who didn't mind these sorts of "experiments" as its the sort of thing he'd have been likely to do himself . He once burned all the hair off one of his arms as an 8 foot tall flame leapt out of a gas nozzle when he was messing about for a class demo in a way the maker of that gas nozzle would clearly not recommend.

The battery was sitting on the table like that for the whole class, and after the first few seconds of sparking didn't do anything further, such as melting or exploding.

Pirate Bay plans sky-high flying proxy servers

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FAIL

What about routers?

Why protect the servers? The authorities go after them because that's how they can hurt TPB, but if the servers were out of reach, so to speak, they'd just go after whatever or whoever is routing their traffic.

Could tiny ebooks really upset the mighty Apple cart?

DougS Silver badge

Re: 10% of worldwide turnover?

Teeth that large would just discourage large companies from entering any new lines of business in the EU, because one misstep in that new line could result in a fine ridiculously out of proportion to any possible crime (unless the iPad was releasing poison gas and killing people who were using it as a book reader) Your parking example is silly, a better analogy to parking would be charging you 10% of your income if you park illegally. That would just discourage rich people from ever venturing into your city limits, lest they unknowingly violate some local parking ordinance and are forced to write a six figure check.

In the extraordinarily unlikely event that Europe is successful and forces Apple to pay billions in fines you can look forward to reading about a lot of neat stuff introduced elsewhere that is not and never will be available to citizens of the EU. Better hope its companies based in the EU or foreign startups that introduce the new products you desire, because they'll be the only ones willing to take the risk.

DougS Silver badge
WTF?

10% of worldwide turnover?

If that's 10% of Apple's worldwide turnover from ebook sales, I doubt they are all that worried. Its a tiny business for them, not only compared against their other businesses but also against Amazon's ebook sales.

If its 10% of their total worldwide turnover, including iPad, iPhone and Mac sales, well that's obviously a big concern, but surely even the EU can't have such a ridiculous law, can it? That's like fining GM 10% of their worldwide automobile sales because the cupholders violated some EU law.

Galaxies to get the Pluto treatment?

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Boffin

Galaxies have...

Supermassive black holes at their center. That should be the definition, since our models of galaxy formation require this. Then the only problem is defining what "supermassive" means, 100,000 solar masses or 100 million...

LulzSec SMACKDOWN: Leader Sabu turned by feds last summer

DougS Silver badge
Devil

Re: Am I the only one here that thinks this is not good?

I think you're missing the obvious huge advantage of having two such organizations at odds with each other. Each has the motive and means of opening up the other's kimono a little bit, so we can see what nasty stuff lies inside. Yes, there is collateral damage in the form of pointless DoS attacks or using Anonymous as a reason to claim the need for new anti-hacking laws. But they'd each be doing these things anyway, by directing their efforts at each they have less to devote at us!

Intel runs three Ivy Bridge fabs ragged for April blast off

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Black Helicopters

Mark my words

I've been speculating for a while that it would be delayed, and now is reported as delayed, because Apple made a deal with them for first call on the supply and Apple ended up ordering many more than Intel expected. Both because Apple is doing a long overdue refresh of their entire laptop line (which has become quite a good seller) but also because Apple is using its big cash pile to insure that they have a month or two head start on the Ultrabook competition.

Apple tells Siri rival Evi: Get a facelift and you can stay

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Angel

Maybe they are being nice to Evi

becaise they're thinking about buying them. Apple does like buying small companies that are really good in a niche Apple is interested in. That's how they got Siri. If the Evi people suddenly grow silent and quit updating their app, look for its technology in an enhanced Siri in time for iOS 6 and iPhone 5 this fall :)

Tiniest ever 128Gbit NAND flash chip flaunted

DougS Silver badge

You're forgetting about stacking

Flash chips are typically stacked inside the package, as many as 8 chips on top of each other. Your MicroSD card probably has an 8x32Gbit stack inside it.

DougS Silver badge
Boffin

Page size is not a problem on modern flash

All modern flash controllers write wherever the hell they want and maintain a mapping of the block number to its actual location on flash. When you write 16K of data, whether its 16K at once or a group of smaller pieces that total up to 16K, they'll get written in that one 16K block together and the flash translation layer (FTL) takes care of knowing where it is so you can read what you wrote.

I'm not sure about the granularity of the FTL, but given that hard drives used to be granular down to 512 bytes but are now granular to 4K, today 4K would be a reasonable minimum size. So on a 1TB drive the size of the table that mapped logical to physical block addresses would only be 1GB in size, a mere 0.1% of overhead. Perhaps a bit more since it would be smart to store a second copy of that data as its so vital!

HP caught with SIX Windows 8 PC packages up its sleeve

DougS Silver badge

32 vs 64 bit

No reason to support 64 bit on Starter. No reason to support 32 bit on Ultimate. I'd also argue there's no reason for 32 bit on Professional and Enterprise. Any corp customers conservative enough to want to get another year or two out of 32 bit hardware in 2013 are probably still working on upgrading from XP. Home is the only version that needs both 32 and 64 bit versions.

There, that totals six.

Microsoft denies report of Office coming to iPad

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Megaphone

People only need an Office VIEWER on tablets/phones

Since people are starting to use iOS devices in corporate settings, they'll want the ability to read doc, xls and ppt attachments. But only a few power user types would be insane enough to use such a device to write/modify Office documents. I suspect it would be nearly impossible to condense the heavy Office UI into something suitable for a touch tablet, nevermind a phone. Perhaps Apple could find a way by cutting out 95% of features to leave behind the 5% that 95% of people would really need/use on a mobile device (much to the howls of Apple haters) but MS would be singularly unsuited for such a task.

I don't think Apple needs MS for this, they already have iWork. Somehow I have to think out of all the people Apple has hired to work on iOS the past few years they've got some people who are doing or have already done an iWork port to iOS. Perhaps what the person quoted as seeing Office documents on iOS saw was this.

I can't see MS porting Office to iOS since offering a cut down version for free on Windows 8 would be one of the few competitive advantages MS could offer versus iOS and Android tablets. If they did port to iOS I'm sure it'd be something capable of modifying/creating documents, which few people would ever want, and would price it on par with desktop software. This would basically limit its use to C level execs and the type of managers who seem to have at least one Office document attached to every email they send out.

Flash DOOMED to drive itself off a cliff - boffins

DougS Silver badge

Irrelevant

So making flash denser (i.e. cheaper) also makes it slower. I fail to see the problem. Today we have the same thing, the slow cheap storage is called "hard drives". In the enterprise world we may end up with two tiers of flash, one that's dense, cheap and slow, and another that's less dense, less cheap but faster.

Look at the comparison to the world of enterprise storage before SSDs came onto the scene. We had two tiers of storage, large cheap SATA drives that were slow (100-150 IOPS on a 1 or 2GB spindle) and small expensive 15k rpm SCSI/FC drives that were "fast" by comparison (300-400 IOPS on a 300GB spindle) Basically the expensive stuff had 10x more IOPS per gigabyte.

You don't need much difference in performance between slow cheap flash and fast expensive flash to meet or exceed that 10x IOPS per gigabyte difference that everyone used to think was so big and easily worthy of tiering.

I believe 15k rpm drives no longer have any role in enterprise storage, it makes more sense to have two tiers - flash and SATA since the SCSI/FC tier hardly performs better than the SATA drives while having less capacity, and are basically the same capacity while being orders of magnitude slower than the flash drives, but don't compensate for this by costing orders of magnitude less.

Perhaps we may still have the 3 tiers of storage EMC salespeople keep trying to push on unsuspecting buyers (perhaps to unload their huge stock of now useless 15k rpm drives) Except it'll be one tier of fast expensive SSD, one tier of dense cheap SSD (compensating for the lower lifetime via massive overprovisioning internally, the modern equivalent of short-stroking) and the third tier of 7200 rpm SATA for bulk data.

How Google and Apple exposed their Achilles heels this week

DougS Silver badge

Apple iAd versus competition

The loss of market share for iAd is probably not as dire as people are making it out to be. Apple set up an easy way for iPhone developers to put ads in their apps without any work at all on their part, which is great for small developers. Big developers can afford doing some work on their own in exchange for keeping all the revenue.

iAd is therefore limited in three ways:

1) by Apple's market share (since iAd is iPhone only)

2) by the percentage of apps that have any advertising at all

3) by the percentage of apps made by "smaller" developers for whom it isn't worth the hassle of doing anything beyond enabling iAd

Apple's market share (in the smartphone market, not the overall phone market) will decline over time since smartphones will be 100% of all phones sold in a few years, and the bulk will be super cheap Android phones replacing the feature phone category. This is already happening, but losing smartphone market share to Android doesn't mean Apple can't still double iPhone sales YoY for a while yet.

This drop in smartphone market share for iPhone is the cause of the drop in iAd share. It isn't that iAd isn't serving more ads and making more money YoY, just like iPhone sales, its just that the various ad networks that serve Android are growing faster due to Android sales increasing at an even faster rate than iPhone sales.

The reduction in campaign sizes is probably not also something to be too concerned about. This brings more potential advertisers, since there are many more potential clients with a $100K budget for online ads than clients with $1 million budgets. Using a very large campaign size at first made it easier to get this off the ground, since they've never done this before and probably didn't want to be flooded by 50,000 potential clients. They'll have to continue to decrease it as they (and everyone else) moves towards the holy grail of location based advertising.

EMC server flash rival slams VFCache

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FAIL

Fusion-IO model impractical in the enterprise

Unless it has a way to perform real time mirroring to another server's flash you risk losing access to your data when a server goes down. With the data on an array another server can quickly pick up the task being performed by the downed server.

The Fusion-IO model means when a server goes down, you need to send an knowledgeable tech into the datacenter to quickly triage the problem and determine if the best course is to get the downed server up and running again, or yank the flash card out of the dead server and put it into another one. So much for the movement towards the lights out datacenter! We left behind the worries about stranded storage when we adopted SANs, and the worries about downed hardware were left behind with clustering and now virtualization. Apparently they want to turn back the clock.

Tablet sales said to surge fivefold in five years

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Mushroom

Do these market researchers ever tell us anything useful?

Seriously, this is simply projecting the current tablet sales trend out for the next five years. I'm sure if back in 2006 you looked at these guys' projections for smartphone sales in 2007-2011 they'd have projected out the trend from the previous five years. And totally missed the rise of iPhone and Android, and the cannibalization of feature phone sales.

Any idiot can draw a trend line on graph paper and project it out to the future. A research firm that would actually be worthing paying for would have told you of the smartphone growth in 2006, or the tablet growth in 2009. Instead they were probably making projections how every businessman would have a Blackberry within five years because they had the corporate smartphone market sewn up!

You watch, if Apple announces the rumored "smart" TV and shows everyone else what they should be doing, instead of the pathetic attempts up until now (sort of like the previous decade of tablet efforts until Apple came along) these analysts will be all over themselves with projections of the trendline. But not until its been on the market for at least a year, and the first "Apple TV killer" products have been announced to great fanfare. After all, when you are merely extrapolating a trendline you must have a few data points for the trendline you're extrapolating from.

Just don't expect them to tell you know what will happen in that market today, those idiots probably still think 3D TVs are going to be major growth and account for 50% of TV sales in 2015. Maybe it will, but only if the 3D feature comes for free....I wouldn't pay an extra dollar, let alone a euro or pound, for something so useless.

Scientists shift electron orbits for atomic storage and quantum computing

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

@Ken Hagan

Hold on a minute there. This is news *precisely because* no-one has ever seen an atom that was not at its normal size. And I'm talking normal to an extraordinary degree of precision here, since we've been measuring atomic radii and firing X-rays at crystals for a century now, and a lot (most?) of physical chemistry would be very different if atoms weren't as interchangeable as lego bricks.

I'd say that's a *pretty big hint* that nature doesn't let you store "inflated" atoms without a constant pumping from an external energy supply.

-------------------

Just because we've never seen an atom of a different size in nature doesn't mean that this very specific technique couldn't allow "inflated" atoms to become stable under some circumstances. Probably not for a single free atom, but possibly there could be a way that they could remain inflated if there were part of some larger structure. Which could provide materials scientists with years of fun determining their properties and thinking up uses for them.

I'm not suggesting this will happen, just suggesting that your conclusion that stability without additional energy does not logically follow from the observation we've never seen one in nature.

Survey: Android set to beat iOS in battle for coder love

DougS Silver badge
Facepalm

Probably true, but meaningless

What matters is what platform the developers who are making popular apps are developing for. The kind of apps that are downloaded by millions of people. Not the people writing useless crappy me-too apps that do something that 50 other apps do, only worse. The people who think the requirement to buy a Mac (a Mini is only $500) and a $99/year developer license is a crazy requirement aren't producing the apps million use, they are producing apps hundreds use. Both the Apple and Android stores have enough fart apps.

I can well imagine Android having more developers, and more apps than iOS in the future, and the Android fanboys who said the number didn't matter back when iOS had 10x the number that Android did will scream it from the rooftops, and the Apple fanboys who screamed it from the rooftops before will now say it doesn't matter. It didn't matter before and it won't matter in the future, because most of the people producing the worthwhile apps will be doing them for both platforms.

The loser in this will be Microsoft, who will have a much harder time breaking in to be the THIRD platform that these guys develop for after iOS and Android. After all, who wants to write the same app three times, especially when between the much larger per user revenue on iOS, and the larger installed base on Android, the additional revenue of doing the Windows Phone port won't be enough versus just starting on their next great app idea for iOS and Android.

Huawei uncloaks sleek, slim, sexy smartphones

DougS Silver badge
WTF?

How to measure thickness?

What's with the recent claims of thin phones were they ignore the thicker bits where the camera is? Both the Moto Razr and this phone are actually thicker than claimed due to this. How much of the phone can be thicker than the rest before it doesn't count? 10%? 30%? Up to half?

Making the phone larger in other dimensions obviously allows construction of a thinner phone (up to a point) because you can get a lot more battery in the same thickness if you have more length and width. At some point thinness will become a detriment, as it may make one feel as though it might snap in two in your pocket if you move wrong!

Undervalued TiVo wins yet another legal battle

DougS Silver badge

That's a risk with buying anything

Even when you buy from a company that has no risk of going under in your lifetime (let alone the lifetime of the product itself) such as Microsoft or Apple. Microsoft plans to stop supporting Windows XP at some point, so there will be no new security patches. Apple doesn't support the latest versions of the OS on old phones forever, and don't provide new features or security fixes on outdated versions of the OS.

On the other hand, when everyone is talking about 4G, the original iPhone that did only Edge has limited value to most people, at least as a phone. Windows XP is not compatible with the latest software or games, and has limited value as well.

I'm not worried about the risk of Tivo folding in the next few years. If they go under in 2017, I'll feel like I've got my money's worth out of my Tivo, and at that point cable companies will probably be moving to MPEG4 (like Directv and other satellite companies already have) and that would mean I'd need a new DVR anyway. Or failing that, the cablecard standards will have changed, and my cable company won't support the existing one.

Technology has already obsoleted Tivo series 1 & 2, at least where I live, since those didn't have a QAM tuner and there are only a handful of stations still being broadcast in NTSC rather than QAM by my cable company, and of course all TV stations in the US are digital as well. That's a problem not only for those older model Tivos, but also for the vast majority of TV sets sold before QAM tuners were mandated in all sizes of US TVs. Technology marches on, and for better or worse, very few consumer items will have a useful life like the 25 years my parents got out of the color TV they bought shortly after I was born.

DougS Silver badge

You can buy lifetime service

Tivo sells this way to make the product a cheap purchase upfront. Its like AT&T selling iPhones for $199, but then requiring a two year commitment. You can't complain about having to pay a monthly fee when the regular price of a Tivo is $99 and they occasionally have offers selling them at half price or even for free. If you got your Tivo for free would you say that the monthly fee is a bad deal? Well, maybe after you'd had it for the better part of a decade and had paid over $1000 in monthly fees, but you have a choice to avoid the monthly fee...

If you wish, you can buy a Tivo for $99 and then buy lifetime service for $399. Tivo.com says $499, but it is easy for even first time owners to get the discount for existing owners to $399 (just google it) I bought mine in April 2010 for $199 but the discounted lifetime service at that time was only $299 so same price. You buy that and you get Tivo service (guide, software upgrades, etc.) as long as it functions, and it transfers with the Tivo if you sell it.

I'm sure there are some DVRs I could buy for less, and certainly I could build one for less if I decide my time has no value. But the software probably doesn't work as well and is more likely to have compatibility issues with the cablecard (I know a couple people who tried to save money by building their own, it took them a lot of work to get everything finally working right)

It isn't the best option for everyone, but for me at least my cable company charges $12.95 a month for a dual tuner HD DVR that's theoretically equivalent to my Tivo. So around June next year it'll have cost me less to buy the Tivo than use the cable company's DVR. But if you consider resale value, which Tivos with lifetime service maintain very well, I was already ahead of using the cable company's DVR in less than a year.

I'm sure at this point someone will want to whine that the lifetime service is only good for the lifetime of the unit, so if it dies after the warranty expires in a year I have to buy a whole new Tivo and lifetime service again. Yes, that's true. If that worries you, you buy an extended warranty. It is no different than what happens if you buy a TV or laptop that breaks after the warranty is over. Tivos are quite reliable, and I personally feel extended warranties are a bad buy for anyone who can afford to take the chance. Well, except for Applecare on an iPhone if you have a fumble fingered girlfriend :)

Microsoft's master stroke: Pay store staff per WinPhone sold

DougS Silver badge

@ P Lee

Yes, the ability for manufacturers to customize helps it too - likely there are many people who have no idea that Android phones made by Motorola and HTC are based on the same software. They see all those phones out there and don't realize that their choices are basically amongst a few iPhones, a few Blackberries, a few (maybe more than a few eventually, we'll see) Windows Phones, and a bazillion Android phones, some of which look different enough that wouldn't even know they run the same software if they actually used them for a week in a comparison test.

However, you're wrong about Android's openness being dictated by Linux. Yes, Linux is at the heart of every Android phone, and the terms of the GPL require the source code be made available. If Google had wished though they could have kept the parts of its software they wrote themselves closed source. Tivo is a good example, it uses Linux, and makes the GPL licensed software it uses freely available. It also uses some software they wrote themselves which remain closed source, so you can't download Tivo software and install it on your Tivo as is possible with Android. You can have the kernel to run it, but without the UI its not a Tivo, its just a Linux box with a slow CPU and MPEG hardware in a home theatre case.

Google itself provides another example - if you don't believe me, try to find and download the source code for their search engine, or for GMail :) Apple uses a lot of open source code in iOS too, but it is licensed under the BSD license, which doesn't obligate Apple to make source available for those portions. Even though the terms of the license do not require it, they do feed back changes/bugfixes to the open source world for much of it, i.e. WebKit is a good example. So they are not quite as adversarial to the open source people as people make them out to be.

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

Sorry, it is you who fail

The success of Android being because it editable, modifiable and hackable? Really? You must only hang out with geeks, I guess. Try coming out of your basement and talk to some regular people. They buy a phone and they just use it pretty much as is. They'll install apps, and hardly change any default settings other than ringtones and wallpaper. They aren't jailbreaking their iPhones, or interested (or even aware of) updating their Android phones to a newer OS version. Sure, techie types who read the Reg love this type of stuff, but the vast majority not only doesn't do it, but is unaware it is even possible, or that the ability to do so is different between Apple and Android.

Android's success versus Apple in terms of market share is due to having a much larger set of choices than Apple. There are hundreds of models, versus only five iPhone models ever, and three sold today. Androids come in all different shapes, sizes and price points, and some include features that Apple does not. In addition, the feature phone market is rapidly disappearing, and is being entirely replaced by low end Android phones. That alone guarantees that Android will eventually take 90% of the smartphone market. But even when it does, and Apple is down to only a single digit share of the smartphone market, it will still be making way more money off selling phones than anyone else. Because that's what they care about, not getting high market share while only making $2 per phone.

You can believe that Android is successful because it is more "open", but outside the echo chamber of techie forums like this or your circle of techie friends, you'll continue to be dead wrong.

DougS Silver badge
FAIL

Major flaw in your logic

You claim that people who are aware MS is paying $15 for each phone sold will avoid them as a result. That's probably true for most.

The problem is when you go on to claim that the rest of the people will go for Android because its open source. Seriously? Are you that delusional? Someone who isn't aware MS is paying $15 per phone sold probably has no clue about the differences between Apple and Android's approach, and even if they do, its as likely as not Apple's control will be something they see as being favorable (avoiding the potential for malware)

I'll bet if you choose 100 people at random (not Reg readers, normal people) maybe 5 could tell you the differences between Apple and Android's approach to apps and app stores, or could tell you how both Apple and Android use open source in their phones, but only on Android can you actually see the source yourself (eventually)

The vast majority of people base their decision on Apple vs Android without taking into account in any way what type of control is placed on available apps, or the availability of source code for their phone's OS. They base it on what their friends have/recommend, marketing, and price. And for many, price is the #1 thing - they wouldn't buy an iPhone any more than they'd buy the high end Android flavor of the month, because they want a free phone (and BTW the large majority have no idea of the subsidization that goes on, they think an iPhone 4S really costs only $199, and many phones that are more than good enough for them are "free")

DougS Silver badge
Devil

MS money swap strategy

Microsoft may not think this is a bad strategy. The very high sales numbers will be big news, and they'll promote the hell out of as they always do. It'll only be later that the high returns numbers would become publicly known, but those stories always see 1/10th the penetration of the stories regarding the initial sales. The average punter would think that Windows Phone is the next big thing, and buying an iPhone or Android would be like buying a CRT TV in 2012.

Feds propose 50-state ban on mobile use while driving

DougS Silver badge
Megaphone

Unintended consequences

I hope they consider this further. Assuming newer cars and phones had software that would disable the driver from using his phone based on his location in the car but not passengers, look for drivers holding their phones with the right (or left, in the UK) arm fully extended over the passenger seat so they can continue texting anyway. I'm sure that'll be safer! Not that this will affect a majority of the people until after 2020 given how long it'd take to make it mandatory on cars and phones, and half the people to be driving cars that did it. By then everyone will be using a Siri-like system to dictate text messages and won't be distracted trying to hit tiny Blackberry keys or get autocorrect to do the right thing on an iPhone at 75 mph.

The idea that somehow using a factory installed hands free system is safe, while an aftermarket system isn't is pretty ridiculous. Using one hand to hold a phone is no different than using one hand to work the shifter or turn signal (unless you're trying to do that as well as hold the phone) Its already been shown in multiple studies that there's no difference between talking on handsfree and talking on it without handsfree, it is the concentration required for the conversation itself that dimishes attention to driving.

I guess the NTSB feels we'll be safer if we buy the manufacturer's overpriced system, which in addition to the handsfree bluetooth setup will include a half dozen options you don't want as part of a package that costs $2500. I'd also like to know how this law is going to be enforced, are the cops going to be trained to tell a factory installed handsfree system from aftermarket? Or after a crash will the dealer be subpeoned in court to produce the original dealer invoice showing whether the factory handsfree was included?

Seagate embiggens hybrid drive, won't say how...

DougS Silver badge
Stop

So are wites sped up by flash or not?

Article indicates they are, then in the next sentence Seagate denies it. I'd consider one of these if it sped up writes, but if it is just adding 8GB of flash cache that only works for reads it is basically a one trick pony to speed up boot times, which is useless unless you boot up constantly. Otherwise just add 8GB of RAM to your PC and you'll cache all your frequently used files just as well as this product and for a smaller price premium.

Google guru blasts Android virus doomsayers as 'charlatans'

DougS Silver badge
Pirate

Android malware are trojans, not viruses

Viruses spread from one device to another, doing so on a phone would be quite difficult (not impossible, if you theoretically could find exploits for SMS or MMS it could spread from phone to phone by silently messaging your friends the equivalent of a "check out this picture" spam email) Trojans can be/are an issue on Android since there is nothing stopping a developer from inserting one in his software.

All you need is a free app that becomes popular and well used and an evil author who decides the best way to monetize it isn't to have a paid upgrade that's ad-free, but instead have his next new version send texts to premium SMS numbers or whatever other scam he comes up with. This can't happen on iOS due to Apple's control (many Android users would say control freakery) of its app store, but the Android app store offers no such protection. If such an "upgrade" was silently introduced, then activated later after a million downloads, the guy could retire richer than any developer save the guy who did Angry Birds. Obviously he'd be found out and everyone would delete the app, but if he's already made millions and got away, he doesn't care that his reputation is ruined.

I think it is only a matter of time before something like this occurs. I suspect that antivirus software probably wouldn't help much though; until the trojan is activated they wouldn't know to stop it, and then would take a day or two (at least) to come up with a fix and get it uploaded to subscribers' phones. Too late by then, you may not even realize you were hit until you see next month's wireless bill.

Apple applies to patent a SIM you can't remove

DougS Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Paranoid much?

Wow, anything to do with Apple and patents and some people freak out. As pointed out, this would need to be part of the GSM standard and thus be licensed on FRAND terms. Apple would end up maybe getting a fraction of a penny out of the GSM patent pool for handsets that use this. They aren't patenting it to be the only ones doing it, or to make money, they want to do it themselves because they think it can streamline the iPhone purchase process just a bit more.

It is also one less thing to go wrong. True, SIMs rarely go bad, but it can happen, and the slot on the phone can be physically damaged, etc. Plus Apple hates putting openings in the phone, and would love to someday have a completely sealed (and thereby waterproof) phone if they eliminated the SIM slot, used a magsafe or wireless charger, and made the dock connecter and earphone jack wireless.

In today's world you patent everything patentable you can for defensive purposes. Sometimes you might use those patents offensively to sue others into submission, or to try to make money, but every company takes out patents on things they come up with as a matter of course even if they are as non-evil as Google originally was.

Why would Apple want to use this to restrict the carriers you can use? There are supposedly over a million iPhones in use on T-mobiles network in the US, despite that carrier not being officially supported, and despite the fact that its 3G bands are different from what the iPhone supports so Edge is the fastest cellular data speed! Add in all the phones being used in China and elsewhere in the world and that's a lot of money Apple would stand to lose if they prevented you from using a different carrier. Apple has no incentive to prevent you from using PAYG SIMs when you travel, that's in your carrier's interest only. If Apple had the carrier's best interests at heart, there would be no Skype or other VOIP apps allowed and iOS 5.0 would not have added iMessage.

Sony develops 'new kind of television'

DougS Silver badge
Flame

Wow some people here really lack common sense!

Every discussion I see about an Apple TV integrating Siri there's always some fools who seriously believe that what the TV audio is playing, what others are saying or what you are saying to others will be a problem causing misinterpreted commands. You aren't gonna be talking to the *TV*, you're gonna be talking to the remote! Imagine a button on the remote (more likely THE button on the remote if Steve Jobs designed it) that you press to let it know you are giving it a command. You know, just like how Siri works on the iPhone now. Seriously, I think some people would have dismissed Siri this way if it was described before release, by wondering what happens if you say something during a phone call that Siri interprets as a question...sheesh!

As for Tivo patents, given how narrowly the courts interpret patents, at least in the US, where you can have a patent for something and I can patent pretty much the same thing but "on a computer" and then some other joker can come along and patent pretty much the same thing "on a mobile device such a cell phone or tablet" I doubt Tivo's patents will carry much weight, at least as far as the "season pass" concept they presumably have patented and that the instructions to record future episodes of the Simpsons alludes to.

While I think its silly that Apple or Sony would be able to get around Tivo's patent just because Tivo's patent presumably describes it being done via menu and it would now be done via voice, I also think the idea of instructing a DVR to record all new (non repeats) episodes of a program is pretty damn bloody obvious and should never have been granted a patent in the first place.

Apple flat-screen TV rumor rises yet again

DougS Silver badge
Thumb Up

These things take a lot of time to develop

Apple was working on iPhone for 4+ years before they released it, there were rumors about an Apple phone for years but no one really knew what it was going to be. Many conceptual drawings showed it with an ipad clickwheel along with the inevitable numeric keypad. What is now an "obvious" interface for a smartphone was hard to imagine until Apple created something that simplified a smartphone enough for normal people to want one.

So the rumors about a TV running for a few years before a product comes out is reasonable, it is only quick to do if they make a regular TV set, slap an Apple logo on it and a mark up the price. So think about what is complicated with today's TVs for normal people? (keep in mind almost everyone reading this is not a "normal person" by my definition, i.e. we know how to wire up a TV along with a DVD player, DVR, games console and external speakers without reading the manual or calling Geek Squad)

Three things spring to mind. One connectivity - getting everything wired up properly. Two - figuring out what the hell is on when channel surfing and when recording. Three - having a bunch of remotes, or if those normal people have help from one us, having one remote programmed to control most but not all of everything your big collection does (if they can be bothered to remember that the TV won't power off if they've accidentally pressed the 'cable' button on the remote first)

HDMI helped a lot on the connectivity front, at least if you don't have any hardware older than a few years which lacks it, and sufficient inputs on your TV (you're just left with the problem of remember what is hooked up to HDMI 1, 2, 3 etc.) One never-used capability of HDMI is the CEC functionality that transmits remote control commands between pieces of equipment. It is almost certain Apple will make use of this to have the TV maintain complete control over everything plugged into it. How does it know how to control an arbitrary piece of equipment? There's an app for that! No app means no Apple TV owners buying your products, so the incentive will be there for makers of stuff like DVRs and Blu Ray players to create an app (more of a driver or interface definition file in this case, but they'll probably call it an app since "drivers" have scary connotations for people who have used Windows)

With the Apple TV controlling your Blu Ray player and cable box/DVR (it probably won't mess with your PS3 or XBox much, other than turn it on/off, while automatically selecting the appropriate HDMI input when turned on) they can put any pretty Apple like interface they want to paper over the shitty broken interfaces most of those products have. Imagine a Tivo you can talk to and say "record all new episodes of 30 Rock". Or even better, "next time that episode of 30 Rock that was on two weeks ago Thursday that I forgot to record re-airs, record it" (try that with a Tivo!) Of course this would be Tivo without the monthly fee! Apple could make every crappy cableco DVR a Tivo by having iCloud intelligence help it decide what to record in much the same way Tivo does (hopefully doing it better, otherwise I'll turn that crap like I do on my Tivo, but I know some people really this feature of Tivo)

Or they could and likely would go much further, securing deals with the major US networks and cable companies allowing them to "record" anything you already have access to. By recording I mean updating a few bytes in your iTunes TV profile out on iCloud saying that you recorded that program, not actually recording it since your TV would have no local storage....and you may just have a regular cable box rather than a DVR. You'd have it recorded even if your power was out at the time or it was repeatedly preempted by hours of afternoon weather updates about tornado warnings (those in the US midwest know what I'm talking about) Then you could watch it by streaming a pristine copy off iCloud, presumably even from your iPad when you are not at home (though that may be something even Steve Jobs couldn't negotiate) It makes sense, there's no reason why everyone needs their own hard drive with a separate copy of a program. If you could have recorded it, let's just take it as read that you did so but instead link you to acopy of the recording stored in the cloud. One which could, given suitable arrangements between Apple, the networks and their advertisers, potentially show ads more relevant to you rather than whatever was broadcast at the time. So old people won't see ads for diapers, and college students won't see ads for arthitis medications. In order to be saleable it would allow skipping ads as normal, but since studies show only half the people skip ads on DVRs now, this wouldn't be a big deal. And there's always the theory that people are less likely to skip ads that may be more relevant to them.

If we get something like this, it'll be US only at first just like iPhone was, and Apple would count on customer demand to get them the appropriate deals with networks in other countries just like how they bent over the cellular companies in Europe after doing so with AT&T in the US first.

Wireless industry bows to 'bill shock' rules

DougS Silver badge
Thumb Down

How about cutting you off when you reach the limit?

What happens if you are downloading some huge file (thinking it was over wifi but you lose the wifi connection so your phone helpfully starts downloading over 3G) If you're downloading a couple dozen megabytes a minute, how quickly does the carrier recognize you are over and send you the text? How much has the overage cost you by the time you get the text and stop what you're doing? With 4G it only gets worse, and it becomes easier to hit that 2GB limit.

The people who are knowledgeable about tech (i.e. pretty much everyone who reads El Reg, I suspect) don't really have to worry too much about this, we're smart enough to notice if our wifi icon is exchanged for 3G, and to check our monthly usage totals now and then if we suspect we may be at risk for coming near our monthly limit. But how in the hell do we educate our less technically inclined girlfriend or parents about this?

Don't get me wrong, this is an improvement over how things were, but isn't exactly a real fix to the issue. I would rather have the option of being cut off, or have some sort of automated throttling in place for a plan that's theoretically "unlimited" (thus no overages) but just gets slower when the network is congested and/or you've been too greedy with your data that month. And don't get me started on roaming, when my girlfriend gets her new iPhone I'm going to have to insist she leaves it at home when we travel overseas, otherwise she'll turn it on and it'll check her email for $100 or something crazy like that :)

Storage is ending in tiers

DougS Silver badge

Disagree with you that flash doesn't make any difference for tiering

It creates absolutely no reason to use anything but SATA drives in the array along with the flash. The difference in speed and capacity between flash and hard drives is so vast compared to the difference between the fastest FC drive and the slowest SATA drive that there is simply no point in using FC drives anymore once you have a flash tier.

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