* Posts by Nick Kew

1974 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007

Android Marketplace starts cleaning house

Nick Kew Silver badge
Big Brother

You misunderstand Godwin

as do many. Godwin is only invoked when someone likens an opponent in the argument to something-nazi. The mere mention of Hitler may be perfectly valid.

BTW, my first choice of word there would've been 'Kafkaesque'. But since Amazon's Big Moment involved one of Orwell's own works, the latter is just too appropriate *not* to use.

The slightly-interesting corollary to Godwin's law arises when someone shows their ignorance by claiming it on clearly-bogus grounds. Which, to be fair, you didn't (though your suggestion that someone posting here might be feeling "oppressed" smells of strawman).

Nick Kew Silver badge


Surely what matters is whether these apps were violating any rules published by google at the time they were introduced.

If not, then we have a precedent almost as Orwellian as Amazon's.

Either way we have a story that omits its most important point.

'One size fits all' EU data law would undermine rights, says Clarke

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Lets just keep the law complex and vague. So the law-abiding fear it and retreat, while the spivs and chancers make work for lawyers.

Yep, that's the history of this country going back centuries.

Lockheed-Martin signs on for D-Wave prototype computer

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Not dead, just resting. We entered it for the Useless Use of Cat contest.

Nick Kew Silver badge


Well, one would presume so.

But is it super-Turing? If it can't solve the halting problem, I'm not interested.

Naked cyclist streaks through Suffolk village

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... is probably rather more than the average penalty for a driver whose recklessness kills a pedestrian or cyclist ...

Perhaps the judge knows something we don't, and this character was driving dangerously before going home and pulling this stunt. In which case, we might call it moral justice through the back door.

Hmmmm ....

Nah ......

You don't get to be a judge with a sense of justice intact. Mine's the shabby mac.

Otellini: ARM servers 'ain't gonna work'

Nick Kew Silver badge

Who sez?

If Oracle and IBM were to support ARM on top-end servers, who is Intel to contradict them?

Nor do today's top dogs need to lead the way. They could just be following a trend driven by the smaller players who are working on ARM/Server today. Oh, and Intel's old double-timing partner from Redmond.

Having said that, there's no denying Intel have a real lead. For example, porting Apache Trafficserver to ARM comes up against the problem of emulating 64-bit atomics, which means you wouldn't want to use the combo in production. Not yet, anyway.

Intel: Windows on ARM won't run 'legacy apps'

Nick Kew Silver badge

It's different this time?

When Apple moved to x86, all its old users had to stick with their legacy apps and architecture, right?

When Intel took market share at the top end, UNIX users had to stick with sparc, mips, etc, right?

Mine's the one with the 8080 supercomputer in the pocket.

Northants cops blow up suspicious school play prop

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Reminds me of ...

Foreign cooking sparks chemical weapon alert: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2577962.ece

(article found through googling; no paywall).

ARM jingling with cash as its chips get everywhere

Nick Kew Silver badge

jonathanb: yes, niche

Everyone has a niche. Producing processors is a niche in building our information infrastructure. Designing the core is a niche in that. By keeping to such a niche, ARM makes allies throughout the semiconductor industry. Allies for whom Intel is a direct competitor.

Intel, with its bigger niche, benefits from alliances *outside* the semiconductor industry: above all, Microsoft. After a generation, that alliance is losing exclusivity. Intel appears to be in a more difficult position: if Intel core designs compete with ARM for the affections of the semiconductor industry, they feed the deadly rivals to their production line, and important profit centre.

Nick Kew Silver badge

That's a strength

ARM has two huge strengths over potential rivals such as Intel. One is low power consumption.

The other is precisely their limited niche. By taking a tiny part of a big pie, they put themselves at the heart of a huge and growing ecosystem, and make allies of everyone-but-Intel. If they get too greedy, all those allies will be looking for - and developing - alternatives.

Historical analogy: Microsoft in the 1980s, building a powerful alliance of all the clones industry: Compaq, Dell, and a host of others. They beat off all the technically-superior solutions from rivals like Apple, or ARM's progenitor Acorn, with exclusive business models.

Mine's a pint, to celebrate having bought the shares at under 90p.

Oracle wins round one in bare-knuckle Android patent suit

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Thumb Up

Nice idea!

Maybe some of us former Sun engineers could now be working for the Goog, rather than picking up whatever crumbs we can find!

Save the planet: Stop the Greens

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Dead Vulture

A long history

It must be a good 25 years ago I attended some mainstream 'green' meetings, and despaired of seeing any sense from them. The dogmatic, quasi-religious anti-nuclear stance pushing the inevitability of more fossil fuels, and the even-more-religious refusal to countenance anything that might discourage the world population bubble. Nothing new there, except some greens (even Monbiot on a good day) talk more sense these days.

As to your article, wind power is good, as a small part of an overall solution. Solar PV likewise: the subsidies are of course just another perk for rich homeowners (as witness their removal from funds that the not-so-rich can invest in). Novel technologies like Thorium (or fusion): nice idea, good that it's being researched, but let's not bet the globe on it quite yet. And even the barmy greens are right about the principle of using energy more efficiently.

Complacency is perhaps the enemy. Look what happened to the only serious thing this country ever tried: John Major's fuel price escalator could have helped wean us gradually away from car-addiction, but instead fell victim to political pressure.

Boffins devise way to hide secret data on hard drives

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I have a cunning plan ...

Cryptography is too secure: we can't prove your files are [videos of naked kiddies|bomb recipes]. So how do we re-introduce a backdoor for the spooks?


US proposes online IDs for Americans

Nick Kew Silver badge

Exactly what we need is ....

... almost this proposal.

Take out the government, or any other central authority to distrust (as in Microsoft passport), and instead empower the individual with a cryptographically-secure, verified identity.

Much easier than it looks. Watch this space. Oh, er, right, *that* space, then.

Mother of all Win 7 rollouts: Microsoft eats own dog food

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Wow, that's quite a decline!

"Microsoft's users here in the UK - some 2,000 people"

And to think, last time I looked, Microsoft had many millions of users here in the UK!

UK net banking website falls flat on its bank

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I wonder if folks who have problems with Nationwide are up against an ECN bug, and might benefit from turning ECN off in their router and/or PC.

I sometimes find Nationwide hopelessly unresponsive. I can work around it by going to the pocket-puter and switching to my O2 mobile connection, which appears to be ECN-free.

Solution found for climate change: Nuclear war

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Cause and Effect

Trouble is, climate change is an effect, not a cause, of Bad Things.

Halting it for a period without addressing the cause is as clear a case as you could ask for of two wrongs not making a right.

Countries where Facebook is not, yet, king

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From the time machine

One direction: Look, there are still countries Second Life hasn't conquered.

Other direction: What was that site that was all the rage around 2011? Facecall? Facetoface? No, facebook, I think. Let's see what wikipedia thinks.

FOSS maven says $29 'Freedom Box' will kill Facebook

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Moglen vs History

Our country has a longer history than his, and hence perhaps more lessons to be drawn. The Enclosure of our Commons shows no sign of being reversed anytime soon.

Moglen gave that same speech at FOSDEM, after which I blogged about it at http://bahumbug.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/moglen-vs-history/

I expect Facebook is a flash in the pan, like Second Life a couple of years ago. But the trend is not.

Qt sees its future in Microkia

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QT Community?

What happened to Trolltech? Is there still a core team in Oslo but now on a Nokia payroll?

Before Nokia, QT was most famously KDE's widgetkit (can I say that)? Is there not still a developer community from that legacy? Or is it true that KDE is getting a bit ragged, with the best bits going places like Nokia (QT) and Apple (Safari), or borged by the Gnome that seems to be becoming increasingly standard on *X?

Microsoft, Nokia, and MeeGo: Are they all doomed?

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My thought: this could be positive for Microsoft, being the company with least to lose in the field. Much less likely to be positive for anyone else.

But given Nokia's rudderless drifting since getting wrong-footed by the rise of Blackberry&Apple (delicious), one has to wonder how long this'll last. Just a year ago, Maemo was looking good before they went and effectively ceded pretty-much the entire "open" space to Android.

British e-reader readers still not stealing books

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An ethical dilemma ...

I've downloaded more than 5.75 books since christmas. All fully legal; all at no cost. Thank you Gutenberg.

I have a problem with buying dead-tree books: lack of space to keep them. And at least until I make my millions and can afford a big house, I have a problem with paying *more* for a download than a printed&bound version. This seems to limit my choice of publishers to buy from.

Devs gather for beer and burgers in Belgium

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No beer

The beer event is, alas, a no-go area if you can't cope with excessive smoke. That includes outdoor areas.

But yes, in other ways it's what a geek meet should be. Lots of good contents, connectivity, a keysigning, and a very bare-bones setup with no flab (not even coffee or lunch - you're on your own).

It can't really be 5km from town ... it was only a half-hour brisk walk when I timed myself on the Saturday ... If it really was that far I'd be looking into Brussels's boris-style bikes.

Marry Microsoft, analyst tells Nokia

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Nokia has a great OS

... and it's called maemo ...

... and they dropped it after the N900, which is rather poor hardware and doesn't do justice to it ...

... leaving the field to Android, and maemo users in a cul-de-sac ...

Which is a tremendous shame, given how good Maemo could have been on hardware the quality of the top Symbian phones, like the E71.

Nokia looks like a company that's drifting, and is failing to make much of an impact in new growth markets. It already has an alliance with Intel, another fading giant. The last thing it needs is more drift and another backward-looking partnership.

Maybe the banker sees Nokia as the Dell of small wintel devices ...

UK probes ebook pricing

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Thumb Down

Tax the who?

The rich are the ones with space to keep a library of paper books. In the UK, that implies a house most of us will never afford (unless by inheritance). If we were going to tax the rich, we might reverse that VAT situation, in recognition of those whose bedsit lacks space for luxuries like books!

Home Office crime maps go to street-level detail

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Good news

Now I can move house with a little more peace of mind. Well, if the site worked ...

Or perhaps, when I see £affordable-house advertised, I can see exactly why it's priced low, and not think I'm missing a great bargain. 'Cos an ex-council estate *without* huge crime could start to become really desirable!

As always, what matters is relative levels.

Bookeen CyBook Orizon

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The price of Freedom

Kindle? Lock-in to Amazon format, and 1984. Too high a price for a few squid.

I bought a BeBook Neo last year. My other shortlisted reader was the Bookeen, and my reason for rejecting it was that the serious annoyance of a 'motion sensor' featured in the specs.

Google accused of copying (more) Oracle Java code

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Anonymous Coward hasn't heard of Florian Mueller.

Those of us who are active open source developers have. He's a very big name. And in contrast to Anonymous Coward, he understands the importance to open source of honesty and respect for each other's work, whether that work is open source or not.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Code from Apache

All Apache code is open. Therefore you (or anyone) can check for yourself whether any particular file comes from Apache.

If, as happened before, journalists print a lot of misleading nonsense, then Apache might feel compelled to correct it.

Are disk drives beginning to spin down?

Nick Kew Silver badge

More than a disc

If tablets and clouds are replacing PCs, then it's not just disc manufacturers who'll lose business. Remind me how much business Intel lost in their recent results?

Yes of course PCs are no longer where the growth is. Doesn't mean they're dead, though.

O2 chops away at middle-aged spread

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I used to get those. Not a huge number, but enough to be mildly annoying.

I asked them to stop. They stopped.

Now if only I could do that with 08** call centres ....

Nick Kew Silver badge

Customer focus?

Speaking as a customer since sometime before the business was ever called O2, I've found them to be one of relatively few big businesses to be not just contactable, but also friendly and helpful when I do contact them. I think that's why I'm still a customer.

I hope their existing customer focus isn't about to be swept away!

Intel and AMD in third quarter stalemate

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Apples and Oranges

Does this report compare completely non-comparable numbers? As in, Intel's revenues for microprocessors vs ARM's for licensing designs?

You need to add the revenues of the manufacturers (Samsung, TI, etc) to ARM to get a valid comparison.

Google Books spanked by Amazon Kindle

Nick Kew Silver badge

Vendor-neutral books!

I want my books vendor-neutral!

(which is an important reason I bought open, multi-format BeBook readers in preference to tied/proprietary/vendor format ones, both for myself and my nearest-and-dearest).

We probe the Google anti-trust probe. Vigorously

Nick Kew Silver badge

"What's best for Google is what's best for the public, right?"

No, the reverse.

Google's success is down to giving the users (that's us, when we search) what they want.

What's best for the public is what's best for Google. Because if Google ever loses sight of that it becomes just another Yahoo.

There's a whole industry devoted to putting useless crap between users and what they want. It's called SEO. Google is right to resist it.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Google is the good guy here

Q: Why is google dominant?

A: Because it gives us what we the users want when we search!

Q: Why do spammers complain to competition authorities about google?

A: Because google makes efforts to put its users needs ahead of the spammers desire to dominate.

Q: What would happen if the spammers were to win?

A: Google would lose its edge as a search engine, and the world would have to re-invent it or suffer.

p.s. I speak as someone who suffered from Yahoo's genuinely discriminatory behaviour in pre-google times when Yahoo had all the mindshare among journos, and hence among the vast numbers of newcomers to the 'net. Let us be glad that's consigned to history!

Brave new Boris-bikers banjaxed by broken boxes

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pay peanuts ... get monkeys

WTF is... up with e-book pricing?

Nick Kew Silver badge

Smartphone? No thank you.

I paid £500 for a pocket-puter[1] and £210 for an e-reader. Both run Linux and support a wide range of e-book formats, but there's only one I'd choose to read them on. The 6" e-ink screen is its value.

[1] Known to some as a smartphone. But my real smartphone is a different device, that happens to be smaller and lighter to carry around, much more comfortable to hold in the hand, and has a far better battery life.

Nick Kew Silver badge

e-books enable the poor ...

E-reader - a modest three-figure sum.

House big enough to keep a library of paper books - a very large six-figure sum.

I paid £210 for an e-reader. I'll never be rich enough to afford a dead-tree library.

(just for a bonus, I download books from Gutenberg).

Boris bikes for all from next week

Nick Kew Silver badge

Train + Boris-bike

Is it just me who would like a Boris-bike when crossing London from one station to another?

When you get a train ticket valid via London, it includes a tube journey to connect the mainline stations of your arrival and departure. Or you can walk it – some connections are not unpleasant (for example, Victoria to Paddington is 40 minutes and largely across the park).

Now London has Boris-bikes, we have at our fingertips an altogether more pleasant alternative.

So, rail companies and TFL, when will you start selling via-London tickets that offer the option of one journey on a Boris-bike as an alternative to that tube journey? You know it makes sense!

Google: Oracle doctored that 'copied Java code'

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Not us, guv? Weego

That last paragraph - are you sure?

Sounds like a valiant attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the growth market of our times. Will Nokia/Intel finally get their act together and claim the field for meego now?

Nominet forgets what the first .uk domain name was

Nick Kew Silver badge


First .uk domain I accessed the net from wasn't .uk. It was in JANET form, starting with uk.ac. Switched to [....].ac.uk in about 1991.

Before that, forms of address were provider-specific. I recollect in the late '80s - when networks ran on infrastructure like 'prestel' and 'telecom gold' - an address in telex form for my online self.

OOo contributors make a dash for LibreOffice

Nick Kew Silver badge


Get a decent X11 platform, and you have a far better set of editing shortcuts for free. No need for different applications - like an office suite - to go around reinventing that wheel.

If M$ windows 2000 instead of Office 2000 had got generic, cross-application facilities, it could've caught up with 1990 leading-edge technology.

Android is turning a profit for Google

Nick Kew Silver badge

Worried about a future?

Would you stand for an Apple, RIM or Nokia phone that could only use Bing and not Google?

I certainly wouldn't, and I don't think that's just because I'm a geek. Can't see Apple, RIM or Nokia going out of their way to alienate what is likely a majority of all smartphone users.

Nokia has alienated me with the N900, but that's cockup not conspiracy. And I love the E71, not least because google fits well even into its small screen.

Nokia runs all the way to the bank

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Thumb Up

Yes please, Nokia

Can I have this? I live in a developed country and have full access to all the usual financial facilities, but payment by 'phone would still be an improvement.

Terry Pratchett computer sniper-scope deal inked

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It's not Pratchett ...

... but a fine tradition he re-used.

Though I'm a great Pratchett fan, in this case I think the Infinite Improbability Drive was a rather better idea.

Microsoft assembles unlikely band of brothers against patent trolls

Nick Kew Silver badge

not to mention Apache

Why have you listed corporate bigcos, but omitted others including the EFF and ASF from your list?

Open Source folks may not have the means to fight patent battles on our own behalf, but can sometimes lend expertise to support someone who is fighting the pirates. The ASF has submitted an Amicus brief to the US supreme court, and I understand EFF is also involved.

Next fashions budget 10in Android tablet

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Since Apple is now a Fashion company ...

... we should not be surprised in the least to see a fashion retailer flogging lookalike products.

Road test: putting the iPad to work

Nick Kew Silver badge

Take your choice of compromise

I've tried a similar experiment, leaving the macbook at home and living with the pocket-puter (Nokia N900) alone for an event like FOSDEM. Like your ipad, it's a compromise and makes some things much harder to do.

But sometimes it's also very liberating to know you can last the day without having to find a power outlet. And there are times - like when you find standing-room-only - that a laptop would be impractical and a handheld device is the only sane option.

Bottom line: I'll continue to leave the laptop at home for certain events. But only on a time-limited basis: sadly I don't think I could take a full week on the pocket-puter alone. At least, not without a proper keyboard and screen from which to access it!

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