* Posts by DrXym

4369 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Wii U 'has been JAILBROKEN' via legacy games, say homebrewers

DrXym Silver badge

Re: If this is true

PC games cost less because they don't have the burden of royalties, certification and testing that console manufacturers impose to get a cut of every game. So a manufacturer gets more of the money and greater latitude in setting the price and support.

Even so, it is not hard at all to see the impact piracy has had on PC gaming. Once upon a time PC games would occupy the full length of a wall in GAME or similar stores. These days you'd be lucky to see a rack and of those half will be shit like Sims / World of Warcraft expansion packs. Many titles only get ported to the PC as an afterthought. The hope for PC gaming is that the likes of Steam, Origin, Impulse etc. will restore some profitibility to the platform and this in turn might increase the number of new titles that the platform enjoys.

DrXym Silver badge

"Piracy is more likely to negatively affect the people making junk shovelware games."

Sadly reality doesn't bear that statement out. The DS and the Wii turned into shovelware wastelands because of piracy. It's not hard to find companies who made statements to the effect that they simply didn't make money on these platforms and therefore they were resorting to smaller titles - shovelware. They could probably churn out 5 or 10 shovelware titles for the cost of one premium one. Just give it some some generic confusing name, e.g. Animalz Dance Party, Carnival Revolution etc., some pretty graphics on the back and it recoups its money from undiscerning grannies, parents and kids.

And the same will happen to the Wii U unless it has some robust anti-piracy measures. Sony and Microsoft didn't crack down on modchips and custom firmware to be meanies, they did it to protect their investment. If the Wii U is cracked already and stays cracked, the platform will degenerate into shovelware in no time.

DrXym Silver badge

If this is true

Then I hope Nintendo have a patch in the works. 3rd parties don't like endemic piracy and if this facilitates it then it's likely the Wii U will descend rapidly into shovelware hell like its previous platforms. Nintendo really haven't done much online and people don't have games or content in the cloud either so there is less for people to lose if they do go the dark path and never return.

Barclays Bank buys 8,500 Apple iPads in one go

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What the staff wants and what the staff gets are two different things

There are tablets costing half as much which would be as capable of doing what the bank needs. Playbooks for example. They might not be "sexy" but they work and they carry business friendly features like remote wipe, encryption and so on. And they cost 1/3 the price.

PGP Zimmermann teams with Navy SEALs, SAS techies in London

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Re: Looks like China will have some new rules to add to its firewall

I'm sure this service could try all kinds of things but a determined agency would figure out what addresses are hit, probably just through the simple expedient of paying for a few subscriptions themselves and seeing where the software connects to.

Once they know the IP addresses they probably have the means to monitor who else is hitting those addresses and work things out from there.

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Looks like China will have some new rules to add to its firewall

Block all connections to Silent Circle servers.

'There may come a day when Hobbits promote slot machines ...'

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More likely the estate is not getting the cut they feel they're entitled to.

Kobo Glo illuminated e-reader review

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I doubt any e-reader can work well with PDFs because e-ink displays don't have the density or aspect ratio to display the page legibly when zoomed out. So the page has to be zoomed in and you get clobbered by the slow re-render followed by the slow refresh rate. Stuff like grayscale levels and dithering would also interfere with the detail.

Sony coaxes indie Vita, Android developers with $99 SDK

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Android SDK needs to be free

If Sony were smart they could carve themselves a nice slice of Android gaming by throwing out a PSN SDK for Android which enable games with trophies, single sign on, messaging and other features. And it needs to be free. Sony can still monetize such as by sticking ads on some of the screens, providing ways for games to contain ad billboards and so on.

Mozilla needs to find alternatives to the Google umbilical

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Re: >>Perhaps work out a way that they can both use the same plugin API

Google is already talking of doing away with or deprecating NPAPI for something called Pepper. Pepper is a more advanced plugin API to support some of the stuff Google are doing with NaCl / PNacCl. In particular it offers a retained graphics mode so that the browser doesn't have to call (cross-process) to ask the plugin to repaint itself when the view is invalidated.

Having worked with the NPAPI a lot I can understand why it's not fit for purpose for Google's intentions but if they're going to replace it they should get some kind of consensus amongst other other browser manufacturers first.

No increase in droughts since 1950, say boffins

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Re: Golly

"That makes it abundantly clear that, far from being a scientist or an engineer, you don't even have the slightest inkling of the scientific method."

Actually I'm well aware of it and what it means to follow it. It means making observations, forming hypotheses and testing those hypotheses against the evidence. Those hypotheses that make accurate testable predictions become theories. It is a constant progression and evidence is at the heart of it.

Thus it is no surprise to anybody that the IPCC or various scientific institutions should constantly appraise and reappraise their findings against the evidence and refine or change where necessary.

However that is totally different from denialism where someone starts with an idea which is not supported by the evidence and eliminates, ignores or cherry picks to pretend their idea wins by default. It doesn't. We see this all the time in creationism, anti vaccine, 9/11 truthers, holocaust denial and global warming denial. Quote mining and cherry picking are favourites of denialists since they can rip a quote out of context and sometimes even pretend the authors support their cause. This article is just another example in a long line spouted by this site of late which does exactly that.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Golly

No because the BBC isn't in the business of cherry picking data to promote a denialist cause.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 game review

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Call of Duty is well past its sell by date

Single player COD has barely advanced since the first title - linear levels, heavy amounts of scripting, retarded enemies and allies, infinite spawn points, hidden triggers, unopenable doors and windows and even more scripting. What was forgivable 10 years ago simply isn't forgivable now.

Sony confesses: we can't beat iPhone... yet

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I think they intend to. They're just shaking off the last vestiges of being Sony Ericsson on their phones.

Though if they really want the Playstation brand to take off on mobiles they should throw open the SDK to a consortium of phones and not charge devs for using it. Let any game use PSN as its single sign on and sport trophies and so on. They should really get Google to buy into it too since Android sorely lacks a gaming infrastructure.

Sony surges past 70 million PlayStation 3 sales

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Re: But hang on..

Yes the 360 was on sale longer though I doubt the replacement program accounted for enough boxes to significantly affect overall sales.

I expect development for 360 and PS3 is virtually identical, mostly because the platforms reside on the same development tier being largely similar in broad terms for their performance - a game written for one platform may as well be written for the other and share the costs of development, testing, marketing etc.

Nintendo probably hope that the Wii U is close enough to the PS3 and 360 too that it will reside in the same tier and therefore benefit and gain a lot more premium 3rd party titles than the Wii did. The Wii used to get lumped in with the PS2 while the PS2 was viable and thereafter it was increasingly ignored or reduced to selling shovelware by 3rd parties.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Shame...

I wonder how many owners of Wiis currently gathering dust intend to repeat the mistake with the Wii U.

Lawyer sues Microsoft rather than slot an SD card into his Surface

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He has a point

If a device advertises 16GB of storage it really should have 16GB of storage free when you turn it on for the first time. The MS Surface might take the piss more than most devices but they all do it.

ViewSonic VSD220 22in Android mega tablet

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Re: The optical sensor often picks up your finger proximity ...

Even some capacitive screens can pick up your finger proximity without touching it. My Asus transformer does this and it's kind of annoying.

Rockstar ramps it up with Grand Theft Auto V reveal

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Re: Beware the hype

GTA IV, LA Noire and Red Dead Redemption didn't just have tiny flaws, they had some pretty annoying obvious gameplay issues that would easily knock a point of their scores. Sub HD graphics, janky physics. LA Noire in addition had some really bad acting (doubtless because the actors had to say their lines while sat in something resembling a barber's chair), and lack of control.

I own all of these games (and a couple of GTA IV expansions) and most are good games - I think LA Noire is mediocre and coasts on its tech. But when I look at them I do not see the games that the reviews or the hype promised and I made sure to buy them after release and usually when they were on sale.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Beware the hype

I didn't say they were bad games, but I did suggest that the games were hyped to high heaven and there was no way they justified their scores. As for sites you can trust, I don't know if you can trust any which hypes this game. You have to read the article to understand the marketing machine which is behind this game.

DrXym Silver badge

Beware the hype

Perhaps GTA V will be a good game, possibly even a great game but it will be in spite of the hype. You simply cannot trust a word which comes out of the press between now and release. Not a single word. Read this to see why:


Look at all the breathless gushing reviews of GTA IV, LA Noire, Red Dead Redemption. They were all good games but they also had some really serious flaws and you wouldn't know it from reading some of the hyperbole that went out with them. That's because Rockstar's PR goes into overdrive and hammers on the press to deliver the scores they want to see regardless of the game deserving it.

Two scam apps stink up iTunes store, pulled thanks to Reg reader

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Re: @DrXym - Oh Jeebus Apple

Because it's impossible.

Calling an API doesn't show malicious intent. My hypothetical quote of the day app has a legitimate reason to hit some url to fetch the quote. Maybe it also fetches a graphic too and a bit of meta data. All very innocent. I could easily craft some code which throws an exception only with the malicious content, e.g. maybe a title which is 256 characters causes an exception to throw and somewhere up the chain it redirects the user to a "report error" page url. When Apple test it, even if they sport the report error url, it all looks legit. Perhaps my app also has some legitimate reason to look in my contacts, e.g. offering me the feature to email a quote of the day to a friend, but when operating maliciously it actually steals my address book by accidentally not null terminating a character array which just happens later to be used in the report error screen. It's so easy.

Short of someone doing a line by line security audit, feeding the app with every possible input Apple will NEVER find this.

This is why curation is false security. I'm sure Apple do have scanners which look for signatures of known trojans, command and control urls, and might even give the app a cursory once over in some virtual machines with different date and time parameters and so on. But it's not hard for someone to circumvent this. Look how many phony apps already get through. Look how many apps turn out to be stealing data already. Apple didn't catch these. There's no reason to think they'd catch my hypothetical app either.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Oh Jeebus Apple

Curation is BS because unless Apple invent a tool which deconstructs an app and tells you exactly what functionality it offers, there will be malware, or apps which don't do what they claim, or do more than they claim.

It would be trivial to throw an up on the store which is completely innocuous, e.g. some quote of the day app which downloads some interesting quote every day, and then 100 days down the road instead of downloading a quote of the day it downloads an instruction which puts it in nasty mode and robs your address book, or sends you off to a website where some malicious payload is lurking.

Chances are Apple wouldn't find it either until it was too late.

Nintendo Wii U set to out-sell predecessor at launch

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Re: Outdated by what?

It's just a multi core PowerPC processor with paired an AMD GPU of some kind. Little different than the 360 really. It might be clocked a bit higher, and a bit more performant. But it's quite obviously not a radical design. I expect when Nintendo put it out to tender their specs slightly exceeded the other consoles but not by a huge amount.

It certainly doesn't justify the launch price unless you count the controller. But then again you can buy a wifi enabled tablet for $50. I doubt their controller costs more than $30 tops to manufacture.

DrXym Silver badge

5 years too late

The Wii U catches up with and slightly exceeds the specs of the 360 and PS3. For that you pay a hefty premium. It most likely means at last that 3rd party titles will enjoy platform parity at last, but I doubt it will mean the experience is much better than the other consoles or sufficiently distinct to justify buying this console if you own one of the others already.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Gossip

The Wii had 3 modes - on, online standby and standby. It burns 10W to be in online standby since its basically on but not outputting any graphics. Nintendo stuck that mode in promising "surprises". About the only surprise people got is their electric bill went up.

McAfee ‘not a suspect’: CNN report

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I don't like the new McAfee software

The laptop I bought at the weekend included some McAfee antivirus crapware. It threatened to shoot me in the back of the head if I didn't subscribe.

McAfee founder claims police framing him for murder

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I believe him

That picture says "completely sane" to me.

Memo to Groupon: Best cheapo deals have a premium tag

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Re: And still so many jump on the bandwagon

Groupon's problem is they hyper expanded and were far too greedy. I suppose these competitors exist by keeping their focus and margins lower and offering a better deal to businesses. It's still insanity IMO for most businesses to contemplate them.

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Freeloaders follow the bargains

Groupon expects business to discount their prices by 50% of which Group keeps approximately half and only pays the rest out in staggered amounts. So the business is supposed to provide the same service for 25% of the full price which they might not receive all of for months. Then these freeloaders descend like a swarm of locusts and disappear as quickly when the deal is gone. Is it any wonder so many go under?

About the only kind of business which can sustain this model are "service" ones, e.g. beauticians where the full price totally made up and there are low overheads to worry about. Oh so the eyebrow waxing was €60 and now its €30 - bargain!

For restaurants or businesses selling actually goods it is commercial suicide.

I've seen at least one restaurant locally killed by these coupons and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few more. Businesses that want to survive would be better off printing some 50% off flyers or advertising a set menu deal on a board outside their door. It's the same deal to consumers but the business gets to keep all the money and gets it instantly.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

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Re: Obsolete by well over 10 years

Books are physical objects whose content doesn't change once it's printed. They also have the benefit of typesetting and proof readers who can fix issues such as when a table runs out into the margins or there is a large gap at the bottom of a page.

An ebook has to look good on multiple displays and multiple font sizes, in portrait and layout mode and it has to do this dynamically, i.e. when user hits zoom or rotates or whatever the page has to flow properly.

Interleaving the layout with the content is a bad idea in ebooks for exactly the same reason it is for HTML - because what looks good on one device or one font might not look good on another. Another good reason not to do it is because embedding the styling bloats out the size of the content. Mobi files are often bigger than Epub because the latter isolates the styles into a seperate set of rules whereas Mobi inlines them all over the place.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

While EPUB and MOBI are similar, conversion isn't lossless so Calibre is better than nothing but it doesn't excuse the Kindle using a proprietary format in the first place. Any reason for not supporting EPUB natively is purely commercial, not technical and while it might suit Amazon's interests it certainly doesn't suit their customers.

Surface sales 'modest' so far, Ballmer modestly admits

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Re: Because it's missing features...

It has an MicroSDXC slot. GPS is not a deal breaker. But it is underspecified compared to its nearest rival especially when the cost of keyboard is added.

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Not surprising

They cost too much. Make them cheaper and they might sell better.

One in four don't clean their stinky old browsers - especially Firefoxers

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Re: The reason firefox users don't upgrade

The only pain in updating Firefox is if the firefox.exe is locked (e.g. because you have multiple logins on the same machine) in which case the update fails. Otherwise it happens pretty much automatically.

Swedish boffins: An Ice Age is coming, only CO2 can save us

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Re: I lump together

Then you are a stupid person indeed.

Will Santa be working overtime to shift Win 8 kit? No. Yes! Maybe

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Re: Oh dear

I have Windows 8 on a laptop and yes in my opinion it is inferior, at least for mouse and keyboard behaviour.

This can be seen in some very straightforward ways.

1. I run the weather app which has about 3 screens arranged horizontally. Since I have a mouse I must wheel across to see the other screens and so *oops* the middle screen contains a large a vertical scroll panel and by wheeling over now my mouse is over it and Win8 is sending mouse wheels to the vertical scroll panel. So I was scrolling horizontally and now I'm not.

2. I want to pin several apps to the start menu. I must right mouse click, mouse down to click All apps, mousewheel over about 4 horizontal screens of apps to find the one I want to pin, right click on it, mouse down to the bottom strip and choose Pin to Start. But I said I wanted to pin several apps - do you suppose I can multi select apps with right clicks and pin them all at once? No of course not because that would be really useful. I must repeat this bloody process once for every app.

3. Wheeling over a multiple screen when I have large monitor is boring and makes no sense. Can Can I zoom out the start menu to spare me this effort? Of course not. I can get a 1000ft view, or close up, but zoom? No, too useful.

4. Another way to spare me the pain and suffering of wheeling is if I can organize tiles into groups. Naturally this is not supported either despite the fact that other touch based operating systems manage to do it pretty nicely.

5. I've just run the weather app and now I want to flip back to an app I have running in desktop mode. I mouse over to the left side of the screen were some new app picker comes up. Is it there? Of course not. I have a "Desktop" thumbnail but not for apps within the desktop. So I must click Desktop, and then do a second navigation from the task bar to find it. Extra mouse travel because clearly Weather apps need greater prominence in the UI than trivial apps like Eclipse, consoles, browsers etc.

6. Can I multiple select tiles with a rubber band or similar in the start menu. No I must manually right click on each and often discover the action I wish to do is not available for multiply selected icons.

7. I want to launch VirtualBox with an Ubuntu image. In Windows 7 I'd have an icon with a recent documents history so I could do it with a hover and a click. Now I have to manually do this in multiple steps in a different way for each app. More time.

8. Mousewheeling up and down to scroll side to side is counterintuitive anyway.

I could go on listing things like this. Basically Windows 8 involves a LOT more mouse travel and clicking that Windows 7 ever did. While I don't object to Metro per se it is half baked for "classic" machines and it is clear to me MS went straight for tablet land and filled out some perfunctory mouse and keyboard behaviour for everyone else.

DrXym Silver badge

I think I'd avoid a Windows 8 PC

At least unless the PC came with a touch screen and / or Microsoft fix Windows 8 and stop treating keyboard / mice PCs like illegitimate ginger step children.

BBC in secret trial to see if you care about thing you plainly don't

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Re: DAB should not be more expensive

"They would just use it to have slightly lower quality and twice as many stations to reduce the costs."

What's wrong with that? One of the main complaints of DAB is its expensive (for broadcasters) and I expect commercial stations would be all over an improvement that allowed them to place more stations in a mux without any perceptible loss in quality.

This in turn would drive consumer demand because there are a better choice of stations and the sound quality is better and there are less drop outs.

DrXym Silver badge

DAB should not be more expensive

DAB is essentially a tuner and an MP2 decoder. Hardware costing £5 should be able to pick it up). It's too bad that the UK chose to adopt DAB given how poor the codec is. The brave / smart thing to do would be to legislate that all DAB receivers must be DAB+ compatible and for digital radio switchover allow DAB+ stations to intermingle with DAB stations. Over time DAB+ would naturally take over and the old format could be junked.

Microsoft offers cut-price Win 8 PCs and fondletops to UK schools

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Re: Shape the future

On balance I think I'd prefer that than schools saying kids should buy iPads. Though if the UK government were actually thinking ahead on this they should be mandating formats and standards that all school materials should be supplied in and forcing the devices into compliance rather than letting vendors fight each other over hearts and minds.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Windows

"It boggles my mind how Microsoft have managed to be the jack of all trades and so have become the master of none. Apple and Google have realised you can't force a desktop UI into a touch screen device and vice-versa, why can't Microsoft?"

I think it's quite possible to produce a hybrid format which works as a tablet with touch or a desktop with mouse + keyboard. I think Microsoft's problem is not that their concept is bad but it's half implemented. They made a beeline straight for tablet land with metro, polished up the desktop side a little, put in some half baked mouse + keyboard support for the tiley/swipey stuff and called it a day.

I have Windows 8 on a laptop (with no touch) and metro can be simultaneously useful and frustrating. The experience feels a lot faster and responsive and the start page is an attractive and easy way to get started. But at the same time as I predominantly use the desktop the experience constantly trips me up. Most reviews of Windows 8 contain some line which says "Things got easier when I discovered hotkey X", or "I found the app through the search charm" etc. Basically people discovered workarounds for the worst excesses but they shouldn't have been there in the first place.

I hope and expect that given another iteration or substantial service pack that the roughest edges can be taken off the experience. I think they're in a hair's breadth of producing an OS which people can used as a tablet while walking around but is also a great desktop for people armed with a mouse and keyboard. But it needs that refinement.

I also think that Android and iOS could both take a page from the Windows book for their behaviour when a mouse + keyboard is plugged in. Android has *terrible* support for mice. Most Android apps use the supplied native widgets (e.g. TextView for an edit box). Why can't Android make it so if I mouse over an edit box the cursor changes to a caret to give me a contextual hint that I can edit that field. Why doesn't it change to a finger when I hover a link in chrome? Why is it pot luck what key stroke combinations (if any) will work in some random app. Why when I drag and drop a text range in a browser does it behave like I'm stabbing the screen with a chubby finger and interfere with the selection behaviour?

So while it's easy to slag off Windows 8 (and fun), I think it does get a lot of things right and existing tablet OSes certainly aren't perfect either. I window Windows RT on the other hand is a total waste of time - it's emasculated, incompatible and serves mainly as an excuse to keep the price of Windows 8 devices high. I expect Windows RT is going to fail hard and hopefully Windows 8 will be the only Windows and we'll see more affordable devices that use it in time.

Office for Android, Apple iOS: 'REALLY REAL this time' - report

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Re: LibreOffice may be coming too

OfficeSuite Pro was slagged off mightily by those who bought it in that sale because despite having bought it, it then pushed people to buy further items like font packs. It was these comments that were enough to put me off buying it which is why I remember it.

I currently have Polaris 3 (preinstalled with the Asus Transformer) and it's abysmal - it doesn't even support shift+selection rendering it almost useless as a word processor.

The advantage LibreOffice would bring is it would be genuinely free, would be in a state of continual improvement (such as Mozilla, VLC and some other open source projects on Android enjoy) and there is a good engine underpinning it. I think getting the UI right would be the challenge but I think it has the best potential to compete against MS Office on RT for example.

DrXym Silver badge

LibreOffice may be coming too

LibreOffice is porting chunks of itself to Android. At that point we might finally get a reasonable suite which doesn't cost any money.

Apple engineers 'pay no attention to anyone's patents', court told

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PGPfone et al

Computers have been capable of setting up secure connections between each other from the time networks and encrypted have existed.

There is nothing novel about this and indeed it has been extended to voice and video calls numerous times. Too numerous to count. For example PGPfone was conceived in 1995 for similar purposes of secure communication. Maybe Apple used some other transport over TCP/IP but as far as I'm concerned that's basically implementation noise - it's been around for a long time.

It disgusts me that the patent system can be so abused like this. While there is a certain schadenfreud when Apple gets whacked, the reality is these patent trolls are parasites and IP law could be changed to strongly discourage the practice, e.g. limiting damages for submarine patents, providing courts the powers to penalise the trolls by reducing patent lifespans and so on.

President Obama declares VICTORY over JUSTIN BIEBER

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A wholesome teen pop start who is probably about go through some edgy adult reboot anytime soon a la Hanna Montana / Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears etc. to extend his shelf life.

iPhone 5 unlocked US prices placed on Apple website by accident

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Re: Or $299 for a Nexus 4 unlocked

Lack of memory expansion puts me off the Nexus 4 but on the flipside it is a reasonably priced phone for the specs. The lack of LTE really is not a big deal. The iPhone 5 is a single band device and the only LTE service in the UK is an expensive joke. By the time LTE matures and gets cheaper there'll be better phones that might justify actually using it.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Pricing

The pricing model will last as long as there are people stupid enough to fall for it.

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