* Posts by DrXym

4369 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

World smart TV sales surge

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Smart TVs, stupid buyers

The point I'm making is if you buy a smart TV is you're paying a premium for functionality that will bitrot and you cannot get rid of. It may in some cases be off to the side, but it's still there and useless. If you just bought a bog standard TV (one with a nice bezel if you like), without the smart stuff, the difference in price would be enough to buy a decent media player, or streaming box, maybe even a console. All far better value propositions IMO than some poxy bitrot prone widgets baked into the TV set.

The only advantage to smart TVs is that it could overlay widgets over the video content regardless of it coming from an external HDMI or an internal decoder.

DrXym Silver badge

Smart TVs, stupid buyers

Smart TVs command a premium which simply isn't justifiable. What are the chances the "smart" services will work properly in 3 or 4 years? By then Samsung, Sony, Panasonic et al will have moved several generations forwards with their products and will have no incentive at all to support older models. Services will begin to bitrot or lag behind functionally until you're left with a TV with all kinds of extraneous cruft in its UI which is of no use at all.

It would be smarter to buy a box separate to the TV. If the box becomes obsolete at least you can replace it for an entirely new experience rather than leaving the broken old experience there stinking up the UI.

For FORK'S sake: GitHub checks out Windows client

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Re: EGit, TortoiseGit

"No, you can update a subfolder (any subfolder) trivially, indeed I have entire distinct projects as subfolders in a single repo."

I recognise git to be superior in most regards but being able to clone and make changes to a small part of a large project is not one of them. e.g. I might have an interest in 5 small config files which happen to reside in a project with a 30,000 other files in it. But I can't easily obtain those files without cloning the entire project. I could maybe do a shallow clone, but that only stops me grabbing history for the other 29,995 files not, but I'd still get the latest copies and of course a shallow clone would prevent me making modifications to the files if that was my intent. In cvs or svn I could just checkout the folder the files were in and ignore the rest.

It may be the case that the project can sometimes use sub modules but that still does not satisfy ad hoc requests and also requires greater up front consideration of where the boundaries are. Sub modules are also a pain to deal with and would generally be used sparingly, e.g. one project making use of another entirely discrete project with a separate development cycle rather than developing and committing across all sub modules simultaneously. In fact that's how sub modules are designed to work with the .gitmodules pointing at a specific hash for each sub module and you having to explicitly update to pick up more recent changes.

The workaround is probably to throw up a "community" clone for people to reference, or perhaps a web server. It's still not one of git's strong points though and I see no reason to defend it for that.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: EGit, TortoiseGit

"You shouldn't be working on the trunk then, only on a branch for future merging (I understand this is best practice, I've never merged branches myself except as pratice)."

A more likely scenario is someone creates a build branch from the trunk and then builds that and cherry picks commits from the trunk if something is needed to fix an issue. Git can do this too of course but it's still more effort than what I suggested.

"Wot, no conflicts, evar? #Really?# Surely bitchslaps SVN into the middle of next week!"

Of course there are conflicts occasionally in pulling (a combined fetch and merge) but not when pushing providing your clone is up to date prior to the push.

"Well, I may be misunderstanding but a pair of svn update calls in a batch file will update both working copies, no hassle. Failing that, svn switch to, well, switch a single working copy between two branches."

So you can hack something which lessens the effort of kicking off two updates but you still have to do it. And an svn switch is nowhere near as elegant given that it involves substantial server round trips to perform. Switching a branch in git is completely local to the machine because all of the history is there. It is so trivial to create and switch branches with git that developers would routinely do it to discrete bug fixes.

The simple fact is git is vastly superior to subversion in these scenarios. I've used enough source control systems to recognize their own individual strengths and weaknesses. Git (and mercurial) stomp CVS, Subversion and other VCS systems into a bloody pulp when it comes to scenarios like the above.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: EGit, TortoiseGit

There are things I'd still recommend subversion over git such as document / binary storage but for source control and collaborative development git is far superior.

Trivial example. Emails go out to say the trunk is open / closed. I want to commit my changes but I can't because the trunk is closed. I could create a branch in svn to commit my changes but its such a pain in the arse and I still have to merge them back to trunk later. The usual course of action is to hold off on the commmit even though its ready and hope I don't pollute it with other changes. In git I just commit locally. Later on when the trunk / master is open I push. In git branch creation is so trivial I could even do the work on a throwaway branch free from other changes and then merge it back into my local master and push a bunch of similar commits all in one go.

Another trivial example. There are two branches A and B representing work by two teams. In subversion I usually maintain two snapshots representing A and B and maintain them in separate workspaces. Double the overhead of keeping them up to date. In git I can choose separate clones if I really wish but equally I could manage both in a single clone and just switch between each branch on the fly.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Branching good, GIT BAD

Linus turned over development a long time ago and the tools and syntax have improved a lot. It really isn't that bad even if you use the command line and most people wouldn't have to use the command line.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: And?

Msysgit definitely shows its Linux / Unix leanings but you can safely install and ignore it and interact solely through TortoiseGit which has very decent integration with Windows and is the defacto front end. A lot of IDEs also have integration or support for Git through plugins. There are even plugins for developer studio through a rival to TortoiseGit called Git Extensions.

DrXym Silver badge

EGit, TortoiseGit

It's very easy to develop with Git on windows. TortoiseGit (+ msysgit) is as easy to use as TortoiseSVN / CVS. And if you develop in Eclipse you can use EGit (+ JGit) which is fairly mature pure Java implementation.

The biggest issue is the old perennial of cross platform development - line endings. Git has auto line ending conversion but if you forget to set it your diffs can all be screwed up especially in EGit which still has a few bugs with it in 1.3.

Anyway, any business using Subversion or CVS really should seriously investigate git. In most ways it is vastly superior to either of these although some may argue that having to pull everything in a project rather than just a subfolder can be retrograde in some circumstances and workarounds like subprojects have all sorts of pitfalls.

Source code smoking gun links Stuxnet AND Flame

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Orientalists creeping out of the woodwork, fellating President Bomborama

I didn't say it was right they did it, just that it was smart. And given the success of the attack and the damage, it was highly successful too. I also don't buy the BS that Iran aren't processing rods for weapons development either. Israel has a bomb, Pakistan has a bomb, the US / UK have a bomb. It is clearly of massive importance to Iran to obtain a bomb if only for their own self defence or regional influence and some fatwa to the contrary shouldn't fool anybody.

DrXym Silver badge

Sounds to me like the US did the smart thing here, sabotaging Iran's enrichment program and setting it back a year or more without provoking the sort of international outrage and condemnation that would have followed if they and/or Israel had dropped bombs on the place.

Facebook changes data-use policy despite 87% poll opposition

DrXym Silver badge

Good luck with that

Facebook will do what Facebook wants to do. Given that their business is about harvesting personal data to sell targetted advertising space to advertisers there is NO WAY they're going to make new users opt out by default.

It's clear that the UI and settings are designed to maximize data gathering and only grudgingly provide switches to disable functions. Even then the links to improve security are often buried or presented in a way to discourage their use.

The only way to win the game is not play at all, or if you must at least have some sense about how you use these services. Use a 'nym or failing that restrict the data you feed it with and spend as much time as possible locking it down as far as it will go.

HTC locked out of Windows 8 tablet party

DrXym Silver badge

Windows 8 is just Microsoft making a beeline for tablet land and paying lip service to other kinds of platforms. It's barely suitable for home use let alone enterprise use. I expect MS realise this too, seeing that enterprises are just rolling out Windows 7. They probably assume they'll wait for Windows 9 much the way they waited for 7 after Vista.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: HTC don't have experience but Nokia do?

Sounds more to me like Nokia got the plum for getting in bed with Microsoft and they don't want the competition around to spoil their sales.

DrXym Silver badge

Not enough tablet experience?

A tablet is basically just a glorified smartphone. If you can make smart phones then you can make tablets. HTC have been making PDAs, smart phones and tablets for over a decade. Those Compaq / HP iPaq devices were made by HTC.

A more likely reason for being shut out is because HTC is android-centric. Perhaps Microsoft wanted to shut them out to "punish" them for their betrayal, or one of their other partners like Dell or doesnt want the competition of HTC and wanted them excluded, or the terms of licencing Windows 8 were so ludicrously stringent or odious (e.g concerning patents) that HTC couldn't sign up. Whatever the real reason, claiming they have no experience is just bullshit.

Microsoft so sorry for limp wedding tackle gag gaffe

DrXym Silver badge

Does that mean

that Windows 8 won't be launched with a routine by the Puppetry of the Penis?

LinkedIn dials 911 on password mega-leak hackers

DrXym Silver badge

Not much risk to security

So someone managed to get a big list of hashes, so what? Unless someone somewhere has the corresponding user ids there is no further risk to account security. All you could glean from the list is X number of people use password Y, not who those people were.

The biggest issue I see is that it suggests LinkedIn was not salting passwords and using a fast hash that facilitates dictionary attacks. Remedying these issues wouldn't stop hackers from thieving the list but it would make it far harder to figure out the plaintext for the password unless they could lay their hands on the salting algorithm at the same time.

1,000 Foxconn iPad workers trash dorms in riot against guards

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The article fails to say

How many iPads were damaged in the riot.

Windows 8: Not even Microsoft thinks businesses will use it

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Re: Windows 9

Developers are getting a taste of awful GUI design too. For reasons that make no sense DevStudio 2012 will display all the menus in all-caps.

Anyway I'm quite certain that a large whip will be cracked in Redmond to crank out Windows 9 to repair some of this damage. I hope and expect W9 to offer a far better experience for desktops.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Metro On the DT is CRAP !

I think metro could work on the desktop and work pretty well with some fairly modest improvements. I have no issue with change but not change that gives mouse / keyboard / desktop users a truly second rate experience. And that's exactly what metro does.

DrXym Silver badge

Windows 9

I think it's clear that Microsoft have given up trying to make this release appealing to businesss or indeed users of mouse / keyboard computers. The experience borders on the intolerable for "classic" desktop users. I expect Windows 9 will be turned around pretty fast much like Windows 7 appeared with 18 months of Vista.

It's not that metro is a bad idea but that it makes very few concessions to the way people work. A typical desktop may have 30 or 40 programs installed - games, apps and whatnot. There are no folders in metro so Microsoft have kludged in some filter to strip out uninstallers and readmes and other detritus and present the stuff that slips through as an enormous horizontal flat list. It's just abysmal behaviour. Desktop users also may have multiple monitors and lots of pixels yet there is no effort by Metro to allow users to customize the scale or size of tiles to pack in more information or tone down the gaudiness.

I think it will be a public relations disaster. The disaster could be compounded because Windows on ARM and Windows on Intel are two similar looking but incompatible versions of the same OS. One has the old desktop and one does not. It may even be the case that both versions are locked down to an app store so people cannot install apps except via the store. I can imagine the fun and games at PC world with people returning tablets when they discover none of their software works on it.

UK Gov not using six million of its software licences

DrXym Silver badge

How many of those are for current products?

I bet of those licences represent software detritus built up over the last 20 odd years. Software which is obsolete or superseded. A more telling figure is how many licences represent software which is current and simply not used. It also seems sensible that governments should stick some kind of licence buy back clause into their contracts so that if they have surplus they can claw back a bit of money from vendors providing they seek reimbursement within some timeframe.

Android Academy cashes in on tests for well-off devs

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Certification means very little

I've interviewed people with Java certification who could rattle off every answer the certification required but if you asked them to solve a simple problem with code they couldn't do it. Therefore I really don't put too much weight on what certification someone has or not. I'd be more interested in what their existing experience was and how competently they could answer some curve ball questions about their skills.

That is not to say certification would actually hurt their prospects but it really wouldn't do them a huge amount of good either.

Hackers expose 6.5 MILLION 'LinkedIn passwords'

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I don't think it will help much

If the passwords are unsalted and there are no user ids, then what use is it? All you can tell from using it is X number of people have "fred" as their password, Y number of people have "beer" and so on. It doesn't say who those people are.

Sony awards PlayStation cert to HTC handsets

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Re: I'm surprised Google hasn't stepped in here

Yes gaming is woeful because of it. A unified gaming api would be a hugely useful thing to developers and users. The popularity of PSN, XBL and Steam demonstrate that users overwhelmingly want such a thing. And they get such a thing with Windows Phone and iOS. Android should have APIs too.

DrXym Silver badge

I'm surprised Google hasn't stepped in here

Android is good for a lot of things but the state of gaming is pretty woeful. There is no single sign on, no achievments / trophies, no match making, no high scores, or voice chat etc. Some games attempt to use 3rd party libs like Scoreloop to obtain some of those things but it's all very spotty.

Windows Phone might be crap in other ways but the XBL integration is one of its strong points.

While I guess it's nice that Sony is sort of stepping in to provide some of those things it still doesn't excuse the lack of an official framework that app developers could use. I would have thought with android forks threatening to sprout like mushrooms that Google would see this as a good way to keep users and developers close to its chest.

PC-makers hope for Windows 8 hero to sweep up sales

DrXym Silver badge

I don't think it's a given

I would not see any attraction to running Windows 8 unless I had a machine with a touch screen, preferably a tablet which would benefit from the new UI. The experience for mouse and keyboard devices is shockingly poor. It's so bad that I anticipate that Microsoft will turn out a Windows 9 as quickly as Windows 7 appeared after Vista to address the shortcomings.

A tablet running x86 and with some kind of dock would be a neat little device and I'd put up with metro just for the sake of the portability. I steer the hell clear of Windows on ARM though which IMO is going to be a disaster of epic proportions when people angrily realise it doesn't work with any existing Windows software.

Advertisers slam Microsoft over 'Do not track' decision

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More likely reason

I think it's to stuff up Google than anything else. I assume Microsoft will still happily gather data through their Windows Live sign on mechanism and apps tied to id. By denying other advertisers that data or the means to gather information about Windows users at all, that information becomes more valuable.

Windows 8: We kick the tyres on Redmond's new tablet wheels

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Please kill Metro, or at least allow it to be completely disabled

Metro doesn't have to be killed, it just has to offer functionality comparable to that delivered by the start menu. I can't believe how badly it still functions so close to RTM. I was prepared to give the benefit of doubt to the consumer preview, openly wondering but hoping things might improve but it's clear MS are releasing this thing whether it is ready for the desktop or not. I believe they've decided to get this thing out of the door regardless of it being broken and then we'll see a followup release much like Windows 7 was for Vista.

DrXym Silver badge

People won't be won over

Not when Microsoft is not addressing obvious shortcomings in metro. There are some very obvious ways Windows 8 could improve the experience and it doesn't. Lack of folders is the most obvious omission but also the inability to set zoom level, the lack of Windows button and more.

Would it really damage their design ethic for Metro to implement something called a "folder" and represent program groups by such a thing? They could even do some neat little animation where you hover or click on them and the icons whoosh out make space for themselves in the list.

Putting all programs and icons in a linear list is just flat out stupid. It's broken for desktops where many people may have hundreds of icons and sorely missing even for tablets.

One wonders if Microsoft are really intending for Windows 8 to be usable for desktops at all. It's beginning to feel like they really don't care and intend an 8.5 or 9 down the line to make it work in a tolerable way. This is shaping up to be the worst received release since Windows Me.

Sharp to show OLED 'retina' display for laptops

DrXym Silver badge

I don't get the point of this

"Retina" displays have 4-6x the pixels of a normal display which fine and dandy but it means you need a GPU which has 4-6x horsepower and 4-6x the video ram just to display them at their native resolutions.

And for that you get a desktop with teeny tiny windows because the dimensions are effective halved in each direction. So you're forced to use bigger fonts to attempt to compensate and then you get screwed up layouts and other glitches. And forget running games at this resolution since most games would chug at far lower resolutions than that.

So I'm not altogether sure what the point is unless Sharp intend to stick some kind of grill aperture over the top and use it to show 3D. I suppose the extra resolution would compensate for the need to send half to each eye.

Strong ARM: The Acorn Archimedes is 25

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Amazing performance

I remember frequenting a small computer shop which had Atari and Amiga sections. One day they put the new Archimedes on display and my jaw hit the floor when I saw the lander demo. While Zarch eventually appeared on the Amiga & ST (and ZX Spectrum!), at the time it was just incredible to see the raw power on display.

Sadly for Acorn, the power was matched by absurd prices which instantly meant it stood no chance supplanting either the Amiga or ST. It cost over 2x the price of the integrated versions of each of these which meant nobody could afford it. Being Acorn they found sales in the educational sector but I can't help thinking they would have had a lot more success outside of that if the A3000 had been there from the beginning with it's ST520 / A500 style form factor and lower price.

Still I guess someone from Acorn had the last laugh given how ubiquitous ARM processors are these days.

Sony PlayStation 4 will not be download only

DrXym Silver badge

Here is a simple way to hasten digital downloads

Stop ripping off people who buy them. Digital downloads are supposedly piracy proof and second hand proof. Yet they cost MORE than discs through retail. Discs that have production, shipping, returns costs associated with them plus all the middle man costs retail less than a bunch of DRM protected bytes on a server.

I don't single out Sony with this since the same is true virtually regardless of the service. Go to Steam and see how much a new title costs. It retails for the RRP when the physical copy is discounted for 30% including free P&P. To add insult to injury the physical copy might be steam enabled anyway so you're not even suffering from disc based copy protection either.

It's a scam pure and simple and I think people recognize it too. If downloads were cheaper it would motivate people to use it more, which in turn would have knock on effects for ISPs to provide the broadband to do this. And perhaps then physical media could be done away with or at least consigned to some expansion peripheral.

Windows 8 release preview imminent

DrXym Silver badge

Re: hoo ray

I should proof read. Vertical = horizontal.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: hoo ray

"Nobody wanted to use a stupid Start Button either in 1995."

The main criticism of the start button was it said "start" which didn't make a whole lot of sense since the computer was already started. As a launcher though it proved very successful especially considering what it replaced in Windows 3.x.

The issue for Metro is that it doesn't provide any advantages over start at least for mouse / keyboard setups. Instead of a compact alphabetically sort list of programs you now have a contiguous smear of large tiles running several vertical screens sideways. It's a huge waste of space, requires a lot of mouse travel and mental effort to use and by flattening out groups it loses any sense of sorting.

MS could do a lot to improve the experience. First off would be to allow program groups. Most program groups contain 3 to 5 icons pointing at READMEs, help, uninstall etc. Just grouping stuff would save 3-5x the space in metro.

Second allow users to zoom in and out so that the tiles don't waste hideous amounts of space.

Third provide users with the means to multiple select tiles and ranges of tiles and sort them. Also provide a way to auto sort tiles.

Fourth, provide a metro launcher which provide some visual context of their desktop while they're doing this, e.g. the way GNOME's activities launcher does.

Fifth, put the Windows start icon back in so people can discover metro is there in the first place instead of expecting them to discover it by accident.

All of these things are simple and obvious ways to improve the experience. If they implement them they would improve the metro experience immeasurably over what is there. Whether it is "better" than the start menu would remain to be seen but at least it would make the experience tolerable.

DrXym Silver badge

Hope metro has got the work it needs

The consumer preview was a really shoddy experience for desktop use. I'm hoping the intervening time has been put to good use and look forward to seeing what has changed.

Online bookie can't scoop £50k losses made by 5-year-old

DrXym Silver badge

My Rabo account makes you use a hard token to perform any sort of transaction including buying or selling funds. You fill out the transaction detail, then log onto a hard token, stab in some server generated code and then type the resulting number back into the transaction form. Makes it pretty hard for anybody to do anything without possession of a lot of info.

That said, I have an online account with a US trading firm where once you're in you're in. I haven't tried borrowing on margin or whatever to see if extra security is invoked but for regular trade tickets your login is good enough to see it filled. That said, the site throws you out quite quickly from inactivity and has other session checks.

DrXym Silver badge

I wonder

If the trades had made him money if he'd taken the thing to court to refund it to Spreadex. I do feel some sympathy because kids can be devious destructive bastards but at the end of the day I don't see why it's someone else's fault if you let one of them near a computer running trading software.

Friends fooled by Facebook Timeline 'removal tool' scams

DrXym Silver badge

Re: I don't think you can blame Facebook

"Yes you can, and I do. The new look should have been opt in, not force fed. If they'd done that, there wouldn't be a problem."

The feature may have been unpopular but that doesn't mean their security or lack thereof is to blame with the subsequent trojan. If it hadn't used this as a ploy it would have used something else.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Facebook = New Microsoft

"Wow, that actually worked...."

Er no it doesn't work unless you missed the rather massive point that Facebook is a website. It cannot control what you do on your own machine or outside of the browser or even inside a browser if its not pointing at their website. Facebook may be able to mop up spam messages and assist users in cleaning up the mess, or failing that suspending accounts but they can only react after the fact.

This is in stark contrast to the situation with Microsoft where they made a number of very poor security decisions with Windows and software like MS Outlook, Internet Explorer which directly affected the operating system and everything running on top of it.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Facebook = New Microsoft

The problem here is that the Facebook user base is very large and contains a lot of computer illiterate people who have a poor concept of online security. It's not hard to see how somone could send out some trojan purporting to disable some unpopular feature and people would actually install it.

I don't think you can blame Facebook for this since it's largely out of their control. They can attempt to monitor and block infected users but they can't someone from installing software from a third party site through a browser on their computer.

Julian Assange extradition: What's next for WikiLeaker-in-chief?

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Bradley Manning

Crucifixion? Good, out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.

Apple's Ping has fatal pong, says CEO

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Re: Spotify

Not just Spotify but Netflix too. I find it annoying enough that Netflix tells other members of the family or visitors to the house what we're watching, let alone telling complete strangers. At least it's optional but the question is why is it there at all.

Fedora 17: Mm.. this stew of beefy source tastes just right

DrXym Silver badge

Re: No joy on VirtualBox

Hmm, now I discover it did install the kernel but didn't put it in the grub bootloader. But after updating the bootloader I get a bunch of errors about configuration issues. It's depressing when crap like this happens. I think I'll give up and reinstall.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: No joy on VirtualBox

I don't think it even installed the fc17 kernel at all. All grub shows are the fc16 ones. Probably explains why it won't finish its init.d properly.

DrXym Silver badge

No joy on VirtualBox

I have a FC16 image on VirtualBox and I went through the motions of installing the "preupgrade" app, running it, letting it go all the way through. Now I have a system which boots but shows "Fedora 16" in the console progress bar and then stops when it hits 100%. As if some .rpmnew is sitting around for me to discover that it didn't replace the boot sequence from FC16. Not a good first impression.

A laptop at home which I installed from the live CD worked a lot better.

Study: The more science you know, the less worried you are about climate

DrXym Silver badge

Re: In other news

You speak too much sense to be commenting here.

DrXym Silver badge

Re: This must be why

@pierre, Wikipedia provides this useful list of specific endorsements by leading scientific institutions:


That endorsement easily qualifies as scientific consensus, representing the informed opinion of the members of those institutions. Consensus does not mean every last scientist in the world, including the cranks concur with an opinion. Consense requires that the large majority do and that is clearly the case.

Of course if you consider it to be a "fraction", provide a list of institutions of equal scientific standing who dissent.

Now I don't know about you, but if 98 doctors said my son was dying and needed urgent treatment and 2 said to wait and see or denied the illness outright I'd sure as hell know who I'd believe. The question is why when the question is applied to climate change that people choose the other option.

DrXym Silver badge

This must be why

Every prominent climate agency and scientific academy is skeptical about global warming. Oh wait, none of them are. They all publicly endorse the notion of climate change and of it being man made.

What I want to know is why The Register is so firmly in the denialist camp. Is it just for trolling and the lulz or is someone paying them to do it.

DrXym Silver badge

There is reporting and then there is systematically cherry picking and spinning.

Why Zuck will go soft for Facebook Phone - and rebrand Android

DrXym Silver badge

Re: Lack of services

I think that is different since Google specifically sells GMail to businesses.

I'm referring to the likes of Bing, Yahoo, Amazon who might have the services that a Facebook phone needs to build out but are hardly going to be happy about playing second banana to Facebook. In the case of Bing, it's questionable if their interests are served by running on Android at all unless they hope to fragment the platform. And Amazon probably have their own aspirations to think of.

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