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* Posts by ThomH

2504 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Apple to give away iPhone tracking tech

ThomH
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Nope, sorry

The simulator can't download applications.

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Why Microsoft is Acorn and Symbian is the new CP/M

ThomH
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I know people that want an Android phone

I mean normal, non-technical people. Reasons tend to be that they're cheap, have a pretty good browser and can run Angry Birds.

The article doesn't seem to discuss the way that this market differs from that of the 80s: the increasing delivery of functionality through browsers. If you bought an MSX then you were in an entirely different ecosystem to someone with a Commodore 64. But if you buy an Android phone then you're probably going to use it to interact with 80% of the same material as someone with an iPhone. Ditto a bada, webOS or Windows 7 phone.

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Top Ten Arcade Classics

ThomH
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Nobody else for Puzzle Bobble?

No, nobody? Bubble Bobble then?

Fine, I'll line up in the 'Robotron was robbed' line.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet

ThomH
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Both copied Delicious Library

Or possibly a real bookshelf.

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Steve Jobs no longer Eggman as Beatles hits iTunes

ThomH
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And they don't even have to try

In this case all they did was replace the front page on their website for 24 hours. That's what really galls.

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ThomH
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A good day to bury indifferent news

A future royal wedding, a photographer off the public service payroll, The Beatles on iTunes. I know the phrase usually implies that there's some big news to mask the other stuff, but today I think the whole edifice is self burying — if there was one thing happening that it was difficult to care about rather than three then I'd probably at least try to consider it objectively. As it is, I think I'll just stick with the usual thoughts about things that are actually relevant to me.

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Apple readies iTunes for Beatles juice, says report

ThomH
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Similarly relevant possible announcements

Apple to buy a newspaper! And to set up a phone number you can call to get cinema listings! They're putting a 6502 coprocessor in every Mac! They're adding Snake as a built-in app to the iPhone! iWork is finally going to be able to open WordStar documents, with most formatting correct!

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World's most advanced rootkit penetrates 64-bit Windows

ThomH
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You fell for semantics

All Jobs has ever said is that Macs don't have any viruses since OS X. And he hasn't said that in a while. It's the people with vested interests who have extrapolated this to argue that the OS has no security holes.

Apple last released a security update on the 12th, admitting to the need for 100+ security patches. That was the seventh security update this year.

Generally the argument tends to be one side claiming the OS is uncrackable, the other arguing that it's just that nobody can be bothered cracking it. The reality is probably in between. See the fantastic run of 64bit Windows for evidence that mere market share does not determine the number of successful attacks, see the existence of a few bits of known Mac malware, all of them based on social engineering, for evidence that the OS at least isn't a Windows 95 knockover.

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Dixons drops exclusive Toshiba Android tablet

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@Geoff Campbell

That's really odd. Though maybe Dixons are like the phone shop you attempted, and have come to the conclusion that they need to drop the price because sales are lower than expected — never mind that it's only because every time someone tries to buy one some sales idiot obstructs them. Which obviously isn't the case on Amazon.

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ThomH
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This is the real reason for Internet shopping?

At least for electricals. It's absurd that someone can walk into a phone shop and ask for a product that is available subsidised on mobile phone networks, then be unable to obtain that product rather than a similar one they don't want that isn't available subsidised.

Still, the £999.99 possibly saved you an error?

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Apple, Oracle air-kiss their way to OpenJDK deal for Mac OS X

ThomH
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So the rule is...

... if you can download it from the Apple App Store, you can definitely run it. I don't see how that's a bad thing. In fact, I think it's probably the only rational way to run a consumer facing store.

This story clearly states: "Now it turns out Java developers are invited to the Mac Apps Store party, after all." and mentions that Java will remain in OS X for the next few years. Lots of time for someone to create a packager that bundles a JVM with an app.

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ThomH
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@Trevor Pott

Your argument doesn't support your conclusion. One company — Oracle — now controls the progress and ongoing availability of Java across Windows, OS X and Linux.

The only flaw in Apple's transition from supplying Java as part of the OS to the Oracle version being supplied has been a few weeks of uncertainty. Conversely, Microsoft's (with Sun) involved a protracted court battle and a pitched war for hearts and minds.

Supposing you don't trust Oracle, all non-Oracle Java implementations share the distinction of originating from the UNIX-associated world. Of Windows, OS X and Linux, only one is notably not even attempting to be a UNIX. Conversely, only OS X is a fully certified UNIX.

Since you don't claim any unique feelings about any of the big commercial companies, we can rule out any distinction in your judgment between how Microsoft and Apple will act in the future.

Therefore, the conclusion that you need to warn your customers off Apple only is untenable if the rest of your arguments are taken at face value.

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ThomH
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Probably shows either...

... that OS X is now sufficiently established that Apple are confident that Java will be delivered without them having to do it themselves, or that OS X is now sufficiently minor in their product line up that they're not that bothered if entrusting someone else to deliver Java backfires. Or, I guess, that the c.2000 guess that Java was going to be big on the desktop as soon as it was done well enough didn't pan out.

In any case, I think perhaps you've misunderstood the motivation of many of the posters, here on the Internet. They made up their mind about companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft long ago and the actual content of the stories doesn't really have a bearing on what they post.

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Fanbois howl as OS X update bricks PGPed Macs

ThomH
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Except that seeing the Geniuses is free

And, where possible, the fixes they perform are free. They're one of the reasons that Apple always tops customer service satisfaction polls.

Not sure how likely they are to play the "it's third party software, you deal with it" card though.

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'Superb' Apple 1 on the block for £100k-£150K

ThomH
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My understanding is that...

... ENIAC was Turing complete, whereas Collosus wasn't. Though that would make it "the world's first Turing complete electronic computer", both electronic and Turing complete having already been done elsewhere.

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Android bugs let attackers install malware without warning

ThomH
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@Alternatives

Expecting to incur the wrath of the rabid gang, I think an issue may be that Apple, Microsoft and Palm all have tight control over software updates in the sense that they can publish an update and be confident it'll be available to all users almost immediately. Google are in the unfortunate position that they don't control software updates further down the channel. So the position is, for many Android phones, that the source code is available allowing people an extra means to find one or more of the many faults that are all but unavoidable in a project of that size, but that pushing fixes is extraordinarily difficult. Look at the number of handsets for which manufacturers have so far failed to supply 2.2. Even high profile devices like the Galaxy S have yet to receive it (next week, apparently), though it hit the Nexus One in June.

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iPhones go on gobbling mobile sales

ThomH
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Being extremely generous,

I've decided that the author just thinks that, being a report about physical products sold, manufacturers are more interesting than software stacks.

What effect Android is having on smartphones versus feature phones would be interesting. Forget the high end stuff where Android also plays and iOS plays exclusively, to what extent has Android put smartphones into the same price categories and so into the hands of the same consumers as feature phones?

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iPhone 4: the best built smartphone...

ThomH
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@Tony Chandler

Shush! You're ruining their straw men.

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Amazon awards self slimmer slice of newspaper pie

ThomH
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Yes, you can

But if you're not willing to accept remote content kill switches then you'd also better avoid Android and iOS phones.

In the 1984 case, Amazon had supplied content they didn't have a licence to supply — a free edition had been uploaded in a country where it is out of copyright (Australia, I think?) and then offered for download in a country where it remains in copyright (the US). That's unlikely to occur with newspaper content.

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The forgotten, fat generation of Mac Portables

ThomH
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And in real space, too

NASA sent a Mac Portable into space for one of their missions - check YouTube for the video evidence. Since it has a mechanical eject floppy mechanism like all Macs of the era, they seem to be having some fun with it in zero gravity.

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iPhone glitch gets US fanbois up on wrong side of bed

ThomH
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It's strongly implied in this case...

... that the periodic alarm sounds at 24 hour intervals irrespective of the length of the day in between or whether the time it is now sounding at matches the time it represents itself as sounding at. So I'd imagine that setting the clock within the double hour or missing hour wouldn't be that interesting.

Still though, this is really basic stuff. I don't see how it can be portrayed as anything other than extremely embarrassing for Apple.

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Apple’s iPad lead will face pressure from Google and Nokia

ThomH
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Don't worry, they paid for them

"iPad’s honeymoon will be shorter than iPhone’s."

The current exchange rate is one buzzword for two definite articles. By sticking with the amateurish prose of an American blogger elsewhere, lots of extra buzzwords became within budget.

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iTunes App Store sprouts 'Hall of Fame'

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It would be interesting to know...

... whether Angry Birds produces more average revenue per user on Android (where it's free but includes adverts, albeit very unobtrusively) or iOS (59p, no adverts).

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Apple signs Xserve death warrant

ThomH
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On reflection

Since relevance correlates with newsworthiness, I think there's good evidence to raise a presumption that Apple are relevant on the desktop.

It'd be extraordinarily difficult to argue that they're relevant in the server space. Given the number of iPod socks they've sold, they're probably more relevant in clothing.

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Clive Sinclair unveils 'X-1' battery pedalo bubble-bike

ThomH
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A high chance of theft?

It looks like it'd be impossible to chain to anything or otherwise lock up. Draw your own conclusions as to the effect its looks may have on people wanting to steal it.

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Android wins devs' hearts and minds

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Planned for though, surely?

Apple can't have thought they'd be ahead forever, given that their sales are up 95% year-on-year, they're unable to meet demand and they're still less than 4% of the total mobile phone market. Is it possible that the iPhone is here to stay but more like the Mac (ie, a highly profitable niche) rather than an iPod (ie, the dominant player)? Or maybe Apple are just focussed purely on new products from now on? Launch the iPhone, dominate the market for four years, launch the iPad, hopefully dominate that market for a few more years, etc?

Android has done incredibly well, especially given the logistics involved, and Google should be applauded. The OS may not be as open as some people would like (in the sense of being able to contribute to it, being able to put it on any device with all the Google apps and the marketplace) but it's easy to fork if Google ever become an actual problem.

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Toshiba ships Folio Android tablet

ThomH
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"less functional"

Should be "less featured", surely? You seem to be conflating how many ports a device has with how well it can do things. Forget the operating systems and the hardware vendors, the latter is primarily defined by available application software.

What? It was for comical effect? What?

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Zuckerberg: the iPad 'is not mobile'

ThomH
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The theory is...

... that a native app better fits the native user interface paradigms (eg, most iOS apps are navigated as a sort of branching decision tree, whereas web pages tend to have a much more vague hierarchy), and can make better use of local resources. Of course, the point is largely moot if the initial thing was a web page that already fits quite well on the screen.

Quite often they're just a bad idea though. For the worst of both worlds see the Ars Technica app that just launched (http://itunes.apple.com/app/ars-technica/id393859050?mt=8 — and don't worry, Apple don't springboard you straight into loading iTunes with links like that any more). It's basically an HTML viewer that justifies itself on its offline reading capabilities. However, it attempts to ape normal iPad controls in HTML (for portability to other future tablets) and gets most of them quite wrong while also performing very poorly. So the app is a lot worse than the web experience, giving it a 1.5 star average at present on the US store.

Deciding they need an app, doing it in HTML and making it a much poorer user experience than just using the device's web browser has to be the epitome of poor app strategy.

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Flash video comes to iPhone, iPad (kinda)

ThomH
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@petur, don't believe the hype

Firstly, Apple doesn't violate anything. It has been granted the licence to distribute VLC in exactly the manner it does. The question is whether the VLC developer who granted Apple that licence violated the GPL by doing so. Apple explicitly aren't implicated.

Secondly, there isn't agreement amongst the other VLC developers that distributing VLC via the app store is contrary to the licence. See http://mailman.videolan.org/pipermail/vlc-devel/2010-November/077457.html — "tl;dr version: lawyers are boring, FSF is FUDing, AppStore terms have changed, answer is not simple."

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ThomH
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The counter argument would be

That rather than allow Adobe to hold the title, Apple have decided they'll be technology gatekeepers instead. In terms of attempted control I don't see either as better than the other — the real story being that the whole market is benefitting from the clash of the gatekeepers.

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Mac market share slips worldwide

ThomH
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Oh, go on then, I'll bite

More likely to be on Jobs' mind: iPhone sales are up 95% year on year. If he worries about them at all, then probably the observation that the lion's share of Android growth is at the expense of RIM and Symbian makes him feel better.

Or, given that it's a business, if we expand to look at all mobile phones rather than just smartphones (putting all of the iPhone, Android, etc in a tiny minority position), then Apple's ability to wring a 39% of all industry profits from just 2.8% market share probably makes him able to sleep at night.

Further entries at the wafer-think profit end of the market are unlikely to worry him, as are your invented or misunderstood statistics. Per the NPD press release used by this story (http://www.npd.com/press/releases/press_101101.html): "Apple iOS held relatively steady versus last quarter, rising one percentage point to 23 percent;". That's up 1% from 22% share last year. They most recently commented on the Mac in May as far as I can make out, reporting that Mac sales were up 39% year on year for January and February (secondary source only, sorry: http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/15/npd-mac-sales-up-39-percent-in-january-and-febuary-as-ipod-sale/).

So, the headline is: in the real world, more than one technology-deliminated group can do well at the same time. Who'd have thought it?

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Apple shrinks Mac Mini price

ThomH
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I think this one's only from June

Well, Wikipedia thinks that anyway. Which would make a refresh unlikely, and in any case Apple seem to be sticking with basically these specs for their physically tiny machines across the board. The choice of CPU is all to do with space, heat and Intel's bundling of CPUs and GPUs if you believe Ars, but I don't suspect that's much consolation.

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ThomH
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They seem to have had a price cut too

The Dell Zino now starts at £329, including VAT. Then the next model up is £429, which gets you an extra gigabyte of memory and a 20" monitor.

Without knowing Apple's motivation for the small price reduction, I don't think you could argue that it puts them within the realm of low cost computing.

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First official HTML5 tests topped by...Microsoft

ThomH
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The ribbon, of course

I suspect they'll never give up that one.

Me? I'm most impressed that IE9 is, per the tests, more conformant to the canvas spec that Safari.

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Microsoft holds Androids hostage in open source wars

ThomH
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@AC, Renalto

Your points would appear to be contradicted by Apple's ongoing employment of Chris Lattner to construct Clang and LLVM — a new compiler system designed to replace GCC on the basis that it's now an extremely convoluted and difficult codebase. Or, rather, LLVM was a research project designed to work as a back-end to GCC that was open source already and came with Chris Lattner when he gained employment at Apple. During his time at Apple, manifold issues with the GCC front end have led to the development and open source release of Clang, a purely Apple-originated codebase that they have voluntarily released as open source software and which is likely to cross pollinate to other platforms and targets. And this is all since the launch of the iPhone.

You can easily argue that Apple are an overall negative force without having to deny them any positive effect on anything.

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ThomH
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Except that Apple aren't a fully closed shop

See WebKit, which is there's originally and to which they are still a major contributor. If you want, see it embedded in the default browser on your Android phone. Or on the desktop in the Google Chrome browser.

If you don't like that, maybe Apple's contributions to GCC are more to your liking? Actually that's a bit fusty, but they're pretty much bankrolling Clang on their own and making substantial contributions to LLVM. Their desktop kernel is also open source, though nobody much uses it. And they drafted the OpenCL specification before submitting it and handing full control to Kronos.

Per their own site, 200+ open source projects ship with OS X, but I'm completely unable to tell you which others, if any, they've contributed to.

You'd be hard pressed to argue they're more open than closed or even close to parity, but I'd dispute 'fully' (especially when written in all caps).

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ThomH
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The most sense I've been able to make of it

To iPhone and iPad owners (and, now, I think iPod Touch owners), all new releases of iOS are free. This contrasts with the desktop where new OS releases often cost money. The argument is that Apple are first to promote the idea that people can expect their phone OS to be updated several times in its lifetime, with each update provided to everyone from a widely available source for free. This also contrasts with the previous model for phones where you didn't expect updates, which is also what many of the Android licensees seem to be trying to promote as the ongoing model for their handsets — you get the OS it comes with, and that's your fill.

From Microsoft's point of view, that means that they can't expect the emerging category of smartphones and tablets to provide the same sort of revenue stream as they get from PCs. They have to cut off all retail sales.

Now, I've no idea if that's a significant proportion or if I've even fully understood the thrust of the article.

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Google Nexus Two 'lands November 8'

ThomH
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@AC

That's not a build quality issue, that's a design issue... the actual materials, durability, construction, etc are quite nice.

Mind you, so is the Samsung Wave. I've never been sold on the Nexus One; though perhaps supplying it with that little pocket has falsely pushed the idea that it'll scratch easily into my mind.

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HTML5 web video flashes past Flash

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@Daniel 1

All currently shipping Android phones can play H.264 <video> content but not Flash out of the box. Flash is a downloadable app, but officially only for Android 2.2 which didn't ship until May and has yet to make it to a lot of the handsets that pre-existed it and may never do so.

There is therefore a sizeable chunk of people who I think you would be unwilling to make a money/sense judgment about with a decent phone that will consume only H.264 <video> content despite having had nothing to do with Apple.

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ThomH
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Sites that will vend in HTML5 H.264 video to mobile devices

At least: YouTube, DailyMotion, BBC iPlayer. Definite absentees: 4OD, BBC News.

That's just from personal experience.

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Notorious Koobface worm ported to Mac OS X

ThomH
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I think they mean

The current implementation of the malware in its OS X incarnation is flawed.

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Prosecutors prep decision on BT-Phorm case

ThomH
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Could be a strict liability crime

Most crimes require the perpetrator to have the intent* to perform the crime and to perform the criminal act, both at the same time. But a small number of crimes are 'strict liability', which allow conviction just by showing that the person did the thing. For public policy reasons, road traffic offences tend to be the latter.

Road stuff tends to be treated differently across the law. For tort purposes, a learner driver owes exactly the same duty of care towards other road users as a fully qualified driver, for example.

* with stuff like recklessness and negligence being permissible as 'intent' in many cases.

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Ms. Gates: 'Bill does not use a Mac'

ThomH
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You're completely right

The amount of good they've already done far outweighs all the bad, even taking the case against them at its strongest. The programmes they've heavily contributed to funding have saved lives; as far as I'm aware the Microsoft business practices have never cost any.

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ThomH
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At present...

... the scroll wheel is on the iPod Classic, the only remaining non-touchscreen iPod. I suggest you reconsider how well you understand the extraordinarily simple concept of progress. Your argument is as valid as "if the audio tape is so much more portable than the vinyl record then where is it now?", "if Netscape was so much better than Mosaic then where is it now?", "if 405-line television is so much better than 30-line television then were is it now?", etc.

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ThomH
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Like the scroll wheel?

Apple's idea of style: being able to navigate lists quickly and easily. The contemporaneous competitors: having to press a discrete button once for each list item, to navigate gigabytes of music. Even up to and including the original Zune, which has discrete push buttons but designed to look a bit like a scroll wheel to the unwary. Which definitely isn't style over substance, honest.

I don't really see how Apple can come off worse in a Microsoft versus Apple debate. Even the least generous commentator would surely say they're as bad as each other?

Ms Gates should have just feigned ignorance or made some sort of comment that the issue had never really come up. She should be arguing that Apple are completely irrelevant in order to convey the necessary confidence.

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ThomH
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She did tell Ballmer

He immediately set his best writers to work. You don't think you can come up with "(laughs) it costs how much? And it doesn't have a keyboard, so it doesn't appeal to business users." just off the cuff, do you? They were in a room for over two years trying to decide what number of times to say 'developers' to achieve maximum impact.

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Gosling blows lid off Jobs Java nonsense

ThomH
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@Adam T

That gets an upvote from me. I'm more than happy to condemn them for things they have actually done or are actually doing. But it's difficult to talk about that stuff when the rabid mob prefer to level any old charge they care to invent and then upvote it about 30 times.

Of course you're absolutely right; I was imagining that someone might put a packager together that builds a JVM other than Apple's own and places it into an application bundle with the Java program you actually want to distribute, or alternatively compiles your Java program to native code. So your only OS dependencies are Cocoa, giving you no trouble from the Apple police under the current licence per my understanding.

That is, hypothetically, if somebody were to put such a packager or compiler together (there's a Java to native compiler in the GCC chain but I'd be surprised if library support wasn't an issue) and Apple are to keep the licence consistent in this area (which they probably will, having had to about face on the iPhone language restrictions).

I'm not saying it's not a kick in the teeth for Java developers, especially as Java was a first class citizen when OS X launched.

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ThomH
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@Sandtitz

That's not technically true; Apple have said they won't accept software that makes use of deprecated OS components for the pending Mac App Store. Apple's Java is now a deprecated component. However, in the hypothetical situation that somebody else supplies a JVM packager, you could release a suitably packaged Java app. Apple's concern (officially) is that software on the store should be able to run even if they revoke the deprecated components.

I guess it's comparable, so see how use of the Flash packager and the equivalent array of Appcelerator, Unity and emulation-based tools are now explicitly allowed on the iPhone.

I think I basically agree with you; my feeling is that Apple's power play is the store. That's the thing to be angry about and that's the thing on which to base anti-Apple sentiment.

The Java deprecation is just their usual lust for throwing out parts they don't consider useful, as with the Java bindings about half a decade ago and Carbon more recently. Possibly the most interesting thing to come out of the comments, and especially the up/down votes, is how blinkered people are that they're seemingly intellectually incapable of grasping how the Java situation differs from the situation with Mono (unrelated) or even the unbundling of the Flash runtime (vaguely related, but not really).

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ThomH
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Actually I would be quite surprised

If Apple made Mono a standard component of the OS, taking over all responsibility for its ongoing development, then cancelled their version. Did you actually read the article? Apple hasn't banned Java from OS X, it's said it will no longer maintain its JVM and made no comment as to whether it'll release the source. There's now a substantial risk that nobody else will bother, which is why this is as newsworthy as it is.

Really nothing to do with the way Mono works at all then. And it's very difficult to see how this could happen with any other technology in the future, since there are no other obvious candidates.

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Apple threatens Java with death on the Mac

ThomH
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Restrictions on languages?

It would be odd to put restrictions on languages on the Mac App Store (for which the licence is not yet available, so you're speculating) given that there are none on the iPhone App Store. If your view of a company is formed by memorising all the stories that say things you don't like and ignoring the ones that say things you do like, it's not surprising you end up with a poor opinion of the company.

To me, factual grounds of complaint would seem to revolve primarily around the approval process and the cost of entry. Stating things that aren't true makes an extraordinarily unconvincing argument.

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