* Posts by Alex Gollner

51 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Jun 2008


It's here, the 4TB FLASH drive: SanDisk rips sheet from the Optimus MAX

Alex Gollner

The capacity is good news, but the read/write speeds aren't up to current Samsung SSDs in recent Apple MacBook Pros and Mac Pros.

On my MacBook the 1TB SSD read/write speeds are 870/940 MB/s. https://twitter.com/Alex4D/statuses/395711308156256256

Bangable poster firm Novalia makes printed 'leccy keyboard

Alex Gollner

[Delete this report on a small typo]How foldable are these keyboards...


printing ordianry labels


printing ordinary labels


...can they be rolled like window blinds?


Apple MacBook 13in with Retina display

Alex Gollner

Why Apple calls this a 'Pro' Mac

Their definition is based on how good the better build to order options are.

In this case the 1TB chaebol SSD option has been measured to read and write at over 1.1 gigabytes per second.

The HDMI connector can run 3840 by 2160 external screens at up to 30Hz. There's a chance that a HDMI 2.0 firmware upgrade (to 21.6 gigabits/sec - only a little more that Thunderbolt 2) will allow higher refresh rates or higher resolutions.

Using (currently mythical) Thunderbolt 2-based 4K displays, this MacBook will be able to run 3 4K screens alongside the internal displays.

Not most people's definition of 'Pro' but probably professional enough for some.


Our new 1.5TB lappie drive isn't thick, it's just the densest - HGST

Alex Gollner

People who want to store this much want faster drives

Silly that they're still punting 5400 rpm drives. Anyone who needs to store hours of video wants 7200 rpm.

There's not much point in storing HD video source files if the drive can't play it back fast enough to edit with.

US Congress excoriates Apple's tax-avoidance shenanigans

Alex Gollner

If Apple spent more in Washington, they'd be under less pressure

Apple doesn't fund political campaigns as much as its competitors.

Politicians have much less to lose by going after Apple compared with other large companies.

Publishing ANYTHING on .uk? From now, Big Library gets copies

Alex Gollner

UK-created websites in the non-.uk domain

Should UK people/organisations with non .uk domain addresses be allowed to submit their sites for archiving?

Gartner: RIP PCs - tablets will CRUSH you this year

Alex Gollner

In that case, the profit share top three...

...will be

1. Microsoft

2. Apple

3. Android sellers

If the margins of Windows, Apple kit and Android hardware stay the same.

New Zealand issues Hobbit money

Alex Gollner

Typographic inconsistency!

Pity that the n dashes used for the English text are designed to be used for lower-case text. The runes have properly positioned dashes.

O2 flogs logs of mobe locations to anyone with a wallet

Alex Gollner

What if these data recorded artistic expression?

If we defined all our activities as performance art, we could use copyright laws to prevent any copying of any aspect of our performance without our permission. That would include the places I choose to go, the places where I live and work, the products I buy...

The specific combination of items I've entered into every registration form and every database record would then be my copyright...

New MPEG format paves the way for UHDTV

Alex Gollner
Black Helicopters

2K is enough for Pixar

Brave, their newest pic, is being distributed for projectors set to a resolution of 2048x858 - projection.pixar.com/2D/

Anamorphic SD ~1024x576 at 100fps is the same amount of data per second as 2048 X 1152 at 25fps.

DVD encoding strategies settled on front-loading their bit budget on the first quarter of movies. Once the audience gets into the film, the data rate can go down (reminiscent of how the quality of VHS recordings becomes less noticeable as [if] you start caring about the characters).

Apple refutes 'Sony Jony' iPhone prototypes

Alex Gollner

Re: They are all the same

The 20+ Apple prototype designs at AllThingsD show how different phones with a large touch screen and a single button can look.

The fact that Apple considered so many designs might cause problems for Samsung. Some say that Samsung's phones look very similar the one design in 30 that Apple happened to use. The more Apple designs, the less this is likely to be a coincidence.

Steve Jobs was top of the flops, says Apple's Tim Cook

Alex Gollner

Re: Why do people care so much about the Foxconn rebranding thing?

That's why you should keep using the name as long as it irritates your readers enough to post complaints.

Weirdly it reminds me of a nickname from another site and another decade: The Great Satan of Haircuts...

HP elbows Apple off global PC throne

Alex Gollner
Thumb Up

Re: Le Sigh

Its new Register-ese for 'Jobs' Mob'

I've been using Macs for over 28 years, but still this makes me laugh when I read it. It reminds me how some people might see Apple - a company that adds unreasonable markups to hardware that all PC companies have Foxconn produce in China.

RegHacks will get bored of it after a while and there'll be another descriptor to be irritated by.

Apple pushes patents for 3D avatar authoring

Alex Gollner

The examples used in patent applications are designed to distract...

...to make sure that future plans remain hidden.

Applicants usually use examples of the idea in an unrelated area. This leads to 90% of those bothering to read the patent not understand the implications.

Sir Isaac Newton's life rendered as KML

Alex Gollner
Thumb Up

Get on your bike to unlock content!

It would be even better if it was very hard to see text and images locked to a given physical location, perhaps with encryption using public keys available from special wi-fi hotspots.

This could work for fiction as well as 'documentary' KML...

Google finally admits it wants to OWN YOU

Alex Gollner

The next value Google can deliver customers (the advertisers) is...

...WHY people are searching for what they are searching.

They want to tell advertisers that they can serve context-sensitive ads. There's little point in showing business-to-business messages for someone searching for a niece's birthday present. Also, once a present is chosen, that shouldn't reflect directly on the interests of the person buying.

If Google sees that we are viewing a Google+ circle of close friends and family when we search, they might proffer different results (and adverts) from when we are interacting with professional colleagues.

The question we 'products' have to answer is whether we will trade Google (and Facebook and Twitter) gaining a deeper understanding of who we are in return for only seeing advertising messages relevant to us.

BUSTED! Secret app on millions of phones logs key taps

Alex Gollner

Seemingly more limited version found built into iOS by Apple

Seems like mobile phone OS designers like elements of Carrier IQ - even Apple have included it: http://blog.chpwn.com/post/13572216737

UK nuclear: Walking into darkness with eyes screwed shut

Alex Gollner

Does anyone have a reference for how much power generation costs change if you include the decommissioning of the generation technology.

If the Romans had generated electricity using nuclear power here in the UK 1,900 years ago, would we still have to maintain secure sites for the resultant irradiated material, or would everything behave become safe hundreds of years ago?

I'm not being facetious. For all I know, it might be cheaper to run a secure facility for 100 years (if that's all you need) than the environmental costs of cleaning up after coal- or gas-powered stations. In the case of very expensive wind power generation, the decommissioning costs per KWH must be very low.

Windows XP and iPod: A tale of two birthdays

Alex Gollner

Microsoft hoist by own petard

They beat the rest with the concept of "good enough" - they were stuck with XP because it was exactly good enough for the definition of corporate computing in the last decade.

Apple are quite good at making each OS upgrade just about worth making vs. the disruption of old software failing. A lot easier to do with a much smaller market and with clearly defined definitions of which hardware can be upgraded.

Now Windows 8 goes into the ring to face Apple's iOS

Alex Gollner

Not much mention of tablets so far by MS at Build

Windows 8 seems to be for 'everything but tablets' for now.

2012: Windows 8 vs. OSX (an 'automatic win' for Microsoft if they persuade 15% of the installed base to upgrade)

Once there are enough Metro apps out there, MS will promote a Win8 for tablets that runs Metro apps only. So that'll probably be Easter 2013.

Good news for those that think that Apple needs a bit more competition.

Amazon's cloudy vid-tablet breaks cover: Not an iClone

Alex Gollner

I've used Apple products for many years

...I wish them success, but it would be good for everyone if they had better competition in the tablet market.

Go Amazon go!

If the new Kindles succeed, the iPad LC will have to be better than Apple planned...

Google Chromebook: Will the revolution be subscribed?

Alex Gollner

If people spend less time on corpulent presentations...

...that would be great, but we are dealing with the insecure business person, so how well would the Chromebook handle today's presentations?

As many people spend time working on presentations (instead of writing clear concise reports), technology will need to support such activities. As most users don't understand the concept of picture resolution, presentations are getting larger and larger. If a $100 camera regularly produces 4Mb JPEG files, those pictures will be embedded in 20-40Mb presentations. The technologists would have you believe that a 4Mb photo need only be stored in one place in the cloud, and the presentations that want to include it need only store a URL. However, if you wanted to take a presentation and present it at a conference in the sub-basement of a hotel in a busy foreign city (even in the western world), the venue-supplied internet connection is likely to be very flaky - rendering all the images in your presentation is as 'missing image' error messages.

The solution would be a compact (MacMini-sized?) server that would hold proxy copies of the presentation content while on site - browsable by presenters, conference crew and attendees. The same presentation URL would then resolve to a cloud version when people get back to the internet.

Knowing Google's funding model, the price for running a local Google Docs server could be 'carefully targeted' advertising appearing in your docs (downloaded when the server last had a reliable internet connection).

iPad 2 spawns updated iOS and apps

Alex Gollner
Jobs Halo

Specs designed for next year's grab for middle of market

Seems like Apple don't feel too much heat from competitors (although non-iOS fans will disagree).

These specs are designed to live on in the iPad 2 when the iPad 3 comes out next year. A whole new market will open up when Apple sell these new ones at £150 off the current prices from Easter next year.

FTC and DoJ toss-up on Apple subs plan 'probe'

Alex Gollner

What if Apple took on the same costs for subs as apps?

Maybe that big facility on the East Coast is to allow Apple to 'sweeten the pot' by allowing them to serve all the subscription content in the same way they serve the music.

Blu-ray barely better than DVD

Alex Gollner

Now if they hid the nature of the screens...

and told testers that they were comparing LCDs with an amazing new technology, they should compare DVDs playing on a 32" 1080p flatscreen TV vs. a 32" CRT. Then compare the same two when watching broadcast TV.

Although I have HD cameras, computer monitors, editing software (on which I've edited 4K Red footage), I'm not convinced by LCD and plasma screens. My 14 year old SD CRT looks better than the majority of TVs on sale today.

The clue is that showrooms still don't demo their TVs using HD broadcasts, but Blu-rays. The don't even use commercial discs, but high-bandwidth demo discs of BBC HD footage of animal migrations. That's because broadcast TV use a lot less bandwidth than DVD per channel. Just wait until a TV show or film uses a slow fade to black - see MPEG megablocks fill the screen and flick off in random combinations.

Given that the masters for SD broadcasts have high bit-rates, it makes more sense to have SD channels with higher bandwidths, so we get more of the bits stored in the masters. Once ghosting and refresh rates are sorted on LCD screens, we might as well go with 2048 by 1152 pixel displays - exactly double the effective PAL widescreen resolution.

It's a matter of holding out until bandwidth is no longer an issue.

Until then I'll only buy a Blu-ray player if it has a connection to my SD CRT TV and it costs £50.

Tablet vendors 'quake in fear' over iPad 2

Alex Gollner

The reason why there was no front-facing camera this year

...is that the spec was designed to be maintained on the new price for the iPad 1 when the next version comes out.

For the first few generations of Apple products, the previous generation remains on sale, just cheaper, sometimes with more memory.

That means the new model will probably not be cheaper, but will have a few more functions and be a little lighter. For long-term but not so rabid Apple fans, that will be the signal to buy.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet

Alex Gollner
Thumb Down

Shelves can look different from these

Odd how eBooks usually sit on light-coloured pine shelves. Bookshelves can be made of many different materials. Apple and Samsung didn't add much value in this respect.

Virgin demands ISPs end broadband speed 'con'

Alex Gollner

Fair charging

How about detecting the various speeds we get over a month and charging us based on that? If an ISP was brave enough to do that, they might get a lot of people signing up.

It would also be fairer to those people further from the exchange who get slower connections.

Samsung plans to smash Android rivals..what about the iPad?

Alex Gollner

Samsung will be next No. 1 phonemaker

With Apple staying at number 2 with less share, but making more money. Every few years the company at number 1 will change, while Apple sticks to its model.

Reminds me of John Sculley's policy of undermining Coke's few form-factor policy with huge variations in Pepsi product variations.

Jobs is snobby enough to be happy with No. 2, as long as the 'right' 45% of the market buy his products. Thatcher got a long way on less than 40% of the vote.

Apple Store iPhone app promises buyer's remorse

Alex Gollner
Jobs Halo

Hint of Apple's first vertical market product? The whole Apple Store ecosystem

Imagine if Apple wanted to operate an Apple Store clone for another market. This app would be another element they'd sell to a multinational corporation. Now they've solved maintaining credit card relationships with 100 million people - selling digital products, now hardware too - that might be valuable to others.

Stephen Fry's truly terrible mistake

Alex Gollner
Thumb Down

Fry used as excuse to get on hobby-horse.

Media uses Stephen Fry to promote position on DAB - Andrew used his name in the headline. Don't think that made his argument more interesting and relevant.

Blighty surrenders to Street View

Alex Gollner

Some slightly off-road bits online too

If you visit Urquhart Castle up on Loch Ness in person, you can't drive up to the gate, yet some sort of Googlemobile has gone up a path off the road:


BBC confirms death of 6Music, slashes online budget by a quarter

Alex Gollner

6Music sacrificed for political reasons

You state 'The BBC plans to axe its popular 6Music digital radio channel by the end of 2011 as part of a pledge made by the Corporation's director-general to cut costs at the Beeb', yet their level of investment in digital radio is to stay the same.

More accurately: 'The BBC plans to axe its popular 6Music digital radio channel by the end of 2011 to placate commercial radio interests who find it hard to compete for a valuable target market - 50 quid man' 6Music already provides better value for money per listening hour than other BBC stations, but if the Beeb invest more in that station, they'll be in trouble for stifling commercial radio.

I think the Trust should spend the next year monitoring 6Music's competitors to see how likely the market will step in and serve this distinctive audience.

Apple trawling networks for tablet subsidies?

Alex Gollner
Jobs Halo

Already paying monthly for iPhone?

It may be that Apple won't impose another data contract on users, there may be an option to do without. This could be done in two ways: use tethered iPhone data, or using the iPhone to download and upload content for the tablet.

You could show emails/websites/apps/content on iPhone, flick the phone to 'throw' info to the tablet and use it offline. If you make any changes you want to upload to the net, drag back to iPhone to send from there.

Twitter tests Tweet nests

Alex Gollner

Social map search + context lists

The first side effect of lists will be that people who follow a couple of hundred others can now follow many more - knowing that these 'check out their updates every once in a while' follows can be relegated to a list that doesn't clutter up the main feed. This will mean well-followed people/organisations will become even-more-followed people/organisations.

I'd also suggest that Twitter set up some default personal lists for each Twitter user that would define which sorts of updates they'd like to receive - what context they're in:

0. Family

1. Friends

2. Acquaintances/Facebook friends

3. Close colleagues

4. Co-workers/Superiors/Subordinates

5. Industry contacts

6. Work-related pundits

7. Entertainment/Pastime-based commenters and pundits

More thoughts on this at http://alex4d.wordpress.com

Apple iTablet snaps emerge

Alex Gollner
Jobs Halo

The key is the stand

The key to tablets is that they sometimes will be used by more than one person at a time - that means the stand it comes with will be important. You need a simple way to hold the device at 45º while being strong enough for two people to be prodding the screen without falling over.


T-Mobile UK starts shifting iPhones on the quiet

Alex Gollner

UK iPhone TV ad hint

Since July 17th at least, UK iPhone ads don't show 'O2' in the menu bar of the iPhone.

Maybe these ads are designed to be shown after the exclusivity deal runs out.


iPhone 3.0 gossip lassos MMS, tethering, cut-and-paste...

Alex Gollner

Phone users

There are three groups of phone users:

1. Fans of a specific manufacturer

2. People who value features over UI

3. People who enjoy phones without knowing about possible phone features or the traditional phone market

Stuart Van Onselen, I can understand the frustration how you might think most iPhone users are from group 1. They'll buy anything Apple produces, despite flaws you see as self-evident.

People in group 2 will find the iPhone frustrating.

The question is, is the number of people in group 3 larger than the other two put together?

Although the vast majority of people of people in the West own mobile phones, it might be that the majority turn out to be in group 3. If so, the future belongs to the Palm Pre and the Apple iPhone (and whoever can make Android slick enough to appeal to group 3).

Apple limits the iPhone so that if features cannot be implemented in a satisfying way, they will not appear on the phone - however useful they are on other phones.

I would be surprised if current iPhones will suddenly run many apps at a time under iPhone OS 3. The millions of phones out there still have the same CPU. Maybe you'll be able to choose which few apps can run - with control of how much resources an app can get.

iPhone OS 3.0 - bring on the soup - it's about time it returned.

Boffins to unveil gesture-controlled 3D TV

Alex Gollner

How does it know where your eyes are?

The viewer's hand is one point the TV needs to follow. To simulate direct manipulation, you need to simulate parallax be knowing where the viewers eyes are.

On the other hand gesture controlled vision means that images can be presented anywhere - walls, ceilings, curtains.

<moderate this>

I wrote about this back in October:


</moderate this>


HMRC bigs up success of online tax returns

Alex Gollner
Thumb Up

Better than previous years

I did mine on Thursday - my 4th year of doing it online. The new design this year was a bit of a shock, but once I got the hang of it, I thought it was even better than before.

I might even do 2008-09 this year instead of next!

Palm Pré WebOS: the UI in action

Alex Gollner

Cool, time for some competition

I've been using Macs for over 24 years, waited for version 2 of the iPhone. However it's great that there's someone who has come up with a phone that can teach Apple a few lessons.

The only thing Apple fanbois can't stand about people promoting the competition is when it is no way as good as what Apple does. That's why the Pre is good news for making Apple products better (as Windows XP was to a lesser extent).

The battle between Pre and iPhone is more reminiscent of that between DTP apps. It's as if Adobe InDesign 1 arrived six months after Quark XPress 3. Imagine how much better XPress 4 would have been, and how much better Quark would have treated its customers if Adobe had launched 7 years earlier than it did.


Apple should start taking enterprise servers seriously

Alex Gollner
IT Angle

Enterprise computing - waste of time

I thought Apple were waiting for some third party to come up with a killer workgroup app for Xserves. They would then sell the solution AS/400-style. Then competition would create more third-party expertise who would sell at the department level to corporates.

It would have been OK if someone else had done the work, but no-one did.

Apple doesn't care about that market, firstly because they can't supply it well. Secondly, if Apple wants to continue making the world a better place (I think that is their motivation), wasting time trying to get on the good side of a load of enterprise IT departments is a waste of their expertise.

Microsoft and Apple: 25 years of couples therapy

Alex Gollner
IT Angle

Microsoft BASIC vs. Apple BASIC

I have vague memories from 1985 of Microsoft requiring that Apple drop their BASIC programming environment for the Mac. MS were planning their version of BASIC but never got around to releasing it. I remember a alpha version of Apple's BASIC... anyone else?

Music labels in talks with Hulu

Alex Gollner

Hulu can serve outside the US

For a while they made 'Dr. Horrible's Musical Blog" available worldwide, because they had permission from the copyright owner, J. Whedon.

Motor quango thumbsup for satnav speed restrictions

Alex Gollner
Thumb Up

If we all keep to the limits, we get a lolly

How about increased speed limits on the motorway if the number of people going over 70mph reduces by more than 80%.

Anyway, it only takes a third of motorists (with high insurance premiums, reasonable egos, those with a point left on their licenses) to have these governors to keep everyone else in check.

Maybe we need to get organised and not need to speed, and get our thrills elsewhere...

Iowa: How the vote was won

Alex Gollner
Thumb Up

Thanks for this article

I know we're supposed to be a cynical old bunch of readers, but I want to commend the writer for an exciting story about an aspect of the election I knew nothing about.

Government tied in knots by bondage protest

Alex Gollner

Access to the database of kinks

As a freelancer, I'd like the opportunity to check the kink database to see if any prospective employers are into the same stuff as me. We could use the 'child protection' database as a mechanism for 21st century dating.

...about that secretary fetish...

Sony intros dual-drive HDD, SDD 18in hi-def notebook

Alex Gollner

Won't look so cool with stuff plugged into it

Imagine the desktop with USB, iLink and other cables plugged in. The connections panels should be swing-able around the back.

Secret of invisibility unravelled by US researchers

Alex Gollner

Most handy for blind soldiers...

...as no light can enter the 'cloak' to those rendered invisible. The blind will be the best invisible assassins (unless they're played by Ben Affleck in the movie).

(Paris, because she's already got an invisible coat)

An iPhone with a keyboard?

Alex Gollner
Jobs Halo

Significant minorities

Once there are 15-20 million iPhones out there without keyboards, Apple will be happy to launch one with a keyboard. Steve doesn't mind a significant minority using the 'unapproved' option (multi-button mice for Macs, physical keyboards for iPhones) as long as they don't make up a significant majority.

He doesn't want developers assuming that their entire audience will be using a physical keyboard with iPhone software. Hence the delay.

They might not even approve physical keyboards to be branded as iPhone compatible until enough keyboardless iPhones have been sold.