* Posts by WT

18 publicly visible posts • joined 2 May 2007

ISO rejects Office Open XML appeal (redux)


There is a very simple work around

Ultimately standard compliance is only a means to an end. The end most organisations are looking for when they ask for standard compliance is the avoidance of vendor lock-in. Thus far those organisations simply *assumed* and trusted that standard compliance was adequate to avoid vendor lock-in.

At this point, it would seem that with OOXML becoming an ISO standard, the underlying assumption that standard compliance alone is adequate to avoid vendor lock-in will no longer hold true. If so, then organisations whose goal it is to avoid vendor lock-in will very likely adjust their procurement rules and update the requirements accordingly.

A very simple workaround would be something like this:

"Any software to be procured must conform to the applicable ISO standard. In the event that there are multiple applicable ISO standards, any software to be procured must conform to at least one applicable ISO standard for which conforming applications from multiple competing vendors are available."

After all, that has been the true objective all along, not buzzword compliance. If the buzzword doesn't meet the objective any longer, simply write the objective plain and clear into your requirements, very simple.

iPhone 3G isn't necessarily


here is how to enable multiple international keyboards ...

"If the keyboard isn't set up for the language, it appears I can forget about accents."

Open the settings app, tap on "General", scroll down to where it says "Keyboard", tap on that, then tap on "International Keyboards", then select whichever keyboards you will want to use. You can activate multiple keyboards there.

If you have multiple international keyboards activated, then the keyboard will display a button with a globe icon, tap that button to select the keyboard you need for input, tap on it again to select another one, etc.

Windows XP crashes out of Olympics?


why no backup gear?

What I don't understand is why they haven't installed any backup gear, even if it is only a cold stand-by that must be switched over manually.

Easy iPhone 3G unlocking for $30?


EU and roaming charges

"Also since when has large company listened to EU directives? I'm pretty sure charging the excessive roaming costs that most operators do was ruled as unfair by the EU,... yet we're still paying excessive roaming costs."

You are confusing the publishing of preliminary findings on roaming charges by the EU commission's investigation with the regulation that eventually followed it. EU regulation on roaming charges only came into effect on June 30 last year.

After the regulation had been passed all EU operators were obliged to meet the roaming tariff caps by the time the rules came into effect and they had been very busy implementing the necessary changes in their networks. Note that the rules apply to voice services only and they call for a gradual reduction. The next reduction kicks in at the end of this month. The operators are under close scrutiny to comply. Remember this was launched as an anti-trust case during which tons of documents had been ceased and several arrests had been made where executives are still facing the prospect of indictments. Say what you will about the EU, but nothing could be further from the truth than to suggest the EU has no teeth.


Apple DNS patch doesn't patch Mac clients


@ Duncan

"lets agree they belong to the same family?"

Not really. In the realm of operating systems, the term family is commonly used such that BSD systems are one family and GNU/Linux systems are another family.

Apple grabs number-three US PC market slot


In an ideal world ...

there would be a number of desktop operating systems and none of them would have more than 50% market share. Because of this, the operating systems would need to be designed to support accepted standards so that they are interoperable.

We can only hope that what we are seeing is a longer term move in the market that will get us somewhat closer to this ideal world.

Hopefully, SUN will get their act together and manage to make their OpenSolaris more popular, too. Hopefully, BSD and Linux on the desktop will also become more widespread. Hopefully, OSX will continue to become more popular. Hopefully, all those together will eat into Windows market share to a point that could be described as an acceptable balance.

The only worry about Apple's market share growing, would be that they simply swap places with Microsoft. I don't personally think that there is a serious chance of that happening, but if all those who demand that Apple make their OS a universal software only product like Windows, if Apple was to listen to those folks, then there would actually the danger of that, the danger that Apple will simply become the new Microsoft. Their quality would likely deteriorate and their development would be driven by whatever continues to dominate the market. But Microsoft would not necessarily become the new Apple then. And even if they did, we as users of desktop computers (Winows, OSX or otherwise) would not gain anything if that happened.

So, with regards to whether Apple should sell vanilla OSX for all PCs, not just their own brand, I am inclined to say "Be careful what you wish for because you might get your wish granted", I say "Let sleeping dogs lie!".


re: rare leap

"I don't think it is a rare leap to think others think the same."

That's what many people think and that's where those people are wrong. Some people will have the same (or more likely similar) preferences as you, some people won't, they have different preferences. That's why there are different manufacturers with different products so that (hopefullly) everybody will be able to find a product that matches their own preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all product.

Any attempt to convince the world that your own preferences are the only ones worth having and that everybody else has to think the same way is totally childish.

Likewise it is childish to tell anyone that this or that product is not worth to be sold because if a product significantly fails to meet people's preferences then it will eventually be withdrawn from the market anyway. Products that do sell quite obviously meet enough people's preferences significantly enough to sell and so they do have a raison d'etre. What you personally think of those products is totally irrelevant.

This is a typical case of Murphy's Law "You have taken yourself too seriously", in other words, your opinion on any given product matters not, the market is the only thing that matters.


HP ink cartridges

"HP put chips in their ink cartridges and use intellectual property law to prevent others from cloning the chips, so that you become tied into their printer consumables ecosystem."

Ah, but what you failed to mention is that HP uses the money they make on their printing business to subsidise their PC business. Their profit margin on PCs was and may still be only about 1%, thus if you buy an HP PC for say 500 USD, they only earn 5 USD on that. This figure is taken from a financial report around the time Fiorina left HP, so the profit margins may have improved slightly under Hurd since then, but the fundamentals won't have changed: HP subsidises their PC business with revenue from their printing business.

In other words, if we all stop buying those overpriced printer cartridges from HP, then HP PCs would be significantly more expensive or HP might even stop selling PCs altogether. Those companies have to make profit somewhere.

BTW, this is reflected in the valuations of HP as a whole and its printing business. Strange as it may seem at first, HP's printing business is valued higher than the whole of HP and many HP shareholders are on record to prefer a split of the two. If that ever happens, the HP core (without the printing business) may entirely abandon the PC business and focus on servers and consulting.

Note, that Apple used to carry loss-leader products (like HP still does) in the 1990s and it almost bankrupted them. When Jobs returned to Apple, a strict no-loss-leaders policy was introduced and this is part of the reason for Apple's revival. No product in Apple's portfolio is subsidised by revenue from any other product, if any given Apple product isn't profitable, they kill it, the G4 Cube is an example of that. During the last 5 years or so, there have been many quarters where Apple was the only profitable of the big computer vendors. So, from a business perspective, they seem to be doing something right.

Same with IBM, they used to subsidise PC notebooks and desktops with revenue from their PC server business. Not anymore. They sold the unprofitable PC notebook and desktop business to Lenovo so they won't have to subsidise those products anymore. IBM has become more profitable in the process. Maybe Lenovo can make it work at the same price points, maybe they can't, only time will tell, either way, it's no longer IBM's problem. Again, they too seem to be doing something right.

Morale: For the long term sustainability of a company's business, ranking high in profitability is far more important than ranking high in sales. Most folks seem to foolishly disregard this fact.

Hackintosh maker gets legal greeting from Apple


EULAs and statutory rights

The whole argument that EULAs potentially violate statutory rights misses one crucial point. Those rights only apply to end users, not to resale businesses.

If Apple was to go after some individual for modifying and installing his legally purchased MacOSX install disc on a non-Apple branded computer, then that individual might stand a chance to successfully defend himself in court.

However, if a company is pre-installing Apple proprietary code on their non-Apple branded computers for resale, then they do not have any defense on the basis of statutory rights because they are not the end-user.

Also to consider, there have been a number of cases by companies against eBay and other online resellers because they did not want their products to be sold through these channels and in every single case these companies have won.

Apple certainly has the right to deny any company from reselling their products regardless of statutory rights by end users. Statutory rights for end-users do not apply to commercial resellers.

Rare Mac Trojan exploits Apple vuln


So what happens if you don't have the Apple Remote Desktop software installed?

last time I checked this software was a separately sold, 299 USD from Apple.

Influential tech pundit says iPhone 'will be 3G in 60 days'


Re: Stop reporting

Register - please note that I do not like Windows so please stop reporting on it.

(NB - It's not just me, I know of a few other people who do not like Windows - how many more do you need to realise that you must stop reporting on it?)

Mr. and Mrs. Boring sue Google over Street View pics


I say: award them 5.000.000 USD

Amazing how the internet population has totally lost respect of privacy and dignity of other people.

I hope the court will award these people 5.000.000 USD in damages and teach Google a lesson. In addition I hope the court will also award them damages of 1000 USD for each incident where their name has been ridiculed anywhere on the internet as a result of this story becoming public.

I know, I know, this is wishful thinking, but it would be just.

Only Ubuntu left standing, as Flash vuln fells Vista in Pwn2Own hacking contest


Are you guys all dumb or what?

or maybe it is that you haven't yet learned to read English ... The one line in this article which everybody so conveniently ignores is the one which renders all of you attention deficit sufferers' interpretations a la "x won, y is bad, z was worst" invalid, it is at the end of the article ...

"... Macaulay, who says with a few hours of tweaking, his exploit will also work on OS X and Linux."

that's the only line which really matters in the entire article. But you will sure continue to kid yourselves because you only read what you want to read.

The truth is though that no system will stand up to a determined attacker, thus there are only losers, no winners.

EU approves roaming tariffs


What about Zebra Roaming?

The GSMA is not telling the truth when they claim it is not technically possible to provide roaming below 65 cents.

I remember a presentation at a GSM billing conference in 2002 (?) about an alternative roaming system called "Zebra Roaming".

I know a well engineered thing when I see it and this one was one of those.

It was amazingly simple both in concept and technical implementation.

The basic principle behind this technology was that one should pay the operator in the visited country directly and be treated just like any other local subscriber there, in the process cutting out all the middlemen and overhead that makes roaming so expensive.

The system would provision a local account in the visited country seamlessly over the air. You'd be notified by SMS of things to know. There was a prepaid and a postpaid option. It was all very well thought out.

A hotel analogy was offered for illustration: Pay cash upfront at the hotel desk or leave your credit card imprint when you check in, then pay on check out. The hotel analogy also illustrates just how disingenious the current roaming system is: Pay your landlord to pay your hotel bills overseas for you and then charge extra for the administrative overhead and risk involved.

The integration of this technology was painless, too: A simple drop-in server box and no changes to existing infrastructure. It could even coexist with the conventional roaming system, both services running side by side.

So, what happened to this thing? Did the operators sleep all this time? Was it inertia? A case of "we only buy from Alcatel/Ericsson/Nokia/Siemens"? Did the clearing houses intervene to stop this in its track?

Maybe now that the EU is putting on the screws it will hurt enough for a newer, better technology like Zebra Roaming to get a chance. We would all benefit, well perhaps not the clearing houses, but who likes middlemen anyway?!

Apple moans over sex toy ad


its not about the "i"

If you are presenting your products in such a way that they can easily be confused as having been made by another (typically well known) company, then under the law that is called "passing off". It's not the "i" - it's the whole thing.

In other words: You may walk a lot like a duck or you may talk a lot like a duck, but only if you are a duck are you allowed to walk and talk just like a duck.

Negroponte slams Intel over OLPC competition


missing the point

The most important aspect of the OLPC effort is not to give children in third world countries computers as in "computing devices". Instead, the main driver is the use of those devices as *electronic books* because real books are expensive and they wear out very quickly and need replacing. The idea is to make the OLPC devices cheaper and longer lasting than paper books. It is before this background that the design and the technical details of the OLPC devices have to be judged.

Intel's Classmate PC seems more like a real computing device, albeit a low end one. It does not seem to be a sturdy electronic book like the OLPC device.

'It'll be ugly when half the software industry goes away' - pundit


wrong quote

It was DEC founder and president Ken Olson who said "There is no reason why anybody would want a computer in their home", not an IBM salesman.

In the 1950s IBM's CEO said "There is a market for about 4 or 5 computers worldwide" but that's a different quote.

QuickTime, not Safari, to blame for MacBook vuln


No excuses

Not checking bounds is always bad. It's one of those things almost everybody does (in particular thanks to the C/C++ languages which leave this task explicitly to the programmers) but it is a very bad practise nevetheless.

Considering the speed of modern hardware, there is no reason to omit bounds checking. It is about time that programmers are getting their butts kicked to always do bounds checking, no exceptions ever allowed. Better still, compilers should be upgraded to apply bounds checking by default.

Until that time comes, we will have to put up with software ridden with security holes and bugs like a Swiss cheese.