* Posts by Nikolaus Heger

33 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Sep 2006

Apple share-price-off-a-cliff: Told you that would happen

Nikolaus Heger

Re: pathetically dependent?

Not exclusively but I definitely work on my iPad.

I even did an honest hour of good work on an iPhone recently, waiting for my computer to get fixed. I organized all the Pivotal stories for one of our projects using the Pivotal app for iOS. Pivotal for iOS is much better than the web version too.... e.g. it's better to use on an iPad (not so much iPhone because of the small screen)

Nikolaus Heger

Re: pathetically dependent?

MS is on its way out it just takes a while for the glacier to melt.

Business wise it's surprising that they still lock in so many businesses with the help of the clueless "Microsoft Professional" trained IT staff who don't know any better. I think word is spreading that independent software stacks are both way better and way cheaper than MS offerings.

The tools I use consulting for smaller businesses are web based and 10 times better than the corporate shitware my corporate clients use. It's only a matter of time until they figure that out and then it's good bye MS. Because at first they'll replace the stack - starting with email and collaboration tools and so on. But once they're all web based they'll suddenly realize they don't need Windows either - they might as well just use Macs, or in some cases even iPads or Chromebooks.

Facebook's Eduardo Saverin: I'm not a tax-dodger

Nikolaus Heger

Re: Insult to middle class Americans?

I think there is two reasons for this: One, they need to show they're doing something about the rich - scapegoat! Of course they can't offend their sugar daddies so a rich outsider is perfect.

Two maybe they're hoping to get him in line and get him to "donate" to some super PACs.

Three - there is a growing sentiment in the USA that expats should pay more tax. I can only presume this idea was born over a bottle of Wild Turkey somewhere in middle America. The way to get expats to pay tax is to sow fear and terror with some high profile cases, same reason the IRS goes after celebrities with a vengeance. One or two celebrities behind bars means tens of thousands of scared citizens that pay their dues.

Nikolaus Heger

Re: "will tax their future investment gains no matter where they live"

Eduardo, get real.

All you need to do is donate to the right campaigns and quite honestly it's going to be way less than "hundreds of millions" of US Dollars in taxes, and even way less than the $67M the venerable Senator thinks you owe.

"Lobbyists" in Washington are awaiting your call. It's actually very affordable - a few 100,000 here, another few 100,00 there, and you can basically do whatever you want, they'll write some legislation for you.

BTW I gave up my green card for tax reasons too - I was out of the country for nearly 10 years and still paid my taxes every year, then some dimwit at the IRS decided to audit me. They sent me a letter that I owe $20k in taxes (for me, that's about as much as $2Bn for Mr. Severin). In the end it turned out I didn't owe anything, and in fact they owed me. But the stress, and enormous amount of effort involved getting all this documentation together, talking to a tax attorney et cetera was enough to convince me I have to get out of this crazy system. The IRS is nuts. Simple as that.

Communicating with them was crazy too - it was clear from the get go that they were "coming after me" - no presumption of innocence until proven guilty here! Not even common decency to assume I am "not" a criminal. No. They said right away, I better pay up, or things could get much worse for me. It was like a bad cop scene from a movie. Totally out of control, these people.

I know two other expats - one gave up his green card over a similar incident. The other his citizenship out of fear of the IRS. Both are not big earners - not "rich" by any means. But if you live outside the country, its ludicrous that they believe they have the right to tax you.

Zuckerberg flies to Shanghai for Apple Store visit

Nikolaus Heger

Don't do it, Marc, she's already getting fat. And it's all downhill from here...

New iPad 4G data connection will only work in America

Nikolaus Heger

One more thing: Whining seems to be alive and kicking outside America.

It sounds like the whole 4G "standard" is once again an unmitigated mess where "anyone is allowed to do anything" which means we will have to wait a few years before all-in-one-all-frequency 4G chips become available.

Took a while with 3G, too - only the iPhone 4 / 4S could actually operate on all 3G bands. Not due to Apple but rather due to the availability of integrated chipsets.

What other devices work on all 4G bands world-wide? Oh yeah - none. As 4G is only implemented in a few places around the world.. America probably needs 4G the most and will implement it first on a large scale as the US 3G network is really a complete and utter disaster. Verizon uses CDMA-EVDO which is dead slow and can't do data and voice simultaneously. And AT&T's 3G network drops voice calls (pretty much have to go to America for that experience), is slow as snails, and has huge coverage holes in the middle of major metropolitan areas. E.g. I was in San Francisco and had 0 bars on AT&T in the middle of the city. Long story short the US carrier duopoly is going to roll out 4G as fast as they can - they need to.

Elsewhere, 3G works pretty well, no urgent need for 4G.

Mutant heroes to rescue Ultrabooks from price trap

Nikolaus Heger

hybrids any good now?

I remember when the hybrids first appeared bare feats tested them and they found them to be marginally faster than normal HDDs, and WAY slower than SSDs.

Oh yeah they did another test just now, it's here: http://www.barefeats.com/tbolt03.html

Conclusion: "Though slightly faster than a "plain" HDD, the Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid HDD can't hold a candle to a "pure" SSD."

I think hybrid HDDs are a marketing gimmick at this point. I imagine in order to really work they'd have to have at least 32GB and some clever logic that has knowledge about the operating system and caches only small, frequently used files. But since a HDD doesn't even know about files I imagine this would be really difficult to achieve. And according to the test, they're clearly not doing that.

I paid $250 for pure SSD performance - replaced the DVD in my MacBook Pro with an Intel X-25M SSD 80GB (fastest at the time, new SSDs are way faster). Now I have a SSD for the OS, apps, and my work files, and a 500GB HDD for movies, music, and all other stuff that doesn't need to be fast.

To all the previous posters with hybrids - don't kid yourself, you are far from SSD performance. Most likely what you are seeing is OS level caching which can make HDDs look fast. Example I tested compile time for a huge web based project on my system with HDD, and later with SSD. Tens of thousands of files involved. Well after the first pass, the HDD system was just as fast as the SSD, with the limiting factor CPU speed. OS X disk cache is quite excellent and does its job well.

Steve Jobs: the Exclusive Biography

Nikolaus Heger

I thought there were lots of interesting details in this book. It is a tale of a deeply conflicted man, who is in a constant state between genius and madness. I previously knew about all the great things Steve Jobs had done - but there was another side, stuff that he did with just the same level of energy and conviction, that was just nuts. His diet for example, but there's others. For every fantastic invention, for every impossible achievement, there was another thing that was just out there.

The most astounding - and I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere - to me was his rejection of Larry Ellison's proposal. When Apple was down and out under Amelio, Ellison proposed to Jobs that he would buy Apple for $3Bn, and make Jobs CEO and give him 25% of the company just for becoming CEO.

If you think about that, had Jobs agreed, then both Jobs and Ellison would be the richest men in the world at Apple's stock price. Ellison would be worth $220Bn! It would also have saved Apple from another year under clueless leadership until Jobs would return as actual CEO.

And why did Jobs say no? He thought a hostile takeover was "not the way" he wanted to come back. That's all.

Nikolaus Heger

A Great Approach To All Things

You should definitely avoid the book as it would show you just how clueless you are. It would be embarrassing. Better stay away.

Major overhaul makes OS X Lion king of security

Nikolaus Heger

Fanbois Beware!

I worry about Mac viruses daily, just like I worry about getting hit by a crashing airplane, or getting struck down by lightning. It's happened before, people! Better worry than... erm... not, right?

Ten... Core i5 laptops

Nikolaus Heger

How do we get from nearly 10 hours to 112 Minutes?

The battery test seems rather useless. Consensus on the MacBook Pro is that it lasts just about 8 hours on battery. Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less, depending on the kind of testing done.

But 112 Minutes? Sounds like you were running something full blast until the battery died. Not a useful performance measure. Heck I am a pretty heavy user and getting close to 6 hours out of a 2 year old 17" MacBook Pro. And the 2011 13" is way better.

In summary your battery test is about as useful as a "how far can we throw this laptop" contest. There are numbers, but they have no meaning.

Nikolaus Heger

It's a trade-off

I love the glossy screen because I can scrub it clean and it's glass so it doesn't scratch. My MBP 17" screen is bright, beautiful, and looks exactly like on the day I took the machine out of the box over 2 years ago. Previous laptops at this age were invariable scratched or had the keyboard imprinted on them from when I stuffed them into bags or tight spaces.

It's annoying in direct sunlight of course - but at the same time, even an anti glare screen is not *great* in direct sunlight. Certainly better than glossy, but far from good.

So, it's a trade-off. There is no anti-glare glass screen.

Apple iPhone 4 vs... the rest

Nikolaus Heger

2% of 200,000 is...

"The weak are suckered in by the millions of "apps", 98% of which are a load of crap."

Did you mean to say that 2% of iPhone apps are great? With 200k apps, that would be... 4,000 great apps. Sounds about right!

Nikolaus Heger

Streak - Hahaha. Funny.

As an iPhone user I'd really like a nice comparison with the competition but your score of 80% for the Dell STREAK of all things, vs 75% for the iPhone 4 tells me that surely, you're joking.

Dell has sold what, 5 streaks since it was introduced? Even from the most positive reviews, it was obvious a huge FAIL from the onset. There really isn't an Android phone that's as obviously a turd as is the Streak.

So please come again with the review. Why the iPhone 4 gets only 75% is a mystery to me. I love it, and so do 95% of all owners. The camera in particular is so good that people are often surprised that all my pictures are taken with it - not to mention the plethora of amazing Lomo camera add-ons. Hipstamatic and the even better-yet-free Pudding Camera for example.

Steve Jobs Flash rant put to the test

Nikolaus Heger


This is a long-standing dispute between Adobe and Apple. Adobe says it "doesn't have access" to the hardware acceleration APIs. Apple says Adobe has access, but is just unwilling to use it.

The fact that Flash is such garbage, and the fact that 99.9% of Flash out there is used for ads that I do not want to see makes me think Apple's right. I mean, other programs manage to use those elusive hardware accelerated APIs - VLC for example. Flash is a CPU hog - it's just badly implemented on Mac.

Apple MacBook Late 2009

Nikolaus Heger


The new price undoubtedly has to do with the fall of the pound sterling. It's not worth as much as it used to be.

I do think it's a bit of a blunder to sell the Pro 13" for just 100 quid more. Then again, note how smart companies always make the "middle" level offering the most value for the money? It seems like this is what Apple is doing too. They really want you to spend those 100 extra, and they might very well succeed...

Apple 17in MacBook Pro

Nikolaus Heger
Thumb Up

I have it

I have one of these. All the people who complain about price - well if you can't or don't want to afford it, please don't. It's your choice. I am using this for business so the cost is a non-issue if we are talking about a few hundred bucks. Not even worth thinking about. For private use, and if I only emailed and watched some movies, I'd probably get a unibody MacBook (which also looks mighty fine).

It's impossible to compare this to any PC offerings. That's because no PC 17" laptop only weighs 3Kg and lasts 7 hours (real life) on battery. Both are features that are crucial to me. The laptop is - to my surprise - not much bigger or heavier than the old MBP - it's the same weight or even less than some 15" PC laptops! Backpack weight is actually less because I don't need to take the power adapter with me.

Other things PCs just don't have: Multi-gesture glass trackpad. Glass screen. Unibody design which makes this thing seem incredibly sturdy - I said seem, I know Apple has a pretty mixed record with quality so I got the 3 year we'll-do-anything-for-you warranty.

Sun may or may not be about to obliterate Oracle and Microsoft

Nikolaus Heger

Thanks Anonymous Coward @Kevin

AC @Kevin, thanks for explaining the actual benefit of the atomic construct.

That would indeed be a very welcome help - and it's way more elegant than locks.

Those who say multi threaded programming is not hard simply don't understand it. That's fine, just don't keep repeating it's not hard, because it is.

When I look at threaded code I see a billion billion possible execution paths. Mutexes make it manageable and make it work, and most threaded code I have debugged had errors but the possibility of hitting them was small enough that it didn't matter. There were bugs, but the code worked for all people could see. And that's even with the most basic multi threaded apps.

The thing to remember is: As long as the threads don't interact, there are no bugs. So you only need to keep the interactions to a minimum and then things will work.

Man hacks Mac OS X onto MSI Wind

Nikolaus Heger

Get a Job, You Slackers!

Did anyone else notice this is a really silly article?

The guy hacking a Wind into running OS X - that's mad, and awesome. If you are having fun hacking hardware, great stuff. But for the rest of us...

How much is the MacBook Air again? For the time spent hacking a Wind, I could also work in my real job and buy 2 MacBook Airs. Wow such a bargain, thinking about it this way! Like, they did all the hacking for you, it's not even hacking, it's officially supported, and it's a much nicer piece of hardware to boot. And they'll just hand it to you, trading for a few hours worth of work in your job. Compared with a hacked Wind, the MBA is the best deal on the planet. ;)

I also don't think Apple care at all. If they take action it will be because legal determined that they have to in order to protect a trademark or the EULA as in if they didn't they'd have trouble defending these in future cases. But concerned about the unwashed masses going out and modifying their Wind in this fashion? Surely not.

Apple's 3G iPhone to launch 11 July

Nikolaus Heger

Too Simple is Complicated

So simple - no more than $199. Unfortunately, there's no info on how much it costs without subsidy. Or whether they'll even sell it without.

The hardware is WOW - it's perfect in every way. I already have an iPhone and it's close to perfection but this is even better.

But why make pricing such a mystery? Why not just freakin' sell it unlocked AS AN OPTION to those who don't want to sign up with a carrier. It looks like Apple is going to take 3 years to get their sales model to where it's exactly the same as all others.

Here's some notable absentees from the list of countries where the iPhone is sold: China, most of SE Asia: Thailand, Vietnam, etc.

Nokia confirms 'iPhone killer' handset in pipeline

Nikolaus Heger

a long road...

the iPhone is only limited by the sim/provider locking. however, with ziphone there is a true 1-click way around that, it just unlocks any iphone out of the box in about 5 minutes. recently tried. 5 minutes later you have an iphone you can use on any network. and install some really cool apps on it to boot.

if there is S60 on this supposed iPhone killer i wish Nokia good luck. I don't think that S60 is up to the task, or can be improved to a point where it can compete with the iPhone's OS.

Nokia did know how to make good phones once, but that was before it ventured into smart-phone territory. It's been downhill ever since. The 6600 was still acceptable, the N73 already garbage, as was the first rev of the N95, the latter having been revved to an acceptable performance level by now.

Nokia is still unrivaled in the low cost phone market of course. These are incredible in terms of value, battery life, build quality.

I am hoping the iPhone was the much needed kick in the proverbial to get Nokia innovating again.. because as much as i love my iPhone, competition is good.

One thing, however, I venture to predict right now: The "tube" is not an iPhone killer. It will not work well and Nokia will have to go back to the drawing board with touch controls and kinda be reminded of the reason they didn't do it a long time ago: Because it's HARD.

Sun dreams the impossible Java on Jesus Phone dream

Nikolaus Heger


Sun was talking about making J2ME available on the iPhone - a near-useless "mobile" version of Java. I do know quite a few existing J2ME application and I think it's safe to say they will not be missed on the iPhone. They are garbage.

Creating a Java wrapper for apps that is full Java 6 compliant would be the only thing that would make this interesting. But I think the technical difficulties of making this work will prevent it from happening any time soon. Sun doesn't even have any OS X development experience - OS X Java is made by Apple, not by Sun. Sun dreams the impossible is a pretty adequate headline.

BBC mulls dropping Flash as iPlayer meets iPhone

Nikolaus Heger
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iPlayer FTW!

I was always wondering why the Beeb didn't just do Flash like anyone else. I was annoyed iPlayer didn't work on the Mac for the longest time.

But the Dirac codec as well as iPlayer ports to different platforms make this suddenly a very interesting proposition. The Beeb's programming is good enough to single-handedly carry a revolution away from the proprietary Flash towards... well I do hope they make the iPlayer open source and free for now and forever.

We need a free video standard that's not Flash.

The main reason the iPhone doesn't have Flash and probably won't have it is purely political. If Apple supported Flash they'd basically hand Adobe a free win in internet video applications. Apple won't do that, most certainly not for free.

When 'God Machines' go back to their maker

Nikolaus Heger

things to consider

regardless of the fact that the iPhone is the fastest selling phone in AT&Ts history -as you point out it might all be that hype that only the media can whip up, same hype that has been selling the iPod for the last 6 years which doesn't show any signs of slowing down....

ok let's start this over.

consider the facts:

- The Apple design department is arguably the best in the world, in any industry.

- Phones are status symbols so looks are extremely important

Those two facts would tell you that Apple is in the mobile phone market to stay. To rule.

then there are other facts:

- Apple has a real operating system which beats the pants off of symbian or win mobile, which can do things the others can only dream about

- Apple has the imagination to invent new things that people actually want

- Apple has proven that they can make a working phone. Entering a new market is a huge risk and a huge effort, but it's already behind them. They will only get better after that.

Yes, the other manufacturers are running around like headless chickens. Because they should. But I believe they have the problem that they have nothing to compete with OS X. Symbian just doesn't cut it - they will have to develop something entirely new, either improve Symbian like crazy, or get Microsoft to make a Vista Mobile edition (thereby selling their soul to MS).

Frankly, given the ineptitude these companies have handled software in the past, I think their best bet is a radical improvement of Windows mobile - and you know you are in trouble if Microsoft is your last hope.

I see only one flaw in Apple's mobile business - being too greedy and wanting a cut of the operator's income. It worked with AT&T but that's because AT&T really needs the iPhone, it won't work with (many) others, and it has the potential to severely hamper Apple. If I had to bet, I'd say Apple will adapt and get over this though.

'Suspicious looking' man hauled off translatlantic flight

Nikolaus Heger

Nothing to see here, move along please...

"Passenger who bypassed airport security was kicked off plane."

What else should have happened to him? It's irrelevant that he was an AA employee, it would have been silly and inconsistent to not kick the guy off.

Racial profiling is a very contentious issue but really unrelated to the events above.

Why Apple won't sell 10 million iPhones in 2008

Nikolaus Heger

Hype Alone Would Sell 10M in Asia

Above poster is correct about the hype factor - most people buy high end phones in order to be perceived has having the latest and greatest gadget, then proceed to ignore 98% of the phones functionality.

But there's a twist. If something is hip in Asia, _everyone_ must have it. And by that I mean *everyone*. Its very different from Europe/USA in this respect. There is no backlash or naysayers once something is hip - only admirers, and people who can afford and those who can't.

I predict it will be insanely hip in Asia, and it will sell more than 10M in Asia alone. Co-incidentally usability will be wonderful as well which it good for Apple long term but not a major factor in selling so many of the initial model.

BMW helps nail 105mph V-sign biker

Nikolaus Heger

Police Out Of Control

Hello?? Anyone else find it more than a bit creepy that all that needs to happen for data protection laws is for Police to get pissed off?

Speeding is one of those things that's not even a proper law. Who was harmed by this offense? No one. No victim, no crime.

Yet the cops get to cross reference databases in best Nazi tradition just to find this guy? Spending God knows how much money and time on this?

Because of what? Protecting society from a 45 year old bus driver on a BMW. Wow, thanks I feel a lot safer now. How about catching some real criminals you idiots?

Shame on BMW for helping with that. Guess they do sell a lot of bikes to Police...

Seagate FreeAgent Pro 750GB external hard drive

Nikolaus Heger

WD MyBook

I didn't buy it because a seemingly detachable base that's not detachable is a strict no-no. It's just an awkward shape for an external drive.

I just bought the WD MyBook - square, black, looks like a book. Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense but works in fact very well. It came with a single USB cable, connect and you go. The book is simply cute, black, unobtrusive. And very fast, got 15MB/s out of it.

BTW you should test this with a worst case scenario. I have a folder that's about 4GB but containing 200,000 small files. If you copy that, the transfer rate drops to 500KB/s... clearly, the file system doesn't like dealing with lots of small files much.

Vista – End of the Dream?

Nikolaus Heger

Monopoly Apologists

Let's face it the only reason Microsoft can get away with anything, even total crap like Vista is that they are a monopoly. They have everyone locked into their proprietary DOC formats and windows APIs, though with the emergence of web 2.0 and cross platform APIs the latter is less and less relevant. The DOC - lockin is the reason most companies would not even consider moving to Linux or OS X - they just can't.

As for supporting hardware - big deal, there's this thing called Hardware Abstraction Layer built into windows, you may have heard of it. And Vista is crappy all by itself not because some drivers are bad.

OS X - who cares, this article is about Vista. OS X shows how many things could be done more elegantly than Vista does, and that's about it. In a non-monopoly world, the better product wins - sadly for us all that's not true in a monopoly world.

Don't you think Apple would license OS X for generic PCs _yesterday_ if this wasn't a monopoly world? If apps could run just as well on OS X as on Vista without requiring modifications and if people were using open document standards? They would be stupid not to - but they know that's not the way it works.

My previous company, people would send us Word documents. So now what are you going to do? Use OpenOffice, which gets 95% of the layout right. Or Apple Pages which maybe also gets 98% right? Or windows which gets 100% right and you don't have to think about it. That alone makes Windows inevitable no matter if its much worse and/or more expensive. That's monopoly power.

Or are you doing to call the customers and tell tem to please send PDFs? Yeah, right...

Nikolaus Heger

About crappy APIs

I have harbored this theory for a long time too - Microsoft has spent a decade adding patch after patch on top of NT/Win2k without ever fixing it, and added tons of compatibility with ancient Win95 and Win98 code which also had compatibility with DOS mode programs, so of course it's an unmaintainable mess now.

The only thing that's surprising is that they did not make a clean start with Vista. Like somebody else said, a compatibility environment + a modern, stable OS - it could have kicked ass. I have no explanation as to why that hasn't happened. It's bizarre, really. They even had the tech in place to do it with Virtual PC...

Banks unleash paper tigers over terror data probe

Nikolaus Heger

Banks Have Lost Trust

Regardless of privacy laws, I would expect my bank which handles my account to not hand any data over to anyone, be it the CIA, George Bush, or Mother Teresa. Unless they have a court order to do so.

I would expect this to be standard practice and I am shocked that Banks and SWIFT just roll over for american intelligence agencies.

SWIFT's excuse that it made the NSA swear to not abuse the data is a total joke. What are they gonna do if the NSA abuses the data anyway? Even if they find out (unlikely) they can hardly sue them now, can they? It's ridiculous.

This institution needs to be put out of existence, or at the very least everyone who approved of this needs to be fired. Seriously.

Trust is a hard thing to win back. Bankers of all people should know that.

C# pulling ahead of Java

Nikolaus Heger

Open Source it and we have a competitor

The query language built into the language itself sounds excellent. I also share the criticism that Java is too much concerned with backwards JVM compatibility to really improve the language - generics syntax is to horrible that I think it makes things worse rather than better.

The sole reason I am not going to even consider c# for anything is that it is owned by MS, standardization or not, it's all worthless as long as MS owns it.

We must expect the company to do the sensible thing, protect its shareholders interest, and change the language or even just the interpretation or whatever they like on a whim.

This would be bad even if MS didn't have a long history of meddling with the API to benefit themselves and/or hurt competitors. But... it does.

Logitech VX Revolution 'freewheeling' cordless mouse

Nikolaus Heger

Lose the battery and the dongle and I will buy it

I love Logitech mouses - wonderful and indestructable. I have a G5 for laptop use, and like it very much.

The main thing I don't get about the current generation of wireless mouses is that they trade a very minor inconvenience - cable - for two new inconveniences: Battery and dongle.

I will lose the dongle. And if I already have to plug something into my laptop, why not plug in a cabled mouse to begin with? Bluetooth would at least make sense, I would be able to just use the Mouse without doing anything special to "start up" and it would be just one piece of equipment.

AA Battery? Do I want to go buy a battery for my mouse? Do I want to keep a stash of AAs in the house just in case it runs out at night? In my pocket in case it runs out on a road trip? Do I want to dispose of used ones in the battery disposal center? Do I want to feel guilty for throwing a little bit of hazardous waste in the bin?

I don't care if the AA lasts 5 months. That would be even worse because I will definitely have forgotten to bring a spare battery after 5 months, and as murphy's law has it the battery will go out just as I give a presentation.

I take a cable over that any time.

Dear Logitech, please make the same mouse but with the following modifications: Bluetooth 2.0 (for speed), Li-Io battery, short retractable USB cable that can charge the Li-Io battery from the laptop. Thanks!

If the retractable cable is a bit longer, it could also be used to play games etc where Bluetooth might be too slow. Make the cable the same as the G5, a cord-style cable, that's just wonderful.