* Posts by Dr Richard

58 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Jun 2009


What can Google's tablet deliver?

Dr Richard

Hear the woosh ...

... as the point flies over people's heads.

1) A contractor .. so what. They like money as well as the next contractor.

2) A commodity / component supplier ... so what. They like money as well as the next supplier.

3) Ditto ... repeating for effect does not work.

4) There is a whole world beyond the US with a far larger untapped user base.

5) And they have bought and moved in-house two top-level ARM-based chip design houses.

There are only TWO components that really matter to joe public / consumers about a product .. physicality and usability ... both of these are under Apple's direct control.

Latest iPhone 4G leak reveals A4 CPU

Dr Richard

No it is not just you ...

... and of course its just iNess envy. No one is forced to buy Apple products.

Brit consumers shun the iPad - for now

Dr Richard

No, £429 is the starting price..

And you can pre-order it today at that price from apple.com and you will be able to buy it in an Apple store at that price from May 28 ... it is highly unlikely you will get it cheaper from an Apple reseller, and due to worldwide demand Apple may even withold supply to resellers for a few months.

I also note that Apple are not discounting the iPad (student or EPP sites) by the usual 7to9% that they do for most other kit (iphone has always been an exception to this discounting as well).

But its still going to be a street price of from £429 not £500.

Dr Richard

Because ..

they also want a full GPS and not to have to carry a separate mifi which only has a few hours use (i.e. a lot less than the quoted battery life of the ipad when using builtin 3G).

Also it is no compulsory to buy an iPad ..

Mobile Broadband Best Buys

Dr Richard


El Reg is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Vote for 3

I've had two 3 mobile broadband sims for 2 years now and recently extended both contracts (each are 1Gb per month for £5 inc VAT - yes JUST a fiver for each!) and was "given" a new (faster) USB dongle and a MiFi dongle for nowt.

One of my original dongles is now fixed in the car linked up to a netbook acting as a trip computer/GPS/OBDII/webcam/wifi router ... and it gets a good signal most of the time and holds a connection very well even when driving around the countryside.

I've been VERY happy with the 3 network and have no problem recommending them and it sounds like they can only get better. The tariffs are very reasonable and the more you buy the better discount you can get 8-)

Apple prices up iPad for UK

Dr Richard

You get A-GPS as well though 8-)

Agree that £100 for the addition of 3g (oh why the micro sim considering the space on the inside) and Assisted GPS [that is pukka GPS + cell triangulation] and that slightly dodgy looking plastic "window" (equals less aluminium cost) is a huge markup based on what is probably around £20 (max) component costs.

Still .. I'm tempted ... but I'll hold off until I actually handle one and then I'll decide.

Dr Richard

Yep .. for the hackability

but I'd also get an ipad for the usability and to develop to and make money from 8-)

Dr Richard

Steve is right when he says ...

"Please educate yourself. UK prices must by law include VAT, which is around 18%. US prices do not include tax."

So says Mr Jobs to two emails about price differences.

As other people have said when you allow for £/$ variability, add in duty (if you are lucky Customs will say its a laptop/PDA with 0% duty or if you go for the 3G one then it might be classed as a PDA with GPS and hence attracts 3.7% duty) and VAT and then there is very little difference in real prices.

I've noticed that Apple have got better with their UK/US pricing over the years with closer alignment, once you take in to account VAT and currency exchange.

What is a rip off is VAT regardless of its %age - blame the EU for that one.

Dr Richard

That would only be true if ...

the pound tanks and Apple DONT update their prices on either side of the Atlantic.

Judging by the markets at the moment .. that could actually happen next week. Apple have a tendency not to change prices except when they update products, so fingers crossed!

Dr Richard

Three Words


Apple leaves profits on table for 'huge' iPad future

Dr Richard

To be fair you are probably not the target customer

My parents and schoolkids are the target customers .. hence the need to keep the price low.

I can easily see my dad reading the newspaper on this device, browsing the web on the sofa whilst my mum watches yet another soap.

I on the other hand have more gagdgets than my wife has handbags and shoes, so I will probably get an ipad for the sheer fun of it .. and it does look fun. Whether it ends up in my "gadget museum" alongside the Newton, Palm, Z88 [great little word processor!], Zaurus, TRS-80 Model 100, Psion 7 to name a few, is yet to be seen.

Certainly my iphone 3GS will stay with me a bit longer ... as it currently sits as my best gagdet phone of all time (tm) alongside my unibody Macbook Pro, 2nd Gen iPod shuffle and 1st Gen iPod touch [damn you Apple for making such compelling products!] ... coming in a close second is the Acer Aspire One running Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Sony DTS receiver + BluRay player.

Steve Jobs bans all apps from iPhone (or thereabouts)

Dr Richard

@furthermore, i think the confidence that this won't greatly reduce iphone development is unfounded.

The T&Cs have always had a "we will refuse your app for any reason we feel like" .. you can't get more ambiguous than that ... does not put the thousands of developers off now does it.

Apple have made this "market", if they feel they have broken it they will change their mind. So bring on the competition, only the end-user will win.

Dr Richard

It's understandable ..

It's understandable that Apple want to keep the API clean and require developers to go through them. This allows Apple to implement changes to the kernel and sub-systems with less fear of breaking the hundred of thousands of existing applications.

I've developed translation software in the past, e.g. generating pure X11 toolkit API calls from a graphical IDE. I don't see that Apple terms would restrict that approach if the generated code is clean, strictly follows the API and then Xcode is used to perform the final checks and compilation. In fact, if the translation mechanism is written correctly it should be quite hard to distinguish handwritten code from translated code. So Titanium could be okay .. only time will tell if Apple are trying to future-proof iPhoneOS APIs or if they are being unnecessarily draconian.

Apple delays UK iPad launch

Dr Richard

Yeah right ...

So by "artificially" delaying a rollout it means you will definitely sell more units and people won't wander off to the competitors who are falling over themselves to pre-announce units that they are desparately trying to deliver as early as possible in order to take the wind from Apple's sales ... yeah that makes loads of commercial sense, NOT.

I'd go for cockup, not conspiracy every time .. they either got the demand planning wrong or the sub-contracted builders are having component / yield or other construction issues.

Microsoft's unveils 'social' phone for Boho hipsters

Dr Richard

@Also missing is Adobe Systems' Flash and third party applications

Tut, tut. What about choice? No wait, no one needs flash or other badly written 3rd Party apps.

Adobe man to Apple: 'Go screw yourself'

Dr Richard

@Consumers should react!

They do, in ever increasing numbers ... just look at Apple's quarterly figures.

Consumers don't care about the technology, they care about the experience it gives them.

Jobs may not be an engineer but he is no IT moron. He may not be the nicest person in the world but that does not make him a devil either.

Apple uncloaks deep details of its 11 iPad apps

Dr Richard

They give you another one

The battery is of course built-in. If it dies within a reasonable period of time Apple will give you a new one. If it dies outside of the reasonable period of time or if the battery has reached its recharge capacity then Apple will sell you a replacement battery as a service .. you give the ipad to them and they give you a new one (new battery and new casing, possibly old mainboard etc).

See here for full details ...


Flat-pack plug designer wins top award

Dr Richard

A great future at Apple awaits....

Neat design and in very Appletastic colours, just the thing for Jonny Ives to want to use.

I wonder how you would manually wire one though?

Red Dwarf's Kryten exposes iPhone number

Dr Richard

It looks more like an Apple store ..

complete with the latest iMac, "magic' mouse and perspex price block.

DoH splurges £2.72m on Adwords

Dr Richard

And the ad trigger words were ...

clinical WASTE

department OF health

not worth the MONEY

Cultists aquiver as Applestore goes into hibernation

Dr Richard

Umm, its a tuesday ..

.. and Apple usually do store updates on a Tuesday and fairly regularly in my experience .. yes there may be new kit coming out but probably related to updates to one or more of the following which are overdue (based on previous update cycles)

Macbook Pro's

Mac Pro's

Macbook Air

Aperture 3 (press release has announced it)

Non-cultists can more along.

Mozilla becomes latest to dump Mac OS X 10.4 support

Dr Richard

Firefox is Open Source ... so why not fork off?

You want later versions to work on your older kit .. then use the source Luke. After all that what it is there for. That's too hard? Then pay someone to do the port.

El Reg reader assembles own iPad

Dr Richard

You missed the point ...

It joins the long line of Apple paper-based models ...


Dr Richard

Try the full version instead ...

PDF from a blogger in Taiwan ...


You'll need an A3 printer but check out the capacity mark on the back 8-)

Shame about the spelling mistake 8-(

iPad runs Windows, Nokia runs OSX

Dr Richard
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Yep already can do that on the iphone/touch

With good free and cheap apps. So a bigger screen and keyboard would certainly make remote support of servers on the beach more fun than normal.

Brits to get 3G iPad early - and at a reduced price?

Dr Richard

Mifi from 3 ...

is very cool and I got one as a dongle upgrade and now just pay £7 per month for the 1Gb tariff which may or may not be enough for mobile ipad usage but definitely a cheap deal.

It's true that a 2nd or 3rd gen ipad would definitely be better but I will wait to see how well it actually works in the hand to see whether I get hooked now or later 8-)

Apple iPad vs netbooks: fight not over yet

Dr Richard

No yes yes!

I'm sitting here leaning back in my chair (working from home of course) with the foot-rest up (no lazyboy but comfortable) using a laptop but could quite easily use a tablet instead.

Plus have a look at iPad case here http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/#case-flat

looks very usable to me.

"This resigns tablets to passive consumption of media" ... umm, yes and what do *most* people do with computers in their homes? Niche users will use it for data input and reference, e.g. medics, pollsters, students etc.

The iPad will sell well because it will fit in with the lives of millions of people .. however the next version will sell even better and version 3 will be even better ... or am I just thinking of the ipod and the iphone alone?

Steve Jobs uncloaks the 'iPad'

Dr Richard

... nope it's following Dieter Ram's 10 principles of good design.


Dieter is a genius and I for one applaud the lack of extraneous buttons, stupid branding logos (single iconic apple logo is fine), crappy plastic, etc. Their design may be minimal but the physical engineering these days is superb. I will be looking forward to actual hold and interact with one.

iSlate leaves fingerprints all over the net

Dr Richard
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I have a secondhand newton and secondhand cube ...

Both still great products .. the Cube is still alive in use as a 17" design workstation for my wife.

The newton had potential .. even the handwriting recognition got much better .. it just got beat by a cheaper, simpler version in the Palm Pilot (also have 2 variants of those .. Palm lost their way after the "V" [5]).

Dr Richard

"Who cares?"

Quite a few people do, so there.

I've been longing for a portable, easy to use, always-on, always-connected, slate-like (ST:NG) device for years .. this is the closest I've seen (okay rumoured) in the last 30 years that resembles it.

However, as with all hype and rumours I'm prepared to be disappointed (valley of disappointment?) because of some possible limitation (too expensive or tied to crap carrier etc). But like ~900 people in Derbyshire, I live in Hope.

Brits left cold by mobile internet

Dr Richard
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oh dear

I've just added to the stats ... from an iPhone.

As a long time Three dongle user I'm actually pleased with O2 on this paygo iPhone .. £10/month for 'unlimited' mobile Internet and free openzone/cloud wifi is good value.

Nokia posts proposal for next year's smartphone UI

Dr Richard

That was my first thought too

Font is too elongated and really makes me think 1980's. Its vaguely early Apple Mac but not as iconic.

Then again it is the only thing which says "Nokia woz here" to me on those screenshots.

Nokia Booklet 3G

Dr Richard

me too

I got the Aspire One version with 3G modem built in for £196 without contract (Three SIM works fine) .. so better antenna and no dongle 8-)

The nokia does look very nice and rather Macbook Pro like ... have to agree that HDMI out and no LAN seem odd choices but not a deal breaker ... however the price is the deal breaker, even without a contract they would sell shed loads if they halved the price.

Dr Richard
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13" macbook pro

Best ever laptop for me and well worth the £845 I paid for it. I expect to be still able to use it in 5 years time and if I ever wanted to sell it history shows it will go for a good price on ebay 8-)

Samsung Omnia II

Dr Richard
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wasted screen space

That pic of Opera in action just made me think what a waste of screen space ... the top and bottom areas are just dead space and ought to be hidden or at least minimized in normal ... I want to see the web site content not navigation controls.

Rogue phishing app smuggled onto Android Marketplace

Dr Richard

Start off tight and then loosen later ..

Its much "easier", PR wise, to undo a hightened level of security (like Apple's) then it is to add it after the event (like Google) .. it is also an easier positive spin to say that things are now better due to streamlining/automation of the approval process.

Apple have a wildly successful marketplace for apps, so they can stay very tight for much longer ... for the majority of users (who just want things to work and don't care about developer angst 8-) this is a good thing.

Personally I would rather see Apple come up with a neat way of allowing background apps on iPhone OSX (some form of user controlled scheduler and auto-kill when too much resource is used, would be good) then to worry about wholesale changes in their approval process.

If I want to have open development on a smartphone then I would not pick Android, I'd go for Nokia's Maemo platform instead (niche and may fold but worth playing with - the N900 is nice but would be much better if cheaper). If I want to make money from the smartphone market I'll stick with Apple.

World's first iPhone worm Rickrolls angry fanbois

Dr Richard


Well, from what I have read, the root password of "alpine" is as set by Apple in the iphone firmware .. which if true, is far too easy to crack and should have been set to something long and obscure as it should not really ever be used.

Dr Richard

@That makes it an iPhone worm.

Nope .. it makes it a worm targetting a particular IP address range (in Australia) looking for SSH daemons with a crap root password of "alpine". The fact that it hits jailbroken iphones where individual users have deliberately ...

a) jailbroken them

b) manually added the SSH daemon

c) not set the sshd config to disallow root logins

d) not set the sshd config to only use keys

e) not set the sshd config to listen on a non-standard port

f) not changed the hidden default root password (well known since 2007 in the jail-breaking community

... is a coincidence which media outlets pick up on because its an iphone.

Sorry but a fool and his/her security are soon parted.

Kingston SSD Now V 40GB boot drive

Dr Richard

looks good for macbook pro use as well

My 13" pro is already pretty silent and rather fast but even faster for £70 would be really good. 40Gb is perfectly big enough for a Snow Leopard install and even a bunch of useful applications and data.

Elgato DTT Deluxe

Dr Richard

EyeTV supports multiple tuners and has since version 2

I use 3 tuners with EyeTV 3 on a Mac Mini .. an EyeTV 400, a 410 and a Miglia Mini ... can't see why two of these would not work together as each would have a different usb location id.

Brother creates direct retinal imaging specs

Dr Richard

Decent spec(ification)s

Interesting heads-up display with at last a decent image resolution ... would be great if it could be linked to an iphone with augmented reality software.

The resolution has to be good (tick), it needs to allow normal vision to work (i.e. not just the dark headsets found in the existing lower res devices) and not be vomit inducing!

I'd have one if the price is pitched right, has iphone connectivity ... and assuming the lasers won't blind !!

O2 finds new way to bind iPhone users

Dr Richard

@calm down dear

Visual Voicemail .. who cares .. I'm on a 3GS Pay&Go and so have never had it .. I use mobile data all the time and only make the occasional call (had it nearly four months and spent around £5 on calls and texts so far 8-) ... so its been quite perfect for me.

The first 12 months includes the £10/month unlimited data option ... which I might stick with next summer as its very good value (even if coverage is spotty) but that will depend upon the ability to officially unlock the iphone and use with my 3 SIM instead.

If my company had Exchange rather than Notes then I'd rip the O2 SIM out of my CrapBerry and stick it in the iphone (actually my BB Bold has just died after a mere 3 weeks of ownership .. so I'm mobile work-email-less 8-)

Londoners' votes put at risk by Boris' bigwig

Dr Richard

Ohhh shiny technology ...

Never mind the cost feel the chips.

eVoting is yet another example of chucking technology at a problem when there really isn't one.

People make the best optical recognition systems and when multiple people are used you get the advantage of making it harder to commit fraud and more accurate results.

If people think their evotes won't be counted properly then they will be even less likely to vote than they currently do. Making voting quicker by a minute or two and counting faster by a few hours or so does not mean that we will be voting more than we do ... just look at the quality of the candidates, their policies and how willing they are to fill in their expense claims and pass pointless laws .. improve those and people will be very willing to go out and vote manually even if it takes days to count and even if it costs more (which clearly it does not).

Southampton Uni slaps IP notice on FOI requests

Dr Richard

So ...

... publishing the document as a whole or a majority part would be in breach of their IP? But publishing the actual "facts" detailed in the response to the FOI request would be okay? Hmm, lawyers at work here.

As long as the "facts" are out in the open then who cares about the fancy PDF fonts, layout or weasel words used to wrap them up ... sounds like SU is trying to spread FUD to stop people using the "facts" for fear of being sued for breach of IP??

Good Day Sunshine as Beatles hits iTunes? Er, nope

Dr Richard

I bought 2 Beetles CDs once ... never again

I even have them on my ipods but do they get played, nope .. I even skip them when they come up on shuffle mode. They were the Take That of their age .. file alongside Elvis under influential but not essential.

Musically, I'm stuck (on repeat) in the 80's and the only 60's music I like is the original 45RPM single of Telstar by the Tornados ... daaah dah dah, dah der der dah dah daah.

Toshiba TG01 smartphone

Dr Richard

Reasonable kit ruined by software .. again

WinMo is yuck and causes the problems. Apple gets away with less than bleeding edge hardware because of the great software (leaving aside any moral issues about app store lock-in or the approval process which does not affect most customers).

With help from ex-Apple employees Palm also "gets it" with the Pre software and hopefully it will cause Apple to succumb to the "no background" apps restriction and allow some extra services to run in the background (GPS tracking and Skype would be my favourites).

The only hope for the WinMo handset makers is to move to Symbian and press for a better UI ... I would not bet on MS providing a better WinMo unless they start from scratch.

O2 data network falls over again

Dr Richard


Have you tried asking for directions from a random person ... assuming that they even stop to talk to you in a City? Waste of time.

You can't beat a paper OS map and a compass as a DR plan.

Apple MacBook June 2009 release

Dr Richard
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Buy the 13" pro instead ...

I've just upgraded my 3 year old macbook to the 13" Macbook Pro and it only cost me £845 (EPP or Student discount pricing gives a £50 saving) and it was a no brainer compared with the "entry-level" Macbook reviewed here.

The £150 difference in price (£100 if you qualify for the discount) is really worth it for the faster CPU, faster memory and bus speed, backlit keyboard (really good for late night hacks!), SD card reader, 7 - 8 hour battery life and the superbly engineered aluminium "unibody" shell.

The Pro runs really cool and I'm very pleased with it .. best engineered machine I've ever used in 30 years.

Apple admits to iPhone 3GS heliophobia

Dr Richard

Old news ...

That Apple support document has been out for months (see http://www.macworld.com/article/140541/2009/05/iphone_heat.html) and only recently updated to mention the 3GS.

All consumer tech kit suffers badly when ambient temperature is to high or too low or if the pressure is too high or too low or humidity too high etc ... get over it, read the manual and use it as proscribed or buy a military spec one instead.

Dell Inspiron Mini 10v netbook

Dr Richard
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oooh green ...

I like the green one but my bet is that 'er indoors would want a brown one which does not appear in the piccy as a choice 8-(

Good price ... actually excellent price considering the price hikes on SCCs for the last year.

And being Dell kit it is probably very easy to Hackintosh it .. although loss of pixels is annoying.

My Acer Aspire One with SSD still looks good though and very functional ... not as nice as my new shiny Macbook Pro 13" though but slightly more portable and 700 quid cheaper 8-)