* Posts by skwdenyer

71 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Nov 2009


AI is going to eat itself: Experiment shows people training bots are using bots


Billion Dollar Brain?

This reminds me of the Harry Palmer film, Billion Dollar Brain, in which rubbish in = rubbish out met the real world of military destruction.

It's this easy to seize control of someone's Nexx 'smart' home plugs, garage doors


Re: If you live in the UK

It doesn’t matter whether you like it or not; the law already exists :)

Perhaps retailers might start buying insurance to protect themselves, and/or insisting manufacturers do likewise.

Product liability isn’t a new concept. But tech sometimes just likes to hide behind a “software isn’t guaranteed to be bug-free” line somewhere & we’ve all-so-readily bought into the idea.

How Arm aims to squeeze device makers for cash rather than pocket pennies for cores


This seems a sure-fire way to kill the golden goose.

It will also potentially kill off free software updates - if you're a device maker, there's going to be a strong temptation to move to a services / software revenue base, which means selling the hardware more cheaply but charging for necessary software updates.

One has to hope this is just noise intended to talk up the values of the shares.

Wannabe space 'superpower' UK tosses £1.6M at eight research projects


Ouch, 100-120% these days? In my day (err, 25 years ago), the university I worked in charged 30% overhead, and we thought that was pretty bad!

What Brit watchdog redacted: Google gives Apple cut of Chrome iOS search revenue


Which version of Outlook on MacOS are you using? I run a rock solid Outlook on MacOS connected to an on-premise Exchange server.

Google works on Blink-based iOS browser contrary to Apple's WebKit rule


Indeed. In what was is allowing Blink to take over the iPhone a good thing for the world?

Apple preps for 'third-party iOS app stores' in Europe


Tell me how app discovery works in a multi-store world.


Re: Thanks for nothing EU

Why have your app sold on 10 stores when right now you can have it sold on 1 store and cover the whole market?

Do you seriously believe the extra effort to be listed on 10 stores will offset the slight reduction in commission payable? Or that users won't simply accept cheaper apps (meaning the same or less revenues for developers)?

The Apple App Store has been one of the standout successes of development in the last 10 years, exposing small developers' wares on a broadly equal footing to a global audience in a way simply not feasibly possible at any time in the past without enormous resources and obscene marketing budgets.

As other shave mentioned, the *only* people who will win from this ruling are potential store operators at scale (e.g. Epic); it is a lose-lose for almost everybody else.

Elon Musk's cost-cutting campaign at Twitter extended to not paying rent, claims landlord


Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

Debt repayment aren’t P&L revenue expenses; they don’t contribute to a loss.

Twitter was already losing lots of money.

Risk-averse Kyocera gambles nearly $10b of own shares on semiconductor growth


The article questions whether new fabs are needed.

Given the latest well-sourced predictions of China invading Taiwan (and the very likely major sanctions and supply chain shocks likely to result), there seems to be a very real supply chain risk to *not* having new fabs brought on-line outside of China's sphere of influence.

Apple settles antitrust case with developers, but it's far from an Epic resolution to App Store monopoly concerns


Re: I get why change is necessary

How is that otherwise-intelligent people post this stuff?

Do you seriously think Apple would keep supporting phones for as many years as they do, if they weren't making app store revenue to pay for that? The app store model is a huge win for consumers, and has revolutionised the devices in our hands.

Otherwise, they need to increase handset churn significantly - which means fewer updates, shorter support, and so on. Just, in fact, like the major Android vendors who have no skin in the game of long tail consumer revenues.

And never mind device stability - we really don't want Windows on our phones. Who's going to support those?

Developers love to moan, but, really, where was the revenue model before the Apple app store came along? And where would it be without a well-supported base of phones with a current OS?

iOS was responsible for 63% of total app revenue in 2021, despite only 15% of the installed base. That's what the ecosytem delivers for developers - a huge addressable market of well-supported devices with a stable development target.

The only logical result of this idiotic destruction in the name of principle is a race to the bottom - worse phones, worse software, worse support, shorter lifetimes, and so on. 5-6 years of support with the latest OS is great (not just patches to an old OS).

Customers already have plenty of free choice. They can choose not to buy an Apple device. They can choose not to buy an Android device from a major manufacturer (with customise software and few updates). They can side-load apps onto Android devices. There's just no evidence to support the idea that customers are genuinely harmed - as opposed to a few zealots wanting something Apple don't want to sell to them (their company, their rules).

Surely nobody seriously believes there'd still be $83bn to share out for iOS developers if we fragment to a dozen competing app stores, do they? Has nobody got a proper long-run view of history?

Why the end of Optane is bad news for all IT


Re: Insane

Optane would have revolutionised the workstation space in the 1990s. At a time when we were experimenting with writing code into FPGAs to get orders-of-magnitude speed gains, running with persistent primary storage could have been a phenomenal additional tool.

Ironically the place that Optane might score in the modern world could be in things like phones - modern devices just don't boot fast enough - they're still booting devices, not instant-on appliances. In fact, a whole class of embedded devices could operate this way and, by doing so, be powered-up just when needed and then put immediately back into a zero-power state.

Intel plans immersion lab to chill its power-hungry chips


This was of course “a thing” in 2015, if you believe Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation was based on any sort of reality ;)

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them


A *very* long time ago now, we set up a test implementation of Citrix running over ADSL in North London. We were pitching the idea to VIdeo Networks, who later became HomeChoice, the grand-daddy of all the modern streaming services. So we had the servers running at Staples Corner and the user terminal in a house a few miles away.

The plan was to offer customers remote desktop sessions on a fully managed high-spec PC instance for a small monthly fee, along with streaming gaming. It worked really well. The thin client hardware was cheap and required effectively no maintenance, the terminal and monitor could be upgraded every few years within the subscription, we could provide limitless data backup, disaster recovery, anti-virus, burstable performance, and so on.

We were just far, far, too early to the party - by at least 15 years. So were VNL / HomeChoice. But we weren't alone - Apple and Oracle went on to spend many orders of magnitude more than we did trying out "network computers" before reaching the same conclusions.

As the old saying goes: never be a pioneer, as the earliest Christian encounters the hungriest lion...

But in the context of the OP's problem, latency via satellite would have been a killer. Customers really don't get on well with their mouse inputs lagging, delays whilst scrolling, etc.

Alarm raised after Microsoft wins data-encoding patent


In the U.K., we have a “Registered Design” which serves a similar purpose.

A “Design Patent” applies only to the specific article described. A general patent protects an idea and multiple embodiments of it.

HPE has 'substantially succeeded' in its £3.3bn fraud trial against Autonomy's Mike Lynch – judge


Re: Absolutely ourageous

The problem I have is the asymmetry here. Were Lynch to be American, and HP a UK company, it is beyond belief that Lynch would be extradited to the UK to face trial for acts committed on US soil.

The US, IIRC, is relying upon its catch all "wire fraud" statutes, coupled with this idea that any offence alleged to be committed using US dollars is inherently of US jurisdiction, both of which are tenuous at best.

cf the Natwest Three, extradited to the US and found guilty of committing offences whilst in the UK, offences which were not in fact offences at the time in the UK.


Re: "The finding is a massive victory for HPE"

That is true. But this is a civil trial, not a criminal one.

If you leave your door open, your insurance will not pay your claim; even if you sue them in civil court, you will not prevail.


Re: "The finding is a massive victory for HPE"

Was there an internal audit function? And, if so, where are the links to the disciplinary hearings against those internal auditors?


Re: "The finding is a massive victory for HPE"

What, testing transactions isn't normal? Certainly our auditors do precisely that, and have done so for years.


Re: "The finding is a massive victory for HPE"

So where are all the convictions for those involved in sub-prime mortgage-backed securities?

The problem is the selective application of the law. Or perhaps really are (were) subject to far laxer rules than the rest of us?


Re: Lynch should be in prison

That's not quite how audit works. A competent audit firm will test whole classes of transactions. From what has been disclosed, I do not understand how a competent audit firm did not pick them up.

Google: We disagree with Sonos patent ruling so much, we've changed our code to avoid infringement


Re: Patent madness

With respect, you misunderstand patents. The fact that Sonos have in fact created a mechanism for altering volumes on multiple devices in multiple rooms from a single app/controller is wholly immaterial. The patent expresses only to the *idea* of this being done.

For something as obvious as this, the only surprise is (a) nobody had patented it before, (b) there was no prior art, and (c) it wasn't declared "obvious" and therefore unpatentable.

I absolutely support inventors being paid for inventive steps, but am pretty sure there were commercial (rather than consumer) systems around long before Sonos that would do what is being described here.

American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software


Top terrorist tip: get a US mobile phone :)

Weeks after Red Bee Media's broadcast centre fell over, Channel 4 is still struggling with subtitles


Re: Missing a few key points here

That post from C4 seems to suggest that there were no functioning backups, never mind functioning backup hardware. If so, that's pretty extraordinary.

Apple arms high-end MacBook Pro notebooks with M1 Pro, M1 Max processors


So I'm going to be out on a limb here and say I like the touchbar on my MBP. Yes, I'd also like Fn keys. So why can't I have both?

Apple beat Epic Games 9-1 in court. Now it's appealed the one point it lost


Re: Judge found Apple is not a monopolist?

So you're defining "phone" as "smartphone" - why? If you want to encompass all battery-powered portable general purpose computing devices then why not include laptops? If you want to encompass only phones, why limit it to Android and iOS?

Even if you accept your own definition, why not include all the non-Google Android phones?

This is the problem IMHO. People try to define the market to suit their own point of view.

My first "smart" phone was an Ericsson R380s - Symbian-based, no 3rd party app support. I've ridden the wave for a long time. Platforms have come and gone, not through market abuse but because of market forces.

Those same market forces have determined that a walled-garden / single app store approach is attractive to consumers. How many Android users side-load apps? Or, to return to the definition, how many people are truly happy to use a non-Google Android phone with a third-party app store?

An abundance of choice of app store is not the sign of a healthy platform IMHO; time and again, in fact, consumers have eschewed fragmented or poor app store experiences in favour of the very things you rail against.

Is it really so hard to believe that informed users might make informed choices to buy into a walled garden because that's what they want?


Actually, car manufacturers *are* now offering to sell you apps, added functionality, etc. through their systems. A Tesla is a walled garden. So is the new Mercedes tech stack.

Tesla even sell you a car with electric seats that are physically present but disabled in software. You have to pay to enable the content. If you try to mess about with the system, Tesla lock you out of updates, supercharging, etc.

Yes, you can *repair* it with third party parts if you want. But you can't just sideload any old software onto their tech stacks.

Payment for market access is not new. If you want your product featured in a major supermarket chain, you have to pay for shelf space, pay for promotional discounts, pay for supporting marketing, and so on. You don't get prime location (or even any location) in a store for nothing.

Apple is no different. Other phones are available. But if you want your app in the Apple store then (just like pushing a new shampoo brand to a major supermarket chain, say) you have to pay.

The same is now true of other stores. Visit the John Lewis website? You're buying product that manufacturers are paying - you guessed it - 30% to John Lewis for the privilege of showing.

Want to sell on Amazon? Going to cost you something similar.

This is the new normal. Marketplaces are everything. Customers don't discover products on Google any more; they discover them elsewhere. The market doesn't work the way you seem to want it to any more.


If you buy your Volvo, can you choose to load any old software on the infotainment system? I suspect not. But I'm sure Volvo will happily sell you new software if they can.

Monopoly! :)


Re: Freemium game model

It isn't. It pays to develop the platform.

Have you *seen* Android? Disposable phones with no software updates. A terrible developer experience, with no homogeneity and a huge disparity of development targets.

Accepting that Apple takes a share of fees is cheap at twice the price for the market they provide as a result of their unprecedented (in the phone space) platform support.


Re: Judge found Apple is not a monopolist?

Why should the market be defined as iPhones only? That isn't the market; users have a wide choice of phones across a multiplicity of platforms.


Re: Is it going to matter ?

All of this is true. Which means there's no monopoly. Android is the bigger platform, consumers have choice. If they choose to buy a walled garden minority platform, why is this a legislative issue?


Re: Is it going to matter ?

You can only install it because the platform developer allows you to.

There's no law that says a computer must be open in this way.

EU readies 'antitrust charges' against Apple Pay for locking rivals out of iPhone NFC chip


Re: I agree

It has nothing to do with him not declaring tax? :)


Re: I can guarantee the second sentence

What you're not understanding is that the potential for fraud with Apple Pay is *way* less than other contactless options.

The banks might have to pay Apple a bit; but they're probably winning overall.


I’m probably unpopular, but I don’t see any foul here. Apple sell me a hardware + software product, tightly integrated. I suffer no loss from this lack of openness. I deliberately avoid Android because I don’t want this diversity & fragmentation.

Perhaps the EU could ask some consumers before claiming to act in their name?

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou admits lying about Iran deal, gets to go home


Re: They won't get any traction

The key issue is that the trade used US Dollars. The USA routinely claims jurisdiction over any transaction involving its currency.

Tip for the future: don’t use USD :)

Googler demolishes one of Apple's monopoly defenses – that web apps are just as good as native iOS software


Re: Missing the point

At launch in 2017, the Samsung Galaxy S8 was £699. A comparable iPhone 8 at launch in 2017 was £699.

The S8 has just gone out of support after 3.5 years - there will be no more updates. Meanwhile, the iPhone 5S (launched 2013) is still supported with updates.

By your logic, the S8 should still be supported for another 5 years, "amply paid for by the hugely inflated prices consumers pay for these phones."

You know and I know that isn't the case. The difference between Apple and others is that Apple *does* continue to support devices for many years, In turn this ensures there's a huge market for app developers to tap into.

Consumers benefit from this relationship. As do developers.

I have not yet seen anyone explain how *consumers* would benefit from a fragmented app store market (and it is consumers Epic is claiming to champion here).

Likewise, how will small developers benefit? Epic are in danger of applying the same "pull up the drawbridge" logic that got us, for example, the European Super League...

I can 'proceed without you', judge tells Julian Assange after courtroom outburst


Re: Blackmailed

Surely Boris' latest shenanigans with Northern Ireland will put paid to any trade deal?


Re: Blackmailed

Does not the US Espionage Act require an offence to have been carried out within their jurisdiction? Or is it equipped with a "wires" clause?

Open access journals are vanishing from the web, Internet Archive stands ready to fill in the gaps


Re: stopping the [...] public from being able to read [...] the research that they have funded

The key thing about OA is that it allows papers to be read by people working in the field in startups, SMEs, etc. Those are often the people who need access the most, but have the least money to pay for things.

Not everyone "qualified" to read a journal article is in academia.

Apple to Epic: Sue me? No, sue you, pal!


Re: Mudslinging

eBay is closer to 15% in the real world just for the basics. Also don't forget the problems of fraud (eBay almost always side with buyers, so losses to "didn't receive it - refund me" claims are real, for instance), "optional" fees that are essentially mandatory in order to get any sort of ranking, and so on. eBay sellers I know reckon the real-world cost is anything up to 30% when calculated over a year.

Similarly for Amazon - the true cost (with referral fees, closing fees, etc.) can easily exceed 20%, and in some cases hit 30% (their fees are variable depending upon the category).

Frankly 30% isn't out of step with what sellers pay in the real world to list on platforms.


Re: The “Apple take 30%” thing is a lie

All Apple have to do is quantify the value in keeping old hardware refreshed with new software. It is that as much as anything else that creates the value in the App Store (an unfragmented market of potential app buyers); it is hard to imagine Apple would continue to support 5 year old devices if there weren't that virtuous circle available.


Re: Mudslinging

I think there must be many young people here :)

In the old days, you *paid* for OS updates. If you didn't, your computing device got progressively harder and harder to keep going. You often *had* to pay for the OS update *in order to* use the latest software. Even now in the Android world, unless you're using vanilla Android then you're playing roulette as far as receiving support is concerned.

Today, I can install iOS 13.7 on an iPhone 6S, a device released 5 years ago. Not only can I install it; unlike in the bad old days, it will run (like-for-like software) at least as fast, and in some cases faster, than the original iOS 9 it shipped with.

I do not want to go back to the old days. I'm very happy that the markup I pay for App Store purchases goes to fund the continuing development of the OS and its support on older platforms. It keeps my hardware fresher for longer; it keeps my hardware more valuable for longer; it allows me to keep on buying apps from developers via the App Store for longer.

By doing this, Apple *more than* justifies its mark-up; by doing this, Apple ensures there's a tremendous (and unfragmented) market for app developers, which in turn allows app developers to prosper.

Let's not forget that the App Store itself was an innovation.

It is not a coincidence that app developers (as a whole) make *far* more money on Apple. Sadly, however, that last may be their undoing; if developers make more money on iOS than on Android, perhaps that shifts the balance in terms of market position and anti-competitiveness? If it does, however, it will be IMHO a very sad day, since the model will have proved itself so good as to be destroyed!

Google, Amazon pass on UK Digital Services Tax by hiking ad prices, fees at same rate the government takes


If Business Rates were a fixed amount per square foot across the UK, for all types of property, that would level the playing field somewhat. If you consider how much trade Amazon, say, can generate per square foot you'd rightly question why they pay so much less than the small shop down the road...

Facebook apologizes to users, businesses for Apple’s monstrous efforts to protect its customers' privacy


Re: I'm confused

I sincerely hope the Epic case goes nowhere. Apple’s current model incentivises them to maintain software support for older devices, one of the reasons I choose them. That also benefits the likes of Epic, as more users have supported devices able to run their games.

The alternatives don’t bear thinking about for those of us who’ve experienced them in the past.

CenturyLink L3 outage knocks out web giants and 3.5% of all internet traffic


This same outage appears to have taken out all BBC services from multiple geographic locations, too.

The story so far: How's that Autonomy High Court battle with HPE looking at half-time?


Presumably prolix will be added to exegesis in m’lud’s pronouncements at some point?

Cyberlaw wonks squint at NotPetya insurance smackdown: Should 'war exclusion' clauses apply to network hacks?


Not sure why Mondelez doesn’t also sue the NSA under the Federal Torts Claims Act?

A decade on, Apple and Google's 30% app store cut looks pretty cheesy


Bigger oixture

I’ll admit I’m pretty staggered at the blinkers in this thread.

As much as anything, that 30% pays for OS development.

I’m an Apple user. I’m very happy with the deal I have - buy a phone every couple of years, get free OS updates and security fixes, access to an App Store that “just works” in delivering me free and paid content, etc.

And I really like the fact that every software developer gets the same chance of me downloading their app from the same store.

As others have said, 30% is not huge in mark-up terms. There’s this obsession with the idea that the internet is cheap - it is not, but it is flexible.

Fortnite’s developers don’t like that their successful app should be so encumbered. Of course not - successful companies always like to “pull up the drawbridge” when they’ve made it.

The *next* successful app can just as easily come from a small startup under the current model. Which is yet another reason why I like it.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator


Small claims court = no precedent. Each claimant will/would have to persuade each judge of the merits in each case.

And RCL appear to have no money...