* Posts by Confused Vorlon

33 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Aug 2010

You can blame laziness as much as greed for Apple's New Year shock

Confused Vorlon

Too inefficient to manage the 'ecosystem' products

Part of the Apple 'story' has been that you can buy a whole ecosystem of products where 'everything just works'

I have iMacs using Thunderbolt extra displays, macbook pro, apple tv, mac mini as a media centre, backing up to an Apple Time Machine.

Apple have completely given up on the wifi networking.

If they were innovating - they could be selling mesh network devices that extend the apple network around the house while offering airplay 2 speakers or Apple TV and Siri.

(assuming they decided to make Siri decent)

TimeMachine is fantastic - but suddenly more difficult now that I can't buy an apple device to back up to

No thunderbolt/cinema display is available any more

Mac Mini and Mac Pro have been abandoned for years (mac mini recently updated).

As they narrow the product range - they force people to connect with other ecosystems and lose their grip on the 'everything just works' story.

They are behaving like a small company that can't afford to manage a wide product range and needs to focus on a few core items.

That seems like a mistake to me.

Sure, Europe. Here's our Android suite without Search, Chrome apps. Now pay the Google tax

Confused Vorlon

Should have been less subtle

I wish they had just created the following 'pricelist'

Android $0

Chrome + Search $0

Play Services $10/device

Google Apps -$10/device (we pay you)

Good luck launching android without play services (many apps will crash immediately)

Google Apps of course do require Play Services

Confused Vorlon

Re: Re: Just another attempt

> First Apple would have to achieve a dominant share in some sort of market.

they currently have a controlling share in anything which has to work cross-platform.

e.g. chat apps.

They recently used this to block a chat app that had animoji-style face-mask chatting saying that it was similar to what apple offered.


even if you take this at face value; They're saying that nobody is allowed to build a cross-platform animoji-style chat platform.

(facetime is apple-only, so even if the functionality was similar; being able to use it across devices would be a significant difference)

not sure how the legal wrangling would play out - but this is a clear case of where the iPhone lock-up can impact the whole ecosystem.

The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB

Confused Vorlon

Out of sync

As I walk from my office to the kitchen and the bedroom, all my radios are perfectly in sync. I can even run one over by the cooker and turn on the radio by the TV (coming through the tv sound system) and everything will be splendid.

If I switch to digital, then they all take different times to process the signal - and they're all out of sync. Having more than one radio playing means an annoying audio fight.

It seems like this should be fixable; Broadcast a time signal, and timestamp segments of the radio stream. Tell players that they have X milliseconds to decode the stream and start playing it. Make X a constant across sets.

BBC Telly Tax petition given new Parliament debate date

Confused Vorlon

It is really easy to opt out now

It used to be painful, and you got endless letters asking if you might 'be mistaken' and threatening the tv inspectors.

Now, you fill in a simple form, and re-confirm every two years. You get one letter confirming that you have opted out and reminding you what that means.

Frankly it is all very civilised.

(for the record, I don't watch live tv over the air, or over internet)

European Parliament keen to throw news publishers a bone

Confused Vorlon

Re: Re: Just another attempt

"Newspapers in Europe are closer to winning the right to ask Google and Facebook to remove or pay for the news story snippets they scrape for their free services"

Publishers can already ask Google News or Google Search to skip their stories. They just have to update their robots.txt


The real issue here is that the publishers want to have their cake and eat it. They want to be listed (they lose traffic if they are not) - but they want to be paid anyway.

Prof squints at Google's mobile monopoly defence, shakes head

Confused Vorlon

Re: Re: Just another attempt

"However, without access to the Google Play Store, you couldn't install Facebook, or Uber, and many other apps."

He hadn't got his facts straight here. The Fire phone has Amazon's app store.

Amazon's app store does indeed have Facebook (though not Uber).

Any developer can list their apps in the Amazon store. It is a clunky and somewhat painful process - and you don't get many sales - but most major apps are there.

Fretful Amazon wishes it could get more Android action

Confused Vorlon


You can hardly blame google for the failure of OEM skins. They were clearly allowed, and the OEM has huge leeway in what they can control. Even Facebook can completely redesign the home screen.

However, skins have invariably been rubbish, and as you say, it is the users who prefer stock android. That's competition, not anti-competitive behaviour.

If OEMs provided a better experience, and released updates in a timely manner, then users would have more reason to like the OEM 'value add'.

Let's Encrypt gets automation

Confused Vorlon

Re: Re: Just another attempt

> No, a free CA will just make easier to obtain a fake certificate for somebody's else site if no vetting procedure is in place before releasing a certificate.

You can't get a certificate for somebody else's site. You have to demonstrate that you control the domain.

Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate

Confused Vorlon

Re: Re: Just another attempt

I have lived in a country where the telephone monopoly deliberately downgraded skype traffic so that you would have to use their higher-priced phone service.

That's a pretty clear example of a non-neutral network.

Non-neutrality is like monopolistic behaviour in a business context; Sometimes it is easier to spot - sometimes it is more subtle and harder to spot - but it is still a bad thing, and we do well to make it illegal.

Reg mobile man: National roaming plan? Oh UK.gov, you've GOT to be joking

Confused Vorlon

National Roaming + sensible roaming fee = different story

National roaming doesn't necessarily make coverage 'somebody else's problem'.

If operators are mandated to offer national roaming (without charging extra for roaming calls), and if the roaming fee is set suitably high, then you create a sensible market.

Operator 1 doesn't quite have a case for rolling out coverage in notspotX, but if they're going to get roaming fees, then suddenly the business plan looks better.

Operator 2 was considering building a mast at tinyNotspotY, but they already have a mast from Operator 1, so it make sense to just pay the roaming fee

we have two (arguably) good properties here

1) greater incentive for at least one operator to serve blackspots

2) shared cost model for low-population areas where it really doesn't make sense to have coverage from multiple networks.

Property 1 does increase the overall infrastructure cost (which ultimately the customer has to pay) - but it delivers wider coverage

Property 2 should decrease overall infrastructure cost (by encouraging some sharing)

the critical thing is to set the roaming fee correctly. That would be a tricky one for Ofcom.

Virgin 'spaceship' pilot 'unlocked tailbooms' going through sound barrier

Confused Vorlon

They do seem to be suggesting pilot error

the video seems to state:

1) SOP is to unlock at mach 1.4

2) the co-pilot moved the lever to unlock at macn 1.0

"the lock unlock is not to be moved into the unlock position until acceleration up to mach 1.4. Instead, that occurred at approximately mach 1.0"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl... [bbc.co.uk] (2:50)

I don't know if that difference is significant. It sounded to me like 'we're not casting blame formally yet, but look over here at this pilot error'

Netflix and other OTT giants use 'net neutrality' rules to clobber EU rivals

Confused Vorlon

Let's try a thought experiment.

Netflix start charging ISPs for the privilege of delivering Netflix.

Virgin signs the first deal (at advantageous rates) and start advertising that if you want Netflix, you need Virgin.

Would the other ISPs breathe a sigh of relief at the fact they no longer needed to deliver all that video traffic, or would they scream bloody murder that Netflix was being unfair - while haemorrhaging customers?

The reason our ISPs get to charge us more for larger/faster connections is that we want to watch Netflix and iPlayer. They should stop whining about the fact that we expect them to deliver Netflix and iPlayer.

Indie ISP to Netflix: Give it a rest about 'net neutrality' – and get your checkbook out

Confused Vorlon

"How well do you stream Netflix?"

One of the first questions asked by every customer who calls us is, "How well do you stream Netflix?"

It sounds to me like one of the main reasons people are paying for broadband is to get Netflix. Are the ISPs paying Netflix for this huge attraction?

It seems unfair that Netflix should put in all this work to get people using broadband, and not get at least some of the broadband subscriptions...

Hey mobile firms: About that Android thing... Did Google add a lockout clause?

Confused Vorlon

manufacturers have to jump through extra hoops for the google apps

Manufacturers can take the android source and stick it on their phone.

If they want the Google apps, then they have to meet a bunch of compatibility requirements. This requires a whole load more work by the manufacturer.

Far from being forced to take the apps - they have to jump through extra hoops if they want to.

I believe they have to take the whole bundle if they take anything, so MS may make an argument around that.

France stalls plan to make Google and pals foot broadband rollout

Confused Vorlon

If only there was a way to get the users to pay...

It's these crazy users wanting access to google's shiny services.

There should be some way to make them pay for all the infrastructure required to deliver content to them.

How about some kind of monthly payment for using the service? That could go directly to the ISP.

If the user wanted to use more stuff on the web, then they could pay for faster access at a higher price.

that way, the ISP would be fairly compensated for the use of their infrastructure.

It's possibly a controversial approach for France - but they could set it up so that the ISP made the decision about the amount they need to charge for access at various speeds.

Devs: 'Pirates are flogging OUR stuff on BlackBerry's App World'

Confused Vorlon

easy conversion service

They kinda do. You can go to their website and upload your apk with their web based tool and it will package up your app for Blackberry. After some java jiggling, it looks like it should be pretty simple when it works.

The fact that most devs haven't bothered gives you an idea of how credible Blackberry is at the moment.

Of course, there are a bunch of APIs that don't work - so my app just fails the bundling process (it uses multicast wifi for bonjour).

El Reg man: Too bad, China - I was RIGHT about hoarding rare earths

Confused Vorlon

regulation to increase contestibility

one valuable thing a regulator can do is make it easier for the competition to keep the dominant player honest.

e.g. number portability makes it easier to switch phone supplier, and helps to stop any player 'rooking' the consumer too much

a similar approach might be taken for someone like facebook: mandate data-portability and some level of interoperability, and then let Facebook keep users by virtue of the deal they offer, rather than the fact that is is hard/impossible to switch.

Naughty-step Apple buries court-ordered apology with JavaScript

Confused Vorlon

Re: Re: Just another attempt

Mandated popover?

Not only would it work, but it would make their web design people cry...

More 'retina' display piccies spied within Mac OS X

Confused Vorlon

you can already use these

mac os already has a HiDPI mode, it just isn't used much

These guys use it with the iPad as a high dpi second display:


Web trawlers may have to pay to slurp up German newspaper snippets

Confused Vorlon

Re: Re: Just another attempt

not so straightforward. It's one thing for google to remove the papers from google news entirely if they demand payment for it. It's another for them to remove them from google search.

That could be seen as using the search business to punish companies for not wanting to play with a different separate business.

e.g. using one monopoly(ish) to force compliance with a different business.

I'm hoping I misunderstood...

AT&T plan: Let content providers pay your bandwidth bill

Confused Vorlon

Re: Re: Just another attempt

as far as the ecosystem is concerned; the bbc is more than paying their way - they pay to produce the content and make it available.

The ISPs try to argue that the BBC is then using up the ISP bandwidth and should pay for that.

Let's try a thought experiment; What would happen if BT broadband turned round and said that you couldn't access iPlayer. I think we can confidently predict that people wouldn't by BT broadband.

From this, we can conclude that BBC provides the value, the ISP charge for access to it. They have nothing to sell without the BBC (and many others) providing valuable content to access.

If anyone should be paying - perhaps the ISP should be contributing towards the cost of producing programs that make people want to buy fancy broadband packages...

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter expose Google's 'evil'

Confused Vorlon

Twitter hypocracy

Twitter used to provide a tweet feed to Google who were happy to search the results.

Now they don't provide the data, and add noFollow links - which Google honours.

I imagine they'd be screaming a lot louder if Google was 'illegally scraping their site despite their explicit instructions'.

Google's Schmidt strikes Carrier IQ off Xmas card list

Confused Vorlon


political internet?

Apple probed by EC antitrust arm over ebooks market

Confused Vorlon

Net books agreement?

Hard to see how the net books agreement was not ok, but this would be judged ok.

It amounts to the same thing - a requirement that the price of the e-book is the same everywhere...

Zuckerberg submits privacy mea culpa after FTC ruling

Confused Vorlon
Thumb Down

they haven't taken it too seriously

I just checked my settings.

Instant personalisation shows a checkbox and tells me that I can un-check it to disable.

However it also states that instant personalisation isn't ready for me yet - so the box remains checked and I can't un-check it.

"we're going to enable this soon - bitch!"

HP unwraps Ultrabook

Confused Vorlon


Now we know why they bought Palm. It wasn't for WebOS (clearly) - it was all really to buy the Folio product name.

Airbus brews Scandium smackdown for carbon Dreamliner

Confused Vorlon

people prefer point to point - but won't pay much for it

there - have I answered your first question?

People are kinda stupid when assessing flights. Price comparison sites cause us to focus on the up-front price and encourage people to choose the cheapest.

Meanwhile, ask any punter who is actually waiting for their flight if they'd like to pay £30 to cut four hours off the journey, and they'll buy it faster than you can say 'priority boarding'. Sadly they didn't think of this when making their actual booking.

It's possible that the sites will start to steer people to 'better choices'; Opodo has started showing total journey time, and they could easily expand that concept by asking for my postcode, and estimating driving/parking time&cost in the whole thing (and suggesting where I might fly from on this basis rather than just asking me to specify at the outset)

Conclusion: if point to point costs about the same, it'll win. If it is much more expensive, it'll lose.

Union enraged by secret driverless Tube plan

Confused Vorlon

Jubilee only needs a driver because of the union

It's the exact same system that is used in driverless trains in France.

In the UK, the unions insisted that was dangerous (and presumably threatened to shut down the whole network), so the drivers sit in the front and control the door opening/closing.

OFT boss: 'Google is fantastic and should be applauded'

Confused Vorlon

Google sets the prices?

I thought they were set by auction, or has Google started selling advertising on a fixed price basis now?

Google SHOCK! Snaps up Motorola phone biz for $12.5bn

Confused Vorlon

They don't care about the hardware

Google isn't a hardware company. They probably don't have what it takes to become one, and they probably know it.

They bought Motorolla for the legal shield it gives through patents.

Likely next steps (after the acquisition finishes)

1) sell the hardware company - but keep hold of the patents

2) keep the hardware company at arms-length and demonstrate that they're getting no special favours

Palm had this problem when they owned the OS (which they were trying to license), and also manufactured their own hardware.

However when Sony (major licensee) wanted to do something different, they had to go to palm, get permission and get palm to build it into the OS.

The story is rather different here; Android partners can make their own changes to the code without worrying that their innovations will be leaked to Motorolla before release.

Ofcom report: Mobile operators feel the squeeze

Confused Vorlon

Facebook and Google provide the value - Operators profit nonetheless.

Let's get this the right way around.

Facebook and Google (et al) provide the value here. We only buy the data so we can access those services.

It seems entirely reasonable that they should only get a small portion of the revenue.

Try this thought experiment. The operators could easily offer a data plan which didn't allow access to facebook/youtube/google/iPlayer.

How much do you think people would pay for that?

Porn and pirates hide Android's money maker

Confused Vorlon

How can Google be so bad?

1) The desktop version of the app store doesn't have search!


you used to be able to page through all the apps, but I guess they removed that as it was embarrasing. Perhaps Bing can do an search feature for them?

2) Weak store availability


3) They expect the developer to get involved in the transactions as a merchant

-seriously, why do you send me an email that some user's credit card has failed

-why do 10-15% of purchases fail?

4) No way to make an app link which both links to the app in the store on a device AND does something useful if you click on it from a desktop browser

(I built a workaround system for this: http://and-download.hobbyistsoftware.com/ )

on the plus side, they do let you publish apps without having to wait a week for approval (or rejection)