* Posts by NorthernSands

27 posts • joined 12 Jan 2011

Wearables are now a two-horse race and Google lost very badly


Re: Why is Garmin

A little bit of FUD going on here. Yes, there are some people who are reporting ANT+ drop outs and some other problems, but not enough to warrant your comments. I have an F5, which I use for running (HRM and footpod) and cycling (cadence, speed, HRM and power when on the turbo) and I've not had any dropouts nor dodgy GPS. The wife's F5S also does not suffer.

Having said that, anecdotal evidence suggests there are more problems with the Saphire versions than normal (and Garmin appear to be updating the chip / antennae for WiFi and ANT+).

UltraViolet: Hollywood's giant digital gamble is here


It all sounds great, but...

It all sounds great, but there must be a catch (call me cynical), and I'm disappointed that this article hasn't raised any questions about it.

Anything with DRM means it takes time to be adopted by various platforms, and a download with DRM will have numerous restrictions as to what you can do with it.

What's the quality of the download?

Will a DVD UV cloud copy be the same quality as a Blu-Ray purchased one?

Will there be regional restrictions (buy in the UK, can't watch in the Middle East)?

Will UV require software programmers to pay for a licence for the DRM system (who will pass the cost on to us)?

Will a UV film cost more than a non-UV film?

What quality will this 'lifetime licence' be (sound, resolution etc)? What about in 10 years time when we might have 4K films? I'm sure the film industry is making a reasonable amount of cash because we 'upgrade' from DVD to Blu-Ray; are they really going to pass up on the revenue at the next update? If they will provide 'free' upgrades, can you really see the studios bothering to update older films if there's no money in it?

It's a good direction to go in, but too many unknowns about the future mean people might be hesitant to pay extra for it (if UV is more expensive). If they marketed it as cloud storage for your films, then they might make more headway.

Anyway, we shall see.

What should a sci-fi spaceship REALLY look like?


I'm not so sure

I find the lack of sound effects works very well in both the new BattleStar Galactica and Firefly.



...And the radio version to the books! ;-)

Too rude for the road: DVLA hot list of banned numberplates



I always wanted P155 OFF. I guess that's in the list somewhere. :-(

Google+ succumbs to Facebook game envy

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Easy to ignore...?

The thing that interests me is this:

"If you’re not interested in games, it’s easy to ignore them. Your stream will remain focused on conversations with the people you care about". Quote from Google.

I'm fed up with my Facebook 'stream' being filled up with game updates from my 'friends'. I have less than 100 'friends' yet it's very difficult to see the wood for the trees. I'm really not interested in what animal needs feeding, which gang needs help or what neighbour has just grown a field of corn; I just want to know what REAL LIFE stuff the people I know are up to. If I were interested in these games, then I might want to know what my 'friends' are up to in them, but I'm not, so it looks like Google may be on to something here [with its granularity].

I actually like Google plus a lot. It's far better than Facebook. I do have a couple of problems with it though:

1) It's invitation only for now.

2) You can't have a Google profile with a Google Apps account (which means no Google plus). I have to use a regular Google account, which is really annoying.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo bow to Apple sales edict


Huh? You serious?

@Scott: "i don't see the big deal": Then you are very short sighted! You appear to be exactly the kind of person that Apple want to buy their products; an absolute simpleton with one's head buried in the sand!

30% is a HUGE amount to take off the cost of something so competitive as an ebook. Please don't forget that, in the UK, ebooks are subject to VAT (at 20%) whereas physical books are not, yet they have to remain competitive. Do you honestly expect them to remain competitive when you've taken off half the price?

Don't you think that the pricing model was carefully worked out at Amazon and Barnes & Noble etc to determine exactly what they can charge for an ebook? Do you honestly think they factored in a 30% loss? Are you really that naive? It's not like they knew this was coming, Apple moved the goal posts.

Who would you complain to if the ebook sellers took the other route and charged ~43% EXTRA for the ebooks if bought via the iThingy app? Apple? I'm thinking not by your existing comments. Don't you think Amazon et al are doing you a favour by JUST removing the links to their stores rather than charging ~43% extra (which is exactly what I think they should be doing)? Or would you rather they pulled out altogether and left you without your books?

What if all methods of distribution (other than direct website sales) wanted a 30% cut? Do you think that's sustainable? It isn't, it would push the sale of ebooks to a niche market and that would put prices up considerably. Or do you think Apple are different? Just like those ignorant people who park in disabled parking spaces when they're just being lazy and use the lame argument that "it's just me". What if everyone parked in those spaces?

Everyone that uses an iDevice and ebooks from the these sellers should count themselves LUCKY that all they have done is remove the link! Jeez, some people!

Oz lawmakers mull Facebook parental snoop rules


I agree with the parental access...

There are too many incidents of bullying amongst school children going on via social networks. I think it's a great idea that parents have automatic access to their child's account[s]. How it's done I can't say. At the moment it's far too easy for a child to have one account that their parents have access to and to also have a second, third, or fourth account that they don't.

Bullying used to be quite open (eg on the playground), or very private (eg letters or notes left in certain places). Now it's potentially anonymous, or even by proxy (eg 'hack' into someone's Facebook account and post on a 3rd party's wall).

It's extremely difficult for parent to combat this and I personally feel that the companies that run social network sites need to address these issues. But of course they won't without being forced, so I say "Yes" to this idea from down under.

There are ways it could be achieved without giving Facebook (or Google, or whomever) access to our drivers licence or whatever. We just need one central authenticating service that has verified who we are that then hooks into the various websites. It's not rocket-science, just a shift in thinking and probably quite expensive. But at the end of the day; who do we trust to run the central authentication service? I think it's not a case of if, but when...

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s 14in Core i5 laptop


Er, just no.

Sorry but I have to disagree. I've extensively used several models of Thinkpad, from 486s to the T410s. My own laptop is a 14" T60p with a 1400x1050 res screen. I've also used numerous Mac Books; Pros & Airs, PowerPC & Intel. I couldn't agree less with your statement. Don't get me wrong, Mac Books are well made, and they have some nice features (the magnetic power plug is awesome), but better build quality than a Thinkpad? No. And don't even get me started on the keyboards they fit to Macs. Ugh!

One may argue that the aesthetics and the nipple mouse are 'each to their own', but you can't argue with the build quality of Thinkpads (except the 570E, that was a tad flimsy), including the ability to easily take them apart and upgrade them. But if you use Macs then you won't know what I'm talking about. There's nothing in a Thinkpad I've not replaced at some point or another.

But it's a pointless argument; Thinkpads and Mac Books are aimed at completely different markets, and I'm a Thinkpad person.

Well, except the fact that Lenovo have no back-bone to stand up to the panel makers and demand 4x3, or even 16x10, high res screens. Gone are the glory days of a Thinkpad with a 12" or 14" screen and a res of 1400x1050. Very sad indeed and I rue the day I have to replace my T60p. :-(

Apple seeks patent for keyboard that sucks


And maybe not...

I'm all for advances in technology, where-ever it may be found. Maybe this will come of age sometime, but if it's designed for low-profile devices, that tends to indicate low-power devices too. Won't this require more power?

Regardless, I find the tactile feedback of a Thinkpad keyboard perfectly adequate, and much better than most desktop keyboards.

Apple sues Samsung over Galaxy look-and-feel


18 days late

I think you'll find you're 18 days late with this news item.

Or at least I hope you are! This is one of the most ridiculous law suits I've heard of in a while (since some daft bint in the US sued an RV company). How far will they go with this stupidity? Do they specify the exact radius limits that they will sue over?

I never thought I'd worry about Apple's smartphone / tablet market-share in the face of the opposition, not for a good few years anyway, but if they honestly believe this is how they are going to beat the competition, rather than simply having a great / better product, then perhaps we should all be worried.

Yes, the Iphone4 and the Galaxy phone do share a resemblance, but if I had any sort of Apple product I would be hanging my head in shame. And if Samsung capitulate, being an owner of some of their products, I will hang my head in shame.

Can Bing ride IE and WinPho to Google triumph?


The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

You raise an interesting point: perhaps, instead of having a 'desktop' and a 'mobile' version of a website, we should have something that scales far better across all sizes of view-port. Those with ultra res' screens perhaps deserve something that makes the most of their screen real-estate, rather than having a narrow strip of web page down the middle. http://www.nytimes.com/chrome/ seems to work quite well on this front.

As it is, though, most websites are designed for a 'lowest common denominator', which used to be 800 pixels wide, but now appears to be 1024. This width is very usable on modern smart phones, not to mention tablets with >= 1024 pixel width.

The only downside at the moment is not the view, rather the interaction with sites. Hover is used extensively on some sites, which doesn't always work well on a touch interface. But I'm sure that'll change as more sites adapt.

My problem with 'mobile' versions of sites is that they were designed for the small screen WAP days. A lot of them look plain awful now, on these modern devices. The mobile BBC site isn't too bad, but igoogle is pretty dreadful.


Just a mobile 'desktop' to me...

Maybe it's just me, but when I want to search for something on t'interweb, when using my mobile device, I fire up my browser and use the 'desktop' version of Google (iGoogle even).

As mobile devices get faster, with higher resolution screens, I can see more and more people using the 'desktop' versions of websites, not the mobile version. So, we'll just be recreating the desktop experience in our hands and we'll use whatever we use on our desktop (in my case Google).

I've always been perplexed by everyone saying that the mobile space is 'ripe for the picking', as it were. I can't see it, am I missing something?

Microsoft+IE9: Holier than Apple open web convert?


But where would we be if...

I do wonder, with fustration, where the web would be now if MS hadn't effectively killed off the use of advanced web standards with it's apalling IE6 browser. I remember writing test sites with, then current, XHTML and CSS and have it work fine in Firefox, Opera and, wierdly, IE5 for the Mac (far better standards support), but failing miserably on IE6. To make advanced sites developers had to plump for IE6, non-standard coding or, to make it cross-platform, JavaScript. Such a pity when [X]HTML + CSS could do the same thing, and more, a whole lot better.

How can I trust an MS browser now?

Microsoft says 'sorry' after Japan quake marketing gaffe


I've donated more!

I've donated much more than Microsoft...

...if we take the 'amount' to be a % of the respective total value of each of us.

Google undercuts Apple in publisher revenues dash


This is what worries me...

Your point is something I've been thinking about; if content providers have to increase charges to cover the 30% apple app store subscription charge, they will have to increase costs for their web-based methods of subscribing as well. Thus penalising anyone who wants to subscribe, idevice or not.

How much do these content providers want the ios demographic? Will they hike prices by up to 30% at the risk of losing subscribers not on an idevice (and possibly a fair amount who are)? Or will they keep prices the same, make a loss on each iapp subscription and try to make money elsewhere? Increase ad charges / increase the number of ads? Reduce the content?

Maybe there's a loop hole that the content providers can use. 30% instant rebate if bought on-line? Buy from our website and use this special offer code?

Steve Jobs unveils 30% subs model for ... everything


Kindle might be OK...

Kindle might be OK. You don't browse for books to buy 'in app'; there's just a link to the Amazon site (Kindle books section). Instead of calling it the Kindle Store in the app, they call it a link to their website. A subtle difference, but different, none the less. Apple would have to ban all web links to stop that.

If Apple do insist the Kindle app comes under their new policy, then goodbye Kindle app, I should image. Remember Amazon do have a browser based reader in the works, however...

Overall, I think it's a stupid idea. As an option for small dev's with no existing infrastructure, fine (but 30% is high), but for vendors whoem already have a system, that they'd still have to fund, utterly ridiculous!

In defence of Comic Sans


Completely overused

I have, this very hour, received a work e-mail with attached Word doc explaining the absence from work policy. It's three pages of size 12 Comic Sans, complete with bold and underlined headers along with CAPS and in-line bold sections. It's almost painful to read. It is everything that is wrong with how the font is used.

It's completely overused, to the point of harming itself. If it had only ever been used where it was appropriate, then we wouldn't have websites like 'BanComicSans' and the world would be a better place.

I am on a personal crusade in my workplace to have ComicSans removed as the default font. Wish me luck!

Philips 21:9 Cinema 58in LED backlit TV

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You can, but...

There are some films out there that are in a wider format than 16x9. The Lord of the Rings trilogy comes to mind. Except they aren't really wider, they're still 1920 pixels wide, and 1080 pixels high (if HD), it's just that a few of those horizontal pixels, at the top and bottom of the picture, are black.

So, as has already been mentioned, even these films that are 'wider' than 16x9 will still be stretched to fill this display and therefore will be of a lower quality than a proper 16x9, 1080p TV (assuming all things other than resolution are being equal).

In other words; you're correct.

Ubuntu - yes, Ubuntu - poised for mobile melee


I am aware...

I am aware, AC, that Google has it's Marketplace. I am also aware that Google is not allowing access to said Marketplace from most tablets (not just certain apps, the whole thing!), hence the need for each manufacturer to produce their own app store, as they are doing.

Ergo my original point stands, unless Google opens up the store to tablets, and thus uses it's ability to filter apps based on screen size, SIM card country of origin, version of Android etc...


True, but...

You may have access to all the standard stuff, but not all the standard stuff will work well on a tablet nor netbook. One of the reasons that the iphone, ipad and Android phones have done well is the eco-system; everything installable just works as it should on a touch screen and fits in with the OS.

The standard set of stuff out there in repositories is for Linux on the desktop, not a tablet.

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This could have legs...

If executed correctly, I can see this having a future, especially in netbooks / tablets. The problem that faces Android on tablets is the lack of a Google app store. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if all the manufacturers of the new wave of tablets clubbed together to create a new store just for Android tablets (or an open app store to cover phones as well), but it isn't happening; they are all rolling their own.

We also have these cheap tablets, with Android, being hurled at us by the Chinese et al. The problem with these is also a lack of an app store (amongst other things), but they don't have the financial / market grunt to make a good one for themselves. They also don't follow through with regular updates and so on.

If Canonical / Ubuntu can Swiss-cheese a few things together to solve these problems, then they could have a winner. They'll need a common app store, a handful of Chinese manufacturers on-board, a decent minimum hardware spec, a centralised software update service, a decent UI (which Unity could be) and a good selection of core apps (browser, e-mail etc). If they could also persuade a couple of the bigger manufacturers to have go too, well...

W3C tackles HTML5 confusion with, um, more confusion

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HTML5 T-Shirt...



You what?

What a ridiculous thing to go and do! Where as we currently have logos for our websites that indicate a strict compliance to XHTML, CSS, or whatever, and a click-through to verify that, we're now going to get a logo that looks as though it was designed by some two-bit, half baked security outfit that's going to mean absolutely nothing!

Now, it might have been a good idea to develop a logo and certification program that meant a website was using a sub-set of a fixed group of web-technology (and nothing else). A logo that the browsers companies could display to denote that they support ALL of the fixed group of web-tech. They could have really gone to town and had variants to denote different versions of an available site, e.g. a mobile version, or accessible version that works well with screen readers or would reflow nicely with larger fonts. You know; something useful!

Looks like common sense and joined up thinking have left the building with regards to HTML5.

Adobe (finally) makes it easier to delete Flash cookies


Apple may be on board...

The thread you linked to (already approved for Firefox) has e-mails coming to / from the following domains:





So Apple are certainly involved in some form or another (but this doesn't, obviously, say whether anything related will show up in Safari)..

Microsoft disputes Apple's 'App Store' trademark


Hoover and Xerox

Xerox very nearly did lose their trademark because it became a popular phrase to describe photo-copying: "to xerox something".

Having said that, Hoover and Xerox are hardly generic words / terms (they became generic through use), where as App Store, it could be argued, started off using a generic phrase, and is being used more and more as a generic term (I suspect by the media and Mr Jobs himself, more than the end user).

I think it's correct to challenge the trademark. If MS can keep "Microsoft Windows" (which I personally disagree with), then Apple should have "Apple App Store". But not just "Windows" nor just "App Store".

Gates Halo

Pot, kettle, black?

I agree that 'App store' is a tad generic, but is it as generic as 'Windows'?

I think not...


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