* Posts by Keith Spencer

25 posts • joined 13 Jun 2007

YouTube and Netflix take on AirPlay, DIAL up the big-screen goodness

Keith Spencer
Paris Hilton

Re: Airplay does it how?

Airplay certainly seems to work pretty well but my experience is that it only works well with an Apple TV. I may be wrong but most Airplay devices take audio only and only the Apple TV does audio/video.

We're big fans of it in our house. I can beam pretty much anything from the wife's iPad or the phones and it does switch off the screen on the ipad so that you don't see two images.

I'm constantly surprised that Apple doesn't push it more publicly. It's an open format so Apple don't require any fee for implementation (that I can see, correct me if I'm wrong). Most iPhone owners seem unaware of it but I've found it very handy on numerous occasions. Simple and it works.

Oh and it does indeed need Wi-fi but there have been persistant suggestion that it was going to also start using Bluetooth in tandem to allow for more features/controls. No sign of that though. Never had any issue streaming to it. Buffers nicely so video doesn't hang (for locally stored content; external will depend on the broadband connection)

DIAL. Well that seems to be pretty poor. Requires the TV to load more software. can't see that working. I have Airplay and DNLA. No need for any more.

Apple, Microsoft reveal their Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Keith Spencer

Apple, Samsung and other design(!) patent cases

FFS I'm getting fed up with this. This is not about patenting a rectangle with round edges or the UI. It's about design and "look and feel". This is VERY common. And there's nothing wrong or unusual with design patents. One of the more entertaining cases relates to P&G sueing Reckitt Benckiser over their Air Wick canister design which they felt infringed their Fabreeze design. P&G had a design patent essentially for their can


P&G lost in the end even though to you an I they look pretty similar. And this is what this case boils down to. Is the Samsung design and UI a copy that might confuse a lay person and thus infringe the Apple design. There's nothing special here. If Kia launched a car that was astoundingly simialr to an Audi but with Kia badges we'd all understand why Audi might sue. In China this is a significant issue since Chinese companies like to copy western car designs and you see ridiculous Chinese "Rolls Royces" and the like. So what Apple are doign here is not unfair. No desire by Apple to stiffle innovation as the Microsoft Surface demonstrates. I reckon Samsung though they could get away with it and closely copy the Apple look and didn't expect it to escalate this far. Initially I thought Samsung would win but their legal team have been a bit ham fisted so i can see Apple winning this one.

Apple's HTML5 bet against Android extermination

Keith Spencer
Paris Hilton

Re: I don't understand

Nice one! You actually listened the 5by5 podcast which it seems many people here did not. The big point is that after Horace rebutted Cristensen's concerns, Clayton actually said that he agreed with Horace. The entire premise was that Apple is unusual in that it is happy to disruptively innovate against itself which is why it is totally unconcerned by iPad sales cannibalizing Mac sales. If they can keep that up it will be hard for them to be disrupted against. And there's no getting away fromt he fact that Apple views the customer as the people using the phone whereas for Android handset the phone maker views the teleco as the customer. Which explains why updates to old phones aren't rolled out unless you yourself are willing to jump through the hoops. If Clayton's "Jobs to Be Done" concept is right then that might actually cause Android a big problem... Paris cos she has yet to be disruptied

Apple snags blockbuster multi-touch patent

Keith Spencer
Paris Hilton

Honestly folks, you need to read up on how patents work. The have to be novel, use and inventive step and there has to be a reduction to practice step. Now, when this was filed (that's the important bit not whne it's published or granted) it was non-obvious that you could do this. The reason they refer to other patents is becasue they have to. You have to draw attention to any document that you think is relvant at the time fo filing. That doesn't mean they are prior art. It's up to the patent office to determine if they are. So In suspect Apple was very confident that these documents, while relevant, didnt contitute prior art. The other really really important part is reduction to practice. I can conceptually imagine a cure for breast cancer but I actually have to invent something that does that. So while the concept of multi-touch might have been described, nobody had a method of making it real. And real in this specific way. You can't really patent a concept and if you try to you'll get thrown out at Patent Office presecution stage or in court when it gets challenged. If somebody can come up with a different way of doing the same thing, they can get round the patent. A different display type would be enough. So this does screw a lot of other companies but there are ways round it. They just have to doa bit of work.

Google MORTIFIED by Mocality's 'scalped data' claims

Keith Spencer
Thumb Down


If you read the blog post you'll see that it was multiple Google people. First in Kenya and then on a much bigger scale from India. it's actually a lovely piece of detective work and Google will struggle to explain it away. Best to just let it go away. It's pretty clear that Google knew what it was doing and it was coordinated. Pretty clear that there was more than one bad apple. They've been busted, fair and square, and need to figure out how to get away from this. It does seem that Google is becoming increasingly grubby in in it's actions. Filthy lucre does that every time.

Apple gets patent for ‘unlock gesture’

Keith Spencer

AdamWill. Thanks. Somebody who clearly has read a few patents in his time. The trick here is the combination of touch screen, gesture and the movement of an icon. Whilst they may have existed independently it is non-obvious that the combination would work. The clue here is that nobody else has combinaed these three elements before. So whilst the prior art may be cited, the new patent is non-obvious because of the combination. Sure it all seems obvious now but when the patent was filed it hadn't been done. That's the other point people have missed. There is a considerable time lag between filing, publication and subsequent prosecution and granting. And in practice it's first to file that wins. USPTO have just changed to the rules such that it's first to file that wins not first to invent. The rest of the world tends to use first to file. So, Apple, have won this one. If you remember back to the iPhone launch Steve did refer, even then, to having lots of patents and that they'd defend them. Maybe Google shoudl have planned ahead a bit better......

Android grabs quarter of tablet market

Keith Spencer


Eh. Shipments versus sales. There is little chance that that many Android tablets have actually been sold as opposed to shipped from Samsung etc to a large warehouse outside Milton Keynes. There are very large warehouses full of them. Particularly those that were destined for Oz. This is total fantasy. On the basis on my daily commute on one of London's busiest train lines the only tablets out there are iPads and Kindle book readers. I have seen only two non-Applezon tablets in the wild in the last 3 months. Sure it may not be a perfect sample, but there's just no evidence that many people have acutally bought anything other than an iPad or a Kindle. This report is total guff

iPhone 4S: Our *hit list

Keith Spencer
IT Angle


Interesting. iMessage has been fine for me. Worked as advertised and has sent SMS when iMessage on my device or recipient was unavailable.

newstand. Yeah irritated that it can't be deleted or stuck in a folder. I've dumped it to the last page to get rid of it.

Siri. I think this will get better and better once it gets used more. That's what the NC datacentre is for afterall

iCloud. Was kinda expecting that. I've been with Apple for ages and experienced the pain of dotmac to MobileMe so I'm happy to wait before I move to iCloud thanks. Actually, in the end MobileMe worked really really well for me. iCloud seems much mroe inflexible and is a real problem if you have multiple AppleIDs writing to a single iTunes library. I'll wait til 2012 thanks.

iOS5 feels fine. Like it. But it needs some proper new hardware. I'll wait for iPhone5 or maybe check out Nexus Prime

Apple's US bid to ban Samsung tabs hinges on design

Keith Spencer

Yes. BMW, and VW have been gone after a number of chinese car manufacturers who have lanuched cars that are virtually identical except for the badges. This has become a major area especially since companies invest huge amounts in developing the design of their cars.

For Apple though the patent only really serves to protect their trademark design (they don't have to register it for it to be a trademark) and demonstrate that they had this design first and that it is specifically associated with their products.

So to be honest I think Samsung will lose this. They have infringed Apple's design on the basis of the published patent.

Palm: Pré to launch on 6 June

Keith Spencer
Jobs Horns

Lawyer Alert

Eh. So the Apple lawyers will be ready to pounce on the 7th then. Palm better have absolutely solid IP on this one itherwise Apple will drive them out of business I fancy. Looks good from an interface point of view. Phone itself is OK, just not as pretty as the jaysus phone. Good lukc Palm. You'll need it!

Vodafone prices up first touchscreen BlackBerry

Keith Spencer
Jobs Horns

Please daddy

"Please daddy, I so want to be a sexy as an iPhone. Please please please. I'll even give that Vodaphone woman a hand Mr Job.s" "No! all the sexiness is mine" screamed Evil Steve as he counted all his cash. Equivalents.

New Scientist goes innumerate in 'save the planet' special

Keith Spencer


WTF. Actually, the world resources are closer to infinite than you think. Currently, we are not using a significant proportion of the world's resources. We're not even close. From a mass balance point of view the total quantity of each element on the planet has remained pretty much constant over the last couple of billion years. What's really being talked about here is that we're taking a material, pumping in energy, and converting it to something we consider to be more useful. The mass goes nowhere, it's still all here on planet earth. All that happens is we shuffle around some chemical bonds. The ONLY resource that is being used is energy but even that's not really a problem; it's still available in quantities we don't even get close to using. Currently most of the energy we use is in the form of energy stored that originally came from the sun. That is being depleted but the amount of energy that hits the surface of the earth every day is massive and we don't really significantly use it. Why is this important? If we could actually capture any reasonable amount of the suns energy or use something like a fusion reaction then energy would cease to have significant value. And at that point we can simply drive chemical reactions backwards and turn all that water and CO2 back into complex organic molecules that we do find useful. It's actually pretty easy (for example syn gas) but the issue is energy. So actually the BIG problem is not finite resources but our ability to capture enough energy to fully and repeatedly exploit the resources that are there. Trust me, there's a lot of carbon out there that isn't being used (carbonate rocks for example). So perhaps it is more accurate to say that there are finite resources that we can currently access. And that will change as it always has done.

Media standard backers attempt Apple-less solo run

Keith Spencer
Paris Hilton

More Format Wars?

Eh. This seems like one last desperate bid for Microsoft to push whatever format it currently fancies at the expense of any other non-Mircosoft format. Like in the good old days where they tried to kill the Quicktime format, or more recently the whole WMA fiasco. Chaps. Apple own this sphere. iTunes won. Leave it. There will be plenty more formats battles to be fought and won but this one you lost. Get over it. I have to wonder if Mircrosoft learnt anything from HD-DVD. People don't like format wars. We like our iPods and mp3 players. Jesus, I'm beginning to think that H.264 isn't so bad. No more format wars. FFS.

Paris. Cos she's got form at. Doing stuff

Apple unsheathes Jesus Phone 2.1

Keith Spencer

Works for me

Eh. It's still amusing that so many people get so worked up by the iPhone. To be honest it's not perfect but it's still the best phone I've ever had. 2.1 seems to do what it says on the tin. All in all I'm still quite smitten with it. It's a phone, it's an iPod. That's all I want.

Microsoft Silverlight: 10 reasons to love it, 10 reasons to hate it

Keith Spencer
Jobs Halo


The ITV website uses Silverlight and I had to install it to make some crappy video work. Except it didn't. Crashed repeatedly and was generally pants. So I can definitely second that Silverlight is pish on the mac. Flash is better but the bar has been set quite low. It's rather depressing. I too am also miffed that there's no Flash on my Jesus Phone. Very annoying when I want to watch more glorious GB victories on the Beeb.

Apple is sorry (again) over MobileMe

Keith Spencer
Paris Hilton


Normally I'm very happy with the vast majority of mac stuff I buy. However, Mobile Me is pants, or at least some of it is. Sync is, quite frankly, a load of steaming poo. Contacts on the cloud get push to my iPhone no problem. Really nice. But. Trying to push that back to both my macs simply doesn't function. At all. And it seems that is is a bug that's been around since day one. This is probably one of the most important features; the exchange concept. Except none of my computers except the iphone are in sync. Oh well. Maybe I'll keep my stuff on ther server and pray that they back it up.... Paris. For no reason.

Apple iPhone 3G

Keith Spencer
Jobs Halo

Oh the joy

Having previously owned numerous nokias and sonys and one truly dreadful motorola all i can say is that so far this is easily the best phone I've ever owned. It works perfectly for me. I've never used MMS, so that's an argument that's irrelevant for me. Mobile Me worked straight away with no hitches. The surfing is superb although the lack of flash support annoys at times. Call quality is excellent and as expected the ipod is spot on. I have a proper camera and video camera so the iphone spec is fine too. I'd prefer a proper camera every time. It's very easily to nitpick specific features it lacks but if you don't need them who cares? As an overall package, in terms of usability, design and features there is no better phone. It's a joy to use. Happy boy here. One more point. If the iphone was so very crap why would there be this rush of copycat phones with touch screens. It's because Apple have innovated in terms of user interface. Again. I tried a Smasung touch phone and to be honest it was great, but then the iphone's interface makes it look clunky. Multitouch really is superb and the rendering near enough perfect. I'm sure Nokia et al will catch up and maybe make a better phone, but that's only because Apple have compelled them to. We should all be quite thankful that even if the iphone is not for you somebody will make a better phone that works for you. What's to complain about. Right I'm off to caress my iphone.

MoD: We lost 87 classified USB sticks since 2003

Keith Spencer


They never seem to lose my tax bill. Which is odd.

Research: Wind power pricier, emits more CO2 than thought

Keith Spencer

Time Taken To Supply

Eh Paul. I'm afraid you are wrong. Cockenzie Power Station near Edinburgh can start supplying the grid from a standing start in less than 2 hours. In fact most coal fired stations can be on load within 3-5hrs depending on the kit and the size of the turbine. Gas turbines in actual fact a little quicker. Whilst the gas turbine itself is pretty fast the secondary turbine attached to the boiler (heated by the turbine exhaust) works in the same way as a coal fired station turbine (steam driven) so is still quite slow.

This article is in fact pretty damn good because it highlights the fallacy of the renewable argument. Reality is much more complicated and whilst we can use wind etc the baseload will be supplied by something else; my current favs are nukes and clean coal. Longer term favs would be fusion but I suspect I'll be long gone by the time that appears. Wind is only going to be a suppliment. I wish it could be different but the experience of the Danish (30% power availbility) suggests otherwise.

Oxford tops Blighty university rankings

Keith Spencer


You are indeed alone. So sad that you've left the Dark Side.

Keith Spencer


Typical Tab! Still bitter at being second in the Boat Race. Don't panic though, we do like the Backs and wish we had them in Oxford. Well kinda. Disclosure: Graduate at Oxford (Undergrad a No5) so biased as they come. And soooooo not posh. Mummy told me so.

The 'green' car tax grabs that don't add up

Keith Spencer

First Capital C**kup!

To those who post that public transport in this country is crap I have to absolutely agree. I use the old Thameslink line, now called First Capital Connect (FCC; not hard to think up jokes there!) and to say that it is dreadful is something of an understatement. When Nu Labour came to power we were promised a transport plan.... Well on my experience so far what this actually involves is the government signing a waiver for the companies to stuff every single passenger for as much money as possible for the poorest service possible. Screewing up off-peak fares, removing "free" cash machine, at least 20 different train colour schemes and even filthier trains, the removal of free buses from the station to the airport, the introduction of a more "transparent" refund scheme that involves lots of forms and voucher, and so on and so on. Truly shite. So when Broon and co go on about being green and convincing people to get out of their cars I am in the position of thinkign that the car looks much much much better. Having just come back from Switzerland and witnessed their fabulous public transport network (buses that WAIT for trains!) that's far far cheaper (in Switzerland for God's sake!) I have to say that it is absolutely clear that car and fuel tax is about tax and nothing else. There is NO investment in public transport. There is no desire to reduce our energy consumption. Hasn't been any for decades. It's a con. It's a con. It's a con. Maybe I shoudl just go back to bed...

Keith Spencer

It's the energy gap....stupid

Peter Gathercole

I think you are to some extent correct. There is a natural bias in science (I am a scientists and there are numerous fads that come and go) where science gravitates towards the funding. And much of the climate change science field work at places named "the such and such institute of climate change". It's pretty natural to expect that they aren't going to go look for data that might burst their bubble, conciously or not. But in general I'd say that the work is pretty good although I suspect that there will be some pretty serious revisions to the area in the coming years as we learn more and maybe things will settle down a little. So you're half right Peter.

Overall though it seem that people have missed the point of this article. We are fundamentally missing the big issue here. CO2 from cars emission are pretty much irrelevant. The big issue is energy (the energy cost to refine oil is huge for example) and this us where we have to concentrate our efforts, not pathetic little scams from the brainless blonde. It's worth pointing out that the CO2 efficiency of many trains is pretty awful so public transport isn't somehow wonderful (I use it every day and man is it piss poor) from a CO2 point of view. It's energy, though, that the killer. We've got to work harder on that. A good balance of renewable, nuclear etc and longer term the hope of fusion. So this article actually, whilst rather dry, does illuminate the fallacy of current tax policy when it comes to climate change.

Right I'm off to get into my massively fast 3.0l sports car and burn some carbon.

Burned by a MacBook

Keith Spencer

Consumer Reports

This is such an odd story really. I'm afraid the poor girl just seems to be bitter and wants to shout so that everybody hears. As everybody knows, Apple have come top in customer service and reliability polls conducted by well respective consumers groups such as Consumer Reports. However, they still have failure rates of about 10% on their machines which is pretty high really compared to other consumer products. The reality is that the computers we use are the most complicated items in our homes by a considerable margin. It should come as no surprise that they should fail every so often. This woman has had one of those failures. Stats are always crappy or wrong when you are on the wrong side of the number; just ask those unfortunate enough to get struck by lightning. I have this strong feeling that this woman is just simply angry since, as an IT professional, she should have known that backing up her data was important. And yet she failed to do so and wants to find somebody to blame. Human nature folks and not much to do with Apple. Nice upgrade though.

Apple's Safari lacks bold vision

Keith Spencer

Its the beta stupid

Wow! This thing is a beta and people are all over it like it's an actual product. Whilst this is the worst beta I've seen from Apple in a while, it IS still just a beta. They've even got a nice little submit bug feature so they are at least expecting problems. They KNOW there are bugs folks.. People do seem to make the assumption that since Apple normally delivers great betas (Bootcamp for example) that it always does. Curiously enough most of the problems are on Windows machines. I've been running it on OS X since it's release without a problem although there are a couple of new features I dislike. But hey. It's a Beta. Get over it!


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