* Posts by fuzzie

276 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Feb 2012


Ten years ago Microsoft bought Nokia's phone unit – then killed it as a tax write-off


Re: "The... Maemo operating system failed to take off"

Maemo/Meego also suffered from the "partnership" with Intel. Intel got involved, because they wanted desperately to get into the mobile platform market.

At the time, Texas Instruments, owned most of the non-bottom of the market with their OMAP platform/SoC. Those were the days when Intel wanted to get x86 mobile to complete with ever-growing ARM.

Aside: if I understand correctly, OMAP was created for Nokia by TI, because Nokia needed a standard, more integrated platform for cheaper and more reliable phones and to more easily spin out new design at multiple price/performance points.

So Intel and Nokia parted ways and Maemo become MeeGo. And, in the fullness of time, of the grudge release of the Noke N9, MeeGo went open source and SailishOS grew from the ashes of that.

Maemo/MeeGo, apart from a much more modern gesture-based UI, also addressed the painful C++-ish programming model Symbian had.

Nokia had bought Trolltech to get Qt and, under Nokia's stewardship QML came to be. A lot of the mode moden Symbian apps were written with Qt/QML. There was even a Python runtime. Qt/QML was the preferred development programming environment for both modern Symbian and the Maemo/MeeGo/SailfishOS (and even for Ubuntu Touch with Mir/Unity and KDE). So there definitely was a software development path forward from Symbian.

Aside: Symbian Anna/Belle got pretty close to the then-current Android experience and might have been able to tide them over during the switch to Maemon/MeeGo. Save for Elop's "Burning Platform" memo which essentially Osborne'd there entire product line

Aside: Symbian was also (successfully) kept out of the US market by the mobile operators. They crapped themselves when they realised Symbian supported VoIP natively. That could cannibalise their voice revenue streams. It also supported Bluetooth tethering which allowed customers to use their phones as mobile data gateways. Wifi hotspots became the stock workaround for that operator block.


Re: Software updates

Firmware updates wasn't non-existent, just rarer. Even my old Siemens (remember when they still made phone) could be updated, though it was over a serial cable.

Most people just seldom updated, because the Internet wasn't as universal as it is today. Also, I imagine even the idea of having/wanting to update a phone was pretty foreign to non-tech people.

Often you could get firmware updates by going to your mobile provider and they'd do it for you.

Granted, with Symbian, the updates often had to go via the mobile operator, because they often specced the feature set and if they couldn't be bothered, you'd be stuffed. Exactly the same happened with Android until Google started doing the operator run-around by moving more and more things into Google Play Services.

Mozilla CEO quits, pushes pivot to data privacy champion... but what about Firefox?


Re: Some Gaps

You can be a happy and productive Firefox user without ever running into the above. Even the developer tools inside every Firefox are likely seldom used by the average browser user.

The gaps are not about Firefox, the browser, but prevents Firefox/Servo/Spidermonkey/etc, i.e. Mozilla's technologies, from participating in the larger eco system built around browser technologies. It's behind-the-scenes, below-the-water-line stuff mostly and support all sort of developers. Without Firefox/Mozilla tech, the default (often only option) is Chrome. It's become entrenched, cfip. Electron which is the "Chrome run-time". Slack and VSCode are both Electron. It further cements Chrome's rendering engine and the V8 JavaScript engine as _standards_.

Having Firefox be a first class platform for developers is really just about JavaScript in the browser, It's about the development tools connecting to the browser's debug and tracing APIs, code hot reload code and more. Chrome has that solidly sown up and one cannot substitute Firefox for that. It means the developers use Chrome and take it as the gospel standard.

The Firefox browser should be a flagship/demo implementation of Mozilla web technologies, not the one and only use case.


Some Gaps

Despite everyone's preferences and feelings about hamburger menu and UI _refreshes_, I believe there are few items where Mozilla dropped the ball and which both prevent Firefox from being a complete offering and also forces users to at least dabble in Chrome

* JavaSctipt/node.js: It's incredibly tightly bound with Chrome. Firefox has no answer for the hot reloading, run-time inspection and debugging that comes with. Regardless of what one might think of node.js, it's a large part of the developer ecosystem and Firefox doesn't even have a foot close to the door, despite it's great in-browser development tools.

* Servo: I'm glad to see they're considering resurrecting that. Firefox desperately need an embeddabble version.Ideally to the point where Gecko/Servo can be drop-in replacements for the Chrome Embedded Framework, i..e the think that drives all those Electron apps. Or for Gecko/Servo to be an alternative _browser tech_ implementation for Qt

* WebRunner/PWA: Others have called this out. It's not a huge thing, but another one of those _small_ quality of life things

The above aren't necessarily likely to convert people to Firefox, but at least stop people from having to use Chrome for entire categories of tasks and then not bothering to go back to Firefox, because who wants to use two browsers?

Web devs fear Apple's iOS shakeup for Europe will be a nightmare for support


Re: Safari Is An Albatross Around The Necks Of Web Developers

From on perspective Safari is the new IE6. It's the laggard unloved browser everyone "has" to support to be universal.

On the other side we have Chrome which everyone has to support because it's the new IE6, because Google mandates it on Android. Two "monopolies" and I'd also hate to just swap one for another. One could imagine this to be a gap for Gecko/Firefox/etc to get a toe in the door, but the realistic result is that people are likely to the same browser on iOS as they are using on their desktop/laptop. If for no other reason than automatic account syncing and/or familiarity

Since iPadOS is left out of this discussion, that might also mean people won't bother switching from Safari, because it would break their one-stop-account save/sync. Which is often how Apple maintains their walled gardens. They make the experience of stepping outside it, even slightly, hugely unpleasant. I suspect we're going to see a similar passive aggressive/sulking/half-hearted implementation of RCS when it arrives.


Re: Safari Is An Albatross Around The Necks Of Web Developers

You're right. It's an alternative implementation of web standards and we need a few of those to keep the standards useful and practical.

In theory it's competition. Practically not, because it is the sole implementation allowed on iOS. So iOS users cannot "vote" for/against it, because they're not allowed alternatives. At least on OS X it has competition and I'd venture there it's been solidly "outvoted".

Google to bring India’s Unified Payments Interface to the world

Big Brother

X Envy?

Is this Google feeling like it's being left out of the payments gold rush?

There are

* X claiming it's going to become the fintech for all

* Meta's aborted Diem attempt, yet MarketPlace and Facebook Pay

* WhatsApp elbowing into b2c and wanting to (also) become WeChat for the West

Great for UPI, but it seems like a bad idea to try shoehorn one solution across the globe. Though, to be honest, that didn't stop Google doing that with RCS. Several countries already have very successful digital payment platforms. Or is this another opportunity for Google to get their eyes on all the payment meta data flying about, giving them a high resolution picture of all Joe and Jane Bloggs' financial and commercial activity.

Microsoft pulls the plug on WordPad, the world's least favorite text editor


While it's default Rich Text format wasn't all that useful, it did allow one to do basic mark-up-ish style text formatting without going way more exotic.

It had one killer feature that Notepad didn't have: It could properly deal with UNIX, i.e. LF-only line endings. And preserve it through loading and saving. That saved my bacon a few times when I had to edit config files, especially for Unix/Linux command/tools/utilities ported to Windows. I believe it could also handle much larger files (>64KiB?) than Notepad without groaning or falling over.

'Recession-resilient' Tesla misses Q3 expectations, slows Mexico expansion


Re: interest, shminterest

I have a split opinion on this. I'm pondering whether we're actually heading for a world where people stop caring as much about cars as to-be-owned. ICE vehicles have a certain visceral quality to them that appeal to out primal/mechanical natures. EV's are much more "civilised", quieter and less ostentatious. Does that mean people are less likely to want to own and just fall back to their pure functional uitlity and change to a pat-per-use model, i.e. ZipCar, e-hauling, weekend rental or Robotaxis?

Has anyone seen stats on how many first-mover Tesla buyers became second buyers, i.e. did those first generation buyers replace their cars with a newer version of the same? Did they upgrade/crossgrade/downgrade to a newer/different, also Tesla, model? What happened/is happening to Teslas in the aftersales market? Is there demand or has Tesla ended up in the Apple space, i.e. it's an aspirational/brand product and everyone who wants one, now already had one. And other people aren't interested in secondhand/hand-me-down ones, because secondhand doesn't have the same cache?

Software updates will only get you so far when, after a few years, iffy build quality results in rattles, shakes and leaks.


Re: interest, shminterest

Indeed... even the established big ones like Volkswagen might fall to the shear scale of BYD and others. BYD has been doing EV for yonks in China with their multiple Gigafactories and building public transport products like buses. Their passenger vehicle market is new-ish to them, but they have the tech down pat and they can come in at very decent (stock) trim, feature and quality levels. And given their sheer size and production capacity, deliver that product significantly cheaper.

As some EV reviewers asked "Is BYD going to be the Vokswagen (People's Car) of the EV age?"

Red Hat retires mailing list, leaving Linux loyalists to read between the lines


Re: Efficiency

Same as the issue I have with companies which stop sending out monthly/quarterly/etc statements and expect you to do download it from their web site. While this might be fun for the one or two exceptions, I really don't want to spend the end of every month hopping around umpteen site downloading PDFs. And, then I have to put them somewhere. Now I also have to have some additional storage, because some of those I need to keep for legal/tax/etc purposes. And I need them for like ten year and I have no guarantee the provider/site will exist then. Or, shock and horror, I have email rules to automatically file/archive/forward/process/etc them. All while I sleep. None of that's possible when every Tom, Dick and Harry believe their WebUI is their one special gift to humankind.

PS: I'm not even mentioning the copious tracking typically employed by said sites.

GNOME 45 formalizes extensions module system


To be honest, my reading is that GNOME is very much modelling themselves as the FLOSS implementation of MacOS. They've "justified" a bunch of unpopular decisions by saying "But Apple already did this" which is not winning them any/more friends, cf. client-side decoration, sub-pixel anti-aliasing, and more.


Re: Perhaps GNOME could...

The following, coincidentally nearly all the "Frippery" ones, will get you pretty darn close

> https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/13/applications-menu/

> https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/4/panel-favorites/

> https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/2/move-clock/

> https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/3/bottom-panel/

> https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/14/shut-down-menu/

Also throw in these, just because they're awesome

> https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/906/sound-output-device-chooser/

> https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/120/system-monitor/

Today's old folks set to smash through longevity records


That's why a lot of research is refocusing on what they call "Healthspan", not "Lifespan", i.e. extending the period of healthy life. Several surveys have confirmed that people aren't too fussed specially with living (much) longer, but they'd rather be healthier, active and alert during the time they do have,

So researchers surmised that keeping people alive when they're in bad health, suffering, immobile or dependent on others for daily functioning, is counter productive or even "torture".

It's better to work towards improving quality of life. A side-effect might well be that whatever we do to remain healthy and alert, also feeds into us living longer. Bonus.

All this also up-ends a lot of social contracts around age of retirement. We're close to where our "retired" life time matches our economic productive life time. There's only so much compound interest can do to build retirement/pension funds.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 as a Linux laptop


Re: Soldered

That said, memory is just the one single item that post-sale, can significantly extend the lifetime of a laptop.

I'm not convinced they can't maintain the slim line profile and offer socketed DIMMs.

My 2015 X1 Carbon is still in very good shape, but 8GB is just not cutting it any more.

I've sourced a 16GB motherboard (a later SKU of the same model) from ebay, but that's pretty excessive just for a "memory upgrade"


Re: Optional

Fair enough.

Down here in ZA, we don't get any "Build Your PC" options: just pick from a few pre-selected oddly shaped configurations and bend the knee to an even heftier price premium.


Re: Optional

Yes, you can

There are "with Linux" options, e.g. "Build Your ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 Intel (14") with Linux"

> https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/configurator/cto/index.html?bundleId=21CBCTO1WWUS2

You get to pick from Ubuntu or Fedora.

I agree it's support is spotty and likely only for the models which got the Ubuntu or other "certification"

Musk said Twitter would open source its algorithm – then fired the people who could


Re: North American Charging Standard

Indeed, I came around to say much the same, i.e. there's already a wide-agree upon standard.

In Elon's case, I suspect it's much more a case of the tail wagging the dog. If he can make his standard the official North American one, he doesn't have to update his entire charging network to become compliant. Electrify America, the charging network built by Volkswagen as penance for #dieselgate, already support the ISO "Plug and Charge" standard. It seems Tesla's network has a proprietary version thereof.

Forking the standard much?

Shareholders accuse Tesla of overegging Autopilot, Full Self-Driving capabilities


Re: possibility

Here's my angle on it: I have a sneaky suspicion that, as part of the swing to e-mobility, combined with ride hailing, people started to realise they don't _actually_ need to own a car. Mix in the GenZ/Alpha who, due to study debt or just slow erosion of disposable income, a) can't afford them, b) don't have their own houses/garages to park them, or c) prefer spending on experiences, not stuff. With many life services going on-demand, pay-as-you-go cf. video, music, rides, shopping.

Now, in Europe, for the most part, e-mobility seems to be focussing on the right things, i.e. for mass transit, public transport, city commutes. That's where robo-taxies, robo-buses or truck platoons are also more practical.

tl;dr: The petrol heads aren't going to switch quickly. The well-heeled tech enthusiasts may already all have Teslas. The remainder of the market who actually want to _own_ a car, can be very well served by those dyed-in-the-wool Big Auto crowd, i.e. VW, GM, Ford, etc. They don't need/want 0-100km/h in 2s or 700km range bragging rights

Square Kilometre Array Observatory construction commences


Re: What, no technical data?

There's some more details in this article, esp some yummy bandwidth numbers

> https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-12-05-blue-ska-thinking-construction-begins-on-square-kilometre-array/

And MeerKAT, which SKA will further extend

> https://www.sarao.ac.za/science/meerkat/about-meerkat/

And more of an overview of the entire SKA

> https://www.skao.int/en/explore/telescopes

Musk seeks yet another excuse to get out of Twitter buyout: This time it's Mudge's severance check


Re: Twitter not asking for $1B at all

Someone else opined that Musk's Twitter deal provided Musk a convenient excuse to sell a large number of Tesla shares. Without that excuse such sales might be viewed as him de-risking or having otherwise lost some faith in Tesla's growth and the share price might then have taken a knock. But selling to fund the deal, it looks much more benign.

He probably never bargained on Twitter insisting on the deal going through. Even if it goes through, I can't see how Musk and the board could have any productive relationship after all this acrimony.

Meta picks India for WhatsApp's first e-commerce service


Re: WTF?

WhatsApp will happily ensure that end-to-end encryption works properly. You can likely be sure of that, barring the occasional arm-twisting from a government and/or agency. The value for them is not in the content of your messages, but in to whom you're talking

Imagine the insane mountains of meta-data. Given "sufficient" uptake,this is like being plugged straight into the backbone of the economy, especially the more informal economy. The type of thing which revenue and economic activity agencies.

They're also aggressively onboarding small and large businesses to their hosted platform, i.e. they provide a WhatsApp phone number, chat bots, etc. and the business only pays per message sent/received. Again, that's a treasure trove of meta data.

1,900 Signal users exposed: Twilio attacker 'explicitly' looked for certain numbers


Re: How can be…

Or VoIP, or a Google Talk or Skype or even a landline number. The number needs to be capable of receiving either an SMS or a voice call during the minute or two of registration so that you can get the activation code. After that, despatch of it in your favourite manner. You won't need it again.

Yes, there are oodles of other wannabe options, but at least, compared to others, Signal have gone to great lengths to have their technology and architecture independently reviewed and evaluated. That doesn't mean it's perfect, but at least they're trying harder than most.

The XMPP crowd also had it audited before they decided to adopt it

> https://conversations.im/omemo/audit.pdf


Re: Those three 'searched for' numbers

Indeed, Twilio was the weak link here. Signal hashes contact numbers for matching. That way they can match contacts' from different users by number, but without knowing what the actual numbers are. They can only tell it's the same number.

> https://signal.org/blog/private-contact-discovery/

But, in order to do the initial registration/activation of your Signal installation, you need an activation code through some out-of-band channel. That's where Signal have to give your number (and only the number from where you're activating) to Twilio to send the activation code. Subsequent to that, I don't think they ever need the number. It's purely for the bootstrap.

> https://signal.org/blog/change-number/

I suspect, that's how they detect device changes to alert you that your chat buddy changed devices and that you should confirm their identity before continuing your conversation.

Google tells Apple to 'fix text messaging' in bid to promote RCS protocol



Indeed MMS was fundamentally push email. The message format was limited to a very simple structure, but re-used the fundamentals of MIME and email. And then they used the same SMS channel to serve as notification with a link to retrieve the full message.

You could argue push email made Blackberry. They just did slicker, with more conviction, a better user experience and support stock email by routing the "fetch" parts through their secure Blackberry server.

tl;dr: MMS wasn't a horrible idea, maybe a bit ahead of its time and lacking operator commitment/roaming.



RCS was sort of just "handed" to them by Google as a "here's a standard for you". GSMA had tried, around the time of MMS/WAP to create a Wired Village (or maybe I misremember the name) initiative. It was in the identify, communities and instance messaging domain. That was a design-by-committee fail and never even got off the ground.

VoLTE is _just_ VoIP over LTE. Sadly it inherited many of the security issues of VoIP.


Re: Dear Google . . .

Caveat emptor: I might have this wrong, but I believe the encryption only works if use Google's client, i.e. Messages which routes the messages via Google's servers. It's a bit like a VPN or IP/IP encap/decap.



Yes, and no in both cases. Google cobbled it together then convinced the GSMA to turn it into a standard. They even generously offered to host the servers for GSMA members/operators. The operators aren't generally keen, because they don't see money in it.

The standard part also didn't include end-to-end encryption, but now Google has gone it built it over-the-top, but it only works when the clients are Google's, e.g. their Android Messages app.

Channelling my inner cynic: this has been a very long and winding road for Google to try and establish a foothold in the messaging space. A job at which they've consistently failed. As per usual, they'll tout the end-to-end encryption as the main feature, but neglect to mention the insane amount of meta data they'll be privy to. I'm sure they're green with envy at the amount of meta data Meta/Facebook/Whatsapp is slurping up.

I would not be surprised if Google has similar WeChat-style super-app aspirations for Messages/RCS once they've firmly turned it into a global platform. Of course, I might be overly cynical.

Microsoft: You own the best software keyboard there is. Please let us buy it


No new installations?

Talk about a blast from the past. I last used it on my old Nokia N8 and then when I (had to eventually) move to Android it just wasn't available. Sony's keyboard had a reasonable swipe built in and then they moved to Swiftkey which was a bit better at it. Unfortunately even though "Swype keyboard" is in the Play store search suggestions/autocomplete, it doesn't show up under any of the results. Does mean you can only still use it if you (once) bought it?

The sad state of Linux desktop diversity: 21 environments, just 2 designs


> Blinker/wiper controls on the left? Check

Actually there's a split there. Some manufacturers don't swap them around when doing right-hand drive models, e.g. on German brands, the indicator stalk is on the left, but on Japanese cars it's on the right.


There seems to be some (unwritten) assumption that macOS has become the state of the art of desktop environments. Between that and the (perceived?) shrinking of the desk top market, it appears everyone is aiming for some tablet/phone/fat finger friendly interface. That model just doesn't translate well to keyboard and mouse.

The vertical-space-is-precious mantra is often cited in the context of macOS and it's global menu bar. But Macs are not widescreen, they're 3:2 and Surface is similar. Which makes the argument against moving docks/bars even more frustrating.

And then you see the previously much-vilified hamburger menu from mobile finding a second life on the desktop. Together with left/right slide-in menus. And the general lack of support for keyboard shortcuts. Not to mention that every "cross portable" library generally focuses on looking "close enough" to the native platform, but rarely support anything deeper, again, see keyboard shortcuts or forms/component tabbing order/navigation.

More insanely frustrating are things like double- or triple-click-to-select, but no two platforms or toolkits can agree on the selection boundaries, e.g. white-space separated. Or, if punctuation separated, no-one can agree on which sets of punctuations count for in or out. The result is huge cognitive as you have to remember which application does what how.

Maybe it's time Ubuntu (or someone with deep pockets or a nice research grant) to do (another) proper set of usability tests. Like Ubuntu did for Unity way back when. GNOME and Gtk3/4 seems to have decided they're going off in a direction, audience be damned. KDE I don't know well enough to tell, but they seem to have swallowed (some of) the converged phone/tablet-desktop experience as well. Maybe one could at least come up with some unified HIG, like XDG, owned by the freedesktop people.

Google expands Privacy Sandbox to Android


"limit sharing of user data with third parties"

And Google, since it's their platform, is a first party here?

Are they just doing the same as they're doing for Chrome, killing off competing advertisers' data streams and keeping it all to themselves?

Facebook fined peanuts after Giphy staff quit and firm didn't tell UK competition regulators


Ubet has the same habit in South Africa and probably elsewhere. If their drivers are fined for operating without a proper public drivers licence or have their cars impounded for being suitably licensed, Uber pays all the fines and release monies. It means eery Tom, Dick, and Harriet who wants to make a quick buck shuttling people around, can do so with impunity.

It's just part of the cost of flooding the local market, suffocating the local taxi industry (though they've needed a wake-up call or a while) and slowing the expansion of proper public transport options


I'm sure there are ways to get some skin in the game. Instead of making it a percentage of the entire corporate's profits, make it a percentage of the board's income/shares. That should help focus their attention a bit and, at the same time, maybe cause a rethink of their insane pay packages. After all, they are ultimately responsible and have to account to the shareholders.

Indian government floats idea of home-grown challenger for Android and iOS


*cough* SailfishOS *cough*

It's already a very capable base mobile operating system. It has been ported to a fair set of hardware. It's a got a good security story and forms the basis for a few non-Android corporate/government projects. Yeah, Russia is are also it as a base for a mobile operating system. If you really want it, there's a quite up to date Android runtime you can add, but if your whole aim is to get away from Android, just don't add it.

And that's always a clincher: someone has to do the hard work and graft to bring up any OS on new hardware. And, fight it as you might want to, the Android hardware adaption layer has become a de facto standard. At least it's only the low level stuff, i.e. base band blobs, drivers for sensors etc.

Ubuntu-on-a-phone crowd fix Google account issues in new Touch update


Re: Sounds a tad behind

If you're in areas of weak coverage or spotty charging options, e.g. music festivals, it's well worth turning your phone into a "feature phone". Switch it to 2G-only and you still get calls, SMS, MMS and avoid the battery-draining signal strength hunting that goes along with spotty 3G/4G coverage.

And, because 2G is a long-solved chipset and power problem, you get retro style stand-by times like a week or more. Sure, not an option where 2G has/is being discontinued, but sill widely useful.

It takes more clicks to reject their cookies than accept them, so France fines Facebook and Google over €200m


Re: Don't touch my session cookies!

You do call out a good point that's often lost in the noise. The regulations does not require the cookie consent banner if you use any cookies, only if you use cookies which could be viewed as tracking and/or storing personally identifiable information. Simply session cookies or retaining your cookie preferances are perfectly fine and doesn't need a pop-up.

Of course, many companies are acting very passive aggressive about this and making the experience worse for the users, presumably in order to "show them how bad these laws are".


Re: Oh thank god.

Lots of sites seems to use OneTrust to present their cookie validation dialogue. And the arms-long list of partners and vendors you mention is probably the list from IAB (some advertising conglomerate). That's like three hundred or so "partners" all claiming legitimate interest and you often have to go unselect them individually. Some one should just slap down OneTrust for not following the symmetrical UX rule.

Qualcomm doesn't fear custom chips – in a weird way its modems matter more


Buddy buddy

I'm not quite convinced their modems are that much better. I believe it's more a case of a very cosy relationships with the mobile carriers in the US. They've been running a very profitable oligopoly there. Qualcomm was made by their CDMA tech and patents which made its way into 3G and subsequently LTE/5G. I would be very surprised if the US carriers just aren't keen to qualify many different modems. And, as was shown in the Qualcomm competition case, they force bundles, i.e. "You want our modem, you have to use our main SoC as well". That's how they've been siting very pretty pushing out mostly lightly-tweaked Arm reference designs.

And, related to Mr Coward's comment above, Qualcomm are very aggressive at end-of-lifing products which makes it really hard for ODMs/OEMs to offer any longer term support for devices.

Zuck didn't invent the metaverse, but he's started a fight to control it


Low hanging fruit first

Zuck is not totally oblivious to the objections he might face from the other incumbent Big Techs. That's why he's been winding his way in through the back door. Everyone's been scrambling for the next billion users, hence the stampede and continual love-ins in India (and to a lesser extent Africa). Things like zero-rated facebooks/whatsapp access gets the unconnected online. And with heavily-subsided phones, for many of these, facebooks/whatsapp become "The Internet" much like AOL and CompuServe used to be in the dial-up world. They've already integrated with India's national payment platform. You can do c2c and c2b (and probably b2b) through it. No need for pesky EMV or Libra/Diem. And facebook Pay is happening. More recently they've been carpet bombing businesses to get them onto WhatsApp business. They'd host the entire customer support, etc infrastructure for free and charge only per message. That's a very compelling proposition. I've seen many business now, even the large established corporates, lead with WhatsApp contact details. Sure, they promises end-to-end encryption of messages, but WhatsApp doesn't care about that. They score boat loads of meta data about who's talking/shopping with/etc who. Frankly, they might have/get a better view of the economy and its networks than the tax authorities.

tl;dr: The magic bullet here is the network effect. And building that network is always easier from the large "wild west" markets were they have little competition and relatively weak legislation and regulators.

Asia's 'superapps' bundle ride-share, food delivery, even financial services – and they're beating big tech


Re: I'm starting to believe that we need some regulation

My underlying assumption with fair-access data sets is that they are suitably anonymised. We have pretty clever ways to do that already, be it cryptographic envelopes or homomorphic encryption. That, of course, still requires someone to set the standards, enforce their application and hunt down and slap the inevitable violators. And all for the sake of a very elusive and hard-to-quantify ideal. We already know how well politicians and the electorate handle abstract notions.


"Group of Companies"

This is exactly the direction I see Facebook heading. They also realised people aren't too keen on one app doing it all. Whether that's for privacy reasons, I suspect not. I suspect it's much more about the illusion of choice, i.e. if I don't like X any more, I can move to Y. And I only do it for that single use case, not upend my entire life, i.e. swapping GMaps for Waze or for WeGo is easier than switching Android to/from Apple.

What Facebook is now doing is making all the connections behind the scenes, out of sight. Branding has already changed: InstaGram, WhatsApp "from facebook". And more and more things like events and marketplace and payments and business-hosting, are added to existing apps. Other offerings might become separate apps, but behind the scenes is one humongous shared data model into which and from which they all feed. In the mean time people continue to think they're exercising choice.

I'm starting to believe that we need some regulation that says if you've accumulated more than X amount of data regarding more than Y percent of the population, you must make that data available to third parties on an equal access/non-disciminatory manner. It introduces a return-on-investment calculation compared to "owning it all" and levels the playing field for new entrants into the market. Also players can survive in niche markets, because the data for their niche still has market value.

Arm teases its GPU that will follow next year's graphics processor tech


Arm Consortium

As the subjects says. I believe Arm would be better suited to be owned by a mix of companies in a consortium. A bit like what happened when HERE maps spun out of Nokia and is now owned by a disparate bunch, but all who have a vested interest in an open platform for mapping and logistics. And none of them have large enough, controlling interest to dominate, unlike, e.g. OpenSymbian and Nokia

> https://www.here.com/company/investors

A similar setup could work just as well for a group of interested parties with a vested interest in a neutral CPU architecture provider. The current Arm architecture licensees are probably a good starting point of that group, but I can see it span anything from the mobile phone companies to IoT through home automation, etc. You name it. And draw up the charter that the consortium continues to be managed, steered by the current crowd so it doesn't devolve into a W3G or other tail-wagging-the-dog world.

Dishing up the goods: Square Kilometre Array moves out of the theoretical and into the contractual


These might be a good places to start

> https://www.skatelescope.org/newsandmedia/outreachandeducation/skawow/hpc/

> https://www.sarao.ac.za/vacancies/

Texas cops sue Tesla claiming 'systematic fraud' in Autopilot after Model X ploughed into two parked police cars


Re: Yes it is Tesla's fault

That's a hugely important point you make. The steady decrease in driving-related fatalities over the past decades have not been because humans magically became much better at driving. It's because we've learnt how to built better and safer roads, improve signage, made cars safer and make it easier, sometimes trivial for humans to do the right thing not get themselves or others killed.

We're now entering the uncanny valley where cars appear to be better than they really are at self-driving and the responsibility is on the manufacturer and car to ensure the human is always fully aware of the limitations. We lob large sue balls at companies about "water proof" vs " water resistant", but somehow in this case the distinction is not important enough.

One-size-fits-all chargers? What a great idea! Of course Apple would hate it


Re: Spec?

There's even a spec for it already. I notice Apple is on the committee. I'm quite sure they could leverage that to ensure they remain in control of which USB-C cables they will allow to charge their devices

* https://www.usb.org/document-library/usb-authentication-specification-rev-10-ecn-and-errata-through-january-7-2019

Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa test cross-border crypto-payments


Experiments expanding internationally

The SARB (South African Reserve Bank) has a Fintech unit which has been running various experiments and built proofs-of-concept over the past few years. Crypto currencies are just a small part of it. One of the experiments investigated inter-bank settlements, i.e between various commercial banks and the reserve bank itself. Subsequent projects looked at bond settlements. They were looking at scalability and interoperability across diverse on-prem and different cloud-based platforms.

* https://www.resbank.co.za/en/home/quick-links/fintech

* https://www.ledgerinsights.com/south-africa-launches-second-cbdc-trial-central-bank-digital-currency/

* https://www.itweb.co.za/content/KPNG8v8dZW2v4mwD

* https://www.itweb.co.za/content/Gb3Bw7W8n98M2k6V

My understanding of those new announcement is expanding those projects across into an international sphere, i.e. across legal and regulatory frameworks and between different currency domains.

Biden order calls for net neutrality, antitrust action, ISP competition – and right to repair your own damn phone


Re: "if you buy a product, you own it"

South Africa has recently introduced legislation to curb that practice. Manufacturers can no longer demand cars be serviced only through their anointed channels. It spreads liability around a bit, but at least it means third party service, repairs and parts can no longer be deemed sub-standard by default and the manufacturers will have to justify rejecting warranty claims.

Audacity users stick the knife – and fork – in to strip audio editor of unwanted features



Audio + Ambiance ?

As another vendor promises 3 years of Android updates, we ask: How long should mobile devices receive support?


I've you are, as am I, a fan of headphone jack and SD cards, you should look at the Sony Xperia range. They had a brief moment of insanity when they removed the headphone jack, but it's back. Both those items have been nearly identifying features of the range. Add in that they've been really good open source supporters and listed second/third after Google for timeous software updates.