* Posts by Nick De Plume

87 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Feb 2012


Galaxy S III dumps universal search, tries to dodge Apple's sueballs

Nick De Plume

Stupidity, revisited

Almost as stupid as the rounded rectangle thing, but more sinister.

I had "global search" in all the Palm devices I used. My first one was made in 1996.

In my opinion Smart Dial (as seen in all Nokia dumbphones and all HTC dialers) and Global Search are the sine qua non of the phones I carry.

On a side note -if you are using Android- I would suggest the Aurora global search and (if it is a non-HTC phone) one of the numerous smart dialers apps in Google Play.

Apple boots privacy name-and-shame app Clueful from store

Nick De Plume

Goes against the philosophy

Even if the info in the app is not 100% accurate, it is also aptly named Clueful. Anyhow, an app's fitness for purpose is irrelevant to it's acceptance into the App Store (if this wasn't the case App Store would be a lot less populous).

But that would go against the unwritten rules about opaqueness. Apple must protect the illusion that App Store is Always Safe and Cuddly.

Is running IT for the Olympics the worst job in the world?

Nick De Plume

High stress/low fault tolerance work maybe, but hardly the worst.

Yes, it is a big IT challenge. Anything can go wrong, so you need calm, smart and experienced engineers on the job.

But it is not the worst job at all.

Because, the deadline is set in stone. The Olympics begin, and they end. It's make or break.

(Unlike many IT projects which never seem to end, getting new requirements, changing goal posts, accumulating cruft overnight, sapping the will to live)

Apple fails to block stolen iOS in-app content

Nick De Plume

Re: Nice to just to know Apple has a thorn in its side at the moment.


Apple was not on the verge of bankruptcy because of Mac clones.

Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy because it had a very outdated (and unreliable) operating system running on very expensive and slow hardware, using proprietary "everything". Simply put, it was not desirable, and was only used by the Apple faithful and people in publishing business.

Yes, I do remember the living-fossil called System 7, the almost-vaporware called Copland, which turned out to be a totally inadequate System 8.

Anyway. OSX was the best thing that happened to Apple. Still, I wish they had started off with BeOS instead of NeXT. NeXT was OK, but BeOS is/was the most elegant and sleek operating system I have ever used.

But I do agree with you on one point - Apple is a consumer electronics company first. But unlike Sony, they can get the software right (eventually anyway - first iterations of OSX were not too reliable)

Study: Users prefer Google+ over Facebook

Nick De Plume

Sounds right

Being a sucker on both Facebook and Google+, this kinda sounds right.

The G+ is quite less hectic, less minutiae and more content. Even if less active.

I think it may be the signal to noise thing.

(but in the long chance G+ gets more "popular", things would change I guess. More noise, less meat)

Build a bonkers hi-fi

Nick De Plume

Darn! One of the most fun articles for some time

The title says "Bonkers", so no misleading going on here! And a breath of fresh air from the usual Crapple Shamsong Whatnot bandwidth fodder.

If you are insanely rich and don't know what how else to show off your bank balance (selfish, stupid, compensating for the tiny third leg, take your pick) this is one good guide. As for the rest of us who are less fortunate in dough (or more fortunate in body image/performance things), it is one heckuva laugh. Informative too, in a useless kind of way.

Yea The Register! More, more, more!

Sleek new Macs violate fanbois' Retinas with display garbage

Nick De Plume

How hard could it be?

There are only two major (2) variants of the Macbook Pro line:

- The ones with Retina

- The ones without Retina

With 13" and 15", and maybe with i5 and i7 spec'ced subcategories Apple only has to test maybe 4-5 machines.

It's not like the Windows world. Hardware is tightly controlled, choice restricted.

This is a major QC screwup, on pretty expensive machines, no less.

But then you should never buy Apple's first versions of a new design. There have always been issues, for as long as I remember.

Apple 'fesses up: We broke App Store downloads

Nick De Plume

You're Downloading Wrong

Yay! Fairplay and DRM, aren't they lovely?

Review: Samsung Chromebox

Nick De Plume

Could have been a slick XBMC machine

Going by the looks only, of course. Add an HDMI port, replace the intel part with AMD - and you've got the perfect HTPC..

Analyst fears iPhone 5 power pack to prompt launch postponement

Nick De Plume

Keeping the name alive

Since consumers have acute A.D.D., they need to be constantly reminded, nay, bombarded with Brand Names. Whatever the half baked reason.


One worker drops a spanner in Mercedes Factory - Insider Report. (cue newsflash infographics)

Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet, Android 4.1 and Nexus Q

Nick De Plume

Re: In the interest of balance...

G1 was also HTC. fyi.

So.. First two nexus phones were from HTC (for Android 1.5 and 2.1)

the second pair were from Samsung (for Android 2.3 and 4.0)

On tablets the first was from Motorola (Android 3.0), the second will be from Asus (Android 4.1).

Essentially Nexus devices are reference devices for major OS releases, unburdened with extra manufacturer skinning/extras.

Menage á tablet: Apple vs Amazon vs Google

Nick De Plume

iOS fragmentation

iOS apps are not resolution agnostic.

This was the primary reason for the iphone going "retina" was that the older 320x480 wasn't cutting it anymore, but goint 480x800 (or similar) / changing aspect ratio of the screen would break the existing (and huge) app catalogue. Doubling (quadrupling) the res was the only solution for compatibility - iOS app GUI's were hard coded for the device.

Same holds for the ipad. Thus the ipad 3, with its brilliant "retina" screen.

I wonder if they will keep the 2:3 aspect of the iphone for iphone5, and the 3:4 aspect for a 7" ipad? And at what resolution?

Facebook needs Opera - to rescue it from dependence on Apple

Nick De Plume

Then - goodbye Opera

It has been my browser of choice since v3 days. Fast, clean, light, unhindered, safe. Big in features, small in footprint.

My distrust of Facebook will preclude me from staying on.

Opera, as a company, may need/want the cash. Opera as the idea will be tainted.

Wallace & Gromit teach Oz kids to respect patents

Nick De Plume

Re: Next up, Krusty the Clown! - Wrong trousers is one thing, but this is plainly below the belt.

If I had two upvotes, I'd use them on this.

I keep losing what little respect I have for copyright every time I see an un-fastforward-able doomsday message from fbi (or whatever). Or I can't download something I am willing to pay for, just because I can't download/stream because of where I'm trying to do the paying.

You see, copyright is meant as a mechanism to get the content-creators to get their due (so they can afford housing, food and pints of lager or guinness by doing what they do well and we enjoy consuming)

So: I'd be only too happy to pay for the priviledge of paying the artists and artisans their due for their hard work.

I'm more bound by moral obligations than technical ones. And I know most people are, or at the very least as long as it's convenient. Trying to block me from decoding a DVD or a BluRay disc I bought, so I can watch it on my non-spinning-media-able device is plain stupid. I am up to the challenge, thanks to the teenager-boffins who have made circumventing it easy and only a websearch or a torrent away.

Now getting Wallace and Grommit in this thing is plain dirty. Wrong trousers is one thing, but this is plainly below the belt.

Sony outs 1080p skinny laptops

Nick De Plume

Lovely machine, shame about the drivers.

If it were running OSX you wouldn't be able to change the size of system fonts and title bars. Thankfully it's running Windows, you you don't have to go blind trying to read the small type - if your vision is not 20:20.

I learned this the hard way when I attempted to resize the fonts on the MB Air I had bought for mom , I could accomplish this only through some hacking.

But - as was mentioned earlier- the driver support on Sony laptops is Bad. Very little updates, and won't work fully-functional with the OEM drivers. As usual, Sony - brilliant hardware, lousy software support.

HTC fires up latest Desire

Nick De Plume

How the mighty have fallen

A couple of years ago Desire meant the flagship device.

And I thought HTC was going to simplify its product line - What gives?

Kaspersky: Apple security is like Microsoft's in 2002

Nick De Plume

i - diots. And I don't mean it in a derogatory sense.

People buy in to macs because:

The hardware looks better. (oh yes, it does)

The thing works almost as well as advertised (and yes, it does)

The advertisement promises a "no cares" attitude (oh oh - this can be a spot of bother)

The thing is in OSX land there be a few snakes. These are dangerous you see, because the snakes are transparent.

Because the system is not transparent.

The mindset is: "it just works"

Yes it does, it is quite nicely engineered (and it doesn't have to cope with an almost infinite number of uncontrollable configuration permutations, 20 years of backlog/legacy software).

And it did not have to deal with being popular, in the numbers kind of way.

Until now.

So, the malware (scare or the real thing) was something the "lowly PC people" had to deal with, and not the apple crowd - they thought they were too exclusive, too untouchable, an idea they readily bought into.

in the end an OS is just an OS. Anything can be hacked, if it's worth the effort.

Through the many advances and the subsequent layers in UI/UX majickery the computer may _feel_ like an appliance, but it is not an appliance. It can still bite you.

Learn about the dipstick in your car. Learn about malware in the wild outback that is the interwebs.

The moral of my story is: Don't be a blithering idiot.

Woz says Windows Phone 'sets the mark' for mobile UI

Nick De Plume

Re: Usability is king.

Usability is King. I agree.

But that would depend on the user.

I favor Android for its configurability, open file system etc. It may not be choice for everybody, but it is for me.

My girlfriend likes her iphone, she doesn't want to configure anything. She has a large number of apps on many screens, she actually uses a select few (being the itchy tinkerer, I did sort them for her according to usage patterns and app types though).

But WP7 is better for mom, because she doesn't think in terms of apps, but in terms of Tasks. WP7 is the only system built around the idea of tasks. And she doesn't care about the number of apps either - all she wants is simplicity, large text, email, sms, occasional websearch and GPS. Oh and photos, of course.

LG readies Dropbox, iCloud alternative

Nick De Plume

"Me too!" (or, "Oh, not you too!")

Asus already installs this on some of its notebooks - don't know the name, it's probably Asus Cloud if I should hazard a guess.

Recently a pal of mine bought (on my recommendation) an UX31 - lovely device by the way. Had a jolly time of uninstalling a number of bloatware/trialware off it (occupational hazard of being a geek).

Anyway, this pristine device was having sporadic Explorer crashes. Turned out it was because of the "integrated" Asus Cloud (of Thunderous Farts fame). When it went away, so did the crashes.

Dropbox or Sugarsync is plenty fine. And they work. And their business depends on the service keep on working, so you can count on their diligence and industry. LG sells electronic devices, not software. So there.

Samsung heralds quad-core chip 'first'

Nick De Plume


The GS2 was already a very successful all-rounder. And it sold very well.

It had decent battery life, very good performance and brilliant screen. It even had a quite decent camera too. It was the yesteryear's King Of The Hill (among Android phones).

In my opinion the design was sadly lacking, the shiny black plastic looked low-rent (though it was very durable and light), and the TouchWiz interface, again, works but looks like it's out of Draw Something.

It's successor will probably improve on previous strengths. What I wonder is what it looks like, and how it feels in the hand - HTC One series look very enticing.

I'm not holding my breath on the touchwiz part though, though luckily it can be replaced/hidden.

Arctic Ocean may be releasing its methane

Nick De Plume

No wonder it's got gas.

Imagine holding it in (or back) for millenia?

Hot damn!

Should have used the gas to power Northern Lights, instead of Solar Winds. That would have been a good use of greenhouse gases, and would have been much more environmentally friendly.

Funny to think using fossil fuel to be eco-friendly, oh well. But then there are even people who think a Prius is eco-friendly, batteries and all...

HTC One X Android smartphone

Nick De Plume

Battery .. again

I'd love this thing even if it was a bit thicker in the middle.

What's sexy to the eye can be different from what feels sexy to the hand, after all..

And lasting through the night (even after a hard day) counts for a lot, in this day and age..

Apple slapped with second Siri senility lawsuit

Nick De Plume

Totally justified lawsuit

The advertisement was indeed misleading.

Siri was the primary "selling point" Apple was trying to make - passing off a functionally and visually identical device "as the new best thing". (other "s" enhancements under the hood were a mild point release, and neither apparent nor relevant to an ordinary buyer).

Let alone Siri is a piece of code capable of running perfectly well on a lowly 3gs (or indeed any device with a sound input and an internet connection, since the processing is done on the server side)


Being labeled as beta, or the difficulties of natural language processing are beside the mark. If a product is not capable of performing as advertised the maker of the product is liable. Plain and simple.

Tripleton touts telephone for double-ohs

Nick De Plume

Poor naming choice - false sense of security?

This phone promises to lull you into a false sense of security -

bringing your eventual downfall.

They even cursived it on the device - Aw gadz! .. just like real spies stenciling their affiliations on their trenchcoats.

Just get the appropriate open source VoIP app on your robotty device.

iPhone 5 gets a 5in screen

Nick De Plume

3:4 vs 9:16 (or 10:16)

All iPhone (and iOS) apps are coded for 3:4 ratio screens. That is why Apple quadrupled the resolution with iPhone4 - 320x480 had become too low, but all those apps were hardcoded for that resolution. Apple _had_ to preserve backwards compatibility.

On a tablet 3:4 form factor is nice for reading stuff, it is close to what we are used to with paper.

But on a fondlephone thin and long is better, too wide and you are getting into Samsung Note territory. Therefore on a phone with a largish screen, the common Android 9:16(ish) ratio is actually more useable. Our mitts are the limiting factor.

And thinner bezel is not the answer. You need some bezel to hold the phone without accidentally registering touches with your (holding) palm.

Hands on with the Apple iPad 3

Nick De Plume

iPad 2s

Okkay, so the new iPad is the old iPad with a new screen and bumped up specs so it can keep up with the competition for one more year.

It has been a winning formula so far, so Apple hasn't changed much, it's the ipad2S. But even if this is faster than Tegra3, Tegra3 equipped competition is out today, and I'm sure faster stuff is just over the next hill.

The resolution is awesome, but it is also a case of massive overkill on a screen smaller than 10 inches. But Apple HAD TO quadruple the res, or lose acceptable backwards compatibility for existing app catalogue - Being resolution agnostic (or flexible) is not an iOS strong point.

So it is a refresh edition. Yawn. I think a design change would be in order too (or was Apple just too busy litigating?) -

- or who in the whole cafe will know you've got the newest pad of them all?

Linode hackers escape with $70K in daring bitcoin heist

Nick De Plume

The Great Simoleon Caper

No government in the world wants bitcoin to succeed.

Unless they want taxes, of course.

Sony exec: quad-core CPUs bad for today's phones

Nick De Plume

Time will tell

We will see how the new Tegra3 and Krait based new phones fare in real life.

Today it's mere speculation - though I suspect Sony's assertation has merit, it just is too soon to tell if that's the whole story.

I kinda have my eye on the new HTC One X. But without the removable battery, I certainly has the power to last a full day.

Samsung stretches 5in Galaxy Note phonetab to 10in

Nick De Plume

Might work

.. as long as there are decent drawing apps supporting it, AND it can disregard palm touches when using the stylus.

This is also useful when remotely accessing a PC, in lieu of the mouse on the other end.

Asus peddles three-in-one smartphone, tablet, netbook

Nick De Plume

Is this the new flip phone?

I remember old StartTAC's being big, but this is even better.

But a 10 inch screen should be legible enough for a phone.

Asus outs 1920 x 1280 Android ICS tablet

Nick De Plume

Re: Specs

Actually the ipad 2 has enjoyed the fastest GPU in tablet-land. Coupled with a somewhat lower-res screen, the performance figures were usually topping the charts.

None of the first crop of Tegra 2 / Honeycomb tablets were able to keep up with it in terms of graphics prowess (and I'm not talking about the software either). With the new Tegra3 or S4 (or whatever) SoC's they are slowly catching up.

As for the brand identity thing - yes I agree with you. ipad is the household name for a tablet.

As market matures and competition gets its act together, differences will begin to blur. This Asus here looks desirable enough (even next to the svelte ipad), and that battery extending keyboard _is_ a selling point, even for the masses. The USB and SD card slots are hard to miss, and may catch the eyes of a first time tablet buyer.

Nick De Plume

Best got better? Or is it too early?

I do appreciate some extra resolution - but 1280x800 on a 10" tablet was plenty too. I have 2560x1440 of them here, but they are spread over 27 inches, therefore useful.

More resolution on a small(er) laptop screen can also be useful because laptops screens are used indirectly, using mice pointers which are pixel accurate. So you might need to squint at it on occasion, but you'll be able to fit more of your excel sheet or more icon bars on your CG software (which are notoriously control abundant).

A tablet screen is used with fingers. Which are big, mushy and inaccurate. Upping the res won't help to fit in more controls on the screen (unless you increase the screen size too).

And that extra resolution brings more pixels to be filled by the GPU, which may cause lower fps. Which, for a touch based UI is important.

The older iphone 2/3g/3gs had frankly too low resolution, but at that time the SoC performance was barely able to cover that 320x480(@3.5") pixels at decent speeds (making it a design trade-off, higher fps at lower res). When CPU/GPU performance improved they were able to improve upon this flaw - but for software backward-compatibility reasons Apple had to quadruple it, on a same size (3.5") screen. And they sold it as ye mighty "Retina Screen". So began the resolution craze.

Frankly I think the 9:16 ratio is ergonomically better on handhelds (as seen on many of Android phones), and the 3:4 ratio is ergonomically better on tablets (as seen on the ipad). But that's another story, obviously.

Apple demands US ban on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus

Nick De Plume
Thumb Down

irreperable harm?

The only irreperable harm I saw was two iphone4's who met untimely demises upon contact with the ground (in the last two months, I saw these happen, on two seperate occasions, one with a cracked back, one with a shattered screen).

With a bumper iphone4 is no longer sexy. Bareback it's fragile.

it may not get the ice cream sandwich, but it is a glass sandwich, around a very dated UI.

Anyway. iphone may be fluid and simple, but the grid of icons is getting long in the tooth. It's basically the same as the Palm III I used to have ages ago. Apple needs to innovate rather than litigate.

Blushing HTC too coy to admit sales figures

Nick De Plume

HTC lost its focus

HTC used to make the boldest, most "underdog-desirable" kit. Sure, a lot of them had their niggling faults, but stuff like the original venerable Diamond was Windows Mobile's going away with style.

Nowadays they have a certain design "language", and the build quality is among the best. Their Android Sense thing, like it or hate it, is the most advanced, thought out and coherent overlay out there.

But none of the new stuff is exciting, or "shiny" enough anymore. Consumers are fickle. The "Sensation" is anything but sensational, for instance. Respectable yes, sensational, no. Sure it's good and all that, but the battery (a frequent Achilles' Heel of HTC handsets), the recent lack of real geek-cred-worthiness makes it shadowed by the all-plastic SGS2.

The Beats Audio publicity stunt for instance was, in my opinion, was not too well thought out. Before you "pimp it up", you gotta take care of the battery, the performance, the camera.

I would have expected the Note being developed by HTC. Not Samsung.

Too many misses makes for competitiveness. HTC grew too big too fast, and I hope it hasn't lost it's edge.

I expect them to regroup. Either that, or Asus and Samsung will eat its pie.

Nick De Plume

Problem is..

HTC devices tend to have great build quality, both perceived and real. Sense could do with a bit of lightening up (and some configurability, i.e. ability to disable some unused functions), but it's also good. HTC has the best dialer I've used, for instance.

But lately they seem to be stuck in a rut of too many devices, and too little flagship "wow-worthy" spec'ced devices. It needs a flashy (maxxed RAM, best CPU+GPU combo, SAMOLED plus ultra mega HD screen, hefty battery) device, followed by sensible, good screen and GOOD BATTERY LIFE mainstream devices. After the Desire and Desire HD (and their many variants) HTC kind of just coasted on past success. Hence the slump.

HTC once had the spotlight, then lost it to Samsung, namely to SGS2 (and maybe the Note and the latest Nexus). Which is a device I wished HTC built, specs are brilliant but the shiny plastic body, while sturdy and light feels cheap, the design too generic.

BTW, the developer community never boycotted HTC. But did threaten to do so, so HTC backed down and turned out the unlocker pronto. Don't forget, the infamous xda-developers site was built to hack HTC devices in their many forms.

HTC Ice Cream Sandwich updates slip to late March

Nick De Plume

Rooting + flashing is a pain.

It's too geeky, for one. Not for the average user. You have to go through a lot of forum posts the first time through, and there is too much previous knowledge they take for granted. How can anybody uninitiated in these arts are supposed to know what and S-OFF is?

It's a hassle too: you have to backup everything, including settings. And think about how to bring them back. You do need to hard reset the first time around.

And the "hacks", brilliant and fast as they are, do not have to deal with warranty issues.

HTC has too many devices to support. And they have been found wanting in the update department.

Germany stalls over ACTA treaty ratification

Nick De Plume

Why the secrecy then?

All talks have progressed with a great deal of secrecy.

Why, if they did not fear exposure? Why indeed, if such exposure would result in public reaction?

This alone merits reaction.

ACTA would result in basic civil rights being eroded/breached/restricted, and criminalize generic medicine which would in turn result in many epidemics deaths in third-world countries. All for lining the pockets of big pharmaceutical companies, as well as MPAA supporters.

It is NOT in the public interest. On the contrary. It is an effort to bypass all checks and balances, and only benefit the already obscene rich.

Read the wikipedia article on it, if you have time. Some of the links there are of interest too.