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Comment: Re:A serious question (Score 4, Informative) 300

by mattsday (#49196733) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

The web 20 years ago was a dark and miserable place. Netscape was the dominant player and their Navigator product was clunky, with a very awkward rendering engine and a lot of proprietary web extensions.

Microsoft, never being one to miss a trick, launched IE4 in 1997 which in many ways was a superior product. It supported dynamic content a lot better than Netscape (still in a largely proprietary way), was faster etc. It was so integrated in to Windows that it could replace your entire shell on Windows 95 or NT4. Windows 98 continued this.

Anyway, whilst IE4 and later 5 were unstable, they were subjectively better and easier to obtain for Windows users. Netscape was such a mess that they gave up entirely on their code base and created the Mozilla project for a next-generation browser. Microsoft launched IE6 in 2001 with just the right mix of Netscape compatibility and proprietary (shiny) extensions that everyone went for it. At one point, IE had almost 90% market share!

With this dominant position, Microsoft basically gave up developing their clunky, insecure web browser as businesses flocked to make applications require it. The Mozilla project spun out of the AOL-owned Netscape and launched a niche browser 'suite' which included email and web page editing all built in. It was slow, buggy and bloated - but very standards based (contrasting to IE).

A group of people took the good bits from the Mozilla project (browser) and tidied up the extension engine. They called it Phoenix and added useful features like tabs, download management etc. This got renamed to Firebird and then to Firefox for trade mark reasons... The world was given a browser that could take on IE. On launch day they had elaborate marketing schemes like full page adverts in the press and heavy promotion via Google.

Mozilla alone created a product that could take on Internet Explorers dominance, forced Microsoft to continue to develop IE towards a more standards-focussed goal and empowered us users to get back the web.

As Chrome (and Blink/WebKit) become more dominant it's critical that we have choice. The web was a dark place with too many sites requiring proprietary Microsoft extensions just to run apps. Lets hope it never happens again!

Comment: Re:Please tell me this is satire (Score 1) 320

by mattsday (#49131871) Attached to: Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP

To be fair, he's just a low level back-bench MP without too much power. It's like we found the dumbest guy in the country and elected him president or something.

Still, you have a point. We have yet to see an atheist Prime Minister. Can't seem to abolish the monarchy.

Both Clement Atlee and James Callaghan were atheists - that's two.

Fortunately though religion has been at the fringe of our leaders manifesto and I hope it long continues!

Comment: Re:It Has Not Failed (Score 1) 474

by mattsday (#47488841) Attached to: World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

I hope this isn't what you actually believe, as it sounds like an authoritarian nightmare to me! What would happen in your little imagined scenario is that the powers of control would inevitably extend to all undesirable* behaviour and would one-day collapse under its own weight or civil war -- after millions suffered.

* Undesirable being defined by the same nutcases who put this law in to place and could include being homosexual, jewish or having drugs planted on them

Back in the real world, I firmly believe punishment should fit the crime. In the case of taking drugs I can't think why it's a crime and why we would seek punishment! Someone at home getting high doesn't even deserve a trivial fine, let alone having their life ruined.

The only time I see it coming in to play is when mixed with other activties. High controlling machinery or a vechicle? Harsher sentencing. High looking after kids? Child neglect, harsher sentencing. Vandalism or assault... you get the idea.

There will be a negative impact to society where people get hooked on drugs and drop in productivity, but we already have problems with alcoholism, gambling, etc...

Comment: Re:So, will a 2005-era routers get a firmware upda (Score 1) 264

by mattsday (#46288931) Attached to: Routers Pose Biggest Security Threat To Home Networks

I agree, except it's better to push people on to 802.11n in the 2.4Ghz space; it uses the radio space more efficiently and won't slow down your neighbours. It also adds range and reliability. Considering most complaints aren't going to be about the routing performance but the wireless coverage, upgrading to n would be a boon for many, especially dual-band if their devices can run on 5Ghz.

Comment: Re:Removed "Disable Javascript" check box (Score 1) 365

I agree and dislike this behaviour.

Fortunately others do too and there's a good addon already available:

Kinda sucks having to get one just to hide the tab bar, but works well enough so far.

Comment: VERY Cool! (Score 1) 178

by mattsday (#42995059) Attached to: France Plans 20-Billion Euro National Broadband Plan

Ignoring the politics a little bit, there was a really good example of how this CAN work recently with the B4RN project.

A consortium of local farmers came together and allowed the use of their farmland and spare time to place fibre and hook up the local residents with gigabit internet speeds. By coming together as a consortium and being cooperative (rather than greedy) they have combined both entrepreneurial vigour with a sense of social awareness. I don't see why this model couldn't work in France too...

Comment: Wrong Comparison (Score 5, Informative) 418

by mattsday (#42897623) Attached to: Surface Pro: 'Virtually Unrepairable'

They compare it to the iPad, which is pretty bad to repair... However, as a general purpose computer running a full OS, a fair comparison would also be the MacBook Pro Retina. ...1 out of 10 as well.

This is a bad trend with custom screws, glue and all sorts of crap.

Comment: Re:i have purchased the affected products. (Score 5, Insightful) 709

by mattsday (#42641775) Attached to: How Much Beef Is In Your Burger?

It's not about the ethics of the animal in question, it's about the promises made by the manufacturer (no mention of horse) and the questions of quality control, correct process and oversight.

My concern isn't "OMG HORSIES!"

My concern is "fuck you consumer" as they pump the product full of whatever they think they can get away with to turn a profit.

Comment: Re:*Cough* United Kingdom *cough* (Score 1) 1387

the United Kingdom still uses MILES to measure distance, MILES PER HOUR to measure speed, STONES and POUNDS and OUNCES to measure weight, and FLUID OUNCES to measure volume.

OK, I'll bite. Aside from miles to measure distance and speed on the roads, we certainly do not use pounds and ounces in daily life. All meat, food etc is sold in grams. Almost all drinks are sold in litres. Temperature is done in C on the TV and most cookbooks are metric (often with imperial translations).

The only exceptions I can think of are:
1. Beer and milk - we still buy these by the pint (with the metric equiv printed on the label)
2. Roads, as mentioned
3. Human weight is still often done in stones and lbs

Is it perfect? No. However, most people born in the last 30-40 years will have been taught exclusively metric at school. They're comfortable with it.

There is no way that anyone short of a politician would claim that the UK is "Metrified" (or metrificated) and yet they do.

Sorry, I know it's great to paint the US and Liberia as "holdouts". The truth is there are a lot of houldouts that JUST DON'T GET COUNTED.


The UK isn't perfect and we're not all the way there yet, but I don't think people are running around confused. We're getting there (to metric) it just might take a bit longer... The important thing is that we've started!

Comment: Re:Unique? (Score 1) 190

by mattsday (#41695139) Attached to: In UK, Apple Must Run Ad Apologizing to Samsung

It's written in the judgement, section 84:

"Apple itself must (having created the confusion) make the position clear: that it acknowledges that the court has decided that these Samsung products do not infringe its registered design. The acknowledgement must come from the horse's mouth. Nothing short of that will be sure to do the job completely."

The judge took believed Apple deserved it because they had to lean up the mess they created. The judgement ( is very easy to read and the summary of the Publicity Appeal (section 64 onwards) goes through this verdict. I was quite surprised at how informal and layman-oriented the language was.

Comment: OS X Regressions (Score 1) 484

by mattsday (#41385841) Attached to: Designers Criticize Apple's User Interface For OS X and iOS

For those not familiar with this paradigm shift in OS X, John Siracusa nails it in his Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Review.

I don't think either implementation makes the applications easier to use. They seem to have been done for no other reason than "we can".

Mountain Lion's implementations aren't as awful, adding back most of the 10.6 functionality to iCal and making Address Book usable without constantly clicking between screens. However, they've gone this far, it would be trivial to remove the stitching and faux leather leaving them with standard apps that follow colouring conventions.

Certainly from a HUI perspective and imho the changes aren't positive.

Comment: Re:The problem is shifting liability (Score 3, Insightful) 133

by mattsday (#41321221) Attached to: Chip and Pin "Weakness" Exposed By Cambridge Researchers

I used to work in a store when Chip & PIN was introduced to the UK - after the switchover we were told in no uncertain terms that we would take liability if we didn't use Chip & PIN when it was available (e.g. verify by signature). This makes a lot of sense to me, as some peoples signatures had rubbed off and others really didn't match.

Whenever I go to the US, my card is almost never checked. I usually get my card back before I even sign. There is often zero fraud prevention at the point of sale. Even when they ask for photo ID (rarely) they often just check the picture, not my name or even if it's valid ID.

From my side, I would consider liability to be very much on a merchant who didn't bother checking properly and reduce it as an incentive to help me reduce fraud (e.g. chip & pin systems).

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.