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Comment Supreme ruler... (Score 1) 32

The Supreme Ruler series has used NASA maps of earth for like a decade.

Unfortunately it's still the same maps as they were using a decade ago, I've been trying to persuade the lead programmer to get higher res maps, but that creates system requirements issues.

Comment Re:Colombus discovering America is a myth. (Score 2) 63

The vikings didn't seem to get very far south though.

Columbus 'discovered' a couple of islands (peurto rico and cuba basically), at least initially. The difference was that the vikings seem to have contented themselves with the north, whereas Spanish and Portuguese and British and French sailors started looking for anything else, and importantly, looking for edges once they found the giant land mass that is north, central and south america.

I suppose it's all down to practical differences. The Vikings didn't view trade or colonization as highly competitive races, whereas England, France, Spain and Portugal were very much interested in competition with each other, and if one thought it was an opportunity, they all did.

Comment Re:How does this get fixed? (Score 1) 183

If only I could give you mod points.

This is without a doubt the big weakness in the android and windows phone markets. People will find exploits in your software, that's inevitable. But this problem of not being able to get updates unless you know how to root your phone and install a new build is just not going to work going forward. We cannot have a computing ecosystem where you cannot get updates unless you have significant technical skill to install them. It's just not going to work and it's going to cost a lot of people a lot of money.

When MS entered the market with WP8 they should have said 'no carrier interference' like Apple does. I can see Google was trying to be carrier friendly to win marketshare at the time, but this system is not sustainable.

Comment Re:What an understatement... (Score 1) 266

But if you were a hardware maker, why would you even bother with windblows when you have established systems around that you know people *will* buy as opposed to what m$ hopes people *might* buy.

Because the market could change. Windows 8 hasn't caught on because it's terrible, but you don't necessarily know what the market is going to do until it gets there.

The only problem is that a lot of people have tried Fone7, and the declared 'this sux like goatse, and we hate it'.

Windows has 5.6% of the market, which is probably better than most android makers except samsung, and nokia has most of that market. They're actually doing reasonably well some places. Oddly.

As I say, the crux of the problem is that windows 8 is terrible. Even on a tablet (either definition of tablet) it's terrible. There's no doubt that it's terrible. But if you're one of the android makers that isn't samsung anything you can do to get sales is good. And Surface Pro particularly is a laptop competitor, not really an ipad competitor. People still want proper computers to go with their tablets, and will for some time yet. Although I certainly agree that the laptop market is going to get squished, all those guys (asus, alienware, HP, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony) are still making and selling laptops for the moment, and so want to have something in that segment worth buying.

Unfortunately, no one wants windows 8 or linux on a productivity device, at least not in any significant volumes, so sales are weak overall. But well. We've already agreed that windows 8 is a trainwreck, and linux with its 2% marketshare isn't magically exploding at the moment.

Comment Re:Yes, but... (Score 5, Informative) 139

You have to remember this was back when the pickets ships were the primary means of defence of the fleet still, you don't want your own ships accidentally shooting down their own air cover, so they positioned the picket well forward. Not necessarily the best plan, but you can see the problem - ultimately the goal is to defend the carriers, not the picket ships. The picket ships actually took out a number of enemy aircraft with missiles because that's their job.

No one likes to say 'sorry, but your job is to get killed before someone on a bigger more important ship' but that's very much the job of destroyers and frigates. You force the enemy to destroy the escorts first, or take the risk of flying over them and getting shot down.

The royal navy suffered very much from several problems, one of having some engineering problems with their ships (turns out aluminium can catch fire), two that they couldn't lock on to ships coming in low, and three couldn't deal with exocet missiles.

The royal navy faced the unenviable challenge of not having enough aircraft (only about 50 total). The Argentine situation meant they could (early on at least) put 30 or 40 aircraft anywhere in a large area of operations. That's a serious problem. You can't have too wide an air cover, you'd have too many aircraft spread out and not be able to defend, and you can't risk a carrier. That problem is overcome by defeating the enemy in detail in small pieces until he doesn't have the force to concentrate. Which is what the royal navy did essentially, they traded destroyers and frigates for aircraft kills until the Argentinians didn't have enough aircraft or exocets, at which point the british had air superiority for a ground invasion.

Comment Re:What an understatement... (Score 4, Interesting) 266

They should stay out of the hardware business and work on the operating system for tablets, let anyone make them and encourage development of premium hardware.

That's what surface is. Surface isn't really a serious consumer product strategy. It's Microsoft making clear to the hardware makers that if they refuse to produce anything innovative or worth buying MS will do it for them.

The problem with this strategy is that MS doesn't really seem to have anything innovative to push, in large part because windows 8 is terrible (so is 8.1).

For the better part of a decade MS has been making software work for an iPad like slate device (they even had a term for it: a slate, a tablet is a convertible laptop with a rotating screen). And how many of those did we see on the market? None. MS has been burned badly by their 3rd party partners not rising to the challenge of making devices that aren't shit. If anything the market has gone the other way, to shovelling cheaper and cheaper stuff out that is in many cases junk.

Try and buy a haswell tablet right now. How many can you find? There are a couple, but they are in very few product segments. MS recognizes this problem, and sees surface as the way to address this, but isn't able to implement. Which is sort of ok, if 2 months from now they launch and awesome surface pro 2, and that forces the other vendors to do the same. Late to the market, but forcing some progress maybe. And that's what Surface is there for, it's not to really making microsoft billions directly, it's to make sure that the hardware partners make things worth buying and force them to keep pushing new technology, or they're going to look bad compared to Surface. I'm sure MS would be thrilled if Surface was the most expensive and one of the worst windows 8 devices you could buy - because that would mean windows 8 would be moving at a good pace somewhere.

Comment Re:Haswell? (Score 1) 200

I would think we'll see a surface refresh, one with a Haswell chip (and potentially a 3rd party such as nVIDIA GPU, but unlikely), and one with a Tegra SOC.

That would be what a sane person would call a Surface Pro 2, and a Surface RT 2 or 2013/2014 type thing. Given microsofts recent efforts to name things don't be surprised if it ends up being Surface Pro One, and Surface RT Compatible or some other stupid confusing assbackwards name just to make life hard for everyone.

Without a doubt a haswell Surface would be appealing for some market segments. I'm not really sure how well an (ARM) Surface RT 2 is going to go over. I don't think business was really clamouring for one, a couple of hundred dollars here or there isn't an IT priority if you can see value for the the device. It's not like top executives are walking around with Surfaces just waiting for a price drop so us peons can get one.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 2) 520

. When I visited China, computer security didn't seem to be one of the top priorities among the computer users

Remember that China has it's own state filtering and spyware software they install and run. And woe to you who are not happy to be spied on by the government. Unlike the US, who basically get to talk a lot, the PRC government feels no legal limits to doing whatever it wants to whomever it doesn't like.

There's no point in trying to have a secure system if the government itself is mandating an insecurity and is primarily the one spying on you, and is free to throw you in jail arbitrarily for complaining about it.

Comment Re:not nearly enough (Score 1) 341

Wrong product segment. The Samsung note competes with the Surface RT.

Surface pro is... a touchscreen windows laptop with an intel processor. Integrated onboard GPU, a shortage of ports and a sorta kinda nifty cover. And that's about it.

If you want an intel 10 inch touch screen with windows you're going to have a tough time finding anything with the same specs as a surface in the same price bracket as a galaxy note.

What will be really interesting to see is what they can get the battery life to with a haswell though, and that's the biggest strike against pretty much any tablet or laptop from 6 months ago (well other than windows it Windows 8). For a device like this there is literally no reason to buy an ivy bridge version when there's a haswell one in the pipe which will likely have close to double the battery life at more or less identical performance.

Whether or not having a sort of laptop wintel device is worth the premium depends on what you're doing certainly, but the Surface is sort of kinda in the direction of a replacement for your laptop and tablet, whereas a tablet isn't really a productivity device. Surface pro isn't quite there, there are some issue with a lack of ports, and windows 8 is terrible, but with some slightly better hardware and a better creative vision Surface pro 2.0 or 3.0 could actually be interesting offerings.

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