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EU Plans To Make Apple, Adobe and Others Open Up 389

FlorianMueller writes "After pursuing Microsoft and Intel, European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes is now preparing an initiative that could have an even greater impact on the IT industry: a European interoperability law that will affect not only companies found dominant in a market but all 'significant' players. In a recent interview, Mrs. Kroes mentioned Apple. Nokia, RIM and Adobe would be other examples. All significant market players would have to provide access to interfaces and data formats, with pricing constraints considered 'likely' by the commissioner. Her objective: 'Any kind of IT product should be able to communicate with any type of service in the future.' The process may take a few years, but key decisions on the substance of the bill may already be made later this year."

New Google Search Index 50% Fresher With Caffeine 216

Ponca City, We love you writes "When Google started, it would only update its index every four months. Then, around 2000, it started indexing every month in a process called the 'Google dance' that took a week to 10 days and would provide different results when searching for the same term from different Google data centers. Now PC World reports that Google has introduced a new web indexing system called Caffeine, which delivers results that are closer to 'live' by analyzing the web in small portions and updating the index on a continuous basis. 'Caffeine lets us index web pages on an enormous scale,' writes Carrie Grimes on the official Google Blog. 'Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day.' Now not only does Caffeine provide results that are 50% fresher than Google's last index, adds Grimes, but the new search index provides a robust foundation that will make it possible for Google to build a faster and more comprehensive search engine that scales with the growth of information online."

Cloth Successfully Separates Oil From Gulf Water 327

Chinobi writes "Di Gao, an assistant professor at the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, has developed a method of separating oil from water within just seconds using a cotton cloth coated in a chemical polymer that makes it both hydrophilic (it bonds with the hydrogen atoms in water) and oleophobic (oil-repelling), making it absolutely perfect for blocking oil and letting water pass through. Gao tested his filter successfully on Gulf Oil water and oil and has an impressive video to demonstrate the results." This is a laboratory demonstration; the technology hasn't been tested at scale.

Comment Re:"Flash" (Score 1) 235

Depends on what those “Flash” elements were. If they were h.264 videos from YouTube, Vimeo, or a few others with smart embedding fallbacks, they'll just work. If they are actual SWF embeds, then your users were probably confused.

Comment Re:Half baked (Score 1) 235

Forgive me for feeding the troll, but what?

rendering web pages and navigating the web 10x slower than the cheapest netbook running Windows7

Do you realize how often an iPad crashes? iPads crash on average more than once a day, which is worse than Windows7 and even worse than Vista. They are inherently buggy and glitchy, as any review you will find on them has to admit.

Anecdotes aren't evidence, of course, but I haven't had a single OS crash on my iPad in the two months I've owned it, and for browsing performance it roundly trounces my Acer Aspire.

Do you have anything to back these two howlers up?

Comment Re:They all have it wrong... (Score 1) 178

It's just that your fundamental premise about what Apple did is so totally wrong it actually makes everything else you said seem more wrong than it would otherwise.

I elaborated above. CocoaTouch != Cocoa.

Uh, dude? You do realize that the iPhoneOS running on your iPad is a scaled down version of OSX, which is a desktop OS, which is a scaled up version of NeXTStep

Yeah, in 1992 I was doing my emailing and Usenet reading from a NeXT box, so I kinda get it. :)

Comment Re:They all have it wrong... (Score 1) 178

Guess what? iPhone OS is OSX scaled down.

The APIs that people actually code to, CocoaTouch, are completely new. They resemble the Cocoa APIs, and even share a few method names, but they are not the same, which is one of the first things OS X programmers realize when they try to just recompile something they’ve written for the desktop. The kernel is the same, but I think we can agree that kernels are pretty much commodities at this point.

No, you have no idea what you're talking about, as we've already established; Windows CE is its own OS and not based on another Windows, so it's not scaled down from anything,

The HP device I thought we were discussing here was demoed as a Windows 7 tablet, which, as you note, has nothing to do with WinCE. Why are you moving the goalposts? I may be mistaken here, but does the WinCE family support multitouch at all?

More products are probably cancelled than actually brought to market. Microsoft cancels things all the time. WinFS anyone?

One big way Apple’s been kicking people’s butts is by only showing things that become real products. It’s a lesson the rest of the industry should pay attention to.

Oh wait, you're ignorant of history, sorry about that. Or are you being deliberately obtuse?

Cool, that was pretty much the Elvis Presley of ad hominems. i salute you.

You are the typical happy iPad owner, using a revisionist view of history to "prove" your point, and justify your purchase. Too bad you're 100% wrong.

Well, I might as well just go home, then.

Comment Re:why don't you have a tablet PC? (Score 1) 178

Honestly curious (not trying to be snarky), but how many truly tablet-centric applications did you regularly use? What proportion of the time we're you using applications that were really optimized for the form factor?

My (admittedly biased) experience has been that requiring developers to really think about the platform results in ultimately more satisfying applications.

Comment Re:They all have it wrong... (Score 5, Interesting) 178

It’s become pretty clear at this point that scaling a smartphone OS up, rather than scaling a desktop OS down, is the better approach. Someone had to stick their necks out and try it. Microsoft tried and failed to scale Windows down, but Apple has apparently succeeded going the other way. Let’s not forget that the outcomes were far from obvious even as recently as a few months ago. HP getting on stage with Microsoft in January was their throwing in their lot with the desktop approach. I think they’ll ultimately come out happier having reconsidered. It actually took corporate chutzpah for them to cancel the Windows 7 Slate after showing it.

It is a stopgap, at best. Someone needs to take the time, do the research, and do the work to write an OS for these devices instead of trying to patchwork add and remove bits and pieces of systems clearly designed for other purposes.

You may be right, but remember: shipping is a feature, and, IMO, the most important one.
(disclaimer: happy iPad owner here...)


Ninth Suicide At iPhone Factory 539

shar303 writes "A ninth employee has jumped to his death at Taiwanese iPhone and iPad manufacturer Foxconn, China's state media reports. The 21-year-old worker was the eighth fatality this year. This raises questions as to whether the shiny finish of the latest gadgets available from mega corporations are tarnished by such information, and whether the mistreatment of workers deserves to be highlighted when considering such firms."

Comment Re:26% of the planet connected (Score 2, Informative) 1067

Just because someone checks Facebook using their iPhone doesn't mean that things have really changed, mobile devices are still crappy for doing just about anything on the internet. Yeah, I might read a blog or two, check the news, etc. but its painful to do so, even on the best devices.

Not trying to be snarky here, but have you actually spent any real time browsing on an iPad? A couple of months ago I might have agreed with you about the quality of the web browsing experience on mobile devices, but now I've owned an iPad for a month and use it full time at night and on weekends. The big reveal is with a fast browser on a large enough screen, mobile browsing really isn't painful. Browsing on the iPad really is a desktop quality experience for anyone who can't be arsed with Flash (I use a blocker on the desktop)

Comment Re:Watch the messenger (Score 1) 457

The iPad is not sold as a standalone computing device -- it's plainly stated that iTunes running on OS/X or Windows is required for syncing. My media server (which is also the system that handles video downloads for the house) has an instance of Air Video Server running.

I should state that I have a netbook running Ubuntu as well. I nearly never used it for video playback except for files I'd preprocessed on a beefier machine, anyway, as it labors mightily when dealing with video that hasn't been downsampled. It's a much less pleasant video consumption environment than the iPad (less portable, runs hot, has noisy fans, and an inferior display.)

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman