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Comment Re:And the other reason is... (Score 1) 397

Indeed not. And they are quite deliberately absent -because I am very determined to resist the temptation to trade argument over features - because that's not the point I am making and never has been

Let me try and summarise how I see it.

1) You have made it clear what you like and find important.

2) I have said that those things simply do not matter to me, and that some of thing I actively dislike. I have read and understood the arguments in favour, and decided (as is my right) that I reject them.

Note I've NOT said "you're wrong" or "They're crap" - or anything similar. Merely that, to me, they are worthless or worse. And also that it would appear that I am far from being alone.

3) I've said there are other things which I do value which I don't find with Apple and do find elsewhere.

I have not the slightest doubt that these things will be of little or no value to you and, indeed, you will actively dislike some of them and reject all the arguments I offer in their favour. So much so that I concede the point without you even having to make it.

So let me go back to my key point: I will not buy a product where the choice of applications I can run on that product is limited to a "walled garden".

This choice is for both practical and philosophical reasons. It matters a very great deal to me on both counts.

I am fully aware of some of the implications and consequences of this choice. I believe I can cope with and handle those consequences and have been doing so successfully for some considerable time now.

During that time - I have seen, experienced and had to deal with some of those consequences. They were manageable. Those experiences have not (even remotely) caused me to question or change my views on that core underlying choice to reject "The Walled Garden".

I am also aware I am not alone in having views like this.

So, in practice, the iOS Style of App. Store is indeed a feature which attract many, and it will also repel many others - even people who have thought about it and heard all the arguments in favour. Ultimately who are you to say that they are wrong?

Put simply just one more case of "One Size does NOT fit all".

Comment Re:And the other reason is... (Score 1) 397

This is exactly what I meant by "controversial" and "divisive".

Fairly clearly you rate some of the things you listed as "important". Great. I'm really pleased it works for you.

And yet not only do I attach little or no value to them, I regard some of them as actively negative - the very opposite of a feature. For *ME* they are worthless and worse (a judgement reserved for me to make) - although I also know I am far from alone in this.

Meanwhile if I bothered to explain some of the features I find attractive in (for example) the Android Marketplace, I suspect you would attach little or no value to them and might also find some to be a negative feature.

We have a different outlook, we care about different things, we are probably working under different constraints, it's quite likely we are trying to achieve subtly different things, how we work is probably different too. Real differences which lead to real differences in the value judgements and conclusions we reach.

When I look at your reply I note you seem to have completely missed every single one of the top five key "features" offered by Android that I value the most. Given what I have just said above, this is not really surprising to me.

I'm not presuming to tell you what value judgements you should reach, please return that respect.

Yes. Apple has a Applications Market which is doing well. And there are others which are also doing well.

These are interesting times. Presuming to predict how things will look in even 5 years time is just indulging in glorified fortune telling and is likely to prove about as prescient as scrying would be.

Comment Re:And the other reason is... (Score 1) 397

Yes. There are real advantages. Which I believe to be worthless to me (and to many people).

There are also real advantages to the alternative approach. Advantages I happen to value very highly.

So to me (and at least some, probably many others), as a feature it's useless.

So, more generally, as a USP with which to take on the world it's erm... "flawed". If I were trying to sell iOS I wouldn't put it anywhere near the top of the list. I'm not sure I would even mention it.

Comment Re:And the other reason is... (Score 1) 397

I rather suspect that the choice of a heavy suspension for a downhill racing bike is more objective than subjective.

But the choices around App Stores are largely subjective. The choice of an App store and associated choices of business model are a complex set of trade-offs. Whichever choice you make you arguably gain in some areas and loose in others. Which of these matter the most to you depend on you: who you are, how you think, what you know, what you want to do and what other constraints you face.

In practice this means the Apple App store and how it works is a "controversial" or even "divisive" feature within the true meaning of those words.

Comment Not following the link ? (Score 1) 368

I've now read the original article a couple of times and gone through the main comments a couple of times. ...and I am confused. It seems that many people commenting have not actually bothered reading the original article to see what was being discussed there - and have jumped straight in with comments about what they (mostly wrongly) think or assume the article was about instead.

Many of the skills discussed in the original articles are about avoiding and/or managing a diverse range of real-world problems of the kind still regularly seen today.

Comment Re:Do not cooperate with the police (Score 2, Interesting) 372

It's a good question. There are several ways of looking at it. For example:

The "missing little Girl" is your daughter. The Police are knocking on your neighbour's doors. You now have to face the fact that some of your neighbours might be finding it hard to offer the Police complete support - at least partly because the Police have previously acted in ways which reduced the public's confidence in the Police.

How do you feel ? Who do you blame ?

I would much prefer to live in a society where "Policing by Consent" still means something. Policing by consent is in the overwhelming interest of all law abiding people.

One requirement for "Policing by Consent" is that the Police understand and support their side of the bargain. Another requirement is that the legal system and government maintains a certain level of basic confidence and support. I believe the UK currently has some serious problems with all those things and we are all worse off because of it.


New Assassin's Creed Next Year, Will Have Multiplayer 56

Ubisoft has announced that the next stand-alone Assassin's Creed title will come out next year, and it will be the first in the series to come with an online multiplayer mode. The company also said it will be "shoring up its focus on competitive AAA core titles on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3" in the coming year, making mention of upcoming releases for the Tom Clancy game series and a new Prince of Persia title.

Comment Re:Unprofessional (Score 5, Interesting) 122

My Aunt worked at Bletchley Park. She was a Bombe Operator. In her case - "Bitter" is certainly the wrong word.

At the time she knew a fair bit about what she, personally, was doing. She didn't understand all the details, but she knew she was cracking messages relating to the Battle of the Atlantic - and that it was damned important. As an intelligent woman she also knew and accepted why the secrecy was important - both at the time and afterwards. She never discussed it at the time with anyone.

My Grandfather was bright enough to work out that my Aunt had done "something a bit special" in the war - and was very frustrated that he had no idea at all what it was and that she refused to discuss it. He died in 1969. IIRC "The Ultra Secret" was published about 5 years later. That was the moment when the restrictions were relaxed - and she could tell the rest of the family where she had been during the war.

My Aunt is bitter about what happened to Alan Turing. It was wrong "of itself" and it was also wrong that this country seemed to forget exactly how much was owed Dr Turing. She regards it as a tragedy and a waste. I agree.

My late Father was one of those who fought in "The Forgotten War" in Burma. One of many horrible parts to WW2. He gained "The Burma Star". Something he wore with great pride and which recorded what he had been a part of. My Aunt will be pleased to finally have something similar.

I think that it is just to recognise the achievements of those who worked at Bletchley Park in the same way - and that it probably could and should have happened sooner - perhaps during the 1970s.

Comment Re:Exactly. (Score 1) 361

Within the UK the phone system allows the caller to set the CLI arbitrarily.

Because the outgoing Telco cannot know which CLIs are valid and which are not (because it handled by someone else, and is constantly changing) they have no means of imposing any useful rules.

Yes. The Telco can tell the Police which CLIs were used for outgoing calls - but how does that help ?

Are you seriously suggesting that the Police are going to contact all of the many hundreds of Telcos in the UK and say "did any of your customers send calls using this CLI ?"

Even if they did, what happens when the CLI is something totally meaningless - and used by several different senders?

I.E. What happens when the many tens of Telcos all say "yes" to the same same CLI ?

As a Telco, we regularly get requests from the Police and other bodies regarding (incoming) numbers that we "own". (Using what is often known as the "RIP procedure). Thus far > 95% of these requests have been a dead end for the Police - because the CLI they are tracing is utterly fake.


It is actually possible to trace individual calls by means of some of the other logs in SS7 independent of CLI. It is very slow and very laborious. AFAIK This method is only used in the most extreme of circumstances. Even then, there are still various ways it can fail.

Comment Re:Exactly. (Score 4, Informative) 361

I don't know about the USA, but can say that this would be completely impractical in the UK.

For various complex reasons, major users in the UK (like call centres) frequently buy their incoming telephony and outgoing telephony from completely different companies. It's not uncommon to have several companies providing each. The incoming numbers used may not even belong to the call centre. It is increasingly common for these to be allocated and routed dynamically in real time.

(This is exactly the service my company provides - to known, legitimate customers).

There's no way that the outgoing Telco is going to be able to unscramble or keep up with this.


Scientists Isolate and Treat Parasite Causing Decline in Honey Bee Population 182

In a recent report, a team of scientists from Spain claims to have isolated and treated the parasite causing honey bee depopulation syndrome. Their hope is to prevent the continued decline of honey bee populations in Europe and the US. "The loss of honey bees could have an enormous horticultural and economic impact worldwide. Honeybees are important pollinators of crops, fruit and wild flowers and are indispensable for a sustainable and profitable agriculture as well as for the maintenance of the non-agricultural ecosystem. Honeybees are attacked by numerous pathogens including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites."

LEGO Rock Band Confirmed 98

SailorSpork writes to tell us that the rumored LEGO Rock Band has been confirmed, and it's set to be released later this year. The game is being developed for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and DS. The press release lists the first five songs selected for the game, and says players will "work their way through local venues, stadiums and fantasy locations on Earth and beyond, that mimic the imaginative settings that the LEGO world offers. Also continuing the LEGO 'build-and-play' gaming experience, players will be able to create their own LEGO Rock Band style as they customize their minifigure avatars, band and entourage, including roadies, managers and crew." A new page on the Xbox website provides more (slightly odd) details: "Play killer riffs to destroy a giant robot, summon a storm, and demolish a skyscraper using the power of rock!"

Comment Station IX (Score 4, Informative) 79

If you go back to WW2, the UK had a research lab which produced many curious inventions worthy of "Q". It was part of the SOE and known as "Station IX". It was based in an old Mansion just South of Welwyn in Herts.

You can now buy a catalogue of their weird and wonderful creations - which included such things as:

Explosive Rats (designed to destroy boilers)

Motor Bikes which folded into a small case and could be dropped by parachute. ("Welbike")

Silenced Single shot guns ("Welrod")

Explosive Pens.

Land Mines disguised as faeces from a wide range of Animals. These had a double effect - not only could they knock out enemy vehicles, but they slowed progress and sapped morale by forcing the occupants of enemy vehicles to get out and probe carefully every last turd they came across.

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