Readers take opposing views on everything

By turns, kicking and kissing our ar*es

Letters Techscape's Bill Robinson reckons he can see a bit of a punch up on the horizon for HP and Sony, as both firms turn their attention to digital entertainment. A few of your thoughts:

"H-P has a strong reputation for technological excellence."

Make that "had". I've been a supporter of HP since the 70's, but they are no longer in Sony's league for build quality or support, and their new CEO is cutting support staff right now!

You try and get your HP printer or camera fixed and all they will offer is a refurbished model for much the same cost as a new replacement. Most people choose the latter, invariably from another manufacturer.

Walter Hewlett was right all along.


This is a nicely written article. Certainly, this "battle" is going to result in some pretty big changes for these companies and our living rooms.

I wonder if Microsoft and Apple might think that they are also involved in this battle? I'm sure you had a thoughtful reason for leaving them out - what would that be?


Just some food for thought!!!

Not sure if I totally agree with you on this!

I admit that HP are a big player in the Server/Business/PC market, there's no doubting that, but when it comes to the living room I think they will be stumped.

Firstly HP is not innovative any more. Sure they refine their inkjet printers, they improve their ipaqs/pdas and their Servers get faster but where is the ipod-like product that sets them apart? They do nothing and have nothing that sets them apart from the rest.

Along with this the merger with Compaq has still left deep scars in the workforce which is damaging the One thing left that customers came to HP for...The people. This in my experience has dented badly HP's ability to innovate and deliver in any market and is something that Mark Hurd is still trying to put right. This is surely essential when you are talking about selling into the "home".

If we look at HP's answer to getting into the digital entertainment sector then its all Follow, follow, follow; not lead. They do LCD TVs, PDAs, have a partnership with Apple, do cameras etc etc but where is the leading and unique product, service or brand that will set them apart?

I think the living room will fall to the "cool" brands. The brands that people truelly buy with their hearts and not their heads. Here we are talking the playstation community, the ipod community, the film buffs, the gamers. The home is a place where single 30 somethings with lots of cash, wives, children, friends and even pets make the buying decisions, not business people with a balance sheet.

I admit that HP shift large amounts of business gear but they are not well versed or competent in competing in what is a totally different market.

I think we are seeing a make or break time for HP and I also think that the article would have been better suited if you had used someone like Apple in place of them.

The true fight will be between companies like Nokia, Sony, Apple; the companies that have proven abilities to innovate, have the right products and attitudes, have a great brand and who have happy workforces to keep them their.

What do you think to that!?


I think we have made our feelings about excessive punctuation known on more than one occasion...

Our very own Orlowski took a stab at working out what was going on in the debate over the usefulness of the Creative Commons licences. Is Larry Lessig's pet project the best thing since sliced bread, he wondered, or is it, as some suggest, a solution looking for a problem? Sometimes even asking the questions gets you whacked over the head with a steel bar:

What an amazing amount of garbage you managed to produce this time. It must be a new record. I don't think I've ever seen so much bullshit based on false premisses and egocentrism and thinking "inside the corporate box". Yeah, dude thats right, you have permanently discredited yourself as a troll and a boot-licker.


F. You

I think the whole techo-utopian mindset, which is trumpeted with such fervour by bloggers and Harvard Law professors, but takes hold, at one time or another, of most techies to a certain degree, stems from the fact that real-world applications of technology take a ridiculously long time to get implemented, and this frustrates us techies to no end.

You see, just looking at the technology we have available today, we know that very soon we'll be using these all-singing all-dancing gadgets with constant connectivity that will allow us access to just about every piece of information known to man from any device anywhere. We know physical distribution of information is a dinosaur concept on its way out.

I know my future kids (I'm in my late 20s) will find it ridiculously quaint that in order to watch a movie I had to go to a store, buy this plastic box with a shiny disc inside, stick in a black device and fiddle with a remote control, or that I actually had to physically transport the disc to my friend's house when I wanted to watch the movie there. They'll scratch their heads when I tell them what a wonderful revelation it was to be able to skip the going to the store bit and actually order the disc from my computer (but not my TV!) and have it delivered several days later. For them, any content will be a few clicks away at the nearest screen, whether it's in the living room, on their mobile device or in the seatback in front of them on a transatlantic flight.

What bugs the techno-utopians, or those of us who unwittingly stray into that mindset when we've been reading too many of their blogs, is that we have the actual, raw technology to do all this right now. The average non-techie is still in awe of the shiny discs and amazon's super saver delivery, but we techies are already frustrated that the world doesn't get its act together and offer us this wonderful networked future here and now.

What we don't realise is that it takes time for the world to get its act together. It takes time to build the infrastructure, agree on the protocols, and most importantly, figure out how and who to pay for the privilege.

As you so elegantly demonstrate, nobody disagrees with the end goal of all these new technologies, nor with the inevitability of us reaching it. But it's the techno-utopians that fail to see that we can't get from shiny discs to ubiquitous infoportals in a day, and the road is going to be hard, bumpy, and they're going to be dozens of double-backs and dead-ends on the way. Now if only we'd be a little more patient maybe we would get there a while sooner.


Lazy Brits would happily use the web to vote if it means they don't have to shift themselves from their houses one Thursday night every four years. This stunning factoid emerged in the most credible survey we've seen all week. No, really. Anyway, regardless of the reliability of the research, you thought it kind of missed the point:

The entire debate about voting online misses the point entirely.

Democracy isn't about voting - Saddam Hussein and Hitler both were the regular beneficiaries of elections - it is about counting the votes.

Democracy isn't even about counting the votes of winners (they've won, they don't care) it's about counting the votes of losers.

Democracy is about binding the losers into the fact that they have lost and of them giving the winners legitimacy.

If that legitimacy breaks down then the cost is horrendous - see Northern Ireland - a minority of a minority refused to give legitimacy to the state - or consider the situation in Iraq now.

At the moment, the process of counting in the UK is entirely transparent (disclaimer I have been a parliamentary candidate twice):

  • the candidate, or their representatives can inspect the ballot boxes before they are sealed
  • the candidate or their representatives can monitor voting at the ballot station, including getting turnout figures
  • when the voting is over the candidates' representatives can watch the arrival and the emptying of the ballot boxes
  • the votes are then counted for each box so that the candidates' representatives can verify that no votes have been added
  • the final count then takes place in public, and the candidates' representatives can sample the count, examine the bundles and verify the result

The verification of the vote can be undertaken by a normal school leaver armed with a pencil and paper - none of this is possible with electronic voting.


Why do they ALWAYS leave out the obvious reasons why people don't bother to vote. The reason why I and many of my friends frequently don't vote is that there is no difference between the candidates, so what is the point? Most candidates stand on issues that I could give a monkeys about, either way. If they want me to vote more often, give me a choice on issues I do care about, and try and figure out a way of making our biased and unfair electoral system a bit less biased and a bit more representative.


More on the whole mobile phones on planes thing. Clearly a great idea whose time has come. And that's the official Reg word on the matter...[You're' fired...Ed]:

I read with interest the proposals for aircraft crew to be able to disable voice calls from mobiles during 'quiet times'.

How are they going to prevent people from switching their phone to 'manual network selection' and joining a cell on the ground? Does the picocell contain a jammer which blocks out these other cells?



The passing of Scotty, known to his friends as James Doohan, has not gone unremarked upon:

They should really save a few grammes for quantum teleportation experiments ...

Regards, Mike

The discovery of a particularly dusty stellar system makes everyone wonder if it harbours an Earth-like planet. Except you lot. You lot just wonder if Darth Vader was involved:

Only one thing can pulverize that much rock. A death star.


And finally, a marvellous piece of commentary that we feel neatly encapsulates the essence of all things Bulldog and broadband related:

At the end of round two, Standard Broadband has taken a bit of a beating - we don't expect it to go much further here tonight after such a show of megabits...*ding ding* And there's the bell, round three!

Wait - Bulldog Broadband doesn't seem to be moving, he's still sitting down in the corner! Hey someone wake him up down there! Ooh, ouch, a right hook from Standard Broadband, that's gotta hurt! What's Bulldog playing at? Oh, wait, we're hearing that he refuses to get up and fight until he's paid again!

Wham, Standard Broadband heard the bell and he's giving Bulldog a hammering. Bulldog still isn't fighting! This must be the first time in boxing history I've ever heard something so preposterous!

His manager has just come in and slipped him a's back on! Bulldog Broadband stands up and approaches Standard...but wait! Bulldog has started running around in circles...he doesn't seem to be working properly! The fans are outraged at this; they're crowding round the ring trying to find out why Bulldog isn't working, but he's not even listening to them! And Standard is taking his time landing some really nice blows in the meantime!

And here comes the Referee to take Bulldog away with the manager left in tears and many angry, disappointed fans crowding around the ring. Well folks, tonight's lesson would be not to let amateur boxers in the ring I guess!


That's all for now. Enjoy the weekend. ®

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