'This is Apple. It will take them 2 weeks to alter their website, will it?'
Plus: 'A hacker told me how Hitler ties his shoes'
QuotW This was the week when Hurricane Sandy barrelled into the US East Coast, killing more than 90 people, causing widespread flooding and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
Before the super-storm made landfall, buildings were closed, businesses went offline and folks were evacuated. The New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ stopped trading, public transport shut down and events including Google's Nexus launch were cancelled.
Despite the necessary gravity of these preparations, troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan fell into that old celebrity Twitter trap of posting a pretty stupid and insensitive comment on serious real world happenings:
WHY is everyone in SUCH a panic about hurricane (i'm calling it Sally)..? Stop projecting negativity! Think positive and pray for peace.
And if that wasn't enough, she posted this nonsensical tweet a couple of days later:
How does Hitler tie his shoes? from @oatmeal
But it's OK everyone, Lohan has not gone off the rails or anything, it was probably just a mis-click on a "share this" button on an Oatmeal comic. No wait, it was the fault of a hacker, at least the Hitler one is anyway, LiLo claimed. She let her followers know that the shoe-tying missive should be ignored, but didn't mention anything about the tweet about the hurricane.
So to clear up any confusion: the weird tweet about a Nazi dictator - some exceedingly strange hacker's idea of a joke. Weird insensitive tweet about hurricane - Lindsay Lohan.
Meanwhile, Windows 8 finally launched, prompting the Reg Oz team to get a motley crew of n00bs to test the new OS. Unsurprisingly, the resounding verdict was: "Where's the f*cking Start button?"
Starting with an 8-year-old, Reg Oz got five peeps from different stages of life, all non-expert but mostly computer literate, and forced them to try to open a web browser and navigate to their favourite website; open a Microsoft Office application; create a file in that application; save it to the desktop; and then return to the desktop to open the file.
A forty-something professional put it most succinctly when they moaned:
I could have kept trying for an hour to find how to get back to the Start screen.
And a thirty-something agreed:
Microsoft needs to put some tutorials in this or it will frustrate a lot of people.
The civilians found it tough to get to grips with - and one little old Chinese lady just wasn't having any of it. The intrepid granny leapt onto the stage at the operating system's launch party in Beijing and tried to get Microsoft to stop the racket because her grandchildren couldn't sleep.
To add to its less-than-auspicious beginnings, a demo of the new OS in Taipei went horribly wrong when Windows 8 glitched on a couple of all-in-one PCs. Redmond had a great excuse for that, of course. Marketing manager Yi-Fang Chu said:
It is a hardware issue, rather than a software one. It’s partly because of the large screen size of the all-in-ones.
But then he added:
It was pretty rushed to the launch date, and the user experience will improve.
Meanwhile, Apple has been slapped down yet again by the UK courts: Judge Robin Jacob ordered the fruity firm to change its surly statement on its website - which was supposed to plainly admit that Samsung did not rip off Cupertino's blueprints.
Apple had been previously ordered by the UK courts to announce in newspaper adverts and on its website that Samsung's tablets did not infringe on the iPad designs. The judge believed that the South Korean firm had already endured a lot of negative publicity that implied it was copying the iOS-powered fondleslab. After fighting the decision in the appeals court, Apple was told to shut up and make the statements.
Instead, Apple posted a churlish statement that started out saying that Samsung had won the case and finished up talking about how other courts had not agreed. Cupertino also pulled a couple of sections from the original judgment that complimented the iPad, including the famous line that Sammy Galaxy slabs are "not as cool". The final thrust of the post ran like this:
However, in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design. A U.S. jury also found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's design and utility patents, awarding over one billion U.S. dollars in damages to Apple Inc. So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung wilfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad.
So to summarise, the UK court found Samsung not guilty of infringing but "Samsung wilfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad". The powers that be were understandably peeved.
... the point of no return may well have been when Mr Carr [Samsung's counsel] produced an article from the highly respected online forum The Register (motto: "Biting the hand that feeds IT") commenting on the statement published by Apple, the headline of which read (or perhaps screamed) “APPLE: SCREW YOU, BRITS, everyone else says Samsung copied us … But we will apologise because the judge said we had to” … this probably simply confirmed the conclusions which the judges had already reached regarding the overall impression created by the statement. So a well-timed can of petrol, thrown on to the bonfire by Mr Carr, ensured that the nicely warming bonfire turned into a total conflagration.
Truly, when the Register speaks the world listens. -Ed]
Judge Jacob gave the firm 48 hours to put up a statement that was not as "incorrect" and "non-compliant" as the first one. He said:
I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this. That is a plain breach of the order.
Lawyers for the iPad maker tried to get two weeks to make the changes, no doubt hoping to slide the statement out quietly when people weren't expecting it, but Jacob was having none of it:
I would like to see the head of Apple make an affidavit setting out the technical difficulties which means Apple can’t put this on their site. I just can’t believe the instructions you’ve been given. This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?
Also in Blighty, ISP TalkTalk complained the dash for public cash to roll out faster fibre networks was something of a one-horse race. National telco BT is the only one that's managed to hit the government up for some of its Broadband UK Delivery funds of £680m, and Fujitsu is unlikely to be able to get any after the Cabinet Office labelled the company "high risk".
TalkTalk boss Dido Harding told The Reg:
I'm not in any way - to be clear - criticising the regime as of today, but I think looking forward - whether it's in three, five or 10 years' time - a large proportion of the country will take their phone broadband as a superfast product, and I don't think that we should live in a world where that is an unregulated product provided by the admittedly very talented and lovely monopolist [BT's Openreach boss Liv Garfield sitting] on my right.
And so I think the time is now right to start looking at exactly what that regulatory framework should be to make sure that it is very clear that both parties are getting a fair price.
Finally, Huawei has received a massive slap in the chops, and it likes it. The Chinese firm said that it's not that nice to have an expert tell you that there are flaws in your gear, but the disclosures can help in sorting these problems out.
Cyber-security officer John Suffolk said his firm was talking to researcher Felix Lindner, who had pointed out some major programming errors in two of Huawei's routers. He added: "Sometimes you need a bit of a slap in the face to step back, not be emotive in your response, and say what do I systematically need to change so over time any these issues begin to reduce?
"I can fix the Felix issue in a few lines of code. But I'm interested in systemic change within Huawei." ®