Sunday, 30 August 2009
It looks like that is that Singapore night race of last season, where Brazilian TV station Globo is reporting Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered to crash and bring out the safety car at the moment that best suited team mate Fernando Alonso's strategy. Alonso went on to win.
If this is true it has serious implications - the timing of the safety car had major impacts for a number of drivers - Massa could justifiably claim that the pitstop chaos cost him the championship, whilst others will point to seriously affected races - Raikonen, Kubica and others.
Can the FIA change the result retrospectively? Yes but that would only mean handing the race to another driver who benefited from the safety car that resulted. Declaring the race void was also change the destination of the driver's title so can't happen.
Which probably means sanctions against the Renault team - a World Championship expulsion even. Which looks like very bad news for everyone employed at Enstone.
Let's hope that the story is just newspaper huffing and puffing and has no substance, otherwise the Anglo-French could be staring down the barrels of the FIA's legislative shotgun - and I suspect that Max would really enjoy pulling the trigger as a parting shot to FOTA...
Thursday, 27 August 2009
The headline story is that Apple and RIM have battered Windows Mobile's market share to under 10% - down a huge amount over 2008's numbers whilst Apple's share has risen a remarkable 600%.
Both are of course bullshit numbers being repeated by people who should know better and show that Canalys's qualities as market analysts are hugey suspect.
Q2 2008 was a bonus year for Windows Mobile, hitting record sales figures in every quarter. All that has happened has been a retraction back to its previous sales numbers. So by looking at anything more than just one quarter's year on year figures would give a much better idea of the real position.
Conversely in Q2 2008 Apple's original iPhone had hit a sales dead end and everyone was awaiting the arrival of the 3G version so its not surprising that sales are up hugely year on year 2008 to 2009.
The lack of iPhone sales in Q2 2008 also boosted Windows Mobile's market share disproportionately for that quarter, so again the drop in market share is less significant than Canalys suggests.
For the record, RIM and to a lesser extent Apple are stealing market share and sales from both Symbian and Windows Mobile. But the fall off is much less than being touted around the web. And with Microsoft about to launch both WM6.5 and WM7; and Nokia about to push out its first Maemo based handset I wouldn't be too sure that any platform has a death sentence just yet.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
At this point I decided to give up and swapped to the Palm Treo Pro I usually use for work whilst on the Shuttle through the tunnel. A well-spent bit of time as both issues have been completely absent on the Treo.
Interesting to note that Copilot itself seemed to suffer some serious routing issues which would have caused major problems if I hadn't known they were spurious and ignored them. The detour around a French retail park looked particularly exciting I thought, but not enough to risk following just to see how it planed on getting out again without any other exits than the one it suggested we enter by.
For now I'll just say that the software has been less than convincing... Here's hoping for more.
Friday, 21 August 2009
Windows Mobile has a number of choices when it comes to eBook software, but the arrival of recent devices without a d-pad has rendered them all pretty useless. However if, like me, you have one of these devices and are still intent on using it as an eBook reader can I suggest that Mobipocket Reader works very well indeed with only very minimal tweaking. Specifically if you go to Menu.. Options.. and change the settings for Default Selection Action to 'None' you'll find that tapping to change pages works perfectly. Right hand side of the screen moves forward and left hand side takes you backward.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Poor Luca Badoer, one of the most promising young drivers of the early nineties who had his prospects snuffed out by a succession of ropey cars and some bad fortune.
Even when it seemed his chance had arrived he missed out through no fault of his own: in 1999 when Michael Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone Luca could reasonably have expected to get a run in a race seat as Ferrari's test driver and official reserve. However Ferrari, fearful of the backlash in the Italian press if they were forced to ask an Italian driver to give up a victory for an Irishman, chose Mika Salo instead. The Finn duly handed victory to Irvine in Germany and Ferrari's decision was somewhat vindicated.
Now ten years on Luca has finally been rewarded for his loyalty to the team - twelve years as a test driver - and will race at Valencia as Michael Schumacher's, sorry Felipe Massa's substitute and the poor guy is still being crucifed in the press. F1's current rent-a-gob Niki Lauda criticised Ferrari's management for giving the role to a has-been ('they might as well of asked me' he's quoted as saying) conveniently forgetting his own dismal record as a team manager in the process.
Given Ferrari's performance lately and Badoer's lack of race experience getting into Q3 would be a real achievement as would a points finish. Here's hoping Luca's luck changes and both team and driver are rewarded with a good result. It would certainly be a richly deserved one.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
This post comes like a bolt from the blue then: 'When you think about it Windows Mobile Is Best'.
Now I'm very much in agreement with everything that Shaun says in the post, especially the points about flexibility and choice. The suggestion that Microsoft's biggest challenge in those areas will come from Android and HTC is absolutely spot on too.
For the moment though choice is definitely Windows Mobile's big selling point. To paraphrase Apple: 'Want a front mounted keyboard and touchscreen? There's a device for that; Want a touchscreen only? There's a device for that; Want a sliding keyboard? There's a device for that too... only on Windows Mobile...
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Of course whilst I'm away I won't be using my smartphone any less - it will still be my eBook reader, MP3 player, sat-nav and camera. Which means that I now have to decide which one to take.
I'd probably be well served by any of my armoury of smartphones... But I'm still going to suffer the anxiety of making sure I get the right one.
Being realistic the choice comes down to the Touch Pro 2, Xperia X1 or Treo Pro - all fine devices. Even the devices not in the running - the iPhone 3G and XDA Zest - would cope admirably if push came to shove.
The combination of big screen, great keyboard and fantastic sound output means that the TP2 is the smartphone I'll take with me. Here's hoping its the right choice.
The Advantage could be the poster child for the bad place that HTC and Windows Mobile were in before the iPhone arrived and gave them the pointers back to where a Smartphone platform should be aiming.
If you have an Advantage then I suggets you retrieve it from your old device pile (I can't believe that anyone still uses one) and try it. Marvel at the size, weight and bizarre profile; the poor balance and abysmal performance will likely bring back bad memories too... Now imagine using this as an eBook reader. Not a winning proposition I suspect. Rather give up an inch or two of screen size for a significantly better user experience? Thought so.
Let's face it, almost everyone who used the Advantage or its WinMo peers would have been scared off the platform for life. There is no defendable reason for still using one, if you are let me know, I'll put you in touch with a good mental health specialist...
Monday, 17 August 2009
When I spoke to the team a few weeks ago they were confident that they had a good defence against the allegations but were concerned over the track record of appeals with the FIA. Seems like those concerns were unfounded as the appeal has been accepted and Renault will race in Valencia after all.
Now I'm expecting something miraculous from Fernando for his fans - and I'm expecting a last minute rush for tickets after the stop-go of Schumacher's return. A win? That might be asking a bit much even for Alonso, but fireworks... oh yes, I'm expecting plenty of those.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Neil Warnock, Palace's manager, was still barely coherent with anger when interviewed on the BBC about eight hours later... probably not helped by City scoring a late winner to consign his team to defeat.
Hopefully we'll start to see some movement on the FA, Football League and FIFA's part to allow technology to stop this sort of thing from happening. Its not the first time something like this has happened - in fact Palace suffered a similar incident in the eighties.
And whilst I can't help but feel sorry for Palace fans, for Neil Warnock all I can say is: it couldn't have happened to a more deserving man.
Good luck in your new 'home' Murray...
Would pick it up through choice? Yes, but at the moment the TP2 is actually the only smartphone that I can comfortably use, having injured my right thumb last weekend. Not sure whether the TP2 will still be my first choice when I've got the full use of my right hand, but for now I'm glad to have it.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Barack Obama's healthcare reform plans have caused some of America's right wing politicians to attack the NHS as it appears to be the model that he wishes to emulate. And whilst I have no interest in what Healthcare system eventually prevails on the other side of the pond (America will get the healthcare system America deserves) these attacks have been based on so much misinformation, blatant deceit and manipulation that the British population has been spurred into action to defend its record. Anyone who knows the British population will tell you what a incredibly rare thing that is... For several days now #welovetheNHS has been a trending topic on Twitter as people report their experiences and gratitude for the service.
Its understandable that people in other countries find the NHS confusing, especially the American right, it is an example of people happily paying taxes to support the greater good, to ensure that no single person, whatever their financial circumstances, is denied medical attention when needed. We realise that the NHS has its faults, yet it is so far and away the best healthcare system available that we work to improve what we have. Even successive Conservative Governments - a political party of free enterprise - have maintained the NHS and the current Conservative leader in opposition promises to expand it further.
The NHS serves a population of approaching 60 million and employs 1.4 million people, making it the third largest organisation in the world. Which would suggest that we pay dearly for its services. Not so... Per Capita spend on healthcare is nearly three times more in the US and as a percentage of GDP nearly double. Yet in every measurement of national health the UK is ahead - we live longer, have lower infant mortality rate, we are less obese, etc., etc. Of course because of these successes the NHS has other challenges to face because of our aging population but that's hardly a reason for complaint.
The public ownership of the NHS allows it to undertake the sort of long term planning which would be unthinkable for a profit driven organisation. Witness the much maligned National Programme for IT - a programme which will deliver incredible efficiencies and savings; and improve the standards of healthcare for decades to come, at the cost of some short term financial pain. This has its opponents in the UK but by any rational assessment is a clear example of a benefical programme implemented in spite of a short term political disadvantage to the incumbent government. Its notable that most of the negative energy is being driven by media organisations which are owned by the Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox, the television network responsible for delivering untruths and misinformation about the NHS in order to stall healthcare reforms in the US.
To get an idea of the strength of feeling in support of the NHS you only have to look at the reaction these unfounded attacks have provoked. That sort of grassroots support is earned over years and can't be overcome by the political will of a media giant and his cronies, no matter how far his reach.
We love the NHS and you won't ever, ever change that.
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Tied to the freely available Exchange Activesync support it means that two of Windows Mobile's key advantages have been sold out from under it. Clearly Microsoft have a bigger need to own the enterprise space than the mobile one.
I suspect that this amounts to a fatal blow to Windows Mobile as we know it today, future versions are likely to be much closer to the Zune HD than the smartphones we know now. The Toshiba TG01 seems to heading down that road already.
Maybe its time to jump ship. Good thing the Pre isn't too far away and Android is starting to offer the sort of choice that was reserved for Windows Mobile users previously.
A Nokia phone running Windows Mobile seems inconcievable, Microsoft buying into open source projects like Maemo and Symbian is completely out of character and that leaves us with some kind of push email announcement (unlikely given Symbian's historic Activesync support) or an Atom powered Netbook, according to Engadget anyway...
I'd like to think that a press event of this magnitude heralds some rather more interesting though... Something out of left field which will catch the competition cold would be very nice...
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Now if anyone deserves a bit of luck its Luca, who's never scored a Championship point before having been mired in back of the grid teams all through his career. The European Grand Prix of 1999 marked the high and low points of his career to date. Guiding an outclassed Minardi to the point of a podium finish only for it to fail within sight of the flag must have been heartbreaking.
I can't imagine we'll see anything mindblowing but it would be nice to see some points against the name of Badoer...
Will this mean a return of the Axim line to the European market? I suspect not. Unless Dell can come up with something completely amazing running on Android or Windows Mobile they aren't going make any return on their efforts - especially with established smartphone names like HTC and Nokia pushing the bar ever higher in their battle to unseat the iPhone. HP's struggles should nicely signpost the problems that Dell would have with developing a name in the marketplace.
Building yet another 'average' phone is just not going to be worth Dell's trouble.
Thursday, 6 August 2009
Nelsinho is probably looking down the end of his F1 career though, unless his father/sponsors can place him with one of the new teams for next season. Which seems entirely unfair when you look at the performances of Jensen Button and Mark Webber this season, two drivers who have seriously underachieved for many years now...
Hughes has died after apparently suffering a heart attack whilst out walking on vacation in Manhattan. I suggest that a rousing listen to Simple Minds "Don't You Forget About Me" would be an appropriate send-off...
Probably not as big a disappointment as that that will be experienced by Schumacher, Ferrari and Bernie Ecclestone. Ferrari have put all their eggs in the Schumacher basket and if he isn't going to be able to race whoever comes in to replace him is going to be starting from absolute zero on Friday in Valencia.
I'm thinking that Bourdais should be put on standby - or maybe Piquet who is also now on the market. Both have experience of this years cars and, in Bourdais' case, the Ferrari engine that powers the F60. Neither will come close to Schumacher's draw and the attention his return is generating.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
As Windows Mobile posted a year on year sales increase and comfortably outsold the iPhone last financial year I'm not altogether convinced that the smartphone division is flagging, especially with two new versions of the OS due in the next year.
However lets look at the motivation behind such a deal. Palm is cheap to buy right now, even after the boost that the Pre has given to its market cap. Its also got a product which is seen as a valid competitor to the iPhone as well as having a solid base of loyal customers. Those good points have to be weighed against the difficulty (conceptually anyway) of Microsoft selling a Linux based OS. Never mind the work required to convert it into a form that can be easily sold to its hardware partners. Or how it will impact on Microsoft's other mobile platforms.
On balance I'd say that we're looking at wishful thinking on the part of some analysts and possibly Elevation Partners who have serious investments to recoup from WebOS.
But I suppose stranger things have happened...
Monday, 3 August 2009
What utter garbage. Exactly what were Apple trying to gag? The fact that they refunded an item of electronic equipment that had failed after being subjected to an impact when legally they probably had no need to do so? Wow that's going to have the legislators rocking... Or not.
Lets face it, this is a non-story. Lithium based batteries are more volatile than other types, at worst Apple could be accused of not making that clear in their user instructions. To be honest though anyone who drops electronic equipment is going to be lucky if they come away damage free. We all do it. Not all of us moaning to the press about it though...
Piquet aimed some pretty fierce criticism at former manager Flavio Briatore, claiming a lack of support and almost constant threats from 'the executioner'.
Piquet may not be out of the sport for long though as his father is looking to lead a takeover of the BMW-Sauber operation, there are no prizes for guessing who'll be the team's lead driver...
Neither Jaime Algersuari nor Roman Grosjean got dispensation and Schumacher has significantly more experience than either.
Assuming that continued pounding around Mugello in a 2007 car doesn't expose any fitness problems for Schumacher the first time he'll drive the F60 will be in free practice at Valencia. Should be interesting.
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Now if they can just work out a way of addressing the phone's other issues I'll be very pleased. So, I'd like a hotfix for the poorly positioned and overly sensitive power button; the bar of soap finish, which has me dropping it on a regular basis; the softkeys which are invariably activated when switching from landscape to portrait mode and more which I won't mention here...
for a new service provider after the world's biggest VoIP provider
lost a licensing agreement with Joltid - owned by it's original
eBay's plans to float the company look to be in serious jeopardy too -
after all with no service to offer it's unlikely that it's significant
revenues are going to keep pouring in.
Whether Skype can agree a new license in time to save it's service
remains to be seen, but even if it can I'd imagine that the terms will
be financially unpleasant.
Will Apple be forced to open its app store to all comers or provide access to third party app stores? It will be interesting to see how much of an appetite the FCC has for regulating application sales in the monopoly that Apple enjoys.