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back to article Microsoft LOVES YOU: Free Wi-Fi on the British railways for a month

Waiting for a train could be a marginally more interesting experience next month: Microsoft will provide free Wi-Fi on platforms to tempt commuters into buying an Office 365 subscription. The wireless internet access comes from The Cloud and will cover the larger UK stations. Travellers can already bag 15 minutes of free …

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Anonymous Coward

"Office 365 is the cloud-based" - it isn't just cloud based - you can install a streaming local copy too. The Microsoft streaming installation tech. is incredibly fast and impressive.

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Anonymous Coward

But not as impressive as how a Chromebook deals with offline Google Docs working...

I use a Chromebook, and use the free wifi at stations, it automatically syncs my document transations.

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Anonymous Coward

Come on now....

"Office 365 is the cloud-based" - it isn't just cloud based - you can install a streaming local copy too. The Microsoft streaming installation tech. is incredibly fast and impressive.

You sound almost exactly like the cloyingly trite Office 365 radio adverts I've been hearing...

'Come on son, you'll be late home'

'It's fine mum, I'll come home from <$INSERTLOCALCOLLEGENAMEFORCREDIBILITY$> and just carrying on working from Microsoft Office 365' etc

Per-lease. The local double-glazing pushers are more creative than that.

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Anonymous Coward

Local copy is no big deal. With WiFi in every home, business, restaurant, train, airplane, most phones have hotspots, etc, there are really only a handful of people who will be in a place without an internet connection on a regular basis and need to update spreadsheets during that time period. Not to say it shouldn't exist, but most of the time, 99% of the time, it isn't required.

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Devil

Office 365 vs British Railways

Most reliable? Discuss.

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Coat

Re: Office 365 vs British Railways

On the anniversary of the release of the Beeching Report back in 1963 I suppose it is fitting to compare the two.

BR as many of us knew it is long dead and buried. If you can remember back to the days of 'This is the Age of the Train' what we have now is a far better railway mostly free of interference from H.M Treasury.

If you can remember how BR cooked the books in order to make the Electrification of the East Coast Main Line fit the Treasury accounting model then you will know what I mean. You can compare H.M Treasury and how the Add up numbers as being akin to the way Hollywood does it so that mega blockbusters always make a hefty financial loss.

We have growing numbers of passengers year on year.

MS on the other hand is desperate to get people to buy into its subscription model. I suppose it is like buying a season ticket on the railways. At least if your train does not turn up (within the conditions in the small print) you can get your money back. Office 365 is available if you can get a decent 3g signal. That is it's biggest problem. You can't.

I live 40 miles from London in a pretty urbanised area. There are plenty of 3g blackspots around where I live. you would be luck to get a 2g signal in one place a couple of miles from where I live. The Reading Guildford line has many dead zones around Crowthorne.

Frankly, MS would be better off making sure that their suckers (sorry, subscribers) can get a decent signal than messing around with this gimmick.

I won't be using office 365 simply because their business model does not work for me.

Coat naturally

Mines the one with a copy of the 1966 Ian Allan Combined Guide with ALL Diesels neatly underlined and can be seen standing on the end of the platform at Clapham Jcn waiting for a West Country to haul the Bournemouth Belle.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Office 365 vs British Railways

Sorry, you're mis-informed:

The treasury may not interfere with the trains, but when you've got the secretary of state deciding where trains do and don't stop and if another train is needed in the timetable, there's a problem. A case in point - trains don't stop near the Severn bridge at rush hour, because commuters were taking their cars to one side of the bridge and then taking the train the rest of the way, rather than paying the toll. This was causing the PPP for the bridge to fail, so no inter-city trains stop at a convenient time for commuters either side of the bridge.

BR didn't cook the books, the government at the time cooked the books in order that money could be taken from BR and used elsewhere where it was more politically useful.

The APT project was abandoned by the Thatcher government, AFTER the problems it had were resolved, in order that the railways looked like a basket case to be privatised. All APTs except the prototype and experimental were destroyed. The technology was basically given away to Italian rail companies who now sell tilting technology back to us, however this requires track-side equipment to work.

Our trains/lines are better than they were, but vastly more costly than they would have been due to all the fines imposed between the track company and the train companies.

We have growing numbers of passengers, but the system in many places is full and government interference still prevents upgrades.

The upgrade work which is carried out is far more expensive and time consuming than it would have been under BR.

Our fairs are intolerably high because the Tory's ideology says that "if you use something you and no-one else should pay for it", ignoring the fact that everyone in the country, rail user or not, gains significant benefit from an efficient railway.

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Re: Office 365 vs British Railways

> Most reliable? Discuss.

No-one's having to hand out free tickets to get people to use the train...

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MJI
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Re: Reminds me of a comparison I did a few days ago

Most powerful passenger Diesel locomotive in the UK 1955. And powerful passenger Diesel locomotive in the UK 2013.

Only difference was that 1955 was the prototype and 2013 is a 51 year old production machine.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reminds me of a comparison I did a few days ago

You can actually navigate down the Waterloo to Reading line using nothing but mobile signal as an indicator almost. Sunningdale is characterised by a drop from 3G to GPRS, followed by total 2G dropout... then as you cross the level crossing you get HDSPA.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 10:09 Re: Office 365 vs British Railways

"Our fairs are intolerably high..."

Do they include very tall Maypoles and Morris Dancing on stilts?

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Re: Our fairs are intolerably high

And in addition to ridiculously high fares, the operators still receive absurdly high subsidies, and will quite happily threaten to abandon the franchise if the government attempts to reduce those subsidies.

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Re: Office 365 vs British Railways

BR didn't cook the books, the government at the time cooked the books in order that money could be taken from BR and used elsewhere where it was more politically useful.

That sounds more likely.

From memory, in Thatcher's day (and John Major's) rail projects had to show a payback time of under 10 years.

At the same time (the '90s) I remember seeing the official pans for redoing the M40 interchange at High Wycombe that proudly reckoned the scheme would pay for itself in 25(?) years, but as a road project that was OK. (It still hasn't happened, but not for that reason).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Office 365 vs British Railways

The M40 interchange at High Wycombe is a nightmare as well, I'd far rather be able to take the train from Maidenhead to HW, which would be quicker and involve less chance of writing off my car/myself.

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Windows

Dear MS

This notion of storing MY docs on YOUR systems...Especially over a "free" WiFi link....

No....

But thanks for the free WiFi..I'll torrent a copy of office 2003 or some other none "cloud" based doc creator TVM.

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JDX
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Re: Dear MS

Nobody is interested in your boring documents.

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Re: Dear MS

No, but he might be. So using Office 365 would only be a good choice if he frequently wants to lose the ability to access them.

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Windows

Re: Dear MS

The vote ratio suggests otherwise...

:-)

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JDX
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Re: Dear MS

Freetards seem to have this overinflated fear that people are continuously straining to view their files. It's pretty similar to the way Americans used to be afraid of Communists hiding behind newspapers and equally silly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear MS

"Freetards seem to have this overinflated fear that people are continuously straining to view their files."

Actually, some of us have access to files that would be worth quite a bit of money to our competition (subsea oilfield surveys for example) and things we don't want our customers to see (like how much of a markup we put on our prices)

If I left my laptop on a train, like so many government/council machines have been, I'd lose my job. I want something pretty secure between me and anyone wanting my files.

Though our IT department are already on that sort of thing with regulations such as when sensitive files are sent via CD between offices, they must be encrypted etc

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On the other hand

"Hey, you know what'd go great with that? Office 365"

No, it wouldn't.

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JDX
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Re: On the other hand

You should be on TV with material like that.

Then we could turn it off.

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MS Stalled on the train

You get MS Office 365 banner adds on the Greater Anglia train WiFi as well.

Unfortunately the WiFi internet connection was not working beyond that. So all one saw was the Microsoft banner with nothing useful actually happening. A reassuringly familiar experience with MS applications!

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IT Angle

This post was brought to you by Office 365. Did we mention about Office 365? its a new microsoft product that is just as terrible as the usual office programs. Office 365, thats Office 365 folks! rememeber Office 365!

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Coat

Warning: Office 365 does not work on Leap Years.

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Anonymous Coward

Can I use the free wifi to download a copy of LibreOffice?

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or better yet, use the wifi to download a torrent of Office

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JDX
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Sure, if you want to wait several hours and are lugging a full-blown laptop around with you. Meanwhile I could have done some actual work on my generic tablet (well I assume 365 works on tablet browsers... anyone?)

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Flame

Huh? Just how desperate are they?

Does Steve Ballmer think that anyone waiting for a train is going to bother with Office365 when the brass monkeys at the end of the platform are singing soprano? No, we're just hoping someone's laptop battery will burst into flames and we might just make it out alive.....

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Happy

The Cloud,

Gave up attempting to use The Cloud anywhere, you spend more time going through their login process then any benefit gained.

For example, I arrive at my main line station and want to check the tube status, which should only take a few seconds. But if I'd connected to any Cloud service it would have tried and failed to connect until I'd gone through the login process.

Especially when theres two or more competing cloud services next to each other.

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Anonymous Coward

Well how totes amazeballs

Cos I have time to dick about with wifi crappyness when I am waiting for a train.

And why just the platforms, I don't wanna splurge out £3 per day on wifi on the bloody train.

What a totes crock!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well how totes amazeballs

Yeah for some reason companies seem to think that it's a reasonable amount of money, £63 month-ish and I can have internet on the train for 42 hours a month... now, if I do get a 3G black out on the train, and I get frequent ones... I'd get at least half of that for no more than my current mobile bill.... it's literally not worth the money. If it was £15 or less I'd consider it... but probably not even then as I sleep on the train for most of the journey anyway!

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Facepalm

Office 365

Is being heavily plugged on the Glasgow underground too, the only underground railway system in Europe which is 100% underground. I'll be impressed if this works.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Office 365

Oh yeah, the Glasgow underground, remind me: Is it two or three advertising posters that constitute total coverage of the entire network?

The other networks have bits which are aboveground because they are large. The Glasgow underground would have bits above ground if any of the extension plans had actually gone ahead.

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WTF?

Sky Clouds

I already have free 'The Cloud' thanks to Sky. It's a pity I can't use The Cloud onboard which would be alot easier than the present system Greater Anglia has, though with 50 year old rolling stock I don't expect that much.

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365

Had a Facebook friend message me for help with her Word not working.

Finally got remote access, saw the error. Also saw how pisspoor her internet was.

Office 365 worked after Manx Telecom fixed the line (which they denied was the issue, even with noise on it).

If it needs to attach to the internet, its useless, like Sim City 5

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Silver badge

"Waiting for a train could be a marginally more interesting experience next month: Microsoft will provide free Wi-Fi on platforms to tempt commuters into buying an Office 365 subscription."

That won't make waiting for a train more interesting - marginally or otherwise. It's THIS sort of thing that would make waiting for a train more interesting.

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JDX
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Re: How to annoy MS

What a sad lonely life you lead. Sitting there downloading Linux you already have, to stick your finger up at someone who isn't listening.

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FAIL

Things i dont want...

1) Red hot poker inserted anywhere.

2) Cold poker inserted anywhere.

3) All my web surfing / details sent to M$.

Plus its all on Apple devices, so M$ would only be unhappy :D

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JDX
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Re: Things i dont want...

Where does it say MS are getting your surfing data?

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Anonymous Coward

Outlook email - DONT TOUCH WITH A BARGEPOLE

BT in it wisdom has decided to move all of its small business custumers to Office 365 & Outlook email. From bitter personal experince I can say that it sucks.

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What I don't understand...

Windows supports network access to their operating systems since Windows 2000 server. Their RDP is actually fairly well and I've seen it running over ISDN at usable speeds....

Why go through all the hassle with "Cloud-based Office" when you can just remotely log into your desktop computer. (Of course you need a VPN and all that, but come on, that's not hard to do)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I don't understand...

If you use RDP to logon to your desktop PC (which I personally do, but not definitely not for work) You end up with your network perimeter being the desktop, this is bad.

Some companies do use VMs in dedicated pools firewalled off from the rest of the VMs as machines to RDP into for VPN access though. The argument is that for many companies not bothering with all that tedious security vulnerable infrastructure and using a cloud service is more desirable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I don't understand...

Windows supports network access to their operating systems since Windows 2000 server.

Did you forget NT4 Terminal Server? RDP's filename isn't called "mstsc.exe" for giggles..

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Re: What I don't understand...

Sorry, didn't know that. Thanks.

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Probably just me...

... I fully accept that I maybe a mentalst, but... the opportunity to log the mobile device of every British Rail user, the possibility to match that device to a CCTV image, along with payment details and voice sample?

Or it could just be a geat service provided by a great company and I need to smell the roses. I've always been too cynical...

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Bronze badge

As goes your emial so might go your companys' operations

IMHO the future of Office365 experience has already seen with Outlook365. Business execs don't seem to realize the consequences of outside management of their internal email when they made the Outlook365 switch over. They're cluelessly trusting the security of their in-house proprietary communications and reliability of access to an outside company. They think the name "Microsoft" makes it professional and the name brand magically imparts security and reliability? Perhaps they should ask their employees about that last few times there were glitches in the service or they couldn't access Outlook365 and how much this has happened before going to Office365. Unfortunately I doubt the Executives in companies would consult their staff and far to many will plunge daily operations into the same faltering situation as their Microsoft controlled email is already in.

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