* Posts by John P

254 posts • joined 18 Oct 2007

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Microsoft boosts Azure's VM creds with price cuts and GS

John P

I've used Azure a lot and AWS a small amount, I did a comparison last year of the two and I was really surprised to see that Azure Storage was faster at all operations with the exception of listing blobs. I really expected it to be a more even spread.

Do you have a link to the Nasuni comparison? Might be an interesting read.

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Windows 10: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE to Microsoft's long apology for Windows 8

John P

Re: Just one thing left to make it good

The problem I always had with the old start menu was down to the fact that every manufacturer laid out their directories differently, and a lot of suppliers aren't even consistent within their own application, Microsoft included.

Once you've got a decent amount of applications installed, it soon became a mess. I always ended up manually organising it myself in to categories, but this had its own downside when you came to uninstalling or upgrading things.

I never used Search before Windows 8 as it was just too slow. While it still isn't 100% perfect, it works for me now 99% of the time and it is definitely lower maintenance than organising things myself.

Search isn't a silver bullet, but for day to day use, I find it serves me pretty well these days.

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Windows 10 on Mobile under the scope: Flaws, confusion, and going nowhere fast

John P

I normally find El Reg's reviews to have a mostly unfair anti-MS stance, but I can't really disagree on any of the author's points here.

I am a fan of WP8.1, I came from Android and the user experience is far nicer and smoother for all the reasons the author noted. WP10 at this point just looks like a half-assed Android clone, losing the really nice things about WP and taking on Android/iOS' flaws.

MS have got to improve things before launching WP10/Windows 10 Mobile/whatever, or the few users they do have will soon lose any reason to stick with Windows over Android.

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Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

John P

After being hurt more than once by failed upgrades, I was as sceptical as anyone that the upgrade from Win 7 to Win 8 would actually work without murdering my machine.

I approached it with the expectation that I would have to do a clean install anyway, thus relegating the upgrade to just an experiment. To my surprise, it worked perfectly and I didn't have a single problem with it for the 6 months I used it before I bought an SSD and decided it would be nice to have a clean install rather than transfer the existing install.

I will approach the Win 8.1 to Win 10 upgrade with the same view, but considering upgrading from 8.1 through 5 or 6 Win 10 preview builds has been pretty smooth for me so far, I'm cautiously optimistic.

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Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment

John P

Re: That Reminds Me

While this is pretty bad news in many ways, part of me wonders if getting out of the rat-race competing with actual phone hardware companies, will allow them to create a good reference device, like a Surface Phone. Could get interesting...

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Microsoft to release Visual Studio 2015 ahead of Windows 10

John P

Re: Uninstaller??

MS have acknowledged recently what we have all known for ages, it is impossible to completely remove an application as if it was never there. Once an application is on the system it can do too many things completely uncontrolled for that to be possible.

They're now starting to advertise appx as the solution to this. As appx gives the application it's own hive for registry and file system, it should theoretically be a lot easier to remove an application as it's changes have been isolated.

I think they're only advertising it for UWP apps at the moment, but as the appx format came from their purchase of Softgrid, which later became AppV, I'm hoping they'll give some guidance on using it with Win32 apps as well, hopefully something that doesn't involve sequencing!

Of course, it'll take the various divisions of Microsoft another 20 years to switch from MSI to appx, so whether that will be of any help for MS applications in the short term is another question.

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Microsoft U-turns on 'free' Windows 10 upgrade promise for ALL previewers

John P

You can happily use Windows without an MSA, you just need an MSA to download apps from the store, which is exactly the same as needing an iTunes account to download from the Apple App Store and a Google account to download apps from Google Play.

Why is it that when Google or Apple do these things, no one bats an eyelid, the second MS do it, everyone cries evil conspiracy!

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Feature-rich work in progress: Windows Mobile 10 build 10136

John P

Re: US Engineering

I don't get it, swiping up from the bottom for menus is so natural and easy, why must they break the good parts!

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John P

Glad to see they've made the menus easier to use, that is one of my biggest gripes with WP10 so far.

The app gap is one of those rather tricky chicken-and-egg problems. No one writes for WP because there are no users, there are no users because no one writes for WP.

The UWP apps, if they actually deliver on the promise of one app for all Windows platforms, may help in this regard if they make it essentially a no-brainer for anyone writing UWP apps for Windows Desktop to also make it work on WP. That still leaves the problem of getting developers to write UWP apps in the first place.

On this front, it looks like MS are using the carrot rather than the stick this time as you allegedly will be able to use certain UWP features in Win32 apps, making UWP something you slowly transform in to using rather than having to rewrite everything from scratch in one go. If they get it right, it may work, but it's not going to be an overnight solution.

The question is whether MS will stick with it or just try to re-imagine the experience again next year, thus putting everyone back at square one again.

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There's a new build of Windows 10 Mobile, but you can't upgrade to it

John P

Bugs aside, as noted by many it is a Technical Preview so those are to be expected, I really dislike Windows Phone 10.

The thing I like the best about WP8 is that swipe is a universal action. In all screens, all apps, you can swipe left or right to get to another page within the app or you can swipe up from bottom to get the menu. These paradigms are pretty much universal to the platform and that kind of one handed use is really handy when you've got two under-4s in the house and are trying to read email or Reddit while stopping them from propelling themselves off of the furniture.

WP10 seems to be going for hamburger menu in the top left where it is most inconvenient and left/right swipe is all but gone in all the UWP apps that have been released so far, opting instead for the rather dull and unimaginitive press a button to go somewhere in the app.

The imho better navigation model was one of my main reasons for ditching Android, that and the better battery life. With that gone, the reasons for sticking with WP reduce drastically.

In their rush to look like everyone else, they're risking alienating the users they do have.

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Cortana threatens to blow away ESC key

John P

"That Toshiba feels the need to do so also hints that perhaps Windows 10 isn't doing a great job of making Cortana attentive by itself"

Cortana is already too attentive for my liking, I'm thankful you can turn it off.

Given that MS seem to be trying to discourage OEMs from loading Windows up with crapware (about time), is this the new way for OEMs to remove value?

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What's broken in this week's build of Windows 10? Installing it, for one

John P

Not everyone is having trouble with this. Successfully updated on VM, Lenovo Helix, and Surface Pro with no problems at all.

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Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

John P

Re: Insider here

I think what you probably needed to do was link your local account to a Microsoft account, thereby getting the best of both worlds as you still log in to your PC with your local account, but the Microsoft account is there for applications that need it. I do this on my machine at home and my domain-joined machines at work and have never had any problems.

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The time on Microsoft Azure will be: Different by a second, everywhere

John P

Re: There's 15 minutes difference between Nepal time and India time

The description of the Google method is confusing. It says they're slowing down their clocks and adding the second at the end. But surely, if they're just adding the second, they don't need to slow the clocks down first?

AWS are lengthening their seconds so the leap second will have been added in tiny proportions every second until it is back in sync with how it should be.

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John P

Re: Obvious

How do you know that the reason they don't foresee any problems is because they have tested it?

Same comment could be made about Google or AWS, do we know whether or not they have tested their own ways of handling the leap second?

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Tesco tries to talk Tesco Mobile up from 'Value' to 'Finest' ahead of sale

John P

Re: overstreched

and dictionaries :)

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Windows 10 Device Guard: Microsoft's effort to keep malware off PCs

John P

It clearly states "when enabled by an administrator", so this is going to be much like Bitlocker or any other security feature that MS have introduced over the last 10 years, a great feature but you only turn it on if you know it won't cause you any issues.

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Microsoft uses Windows Update to force Windows 10 ads onto older PCs

John P

Re: You haven't used Windows 10 Build 10041 yet then.

10049 is even worse, made my laptop completely unusable. On a positive front,a fresh install of 8.1 then upgrade to 10041 and finally 10049 is looking much more positive.

Pre-10041 I was feeling quite confident about Windows 10 given the smoothness of the upgrade from 7 to 8, it looked like Microsoft were going to achieve the same success again. Now I'm a little worried and am preparing for a fresh install and possibly wait until the 364th day of the 1 year free upgrade.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 build list snowballs for Lumia mobes

John P

We've found things to be a bit hit and miss with the desktop builds so far, the 9926 build was pretty stable on both my Lenovo Helix and my boss' Surface Pro 1, bar running them both a little hot.

However, build 10041 has caused nothing but problems on the Surface but no longer runs hot on the Helix, however it does now have some slight font rendering issues in services.msc.

As much as I like to be on the cutting edge, I think my 1020 will be staying on 8.1 for a little longer.

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Siri, you're fired: Microsoft Cortana's elbows into iOS, Android

John P

Re: When do we see an Windows phone with Android?

I'm a WP user and would probably also qualify as one of those "MS" fans, I couldn't care less if Cortana is on IOS,Android,Blackberry or any other phone OS. I don't use them so it doesn't affect me in the slightest.

I've got no issue with MS going after market share, it's a good way to raise recognition of MS in the mobile space and maybe even improve WP's market share a bit.

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Snowden leaks LEGALISED GCHQ's 'illegal' dragnet spying, rules British tribunal

John P

Am I reading this correctly?

So when they were doing this in secret, it was illegal. But now we know they're doing it, it's totally fine.

That does not make a lick of sense!

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Microsoft eyes slice of Raspberry Pi with free Windows 10 sprinkled on top

John P

Re: Good work MS

That was my first thought, but according to Scott Hanselman there won't be a shell.

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/TheNewRaspberryPi2WillRunWindows10AndRunUniversalApps.aspx

So while possibly not a super-cheap office PC, I can still see loads of uses for this.

MS have achieved one thing with this though, getting up to speed with Universal apps is now looking like it may just be worth it.

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Elon Musk: Wanna see a multimillion-dollar rocket EXPLODE? WATCH THIS

John P

I believe the barge is a remote controlled drone, so no humans in danger at any point.

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GRENADE! Project Zero pops pin on ANOTHER WINDOWS 0-DAY

John P

Re: About time....

If MS or any other vendor ignore reports of bugs, then they should be disclosed in order to shame them in to sorting it out.

However, in both the recent cases, MS have said they have a fix and have asked Google to withhold disclosure for a short amount of time until they can get it out. Where a software vendor is clearly taking the bugs reported by Google seriously and is doing something about it, but just needs a little extra time to issue a fix, Google should be more flexible and work with the vendors in that situation.

In my work, we have a few software packages that run on WES7/8, XP, 7 and 8. To fix bugs and fully test them can take a week or more depending on their severity and how many platforms the issue is present on, and I dare say MS have a lot more platforms to test against. Testing takes time, and sticking to the 90 day limit rigidly either exposes users to flaws unnecessarily or will encourage vendors to rush fixes out without proper testing, which may cause more damage than it prevents.

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Google unleashes build-it-yourself 'Ara' SLABLET phones (in Puerto Rico)

John P

Re: No way, no how

My last phone was a HTC One X, a great phone when it came out with good battery life, but successive Android updates rendered it unable to last a working day, otherwise I was satisfied with the phone. If had been able to just buy a new higher-capacity battery module for a reasonable price, I probably would've.

The other reason I eventually went with the Lumia 1020 was for the excellent camera as my existing separate digital camera was no longer up to the job. Again, if I'd been able to just buy a better camera module for a reasonable price, I would've done that.

Having the upgradeability that the Ara range provides for a reasonable price probably would've kept me on Android.

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DAMN YOU! Microsoft blasts Google over zero-day blabgasm

John P

Re: Sorry, but Google were uttely wrong.

If MS had completely ignored Google and not given them any information on when a fix would be available, I would have less of an issue with what Google did and the blame would be on MS for not communicating properly with them on the matter.

But MS did tell them that a fix was coming with a release date and asked them to delay disclosure for a couple of weeks until it was out. Google had a definitive time frame when a fix would be available and they stuck to the 90 days anyway, knowingly creating risk for users who may be vulnerable to the exploit.

So in this case, Google are firmly in the wrong IMHO.

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John P

“By removing the ability of a vendor to withhold the details of security issues indefinitely, we give users the opportunity to react to vulnerabilities in a timely manner, and to exercise their power as a customer to request an expedited vendor response.”

Which doesn't apply in this case as Microsoft told them there was a fix and asked them to hold off for an extra couple of weeks until it was released.

Seems like Google stuck to their guns just to generate a bit of bad press for MS, to the possible detriment of customers.

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Microsoft kills its Euro pane in the a**: The 'would you prefer Chrome?' window

John P

Excellent, that'll save me excluding the browser choice updates on every new PC I set up.

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Penguin porn? NO! Linux folk in #LCA2015 standoff

John P

The question is who has the stronger claim to using LCA?

Am currently at work so can't do the research to see who, ahem, came first.

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Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work

John P

Facebook vs Yammer is a bit of a tenuous link, but how is this going to compete with Google Drive? Surely it's a competitor for Google+, shouldn't be too hard to lure away the 6 Google+ users..

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Behold the Lumia 535 NOTkia: Microsoft wipes Nokia brand from mobes

John P

I think the 930 is the current flagship, From the Reg review it seems to be a decent phone but I don't know how it stacks up against the phones you mentioned.

Although HTC are releasing a WinPho One M8 so that will be interesting...

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Microsoft discovers long-lost phone division down back of sofa

John P

No Microsoft, No. Don't for the love of <deity/> put your name on it. Lumia is a good brand and it would've served them well to keep using it and keep their name off of those devices.

I say that as a very happy Lumia 1020 owner and Windows 8 user, but you'd have to be stupid to not be aware that Microsoft's name doesn't necessarily have the best reputation amongst consumers these days.

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Satya Nadella's $84.3m pay packet: Did he use the 'female superpower' to get it?

John P

Couldn't agree more.

What he said last week was terribly phrased, no denying that, but it must take a massive act of wilful ignorance to not be able to clearly see what he was *trying* (very badly) to say.

MS CEO gets paid a s**tload of money, not exactly a headline story there El Reg. So far Nadella has made one cock-up, and seems to be receiving a disproportionate amount of attacks for it.

The MS hate seems to overriding proportionality and reason even more than usual.

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WOMEN, your 'SUPERPOWER' is ... NOT asking for a RAISE: Satya Nadella

John P

I see where he was going with it, but he did say it very badly.

I think what he was trying to say is that you shouldn't need to ask for a raise, but the company you work for should reward you for your hard work, regardless of whether you are male or female.

In my current job, I was going to ask for a raise at my last appraisal but my boss beat me to it and gave me a raise before I had to ask.

I realise this isn't how things work in the vast majority of companies, but it is really how it should be which I thing is what he was trying to get at.

As it is, it just sounded like "don't ask for a raise dear, you'll get one when your boss thinks you're worth it", which has a much more sinister tone to it!

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Lumia rebrand begins: Nokia's new UK web home is Microsoft.com

John P

Microsoft Lumia XXX with Windows.

It wouldn't surprise me. Microsoft, like myself, should never be allowed to name things EVER.

That being said, as long as the phones are decent, I don't care whose name is on them. But Microsoft isn't a name that most people will want on their expensive shiny shiny. If I were them, I'd just use Lumia and not put the word "Microsoft" anywhere on any of their devices, their sales will thank them for it...

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Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't

John P

MS have been warning for years that this would be removed, admitting that it was a stupid idea to add the setting in the first place. Plenty of warning has been given and no one in their right minds should have this set to false anyway.

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We give Panasonic's new 5-inch Toughpad phablets a kicking

John P

"rapid technology cadence "

as a Windows Phone user I'd have to take issue with that, while the rest of MS has moved to a faster cadence, the phone division seems to have gone the opposite direction, the current 8.1 update being the first in a while.

Is this a sign of future change or just marketing fud?

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Redmond in rapid rebuild after sysadmin request STUNNER

John P

Re: Well

Apparently the alien is called the Failien and was originally a placeholder for when errors occurred, but they seem to have adopted it as their mascot. I don't see any harm in it as long as it doesn't get in my way.

I'm not a fan of the new portal either. I can see how, when all services are over there and you can use resource groups to group individual services by application, that it *might* be useful from a "DevOps" perspective which is where they are aiming it, but in terms of just doing something to a particular service, I think the existing portal is far superior for that purpose. Sometimes you don't need to see the whole application, you just want to work with the website or the database without having everything else in your face.

Also, it keeps forgetting every change I make to it which kind of defeats the point of it being customisable.

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US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'

John P

It would appear it is not just the UK government who are completely useless at IT projects.

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Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all

John P

Re: One size fits none

You can tell it was designed for touch because it works really well on both phones and tablets. Most of the niggles I have about using it on a desktop disappear once I'm on a tablet although the integration on transformers like the Lenovo Helix is a little rough.

It's being reannounced because they screwed it up.

Win8 was supposed to facilitate write once-run anywhere, due to internal politics it failed miserably at this, ending up with APIs for Win8 on Intel, Win8 on Arm, and WinPho which were very similar but different enough to be incompatible.

Here's hoping MS can get it right second time, the fact that they seem to be teaming up with Xamarin on the mobile side makes me optimistic.

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NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14

John P

Re: D(HE)LL?

I think the purpose of self-host is to support scenarios where you want every Kb or memory available to your application. IIS is a lot lighter than it used to be but for simple scenarios it is probably overkill.

Also, vNext is supported on Mac and Linux where there is no IIS, so they need to fill the gap there.

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John P

Re: Refactoring...

I don't know what their excuse is for not doing it up this point. From various interviews and blog posts, I get the impression that the old compilers were bears to work with so maybe that had something to do with it and they have spent the best part of the last 5 years on Roslyn.

I'm only saying why they probably haven't added more in VS14 given all the other work they are doing.

At least now with Roslyn, if they don't do it, it will be a lot easier for someone else to.

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John P

Re: Refactoring...

I'm sure they'll get to it. In fairness, they have rewritten the compilers and are heavily altering the entire framework and rewriting MVC/WebForms/WebApi from scratch, I'd say they've got their hands full.

Now that it is easier with Roslyn, you'll probably see a whole load of Resharper-wannabes popping up.

Also, keep in mind this is still just a preview, I suspect there will be more by RTM.

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Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes

John P

Re: Cloud first

I think this is the point of what they've realised.

So many people have realised that they don't need a PC for browsing the internet and playing games, a cheap Android tablet or shiny iThing will do for that. Every individual who comes to this conclusion is lost revenue, so they need to ensure their products work on other platforms or the browsing and playing consumer market will continue to move over to Android and Apple.

This is evident from the next version of .net officially supporting Mono. They need to get out on to other platforms and stop restricting themselves to Windows. Every product will now have to survive on it's own merits, not just keep going because it is dependent on or depended on by another product (ie Needing Windows to run virtually every MS product). As these products become cross-platform, Windows will have to stand on it's own 2 feet or die.

The only worrier is the comment about their services being best on a Windows device. If this just means added features and integrations that's fine. But given MS' form, it probably means they will be horribly crippled.

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John P

Re: Call Scooby and the gang!

It seems pretty astonishing that Satya is saying that MS experiences should be available on any platform, all in the same week they reveal that they're shutting down Nokia X, the only part of the Nokia business that ships any decent volume.

Unless there are some major profitability issues with Nokia X that we don't know about, the ability to keep them as an "on-ramp" in to the MS and WinPho ecosystem would've been the best thing they got out of the Nokia acquisition.

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Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!

John P

Re: So, let me get this straight...

We are very small (<25 staff) and we don't have a dedicated sysadmin nor do we have the space or time to support running in-house infrastructure. The developers do the maintenance and I can tell you that running our web applications on Azure requires a fraction of the management time required when we were running on a rented server in a data center and on an in-house server before that.

We are not alone in not having a dedicated sysadmin, it seems be a pretty common thing among small businesses, hence why the maths works out in Azure's favour for us.

If you've already got the infrastructure and the admins, that will undoubtedly be cheaper than any cloud offering.

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John P

Re: So, let me get this straight...

On 4, we are an SMB and using Azure allows us to do things that we could not otherwise do. I did the sums before we started using Azure and once you factor in power consumption, time to market, and the wages of someone to look after it all, Azure won easily from a cost perspective. If you're just comparing the cost of renting servers against the cost of buying them, on-premise will look more attractive but you're not getting the full picture.

5. Couldn't agree more, I cringe every time I see the Windows 8/WinPho adverts, they're just so bad and don't convey any information whatsoever.Suggesting that people need to be brave to use your products is Ratner-esque.

@Steve Davies 3

"There are lots of highly skilled people at Microsoft. It is a shame all your political infighting at the top is getting in the way of some fairly decent products. Just look at the number of people who leave MS and startup their own company..."

Agreed, if you look at what the .net and Azure guys are doing currently, they're coming up with some really nice products and embracing open source as something that will help them build better products and make more people WANT to use their platform, the future looks bright for .net developers. Microsoft needs more of that kind of thinking in the rest of the company.

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PICS: Nokia Lumia 930 – We reveal its ONE unique selling point

John P

This is the second El Reg review that has referred to Tiles as deprecated, is that actually the case? They are no longer the only notification method but that does not equal deprecation. Given how MS are pushing tiles generally, I find it unlikely that they would deprecate them on the phone which is actually where they work the best.

I know some have had issues with 8.1 but it is not completely broken, I have had no issues with it whatsoever, not one.

"Microsoft gave up on integrating social media deeply into the OS" - I would personally say that is in 8.1's favour.

Overall I would say I have lost nothing through the 8.1 update and gained Notifications and (eventually) Cortana which sounds like it will be useful, but given I only got my 1020 a couple of weeks before signing up to the Dev Preview, it's possible I never got as far as using some of the features that have gone backwards.

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New leaked 'Windows 8 screenshot': The Start Menu strikes back

John P

It's great that they've bought this back for the people who want it. I just hope they give us the option of sticking with the current start screen as I personally prefer it to the start menu.

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'The writing is TOO SMALL': MPs row over Parliamentary move to Office 365

John P

Re: Show me the data!

Dublin most likely.

Not that that will stop the NSA giving MS a court order + gag order if they ever want anything. NSA think they can do what they want and they'll get away with it because, in their opinion, USA is the leader of the free** world.

**Their ever changing definition of free.

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