* Posts by Magnus Ramage

195 posts • joined 2 Feb 2009

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Confused about 5G? So are we, say carriers

Magnus Ramage

Re: What is 5/9?

Try googling the phrase that's actually in the article - "five-nines" not "5/9". It refers to 99.999% service reliability, i.e. almost all the time (though not often enough for some purposes). Agreed about the value of jargon-free websites but El Reg is aimed at techies, and the term is in widespread use. And Google is your friend in such cases.

That said, the list that referred to "five-nines" did feel unusually full of corporate jargon by the standard of El Reg. At a quick glance through the GSMA article, it appears to have been largely pasted from a list in the report - though amusingly enough the original did actually talk about 99.999% reliability...

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Oh BOY! The MICKEY MOUSE Apple Watch is no heart-throb

Magnus Ramage

Re: Still using the term "Fanbois"..... really?

Standard Reg style - mildly snarky, full of in-jokes. I've never seen the term 'fanboi' applied to all Apple users, just to those who are a bit over the top about it - queueing for three days to be the first to get a product they could have delivered online the same day, that kind of thing. Mildly insulting but basically knowing names are available for fans of other technologies.

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Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop

Magnus Ramage

Product placement?

In an advert posted in the middle of this article, first time I viewed it: "See why businesses love Lumia". Probably a coincidence, but great bit of placement!

(Declaration: I'm no sort of MS shill. I'm a happy Android user, looking forward to Lollipop on my Moto G. Although my wife has a Lumia 520 phone, the cheap one, and likes it. But I did think this was funny.)

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Amazon: Put our ALWAYS ON MICROPHONE in your house, please. WHAT?

Magnus Ramage

Innovation?

OK the form factor is innovative (which in itself would make a big difference) but the actual functionality of this device, based on the promo video, seems pretty much identical to Google Now on an Android phone. I couldn't see a single thing there that my phone (and presumably also Siri or Cortana) doesn't already do. It'll even spell "cantaloupe" already for me (which I didn't know it would until I tried it after watching the video). So: good hardware, but not world-shattering otherwise.

But then that's a techie's response, and it's exactly what techies said the first iPods and Kindles came out. It's just possible that this device is packaged right that it could be category-defining.

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Not even 60,000 of you want an ethically-sourced smartphone

Magnus Ramage

Re: Name change Please

Hint: nobody seriously uses the term 'politically correct' (PC) any more. It's purely used by those who are against certain policies or ethical frameworks.

That aside, you do have a point that an effective way to bring ethical sourcing into products is to make a really good product that people want which just happens to be ethical - or indeed to make the ethical version the norm. You can't buy non-Fairtrade bananas from Sainsburys, for example. And while I think ethical brands such as Cafedirect (coffee + tea) and Divine (chocolate) have their place in establishing a market, making supermarket own-brand products fairtrade seems to grow the market better.

There's an appreciable market for ethical products, and a slight markup over the less ethical ones seems to be accepted by the market. Likewise premium products manage quite well to be ethical.

If the Fairphone had launched with a slight premium and better marketing, it could have done well. The trouble is that it was somewhat more expensive than comparable models, and its launch coincided with the arrival of really good budget Android phones (Moto G etc), making the price disparity even starker.

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HP to shutter webOS cloud services

Magnus Ramage

Gone already from my Touchpad

I recently updated Android on my HP Touchpad to v4.4 KitKat via one of the several CM11 builds available for this device. For a 3+ year old device, the Touchpad continues to be remarkably well-supported by the community, if not by HP. KitKat works a treat on the Touchpad, much better than ICS did. However the install process required a total device wipe, and it was easier to install things without WebOS present at all. So I've said goodbye to WebOS completely now, as it seems have most people. Bit sad to see it go - it had a lot to be said for it, especially when it was released - but times move on.

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Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease

Magnus Ramage

Population numbers

So the third most populous nation in Europe submitted the third highest number of right-to-be-forgotten requests, with the biggest nation submitting the most and the second-biggest submitting the second most? Shock news!

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How practical is an electric car in London?

Magnus Ramage

Re: On Street Parking

Regarding pollution and electric cars - yes, there is a risk of simply pushing off the pollution. But less-polluting electricity generation is being actively pursued in a number of ways (renewables, carbon capture, even nuclear), needs to be solved anyway for other purposes, and is certainly in principle feasible. The ICE by contrast is inherently polluting, and the best to be expected is more efficient engines or small-scale remediation of their effects.

That said, it would be very interesting to do a comparison of carbon emissions (and other pollutants) from an ICE vs the equivalent emissions from a standard gas- or coal-fired power station, for the generation of sufficient power to drive a car a certain distance. And then of course, as Thomas Gray suggests, to look at the local distribution of those pollutants.

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Apple patents Wi-Fi access point location lookup

Magnus Ramage

Other patent trolls are available

Why do only Apple patents get reported in this breathless way? Other tech firms are busy patenting things all the time, often more interesting and/or innovative.

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Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast

Magnus Ramage

Wish I'd seen this before I bought a 16GB Moto G a couple of weeks ago!

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Wookiee! CHEWIE'S BACK in Star Wars Ep VII – blab Hollywood 'sources'

Magnus Ramage

Cherchez les geeks

Presumably because a high proportion of the readership of El Reg are geeks, many of them old enough to have grown up on the original Star Wars movies at the cinema. (Raises hand.) And just waiting to, ahem, introduce their kids to the new series when they come out.

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Takeaway order spewer Just Eat plans to raise £100 MEEELLION in IPO

Magnus Ramage

Unbelievably expensive

I don't order takeaways and haven't heard of the site, so I was curious. But it all feels really expensive. £9 for a very ordinary sounding pizza, delivered in not less than 45 minutes? In that time I can walk to the local convenience shop, buy a much better quality pizza for half the price and cook it. And I'll have considerably greater info on nutrition & food chains.

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Roku flashes $50 HDMI TV web dongle at anyone sick of Google's stick

Magnus Ramage

Re: And this is better than Chromecast how?

Unless I've missed something, this is a standalone device. Chromecast only works with a phone or tablet. That's fine if you're in a household of adults with their own smartphones, not so good in a family situation. I wouldn't want to let my kids loose on my phone, but would happily do so with a standard remote.

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Twitter sags beneath weight of Oscar selfie

Magnus Ramage

Ignorance is bliss?

I'm not sure whether to be proud or ashamed, but I don't recognise a single one of the people in that photo. Which probably means I don't watch enough award ceremonies.

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Chromebook 11 CATCHES FIRE at last, FLIES off shelves

Magnus Ramage

Re: Just another power hungry HP

I have an HP Touchpad too, happily running Android 4.0 via CyanogenMod 9 (to whom I'm very grateful). It only charges at all well with the charger which came with it, rated at 2A. I've never had it successfully charge much at all on any of the other chargers in our house, whether no-name or from a specific manufacturer. Even a Nexus 7 (2012) charger didn't do it much good.

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Staying power: The small screen spans of the eleven Doctor Whos

Magnus Ramage

Re: Worst infographic EVER

@Platelet: Fair point, but then this is more of an advert for an infographic than an actual infographic. I quite like the format, but really I'd have liked a key too, or at least a note after the 1st, 2nd etc to say the actor's surname.

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Nokia wins UK patent spat: Quick, let's boot HTC One out of Blighty

Magnus Ramage

Re: Conflicted here

@Gordon 10: IANAL, but my understanding is that while Microsoft and Noka have agreed the sale of the Nokia phone division to MS, it doesn't actually happen until the early months of 2014. So while you might say that Nokia are well on their way to assmilation by the borg, it's not final and official yet. Cheer away!

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Laptops Snowden took to Hong Kong and Russia 'just a decoy'

Magnus Ramage

Unproven allegation

"It is entirely probable that this dependence may have been used to leverage access to the information Snowden was carrying."

I think this statement needs at least a bit of evidence. It's a strong allegation. So far the beneficiaries of Snowden's work have been in strengthening the rights of citizens in democracies to know how their governments are spying on them. It's possible that his work will be used by other governments, but by no means certain.

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Google tentacle slips over YouTube comments: Now YOUR MUM is at the top

Magnus Ramage
Coat

"Just your bestie"

Is this person twelve years old? Are Google execs / PRs all required to match the demographic of their users on particular products then?

Or am I just too old to use YouTube? (I'll get me zimmer frame.)

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Fanbois shun 'crappy plastic' iPhone 5C

Magnus Ramage

Re: Happy Clappy Crappy

They don't have to be happy with it, just to chant it. Perhaps they simply want to keep their jobs? People have had to do many worse things in the name of corporate conformity.

A better question might be why people can be so vacuous as to require others to chant a company song.

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ZTE Open: This dirt-cheap smartphone is a swing and a miss

Magnus Ramage

Android comparison

Regarding the low-end Android comparison: I have a ZTE Blade (aka Orange San Francisco) - slightly lower specs than this one except that the Blade has a better screen. The ZTE Open ought to have better specs since it's around three years newer. This week I flashed Android 4.2 Jellybean on my Blade, and it works really very well - the odd crash but the hardware is more than competent to run the OS. I know that the Blade was an especially good model for cheap Android, but since both phones are made by ZTE, it seems like a fair comparison.

It's early days for Firefox OS, but this isn't an impressive start.

By the way, regarding web apps on a phone - that was the way WebOS worked (albeit packaged). On my HP Touchpad (now happily flashed with Android too) it was a really painful experience. WebOS had its good points, but the apps were dreadful.

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Apple prepares to unleash iPhone 5S, 5C for the GREAT BRAWL OF CHINA

Magnus Ramage

Re: Fingerprint scanner?

Same here with my Lenovo laptop. Sometimes the fingerprint scanner works, sometimes it doesn't. I could never rely on it (and don't).

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Chrome turns five, gains new 'desktop apps'

Magnus Ramage

Re: Netscape won the browser war

Ironically, one of the best proofs of that is Evernote. Their Windows and their Android clients are both updated frequently, for reasons good and bad. On Android the install whizzes through (after a single approval), mostly happening in the background. On Windows it's a constant cycle of approvals, dialogue boxes and progress bars. Not sure whether it takes longer, but it certainly feels that way. The irony is because you'd expect a cloud-centric service like Evernote to work as a web-based app; instead under Windows it feels just the same as it would have a decade earlier, only updating more often. I've now uninstalled Evernote from my PC and only use their web interface or the Android version.

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Give us a break: Next Android version to be called 'KitKat'

Magnus Ramage

In defence of Hershey

Along with the muck, they do make Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, which are really nice, and contain no cat vomit.

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Google cursed its own phones with wacked Wi-Fi, say Nexus users

Magnus Ramage
Facepalm

Is Nexus 7 affected too?

Has anyone heard of problems with the Nexus 7 (v1) on 4.3? I updated my not-very-tech-savvy parents' device to 4.3 when I was staying with them a few days ago. They've not reported any problems, but they might not attribute them to the Android update even if they encountered them. Whoops...

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Nokia Siemens Networks to 'axe 8,500 jobs' amid biz gobble

Magnus Ramage

Those brand consultants earned their pay...

So they're rebranding from NSN to NSN? That must have taken their brand consultants some serious amounts of head-scratching to come up with.

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Win 8 man Sinofsky's 'retirement' deal: $14m shares, oath of silence

Magnus Ramage
Black Helicopters

What kind of berries?

Strawberries? Loganberries? Blueberries?

Or perhaps Steven Elop shipped over a crate of the odd-but-compelling Finnish cloudberry liqueur, and the bodies were drowned in that? (I'll get my tinfoil hat.)

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Glasgow subway's new smart tickets aren't, moan passengers

Magnus Ramage

Re: No they don't!

The Glasgow Underground was certainly popularly referred to as the Clockwork Orange when it was rebuilt in the late 70s - I remember it well as a child living there. I don't live in Glasgow any more, but I don't think I ever hear anyone using the term now when I visit. But as demonstrated by some of the stereotypes above, perceptions of Glasgow in the rest of the UK still seem to be based on what things were like a couple of decades ago.

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Nokia, Microsoft put on brave face as Lumia 925s parachute into Blighty

Magnus Ramage

The Three version of this has the wireless charging stand & case bundled for "free" (a relative term when you're paying them £30 a month). £500/24 = roughly £20 for the hire purchase, so on the Three package or the cheapest Vodafone one, you're effectively paying £10/month for the calls, which compares favourably to pay as you go. If you want or need a £500 handset, that is.

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Marks & Sparks accused of silently bonking punters over the tills

Magnus Ramage

Re: Thought this might happen...

@xyz: "should one be wary of Rom/Alb/anians at bus stops with suspiciously large batteries next to them?"

Only if one is a racist. The technical point is a fair one, but the issue is surely about being wary of *anyone* at a bus stops with suspiciously large batteries next to them. Their country of origin is irrelevant.

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Review: Samsung Galaxy S4

Magnus Ramage

Re: Agreed

@Goldmember: It might be justified, but it's still a lot of money.

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The Metro experiment is dead: Time to unleash Windows Phone+

Magnus Ramage

Re: The problem...

This is a really interesting assertion (that Metro was designed for keyboard usage). I too would really like to see more details of the design principles, even just a blog post.

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Magnus Ramage

Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

I got so fed up with the name "Magnus Pyke" being thrown at me when I was at school... Especially since Magnus Magnusson, another namesake and a far more interesting role model, lived just up the road.

(Sorry, that was completely off-topic. But some things you just have to get off your chest.)

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Review: BlackBerry Q10

Magnus Ramage

Originality ain't what it used to be

Hmmm. Typing to get into applications, and swiping upwards to go home. What does that remind me of? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Pre_3

WebOS might have been crippled by poor implementation (ran like a drain on my Touchpad) and appalling management from HP, but it did have some really good bits of UI design. Perhaps this time they'll be better handled.

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Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

Magnus Ramage

Re: And yet...

What? Marc Andreessen is a weeping angel?

(Point taken though. The blink tag was a truly awful creation, and led to some abominable web design for a while.)

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Huawei preps new mobes to overhaul Apple

Magnus Ramage

Re: Price?

That's why the G300 has done so well, at least in some circles - it does 80-90% of what most people need in a smartphone for £100, very much as the ZTE Blade (Orange San Francisco) did a couple of years ago. That's cheaper than your sweet spot, but fits well into my sweet spot!

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Major blow for Apple: 'Bounce back' patent bounced back by USPTO

Magnus Ramage
Facepalm

Dispositive

"the USPTO has rendered a dispositive decision"

For a horrible moment I thought this was an ugly bit of lawyer-euphemism for "negative". Thankfully it's an ugly piece of lawyer jargon instead, being an adjective form of "disposition". Phew!

(Where's the icon for <wipes-pedantic-brow>?)

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Era of the Pharaohs: Climate was HOTTER THAN NOW, without CO2

Magnus Ramage
Thumb Down

FFS!

What's this anti-scientific nonsense doing on a technology website? For shame!

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Vertu-alised Android revealed at an all-too-real €7,900

Magnus Ramage

Way-out hypothesis

Perhaps the average readership of the Reg is not the target market for this device?

(Not that that should stop anyone being scornful of people with more money than sense, and the marketing drones who draw them in like ants to honey.)

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Pope: Catholics, go forth and multiply... your Twitter followers

Magnus Ramage

Re: Romans 16:17-18

@Obviously! - Here on the Internet, we have this thing called a search engine, and there are innumerable online Bibles. Whatever you think of the Bible, the meaning of those verses, and the point the OP was trying to make with them, is pretty clear.

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Magnus Ramage

Re: To Dave126

@ribsome: I'm sure you know this, but the book of Genesis wasn't written originally in Latin... (Not that that stopped the Catholic church from treating the Vulgate as the only proper translation for centuries.) I don't have the Hebrew to comment on the original, but it's worth observing that the context is immediately after the story of the Flood, when Noah & his sons are being told to repopulate the earth. In the context of such a flood (for which there's little archaeological evidence), a few centuries of condom-free re-population might have been in order. But times change.

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Sympathetic Scots scoff-house offers hard-up Apple fanbois a discount

Magnus Ramage

Re: Top Marks

What's different about only offering an iPhone app? Sounds just like the other lazy sheeple developers (cf. BBC etc) who think iOS is cool and developing for the most popular smartphone platform is too much like hard work.

That said - the restaurant sounds great and this is a good advertising ploy.

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Office 2013 now available for some home users

Magnus Ramage

Re: HUP!

Back in the day (c1990) it was the one-word post we used to bring message threads back to the top of the list on the Cambridge University mainframe's bulletin board system. (Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.)

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Nokia: Ship's now stable, all we need is passengers

Magnus Ramage

Re: Android didn't get to number one by people not standing it

@Waspy: Well I'm pretty keen on Android, but I wouldn't dream of paying even as much as £15-20 per month. That sounds like a lot of money to me. You can buy a perfectly good one for £100 on pay as you go (I bought an Orange San Francisco at this price two years ago; my wife recently bought a Huawei G300 at similar price; both are excellent), and for me about £10 top-up every six weeks or so gives plenty of data & texts. Spreading the handset cost over 2 years, that's about £11 spend per month. It's perfectly possible to do Android on the cheap and get very good results indeed.

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Review: Lego Lord of the Rings game

Magnus Ramage

Re: Good game

Agree about the joypad. Even more so when its brand-name is the SteelSeries FREE. That's certainly not free as in beer or as in speech - perhaps it's free as in easy? Or free as in not-free-at-all?

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That square QR barcode on the poster? Check it's not a sticker

Magnus Ramage

Similarly, some stations on the West Coast mainline (with Virgin Trains for the time being) have posters up with QR codes for mini-timetables relating to that particular station. I've seen it at Coventry, but I'm sure it happens elsewhere. Again, corporate but not advertising.

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The Times offers subsidised Nexus 7s to get subscribers

Magnus Ramage

Better bargain still...

It's even better than they're saying if you pay up-front - the newspaper subscription is £312 for 18 months at £4/week, so the Nexus 7 is effectively free. Except you have to give the money to Murdoch and read the Times.

If it were the Guardian, or the Independent, it would be a huge bargain. But it's never the good guys who go for these things.

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Adobe demands 7,000 years a day from humankind

Magnus Ramage

Skip the link to demagoguery please

I think this is a great article, but the link to Niall Ferguson's dreadful Reith Lectures (embarrassing in their partisanship given that he's a serious scholar) is wide of the mark. Surely this is a different case altogether? I disagree with Ferguson that the bankers were over-regulated, but the point is that they were being trusted with other people's money to manage, so need in some form to be watched and to be stopped from misusing that money. Users of a software product are in a completely different position - we're not placed in a position of trust in any respect. OK, it was only intended as a partial analogy, but given that it rests on such dodgy grounds to start with, it doesn't really work.

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Who's using 'password' as a password? TOO MANY OF YOU

Magnus Ramage

Re: Ashley & Michael

As a book of Christmas cartoons I had some years ago put it, "Jesus? Why would you want to give him a Puerto Rican name?"

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Barnes & Noble go up against Amazon in Blighty with Nook apps

Magnus Ramage

Re: Who?

Did they not have UK stores for a while but shut them down? Or am I confused with a different American chain? I remember at least three large bookshops (in Glasgow, Milton Keynes and Stockport) which I'm pretty sure were Barnes & Noble, and were really quite good. But now gone.

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