* Posts by David McCarthy

10 posts • joined 6 Dec 2007

Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?

David McCarthy

Regulator's name?

I presume the Scottish equivalent of Ofcom would be Scofcom ... and also regulate the sales of battered Mars bars.

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The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

David McCarthy

Win9 should be codenamed Amnesia

I can't think of another company which has so totally forgotten the basic business premises of keeping your customers happy and building on your successes.

That's probably because only their dominant market position has prevented Microsoft from going to the wall like all other companies that forget.

I remember looking forward to new versions of Windows because each one did stuff better, more easily that the one before ... Win3.11 ... Win95 ... NT/Win2000 ... WinXP ... and then Microsoft forgot who they were, where they were going and, most importantly, why.

Perhaps if they call Win9 Amnesia, it will act as a constant reminder.

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Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge

David McCarthy

Just a long line of (arrogant) mistakes from MS

We all took to XP because it was a dependable, reasonably reliable OS to replace 95/98/2000/NT ... and it still is.

Then they brought out Vista. Vista didn't support all the existing hardware ("Not out fault", MS). It was buggy and resource-hungry. The effect on productivity & cost meant the business world largely ignored it. Only consumers were duped. If you don't like the look of the bus, wait for the next one.

Windows 7 arrived. A much better OS than Vista, but still didn't address the XP legacy ("Not our fault", MS). With a bit of fiddling, it can be made to look enough like XP that there isn't a signifcant re-learning effort. But, oh dear, there's still the hardware issues ("There isn't a driver for your hardware? Tough - buy a new computer", MS). And suddenly, some of my applications won't run (even in any compatibility or virtual mode).

For at least 90% of business tasks, an older PC with XP is more than adequate to do the job, especially with so much stuff moving online.

Next, Windows 8 comes along ... huge interface changes ... the world is up in arms ... MS backs down (a bit). Why do they want to change the look so dramatically (with no 'legacy' skin), when they should be concentrating on functionality, security, and making it easy for folk to upgrade?

All the while (Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8), the world is in an extended economic slow down. Result? People don't want to spend on new kit, the installation costs, and re-training staff to do the same thing with a different version of Windows.

Everyone leading MS's marketing since 2007 should be forced to use Windows 2 (in 640kb). Or even MS-DOS.

Instead of leading us by the hand, helping us move from one version to the newest, removing obstacles (surely what any company would do if it cared about its customers) ... MS have at every stage ignore its customer base and tried to force us to move up and buy again.

It's sad there isn't a viable alternative - I'd love to install a non-MS OS which would run all the apps I've accumulated and rely on.

Do we use XP? Yes, and Windows 7. Are we going to rush out and upgrade? Oh, we can't - we have to buy new kit, each with a new OS, and new versions of Office (and a few other things). This is an expense we cannot afford, not at this time.

Are we worried XP is no longer going to be supported? Not really. We protect ourselves and we're careful what sites we visit and emails we open. It's not as if moving to Windows 8 would improve our security more that just a bit.

Dear Microsoft - if you'd like to talk to us about your marketing and customer care strategies, our rates are very reasonable.

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Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me...

David McCarthy

It's a question of tatse

Personal, that is, not in any other sense.

Bought an Acer Netbook in 2011 - nice shiny screen. Then found unless I wore black and sat against a black background, I couldn't easily read the text. Changing the screen angle didn't make enough difference. Turned the screen brightness up - helped a bit but the battery didn't last so long.

It was close to unusable in all those places away from the office where I had a spare half-hour and wanted to write something.

So I looked up matt overlays, and found a very helpful outfit in Hong Kong (Exim). They have huge range, and when I enquired, yes they had one which fitted.

It was a bit fiddly to install, but made a huge difference. The screen is a little darker, but I was able to use the netbook on my Greek Islands cruise, so long as I sat in the shade.

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ICO on new Cookie Law: 'Don't expect torrent of enforcement action'

David McCarthy

Oh what fun!

Just spent a day working on a briefing for clients (though none of them have asked about cookies yet). It's a bit difficult to advise them when the ICO 'clarification' is as clear as mud. None of our clients use 'bad' advertising cookies ... just stats and 'share' cookies ... so it's a complete waste of our time and money, and their's too.

So, I think I'm just going to have some fun ... with a new (annonymous) hotmail account, I'll complain about all our competitors and all the companies with lousy customer service ... especially all the government departments and local authorities ... oh, and quangos too.

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dabs.com says sorry for delivery debacle

David McCarthy

It's been down hill all the way!

I used to use DABS ... they were one of the best at one time.

Then BT bought them, and their customer service started to take a dive.

It comes as no surprise they've had more problems recently (fortunately I don't use them). So often good companies only lose quality & personality when purchased by a large organisation like BT.

It's happened so many times in my 30 years in IT. This won't be the last!

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A sysadmin's top ten tales of woe

David McCarthy

Two tales from the 1990s

Two problems, both caused by me:

1. Changed an account latency setting in Netware (to stop people being logged in when they didn't need to be on an over subscribed server). Set the wrong value and watched as Netware terminated the connections of over 100 users in just 30 seconds.

2. Was testing conditional email forward in Lotus Notes. So, unfortunately was a colleague. We set the same conditions and forwarded to each other. The system sent thousands of forwarded emails before we could brake the loop.

Ah, happy days!

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Facebook quietly switches on facial recognition tech by default

David McCarthy

The Facebook attitude? They don't give a damn.

We have clients who use Facebook - that's the only reason we have accounts ourselves. We've tried to do useful stuff with Groups and Business pages, but the whole thing just doesn't hang together.

An creative writers group I belong to have tried to use Facebook to keep in touch and to share and exchange information - we're creating our own hosted solution because Facebook just isn't up to it.

After many years in IT I can confim Facebook is the most poorly thought out and executed application I've ever come accross (and I've seen quite a few bad ones in 25 years!)

I don't want to have to keep checking Privacy (or any settings) in case the goal posts have been moved again.

Please, someone create the alternative - Facebook would soon die.

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Ofcom imposes new rules on silent callers

David McCarthy

Your TPS experience

If you only get phone calls from overseas as you're TPS registered, you're lucky. We still get lots of UK calls even though we've been registered for 5 years!!

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Fasthosts customers still frozen out of websites

David McCarthy

Thursday & still locked out

It's Thursday maorning and were still locked out of all our web sites.Nothing has come in the post, and their customer service number is constantly engaged (it sounds very mush as if there's somethinf wrong with the line as there's a loud 'click' before the two-tone sound is heard.

Sent an email support request in to them on Tuesday at mid-day - we still haven't had a response.

Up to now, we've been very happy with Fasthosts - but not responding to its customers is the quickest way they will lose our business.

David McCarthy ... WORD-right & IDEAS-right

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