* Posts by Gavin Chester

32 posts • joined 17 Dec 2007

Dixons Carphone to shut down 134 shops

Gavin Chester

Re: Somebody say something nice about them

They are like Maplins, If you really need something there and then they probably have it in stock, and if you ring and reserve / click and collect you get a reasonable price, otherwise they are expensive.

They are OK for white and handheld goods, especially if you want to see it in person or feel the weight of something, but of the three PCWorld/Currys stores near home and work they seem to have such a haphazard layout, with shelves that show something out of stock, and even if the computer says its in stock the woefully inaccurate stock locating abilities sometimes its easier not to bother.

A few times I've ordered something only to be stuck in store 10 to 20 minutes as they can't find the item in the myriad of cupboards they may have hid the stock in, or even worse they haven't reserved it and you have to hope no-one else has bought it before you get there.

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Hapless Virgin Media customers face ongoing email block woes

Gavin Chester

I understand that...

but for a major ISP to implement such a major change without any warning or guidance for its customers is simply lousy service.

It came in when they changed the mail servers, and yes its a good idea in theory, but there is very little evidence they ran it in any sort of soft fail or "learn" mode before turning it on and then said the customer was at fault.

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Gavin Chester
FAIL

Dumped the VM mail service about a month after they left Google, Shambles was not really the right word.

Legitimate Email rejected as spam due to a hard SPF rejection policy and Spam happily being let into the mail box, all the while VM saying they had "State of the art" email filters, and any problems must be with the sender, and the customer support saying it was not a widespread issue, when it clearly was. Not to mention they seem to force you to use a VM Email address, no good for folks who have their own domain and used that address, but used VM as the end point for email.

Frankly going back to just using my domains email hosting, and routing it to Google saved me a lot of hassle.

Fail Icon as there's no other way to put it, not sure what testing they did but it wasn't adequate.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Star Wars Special Editions

Gavin Chester

Not the dredded Holiday special

That Lucas has reportedly said he would like to see vaporised out of existence...

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Be afraid, Apple and Samsung: Huawei's IoT home looks cheaper and better

Gavin Chester
Meh

May be gadgets struggling to find a use.

Having recently had a two month trial of the Samsung Smart Things it is indeed very clever kit.

However I struggled to find anything of real use that I can't do any other way, that made a huge day to day difference to me.

It can turn things on or off in the morning or as I leave for work, here a £50 smart plug replaces a a £5 time switch. It can switch on the kettle as I get to the door, well so can any PIR sensor for a lot less and a kettle does not take long to boil.

Don't get me wrong I really liked the kit, other people may see it very very differently, and with time maybe I'd have seen more uses, however it's gone back and I've yet to see any downside from my home becoming dumber as a result of it. Not to mentioned as the parts are in the £30 to £50 a unit depending on what you want to add, its a little too expensive to really retrofit the entire house...

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Virgin Media filters are still eating our email – Ntlworlders

Gavin Chester

Oi. Leave Ferrets alone. They are useful critters.

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Terror in the Chernobyl dead zone: Life - of a wild kind - burgeons

Gavin Chester

OOh Holiday...

Wanted to visit Chernobyl for a while to see how nature has reclaimed the place. This just adds to it.

Thanks El Reg for another reason to give to my wife to go :)

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Ouch! Microsoft sues recycling firm over 70K stolen Office licenses

Gavin Chester

Hmmm

There were, some newer Microsoft products (certainly Office 2013 editions) only store a subset of the key. Lets you know what licence was used for example I have 2 office one for me, one for my wife and I can then tell them apart for re-install but does not give you all the details.

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Amazon to trash Flash, as browsers walk away

Gavin Chester

Re: It's a good start

At launch yes Beta only had an hour whereas VHS has two hours. Beta soon caught up.

It was reported to be twofold, first JVC licenced VHS to anyone, for relatively small fees, whereas Sony were more picky on their partners and charged more.

Secondly VHS was the first with 4 hour tapes, the length of a typical US football match.

It then became about sales, VHS was cheaper and the more players on any format meant the more rental shops stocked that format, and before long Beta fell away..

Don't mention V2000 :)

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Feeling a physical present: Ten summer games and gadgets

Gavin Chester

Re: Ferrets

To be fair they are no worse than other pets, they soon learn that human skin isn't as tough as ferret skin, so it's more a kin to play fighting, ours generally don't play bite hard enough to break our skin, but could do harm if really scared.

Do they smell, sort of, leave any animal in its mess for a while and it gets bad, ours are cleaned out twice a day and its fine on all but the hottest days, but like any animal (cat/dog) you will generally notice the smell if you go into a house with animals if its not your own pet.

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Gavin Chester
Happy

Ahhh Bandits....

Wonder if ours will appreciate the Sphero, or get bored of it after 20 minutes like other toys, I see that the Marshall's super tunnels are popular with the ferrets too...

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Never mind falling revenues, BT watchers, look at the footy offering

Gavin Chester
FAIL

Really...

Quote:

"It now reaches around 80 per cent of all UK premises and we will work with government to help take fibre broadband to 95 per cent of the country by the end of 2017"

How about replacing the lousy Ali cable that seems to litter so many 1960's estates and wreck BB speed for so many people, or at the very least put fibre to the cabinets that are affected, so people have a chance of double digit speeds, not the 0.5 to 2mbits that they tend to get.

And yes this is from personal experience, my mother lives less than 6 miles from a major city, in a large village of 5k plus houses, but due to the way BT put the wires in get a 1.5 on a really good day, and more often 1mbit, and frequent connection drops.

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Malvertising campaign hits 10 MEELLION users in 10 days

Gavin Chester

AVForums has started to block users who have Adblocking enabled from posting to the classified sections as they need the revenue to run the sites, and I sort of agree with that, but given the malware I wonder how long before a lot of companies (and possibly ISP's) start block adverts at the firewall level.

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Email apparently from Home Office warns of emails apparently from Home Office

Gavin Chester

Interesting given HMRC is often held up as a poster boy for DMARC adoption in the UK.

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240231320/Lets-reclaim-email-says-HMRC-cyber-security-head

Wonder if its one government department not talking to another, perish the thought,,,

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The Internet of Things becomes the Game of Thrones in standards war

Gavin Chester
Meh

Lets leave it a few years...

"On one level, Z-Wave is at a major disadvantage: it is not an open protocol in that Sigma Designs owns the intellectual property and it manufacturers the chips and licenses the right to use it (there is currently only one other licensed Z-Wave chip manufacturer).

Like the other big, proprietary standard in the IoT world Z-Wave allows others to develop products with its standards but that comes with a cost and with tight rules"

And I suspect that's it in a nutshell, History is repeating itself, and I'm not sure Z-wave are really considering all the VHS/Beta issues.

There may be a load of reasons Beta went under but its generally considered down to a few key reasons,

- JVC licensed VHS to anyone who wanted to make VHS systems, whereas Sony only licensed Beta to select partners who met Sony's terms.

- JVC 's willing to licence to almost anyone helped competition and so reduce costs.

- Sony's Engineers concentrated on quality, JVC's practicality, the first Beta systems tapes could record an hour, VHS was two. Very few movies are 60 minutes or less so Beta suffered.

- Once you get critical mass then market decides, once Beta machine sales started declining so video library's stopped stocking the films which perpetuated the downward spiral.

So what will happen here, Exactly the same.

Most of us don't care what protocol we use at home, as long as it works. Purchases will often to be driven by cost and practicality. I'd like some Hue lights, but honestly I'm not bothered they are Hue branded or the fact they use ZigBee. I want a set of lights that's easy to use (I have enough IT issues at work) and change colour in response to something.

Hue and ZigBee is already selling in the numbers , its working and looks simple enough for everyone to use. Phillips have invested time to make it simple to use, and promoted it to get tools like IFTTT to support it. Hue may not be perfect but I suspect that's got a foot in the for the ZigBee camp to build on.

Lets face it one of the biggest things that us consumers learned from the VHS/Beta format wars (or DAT/DCC.MD, or BluRay/HD-DVD, or all the memory card formats, ) is that we just leave them to fight it out before shelling out. No-one wants to be left with the V2000.

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STOP! Pebble Time: New color watch clocks up $5m on Kickstarter

Gavin Chester
Meh

Almost backed it again..

My Early bird pledge went wrong, so its the regular $179 plus $10 shipping option now. Its harder to justify a $10 saving over retail as the Shop offers free worldwide shipping.

I may as well wait till my Pebble V1 dies. A 2nd time around engraved message is a nice touch but not a deal maker for me..

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UK.gov STILL won't pop a cap on stolen mobile bills

Gavin Chester

Every phone I've had from my first Panasonic POS has a pin and SIM lock option.

The user wanting to use it and reading the manual to set it up is another matter.

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97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband. 'Typical households' need 10Mbps – Ofcom

Gavin Chester

Re: 2Mbps - I Wish...

Like it no.

But given BT is a private company I don't see how it will happen otherwise, besides UK Gvmt has already given BT a boatload of cash to do some of the job, they just need to be forced to finish the job.

https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

Quote - The Government is investing over £1 billion in improving broadband and mobile infrastructure to:

Provide superfast broadband coverage to 90% of the UK by 2016

Provide basic broadband (2Mbps) for all by 2016

Provide superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017

Explore options to get near universal superfast broadband coverage across the UK by 2018

Create 22 ‘SuperConnected Cities’ across the UK by 2015

Improve mobile coverage in remote areas by 2016

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Suffering satellites! Goonhilly's ARTHUR REBORN for SPAAAACE

Gavin Chester

Went years ago, I didn't know it had closed. The Eden projects probably got less bare earth patches than it did when I went too...

Until you get close you simply can't understand the scale of the dishes, you somehow always think they are nearer than they really as your sense of scale assumes they can't be that big so they must be further way.

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Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'

Gavin Chester

Isn't this just the smartphone version of the old 3310 Navi-Key

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£2k burning a hole in your pocket? Let this 'advanced' DRONE relieve you

Gavin Chester

Re: Legislation may not be required

Sort of covered, See http://www.bmfa.org/Multi-Rotors/tabid/1425/Default.aspx

Need to be below a set weight, to be classed as a model, and your subject to the Air Navigation laws. (so are prohibited from acting like a loon and endangering anyone or anything) and filming for commercial use is prohibited without a license.

In terms of flying over people, looking in houses etc then existing laws say you cannot fly within 150m of a congested areas (but does not define what congested means), closer than 50m to vehicle , vessel or structure, or 30m of a person who is not involved with that flight (with the exception of the pilot at take off / landing time) and you always have to be in line of sight to the drone.

That said while us modellers may follow the rules others won't, the drones are cheap enough to be bought on a whim (my wife won't agree) and you need no training or insurance to fly one.

And yes I'd like one, but can't justify it at home....

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Termination charges drop smacks Vodafone and EE in the WALLET

Gavin Chester

Flash you warranty away..

Unfortunately (and this is from experience) replacing the ROM blows away the warranty the networks and manufacturer will not be interested in repairs even if the fault is not down to the software but a physical fault.

I can understand not supporting the software ,I disagree that changing the ROM affects or causes hardware faults but that's what happened to me

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Brits won't have to pay for thieves' enormous mobe bills any more

Gavin Chester

Re: interesting

The UK does have plans that are unlimited, and international and premium numbers can be locked out on request, although it's an opt in system. Did you opt in to the code system or was it automatically done for you? That may be where we differ.

However people tend to think they "may" need these services so don't request a bar.

Once you report a device stolen you are not liable, the problem is also many many people don't even bother with a simple PIN lock on their devices (becasue 4 numbers slows them down too much). Calling UK numbers would (like you) come out of the plan minutes, its only where people have not PIN locked the phone, and have internatinoal calling enabled that it's an issue,and I suspect that may be the case in the USA for some people too.

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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Gavin Chester

If...

I could get a sigal I'd be qualified to comment on quality.

Given I live 20 miles from the centre of London and can't get a signal at home at all it shows how poor coverage can be in places.

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Hey, O2 punters: Kiss goodbye to 4 MEELLION* Openzone hotspots

Gavin Chester

Re: Baffled

I used to be a member of Fon, one thing repeatedly asked was how they would to any filtering or detection or dubious content. They used to do 30 mins free access for watching a video and leaving an email address. All you needed to sign up was an email address, even a disposable GMail or Hotmail one.

Fon always said they would co operate fully but never said how they would.

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The gaming habits of Reg readers revealed

Gavin Chester
Holmes

IMHO piracy is not the only reason sales are down....

Simple question. What difference does it make to the software houses if I pirate games or buy them used from Game / CEX/ Ebay and so on?

In both cases unless I go and buy extra content (ala DLC) the games houses don't see anything out of me, no sales numbers and no money to them either.

Arguably there was an orignal sale of the game to someone which would not happen if it was a pirate copy, but it's not as if they lost a sale to me because I use the 2nd hand market, it's so infrequently I buy something when it's just out (maybe a game a year) because years of playing has told me to wait and either let others review it and say it's crap and leave it, or wait and buy it cheap, (read sub a tenner), and I don't generally have time to suit and play a game when it comes out. so may as well wait tillI do and the price drops.

Piracy is not the only think harming the market, it's the plethora of low quality games with high quality price tags, Does the industry not remember the Atari ET game burial. High licencing fees and crap gameplay saw truckloads of carts go to Landfill. Games are not cheap when new, and people want value for their money not another clone of something already on the market, and no amount of pretty trinket to decorate an avatar is going to make me preorder a game these days..

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Sci Fi recomendations?

Gavin Chester
Happy

Hmm..

Most Heinlein. You have to rember these were written in the cold war time so theres always a USA Vs USSR type of hero/ villan (and the ocassional oedipus issues) but the beauty of Heinlein to me if the fact the characters and inventions appear in cameos' in other books, and that gives it a more believeable universe feel to me.

Colossus by Feltham Jones (According to Wikipedia) Interesting twist to the idea of a master computer to help man then taking over the world.

Charles Stross - read The Atrocity Archives recently and liked it, probably as its scifi in the present time, am looking for more of his at the moment.

Lincon Child's Utopia, theme park gone mad.

I'm guessing you detect a trend in my reading, although I liked Michael Crighton but of late I can take or leave it, Andromedra strain was excelent.

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Cops raid man whose Wi-Fi was used to download child porn

Gavin Chester
FAIL

Hmm 2

Nice in practice but FON have never been the most customer focused company. This has been raised before many times on the FON boards and the answer is alweays to bury heads in sand and say that is not an issue.

Lets face it just like in this case the police WILL assume the owner is at fault, they chose to share the connection and assume they are guilty.

Many Many people have BT FON because they don't know better and are opted in by simply using the BT homehub. You could always get free access on FON by signing up as a "alien" with a email account and watching a advert. Add in disposable hotmail / yahoo/gmail accounts and the downloader could be effectly anonymous.

With free wifi being more common in pubs, cafes, shops etc Fon's time has been and gone, unfortunalty it's security hole will linger on for BT customers.

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Playboy flashes 3D centerfold

Gavin Chester
Thumb Up

what would Heff say?

Why would HH need a 3D centerfold, no doubt he could get "on demand" access in the flesh to said beauty.

Not jealous ( in case the wife reads this)

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Fon community embraces GSM

Gavin Chester
FAIL

Another dumb FON initative

As an Ex Fonero, it's just another example where FON are claiming publicity and the users pick up the bill.

When I joined FON it was simple, you used my hotspot, I used yours. Simple, easy and you didn't mind losing a bit of bandwidth now and again as you should pick it up when out.

It changed with the BTFon deal. BT paid FON money to co-brand it . BTFon lets anyone with BT broadband and a HomeHub can opt into the scheme. Thats fine, same as before. However if you don't have a HomeHub because they were only available to the option 3 customers for free for a long time and most other people bought a netgear/linksys/dlink box as they were cheaper, then that's fine too in BTFON land, they'll let you roam and when you get a homehub you'll be opted in.

Thats blatently onesided, it means anyone on BT broadband gets to use my Wifi but I can't share there's as the FON firmware won't work on anything other than specific routers, so the average netgear/linksys/dlink box just won't let you in. Oh and it won't work on BT Openzone, only the HomeHub places, so places like motorway services / airports etc where it may be useful won't work, as they are "premium hotspots". BT users can (and always have been able to) use Openzone as part of the BT contract, standard FON users get a payment screen. Hardly fair to people who signed up to share there broadband in exchange for something back.

And let's not forget as part of the BTFon Deal you can't buy cheap FON routers anymore if you have a UK address, the BT contract allegedly states they can't be discounted in the UK, and they cost £30, they also cost $30 or €30 elsewhere. Not a bad exchange rate for FON or BT.

This idea is the same. If I did this I'd pay for a FON Femto Cell, and the services (broadband connection and Power) and get very little back.

FON needs to re-think it's business model, or rather think if it has a viable one now.

Wifi is becoming free to all, it's free in most McD's now and many hotels, restaurants,pubs (Wetherspoons chain offer free wifi) and coffee shops offer it to get customers in, no-one is going to pay when they can use a free connection and sit in comfort with a coffee or a beer. Free Wifi is just another marketing tool to get people through the doors.

So what did I do? reflashed the router and gave up being a member. FON WAS a good idea, unfortunatly the money for getting in bed with the big boys has means the little guy has been left out, and most have walked away, Fon see one less fon spot on the map. But heck the check from BT cleared so no loss overall. But then it is, less people are offering the connection, so less chance of using it, so less reason to sign up. It's not Wifi Everywhere as they say, it's wifi in back streets and housing estates, I've never once had a signal in a town centre where it might actually be useful.

Sorry but FON is a dead horse. Wifi is becoming free in many places as people expect it as a service, places it's not free are usually areas (like airports and hotels) where companies pick up the cost, elsewhere people fall back on mobile data, (3g, GRPS) it's not ideal but already paid for in your phone contract or Dongle bungle, so why pay again?

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Amy Winehouse pitches for Bond theme

Gavin Chester

At least it wont be Geri Haliwell

Nuff said,

Don't like Winewarehouse's voice, but then Madonna's Die Another day (and the entire Hard Candy album after hearing it yesterday) sucked too. Casino Royale's theme was so so but at least it wasn't as inaccessable as Madonna's.

Why not just go back to the Monty Norman theme, It's fantastic, fits the movie will, and timeless and probably a lot cheaper to re-do that paying a fortune to some big anme but about to self explode artist to do it.

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Technical problems mar Barclays' PINSentry roll-out

Gavin Chester
Unhappy

Does not work wth other banks cards

My mastercard and another banks cards both generate "card not valid" responses when I put thise cards in.

Does this mean I have to carry 3 of the flipping things depending on what I want to use. Another reasdon I have to dump Barclays as a bank..

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