* Posts by Christopher Reeve's Horse

86 posts • joined 17 Jan 2008

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Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order

Christopher Reeve's Horse

You can opt out of receiving the 'targeted' adverts, but can't opt out of the profiling.

Also, the thing I think is more worrying, you have no access to Google's information profile about you. You can (for a small fee) see you full medical record, and information about you held by companies should in theory be accessible on request. I don't see a way a requesting that Google tell you *everything* they know (and have inferred and associated) about you...

It would be amazingly interesting (and scary!), but won't ever happen as it would give people an instant understanding of the kind of profiling abilities that are routinely happening.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse
Big Brother

And even after all that effort...

It does seem like a massive imbalance between the amount of effort going in to targeting adverts and the final result. I still don't care about any adverts I see, and mostly consider them a negative influence on my purchase choices.

If only the people who pay for adverts hosted could see how ineffective they are for the user rather than be blinded by the ability of Google to apply sophisticated targeting. Most effective targeting can be done from instantaneous user behavior, not from long term tracking.

You're browsing a IT website, it doesn't take a clever person to work out that IT related adverts are more likely of interest to you. Not, 'you're browsing an IT website and that annoying advert that's been following you for weeks pops up for something shitty you once browsed for a completely unrelated reason'. Context is everything, and Google never know *why* you've behaved in the way they've monitored

So, more interestingly, why does this massive imbalance of effort really exist? The advertising clearly sucks balls, it's can't just be a self fulfilling prophecy can it?

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Sneaky Gugi banking trojan sidesteps Android OS security barricades

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Childcatcher

MmmmmmMS..

Does anyone still use MMS messages?

Did anyone ever use MMS messages?

Do they serve any purpose other than being a endless security nightmare and unsuccessful network operator cashcow?

Should they just be killed off, and allowed to slip quietly into the night? I think so.

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Chocolate Factory exudes Nougat as Android 7 begins rollout

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Childcatcher

Nougat?

I bought a phone last year, so I'll have to remind myself to be excited about this update sometime around 2019.

(By which time we'll be onto 'Fruit Salads' or 'Midget Gems' or some other such wonder)

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'Daddy, what's a Blu-ray disc?'

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Forgotten format?

JRiver actually, but we're all on the same side here.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Daddy, what's a strawman?

Own nothing? 'Legally' maybe I don't. But 'practically' I do. In every measurable real world practical application of the word 'usage', I own it.

And, there's nothing that anyone's going to do about it, no-one else even cares. I own the disk, and I'm in compete control. The legal status may as well be a figment of my imagination.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

Forgotten format?

Really? Not when I can rip them straight to my media library. Perfect for kids films that get watched over and over (and over again). Would I rather pay monthly to stream compressed films from the internet? Errr... No.

If I want a film, I can buy it, own it forever, and do with it what I please (more or less); all without being tied into any particular subscription, platform or DRM related nightmare.

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Ofgem sets up database so energy companies can spam Brits

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Unhappy

Markets!

The economy of changing supply is fundamentally flawed if there's no simple way to compare prices and service.

Those apples looks nice, and they're 37p each. These other apples don't look quite as nice but they're only 25p each...

Unfortunately the structure of tariff pricing, bonuses and offers is massively and purposely obfuscating, and it's also impossible to judge the quality of service. This is why people don't switch tariff often.

If it was really clear which company would give YOU the best customer service and which company offered the cheapest prices we'd all just move supplier all the time. There would be genuine price competition, and the suppliers would all make less profit... QED.

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Microsoft splashes Virtual Reality-slinging 'Scorpio' Xbox

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Happy

"the current Jaguar cpu is utter shite and needs a clock boost"

If memory serves me right it's a Motorola 68000 at 13Mhz, so yeah, could do with some overclocking... The 'Tom' graphics chip is a beast though, with it's 64 bit Blitter operation!

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Digital ad biz is fraudulent by design, complain big brands

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Flame

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...

We're currently experiencing a massive advertising economic bubble, and I'm not going to be particularly upset when it pops.

Hopefully more clients will realise they're pouring money down a massively fraudulent, manipulated and ineffective black hole, and they'll stop. It's becoming toxic, much like sub-prime debt in 07/08.

The advertising agencies are acting much like the banks did a few years ago, they're selling products enthusiastically under an increasingly false pretense. I wouldn't be surprised if some advertising agencies were actually behind some of the fraudulent activity as a way of bolstering a failing market. To quote from earlier, "they can fuck right off".

I don't think I've ever clicked on an advert on purpose, certainly never followed one to the point of making a purchase, and I'm not aware of many people who do, so what is with all this shit that keeps blocking up my internet!

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Lenovo cries 'dump our support app' after 'critical' hole found

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Terminator

Possibilities...

Would it really be beyond the ability of Windows Update (or perhaps security essentials) to let users know they've got compromised software installed? It's getting too difficult to keep up.

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Earth's core is younger than its crust surface

Christopher Reeve's Horse

the other stuff?

I get the whole gravitational time dilation difference thing, but what interests me is how that affects processes that link the different time domains.

In the case of the Sun, does that mean there's 39,000 years of energy production 'missing' at the surface that the core simply hasn't had [the] time to produce?

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CIA says it 'accidentally' nuked torture report hard drive

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Yeah, sure, right...

Reminds me of that old Onion headline that went something along the lines of:

"CIA shocked to discover it had been using black highlighters all along"

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Spying on you using fake social media profiles: One Scots council could

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Big Brother

Welcome ta Scotland...

...the new authoritarian state.

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Blocking ads? Smaller digital publishers are smacked the hardest

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: 404 : This title does not exist.

Let me give you an example of a small digital publisher:

www.scottishreview.net

The Scottish Review has no adverts, and is excellent quality. In fact the quality is SO good, that people just voluntarily GIVE THEM MONEY.

Let publishers live and die by the quality of their content. I won't miss the ones that die.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge: Betting on VR with a dash of Vulkan

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: I'd be tempted, if only...

It's a fair point, but the answer is - I shouldn't have to! I was only tempted to do that to an old phone, I wouldn't want to do that on something brand new, in warranty, and that costs many hundreds of pounds.

Also, I wouldn't particularly care if the phone was 2 or 3 mm thicker and a bit heavier.

I get the earlier points about google's lockdown on the software too... I just find it all frustrating that none of the major manufacturers are willing to side more with the customer in a bid to generate longer term loyalty. Obsolescence design tricks aren't going to earn my respect or my custom.

And another thing (the standard opening for a rant)... I'd be much more likely to buy stuff from any company that would promise not to spend on advertising at all. If there was some accreditation of this, a website listing service for companies devoid of PR, marketing and other c*ntery, I'd actively seek them out.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

I'd be tempted, if only...

1. There was guaranteed support for timely Android version updates and patches for at least 4 years

2. Pre-installed apps are capable of being uninstalled

3. There was an implementation of permissions privacy control, much like in Cyanogenmod

4. The battery was replaceable.

5. Android had a proper user controllable firewall and system level adblocker

I've had an S3 for 4 years, it's on it's 3rd battery (they degrade over time) and it's running Cyanogenmod 13. Well done Samsung for putting the SD card back in, but I'm still finding it impossible to find a suitable replacement that lives up to my expectations as a consumer.

There is so much choice in the smartphone markets, why is it none of them can create something I want to buy? I'm a willing customer!

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The Mad Men's monster is losing the botnet fight: Fewer humans are seeing web ads

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Yer basic problem is:

I may be stepping in a bit late here, but...

I've discussed this with several people (in the pub, sensibly) and I can't find a reason to ever actually click on an advert. Say, if I was looking to buy a very particular thing, even if sensible and attractive adverts popped up selling that very particular thing I still wouldn't click!

As a consumer I build up a trust based relationship with my preferred sellers of goods. An advert is not going to persuade me otherwise. Not now, not ever.

I'm more likely to trust a company that would willingly state that it doesn't pile money into shitty web advertising. Maybe there should be a consumer label that promises just that?

I can't wait for this web advertising economic bubble to collapse. Ask me if I care about the effect of this on Google or Facebook.

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El Reg mulls entering Robot Wars arena

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Close range but powerful...

A captive (penetrating?) bolt gun would be powered by compressed gas, similarly to many flipper type robot mechanisms. I'm sure the basic design could be adapted to have more reach and much more punch.

In my head, the design would put it on the end of some sort of scorpion like tail which would be used in combination with pincers or some kind of big claw at the front. It would also shout things like 'GET OVER HERE' and 'FINISH HIM'...

Not that I've spent much time thinking about it or anything...

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

Close range but powerful...

How about a bolt gun like the one in No Country for Old Men?

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So why exactly are IT investors so utterly clueless?

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Coat

Pushing the envelope?

I like the (underhand?) reference to synthesizer filters with 'applying too much sustain'. Thankfully the use of Attack, Decay and Release were left unmentioned...

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Badware in the firmware all over the place

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Consumer visibility

As ever, marketing appears to be part of the problem... You pick up a [generic web device] somewhere, and oooh, look how pretty the box is, and look how well designed the device looks, and wow, 8 megapixels [or whatever], that must be good because it's actually got the word 'mega' in it...

The customer can't visibly know how shoddy the firmware or drivers or software is, and therefore can't select their purchase on this criteria, therefore no incentive for manufacturers to improve. Just keep focusing on design and hardware specs and churning out new products, etc...

What's needed is some kind of certification scheme for tested & hardened firmware and a commitment for driver / software updates over a particular period.

For instance, wouldn't it be good if you purchased say, a new phone, and it was visibly guaranteed to be patched in a timely manner for 2 years. That could then drive competition between vendors. Buy a phone [or printer or whatever today] and you're completely blind to any ongoing commitment for the product's lifecycle from the manufacturer. Welcome to our disposable 'fuck the environment' economy.

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Big Bang left us with a perfect random number generator

Christopher Reeve's Horse

And now for something completely different...

Randomness in images of lava-lamps

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavarand

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Shadow state? Scotland's IT independence creeps forth

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Todays message is brought to you by the letters W, T & F.

"Does anyone actually think that this is really necessary? Does anyone think that this will achieve anything of value?"

Short answer; no.

An older article on the subject:

http://www.scottishreview.net/MaggieMellon137.shtml

"More children are in poverty, homeless and hungry. We have not 'got it right' at all. But, rather than focus on tackling the really big obstacles to children's welfare, the focus somehow seems to have shifted to monitoring and intervening in the lives of all children. Put simply, the state seems to be fancying itself as better at parenting than families. In reality the state makes a lousy parent, taking children into care, moving them around, and throwing them out to fend for themselves at 16 or 17 years."

And further articles describing how things don't always go very well this side of the border:

http://scottishreview.net/KennethRoy8a.html

and

http://scottishreview.net/KennethRoy10a.html

"The distressed little boys in Edinburgh were the victims of a system which was unable to cope, poorly led, and in which morale had hit rock bottom. Only an unjust decision by an Edinburgh sheriff – and all that followed it – brought their case to light. And so we are left to wonder: how many other victims were there in the summer of 2013 whose cases never came to light? And how many have there been since, as Children's Hearings Scotland has struggled to sort out its disorganised affairs? We shall never know."

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Volvo eyes kangaroo detection tech

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Vision

If it's Volvo's vision "that no one is killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020", then the driver safety pack (with radar, assisted braking, and hazard warning HUD etc) wouldn't have been a £2K optional extra that I couldn't quite stretch to, it would be standard spec.

I suppose to be fair, the City Safety thing (and pedestrian airbag) are standard kit, although the City Safety feature only works below 30 mph.

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WhatsApp laid bare: Info-sucking app's innards probed

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Big Brother

Collects whats?

Hold on, all this data and metadata it's collecting... Is it related to the app itself (it's own call making and messaging abilities etc.) or ALL types of calls (and other activities) made from the mobile?

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Tiny Robot Smartphone: Invasion Earth 2016 – prepare to be facially recognised humans

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Pint

Cut out the middle man...

Brilliant! If you're tired of all the 'who's got the best phone' pi$$ing contests, there's now a phone that can just f*** off down the pub and slap itself on the table, all on it's own!

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Chocolate Factory plops Marshmallow on Android slabs

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Optional security - bah!

I'm sure I won't be the first person to have mentioned it, but Cyanogenmod features Privacy Guard which allows detailed permissions blocking per app.

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Now you can be tracked online by your email addy. Thanks, Google!

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Flame

Re: Nobody likes being tracked, but...

You say that, but where's the sensible alternative? If I could pay El Reg a voluntary fee (perhaps with a suggested minimum) in order to have no adverts and no tracking, I probably would.

I already do the same for another extremely good but lesser known website (Scottish Review), which makes a point of accepting no advertising money whatsoever.

If anyone would like to suggest a high quality paid equivalent of Google services that maintains privacy, then please do...

PS. Just to get a ball park value rolling; I click on VERY few adverts*, in fact generally only by accident. If I didn't block adverts El Reg still wouldn't earn very much from me. If I agreed to pay even £5 a year for access to this site it would be a hell of a lot more than any potential advertising revenue.

PPS. Another benefit of 'your trusted news sites' being free of the scourge of advertising is commercial impartiality!

*Just to make a point. - even if I saw an advert for exactly the very rare specific thing I really wanted to buy, I still wouldn't click on it. I'll find and use my own preferred and trusted retailers, thank you. When will this advertising economic bubble just please f*** off!

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Christopher Reeve's Horse
Unhappy

Multiple Accounts

I admire all the helpful tips and cynicism on offer, but I don't see what the point is for some of the comments advocating the use of multiple Google accounts...

If you log into them from the same place, surely Google are clever enough to associate information from different accounts to the same IP addresses? Even if the account user isn't guaranteed to be the same person, they're part of the same 'household', and therefore a correlation exists that's probably strong enough to allow targeted marketing?

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Nine of the world’s fastest GPU supercomputers

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Something, something, Crysis, something...

Maybe the standard benchmark for GPU enabled HPC's should be the maximum theoretical resolution at which it will still play Crysis at 60fps?

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Christopher Reeve's Horse

"Good Afternoon, you're through to the IT Support department"

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Windows RT gets new Start menu – but no Cortana or Win 10 apps

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Perhaps it's not Windows 7/8 users that deserve the free upgrade to Windows 10, but rather anyone unfortunate enough to own an RT device.

As soon as MS came out with unfortunate 'write once run anywhere' statement their OS 'landscape' has never looked so fragmented or disillusioned.

Something, something... resolving existing customer grievances rather than upsetting everyone else, something, something, something...

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Microsoft backports data slurp to Windows 7 and 8 via patches

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Flame

Cheeky Ba$tards

Why I oughta.... *shakes fists*

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Yahoo! parties! like! it's! 1999! with! retro! billboard! revival!

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Trollface

YaWho?

more like...

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UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

Christopher Reeve's Horse
FAIL

So...

I should immediately delete my entire archive of ripped CD's and DVD's from my NAS?

HAAAAAHHAHHHAAHHHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!

But seriously. No.

Also, what if I stream my own content to myself, is that a violation too?

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One MEEELLION users download Facebook-pwning droid game

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Coffee/keyboard

TinkerAccountLibrary.dll

Are you shitting me!?

It's 2015 and your OS accepts a library with 'TinkerAccount' in the title?

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Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Burnt Toast

All I want is a toaster that pops when the bread has been toasted to a desired degree, invariant of the input conditions.

Perhaps if phone makers could add thermal protection along with dust and waterproofing, then you could just pop your phone in the toaster alongside a slice of bread, and it would monitor conditions and tell the toaster exactly when to pop?

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Unions call for strike action over 'unusable' Universal Credit IT

Christopher Reeve's Horse

15.8 billion!?

15.8 billion. That's right, just say it again. 15.8 billion. Feel the words come slowly out of your mouth. Think about those words. 15.8 billion...

That's nearly £250k for each of the 65,000 people on the system. They could have just been given that and told to sort their lives out, or start a business or something...

Just for comparative analysis, what else could you get for 15.8 billion, just so we're completely comfortable with exactly how much money this is?

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Get your WELLIES to MARS: Red Planet reveals its FROZEN BOTTOM

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: "the mysterious loss of its magnetosphere"

Yes, it's probably true. And in all likelihood Mars used to have active plate tectonics, the bimodal distribution of land altitude suggests crustal differentiation (continental and oceanic type), but as Mars is so much smaller (heat decay proportionately faster), tectonic activity, volcanic activity and magnetic activity have all ceased. No more water vapour from volcanoes, and no mechanism to retain an atmosphere.

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Vintage Ask toolbar is malware – and we'll kill Jeeves, says Microsoft

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Thumb Up

Re: It's a useful metric

I like it. I like it a lot...

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: It's a useful metric

Yes, just like that, but with improved re-installation options too.

Is the Signature Edition only applicable to PC's that MS sell, what about other vendors? The customer expectation should be that every PC should be sold with the OS set up like this, unless requested otherwise.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: It's a useful metric

Frankly, why stop with Ask?

Any toolbar (for any browser) that insidiously re-installs and overwrites the homepage should be identified as malware, removed and destroyed. Full stop.

I don't know why something like this wasn't implemented years ago. MS need to be doing everything they can to make everyone's experience with windows as good as possible.

Another useful step would be a bloatware/crapware free certification system for nice clean new PC's... This would ideally also specify how the drive partitions and recovery options should be defined and set up, and also a windows accessory program that allows the user to create a bootable disk/memory stick with either a clean windows install or a re-installable backup of their current state.

But now I'm wandering far off into a fantasy world... But seriously... what if!? How good would that be!!

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

Christopher Reeve's Horse

But what about...

...individuals with legacy 'apps'? Or does this render your back catalogue of purchased software obsolete?

If the solution is to click OK on a UAC type pop up window, then I'm not sure this would really solve anything.

I can't imagine a middle ground, so I'm just going to assume legacy 'apps' are doomed.

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Incomprehensible boffins bring quantum computers a step closer

Christopher Reeve's Horse

At Last!

A quantum solution to the NP problem could be just round the corner, and then we can have satellite navigation with routes!

Oh, hold on...

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Volvo V60 Polestar: Speak softly, carry a big stick, dress like a Smurf

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Isn't it obvious? It's so that you don't instantly look like a cock.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Doesn't have to be smurf blue

Nope, not true. There's a white Polestar V60 sat in my local Volvo dealership. And very nice it looks too.

Although to be honest, if I was going to spend 50K of my own money I'd go for the D5, get all the specification goodies and have ~10K left over. Also, there's a Cross Country AWD variant of the V60 coming out soon...

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Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in Vulture's claws: we find looks AND brains

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Let's get this one straight...

"Samsung reckons fast charging mode takes care of the first issue [battery]"

The reason I want a replaceable battery isn't because I'm struggling to find somewhere to charge it up, it's so I can replace it every year or so when the performance has degraded sufficiently.

Two words: Planned Obsolescence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence

Frankly, in this day and age of environment and resource awareness I find it repugnant.

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Delving into Office 2016: Microsoft goes public with new preview

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Unhappy

Have they fixed...

...the completely broken trace precedents/dependants for formulae with structure references?

...(in)ability to resize evaluate formula window, forcing you to navigate complex formula (and data arrays in sumproducts) through a tiny TINY letterbox?

...vba that crashes excel when I run it, but inexplicably runs perfectly when using F8 to step through individual lines?

...the inexplicable slow down when using lots of structured tables (listobjects), where Excel can lock up for several minutes BEFORE it starts processing cells (which takes only two seconds)?

Probably not, but seeing as they've been doing the important work of fiddling with the colour of the ribbon, then obviously I can't wait to get my hands on it.

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Nest seeks audio talent to delight … someone

Christopher Reeve's Horse

aren't you thrilled?

I'm not sure how I could easily be less thrilled.

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