163 posts • joined 21 Jan 2008
It'll likely be a while yet, but Microsoft's death by a thousand failures is assured. It's good of El Reg to bring this latest 'slab to readers' attention but Microsoft must already be cringeing at the reaction here -- and no wonder: a fold-up keyboard that flexes because it's devoid of support? The heck is Richmond trying to do: out-air an Air in a literal sense? What it definitely isn't trying to do is out-perform an Asus Transformer TF101 from April 2011, which is when our household acquired two -- you know the one, Microsoft? Clamshell design with a screen and keyboard? A superb piece of kit that can be picked up for less than £100 on eBay nowadays? Oh. Sorry. Redmond has never heard of the Asus Transformer Transformer after all.
Nor is that all. Redmond hasn't heard of something called the Exchange Rate, either. A couple of weeks back, I was in Colorado and twice filled up the tank of my rental before returning to Denver International. Funny thing, that: the gas station didn't say, ah, you're a Brit, you're gonna have to pay a lot more than an American does for this fill-up. But then: the gas station wasn't owned and operated by Microsoft. Which is why it will probably still be in business after Redmond has crumbled to dust.
These post-recession days,there'll be few if any prospective British purchasers of this Surface 3 prepared to accept Microsoft's ludicrous contention that different prices must apply in different territories. Oh, bollocks. You're not that special, Microsoft. In fact: you're not special at all. You're just another producer with product you need to shift, and you're never, ever going to do that when your audiences can see how blatantly you're discriminating between one and another.
Thanks then, El Reg, for the heads-up. The advice -- obviously -- is to wait for Microsoft to do its usual stunt with its over-priced Surface offerings and slash the price by half in hope of getting back a customer base it misguidedly thinks it still has yet which it actually lost long, long ago.
All is revealed . . .
Good luck to Zuck the Buck in monetising Facebook's latest ideas for a harvest of crap because though there are morons out there who'll say everything to everyone about themselves, they're classed as EPs (Empty Pockets) by ad agencies rather than intelligent gainfully employed individuals worthy of being chased.
Some time back, when Google decided it would like to park its tanks on Facebook's lawn, I was delighted to join Google square or plus or circles or something. It wanted everyone to know all about me (and especially, er, Google) so I duly wrote that my current employment is as a Twat in the proof-reading department at Twitter; that my former employment was as the sacked Facebook manager of the lost General Motors advertising account; that I was educated at Windsor Castle; that I went to school with Elvis Presley; and that I have been happily married to a tree for 27 years.
Friends who alighted upon these revelations realised how dull were their own lives by comparison and so more and more of them have taken to revising their pasts and their presents. Upshot is that advertising agencies are having a hard time of it, trying to figure out how to profile a 72 year old mother of new-born quadruplets who went to school with Hitler and nowadays from her home in The Faeroe Islands runs a successful training centre for Missile Silo cleaners.
I expect that over time, an ever-growing number of FB users will let Zuckerberg know that they, too, have equally plausible backgrounds, and equally credible love lives. It's not easy to withhold personal information in a world where bottom feeders like Zuckerberg and his ilk trawl ceaselessly for personal data. But there's no requirement ever to tell the truth.
Re: Today? Today where?
I thought I was on GMT. What the heck is UTC? Something to do with pasteurised milk?????
I do wish El Reg would remember that many of its readers are English and have neither been metricated nor pasteurised. Would it therefore be asking too much for this article to be updated using Standard Received Timing, viz: "when the big hand is on . . . . . . . . . and the little hand is on . . . . . . . then the asteroid will be available to view." Thank you.
The natural generosity of spirit that pervades all El Reg posters certainly explains why there's so much support for Dyson, but user experience says otherwise. Reception on our Dyson is crap and the screen has never worked. If Samsung is doing it better, then fair enough.
Bad news for Scotland then
Seeing as the Scottish National Party has just confirmed that the Bitcoin will be its new currency come independence, this news will have come as a terrible shock to Kilt Road operations everywhere.
Lose face never lose rabbit OK
Not that El Reg is gullible in any way, but it's SOP for the Chinese Government to cover up any perceived "failing" with a blanket of obfuscation. The Rabbit's dead, of course it is, but the big mistake was to tell people about it -- same with Bird Flu, lethal, of course, but the big mistake was ever to let on that it was on the loose in China.
Reality is, China is run by a Communist elite which never does anything wrong and oversees a country where nothing ever goes wrong. That's especially true of its moon program. So-oo. . . The Rabbit is dead but to save face, is said now to be alive again. Then it'll be dead again. Then alive again (if anyone asks). Then dead again -- and so on and so forth until nobody asks any questions anymore, and China can announce that its moon missioin has ended on schedule and been a complete success.
Re: Enjoying every minute of this
Well in Amsterdam, one Bitcoin was all it cost last week to buy a hyacinth bulb. But now that Delft has set a new record of 2 BTC for a single daffodil, and Utrecht is open for business with something called "tulips", it's becoming very difficult for even the most experienced speculator to decide whether to risk a punt on Bitcoins or Dutch bulbs. Me, I'm thinking seriously about ground nuts.
Re: Easy fix for Apple
"don't forget rounded corners. If you want rounded corners there's only one place to go. supposedly."
Rubbish. I got rounded corners when I bought an Asus TF201 Prime. It's an amazing tablet, an example of a manufacturer rushing to copy Apple instead of saying yah-boo, screw you. So the Prime has rounded corners and BEVELLED EDGES and it's light, too, thus satisfying all the 3-stone weaklings who wrote such glowing reviews of that tablet on its release. without actiually identifying any of its obvious flaws.
The combination of rounded corners and bevelled edges and lightness means -- but of course -- that no HDMI connectionm will stay in its socket; the microSD card misses its seat and is chewed up by the tablet; the screen works loose; and, er, on top of all that, the sodding thing is hopeless with wifi and even worse with GPS. And it freezes and crashes with increasing regularity as time goes by.
"Rounded corners" indeed. They just killed off an entire brand thanks to Asus's pathetic rush to turn its pioneering TF101 Transfrormer into a shoddy shabby Apple me-too. How nice it would be, as a customer, to be able to walk into the marketing department of an outfit like Asus and say: "You're all fvckin' fired!"
Delivering optimum outcomes. Bit like our milkman used to, then.
The corporate-speak drivel spouted by TalkTalk's CEO goes some way towards explaining why this hugely unloved outfit is sinking slowly beneath the waves. The phrase "having trouble with my service provider" has for so long been synonymous with TalkTalk it's a wonder it actually has any customers at all.
A huge debt of gratitude is owed to Lester's amigo for facilitating the ground crew's accommodations. I have no soddin' idea at all where in Spain everyone is,but it looks very nice. Warm. Sunny. Is it possible to get a translation of Lester's amigo's website amidst all this hi tech stuff? I would like to come and sit back against a sun-warmed dry stone wall and stare up at balloons whilst sipping chilled Rioja. Or be advised of medication that can achieve the same effect.
What the BT Customer Experience Team should do . . .
"In the meantime, given that BT is in a unique position to use this kind of alerting mechanism, I would be interested in the views of Reg readers on things the BT customer experience team should think about as it further considers what’s appropriate in this area. . ."
The main thing for these people to focus upon is that without customers, they'll have no Employee Experience. Anyone believing it is in any way acceptable to behave towards a customer in the way chronicled in the article is an arrogant moron. Or from BT.
Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery
Another high-quality outfit like HTC is called Asus. And like HTC, Asus doesn't chuck vast amounts into advertising. What it does do is produce tablets like the TF201 Prime and the TF701 Infinity which leave Apple way, way behind in terms of practicality (docking keyboard) and expandability (storage) and connectivity (USB sticks.)
So here comes HTC with its latest phone and not a single person in the company's senior management has heard of Asus or, more to the point, has the slightest understanding of why millions have gone the Transformer route as their tablet choice rather than the Apple iPad.
I'm a HTC Desire HD owner. I am not about to go buy a HTC One which wants me to tailor my expectations to the limitations of the device. I and countless others refused to do that with a tablet purchase; HTC must be institutionally crazy if it thinks those same consumers are going to roll over now and just accept *not* what they're given, but what they're expected to pay a very high price for.
El Reg needs to start obsessing less about the techno-gloss of devices such as this and think a darn sight harder about value-for-money and all-round quality of offering. On which basis, the HTC One isn't any kind of 'killer' at all -- and definitely not worthy of the rave review given here.
You have to be kiddin'. Worth a day trip there? Unless you've a desire to watch apes scratching their arses, then don't bother, because a visit to London's House of Commons will more than cater to that interest without having to go to the trouble of visiting as tacky and self-promoting a dump as Gibraltar is.
Its "duty free" goods are waaay more expensive than the same stuff (booze, especially) bought in ordinary mainland Spain supermarkets. Its cafes and restaurants are over crowded and over priced. Its 'marina development' is about as pompously. . . awful as any to be seen anywhere: sterile, boring, and at a fiver for a small glass of beer high on the list of the Top 10 THings To Avoid In Gibraltar.
But then: forget such a list. The absolute TOP thing to do is just avoid Gibraltar altogether. Why we Brits insist on keeping it, I've no idea -- last time I was there, there were so many electronics stores trying to flog Blackberry fondleslabs at twice the price of the stuff in England, I thought I was in Mumbai.
Regardless of whatever a Tesla has or doesn't have under its hood, it's beginning to seem that El Reg has a bee under its bonnet about Tesla. How about not mentioning Tesla again until such time as it equals in performance and convenience a motor car running on fossil fuels? That should give us a rest of a couple of hundred years at least.
Customer from hell. . .
... meets restaurateur from hell. I've no sympathy for either of 'em: one detects just a leetle superiority in a customer who complains about olives in a place where olives are likely to be served in abundance and then hands out her business card, FFS, with the instruction that she be contacted with an explanation. Well of course, ma'am. Seeing as you are so-oooo very important.
Errata . . . just sayin'
Interesting article with just a few errors as pointed out by other Reginistas plus a few in the comments:
1) Moorgate wasn't 1973. It was 1975. I remember it because I was in Companies House (at its then location) on that day, intending to take the Northern Line tube back to Bank at lunchtime. Luckily, I was delayed by a few minutes and saw the doors of the train closing and the train going off without me, en route to Moorgate. The Bond movie 'Die Another Day' was, I thought, pretty much crap. But its title still has a certain resonance.
2) The Connery movies were filmed at Pinewood. Again, my luck re time and place was in during the mid-60s because I was a regular visitor to the studios and often met the legendary art director Ken Adam. Ken's vision was responsible for the 'epic' look of the sets and set-pieces. Cubby was more in evidence than Harry; I think Cubby lived nearby at Stoke Poges or Farnham Royal. And the production crew -- carpenters and painters especially -- were amongst the best bunch of people I've ever known, not least because you could go for a drink with them, something you can't with a desktop PC.
CGI and bloody computers had never been heard of in the early Bonds -- thank God -- and so the potential for disaster during production was always recognised and, as far as possible, avoided. But something went wrong with the armory in that sequence where a huge explosion occurs in Ken's giant volcano set (can't remember which movie, Golden Gun? Moonraker?) and around a dozen extras were carted off to hospital. No serious injuries, thankfully, and mainly short-term deafness. Nowadays they'd be able to hire a grubby TV money chaser and claim for that along with being missold insurance.
Thanks, El Reg, for a reminder of Swinging 60s film and TV -- let's not forget that a mere six or so miles from Pinewood, Gerry Adams was pratting around in Slough with a giant table-top sandbox in which Thunderbirds were go and lots of luvvly bangs left the room swirling with smoke, a fulfilment, it seemed back then, of Betjeman's exhortation.
I still hanker after that crazy world when there was no M4 motorway and it instead took 14 minutes to drive from Pinewood into central London. Progress, ahhhhh. . . .
Re: Build, sell, dump
Fair point. But of course, all human enterprise is fallible, and it's perhaps consmer complacency itself which leads to some manufacturers being consistently perceived as "gold standard" when actually, they never were, nor ever could be. Time was, based on products bought way-back-when, I would always look to Pansonic and Sony, and no other manufacturer. But last year, a new Sony TV turned out to be, well, awful and had to be replaced after various problems and then earlier this year, when I was about to buy a replacement for my much-loved Panasonic Lumix TZ3 camera, I suddenly discovered numerous complaints on the 'Net about major Quality Control problems with the latest Lumix models -- and, worse, Panasonic's seeming determination to wriggle out of warranty responsibility.
I don't have much use for Public Relations as a 'profession' but it's not just money that a manufacturer needs to make nowadays, it's a good image, too: no point in borrowing billions when your past customers have been scared off and gone elsewhere.
Re: HTC has Incredibly bad support
That's a pretty horrific tale. Had it been me, I'd have looked into the question of a County Court claim (I'm in the UK) because the product was clearly defective under Sale of Goods legislation, albeit it depends, I guess, on where you bought it: the retailer, not the manufacturer, is responsible for sorting out the problem and it's the retailer, not the manufacturer, who should be threatened with legal action. (As an aside, Currys was not alone in the recent past in trying to get customers with manufacturer-backed warranty claims to deal direct with the manufacturer, when of course, that's the3 very last thing any punter should do.)
As for HTC. . . My Desire HD suffers a known fault ('known', if you check out "no sim card recognised" on the Net). There are even YouTube videos about how to solve this product failure. I have, however, received an excellent service from HTC Support in the UK, with a prompt paid-for UPS pick-up and return of the faulty device. The first repair achieved nothing at all but the second and most recent seems to have got the Desire HD's connectivity and sim card recognition problem sorted out. Both repairs have been carried out free of charge under warranty, and both times, the phone was only out of my possession for 5 days.
Have to say, I like my Desire HD (which I bought sim free.) But I won't be buying HTC again in view of the company's moronic decision re the non-removable battery / no microSD card slot in its latest models. HTC is being run by idiots, too dumb -- it seems -- to realise that when a manufacturer deliberately starts making its products less user-friendly, then existing and potential users will not unnaturally reciprocate by being much less manufacturer friendly themselves.
HTC. We make phones that work.
Now, there's a novel idea. A commercial objective that, if fulfilled, means the revenue stream needs no boosting from expensive investments in stuff that has fuck-all to do with a device's useability and dependability.
Currently, my HTC Desire HD is back in the repair shop, being sorted yet again because of the now all-too familiar 'intermittent network connection failure, Emergency Calls only / intermittent No Sim Card Found' phenomenon.
Well, I say 'well-known'. HTC seems unlikely ever to admit to this particular problem. But then again, it has been very distracted, looking away into other things, none of which have anything to do with customer care or the obligation is has to a purchaser to provide something that actually works.
Salvaging a balance sheet is one thing, salvagaing a reputation, another. Pixmania's rep is abyssmal. Complaint after complaint litters the 'Net, a common theme being the lament that buyers hadn't realised they were buying from a 'foreign' company. Quite why DSG allows Pixmania to have a UK presence at all escapes me, but then, quite why UK buyers allow Dixons to have a continuing presence is also beyond my comprehension: Amazon, eBuyer and even Comet trounce it.
There's something so senile about Facebook and its 'likes' that the very notion of signing up to it baffles me. I don't have in mind any image of a massively effective ad machine that forensically targets economically attractive demographics, rather a group of old -- very, very, very old -- care home residents sitting on a semi-circle of chairs as Matron communicates slooowly in child-speak: 'Everyone nod who LIKES semolina for their dinner' / 'You all LIKE it?' / 'Aw, I LIKE semolina too. Altogether now: we're H A P P Y . . .'
That said, those senile I LIKErs are cerebrally a damn sight more intelligent than the morons and the chancers who believed FB was anything other than just one more hula hoop craze.
Re: I don't see them costing that much
Agreed. That's why the Asus Transformer will get yet another sales boost: first Apple with its unexpandable feature-limited walled garden slab, now Microsoft with this. My TF is now 12 months old and stll works perfectly, no need of a cover, no need of an add-on keyboard thanks to its clamshell design. And definitely no need of anything with as daft a name as a Surface, a word which appears to suggest that Microsoft's success will be merely superficial.
dumb and dumber
A bit unfair to blame the fruity fanbois when Apple's PR machine runs nod-and-a-wink "tip-offs" to those media so in thrall to the company that they'll print anything: I've lost track of the number of email updates I get from PC Advisor here in the UK announcing / revealing / exclusively reporting that the 'next generation' Fruit Bat Mk 5 v3 running JuicyBits 0.0.5.9 will be on sale next month / year / decade.
Who the fuck cares? Apple is just a manufacturer of a commodity that sells in large part to retards who not long ago thought a pair of trainers was a badge of status.
Me, I'm waiting to hear when Ross Frozen Foods is going to bring out the next version of its microwaveable fish pie dinner . The Haddock4 was pretty good but Haddock5 promises to be even more capable with a shiny new, slimmer box design and a revised operating system optimized for use in low wattage ovens. Haddock5 is trending fast amongst the intelligentsia on Twat and FaecesBook so there are bound to be midnight queues at every Asda-Walmart in the UK.
As this is the same Council which asked the National Health Service to give it some money to grit Cumbria's roads (in much the same way that the NHS would ask Cumbria County Council if it could borrow half a dozen Councillors to work as brain surgeons) and the same Council which gave a massive pay rise to a then Chief Executive who soon afterwards left on 'gardening leave' and then retired on a substantially increased final salary pension which the public purse should never have had to finance. . .
Cumbria County Council is a supremely efficient cost effective Local Authority envied throughout the land.
More ass than ASA??
A few years back, I complained to the ASA about all those daft wristwatch adverts from the well-known internationally acclaimed award-winning Swiss company Kurt von Beethoven Omega Fish Oilz, where Limited Edition Heritage Timepieces were being offered at just £9.95, down from their previous selling price of £849.95p.
I also asked ASA to look into several other famous Geneva-based watchmakers like Gustav Holtz-Alzheimer, Marco Rocco Lambretta-Baguette, Heinz Steinz Vumpzadazy, and Paul Raymond-Unweiled, all of whom were offering 'Classic Watch Collectors' an opportunity to buy 'Immortal Timepieces' at around 95% off the original selling price.
Somewhat uncharitably, I felt all these watchmakers were fictions dreamt up by fast-buck Chinese or Eastern European scammers. But I was wrong.
They were slow-buck.
What they did -- and for all I know, still do -- was find some flea-bag dump of a hotel anywhere in London, pay a few quid to the manager to install a small glass showcase in the tiny reception area, and display the wristwatch at £1,685,426. Only some four to six weeks after that did this same masterpiece appear at £5.95p plus P&P from the Daily Telegraph.
How do I know all that? Because ASA told me. (It may not have specifically characterised the London hotels in the way I've done above, but no matter.)
And ASA went on to say, sorry chum, there's nothing we can do about this. Obviously, it's a legitimate sale offer: the item has been on puiblic display at a previously advertised higher price.
So-ooo . . .
If anyone from El Reg, or eBuyer, or Currys or indeed any other outfit for that matter wishes to contact me, I have a network of 50 appalling 'hotels' in London in which I can install little showcases featuring everything from £15,650 fondle slabs to £1 million smartphones. I am also able, if required, to re-brand anything with a Teknica badge as being an award-winning product from Sungsam-HCT, of which I am the UK's only Official Authorised Reseller..
And no, no need ever to worry about the ASA.
English as she is spoke.
Well done, O2! That has to win an Olympic gold in the Pompous Corporate-speak Bullshit event:
"We're continuing to drive the recovery of this issue with our support teams and vendors."
Time, it seems, for me to articulate a progressive distancing from the 02 supplier / user interface eventuating in separation totality.
Oh dear. No mention of HTC. Surprisingly enough though, my Desire HD seems to be managing perfectly well on whatever Android version happens to be running under HTC Sense. It's a good thing that no-one here obssesses about OS updates in the way so many sad geeks do.
Paris, because her OS is just fine.
Hard worked MP unfairly slagged off
Give it a rest, you lot.
La Mensch is a hard working and hard at work MP whose own efforts on behalf of (a) her constituents and (b) everyone else here (i.e., the rest of Great Britain + some colonies) are chronicled unfailingly in her own personal up-to-the-minute website.
If you look at what she did yesterday, for example -- nope, sorry, my mistake; if you look at what she did last week -- oh, Gawd, my bad again; if you look what she did a fortnight --sh*t, I'm really screwing this up. Start over: if you look at what she did to earn her Parliamentary salary this month then go to the Top Story on her website to discover that she, er, went on a visit. . .
to a, a. . . care home. . .
61 days ago on May 3rd.
Still. I've been wondering, where she met Bozier.
* Paris. Because she's so-ooo much more worth a menshun.
Excalibur Almaz's advertising tag line is "Space Business Solutions." Well, yes: the $billions required to finance those 'solutions' do indeed confirm that Space Business Problems are enormous.
By contrast, my own company, Camelot Earth Inc, delivers much more cost-effective solutions. Our nifty advertising tagline:
'Earth: Lots More People Here To Buy Your Stuff Than There Are In Outer Space'
sums up our core philosophy and is derived from many years of detailed research. To date, we estimate a $198.13285927114 trillion saving for our clients, who might otherwise have over-estimated demand for washing machines and motor cars on Triton, but under-estimated the high costs of servicing that market.
* Excalibur Almaz's CEO is the literary executor of Robert E. Heinlein. There may be a clue there.
As a former print journalist, I'm always delighted at anything which helps ensure the longterm survival of hard-copy media. From local through to national, media depends upon ad revenue, but has since the 'Net came along suffered badly at the hands of eejit marketeers who say print is dead, the Net is the place to sell a product to zillions.
Hilarious. Every week that passes sees more and more users turning to stuff like adblock and ghostery because they don't want advertising hype skipping after them like a 'puppy dog' (the guy who said that really does need to re-train for something else.)
So. . . Well done, GM, for chucking $10 million at something as daft as Facebook with a user profile that perfectly matches the unemployed adolescent. A further $1 million could be saved by shutting down your entire marketing department, too. Oh, and definitely well done, all the lunatics investing in FB. As their losses mount and regrets harden, realisation will dawn that a decent intelligently produced ad in the print media -- say, reminiscent of the Volkswagen classics and Heineken -- is and always will be the way to go.
Finally. . . I've also worked in advertising for many a year and what's so especially wunnerful about that is the fact that when a new client account is pitched for, we -- like every other agency -- always say that advertising has never sold anything and advertising never will. Advertising merely raises awareness. A-w-a-r-e-n-e-s-s. As in, not one TV commercial but many, many repetitions. As in, not one billboard but hundreds. Repetition counts. NOT relevance. Because what's relevant to a consumer may only occur *after* exposure to advertisement repetition.
The gurus of Internet advertising, however, never admit to that because well, they'd be as deservedly jobless as so many FB users. Media 'experts' of the kind ramping up the FB offer are just as institutionally dumb: they actually do want everyone to believe that "relevant" advertising can be "delivered", in as much the same way as a few centuries back they'd doubtless have been hyping investment in spaceships made of wood and sail-cloth as the best way to go harvest all that lovely green cheese of which the moon is made.
Shovelling ads out over the Internet where awareness of them can be blocked by the very target audience an advertiser hopes to capture is as futile as it gets. But don't ask prospective FB shareholders or corporate marketing depts or even ad agencies to accept that. They need their delusions of adequacy, even if it costs mega $millions to fuel such..
Three strikes and you're out: this bonzo has (1) Twitter counting against him and (2) Facebook making things even worse; all that's needed now is to see if he's in Google Plus. Morons don't rule the world. They only tell each other they do. (Please Like / please Twitter / please Share.)
Perhaps if you'd read both the report and this thread, there'd be no need to remind you to read post #6 here.
Price of fame. . .
Well, stuff going on The Apprentice. Or X Factor. You've made me famous. Fan-tast-ic!!
OK, I know, not everyone takes that view. Actually, I was talking to a chap called Andrew Crossley earlier today. Used to run something called ACS:Law. He says El Reg's behaviour is unforgivable and appalling.
However, I now find out, there's something called 'The Crossley Defence'. It involves telling the ICO, in the event of a data breach, that you're actually quite poor, your health is bad, and the pressure of work has led to events beyond anyone's control. It worked brilliantly for Andrew, he headed back to his country mansion with Ferrari in the drive and didn't have to stump up a penny.
I doubt El Reg has even heard of my friend Andrew, but. . . is The Crossley Defence not worth a try?
Good luck, gang. Shit happens.
Good for Seattle!
Never been the same here in the UK since the GPO was killed off and British Telecom arrived to dismantle all the phone boxes that hadn't previously been dismantled by evil wrongdoers.
More than ever, this country needs a caped crusader so that the next time I'm jostled in a pub by a dumb neanderthal, I can invite him to step outside so we can Seattle this.
. . . on tour with an Ophone
I know, it's a sod, typing on the iPhone screen. That's why tou ahould get a superior phone with a bigger screen instead of tour uphone because then your post nighr nale dome sende.
Hey, Lewis: well done! Naked disgust is wunnerful! I just paid £259 for a HTC desire HD direct from HTC's UK distributor, Brightpoint, factory unlocked, no contract, manufacturer warranty until May 2012. I've put it on GiffGaff, can run on £5 PAYG without data or a tenner a month on unlimited data and no charge for calling any other Giffgaff user.
An extra battery and an additional 16GB micro SD are on their way from Amazon UK.
Quite why I never bought a locked-down over-hyped under-specced iPhone I've no idea. Silly me.
@ Graham Wilson
The public sector is about public service. On which basis, a senior public servant like Stephenson should have stayed many a mile clear of the 'edge of the swimming pool' to which you refer -- and in paticular, the perfumed spa at £550-a-night Champneys, from which he and his wife derived £12,000sworth of accommodation and hospitality.
Stephenson claims he has "no doubt" that his integrity is still intact.
When self-serving idiots get to be in charge of the Met, you realise that everything you ever suspected about the calibre of policing in this country. . .
Going into administration. . .
Drip-price rip-off has gotten worse since online comparison sites have come to the fore, something we noticed a couple of years back with -- of all things -- travel insurance. We'd been with UK-based Flexicover Travel Insurance in the past and decided to check 'em on a comparator before giving them our custom again. Turned out, they came top for value. . . by a couple of quid. However:
On the last page of the online quote, that couple of quid price advantage suddenly vanished: Flexicover wished to charge that amount for "administration".
We emailed to ask how any business can be run without being "administered" and, in this case, just what aspect of the daily administration of an insurance broker's affairs were we contributing to: the window cleaning? The office tea trolley? Higher quality bog rolls in the loo?
We also asked: why is no mention of this "administration" charge on the first page of your insurance quote, rather than the last?
I forget what Flexicover replied; we couldn't be ar$ed to read it. But I now see Flexicover has up-paged its "administration fee" and it's in tiny red type at £1.80p.
Dream on, Flexicover. Dream on. If you can't afford the cost of running a business you yourselves set up, then. . . Tough.
USB 3 2-metre extension
Richard: Hope this helps. Asus owners are reporting that this USB 3.0 gets around the short lead problem --
It's said to be something to do with the way Asus utilises all USB 3.0 pins for controlling the charging.
At £3.45 including free shipping, this seems a good option for Transformer owners: we've just ordered one ourselves.
Asus Transformer owner's review
My wife has had the TF for 2 weeks now. Her verdict: outstanding. Here are the reasons:
1) Contrary to what is said in this El Reg review, the tablet isn't heavy. The reviewer would have been best advised to at least check Apple's weight specs for iPad 1 or iPad 2 before penning his comment.
2) In the US, the TF has been sold as a tablet with (I think) an additional $150 charge for the keyboard dock. Here in the UK, the tablet+keyboard are bundled together for an extra £50. Seeing as how the keyboard incorporates a second battery, this deal is as good as it gets -- laptop batteries ain't cheap. For which reason then, talk on here of third-party suppliers coming out with keyboards kinda misses the point: it's the BATTERY which is the component cost here. Not the bloody keyboard.
3) In clamshell guise, the Asus kills off the very genre Asus launched: goodbye netbook. Suddenly it's possible to have an ultra-portable which can be rotated from portrait to landscape view. Try finger-pinch zooming on a netbook. . .
4) iPad killer. We compared Apple's offering with this Asus and ultimately gave up bothering. Apart from all the restrictions Emperor Jobs imposes, the iPad simply doesn't match up. This in our opinion explains why Apple seems to have reacted so ferociously to a US ad last month which showed two images side by side, the left one of an iPad with a keyboard stuck to it with black duct tape, the right image showing the Asus TF. Above the left image were the words: LIKE THIS. Above the right image: ONLY BETTER.
The reviwer's comment about Apple looking over its shoulder and sniggering doesn't, therefore, accord to the facts: Apple's reported reaction to a single, simple Asus Transformer ad would seem to indicate that, contrary to the El Reg review, Emperor Jobs and his minions are taking the Asus TF very, very seriously.
5) Keyboard. The Asus TF comes with Polaris free of charge, a point the reviewer might have made clear in his report. Polaris allows my wife to work on her Microsoft Office stuff without a hitch. Although the on-screen keyboard is fine -- and if you don't like it, it's possible to get others -- the Asus docking keyboard is excellent. It makes all the difference when it comes to editing docs or typing emails. And no; we haven't noticed 'lag' on our TF.
6) Case. Asus's official case was sold (briefly) in the UK by Amazon UK. If you look at the reviews, they condemn it on price alone, so I've no idea how good it is. But if it truly was costing £48 GBP, then Asus wants its head looking at, as does anyone daft enough to fork out that kind of money. My wife has purchased 2 cases for her TF, because she wanted a tailored case for the tablet alone, and a secure case for the TF when in its clamshell form. The tailored case in red pseudo-leather came post free from a Chinese company which is putting them out via a Hong Kong eBay seller. Contrary to cliched wisdom about Chinese scammers and eBay etc, the seller is excellent and the tailored case a perfect fit for the TF tablet. It cost my wife £15 GBP. As for a case for the TF in clamshell guise, Wenger's robust, beautifully padded 10.2 case fits like a glove. Amazon UK has it for £14 post free. There may be other variants out there, but for anyone to say that they can't find a case, or cases, for the TF is plain wrong: try looking, huh? My wife has paid a total of £29 GBP including post & packing for two quality cases: we think it's great value for money.
(7) Android apps. The reviewer is correct, and very helpful, in pointing out that many Froyo (2.0) smartphone apps upscale very well to the Asus's screen size. But Honeycomb apps are coming thick and fast, not every month, or every week, but damn near every day. No point in listing 'em here: 10 minutes on Google is enough to dispel the myth about how everything's still, er, 'nascent'. It isn't. And the maturity of some apps is staggering: Google Maps, for instance, with Navigator's latest ability to do off-line caching of routes, means the likes of TomTom et al have even more cause to worry about how long the stand-alone satnav can endure.
8) Asus. We went with Asus because we've had experience of it before and so have many millions of others (like, er, look at the motherboard in your computer?) It gives every appearance of knowing exactly what it's doing in terms of firmware updates and as for Google, the rapid upgrade of Honeycomb (3.0 to 3.1) makes Apple's software division look narcoleptic.
9) Availability. The Transformer took off so fast in the US that first shipments sold out. This wasn't on the back of an extensive advertising campaign but on word-of-mouth or Internet recommends from existing users. In the UK, the first shipment also sold out. Asus shipped again to the UK on June 5th/June 6th so stocks, though going down fairly fast, are still held by Comet, Laskys, eBuyer and others. Amazon UK, however, appears to have some customers ordering in late April to mid-May and reporting that they still haven't received anything. Amazon has now updated its position to say the TF is expected to become available between mid-July and the end of August (huh???)
It's not clear why Amazon UK seems to be so wrong-footed, but already, dark mutterings are arising re the news of Amazon's own reported intention to move into the tablet market itself, with a badge-engineered Samsung. However, it's also reported that Google and Amazon aren't getting on, so a question mark arises over the Android OS -- which means, a question mark over the whole project. (Note to Amazon Legal Department: I am not suggesting that the inexplicable unavailability of the Asus Transformer at Amazon UK is in any way connected with reports of Amazon's own intention to launch an Amazon Tablet in late summer. It's all pure coincidence, of course.)
10) User support. One of the fastest growing forums on the 'Net nowadays is that dedicated to the Asus Transformerr, over 2,000 users already in just a couple of months. So it's not as though anyone purchasing a Transformer is out on her / his own: help, news, and info for the Asus Transformer / Honeycomb is plentiful and increasing daily.
(11) Conclusion. We are not and never have been Apple Fan Boys. We don't have any Apple equipment at all. But that doesn't mean we're as vigorous in our agnosticism as the Apple faithful are in their religion. Our son had an iPad 1 and now, an iPad 2. He's delighted with his purchase. Fair enough. We bought the Asus Transformer because it has more features, is better value for money, and because it's ours to do with as we wish: none of that ludicrous iTunes-for-everything business.
The TF+keyboard/battery combo is, as noted, a no-brainer: my wife has had a total of 13 hours continuous run-time with the TF, using apps, playing music, watching movies, etc (the TF's 16GB internal storage is hardly a problem: she paid £17 for a Class 4 Kingston 16GB SDHC card, and popped that in. The Asus positively flies along regardless of the drive being used.)
It's still very early days for us, and I'm always hesitant about buying anything off the back of a magazine or online review, simply because the reviewers never have 'em long enough to really know what they're on about. Ditto with this post: we simply haven't had the TF long enough to fully explore everything it can do, nor can we make any judgment about its reliability. And it's true, Android apps still are miles behind Apple's, and Honeycomb still isn't -- as far as we can make out -- as good as Apple's OIS.
But, but, but. . . it's reminiscent of way-back-when, and the arrival of IBM/compatibles in a Mac-dominated world when, almost overnight, or so it seemed, the PC with its operating system and apps from third-party software developers gathered an unstoppable momentum. (And kudos to Google here: Android 3.0 was a dog's breakfast, but 3.1 is vastly better. And 3.2 isn't that far down the line.)
Our conclusion then, based on experience as actual owners / users, is that although Apple may have killed the US ads for the Asus Transformer, the simple truth of that ad remains intact:
The Asus Transformer is indeed like the Apple iPad.
Nothing of interest to see here. Move on.
Why is news of the pre-pubertals who sign up to this pathetic Facebook thing of any interest to anyone with a mental age above that of five??? Gawd's sake, El Reg, give it a rest, please.
One of the most powerful -- if not the most powerful -- words in the English language, that to which it relates is also one of the most powerful -- if not the most powerful -- features of human anatomy. The sexually repressed, of whom there must be millions (including every Daily Mail reader) are only "shocked" by the word because they're "shocked" by sex.
The only obscenity is Ms Smith. . .
Never mind debating the actual programme, how about asking on what grounds the BBC decided to waste licence fee income on publicising a shallow shoddy over-promoted and finally chucked-out ZanuLabour politician?
It surely couldn't be that Ms Smith is still in the address book of all those sycophantic luvvies running the Beeb whose familiarity with what is laughably described as the "Westminster Village" makes them feel so very, very important?
As there are infinitely better reasons for *any* poster on here getting a BBC documentary of their own ("a personal view", as the simpering Beeb describes it) then I'd be obliged if El Reg could contact the BBC now with a view to setting up 50 or so documentaries exploring the "personal views" of El Reg readers. These could range from topics such as: "are paper aeroplanes the future of commercial aviation?" to: "are failed Home Secretaries entitled to any kind of platform other than that of a railway station's during a train strike?" to: "should Stephen Fry be now sold off as a national treasure to the lowest bidder?"
The fact that El Reg readers are instantly disqualified by virtue of being rational, articulate, competent and honest will ultimately count against 'em but that shouldn't stop El Reg from asking.
Me and my Nokia
I'm a Nokia user. I have three of 'em. One is a mobile phone. It's black with a kind of gold finish trim that's still under its protective wrapping. It has a small greenish screen on which black text appears. I have no idea what its model number is. Perhaps a 9-something-something. I bought it new as a treat for myself in April 2003. It's been in constant use ever since.
It makes and receives phone calls. If I can be arsed, it sends text messages. It also receives text messages. It runs on standby for up to 10 days. It powers up from flat empty to full steam in 45 minutes. It has never let me down and it has been all over the world.
My other two Nokias are a matched pair. They're Nokia wellington boots. Nokia made boots before it ever made phones. My Nokia boots are green with black trim and the word Nokia emblazoned on them. I bought them in 1983. I wear them in the garden. They are still as good in 2011 as they were in 1983. In December's ice and snow, my Nokias kept me on the move when all about me, people were falling down. They are the best mobiles around.
My Nokia boots will -- in the eys of some -- be technologically flawed because although they are a stable platform, they don't make phone calls. But that doesn't bother me because I have my shiny black and gold wotsit.
So then. Before all the experts on here finish Finnish burying, could they kindly note:
1) A lot of people use phones for phone calls and aren't remotely interested in pockets stuffed full of apples, blackberries, oranges, or whatever the hell else is out there;
2) Nokia's expertise in making wellington boots was and remains far greater than Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung put together. It is perfectly possible for Nokia to return to its core business and make enormous profits.
I hope that's set the record straight.
PS: I have been trying to figure out how much my Nokia boots have saved me in 28 years of wear. Lesser boots fail rapidly, so it must be more than a hundred quid I've saved. I've also tried, though failed, to calculate what I've saved by never needing to buy another mobile phone since 2003. The black-and-gold Nokia cost me £205. Since then there've been almost eight years of mobile communication (talk-speak, message-speak) at an annual contract rate of £00.00. Must be £hundredss? £thousands??
And did those feet, in naked times. . .
The naked truth about Blake is that he was a noted naturist?
Are you really, really sure about that?
Wake up at the back, please
C'mon El Reg. Wake up at the back. Your latest update is just a leetle lacking in, er, detail, viz:
1) The Judge has tumbled to what's going on and is Not Impressed.
2) Those who once sought fortunes out of all this are now in deep, deep doo-dah. This is because Lee Bowen, formerly associated with everything from psychic telephone line services to being the Public Relations representative of a drunken bonker on a Dubai beach, has claimed his oddly-named Mediatwat represents the rights holders of materials claimed by Crossley's ACS: Law to have been downloaded illegally. . . But Bowen has never proved it. (Nor was ever asked to, the Norwich Pharmaceutical orders to pressure ISPs into releasing customer data being pushed through without any question of proof being sought from Crossley and his associates.)
3) If Bowen's Mediatwat has not been specifically instructed by each specific rights holder, or if it does not own the rights itself, that would mean, er, that ACS: Law has not necessarily been acting for any rights holder when sending out its threatening letters. And that's really, really naughty, tst tst.
4) If Bowen / Mediatwat had been able to get away with this sudden attempt to withdraw from the proceedings, then no doubt the whole issue of who-owns-what would've been swept under the carpet. Thankfully though, here's a Judge with a functioning brain. Not only has he refused to allow Mediatwat to vanish into the undergrowth, he wants to know who the real rights holders are and proof that each and every one has instructed Bowen's 'enterprise' to represent it.
5) Mediatwat and ACS:Law have gone from being flavour of the month (when racking up all those lovvly lucrative NP Orders) to being distinctly unpalatble where M'Lud is concerned, particularly in regard to Crossley's description -- in his pay-up-or-else mailings -- of mediatwat as "a copyright protection society", as if it's some kind of trade association rather than the work of the Beach Bonking Public relations agency. His Honour thinks a lawer (Crossley) falsely describing something as a 'Society' is really not very good at all, hmmm?
6) Meanwhile, Crossley has suddenly gone from being Britain's most brilliant lawyer to one of the most accident prone (and victimised.) Where the latter is concerned, even bomb threats have been involved. Oddly, the police seem to have no record of any such threat. As to the recent car crash which Crossley suffered, perhaps in his Ferrari en route to his home in Monte Carlo (it's all in his background stuff scattered over the Web) then it's truly sad that this should've happened just at the time when he would have so liked to appear in Court himself, instead of having to leave poor Bowen to go it alone. Just where, when and how the car crash happened isn't yet known, but perhaps M'Lud will delve into that, too.
7) Crossley let it be known to the Judge that ACS:Law has nothing to do with the mysterious GCB. Yet letters issued by Crossley in December to many on ACS:Law's hit list are stuffed full with details about GCB and how to pay 'em.
8) Such is the panic surrounding this that the firm of accountants who set up GCB for an unnamed client now say they know nothing about its antics (and have published a disclaimer on their home page.) And now Crossley says GCB isn't chasing anyone, either.
9) So. . . Ye situation is this: Crossley faces a long, long, long overdue Court scrutiny, as well as the SRA, as well as the ICO, and now -- last but not least -- another firm of lawyers, Ralli & Co, acting for what they describe as "hundreds of consumers in relation to a group action for harassment following letters from ACS:Law accusing those individuals of illegal filesharing and copyright infringement".
The several fates that seem now about ready to befall him are so various and so severe that it'll take more than sudden illness (which occurred the last time he was fined by the SRA) or motoring accidents to side-step. Naturally, he has the sympathy of every reader of El Reg.
Gordon Bennett! The outfit that has sent a camera scurrying around an over-priced over-crowded and over-rated dump called London obviously doesn't look at its own Streetview.
Plus: Gordon Bennett 2! How wonderful (not) to see that a business whose founders have long blathered on about being 'leading edge' and, er, 'innovative' has got no further than the early 19th Century in its call for peasants to quit the land and take a daily ride aboard a wheeled conveyance into The Big City.
It's presumably accpeting job applications only in something called an "envelope" with something else called a "penny stamp" affixed to the top right hand corner.
Amazon v LoveFilm
A couple of years or so back, when Amazon announced its DVD rentals operation was to be "taken over" by LoveFilm, I was one of a number of people -- or so it turned out -- who complained to the Monopolies Commission about LoveFilm's domination of the marketplace should the deal go through.
At that time, I was an Amazon customer. Also at that time, the Internet was stuffed full with complaints about LoveFilm -- and not surprisingly, either: LoveFilm didn't police its affiliates operation, and it seemed that whatever forum you visited, some moronic LoveFilm affiliate was spamming it.
LoveFilm's "incentives" were also unbelievably bad in the way promises made were never promises fulfilled: the company was amongst the most complained about in the UK in any sector, never mind DVD rentals, for its business practices, and especially the way hundreds of people were trapped into auto renewing of trial memberships which, though cancelled in time, were said by LoveFilm either to have never been cancelled at all, or notice of cancellation was, er, "received too late" to be acted upon.
As to promotions, the Great LoveFilm Boots Voucher Campaign remains one of the worst examples of mismanagement -- or worse -- of recent years, with Boots itself dragged into the mess as hundreds of angry LoveFilm sign-ups demanded to know where their vouchers had gone.
We had been subscribers to Amazon's DVD rentals service for quite a while before the LoveFilm take-over, so we were ready to quit as soon as the deal went through.
Oddly though, Amazon stopped talking about a "LoveFilm take-over" and began referring to it as a "transfer". Then it stopped talking about that and instead assured all existing Amazon DVD rentals customers that they were *still* Amazon customers. Weirdly, the LoveFilm website log in always led to a page saying "welcome, Amazon customer".
So. Nothing changed. Our Amazon payment plan -- £6.99p a month for 4 DVDs, of which 2 DVDs can be at home at any one time -- is exactly the same as it was five years ago.
The service is still the same, too: we live over 250 miles from the Amazon / LoveFilm despatch centre but without fail (and this included the chaotic period of the December snow) we can post back a DVD on a Wednesday, receive an email confirmation of receipt / notification of despatch of the next DVD on a Thursday, and have that DVD on our doormat on Friday.
We have never, ever, had anything other than the best service (at less than £7 a month including P&P for 4 DVDs, it's hard to see how that value for money could ever be beaten.)
This latest development -- "Amazon buys LoveFilm" -- is the latest twist in what to us has been a very odd story, seeing as how "LoveFilm buys Amazon" DVD service was what caused all the concern not so long ago. But if all it means is service as usual, that's fine with us.
South Yorks. . .
Where Yorkshire's concerned, isn't it the case that cameras of any sort are in widespread use as a result of some kind of plod collective memory?
As prompted by, amongst others, members of the local citizenry including "The Crossbow Killer", "The Black Panther", and, er, "The Yorkshire Ripper".
Of course, not every one who lives in Yorkshire is a homicidal maniac. However, at a rate per head of population etc etc dee-dah-dee-dah-day. . .
Cost. Cost. Cost.
The electric car is no different to any other piece of emergent technology. It hasn't reached the full potential promised on its behalf. It's only purchasable by early adopters who once paid small fortunes for LCD TVs and Personal Computers. Doing "test runs" now involving activities way beyond existing performance parameters is daft. Conclusions:
1) BBC 'journalism' is, as usual, dumbed down, inept, and amateurish.
2) Tesla's existing PR operation is much too combustible for the company's own longterm comfort.
3) HM Government sees the motorist as a cash cow and always will. Loss of tax revenue from conventional fuels in the event of a massive take-up of electrically powered vehicles will be more than compensated for by some kind of tax on electricity, or batteries, or anything else upon which an electric car depends.
4) The cost of electric cars is going to have to fall a lo-nnn-g way much the same as the things are going to have to be able to travel a lo-nn-g way before they're remotely appealing to the average family motorist. (Into which category, I fall. We switched from a beloved petrol-guzzling Omega V6 auto in 2008 to an 18-month-old Passat turbo diesel with DSG. In town, the Passat gets 36mpg. On an easy rural run, 52mpg. On long-haul French autoroutes at 80+mph, the Passat gets 46mpg. For a full-size powerful automatic saloon -- which isn't Blue Motion or any other kind of Motion -- we don't think that's bad at all. Our purchase price? £13,000.
I haven't time to work out the true economics of an electric car, but factoring in purchase cost and Gawd knows what else these things seem to need, they don't come within a mile of a secondhand Volkswagen saloon.
When they do, that'll maybe time for the BBC to do another report. In 2021, perhaps?
Ah, Iobit. . .
"Then rather than the two programmes that it used to be, it suddenly turned into half a dozen programmes for all sorts of crap that I never had the chance to say I didn't want. . ."
So Iobit's now nicking stuff from six other software developers instead of just one?
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