* Posts by Ed Courtenay

25 posts • joined 5 Apr 2007

MS Word deserves DEATH says Brit SciFi author Charles Stross

Ed Courtenay

Re: He is spot on

IIRC, the Acornsoft word processor was called "View"

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Windows 8.1: Microsoft's reluctant upgrade has a split-screen personality

Ed Courtenay

Re: Newly installed apps hidden

I upgraded from MSDN Windows 8.0 Pro to MSDN Windows 8.1 Pro on Monday evening as soon as I saw that it had been made available to MSDN subscribers.

Although I had to enter a new key, the upgrade process was simple and a hour later my system was running 8.1 with all my desktop applications and preferences still in place.

It's early days, but it feels a bit more polished than 8.0 (and slightly faster too, but I've got no benchmarks to prove it).

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Amazon widens .NET to catch Windows cloud devs

Ed Courtenay
FAIL

Re: For me .net is still a benchmark of incompetence

Obvious troll is obvious...

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Windows 8 'harder for malware to exploit', says security analysis

Ed Courtenay

Re: Amazing!

VS Express won't only allow you to write Metro applications: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudio/archive/2012/06/08/visual-studio-express-2012-for-windows-desktop.aspx

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Legendary sci-fi fantasy author Ray Bradbury exits planet Earth

Ed Courtenay

Re: I know it was

@cornz 1: Agreed, I remember being transfixed by the TV adaptation of The Martian Chronicles; after watching the series, and learning that it was adapted from a book, I consumed all of the Ray Bradbury novels and short stories that I could find.

As a bootnote: I found my nine year old son reading my dog-eared copy of "R Is For Rocket" the other day - my inner geek glowed I tell you

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What's copying your music really worth to you?

Ed Courtenay
FAIL

Why pay to downscale?

The economics are simple from my perspective as a user; I'll pay to 'upscale' but it'll be a cold day in hell when agree to pay again for the same content in a downscaled format.

As a teenager I had a fairly heathly collection of cassettes; as my disposable income grew and CD players/CDs became ubiquitous I re-purchased the collection of The The, Joy Division and Depeche Mode albums I had leaving the stuff I had "grown out of" behind - and I was happy to do so, as I got something extra. As an 'upscaling' transaction I got a more robust storage format (not indestructible, but those of a certain age will remember the sound as a tape got mangled) and much improved audio fidelity.

The format-shifting process will only ever at best return the same quality as the source, and in most situations (converting flac/wav to mp3 for example) will produce a lower quality destination result. Why should I (or anyone else) be asked to pay extra for an inferior copy?

The CD introduced a massive problem for the audio content industry; once people have high quality music in their posession, what incentive do they now have to re-purchase? Tape -> CD was a no-brainer, as was VHS -> DVD, but if the user doesn't percieve any added benefit they aren't going to accept having to pay extra.

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Coders' 'lives sucked out' by black-and-white Visual Studio 11

Ed Courtenay

I was dubious at first...

Unlike most of the commenters here (I suspect), I've actually tried the new IDE - and after my initial reaction of "bloody hell, this is vile" I found that the new washed out colour scheme worked really well; the focus of colour where it's important (the code window) meant that was where my attention was directed most of the time. I have to admit it took a couple of days to acclimatise myself to it, but (and YMMV) it was very comfortable to work in.

However, the ALL-CAPS titles drove me nearly to distraction. That *has* to change.

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Leap-day Visual Studio beta provokes 'passionate' response

Ed Courtenay
Go

Monochrome? I like...

Frankly, I quite like the idea of a monochrome IDE; something that gets out of the way of what's actually important when I'm developing - the code. I would suspect that if the use of colour is focused on the code window that the rest of the IDE has the potential to get out of the way as it were.

That said, I hate the use of All Caps for the various panel headings.

It will be interesting to see what it's like to actually use - a static screenshot doesn't really give much in the way of a clue as to what it will feel like when coding in earnest.

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Microsoft fails to turn punters on to WinPho 7

Ed Courtenay

@moylan

Probably nowhere near as much as Cupertino's fruit-based marketing department are spending plugging their wares on virtually everything that comes out of Hollywood

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2011 Games Preview

Ed Courtenay
FAIL

Obvious Troll Is Obvious

"Anyone that calls themselves a gamer in 2011 and does not own a PS3 is lame."

Thanks for letting me know that Anonymous Coward - I'll just rush out immediately and spend money I don't have on a PS3; after all, I can't play the consoles I already own because that'll cast doubt on my manhood - or something...

Twunt.

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Beastly Android will batter Apple's iOS beauty

Ed Courtenay
Boffin

Rambling Observations

Interesting; the pattern I've seen here at work is that (largely, but not exclusively) up to about a year ago those with large amounts of disposable income (the higher paid analysts and managers with no kids) went for iPhones while most others stayed with the phones that they had - a smattering had Blackberry devices, but overwhelmingly most people had Sony Ericsson or Nokia candybars.

Over the past year though, there has been an explosion of Android devices at my workplace; I was an early adopter with the HTC Magic, and was initially worried that I'd purchased my way into an evolutionary cul-de-sac as I didn't see anyone else buying into Android at that stage. Nowadays though, practically every new phone that I see one of my colleagues with is an Android (your workplace may well vary - just for reference I work in the IT department for a large retailer in the UK) - so much so that it has become unusual to see anyone sporting a new iPhone.

For the record, I own both an HTC Legend and a 32Gb iPod Touch, and I'm definitely not ready to get rid of the iPod, but unless Apple manage to pull something extraordinary out of the bag in the next 12 months given the speed with with the Android ecosystem has been improving, their market share is going to take a severe beating.

I could well be wrong, but I'd expect that the iPod / iPhone / iPad will remain popular as premium status symbols whereas the vast majority of the general public will migrate to Android (or any other competing platform that has a decent experience - it's possible that the new Windows devices might get a head of steam behind them, but I suspect that it's too little too late for that platform).

Just my £0.02

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Nokia spits out network diagnostics

Ed Courtenay

Android Alternative

For anyone running Android, there's the excellent WiFi Analyser by FarProc available from the Android Market; this app has saved my bacon on several occasions, especially when troubleshooting reliability issues on my WiFi network at home recently.

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Top Ten Arcade Classics

Ed Courtenay

Green Elf Has Eaten All The Food Lately....

What, no Gauntlet? The four-player coin guzzling classic from Atari was the biggest draw at our local Arcade pit, and consumed far more of my moolah than was healthy.

Other classics that used to part me from my cash were Atari's Marble Madness, Irem's R-Type (damn that was hard!) and Double Dragon (once you found the reverse-elbow move, the game was easy to beat)

Ooh, and Xybots... [drifts off into Arcade game reverie....]

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Google Android chief smacks Steve Jobs with Linux speak

Ed Courtenay

@Garibaldi

"With android you have find an "itune equivalent app" to sync your multimedia content."

Really? I can transfer media content to my Android device (HTC Legend) using Windows Media Player or (shock, horror!) Explorer - anything that can access USB removable media in fact. So, no matter what OS I'm using (Windows 7 or Ubuntu 10.04 at home ATM), I can get multimedia content to or from my Phone. Easy.

My iPod Touch on the other hand can by default only be synced via iTunes - and don't get me started on that abortion of an application, especially on Windows. If it wasn't for the inability of the iPod to subscribe and automatically update podcasts without iTunes, I would never use it - instead I'd exclusively use the dopisp plugin for Windows Media Player.

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Android rebellion: How to tame your stupid smartphone

Ed Courtenay
WTF?

I smell a shill...

Cards on the table; I am currently on my second Android handset - my first being the HTC Magic which after an unfortunate accident with a toilet bowl (think IT Crowd) was replaced with an HTC Legend. My wife, who is one of the least technically literate people I have ever encountered, also has an HTC Legend.

Several of my friends also own Android handsets ranging from the HTC Hero to the Samsung Galaxy S. Almost without exception, everyone I know who is approaching the end of their current contract is looking to upgrade to an Android based device - the only exception being one lone friend who wants to stick with BlackBerry but merely wants to update the handset.

I encountered the 'stuck download' issue once on my HTC Magic, but the issue cleared within the space of an hour; no firmware reset or mucking about with the cache settings.

I have never encountered issues with my Google account; I even use a Google Applications for Domains account so it's not on gmail.com, gmail.co.uk or googlemail.co.uk domains. And yes, I've signed up with Google Checkout and purchased applications from the Market without issue.

This article is possibly one of the worst I have ever read on El Reg; full of supposition and heresay with absolutely zero evidence to back it up. Fine, critise Android for its faults (and yes, it does have a few; proxy internet access being the main culprit), but at least base them on FACT.

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Parcelforce fails to deliver for Windows 7 lovers

Ed Courtenay
FAIL

@jeremy3

"I dont work for PF but even if i did, it is a Microsoft release schedule, not a PF one and based on past performance it would be fairly prudent to assume that it would be a year or so late."

What the hell has the release schedule for Windows 7 got to do with the price of fish? There is absolutely no reason why the user's choice of OS should be an issue for ParcelForce.

"Also if you cant fix your user agent string, then you deserve to MS's monkey, lapping up their new toss."

Why the hell should any user have to muck about with their user-agent string just to use a bloody parcel delivery service? Get a sense of perspective you idiot.

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2009's Top Set-top Media Players

Ed Courtenay

Old Skool Media Player

Personally my Set-under Media Player of choice is my trusty XBox 1 fitted with a modchip running XBMC; although the unit hasn't played a game in over two years now, it's used almost daily as a media centre, with practically seamless integration with the BBC iPlayer thanks to a plugin. Old XBox units are as cheap as chips these days; I picked one up the other day for £10.00, and with a further £10.00 outlay for a modchip and £30.00 for a wireless ethernet adapter from eBay built a media centre for the kids bedroom.

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(Back) into The Valley

Ed Courtenay

Let's Do The Time Warp (Again)...

Damn, this takes me back; I remember having a copy of that exact issue... Ahhh, the heady days of type-in listings!

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Windows 7's dirty secrets revealed

Ed Courtenay

@Jason Ozolins

Finally, someone with a sense of perspective; the worst software I've come across tends to be in-house applications that were thrown together by some office junior while on work placement five years ago, that inexplicably become vital to the operation of the company (although not critical enough to employ anyone to code it properly).

If this application breaks because of a new operating system, guess who gets the blame? The office junior? No, Microsoft.

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Spanish court in favour of topless celebs

Ed Courtenay

@Sarah Bee

Got any hobnobs?

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ITV fined millions for phone fraud

Ed Courtenay
Coat

@Ad Fundum

Yes, RTD could have cast a better companion than Catherine Tate, but seriously - she's the first one to make you switch off? Were you watching when Bonnie Langford was squealing along with 6Doc/7Doc? Adric? Teegan? Come on...

Mines the coat with the extra long scarf ensemble...

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Germany flicks off-switch on DAB

Ed Courtenay

Cost

IMHO the real reason why DAB hasn't taken off in the way that most broadcasters hoped it would is twofold:

1) As pointed out earlier by 'caffiene addict' - where are the in-car DAB radios fitted as standard? I've never seen one

2) The cost of a reciever; when you can pick up an FM reciever for next to nothing, why are the great unwashed going to fork out more than they can pick up a DVB-T tuner for on something that only picks up some radio stations?

I for one have a DAB tuner, and absolutely love it but I can fully understand that most people's reaction to it is "meh!".

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Mind your languages with Microsoft LINQ

Ed Courtenay

@Chris

"Now, I had a look at the LINQ samples, and as far as I can tell, for an array with a small amount of numbers in it, it can have it's uses. For querying a database with lots of tables and millions of records? Hah! forget it. "

When querying a database using LINQ to SQL, the hard work is done at the database where it should be. For an example, I created a LINQ to SQL mapping for the example SQL 2005 pubs database. Using this mapping I can retrieve all the publishers in the database who have published one or more titles with the following code:

var context = new PubsDataContext();

var items = from p in context.Publishers

where p.Titles.Count > 0

orderby p.Name

select p;

If you enable logging on context, you'll see the following SQL statement being sent to the database when items is accessed for the first time:

SELECT [t0].[pub_id] AS [PublisherId], [t0].[pub_name] AS [Name], [t0].[city] AS

[City], [t0].[state] AS [State], [t0].[country] AS [Country]

FROM [dbo].[publishers] AS [t0]

WHERE ((

SELECT COUNT(*)

FROM [dbo].[titles] AS [t1]

WHERE [t1].[pub_id] = [t0].[pub_id]

)) > @p0

ORDER BY [t0].[pub_name]

-- @p0: Input Int (Size = 0; Prec = 0; Scale = 0) [0]

I'd do some more research if I were you before dismissing LINQ out of hand.

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Businessman takes NatWest for £35k

Ed Courtenay

Not So Simple

@Ian: A year or so ago, my employer had a problem with the BACS system which meant that wages were paid into employees accounts four days late. That combined with an unexpectedly expensive month meant that I had nothing left with which to cover bills being paid by direct debit. I had arranged my direct debits to come out of my account three days after I was normally paid each month, just in case of delays. So, I contacted my bank and let them know that my salary was going to be delayed, but they weren't interested. I asked whether they'd extend my overdraft to cover the outgoing costs - not interested.

Instead, they bounced each and every direct debit and standing order I had set up (all 15 of them) and charged me £30 per item for the privilege. That's £450 in charges in one day. And then charged me again for being over my overdraft limit due to the charges that had been levied on my account.

We were already struggling to make ends meet, and our bank made life significantly more difficult. It is for this reason that I'm currently taking them to task regarding unfair charges - hopefully the weight of such cases will get them to change their ways.

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Why I won't buy a Dell next time

Ed Courtenay

Hardly Suprising

I'm not suprised at the pre-primary school level of comprehension displayed in this frankly appalling article; this is the same author that produced this 'gem' from his review of Vista for El Reg [http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/14/pricey_beta_bugger/]:

"Next, there's the Flip-3D feature, which gives you a moving Rolodex view of your open windows. When the one you want comes into view, you stop flipping at that point and it opens for you. Unfortunately, there seems not to be a reverse feature on this little merry-go-round, so if you miss your stop, round you go again. I wonder when I might ever find it useful, as I rarely have enough windows open to make a challenge out of finding whatever I want in the taskbar. I rather think it's there merely because it's "cool". And I'll confess; I've played with it a few times. I've never used it, mind, but I have fiddled. And it is rather cool, actually. And pretty useless."

Hmmm, right - the Shift key modifier has worked with the Alt-TAB combination since Windows 3.0 (and possibly since Windows 2.0, but I can't remember it that clearly). Or maybe he's never come across a mouse with a scroll-wheel perhaps.

Quite frankly, another shoddy article from a dubious excuse for a journalist. Another one for /dev/nul methinks...

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