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* Posts by John McGhie

17 posts • joined 4 Aug 2006

Payday loan firms are the WORST. Ugh, my mobe's FILLED with filthy SPAM

John McGhie

I told my Telco I would cancel if I got another Spam.

Since then: I have had two Spams. I switched telco after the second one (kept the same number: moved from Vodaphone to Telstra.

No spams since then (about 8 years ago). They can stop them if they want to. You just have to make them want to :-)

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China puts the boot up ISPs to close digital divide

John McGhie
Coat

Have you been to China?

I suspect you guys haven't been there.

If you had, you would know that any self-respecting Chinese hacker is leaching bandwidth from the closest major institution's WiFi, so they don't pay anything.

What we in the West seem to have missed is that most Chinese quite LIKE their government. They treat it a bit like we do ours: ignore it and sling off at it when it gets too silly. But they don't have to put up with the drivel served at breakfast from Canberra, Washington, or London in quite the same way that we do.

Chinese officials making statements in the public media are expected to get them relevant and "true". That would be a hell of a challenge for our lot...

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Telstra shuts out prepaid mobile broadband rechargers

John McGhie
Thumb Down

Have they fixed the bug that rejects any non-Australian card yet?

Has Telstra yet addressed the bug that rejects any credit card not issued in Australia for re-charging accounts? Thought not...

Telstra has a vast army of people whose sole duty is to mislead the rest of us. Whatever Telstra says, you can almost guarantee that "something other than what they say" is true, and whatever it is, you won't like it.

Just sayin'...

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Microsoft mum on leaked Phone OS plans

John McGhie
FAIL

It's ALREADY low end

The reason WinPho is not on my radar is that it's already low-end. Nothing currently released performs well enough to make me update from my C905. Oh, it's also slow and ugly with crappy battery life and no serious apps or music. But mainly: it's simply not good enough. And their marketing plan is to make it *worse*. Move over, Ballmer, time to give someone who can make products a go...

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Australia, give up your fixed broadband!

John McGhie
Megaphone

$30.00 a month gives you 60 GB at 24mb/s

You Brits really ought to get up earlier :-) The first one to get it was the American :-)

In Australia, they advertise ADSL2+ Broadband with a 60GB monthly cap for $Aust29.99 a month (provided you also pay the $30.00 a month line rental on top of that.

That's because the ADSL Provider is not a telephone company, so they have to guy the copper wires from one of the telcos and pay the retail rental on them.

Speed is ADSL2+: effectively somewhere between 8 and 12 Mb/s, depending how far from the exchange you are. Some lucky persons whose parents were unwed get as high as 22MB/s. All of them will be throttled to 64kbps for the rest of the billing months if you bust your data cap.

There is only one Cable provider in Australia (now) and they cover only major metropolitan areas, generally only the close inner-city suburbs of those, and they won't build out any further because there's no competition. If you can get on the cable, you can get up to 30Mb/s off it.

The reader who said this was a very sarcastic rebuttal of the Australian Opposition's contention that we do not need to spend the money to build a National Broadband Network of Fibre to the Home was spot on. The Shadow Minister for Demolishing the NBN is a former ISP major shareholder who does not believe a word he is saying.

Their proposition is that we should not spend the money on the NBN, instead letting their business mates serve us with a combination of ADSL and Wireless. Which would allow them to continue to rip us off without having to make any of those nasty costly investments.

Richard lives in Sydney. So do I. :-)

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John McGhie
Alert

What he said...

I am one of those subscribers forced by circumstance into 3G HSDPA "broad"band everywhere, for everything. 90 bucks a month for s-l-o-w and unreliable internet connection.

Forget the advertising puffery about speeds of "3.6 mbps" or "7.2 mbps" or "21" or even "42" mbps. Those speeds are available only in Sydney or Melbourne CBD, and only if you are sitting across the road from the mobile phone tower.

Anywhere else, you will top out at whatever the tower sends: usually, 7.2 mbps. With very high latency, and inexplicable "fades" when the DNS simply stops responding. The actual experience is about the same as a good 56 kbps dialup connection.

Yes, the "Internet, everywhere" part is nice. But decent bandwidth would be a lot nicer.

Sorry Malcom: whatever the question, HSDPA wireless is not the answer.

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Australians can’t read or count

John McGhie
Alert

Yeah. But it's true...

I am employed to write work instructions for young Australians working with dangerous equipment in demanding conditions.

Around here, if you don't read the work instructions, you do it wrong. If you do it wrong, chances are high that someone will die. Not necessarily you. Worse: there's a chance they "won't" die. They will live from age 20 to age 80 being fed through a tube and turned every 6 hours.

Our biggest challenge is to persuade these guys to actually read the work instructions. But it goes deeper: they "can" read then, and if the boss stands over them, they will. But they cannot then decode and apply the information, let alone remember it. And if the boss doesn't stand over them, they won't read at all. It's just not in their normal range of behaviour.

These are not complicated instructions: "Before opening valve A, ensure the pressure in line B has dropped below 3 bar." Problem is line B contains boiling caustic soda: if it gets lose, the only thing they will find will be the soles of your boots. I can stand at one place at work where I have five different ways of departing this mortal coil as individual atoms: Steam that will drill holes in steel, Heat that will soften steel, Chemicals that will disolve you before we can get you out, Electricity that will vaporise you, High-pressure fluids that will cut a Toyota Ute in half (they already did...).

And yes, the nature of the work has changed: all the easy operations are now done automatically by the computer.

The statistics in the press release may be dodgy: but the problem is very real.

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Panasonic SC-BT735 Blu-ray home cinema kit

John McGhie

Power output is way off...

Guys: Look at the spec sheet. If this thing takes in 100 watts from the mains, it can't possibly put out 1,000 watts from the speakers :-) Everyone who has to pay a power bill wishes this were so, but the laws of physics sadly dictate otherwise. Some American rags might reprint the manufacturer's giggle-sheet unchallenged, but we expect El Reg to filter the hyperbole through the neurons on the way to the web!

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Sony Ericsson C905 Plus

John McGhie

Sony sells a headphone adapter for it...

Sony does sell an adapter cable that enables you to connect standard 3.5 mm mini-phone plug headphones to the C905 headphone socket: I have one, they're about ten bucks.

This enables you to use any headphones you like. It also provides an "answer" button and external microphone for phone calls, and functions as the antenna for the radio.

I use it with noise-canceling headphones on long-haul flights. Ask for it at your nearest Sony shop, or you can get after-market copies online. Cheers

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Microsoft courts customers for search help

John McGhie
Jobs Horns

There you go... THAT's why Microsoft is truggling...

Yet again, Microsoft is asking "customers" to design its applications. Applications it hopes will be purchased by "users". By "users" it means "you and me". By customers it means something else.

Microsoft is struggling because users are discovering that its products work increasingly badly, are increasingly unreliable, and increasingly less trustworthy. To us.

Which is what you would expect if they were designed by people who are trying to do things "to" us, instead of "for" us. People such as Microsoft identifies as "customers". Really: anyone who spends more than 100 million on software...

It's like allowing a real-estate salesman to design your house. A car salesman to design your car. Or a church to design your sex life.

Oh wait... They do! And we don't want the result! Funny that...

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User-generated reviews - blessing or bull?

John McGhie
Paris Hilton

Three kinds of "reviews" to avoid...

"I think the product photo looks really cool, and I'm gonna buy one if I ever get a job!" -- The majority of user-generated reviews have owned the product for less than a month. Of COURSE they think it's great: it takes longer than that to realise you've been conned by slippery marketing.

"I m a journalist with "Well Known Newspaper" and my Editor has given me three days to install this product, test it, and write the review. The manufacturer says I can keep the software if they like the review. But no, I don't use this kind of software in my daily job, so I really have no clue what I am writing about." As a former journalist, I received such "opportunities" more often than I care to think. But sadly, none of my 'reviews' were ever published after I included a disclaimer similar to the above :-)

"As a Senior Editor for "Well-Known-Website" I can tell you this product is the bee's knees. Joe Sleaze, Marketing Director for Universal Widget, says the product may work after it is unpacked. Mr. Sleaze said considerable usability testing had been conducted. "Seven out of the 12 users we tried it with were able to get the product to display the splash screen," Mr. Sleaze said. "Less than half of our selected user testers had a PhD in Computing Science. It's a re-written press release. Read the Microsoft Reviewer's Kit for their latest product, then count the number of direct quotes from it that you see in the national press.

At least Paris Hilton has been rated by multiple users who have actually owned the product... As well as hundreds of thousands that haven't...

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Apple is Fisher-Price of sound quality, says Neil Young

John McGhie

He's right...

If only I could play WMA on my iPod!!

WMA sounds better at the same bitrate, or is smaller at the same quality, than MP3. The difference is quite pronounced at the lower bitrates.

Of course, PCs sound crap with AAC, so there you go...

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Apple has that syncing feeling over MobileMe

John McGhie
Thumb Down

It doesn't synch subscribed calendars

Not "Exchange for the rest of us" at all.

With Exchange, your own calendar and any other people's calendars (e.g. your spouse, your kids...) that you have subscribed to are updated instantly and automatically.

MobileMe doesn't update the subscribed calendars at all.

Google is not only free, it's a better service :-)

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Apple's 3G iPhone to launch 11 July

John McGhie
Paris Hilton

Still too slow for an HSDPA market

By my calculation, twice EDGE speed is about 768 kbps. Roughly one-tenth of what it takes to make it a contender in the Australian 7.2 Mbps HSDPA market.

The 2 MP camera is 2/5ths of what the Sony and the Nokia offer.

And the talk time is still a bit short for Paris Hilton :-)

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Gates threatens to buy millions and millions of servers for Microsoft

John McGhie

Ummm -- Yeah? It's still a mainframe...

Seriously: This is just a mainframe. The only difference is that Microsoft has at last discovered that the mainframe was a good idea. Something about having your data looked after by professionals and your computer maintained by people who do this for a living tends to improve reliability.

The only thing that's changed is that Microsoft has accepted that no industry veteran will ever permit them inside the glasshouse. So now they want to BE the glasshouse.

So: Who owns the data? How can I prove that you can't read it? How can you prove that you won't mine it, or sell it? And who pays if it's 'gone'?

No, thanks, Bill. The "cost efficiency" argument collapses like a house of cards once we work out that if you have to do all the same things we do to maintain our computers, and make a profit on top, you are going to charge us more than we would have to pay to do it ourselves.

Of course, this might be a good idea, if Microsoft software were multi-user, multi-re-entrant. But Microsoft doesn't make software like that...

Sorry: I don't want any...

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Comcast busted for bagging BitTorrents (again)

John McGhie

Thieves getting choked? How tragic...

So lessee... you're saying that people stealing music and people stealing software and people stealing moves are getting throttled?

So the rest of us can get a bit of bandwidth without having to pay more for our connections...

Now that is truly tragic... :-)

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Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot K800i photo phone

John McGhie

Sorry? Is this a phone??

I searched all five pages of your review, looking in vain for any information about the PHONE.

You spend five pages appologising that it's not a very good camera. We already knew that...

I *have* a 12 MP SLR digital camera. I don't want one in the phone: I have better things to do with the battery. Communicate in difficult reception areas, for example.

Guys: This is a *radio telephone*. Let's talk about reception. Transmission. Voice quality. Drop outs. Ease of dialling/calling/holding and adding/editing/removing addressbook entries.

If I want a camera, I'll go buy a camera (well... I *did* go buy a camera...). I want a phone: is this phone any good?

Can't tell that from your review :-)

Cheers

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