1382 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007
Re: Good luck
Which you'll have to pay for to fix the bugs and issues in the previous version that you also paid for.
Re: It's part of a bigger picture
The other month I stunned some American support staff of a product that we use by pointing out to them when they were confused that most of their non-US customers were measuring thing in millimetres, that the US is one of the three remaining countries on the planet that still uses Imperial measurements or, perhaps more accurately, does not use the metric system.
On an engineering front my previous dealings with a different US supplier was that they didn't seem to understand the RoHS rules (specifically lead in electronics) and how they were generally implemented in a similar way worldwide. Except for the US. As a result they had one product for the US and another product for everybody else on the planet, carefully glazing over when it was pointed out that producing an international compliant product would also solve their problems with the state of California that had similar requirements for their products and give them a single product to support. Their solution to Imperial nuts and bolts was also to send, at extortionate costs, imperial spanners...
* Yes, I know some countries use certain Imperial measurements on occasions, but the official designation is metric measures. I'll have a pint please... :)
Re: How many?
I'd heard that the number of drink drivers caught year on year has been getting lower in the UK recently. Which is positive. However this could also mean that the police are no longer out there trying to catch them...
However the number of people caught the morning after has increased. Again, is this because police are now concentrating on this or because more people are actually driving the following day?
Re: 1366 x 768
That's the most upsetting thing about it all... 1680x1050 8 years ago compared to what we have now.
I know that many of today's displays are more power efficient and have better colour range, viewing angles and overall laptops are cheaper now, but even with this it's just pathetic that we've gone backwards so far given how things should improve in time. That's the most upsetting point when combined with the modern user interfaces being space inefficient.
Has anybody at these damn laptop manufacturers tried (or suffered) with Office 2010 (the current standard that the majority of businesses seem to be using) on an x768 screen? It's all but unusable due to the waste of space interface elements. It feels like you spend more timing moving crud out of the way and scrolling to see the content than actually reading the damn content that you're using it for. Is x768 in use everywhere because they can pretend that it's a "HD" resolution? Before the switch to widescreen aspect displays the standard display resolutions were going up it was easy to find over 1000 pixels vertical on even the cheaper laptops.
x768 desktop monitors disappeared into obsolescence years ago which allowed Microsoft to expand the UI elements to "take advantage" of the increase in screen real estate, but with no recourse to a more efficient use of this space (Office 2013's metro incarnation is not helpful) and with laptop builders shifting bog standard low resolution screens on everything it's an ongoing usability problem. As pointed out by JeeBee above, even 1600x900 is significantly better.
Not a common or easy to find book (may even be out of print now), but there's a great book you need to read in dead-tree format n public: "how to make love to a black man".
Apparently it's a good book, from the technical / creative point of view, and absolutely nothing to do with what the title may suggest.
Re: The ultimate jeopardy answer to life the universe and everything.
"Now, Watson, what is the question?"
What is seven times eight?
Re: @Blue Eyed Boy
Yellow Pages - they were in a perfect position to be very strong, possibly dominant, in business search on the early Internet but were absolutely clueless and seemed to have little desire to do anything other than fleece existing dead-tree customers as much as possible.
It also felt like every time they did anything it was too intentionally hobbled and too late and generally worse than what they had before and always worse than anything else available. The old BBS / telnet version was a lot better than yp.com, which was better than yell.com and however many countless iterations those went through...
Given how appalling yahoo periodically make their mail interface, messing up on the encryption strategy is no surprise at all. It feels like every revision of yahoo mail has been explicitly designed to push previously happy users away to alternative platforms. I try to be forward thinking and give things a good chance before rejecting them, but with yahoo mail I just can't do it. And then yahoo intentionally screw up the "legacy" mail to make it worse than the previous mail so you're stuck with a deficient mail interface that superficially looks like the older one or a new one that's just deficient in pretty much every usability way they could think.
The Galaxy S2 was a great phone and is still available and is still good enough for the majority of users. The Galaxy S3 is likewise still a great phone and easily good enough for the majority of users. The Galaxy S4 is also a great phone, but not especially different to the Galaxy S3 for the majority of users.
In the developed markets, we've largely hit smart-phone saturation and the smart phone manufacturers should now be subtly changing tactics so rather than producing newer, bigger phones with more pointless features they should be arranging other streams of income and refining their devices to give better value. This isn't affecting just Samsung, the same is true for Apple. And to aptly demonstrate the problem affecting the flagship phones, Motorola (Google), produced the Moto G which is almost as good as the top of range devices of last year but at a bargain price.
Nothing to stop them coming up with some "entirely new", but smart-phones as they are have hit a plateau. Although I'd prefer the next gen of battery technology to come sooner rather than later...
Re: From Left to Right!
pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse.
Re: It's x86
Windows CE definitely (amazingly MS haven't killed this off yet), XP embedded (XPe) maybe, or perhaps more likely Windows 95/98 with the 98Lite approach, but full fat windows? No way as it's just too bloated and stupidly resource hungry.
Re: I'm normally quite relaxed about updating apps...
Similar to my take on the Facebook app - it's on my tablet (no SMS or mobile number to harvest) but on my phone I stick to using the Facebook website... in DESKTOP mode of course.
IMHO El Reg should remove this, effectively, malware advert from their website.
Re: Makes sense to me...
You have it the wrong way round.
As DaLo has noted above, (R) is the Registered Trade Mark. "TM" represents just Trade Mark, or for those that know anything about the subject, is often more accurately interpreted as "Totally Meaningless".
Anybody can append "TM" to a word or identifier, applying for and being granted a Registered Trade Mark costs a minimum of £170 and goes through a set process prior to acceptance. The IPO (Intellectual Property Office) has the details on their website.
Re: @Paul Crawford AC 14:28
I think in a VM (VMWare anyway) you're also able to set the serial number of the hard drive. This does get a little confusing because the serial number is often confused with the volume number. The volume ID is always available as it's added by Windows, the hard drive serial number is a different matter as it's an optional part of the specification.
Re: Keep one asset with XP...
"But XP compatibility mode is just an XP VM tied to a Win7 machine and is subject to exactly the same end of support dates as 'normal' XP..."
You may be confusing things... when you right click and run an application you can run it in "XP Compatibility Mode". In this execution environment security settings are tweaked and the application can get away with doing dumb things that while it shouldn't do, XP allowed anyway. e.g. admin level access to everything with no UAC prompts, mixing program files and data files, and so on.
"XP Mode" is the XP Virtual Machine that is available for users of Windows 7 Professional (and Enterprise).
Re: How do you manage these?
I see where you are coming from and, while it feels glacial, Google is making more effort now for managed estates of devices. Haven't tried it, haven't had an opportunity to but it's at least heading in the right direction.
There are web browser remote desktop clients available, hell even MS provide one but I haven't looked at it for a long time and can't remember if it works using standards or requires the locked-in security hole that is ActiveX. The Chrome Store has apps available as well.
Re: Another possibility
While that's true, the much simpler answer is that some dickhead at the bank either has a compromised system or (not so) carefully found a way to export a list of email addresses that subsequently got added to spam sender's systems.
However it's telling that it's more targetted than the usual penis enlargement or penny stock spam.
Re: And then
So they need to run, maintain, support and license Windows for 30% of their user base. That's not irrelevant. That shows why Linux is still irrelevant on the desktop.
No, that shows exactly why suffering with vendor lock in is a bad thing - they have left over (3rd party) proprietary software that only works on Windows. In an organisation of this size there will always be some cruddy software usually supporting specific closed hardware that only runs on Windows. Often this is because the supplier has no clue about anything other than Windows development or has no interest in re-developing for other environments for low volume customers as it just doesn't make financial sense for them (the supplier of these proprietary systems) and from experience it usually doesn't seem to make financial sense for the supplier to ever update their software or to make it usable either... The more that open communication standards and similar are used the less this is a problem as there are more alternatives.
No - it has cost them over €30 million MORE than to upgrade their existing systems. The claimed 'savings' have been widely debunked.
Wrong. It's your pay-master's lies that have been widely debunked. By Munich themselves , not by third party interested parties or spreaders of FUD. While it can be argued that Munich will put whatever spin they want to on these things, the reality is that as a public organisation they operate with a level of accountability and if they did lie or misrepresent the truth it would come out very quickly and they'd be held accountable for it.
To suggest that they can build a new OS, run a migration project for TEN YEARS! - and support 2 environments instead of one across 30% of their users and then save money is clearly not credible.
Wrong. Again. When you are forced to support Windows you usually have about seven different versions of Windows and Office to support, all incompatible with each other in all so many delightful ways requiring specific customisations and management of each independently. In the end you typically wind up with seven different configurations and when you make a change to one you then have to reflect it manually in each of the others as appropriate... and that's just the joys of centralised management aka group policy. This is before you start to take into account the various incompatible and always fundamentally broken or deficient security structures that are in place that need to be realised between sharepoint, exchange/outlook, file shares (different versions of course), device (e.g. printer) access let alone network access.
1... 2... 3... just waiting on the popcorn and the MS fanbois with their alternative "proof" of ROI. :)
But seriously, it shows that it can be done and efforts to not being subject to vendor lock-in (at any arbitrary level) are a good thing.
Re: Interesting POV.
Virtual Currencies are quite intriguing.
They're not backed up by physical resources, but given our banks and governments are just creating more traditional money out of thin air in spreadsheets through "quantitive easing" and other bullshit terms to mask the reality or just by creating a circle of unfeasible promise-based-lending that amusingly often included the same organisation multiple times... why not?
IMHO a unit of currency is nothing more a token of value. If enough people agree that the token has some value, whether to be exchanged for goods or services then it does genuinely have value (one step removed from bartering). The token has to be harder to reproduce than to generate otherwise the less-savoury types will just make more of their own but that's it really.. And yet in modern society, probably in excess 99.9999% of the money is unseen and virtual, nothing more than a line in a database somewhere and it's been heading this way for years. e.g. You work and your salary goes into your bank account, money leaves your bank account to pay off a mortgage... you never see the money, no actual monetary tokens ever get exchanged, it's just lines in a database and it's all trust based. Does anybody know exactly how much money there is meant to be compared to exactly how money there is reported to exist? The Bank of England (or similar licenced organisations) ought to know the first answer exactly, but as to the second?
That sounds like a party trick alright.
Google gathering and storing information like that is both very useful and a privacy problem - but it's not really feasible to do it any other way.
Has anybody tried a similar test with Siri?
Re: BeiDou needed?
BeiDou support is definitely important for the PRC. Firstly, the PRC launched these satellites and it's important to demonstrate that they are in use, and likely important for use other than military purposes. The fact that this satellite network is not reliant on the goodwill of the US government is also a very important point and aside from the obvious military angle it is also a statement of place as a world power that the PRC is not reliant on external services to operate.
He's just lucky he's not wearing the wrong kind of gloves, let alone holding it wrong.
Yep, it's that time of year when you can either freeze your fingers and answer your phone or leave the bugger. (yes, I know there are alternative ways of answering a phone).
It looks like a fairly standard SD card, just embedded in the device. While this seems odd, it might make a lot of sense and may be cheaper than embedding flash chips directly. It'll certainly be considerably easier for Motorola to provide different storage capacities without having to potentially go through expensive redesign and certification processes - just swap the "removable" storage and that's it.
Re: The VERY definition of Android Landfill
In some ways I agree with non-removable batteries:
* It greatly reduces failure with the interface between a movable (eg re-movable) device. It's the moving parts that tend to fail and a re-movable interface counts on this point.
* The design can be optimised for a more awkward shape or profile battery that doesn't require to be removed. The battery container can be of a different material to a removable battery thereby saving on weight and cost.
* No removable batteries largely prevents the usage of 3rd party batteries of unknown safety and quality. This greatly affects the reputation of a device.
* Having a fixed battery allows all of the battery control (charging) circuitry to be embedded in one place rather than spread between the battery and the separate power circuitry. This is another cost saver.
On the other hand, while I quite like having the option of a removable battery (my current phone has one), I'd rather a more efficient overall system (chipset, os, applications) that doesn't murder a battery than have to safely carry a replacement battery around somehow. The reality is that these devices will be EoL within a few years and these batteries, if they're good enough quality and the charging circuitry is good enough, will easily last that long.
No wonder Samsung's executives have all been summoned for a global discussion... with phones like this that for many users (e.g. the majority of Joe Public) do just what they need with the performance of the Galaxy S3 at a very very good price.
The Galaxy S3 has more features, and from one point of view I like Samsung's approach of throwing features until they see what sticks in the real world, and possibly for willy-waving tech-heads as well, producing a simple, clean but capable device like this should concern them. A lot. Apple should be concerned as well because this device does everything and more of the iPhone 4, just a lot cheaper.
It'll be very interesting to see one of the reputable teardown sites take on this device and their projected BoM.
Re: Hated hated hated
All those shortcuts like Alt+F4 no longer work
While I'm no fan of the Win8 shell (user interface) as it sucks balls on almost every level unless used on a touchscreen tablet, I have not noticed the lack of the old keyboard shortcuts as they work for me. I haven't yet wasted time on Microsoft's Office Metro applications, so maybe Microsoft decided to hack their applications in their usual non-standard manner (*) and removed the standard shortcuts, but for everything else I tried they worked ok.
Win8.1 is a step in the right direction compared to Win8 but only because it's possible to mask some of the Metro ghastliness and user interface (UI/UX) failures.
* It's always amazed me at Microsoft's stupidity in this regard - the Operating System should provide the look and feel of standard windowing elements however with Microsoft Office, they re-implement the latest look and feel of the latest Windows version in the application instead. While this means that Office 2007 looks near enough the same when running on Windows 7 as Windows XP, it defeats the entire rationale behind the operating system (technically, the shell, but MS have merged them on their mainstream OSes so it makes little difference). But given the awful bodge job hack-from-hell-that-draws-everything-twice that the Windows XP theme layer was on top of the standard windowing elements, I suppose it should be no surprise.
In many ways Intel have only themselves to blame. The x86 instruction set is horrible to use, overall quite inefficient and has a large overhead compared to instruction sets that were designed rather more recently or have retained a cleaner implementation. IMHO it's the backwards compatibility of the x86 instruction set that while being an amazing strength for desktop computing has prohibited the use in leaner and more efficient devices.
I'm still sadistic enough to occasionally step through code at the instruction set level...
"So you want to keep data which is local, only ever going to be local, only needed locally, never accessed remotely, not WANTED to be made available outside our building, which can only WEAKEN our security by being off site, hosted offsite."
I'm considering printing this off and taking it with me whenever I meet Yet Another Cloud Pusher.
When all you can do is negatively attack your competitors rather than promote how good your own products and services are, you've already lost.
Both the market and the plot.
Re: Microsoft account needed for Facebook? ??
I read it more that you need a Microsoft account (e.g. app store account) in order to either download the apps, updates to the apps or to store the settings - which is much more explainable and even moderately sensible, compared to needing an MS account to access these services.
Re: Ok, excuse me for asking but HTF do they know it is from Mars?
It's down to overall ratios of trace elements compared to known (current) ratios on the various planets.
It's never 100% conclusive because some other solar body could just happen to have a make up, or region, that is similar enough to Mars that a bit of it knocked off that happens to land on Earth could match.
The formation and type of rock can help determine if it came from a planet or not (formation under gravity is very different to under low or none) and trapped atmospheric gasses are also indicative of where a rock initially formed. Where there are trapped atmospheric gasses the list of sources is quite short (few planets / planetoids have ever had or have an atmosphere) and they are quite different from each other.
This beast sounds much more like a (server software) development laptop or a heavy duty demonstrator than anything any more "normal" user would ever think appropriate.
As far as I understand it, the Japanese (TV) manufacturers steadily out-sourced production of their TV components to cheaper labour markets in order to keep prices down with local (Japanese) labour rates souring. This improved the manufacturing capabilities of the foreign manufacturers as they needed to maintain the quality that the Japanese brands depended on at the time. Steadily more partnerships and cross manufacturing deals were formed and the foreign manufacturers were driven to put research into better manufacturing methods and through this quite rapidly accumulated an important share of the knowledge to the point that they started investing in the next generation technologies directly rather than as "just" a third party manufacturer.
Doesn't take a genius to see what happens next...
Most growth and effort appears to be in the smartphone / tablet market. In general, people just don't want to carry around yet another damn device, just to do what an existing device can largely do. Hence the plummeting sales of compact camera, audio players and satellite navigation devices. I'm not saying that a discrete product specialised for a task won't be better than a more general device that can also do it, just that for many people the combined version is good enough these days.
Re: "lacks plat techtonics"
It wouldn't necessarily need to be solid all the way through. The top (eg) 500 km could be solid, with a more liquid core. Such a crust would likely be too thick for plate tectonics. In my limited understanding, such a situation could be relatively common for a cooling planet.
Re: Unified Memory
Agreed. While explicit memory transfers are a PITA unless the development environment provides good tools, having implicit, potentially unknown, memory transfers is just asking for inefficency. Pretty much a similar level to the inefficency that's anywhere near anything remotely .net where a "string" is involved.
However massively parallel programming is a bugger to get your head around when it comes to the coordination of many processes that may, or may not rely on any of each other, and while forward planning by initiating a memory fetch of blocks that will be of known interest is easy at the first level, it very rapidly gets far too complicated. Eventually other than for a few, much more sadistic than I am, coders, it will turn out to be more efficient to have a suitably "smart" development environment perform many optimisations.
Re: And dont do it in paper format!
Definitely with you on the video. It's useful for some things, but many guides would be far better served as text as images so you can take it at your own pace, in an office, without blaring out random adverts and drawling voices all the time.
Re: I still have some old Borland manuals
Thinking about this, it does feel true. The older the software/manuals, the better the manuals were.
These days you often can't even find a manual when there should be one, even online.
... grumbles and glares at HP for providing a paper version of a disclaimer in 50 languages, and included a CD with the same but failed to provide even a basic "this is the product and what to expect from it" one page manual sheet. It may have been just a docking station, but knowing that it was expected to have lights on the network connector and the specification of the network connector would have been nice when troubleshooting it :)
The other extreme annoyance I have with many websites... entering credit card details.
My card number is presented on my card with a space between every group of four digits. A computer is very capable of stripping out such card numbers when processing the number. So why the **** do so many websites insist that the number is put in without any spaces? Or, as is often the case, just error when you do and don't indicate why.
The other occasions when I'm wound up by entering card details, is when the website numpty insists on putting names instead of numbers for the start and end months. I've never come across a card with names instead of numbers so why was this website doing this? When challenged, they claim to have done this idiocy on purpose to stop bots.
Am I the only one...
Am I the only one... who after reading about this kind of reprehensible arsehattery, feels a sudden need to start downloading and distributing as much copyrighted material as possible just to spite and stick a finger up at them while we can?
Still pricey... while no doubt that they are well engineered kit (product designers I know often marvel at the quality of the design components) they are far from throw-away devices although the number you see in the hands of small children you'd think that they are.
Maybe partly as a result of knowing so many designers and reading all the marketing blurb about "smaller", "lighter", etc but is still annoys me when I see comments like "A protective cover would seem like an essential accessory for this model.". Apple have gone to all the effort to produce a nicely designed device, with good looks and usability... only for it to be stuck in a big, ugly, heavy cover or case... it largely defeats the point in such good design in the first place.
Great. So now extremely inefficient apps can be written by default for iOS and Android as well as Windows (various versions).
Re: That’s changed my opinion of Research Machines
Same here, it was nice to see the work and effort they put into it all. Otherwise all we'll remember about RM is the "under powered PC clones with obscenely expensive support contracts".
Oooh... some memories of these beasts.
The ignition key and buttons to start the damn things... the obscene oddities in the version of basic that was inflicted on us, along with having to purchase floppy disks (yes, properly floppy ones) and then having to somehow keep them intact and undamaged which was a mission for teenagers. In the end all disk were kept in filing next to the computers which was entertaining when those closest to the metal of the cabinet started to exhibit odd failures... (luckily not mine).
And that's before you looked inside the things, with boards held in place with elastic bands which, appearing to be bog standard elastic bands, deteriated over time. Some of them had sellotape (single sided sticky tape for those that don't recognise the brand) holding key components together as well. We found string a good, persistent, fix for many hardware issues.
Other than being a system that was available and therefore encouraged active computer use, there was very little to like about the 380Zs. Especially when a year after my course started we got RM Nimbus systems instead - phenomenally overpriced and non-standard but a real step forward compared to the 380Z. Mind you, my take both of these was comparing them to the arguably rather superior home systems that were out at the same time but it took a brace computer science teacher (at this time, they were invariable maths teachers with an interest in computers) to suggest using something other than a BBC computer or an RM system but they were out there.
Re: Iffley Road
I remember quite a few of the older houses in Iffley Road having basements. Basements and students weren't particularly a good combination but they were definitely there.
Re: Hot ice
Technically it will have some weight, or at the least some component parts will have some weight due to the gravity of the overall object itself.
Re: One of the most recognised web icons,...
Could be why Google have the simpler + as it not only ties into their G+ branding but is probably less likely to have a (negative) cultural specific social meaning.
Re: @Brenda - A bit harsh
For some reason I've been down-voted on this in the past, but my opinion on 64 bit in phones / tablets is that in the future it will enable some much more efficient usage of storage (aka unified storage). Getting everything prepared for the future is a good thing. Yes, the marketing idiots and trolls here will shout about it being great, but it doesn't make a squat of difference other than the ARM chips in use are rather faster and more efficient than the previous ones... it's just that they happen to be 64bit as well.
When you have 2GB of RAM in a device, 32 bit addressing is fine and efficient. However even these current devices usually have access to 32/64/128GB of additional storage. Storage is changing (see today's El Reg article on memristor future 100TB storage products) and the differentiation between volatile storage such as RAM and non-volatile storage such as Flash storage is lessening to the point that it many cases it will make a lot more sense to consider the non-volatile storage not as a traditional storage medium but part of the addressable space of the processor. Apple, with their closed shop approach, are in a much better position than other vendors to take advantage of this and the efficiency gains it will give. That's for the future though, for now it's the improved chip rather than it being 64bit that's most important.
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