Reminder from England.
To U.S. users (abusers) of English.
We're happy to have you to borrow our language but we'd like it returned in one piece.
892 posts • joined 3 Jun 2008
To U.S. users (abusers) of English.
We're happy to have you to borrow our language but we'd like it returned in one piece.
On hold for 20 minutes yesterday trying to clear up BT bill overcharge dating back to January when unknown to me they started charging for caller ID.
So angry when finally connected to Indian call centre, told them to issue new correct bill or I would close the account.
"Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers".
And, in time, cameras built in.
As I like to use Facebook, I do so exclusively via Firefox with History turned off. All other browsing is via Opera.
Google has long been an advertising medium with paid results cluttering up your searches. I use Duck Duck Go these days.
Thanks for that. As I'm thinking of moving some of my work to a Linux machine, may prove handy.
Another big reason for sticking with older OS is hardware makers understandably won't write fresh drivers for old kit.
Had enough trouble searching Epson sites worldwide for XP drivers for scanners that came out in the days of XP. Let alone, hoping for drivers for 7 or 8/10.
Irony is, the likely reason I have these Epson models is that they were originally dumped in the street by Mac owners when Apple deserted SCSI.
Some particularly noisy ones were issued by BT to connect their router to your TV. These caused a ruckus and BT withdrew them -- but it makes you wonder whether the current management appreciate how much their forerunners at the GPO contributed to science.
The models in question didn't work anywhere in my home and interfered badly with my hifi.
More recently tried Netgear models -- worked but not everywhere in the house.
......... “we tried to simulate a range of abuse conditions, from moderate temperatures up to trying to simulate a fire. And who wouldn't love to have the chance to try and reproduce that experiment"........?
Fed up with the paid-for results cluttering what was once an honest search engine. Happily, Duck Duck Go does the job and claims not to spy on you.
Of course, all we'll witness at the EU is competing monopolistic (if there's such a thing) bastards -- lying bastards anyway. Outcome unlikely to benefit consumers.
Finally got a DAB radio (cheapo portable from Argos). Mixed feelings.
Ignoring the anti-intuitive controls on this particular model and the predictably laughable battery life.
Reliable reception on the stations it receives in my North London location, fairly high up -- though doubtless many other stations it doesn't get. Nice to get Classic FM more reliably than via my expensive FM tuner. Radio4 Extra is my main reason for turning it on.
However. So many music station are at less than MP3 quality (I can't quite see how better radios are affected less by that as claimed in a recent Sunday Times piece). If I wanted AM quality I wouldn't have bought a DAB.
So many stations are irrelevant to me (religious nuts, foreign language stations, sport). Looks like DAB has gone the way of Freeview -- too many stations, too little quality content.
".......absurd warnings like "Do you trust this printer?"
....confusing him with North Korean Dear Leader ?
My (least) favourites were anything with a PC Chips motherboard. Promptly renamed PC Chimps. Runner-up, Foxconn boards for apparently little driver support on website.
Generally, manufacturer whose drivers don't work with OEM versions otherwise identical to branded retail versions and who deny any knowledge of OEM products clearly manufactured by them.
....(probably not) come.
The entire works of Iron Butterfly (60's proto-heavy band). Five or so albums including the most awful hammy vocals on screechy Atlantic recordings . However, proving the joy of ripping, I've selected a good CD's worth of tracks that are actually rather enjoyable.
Equipment: Thorens TD125/Mission arm/ADC XLM cartridge via Quad 34 pre-amp to Sony CD Recorder.
Glue at least aids structural integrity -- and recycling (apparently). Fixed battery is becoming universal in phones because they last longer than most people choose to keep the phone. Not so sure about laptops as, when I fix them for some other fault, also find the battery on its last legs. The industry doesn't help by using uniquely shaped batteries and charging silly prices for replacements.
But there is absolutely no excuse for using weird screws -- before I got the right tools I used to curse hex and torx and drill them out. Risky trying that in a superslim laptop.
I don't want to learn another phone operating system - that will resemble a desktop OS that no-one likes.
I don't want to rent a word processing application (the only bit of Office I'd use).
I have a device which switches stuff on when you clap your hands. Great idea for lighting. In theory. In practice you have to clap in exactly the right way. However the thing seems to respond randomly to other sounds. So unless you want lights flashing in time with music,forget using the hifi.
Actually a rather rock-literate reference to Jack Nitzsche ace arranger and (like Cher) Phil Spector alumnus.
I was just going to comment that his observation that CD quality's already available -- from CD -- tickled my ribs.
BT's ridiculous charge for paying a bill other than by direct debit.
EE/T-Mobile charging 12p or 15p for PAYG texts -- texts cost the telco's so little nobody has been able to calculate it.
Probably haven't shopped there since the advent of the internet !
One of the most pronounced differences is the use of cheap zoom lenses on budget snappers. Pros use a range of lenses. Perhaps explains why shots with phone cameras can be surprisingly good.
As your kitty pic demonstrates, 'real' photography was/is blighted by dust. Try scanning old slides or negs and you'll appreciate digital cameras more. Add the weird issues with Kodachrome and you'll see why sales of film scanners never took off.
The real joy of 35mm was that a good lens was all you really needed -- the rest of the hardware had little bearing on results. With digital there's a big difference between the output from compact snappers and professional gear, though I've yet to see a digital camera with the physical charisma of a 1958 Leica IIIG or a Nikon F.
Aren't Xiaomi those sour tasting sweets from Scandinavia ?
The Chinese need to think a bit more about naming before tackling Western retail markets -- e.g. the Vodaphone drone who strongly recommended the "Hawaii" Ascend.
Good piece but really of most value to those who will never read it.
Like the colleague who somehow couldn't grasp that Word was not Windows and referred to both as Microsoft. The friend who couldn't understand e-mail -- "no I don't use it much because the I can't afford the long distance calls".
The original legislation protected neighbours from landlords using flats as ad hoc hotels.
Some years ago a neighbouring property owner did a deal with a tour operator who brought in coachloads of tourists from East Europe prepared to share rooms full of bunk beds. Result, endless noise of 25 or so people tramping up and down stairs, clearly audible from my bedroom. These properties were built to house between four and, perhaps, nine persons.
I failed to persuade authorities to intervene on fire safety grounds. Eventually, local authority planning enforcement officer raided the place. Hopefully, regardless of "sharing" legislation changes -- planning law governing "change of use" from (normal) residential to commercial still apply.
Also, most residential rental agreements bar subletting the whole of the property -- if you suffer from "sharing" neighbour, contact the landlord, who may then evict the offending tenant.
Egregious example of wifi being used irresponsibly.
I'd equally condemn ISPs for handing out wireless routers like candy. I've seen installations where wireless was used within inches of a desktop computer -- a simple ethernet cable would be faster and not interfere with those who actually need a wireless link.
And so many routers end up in landfill as users move flat or change ISP.
God, the vacuous tv ads for Microsoft phones right now.
Yup. Prior to Virgin we had the Sky hobbled white Netgear box. Luckily SkyUser website steered me to UPnP fix. Better still the router could be (unofficially) reflashed to Netgear retail firmware and re-used with other ISPs.
Our Netgear router supplied by the isp with proprietary firmware some years ago had barely functioning wifi until an update was released weeks later. As far as I know the retail Netgear version either had no problem or it was solved sooner but we could not use that firmware. Situation is similar to mobile phones hobbled with useless telco firmware. Mostly the proprietary stuff adds nothing but branding and disables some features.
...at least easy to break up.
Older Dell laptops were bulletproof construction-wise. Later models not quite so -- issues with keyboard mechanics (who approved that ultra-fragile butterfly mechanism under the laptop keycaps ?) and power connector burning out.
However, I was charmed by the ease of dis-assembly of the two (Irish built) heavily used D505 and D510 series models I recently took on. With luck a third will turn up and I'll be able to build one that actually fully works.
After years of concluding that Linux was too beardy and incomplete, I was strongarmed by a friend into trying Peppermint (as far as I understand it, a Lubuntu spinoff that sort of combines local disk with cloud programs).
I like it. Fast and works well (without driver issues !!) on the first two machines I tried. Failed on one with an Intel Mobile CPU (issue with CPU maximum memory addressing or something).
It's not going to replace Windows yet for me, but is now on my internet browsing machine of choice. Here's hoping this really is the future, this time.
...and let them fight it out.
Your story should be obligatory reading for all software developers.
Sums up my brother's contention that personal computers just aren't fit for purpose yet -- if they ever will be under the current mindset..
Even as someone owning PCs since 1985, I am endlessly swearing at Windows or the stupid hardware manufacturers. Stuff is too complicated and barely finished -- and the people selling it don't give a damn.
Our experience with Lenovo desktops -- bulging motherboard capacitors after 3 or 4 years. Friend's Laptop, keyboard issue. Not the Thinkpads of the IBM days.
I've tried lots of home-build fancy interconnects and merely concluded that if they made any difference at all it was just that, a difference -- slight and hard to say when it was better or worse. Sometimes more treble, but usually modern systems are too trebly already.
All I can confirm is that shorter, thicker, speaker cables are a better idea. Put simply, at the other extreme, very thin cables would heat up and waste power you wanted driving your speakers.
Thin cable would also reduce the dynamic braking effect on the drive coil (known as damping factor) which would, theoretically, make the bass less controlled. Of course this is proportional to the length of the cable. Inside loudspeakers, most manufacturers use surprisingly thin cables because of the short runs involved.
Reported slight increase in deaths was on BBC radio this morning notable because (as you said) trend has been downward. Thought gadgets may be a factor.
Throw in the increase in road deaths, thought to be due to drivers distracted by incar gadgets and (even hands-free) mobile phones.
"Wage advancement and promotions based on service or skill or dedication are no longer factors in retail workforce compensation. Human Resource computers crunch sales figures vs. hourly wage = profit quotient. Minimum wage wins every time."
Too right. Helped a friend apply for retail jobs online (the only way you can with most big firms). No CVs allowed. Was shocked at the questionnaires -- mostly sort of psychology tests designed for a computer to eliminate any marginal candidates. At no point did my friend have a chance to state that she had 10 yrs experience in retail. Companies obviously want cheap, inexperienced, compliant wage fodder.
And not much missed. Perhaps hope for small indie electronic hobby stores like London's (plug) Cricklewood Electronics.
In the Reg yesterday I learned that Caller ID is built-in to modern telephony. Yet last Feb BT started imposing a £1.75 pm charge for a service which had previously been free.
As they hadn't even notified me of this change (apparently there was a note in their free newsletter, but that hardly constitutes a change of contract notice) I complained. And they "kindly" agreed to waive the charge for 12 months if I agreed to stay with BT for the year.
Last week I received a pre-printed letter about renewing the contract and -- obviously -- this is a widespread issue. It seems plain to me that this added charge was designed to trick existing customers into signing on for an annual contract instead of their existing rolling short notice contract.
My advice to BT customers is to cancel caller ID and save £21 pa -- the volume of nuisance calls has anyway reduced following legislation.
Paying annual rental for something you previously bought outright. Good luck "transitioning" that !
Surely only for the purposes of tax avoidance.
I think we can assume that this is a preview for the Windows subscription model where ordinary punters are required to pay annually almost as much as Windows used to cost to buy outright.
Contrary to the Reg headline, from the hardware sellers viewpoint, perhaps there is a cost cut possible on PCs.
However, once punters catch on to the plot to bleed them annually, even more will desert to Mac than were driven away by Win8 catastrophe.
Fair point, if a bare-bones Freesat box and mini-dish didn't cost much more than a Freeview box and TV aerial.
Problem is that the Freeview box and TV aerial are already in place. Are we expected to cough up yet again (I've had to replace Freeview box once already) to watch TV that's infested with ads -- and pay a TV licence ?
Visiting a Mercedes Benz dealer I found that their 1990s E Class models' folding armrest interfered with manual gear changer. And that the car was only available with a foot operated parking brake (what you'd normally call a handbrake). Try doing a hill start in a manual car with that !
I was told that few Mercedes Benz buyers chose manual gearboxes -- and when I did (not an E class) I felt I could see why -- the clutch seemed heavy and initially I often stalled the car. Sold it after 12 months and since then my family have been riding around in a succession of BMW 5 and Jaguar XF models.
Mind you, I also tried one of the 1990s big Jag saloons and could barely fit my size 11 feet into the footwell so much did the transmission intrude. Confirmed my suspicion that only small men drive such big cars.
Only use ATMs within bank branches -- more likely that bad guys would be spotted fiddling with the machine.