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* Posts by Fihart

669 posts • joined 3 Jun 2008

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T-Mobile US cuts overage charges, dares rivals to follow suit

Fihart
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T Mob, don't go there

Seem to be getting the bum's rush from T Mob UK after circa £14 deducted from my PAYG balance for voice call I didn't knowingly make. Trying to sort it out with T Mob's Twitter help bods but they're not really helping.

I'm not sure T Mob or EE are any worse than average telcos -- most don't seem to give a damn about customers or customer service.

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Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

Fihart
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Win8 or 8.1, it's a dead duck.

Witness the call I had on Tuesday. Administrator at the charity I volunteer for to say that he's replacing XP on all computers because he's heard XP is now a security risk (?). He's bought copies of Win 7. Not Win8, note. Because he's heard that it's like Vista (that all those years ago he had to wipe and replace with XP at extra cost) .

I suspect that until Microsoft back-pedal and bring out Win 9 without touchscreeniness this sort of reaction will continue.

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Anatomy of OpenSSL's Heartbleed: Just four bytes trigger horror bug

Fihart
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Re: So which major sites are / were affected?

This morning (as per last night), using Chrome, Twitter is still throwing up a warning that I might be signing in to a fake site due to SSL issues. Using Opera, no warning.

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The IT Crowd tops BAFTA nominations with four nods

Fihart
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Submarine.

Just watched Ayoade directed rom-com Submarine.

Funny and touching.

And such a change from Hollywood's car-crash-explosions-people-shouting formula

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Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'

Fihart
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Experian -- a disgrace in a democracy.

Why we tolerate commercial companies exploiting us in this way continues to amaze me. They have no implicit right to hold data on us nor to blight our life chances by issuing (possibly inaccurate) credit ratings. Need also to crack down on tenant vetting/blacklisting outfits who, similarly, collect data on many people that can be used to stop them renting a home.

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Is this photo PROOF a Windows 7 Start Menu is coming back?

Fihart
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More crimes against English.

"I am going to share that we are going all-in with this desktop experience, to make sure your applications can be accessed and loved by people that love the Windows desktop."

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iFixit boss: Apple has 'done everything it can to put repair guys out of business'

Fihart
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Re: mac book air screen glue

It may make it easier to recycle something ultimately if it's glued, but making it cheaply repairable delays the day when it's scrapped and reduces the demand for (no doubt eco-costly to make) replacements.

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Fihart
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Re: Apple DON'T repair your iThing

There's a problem with Apple making their stuff easy to assemble (thus usually hard to disassemble).

When you break most IT things the biggest blow is losing access to your data, if only temporarily.

Apple's policy of replace rather than repair usually means you lose your data permanently.

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Putin and pals dump Apple's iPads for Samsung slabs... over security concerns

Fihart
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Putin' the Crime into Crimea

as above

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Box shock stock doc clocks 250 million bucks

Fihart
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Sticks nix hick pix

Someone on the Reg is looking for a job opening in Hollywood on Variety Magazine.

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TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

Fihart
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Re: Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades etc -- why monitors fail.

@Truth4u

The (urban) legend goes that two employees of a Japanese capacitor manufacturer stole the formula for the electrolyte their employer used. Trouble is they wrote it down wrong so the formula they sold to rivals resulted in a generation of monitors and tellies which failed prematurely due to bulging caps.

I think more likely the rash of failures of models, all made in China, and 17 inchers upwards, was due to assemblers cheating their customers by substituting cheaper components which did not perform as specified. Notable that while, in my experience, the issue plagued brands as varied as Viewsonic and LG, defective Dell monitors I've come across have failed for other reasons.

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Nokia gobble: Microsoft can't get free of red-tape bondage 'til April

Fihart
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More cruelty to the English language.

"looking forward to accelerating innovation and market adoption"

Trans: we hope to makes these things work better and sell more of them.

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This changes everything: Microsoft slips WinXP holdouts $100 to buy new Windows 8 PCs

Fihart
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Why (sensible) people would buy a new computer.

1. The old computer breaks beyond economic repair.

2. A new application won't run on the old OS and the computer is too old/slow for newer OS.

I don't see people rushing to buy a new computer because there's money off Win8.

Microsoft don't get it.

If I were them (and not so in bed with the hardware business) I'd be developing a slimmer Windows that'll run much better on existing machines than any recent version. At a retail price that's little more than currently charged to hardware vendors. So people actually choose to upgrade to a new Windows and maybe also buy new applications from Microsoft.

If the proposition was "install this and your old computer will run faster than when it was new", who could resist ? People pay good money for memory upgrades on exactly that proposition.

Instead we see ever-heavier-handed attempts to hang on to an existing business model -- unfortunately now with an OS people won't buy unless it's forced onto them via new hardware.

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Intel reinvents the PC as giant 'Black Brook' fondleslab

Fihart
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unintended humour

Portable, like walking around the house with a smallish flatscreen tv under your arm.

And what's with the 20th Anniversary of Pentium ?

The whole project says desperation.

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Monkey steals iPod touch, loses interest in minutes

Fihart
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obviously took one look at iTunes

and threw the iPod away

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Windows hits the skids, Mac OS X on the rise

Fihart
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stating the bleedin obvious

It's been obvious to me for an age that Apple has won the laptop game, never mind tablets.

Glance in any branch of Starbucks (or similar) and check the little illuminated Apple logos. It may be that Apple owners are more likely poseur gits who hang around overpriced caffs, but factoring that in doesn't really explain the scarcity of other brands.

But, given the preponderance of iPhones, once people realise that it's one of the easiest smartphones, it seems kinda logical to scale up to iPad or Macbook.

Perhaps Microsoft's problem is trying a trickle-down from the other direction -- from a 19 inch screen Windows computer to a 4 inch Winphone.

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Windows Phone beats BLACKBERRY in mobe OS popularity stakes

Fihart
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Re: Nokia Screens... @Longrod_von_Whatever

Those are the fake ones they put on display !!

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Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update

Fihart
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Re: But users of Windows 8 on non-touch devices were in general a little less satisfied".

@Tom 35

In big scary corporations no one dares speak openly in a way that might imply lack of loyalty. In part, this is why corporate pronouncements from concerns like Microsoft are so verbose and actually say little. And why things go wrong and everyone is scared to admit it and nothing changes.

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Neil Young touts MP3 player that's no Piece of Crap

Fihart
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What's the point of all that fidelity if you're going to use headphones?

@ Fibbles

What's the point of all that fidelity if you're going to listen to Neil Young ?

Good old croaker Neil and his no-fi recordings.

Best work was with Buffalo Springfield ending in 1969, though I also like the CSNY period ending in 1971.

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Cellular desperation in France drives not one, but two SFR offers

Fihart
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This €2 a month business has GOT to stop...

When does it start ?

Fed up with paying T-Mob 12p for texts when they cost the telcos too little to calculate.

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

Fihart
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Re: I have just one word for you all @strum

Too right. Much wasted youth spent pawing ex-RAF gyroscopes, mini spirit levels (still in use on turntable) etc etc. Tottenham Court Road must have been pretty low-rent in the 1960s as it had a number of electronics surplus stores like Proops in addition to independent hifi shops.

Ditto Edgware Road near Church Street Market and Lisle Street (now in Chinatown) in Soho.

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Fihart
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Overpriced and no longer over here.

The best thing that can be said about Maplins is that it's not Radio Shack (aka Tandy) which died in the UK about 10 years ago.

However, anyone living in North West London would, in my opinion, be better off heading to Cricklewood Electronics, perhaps the last real hobbyist electronics shop in this part of London. For example, components such as capacitors are sold there loose in wider variety and at better prices than you'd expect to pay for pre-packs.

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Satya Nadella shakes up Microsoft, appoints 'Scroogled' man Mark Penn as strategy chief

Fihart
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Re: The shape of things to come?

As usual, decent English is the first casualty with these people.

If they can't express ideas with the sort of clarity that makes sense to most intelligent people, can they be expected to think clearly ?

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German freemail firms defend AdBlock-nobbling campaign

Fihart
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Re: "Merely...make money"

Don't mind ads per se (except ones which flash annoyingly).

Do mind the pause while the bloody ad server delivers the ad.

Websites who don't want people to use ad blockers should insist that advertisers have hardware and connections which are up to speed.

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Ford to dump Microsoft's 'aggravating' in-car tech for ... BlackBerry?

Fihart
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BSOD

In car -- gives a whole new meaning to Blue Screen of Death.

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Muslim clerics issue fatwa banning the devout from Mars One 'suicide' mission

Fihart
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All religious nutjobs, simple answer.

(For example)

Jehova's Witness on doorstep: "Can I introduce you to Jesus"

Me in pyjamas, with hangover: "Sorry, don't share your superstition"

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FIGHT! BlackBerry,T-Mobile US CEOs clash in 'inappropriate' ad spat

Fihart
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preaching to the converted

People I know have already switched from Blackberry to iPhone.

Nothing unique to Blackberry appeals to me about my Blackberry phone. Having today for the first time used it to send email to multiple users with multiple attachments I can report that this task was easier with my 4 year old Nokia E71.

I don't quite get BB fanbois.

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Samsung flings sueball at Dyson for 'intolerable' IP copycat claim

Fihart
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@ Frank H. Stein

I've seen a Samsung Dyson-Alike -- dumped on the pavement, presumably broken.

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Fihart
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What did vacuum cleaners look like before Dyson ?

Answer is they looked nothing like a Dyson. The man could not sell the big brands on his concept so made it himself.

Since then, an awful lot of cleaners look like a Dyson.

The ball mechanism originated with Dyson's wheelbarrow, I believe.

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Top Brit docs wade into GP data grab row, demand 'urgent' NHS England talks

Fihart
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Re: No leaflet here

ditto

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Steelie Neelie 'shocked' that EU tourists turn mobes off when abroad

Fihart
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Single market.

What part of that do the telcos not understand ?

Well, perhaps the word market as they obviously operate a cartel.

Witness Vodaphone-sponsored UK Gov opposition to previous cuts in roaming costs -- many UK civil servants jumped ship from regulating telcos to working for them.

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Apple RESURRECTS the iPhone 4: report

Fihart
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Re: iPhone 4, 3 years later: FUBAR

On/Off button breaking happened to a friend too.

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Japanese investment company looks to snap off Sony's PC arm

Fihart
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Who'd want it ?

Though I like the styling and finish of Sony laptops, Sony's PC arm hasn't the best rep for support. And in an imploding PC market who's going to want to put in the effort to reorganise and relaunch ?

I suspect that, in line with other big Japanese brands which once sold laptops globally, Sony will withdraw from the mass market, perhaps going niche as Panasonic has with its tough range.

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Satya Nadella is 'a sheep, a follower' says ex-Microsoft exec

Fihart
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Confirms my understanding from earlier articles that the new man is expected to execute the game plan left by Ballmer.

If so, can we really expect any changes to the rot that set in with Ballmer. And if Nadella comes from the server end of the company is he likely to understand what consumers want, that Microsoft has so consistently failed to deliver in the last decade ?

I suspect that if Microsoft's place in the consumer market is to survive the onslaught of iPad, it will need to produce the next big thing. Before Apple. And do it properly, so Apple can't just re-do it better, later.

From observations here -- and among the my non-techy friends -- Microsoft has made enemies of many of its customers. Turning that around by ceasing to be the schoolyard bully would be a good start. But perhaps all we are going to see is a more efficient version of policies like renting MS Office and forcing Windows 8 down our throats.

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Fujitsu launches lappie for oldies

Fihart
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There was a time.....

.....when I might have sneered at such a development but, to my continuing astonishment, time has caught up with (even) me.

I wish similarly thoughtful manufacturers to the Japanese would consider the tiny legends, often moulded into black plastic on so many devices. I can no longer read them without my glasses or, in extremis, having to move the device into daylight.

Slightly larger type, lighter coloured plastic -- not too much to ask surely ?

As for phone keyboards, don't get me started !

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It's Satya! Microsoft VP Nadella named CEO as Bill Gates steps down

Fihart
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It's Nadella, dammit!

Not Nutella, then.

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Bletchley Park spat 'halts work on rare German cipher machine'

Fihart
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Re: " one of the only"

Very unique, literally !!

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Robowagons roll! US Army tests all-drone supply unit

Fihart
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US Army in Germany already used these.

Okay they had human drivers but locals swore that they had to give US Army trucks a wide berth on the autobahn because the drivers were, likely as not, stoned.

Perhaps not as scary as my dad's story that, immediately post-war, British or American cars were occasionally barged off the road by nazi-sympathising truckers.

May explain why the British military were so keen to get Volkswagen production back up and running to use Beetles as staff cars.

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El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

Fihart
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Re: Molex Power Connector

How many times have I grazed my knuckles on cheap tin computer cases trying to insert or remove a Molex connector. Presumably designed for the motor industry to be connected once and forgotten.

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Fihart
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Re: BS 546 @JDX

Decades ago most Japanese, US and a few British hifi amplifiers had US-style mains outlets on the rear for connecting turntable etc.

Used in the UK with nearly twice the mains voltage these were particularly lethal as you could touch the live pins as the plug was removed/inserted.

Did this once when still damp from a bath and, oddly, survived.

Noticed that on later models these sockets were sealed off and were eventually banished.

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Fihart
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Re: Connect me! @Big_Boomer

DIN plugs, spawn of the Devil or Deutschland. Recent acquisition of an aged Quad 405 amp/preamp transported me back to the bad old days of soldering my fingers and trying to plug the bloody things in blind round the back of units and them always being the wrong way up (or the wrong number of pins). And then later falling out.

Only SCART sockets (thanks France) come close.

Have you continentals never heard of phono plugs ? They just work.

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Yahoo! Mail! users! change! your! passwords! NOW!

Fihart
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Re: THUD!

Yes, I anticipated this could happen. And decided beforehand that if Yahoo flucked up and locked me out I'd simply abandon the account I've had for 15 years and move to a different provider.

Luckily my password change went smoothly -- apart from their stupid demand for a cellphone number (which I ignored by simply signing out). But Yahoo remain on a short leash as far as I am concerned. Too many more screw ups and slowdowns and I'll look elsewhere.

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Fihart
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@ Joe 37

See my other comment -- you don't have to give Yahoo your phone number when they ask for it. Just ignore the message and sign out.

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Fihart
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Re: My Yahoo account has no news of this in it.

Nor mine but, like you, done it anyway.

Incidentally, after resetting password was asked to supply a mobile phone number. I refuse to do that on principal because these web firms have no hesitation in flogging details (or they get them stolen).

I ignored the demand for a mobile number and simply signed out of Yahoo. Had no problem signing in with the new password.

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Fihart
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Re: Password complexity

The other problem with all these bloody passwords one has to manage is that the average phone keyboard is only marginally usable at best. Pressing extra alt and capital keys between numbers, letters and uppercase is a complete pain and hard to do accurately. Thank you Blackberry Torch with an onscreen keyboard incompatible with adult european male fingers -- or a tiny slide out one with a substantial ridge around it that makes number entry a contortion.

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Ditch IE7 and we'll give you a FREE COMPUTER, says incautious US firm

Fihart
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Re: NZ MOH doing the same thing, giving $1500 towards each computer

Similar to my brother's bitter comment that, not long after Bill Gates visited UK Premier Tony Blair, my nephew's school circulated parents that they'd need to upgrade to the latest Microsoft Office or their kids wouldn't be able to submit homework.

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Hello Moto: Lenovo grabs Motorola biz for $3bn. But Google's KEEPING the patents

Fihart
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My money's on Lenovo.

Even before it would have occurred to me that they might buy Moto. The Lenovo brand is already trusted via their care of the Thinkpad franchise. No reason they can't turn around Motorola, assuming they make music with the telcos. Of course one might hope they would by-pass those 'stards -- who wreck products with their half-*ssed bloatware before we even get our hands on them.

My only worry is that Lenovo will protect their name's cachet by kicking off with premium prices, rather undermining my reason for welcoming our new Chinese overlords.

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CEO Marissa Mayer puts on brave face as Yahoo! shows another loss

Fihart
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Re: X-Spam-Detected: 98.138.233.79

Yup, the final indignity. Yahoo, one of the pioneers of webmail, is sometimes blocked by SpamCop when I send to a regular contact.

Tried to report this to via Yahoo Mail Help and the reporting form kept being rejected. Report that to Yahoo Customer Support Twitter site and no response.

Recently had problems attaching files (both on my phone and desktop computer). And occasionally the service shudders to a near halt.

Until about 12 months ago Yahoo was a reliable service in my experience, one which I have used for over 15 years.

Is that bloody woman still there ?

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Sony on the ropes after Moody's downgrade to junk

Fihart
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Credit where it's due.

I can't think of any other consumer electronics brand which has such a strong franchise in so many product areas.

My first transistor radio was a Sony -- back in 1963 it was one of the first available in the UK and it was better than models like Toshiba which followed.

Since then I have owned many of their products and all have been pretty good. Not necessarily the best (certainly not in hifi) but solidly made. When I bought a slightly damaged Sony preamp cheap they shipped a new fascia from Japan for (as I recall) under £10.

My first TV was a Sony portable that lasted nearly 20 years. I still have a Trinitron and the only TV that matched it was a larger Mitsubishi (again a CRT type).

Walkman Pro was an expensive portable recorder used widely by reporters in the 1980s but also doubled as a very good hifi player. I still use the headphones which came with it. I much prefer Sony's MP3 players to iPods -- simple drag and drop, no lunatic iTunes.

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Smartmobe market tops ONE BEEELION a year for first time

Fihart
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My money's on Lenovo.

Huawei's products make one wonder why people spend so much more on better known brands, until you hear the drone at Vodaphone pronounce it Hawaii.

Lenovo is one Chinese brand to have a real presence in the West and some products which command premium prices.

Apple will either have to take a hit on price or come up with something a bit more exciting in the next iterations of the iPhone.

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