1804 posts • joined Thursday 18th June 2009 09:56 GMT
Re: Didn't you lot get the memo?
I'm guessing that's why he only bothers writing a few every year now, rather than one a week. There's only so many users and bosses you can murder... When it comes to humour on El Reg, I give my allegiance to Verity.
BOFH reminds me of a TV detective show called 'Midsummer Murders'. It's set in this idyllic English village, population probably under 1,000, and yet for goodness-knows how many series they've had several murders per week. By now, the entire population has either been murdered, or been given life in prison, several times over. You'd have though that house-prices would collapse, and no-one would move there, given the 100% chance of you being killed, murdering someone, or both...
Re: Skull and crossbones
I says buggeration to your electronic gewgaws and gizmos, pass me the rum! And I'll keelhaul the first lawyer who sets foot on me boat!
Re: @I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
I must admit it was a bit too subtle for me... I read it several times, and still couldn't decide if it was being rude about me, or another go at the French.
Re: Wait a sec
Is that why the Barclays cash machine I used yesterday had the WiFi logo on it. It comes printed on all those nice little webcams you can buy. I just assumed they'd moved their cash machines to unencrypted WiFi, to save on networking costs...
Re: Clueless banks
The last credit card person to call me, and ask for my date of birth seemed rather wearily resigned to my refusal to answer. All the previous times I've met bewilderment that I shouldn't trust random people who ring me up asking for financial details...
I suppose they know who they are, so why should I doubt them?
Re: 'What's the point?'
I once heard them described as 'napalm covered in cardboard'.
So I'm presuming that mmmmm is due to your inability to speak after eating them, because of the third degree burns to your mouth?
I can well believe this, having once achieved the same, incendiary, effect with a jam toasty. Delicious agony - as I'm sure the Marquis de Sade would agree.
Re: Jonesing for BOFH
What kind of disgusting pervert are you? You don't incentivise people with kindness and gifts! You use violence, blackmail and threats.
All the Register need to do is threaten to publish his address in place of his next piece, should it fail to turn up by deadline. Then legions of his fans can storm round there, and give him a gentle introduction to high voltage testicles, with a cattle-prodding he'll never forget, and he'll soon get back to writing for you.
...Namby-pamby, pinko, liberal, woofta, modern, lefty, new-age, wouldn't-know-what-a-hard-day's-work-was-if-it-bit-them-on-the-behind, political-correctness-gorn-mad-I-tell-you... Mutter, mutter, mutter...
Well it's a close finish here at Plumpton. We've got Syliva Plath on the rails, leading by a nose, The Girl with the Pearl Earring making a spirited charge on the outside, and bringing up the rear (and most likely candidate for Findus lasagnadom) is Sarah Brightman.
I heard of one planet that got potted into a black hole, in a game of inter-galactic bar billiards. Killed 10 billion people. Only scored 10 points as well...
I'm sure there's a standard for the radio side. I was talking about the phone implementation. The carriers wanted to use the SIM for the encryption keys, so they could charge for it, or better, become transaction agents and take a nice percentage. The phone manufacturers wanted in on the action too, with hardware security they controlled. But Google also want in on the act, to do it in the OS. I don't recall who the banks sided with.
Re: I think you'll find...
More poor comedian than xenophobe. But what is the world coming to if an englishman can't be gratuitously rude about the French?
As a serious point though, there's nothing wrong with making jokes about disability in general. People being over-sensitive is far more of a problem. Plus 'comedy nationalism' is a speciality of British humour, and last time I checked this site ended in .co.uk.
I suggest you lighten-up.
What was the nature of this man's disability?
Re: "I just wanted it to end," he said.
You have a choice. Visit Charleroi, or crash into a ditch at 200km/h.
Re: Brewing time
That's where a desktop teapot comes in. First cup poured quickly, not so flavoursome but hot, and welcome. Second cup of perfection, after proper time to mash/stew/infuse/thingy.
Easy for me, I take my tea black no sugar. So I can just pour and go.
When I worked abroad, I used to have a teapot on my desk. That's the only language Johnny-Foreigner understands! Take teapot to kitchen, rinse, warm, add tea, pour in boiling water. Return to desk, drink 2 cups.
You talk of being a serious tea-drinker, and then laughably mention bags! Pah! Humbug! Poppycock! The correct dosage of tea is 2 mugs. In order to achieve this, you need a teapot. Make, savour first cup while scalding hot, pour again, down second cup before it goes lukewarm (the devil's temperature).
Actually, in the office, the teabag is acceptable. At home, only loose-leaf will do, and the strainer lives by the pot, so it takes no extra time.
It's the bloody cables. If the USB connector is the right way up, the cable is twisted. As soon as your attention wanders, it'll flip back the right way (inevitably trying to take a bite out of your wrist on the way round). So you know the connector is the right way up by the tension in the cable. Except when the cables deliberately tense up, in order to fool you.
Still, I failed an even easier
stupidity intelligence test last night. While fixing my Mum's Dell all-in-one PC, I wanted to plug a USB cable in, so bent down under the desk to find the case...
Re: Possible explanation
It's always the bloody awkward, inaccessible connectors that are the hardest. Bayonet and screw light bulbs are easy, because those are usually on exposed fittings and so easy to see. But spotlights, which are recessed and at full ceiling height are always the hardest. So you get the shitty thin 2 pin types, that you often have to screw in. Using a tiny jewellers screwdriver rather than a nice thumb screw naturally. And then the magical GU10, with 2 tiny flimsy pins to bend and fail to make a connection, and a crappy cheap spring holding the whole connection together. All of this has to be done in the dark, at full stretch standing on the floor, or with you head bent at a funny angle under the ceiling, if standing on a chair.
The same with USB. Mini USB is easy to see, because it goes on small devices that you hold in your hand to connect. The full-size USB on the other end, often goes into the backs of PCs, under desks, and so must be impossible.
I'm considering creating a new connector, that can only be plugged in while the right way up, in a locked filing cabinet, in a disused basement lavatory, with a sign on the door saying, 'beware of the leopard'. Obviously you'll need a torch to see it, because the lights will probably have gone...
Seriously? Calm down dear! It's only a commercial...
Sure, the BBC are over-managed. However, they're not that expensive. When you think what original content the BBC produces for £3bn, and compare it to the £5bn that Sky turns over, and the lack of content that they produce with it, suddenly the License Fee starts to look like decent value. Admittedly Sky are improving that, and they spend an absolute ton of cash on both sports rights and good sports coverage (which are both expensive). But if you compare the £250 cost of basic Sky (without Sport) to the Beeb at £150, Sky look horrendously expensive!
ITV are free, but you have to watch adverts. They have a similar budget to BBC1, but look like they achieve less with it.
Re: Helen Boaden
It was alleged that in the Sixties (or thereabouts) an engineer at the BBC had managed to get himself awarded the title of Engineering Information and Electrical Installation Officer, so that he could, quite validly, answer the telephone with "EIEIO?"
Ah that was good old Farmer MacDonald! Lovely chap.
Despite what the pundits say I would hope Apple never implements it and uses Bluetooth, location/time like Square/Bump or a combination of the two.
Wash your mouth out with soap johnlongdick!
Almost whatever the question, the answer isn't Bluetooth! I'm happy to agree that it's occasionally really useful, but only if you'll agree that it's sometimes incredibly buggy, annoying and frustrating.
I've not had enough experience of NFC to have an opinion on it. But if it's as shoddy as Bluetooth sometimes is, then I'm sticking to cold, hard cash. As Roosta said, "If you can't scratch a window with it, I don't accept it." Just before some new-fangled payment technology landed him up in a really sticky situation...
So far Apple have been proved right. NFC hasn't taken off yet, and it's already February. If they bring out their next iPhone in September, they can just stick NFC in that, and be instantly up-to-date. Of course people with iPhone 5s won't be able to join in the fun. But I'm sure Apple will say there's a solution for that chaps, wanna buy a lovely new iPhone?
That's assuming that NFC is even ready to take off in 2014 (which I'm not totally convinced of). But as Apple have this Passbook thingy, they may as well have the tech to fully use it (as the chips cost so little).
Then again, do we even have an NFC standard with decent levels of agreement yet? Or are there still a whole bunch of competing ones, all with their own supporters? I doubt Apple will move until the industry have got their act together, unless there's one particular standard they want to push. I have to confess I've read so many stories about competing NFC standards and how it's going to be big this year, I've given up reading about it. I'm sure it'll get there eventually, but it reminds me of the interminable introduction of Bluetooth, which was supposed to be coming real-soon-now in the mid 90s, and didn't really become mainstream for a decade. And even now, another 10 years later, it's not the most reliable of technologies.
I heard her interviewed on 'The Media Show' on BBC
Audio and MusicRadio 4. It's an excellent program, and has kept Beeb management on their toes a few times. Boaden really doesn't appear to be the sharpest tool in the box. Her excellent defence of the Newsnight editor on the show was only undermined by the fact that she hadn't actually bothered to ask him what happened, she'd simply prepped for the interview by reading his blog online!
When I'm dealing with a customer with a problem, I always speak to the people they're complaining about before launching a defence. It's an excellent (and easy) way to avoid looking like a total arse! Also, she's his bloody boss. Has she heard of management? Has she heard of telephones? I know Radio is the poor cousin to TV, but surely they at least get those...
Anyway, the DG was no better. He appeared in front of a Parliamentary Select Committee, and he'd only bothered to brief himself by reading the online blog, rather than asking the guy. Perhaps the editor of Newsnight is fictional, and the role is actually fulfilled by an AI? Or he's got a phobia about phones perhaps?
Re: In before...
No problems here because no-one liked using Lotus Notes so much they canned it (I blame MS for making a better email client).
I never had the privilege of using Lotus, but are you telling me that they made an email client worse than MS Outlook? Ugh! That's a horrible thought. Particularly as they started losing in the 90s, so are you saying their client was worse than Outlook 95? *shudders*
Remembers (with horror) the IT 'upgrade' in early 1999, where they took my PC with NT4 workstation away, and replaced it with one running Windows 95. I got upgraded to Win 98 the same year, so I've no idea why we went through 9 months of Win 95 purgatory first... Ugh! I hated 95 because of that, and fixing my Dad's PC every few months.
Re: So it's self correcting?
Sadly no. I don't think rebooting the phone works. You have to turn off the exchange server synching, and then turn it back on again.
I've just set up my new work iPhone 5, and the damned thing keeps beeping at me, about every 30 minutes. I can't work out what alert is sounding, since I've disabled alerting on everything but calls and text messages, and I won't get any of those until the number is ported across. The only thing I can think is that it's telling me to upgrade to iOS 6.1. Leading me to my doom...
Live tiles haven't really worked so far. At least as a user of Win Pho 7. Because apps weren't really multi-tasking, they weren't really allowed to do the clever stuff. So, for example, my weather app would update its live tile when I looked at it, but it never seemed to manage to do it again until I ran the app again. Whereas what could be simpler than a weather app that shows you the picture of today's forecast? Not that iOS can do it either... The people hub could keep changing, showing bits of photos, but only if you were plugged into Facebook and got your phone filled up with all the pointless Facebook chatter. No, I really don't care how much of a melon-farmer you've just been...
Sadly the only thing that really seemed to work well on the live tiles was badges. Which is no better than what iOS can do, and massively worse than Android's brilliant widgets. Although, none of the non-techies I know have managed to customise their widgets very much, so maybe it's not the huge advantage it ought to be? Many things frustrated me when I was on Android, but the ability to customise the phone to perfection is something I missed on Win Phone. I've just taken delivery of a work iPhone 5, and as a phone it's a step back from WP7. My trusty £130 Lumia 710 is sadly going out to pasture. As a mobile computer the iPhone is superior, but then it does cost 4 times as much...
One thing I've noticed that should worry MS and Nokia is how prominent the new Blackberries are in the phone shops. They're getting pushed in a way Windows Phone and Nokia's Lumias never did. Does this mean the phone companies are going to push Blackberry as the 3rd way (to keep Google and Apple honest)? They never seemed to have their hearts in pushing Windows Phone...
Re: Legal copyright violation is not stealing
If you are successful - you get sued.
I think in the main, that should be: If you have money you get sued. There's no point getting triple damages from some poor schmuck without a billion to his name...
Obviously there's 'if you're a threat you get sued' as well.
Re: Ridiculous comparison is ridiculous
It's nice to see that it's not just commentards on the interwebs who make tortured and piss-poor analogies in order to try to discuss copyright and intellectual property. If I read one more argument about how downloading music for free is or isn't like a car, I'm going to start hunting people down and using their goolies for golf balls...
But it's nice to see Oracle's highly-paid lawyers can do it in a court case too. Would 'Demonic Dalvik and the Virtual Machine' make a good book title?
Re: in much of the world, electric cars would be powered by fossil fuels
That xkcd cartoon gives me an idea. Couldn't we have a car with a built in liposuction rig. Then the driver (and passengers) could lose weight as they drive, and the car could burn nice, renewable body fat.
Yes it's true that trackday mileage sucks, in a petrol or electric car. There's a huge difference though, that makes the Tesla a lot less use as a trackday car. Do 55 miles in your Tesla, only 10-20 laps, then go home. In a different car. You can't do any more, as you can't charge it up - until tracks have fast chargers. Do the same in a Ford GT, fill up with petrol, carry on. Alternatively, you can manage 4 laps of the Nurburgring - and pray you don't run out on the 4th...
They said it was a nice car, but it was fair to point that out. But Top Gear aren't a consumer program any more, they're entertainment. So they're not going to be nice about it, they're going to be sarky, and funny. It's not lying to show the car being pushed, it's entertainment.
If Tesla couldn't cope with that, they shouldn't have gone on the show. If Top Gear had lied, I'm sure they'd have lost the court case...
Electric cars are brilliant for town mileage. Lovely and efficient, as they do stop-start so well. But they have short ranges, and are impractical for long-distance work in most cases. Until we've got better battery tech, that's the way it's going to stay. I'm not even convinced I've seen a hybrid that's got any better fuel consumption than a decent diesel. The 2 Toyota Prius-es-es-es that I know owners of both only manage 35 mpg. Which you could get from a petrol car of that size, costing half as much. They may just be stupidly heavy-footed, and others do better, 2 instances does not good data make.
Analysts - anyone can play
rising to $101bn by 2018
I love it! Sales won't be going up to just a paltry $100 billion. Oh no! My calculations are so precise that I can predict them to 1% accuracy over 5 years! I'm just that awesome!
I guess I can see his argument. But as El Reg points out, he seems to have forgotten the advantages to Amazon and their own cloud service of being one company.
I really must quit my job, and get me a job as an analyst. Does anyone want to pay me for my predictions on the sales of Apple iDevices in the future? Apple should split off the iPad division as a separate company, as it's causing the letter 'i' to fall off their typewriters, and thus threatening the sales of their most lucrative product, the iPhone. In 2018 Apple will sell 127,357,207 iPhones.
We had a party line when I were a lad. You could both receive calls, but only one could call out. So if you picked up the phone to make a call, and they were yakking away, you couldn't call out. Although you could always interrupt them, until they went away.
I think the theory was that you weren't supposed to know who you were sharing with, which supposedly would make eavesdropping less fun. But we found out when their kitchen caught fire. My Mum phoned the Fire Brigade, as she could see it as the gardens backed onto each other. But the other woman was also phoning the fire in. So Mum said, "you leave the house and get to safety. I'll call the Fire Brigade for you."
And she said, "No. It's my fire. I'll call the Fire Brigade!" After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing Mum realised that she was a bit too flustered to act rationally, so gave in and put the phone down, before the house burned down...
I've remember getting a crossed line when I first had a mobile phone. I could hear their conversation, but they made no sign of being able to hear me. However it was barely audible. They sounded more like Charlie Brown's teacher.
Re: Lolcatz more useful...
speakers of pissant languages
What, you mean like French?
Re: I suspect
I guess we mostly agree. I got the impression you thought Samsung had been unlucky to lose that case, and should have a decent chance to overturn it on appeal. I just replied with me opinion (not a legal one I hasten to add) that the obvious grounds look unlikely to work. Even if they're totally reasonable. Sadly justice and major corporate lawsuits don't exactly go hand-in-hand.
I too would like to believe in a rational legal system. Sometimes I do, many times though, I wonder...
The foreman of the jury seems to have gone on some bizarre crusade against Samsung. If we can believe his TV interviews. Very strange case indeed. It would be nice if something this obvious would be looked into - but from the judge's comments I somehow doubt it will. We shall see.
I must say I didn't think my post deserved downvotes from either Samsung or Apple fans, as I wasn't having a go at either. Unless of course it was legal fanbois, given I was being rude about the legal system. In which case I suppose I mustn't grumble...
Re: I suspect
there will be a few years of appeals on that $1bn before we see any cash change hands. It certainly seems that there were more than enough shenanigans in the Jury room to get the whole thing reconsidered, and that's before Judge Koh's weird rulings on what could and could not be entered as evidence.
I'm sure there'll be years of appeals to look forward to. After all, for a billion dollars, it's worth making the effort. However, I'm not sure Samsung have much hope of being successful. I think there are strict limits on what notice the courts are allowed to take of interviews with the jurors afterwards. So even though some of that sounded quite dodgy (the foreman appeared to be a total numpty), I'm not sure they're going to get any joy.
As for the evidence Samsung failed to get included, wasn't that their own fault? Didn't they miss a submission deadline? If so, it's tough luck. That evidence may have changed the case, but they had every opportunity to submit it, and the lawyers all know when the deadlines are. They can't claim they didn't know, and after spending tens of millions on preparing the case, that kind of sloppiness is pathetic. Of course if it was the lawyers' fault, they might be able to sue them.
Not that I'm saying there isn't some other reason for Samsung to win. But their case being right and 'justice' are even less important at appeal than they would be at a normal trial. Appeals tend to focus on technicalities even more than trials, as judges aren't normally supposed to second-guess the juries, just to make sure they got all the right facts in the right way.
BIS bashed, boshed?
My congratulations to Andrew and/or the subbies, for coming up with that heading.
I agree with Andrew that many users are promiscuous with devices. I say this as someone with an iPad and a Nokia Lumia 710. Although it looks like work has decided on the iPhone for me now...
Some people like the convenience of the same OS and apps across the board. They want to pick up whatever size device is most convenient depending on where they are, to do the same things with the same apps. Others see the different devices as doing different jobs, and are less reluctant to have a foot in more than one camp. Multi-platform apps (e.g. Kindle) help here.
Even though I'm moving to an iPhone, I can easily imagine my next tablet being an Android, given the huge difference in price at the moment. Plus Samsung will let me have a decent stylus. But then, for me, the tablet is for games and the internet, the mobile is for calls, messages and email. Both do get used for maps/navigation though.
Having said all that, I had a play with the latest Blackberry a couple of days ago. I didn't exactly find it easy to use. There seemed to be some sort of weird display setup, so instead of taking you into email and contacts (filled with fake info), when you clicked on those you got sent off to some marketing video. Was a bit strange, and I gave up playing with it. Although they have got better store placement than Nokia ever seemed to manage with either the launch of the Win Phone 7 Lunias or the WP8 ones.
A billion dollars is still a billion dollars though. Even if they don't get any other goodies from the case, well they've still got 1 billion $1 tissues to cry into...
Of course it may have been a pyrrhic victory, for various reasons. It's still too early to say what the long-term effect will be of all these legal shennanigans on the industry. So even for a couple of $1 billion victories, I don't think I'd have taken the risk. But then I'm not running a huge corporation worth billions, so what do I know...
This reminds me of the Manchester United situation. The company was vastly undervalued by the stock market (which didn't understand it), and so the Glazers were able to buy it for a song, and invest almost none of their own money. While ending up owning all of it, after paying off the debts with the company's money. Except that due to their inability to get cheap enough credit they've struggled to make the deal work, but I suspect they'll make out with the moolah in the end.
There are only two real reasons to do a buyout like this. Either you've got a cunning plan Mr Blackadder to do something different, and thus make an enormous profit, which you obviously want to keep more of. Or the shares are going cheap, cheap, cheap - and you want to grab it while you can.
The problem is that the board, and Michael Dell, are going to look bloody silly if the shareholders torpedo the LBO and it all falls apart. Which means that Southwestern are in a bind, because the share price isn't likely to go up if the deal falls apart. So I guess the only answer is to put their money where their mouth is. If the company is only worth half the stated share price, then get buying. Or stop whining.
It does seem a bit odd that a company can use its own money to allow its management to buy it though. Makes it harder for any rival to be able to buy it, because they've got to cover extra money that the management buyout are getting from the piggy-bank. The advantage being that they'll actually have some working capital, whereas the management buyout seems to be spending all the working capital to buy back shares, and borrowing more from the banks.
Re: @I ain't Spartacus
People complain about low wages, off-shoring, poor management, and a little bit of harmless torture. And yet workplace vending machines are allowed to continue in this state! Clearly revolution is the only answer.
The psychological damage done to you by that chocolate chicken soup is profound, as has caused you to countenance this cofftea abomination. It'll probably require years of therapy to cure you. What's worse is that we've grown to accept this awfulness as a normal part of the working life. Hence you taking a while to realise that your chocolate was worse than the normal level of awful.
If, however, we lynched a few facilities managers we would have drinkable coffee, tea and chocolate in offices throughout the land in no time flat. Productivity would increase, the country would rise out of its slump and into the kind of levels of economic growth to make China jealous. Then we'd have sufficient spare tax income to properly fund our armed forces and could use them productively, to impose acceptable global standards of tea availability at gunpoint. It's the only language Johnny-Foreigner understands!
I'm becoming disturbingly effete in my old age. I started off as a milk and one sugar man (well boy at first). Then the sugar got dumped, and the milk got less and less. I suddenly realised that if I could taste the milk I wasn't liking it, so the obvious solution was to go black no sugar. Easier as well. Although I now don't get through enough milk, and have to keep having custard or throwing it away. The tea got a little weaker, as I dumped the milk.
Weirdly I now find that the taste of sugar or milk in tea makes me feel slightly sick. Even though I still have a little milk in my coffee and I'm not averse to eating a sugar cube. That must be some weird psychological effect.
The difference between tea bag and pot is mainly consistency. I never seem to be able to get the tea tasting even remotely the same each time with a tea bag, whereas there's less random chance when you use a pot and loose tea. Or even a pot and bags. So long as the bags haven't been filled with the sweepings from the floor, it's possible to get a reasonable cuppa, just not as easy. So loose leaves and a strainer. It's actually less effort if you consider the next point:
The other big advantage of a teapot is that it's easier to get your tea in the correct dosage i.e. 2 mugs. The first one is weaker, but hotter and starts the process of relaxation. But the full satisfaction is gained only by drinking the second, now cooler and stronger cup, faster. That's the one that deals with the thirst, and tastes the best. Also the pauses between sips while the first one cools allow for perfect biscuit/cake appreciation. Whereas the 2nd cup can be drunk while working on a task, or concentrating on some reading.
Delivery system is also important. Cups aren't big enough, and saucers are ridiculous. So a mug it has to be. But it must be thin. So porcelain or even glass is best. That way you can have the size of a mug, but have the tea cool down enough to drink faster.
I now prefer something with less tannin, so Yorkshire is horrible without milk. At the other extreme you have Lipton yellow label, that you always seem to get on the continent. I'm not sure what it is, but Arthur Dent might recognise it, as a brown liquid that tastes not quite entirely unlike tea.
On second thoughts
I can't remember if the Jaffa Cake is a biccie or a cake now, but my opinion has also begun to change on this recently. High quality chocolate covered ginger biscuits are exceptionally yummy with tea, but they seem to be about £2 for 8. Ouch!
Re: Where I used to live ..
I'll forgive your slur on tea of being an evening drink due to your love of the Balvenie. Tea is clearly a drink for all the time, and as often as possible. Then again, perhaps I could say the same about whisky...
Infidel! Shame on you!
As chief cook and bottle-washer of the Tea Taleban, I urge all right thinking persons to shun this individual, a corrupter of the morals of society with his capitalist running-dog abomination. Cofftea! I spit upon this vile perversion. May the great teapot in the sky pour boiling water upon him until he's really sorry!
I used to get this from the vending machine at work. The spout of the machine was lowered into the cup, so the tea ended up coffee flavoured, or worse, sometimes cuppa-soup flavoured! Hence I decided to drink only the 'mocha' (hot choccy and coffee thing). That was supposed to taste like that, so as long as you didn't go straight after someone who'd had soup, you got the taste you were expecting.
Re: MS Surface pro FAIL
@AC's haven't you got a better career than to harass authors of on-topic and relevant, technical comments
Oh dear, oh dear, oh deary me. I'm killing myself laughing at that. An author forsooth! I'm struggling to work out which is funnier, "author", "technical" or "relevant"...
I try not to be gratuitously rude, but you really do spout some crap on here. And given your propensity for calling everyone who disagrees with you a shill, I think it's justified. That's also bollocks by the way - no one cares enough about your opinion to be worth spending actual money to dispute it. Yes astro-turfing and shilling does happen, but it seems to be quite rare on here. Much more likely to appear on online reviews, and it's harder to spot there because the comments are shorter, and you often can't check posting histories.
As for your MS copying Apple comments. Well, sometimes they do. Sometimes Apple copy them, sometimes they both copy Google. That's business for you. You might argue WinRT is a copy of Apple (unfairly in my opinion), but Surface Pro certainly isn't. MS have consistently been trying to put full-fat Windows on a tablet since the 1990s, even when the technology barely existed to do it. They've probably spent billions on it. In tablets they are maybe the biggest innovators in the industry - even though they keep cocking it up when it comes to releasing products...
They've almost got full tablets right, although there's an argument that the chips still aren't quite there to do it properly even now. ARM aren't quite powerful enough, and Intel still a bit too power-hungry. Plus Win 8 doesn't look to be perfect for tablets quite yet, but one service pack might solve most of those problems - I think they could make it fit for desktops with minimal changes.
I do agree with you that it's quite sad seeing MS trying to copy the Apple cool factor with stores though. And they also copied Apple with Zune and did it better. The Zune software was much worse than iTunes, which must have taken some serious effort to achieve...
I have to agree about Outlook. And that's the killer MS Office program. If it wasn't for the slightly complicated stuff I do in Excel (I've not used it for anything hard in 10 years), I mostly use Outlook now.
For example, we changed our company name slightly 3 years ago, and I was amazed to find I'd not updated my letterhead when I went to write a letter last year. In 3 years, I've written 2 letters, and I've not updated my fax header, so I've not sent one of those either. 5 years ago I would send out several per week. Everything's done by email nowadays. Even most of the quotes we get are now PDFs.
Obviously it doesn't apply everywhere, but documents are becoming less formal, and communications are more likely to just be emails now.
I used to hate Outlook when I first had to use it for business. Then I tried to find an alternative when I moved to a small company where I get to control large parts of the IT. Haven't found one yet. I guess the integration of calendar, email and address book is always going to end up somewhat messy. I do find it odd that email programs seem to be a less popular thing to create now than they were 5 years ago, even though email is becoming more important. I'm also sure there would be money to be made from small business who don't really want to run Exchange servers, and wouldn't mind paying £50 for an email client plus monthly cloudy server hire, rather than full fat Office/Exchange.
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