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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3098 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

It's a done deal! Microsoft-Nokia merger to close on Friday

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Yeh right

Dear Anon,

Do grow the fuck up please.

Not everyone who disagrees with you is automtically a shill. Also not every popular thing is best, or unpopular thing worst. As evidence of which I shall point out that The Spice Girls had 9 no. 1 singles...

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Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics

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Happy

Re: Child Labour

The problems with children, over radio controlled solid state devices are many. You've already covered expense and reliability. But we also have to consider that children have higher power requirements, are considerably noisier in operation, and much more easily lost even than the most wayward of remote controls. Even the remote for my speakers, which I keep finding in my pocket when I'm at work...

So far children only win out on fun during manufacturing - although I think you may have forgotten the remainder of the 9 month construction period, not to mention the at least 5 years of installation before they're tall enough to reach the switch. Pus the fact that you can eat them if you're feeling peckish...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @ambiguous coward[1] (was: Whatever.)

Home automation ain't exactly news, which was my point.

jake,

Of course home automation is news. That's like saying that "the honking-great-database-and-transactions problem was solved 50 years ago - so why are you still reporting on this market?".

If someone comes along and does something better, then that's news. Better can mean many things. It can mean technically better - although home automation is mostly technically simple. It can also mean cheaper or easier to use.

Easy to use is a good thing, even for people well versed in the technology. There's no merit in going with something that's hard to use just because you understand it. That's just childishly showing-off your technical skills. Unless the harder to use tech is better in some way.

Plus things don't have to be new to go in there. Home automation is something I've not thought about for a couple of years - so it was interesting to see what's available. I don't personally see the point of controlling lights. But I do see the point with heating. Which is something I'd like to investigate for my Mum's house - the heating in my place is irredeemably craptastic sadly.

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Dragon capsule arrives at space station for Easter Sunday delivery

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Which is the next milestone

So when does SpaceX get to dock with the ISS on its own, without help from the arm? Or is that still a long time in the future?

Lots of exciting stuff for them still to do. Obviously landing a first stage is going to be superb. But I'm hoping that they can strap an astronaut into a capsule soon, instead of a cheese.

For the first time in ages, there's a prospect of exciting things happening in the space industry. For years it's been a case of utilitising existing technology to do stuff - and the future has looked to be more of the same. Refining our techniques and doing science. All very good of course, but not exciting for someone who's 40, and doesn't have long before having to give up all hope of ever going to space. But with all the developments going on now, I can dream of spending my 80th birthday in a space hotel...

Lots of other stuff is going on. But the most exciting stuff is watching SpaceX apply new technology and ideas to rockets - so even if a spaceplane/shuttle is still decades away we're still advancing again!

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Coat

We are moving forward, keep it up

I think I have to disagree with you here!

When landing a rocket it is vitally important that it be going backwards - and surely the whole point is to set it down...

OK, OK, I'll get my coat then. Hooray for rocket surgery!

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Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS

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Brilliantly done!!

Data upload from tracking plane shows first stage landing in Atlantic was good! Flight computers continued transmitting for 8 seconds after reaching the water. Stopped when booster went horizontal. Several boats enroute through heavy seas...

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Is tech the preserve of the young able-bodied? Let's talk over a fine dinner and claret

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Re: What happened to contrast?

Bloody Vista did that. And then other program developers seemed to follow Microsoft's design guidelines over the cliff as well.

Thanks for that vaguely grey but really just off white menu bar you've given me on a white page. Oh yes, I can see that perfectly. Sure. Because UI clarity is so boring, when I know you spend all that time pleasuring yourself over minimalism at art college. OK, well done you. Now bugger off!

One thing in Windows 8's favour (and Win Pho too) is that with one button click I can have black backgrounds with orange for menu bars. Nice bit of contrast, for no effort. What's that you say? It's not elegant? Doesn't meet your delicate aesthetic requirements? There there. Don't worry your pretty little head about it then. You go back to the Tate Modern website, while I get some engineering done. Then we'll both be happy - and I can spend my time making sure your buildings don't run out of water. Or poison it...

Hmm, that gives me an idea. Royal college of art? Would you like a free building design consultation? Have you heard about the new rules on Legionella compliance? What's that, you don't have Legionella in your system? Do you want some?

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I ain't Spartacus
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As someone with very poor eyesight, tell me about it. My favourite website examples are an engineering company who had mid brown writing on a brown background on their website. Cheers for that guys! You get that in catalogues and marketing bumf a lot as well. And a US band who had a landing page to their website which was a very nice picture of a tree, with many leaves. I should have just changed the url, but I wasn't going to let it defeat me! In the end I literally ran the mouse from right to left over the screen like in old 90s point and click puzzles, until the pointer turned into a hand. Then I realised that this one leaf, out of hundreds, was gently moving from side to side. Obvious really! Why didn't I see it immediately! Oh yes, because it was an identical leaf in a picture of many such, that was wobbling by about 2mm - and I've got about 5% vision. That's probably it...

Also, if you're designing a line graph and have a red line, next to a dark green one, next to a brown one, I've got a nice present waiting for you in my office. It's s baseball bat. Just look over there, while I get it...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: RE: Nobody makes things that bad by accident, surely?

Like Les Dawson playing the piano you mean?

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OK, we get the message, Microsoft: Windows Defender splats 1000s of WinXP, Server 2k3 PCs

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Re: Subtle hints

I was thinking it would go more like, "ere guv'nor. Thas's a nice PC you've got there. Got some lovely ornate software, pretty pictures of your family, nice banking records. You wouldn't want somefink to 'appen to it, now would you... Word to the wise my son. Word to the wise..."

Edit: Oh dear. Someone's already beaten me to that gag, and it turns out I can't delete this post until the editing window is over. Hmmm.

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Apple fanbois eat static as Beeb, Sky web stream vids go titsup on iOS

I ain't Spartacus
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I was unable to get the iPlayer to stream radio last night. Didn't try any video. I got as far as spinning thingy when clicking on the programs, but didn't even get a play button to press.

However the iPlayer Radio app did work. It's totally rubbish normally, which is why I don't use it, as it has one of the crappiest UIs ever.

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Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?

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Re: having to take a teapot to work

Vladimir Plouzhnikov,

Thanks. I will. I've been looking at getting some of those glass mugs for my tea, so I guess it would be appropriate to drink Russian tea out of them.

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I ain't Spartacus
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As I recall the figure is now $2 no longer $1. To account for inflation, and the fact that the world has got richer. It's probably meaningless anyway, as lots of the people on it will be in susbsistence farming economies, and often not using money anyway.

But the figure is worked out in mythical inflation-corrected, purchasing power parity dollars. So they've accounted for the fact that dollars go further in poor countries. At least as much as is possible to work out.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @ I aint Spartacus

Ah but would those Aldi crisps be as good quality?

:Also I question your budgeting skills on the chocolate. I'm sure you can do far better than that for £2. The Wispas in my fridge were £1 for 4 in Sainsbury's. As they know from my Nectar history I only buy Crunchies and Wispas when they're £1 for 4 (about every 8-10 weeks) - and never the normal £1.68. So we can certainly get you a few more bars.

Particularly as if you're in Aldi/Lidl they often have the bars of decent continental choccy. Usually German I think. So you could probably get 400g of 70% cocoa stuff for £2. Or the fake Mars 'chocolate caramel' bars, that are usually 5 for £1 in the supermarkets.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: having to take a teapot to work

JDX,

I already have an in mug infuser, now I come to think about it. So that's no problem. It's a rather fetching yellow plastic duck, with a basket that clips onto the bottom for the tea.

I also don't agree on the expensive tea thing. Sainsbury's Red Label is about 80p a packet. Which lasts me something like 3-4 weeks. It's not the finest tea in the world, as it's obviously blended to be non-offensive to people who don't like the more 'perfumy' notes in their tea. But it's still very nice. I haven't yet found another tea that I like more for every day (although I've been trying different ones for the last 6 months or so). I have about 6 different types of tea I have regularly - all lined up by the kettle, along with my tea duck and several different teapots.

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I ain't Spartacus
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I must admit, I'm quite tempted. A good, fun bit of fund-raising. And gives me a chance to think about budgeting food, and how much stuff costs. I've been hearing a lot of people talking recently about how poorer people in the UK can't afford to eat healthily - which I'm not sure I buy. I barely budget for my food, but I do sometimes work out what meals cost. And it's almost always much cheaper than ready-meals, and with better quality ingredients too. So it would be fun to see what's possible at this price - and whether I can get something vaguely approaching a balanced diet.

I thought that the figure was now supposed to be $2 a day - which is more like £1.20? Although from my memory of shopping in the US that should really be closer to £2 - as stuff in the US is cheaper. It's all supposed to be worked out on a PPP basis, and I'm not sure what year it's based on either, but I bet it's much more £1 a day - accounting for inflation and purchasing power.

With a budget of £5, I think the answer is a few giant family bags of crisps. Quavers for breakfast, Walkers ready salted for lunch, prawn cocktail for starters and smoky bacon for main course. Who says that's not a balanced diet?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Good luck Lester

The only problem with that is having to take a teapot to work. Going without tea at home would be bad, but not having any at work would be far worse.

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MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

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Re: And when the Greens get pissy...

but do they have lasers on their heads?

Evolution takes its own sweet time dear boy. Even with heavy gamma ray assistance.

I think the most we can hope for the near future is terrifying glowing eyes. Obviously those will take many many years to develop into lasers.

Hopefully, if we get the dosage right, we can have the sharks acting as underwater CD players within a few centuries, working our way up to boat-puncturing lasers after that. Remember they've still got enormous teeth, so this shouldn't inconvenience them too much in the meantime...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: I'm no MIT...

Easy answer. Simply call it HMS Sinkable. Or Vincible. It's bound to be safe then.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Facepalm

Re: Isn't the sea ...

Godzilla! And Godzuki...

You fiend for reminding me of that!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Re: And when the Greens get pissy...

No, no, no, no. When the greens get pissy, you invite them out for a reassurance and fact-finding visit. then push them over the side, into the shark-infested waters.

Or if you're feeling a little more subtle, and have more spare cash, you organise a helicopter crash...

It worked for Sadam Hussein, after all. None of his gernals ever tried to overthrow him. And that's becasue all the ones who won more than a couple of battles in a row in the Iran-Iraq war, had helicopter crashes. Of course that war dragged on for years, and his military subsequently got their arses kicked, at least partly due to incompetent leadership. But you can't have everything...

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Borked Bitcoin bunker MtGox in administration: Lawyer seizes control

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Re: in spite of all this

I hope this link works

That should give you a year's prices on Bitstamp. Which I believe is now the top-dog exchange. Prices managed to crawl back above $500 this week, although it looks like they're on the way down again.

There's several interesting things to note. Firslty is the most obvious. Trading volume was steady, along with price, for 9 months last year. Then suddenly things went bonkers in December - and the price spiked up to over $1,000. Transaction volumes have been higher since, although at least some of that will be customers moving from Mt Gox (and others), as Bitstamp hasn't been top exchange for all that long.

Since the peak, prices have been much more volatile, but on a clear downward trend.

What we need is an understanding of the Bitcoin economy. Someone should be measuring its GDP. That might help explain what's going on. There looks to be a steady trade in the stuff, so I imagine there's various people selling stuff online. At least some of that is drugs and computer crime type stuff. But also legit stuff. Would be nice to know the mix? Silk Road has gone down since the price spike, and yet that doesn't seem to have dropped trading volumes. So either something's taken it's place, or it wasn't as important to the Bitcoin economy as people were suggesting.

The next question is 'what's changed'? Has there been a sustainable change in demand for BTC? As an example that CryptoLocker malware was demanding payment in BTC. It hit the big time around the December price spike. So was that the cause? Which would drop the price when it goes away.

One thing that does seem to have changed is the volatility. $100 swings in a day are not unusual. It looks to me like prices fall on large volumes of trading (as one would expect) - and several of those correlate with particular bad news days. Mt Gox's travails, and the 2 big days when China was said to be clamping down on Bitcoin.

There are also often big price jumps. Could just be natural, or people seeing the price lower than recently so aiming for a profit. After all, most people are presumably paid in real money, and converting to BTC to buy stuff. So why not buy a few days early when the price looks cheap? But given how stable the price and volume often are on other days, I suspect that we're looking at people 'investing'. People like the Winklevoss twins for example. Either seeing BTC as cheap, so investing. Or ones who've already got a holding, so are buying in whenever the price drops. In the hopes of maintaining the value of their previous investments. Looks like a losing game to me, but then it's not my money.

All guesswork of course. It would be a great project for some economist, or PHD student. EVE Online employ/consult a couple of economists, as they try to run their game economy with fewer and fewer inputs, and rely on interactions between the players.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Mighty quiet ....

The price is steadily dropping. I think it dropped down to $400 the other day, but bounced back towards $500 again. However it's been in steady decline since the heady pre-Christmas days of over $1,000.

But that's the point. Those were only days. And not very many days at that. There seems to be a steady trade in the things still. So there's definitely a value there. There's definitely a continuing market. But it's a much smaller market than the hype suggests, and therefore I think the price will probably keep dropping back towards the $100-$200 range. Maybe much lower.

All this is assuming the exchanges are giving true information. It would be easy for them to hype the prices by posting false numbers - because transaction volumes are so low. Esepcially if they're willing to trade with their customers' funds (in the way Mt Gox were considering to save themselves). It would be an easy market to rig, either by trading or by fiddling the figures. It might even be possible to do some of that legally, as it's not a regulated market.

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Whoever you vote for, Google gets in

I ain't Spartacus
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I have some sympathy with the politicians here. The internet is new, and there aren't many people who understand it. Because it's new, poeple are still learning who's biased in what direction and why. So it's very hard to get a handle on who's selling you a pup, who's relatively disinterested and who hasn't got a fucking clue as to what they're talking about.

Even if we hadn't so professionalised politics that it was even shorter of industry expertise than usual, the modern internet industry is still pretty new anyway - so there's not been that much time for people to filter through from industry into politics and semi-retired esablishment grandee status.

What this means is that a lot of the normal sources of information aren't available. So who do you talk to?

As sceptical as I am of Google you have to admire them for their forward planning. And their willingness to invest in the future. Some of it is probably luck, but as Gary Player (almost) said, the more I invest, the luckier I get. So sure they created Android to keep them competitive in mobile search. But then they also spent big on mapping, and that combined with all those Android mobile data reporting stations phones out there gives them a massive hoard of wonderful data. So they've got a network giving them real-time traffic information, a constantly update WiFi map of the world linked to GPS, local search data, data on physical movement of people - and all of this feeds back into improving search and advertising.

If you want to talk to someone who understands the internet, you can't go wrong in talking to Google. Of course you have to assess their biases. But their far-sightedness also translated into paying academia, think-tanks and NGOs - so that they'd have lots of 'grass-roots' support. And it took a while for anyone to notice.

Of course, there is a downside to all this. And I wonder if Google are far-sighted enough to see it. Becoming 'all powerful' is great. Until people notice. Then they start to get worried. And if you don't show some moderation to go with all that power you've accumulated - people can become hostile. And then you discover that you're not all-powerful after all. Government can be pushed around and manipulated, often quite easily. But when push-comes-to-shove they've got the guns, the law and the right to print money.

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KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline

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Devil

Re: I'm going to patent ...

Not to mention the threat to 'bath-snakes'...

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Happy

I don't wish to know that! Kindly leave the stage.

However it does explain why our friend Billy's ludicrously enormous member is now so much shorter. I'd heard that the girl next door had hit it with a rake, but this turns out not to be the case. I now hear that he retired to the bath with his copy of Playboy - and only a sponge and a rubber duck for company...

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This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices

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Re: Missing Option

That's £15 per user per month, including all the bells and whistles. So I guess it's too expensive for a family. Though I'm looking at it for our small company (as it's cheaper than running our current Exchange server). I guess it would be hard to do a cut-down family option though, that small businesses couldn't sneakily use, and save themselves a packet.

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I ain't Spartacus
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According to Microsoft's Office website, if you stop paying your subscription, all your saved Office documents become read-only. They don't delete them, or remove access to them. That's also assuming you didn't keep local copies. I checked this when I tested it.

I think you're going a bit far on "Corrupt and Disgusting" as well. They're a company charging you for a thing. If you don't want the thing, don't use the thing, and you don't have to pay for the thing. There are perfectly viable free or paid-for alternatives.

Historically Microsoft's Office has been at least somewhat better than most of these rivals over a long enough period that people have been willing to pay them many billions of dollars to use it. They may be over-charging, but the fact they still get paid when there are free alternatives suggests they must be doing something right.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Trevor,

If productivtiy software is a commodity, what's the alternative to Outlook?

As I may have said before, I know many people who swear by Outlook. Personally I swear at it... I've never liked it myself, but I don't know of any other product that can do the same address book / email / joint calendar stuff. I've never used Lotus Notes, but I don't believe that's a possibility for small business and personal use, and anyway it seems to be universally loathed.

I also know many users who absolutely love it. If you tried to take away Outlook or the iPhones from our road warriors, they'd drag you outside and burn you in a 20' high wicker phone...

After over 15 years of using Office (bugger it really is that long!) I've made my peace with Outlook and got used to Word. But Excel is still one of my favourite pieces of software. I've tried a few other spreadsheets, and not liked them as much. For light personal use LibreOffice is great. For work, I'll pay for Excel every time.

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Hackers attempt to BLACKMAIL plastic surgeons

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Re: I'm disappointed

Tom 38,

Nice post, have an upvote. Even if you did point out my speeling miskate. There's 2 typos in my post, and both on the word dentist. Suppressed trauma perhaps? I don't remember anything too bad. Although my dentist when I was a kid did run away to Australia. But that was with £100k of NHS funds, rather than because of anything more sinister. Or so I was told anyway...

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Devil

I'm disappointed

Surely there was a third alternative?

They should have agreed to pay the blackmailers. Arranged for the handover in an underground carpark (where else?), then some laughing gas and drugs later, the criminals would wake up strapped to a densist's chair in a secluded location. One denist with strong german accent, a bit of giggling and drilling later, and I'm sure they could have got all the information returned, along with a fullsome apology.

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Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'

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Re: "(from a friend who has a Kindle Fire)"

Levente Szilesky,

My friend lives in sunny Blighty. And had said that he'd tried to install a couple of apps - presumably where he'd seen something that had an Android app - and they weren't available for Kindle. I'm aware he could sideload them - although I don't think he is.

A brief search suggests that the Kindle app store has about 1/5th the number of apps as Google. Which is pretty impressive. Although I don't know if there are many US only apps.

However given you can get a decent ASUS 7" Android tablet for under £100 - which will take all of Amazon's services I wouldn't recomment the Kindles. They're quite limited in some ways. And I suspect Amazon will do the same to any phone they sell. As for Windows Phone's app store being unloved, I'd imagine it's probably at a similar level to the Amazon one. And similarly lacking in the kind of apps for museums and companies, where they just knock-up an iPhone and mostly Android app.

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I ain't Spartacus
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I suffer from nystagmus (involuntary eye movements). So I suspect I can confuse eye-tracking tech - and make things look even worse.

However just because it doesn't work for me doesn't necessarily mean it's not a valuable piece of new tech, rather than a crappy old gimmick. I just happen to think that in this case it is a crappy old gimmick, even for people with the sight to appreciate it.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Has the Nintendo 3DS done all that well? I thought they'd brought out a non-3d version because it hadn't. And also to cater to the people who couldn't see the 3d effect.

I suppose 3d is most likely to take off in gaming. It seems to be on the wane a bit at the cinema (although I enjoyed it in 'Gravity'), and 3d tellies have not been the huge sellers the manufacturers hoped for.

As gimmicks go, it could do well to launch an Amazon phone that had a large emphasis on games. However my impression of Amazon's app store (from a friend who has a Kindle Fire) is that there's more tumbleweed in there than in Microsoft's mobile app store. The Fire works really well for Amazon because it's tied into the books, films and music content. An area where they're very strong. But apps is a major weakness, and it's hard to fix without users - but hard to get users without apps...

My other problem is that, in my opinion at least, 3d only works on big screens. I find the effect breaks down if my eye is forced to focus on both the 3d image, and the surroundings. So if I sit too far back in the cinema during a 3d film, my brain does this weird flip between seeing the 3d - then seeing the screen as a flat picture on the wall, then going back to seeing the 3d. Headache inducing. Whereas at the front, where the screen fills my visual field, I can stay in the 3d illusion. I don't know if that's just me though?

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Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run

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Happy

Re: Say what?

I wonder if he'll be the richest man not on the planet by then? Floating around Earth in his laser-armed space station, stroking his white cat, while simultaneously planning world domination and sending off colony ships to Mars and miners to the asteroid belt. It's nominative determinism in action.

All Hail to our laser-totin', cheese-tastic, rocket-hopping, horribly be-weaponed SpaceX overlords!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Never mind the astronauts' sarnies. The poor robot up there hasn't got any legs!

You'd be pretty pissed off if the bus carrying your legs kept getting delayed by several days at a time.

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Re: Say what?

James Hughes,

I guess I'd be pretty anti-Musk if I was still selling 1960s tech rockets for 3 times the price he's charging for ones he's just developed. Profits are yummy - and he should just bugger off and leave us to it!

There's going to need to be some adaptation in this market, pretty damned quickly, or Musk is going to steal everyone's money. And good luck to him.

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Happy

Small correction for you El Reg

"Today's launch has been scrubbed due to a Helium leak on Falcon 9's first stage. A fix will be implemented by the next launch opportunity on Friday April 18, though weather on that date isn't ideal," the company spokesman said, in a squeaky voice.

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Look out, bankers! It's Lily Cole and her (Brit taxpayer-funded) WISH-PRINTING ATM

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Devil

Re: I wish

Chris Miller,

Correct. In the absence of snowballs in hell, or bears utilising the smallest room rather than the woods, there's very little point in wishing for a government that only spends our money efficiently.

Therefore I shall fall back on the advice of Dogbert. A guru who all should follow. "Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines."

I take this advice to mean that if it's pointless to wish for efficient government, I'm better to wish for an inefficient government to waste some tax-payers' money, by giving it to me.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Re: Followed the link...

Arnaut the less,

Sir! Sir! I know this one sir!

I can tell you what HP software does. It's easy-peasy.

HP software checks for updates. Then fails to connect to the server (for various different reasons). HP software then plasters warnings all over your screen that it's failed to update - then disappears. HP software then waits a couple of days, only to ambush you again with 5 pop-ups and hysterical demands to be allowed to update. Repeat. For ever.

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That's some properly horrible fonts they've used on that website.

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Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS

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Re: What everyone needs is a £280 Nexus 5

Half the Nexus price will get you a Nokia Lumia 620 (or is it 625?). Which is a better phone address book and calendar, but much worse mobile computer. Or someone above says they paid £99 for a Moto G.

I've currently got a work iPhone 5. Free is obviously best - but when I pay for a smartphone myself, the limit is about £250. There's some really good stuff at about £100-£150, but it may well be worth springing for the latest Nexus. Except I want an SD card, so I can replace my ageing 120GB iPod.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: This might make Samsung very happy

Oh no. Don't forget that phones are apparently free!

For example, in the UK market I think you get a 'free' latest iPhone or Galaxy S5 on about £40 per month. Over a 2 year contract I guess that would mean only an extra £5 per month. I'm sure we can just call that inflation, and no-one will notice...

So as you say it's probably not a big enough difference that it'll drive everyone to say "sod that! The top-of-the-range Androids are just as good, I'm going to save myself £120" I suspect many people will think that a fiver is worth it to keep their beloved iPhone. And in fact there won't be a difference, as Sammy can put up it's prices to match - or equally likely (as they've already set their prices) the phone companies can just put their prices up and pocket some extra profit.

I do find top-end smartphone prices amazing. You can get an iPad for £400, why should a phone with a quarter the expensive battery and screen cost more? The difference in Samsung's prices is even higher.

A few years back it made sense to pay top-dollar. The top-end phones were far superior to what you could get for even £250. But nowadays you can have a Nokia Lumia 620 for £130! It's not good enough if you need apps (which I don't), but it's an extremely good phone with calendar/diary/email and sat-nav. Or just over £200 for a Nexus or Moto G. Now the top-end phones are stupidly over-priced.

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Want a free Bosch steam iron? You'll have to TALK TO THE DEAD

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Happy

Re: Well.....

If one is stuggling to understand the impenetrable accent of a person from Scotland's second city, does one use a Weegie board?

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Commonwealth Bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL

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Devil

Re: Foot, meet bullet

Or like Starbucks announcing that there are absolutely no rat-droppings in their coffee...

Starbucks serve coffee?!?!

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Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'

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Happy

Re: They're welcome to it.

Yeah, but helium 3 makes awesome party balloons...

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Innovation creates instability, you say? BLASPHEMY, you SCUM

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Re: Meretricious marketing mumbling

You get that in the buidling services industry too. So maybe it's more commonplace. If I talk to a potential new customer, and then wander off to their website for a quick looksee, it's often a huge struggle. If it's a small contractor, then it's easier. The bigger contractors are often hard to distinguish from the consulting engineers.

However, if after 5 minutes of searching for information I still have no bloody idea what the company does - then it's probably a multi-disciplinary architectural/engineering practice specialising in people-centric spaces, environmental harmony and a co-operative, synergistic approach to design lifecycle management...

The whalesong in my head usually drowns out the voices telling me to burn their building down for the good of humanity...

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I spoke to an Irish guy on the phone this morning. I'd not managed to even start to focus on his name at the beginning of the call, before he'd gone on to give me his company, the quote number and 3 questions about the product codes. That was the first second of the conversation over in a blur of incomprehensible speed.

After about a minute, I'd managed to figuretively jump on him, wrestle him to the ground and wring a few words out of him. And conversation could begin. I found that the trick was to keep asking questions. He seemed to have an accelaration period, so the first ten words were audible. After which, he'd approached sufficiently closely to the speed of light for him to be inaudible in my time-packet.

I'm pretty good at accents. I was the only one of my friends who could understand Pat the glaswegian welder. Until he got excited or drunk, when only dogs could hear him.

I'd expect to get 98% of a high-strength SW Irish accent at normal speed. But like the tortoise who got mugged by 4 snails, it all just happened too fast...

I'm a bit of an accent mongrel myself. My parents are South London, moved to a South East market town, so add a bit of twang (burr?) of the old, dying, county accent and a large dose of posh, picked up from grammar school in the posher town-next-door. So it all tends to be a bit variable.

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Smartwatch sales off to a very slow start

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My 2 pence worth

Battery: I don't this as that bad a problem. I usually wear my watch in bed, but I think most people take theirs off at night. So I don't see why it would be a problem, with a nice stand - and I'm sure I would get used to charging it overnight in a very short time. So it needs a battery that can stand a long weekend without you needing to take your charger with you. And I guess, intelligent software that turns it into a watch (disabling the smart features), that'll last for a couple of days on the remaining 10% of battery.

Hugeness: They all seem to be bleedin' enormous. Then again, some people will strap a Rolex the size of a dinner plate to their wrist.

Hideousness: Fugly is the word, I believe. I find a lot of the Rolexes and Omegas of this world pretty hideous as well - but in an over-the-top-blingtasic sort of a way. Most of the smartwatches look really plasticky and nasty, which added to their enormous hugeousity makes them very noticeable. I once saw a mock-up of one of the supposed watches. You know the usual fake new iPhone from Digitimes sort of thing. Anyway, it was a huge aluminium bracelet with screen on. It looked so much better than anything I've yet seen. If you've got to be huge, you may as well make a feature of it.

Function: I guess this is the same problem of hugeness and re-charging. The battery tech isn't yet up to the job. The compromises of battery and screen size seem to make it a fun toy only. I guess it's useful to some people to do a bit of inbox sorting while on a crowded train. But really, if you've got the space to operate your watch with the other hand, you've got theh space to hold your phone and do it. Therefore I really can't see the smartwatch moving out of the realm of useful geek toy. Then again, I was an enthusiastic early iPad buyer, who thought they'd never take off as a mass market thing either - as I noticed no increase in interest between my iPad and my previous tablet PC. People liked both, but didn't see the point for themselves. Now loads of people have tablets. So what do I know?

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Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE

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Happy

Re: I've got my own research project

I'm not panda-ing to anyone, just because they want an easy ride...

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