* Posts by Paul Shirley

2024 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Gates: Renewable energy can't do the job. Gov should switch green subsidies into R&D

Paul Shirley
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very old news, deliberately ignored for too long

FFS we knew research was the best investment 25yrs ago. Even economists finally worked out a decade ago it was more cost effective than what's actually happened if started early.

Unfortunately state level investment was one of the things the obstructionists have managed to block for those years. Unsurprisingly with no pressure to change the energy industry also sat on their arses till belatedly forced into pointless crap like smart meters.

Looking at the tiny number of PV panels in my city, if we're getting 5.8% from that few of them now, that's pretty spectacular. And a real pity we don't have the benefit of 20yrs focussed research on cost and solving the storage&network problem, from people who don't have old industries to defend. The subsidy has been a damn expensive way to achieve cost reduction.

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Samsung caught disabling Windows Update to run its own bloatware

Paul Shirley
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Re: Translation

Drivers on Win updates servers are usually written by chipset providers not OEMs, OEMs just wrap them lightly if at all. Even if the OEM provides a working copy to Microsoft, update is prone to supplying a different version that matches the chipset signature.

That in itself would be just annoying if the drivers work, the real problem is piss poor testing from Microsoft. I have a DVBT card with working drivers that update persistently tries to 'update' to broken versions. A WiFi dongle that has no known working drivers but Windows still tries to install them - causing an instant kernel crash and making Windows unbootable. Both driver are WHQL certified.

Win update is quite capable of breaking PC's and leaving no clue about how it happened if you let it run automatically. At least they allow me to hide specific updates or the backup image would get more use.

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Microsoft releases free Office apps for half of all Android phones

Paul Shirley
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Re: "30 OEMs to get them preloaded"

Even worse, if they put it in system space, that's 500meg of flash that could have been allocated to the user partition and after an update it will gobble another 500meg of userspace for the new apks.

Let's hope they have the sense to not install in system space. And why would anyone want software of typical Microsoft quality running with system privileges anyway?

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Farewell then, Mr Elop: It wasn't actually your fault

Paul Shirley
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"If he couldn't work out that it'd leak..."

...or that quite a few employees would realise they wouldn't have a job much longer or any reason not to leak it...

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Paul Shirley
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hard to believe

Hard to believe Elop had no awareness of the true state of Windows Phone at the time (or the related internal feedback about all things Metro - which we now know was overwhelmingly negative).

But let's pretend all he had was what his ex-employer told Nokia. Why the hell did he believe it? He had to know how MS operates, how they promise but deliver late or not at all, how they have no scruples about wrecking partners business. So why walk the company off a cliff on a Microsoft promise? That's not 'pretty good' by any reckoning.

I also fail to understand how putting out Android devices is a one way abandonment of control. Every other major phone producer is happy to ship with multiple OSes, including WP even if the Winphone offerings are more about appeasing Microsofts lawyers than sales. Dropping everything for a single bought in OS was never necessary, although I'll agree they would never have finished an OS competitive with Android given how they got into this mess.

When faced with an 'impossible choice' it helps to pick the least worst option, not the worst as Elop did.

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Climate change alarmism is a religious belief – it's official

Paul Shirley
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It continues to mightily piss me off that both sides are so loud in their ranting and obstruction that things we should be doing don't happen if it looks remotely like climate change mitigation overlaps in purpose. That research is constantly under attack - very much like neither believers or deniers want to know the truth.

That no evidence is too large to ignore or too small not to shout about, depending on the needs of your argument.

And I'm still surprised Page didn't throw a frothing fit over the recent 'warming pause was a measurement error' stories...

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Google on Google: The carefully collated anti-trust truth

Paul Shirley
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WTF?

There's a simple explanation for an unmistakably bad service like Google Shopping beating the incumbents, it wasn't quite as crap as them. I quit using Kelkoo long before Google joined the game, a straight search often gave better results than so called specialists. And Kelkoo was one of the better ones!

Comparison sites are in trouble because they don't offer anything to distinguish their product from everyone else's. Favourable page placement has a disproportionate effect *because* it's hard to care which poor quality service you end up on. They got caught badly by the SEO hammer because they did what every poor business on the internet does, spent their money on sleazy SEO. I for one will never miss finding entire search pages full of bad comparison sites instead of the product information I actually wanted.

By all means stop Google favouring it's own offering but try not to pretend those sites deserved success. Or that they've improved more than was needed to escape the ban hammer.

...and the idea that Foundem was lauded anywhere outside it's own PR dept is laughable. They sank without trace after the launch announcement, long before the period they're whining about.

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Microsoft finally finishes its PowerPC emulator

Paul Shirley
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Re: @Paul

Yep, my mistake after a year+ dealing with legacy 32bit crappiness all through a 360 port, because they could assume pointers never needed to be >32bit.

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Paul Shirley
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Rumour is when you put the disk in it just downloads a ported copy, the disc just validate ownership. That makes sense, emulating PowerPC is hard with endian & 32 v 64bit issues, extensive use of vector ops that don't easily translate to deal with before even stating on the different hardware topology.

The xb1 CPU was described pretty accurately by a colleague as a mobile CPU, under clocked, under cached. Great memory bandwidth but that doesn't help when the problem is lack of MIPS.

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Why is that idiot Osbo continuing with austerity when we know it doesn't work?

Paul Shirley
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Re: What the...?

Or did England vote to avoid ukip replacing the libs in another coalition after believing all the black publicity? An absolute masterpiece of manipulation, blame the libs for everything then threaten the country with something much worse if they don't just vote Tory.

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Microsoft says its latest, dodgy Windows 10 build is good for (almost) everyone

Paul Shirley
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10130 does look subtly better than my previous version, seem to have restored some some visual cues to ui elements (scroll bars are easier to see for example). Still too subtle for me and high contrast is too fugly to use. Still going to be 3rd party theming if it doesn't improve much more.

This version doesn't hijack and kill my local network so it might actually get some testing.

Icons really do stink on it.

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Microsoft picks up shotgun, walks 'Modern apps' behind the shed

Paul Shirley
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I tried using my tablet first but echo cancellation was terrible in Skype on it... then I went straight to desktop Skype. The morning conference call works much better if you can access work windows while using it.

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Belgium trolls France with bonkers new commemorative coin

Paul Shirley
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"That's a bit silly, having a euro coin that isn't legal tender across the whole of the Eurozone."

Not silly at all, it's why the French can't veto it.

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Cops turn Download Festival into an ORWELLIAN SPY PARADISE

Paul Shirley
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Re: Pretend hippies?

A friend in his 70's will be there. I think he'll probably avoid Judas Priest in favour of something a little newer ;)

Going to be fun hearing his opinions next week.

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Microsoft spunks $500m to reinvent the wheel. Why?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Odd...

Skype under MS failed to fail because they kept it free of established MS management and engineering culture. The relative success of XBox was similar, fenced off from the parent company right up till the XB1 fiasco, the moment MS management thinking arrived it all started going sour.

Why does MS need to buy in product? It's the quickest way to change corporate culture and lost it's toxic effect on the products. The alternative is an unpredictable number of years waiting for organic change to actually take hold, longer than they can afford to wait.

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Gamers! Yes, gamers – they'll rescue our streaming Fire TV box, hopes Amazon

Paul Shirley
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Re: What changed - the network

Amazons server farms are still too far from the endpoints for low latency and it's unlikely they're equipped with suitable hardware for even casual gaming. Building out more distributed server infrastructure runs counter to their current concentration in datacentres but Amazon could afford it.

My personal belief is the shear crapness of the Onlive experience was only part of why it failed, the market it worked best on (mobile) just wasn't interested in more than native gaming. Actual gamers didn't accept the performance. If you overlook the rented aspect, the passes were pretty good value, yet few bought in.

I'm struggling to see this as a sales driver. More of nice freebie that most will ignore, while passively consuming video.

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It's FREE WINDOWS 10 time: 29 July is D-Day, yells Microsoft

Paul Shirley
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Re: New install upgrade vs "in place"

@dogged: I can see the 'clean install' bit (completely expected since every paid upgrade has allowed this). I don't see mention of downgrading however.

One new thing he let's slip is a Windows Store account is now mandatory for the upgrade - even with a clean install. So a step back from Win8, though we were compelled to have the otherwise useless account to get Win8.1.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Signed up!

"Windows Key + first few characters of program name, enter. Boom."

Window Key + "readme" + expand the files results + try to guess without the help of a folder path which of the 28 files is the one I want. Yes, really helpful.

That hierarchical menu Microsoft are so determined to take away is there for when search isn't good enough or when I can't even remember what the thing I'm looking for is called. An option you apparently don't need but that's NO REASON to deprive me of it.

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Paul Shirley
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It was possible to capture the Win8 upgrade folder between download and install. You'll probably need to clone the old OS to pass the licence check though. Don't be surprised if your Win7 then becomes unlicensed. Might get away with killing network access on the trial and running in trial mode.

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Paul Shirley
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@dogged

Unless there's no downgrade right and you've just surrendered the Win7/8 licence for the upgrade. Restoring an image may not be an option.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: How many of you Windows user will be...

"We'll be installing it and getting on with our lives, just like when people got/get Lollipop"

The Lollipop upgrade has seriously borked battery life and UI responsiveness for many. Are you hinting Win10 will be that bad?

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So, EE. Who IS this app on your HTC M9s sneakily texting, hmm?

Paul Shirley
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SMS not so stupid a choice

SMS is harder to block than using data, that could be enough to justify use in a genuine security app. Would increase the chance of stolen devices managing to dial out before being wiped.

Whether this is a genuine helpful app is the problem. Certainly looks incompetently programmed if it's leaving copies of messages around.

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Long, sticky summer ahead: Win 10 will be with OEMs by 31 August

Paul Shirley
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Re: system requirements:

"You don't have to buy it."

... but won't be setting much support for win8.x after it launches. Win7 is trickier for them to kill but you can expect neglect. With an endless flood of security patches hitting my win8.1 box not buying won't be an option for long.

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Win Phone to outgrow smartmobe market for next four years

Paul Shirley
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Re: Bit of love for BlackBerry?

I miss my HTC G1, sadly the market voted for touch screen slabs and slider keyboards vanished on Android. Completely agree the onscreen keyboard can be an unusable PIA.

However I don't miss it enough to use a BB style small screen+small keyboard solution (or regularly plug in the keyboard I bought more than a year ago) and suspect BB is the uncontested owner of a shrinking niche format.

The market continue to care more about the case the phone is in than the phone in the case ;)

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Celebrating 20 years of juicy Java. Just don’t mention Android

Paul Shirley
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Re: Java's only impact.

The workarounds for Java's many failings largely seem to involve reflection hackery or delegating to someone else's hackery in a lib.

Patterns are something else, any Java connection accidental. 'Patterns' are useful as documentation and shared naming of techniques and philosophy, describing things that previously had a myriad of different names (if named at all) with few programmers knowing more than a few of them - mostly invented on demand rather than learned.

But I agree that languages now being capable of directly representing them is a mixed blessing ;)

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AMD promises 100 gigabyte/second memory

Paul Shirley
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@AC Bulldozer speed bump?

Bulldozer gave approximately zero average improvement over Phenom 2 in typical workloads. The SSE improvements are still going unused because SSE is so fragmented devs don't bother. The fx8370 I'm running is faster than the Phenom 2 it replaced... The clock hike and 2 more 'cores' explain almost all that increase, IPC is barely changed.

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Paul Shirley
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It's initially going into devices that stream to/from memory so latency isn't much of an issue. However 'latency = clocks*clock period' and lower clock rates don't guarantee higher latency, though rounding usually will, latency is a constant the clocks*period simply has to match or exceed.

In normal CPU's it's going to hit streaming modes less often and that might be a problem, increasing the average latency. We'll just have to wait and see.

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Microsoft's Surface 3 is sweet – but I wouldn't tickle my nads with it

Paul Shirley
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Re: RT was essential.

@PleebSmash

Intel have indeed been very good at burning less power than AMD's efforts (and delivering more performance).

They've been rather less successful against ARM unless you believe Intels own propaganda and it's ARM they were fighting for Microsofts business.

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World of the strange: There will be NINE KINDS of Windows 10

Paul Shirley
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Re: @dogged

"If MS had removed the "theming code", Start 8 could not exist."

They didn't remove all of it, just the bits Metro didn't need and the code to read many preferences. In prerelease builds much of it was just a regedit away from resurrection, then they excised the code they didn't want anyone using.

Through subclassing pretty much anything can manipulate the UI. Having to install a 3rd party theming driver to actually do that is a security hole waiting to be exploited.

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Paul Shirley
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@Michael Habel

"lord only knows how many Vulns Start8 brought / brings with it?"

With Win8 onwards Microsoft created the *need* for products like Start8, they share responsibility for any resulting issues.

MS didn't need to actually remove the theming code from Win8 that would have let dissenters safely revert the hideous new look&feel - they deliberately chose to take that choice away permanently, they share responsibility for issues hacking it back in cause.

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Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

Paul Shirley
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Re: keen for a pay for you watch.

...and what was your plan when the viewers that do watch only popular TV like Strictly and Eastenders decide they're no longer prepared to subsidise your viewing?

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You say you want a musical revolution. Actually, have three

Paul Shirley
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American Pop music history has been marked by three distinct revolutions

Apparently things like punk never reached the US ;)

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Facebook echo chamber: Or, the British media and the election

Paul Shirley
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Re: I read somewhere...

Ask yourself if you'd be living in a better country if the Cons weren't forced by coalition to abandon some of their most extreme policies? I've spent 30+ years watching lab&con take turns screwing up the country, it was nice seeing them slowed down for 5 years.

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Apple taxpayers swarm to stone-age iPhone 6+ purely for the bigness

Paul Shirley
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Dell first making 'phablet' phones (Dell Streak 5). Everyone ignores it. Years later Samsung get it right, then everyone else copies Dell.

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Rip up your AMD obits: Gaming, VR, embedded chips to lift biz out of the red by 2016, allegedly

Paul Shirley
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Re: Faulure to understand

AMD claim 40% IPC improvement. That will bring them to parity with *this years* Intel chips but a year late (at least). But AMD have consistently missed their promised IPC increase for several generations now, there's no reason to believe they'll actually hit 40%.

The FX series just aren't credible as performance CPU's any longer. Worst of all they won't worry Intel at all so won't even function as much needed competition.

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Paul Shirley
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FX probably too late

AMD let IPC fall so far behind Intel it's hard to believe they can catch up. Throwing more cores at FX will only help some workloads and it's a game Intel can play if they feel threatened. So far they can still beat AMD with less cores.

FX seems destined to remain the budget option, not the higher margin line they need. By the time they ship even die hard fans will have jumped ship, whatever the price advantage.

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Windows 10 bombshell: Microsoft to KILL OFF Patch Tuesday

Paul Shirley
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I'm not fine with any automatic update or deferring reboots. Been caught too many times wondering why my PC doesn't start properly after putting off the reboot for days, or the time wasted trying to guess which accumulated patch broke it.

...and intercepting the 'more adverts in Skype', 'Win10 upgrade nagware' or the regular offer of broken device drivers is pretty vital to me.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Just like Windows Phone

"Google recognised this and de-coupled everything they could from the base OS and included it in Google Play."

...and the same people that complain about G's failure to override the carriers also complain loudly about Play services, the only way G has found to override them!

I can understand why some people think G could do more, the daily drip feed of 'Google are evil, Google are abusing their power, Google only do what's right for Google' clearly is affecting some (along with all the other BS being spouted). But they're fighting carriers with a decade more experience being genuinely evil. Even Microsoft playing Google against them couldn't get carriers to allow direct push updates without built in delays.

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Microsoft discontinues Media Center with Windows 10

Paul Shirley
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so will they ship media codecs?

Ummmm, Win8 shipped without it (a downgrade for many Win7 users) to avoid the codec licence fees. I wonder how Win10 upgraders will react if the MPEG2 and H264 codecs don't ship with it, it's not hard installing replacements but hard enough that ordinary users won't manage it.

Media Centre might have made it easy using TV tuners but it made very poor use of them and I believe had low limits on how many you could use. Possibly the only DTV current app that can't simultaneously pull more than 1 channel from each mux on each tuner.

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Tesla Powerwall: Not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries

Paul Shirley
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Longevity and ability to handle high current flows was what made the Al batteries so interesting. Less need to have excess capacity if you can safely pull huge currents and no need worry about badly behaved loads like kettle and fridges. As well as being inherently cheaper we could get away with using less of them.

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Why should I learn by ORAL tradition? Where's the DOCUMENTATION?

Paul Shirley
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Imaginary manuals

Just a few days since I opined that "I must get round to reading the imaginary manuals" to my lead...

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Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities

Paul Shirley
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Re: Fires

Making boilers safe is a *maintenance issue* and it's far from solved, we still have deaths and CO monitors.

Given the tiny number of Tesla's, 2 years since the last fire proves very little. We want considerably lower rates for devices meant to ship millions and able to destroy houses.

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Paul Shirley
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Think I'll wait...

... For those cheap aluminium batteries we were talking about a couple of weeks ago. Unless Musk has cracked lithium cell degradation rates that 10yr guarantee seems hard to take seriously for a device expected to be continuously cycled.

Not having an explosive that large in my house either!

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'Android on Windows': Microsoft tightens noose around neck, climbs on chair

Paul Shirley
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Re: Times change, business does not

While G did argue that APIs could not be copyrighted they actually failed to establish that (pending however many appeals it goes through). They only managed a narrow ruling that the Java code they were using wasn't protectable.

MS cloning the services without an expensive trip to court might depend on just how much MS manages to piss off Google before trying it. The current EU shit stirring might already have done the trick.

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REVEALED: The 19 firms whose complaints form EU's antitrust case against Google

Paul Shirley
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Re: A question

Special purpose sites like Nextag (and Foundem) are doomed because what they're doing *isn't specialised*. It doesn't take any special knowledge to rank prices from shopping sites, little more than scraping and a day in a real search engine finding the sites to scrape.

Genuinely specialised sites leveraging special skills&knowledge have a future, at least till powerful AI takes over search.

The few that try to add extra value by mashing up other information (like delivery time+cost, reputation etc.) I've found so error prone and incomplete it's hard to actually trust them. At least on general search sites it's credible funding is independent of organic results, however offended you are by advert placement.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: @Trizone - "And in any event, the search engine is not installed on PCs, it's selected."

"And in any event, the search engine is not installed on PCs, it's selected.":

Strange. I don't remember choosing to install Bing on Win8.1 but I do remember having to tell built in search to stop using it. Just before I uninstalled the Metro apps. Win10 won't even let me disable the steaming POS and desktop search is damn near crippled by it.

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Paul Shirley
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Nextag

I can understand why Nextag are pissed, not so long ago their utterly useless comparison pages popped up in every search for any electrical product. Even if I only wanted the manual or a review. Never once looked like the results were remotely relevant to a uk user. Then they vanished from the top results, a wholly deserved vanishing IMHO.

Another company so reliant on unfairly high rankings they have only lobbying to fall back on when the system caught up with them.

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FT and Guardian eagerly grab Google's 30 pieces of silver

Paul Shirley
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"it made $100m a year indirectly from Google News"

In the overall business that's small enough G could shut down News without even noticing. Not sure how the companies or EU could prevent it, though I'm sure there's plenty of wishful thinking spread around Europe.

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Console makers game the EU Commission to avoid energy-use law

Paul Shirley
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@Rimpel

Supporting 1080p and actually being able to deliver it are very different. There are very few true 1080 last gen games and many 720p ones actually render at lower res then upscale to 720.

Halo3 is a typical example, XB360 renders 1152x640@30fps vs XB1 1920x1080@60fps. That's 5.625x more pixels for 2-3x the power draw. Better power consumption would be nice but its not getting worse.

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Microsoft: Profit DECIMATED because you people aren't buying PCs

Paul Shirley
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"Unbelievably, it went up after yet another loss announcement."

...they noticed Ballmer hasn't tried reclaiming his job, so there's still hope!

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