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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1346 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Windows 8 'bad' for desktop users - Gartner's one-word review

Paul Shirley
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Re: Fixed with a fracking start icon

I literally just drag the mouse to the farthest it will go in the bottom left and that puts it on my 2nd monitor. Having something to actually aim for bigger than 1 pixel seems like a damn good idea.

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WinPho to eke out 4% of US smartphone biz

Paul Shirley
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Re: The whole "can't upgrade to WP8" issue

Upgrading without WP source code access is near impossible, especially with locked loaders and whatever other protection MS used to prevent hacking. Android is only easy to modify because the boot loaders can be unlocked AND enough source is available to make it practical.

You can't even use the 2nd tier of mods, mix&matching components from different devices (which works on Android) because there are no different devices below the OEM UI tweaks. So no frankensteined OS replacements either.

And yes, the hardware has changed, the kernel has changed, parts of the stack above it have changed. The WP8 kernel wont run on WP7 hardware, the new stack won't run on the WP7 kernel. This is the downside of MS so tightly specifying the hardware, you end up with a kernel that can't adapt to anything else. Just the single->multi core change creates fundamentally incompatible kernels - no-one builds unified kernels that can handle both, it's too inefficient.

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Paul Shirley
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WTF?

USA:most valuable and influential smartphone market in the world

Somehow I doubt even flag waving patriotic Americans actually believe that! So far the US has been seen as followers, extremely tardy ones at that, not a good position to be influential from. Even with 4G they're only in the leading pack, nowhere near heading it.

Valuable: yes, to the carriers. They're adept at picking their customers pockets. The idea that WP8 will divert any of that wealth to MS or Nokia is laughable, Apple already took what extra margin the carriers were willing to give up.

IMHO calling the US market valuable and influential is just an admission they've already lost in the European market and aren't winning in Asia. All that's left is the US backwater! They don't seem to be winning that one either ;)

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Behold: First look at Office 2013, with screenshots

Paul Shirley
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...one reason is that Office has functionality that the others don't even come close on.

Yes. I vividly remember cut&pasting a carefully constructed diagram from 1 page to another and discovering the amazing 'Jumble' function. It made a better job of scattering the symbols randomly across the page while breaking most of the connections than I ever could.

Word. Not even compatible with its own functions.

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Paul Shirley
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Don't know why it's taken me so long to notice but *at first glance* those snapshots look like a typical Google web app. The same monochromatic colouring, the same bare straight lines, the same flat blocks of colour.

Are Microsoft really that frightened of Google they'll copy an interface design I find cryptic, confusing and often pointlessly inefficient? While keeping all the worst offenders in their own toolkit like the ribbon - a game of 'Where's Wally' played with app functions!

Are they all in a race to see who can simplify their UI the most, regardless of what that does to usability?

...and in case anyone wondered, I find Googles version slightly less fugly than Metro. So very fugly rather than extremely fugly...

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It costs $450 in marketing to make someone buy a $49 Nokia Lumia

Paul Shirley
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Re: No room for 3rd ecosystem.

No Barry, they understood if far too well. If Nokia had gone Android that would have been a devastating blow for every other OS (except IOS). WP would be dead within days *because* so many people would run full tilt towards Nokia-Android.

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Paul Shirley
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It costs $200 in marketing to make someone buy a $39 Win8 install

Let's hope this knocks a few months off the time it takes MS to give up on Win8 as a WP8 promo platform, to start handing back control to the users. Sadly they'll wait till the inevitable highly successful launch (they are nearly giving Win8 away to guarantee it) to face reality, when bazillions of Win8 sales turn into zero WP8 sales.

Still, we'll have a nice 'MS have to pay customers $200 to buy Win8 story' soon enough ;)

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Paul Shirley
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WTF?

Re: extraordinary!

I believe you're thinking of Win8 and it's primary role as an WP8 advert on every new PC.

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Microsoft pops preview of 'biggest, most ambitious' Office yet

Paul Shirley
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Re: @Kirstian K Me Thinks :

...and that change foisted on users purely and only to promote some other product they neither need or want is rarely good and never wanted.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: "The application suite has been rewritten from the ground up"

Ummm, raises the question of just how compatible with previous *documents* this steaming pile will be. Not that MS have shown any reluctance to short change users on legacy format support in previous

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Metro, that ribbon, shared mailboxes: Has Microsoft lost the plot?

Paul Shirley
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@AC:How about not wanting MS to fail, but wanting other companies to do better?

Why do we want MS to fail? Because until they do MS remain willing&able to *unfairly* prevent other companies benefiting from doing better.

I don't want other companies to just do better at creating products. I want other companies to do better AND survive to share the benefits with me. That's not happening right now in any meaningful way. MS defines an industry in a coercive and obstructive way, that's what needs to change.

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Fake sandwich shop's big fake Likes leave Facebook looking flaky

Paul Shirley
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"I certainly would not have a "like" button or page for it"

Didn't someone point out last week that 'like' really means 'yes please, feel free to spam me'?

What company could resist that sort of opt-in trick? (A company I'd admire admittedly;)

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Tablets, copycats and Weird Al Yankovic

Paul Shirley
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Mac System 7 and Windows 2.0 - by any chance related?

I thought it was obvious they're both visually improved copies of Win8 Metro?

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Star Trek TNG (1987-1994)

Star Trek TNG (1987-1994) featured tablet devices heavily.

It was nowhere near the first to feature them.

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Seize your moment, Microsoft: iPad is RUBBISH for enterprise

Paul Shirley
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How many will be developing for Surface in tablet mode? I'd guess somewhere in the low single digits if any. Surface Pro is just a convertible ultrabook, resisting the urge to write laptop mode apps will be difficult. Really can't see many bothering to resist.

Surface RT is simply crippled, by lower performance, by Metro. Don't expect 'enterprise grade' apps for it any more than you see them on IOS or Android.

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Watch out, Apple: HTC ruling could hurt your patent income

Paul Shirley
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@Charlie Clark

The judge took space in the ruling to comment on parallel cases in the EU over the same patents, which all roughly came to the same conclusion, though some for different reasons. Various European courts, including our own UK ones are definitely watching each others opinions if only as a check on whether they cocked up in their own court.

Which is very bad news for Apple ;)

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LCD to have killed all* other TV technologies by 2016

Paul Shirley
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Samsung&Sony recently made strong hints that they want to keep OLED as a premium niche product rather than take it mainstream. The future does indeed look LCD dominated. Just have to hope they continue researching some of the other new display tech.

At least LCD has started to look good at reasonable prices in the last couple of years, might be time to replace my CRTs.

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Google Nexus 7 Android tablet

Paul Shirley
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Re: 85 percent?

'cept it doesn't lack app support, that's the author disengaging brain and typing nonsense. If it didn't support Android 1,2,3&4.0x apps out of the box you'd be seeing a 10% or lower review score.

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Forget Ultrabooks and Win 8 - only fondleslabs can save us now

Paul Shirley
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@Zombie Womble

The games market is actually getting worse at generating PC sales.

We have the mass defection of casual gamers to phones and tablets completely removing the need for any sort of competent PC/laptop for many.

At the same time there's been an explosion of game download services fighting for customers. Unlike store shelves they can afford to keep older games 'in stock'. It's become trivially easy to find 2,5 or even 10 year old games worth playing, at ludicrously low prices. Literally thousands of games to choose from, more games than anyone has time to play. I have something like 20 AAA titles from the last 5 years I didn't have time to play at release, all waiting to be played.

Unless you're chasing brand new AAA titles no-one needs a new gaming PC. And of course the AAA chasers all moved to console 5 years ago anyway!

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Euro Parliament kills ACTA treaty before court can look at it

Paul Shirley
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Re: Better legislation to appear

ACTA was not poorly written. It was carefully crafted to hold as many flaws as possible that could be exploited later. They didn't need secrecy to smuggle in controversial policies, they needed it to preserve those built in exploits from detection and correction.

Presumably they thought that it wouldn't matter when they were exposed to late to correct, no-one would back out of signing. They got really unlucky with SOPA, though arguably there would still have been enough protest to stop this rights grab without a public primed by SOPA.

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YouView launches with pricey premium DVR

Paul Shirley
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Bob H:"Most people don't actually own a DVR"

True but the minority that do may be much larger than you imagine. Walk down the TV aisle in any supermarket and the shelves are infested with cheap PVRs, mostly dual tuner this year. Despite such low quality I wouldn't prop a door open with them, they do appear to be selling, Asda doesn't tend to waste so much shelf space on things that don't sell.

And that's the problem. Us early adopters have expensive hi end PVRs we're not so keen on replacing, or far more capable HTPCs. The mass market (such as there is) are already used to £60 dual tuner Freeview boxes. A £300 box is going to be a hard sell for those folk.

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What is the Nokia Secret Plan if Windows 8 isn't Windows gr8?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Win7 cant even run all XP games

James 47:"Considering I can run Win95 games on Win7 MS are pretty good at maintaining backwards compatibility."

Considering how many XP games won't run on Win7 or run so badly it's not worth doing, MS aren't as good as you think.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Android apps have forward and backward compatibility

Spearchucker Jones: "Apps targeted at ICS or Jellybean don't run on 2.3 either!"

...there are vanishingly small numbers of apps targeting ICS (and surprisingly many that don't even require Android 2.x). And guess what, they will run perfectly happily until you try to actually call a specific ICS feature and its trivial to either catch the exception or check the platform before triggering one.

My app compiles against 1.6, targets 1.5+, modifies it's behaviour for changed OS behaviour on 4.03+. Because I'm lazy I simply removed the 1 code line not supported in 1.5 rather than handle it at runtime. I fully expect the same apk to carry on running on Jelly Bean and Android 5.

The WP7/WP8 compatibility is strictly one way and even that depends on recompilation, how well that works only Microsoft know.

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Google makes 'proposal' to Europe on antitrust concerns

Paul Shirley
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Re: The world's largest ad broker

One possible reply will be digging up earlier complaints that Google *weren't sufficiently differentiating* their own search results, which I believe involved some of the same 'Fairsearch' pond scum. It would seem the only acceptable result to Microsofts accomplices in Fairsearch is Google getting out of the search biz, except for when freeloaders can get a free ride!

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Paul Shirley
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Not yet but I can almost hear the outraged squealing the self serving alliance of Google enemies and shady search companies are about to emit ;)

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Web stat WTF: iOS beats Android 3 to 1, iOS and Android tied

Paul Shirley
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very believable, no-one would ever fake a user agent

I fully believe it, most of my & my wifes mobile access show an iPhone or iPad user agent, so it must be true.

Of course both active phones are actually Android and the spare phones with real user agents haven't been turned on for months ;)

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Sony grabs cloud-gaming group Gaikai

Paul Shirley
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Re: great buy

It does look impressive on a phone (well, the OnLive equivalent did when I tried it), the small screen hides the appalling compression artefacts, touch control is poor and disguises the latency problems and people still have lower expectations for a phone.

On a PC both OnLive and Gaikai were disappointing. Laggy, bad compression artefacts, low FPS on Gaikai, bad latency on both and low resolution.

Bandwidth is a bigger immediate problem. It sucked 5Mbit on my 10Mbit connection - thats 2Gb/hour. That triggered throttling on my Virgin cable, it would quickly hit the bandwidth cap on most UK accounts. That 5Mbit bought me just 720 line resolution and looked like shit. To properly support a HD TV 10Mbit+ and no cap is going to be needed. That's going to work well in a country that struggles to supply 5Mbit connections!

I agree, it's going to turn up on handheld devices first while they wait for the network to catch up with the scheme. Unlike you though, I've had OnLive on my phone for months and just don't bother to use it, it's failed to interest me at all. Firmly in the 'surprised it works at all usably' rather than impressed.

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Jaw-jaw no more-more as calls fall down tally of phone tasks

Paul Shirley
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seems I'm less extreme than I thought ;)

I'll carry on calling mine a mobile.

Mobile phone. Sometimes

Mobile game console. Every day.

Mobile browser. Oh yes.

It took 8 months to receive the 1st call on my first mobile, 11 before I made a call. Sent hundreds of texts along the way. It actually did more service as an alarm clock/watch than a phone. Current smartphone averages less than 5min/month. Sometimes zero. Email wiped out my phone use long before mobiles became popular and nothings really changed, don't even clock up more than 15min of the fixed line in a busy month.

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Nexus 7 and Surface: A bonanza for landfill miners

Paul Shirley
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Re: Surface - it's really a laptop

The fact that you apparently don't know bluetooth keyboards, cases with stands and combinations of the 2 have been available for iPad since weeks after launch, says a lot for how in demand the concept is. It's a little harder for Android simply because there are so many form factors to accommodate but they're also available and of course there are Android devices like the Transformer.

All so successful most people never noticed they exist or noticed their plain old tablet is missing anything. Even hard keyboards on phones are getting hard to find, it's such a popular feature!

The only thing new about Surface is it runs Windows. That's it. The only question is will it perform better in the market than all the other failed attempts at the same thing. All that Surface RT is likely to achieve is increased awareness that iPad and Android can work with keyboards as more effort is made to sell them. As you say, Surface Pro is just an ultrabook with a detachable keyboard, quite useful but it's an ultrabook, the form factor no-one can afford as a toy.

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Android Firefox: Screaming, awesome, you'll go blind etc

Paul Shirley
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no smart zoom or text reflow - Epic Fail

Another Android FF release that absolutely refuses to honour my zoom level between pages, is completely incapable of any sort of smart zoom, page fit or even text reflow. And it's been like that in every release so far - they're never going to do anything to improve it.

So I can have the browser adapt pages for most convenient viewing in Dolphin,Opera,android stock - *even* FF on the desktop. But not in this. Doesn't matter how fast it is, how many plugins, it fails at the simplest function of a browser - showing me the fscking page contents on a small screen device.

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Microsoft: no plans to make own phones

Paul Shirley
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did everyone forget the Microsoft Kin?

Microsoft have already tried launching a phone, the Kin. Remaindered 3 months after launch in the states with rumours of sales as low as 500 units.

Microsoft most certainly will remember that fiasco. Those responsible are unlikely to have any influence inside Microsoft. I doubt there's much stomach for trying again in the near future. In 18 months time when Win8/WP8 aren't shifting as fast as expected maybe, if only because there won't be any viable partner left to shaft.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Nokia

Oh Jim, so blindly optimistic.

Suppose Nokia do throw out a WP8 capable N9xx, that doesn't make the existing ones WP8 capable. Also the new multicore *requirement* means current WP7 devices could never perform to the specified level, even if Microsoft choose to build a suitable kernel for them. Make no mistake, Microsoft went multicore for a reason (the incessant complaints about poor multitasking) and aren't going to let 2million Lumia owners mess they're shiny new multitasking improvements up.

BTW with very few exceptions Android apps carry on working as you upgrade OS, carry on working on older OSes and don't need some magical cloud recompilation to achieve it. Looking at the deployed device stats I might drop Android 1.5 support soon. Or probably won't because I had to avoid just 1 non-essential feature to maintain backward compatibility across all those versions.

WP7 devices have been orphaned, the OS stack they were built on has been obsoleted because its convenient for Microsoft. Eventually you'll believe it.

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Huawei Ascend G300 budget Android

Paul Shirley
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Re: Sounds pretty amazing

"WinPho7 is very fast on mediocre hardware"

Isn't that because WP7 doesn't let the phone or individual apps get too busy?

Typical Android user ladles on sanity challenging numbers of background apps, never, ever closes apps and then cant understand why it might take a little longer to fire up the next app! That's not really possible on WP7, tasks are too restricted.

The real killer though is native code. VM's tend to be scheduler friendly. Native code shouldn't be able to stop preemptive task switching but somehow it always seems to manage it. The big advance dual core brought me on XP was the ability to still control the damn machine when some rogue app (or Win32 itself) grabbed 100% of a core.

WP8 brings more multitasking and native code. Multicore suddenly seems like a good safety net ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Sounds pretty amazing

"comparison of this phone and an identically priced WinPho"

Who right now is most angry, Android or WP fanbois? (After ruling out Xperia Play owners ;)

A fair few of the WP 'usual suspects' were made into liars by the 'no WP8 upgrade' admission, some seem conveniently MIA right now but I wouldn't be surprised if they're still voting.

I suppose some of the Android crew might forget that stock firmware is just where you start, it's very easy to criticise - and a good fallback when suppliers layer on too much, like the 10+ Facebook+Twitter integration apks Sony scatter on devices like manure on fields.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Looks amazing for the money

As I said above, in the unlikely event Huawei don't deliver, an independent ICS rom is being worked on right now. Contrary to popular chatter ICS can work very well in 512Mb.

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Paul Shirley
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The nice thing about this phone is even if Huawei don't come through with ICS (and I really don't expect them to pull a Sony), people are already at work on 3rd party ICS roms. Pretty much a no brainer really if the hardware's good enough for you.

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Acer big cheese: Microsoft Surface sales will be 'superficial'

Paul Shirley
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"Didn't you begin your post by stating that everyone you know who has a tablet also has a laptop? "

Yes, but they owned laptops to start with ;)

I'm commenting on the widely believed and ongoing decline in laptop sales, while tablet sales rise. I speculate people simply aren't replacing their tired old laptops as quickly or at all, presumably because all the media consumption has now switched to the new shiny and there's not much left for the laptops. I know when mine dies I won't bother replacing it. Hell, I'm not even going to replace its battery, my smartphone replaced it.

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Paul Shirley
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Should be able to squeeze a cheapish laptop AND a tablet out of $800. An only slightly compromised device to 'work' + something to throw in a bag/on the sofa/breakfast table/bed for browsing seems much more appealing. Can never have too many screens.

Everyone I know with a tablet also owns a laptop and sometimes several of each to go round a family. We've had assorted transformable tablets and keyboard addons for a couple of years now and demand seems MIA. I think manufacturers have mistaken the swapping of laptops for tablets as a sign that people really want both, when in reality they've often worked out they don't need the laptop at all and definitely worked out their 2nd screen isn't going to be one.

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Boffins program peripheral visions for ultra TV immersion

Paul Shirley
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DIY nightmare

Bugger. Now I have to remove all that shelving, CD racks and that fireplace to provide projection friendly walls to view TV properly. Good thing I'm not a goth with black walls ;)

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Why I love Microsoft’s vapourware tablet

Paul Shirley
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Re: Pre-emptive strike

@Alistair: it doesn't work if your new shiny won't arrive in the same year as the competition, no-one waits more than a few weeks to widen their choice of new toy. So of course Microsoft had to fall back on making theirs so incredibly shiny it might buy a few months. So shiny punters won't notice the deception, the good one is too expensive, the cheap one can't do the things they're talking up.

What a pity the Nexus tablets are already on the container ships, ready for launch next week ;)

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Paul Shirley
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@ac

"In the past Microsoft has always had the lever of the desktop monopoly to use in conquering adjacent markets"

That's the only sort of marketing Microsoft know. The Metro/Win8 mess is Microsoft disrupting their desktop business to serve the needs of marketing mobile,tablet and embedded devices. Instead of building new product and new marketing they simply pervert the existing monopoly so it can carry on as normal as a coercive marketing tool. It seems there's no limit to how much they'll screw over desktop users along the way.

BTW XBox had one major value to PC users: it forced game writers to use DX9. That largely defused their Vista/Win7 strategy of hooking gamers into updates by not upgrading XP beyond DX9. There are only a handful of games that won't run on XP, giving little pressure to upgrade for most gamers.

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Oracle accepts a nice round number in damages from Google

Paul Shirley
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Damn. I expected $1 more...

Oracles case hit the buffers long before the copyrightability ruling, when the jury deadlocked on Googles fair use defence. At the time Oracle reportedly looked really happy, obviously assuming they'd just missed winning and could fix the problem at retrial. The rest of us weren't well pleased. It was only after the jury was dismissed Oracle discovered the vote was 9-3 FOR Google, they reportedly looked surprised and shell shocked. At that point the API ruling barely mattered, all that was left was an appeal.

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Microsoft's uncloaks Phone 8 developer preview

Paul Shirley
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Did you mistype "****ed good"?

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Paul Shirley
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Re: The OS also supports microSD storage

...then replace the browser, Google apps are rarely the best in class. Dolphin HD is nice.

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Paul Shirley
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Coat

Re: wont be getting ICS?

Phoenix50:"like the many Android phones out there which their manufacturers have announced wont be getting ICS?"

Sony told me I couldn't have ICS.

I installed it anyway.

HTC told me my G1 wouldn't be getting Gingerbread.

I installed it anyway.

Its the Android way :)

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Paul Shirley
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the killing blow to Nokia

All the fun to be had baiting the Microsoft apologists, all now frantically treading air cartoon style after the ground was snatched from under them, distracts from the big news here.

Microsoft just administered the killing blow to Nokia. Who in their right mind will buy todays Lumias now? This is the 'burning platform' all over again. Except this time they have stock sitting unsold in warehouses waiting for a loss making fire sale.

When it hits $50 I might even buy one as a keepsake.

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Sony Xperia P mid-range Android

Paul Shirley
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The Play hardware is perfectly capable of running ICS, I'm running AOKP 4.0.4 right now with no problems. It's not capable of running Sony's broken ICS build however. It really is a Sony programming cockup, not the hardware.

The gaming issues are even more annoying. ICS itself broke a lot of high profile games from Gameloft and EA mainly. Gamelofts bug has been traced and eventually games will be updated for ICS.

The joypad problems would also have been fixed, by game authors if Sony couldn't manage something. Most games I own actually work. Except there's no product to fix them for now. Sony killed ICS on Play and with it any need to support ICS on Play. They killed the Play itself.

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Paul Shirley
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@GoFasterStripes

The update process doesn't need much RAM, just enough reserved Flash storage and indeed OTA updates for the Play have happened. But actually indiscriminately OTA pushing crapware like the Sony ICS build is a really bad idea, plus there are devices that simply wouldn't get an update OTA, so the PC option has to be available and might as well be the default for some updates.

If you really want ICS on a 512Mb Xperia though, dump Sony's broken effort. Turns out ICS has no problem running in 512Mb, it's Sonys build that has the problem. Stripping out all the bloatware doesn't fix it, they seem to have configured the core OS for a device with more RAM or they're gobbling RAM for something I can't see, either way it's perpetually RAM starved. I can recommend the AOKP RC3 build for the Play, provided you're prepared to apply the WiFi fixes and accept it's a WIP. It seems to have no problems at all in 512Mb.

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Nokia after the purge: It's so unfair

Paul Shirley
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"But what else could they have brought to the table that Samsung doesn’t already?"

The Nokia brand *was* valuable before Elop, that alone would have bought them an enormous headstart against the entire market. Samsungs early devices weren't that good, they had to fight their way to the top, Nokia could have beaten them if they'd moved early.

Nokia may still have a usable reputation for quality hardware with most punters. With multiple OS teams already working on Linux devices its entirely believable they could have produced noticeably better devices running Android, before Samsung took the market. If 1-2 years ago Nokia Android offered 1.5 days battery life compared to the normal 1 day, they'd have minted money and bought brand loyalty.

Today it's too late, the entire biz is commodised to the point there's too little high end market to share and brand loyalties are entrenched. So entrenched Microsoft has resorted to perverting and risking desktop loyalty in Windows 8 to backdoor its way into mobile.

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