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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1361 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Huawei Ascend G300 budget Android

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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Paul Shirley
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Re: Bye bye Nokia...

Last year there were claims from people claiming to be insiders that at least some of the board and investors knew exactly what they were doing when Elop was hired. Since Elop could not have just surprised them with the whole 'burning platform' and move to WinPhone - the board at least must have approved this, so perhaps not a completely paranoid conspiracy theory.

If true there's a much more interesting story (and lawsuit) waiting to be revealed.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: You could have seen it coming...

You've forgotten that Nokia have been priced squeezed everywhere. They do sell a lot of feature and simple phones but there own financial statements reveal they make very little profit on any of those. The entire low and midrange market has been commoditised and Nokia failed to move quickly enough to hold their share of the high end while it remains profitable.

Looking at the Lumia pricing they've already conceded the smartphone highend, the 710 and 800 are virtually being given away (street prices).

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Tumbleweed-plagued Google+ is minus Bejeweled and Wooga

Paul Shirley
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Let's assume the Anonymous Idiot above is right and all the heavy G+ action is in private. Seems likely those users are ignoring the public face of G+ completely and only bothering with the private stuff. Not much chance they're playing games on it.

...that of course is if you believe this fantasy of rampant private use of G+, as believed by only the tiny minority actually doing it ;)

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Windows Metro Maoist cadres reach desktop, pound it flat

Paul Shirley
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From 'meh' to tart then on to fugly

The semi-official explanation for this travesty is they want to de-emphasis and minimise the chrome, to reduce distractions. They've sure de-emphasised it, to the point of making it harder to use. Not seeing any sign they've minimised its use of space though, just acres of empty space where controls used to be.

They really are determined to cripple desktop mode so Metro looks irresistible :(

All that gratuitous Aero shit deserves to go, pointless distraction. I can cope with a meh UI like XP. Not a chance in hell I'm putting up with this fugly mound of excrement.

This looks worse than GEM on my Atari ST back in the 80's, where at least the edges of windows stood out and all the chrome was consistent. Hell, I had better windowed GUIs than this in C64 games.

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Foundering Nokia pushes 10,000 bods, 3 veeps overboard

Paul Shirley
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@dogged

dogged:"Android would have meant a profit write-off on every single one of Nokia's service offerings"

What's the point of owning services if you cant sell devices to consume them? If you can't or won't sell the services to anyone that does sell devices?

Nokia were losing their smartphone share and that part of their services market with it. Worrying about a profit write off when there's no profit to write off is a great way to lose a business.

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For FORK'S sake: GitHub checks out Windows client

Paul Shirley
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SVN in Eclipse deserves to die

I'm not surprised SVN is declining on Eclipse, the implementations are horribly fragile and I'm getting tired of manually fixing the repository when Eclipse gets itself out of sync. Eclipse also seems utterly incapable of creating new SVN projects on a Windows machine, have to fire up Tortoise or the command line to bootstrap it every time.

Probably time to bite the bullet and migrate.

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Microsoft 'mulled Nokia buyout, ran away screaming'

Paul Shirley
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Android clones? Did you mistype "WP clones"?

WP7 'clones' I can understand, Microsoft have the spec so locked down almost all manufacturers can change is the size and colour of the casing. Over in Android land there's so much device differentiation no discussion can avoid the 'fragmentation' bogeyman!

If Nokia wanted to differentiate their devices they picked the wrong OS and wrong OS partner. If they really have ninja hardware skills they could own the Android market. Owning the WP niche hardly compares.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Would this be an accurate summary of events?

...just wondering where they're going to get the 'lucrative smartphone business' from?

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Paul Shirley
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Re: My 2p worth

Oh yes, the Americans love their all American Samsung phones... oh, my mistake.

The US market is hard to break into because as a market it's totally broken with no real competition between carriers, no real way to bypass them for phone sales and public attitudes to mobile years behind the rest of the world. Having an American hardware/OS partner matters less than having an American carrier on your side. And they're agnostic about where they get their wholesale devices, beyond the problems having cell systems incompatible with the rest of the world cause. Having systems incompatible with each other they like, that just traps customers.

Also, in case you forgot, Google is an American company. If having an American partner mattered so much they might as well have gone with Google. Instead of fighting for the mass market they decided to be the biggest fish in a very small pool and wait for it to grow. Problem is they can't throw enough subsidies at users to make that happen and still survive, meanwhile Microsoft can just wait to pick off the IP.

Most of us saw this coming when Elop announced the WP strategy. Nice that Orlowski finally caught up.

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Windows 8: Not even Microsoft thinks businesses will use it

Paul Shirley
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Re: what happened?

When did we stop being disappointed when the new toy turns out to be a turkey?

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Paul Shirley
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Re: There are no folders in metro

Androids home screen folder support will get copied to Metro eventually. Wasting a entire 'tile' worth of space makes no sense on small screen devices but would become more usable on tablets or PC. Will reinforce the absolute space wasting stupidity of Metros tile sizing but too late to fix that.

I don't think it solves all the problems though. Nest folders deeply and that's a lot of extra clicks navigating them, leave them shallow and you're back to running out of screen estate. Only works on Android because they made launch icons small, not screen gobbling monster tiles.

And you've still had to switch context from the classic desktop to use it.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?

The difference was: a small minority gave kneejerk howls of protest, the majority hated Program Manager with a passion. The exact opposite of Metro vs Start.

...and then the idiots noticed they could still run Program Manager, but didn't bother.

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EU gives Google till July to offer fix for search dominance

Paul Shirley
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Re: I thought I'd have a look around

Memories are short aren't they? I remember when Google launched and word of mouth spread like wildfire across the net. There were at least a dozen search engines bookmarked in my browser and I'd switched to aggregated results from many of them in a desperate attempt to get relevant results.

Google wiped out AltaVista in less than a year just by being better, with nothing but pure search available. I can't even remember the names of any other search services now. The legions of SEO services, the continual gaming of Pagerank has seriously damaged Googles search quality, a better search could still do to Google what Google did to Altavista. That is after all the entire point of vertical search engines, limit the scope so you can afford to do it better. Yet few of them even try to be better.

Bing fails because they aren't trying to be better at search, they aren't trying to be better at services. They're deliberately trying to build a sticky web to trap users, copying the integration Google evolved but skipping on the quality of each component.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Monopoly vs Racket

It believe it's wrong to suggest the EU are 'eager' to do anything here, they're pretty conspicuously giving Google several opportunities to nix this. Their problem is an organised campaign to force them to act which I'd call it a conspiracy if it weren't being done in the open.

An unholy alliance of sleazy failed 'vertical search' companies who've spent years trying to game Google search without success and arch competitor Microsoft (and no doubt some I've forgotten|not noticed) compiled 400 pages of allegations and dumped them on the EU. Hard to do nothing faced with that but the EU have tried hard, presenting just 4 concerns last month to Google, 1 of which appears to be false (or if I'm feeling charitable is a mistake, a contractual restriction from a *different* Google 'product' where it's actually defensible).

Microsoft are in a difficult position, Bing is just successful enough no-one would take their complaint seriously, so they're hovering in the background padding the complaint. The other scum are really complaining that 'Search Engine Optimisation' isn't working for them, what they really want is PageRank crippled so SEO does work or bypassed so they don't even need SEO.

I'd love to know how many of them genuinely believe they have good products that would succeed in a PageRank free free for all. Instead of sinking completely without trace, without even Google to find them with.

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Paul Shirley
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Beginning to look like they're trying very hard to get Google to provide an excuse to do nothing, some offer that has no material effect. If nothing else they must be aware of just how expensive checking if there's any unfair behaviour in the ranking system will be.

If comment seen elsewhere is true, at least some of the supposed contractual strongarm claims are simply false, probably made up by the vertical search scum agitating for this. Very easy to say "we don't do that now and won't start doing it".

The sticky bit is ensuring the scumbags don't get to bypass proper ranking of their useless sites.

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Gov exposes 8,000 GPs so punters can pick one

Paul Shirley
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Re: At least they phone you back

To add further insult, if I somehow manage to get connected in those 1st few seconds, I sit there for 20min or more in a fscking queueing system, racking up 0845 call charges! So far I've not managed to actually talk to a human on the system, it always drops my call some random time 10s of minutes into the wait.

Do have a nice pile of NHS feedback forms they insist on sending me but what's the point of filling them in if I've never met my doctor, 5 years now and never managed to catch him actually in the surgery? His locum spends longer in the bloody surgery.

And they don't phone back here...

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AMD and Nvidia extreme GPUs workout

Paul Shirley
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@Alex Walsh: I'm sure the gaming sites will have extreme resolution and AA tests, you're expecting too much from The Reg! They've done just enough to show there's not much difference in fairly typical gaming setups though a 16x AA test would have been informative.

@BenR: the high end gamers buying these cards aren't much worried about the price of the monitor(s), especially not compared to £800-900 for a pair of cards to drive it. Cards that will be updated more frequently than a good monitor and they'll pay for a good monitor because a cheap one can really screw up play.

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PC-makers hope for Windows 8 hero to sweep up sales

Paul Shirley
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what were you looking at while you were in the start menu that's so important?

...a tree of program names instead of a flat list? A tree that fits onscreen without scrolling despite having hundreds of assorted things in it...

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Paul Shirley
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know little to nothing about supporting Windows 7 is not the fault of Microsoft

It is however Microsofts fault that so many tools got moved or even removed between XP and Win7, for no apparent reason. Change for changes sake. Or more likely change for charging more training fee's sake.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: MetroUI gives no chance to Windows8. It's toast already.

It's a certainty Metro will be hacked out of Win8 very quickly unless Microsoft have made extraordinary efforts to prevent it, more than just disabling registry keys. We'll know reality has erupted in Redmond the day they stop trying to block those hacks.

Sit back and enjoy the coming war between Microsoft and hackers. Thrill to how close to disaster Microsoft go before they quietly stop blocking 3rd party attempts to 'fix' Win8 and it's Metro madness.

I'm confident Metro will eventually be excisable (or Win8 will vanish without trace). I want to see some in depth analysis of what new boobytraps are scattered through the core OS and it's desktop front end. Already alarmed at the whole cloud focus and the Live account crap, I really don't want my PC dependent on a connection to Microsoft. Activating XP every time I rebuild causes me enough problems already.

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Sony awards PlayStation cert to HTC handsets

Paul Shirley
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how do the plan to unpiss off developers?

I really can't see devs running eagerly towards this after the Play disaster and it's jumbled mess of competing store fronts, near total lack of content and failed Play hardware. The subsequent Play ICS decision and cancelling any future Play devices has annoyed pretty much everyone.

Dealing with Sony Ericsson was a lot more palatable than dealing with Sony, Ericsson injected some sense and respect for both customers and developers. Something died when Sony took control.

Expect to see this struggle on largely ignored by Android users. Sony choose not to be competitive on price in their store(s), certification is only as good as the OS and device they happened to test on (their own ICS update demonstrates that) and they've made little pretence this is anything but a way to sell the same network services their other devices use. Hard to get excited.

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Oz sysadmin says Windows 8 not ready for business

Paul Shirley
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Re: But how did work fare?

@j4rmony:"Note also, he didn't say "crashed"

From the article: "Downloading a file, running an installer and writing an email at the same time ended up with hard crashes"

So yes, he didn't say 'crashed'. 'Crashes'.

In previous Windows versions the often broken network layer just broke networking for an unpredictable length of time till. Seems with a OS determined to be online that now intrudes into the rest of the OS.

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1930s photos show Greenland glaciers retreating faster than today

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Windows 8: We kick the tyres on Redmond's new tablet wheels

Paul Shirley
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Re: Microsoft are playing games. Badly

That 'stating the bleeding obvious'.

Metro is a fullscreen experience. Once you fire up an app you aren't seeing much of Metro any longer, just the chrome from it. And that chrome is very thin, a side effect of the stark simplified styling of Metro itself. So how is that going to hook people on the UI?

They won't be seeing the Metro front end while actively using the machines, particularly in the tablet default 'consumption device' mode. Won't be staring at Metro while not using the device. What is it ordinary folk are supposed to get used to that drives them to seek out Metro?

Renaming 'widget' to 'live tile' didn't magically make them a unique, must have feature and there's not much else to talk about. Several so called vertical UI versions (the fashionable label for Metro) ship for Android and all have failed, people just don't find this approach compelling.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: train wreck

It also seems obvious now that one objective of the prereleases was to let techies party on hacking Metro into submission. Then blocking all those exploits.

A significant number of 'average joes' never need to deal with the 'where's my XXXX gone' because they let their techie friend configure their machine before using it in anger. My brother let's me configure his new laptops before he even turns them on, something annoys me enough I turn it off before he knows it was there.

What will save Win8 (if that's possible) is people will find hacks faster than Microsoft can ship updates to block them. At some point it will be possible to configure Metro away and make it stick and a working 'enough' Start menu will get frankensteined onto Win8.

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Microsoft and Nokia dub Google troll moan 'desperate', 'frivolous'

Paul Shirley
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@Ginger

I'd bet on the Nortel patents being part of this (we have few details of the complaint), either directly or as a logical extension of the regulators opinion of that deal.

Before the pool of companies were allowed to buy Nortels patents they had to undertake not to use them offensively, that *is enforceable* and a proper use of competition authorities if they break the spirit of the undertaking - which they have for the Nortel patents.

Even without any binding undertakings Google probably believe the EU authorities may find the same dodge unpalatable. Unfortunately the corporate friendly US authorities have already bent over for their Microsoft masters.

If nothing else it adds to the pressure to nuke this entire troll industry.

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Oracle case crippled after judge rules APIs can’t be copyrighted

Paul Shirley
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Re: "you could copyright the algorithm"

Wrong, you cannot ever copyright ideas, that's what patents are for. Sadly our idiot patent offices seem eager to patent maths (AKA algorithms).

This distinction is explicitly referred to in the judgement, both as the reason APIs aren't copyrightable and to point out this would award patent like monopolies that last far longer than patents - 95 years vs 20 in the US.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: not so fast

...and if you'd actually kept up with the case you'd know Oracle has agreed that Alsup will decide the damages on the 9 lines of rangeCheck that actually was in Android and the 8 files that *weren't*. That part of the case is still being scheduled.

And he made it very clear to Oracle several weeks ago that the amount awarded would be approximately $ZERO. Oracle (or more accurately the talking monkeys they hired from BS&F) gambled insanely on turning de minimis infringement into a massive payout. They lost. The maximum likely award was $150,000 before handing Alsup the decision, like I said more than a year ago: Oracle won't cover their legal costs. The judge in fact pointed out to them in court that it would cost them more than they can win in lawyer's time just to argue the point.

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Microsoft hands out tools to sneak Skype onto new PCs

Paul Shirley
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1:10 actual users?

Here, I still have more than 4 Skype accounts (my wife also has a couple), still using none of them. It was just easier to create a new one than remember the old details. Abandoned before Microsoft gave me an excuse ;)

Looks like 1:10 real to abandoned accounts is about right, given you need to log in to receive calls and plenty of those 40mil are Skype phones. The moment we got Google Talk working for video calls Skype was superfluous, even the landline phones & mobile can natively run SIP.

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Orange unveils Intel Atom smartphone

Paul Shirley
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Re: Off-topic

On Android the heavy lifting like rendering and media playback is in native code that Intel will have simply compiled to native x86. The Dalvik VM will also be written in native x86. Most of the time the emulator won't be doing anything.

It's only when ARM native support libs ship with apps the emulator will get used. They're typically demanding apps - games for instance. Quality of the emulator will only matter when it most needs to be good. If they got it wrong Atom phones will condemn themselves to the low end where Intel simply cant compete on price with ARM.

Looking forward to seeing real test results on the emulator. Split feelings though, much as I despise Intel an effective emulation will make life much simpler for app devs, who wont need to ship native x86 support with apps.

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I need to multitask, but Windows 8's Metro won't let me

Paul Shirley
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Re: Much as I really hate to defend Metro.......

How do you see the live tiles with a fullscreen app covering the entire screen?

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