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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1348 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Reding's 'right to be forgotten' bill polarises Euro biz world

Paul Shirley
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...and a large number of clueless pillocks giving away their own privacy for any reason, voluntary or not, should not affect MY rights or make this 'not worthwhile'. Getting away with this for so long does not make it right.

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O2 leaks 3G users' mobile numbers to every website visited

Paul Shirley
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looks like the crooks spotted this last year

That would explain the bunch of text spam that started over xmas, the 1st time I used 3G data for quite some time and the crap started a few days in. Really must visit less dodgy sites I suppose ;)

There were a lot of premium text spam scams being reported on giffgaff late last year. I'm ready to believe this is actively being used by sms spammers.

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Facebook sheds light on Nokia's Lumia sales

Paul Shirley
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Sony Ericsson another Faceplant infestation

Something like 10 or 12 APKs to remove to clean the FB infection on 2011 Xperia's. The good thing is you root and just delete them and the only thing that breaks is Facebook, I suspect it's a lot more complex to rid WP7 of it even rooted.

...and I'll have to do it again when ICS ships :( No doubt SE will find a few apps that don't yet have FB integration and up the APK count some more.

Maybe I'll get round to nuking SE "Timeline" as well, the feature that finally convinced me jumbling all your 'social network' feeds into 1 place is an incredibly bad idea. That's another dozen pointless APKs festering away in /system. Oh dear, is that one of the supposed selling points of WP7?

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Paul Shirley
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"what is to stop Google from just sitting on the asses?"

Nothing. But the beauty of OSS is they can't stop someone else doing it anyway. With Amazon already forking Android and others capable of the same, Google would be committing suicide if they tried being that lazy. They don't have enough closed source content in Android to protect themselves.

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Google+ lets in nicknames, slams door on plebs' pseudonyms

Paul Shirley
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does anyone care that G+ don't want into the mass media end?

If you're already making up an identity to share with people you don't know it hardly matters which privacy raping service you feed lies to. If Google don't want that trade that's Googles problem, why does anyone care?

TBH it seems like a bloody good idea to me to separate that public persona from your real identity by running them on completely different services. Talk to friends and family on G+, the world on Faceplant and lie,lie,lie everywhere. If that makes it harder for them to link all your information, that's great.

I'll start worrying when Google inevitably work that out and start pandering to these demands, they won't do it for *your* benefit. Right now the temptations not really there with G+, the 'can't turn it down' adjunct to gmail.

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Watchdog bites Nokia over Lumia 800 TV 'flash ads'

Paul Shirley
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Trollface

chasing the dregs of the market, in all meanings of 'dregs'

I'm inclined to believe Nokia/Microsoft are actually targeting people too stupid to notice it was sponsorship... after all it's C5, a channel that needs a big channel dog to remind its comatose viewers which channel they're watching - as if the endless dross+CSI combo wasn't enough.

This late in the smartphone migration almost everyone that wants a smartphone has one and Microsofts continuing failure to advertise the WP7 features won't make many switch. The deliberate holdouts aren't volunteering. Seems believable they're targeting the leftovers too lazy to think or too stupid to understand the alternatives... which falls in nicely with showing a bright plasticky handset instead of trying to explain its USP!

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Networks nag Nokia to lower Lumia levy

Paul Shirley
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2.2 vs 2.3

"Although 2.3 is better than 2.2, it didn't seem worth the effort for an incremental change."

Depending on how they configured 2.2 on the Wildfire it may be a much bigger step up than you believe. Quite a few 2.2 releases had JIT disabled by default, AFAIK all 2.3.x releases default it enabled. Makes things a bit smoother. Concurrent garbage collection should make a very noticeable difference on low spec devices as well.

I think that's when they started turning on GPU acceleration as well but again the Wildfire's low spec does you no favours.

2.3 doesn't look like a big improvement but it does run a lot smoother. Lag in 2.3.4+ is usually a 1off thing, soon as the JIT kicks in it vanishes on my Play.

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Intel chieftain outlines broad tablet, smartphone blitz

Paul Shirley
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SOCs of this performance aren't Intels strength

I'm feeling a whole lot of 'what's he smoking'.

Combining the baseband and application processor is hardly a radical new idea, so playing catchup there.

Intel still haven't worked out how to build a really low power CPU, at least compared to their competition. So playing catchup from well behind there.

Intels history of building GPUs is embarassing and I think they probably underestimate how important getting that right is. We're well past the days when it had to decode 720p video just fast enough and into PS2 era rendering performance. Intel might manage the raw performance, what they've never managed is low power consumption or drivers and hardware that actually work.

Maybe they'll integrate someone else's GPU, I expect them to try to grab more of the licence revenue by using their own half assed designs though. They seem to have a real problem licensing 3rd party cores and splitting the profits with anyone else recently so they'll probably balls that up.

Oh well, I see some nice cheap devices in the near future, while they try to buy their way into the market and again when the unwanted stuff gets remaindered. Just don't expect to be playing games on them ;)

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Windows Phone to overtake iOS in 2015

Paul Shirley
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Haven't you heard? Microsoft just pulled a 'Nokia' on WebOS, putting their own man in to sabotage the company. WebOS is more likely to be a burnt platform before 2015 than revived.

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MIT boffins devise faster Fast Fourier transform

Paul Shirley
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repeat after me: its NOT AN FFT

Its NOT an FFT. It's not even an FT.

It's better described as a Direct Fourier APPROXIMATION, completely skipping any domain transform and guestimating (with high probability) the dominant fourier components. The point is, by not even attempting to compute the full result it can beat O(n log n). It's only interesting because FFT's are following by decimation in so many real life uses.

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Paul Shirley
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@Michael

You really need to read the paper, the Reg's description has no useful information about how it works or in fact what it does.

To the extent I understand the paper, it appears to filter its frequency bins in the time domain. By assuming each bin is dominated (or in the special case only contains) a single frequency it's trivially easy to sample the remaining sine wave to deduce its exact frequency and phase. The filter design seems to be about cleanly splitting the bins so that its safe to further process signals in just each bin rather than the entire source sample.

One worry is the algorithm is probabilistic, the quoted times are *expected runtime* and they don't make clear what the worst case is or how small a sample would provoke them. For audio encoding I can see an adaptive search seeded by the previous frame would fix this and this might be useful in real life with masking effects allowing quite ruthless frequency decimation.

For video encoding they misrepresent the nature of DCT block based coding. We don't pick a number of fourier addends up front and throw away all the others (the 57 of 64 argument), we compute them all *then* let the arithmetic decimate them dynamically and automatically. With no search being made, an inherently messier signal and a lower ability to simply discard components compared to audio it looks like a bad fit. I'd say that would scale to non-block based encodings as well.

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EU probes 'nature of concerns' from Google rivals

Paul Shirley
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Foundems last gasp?

Even if Google have been naughty, Foundem still don't have a case and I suspect this delay just reminded them the games about to end. So one last PR ejaculation before even the G haters start ignoring them.

...some companies simply don't need to exist.

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Sony Ericsson announces pre-slurp loss

Paul Shirley
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"Our fourth quarter results reflected...

...an astonishing level of overpricing frightening customers away"

I mean, £500 for a Play? Didn't shift at £350 either.

What worries me is the whackjobs at Sony will think Sony is a stronger brand than Sony Ericcson and worth charging even more for. Where in reality Ericcson was a reminder there was someone holding Sony back from their usual customer abusing madness, someone with a reputation in mobile.

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GiffGaff mobile network goes titsup for 3 weeks

Paul Shirley
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nothing changes at giffgaff, they never rush to fix customers problems

Compared to the 12-15months it took them to *start* investigating why some credit cards wouldn't work/work more than once, this is a lightning fast response! AFAIK they've still never revealed what they found but the reports stopped at the same time they allowed us to delete stored cc details... which were visibly wrong on my account but not editable.

I'm not really sure why the problems have got this much worse recently, dropping BB support and advertising to slow the flood of new users happened well before this current bunch of problems. Did they just sit on their arses instead of frantically upgrading? They rather conspicuously didn't hire enough new support staff, they've been almost absent from the support site ever since then.

This is the normal state of giffgaff though, complete absence of forward planning keeping the service firmly flaky. It's cheap for a reason...

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Motorola repels US import ban bid by Apple

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Xmas actually accelerates Dixons sales drop

Paul Shirley
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that recent price war

The recent price war with BestBuy cant have done Dixons/PCWorld/Currys profit margins any good.

...reminds me, must check if Bestbuys closing down sale has started actually reducing anything ;)

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10 years ago today: Bill Gates kicks arse over security

Paul Shirley
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You confuse level of activity with level of security.

A UNIX inspired system is secure by design, failures are almost all implementation errors, fixing them doesn't break user apps (unless they were already broken). With a working security model there's simple less work to be done. Adding mitigation support like address randomisation and noexec blocks is a failsafe, not primary security, something wise to do but secondary.

Windows started as a deliberately insecure system that has accreted layer after layer of bolted on security and individual hole patches. It's hardly surprising there's more visible activity in the Win world, they're trying to patch their way to the position UNIX started at. Because they baked in the poor security design long ago every fix has a serious risk of breaking apps and brings ever more complexity (and fragility) to the shuddering heap.

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Paul Shirley
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@Steve Davies 3 - Autopatcher

Autopatcher solved the multiple reboot mess for XP, can't comment on how well it works with Win7 so take a backup before trying.

http://www.autopatcher.com/forums/topic/2462-autopatcher-updater-apup-download/

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Paul Shirley
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@Ken Hagan

...when did Adobe get to import masses of userspace code into the kernel, Microsofts ongoing huge mistake? A mistake founded on their continuing preference for screwing competitors over looking after customer security, accompanied by an unjustified belief in the quality of the their own code.

What Adobe tells us though is you don't even need the special privileges Microsoft give their own userspace software to break a Windows system, Adobe may be shite but security failures in their shitware are also failures in the underlying OS.

Windows is still based on adding security to a fundamentally unsecured OS, this is security by moving target. If only the snipers weren't quicker than Microsoft.

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Skype is coming to Windows Phone - really

Paul Shirley
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how long till its the only VOIP allowed on WP7?

Wonder if Microsoft have plans to outlaw all other VOIP on WP7. I can believe some in MS planning would see it as a way to drive Skype installs on other platforms, the foundation of some imagined future monopoly. Wouldn't be hard to kill all non-Skype gateways into the system to force Skype installs.

Personally I'm happy with Androids provider agnostic VOIP support and picking my own service provider, who currently undercut Google on pricing.

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HTC Explorer budget smartphone

Paul Shirley
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WTF?

90Mb is too little free space

I cant believe anyone would launch a new Android with just 90Mb user space. Even knowing how to send apps to SD that's a low limit but how many of the users this is targeted at will know how? Especially with so many apps that need root to force over to SD and monsters chewing 5-10Mb or more of precious space each. 1st time Google Maps updates that's 6Mb burnt (the current slim line version - used to be 12Mb+). This has disappointment written all over it.

Or is this just a cunning plan to hook users then catch the early upgrade when they suddenly can't install any more apps a few months down the line?

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Nokia partners with EA in major WinPho game push

Paul Shirley
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@Tzael - really?

...'cause I've yet to see one in the wild. Or hear it. Or hear anyone talk about it in the real world.

Come to think of it, I've yet to see one on display in a shop. Presumably they've got them in CPW and some of the carriers shops, ready for the next 24monthly upgrade cycle. But all those other places like Dixons, Tesco's etc. that might build some brand awareness outside the upgrade grind - no actual phones, even when they have the promo boards.

Before bribing floor staff Microsoft and Nokia need to shove some bungs at the buyers. Hard to collect a bounty on something your boss declined to stock. Or to demo games ;)

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Paul Shirley
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last to the party again

...meanwhile I'm already playing some of those games on my Android phone ;)

I wonder if this sets a precedent, WP7 always last to get the game, after iOS and Android? Maybe even after J2ME and Symbian releases...

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Imagination uncloaks 'over 20X faster' smartphone GPU

Paul Shirley
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Long ago I optimised a video codec for a 16x SIMD vector unit. At the end, when I'd run out of things to parallelise, in the worst case only 10% of runtime was spent in the vector code - the bitsream en/decoding is inherently serial and soaked up the rest. No improvement to the vector path could then give more than 10% improvement.

There's little point having a 20x faster vector path without a balanced improvement in the scalar path to keep the vector unit fed. For the tasks a phone is expected to do, this will give better game rendering, *might* shave a tiny bit off video decoding power consumption but otherwise is wasted silicon. There aren't suitable workloads to throw at it.

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Republican pol rips online piracy bill, defends Google

Paul Shirley
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Up till now the backers thought they'd bought the vote without the public waking up. The the word got out to enough of the public that astroturfing became necessary... well, it's a theory.

It's a lot easier to spot when Microsoft do it because they never stop ;)

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Polaroid develops Android camera combo

Paul Shirley
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"What has that got to do with a Polaroid camera?"

Hands up, not having a good day. That'll teach me to stay up all night playing games ;)

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Virgin Media to push out nimble new broadband speeds

Paul Shirley
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...even when I hit throttling on my 10Mbit cable, just pause the Torrent or download and the throttled connection is still fast enough for 'normal' use by my wife and I. The only thing that becomes unusable is OnLive streaming, iPlayer etc. still work. I'd imagine on a faster cable connection even OnLive would remain usable throttled.

To be fair, you will notice massive downloads taking a few hours longer, like the 8Gb Batman install yesterday. But it was going to take forever anyway ;)

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GiffGaff boots freetards off mobile network

Paul Shirley
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Mushroom

giffgaff history

Apologies for the shitty formatting, the Reg has screwed up big time. Might help some understand how gg painted themselves into this corner, especially the attack drones swarming here from the mother hive who presumably weren't with giffgaff when this happened ;) giffgaff launched before completing their billing platform, that meant they could not charge for data. For marketing reasons they offered free data for the 1st 6 (or was it 9?) months, with the clear understanding they would then start charging. So far no problems, people got slapped for exceeding the stated limits but it went smoothly enough. Then O2 decided they preferred building new infrastructure to supplying the missing support to giffgaff - not really surprising after OFCOM ordered them to sort their network out or lose the licence. Became obvious whatever contracts giffgaff have gave them no power to compel O2 to deliver. Still wasn't a problem, they extended the free data offer every time O2 postponed delivery and I assume O2 had to swallow the costs. Everything carried on as usual. Then giffgaff asked users what the really hated about other networks: number 1 answer, the word unlimited not meaning unlimited. Around the same time they needed to decide data pricing. And that's when it all went very wrong. Seems a simple choice really, just don't use the word unlimited, instead of devious FUP limits just be open upfront. But they still had a problem, O2 still hadn't delivered the billing support... and carried on not delivering. And they still needed to look like a really good deal to suck customers in. So gg basically just gave away data, closely tied to actually buying voice minutes and hoped averaged over all users it would work out. The problem is the market is shifting toward smartphones and the dumbphone users supposed to dilute the averages are a vanishing species. More important, giffgaff don't seem to have the balls to backtrack lest they frighten off the low data users that actually are profitable. Strangely they did have the balls to screw over their lowest users in another attempt to subsidise the data hogs, with rate rises last year that disproportionately apply to PAYG users. Explained away as a way for all users to share the pain, I still fail to understand how increased SMS rates affect their bundle users unlimited SMS allowance! giffgaff are trapped by their own past problems and mistakes and visibly losing their headline 'community' focus in favour of more traditional shitting on their customers.
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Paul Shirley
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@nichomach

What makes you think the down voters aren't gg users? I am a giffgaff user, have been since they started. I wish I could down vote you more than once. The giffgaff community is a hive mind that ruthlessly stamps on any deviation from its rose tinted opinions. I can see how you might have mistaken that for universal support for giffgaff's shambolic management, manipulative community management and business practices rapidly matching every other provider for sleight of hand and general 'screw the customer' attitude. A company that openly states it does not need to comply with EU law and had most of you supporting them!
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Nokia sheds light on latest Lumia

Paul Shirley
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@Jim - you forget the market range covered

Owners of cheap Android phones are:

1: likely to be disappointed with the experience and blame Android, not the cheap hardware

2: unlikely to switch to a substantially more expensive WP7,IOS or better Android phone

47% aren't all looking for a better smartphone, many are looking for a better *cheap* phone, neither IOS or WP7 delivers that. Androids loss will be largely to feature phones and some of the cheapskates won't be happy whatever they buy. At the high end defections happen both directions, if WP7 ever launches a real high end phone they can join the 3 way traffic ;)

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Official: The smartphones that suck much more than others

Paul Shirley
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...or I could theorise that the ones able to afford a shiny new 'this years model' iPhone are also the ones able to afford to pay for lots of data.

'cause if you're not hammering it on giffgaff or "3", data use can involve a 2nd mortgage in the UK - I assume its not much better elsewhere.

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Paul Shirley
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Maybe this poster is a dev and keeps phones for testing... ;)

...and the wife likes to have one herself which get's lumped into that list!

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Paul Shirley
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cloud syncing getting more pervasive quickly

With features like automatic movie and photo uploading appearing in Android this is going to get much worse very fast. My phones all have better upload rates than my broadband... well on a good day they do - thanks to O2!

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Microsoft's master stroke: Pay store staff per WinPhone sold

Paul Shirley
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@a_been

Did you read some supersecret email different to the ones in the case? the rubin mail is the smoking gun on Google putting the lawyers to work on how to work round a licensing problem. The court will decide if they did enough to avoid infringement.

The fight to keep them out is about just how clueless a jury will be when Oracle misrepresents this. Based on your post I its a pretty legitimate concern.

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Paul Shirley
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As SCO reminds us, its easy to accuse and nearly as easy to get a court to listen even if nothing actually happened (or even if you're just making up the whole story).

Patent problems aside we'll just have to wait and see if a court agrees that Google did what the application licences allowed or if they went too far. There are a lot of disappointed people just discovering they didn't understand their own licensing terms though, Oracle for one ;)

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Paul Shirley
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WP7: not glamorous like iOS, not as much choice as Android

Or maybe it's the devices, the lack of any wide choice of them.

All the folk happy to have the same phone as everyone else are already locked into Apple and WP7 just doesn't look glamorous enough to steal back any of the fashionistas. Especially since most WP7 devices are barely distinguishable from the Android devices their creators also supply.

Meanwhile the developers endless lament about fragmentation on Android is actually a great device sales driver, with almost any combination of form factor and feature list a buyer desires available. The highly uniform spec for WP7 devices sounds great on paper but doesn't get those vital 1st sales. That static spec is continually ageing and making life hard at the high end - bigger screens yes, but no higher res to take advantage of it for example?

Microsoft locked down WP7's look,feel & hardware to ensure consistent performance, paying sales droids to demo that may be the only way to gain any benefit. Personally I'm more likely to hear alarm bells if the UI needs to be explained and I'm sure I'm not alone!

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Judge sets date for Google v Oracle showdown

Paul Shirley
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Yes, he won in 1999 *before* turning to the FUDside.

His past achievements just makes the mistakes since then the more disappointing.

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Paul Shirley
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Miguel de Icaza

Is that the same Microsoft MVP, OOXML supporting, .NET (as Mono) pimping Miguel de Icaza?

Famous but still a Microsoft sockpuppet and tainted.

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'Mobiles bake men's balls' bog ad is cobblers - new ruling

Paul Shirley
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@Cristoph

Surely it depends on whether you 'dress' to the left or right? Could make 10" or more difference...

I'm sure these quacks can also inform us which side is the evil one only deviants and paedophiles hang their tackle ;)

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How Apple won the West (and lost the world)

Paul Shirley
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Pretty much all American phone owners. Their networks have screwed them badly, incompatible networks - both with the rest of the world and each other to limit choice and prevent switching network, plans that often charge more if you bring your own phone and pricing European carriers can only dream of.

And a depressing number of my acquaintances. Notably the couple of iPhone owners.

Even here sharp eyed users are hopping from deal to deal as the loss leading subsidies rotate between devices. If I used more than 10min,200SMS/year I would have been better off getting my Xperia Play on contract! The margins can be that close.

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Paul Shirley
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"how a cheap phone manages to pull down a given web page while consuming less data than a pricey phone looking at the same page"

...by NOT pulling down the same page, just some of the same content or the same page after serious server side filtering and reformatting. Or for those of us suffering O2, after every image has been recompressed out of recognition ;(

It's easy to forget the value of a page is usually the 1% text content not the formatting bloat. If that 1% is the local market prices somewhere in Africa it doesn't matter if the phone skips the other 99%, which is why feature phones are 'good enough' to make a big difference in the developing world. A 16 day standby feature phone is sometimes 16x better than a 1 day life smartphone at any price.

...and also why Android penetration will be slower than suggested, low price is nice, efficient use of bandwidth and good battery life is better. Low phone prices can't make up for lack of infrastructure and piss poor power efficiency.

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Apple to conquer connected TVs? Steady on, lad

Paul Shirley
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@Stuart Castle re TV licence

1: I believe there's work afoot on changing the legislation to close this live reception loophole. A loophole the licensing police tend to simply ignore anyway when issuing threats. To escape Apple TV could need to be so crippled its not worth using.

2: Any device incapable of showing live sport in the UK is an instant fail. More so after sport became almost unavailable on Freeview/Freesat and still the main driver of Sky sales.

Apple are too late and offer the wrong mix of content for our markets. Doesn't look like they're doing much better in the US either, where I believe Sport is still available on the TV most people have.

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The Commodore 64 is 30

Paul Shirley
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hated programming for it

Developing on a C64 was never fun, even with an accelerated disc drive. To lessen the pain I wrote a fat macro file and essentially emulated a Z80 in the assembler. Managed to use about 90% of source lines unchanged from the CPC464 originals. What speed the emulation lost the graphics hardware gave back.

Couldn't do that for my own tape turbo loader ;)

TBH the 64 was never my favourite machine, great to play arcade games on but bloody useless for anything else. Suppose I should get my arse in gear and load the emulator onto my phone ;)

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Microsoft mum on leaked Phone OS plans

Paul Shirley
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@lone lurker

"the whole sentence in WP7 would be visible simply by scrolling sideways"

That is a DEFECT not an advantage. Reflowing to fit the screen width is a good usability feature, clipping it is a fashion statement. I'll choose the phone that gets the UI right before trying to look good.

That neatly sums up what's wrong with both WP7 *and* the mix of paid and genuine WP7 supporters praising every defective feature in it. Trying to pass defects off as selling points shows just how out of touch with reality the whole WP7 faction is.

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Paul Shirley
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@Jim Coleman: shiny&new != any good

WP7 may be fast but my dirt cheap Xperia is more than fast enough and my wife doesn't play enough demanding games to complain about her even cheaper OSF. When will you lot learn boasting about WP7's speed doesn't impress the rest of us!

In my opinion WP7 is fugly as hell and without monopoly control to force everyone to use it I'm never going to start liking it. I don't care how much other people like it, I don't. Unlike Android, as a user I can't replace or fix the things I hate and Microsoft won't rethink that fugly tiles UI unless WP7 then WP8 completely fails in the market.

Every time I see the list of selling points for WP7 it's a list of things I've already tried and either didn't like or didn't match the way I use my phone. And Microsoft won't let me fix those choices. A tired and old UI beats any shiny new UI *that doesn't do what I want or need*.

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Solicitors from hell website unplugged by libel judge

Paul Shirley
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WTF?

I'd expect: "If a free market is to work, consumers must be able to check that suppliers are offering their goods or services in good faith, and not deliberately misleading the public."

We've seen enough dishonest lawyers to know they're no better than any other trade. What's happened here is a disgrace though, the legal 'profession' taking advantage of an apparent idiots dishonesty to bend the law to give unjustified protections to their own cosy club. It's a blatant attempt to set precedent that will make it harder for the next honest whisteblower to fight his case.

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Lumia sales fail to set world alight

Paul Shirley
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Selecting just by tprice is blatant fiddling the figures. At a stroke it rules out devices with comparable hardware just because they're better value. The lumia is far from

High end hardware with premium street pricing.

Filter by comparable hardware and it will fall much further down the popularity list. Even this fiddled filtering shows it only limping into the premium niche, while every other producier targets the whole budget to premium range getting sales at all levels.

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Paul Shirley
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epic astroturfing

...but doing it on the Reg site is a complete waste of the Microsoft PR slushfund ;)

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