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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1376 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Microsoft hopes for FONDLESLAB FRENZY as Surface Pro 3 debuts

Paul Shirley
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"the tablet that can replace your laptop" - missed the boat

'can replace your laptop': yes... but isn't the problem Surface was created to address that too many laptop owners already replaced their laptops?

MS should have launched Surface 1 with this message while there was still a good rump of non business laptop users looking to change, instead they promoted it as a dance accessory. That exploitable rump is near gone now, meanwhile other's have quietly exploited the business market while MS chased the disinterested public market. Late to the party yet again.

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'Cortana-gate' ruins Satya Nadella's Microsoft honeymoon

Paul Shirley
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Re: Quite frankly

Xbox & XB360 success wasn't just handed to MS by Sony, MS had a very hands off approach to the XBox division. They staffed it with gaming folk and let them get on with trying not to be Microsoft. It was always faintly disturbing the way they sent the 'men in suit's' to visit developers but by and large they avoided MS dickheadery.

...until XBOne and it's mediaplayer focus dragged in the corporate Microsoft thinking and it all went downhill fast. Still digging themselves out of that fiasco. It's a potent reminder that MS no longer have the power to tell users what they want, instead of asking and more importantly listening to what they're told. Though it's hard to believe anyone out there actually asked for anything on Android or IOS - perhaps Office and Outlook but nothing else.

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Waiting gamer slams no-show show: E3 – was that it?

Paul Shirley
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Re: On-line Multiplayer Frustrations

After finding a server full of adults with a zero tolerance policy to idiots, I spent 2+ years playing Wolf ET every day against the same 20(ish) people. There really is something magical about online play with the right people.

It's just really hard finding the 'right people' and why all the social crap is actually useful on gaming platforms, more so than random matchmaking can ever be. Very easy to assume none of it's interesting if you've never found the right clan (or informal version) to actually fire up the magic though.

And yes, going pub with an organised bunch of team players is fun. Not so much fun for the cannon-fodder but they only have themselves to blame ;)

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Greenpeace rejoices after getting huge renewable powerplant CANCELLED

Paul Shirley
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Re: Lower CO2 emissions maybe

Suricou Raven:"Methane doesn't last long in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide hangs around until a plant gets rid of it"

...but that methane degrades into CO2 + water vapour. So you get the direct methane hit then the long lasting CO2 *as well*. And water vapour is itself a potent greenhouse gas, especially high in the atmosphere.

Flooding is so damaging because it converts carbon to methane instead of CO2, trickles it out over a long time and doesn't convert just the surface vegetation you could have burnt straight to CO2 but also the trapped carbon in waterlogged soils.

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Paul Shirley
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is that Lewis's knee jerking?

It's just so easy to jump on Greenpeace appropriating credit that a man with Lewis's beliefs couldn't really resist it. They've never been afraid to claim victory on behalf of others.

Perhaps now we can have a proper report on why 60% of the Chilean population opposed and eventually killed this project, which seems to be a combination of national pride in their national parks/landscape, well founded distrust of their government, a genuine lack of belief that this project made any sense and the refusal of their government to consider alternatives.

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FIGHT! Intel disputes ARM's claims of Android superiority

Paul Shirley
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Re: that fps test is worthless

..or nearly worthless. Measuring frame locked rates tells you the game runs fast enough (or not) and nothing more about actual performance. No-one serious about benchmarking ever does it because it hides how much time the system is idling waiting on the next frame time.

The first few entries tell you the translated version was struggling to hit 16ms/frame but don't tell you how much faster the native version was. The 60 v 60 runs could have been an unlocked 60fps v 120fps but we have no way of telling.

I wonder why they chose such a poor comparison? (No, I know why they did it;)

And totally missing is any comparison of native ARM v native x86.

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AMD tops processor evolution with new mobile Kaveri chippery

Paul Shirley
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CPU short summary

they could have just said: "every time we revert one of those 'improvements' we made after Phenon II, it goes faster"

Who couldn't see that coming. So many years wasted trying and failing to make less transistors do more. Hard to see how they can get back in the performance PC game and I won't be surprised if their ARM efforts also kill the low end x64 APU line before then. Sad to think I'm probably using my last every AMD desktop CPU.

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WIN your FREE Nokia Lumia 630 smartphone HERE!

Paul Shirley
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diving downmarket

It says something about Microsofts focus that they're giving away budget phones instead of something that might temp typical vulture readers.

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The British are coming! The British are coming! And they're buying Surface fondleslabs

Paul Shirley
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Re: blackberry playbook anyone?

Everyone but Google and Apple are heavily discounting tablets. Nexus devices are being discounted but without Google support they aren't 'heavily discounted', must have some effect on sales. The discounting is so deep right now it's a miracle anyone can leave a shop without a new tablet ;)

Still not convinced actual customers are buying Surface yet, needs to go much cheaper. Todays £49 Lumia 520 price is a more realistic level of discount. I think they'll bury Surface excess stock in the desert rather than go that cheap.

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LG G3 fights off screen-res war rival Samsung with quad-HD cutie: In pictures

Paul Shirley
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Re: 2560 x 1440 on a 5.5" phone

I'm sitting about 75cm from a 2560x1440 27" screen and while it squeezes a lot more text on screen it's not quite high enough res to completely hide pixelation. Better than 1080 but not by much.

The real reason monitors are still stuck at 1920x1080 is price, 2560 doesn't give enough improvement for a 4x price hike. 4k monitors are probably where the quality starts looking sufficient but still priced out of reach for most users. High pixel density on a small screen is affordable where it isn't on large screens.

When the panel factories gear up for the 4k TV market push prices will drop and we will all move to higher resolutions on the desktop, to match our phones. It will still look better on the phone ;)

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Sony Xperia Z2: What we REALLY thought of this Android fondleslab

Paul Shirley
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Re: "Is thinner ... really necessary?"

On tablets this size *lighter* really is necessary and if you want the same screen size your choice is make it thinner or make it hollow, I vote thinner. Reducing the bezels isn't an option either, it's a right PIA holding something this big without some dead area to grab.

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Microsoft Surface 3 Pro: Flip me over, fondle me up

Paul Shirley
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Re: "Among tablet pc users"

Sort of misses the point though, Intels research suggested smaller screen sizes as a major cause of potential ultrabook users *not actually buying them*. I think the Surface in an ultrabook competitor role will suffer the same lack of interest.

Maybe the current minority constituting 'tablet pc users' is worth targeting but it doesn't seem a good way to noticeably increase sales! It certainly doesn't seem to be the market MS think they're targeting.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Screen too small?

Really? Surface 3 looks like another assault on the ultrabook market and Intel discovered back in 2012 that users found 13" too small. Over in tablet land even Apple eventually went smaller than 10" because buyers want smaller devices - 9" seems the upper limit on comfortable tablet use in many situations.

My gut feeling is there's an 'uncanny valley' between 10" and 14" that puts of buyers/users (unless an Apple is painted on). MS see an unexploited niche but forgot to ask why it's unexploited.

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Boffins run iOS apps on Android hardware

Paul Shirley
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Re: "run **UNMODIFIED** foreign binaries"

...like Intel dynamically recompiling ARM code on x86 Android?

Plenty of hard work here but the so called innovation strikes me as little more than giving new names to the old techniques of runtime recompilation and interface shims/emulation. Still, the renaming scam worked for IBM for decades, is still working for Microsoft ;)

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Google Maps adds all UK public transport timetables

Paul Shirley
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Re: Presumably useful for some people

You might want to reread "is using Traveline's data to power its service"

I think I'll still be using Traveline directly though, it's a hell of a lot more configurable. And believable, Google have a quite shocking history of not correcting errors in their maps.

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How Google's Android Silver could become 'Wintel for phones'

Paul Shirley
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It leaves gold for nexus devices

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Yaarrgh! LOOK OUT! UK set to be BURIED under MOUNTAIN of TABLETS

Paul Shirley
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Re: I'm sure this is quite dreadful, but...

The price bloodbath started before xmas for Samsung devices, prices for others makes took a while longer. With the 'love it/loath it' S3 firmware and so much overstock they had to jump first.

...that's not to say prices can't drop a lot more, though beating the £119 I pad for an LG G-Pad last month by much seems unlikely. S3's might soon be turning up in cereal boxes though and low end devices seem to have no floor price.

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The verdict is in: Samsung to pay Apple $120m chump change, but gets tiny rebate

Paul Shirley
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@DougS they admitted it to a court

Apple were forced to admit the MS deal and it's no copy requirement in court during the first Samsung trial. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/9474162/Apple-reveals-secret-patent-deal-with-Microsoft-in-Samsung-trial.html, one of many reports.

It's fortunate that some of us have longer memories than Apple/MS need to get away with astroturfing.

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Paul Shirley
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@DougS patent cross licence

You forget they didn't just cross licence patents,they agreed to cooperate on attacking android AND Microsoft agreed not to use the look & feel of ios to gain apple support. Almost every ui decision in wp is driven by that need to be different even if different is inferior, driven by the desire of two tech companies to interfere with another companies business by fair means or foul.

The result has been a ui the buying public largely ignore and sales dominated by the budget pricing of Nokias lowest end devices. A ui where the closest to unique features seem to be vanishing with each update as Microsoft realise the few journalists raving about things like the hubs aren't actually influencing public opinion or driving sales, leaving wp increasingly just a subset of the feature set of ios and android with sharper corners and half as well implemented.

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OUCH... right in the Androids! Google hit by another antitrust sueball

Paul Shirley
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...and that's why OEMs feel compelled to offer Google services on their devices - their customers DEMAND it. The most optimistic ambulance chasing outcome would be a Microsoft style ballot on 1st start. And that's largely means just clearing the default 'intent' bindings, which aren't necessarily preset in any case, sure I've been asked to choose on first use of supposedly G exclusive services more than once.

That's likely to piss off OEMs more than Google. It's a safe bet ~100% of users will choose Google at the ballot leaving all the OEMs unable to favour their own crapware. Make no mistake, almost no devices actually ship without competition to Google built in:

- my LG tablet has LG stores, it's own (utterly useless) voice search and other G equivalents

- my Orange branded Blade has search,maps,email,browser and other direct equivalents and they were ALL given better placement than the native apps. They all got erased the moment I achieved root.

- my Sony had multiple app stores, music players and I forget how much else, all now nuked

- my HTC had just G stuff. It was a Google reference device though ;)

The OEMs will wail and nash teeth if this comes to pass. There will be no rush to launch cheaper versions shorn of the services, perhaps a couple of display builds that never reach the stores to piss off the lawyers. And there won't be any price drop. Probably won't be any cash award for lawyers to steal either.

Let's also remember Kindle demonstrates competition is alive and well. Nokia's X devices ram that home.

Ambulance chasing of a high order. They'd be better off bringing a class action against the buying public that keep Google where they are. Almost in control.

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Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Paul Shirley
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...well my profile has most of the same things showing but looks radically different and I'll be spending a few days just guessing which anonymous glyph does what. Haven't worked out yet how to push the tool bar back down to the window bottom where it belongs.

Too early to tell if they've fixed the backend annoyances but the front end is feeling gratuitously downgraded right now. Have to hope they don't break it as badly as the Android build.

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Stephen Elop: I was RIGHT to BURN the PLATFORMS

Paul Shirley
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Re: What was the point of getting Lumia out in record time?

SpiderPig: "Totally agree. Symbian with an improved interface from the guys at Qt Mobile would have nailed Android, iOS and especially WP."

...and a well established inability to ship *any software or UI* internally developed on time. WP at least had the advantage (dubious as it is) of allowing very little OEM customisation and living on a tightly specified platform - for eternally late phone software developers a nearly ready-to-ship full phone stack and hardware design. Ideal for breaking out of development stasis. QT is nowhere near a full stack, not even a full mobile UI.

If Nokia had brought in a good manager they could have pulled off becoming an Android powerhouse, maybe even resurrected Symbian. They chose Elop instead and just gave up.

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Windows Phone: Just as well Microsoft bought an Android maker, RIGHT?

Paul Shirley
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android hackers v MS - wonder who'll win?

It's going to be fun watching the battle between hackers and MS to keep Google apps off these devices. The most common thing heard from buyers of cheap Chinese Android is 'how do I install Google Market/Play'. You can sell devices without Google but it much harder making them actually use alternatives when the physical device is in their hands.

MS would be wise to not rely on driving use of 2nd rated services like Bing, or high data/high cost use on whatever today's name for their cloud is. Make Office work better on their devices and maybe they have a chance.

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Nvidia's new CUDA 6 has the 'most significant new functionality in the history of CUDA'

Paul Shirley
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Re: heading off AMD?

The announcement further up the page of heterogeneous Opterons with unified memory might be what's spooked Nvidia and a sign AMD are about to get much more serious...

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Paul Shirley
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heading off AMD?

Feels more like they're laying the groundwork for a move to a physical unified memory architecture before amd can make any gains. Or should that be "any more gains", amd already grabbed the ps4 and xb1 business with a unified memory design.

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Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast

Paul Shirley
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worried about damaging the USB port

Very nearly bought one yesterday before deciding having even a shortish stick hanging off the charging port is risky, too much leverage as it flexes and chance of damaging the port. Really needs to be much smaller or at least flatter to cut down the flexing. Instead I'll be trying an OTG cable adaptor and normal stick.

Someday there'll be the right combination of form factor, speed & price but this falls a little short.

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EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app

Paul Shirley
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Orange duplicates every Google app that could run up charges

My wife's Orange OSF arrived infested with Orange duplicates of every Google app, all placed prominently on the home screen, all the Google originals hidden in the app draw. All of them chargeable to use.

There's nothing accidental about this, Orange try very hard to trick users into authorising unnecessary charges instead of using the free option already on their device. Silently running up data charges is just so easy they could hardly resist. I find it rather easy to believe they've gone an extra step and fired up services without waiting for the hapless user to click the wrong launch icon and mistakenly give permission.

I admired the Orange crappery so much it got wiped after 60min, instead of the 24 hours testing I'd planned on. It really was that blatantly abusive.

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Windows Phone 8.1: Like WinPho 8, but BETTER

Paul Shirley
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Re: How will it make money?

They've already been effectively giving it away with every Lumia shipped thanks to those support payments and cheap Lumia's are essentially the entire WP market. So far it's the only thing that's worked to drum up sales and they can't afford to stop.

As the new owner of the phone business they were laundering the subsidy (AKA free licences) through they're forced to offer everyone the same deal or face a visit with regulators.

The alternative is giving up on the big 'Win8 ecosystem' plan. Amazon have just screwed the XBox1 side of that deal with FireTV, Win8 continues it's slow train wreck and WP is just about holding on. They're desperate, half the company is staked on that ecosystem and it's not going well. They're aiming for survival right now, not making money.

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That's it, we're all really OLD: Google's Gmail is 10 ALREADY

Paul Shirley
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those so called 'killer features'...

...are roughly the minimum *starting point* I've expected from mail clients since the mid 90's. Even DOS clients ;)

Depressing to think the move to the browser set mail back so far, for so long that Googles horrible Gmail client was somehow revolutionary. I find it a lot more palatable using gmail as just a transport layer, even the mediocre Thunderbird front end beats Googles piss poor efforts.

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Meet the man building an AI that mimics our neocortex – and could kill off neural networks

Paul Shirley
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Re: Time gentlemen, please.

Time is an inherent requirement of the way neurons work, both as individual analogue 'devices' and networks of them. Accumulating charge and generating pulses are inherently time domain behaviour.

While it's reasonable to supposed evolution has worked out use that to create intelligence, it's foolish to dismiss alternatives as wrong. Brains may be our best known example of intelligent hardware and well worth study and replication, but that's all they are - 'the best known example'.

Also surprising to hear that he's the only one considering time as vital to AI, it's implicit in everything that can learn yet built, since it's difficult to learn anything without some acceptance of cause&effect.

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Nokia launches Euro ANDROID invasion, quips: 'Microsoft knew what they were buying'

Paul Shirley
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That £70 price tag was for an unlocked, SIM free 520 from Amazon a few months back (other places actually managed a little cheaper). No hint of a carrier subsidy. The price still bounces between that and £90 with no ongoing commitment.

I can very easily believe management at Nokia were unaware they were almost giving the stock away ;)

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Microsoft slaps fresh paint on code-free Windows Phone dev tool

Paul Shirley
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documents and website packaged as crapware

I'd love the opportunity to take the piss out of the WP store - but every other app store is also choking in exactly the same not-really-an-app crapware. Sometimes seems there's no dev tool that does less than the app using public will accept ;(

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EC officials voice doubts about Almunia's planned Google settlement deal

Paul Shirley
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Re: A lobbyist lobbying nightmare.

It barely matters whether you believe MS are right,wrong about the complaint (or equivalently whether on not Google are guilty).

MS and their posse of failure vertical search rivals don't want a fair or just settlement, measured by what's fair for EU citizens. Their self-serving interference has delayed any action and given Google opportunities to subvert the whole process in it's favour.

Almunia has listened to the wrong people giving the wrong advice, people that benefit from Google polluting search, that want to keep it polluted but change who gains from that. It's only going to get worse, whatever the ruling.

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Satya Nadella is 'a sheep, a follower' says ex-Microsoft exec

Paul Shirley
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a stopped clock

Dan Lyons proving that even a stopped clock is right sometimes ;)

Microsoft needed change and this appointment signals that all the large changes are already finalised, he's just there for minor course corrections. Hard to see that being enough. Not enough to change internal MS culture enough and there's no hint at all of any change to their attitude towards customers.

Too little to break Microsoft out of the stasis it's mired in.

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Microsoft to RIP THE SHEETS off Windows 9 aka 'Threshold' in April

Paul Shirley
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Re: Will anyone still care?

>>It was hard to ignore Windows 8.

Surely the problem was it was far too easy to ignore win8...

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Pre-Xmas phone numbers: Apple slips, Windows Phone grabs 1 in 10 new sales

Paul Shirley
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Re: Ten Percent?

Someone I know finally got one, so I've finally actually seen one in real life.

Thing is, it's not the phone he chose when the carrier made him "an offer he couldn't refuse". Maybe all the better options really were out of stock and it wasn't just a marketing subsidy. He seems quite happy with it but the tariff was the important thing, any usable phone would have done.

Microsoft aren't just selling them cheap, they're giving them away.

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Microsoft tries to trademark 'Mod' in the US

Paul Shirley
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one of its European partners?

Surely the problem was that the German Metro brand owner was not a Microsoft partner in any form giving MS no leverage to bully and nothing that particular supermarket chain wants to bargain with.

Given that any online "Metro Store" would suffer feature creep (as seen over at Google store), killing a potential competitor would make sense to a retailer with no MS dependencies. What's wrong with Windows Modern though (or even "Windows Metro"), if they're allowed to bolt Windows and Mod together they'd have no more trouble doing Windows Modern and it's a hell of a lot more stylish. Even if the product it describes is the opposite of stylish ;)

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Picture this: Data-wrangling boffins say they have made JPEGs OBSOLETE

Paul Shirley
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JPEG2000 failed because it was chock full of patents and a suicidal hard line licensing policy. The critical mass needed for success never happened, too few developers felt like paying for a unproven format, it never proved itself because so few used it.

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Google search biz offer BINNED by EU competition chief

Paul Shirley
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@DavCrav

"they may pull these levers with impunity"

That *possibility* is why the EU feel entitled to regulate.

The near total failure of the complaining competitors to convince anyone (but each other) that it's actually happening is why the neither the EU or Google are in any apparent hurry to settle.

The ongoing reality is, even completely neutral and fair search ranking inherently facilitates and accelerates competition and that's extremely bad news for poor products. And that's half the problem, producers of bad product are being hurt by their own poor quality more than ever before, unable to find enough clueless buyers because search is giving too many clues.

While I ordinarily wouldn't care how much bad products get fscked, I have some sympathy with a view that page1 results are so powerful even if they were perfectly ranked that would still not be good for overall market(s). The other problem is the whiners are so used to using SEO to abuse search engines, they haven't even been asking for a neutral, accurate search engine. Instead they want to carry on as usual, buying visibility, they just don't want Google doing it.

It's a mess but not one I see the complainants coming out ahead from because none of the solutions give them what they want, an even more broken system that happens to favour their interests.

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Legal bruiser Reback joins Google battle in Europe

Paul Shirley
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complainants did it to themselves

I still say the complainants did it to themselves. Faced with the stark reality that in a fair search market the best product would win, they played for advantage rather than fairness or proportionate measures to preserve competition.

But they never stopped to think about who would actually benefit from rigging the competition, always assuming it would be themselves. Turns out if you let a group of scum that think SEO is more effective than building better product, it's whoever they attack that benefits!

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Microsoft: Here, we'll make it easy for you Gmail lot. Meet our Outlook.com movers

Paul Shirley
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Re: @Test Man

"send e-mails using your already-existing GMail address"

...you mean, exactly the same as I'm doing with Thunderbird right now? email clients stopped being service specific decades ago. If MS have done something clever, this ain't it.

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Paul Shirley
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@Test Man

You mean it does the same as setting up Thunderbird to control all my email accounts?

Or using K9 to do it?

Or the shitty Android gmail client?

Or more than one of them in parallel?

Remind me why Outlook doing that is so interesting?

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NO XMAS PRESENTS FOR Google Now and Siri: Chirpy scamps get a C+

Paul Shirley
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Re: Now try these same tests outside of the US

After the last search update I'm finding Google no longer recognises my English accent often enough for even simple requests. 'Wake me at"+time used to be reliable, now it hasn't once recognised the spoken time and misses the 'wake' part >50% of the time.

Perhaps not surprising, it struggles to even start on my 4.2.1+underpowered Xperia Play combo. But it worked a month ago on the same phone, seems to be going backwards ;(

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Thought your Android phone was locked? THINK AGAIN

Paul Shirley
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they got a respnse?

"decided to go public after the Android Security Team stopped responding to its e-mails about the issue"

WTF!

That implies they managed to get a response from the team. Highly unusual from any Google offshoot, it's not the Google way.

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It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources

Paul Shirley
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Re: Re :- "The update also cleaned out a vast amount of accumulated bloat"

By bloat I mean the 5+gb of leftover files 12months updates, installs and uninstalls had scattered throughout the system folders, with no way to tell what was deletable and no tool able to deal with them. In some cases with permissions preventing even administrator accounts deleting them.

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Paul Shirley
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Much though I'd like to join in the bashing here, 8.1 changed so much of the core OS it was never going to be a small update. Although they seemed to downplay it, 8.1 seems to have fixed a shedload of problems, I went from needing to restart every 5 days or so as it crawled to a halt or crashed, to weeks of uptime. From less stable than XP to pretty good, even hardware that fell over regularly on 8.0 just works under 8.1.

The update also cleaned out a vast amount of accumulated bloat that nothing else could shift and 8.1 seems to be generating much less of it.

3+gb would be outrageous to restore a useless button, in reality this is a massive bug fix for the entire broken OS.

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Paul Shirley
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Microsoft put considerable effort into convincing developers there would be platform convergence and at least broad app compatibility across pc,tablet and phone before completely failing to deliver it in Win8. Today's plan is little more than saying "trust us, this time we'll really deliver what we promised last time".

The only change is finally conceding they cocked up the desktop+mouse+keyboard experience though I'll be shocked if they actually revert the metro look&feel vandalism that makes it so unpleasant to use. Good thing 3rd parties have already reverted out most of the chrome breakage - the vanished or de-emphasised visual cues that just make metro mode look dull in comparison.

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Sony PS4 SHATTERS UK console sales SPEED RECORD

Paul Shirley
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My console gaming friends&acquaintances adopted a 'wait&see what Steam,Nvidia,AMD and Intel could do for PC gaming' policy. It's no longer an XBox/PS choice.

There's also a growing realisation that if you buy a lot of games the console tax soon adds up and they're overpaying for the console hardware. Much better to spend it on cheaper PC game builds and regular PC upgrades.

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Best budget Android smartphone there is? Must be the Moto G

Paul Shirley
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Re: No infra red port

Hey, if it's good enough for XBone it's mandatory for Android!

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Microsoft Surface slabs borked by heat-induced DIM SCREEN OF DEATH

Paul Shirley
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Re: With MS I wait for the fourth.

Don't you mean 3.1th go?

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