* Posts by Paul Shirley

1527 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

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

Paul Shirley
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Nextag

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

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

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

Paul Shirley
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@Rimpel

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

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

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

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

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

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Apple Watch: Exactly how many vids does it take to teach a fanboi to tell the time?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Look like Tag Heuer

If you paid a heavy premium for the Apple brand why would you want to replace the branding?

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Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

Paul Shirley
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Re: Monopsony not Monopoly?

@strum: "Google Maps didn't get to be top of the pile because it was better than all the rest"

Google maps got to be better because Google invested VAST amounts of money making it better.

You could try arguing that's unfair to smaller competitors who cannot match the investment in servers or mapping but if they couldn't afford to do that they simply couldn't deliver the same level of service anyway. Simply spending money to build *better* product is not abuse, however much it buggers up someone else's business. It's abuse when you spend money only to screw with competition.

Some tasks need scale to do well, that's why we allow large corporations to be large, why we allow monopolies rather than aggressively breaking them up before they do wrong. Maps would seem to be one of them.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Monopsony not Monopoly?

"after a time lag where you lap up the gravy"

That's a big flaw in the economic theory. I don't care if the market corrects abuse, harm is occurring in that lag time and that lag can easily stretch to years - even decades if you look at examples like Microsoft. As usual when economic theory hits the messy real world, it falls short.

Regulation is often needed even in a self correcting market and it's needed here to keep everyone honest *today*, not at some unpredictable time in the future.

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Ex-Windows designer: Ballmer was dogmatic, Sinofsky's bonkers, and WinPho needs to change

Paul Shirley
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Re: So blameMicrsoft because it doesn't innovate...

@LDS "You're saying basically there should be no innovation because people should never change habits"

I'm saying: innovation != improvement and the public get to choose which innovations they want to use, not inventors.

Innovation is great but when it fails to deliver better or more desirable products you need to accept that and try something different, not endlessly bang on about everyone else being wrong. Windows is currently demonstrating how to innovate a product into a worse one, WP innovated itself into irrelevance right from the start.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: I don't get the hate

Some of the hate is a byproduct of the astonishingly aggressive astroturfing Microsoft indulged in right up to ballet quitting. BS of such orchestrated consistency might have influenced the ordinary public to buy, addressed at geeks who'd seen the same gameplan before it was a disaster.

Astroturfing justifiably breeds hate and that spills over onto the product.

The only successful marketing Microsoft managed was getting so many European carriers to hard sell windows phones with contract renewals. That's how my only wp owning friend got lumbered with a phone he's increasingly regretting being talked into taking.

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UH OH, it's MOBILEGEDDON! Your site may lose, well, PENNIES

Paul Shirley
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The BBC site isn't even desktop friendly! A twisty maze of passages, all alike, none leading where you expect.

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Paul Shirley
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so much mobile viewing

With the increased use of mobiles to view the web it seems a reasonable idea to encourage sites to get mobile friendly. Hard to see any real competitive advantage it increases for G either, every mobile platform gets the 'better' sites whether Android,IOS,WP or something minor.

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EU says dominant Google ILLEGALLY FIDDLES search results

Paul Shirley
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Re: Dog food eating

"we just assume Google search is better"

Many of us *remember* Google Search actually being MASSIVELY better than anything else and see no point switching to an unfamiliar alternative while G search remains competitive. What's really degraded G search down the years is persistent attacks from SEO, given the relentless gaming and cheating it's a miracle search works at all. But other search engines are at least as degraded.

I don't miss the days aggregators and meta comparison sites regularly managed to hijack entire pages of results till the link farm banhammer hit them. Some of the loudest complainers are really whining about their scuzzy SEO efforts no longer being tolerated. I say fuck'em, they just waste my time.

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Paul Shirley
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the only certain thing...

...is Foundem really won't like the result, whatever happens, they still won't have a product anyone wants to use and no amount of fiddling the search results will change that.

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'We STRONGLY DISAGREE' that we done WRONG, says Google

Paul Shirley
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Trying to 'kill' your competition is *not illegal*, but the methods used may be. That's true even for (near) monopolies, we just tend to pay little attention until a monopoly forms and allow them to do much less.

It's not yet decided if Google did more than was allowed at the time they did it. It won't be a politician deciding that with Microsoft funded campaigning ringing in their ears.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: I google for "Webmail" on my Nexus 5

Well... the settlement discussions last year did seem somewhat focussed on ensuring paid ads would retain prominent positions on G search results. Quite how Foundem thinks they can afford to buy those positions is a mystery however.

Since 'fixing' the algorithm seems off the table, Foundem's best bet is buying ads. The good news for them is it will be a fair contest for those valuable slots from now on ;)

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In some ways, dating apps are the anti-internet

Paul Shirley
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"You're confusing the total number of acts with the total number of participants. Elementary logical failure."

or more likely, the willingness to perform is higher than success rates in men, lower in women.

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Microsoft cramming free stuff into Galaxy S6es? Not so fast – US telcos

Paul Shirley
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@MikeS "take up any further storage"

Yes, bloody annoying. They steal valuable storage so the system partition is big enough for the crapware, then updates end up using the user partition anyway. And there's not much chance of recovering the wasted space even rooted.

Install packages can happily flash user space, there's not technical reason they have to abuse system space like this.

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Life after Nokia: Microsoft Lumia 640 budget WinPho blower

Paul Shirley
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...except they haven't fixed the desktop yet. I don't believe they're even trying to fix what's broken in Win10's UI. Won't stop them bringing the same pain to mobile though...

Am left wondering: they shrank to Start Screen, bolted it onto the classic desktop and called it the return of the Start Menu (it's not). Will they do the same to WP and give us a Start Menu\Screen so small no-one can read it? I won't be surprised if it happens ;)

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Radio 4 and Dr K on programming languages: Full of Java Kool-Aid

Paul Shirley
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Re: “Goto statement considred harmful”

@ScottME and I see you're missing the point that half the goto commenters make - that sometimes the GOTO simplifies programme structure, sometimes massively.

I strenuously avoid goto more because of the historical behaviour of compilers, treating the branch and it's target as barriers, neatly disabling most compiler optimisations. Today's compilers handle it better but still aren't perfect and it's used so little they have no incentive to improve that. Most programmers don't need to worry about that level of performance.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Those who can, do, those who can't, write about it...

I quite like Java for the sheer speed of 'recompiles', something I miss badly every time an unlucky header change forces a 40min C++ recompile on the current project (we inherited this mess and it's too tangled to fix). But I did miss the astonishing expressive power of C++, Java is dumbed down to very few choices and the semantic differences with C++ are a constant annoyance.

I find myself wondering how to elegantly express ideas in C++, compared to wondering if what I'm trying is even possible in Java - it takes the joy out of programming. The Java is probably more productive if you aren't working on extremely high performance applications though ;)

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Lib Dems wheel out Digital Rights Bill pledge as election sweetener

Paul Shirley
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Re: [the Lib Dems have] never broken an election promise before.

@AMBxx ...and whichever scum get in we desperately need some of their election promises to be broken. Every time.

If there was a 'hung parliament' option on the voting form I'd use it, keep the bastards from pretending we voted for their batshit insane policies because they bundled them with less unpalatable ones than the other side.

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Videogame publishers to fans: Oi, freetard! STOP RESURRECTING our dead titles online

Paul Shirley
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As an occasional game designer my position has always been that you're buying a licence to play my *content* and the playback tech is secondary but covered. Resell my content and I'll sue you. Resell my playback tech, I'll sue. Keep the content and playback tech working, I'll try to avoid paying you for your hard work but you're safe.

But publishers create very little, own a lot. And want your money more than they want to accept any obligation to past customers. They want to rent content, not asign you any rights. A pox on them.

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Nokia may tell struggling HERE Maps division to get lost – report

Paul Shirley
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Deadly obsession

Time to remember the part Here played in pushing Nokia to Windows rather than Android. In a small way (compared to the total mismanagement) that obsession with the mapping crown jewels killed Nokia as a mobile supplier.

Even now they've allowed it onto android the app can be a PIA to use.

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Android alt-wars: OnePlus looses Cyanogen-slaying OxygenOS firmware

Paul Shirley
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Just what oneplus needs

More work to distract them from creating a usable customer service setup.

... although that presumes they have any intention of doing customer service, it feels like they invested more resources in selling overpriced addons than anything else. Not a company I would trust to get an OS right before much pain has been suffered.

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Aluminum bendy battery is boffins' answer to EXPLODING Li-ion menace

Paul Shirley
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Re: For once the news on the battery front may actually lead to something.

@Lee D: all true for portable uses but you ignore the mention of grid storage. High energy density is less important than not blowing up/burning easily, long lifetime and low cost. A stack of these sitting in garages or cupboards soaking up PV panel output would pretty much solve the intermittency problem. Could go a long way to fixing it in wind power, which aren't short of space to pile up batteries.

This isn't a replacement for lithium cells, more suitable for displacing lead acid. You wouldn't put them in your car but might put them in the garage to charge that car.

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Got an Android mobe with a virus? Congrats, you're The One Per Cent

Paul Shirley
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Re: Ouch

Can't disable those permissions (without rooting) but its not hard to take the hint and just not install any of that suspicious crapware, when the installer warns you. I can't remember any app that asked for blatantly unnecessary permissions so useful or tempting it was with worth ignoring that warning.

Unfortunately the world is full of stupid people that do ignore those warnings, do install complete crap and there's no good way to stop them doing it. Bit of a miracle infection rates aren't 50%+.

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The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

Paul Shirley
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Re: " it is harder to spot in a car most of the time."

That's a huge part of the problem, a substantial fraction of shipped DAB are in cars or used in cars and high quality is pointless in most of them, most of the time. That's a powerful disincentive to bother upping bitrates or risking DAB+, the users with least alternatives are the ones least likely to notice an improvement.

Fixed locations are similarly affected, if your FM, DVB or IP is seriously bad there's no pressure for DAB to do much better. If it's not bad there's even less reason to use DAB at all.

DAB service providers got away with a barely tolerable service when they had no competition and still have too little competition in key market niches to improve their offer. Alternatives have now shut them out of most niches and that can only get worse. It's a dead tech.

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Smart meters are a ‘costly mistake’ that'll add BILLIONS to bills

Paul Shirley
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Re: short term benefit @John 48

"You have a very good point, but that is not what Tezfair was talking about."

What he described was reducing what the *power meter read*. For the tubes it's unlikely there was a matching real power reduction and who needs a smart meter to tell them low power bulbs will reduce consumption?

Useful in the same way a placebo is, just there to remind you to actually replace and turn off powered stuff. But that means they might as well loan people cheap power meters for 3 months instead of mugging them for smart meters (and doing it every time they try to change suppliers).

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Forum chat is like Clarkson punching you repeatedly in the face

Paul Shirley
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Re: Poor Oisin

It looks very like the knobend might have got away with it if he'd kept his mouth shut. No sign the producer was going to report the incident, though it's hard to believe it wouldn't have hit the newspapers and forced the issue anyway, too many people witnessed it. I have to assume the knobend worked out he wasn't going to get a "jim'll fix it" free pass this time without heroic efforts, so he shopped himself.

Not heroic enough. Oh... Supposedly he did try the groveling apology... Didn't bother doing it publicly where it might have made him look less like a sacked dickhead.

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Hey, Microsoft, we can call Windows 10 apps anything we like – you're NOT OUR REAL MOM

Paul Shirley
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Re: Terminology

Wow, you're right, computers do indeed run programs. Some of those programs interpret scripts. Some of them were interpreting scripts long before the 80's.

I also remember using more descriptive terms like OS,game & application back in the 70's more often than 'program'. We were still arguing about the correct spelling of that one back then. 'Script' had to wait for the 80's... I wrote a lot of scripts building data for games back then. Didn't right many 'programs'...

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As H-dot Oettinger drafts Europe's new copyright laws – who's he been talking to?

Paul Shirley
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he's talking to the bad guys instead of creators :(

Let's try to remember: as a very rough&ready approximation, publisher!=content creator. Even where they fund creation it's often more like dealing with a loan shark than mutually beneficial.

It looks worryingly like he's spent more time with publishers than actual creators, yet those creators far too often need protection from publishers more than from pirates. Little chance of positive change then ;(

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Cyanogen finds $80m in collecting tin after busking session

Paul Shirley
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@dogged

..yet the majority of CM users first action is installing the Google software that so offends you! One of the earliest things CM had to do was negotiate with Google to ensure users could continue to get the Google core stuff.

Bloated and intrusive, yes. Still doesn't seem to worry normal users at all. The outrage has been manufactured and grossly exaggerated so far.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Meh

Quite a lot of us that have used CyanogenMod started trusting them a lot less when it went commercial. I moved away from pure CyanogenMod before that, device support was patchy and all the interesting things were happening in other forks.

With Murdoch onboard, think I'll be avoiding it from now on.

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Hated biz smart meter rollout: UK.gov sticks chin out, shuts eyes

Paul Shirley
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Re: I don't get it at all.

"What on earth are these smart meters meant to achieve?"

They're meant to allow gas suppliers to sack all their meter readers, low paid workers so my small share of the wage reduction will never cover the cost of installing the meters. The companies involved will turn a profit though, so that's alright with politicians sucking at the corporate teat.

...and nothing I've seen to date convinces me they will achieve any useful reduction in energy use. I'll vote for keeping a few more folk employed.

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Windows 10 apps to rule them all – phones, slabs and PCs: Microsoft pulls out 'universal' tool

Paul Shirley
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Re: API Contract is not just feature availability

I didn't read anything suggesting this is more than feature query support in the article.

Android supports runtime permission and api presence checks. The problem is few programmers use them or deal with unexpected errors gracefully, I cant see them doing any different on Windows. Unless 'API Contract' involves the user and becomes widespread in practice we'll continue assuming the permissions we asked for are what we have. It's a compatibility wrecking change - again, don't see any suggestion of that in the article. Be nice to have as a user but lazy programmers (or plain malicious ones) will carry on ignoring it.

Or maybe all it means is, when I call an API and it doesn't instantly crash, the call actually worked? Unlike the empty stub functions Microsoft so loved inserting without warning in my past encounters with Windows programming ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Re: "The devil, however, is in the details."

Indeed. It's an ancient idea that dates right back to the first GUI's and I can't remember any layout manager that does does it particularly well without some programmed assistance.

Even if the MS effort works better than anything before it, they'll inevitably bind in the the look&feel choices their designers want to inflict on us. We could easily end up with apps that look equally ugly on all formats - great auto-layout but still the wrong result!

I doubt the days of supplying multiple layout files to help nudge layout in the right direction for formats are over, even with the woefully dull 'Modern' look&feel.

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Ten things you always wanted to know about IP Voice

Paul Shirley
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Re: No SIP app required on modern Android hand sets

Unfortunately the native SIP support seems to be optional, it came and went at random as I replaced firmware. I don't remember it ever working with my sip provider on my last phone in any case and I can't find any sign of it on my LG G2.

Luckily CSipSimple has worked reliably and integrates with the normal dialer.

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US threatened Berlin with intel blackout over Snowden asylum: report

Paul Shirley
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@tom dial

You're assuming the us *believes it needs* German cooperation. They've shown no hesitation to spy on allies to date or lie about it in public.

In any case the overriding concern is to ensure no one else ever dares leak their misbehaviour. Only fleeing to a country able to obliterate the US and run by a leader that might actually do it stopped the chase this time.

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Windows 10 build 10041: 99 bugs on the wall, fix a bug, add a feature, 114 bugs on the wall

Paul Shirley
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Re: You'd be surprised, I certainly was

One thing we learned from the Win8 fiasco is how determined 10's Microsoft is to impose change on Windows look&feel. So desperate to become relevant on mobile, they ignored the sheer ugliness of the resulting desktop, ignored public feedback and we've recently heard insiders claim they ignored 80% unfavourable feedback from their own employees.

They tried so hard not to look like IOS or Android and succeeded. Like or loath it, Googles flat icons look good (but are so cryptic I struggle to use the apps), IOS at least looks well drawn (in a childs toy way). Microsoft just look amateur and lacking in visual cues.

While the functional parts of Win10 are still in flux, the UI is heading in only one direction. It remains to be seen if enough pressure can be applied to force change. My bet is they'll need catastrophic take up of Win10 upgrades before that happens. Which means I'll be risking the security of Win10 with even more 3rd party fixes, I'm already running multiple UI hacks to make 8.1 acceptable :(

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Paul Shirley
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Re: As far as this article is concerned I have no problems with the general tone........

Very wrong, it's pretty clear they're fuglyfying at least the icons and if we don't comment on that hard and often that's what will ship. I hope someone is saving the old icon resources right now ready to hack them back in over this eye bruising mistake.

I can live without pretty but nothing needs to be this pointlessly fugly and waiting won't magically make it look better. Some things need stomping on fast and vigorously, Microsoft still aren't good at listening.

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Apple's portable power podule patent promises paroxysms of fanboi joy

Paul Shirley
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Re: I don't get it

@Steve Todd:"AND communicates with the fuel cell pack at the same time"

Now explain why that's A: not obvious, B: not required to fulfil it's function (how else would you detect fuel level?). Both are grounds for invalidation.

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$30 Landfill Android mobes are proof that capitalism ROCKS

Paul Shirley
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Re: Have you had a closer look at that 'landfill' recently?

gotes:"A few years down the line you find that less and less apps are supported"

What actually happens is Google removes a permission or 2 with each release, borks up some other support (usually claiming 'it was never meant to work that way') and generally breaks existing apps. Some apps will be fixed, some won't. In some ways it's better to *not* upgrade Android devices, my old Xperia never performed properly after upgrading past Gingerbread.

But the poor manufacturer update support will be a massively more dangerous problem for this market. I can afford to store no sensitive information on my phone, I have a more secure PC for that. These devices are going to be the only computing device for many and handling sensitive data. And they won't be secure enough.

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Honey, I shrunk the Windows footprint

Paul Shirley
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Re: Don't stop there

@Big Ted

My wife's Linux box comes in and out of sleep mode in seconds and isn't tied to anyone's cloud. Think I'll skip crippling it with cloud based crapness. Oh, I turn my PC off when it crashes, start:stop time isn't something I work about, Microsoft's inability to have working sleep mode on so many desktops does Anjou me.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Windows Phone?

512mb ram was already a problem for universal apps, most of us aren't going to risk dealing with floods of complaints when resource heavy apps fail on under specced devices. We'll just continue writing for desktop mode and leave universal for toy apps.

Luckily for Microsoft most users only use toy apps on their low end devices, just a pity their strategy will create a further dumbed down PC experience. As if the metro fiasco wasn't enough damage.

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$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

Paul Shirley
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Paying for sex?

So basically you're strapping an "I couldn't get laid without money" sign on your wrist?

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Quantum computers have failed. So now for the science

Paul Shirley
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re: "information propagation is limited by the speed of light"

Spooky action is what you have to assume if Bell's inequality is a correct description of reality and there's no hidden variable carrying the entangled state. But if this theory can supply that hidden variable then superluminal information transport is not needed, the state was always there waiting to be measured.

Got to say it's a hard sell, but not necessarily harder to believe than other interpretations of quantum behaviour.

Can I say 'pilot wave theory' and suggest this is not exactly new.

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Ouch! Google crocks capacitors and deviates DRAM to root Linux

Paul Shirley
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Re: It is just an elevation

Surely the point is with write access to even a single arbitrary page table entrie you have unrestricted access to *physical ram*, then you could map any other processes ram into your address space and modify privilege bits at will.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Double the cost?

@paul Crawford

We live in a world's where Lenovo were prepared to ship malware on PCs because margins are too slim on the hardware. 20% on the ram really is a significant overhead for most of the devices shipped.

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Paul Shirley
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@thames

It probably can be fixed in firmware by adding the right guard pages around critical structures but knowing where those pages need to be will require ram manufacturers input, component databases in each os and probably won't happen.

What's more likely is they'll need to reduce power saving tweaks (like under volting and reduced refresh rates) and everyone gets lower battery life on their laptops. No idea why they think more than a tiny minority of desktop machine are using ECC.

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Microsoft: You'll get the next Windows 10 build when we're GOOD AND READY

Paul Shirley
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Re: "It was validated by our test automation."

Rival_product_A_doesn't_work_test. Passed

Rival_product_B_doesn't_work_test. Passed

Rival_product_C_doesn't_work_test. Passed

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Oi. APPLE fanboi! You with the $10k and pocket on fire! Fancy a WATCH?

Paul Shirley
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Re: So at least that answers the question..

I think you're on to something, the iWatch, a codpiece that tells time!

Fully consistent with rumours apple are entering the other penis extension market with cars ;)

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