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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1376 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Hello! Still here! Surface 2! Way better than iPad! says slightly desperate Microsoft

Paul Shirley
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better than last years efforts

At least they remembered to show them doing something, last year you could easily get the impression Surface was just a colourful prop for dance routines and the keyboard a great way to make clicking sounds, tap dancing style.

Probably the right choice attacking iPad as well, there are too many physically similar Android convertibles around. Playing the 'it runs Windows' card again isn't an option, didn't work first time and if anything people care less now.

Can't see long term success in stealing iPad defectors though, with Android undercutting everyone in every sector and defectors inevitably not being fanbois (or they wouldn't move), painting Surface as a better iPad won't justify the pricing.

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XBOX ONE owners rage as HDMI SNAFU 'judders' Brit and Euro tellies

Paul Shirley
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Re: "50Hz TV input is snapped alongside a 60Hz game"

That could neuter any frame rate adaptation the TV is performing. Instead of being able to detect duplicates every 6 frames and deduce it's really 50Hz, the 60Hz elements make every frame unique. Sets are going to be optimised to handle 50<->60Hz conversion well, but only if they can detect the need to convert.

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Samsung and HTC face Android 3D graphics test chart removal SHAME

Paul Shirley
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While Samsung have been caught bumping GPU clock speed, it's not the only way to game the scores. Nvidia used to get caught regularly dropping in custom shaders, dropping precision and changing texture modes in benchmarks. Sometimes that had zero effect on render output and is actually an acceptable approach in non-benchmarking contexts, drivers usually have game specific hacks built in - nowadays with en\disable control.

Even GPU overclocking isn't always easy to detect, or likely to decrease battery life enough for certainty.

It's a repeat of the NVidia+ATI+others situation, with the same solution - repeated public exposure till they stop.

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Xbox One FAILS to beat PS3 - yes, PS 3 - week one sales

Paul Shirley
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competition between software publishers

...and since the hardware is all but identical, competition isn't coming from Sony+Microsoft, unless you're one of the few people that think gamers will actually buy into Kinect this time round. They'll both get the same games, the PS4 will run them faster or prettier, the XB180 builds will have superfluous Kinect gesture support grafted on (but left unused by players). In a years time they'll have equivalent social network support, and video+media hub functions.

And they'll both have increasingly overpriced software in a world of mobile and resurgent PC gaming, markets that do have actual competition instead of a phony platform war based on theatrics more than actual competition.

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Meet the BlackBerry wizardry that created its 'better Android than Android'

Paul Shirley
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Re: Security?

In also struggling to see how an essentially brute force hack is "clever". Hard work but clever?

A clever solution would have isolated all app components in their own pseudo VM and shimmed emulation under it, allowing some amount of security to be enforced.

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Can't wait for 4G? Take heart, 5G is on the way

Paul Shirley
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Re: "in the future accessing the Public Service Broadcasters by IP"

Someone just needs to remind them that without including Freeview radio in their total, they'll never hit the threshold for turning off FM. Should hold the idiots up for a few years trying to decide which plan to sacrifice.

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XBOX ONE ROUNDUP-of-the-ROUNDUPS: Everything YOU need to know

Paul Shirley
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The PS4 won't do DNLA out of the box, that's not the same as won't do it ever.

But it does illustrate the most significant difference between the consoles, the PR Microsoft and Sony wrapped around them. Sony promised a gaming device that could be a media player, Microsoft a media hub that could play games. Both ship unfinished but right now Sony delivered more of what they promoted than Microsoft have.

...and I'd choose something a lot smaller, cheaper and with lower power consumption for media duties than either of them ;)

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Paul Shirley
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PS4 and Xbox180 nearly identical

What struck me after reading an Xbone review straight after a PS4 review was how indistinguishable they are. The reviews could almost have just switched Xbox and PS4 and remained 90%+ accurate. In particular the PS4 was being described as a media centre, in a way that should frighten the life out of Microsoft. All without Sony pimping that aspect relentlessly.

What's missing from the Reg roundup is, as predicted the media functions aren't well supported outside the US with even iPlayer support missing at launch and relying on HDMI passthrough means around 50% of UK homes can't actually use it - too many of us have integrated DTV decoders and Xbox expects offboard boxes. Also that Kinect is seriously improved but still falls apart in typical UK living rooms.

My roundup would be: they're both the same device but you'd better be in N America if buying for the media functions, at least for the next 6months.

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Google WILL wriggle away from Euro probe... but THEN what?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Monopoly

"Just because one provider of a service captures the majority of the market does not make it a monopoly."

It's a pretty good description of a monopoly and a monopoly is NOT ILLEGAL. The simple existence of a monopoly is never the issue: it's whether that monopoly is being abused or was gained by abuse. The response should be to repair any damage already caused and prevent future abuse. Microsoft get hammered because they keep gaining monopolies by abuse.

Right now it's now exactly clear what damage has supposedly already been done, mainly because the whining competitors are so bad at competing they actually need Google to help them. Action to stop future abuse is now being botched because the pack of vermin are too busy working for personal advantage to consider what a fair solution would actually be.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Is it just me?

"each vertical provider (including Google) must be given equal prominence"

Fine by me as long as they provide a 'skip straight to organic results button', which will quickly be at page 10+.

Sometimes I wonder if the complaining parties have considered the collateral damage of their demands at all, so eager to kick Google in the nuts they don't mind drowning their own pitiful offerings in a flood of other equally mediocre crap. This is what a decade of SEO dirty tricks have brought, the scum fighting to ensure we all see a thick but 'level' layer of it.

If the EU really want to make a difference, make Google wrap ALL the vertical search (including their own) in tags and let browser add-on writers filter them away completely.

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'I'm BIG, I'm BALD and I'm LOUD!' Blubbering Ballmer admits HE was Microsoft's problem

Paul Shirley
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Re: Not all bad

"That it hasn't tanked faster is a testament" is a testament to their monopoly control of so much of the IT world. It only visibly started failing when the market moved out from under them, while Ballmer ignored that shift. That's not competence, he somehow managed to piss away a position of overwhelming strength through complacency.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Steve Ballmer was Microsoft.

What exactly do you think he was 'good' at and perhaps more important, was it something that was also good for Microsoft and good for the rest of us? A decade of absolute stasis might be good in some sectors, it rarely is in IT.

Ballmer was certainly good at clinging onto his job despite serial failure and it's taken 2+ years of constant pressure to make him jump before being pushed. He is 100% correct about "Steve Ballmer has admitted he was a big part of the problem". At least when Gates was totally wrong he reacted quickly to catch up, Ballmer just reacted quickly to deny there was a problem.

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Oculus: 'Terrifying' virtual reality gaming 'will change the world', WE SWEAR IT

Paul Shirley
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motion blur?

It's pretty obvious from even casual use that most phone LCDs have appalling response characteristics and terrible motion smearing and use in a visor configuration would accentuate it. The experimental DN3D VR system we built back in 1995 had expensive hi quality panels and didn't have obvious motion blur.

Looks like cutting costs with phone LCDs was a mistake, let's hope they don't jump for cheap pentile OLED, scaled to full FOV the patterning will be maddening to some users. It annoys me enough even when I can't see the sub-pixels clearly. A price hike for Occulus looks likely.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: why not stick with tradition ?

OMFG can you imagine the motion sickness... maybe workable as aversion therapy?

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Publishers reject Google's revised offer to fix search biz in Europe

Paul Shirley
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"turn to the traditional route of a prohibition decision."

Google didn't have to do a thing, just sit back and watch the complainers inflict collateral damage on each other. So busy painting Google as a villain in need of punishment they left no room for compromise or supportable alternatives for Almunia.

Perhaps we need an excessive response now, maybe the pain of becoming unfindable will encourage compromise. It won't take ordinary companies long to realise Fairsearch members aren't a good replacement and even less controllable than Google.

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'Daddy, can I use the BLACK iPAD?': Life with the Surface Pro 2

Paul Shirley
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Re: Microsoft is late on tablets

Right there in the product name is the mistake they keep making: "Tablet PC"

People are happily buying tablets. Less of them are still buying PCs. But almost no-one is trying to buy a 'Tablet PC', they didn't in the past and don't seem interested in the present.

How many times do Microsoft have to repeat the same mistake before learning?

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Paul Shirley
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"13 inch is as small as i would go"

Interesting. Intel research suggested 13" was a serious sales inhibitor on Ultrabooks and pushed for 14-15" devices back in 2012 (which didn't cause a magical sales increase in any case). There really does seem to be a minimum screen size expected for a work device.

Microsoft have ignored that and put a PC in a toy tablet form factor without considering whether that makes any sense. They really shouldn't have tried so hard to blur the difference between RT and Pro devices or the niches they're expected to occupy and the correct form factors for each of those niches. MS weren't wrong to spend all those years deriding 10" iPad as a 'toy' so why package a supposed working tool in a similar form?

[After being spoiled by a 15" 4:3 1400x1050 laptop I find even 15" WS ones restricting. Even my main 2048x1152 display is beginning to feel small...]

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I want NSA chief's head on a plate for Merkelgate, storms Senator McCain

Paul Shirley
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Re: Because they could.

What makes you think this is exclusively political? The US has never been afraid of supporting US commercial interests by fair means or foul. I find it implausible that commercially advantageous information would just be filtered out, that they were really only looking for the claimed communist/terrorist/crime info.

It just wouldn't be the American way.

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BIG, CURVY Apple models: Just right for SLAP AND TICKLE

Paul Shirley
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Re: uncritical acceptance?

I have the distinct feeling this gimmick falls into the 'Samsung and LG have already done it' category.

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Paul Shirley
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hope this pushes Android to improve it's existing pressure support

Real pressure sensing will be nice. While Android has reported pressure on touch since 2.0 (Eclair) it's been device specific and usually a poor precision hack if present at all. Apple applying some evolutionary pressure has to be a good thing ;)

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Nvidia CEO: Android 'the most disruptive operating system in decades'

Paul Shirley
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usefully disruptive to Nvidia

By coming late to the Android party, Nvidia are still a minor player and cannot repeat the crap they pulled on PC. Dominant enough at times they could simply say 'won't fix' to bug reports (AKA 'screw you') and weren't afraid to simply remove features without warning (PAL TV support went MIA after updating drivers on my last NVidia card).

Anything that disrupts that shitty attitude is great news ;)

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Google's secret search offer to EU antitrust chief LEAKED by rivals

Paul Shirley
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Almunia all out of options

Did Almunia demand secrecy just to hide the lack of 'improvement' in this revision? Beginning to look like Almunia is painfully aware how weak the complaint really is, underpinned by complaints from competitors rotten to the core.

More important how weak his enforcement position is. Even if it survived legal challenge, if Google quit Europe they wouldn't need to redirect any traffic to the US site, most users would do it themselves. With no product sales to worry about, Almunia needs to tread lightly to retain any control over Google.

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Google's Nexus 5: Best smartphone bang for your buck. There, we said it

Paul Shirley
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Re: "90% of what's needed"

Not telling Bing+Microsoft "everything you do, everywhere you go, everything you read, everything you watch etc." seems like an excellent feature.

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How the W3C met its Waterloo at the Do Not Track vote showdown

Paul Shirley
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tracking gets it wrong every time anyway

If admen could guarantee that tracking would improve my experience I might opt in to tracking rather than opting out of adverts completely. But so far I've not seen a single explanation of why it's good for users that actually demonstrated any real benefit to users.

Far from being served by targeted adverts, I'd prefer they used tracking to avoid trying to sell me something I've just bought, stop boring me with the same products everywhere, stop ruining the few entertaining ads by showing them to me 20x a day.

If they knew enough about me to make tracking genuinely work they'd know enough to stop wasting money advertising at me at all. Or in reality they'd know enough to make the web living hell with saturation boredom, every accidental click just deepening the whirlpool of positive feedback and saturation crapvertising.

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Z30: The classiest BlackBerry mobe ever ... and possibly the last

Paul Shirley
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Re: Here we go again...

AC@11:36:"Anyway, Blackberry is a brand I associate with people who" were given it by their employers and don't need to worry about what it cost, which isn't the headline price thanks to tax deductions and possible bulk purchases!

I'd also associate it with a lot of people that hate their phone. Couldn't possibly say whether my admittedly limited exposure to BB owners reflects the whole population and I know absolutely no youngsters with one but 2/3rds of the adult owners I do know hate theirs. The other 1/3 don't love it though ;)

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Why did Nokia bosses wait so long to pop THAT Lumia tab?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Nokia saves another MS OS?

The problem is Microsoft made a point of never clarifying the difference between RT and Pro in any promotion aimed at the buying public. They didn't really do it for more knowledgeable audiences. Even worse they flat out lied about platform convergence to the developer audience, claimed convergence that still hasn't happened.

None of us had gagging orders stopping us pointing out what Microsoft deliberately avoided and you can only blame Microsoft for creating that information vacuum. The general public still don't know what they're getting if they choose Surface and bundling that bastardised version of Office on RT just adds to the confusion.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: "likely to do better than the Microsoft equivalent"

...so aiming low.

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The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

Paul Shirley
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did DIY programming actually die?

I'd claim it didn't. What actually changed was:

1: easy availability of prebuilt software for every popular platform removed the *need* to program just to use a computer

2: (1) drove massive sales to the majority that don't enjoy programming, that would not have used computers otherwise

Youngsters didn't stop learning to program, they just got massively outnumbered by the computer owning hordes that never would have learned it. Just throwing the opportunity at more of them won't magically get major change, DIY and self taught programming never went away, in fact it got easier and cheaper as the non-programming masses pushed down the price of both hardware and software. There just aren't that many of us that want to do it in a world with an endlessly increasing demand.

The only way RPI can help is if it drives educators to try harder. That's probably only good for training up large numbers of low end coders for the grindingly dull stuff we all hate though.

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Microsoft: Ha ha, my Wall Street friends - THIS time the victory is OURS

Paul Shirley
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Re: A good result ?

Actually dogged I'll just wait for the guys on the financial boards to run the numbers and untangle how the new reporting structure affects the results compared to previous years. The same guys that noticed Microsofts attempt at passing off Win7 sales as Win8 revenue last year will probably get there first... the Reg will (as usual) get there last, kicking and fighting not to lose their Windows advertising income.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: MS could find a cure for cancer

...and it wouldn't be so much a cure as a life long dependency on buying the medicine from them.

And you'd get malaria as a side effect.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: why compare apple and ms?

Why the hate? have you really been asleep for the last 2 decades?

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Paul Shirley
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Re: A good result ?

There's a bigger suspicion the reg haven't analysed the figures in any depth. I look forward to the in depth report on how they massaged the figures this time. It just won't expect to see it here...

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Surface Pro 2: It's TOOL-PROOF and ultimately destined for LANDFILL

Paul Shirley
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a mound of spare parts to use?

What odds this is actually Microsoft proactively 'recycling' what it can from the $900mil mound of unused Surface 1 parts? Would heavily limit any redesign and ensure the same crappy build methods are used.

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Hands on: We play with the slippery Lumia 1520, Nokia's first phondleslab

Paul Shirley
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"upgradeable. I’d be surprised if this one wasn’t."

"Microsoft has remained mute on whether today’s models will be upgradeable. I’d be surprised if this one wasn’t."

How quickly you forget the same wishful thinking over WP7->8 upgrades, that only ended when MS finally admitted it wasn't happening just before launch of WP8.

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Surface 2 MYSTERY: Haswell's here, so WHY the duff battery life?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Need better power numbers for uptake

@JDX: the aggregate life may only be 14% different but subtract the constant drains like the screen and backlight and that OS difference gets much larger.

@Charles 9: in reality you need it to last a full shift at the end of a year or 2 in constant use. With older Li cells capacity could half in 18months or so. The Li poly cell in my phone is holding out better but still had a noticeable drop in capacity after a year.

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SUPERSIZE ME: Nokia unveils Surface rival and 2 plumped-up phablets

Paul Shirley
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Re: All new Nokia tablet....=]

Surely in Microsofts brave new future you'll all migrate to Office365, hammer your 4G data allowance to use it but get the 'full fat' experience. Or at least the 'fat'... so RT will stop being a problem.

Of course in that world RT will have no advantage over 'any other tablet OS' (unless MS artificially cripples them) and there will still be no point using RT!

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Android's defences against malicious apps dissed by security bods

Paul Shirley
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how much do we trust antimalware vendors? more or less than app vendors?

The permissions system certainly has a lot of problems, lack of granularity and lack of post install control being the biggest.

All security is about trust, Android has some poor options when developers are asking for permissions and bugger all control for users in permitting them. Devs can't always ask for just the trust they need and users can't choose exactly how much to give. Usually the users can't even guess what they should be accepting anyway. It surprises me I've been asking just a couple of times to justify the permissions in my app, after 100k+ downloads, despite requiring permission to dial out and the certainty they aren't reading the explanation on the Play page.

But those problems also make it very easy for anti malware sellers to exaggerate the stats. I have little confidence they went through 3.7m apps and correctly decided whether permissions were appropriate for all of them, even less confidence they resisted labelling trustworthy apps that *could be* abused as malicious.

That said, many of the ad platforms do appear to be potentially insecure and abusable outside app dev control, which would severely inflate the figures and more attention should be brought to that problem.

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Windows 8.1: A bit square, sure, but WAIT! It has a Start button

Paul Shirley
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Re: Annoying - and not the OS

@zot

It kept insisting the bundled wddm drivers were more up to date than the AMD versions so wouldn't install without being forced... Which didn't work too well either.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: 'unintuitive' and 'illogical'

Swiping an invisible/imaginary control surface, with no visible cues is hardly 'intuitive'. It's a learned behaviour, with no discoverability because it's such an unusual gesture given the absence of cues, something people need to be told about rather than left to discover.

The only logic to it is in using the screen edges most developers deliberately avoid, because touch input typical breaks on those edges and has less precision when it works. (Touch problems that are irrelevant in desktop mode because touch is barely usable there anyway)

Rote learning != intuitive OR logical. Dragging a phones visible notification bar to reveal notifications is logical, intuitive and discoverable, dragging an arbitrarily chosen zero width edge is none of those.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Annoying - and not the OS

Got the upgrade shortly after waking up this morning

1. Painless install: 10min download + 30min unpacking while I used the PC,then 30min+ watching it install.

2. Broken hardware support as it replaced 2 tuner drivers with the same, broken 64bit copies I also had to override after installing Win8. Watched it replace my GPU driver with a dumb Microsoft build, disabling *every* setting apart from resolution. Then watched 8.1 persistently resist better GPU drivers. What fun. Not.

3. Upgrades make less effort to disrupt the desktop than I expected. Can't see anything they improved yet though, unless it's those Metro apps I've never used. They have materially interfered with both Classic Start and UXStyler in petty and annoying ways.

Anyway, after wasting hours patching up after the 8.1 install one very positive result: it actually installed with just 7.7Gb of spare space and cleaned up some of the crud Win8 had accumulated. Other than that I'm seeing absolutely no reason to bother with the update for desktop users.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Bewildering is right

Once search was declared the 'right way to launch anything' (a view spouted endlessly throughout the launch of Win8 by the faithful), it stopped mattering if they broke every other structure. Maybe even became worth breaking the organisation of settings launchers just to encourage adoption of search.

And as the faithful used to remind us every sodding day, search is what makes that pile of tiles on the start screen usable. Or in my opinion the only thing that makes it usable.

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What the CUFF? Nokia shows how a smartwatch really OUGHT to work

Paul Shirley
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Getting patents doesn't require considering 'what hardware will be available', just that you lock up the ideas before anyone can use them on their sexier hardware. And I've seen some really sexy wristband designs, with and without flexible screens in the last year. Those sexy designs just weren't shown doing more than responding to taps.

This has to be one of the least attractive things I've seen for a long time though ;)

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Here comes Windows 8.1! Microsoft grits teeth, pushes upgrade to world

Paul Shirley
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Re: Its the UI changes that kill it for me...

I don't care what my grandmother would have wanted, its my computer and I only care what I want on it. Pretending I want the same from my PC as any other user is wrong and ultimately insulting.

Microsoft always know best. That's the problem.

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Apple slams brakes on orders of (not so cheap) plasticky iPhone 5C

Paul Shirley
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Phil O'Sophical: exactly.

Apple need to decide if they *need* to have midrange and even budget products and then actually build them. A real one not just slap a sale sticker on lasts years spec and put it in a cheaper casing.

I think we can assume Apple don't *want* to do budget or midrange though and I'm nearly as convinced they'd just cannibalise more of their own high end sales than they gained in new customers.

If Jobs was still around they wouldn't be pandering to the markets or stockholders like this. Perhaps Jobs would have been tempted to build something so cheap it destroyed everyone else's market, his MAD moment against Android but the half assed 5C would never exist.

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Microsoft: Everyone stop running so the fat kid Win RT can catch up

Paul Shirley
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Re: Glacial?

@Jim McDonald:"it's market share is being depressed by the large volume of older phones yet to be replaced"

...and maybe in 12 months, everyone who will convert will have upgraded and done so, most new sales will be existing WP users upgrading and growth will stutter to a halt...

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Glacial?

Spartacus:"with all Microsoft's resources it's criminal stupidity that they didn't fix"

The idiocy is much deeper because they locked down the OS+UI enough to stop 3rd party fixes for even simple flaws. Users are hostage to Microsoft and Microsoft haven't been hearing users for a long time. Listening intently but only hearing what they want to.

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Windows Phone 8 INFLATED by Microsoft ... to satisfy lonely phablets

Paul Shirley
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"720P ought to be enough for anybody."

Steve Ballmer and the WP8 team, sometime recently ;)

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MS Word deserves DEATH says Brit SciFi author Charles Stross

Paul Shirley
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Re: The only reason for using MS Word as an author is either wilful* ignorance or masochism.

Sean Timarco Baggaley: "The only reason for using MS Word as an author is either wilful* ignorance or masochism. "

That simply demonstrates your wilful ignorance of the true nature of Microsofts monopoly. It's firmly rooted in the almost universal belief that Word *is the solution* to *any* text editing problem. It's a monopoly of belief they've worked hard to implant in the minds of ordinary users.

Depressingly too many people that should know better also believe it, enough to force use on others, regardless of the sanity of that use.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: A De-strossing Article!

@Gray: "save a MS Word file in HTML output"

One of my regular chores used to be diving into the office intranet to repair the damage every time some idiot edited pages with a Microsoft tool, usually Word. Rewriting every hyperlink in non standard ways only other MS tools could use was a daily reminder of how they built a monopoly. Wasn't going to work in our office, with equal numbers of Linux & Windows boxes but it was a useful reminder to not trust them every time MS came calling with a tempting offer of help ;)

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Custom ringback tones: Coming to your next contract mobe?

Paul Shirley
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who would want this?

Still mystified there was ever a successful business selling ringtones or wallpapers but at least they offered end users something. I might not pay for them but my ringtones are as customised as anyone else.

But what the appeal is here is way beyond my understanding. Maybe the plan is: sell to advertisers to create a need, then sell the ability to override it to users?

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