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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1360 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

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

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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MI5 boss: Snowden leaks of GCHQ methods HELPED TERRORISTS

Paul Shirley
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Re: Details please.

"MANY of the PLOTS - I only seem to be aware of at most a couple"

I wonder....

Secret surveillance

Secret courts

Secret trials

Secret prisons?

After all, everything the yanks have, our 'leaders' want.

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Third of Brits now regularly fondling their slabs, say beancounters

Paul Shirley
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Re: Android already king of tablet marketshare globally.

More likely he's blind to the Android tabs because so few of them are 10" 4:3 slabs, the more typical 7" Android devices that fly off shelves are too easy to mistake as just phones.

In one sense he's right. On the streets I only ever notice iPads in use. Any time there's a photo opportunity there will be a bunch of wallys holding 10" iPads *with their book cover style cases open and flapping in the breeze* taking photos and general looking like halfwits.

I notice them because it's such a ludicrous sight, so hard not to notice. So hard not to laugh at. With Apple belatedly jumping on the small tablet sector maybe there are probably plenty of iPad Mini's wandering the streets, haven't noticed them though... they don't make their users look like idiots!

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Paul Shirley
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Re: We'll see the usual pattern ...

Of course we'll see the usual pattern. But the usual pattern is lots of people claiming they're going back to iPad but sales figures that say something very different...

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Apple wins patent for entrance to retail store

Paul Shirley
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Re: Erm..

@Dave 126

More a commentary on the total lack of information about what apple actuay inented in the article. Usual half assed reg reporting at its best.

You don't expect folk to comment on the article a competent news source might have written or done their own research do you?

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Google gets closer to EU antitrust deal over search dominance 'abuse'

Paul Shirley
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Re: "Otherwise, surely they'd have thrown the case out, right?"

If Almunia really thought he had a strong case it wouldn't still be dragging on after 3 years with Google making pretend concessions that only pissed of their competition more.

I believe this is more about Almunia (and other EU politicos) wanting a big US scalp before the job ends. A lot of bluster, some foolish time wasted listening to the wrong people but a core lack of belief in what they're claiming. It's going to fizzle out with everyone trying to claim a win but no substantive change but plenty of window dressing.

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Paul Shirley
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how utterly predictable

"The Commission's plan to issue Requests for Information would seem much less satisfactory than a second formal market test."

It's slowly dawning on Fairsearch and co. that they aren't actually driving this fiasco. Slowing Almunia down a lot but they're his excuse not his masters. So this time around they don't get an effective veto and what they say will be examined closely and if necessary rejected. How annoying that must be over in Redmond.

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Facebook allows full personal data ransack with Graph Search

Paul Shirley
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Re: Ermm...

Dammit, instant flash back to the weekend my wife vetoed buying a DUKW. What's the point living near a river without an amphibious vehicle... still wouldn't convince me to bend over and lube up for Facebook though.

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Windows Phone market share hits double digits in UK and France

Paul Shirley
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Re: Here we go again

It is beginning to smell bad. With the figures they quote there should have been 4 gaudily coloured Lumias in the smallest pub on last weekends crawl, but when 20 or so phones came out for photos (brewery launch and pub award being given) I didn't spot one.

The rest of the day, many more phones on display in larger places. Still didn't see that flash of bright plastic. Still haven't seen one anywhere but TV and the web.

The ongoing flood of astroturfing seen everywhere is quite astonishing, it would be pretty easy to sign up on the many paid survey sites and affect the results, easy to ignore any warning signs if a survey company was inclined. Suspicious.

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OUCH: Google preps ad goo injection for Android mobile Gmail app

Paul Shirley
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Re: Want. Do Not Want.

>>"PS: Android is not really "open""

...try to remember: gmail (along with all the other Google services) is just an app that runs on Android. An app I have to manually, explicitly reinstall every time I upgrade my Android devices.

You can have as much or little Google with your Android as you want. Turns out most users choose to add Google even if it means hacking their non certified devices.

What's not open is the bloody driver layer, with manufacturers playing hide&seek with the kernel drivers and rarely offering source. If only Google actually controlled Android enough to order them to ship source...

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WHY didn't Microsoft buy RIM? Us business blokes would have queued for THAT phone

Paul Shirley
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For this to make any sense, Microsoft would have to admit to itself they have a problem. So far there's no sign of that at all, in fact the endless WP astroturfing about security and business use strongly suggests MS believe WP8 is the business phone Aaron is looking for. Or will be when they finish the missing bits and smooth off the rough edges.

What would buying RIM have got them? The BBM system? How long do you think MS could resist just folding it into the wider Microsoft network, tying it to your Microsoft account and inevitably pissing away most of what made BBM so attractive to business. Even if they didn't screw up the service, their reputation would damage the product.

RIM didn't get success by building great smartphones (everyone I know with one hates their device), or building a great smartphone OS (they didn't). It was the service running behind it all people bought and Microsoft buying that service would devalue it enormously and instantly.

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Travel much? DON'T buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Paul Shirley
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Re: also breaking data services

"I switched SIM (from Norwegian's Chess to Italian's TIM) my Samsung S4 deleted the old APN (Chess).

Automatically it created a new one (TIM)"

*Stock* Android will look like it's doing that because Android filters the APN list you're shown by MNC/MCC code. The Chess APN is still there, you just can't see it or select it. It didn't create the new APN either, it was already there. Change the SIM and it will try to guess the correct APN for the new MNC/MCC code, sometimes it gets that wrong. What it doesn't do is prevent you adding new entries, editing existing ones or delete entries automatically and the filtered list comes from that active db.

What Samsung are claimed to be doing seems to be resetting the active APN db to it's virgin state after a SIM change, actually wiping any changes you made. Some devices also seem to be locking the APN name field and physically removing the 'new APN' button. giffgaff owners aren't pleased because the virgin db doesn't include giffgaff.

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Paul Shirley
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also breaking data services

I've had reports recently that Samsung devices are now resetting APN settings when you change SIM, wiping anything you entered manually. That's a problem if your network doesn't have an entry in the default list: change SIM - lose data access, have a SIM glitch - lose data access. Manually entering the required APN seems to be beyond a surprising number of users, just check the giffgaff support forum for a daily reminder of this - or the 120k downloads of the app that does it for them.

Before that were reports that Samsung were blocking manual creation of new APNs, potentially locking out any new network and needing a work round for MVMOs like giffgaff on existing ones. (Sony actually did this first with the Tipo but it doesn't seem to have spread to the rest of their range)

There's a lot more SIM blocking monkey business going on at Samsung than region locking.

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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Paul Shirley
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re: Power usage

Demultiplexing is cheap. Cheap if done on the CPU/DSP, ludicrously cheap if done in hardware.

Decoding an MP2 bitstream is also pretty cheap, power cheap enough for my disposable MP3 player to manage 12hr MP2 or 3 playback with it's display dimmed but still lit off a single NiMH AAA cell.

Neither can explain the piss poor battery performance of current DAB radios. Prime suspect has to be the processing needed to extract a clean mux bitstream from the analogue domain, with all its distortions, reflected signals, strength fluctuations as surroundings change or the radio moves. That's never going to be cheap.

It appears it's not particularly effective either. Exposed right there is why FM is a more appropriate technology for inherently difficult reception conditions, it doesn't need heroic efforts to receive and doesn't break catastrophically when those efforts fail. And doesn't eat batteries trying to do it.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: padding the numbers with Freeview

@Tom 35:

Reluctance to turn on a TV may explain the fairly small proportion Freeview contributes to the figure. A lot of people do just leave small sets turned on all the time in rooms like kitchens and might be using them for radio. I think I only have 1 DvB tuner here (out of 5 devices/9 tuners) that routes through a TV but that's a rare setup - so plenty of people must be using TVs or TV+set top box to do it.

I'm just grateful so few bother or FM would have been turned off years ago.

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Paul Shirley
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padding the numbers with Freeview

Bloody annoying they continue to add Freeview reception figures to the total. Freeview radio has no local coverage and barely possible mobile reception. Yet it's still being used as an excuse to cut off analogue radio without being a viable replacement for it.

Even more depressing is Freeview has had much better sound quality than I've heard on DAB, even on the BBCs brief excursions in 128k MP2 hell.

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PC sales shrank less than expected during back-to-school 2013

Paul Shirley
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Re: There'll be an unexpected bump in PC sales in 2014...

Serious PC gamers already have machines more powerful than PS4 or XB180 will be and will carry on spending stupid money pushing them further ahead. I intend dropping £100-200 on a new midrange GPU when the right card turns up to get my PC well beyond console level again and I'd guess the majority of PC gamers will try the same.

The rest of the PC world will just let the game reduce it's settings to match their existing hardware and barely notice - the tiny minority that play these console ports.

This generation of consoles aren't going to push PC sales, they simply aren't that far ahead of any but the cheapest PCs, those buyers aren't likely to change PC just to play games better. By the time they're forced to buy another cheap PC it will compare very well with consoles, GPUs are only frozen on consoles, PC's continually improve.

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