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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1361 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

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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iOS 7 SPANKS Samsung's Android in user-experience rating

Paul Shirley
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Re: It would be great if those guys started to understand how WP8 was designed and works...

Further reminder that whoever cobbled WP together doesn't actually use a smartphone.

LDS said:<<<1) "Absence of pervasive notifications"? You don't need a separate screen in WP8, tiles do notifications themselves. That's why tiles exist in the first place. You don't need to swipe, you just look at what the tiles say or display.>>>

When I'm actively using mine I'm in an app and can't see the home screen or any widgets on it (or Tiles in Microsoftese). What I can see is incoming messages, live message counts and other 'stuff' in my notification bar, with full access 1 swipe away, whatever app I'm using. That's how I managed to read 2 incoming tweets and the sender+subject of incoming email *while* reading your post, without touching anything or leaving the browser.

When I'm not actively using the phone its screen TURNS OFF. Populating my screen with widgets showing mail, SMS, IM or some messy combined stream (tried that, hated it) at best saves me one swipe after the chore of unlocking. I get that back by not filling my homescreen with apps if notifications can do the job, for less homescreen scrolling.

LDS said:<<<6) App folders? In WP8 you navigate app alphabetically. Who needs folders?>>

I drop newly installed games into my Games folder. Turns out if you have 5,10 or 30min to kill, it's a hell of a lot easier picking something suitable from a filtered list, over searching through every app alphabetically. Works for me on the desktop and my phone.

Having options is a good thing and Microsofts campaign to remove them is misguided.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Bell Telephone

Customisation: doesn't it have places to put a label with useful numbers? Every mechanical phone I've ever used did. Perhaps 10 for customisation?

;)

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Paul Shirley
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@DougS

That 'average person' may well not know how to use the larger number of apps and UI elements on Samsung Android but that doesn't make it a problem thats stops them buying Samsung.

If they don't even know about features or apps its a reasonable assumption they don't miss them enough to care (or even notice).

The problem with this research is it assumes the metric they report is a measure of the trait they claim. I'm not convinced. Sometimes less if more, sometimes it's just less.

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Microsoft: Surface is DEAD. Long live the Surface 2!

Paul Shirley
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@Mystic Megabyte

A device with Ubuntu preinstalled would be mildly welcomed because we could *replace the OS on it*. Ubuntu is a steaming pile sharing many of the faults of Win8 Metro/Modern but at least they don't charge an arm and a leg for it.

An ARM device with Ubuntu would be eagerly welcomed compared to Win8 RT because again we could replace the stinking OS, unlike the RT device.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: How much an Ultrabook costs?

"Great, but the screen is too small"

Now remember Intel upping the expected screen size for the Ultra spec *after* extensive consumer research showed the screen was too small. Surface Pro is an Ultra Book 1.0 form factor that the public rejected before work on Surface even started!

As usual Microsoft will have to learn the hard way that they cannot dictate what the buying public *want* and without a functional monopoly they cant force something they don't want on the public.

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Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too

Paul Shirley
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Re: Am I the only one...

...for a camera sold on it's ability to zoom (by cropping) post capture, we're not missing anything about the zoom level. What disturbed me more than the lens artefacts were the quite strong compression artefacts. I hope that's not the highest quality compression on display.

It does confirm there's no sufficiently good substitute for optical zoom yet or a bigger lense. Looking forward to the first head to head comparison of the Sony Z1 with addon Bluetooth lenses against Nokias efforts.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: I wonder how this compares

Yes, they're lustworthy. Optical zoom, IS, large lenses and the flexibility, what's not to like - apart from the price. Should beat Nokia on everything but low light performance (and price of course) though Sony camera sensors do have good low light performance in general.

I can see myself getting one of these before my increasingly untrusty camera finally dies.

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Paul Shirley
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Still haven't seen one in the wild. Or in a shop come to think of it. Maybe the streets of London are awash with them, they seem vanishingly rare in the Midlands.

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Nokia Lumia 625: Quality budget 4G phone ... but where's UK's budget 4G?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Windows Phone - no thanks.

Millions of Chinese, Kindle owners and a tiny fraction of CyanogenMod users will tell you, Android carries on running without Google.

I'll pick the platform where opting in or out is a viable option.... and opt in to Google where it gives enough advantage.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it ... Win Phone 8? No, it's APPLE'S iOS 7

Paul Shirley
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they managed something I thought impossible...

They managed something I thought impossible, making Android look restrained and uncluttered!

My eyes hurt just looking at the screen caps.

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Paul Shirley
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@cambsukguy

"to prevent them suing me after-the-fact for copying their "more-popular" interface techniques"

Does create an amusing possibility: Microsoft agreed to not copy the iPhone UI in WinPhone... so what happens when iPhone starts looking like WP, do Microsoft have to dump those bits?

;)

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In MASSIVE surprise, world+dog discovers Nokia checked out Android

Paul Shirley
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Re: Wanted: Android install for Windows Phones

I suspect they know there's no way to even start until someone manages to unlock the bootloader and Microsoft probably got that one thing right.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Here

That will somewhat depend on how long Microsoft are contractually obligated to continue using it. If Microsoft ever decide they can make Bing maps successful they won't hesitate to drop Nokia.

Of course losing any business Microsoft are throwing their way may not make a measurable difference ;)

If Nokia want to grow it fast they should consider building Android support. They originally blamed rejecting Android on not being able to *replace* Google Maps but that wasn't quite true. They can't remove Google Maps, they might even have problems shipping a full replacement on the Play Store, they *can* build and ship a 100% replacement and let users choose which to use. Androids intents system allows that and Nokia should be able to convince suppliers to preinstall their alternative - just like my wifes phone came with the highly inferior Orange maps prominently placed.

Otherwise they're back where this started, in a world where Android is sucking up even low end sales and devices like Asha just slow down that loss.

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OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

Paul Shirley
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Re: BT has "senior managers responsible for ‘customer experience’"?

In the far distant past I applied for a job at their Martlesham Heath research centre, duly trekked halfway across the country for a full days interviewing, then spent 30min being interviewed for the tech job, 60min getting the tour and the entire rest of the day being tested on my customer handling skills. For a job that would never see me meet a domestic customer and not involve business support at all.

BT have always valued the ability to bullshit customers over ability to do the job of building working systems.

[Another interview around the same time: I apply for a job in office automation, 1st question in the interview "are you happy to sign the official secrets act" and a rapid admission I'd actually be designing missile guidance systems. They at least had the decency to end the interview there and we just talked about beer for a while instead of really wasting my time]

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TWO can play this 64-bit mobile game, says Samsung, crossly

Paul Shirley
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Re: In the Pond.

One of the nice bits about ARM8 is virtualisation support for 32bit instances so yes, it could very easily just run a 64bit hypervisor and a 32bit Android client OS, run Bada in parallel, Tizen, recompile any of them for 64bit etc.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: ARM

You do understand that ARM don't make chips and Mediatek CPU's are ARM...

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Paul Shirley
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Re: 32bit NT4.0 Enterprise

64 bit ints would help Android a lot, thanks to the casual use of longs all over the Java framework and apps. ARM8 also has double the registers and that should also boost the JIT, especially on virtual register heavy Java/Dalvik bytecode. Sounds well worth adding to Android, even if you ran Dalvik VM 64bit and everything else 32bit it would still give a significant boost.

Not sure there's a problem with code size, 64bit mode still uses 32bit wide instructions so there shouldn't be much code inflation to hurt bandwidth or cache.

Have to check how improved Neon is, that could make a difference to AV and in turn battery life.

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Windows 8.1: Microsoft's reluctant upgrade has a split-screen personality

Paul Shirley
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Re: I doubt the next CEO will turn things around

Such lack of imagination.

Imagine Stephen Elop as next CEO, in week 2 sending 'son of burning platform' email to the world and dumping Win8, the difference this time being there's no actual Win8 sales to lose... it could happen ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Do people not pin most things to the taskbar anyway?

What's so predictably depressing about all the cheerleading and Win8 defence is the complete and utter failure to accept THERE'S NO SINGLE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT. While 90% of my launches are indeed from 6 pinned apps, I also use desktop icons, folders of launch links on the desktop, search and the old Start Menu. The tools I use most (File Explorer, Firefox & Eclipse) I launch least, just leave them running till they crash.

I don't value the Start Menu because it can do everything, I value it because it can do some things I value better than the other options. I'd really like people and Microsoft to stop trying to take away my options.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

Fanbois persistently tell me the Start Menu never went away, that the Start Screen is the Start Menu.

A flat 2D, barely organised, space wasting, context breaking, excessive mouse motion provoking barely usable Start Menu. If it offends you so much ask Microsoft to actually remove it... they've done more stupid things ;)

Or if you wait a few days after release *and* someone more talented shares you're hatred of the Start *button* the put back, I'm sure there'll be a 3rd party hack to remove it again.

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Microsoft's 'We want a Mac look and feel' UK director splits after seven years

Paul Shirley
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" I decided that the best time to do this was at fiscal year end,"

Translation:" I decided that the best time to do this was just before a company wide reorganisation kicked me out"

If the upcoming reorganisation doesn't kick out a large proportion of parasitic managers they might as well not bother. The ones with a less than spotless past will be 'considering their options' right now.

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Microsoft does a U-turn, releases Windows 8.1 to developers early after all

Paul Shirley
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Re: How big !.

3.7Gb is bugger all, less than a 20min download. What pissed me off is how 4Gb of Win8.0 instantly bloats into a ~20Gb footprint and needs another 25Gb+ of working space just to unpack. How fscking incompetent do you have to be to need that much space for a clean install?

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Scary and unbelievable

>The future is touch and gesture, and Microsoft are ahead of the curve!

Meanwhile in our reality, touch and gesture is the present and recent past back to at least 2007 and Microsoft are (as usual) late to the party.

Not surprising for the company that had the lead with pen based computing and still got nowhere.

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Google Nexus 7 2013: Fondledroids, THE 7-inch slab has arrived

Paul Shirley
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Re: I don't know why Google is allergic to storage expansion

They botched the storage architecture so badly that external SD tends to get used for things that should not be taken offline - like app storage. Yank the SD and "bad things" happen. Google applied their usual lazy response to problems, don't fix the problem, remove it by removing the feature.

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Canadian family gives up modern tech to live like it's 1986

Paul Shirley
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Re: Re:80's?

I still remember the pain being online on dialup brought to my phone bill every month and the rapidly building stack of computers I already owned in 1986, I'd already given away my Oric just to clear space.

Was the Reg told 1976 and heard 1986? That would just miss the 1st wave of all in one computers like the CBM PET and Apple II (both 1977). Even then there were computers in homes in 1976 (Apple 1 for instance).

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Xbox One launch date REVEALED - and it's on the 360's birthday

Paul Shirley
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"People not wanting to take the step forward into the digital age has put us back 10 years"

This utter horseshit needs to die today. There was never any need for so restrictive an online policy to implement the ill defined and unexplained 'digital age' features, despite the whining of the fans.

Don't believe me? Microsoft just announced the return of the first group of those supposedly lost features!

There was no legitimate reason for the compulsion for anyone not using the features. There was never an excuse for needing a connection just to play any arbitrary game. And Microsoft finally got round to admitting it can all be done voluntarily with a hell of a lot less intrusive and potentially experience wrecking connection requirement.

Time to STFU

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Paul Shirley
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@Atonnis re: fanbois

Fanbois are definitely the issue, pro fanbois can be relied on to facilitate launch sell outs with only minimal effort. That means launch day sales aren't reliable indications of anything - unless of course even the fanbois boycott the product OR you have enough stock to cover massive walk-up sales.

Selling out on pre-order pretty much excludes any non-fan sales, ordinary uncommitted buyers just don't do it. Xbox 180 was well on the way to pissing off enough XB fanbois to cause a problem though, hence the desperate u-turns. XB 180 is firmly in that 'no-one knows what it means' part of the graph. Back in the real world XB 360 is where the new games are and most owners aren't feeling any pressure to upgrade.

Me? I might throw £200 at a better-than-XB180/PS4 GPU and some more RAM for my PC. Cheaper games on a better box they already own seems to be interesting many of the console owners I've talked to as well.

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China, India the key to Micr-okia's fate says IDC

Paul Shirley
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Re: Lumia already run on "low-end" hardware - and how many apps one needs?

It's a fair claim that no number of available apps you don't want to use matters. That all that matters is if the ones you do want exist. Fair but incomplete.

A strong market does matter. It increases the chance that rare niche app only you and a 100 others want exists. It gives you a decent choice of competing apps where there is duplication - despite coming with built in browser, calendar, media player and clock apps I currently use better 3rd party versions on my phone.

If nothing else if spurs the platform holder to try harder with their own built in apps. Lack of a strong app environment is a sign of a weak platform in many different ways and affects even users that claim not to use downloaded apps.

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But it's only wafer thin: Skinniest keyboard EVER is designed by Camby biz

Paul Shirley
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Re: If they make it cheap enough

The big problem is lots of keyboards of all sorts of form factor have been offered to the market and (apart from BlackBerry) the market consistently said 'meh'.

I think there are 2 issues:

1: Most people just see no need, once they learn how to thumbtype SMS and email on a touchscreen they see no advantage to physical keyboards on small devices. TBH after typing on an iPad I can't see much need for anything better for what I'm going to use and despite loving the hard keys on my old G1 I can type just as fast on my newer 4" device touchscreen.

2: most of them are so poor to use in practice. And you're going to need to prop up or otherwise support the screen somehow, maybe cart around a stand and have severe constraints on positioning - just holding the device in a comfortable viewing position can feel easier and have better ergonomics. If you're going to inflict a flat, feedback free keyboard you might as well just use the flat version on screen, especially as the onscreen versions get smarter. The ergonomic issues make this a hard sell.

I can see other input methods (voice is nearly there) completely supplanting these clumsy hacks.

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HDMI 2.0 spec arrives ... 1.0 years late

Paul Shirley
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Re: Cat 2 Cables

600Mhz, right on top of Freeview C37. Let's hope all those cheap cat2 cables are all up to spec, not cheap knockoffs with barely functional shielding.

Though I doubt anyone using a 4K rig is going to be watching low bitrate, low res crap on Freeview to notice ;)

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Microsoft's $7.1bn Nokia gobble: Why you should expect the unexpected

Paul Shirley
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So:

MS fail to negotiate a Nokia buyout around 2 months back

Last week or so we discover Lenovo failed to negotiate a buyout

Today MS rush into a buyout

Tempting to think someone just shafted MS before Elop could destroy enough value, using Lenovo to panic them into hasty action. Wouldn't want them talking to Google or Samsung and buggering up the plan. Helped by Ballmer quitting, any trojan horse plan would need finishing in a hurry while people that knew about it were still employed - there won't be a paper trail.

If true, just how little is Nokia really worth right now if $7.2bil is assumed more than it's worth?

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Returning Acronis CEO plans Parallels universe

Paul Shirley
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They lost me after making no effort at all to get TI2012 to work on Win8 and an upgrade window to TI2013 that gave some users less than 4 months support. I got lucky with around 6month but it leaves a really bad taste.

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Storage vendors: You're next over the cliff after the server salesmen

Paul Shirley
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Re: Who sells storage to the cloud storage providers?

People forced to negotiate steeper bulk discounts ;)

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Microsoft: YES Windows 8.1 is finished, but NO you can't have it

Paul Shirley
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Given how buggy I find Win8 I struggle to see how 8.1 could make things worse, especially since they didn't touch anything in desktop mode where I'm daily confronted by glitchy shit. A 'let's block Start Menu workrounds' button is insignificant.

The strong suspicion has to be another last minute hack is about to be perpetrated on 8.1 to further discourage use of desktop mode, just like they yanked the actual menu code out of 8 RTM days before release. If they can delay fixes and break Classic Start Menu/Startisback etc. for even a week, that's a couple of users that might fall in love with Metro.

Except of course users installed those work rounds because they already rejected Metro, so hardly likely to work.

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Silicon daddy: Moore's Law about to be repealed, but don't blame physics

Paul Shirley
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Re: No improvements in chip architecture for economic reasons?

There's a 2nd economic force at work, the demand for more power is all but over in significant parts of the market. Not only is it getting more expensive to ramp up performance, the value of that extra performance to buyers is falling - once your PC is fast enough 95% of the time that next 5% isn't worth paying a lot for.

It's the same effect that's driving the move to lower power tablet and mobile devices, laptops before that and the massive slow down in PC replacement. Concentrating computing resources in data centres can keep the quest for more performance alive a while but we're heading for a world without a driving force behind extremely costly measures to keep Moores law going.

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Intel ships high-powered C++ compiler for native Android apps

Paul Shirley
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If you use NDK there's no other option but compiling for each target. NDK is there for raw speed and any platform you fall back to Java for (or rely on Intel's ARM->x86 translator layer) is crippled.

As I said up the page, with no x86 competition to monkey wrench there's no obvious downside to using Intels compiler. Apart from the insanely restrictive platforms it runs on. TBH though there's also not much point using it over gcc, there's so much variance in performance across Android devices losing a few percent hardly matters.

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Paul Shirley
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Outstandingly good at optimising *for genuine Intel* silicon. There have been consistent, believable claims of dirty tricks in the Intel compilers. Not just generating code poorly optimised for rival silicon, claims that extra code is inserted specifically to slow them down.

As a result Intel's compilers should be avoided unless you know the programmes will run on Intel silicon.

Luckily there doesn't seem much scope for fun&games on the Android version, with no hint any other x86 CPUs will ever be inflicted on it. There is the slim niche of Android on PC, it would be interesting seeing if the compiler messes with AMD machines even without any real reason to do it.

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BILLION DOLLAR BALLMER: Microsoft chief makes $1bn simply by quitting

Paul Shirley
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Re: Give the guy a break.

He did do us the massive favour of easing Sinovsky out before freeing up the job. If you think it's been bad with monkey boy in charge, Ballmer is just ramming bad product down throats, Sinovsky actually believes there's nothing wrong with it.

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Paul Shirley
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WOW!

Only 12 months till Microsoft can start digging themselves out of the shit.

Leave sooner Steve, there's another $bil in it for you...

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Ballmer's emotional farewell to Redmond: I LOVE THIS COMPANY

Paul Shirley
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@El Andy

Typical users don't drive any office software mass adoption, beyond using whatever crapware's preinstalled on their PC. Paying support fees for Linux software in business is much more likely though if there weren't so many obstacles along the way.

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Lenovo to ship all new PCs with Start Menu replacement

Paul Shirley
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http://uxstyle.com/ for the theming engine. Puts back about half what MS ripped out going W7->W8

http://xxinightxx.deviantart.com/art/Royale-8-337121007 will restore some XP/W7 polish to the window chrome

There are fixes for some of the remaining rough edges (like rounding off title bars properly) I haven't bothered with.

And 1 tip: don't touch the Win8 theming options once you add the above. If you do, uninstall/reinstall seems to be the only reliable way to restore the hacks.

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Acorn’s would-be ZX Spectrum killer, the Electron, is 30

Paul Shirley
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Re: 64KB claim of the Commodore 64 was a swizz

Not quite. BASIC probably did copy the 4K character ROM into RAM at the same mapped address (not going to find the manual to check). Everything else was simple bank switching, the RAM was still writable and usable for graphics even banked behind ROM.

The default memory map had 40K of contiguous user RAM, 38K available to BASIC and another 4K high block for direct access before doing anything tricky. Any graphics was on top of that, not taken from it. I had little problem using 60K of the RAM for games.

Was fairly similar on the other machines of the time, only the Electron and BBC seemed to have such crippling hard limits. I remember the painful explanations our BBC porting guy gave about squeezing games onto the Electron, requiring slicing the graphics then reassembling mirrored and rotated pieces in realtime. Further sapping performance.

Even lowly machines like the Oric were fully capable of paging large amounts of RAM into a simple, >32K memory space. Have to wonder what they were thinking at Acorn.

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Nokia's PHAB-ULOUS comeback attempt: Huge WinPho 8 mobe rumoured

Paul Shirley
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"I prefer to be different and not become borged"

...and that's why I'm not even considering IOS or WP and checking each Android device for strong customisation support, both stock and 3rd party replacement.

I'll be sticking to the market with a wild jungle of competition built over a core of compatibility. I choose what my device does and get a damn wide set of choices to make but still get to run all the apps.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Stick an Atom processor in there and ship Windows

Sounds great.... perhaps bundle it with a stylus to make desktop mode software usable (why else would you need full Win8). Maybe add some letters to let people know its a super duper new version. How does Win8CE sound?

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Paul Shirley
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"strength continues to lie in its cheaper models"

Now remember that sales only crept upward when Lumia prices shot down with multiple budget builds. Nokia already played the 'budget' card and it's moved them from 'totally insignificant' to 'insignificant' in the smartphone market.

At some point it's time to give up pretending Nokia can compensate for the buyer repelling use of Winphone with better hardware and lower prices. It's visibly not working for them.

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Google cursed its own phones with wacked Wi-Fi, say Nexus users

Paul Shirley
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Re: but that application fills me with rage

Yes but is it any worse than it's ever been? Was bloody awful long before Android 4.anything.

I suppose Google pulled an Youtube on Microsoft and sabotaged the app. Remember you read it here first.

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MYSTERY of Guardian mobos and graphics cards which 'held Snowden files'

Paul Shirley
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Re: @AC 21st August 2013 11:48 GMT)

I'm pretty sure I could squeeze in an encryption key into the BIOS flash on my graphics card without too much trouble, already have tools able to edit it. Perhaps a key good for 400Gb of assorted data...

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Symbolism

The spooks are also allowed to think their orders are idiotic and conterproductive. They might not be able to tell the idiots ordering stupidity that with any effect, can't refuse to obey, but don't have to go beyond symbolism or make any attempt to make an action look less cretinous. After all, their names won't go public.

And unlike the police, they're usually smart enough to know when what they're doing makes no sense.

So yes, theatre. Perhaps not the theatre the politicians wanted though.

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