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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1377 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

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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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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