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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1357 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Google: Cloud users have 'no legitimate expectation of privacy'

Paul Shirley
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sadly it's the nature of email transmission

email is the equivalent of sending a postcard, you hope no-one bothers reading it but that's all it is - hope. Anyone the data transits through can intercept your mail, always been that way and until we get a universal secure delivery system it will continue that way.

Want privacy, put it in an envelope, encrypt your mail end to end. Disappointing but that's the ongoing reality of email.

Even more disappointing that new users only discover that when a shock headline appears, though quite how anyone could miss the constant warnings that Google do this is a mystery. Microsoft alone seem to have a whole PR operation endlessly grinding out reminders about it.

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Make or break: Microsoft sets date for CRUCIAL Win 8.1 launch

Paul Shirley
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Re: Once computers are the desk

...the lawsuits for neck pain will start rolling in. Staring at where you hands comfortably sit on a desk is not something anyone should do all day.

When will people finally accept that touch is a solution to specific problems (like tiny devices with nowhere to put any other input), not something worth chasing for it's own sake and definitely not something to force into all use cases regardless of common sense. Allowing it everywhere for occasional, optional use makes sense, enforcing it everywhere never will.

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Does Gmail's tarted-up tab makeover bust anti-spam laws?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Promotions tab?

Since it appears to default to off they didn't really have an argument to negate!

...and when I tried turning it on, still no ads anyway.

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There she blows! Mid-October release date for Windows 8.1 sighted

Paul Shirley
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one last chance to hack more legacy support out?

Remembering that MS were yanking out desktop code just a week before Win8 RTM, it's hard not to wonder what last minute monkey wrenching they have planned this time.

Luckily, by installing into a 32Gb partition it looks like I can't actually apply this update without wasting a whole day resizing partitions. So no temptation to waste time on it.

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Larry Ellison: Google is ABSOLUTELY EVIL, but NSA is ESSENTIAL

Paul Shirley
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"I don't see how he thinks you can just copy someone else's stuff."

It's pretty simple Larry E:

1: hire lawyers to check the licences

2: follow their advice scrupulously about what is allowed under those licences

Ellisons problem is Google understands Oracles licences better than Oracle does. Not a big surprise someone like Larry E didn't understand the implications of permissive licences, even ones deliberately booby trapped like Java. As it is, having been alerted to just how screwed they are, Oracle are busy trying to find loopholes to make the licence rights less useful. Not working out well for him.

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Xbox 180: Microsoft scraps mandatory Kinect policy

Paul Shirley
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"Sony's consoles have been harder to develop for"

Meanwhile, those of us that were paying attention (or not being paid to post BS) noticed XBone and PS4 are all but identical. Same CPU, same GPU, same memory architecture, same RAM count. OGL and DX11 are almost interchangeable.

The differences: to help it's slower DDR3 keep up with the PS4s DDR5, XBone wasted transistors on extra cache and lots of RAM<->cache copy hardware. Transistors PS4 spent on 25% more GPU stream processors. Meaning XBone is both fundamentally slower AND harder to program this time round!

Of course you can just as easily put the equivalent hardware in a PC now. The one difference is only OpenGL added support for unified memory architectures as a core function, so PS4 games will be easier to port to those PCs. Can you guess which one developers are likely to gravitate towards?

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Paul Shirley
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It's still $100 cheaper and that $100 Kinect premium is now for a device many will never even plug in ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Re: " cloth to elegantly drape over the Kinect camera"

...which won't disable the 'sensitive microphone array' built into Kinect.

Arguably audio surveillance would be more worrying than grabbing video. Depending on exactly how sensitive that array is it could cover much more than the camera sees and it's more likely to disclose genuinely worrying stuff - your bank passwords, security question or details for example. Block video and no embarrassing YouTube posts, audio is where you're life will be fscked over for identity theft or blanket state spying.

The original XBone plan definitely left the microphone array permanently enabled...

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Waiting for a Windows Phone update? Let's talk again next year

Paul Shirley
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Re: Nokia Lumia 620 ...

...especially was the 2010 phone was at the budget end of midrange at launch!

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Apple wins Samsung import ban, loses 'Battle of Rounded Corners II'

Paul Shirley
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Re: Trade war

A Korean ban on component exports to America would be more effective.

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Xbox One users will have to pay extra for Skype and gamer-gratifying DVR

Paul Shirley
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Re: " its not hard to point it at a wall or put a duster over it"

...won't disable those oh-so-sensitive microphone arrays in the Kinect. The ones that listen for the 'on' command even with Kinect supposedly disabled. No chance of abusing that...

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Paul Shirley
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Re: 20$ for a mono headset?

The actual complaint was that users existing headsets wouldn't work with the new socket. I guess they decided pissing off 360 owners who'd bought better headsets wasn't important compared to throwing another freebie at new owners. So that's a whole pile of existing core gamers required to spend more money buying a headset plug adaptor and new owners that probably would have been happy with Kinect audio getting another reason not to use Kinect!

Demonstrating Microsofts infallible ability to hear feedback then do anything but address the problem. They just keep digging.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: @But Kinect 2 is far more powerful than anything the PS4 has in that space

Doesn't really matter how powerful it is if no one wants to use it. So far there's been almost no interest in the dev community and there's not even much sign of pressure from above to do interesting things with it. Just like Kinect on 360, it looks destined to be ignored by game developers.

There's also talk that the improvements aren't in practice very useful. The oft repeated 'give commands to your team with finger gestures' example, someone with access to Kinect 2 claims it can't actually track fingers to do that!

We also know that the few attempts to make interesting Kinect games for core gamers were an absolute disaster, unreliable and laggy. No core gamer is going to willingly abandon low latency, reliable joypad control for 60ms of Kinect2 lag.

It's another feature that Microsoft needs but no one else does. It's going to be a great remote control for XBone as a media centre. And that's all it's ever going to be used for.

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ULTIMATE cuppa contenders prepare to go mug-to-mug

Paul Shirley
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Re: 12 Contenders - No, No only 11

Once you dump cow juice in the mug they'll taste the same anyway.

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Penguins, I give you: The SOLAR-POWERED Ubuntu laptop

Paul Shirley
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Re: bad bad bad design!

I'd guess the thinking was that a device designed for use off grid in rough conditions isn't something you'd casually leave lying in the sun when not using it. Leave it deliberately in charging configuration yes, otherwise keep it safely in its case. Still a serious oversight though.

Even better if they could safely build a backpack that exposed the panels while trekking, a very likely use.

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Can't agree on a coding style? Maybe the NEW YORK TIMES can help

Paul Shirley
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Re: 4 SPACES?!

"And why does an if need a block after it?"

Defensive programming. It stops you making an idiotic mistake later when adding a 2nd statement to the if. We've all made that mistake... not that I'm claiming I always do the bracing, it has however saved me a lot of debugging time since I got into the habit.

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Microsoft cuts Surface Pro price by $100

Paul Shirley
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Re: If your priorities are price and storage why are you considering a Surface pro?

That seems to be exactly the question potential buyers are asking themselves.... and not buying Surface.

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Win XP alive and kicking despite 2014 kill switch (Don't ask about Win 8)

Paul Shirley
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@danny: seamless migration of applications from XP

Epic Microsoft stupidity (or arrogance). Normal users face a choice of losing everything or sticking with XP. IT geeks install a dual boot so they can take time rescuing old data and apps.

I've had to drop back into my XP backup several times to fix Win8 problems or where it's easier than trying to reinstall and configure programs. The temptation to just switch back is strong and the lack-of-upgrade process just makes it easier. Of course during those sessions I went online, bumping that XP count an insignificant amount!

That must have been a frosty management meeting, where the engineers tried explaining why they couldn't make this a one way only update this time ;)

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Paul Shirley
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The extra long time between XP and Vista was not by choice. They couldn't get the product finished and I believe cancelled the 1st broken attempt, then rushed Vista out without much thought or user testing. MS would have tried killing XP on schedule otherwise. Vista meant they couldn't kill it even with a new product on sale.

The only significant difference with XP is they released free service packs that changed XP about as much as the 95 -> 98 -> ME upgrades changed 95.

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The O2 4G Lottery: Are YOU in one of the three LUCKY cities?

Paul Shirley
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Re: 98% of nothing

Remember, O2 had to be *forced* to honour their 3G coverage agreement. Even after several years frantically upgrading to keep the licence their service is still shite in large areas and they've done little to deal with congestion. So more coverage but it's still not actually usable in my local city centre.

So you're gambling the regulator will proactively coerce O2 into reaching those targets. That's not a bet I'd take.

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So, who here LURVES Windows Phone? Put your hands up, Brits

Paul Shirley
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Re: The basics

I believe you meant to type 'how fast it is to uninstall the Facebook crapp' ;)

By and large any recent smartphone is good enough at the 'things phones do' that it doesn't merit mentioning. It's no longer a differentiator.

Orlowski used to endlessly bang on about the supposed superiority of WP7's people hub/unified messaging (or whatever it's called). Even he's given up flogging that dead horse, WP wasn't first with the idea and some of us don't find the implementation or concept superior anyway. Where software's involved your idea of 'working well' may be radically different to mine.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Another W8 household

It's not irrational to hate Microsoft. Bug ridden Microsoft software has wasted my time in the 70's,80's,90's,00's and Win8 is currently bringing it's daily dose of disappointment in the 10's. 30+ years watching their abusive business practices also gives some perspective.

Hardly juvenile either, though appropriate when I fought Microsoft BASICs many problems back in the 70's.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: " I wonder how Google has managed to overtake"

Simples:

1: they got into the market while large numbers were upgrading to their 1st smartphone. So no lockin to overcome.

2: a lot of paid apps on iPhone are free on Android, easing the way for iPhone users to switch platform.

3: iPhone defectors can usually afford to rebuy apps.

4: Android could be cheap

Apple artificially limited it's early mover advantage with premium pricing, great for maximising profit, not so good for maximising penetration. That left a lot who could not or would not afford Apple for Google to scoop up.

Those days are long gone now and Microsoft is too late to the party, they now need to build a better product *that people actually desire* or as Nokia is doing go cheap. Desirable to a niche market isn't enough but that's all they seem to have achieved, with idiotic marketing policies contaminating WP with the widespread antipathy the Windows brand has built up.

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UK economy to lose £198m if BBC and pals lose EPG slots - Ministry of Fun

Paul Shirley
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Re: I've got a solution!

No need. There are already only a handful of good channels... and the others repeat so often you can check them infrequently without missing anything ;)

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Paul Shirley
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WTF?

no-one uses the LCN anyway

The channels on the my EPG page1 are the there because I put the channels I watch there, being 1st didn't cause me to watch them. And the list changes over time.

My wifes PVR has a slightly different channel order because she put the channels she watches 1st.

My fathers PVR has a completely batshit crazy channel order with the channels he watches 1st.

My mother just ignores the EPG and just keys the LCN numbers. What a pity they keep changing them.

This would appear to be another 'imaginary problem', there's no decoder worth using that forces ordering by LCN and I struggle to believe many leave them ordered as it comes, if only because that's an unusable mess. One of my decoders puts them in the order it finds muxes while tuning, ignoring the LCN completely, destroying any supposed advantage those magic 1-5 slots might have!

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Samsung wins not-so-final 'final' pinch-to-zoom patent decision

Paul Shirley
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Re: No mas

You were asleep when judge Koh tried that. She repeatedly ordered them to take part in settlement talks and somehow thought, if she kept on doing it something would change. Another sign of how little she understood what and why Apple were using the courts.

In fact Koh seems to have had little interest in anything but getting the case out of her court as quickly as possible. Her post trial comments strongly suggest seeking actual justice wasn't a big concern, less important than following the legal process, where ever it led - just as long as it looked like getting there quickly. The only good thing she managed was making public statements that should guarantee a new trial, with a different judge. A trial that won't happen because by then there won't be any claims surviving the PTO's real final decisions.

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Google Chromecast: Here's why it's the most important smart TV tech ever

Paul Shirley
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Re: Stream local files from the browser?

All sounds great BUT: I want to see it working, with an unmodified DLNA source before buying into this.

There's zero chance either of my DLNA capable NAS will see another firmware update, streaming clients need to work with standard DLNA (laughable though calling anything DLNA *standard* is) or I'm simply wasting my money.

...and this is Google, where stuff just get's thrown at buyers with no guarantee of ongoing support, development that heads in whichever direction Google and it's commercial partners need more often than serving users. And where projects just get cancelled on short notice if they don't achieve market dominating success quickly enough.

Definitely waiting to see if Google push this in the direction I need. Odds are I'll already have a stick PC doing the job before they get there, for not much more than the cost of a Chromecast+decent remote for it.

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New in Android 4.3: At last we get a grip on privacy-invading crApps

Paul Shirley
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Unhappy

...does it run on unrooted phones?

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Paul Shirley
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Re: close, but...

Yes, been waiting on that for some time. Denying permissions breaks far too many apps and the blockers I've tried (both add on and built into firmware) have been unreliable in any case.

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Bill Gates' nuclear firm plans hot, salty push into power

Paul Shirley
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Re: No Radiation?

Jim O'Reilly:"Since Fukushima, we've discovered that the number of deaths expected is ZERO."

Disingenuous at best.

Mass evacuation may well have dropped the directly attributable deaths to zero. It may even be true few or no deaths would have occurred without it (unlikely given the lack of success in cleanup efforts). Evacuation itself is stressful and has health consequences, this evacuation was larger and longer than the hurricane can be blamed for, it's ongoing.

Research after Chernobyl established that the fear or suspicion of contamination is enough to significantly reduce life expectancy. The only truly safe reactor (in terms of public health) is one that needs no emergency plan.

It's laughable to equate 'no direct deaths' with 'no deaths'.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: "Proprietary" and "patents"

"innovators get a grace period to cash in, before their designs are granted to society"

Intellectual Ventures is just part of an industry practising hard to get better at avoiding the 'granted to society' part. Highly appropriate though, for an industry with such long lead times they'll need all the patent life prolonging tricks in their arsenal to fund the tech!

Still, nice to see some moves on safer and more efficient fission. Amazing what can happen when there's less pressure to generate useful side products for the military and actual make sane design choices.

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ISPs: Relax. Blocking smut online WON'T really work

Paul Shirley
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Pint

Re: explaining to the significant other

The built in mission creep will take away that problem since the filter is NOT a 'hard core porn' filter, not even a 'porn' filter - it's described as a 'family friendly' filter.

So you're mission becomes: find something you or your wife wants to see that isn't porn but is disapproved of by the controlling bastards setting the blacklist, demonstrate it not working. Shouldn't be hard with the certifiably insane pressure groups politicians love listening to.

Don't expect it to work better than the mobile carriers have managed, there's no incentive for ISPs to do more than comply with having a filter. Expect ludicrous situations like not being able to check what hours children are allowed in a pub because pub sites are adult material...

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PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

Paul Shirley
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"family-friendly content filters" != "porn filter"

We don't need to worry about feature creep, it starts off with a full dose of it, already seriously creepy.

I already know that O2 sometimes (always?) consider looking up opening times at a pubs website to be an adult activity, blocked by default. 'Family friendly' is such a flexible term, authoritarians cant resist it.

Ignoring any pure censorship issues, this is a policy where the implementation won't match the sales pitch, where parents will be pressured to accept whatever the government and pressure groups want hidden if they want the dubious headline benefits. It's a broken filter and it was designed that way by cynical, untrustworthy and controlling thugs.

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WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

Paul Shirley
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adult filters aren't just porn

The adult filter on my phone got disabled seconds after it blocked me checking pub details. I trust governments to choose what to censor less than my ISP. And I don't trust my ISP at all in this.

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Surface RT: A plan worthy of the South Park Underpants Gnomes

Paul Shirley
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Re:we don't need Microsoft for that 'third ecosystem'

1: Samsung+Android

2: Apple+iOS

3: everyone else+Android

At least from the publics POV. The fragmentation MS endless portrays as bad makes Android a flock of closely related systems, albeit in a very limited sense. MS can hope to beat some of that 3rd tier but not sell enough for anyone to care.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are more phones running the MIUI version of Android than total WP phones.

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Paul Shirley
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The real problem is an industry totally bought into the 'we need a 3rd ecosystem' thinking. The carriers may need it, the wannabees may need to believe it, we all agree it's good for generating innovation.

The public don't care.

Launch a half finished product, with no ecosystem and no obvious customer advantage *now*, the public don't care and don't buy it *now*.

Tell them long and hard how magical the future will be for your product and they don't care, they'll buy what works now and wait to see if you deliver the pet unicorns and pixie dust later.

But misrepresent what your product is and does, they damn well will care if they fall for the lie. If the lie just confuses them, they'll buy something else. Win RT isn't Windows as the public understand it but that's not the impression MS put out.

Microsoft created a product based on the needs of everyone but the people expected to buy it. And so, like WP7 before it, the public realised they didn't need it.

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Smartwatch makers: You need apps to beat Apple

Paul Shirley
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Both models look like big-brand products

Only if the brand is PoundShop... that Metawatch looks cheap and ugly, half wasted on bezel. It's already lost the style war and any chance of decent sales.

I believe the 1st successful Smartwatch will sell because it looks good, not what it actually does. Who'd want to be seen wearing that huge chunky block?

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Microsoft admits it's '18 months behind' with Windows 8 slabs

Paul Shirley
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Re: What took them so long?

"I feel most laptop keyboards are also painful"

When I try to do real work on mine I always use the wireless keyboard from my desktop PC. Laptop keyboards are just crap. Test still preferable to the onscreen keyboard on tablets.

... though I am enjoying the new Google keyboard on my phone. Can't imagine using the slide mode would be as useful on a much larger pad screen though.

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You, Google. Get back here and bend over again - EU antitrust chief

Paul Shirley
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did G even 'bend over'?

Lost me at "bend over *AGAIN*"... I didn't notice them bending over on the 1st proposal, more sticking 2 fingers up to Microsoft/Fairsearch with utterly trivial changes that if anything will fuck over Fairsearch and Bing even better!

None of the complainants are happy with the Google proposal, hardly the sign of a concession being made.

Almunia can rig the rules but ultimately a court has to decide if they were broken if he can't bluster cooperation out of Google. Accusation != proof, even for Eurocrats. Almunia is overplaying his hand.

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Russian mobile operators say 'nyet!' to Apple, 'da!' to Samsung

Paul Shirley
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Winphone just .1% behind iPhone

Looks like Nokia's move into 'landfill Winphone' is paying off ;)

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Ad man: Mozilla 'radicals' and 'extremists' want to wreck internet economy

Paul Shirley
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Royal Mail optout

Here in the UK, 1st sign up to the Mail Preference Service @ http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/mpsr/ to stop the majority of mail. It actually seems to work.

To nail most of the remaining stuff read http://www.royalmail.com/personal/help-and-support/how-do-I-stop-receiving-any-leaflets-or-unaddressed-promotional-material, has been claimed it's a sacking offence for you're postie to tell you about the opt-out!

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Wi-Lan loses 3GPP patent suit

Paul Shirley
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WTF?

A Reg where Orlowski&Lewis have even more time to post biased opinion pieces as news, misrepresent real research and generally crap all over the reg in their endless campaign against sanity... suddenly patent trolls don't look so bad!

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Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

Paul Shirley
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Re: Clue up

Nope, MS took care to not be specific so readers would jump to conclusions. If anything it's hurt them badly, when the false conclusions many reached were proven false those same people jumped to the false conclusion it was a problem across the whole Win8 line!

They just tried the same scam with XBone but botched it more badly, not enough people imagined the wonders a tightly DRMed digital distribution model might bring. Interestingly MS still haven't officially commented on what those wonders might have really been, just left it to the rumour mill and had unconfirmable employee comments seed that mill.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: A bit behind the ball

...it is however a very common occurrence they break the news before The (always late to the party) Register ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Re: I came close

Also bear in mind the many reports that RT devices aren't really fast enough to run it well. Every review or comment from a user inevitably mentions typing lag. Hardly surprising with the quality of hardware it's running on and the total lack of effort adapting it to low spec hardware, tweaking chrome spacing does nothing for performance.

Its still mildly astonishing they even thought throwing in a dodgy copy of Office would sell the thing. After a decade of WinCE they know the classic interface doesn't work on these devices. It seems the Office guys couldn't get the new Metro UI to work for it in time - though I doubt they even tried, it's so damn impoverished as a toolkit. The speed hit of RT over 100% native code can't have been inviting either, something it took Google several years to address with the NDK (used in a frighteningly hi proportion of apps now).

Office on Surface RT just stinks of knee jerk traditional monopoly maintenance by Microsoft, not a considered, sensible plan.

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Microsoft's next device could be a Surface Watch

Paul Shirley
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Stylaphone time

I think Microsoft have a clear advantage here in having the most stylus friendly OS ready to go. The difficult bit will be finding somewhere to stow the stylus... perhaps next to the magnifying glass needed to actually read WinCE menu's on a screen that small ;)

On a more serious note, there's a good reason all existing 'Smartwatches' are really only semi-smart, your finger covers 1/3 of the screen and fitting more than 6 usable touch controls is a challenge. Probably one of the 'hard engineering problems' Apple are struggling with, how to re-engineer users fingers.

One thing seems certain, we're several generations of power reduction+battery improvement and years away from a genuinely smart watch. Another hard engineering problem, changing the meaning of 'smart'?

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Confidential Microsoft brief: 'We're TOAST if we fight Google on price'

Paul Shirley
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Re: Extras?? We just needed an internet connection

They don't serve ads to "faculty, staff, or students" on Education versions. Can't comment on whether they trawl the content.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Extras?? We just needed an internet connection

I'll translate for you: 'parity of experience' -> 'match the bloatware you'll never use but we insist on bundling'

Google also bundle a lot of crap you probably don't want (like a free + account with every product) but the difference is they don't charge you for it and it's different crap.

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Microsoft: 'Google's secret government meetings let it avoid import ban' - Report

Paul Shirley
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Re: The title is not the patent!

You describe how the process is supposed to work not how it actually works (where works->fails to work). In reality the USPTO does very little filtering until faced with a legal challenge and for software what's granted is rarely much different to what's claimed. That 90% of claims get shredded when challenged doesn't help, it's too bloody late by then.

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Botch Tuesday: Redmond frags video codec

Paul Shirley
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Guess what, there is a DVD full of tests for all those edge cases. I never ran the whole set - needed a spare hard drive just to collect the results and it would have taken days just pulling the results off the mobile, for a codec that never aimed to pass all tests.

Raises suspicion that MS don't follow their own certification procedures. Wouldn't be the first time there were different rules for internal and external MS developers.

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