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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1338 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Windows 8.1: Here at last, but is it good enough?

Paul Shirley
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Re: XBox 8.1

Apparently if you kill the network it will skip straight to a local account...

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Paul Shirley
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Re: at a guess professionals would want to deal with any significant OS release

...at a guess professionals would want to wait till the finalised release before evaluating it for their clients.

Especially those that remember Win8.0 had a functioning desktop Start Menu till 7 days before RTM, albeit hidden behind a registry flag. Until 8.1 is frozen, sometime this autumn, no-one knows what it will contain. Only shills need to evaluate it right now.

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Google says it paid TOO MUCH tax, wants $83.5m refund

Paul Shirley
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Re: Governments moral right to the money?

Rol:"governments around the world will have no choice but to get together and come up with a universal plan"

In direct contrast to how we got in this mess, with governments competing to attract business by offering tax incentives. When times were good they conveniently managed to overlook that they weren't just shafting other governments but forgoing vital income themselves.

It's hard to belief greedy halfwit governments willing to win business at literally ANY cost could ever agree to stop shafting each other. In the unlikely event any agreement is ever reached I doubt it would last long enough to actually collect the tax before our corrupt politicians kick off another round of suicidal tax giveaways. They really are that corrupt and that stupid.

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MSX: The Japanese are coming! The Japanese are coming!

Paul Shirley
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Re: Error

At the time a friend described the 8086/8088 as 2 8080's badly stitched together and in many ways it literally was just that and as flaky as it sounds.

Saddening to think there were so many interesting and architecturally superior CPUs around at the time, all killed by Intels ability to throw a couple of billion transistors at the job of hiding the true horror of the x86 design. There are no x86 CPUs any longer, just a lot of silicon emulating them.

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Paul Shirley
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more presence in magazines than on the streets

They were tempting as gaming consoles on paper when announced but it was just a serial screwup from then on.

In an age when every new pc shipped a minimum of 6months late they were more than a year late.

.then when they did ship the price was outrageously uncompetitive

..when they got remaindered down to decent prices MSX was obsolete and there were newer toys to buy.

And then the same thing happened with MSX-2!

It's a miracle any sold over here. I don't remember ever being asked to write anything for MSX either.

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Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond

Paul Shirley
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Re: And in other news...

Eadon is at Build 2013, he'll be back to cleanse the dirty feeling when he's done lying in the keynote speech...

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Microsoft partners seriously underwhelmed by Windows 8.1

Paul Shirley
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Re: Windows 7?

If only Microsoft didn't keep telling us it's listening to customers (and even remote monitoring them) to give them what they want... and apparently what they wanted was a Fisher Price drag along cart, in bright shiny colours and reduced functionality so they could skive off work better ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Microsoft know the PC market is in terminal decline, it's why they think it's OK to fuck over the Windows desktop and power users with a dumbed down legacy mode and completely dumb preferred UI. Its the desperate marketing driven need to enter a growing tablet+mobile market overriding all other concerns.

Microsoft is failing because they're shiny new consumer pandering OS isn't good enough to compete. They're damaging the existing PC product but gaining no benefit in the new target markets. When will Ballmer stop digging? Only when he's 6ft down in a wooden box is my bet.

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Microsoft talks up devices, Windows 8.1 at developer shindig

Paul Shirley
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"they monitor the use of thousands upon thousands of Windows users"

Measuring a minority does not justify everything you want to do to that minority.

Does not take away that minorities rights to comment.

Never magically makes a bad change good.

Win8 withdrew or damaged features to support Microsofts market planning, not for users benefit. The plan isn't even working so everyone loses.

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Windows Store apps for Office probably won't ship until 2014

Paul Shirley
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hardly unexpected they cant make a joined up plan

We all know Microsoft is really a confederation of divisions, not quite at war with each other but rarely cooperating with any enthusiasm. This time Ballmer put marketing and the planners in charge of bludgeoning their way into phones and tablets in charge and they aren't listening to any feedback, not customer feedback and it seems not internal either.

Tools got away with just dumbing down the chrome on their UIs because those users were always going to use desktop mode. Still caused a flood of complaint. Office have been ordered to do the impossible, fit a complex, high precision UI onto an inherently low precision, sparse GUI toolkit... and it's not easy, possibly not really possible. Maybe the delays are Office just refusing to play, more likely it's just the impossibility of the making full fat tools work in low fat Metro, iOS or Android.

At some point HQ will have to decide if the great Windows infestation plan is better served by shipping apps cut down to what works with deficient mobile and touch UIs. To stop pretending full versions of Office on those devices are a credible sales tool for the greater Win8 plan. ATM it looks like that will take the complete failure of Win8 before Microsoft changes anything and they won't see it coming because they have their eyes shut.

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Windows 8.1 start button appears as Microsoft's Blue wave breaks

Paul Shirley
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Re: can use black title bars with white text?

I wasted half a day trying to retheme the window chrome to something with more visual clues. Turns out they didn't just create pastel, low contrast themes, they decimated the theming options so it's hard to create anything else. With less granular control every thing you change has unforseen consequences somewhere else. At one point I thought I'd cracked it, only to discover dialogs were showing text black on black!

Even the hi-contrast settings don't help, they have the same problems. They look so ugly because they can't be made nicer and still work everywhere.

If you really want to restore some much needed chrome you'll need a 3rd party theming engine to restore more settings. UxStyle works nicely and with the Royale 8 theme a casual observer would think I'm running XP.

(And UxStyle is an early casualty of Win8.1. Thanks MS ;( )

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Paul Shirley
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Re: better support for multi monitor?

I look forward to whatever miraculous solution lets me seamlessly drag'n'drop between monitors using just touch.

...though now I remember, they need to repair drag'n'drop first because there's nothing seamless about Win8 stopping to think when a drag leaves or enters a new region :(

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Paul Shirley
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Many more than you want to believe.

And in defence of those that have sensibly avoided it: everything I thought I'd hate about Win8 before I tried it, 6-7months of use in and I was right about every single one of them and it's actually broken in ways I didn't expect.

If it looks obviously wrong sometimes it's because it really is wrong.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Where is it?

...your read it in MS release notes, or a journo parroting them...

It's quite cunning really, only the dedicated MS fans will put up with a full Win8 reinstall when it RTMs or the backup/test/restore bother now. So telemetry and manual feedback will again be highly skewed and another round of denial can begin.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: wjhat makes me laugh...

>1. Boot up in under 12 secs. (With ssd)

Takes 45s (without SSD) here. Then another minute before it starts responding to input enough to do anything. A whole 15s faster than XP for something I expect to do once a week at worst (if only Win8 was that stable)

>2. Do almost anything faster

...compared to a tired, badly maintained Win7 install. Test against an equally fresh copy and the supposed advantages vanish. It does handle my HD,USB and network faster than XP but if anything else is faster than switching 32->64bit can explain I've not noticed it. But the faithful can keep on believing the placebo works.

>5. 2 click access to device manager, uninstall programs, control panel, System, and so much more.

Just like I had with the control panel parked in my XP start menu root and right click context menu?

>7. Intelligent driver sensing.

Is that why it kept installing bad 64bit drivers and repeatedly reminded me the 'oh shit, I don't know how to carry on' exception screen is still blue? Having to override an 'intelligent' system intent on borking my PC isn't my idea of improvement.

>8. Far superior unified search.

Eventually I'll find time to read the manual and make it do the simple but powerful file searching I used to have in XP! Another 'not an' improvement.

>9. Superior WiFi controls in one-click

Really wouldn't know. Win8 instantly BSOD when I tried to use my WiFi dongle. Then BSOD again when I let it update the bad drivers with more bad ones. Never did find working drivers so more dead hardware.

>10. End process, actually works - immediately

Not here. There are less processes it can't kill, +1 for that. But some still take their time dying, some still refuse to die. Particularly annoying it's just as unreliable killing DirectX apps as it's always been.

But that's all pointless since it takes so long summoning task manager to life, I just quit it then relaunched and waited 12s for it start. 12seconds reloading from cache. 30s is more typical and I've seen it take much longer when something serious needs killing.

And of course that assumes task killer will even respond when launched. I'm using the reset button a lot more now because once the desktop crashes it tends to take every GUI app with it, including the task manager. And it crashes a lot if you dare to leave explorer windows open for extended periods.

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Microsoft: Someone gave us shot in the ARM by swallowing Surface tabs

Paul Shirley
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Re: The author is a wanker

"It's better than the iPad in every way but one and that's playing pointless games."

...and right there is exactly why Win8 and Win8 devices are slow sellers. Most of the public *want to play pointless games* and most of the corporations are perfectly aware they don't need new PC's, Win8 or overpriced and/or over powered tablets to get work done.

Microsoft still think they can tell punters what they want but Apple owns all the ones willing to be led, Android the ones that hate being led and the remainder just want cheap and plenty of games to go with their media playback and handheld browsing. Microsoft is fighting for a market that's already lost to them and ignoring the uncommitted buyers by refusing to compete on value.

The vultures resident Microsoft fan, Orlowski, understands the problem and persistently tries to paint Android as 'landfill', cheap and nasty because MS don't compete with cheap. But no-ones listening, they're too busy playing games on their cheap tablets ;)

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The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

Paul Shirley
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A while back Gamasutra (I think) had a long discussion about the use & abuse of motion blur in gaming. It was surprising how few understood why it makes sense on a 30fps console (the same reasons film does it) but not on a 60/75/100fps PC game.

Till now it's not been a real choice for developers though, with current gen consoles frequently only able to support 30fps without heroic efforts. Hopefully the next gen will change things.

...and I miss my 160Hz CRT ;(

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Paul Shirley
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Re: "your brain has to fill in more 'gaps'

I think it's simpler. In real life you don't see noticeable motion blur in most circumstances, sight effectively goes blank while your eyes are in motion - we evolved to discard that motion blur and see sharply. Using motion blur to hide frame rate problems is artificial and film looks artificial because of it. Fake but artful.

Higher rates coupled with reduced shutter times are closer to real vision but lose the artistic effect we've all been trained to accept. When film makers deliberately do it on 24fps material it's jarring but you're probably right about being easier to mentally process at suitable fps. Certainly feels that way in games, turning off motion blur at 60fps is usually an improvement... and sometimes the difference between achiving 30fps or 60fps!

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Paul Shirley
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Really? So which 3rd of the population get to use the correct phase that matches the broadcaster?

The usual justification is simpler: poor power regulation in early sets meant you didn't want a 10Hz beat frequency causing a very visible ripple on screen. Those of us old enough will remember watching waves of distortion moving slowing up or down screen as the transmission and power drifted in and out of sync on crappy TVs ;)

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Can Microsoft's U-turn stop the Xbox 360 becoming another XP?

Paul Shirley
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so much wrong

1: There is no Win8 U-turn. They've fixed some very superficial design errors in the desktop UI while continuing at full speed with pushing Metro. They still think they can bludgeon it into success, that the users are the problem not the OS and Microsofts marketing plans.

2: Console users are quite happy to switch platform between console generations and any that defect to Sony this time are just as likely to come back at the next console generation. They aren't lost for life, lost for the life of this particular console - maybe. The lack of backward compatibility means a clean slate this time and you can discount brand loyalty almost completely because of it. That's why Microsoft had to override their natural instinct to blame the user and actually give the appearance of listening.

XBone and PS4 are damn near identical on the coding side. Expect fewer genuine platform exclusives and even less reason to stay loyal.

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Hey mobile firms: About that Android thing... Did Google add a lockout clause?

Paul Shirley
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"give them prominent default placement on the phone"

...yet Orange seem able to prominently place their own maps,browser,app store,email and other apps on the default home screens.

...Sony also somehow manage to place their own app stores on the home screens.

They seem able to do it with the full Google apps suite installed.

Android will even give you an automatic 'ballot screen' between competing apps. So Nokia could have let users choose Nokia maps over Googles just by shipping both. Microsoft could at any time release IE for Android, coerce or pay OEMs to preinstall it and it would be offered to users.

Seems to me it's that 'user choice' bit that worries them because users really aren't going to choose the crud most Fairsearch members churn out. Another fanciful and largely fictitious complaint from the same serial losers, desperate to hobble competition and avoid creating desirable, competitive products of their own.

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Huawei muses on Nokia's future

Paul Shirley
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Re: Just what Microsoft needs

A worldwide whispering campaign against the big chinese manufacturers leave Microsoft free to play the good guys and rescue Nokia.

How very convenient. If they get lucky state interference will keep the bidding low as well.

(With current MS management, there's no believable hint of planning for this specific route to owning Nokia though... the incompetent idiots just got lucky)

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Bjarne Again: Hallelujah for C++

Paul Shirley
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"The most awesome thing about Delphi is that it is not C++"

Surely the most awesome thing about Delphi was that it wasn't classic Pascal and conceded you might want applications that talk to the messy outside world and run at decent speeds... all things missing from the language when I was forced to learn it at university ;(

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Nearly-transparent screen adds solar charge to phones

Paul Shirley
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Be worth testing cells on the phone casing but I'd guess the normal holding position, screen facing the main light source (the sky/house lights) and hand blocking the back would render it useless for too much time for most users. As a 2nd screen device it needs to face up for maximum convenience anyway.

A more subtle issue is physically protecting the cells. That comes free embedded in the screen but adds weight and bulk anywhere else.

TBH I can't see much point for this low a power contribution, especially with new Lithium/Sulphur battery tech on its way and more effective external solar chargers available where there's a real need.

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Surprise! Intel smartphone trounces ARM in power trials

Paul Shirley
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Re: What about standby power consumption?

While I'm surprised at this test (and frankly want proof before I believe), the power saving changes we already know about should have fixed standby performance, if it needed fixing.

Another aspect is how significant CPU power is in overall consumption. If you're gaming all day or playing video it's going to be important but the screen is still likely to top power use. My elderly and not too efficient phone with it's ancient Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon shows battery usage of 43% screen, 19% WiFi, 23% standby+idle. That's just 15% power used for the couple of hours it was actually working hard (gaming+browsing). As screens get bigger an efficient CPU becomes even less important.

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MPs demand UK rates revamp after Google's 'extraordinary tax mismatch'

Paul Shirley
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Re: point 2

point 2: if government after government had spent less time enticing internationals to set up shop in blighty by offering not to tax them, maybe those internationals wouldn't take them up on the offer.

Politicians have spent decades saying we'll liberally reward anyone that brings collateral benefits, set up taxation to do it, trained HMRC to implement the ensuing free for all. Too fscking late to dodge the blame, politician monkeys did it, politician monkeys need to fix it. Only then do they get to blame others.

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Microsoft announces $499 price tag, new games for Xbox One

Paul Shirley
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Re: 40 somethings

You're right about them having no loyalty. Couple of weeks back I chatted with 3 20something, XBox360 owning gamers and it turned into the 2 younger gamers convincing the other to get back into PC gaming!

Cost was a large part of what had been putting him off the PC based on the cost of building a gaming PC compared to XBox. Well, XBone and the inexorably march of progress on the PC wiped out that difference and the murky resale position just raised the expected cost of content on XBone.

It's a double hit and you're mistaken to think cost is not a problem. ATM console gamers reduce their costs by resale, where PC gamers don't really need to due to frequently lower content pricing. What my chat established is none of them feel any loyalty to their current console, they'll go where the gaming is good but not at any price. And the PC is back in the game after many years of decline.

(It also established that they all gamed on mobile as well, which probably is a bigger threat to traditional consoles and the insane XB policies)

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Paul Shirley
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@Colin Ritchie:$400 behemoths

Even those $400 behemoths are sitting on the wrong side of a PCIe bus. Unified memory doesn't just make programming simpler, it significantly improves performance on at least some tasks. The GPU might well be 'mediocre' in a PC architecture, it will work a lot better in the XBone/PS4 architecture - especially with DDR5 in the PS4.

Only the integrated GPUs in PC builds could compete but they truly are low end crap running with DDR3. It's just a matter of time till someone ships a similar APU in a real PC though. Maybe time left for Steam to rework the Steam Box ;)

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Microsoft to open Windows Stores inside 600 Best Buy locations

Paul Shirley
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Re: Training - oh yeah.

Didn't Microsoft already nail that by selling $20 add-on keyboards for $129...

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Cold, dead hands of Steve Jobs slip from iPhones: The Cult of Ive is upon us

Paul Shirley
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copying Googles mistakes?

I wonder how completely Apple will copy Google. Google kicked of the flat icon craze some years back and have gone way too far with it, creating icons so cryptic I struggle to use some apps.

Without Jobs to rein them in I wonder if Apple will out compete Google in incomprehensible UIs? Be funny to see because no Apple fan will ever admit they can't understand their Apple device ;)

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The fearful price of 4G data coverage: NO TELLY for 90,000 Brits

Paul Shirley
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Re: Fewer towers (masts) also means poorer capacity

In urban areas lower frequencies penetrate walls better allowing more of the mast bandwidth to actually be used. Where demand is being met, less towers at higher bandwidth efficiency can deliver the same capacity to users as more, low efficiency ones.

O2 massively increased service where I live but still can't get a 2 or 3G signal to me in many pubs I use. It's not the number of towers or their capacity, it's whether I can even connect to them to use the bandwidth!

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Google slides its soft finger-fondling into any willing Android doodad

Paul Shirley
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Re: 70% of Android users can get this

Still seeing 40%+ still on 2.x on my app stats page (and another 1% for 1.x and 3.x!). Seems enough to warrant reporting.

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YES, Xbox One DOES need internet, DOES restrict game trading

Paul Shirley
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Re: Microsoft: "We're always listening to our customers"

Someone has to trade in every used game before it can be resold and many of those users factor that into the price of new games. By raising doubt about resale Microsoft are discouraging a large group of new game purchasers.

Unless this translates to much cheaper new sales there's no upside to this for anyone. Since figures of £35 have been suggested for minimum 2nd user prices that seems unlikely.

Sony already won this round by having a more game focussed and powerful console, if they react appropriately to the public response Microsoft are getting they could annihilate xbone.

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Intel unzips new Atom phone chip: Low power, fast - is that right, ARM?

Paul Shirley
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what better CPU power peformance gives, LTE takes away

How advanced is Intel's LTE development? There's a real risk that early LTE implementations on Atom will waste all the power improvements elsewhere, further delaying them reaching parity with ARM systems.

Intel are still chasing a moving target and don't seem to be attacking *all* the targets needed to succeed. It's not just about CPU/GPU performance and power consumption, it's about the rest of the system as well and getting it all onto the most compact SoC. Intel are still too focussed on just a few areas.

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Inside Intel's Haswell: What do 1.4 BEELLION transistors get you?

Paul Shirley
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Re: waste silicon

When your core is inherently tiny and a low performance version can dispense with many 'go faster' transistors by cutting back on cache, pipeline depth or fat register files, there's not much silicon being wasted. Even less waste if you can avoid complex power control logic and any extra logic needed to safely bring logic units up or down.

In exchange you get a much easier chip to design, test and get working. Something a small company without Intels resources can manage. You also get designs that better fit the ARM licensing model, of cut&pasted together modules that any chip foundry can successfully manufacture.

Intel have a harder problem because their cores are now so complex even extra, cut down cores will waste too much silicon. So they have no option but to deep dive into the architecture and try to tame its power sucking greed by adding even more complexity.

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Microsoft offers free keyboard covers for Surface RT

Paul Shirley
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Re: This is old news

The Reg has been very poor recently at seeking out news, apart from the endless desperate attempts to find dubious support for the editors non-IT related crusades.

Still, confirms that Microsoft didn't want this pushed through normal PR channels and the attention that would bring. With so many bargain reporting sites and a growing trend of companies spamming into them it's become easy to reach the public without the normal PR grind or the press even noticing.

Even the press that don't just sit on their arses waiting for stories to be handed to them...

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Microsoft's Windows 8.1 secrets REVEALED ... sort of

Paul Shirley
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Re: hmm

...and this stock response from the Win8 marketing team is getting tired.

Been using since launch, still haven't learned to love Metro, the shitty driver support, the bugs in Explorer, the gratuitous and unneeded detheming of desktop mode, or any of the other annoyances. But apparently to merkins like you 'I haven't used it enough' to have an opinion!

In it's favour: I can finally use all the installed RAM and plugging my phone in doesn't crash it (like under XP). Pity I spent more replacing hardware it no longer supports than the sodding OS cost ;(

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Paul Shirley
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a conforting change list

Not one actual problem I have solved.

Not one hint of any change to the underlying OS.

Not one reason I need to install this at all... that's comforting ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Re: organising themwas to be quick and intuitive

Using drag'n'drop directly in the Start Menu seems about as 'quick and intuitive' as it's possible to get. A few seconds dragging after installers work their damage is hardly a burden. What bizarre and perverse other method did you try? Haven't worked out how to do anything useful to organise the Metro version (without directly hacking the underlying folder structures) and perhaps 25% of my installed applications even show up in it.

I'll admit the bloody Win8 UAC prompts can get annoying during multiple alterations. Also not a fan of the Win7 variant - luckily Classic Start Menu has better options. But there's not a chance in hell I'm dropping an n-dimension search structure for that 2.1D visually homogeneous sea of tiles (.1 for the utterly useless grouping).

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Anyone know why its fixed at three

...any less and there'd be no improvement to SHOUT about, any more and they'd train PC users to expect more than shitty resolution Win8 tablets and WP8 phones can deliver...

It's hard to actually improve your product when it's design exists just to advertise another, different product ;)

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Windows 8.1 Start button SPOTTED in the wild

Paul Shirley
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@AceRimmer - how do you use non-existent code?

"The third party start menu applications work by activating hidden/deactivated features of the the Windows GUI."

Please tell us how they invoke Start Menu code that Microsoft deleted from Win8 a week before RTM? It's simply not there to be used. They also tried deleting some of the OS hooks replacements use but that just wasted days of dev time working around the sabotage.

Why did they remove it so completely? Because people kept turning it back on all the way through the Win8 test period! A sane company would see that and conclude disabling it was a mistake. MS physically excised the option and it's rumoured Sinofsky ordered engineers to delete the history from revision control so it can't be brought back - insanity.

Microsoft are trying to use their desktop monopoly control to promote other products but when did it start making sense to piss off users trapped by the monopoly? Degrading my desktop will not endear me to WP8 or any incarnation of Metro on other devices.

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Paul Shirley
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@Roland6

"can they actually put the start button back without the third-party start button/menu vendors crying foul"

Does this half-arsed mockery *block* 3rd party replacements... call me cynical but I won't be even slightly surprised if this hijacks that bit of screen and deliberately breaks 3rd party replacements, at least till they hack around it.

So MS partially correct the misuse of invisible UI elements but it's just window dressing, not real change and certainly not what users are screaming for. How not surprised do I look?

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Microsoft caves to Google, pulls YouTube app from WinPhone Store

Paul Shirley
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the stunning power of Fairsearch searches

Took seconds to find the Youtube v3 API, in nice plain text. A little longer to read the licence terms. Another few secs to find the apparently automatic 'click this button, agree to this licence, we give you a client ID' sign up process.

I'm forced to conclude Microsoft used Bing for the search (or maybe their partner, Foundems woeful effort) and couldn't find it. Yet somehow Bing found enough info to hack together an app capable of violating the terms of service the Youtube API is only available under? MS just don't know when to stop fabricating stories...

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Is the next-gen console war already One?

Paul Shirley
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Re: Xbox One

That RAM latency has little effect on most functional units, either because they feed on streams (GPU) or have internal caches (CPU). That latency issue has been getting data from core to core and historically getting it into the right chunk of RAM. Unified RAM removes half the problem while fast core<->RAM streaming simplifies everything.

PS4 has an advantage here because it's simpler with no accelerated transfer systems to deal with. It's going to have less bottlenecks and more predictable behaviour. And it really doesn't hurt that not pissing away transistors on ESRAM let them build in more cores!

Given that both systems seem to have broadly comparable basic hardware, I'll expect better gaming performance on the one with more cores. The PS4 looks like it will outperform even high end PCs for most of it's life, not convinced the Xbone will.

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Open wide, Google: Here comes an advertising antitrust probe

Paul Shirley
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Re: "only links to other search engines"

I may be imagining it but the Fairsearch Jihad against Google seems remarkably coincident to Google making progress against the tidal wave of SEO, link farms and those fscking annoying recursive mazes of search engines pointing at search engines.

I'm 110% convinced Google has materially damaged the business of countless people. But it's a good thing, in the same way the police materially damage the business of criminals.

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More than half of Windows 8 users just treat it like Windows 7

Paul Shirley
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I wouldn't go so far. After XP->Win8 I'd describe it's stability as 'different', not better, not lower, just falls over on different things... although right now it's still showing lower uptimes than XP SP3 AND I deliberately detuned the hardware a while back to rule out hardware problems, with no improvement.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: How can that be?

Remember: the shiny new Start Screen is an app... ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Re: "TIFKAM is perfectly usable, it just isn't the interface people are used to."

Metro is a UI designed down to the least common denominator, one designed for what a small screen touch only device is capable of (and I'd argue crap like magic corners is inherently bad design even there).

Not just different, it's an impoverished UI, hamstrung by it's assumptions:

1: that it has to look the same everywhere (a pure marketing requirement with no real reason to exist), where 'everywhere' leaks strongly into desktop mode (so even functional window chrome had to go)

2: that it has to behave identically everywhere, regardless of the quality or precision of your input devices

3: that fullscreen is always the 'right thing', whatever the hardware, whatever restrictions it causes

There's a more subtle assumption: that desktop=legacy mode. Legacy modes inevitably become 2nd class, with degraded support and allowed to rot before being dropped completely - at least in the minds of the managers and developers maintaining them... and Win8 desktop mode is showing signs of neglect, from the hastily crippled chrome and theming options to the astonishing bugginess of File Explorer to the almost random organisation of settings and on and on.

The real issue here remains the same, if I'm using an 'interface people (aren't) used to' there's no reason it should be a Microsoft interface. If users are increasingly using reduced function devices instead of PCs, Microsoft are screwed because traditional Windows doesn't work there.

Everything in Win8 has to train users to use the impoverished Metro UI that does work on new devices. Metro can't be allowed to work better on a PC than a tablet and desktop has to be subtly (and not so subtly) degraded to make Metro more attractive. It's cynical, desperate and failing.

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Happy 23rd birthday, Windows 3.0

Paul Shirley
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Michael Strorm:"the problem with the Amiga is that Commodore sat on their laurels"

The Amiga line was hamstrung by management that couldn't decide what they wanted it to be. Designed as the super console of its time, management stripped the chip RAM that delivers most of its performance, shrank the base RAM too far and gave out mixed messages about whether it was a gaming or office machine for its entire lifetime.

When I wrote for it, the OS used enough RAM to make life difficult porting from the Atari ST (so many of us just dumped it in the game boot loader) and multitasking was a fun demo but not much use in real office work.

Windows and the IBM PC proves you can survive bad products with the right management, the Amiga was mismanaged to death.

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Surface Pro to hit Blighty priced 25% up on top-o-the-range iPad

Paul Shirley
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the rt firesale kicked off yesterday

Meanwhile both Dell and Microsoft UK are heavily discounting rt devices to shift them.

What could possibly go wrong?

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