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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1376 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

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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Paul Shirley
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Re: The ITC is a US organization...

...dealing with international trade. I'm pretty certain you can find Americans that think a US company manufacturing in China is not international trade, while Koreans are. I'm 110% certain all areas of US gov have more than their fair share of them... including customs.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Microsoft should keep its mouth shut

Less worried than amused that someone got their 'lobbying,threats or bribes' in before Microsoft!

I find it far more likely some patriotic idiot in the agency simply doesn't think ITC bans apply to US companies...

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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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What's an enterprise SSD sale?

Paul Shirley
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they wouldn’t pay themselves the margin of course

...unless there's a tax avoidance opportunity ;)

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STEVE BALLMER KILLS WINDOWS

Paul Shirley
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Facepalm

Re: Adapt or deserve to die

There's more than one way to adapt.

Moving to a more suitable environment seems to be killing Microsoft better than Microsoft can kill it's departing refuseniks ;)

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Microsoft extends Windows Phone 8 support through 2015

Paul Shirley
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Re: " there was a significant change in specificatio"

If Winphone continues to restrictively specify the design of new devices it has no future. Apple already captured the minority happy to all own the 'same' phone, the majority stampeded toward the 'fragmented' world of Android.

Microsoft really got this wrong, avoiding fragmented hardware only sounds good in business meetings but it's not what the buying public actually want... the share of the public not already tied to Apple that is. MS aren't ever going to shift enough iOS users to WP and have contracts with Apple preventing them copying the look&feel of iOS to ensure it.

Quite how MS managed to build an OS unable to cope with varied hardware is hard to understand, device abstractions and wide driver support is what created their desktop OS success. Seems certain it was a deliberate decision, I'd guess driven by Apples success when they started work on Winphone and the endless fountain of PR castigating Android fragmentation strongly suggests they've always wrongly believed it was a crucial sales feature.

The problem is they completely forgot to check with the market, a market with thousands of different devices before smartphones rose and with a thriving customisation aftermarket even on locked down iPhones. Most buyers want variation, even if only cosmetic and Microsoft went out of their way to not offer that. Huge mistake when you're this late to a market.

The end result is a engineering mindset at Microsoft that means they aren't building each version of WP with the flexibility to deal with off-spec hardware. I don't believe that attitude will change in time to make WP9 support WP8 spec hardware, they need to acknowledge a central part of the sales plan is wrong and Microsoft haven't yet accepted they need change to rescue the products.

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Microsoft to ship Windows 8.1 in 'late August'

Paul Shirley
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Re: @mmeier

Mediaportal is not a 'badly behaved' program, at least as far as it's install process and links is concerned.

It installed 16 links in my Start Menu, split between front and backend sub menus, both contained in the Team Mediaportal main menu and easily navigable. The Start Screen picked 8 of them to dump into it's grid and didn't even keep them together in the jumble. The 'all apps' view at least clustered them into 1 group but discarded the front/backend distinction and only found 13 of the links. Not only did it flatten the hierarchy, it couldn't even find all the links... beyond useless.

It's probably the most links an installer added but far from unique - I see 4 TortoiseSVN links on the Start Screen, worse than useless because the main one is a context menu that only works in explorer on the desktop!

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Paul Shirley
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FAIL

@mmeier

mmeier:"Hundrets of icons? This sounds very strange and/or like badly programmed applications"

Seems you've forgotten classic desktop installers expect to add as many links as they like, all packaged away into a sub-menu so the Start Menu doesn't get hopelessly messy. It seems Microsoft also forgot it when coding the Start Screen, which translates classic installs by dumping all the structure and creating an unholy flattened mess.

Can't say I'm too surprised at all this forgetfulness, the price of entry to the Metro fan club always involved wilfully forgetting the past, to avoid unfavourable comparisons springing to mind.

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Paul Shirley
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AC:"Your argument is the same that was used about the Windows 3.x->95 move. People actually stuck with the program manager for years in some cases, despite the start menu being obviously better"

Pretty much sums up the 'fuck you' thinking coming out of Microsoft right now, channelled by their army of shills.

Apparently you are allowed to think the 95 era 'Start Menu' was *obviously better* but I'm not allowed to think the Win8 era 'Start Screen' is obviously worse on the desktop. Neither am I allowed to continue believing it after trying to use the sorry POS and finding it defective.

With Win95 Microsoft had the confidence to leave the old style launcher shell in place and let users choose. They even left it there in XP for any remaining holdouts. This time round though they seem to lack the confidence to just let the new out compete the old... as if even they know that's doomed to fail.

But the greater needs of forcing Windows onto the tablet and phone market requires that letting users decide what works best on users desktops is not an allowable option. If that impoverishes the set of tools I have available, neither you or Microsoft cares.

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Android sig vuln exploit SEEN IN THE WILD

Paul Shirley
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What's this 'install everything' setting?

Anyway, the problem here is not lack of signature checks, the device signature check itself is broken. Its easy to spot tampered with apps but you're now more reliant on trusting the distribution chain to actually do it.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: otherwise untouchable bloat

No, I mean fun like stripping 15Mb of foreign language dictionaries out of the keyboard apk and still having a working keyboard. Probably with a broken signature (not checked) but working. 15Mb I'd rather waste on games ;)

Anyway, had a look at the purported bug fix and it looks like Google (for a change) haven't overreacted and outlawed all zip file manipulation.

But it's a serious bug, trivially simple, trivially simple to exploit. Also however trivially simple to detect exploits and it looks like that detection could be added without a full OS update. Just don't wait for Google to get off their lazy arses and actually do it.

...although modifying the actual dex chunk does have it's appeal. Just tends to be easier to find a less abusive app than recompile one.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: How quickly the argument changes...

Far from useless, it looks very like the way I've been hacking otherwise untouchable bloat out of apps for the last couple of years without the hassle of resigning them...

Will be an unfortunate loss when patched.

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IT design: You're not data, you're a human being

Paul Shirley
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Re: the Start Menu

I strongly suspect part of the apathy for the XP style Start Menu springs from Microsoft completely failing to tell ordinary users how to manage the thing. It's sometimes obvious when the haters post about it's deficiencies they've just let Windows drop crap into it, without ever sorting additions, adding categories to the tree, removed junk or done anything to manage the ensuing mess. Without even noticing drag'n'drop works on it and takes seconds to undo what installers break.

Yet the same 'unstructure list' behaviour on the shiny new Start Screen is somehow magically more efficient...

My start menu has ordered imposed on it and in return I no longer need to remember where things are. I've effectively offloaded some of my cognitive load on the machine. It seems that I'm in a minority of people able to manage what installers throw at me, a minority that can be ignored in favour of dragging me back into the same mire the majority put up with.

To much concentration on metrics just drags us all down to the same level.

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Cryptocat WIDE OPEN, new version a must

Paul Shirley
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Re: Strong typing?

You need to actually read the source article, strong typing would have exactly NO effect on the stupid programming they did. This wasn't a type problem, it was the crap they put into the type.

Strong typing can only give you a hint about impending stupidity. It can't make you take the hint.

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Win 8 man Sinofsky's 'retirement' deal: $14m shares, oath of silence

Paul Shirley
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FFS stop pretending there's been a U-turn

Correcting a basic GUI discoverability design error (the start button) and shortcutting to the desktop ARE NOT A FUCKING U-TURN. Stop playing Microsofts PR game, the U-turn lie is just another slap in the face for users.

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Windows 8 apps pass 100K, Windows 8 passes Vista

Paul Shirley
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"very good backwards-compatibility"

...just a pity you have to explicitly turn it on for so many desktop applications.

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Paul Shirley
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I bet 99k of them are simple ports

It's considerably easier porting an existing iOS or Android app to another platform, especially if you built it in a cross platform tool. So you'd expect apps to appear massively quicker on later platforms, during the initial gold rush, while quick dirty ports can succeed.

Trickling in a little bit faster just shouts fail. I want to know how many of that 100k are this years apps, not recompiled stuff from the dawn of iPhone. I doubt it's a lot and now Microsoft are done subsidising (*) them I expect growth to slow a lot.

(* Microsoft have stopped pumping adverts into the ad platform, since they were responsible for 90%+ of them ad funded WP apps are effectively dead. AFAIK they also stopped paying bonuses for apps)

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Droid X2 plus ActiveSync equals DATA SLURP

Paul Shirley
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Re: Motorola

Google didn't own Motorola when they shipped this 2011 phone...

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Surface Pro for enterprise: We name the dates and the lucky partners

Paul Shirley
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For a device that was described as unrepairable after a teardown (iFixit rated it 1 out of 10), which seems to be glue with some components embedded in it, I'd guess they won't be doing repairs or spare parts!

At least the SSD is actually removable if you need to recover data from a dead Surface, something you'll need specialised kit to do with embedded flash.

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

Paul Shirley
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Remind me why adding a touch interface REQUIRES the non touch UI to be degraded?

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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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