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* Posts by Paul Shirley

1362 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Google open sources very slow compression algorithm

Paul Shirley
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Re: -bzip2/xzip is the way to go

On a completely arbitrary and wholly inappropriate dataset, using 7z, lzma2 did 2.8% better than bz2.

Neither of them will decompress with zlib and there's no realistic chance of updating enough of the worlds browsers with alternatives in a hurry - I imagine Microsoft would resist supporting bzip2 with a passion! We have universal zlib because PNG requires it (or a compatible implementation) and the permissive licence makes using real zlib a no brainer. Even for Microsoft ;)

There's no killer application to drive bzip, lzma2 or any other advanced compression. I expect someone to improve the compression speed pretty rapidly so it probably doesn't matter anyway.

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Take that, freetards: First music sales uptick in over a decade

Paul Shirley
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sales rise as DRM-free takes hold?

Surely no coincidence that download sales improve as more providers go DRM free.

It's not a connection the 'biz' will ever accept or even consider and happened despite them. The Apples & Amazons of the world might scare the hell out of the music cartels but are the only way their business model will ever be changed enough to save them.

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Samsung Wallet slavishly copies inspired by Apple Passbook

Paul Shirley
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2 of them obviously more suitable

Pretty much what I expect to see from both Google and MS. The usual cryptic crap icon from Google I'd struggle to associate with it's function. A flat monochrome effort from MS (because that's this weeks 'design language') that eventually I'd learn to associate - but different more because that design language makes using images we might recognise bloody difficult.

Whether or not Samsung deliberately copied Apple, both efforts work so much better than the others Apple really shouldn't be allowed monopoly rights to pretty obvious imagery.

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Apple patents situational awareness for oblivious fanbois

Paul Shirley
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like Locale with extras

So it's the Android Locale app with richer triggers. I feel patent abuse coming on.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.twofortyfouram.locale&hl=en

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That Firefox OS mobe: The sorta phone left behind after a mugging

Paul Shirley
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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

WP - " a massive company backing it" with more 'form' for shafting it's collaborators than almost any other.

Microsofts size + Microsofts past behaviour + Microsofts total lack of monopoly leverage = Microsoft fail. It's too late for the industry to stop Google dictating terms to them, it's the perfect time to hobble Microsoft and they'd be idiots not to do that. Even if I agreed WP is good, good for business or desirable, having Microsoft in your market never is.

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Firefox to spit out third-party cookies

Paul Shirley
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Re: This isn't going to have the desired result

"1. A change in the definition of what is considered a third party cookie"

The current FF cookie blocking is worse than useless. Block them and some sites simply won't work, even if you allow it to ask for permission - the GAME website spreads it's load across multiple internal URLs and I never managed to get it to work. If a change can get the blocking to actually be controllable on most sites it might be worth turning back on.

What's rather more urgently needed is more effort to stop killing add-ons with every sodding FF update. That way I can stick with one cookie control solution without losing my permission settings. Not breaking existing addons has never been a priority with Mozilla though.

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Best Buy takes axe to touchy Windows 8 PCs - lops $100 off price

Paul Shirley
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Joke

PR announcing jump in Win8 sales at 12

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Hands-on with Ubuntu's rudimentary phone and tablet OS

Paul Shirley
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FAIL

Re: but puzzling nonetheless

It's seriously bizarre shipping even a demo/early preview with so few apps compiled for it.

If Canonical couldn't tweak a few of its own desktop apps enough to throw in, it raises serious questions about the whole desktop/tablet/phone OS compatibility message. At the very least it hints they've dumped the current desktop API and expect everyone to start again, with something so immature they can't use it themselves. Or if we're lucky they just shipped a preview as soon as it could boot a slideshow and many months before it's ready for anything.

Either way, this looks like a fscking stupid idea if they're trying to get app devs to jump aboard. I'd love to say Mozilla will do better but FF mobile has a bare addon store with bugger all compatibility with the desktop, so the same mistake being made there.

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Google given more time to prove to Brussels it's NOT 'abusive' in search

Paul Shirley
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WTF does market test mean here?

WTF does 'market test' mean in this context? Who decides what success means?

Given the bending over backwards demonstrated so far by insisting the complainants must be happy with any proposed solution, a fair guess would be it's only judged a success if Bing and the vertical search bottom feeders involved all see a substantial increase in traffic. But would that signify a consumer benefit or just distortion of the market in the other direction?

I sure as hell know which way Microsoft and Fairsearch will portray it and if change at Google doesn't push business their way that they will not accept that. I also know just how bad search will get if Google get hobbled down to their competitors woeful performance. It's near unusable already thanks to the SEO industry.

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SimCity Classic

Paul Shirley
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Re: Ahhhhh

This class of games feels too much like work and real work has a bigger pay off, one where the only micromanagement chores are keeping track of who's round it is ;)

Luckily there's an endless supply of no brain required shooters for me and game makers have helpfully started labelling their mind numbingly micromanaged games as 'deep' so I can avoid them easily!

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Ad-titan Google blocks Adblock Plus in Android security tweak

Paul Shirley
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don't expect any response from Google

Google did essentially the same to APN setting last year, blocking it on ICS and later. They have so far completely ignored all requests for some alternative solution, shown no interest at all in the apps it broke or the users it's inconvenienced. They didn't even list it as a change, just went ahead and quietly killed it.

They can make as much noise as they like, Google will not change this and it's unlikely they'll even read the complaints. It's the Google way, they don't do feedback from anything smaller than governments. And they don't pay much attention to governments.

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Chip daddy Mead: 'A bunch of big egos' are strangling science

Paul Shirley
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Re: All Hail the Electron!

When I was young transistors were analogue devices that could also be used as binary switches. Even evolved to function better as logic devices, they're still fundamentally analogue and remembering that doesn't match my understanding of 'awesome'.

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Review: The ultimate Chromebook challenge

Paul Shirley
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Re: Netbook 2.0?

...perhaps for all the same reasons MS shouldn't have produced a tablet?

Those of us wanting just the hardware without the OS are always going to be a tiny minority. However the general public happy with limited functionality are also getting the same better deal without the MS tax, an overhead that destroyed any price advantage netbooks had.

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Paul Shirley
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Netbook 2.0?

Really pleased you tested replacing the OS.

Google should be able to stop Microsoft doing to Chromebooks what it did to netbooks. Removing the MS taxes (software license+increased hardware requirements) might bring the cheap netbook market back to life, for those of us prepared to replace the OS.

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Google misses privacy-policy deadline, incurs EU wrath

Paul Shirley
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Have to wonder if Google believe the US government will ride to the rescue, just like their recent threats over 'right to be forgotten' EU proposals. It wouldn't be the 1st time a US company thought that way and I can't think of any other reason Google would believe they can win on this.

Google normally seem happy to let courts decide things like this, ignoring the politicians and lobbying (often less than honest, from competitors) but I cant believe they found legal advice that this case is winnable in a court.

Time for a bulk buy of popping corn, it's going to be most interesting watching how other US data miners react. For a change they might resist taking cheap shots and lobbying against Google.

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Bill Gates: Windows Phone strategy was 'a mistake'

Paul Shirley
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"kinect being the best example"

...tech bought in from PrimeSense, driven by the need to compete with the Wii controller, constrained by the need to avoid Nintendo and Sony controller patent minefields. MS massively improved the software, it's very definitely an innovative solution, but it's also another example of MS being late to the party.

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Paul Shirley
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Jumping on bandwagons then hijacking them has been an unbelievably successful strategy for MS for most of its existence. With everyone else doing it Cloud must be the next bandwagon... even if you and I might disagree ;)

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Boffins FREEZE PHONES to crack Android on-device crypto

Paul Shirley
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Re: will be easy to neuter but not for existing phones

The bootloader has write access to RAM and the mapping hardware or it couldn't load anything. Trivial to overwrite RAM from it.

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Paul Shirley
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will be easy to neuter but not for existing phones

If future bootloader versions randomise RAM on startup this exploit vanishes. Won't help current devices though.

I've always said, if they get physical possession of the device assume your data can be read. This is just one way to do it without dismantling the phone. Does appear that drive encryption is still effective with the default locked bootloader. Unlock it and you should know the device is compromised, you unlock to hack them after all.

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Google whips out pocket cannon, fires VoIP patent sueball at BT

Paul Shirley
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BT built themselves a trolls reputation, payback time

I don't think anyone's forgiven them for the ludicrous 'we own hyperlinking' patent suits... BT have built a reputation for taking the piss. As any current or past BT customer already knows ;)

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Android? Like Marvin the robot? Samsung eclipses Google OS - Gartner

Paul Shirley
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It's not OS brand v hardware brand

I know plenty of people that bought Android based on manufacturer brand. I also know all of them knew they were getting an Android device, Android from Samsung,Sony,HTC (before they turned crap). The rest of the Android users didn't care what brand it was as long as the price and performance were right - couple of ZTE Blades hit that sweet spot at the time.

It's not Android v Samsung/HTC/Sony etc, it's Android *on* Samsung etc. There's no brand confusion, if there was WP7 would have shipped a lot more devices to customers more interested in OEM brand than the software it runs.

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Rivals to Brussels: Google labelling its own stuff won't help us

Paul Shirley
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Correct. But being backed by MS is a large part of why it's survived this long despite being without merit.

The other part is the EU takes a different attitude to monopoly and anticompetitive behaviour. The US only cares how you establish and maintain an abusive market position, do it legally and they don't interfere. The EU also looks at the effects on the market when deciding whether to act - you don't have to do anything wrong to attract some regulation.

What we have is a situation where the only changes likely to have any effect are most likely to hurt customers, not help them, because the complainants really don't want to compete fairly. They already tried and failed at that.

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Micron glues DDR4 RAM to flash, animates the 256GB franken-DIMM

Paul Shirley
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Re: Attaching it to RAM

You've got it back to front. This is cache RAM attached to Flash. That always makes sense and just like the cache RAM on your spinning disks it's a disposable, small part of the package.

The need for OS support raises some questions. Could be as simple as recognising the device, more likely it's recognising that you don't want a PC using this as RAM but treating it as a SSD on the DDR4 bus. Or both ;)

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Not done yet: Oracle to ship revised Java fix on February 19

Paul Shirley
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Google rolling their own seems prescient

Have to wonder if Android would have survived if forced to use genuine Oracle Java. I'm sure Dalvik and Harmony are chock full of bugs and security holes but nothing quite beats Oracle for sheer incompetence and lack of interest in security.

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iOS 6.1 KNACKERED our mobile phone networks, claim Vodafone, Three

Paul Shirley
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...but it's O2s shitty network. Unless the network completely falls over for more than 8 hours how would you even notice any change... O2 never seem to notice without prodding from customers whatever happens ;)

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Microsoft Surface Pro launch: It's easy to sell out of sod all stock

Paul Shirley
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@Moeluk "store Apps and things on those SD cards"

Apart from games, it's going to be challenging filling even the 23Gb free on the 64Gb version with apps. On my desktop XP machine after 7 years, even with monsters like the MS sdk collections installed and a frankly stupid number of accumulated installs the entire OS partition never used more than 14Gb. Meanwhile Android has proven running apps from SD is a very bad idea and best avoided.

Games of course can eat vast amounts of space but I struggle to see the Surface Pro as a gaming device. Price is too high for the performance delivered. Too high to buy as a toy.

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Big Windows updates may ship this summer – and every summer

Paul Shirley
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Re: It sounds ghastly

One of the reasons Win8 looks so unfinished is that pressure to release, with code still being hurriedly ripped out of desktop mode a week before RTM. Pray that MS don't pick the Xmas selling season as their annual update deadline or we'll face year after year of hurried hacks.

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Microsoft needs to keep visible under waves of Blue

Paul Shirley
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now I'm really worried

Why do I feel like the big squeeze is just starting. On the old model each service pack was little more than a bunch of bug fixes and under the hood performance improvements, it rarely took away any features or broke the UI (though removing >4Gb RAM support from XP was evil).

The PR push is building this to be a 'new Windows' every year and I can't help feeling MS intend to carry on vandalising desktop mode and mutating the beast into a Metro future with vestigial classic support. With new features confined to Metro it will become increasingly hard to avoid updating and the Windows Store could easily be used to punish holdouts.

From my 'desktop power user' POV this is threatening to have the shortest ever support window of any Windows release.

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BBC blueprint to make EVERY programme on TV a repeat revealed

Paul Shirley
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Re: Must be about time all TV became on-demand via the Internet

Thanks to the evil of georestriction ex-pats really shouldn't be so keen on streaming. Every time I try to find a working stream for Irish rugby to watch here in England I'm reminded how good they've got at stopping viewing from abroad ;(

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Paul Shirley
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Re: So with my duff connection speed...

It's usually bloody awful on my good 20mbit connection. Freeview quality varies between passably good and atrocious. iPlayer dreams of passably good, with resolutions guaranteed to cause blurring.

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Psst, wanna block nuisance calls? BT'll do it... for a price

Paul Shirley
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Re: Useless really

@Steve Evans: you may not receive legitimate VOIP calls, I do, my family get them a lot from me.

When BT strip CLI they remove an important clue about each call, the chance of some scammer picking a faked number I recognise *and will answer* is close to zero. While legitimate calls can be recognised I can feel safer ignoring everything else, withheld or not. While legitimate calls are deliberately commingled with spam I can't simply ignore everything.

Strangely VirginMedia and all the mobile networks seem to agree, it's just BT making life difficult for competitors.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Useless really

BT also strip CLI off incoming SIP calls, showing them as international. Anticompetitive to the core. They'd rather harm competitors than help their customers. So no surprise this is such a blunt and useless tool.

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Microsoft 'touches 16k shop workers' to flog Windows 8 hard

Paul Shirley
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@Chris Long

" tap the Windows key, start typing 'Exce...' and then click on the Excel icon ('tile') when Search finds it"

...and as I'm getting tired of pointing out, it doesn't work very well. It only seems to search Metro's private startmenu folders - if the app's not in there it won't be found. Which means more than half the useful apps and links with parameters on my system just aren't visible. Despite the fact I can see them on my desktop and in the classic start menu!

Without wasting an afternoon manually adding links direct to the underlying folders (something beginners won't even know about) they'll stay hidden from the search. Some of use prefer to keep some apps away from OS partitions we might need to reformat, reinstall, or want to share them with another OS.

It's no substitute for a real, user configurable setup process even beginners can understand. With Metro, you take what MS offer, do without or get hacking, the whole experience stinks of it.

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BT to end traffic throttling - claims capacity is FAT

Paul Shirley
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are they still using 50:1 contention ratios?

So how much contention are BT planning for? On dialup and when ADSL started 50:1 was widely believed... don't need traffic throttling when you've oversold that much bandwidth ;)

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Greedy Apple told it can't triple Samsung's $1bn patent payout

Paul Shirley
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Re: Koh avoiding pointless work

Which part of 'real lawyer, not groklaw' don't you understand?

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Paul Shirley
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Koh avoiding pointless work

There was a 3rd party analysis (a real lawyer, not groklaw BTW) soon after the award suggesting the combination of bad verdict form wording and outright error by the jury in filling the form restricted triple damages to a few $10's of million. It's not surprising Koh took the easy way out and rounded that down to zero, rather than fall into the briar patch trying to pick a real figure.

Given her past behaviour I'm 100% convinced she would have ruled for Apple but for that verdict form cockup. There's precious little justice in this case so far.

The other aspect is: this is going to appeal, no doubt about it. Nothing Koh does now is likely to stick and I think she knows it. Time is working for Samsung, they're in no hurry because as time passes, Apple's IP shrinks.

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Microsoft may be readying Outlook for ARM – or not

Paul Shirley
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Re: Windows RT and Activesync

What it implies is there's no unified plan for Surface, RT or Win8. Just a competing bunch of interests inside MS, all fighting to force this years product(s) into a supporting role for their divisions plan. Worst of all it's been rushed out too quickly, before any winner could emerge.

So we have products with no clear direction, with most parts of MS giving different messages about them, software components that look unfinished and mismatched to the devices it runs on. And if there's a winner inside MS its the marketing wonks that decided using the desktop monopoly to cross promote their way into new markets was worth compromising *every* product for.

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Microsoft acknowledges the long and winding road ahead

Paul Shirley
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Re: touch/matte empiricism vs. opinion

I have a nagging feeling we'll never see matte touchscreens simply because they're harder to clean. My matte 23" LCD is visibly grubby after 3 years despite regular cleaning and I've not yet found an effective way to do it. A touchscreen will receive more crud every day than my LCD typically gets in a month.

Since they've got away with selling shiny screens for so long I doubt anyone will even try to invent an easily cleaned matte display, let alone bother selling it. Sad.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: you can safely use the modern UI with a mouse

Sure, you can use it but it ain't fun.

Still can't believe I cant just drag the start screen with the mouse. Right there we have 2 different interfaces for the same screen.

Now need to do a full screen drag to close apps instead of a single click. That might work well on a small screen where saving a few pixels is valuable but my desktop is a long drag to traverse and not short of space for window decorations.

Metro remains a phone UI, optimised for tiny screens and they've done the absolute minimum to make it work on the desktop. Just annoying enough to drive users off their mice.

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No UK date, no biz disties: Will Microsoft cock-up the Surface Pro too?

Paul Shirley
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Remember: it's another $130 for the keyboard and Office is not bundled so potential expense there (or the excuse to go LibreOffice;). To do real work you probably want a better keyboard anyway but still looking at a $1000+ US price ->£800, throw in another $100/£80 for a the 128Gb version.

Not cheap even if they don't screw you on the exchange rate. No-one will be buying this for normal tablet duties, severely limiting its market.

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Microsoft blasts PC makers: It's YOUR fault Windows 8 crash landed

Paul Shirley
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Re: Win8 bugs

Took me 2 months to get Win8 partially stable here. A depressing combination of forcing compatibility mode on far too many apps and services, soul destroying searching for 64bit drivers that don't crash on 4Gb+ machines (and reminding WIndows update NOT to send me more broken ones) and retiring perfectly functional hardware Win8 just won't work with.

Now I'm reaching the giddy heights of 48hr uptime between forced reboots, MS deprecated (and vandalised) desktop mode to the point where when Explorer crashes it now disables every UI element on the entire system. Can't even fire up or use the task manager, can't switch out of desktop, can't restart. Can't even ctrl-alt-del! Only working input is the reset button on the PC.

And I can't tell if it's the bugs desktop has always had or the 3rd party hacks needed to make it usable, whichever it is, making desktop just an app means when it crashes there's no way out.

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iPhone hangs on in US, Japan, but EVERYONE ELSE bought an Android

Paul Shirley
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Re: figures sound dodgy to me

Those UK winphone sales are believable. During those 3 months HUKD was posting new deals on Lumia WP7.5 devices every 3-4 days. They didn't hit remaindered prices but for the not too fussy bargain hunters on HUKD the price was right. I think I even saw a couple of admittedly poor offers on Lumia WP8 devices as well.

They had a sale, 2 months before Xmas. A large spike in sales is believable. That it will continue is not believable ;)

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Paul Shirley
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Actually, I'm looking forward to reaction to that little problem. The folk that genuinely believe Google is evil should be happy the Chinese are cutting them out.

The fun is with the folk faking it in support of 'another companies product'. They're still frantically trying to work up a response. It's bad for Google but those are still Android devices and Googles loss is not their sponsoring companies gain. What's a poor shill to do.

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Google v Microsoft mobile war: Who's REALLY to blame?

Paul Shirley
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Are you sure you're using gmail right? Can't see any ads on it. Not in the browser, not in the gmail app on my phone. Don't remember doing anything clever to kill them either.

The UI is fscking awful though ;)

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Ballmer now flings out work rivals, rather than chairs, claims ex-Microsoftie

Paul Shirley
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Re: Innovation

I sense selective memory from Kempin. MS have been trying to sell slates (AKA tablets) for a very long time now and been in the phone biz for some time.

They didn't ignore the tablet, they repeatedly tried and failed to sell them. Gates regularly used to tell anyone that would listen that slates were going to be the next big thing. Admittedly when hardware finally made iPad possible MS didn't move fast enough to dump classic windows on their devices but that's years after he left MS!

Phones, again they had a large share of the smartphone market right up till tech allowed iPhone. And again MS didn't adapt quickly enough. But they were in the market and for a change not really failing.

Social media is more of the same. MS have bought company after company chasing a userbase, they just seem totally incapable of creating their own social platforms. But they certainly acted to get in the game.

To the extent it's even possible to foresee the massive changes, MS didn't sit back and do nothing, they forged ahead but mostly did the wrong things.

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Microsoft's ARM blunder: 7 reasons why Windows RT was DOA

Paul Shirley
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Re: AFAIK Office isn't bundled with Surface Pro

"As far as I can tell Surface Pro will also require _additional_ cost for Office if used in a business."

AFAIK Pro won't have Office bundled at all, judging from MS statements so far. So it's a non-issue in the sense that you'll need to get a licensed copy separately anyway.

If MS get spooked enough maybe they'll decide to bundle Office after all but I'll be extremely surprised. A trial license for 365 seems the most acceptable (to the MS beancounters) option.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: remote control

I run a 2048x1152 primary monitor and it doesn't feel big enough (hence the 2nd monitor and planned 3rd one). I really don't care how well remote control functions, on a 1366x768 display that's a scrolling mess simply not usable for real work. Perfect for remoting your laptop with it's poor 1366x768 screen (but why would you do that, it's portable), useless for any desktop monitor shipped in the last 5 years.

So a nice feature for occasional casual use, not a life changing advantage for most.

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Paul Shirley
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Re: Anything else is just an overpriced toy

The consumer market *want toys* and the current tablet mass market is consumer led. The iPad demonstrates they'll happily buy 'overpriced toys' as well if the brand is right. What MS ignore is that neither 'Microsoft' or 'Windows' are desirable brands and for some they even have negative value, not worthy of overpricing. And Surface RT is overpriced.

Microsoft built what they need to sell, not what customers want to use. The bulk of the buying public just aren't interested in working on their tablets and bundling Office isn't as compelling a feature as you and Microsoft believe. They didn't bother mentioning it in any of the consumer facing promotion in any case so it's rather irrelevant.

The corporate market have different issues that bundling Office doesn't overcome.

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Paul Shirley
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@NullReference Exception

It was Microsoft that chose to create confusion over the relationship between Win8 RT and Win8 and it's Microsoft that continues to do nothing to remedy the situation. Can't blame users for not knowing what to expect.

The bigger issue is this policy leaves buyers wondering why they should spend so much on what is apparently just a low end laptop/netbook. I'm not claiming being much more explicit about RTs nature and tablet focus would do them much good though, the supposed Windows compatibility is so shallow (only new Metro style apps) jumping OS to IOS or Android would be no harder and that's the only sales point in its favour.

I agree with you, there seems no way out for Microsoft. They foolishly thought they could ship premium price devices based on a 'it runs Windows' slogan instead of competing on what and how well it works as a tablet. There's no reality where the name "Windows" is worth $200 on the price tag unless it really runs full blown Windows and runs it bloody well.

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