* Posts by Paul Shirley

1378 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Samsung's new co-CEO: 'Windows isn't selling very well'

Paul Shirley

It's hardly surprising there's so little difference between WP phones, the spec is tightly locked down by Microsoft. Specifically the software can have almost no customisation.

While I actually quite like the idea of near stock devices, phone makers put more into distinguishing their brand and individual devices by software than hardware spec (which is now less tightly specified by MS). Android sales show the public disagree with me, voting for variety over conformity. Meanwhile the carriers selling most devices simply can't resist messing with (and messing up) the software.

It's should surprise no-one that manufacturers and carriers aren't keen on a device so locked into Microsoft branding. Unlike iPhone they can afford to boycott it, to make half hearted designs to test the water (and fend off license blackmail over Android).

Samsung don't need these sales and the mainly "big screen+heavy skinning" strategy that got them to #1 in smartphone is a poor fit for WP license restrictions. HTC and Nokia are fighting for survival, they need to try harder - and it's winning them a bigger slice of a microscopic pie.

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Microsoft Surface Pro sales CANNIBALIZING Surface RT

Paul Shirley

not cannibals

I too doubt there's much cannibalizing going on. IT insiders were already waiting for pro, I suspect 400k may seriously overestimate ingoing interest, with the fans now satiated.

The ordinary public meanwhile have seen RT and ignored it. All they know is Pro is heavier and more expensive. A few know RT is crippled a as a traditional Windows machine and will assume Pro is also. Microsoft's deliberate ploy to confuse RT and Pro versions is hurting them badly, not cannibalism but devaluing the entire product line to its LCD.

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Smartphone users prefer LOVELY apps to fiddly mobe websites

Paul Shirley

Re: Apps > Sites

If I hadn't recently noticed a 475Mbyte browser cache folder when backing up my wifes phone I might have agreed with you. Haven't checked what mines using but I do know there's more free space available than I allow FireFox on my PC ;)

...and yet that huge cache still can't overcome the effect of terrible 3G latency, the real reason (along with the cost of data) most of us prefer apps over even the prettiest website.

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Uni profs: Kids today could do with a bit of 'mind-crippling' COBOL

Paul Shirley

Re: Learning a language at uni for a job?

If a CS grad applies for a job and can't demonstrate the 'vocational skill' of actually being able to program well, they're screwed.

The reality is, picking up a new language is indeed not hard for a new grad. A new physics grad, a new maths grad, a new chemistry grad, any real science or engineering subject. And if we're going to have to train them all or give them all time to train themselves, the guy with the math skills is getting the job, not the CS grad.

The world needs many more competent programmers than computer scientists, a bit more vocational training would serve everyone better at undergrad level.

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Dear Facebook: I heard the news today, oh boy

Paul Shirley

Re: Ponzi...

Up vote here if you don't have a fb account ;)

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Paul Shirley

hope to get more people to hang around longer

I've lost count of the number of internet companies that tried creating portal pages we'd all be irresistable drawn to hang around on. It's a desperate plan that predates 56k dial-up and I don't remember it ever working.

The only advantage FB has is a service supposedly more addictive than crack. I suspect that won't work any more than it did in the early days, when the Internet itself was seen in much the same way.

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Here's the $4.99 utility that might just have saved Windows 8

Paul Shirley

@Keith 72

My problem with Metro is that MS dethemed desktop mode to match it's fugly look and that materially affects its usability.

In Metro mode it really doesn't matter if you can't easily distinguish window borders, since you can have 1 or 2 of them in constant positions. On busy desktops it causes just enough confusion to annoy me.

In Metro having UI elements poorly marked on a monochrome background might work - you don't *need* to use scroll bars with touch for example. On the desktop it makes for a hard to use and headache creating mess.

My Win8 desktop became a whole lot more usable after installing the Royale 8 theme and restoring some sanity to the desktop chrome. Pity that takes hacking a 3rd party theme engine into Win8 and inevitably affecting stability.

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Mark Shuttleworth: Canonical leads Ubuntu, not 'your whims'

Paul Shirley

leading down a sinkhole

Leadership is necessary but the destination it leads to is more important. Strong leaders can lead to disaster, mediocrity and irrelevance or more rarely, success.

Canonical has not been short on leadership, enough to lead Microsoft down the same dumbing down sinkhole with Win8. It's dangerously short on respect for those it leads and totally blind to criticism. Well on the way to irrelevance with hints of disaster thrown in.

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Google, MPEG LA kiss and make up in WebM patent spat

Paul Shirley

hope we see the license deal

We can only hope the ongoing MS+Apple v Motorola+Google fight leads to MPEG LA being forced to reveal the licence terms, the same way they were forced to reveal Googles H264 licence. Not very likely though.

If it were anyone but Google I'd assume they'd just done the expedient thing of licensing regardless of the merits of MPEG LAs claims, to cut at least 3 years of damaging delay while grinding through the courts. Invalidating patents is neither cheap or quick sadly.

But it is Google and they don't normally roll over like that. I'd like to believe MPEG LA found just enough to cause problems but not enough to make Google worry or fight a cheap/free license. More realistically it's the shitty US patent regime and simply impossible to create anything new without patent challenges, however hard you try.

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Redmond slashing Win8, Office OEM rates for small devices

Paul Shirley

Re: despite Microsoft offering customers deep discounts on Windows 8 upgrades

Pedants really need to remind themselves that MS have a long history of giving new names to old things, so they can 'own' them. Bring your MS<->rest of world phrase book to any MS story.

It's a practice IBM pioneered... so another thing MS didn't invent but 'borrowed' ;)

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Review: Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Paul Shirley

Re: Windows 8 - It should go away.

"get win8 hard sell due to DUMB plus 'greedy for their commission' salesmen...."

...though this time the salesmen all seem to hate Win8 and push Win7 instead. Even a dumb greedy salesman can get it right sometimes (by accident!)

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BlackBerry Z10: Prices pruned despite eager iPunter interest

Paul Shirley

Also doesn't tell you how many BB fans defected unwillingly for a better featured device and are returning in hope that BB is improved enough. That's likely to be a one off launch surge that will slow as the less keen wait out their contracts before deciding.

Given the removal of the dedicated messaging USP that may be a very small trickle of future returnees.

2nd quarter sales will be much more informative.

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Judge slashes Apple's pile o' cash Samsung judgment

Paul Shirley

Re: bias or incompetence

Rather than bias, I see a judge who at every opportunity chose what would get the case off her docket quickly over what would best serve justice. US judges have discretion to relax rules, this one took every opportunity to impose them strictly, regardless of the effect.

Whether that reflects bias or just incompetence, it severely tilted advantage in the case unfairly. Given how well it served Apple's cause they wouldn't have complained and would have contributed to the appearance of pro Apple bias.

I see a judge that put more effort into coercing settlement talks than running a fair trial. It's now coming back to bite her.

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Paul Shirley

I find it easier to believe she's begun to realise quite how badly she messed up the case. Koh is racing to undo some of the damage before a higher court does it for her. Judges really hate that and it does their future career no good.

Being independent is not really a good thing in the legal system, it leaves everyone wondering WTF's going on and opens the door to abuse by all parties. In this case abuse and error reached all the way into the jury room.

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Google open sources very slow compression algorithm

Paul Shirley

Re: -bzip2/xzip is the way to go

@stanimir: I suspect without IE support it would be as successful as WebM/P, JPEG2000 and countless other badly supported file format changes have been :(

Be nice to see exhaustive search applied to more compressors, to see how far they converge on the same 'perfect' compression ratio. Or more immediately, all the PNG files on web recompressed, though the streamability requirement might limit the gain.

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Paul Shirley

@Field Marshal CantReadALot

Did you even read the article? Is Slashdot having a holiday - we seem to be overrun with the 'can write but cant read' halfwits usually seen there.

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Paul Shirley

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

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

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

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

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

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
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
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...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

@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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@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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