* Posts by Terry 6

1313 posts • joined 31 Jul 2009

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User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert

Terry 6
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Re: The computer Tao

I used to share a teaching base with a teacher who said she couldn't get on with our computer ( a 386). We weren't often in the base at the same time. I couldn't understand why she had problems. She said it kept crashing. It never crashed when I was in there to use it.

Then for a few weeks we were both in together. I used the machine and she avoided it. But b****er me. Any time she walked past the damned thing did indeed crash. Suddenly, without warning- even if it was not being actively used. I put it down to static from the fluffy jumpers she liked to wear. She reckoned it just didn't like her. Who knows?

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Badda-Bing, badda-doom: Microsoft search guru heads up giant's new AI boffinry unit

Terry 6
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.....played a major part in the development of Microsoft's Bing platform

So pretty much doomed to failure then.

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BT tops Ofcom's broadband whinge list

Terry 6
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Re: Customer service

Err No. The sales start with carefully expensive marketing, headline pricing, small print and obfuscation. The sting comes after customers are tied in. It's a race to the bottom rather than the gloriously beneficial effects of competition in the free market.

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Terry 6
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Customer service

There appears to be, in some companies at least, a disconnect between providing goods and service and charging for them. The beancounters (on behalf of corporate investors, usually) want to do the second of these (take in money) without bothering too much about the left side of the equation, which is all "cost".

The problem is that they don't understand that "trade" is a two way process. Their aim is to rake in cash without providing more in the way of production and service than they can get away with. Customer service is therefore kept to the lowest minimum level. As is product quality, IT security, investment ( as opposed to acquisition ), product development, staffing levels, working conditions, and so on.

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The Great British domain name rip-off: Overcharged .uk customers help pay for cheaper .vodka

Terry 6
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Purely naive but...

Reading this article out of general interest, ( so disinterested, but not uninterested), it felt like I'd wandered into a sequel to Alice-in-Wonderland.

I'd suspect that most people would vaguely assume that the whole domain name thing was run by a publicly responsible organisation, on behalf of users. That domain names were registered at operating cost for the benefit of users. That names would be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, but with reservation for well known names or adjudication against abuse by resale squatters (touts) including requiring something close to a "face-value" price.

But apparently that would be too easy. Instead, it appears that there is a whole industry making loads-of-money for just assigning a recognisable list of letters(i.e. names), with a required domain, to a string of numbers, then recording it. How did this come about? This is a service that ought to be like the Post Office (maybe as it used to be in the Good Old Days), not the Mafia

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Pull the plug! PowerPoint may kill my conference audience

Terry 6
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Re: Presentation methods

My own preference, working in education, has for a long time been the Interactive White Board and some fixed, JPG etc images. So that I can place an image, diagram or chart in front of the assembled and then scrawl arrows, demonstrations or key words on it as I talk.

PowerPoint is lazy, fussy, over-complicated ( to view) and usually tedious. And it tends to make the presenter use too many tricks and gee-whiz effects that lose the message or simply determine content instead of supporting it. Time that would be better used to make sure the presentation is fluent and skilled is taken up finding flashy images and effects. Or loading video clips that seemed much better when they were seen in the planning stage, but are merely tedious in the actual training room.

And yes, back in the Good Olde Days I used OHP. I could scrawl on the acetate while I actually looked at the audience, and just take one sheet off and replace it with the next as needed, or even go back to one, without any button pressing and fiddling. Frankly, that was far better than any modern gee-whizzery. Sometimes simplest is best.

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Terry 6
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Re: This is why you leave the laptop at the back

Oh God yes!!!

The number of times I've set up one of our trusty laptops and asked a presenter to use that. But she has insisted that she uses her own laptop - often because the presentation exists only on her HDD.

And inevitably something won't work. A connection, or a driver, just something. And they are always the ones who turn up at the last minute.

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Terry 6
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Ho Hum

It is probably rule number one. Never stand in front of the audience with a computer presentation unless you've tried it out there first.

And rule number 2 is; always have another portable version on memory stick/CD or ideally both. And if you can save it in more than one format -DO.

It always amazes me how people will spend a whole day setting up a training package, but not take 5 minutes to make sure the damn thing will work at the venue.

(Hint. Unless you've been there before the conference started that morning, it's when the punters are out slurping the coffee and custard creams that you should be getting set up. Not while they are coming back in brushing off the crumbs and trying to text at the same time.)

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Windows 10 backlash: Which? demands compo for forced upgrades

Terry 6
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Re: Damage is done

I wonder whether governments will stick with MS once the SMEs start to use 'nux more. Especially if schools and local authorities adopt open source.

Ultimately when users become more familiar with the software they'll be more likely to ask why it isn't being used in their offices. Currently the pressure is all the other way. We expect MSOffice in our office and use Windows because that's what we are used to. But once that log-jam around attitude is broken........

I'm no MS hater, even used to be a fan, of sorts.

But not since they started pushing crap like the "Ribbon" Win 8.x etc. and generally forcing stuff on us that they wanted us to want, rather than what we do want.

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Terry 6
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Re: Microsoft's attitude is arrogant at the very least !

My (Microsoft as it happens) phone does that. If it doesn't like the word/spelling chosen it offers alternatives underneath. But then when I press send it suddenly changes my word to the first one in the suggested list. I don't know if other makes do this. F*ing annoying.

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Terry 6
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I'd like to add to the above, hiding Windows' System Restore, the trusty old fallback when updates go wrong, and the fact that it seems to be unreliable if you do find it. (Maybe that's why they hid it?!)

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Terry 6
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Re: Am I been too technical, in saying the 3P&3Bs: prepare, prepare, prepare + backup,backup,backup.

"Could have".and "would have" etc

This is the conditional form of a phrase that contains the structure of have + verb. As in "We have eaten our lunch." Just as you could never say "I of eaten my lunch" you can not say " I would of eaten my lunch."

So, "We have eaten our lunch" becomes "We should have eaten...."

This is not grammatical policing.

This is about using the same verb phrase consistently across standard and conditional forms.

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Terry 6
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Re: <gets popcorn>

Not just that Win 8.x was terrible, but that it marked the dividing line between Microsoft trying to make most of its money from users paying (if sometimes indirectly) for the products it made to trying to make its money by manipulating the users through the products it made..

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'Faceless' Liberty Global has 'sucked the very soul' out of Virgin Media

Terry 6
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Deterioration

We used to have the full package of TV/mobile/Internet/phone from VM.

But a couple of years back we found that the mobile service got poorer, yet the costs got higher. We'd used to get a mobile phone as part of the package, but the cost component for the phone meant that they were far more expensive than the other providers. At the same time, instead of offering a better deal to renew a contract they went to a "computer says.." option which guaranteed a tiny discount, insignificant, but no more. And if you weren't happy with that, you could walk. So we walked. And buy the phones.

The attitude seems to be that they'd rather keep a smaller customer base, at a much higher price. Now our other packages are getting more expensive. But I'm not convinced that they will be offering a better service for that higher cost. Their billing and promotional material is full of self-congratulation, because they are providing yet another handful of extra cable channels that all show the same old crap. That being said, our "Superfast" broadband does live up to its claims . We do get every drop of the offered speed, and the fixed phone service is good value, so for the moment we will be sticking with VM for that.

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Ofcom smacks Sky for breaching broadband switching rules

Terry 6
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A UK thing

The line in the article about TalkTalk and the comment about Sky making it difficult to talk to them/complain points to a bigger issue. Maybe the people I've talked to in the USA and parts of Europe have just been lucky. But it does seem as if UK companies are very reluctant to hear about, let alone sort out, problems.

Typically an attempt to complain starts with not being able to find a phone number. Instead there will be a web page with "Contact us" on it. Which will not lead to contact details, or if you are lucky will (only) have a post address. More often than not this page will lead to a list of FAQs - all of which will offer anodyne solutions to blindingly obvious issues. Underneath these there might be a link which says "Did this answer your question?"

If you hit the "no" button it will take you back to the "Contact us" page.

Should you then choose to write a letter of complaint you might get a sane response. But you might also get a standard boiler plate letter that answers an entirely different question. Or no answer at all.

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Google GPS grab felt like a feature, was actually a bug

Terry 6
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Think it through....

The phrase "Google Play....(anything)" is just pure obfuscation and marketing crap. It means sod all while being frothy, reassuring and fun sounding.

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Terry 6
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Megaphone

Re: Exactly...

imanidiot yes.

To get traffic reports I'd have to subscribe to a bundle of stuff I do not want, called "Live services" £50 a year for Europe. (Not just UK). Maybe useful if you're travelling around a lot. We're not. I'd happily pay £10, even £15.for just the UK traffic reports. But beyond that, year on year it's just not worth it to us, for the odd journey up the motorway.

Quote;

LIVE Services Europe

Real-time services in one bundle

Get there faster with TomTom Traffic

Drive with the latest speed camera locations

Know the weather ahead

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Terry 6
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If you really want to see companies buying each other...

How about if Google were to buy Mattell?

(See earlier article).

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BOFH: The case of the suspicious red icon

Terry 6
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And maybe a different type or just a version of 1b

When I was doing our service IT support I used to have a user who came to my desk at least a couple of times a month in a panic to "warn" me about some supposed virus she'd read about on Twitface or somewhere. If we even saw it, it would wipe all our hardrives, set our desks on fire and bring about the end of civilisation as we know it.

And when I didn't run round the room shouting "Don't Panic" while dialling 999 and possibly carrying in a fire extinguisher she'd go off in a strop and sulk for the rest of the day.

Worse ( or not?) if I wasn't there she'd be running around "warning" all the other staff or getting someone to phone Corporate IT and demand instant action to protect us from this scourge.

I kept Snopes and Hoax slayer icons on my desktop.....

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Viacom, Mattel and pals busted for stalking kids with creepy web ads

Terry 6
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If even they (Mattel etc.) will do this to kids...

...then does anybody reading the thread about privacy in regard to Google's tracking still think that it's OK to let them get on with it?

Or to put it another way, no matter how cynical and suspicious some of us may be about Google's behaviour, that's nothing to how cynical we ought to be if even toy companies act like this.

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Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners

Terry 6
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Re: How many non-users of ABP?

Yes, I'd suspect that many of El Reg's commentards propagate ad blockers to the friends and family. It's when they bring round the laptop that's downloading even slower than you'd expect for their limited internet speed and find that the available bandwidth is being used to carry all these whizzy, bouncing, flashing ads.

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Terry 6
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Probly still should.

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Delete Google Maps? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you

Terry 6
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Re: Creepy

Nice try. When the whole postcode delineates one city street and the satnav takes me to the precise house. And when this precision extends to knowing which side of the road we can rule out simple coincidence.

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Terry 6
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Re: eh?

MOST USERS AREN'T COMMENTARDS!

Sorry for shouting this, but it has to be said v e r y s l o w ly and loudly on here sometimes.

You may turn everything off, wrap the phone in foil and carry it in a Faraday cage. But most users think that the Satnav is a force of nature that has been collected from a deep cave and locked into their phones by magic.

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Terry 6
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Re: @Fibbles "definitely something they learned from Google"

Absolutely. Google ( and Android is Google's puppy) is there to gather your data and sell you to advertisers.

I'm always amazed about the way that commentards will attack Microsoft ( fair game I admit) for privacy violations, but are happy to admit to using Android phones. Windows phones are seen by some here as the Devil's work - but at least they aren't Google.

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VW Dieselgate engineer sings like a canary: Entire design team was in on it – not just a few bad apples, allegedly

Terry 6
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No, it's like Weightwatchers using special scales that make the punters think they've lost weight every week.

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Just not cricket: Microsoft's big data Googly called No Ball

Terry 6
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It's a game

It has players who work within a set of chosen rules (or " laws") which are there to make the game work. All that matters is that everyone follows them. They don't have to be too reasonable, or even logical. They just have to be.

Most games have rules that are there for rules sake. In Tennis you have to win by two games, if I understand it right. And they count the scores in funny words. No sensible reason other than that "them's the rules".

And in footie there's the offside rule. But you don't need an offside rule. If the other side's players aren't up there, well tough.

Chess has that funny rule about the prawns going past each other. En Passant. Don't need it.

Cricket itself has things called "overs", which as I understand it means you've thrown six balls and it's someone else's turn, if I've understood it right. But why 6? And the names ( like with tennis) are surely just there to confuse anyone who isn't among the initiated. Last thing we want is silly buggers trying to make the rules reasonable.

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Self-stocking internet fridge faces a delivery come down

Terry 6
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Re: On the plus side on holiday cat feeding sorted.

Maybe it's this they're after;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDABVdrR4gA

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Terry 6
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Re: Garmin

We've got a Garmin and TomTom sitting unused in a drawer, the usual bunch of mobile phones. And a Pioneer built into our car.

The Pioneer is sometimes worse than useless; it costs more to update the maps than buying a whole new device and even when the map is correct ( not as often as it should be within a couple of years of purchase) its directions are awful. Sometimes it will send us in the complete opposite direction to our destination. And its traffic awareness is lousy.

The TomTom is good, and came with free map updates. But the traffic information subscription can only be renewed by buying a whole package of other stuff, that we don't want. Which is really annoying ( and expensive for stuff we don't want to own).

The Garmin is OK. Just OK. Better than the Pioneer ( but then a kids' drawing and a toy compass would be better than the Pioneer.). Not as accurate or as reliable as the TomTom.

Sometimes we sit in the car with the Pioneer droning on and two passengers using phones, trying to get to the place that the Pioneer has failed to take us to. Yesterday it tried to make us turn left into a footpath and wouldn't redirect to any other route. The phones took us 200m or so up the road to a decent left turn.

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Terry 6
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Re: Superb!

I think Ken Hagan has come across some of the trendy ones.

Designed ( perhaps coincidentally) to barely be deep (concave) enough to hold a smear of any edible fluid.

If not actually designed to fit into a dishwasher they certainly do seem to come from the same school of design that finds form more interesting than function.

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Terry 6
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Re: Superb!

And the same people probably design dishwashers. Or at the very least live in some very hot dry country where soup is not consumed. Dish washers do not seem to accommodate soup bowls without a struggle.

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Terry 6
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Reality check

".....the hinge is a bit stiff and he doesn’t want the onions to roll..."

Applying the precision of the digital world to the reality of the human world may take a few more decades than this. When the drone is capable of recognising, identifying and processing an almost infinite range of random events, and finding a way to manage them it may just about be able to deliver a bottle of milk to a waiting space in a fridge. Until then it'll be like a Dalek at the foot of a staircase.

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A nice long pub crawl is good for your health, if you stay on your feet

Terry 6
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Re: My intent

More relevant, Woody Allan said something along the lines of "I don't want to be immortal for my work. I want to be immortal for not dying"

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Terry 6
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Call me cynical but.....

It does seem as if every single announcement from the health science brigade is either telling us that something is bad for us else if it is occasionally a pleasing announcement is then inevitably followed up by someone else who says that actually it is bad for us really.

Which makes me wonder if the people who choose to make this their area of research are perhaps motivated to do so by a degree of Puritanism.

Or to put it another way, that there is a degree of confirmation bias going on. (Or maybe it's just my bias?)

Value free science is a great ideal, but most research seems to be constrained by who chooses to go into them and real-life practicalities, like research funding, gaining publication in respected ( and expensive) journals etc. (Which also depend on keeping the gate holders happy and their confirmation bias etc).

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YouTube breaks Sony Bravias

Terry 6
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Not great devices

Maybe I've been unlucky. But the Smart TVs I've used or looked at all seem to have a "Just good enough" quality. Whether it's clunky interfaces or buggy software. My Sony Bravia TV has the annoying habit of periodically refusing to accept that it's connected to the WiFi, even while telling me that it can see the damned thing.

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Ice to see you! Windows 10 fix for freezing PCs finally flung at folks

Terry 6
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Re: Safe Mode!

I had to add to the comment above.

I just discovered that my default Documents folder had been hijacked by Microsoft and moved into the One Drive folder. And the "Location" button now wasn't available in the Properties of this new folder, preventing it being moved back to where I wanted it.(Which wasn't the original default My Documents folder either BTW).

I had to Google for a registry edit to move it back.

Bastards!

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Terry 6
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Safe Mode!

Among the many threads of annoyance in Microsoft's various versions of their software it's the loss of functionality and control over the last few years that is making me most angry.

* It's not so much that the Ribbon is a mess. It's that they removed the option to customise the various menus and remove the stuff we'd never use. (You can only hide a whole menu then recreate your own version)

*It's that they buried users' own documents in with the system's settings (where they should never be) and used a pretend folder that only appears to contain them.

*It's that they removed "Insert from scanner" in Office

*It's that they've hidden creating System Restore points like it was a dirty secret.

*It's that they have removed local backup/save in Onenote 2016 (Unless you have a 365 subscription)

*It's that they first removed the Start menu, then brought it back in way that makes it virtually impossible to keep tidy and organised.

*There's the strange partitioning tool that will only allow shrinking from one side of a partition so that you can't grow into it from the opposite non-adjacent side of the next.

*And then this Safe Mode nonsense

Over these last few years it has almost seemed as if MS execs sit round in a little committee to decide which bits can make the users lives a bit easier, then remove them.

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Terry 6
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Re: Microsoft doesn't say if the update will fix the other issues-

It's Outlook that does it for me.

As much as I loath Outlook I need something that integrates address book, email and calendar, All synchronised across various devices. And it does that.

If I didn't need it it'd be 'nux all the way.

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Childcare app bods wipe users' data – then discover backups had been borked for a year

Terry 6
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Re: Test your backup as part of any big change

Er yes.

OK maybe they didn't check backups regularly. But if they were actually going to go live with them, then FFS check them first, before you wipe the originals. (BTW maybe I'm missing something, but since when were backup files used to replace live ones except under emergency conditions anyway?)

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An end to rude emails?

Terry 6
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I don't think so

Horses for courses.

The email that one recipient finds TL;DR is essential information to another.

Neither will it help with the sort of person who scans an email and just responds to key words without parsing the meaning. (You know your email has been read by one of these when the reply makes less sense than an AI answer would).

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Das ist empörend: Microsoft slams umlaut for email depth charge

Terry 6
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Re: Website Catch22

It's the combination of ignorance and stupidity that makes me so cross when these things happen.

The mixture of "You've got this messed up" and "You haven't got any way to let me tell you that it's messed up".

Some things are just silly rather then a problem. The sites that demand a county name, even after you've put "London" as your city - and in due course you receive a package addressed to you in London, London. ( And yes I could put Greater London, but who does?) Ditto Manchester/Gr Manchester. And in reality all they really need is a postcode and house number.

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Terry 6
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Website Catch22

At least with the .com American site I posted about I was able to contact them and explain the problem ( I couldn't get to the product details without an American zip code or a state name from a drop down list or something of that sort). There are still sites that won't let you get the information you need without you entering the information that you need into a compulsory field. There really does need to be a very good, clear and unavoidable reason for compulsory, limited fields - and you do have to be sure there are no plausible alternatives, or else have an open entry. Sometimes that sort of crappy unthinking design can make parts of a site totally unusable. As recently as this week I was prevented from asking a company for help with ordering something on their site, because the ordering form's details had a compulsory dropdown list that didn't have the option that I needed to select and the contact form to ask them about this demanded my order number in another compulsory field. If I'd been able to get as far as acquiring a sodding order number I wouldn't have been contacting them!

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Terry 6
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Re: Microsoft or Americans?

Maybe not that new, maybe late 80s or early 90s ( It was a long time ago). By then most big international companies used .com for their international site. Even now I have no problem with USA web sites using .com. But this was a multinational that happened to be based in the USA. The point was that this was their only readily locatable site. The one that everyone would have gone to, but they'd just not remembered that the rest of the world would also go there. So it needed a USA Zip code to ask for information, that sort of thing. (I wish I could remember who they were!)

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Terry 6
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Microsoft or Americans?

I'm not going to launch into an all purpose Anti-American attitude.

But from time to time parts of the USA do tend to forget that there is a world outside the USA.

Like some years ago when the interwebs were still new and shiny I had a little argument with a largish well known tech company because their well advertised .com address turned out to be a USA relevant only site ( and their other ones hard to find).

In my message to them I pointed out that .com didn't just mean USA and that it was a generic domain, short for "company".

Their response was to insist that ".com meant USA. " So Plus ca change as they say in the lands beyond Brexit.

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Happy Anniversary: What’s new, what’s missing in Microsoft’s giant mobile update

Terry 6
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What changed

I had to check the version number. I have the update, I can't see any differences.

Puzzled.

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Social service council bungle

Terry 6
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Finding the person responsible

Well, more than one person, but they should all be prosecuted. This isn't rocket science.

The person who was moving the stuff must be responsible for leaving this behind - unless they had been instructed not to move sensitive items.

If so, then the person who made that decision but failed to make the arrangements.

Then there is the person responsible for making sure that the building was cleared, by looking round.

And then, someone had to be responsible for making sure that those guys had done their job.

There is negligence here, irrespective that it was about sensitive documents.Even if they'd just left behind a few boxes of paperclips it would still be negligent.

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The developer died 14 years ago, here's a print out of his source code

Terry 6
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Sort of made the point a few days back, but

I needed to be clearer.

A (probably small) non-techie organisation that thinks you can run a typewriter until the keys wear out or a sewing machine until the motor grinds to a halt will also not give a moment's thought to updating that ridiculously expensive bottom of the range computer that they only just bought in the late 1990s.

The fact that their workers are tearing out bunches of hair while trying to keep the thing working just reinforces their view that it can and should be kept working.

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Breaking 350 million: What's next for Windows 10?

Terry 6
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Re: What's next for Windows 10?

I see your Google and raise you Amazon Fire

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