* Posts by Terry 6

1222 posts • joined 31 Jul 2009

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Office 365 falls over in US

Terry 6
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Cloud

The idea that we can just keep everything in "the cloud" just like that has always struck me as rather silly. Dependence on someone else's complex, widely shared, systems working to allow us to work, seems to be too much a hostage to the normal effects of Sod's law.

And let's not get too Microsoft Hatey about this.

It's reliance on this white fluffy vapour that's the risk - whoever you rely on.

Especially if you rely on only one supplier. And of course the beancounters are looking at cost savings so why would you have redundant systems?

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Evernote riles freetards with two-device limit

Terry 6
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Follow up

Since I posted below I've switched to OneNote on the four devices I use regularly.

It's not brilliant. Some versions of it, particularly the WIn10 "app" are really grim ( no surprise there). The Office 2010 version is actually pretty good. Luckily you can use Ccleaner to remove Win10 app and download the Office version if you have that option.

And it's not costing a shed load of cash to do a very basic job - like Evernote want to.

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Terry 6
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value for money

That's the thing about all these cost-per-year items, especially the ones with a restricted free option.

Is the free version useful to me as a non-corporate individual user? -Yes.

Would I pay a few quid to extend it's basic usability to, in this case, a few more devices? Yes.

Is it worth tens of quid per year to me, every year, with or without extra unneeded functions? No absolutely not .

The amount isn't too onerous, in absolute terms, any given year. But hard to justify paying for what it would give me ( bit of convenience) or what it actually provides ( a tiny bit of online storage and some simple software) and over the years I'd be using it I definitely could never justify those hundreds of quid it'd add up to.

It's not the only service or product that uses these sorts of model.

My car satnav (Pioneer damn them to Hell) wants more to update the maps than it'd cost to buy a whole new device. Something the Honda garage omitted to tell me when they fitted it.

And my TomTom device will only update the one extra service I want updated ( traffic reports) if I buy into an expensive annual package of services and updates I have no use for.

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PAC slams UK.gov for lack of evidence-based science investments

Terry 6
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Damn it

There is already too much interference in research (at least in the areas that concern me) by people who think they are there to pick winners and/or make sure that the research followed is good for the economy or popular with commercial organisations or at least is good politically.

This is not going to help.

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Tesco Mobile does what? Hahahahahahaha. Sorry customers

Terry 6
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Re: What a shame

My guess, based on how "professional" manager types think , is that they see CS as being a pure expense and don't recognise it as contributing to the value of the product. SO they think that it can be provided cut-price without harming the "core" product,

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Medicos could be world's best security bypassers, study finds

Terry 6
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Real world

Even in ordinary environments password security can put people under that little bit of extra pressure. Mostly it makes no difference, it's just one of those things that have to be done.

The more pressure there is the more problematic it can become.

Sit in a school staffroom at 08:20 and you'll see password sharing, As in, " Oh God it made me change my password yesterday - What the hell was it? X ( insert name) what's your password, I need to print off...... etc....."

Move that into an overstretched hospital department with patients on trolleys and ambulances queuing outside and it isn't surprising if they don't even bother to keep passwords.

It's not just emergencies, it's time pressure. If it takes an extra half minute per patient to change mental gear, ( especially if tired or rushing), recall and enter the password then by the end of the clinical day enough time for a number of slots have been used to type passwords - and that's assuming it works well, there's no need to retype the password and they don't get locked out.

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Dell tempts hordes with MASSIVE DISCOUNTS on PCs

Terry 6
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I suddenly remembered a couple stories from years ago.

Before computers were the commodity item they've become they were particularly expensive and uncommon in the UK for a while. (Might have been early '80s). According to the computer magazines of the time the story goes that US manufacturers tried to kick start a market in the UK by dropping their export prices to us.

But the importers simply hiked the prices of the boxes they were selling back up and held on to the bigger margins for the same low level of sales.

At the time I'd told my father about this and he'd said he'd worked for clothing firms that took the same attitude. They absolutely wouldn't drop their margins for greater sales, even when they weren't selling enough to make money. In his words, "They'd rather sell 200 with £10 profit on each than 2000 with £5 profit on each".

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Terry 6
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Re: Used to be great quality, now "meh"

And yet mine ( mentioned above). has been great.

I've had no problem slapping in a second HDD and DVD writer.

It has worked fine for a year (desperately finding wood to touch).

Hard to judge performance in the real world, because I don't really need an I7 with 16gb ram. But no complaints from me.

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Terry 6
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Tech sellers seem to offer illusory discounts and promise more than they intend to supply on a regular basis. Overpricing items even though they aren't selling, offering the premium or wholesale customers prices that turn out to be higher than they can buy the stuff in the local computer store and selling items that sound good but have been subtly (or not) downgraded are all common.

That being said my Dell a year ago came with a spec I've not seen at anything like the price I paid, from any supplier since, including Dell. I don't know if I caught them on a good day, but they've been almost a couple of hundred quid more, since then.

And to show that it's not just tech suppliers, when my local pet shop closed down last week they had lots of signs saying "Everything must go/SALE/Clearance" and so on.

Was anything actually cheaper?

Not even in the last hour of trading.

All I'd wanted was some gravel for the tank.Maybe I'd have been tempted by a few bargains, if they'd been evident. But that guy would rather have had his teeth pulled out that let anything go cheaper.

And in fact I got all the things I needed cheaper than him by going to Pets At Home.

So maybe it's not just tech sellers.

Maybe there's a certain kind of seller that would rather bury stock than sell it at a smaller margin.

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I want to learn about gamification but all I see is same-ification

Terry 6
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Repetitious

I don't think we can just blame yoof for having repetitious retread games. They've always had a sameyness about them.

I dearly wanted to get into playing games, ever since they were in text only.

But every game I tried would start or quickly arrive at a random dark location where you had to randomly discover an exit by repeatedly trying, dying and starting again until you got the right sequence.

And long before I ever reached that point I'd just think Stuff it. There are better things to do with my life.

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Cloudian clobbers car drivers with targeted ads

Terry 6
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Re: Why Billboards?

Or TV channels that only show commercials (is there such a hell?).

Yes, the ones that show "pop videos" (i.e. promotional ads for the latest records).

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Telia engineer error to blame for massive net outage

Terry 6
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Re: Thus is revealed...

Yes.

This is way outside my area of competence.

So I'd always assumed that at this top level of function there was a top level of error checking. Both human and digital.

Systems for checking that what is meant to go to x actually goes to X and systems that make sure humans don't press the wrong button. Or at least if they do that it's spotted PDQ.

Engineers in other system critical areas seem to have this, usually. e.g. Aircraft engineers.

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Gravitational waves: A new type of astronomy

Terry 6
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Re: Poor science

Scientific theory says that you can never prove anything to be true. The most that you can do is to make a prediction based on the observed evidence and test that. If the prediction proves true the hypothesis stands until disproved ( "falsified") or until the weight of evidence is such that no alternative is feasible.

So evolution can be reasonably held "true": There is no rational alternative explanation of observed phenomena.

Black holes likewise.

Dark matter and dark energy are the best possible explanations for the existence of a universe that remains stable while expanding, with the current understanding of visible mass, But a better explanation may arise out of new observations.

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Apple and Android wearables: What iceberg? It’s full steam ahead!

Terry 6
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Re: Dumb watch Smart owner ?

My Seiko Kinetic needs no winding or charging. I've had it for about nine years. However, it is supposed to have an annual service, costing £70. And that includes replacing the cell that stores the energy, which stopped holding a full charge after the first four or five years, so I have to wear it every day, at least for a few hours, or it will stop. But I have saved several times its cost by not having their expensive services.

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Terry 6
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Re: Complications: borrowed from mechanical watches.

Darryl

You got there 18 hours ahead of me. Except I'd have made it more, .......the surgery had been going well, but then there were complications and we couldn't save......etc.

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When Capita job ads go BAD

Terry 6
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Re: Hertfordshite?!? Proof reading.

Well, since Crapita specialise in providing the minimum possible outsourced service for the maximum profit I'd guess that they don't spend much on their internal staffing either.

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UK's education system blamed for IT jobs going to non-Brits

Terry 6
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Re: Stop with the "programming" crap!

This is turning into my old-timers' reminiscence day.

But here goes.

In the 60s and 70s when I was at school we all had to learn woodwork and metalwork.

While a bit of cutting and how to do some DIY might be useful, the real reason behind this was that we were being trained to do working class jobs, as envisaged by the powers that be. Factory fodder. (And already out of date even then).

Today the kids all have to do "coding".

Coding- is- just- the- new -metalwork.

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Terry 6
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Esme

Well said.

Forty or so years ago I learnt to code, at school. Though I've always used the skills I learnt I didn't make IT my career, it's just been a sideline.

When I went off to uni many of the people I was at school with took the traditional route of an apprenticeship. These days they'd all be shunted off to uni, and probably not to be engineers. What likelihood that they'd build on the IT skills they developed at school to become software engineers?

FWIW one of the reasons that apprenticeships disappeared was that the beancounter culture came along. And beancounters would rather poach a trained engineer than spend years developing their own.

So they stopped training apprenticeships. And the good companies that wanted to train apprentices also stopped because the investment was being lost as expensively trained engineers were poached.

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Terry 6
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Focus

The focus on IT in the article is inevitable ( this is El Reg after all) but it's too narrow.

Middle class aspiration ( and schools themselves perhaps) is to aim for traditional subjects and professions.

Vocational and professional degrees ( or A levels) other than law/medicine/accountancy are seen as being second best choices. Often at new universities rather then Russel Group ones, or poor relations within them.

It's not a new thing either.

Thirty odd years ago I did my PGCE at a very well regarded education department in a mid-range uni. Education students were crammed into an old house away from the campus. We had ancient equipment, tiny library etc.

The mediocre law and medicine departments had premises and equipment we could only dream about.

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London Mayor election day bug forced staff to query vote DB by hand

Terry 6
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Re: WAT?!

Never mind the technical questions.

Just what does " (Gowers insisted the system had been tested prior to deployment.) " actually mean.

It could be as little as something went in and something came out.

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Wales gives anti-vaping Blockleiters a Big Red Panic Button

Terry 6
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The thing about this argument ( and indeed the Brexit one) is that the actual arguments pro/anti seem to be formulated after people have made up their minds

i.e. decided first and thought of some reasons afterwards.

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Terry 6
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Hmm That does strike a chord.

I can remember as a kid on holiday when Wales was "dry" on Sunday.

Meaning the tourists couldn't get a drink, but the ( grown up ) locals all seemed to be in a "club" where drinking was allowed.

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E-books the same as printed ones, says top Euro court egghead

Terry 6
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Not translaed into English

I'm not surprised that the opinion hasn't been translated into English yet. After all, after next week we may be leaving the EU and the British courts would then be free to judge how they like, e.g. that we can't lend ebooks, ever, to anyone. Not, of course, that I personally believe that British establishment would cave in to lobbying from the big publishers. We don't have any history of letting big corporations get away with Blue Murder, do we?

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Brexit threatens Cornish pasty's racial purity

Terry 6
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Re: Good terms?

Here's the rub;

"...... the right to elect my leaders, and to send them packing when they fail."

Corbyn? Soon, maybe, for the Tories, Gove or "Boris"?

I'm a usually a Labour supporter. But I didn't want Corbyn to be their leader. I loath the man and his Old Left cronies. I can't vote for that crew.

As to the Tories, Old Etonian Posh Boys and right of the right wing "Devil Take the Hindmost" free marketeers.

(There did once use to be another alternative- Liberal-Democrats or something but they imploded years ago) So what options do I have?

I'll take my chances with Europe given that choice?

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Terry 6
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True, no one under 58/9 ish voted (I missed by a few months). But as a population we did vote.

And btw the biggest Brexit supporting group is also in that age range, apparently.

We are not really voting on the benefits or otherwise of the EU.

We're voting on a combination of "Little England"/avoiding regulations that some businesses and the press demonise and call "red tape" because they are there to protect ordinary folk/ generally not liking anyone too foreign/ Nostalgia for "The Good Old Days".

The emotional appeal of Brexit is largely trying to retreat to a simpler world that never really existed even then. The world where the sun always shone- even on bank holidays, we won football matches and petrol came in gallons not litres.

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Terry 6
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"from a forced marriage"

Absolutely untrue.

We voted.

But the current revote is less about the value of the EU and much more about the feeling that everyone in Europe is a foreigner except us, Whipped up by the usual populist politicians and witch hunting newspapers who've been spreading FUD for years..

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Terry 6
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Sarcasm

The heavily sarcastic article here attempts to belittle and undermine the idea of protected status for regional foods.

In reality, without it so many of our local speciality items would become generic, mass market shelf fillers.

Part of this belittling is to play down the example of Cheddar cheese - which has been reduced to the mousetrap filler that takes up half the shelf space in any cheese section with its multiple versions of largely indistinguishable - except by marketing brand names- generic Cheddar,

But the Brexit argument against Europe's "red tape" has been very careful to avoid being specific about which rules to dodge. Protected status for regional foods is probably pretty popular and the Cornish drawing attention to it can't be welcomed by many Brexiterees.

All those annoying bureaucratic regulations that are only there to maintain safety standards, food quality, fair working conditions and the like should surely be swept away.

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Let's play: 'IT values or hipster folk band?'

Terry 6
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Please see

http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/gobbledygook-generator.html

And to show that education shares these core values

http://www.sciencegeek.net/lingo.html

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Microsoft's mobile device management meltdown

Terry 6
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Windows

Feet - shooting. Same old same old.

I was, maybe still am, pretty much a supporter of Microsoft.

Things do go wrong. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't al least come clean and say what happened.

It does seem as if Microsoft have a knack of making bad decisions.

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Tivo's new owner ponders binning its own boxes

Terry 6
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Re: What he really means is...

" search capability and Tivo's recommendation engine..." there's more money in ad slinging and pushing people into sponsored links.

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Two plead guilty to stealing personal information of millions

Terry 6
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Re: So 34 million spam emails generated $2 million in revenue

John Brown ( no body)

You may be right. I read the article as being to bypass local filters. But maybe it just means, s you seem to surmise, ISP/Email provided back end filters. The danger with those, then is that if they usually work the users won't be equipped or prepared to recognise or block spam when they fail.

(So I suppose Virgin would be doing us a favour by failing completely to block spam to the point that an email headed "Busty Nigerian Viagra seller wishes to share £100 Million GBP in secret bank account " would probably get through.)

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Terry 6
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Re: So 34 million spam emails generated $2 million in revenue

Yes, but also, if this spam is being written to bypass spam blocking, one assumes that it's aimed at people who block the spam.

Why would anyone who has the spam blocked simply crumble at anything that gets through and click on/buy from it?

Confused.

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Anti-phishing most critical defence against rife CEO email fraud

Terry 6
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Re: Rules are for the little people

More to the point, when I did some mangelment courses they said that the evidence was that just trusting staff do the job correctly and honestly got better results than trying to control their every move. And there was also a mention of managers being seen to lead by example.........

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Microsoft mops up after Outlook.com drowns in tsunami of penis pills, Russian brides etc

Terry 6
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However

Microsoft's short term glitch is nothing compared to Virgin Media's continuing inability to block even the most obvious spam, since they left Google for the in house parent company email system. Though I guess they don't cover anything like the number of users.

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The Windows Phone story: From hope to dusty abandonware

Terry 6
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Re: As a consumer - 2 key issues ...

Their Microsoft only policy is embarrassing them badly.

Certainly this confirms one part of the comments here - that part of it is about image.

It's like having been given a company car to drive that isn't the currently cool make.

Or kids having the wrong brand of trainers. No one wanted to be seen in Adidas when Nike was the trend, and so on.

People talk about "My iphone". Not just "My phone".

In reality a phone is a phone is a phone. As long as it has the specification and functionality that people need it doesn't make bu**er all difference which one you have. Except that the cool kids all have an iPhone 6 S or whatever.

But nothing that Microsoft can do will make the Windows phone " cool" - especially after the car crash that was Windows 8.x

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Terry 6
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Re: Pocket PC

Yes, my Windows pocked devices were incredibly useful to me in the days of the basic mobile phone. This was my pocked computer, a portable extension of my office when I was out working. But even then there were a few shenanigans, like removing networking capacity somewhere along the lines.

And even then, there was a feeling that Microsoft was half-hearted about it.

Maybe they just don't "get" mobile computing.

Or maybe they just generally don't "get" what ordinary people do want. Something that Google do seem rather good at, and Apple seem to have been able to master.

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Terry 6
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Re: Windows Phone FAIL

That could be true.And also maybe that the demand for fun apps is a fight back against the workaday seriousness of a WinPC. It's a good point you make.

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Terry 6
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Mushroom

Re: Not wedded to my winphone but...

Dadmin

I didn't specify what it was that people wanted on VHS - you may well be right for all I know or care. But it was VHS that supplied it. It's too long ago for me to remember details ( I was a teenager) but at the time they just talked about the available content. And seemed to mean all sorts of films, not just the naughty ones. And VHS was good enough - no matter if the opposition was better.

I note that you didn't actually list, in your rather aggressive sounding reply, what "apps" you need that are missing from the Winphone - or indeed whether you had actually tried and failed to find a needed programme ( or valid equivalent). or not..

In fact, behind the aggression CAPITALS and sweeping statements you say *nothing*.

You use words like " convenience" but fail to specify what these convenient things are. Let alone what things can be done with the available apps on Android/iOS that can't be done as well or better with the range of apps on Winphone.

And do you have any reason to think that the majority of the buying public do actually use their smartphones in this way? or even any suggestions as to what they might use it for?

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Terry 6
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Not wedded to my winphone but...

.....I don't want an Android with all its forced apps, spyware, advertising and general exploitation and I don't want to pay the premium for Apple. The Winphone apps business doesn't make any difference to me. I don't play many games and any programmes I need on my phone are readily available; camera software, note taking, communication (Twitter/email/ etc. )

BUT to be a mass market device you need to have the mass market "apps" of stupid games and the like. For a very simple reason - other than for these things very few people actually do need a smartphone for anything. They have no reason to buy one. Without all the stupid games Android phones would have no use whatsoever. A smartphone is a "computer in your pocket". Most people do not need a computer in their pockets. Or at all for 16 of the 24 hours in the day.

So when they look at a Winphone and say "Where are the apps" they're really asking "What do I do with this box?"

Winphone is/was a grown up phone in an industry built on selling toys. The fact that Microsoft can't find a winning formula without stripping out the good stuff and adding extra dross in its place is just further stamping on the idea.

VHS beat Betamax because VHS was good enough , but gave people a use and justification to buy it. Betamax may well have been better, but who cared?

When my new 640 dies I guess it's back to bean tins and string. :-(

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You deleted the customer. What now? Human error - deal with it

Terry 6
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Confirmation dialogues

An "Are you sure?" message might save the day.

But when the original error is unrecognised or the user was confused the probability of pressing either key becomes 50%.

The only dialogue worth having is the one that says "If you continue the entire contents will be wiped completely. Are you sure you want to wipe this file/disc/hard drive?"

Followed by "Are you really sure? Really really?"

And even then a "Would you like to think about this?" wouldn't hurt.

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HR botches redundancy so chap scores year-long paid holiday

Terry 6
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Private sector

The thing is if this happened in the public sector there would be headlines in the Daily Fail and, as they say "Deputy Heads would roll".

I'm sure these cock-ups happen in both sectors from time to time.

Errors and covering of the rear are probably just part of human organisation.

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Microsoft's Windows Phone folly costs it another billion dollars

Terry 6
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Re: The irony ???

My only experience with the WinPhone .....

Hmmm.

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Terry 6
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Re: Total fiasco

Nice trolling, but......

Anyone who defines themself by a phone is a failure in every sense.

It's a phone.

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Terry 6
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The irony

They are really nice phones. The OS is pleasant to use. It isn't as costly as Apple devices. It doesn't (or didn't) track everything we do like the GoogleDroid.

It really does work well with the PCs that most people use.

It should have done well.

But Microsoft's inability to move its feet without shooting itself in them has meant that the Windows phone has absolutely no credibility.

For a start the Windows Phone 8.x ran parallel to the incredibly ( and rightly) unpopular Windows 8.x

So they couldn't exactly market it as the ideal accompaniment to your PC.

That probably was what they would have wanted.

But it would have been like [ was like] branding bottled water as being just like raw sewage.

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Three UK: Our MMS prices are up. Get around us with WhatsApp or Skype

Terry 6
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Except

Like Capn. Scarlett, I only ever sent one MMS, an error. A few months back I replied to someone with an image they needed. I hadn't noticed that their request had come as a text, not an email. (I was busy ) . So I added the image to my reply. Never gave it moments thought, until I noticed the small additional charge on my bill.

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SHOCK: GM crops are good for you and the planet, reckon boffins

Terry 6
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Spindreams

This has been one of my concerns too. GM crops that are owned by Monsanto rather than ones that produce seed which is readily available. Putting our (world's) food supply in the hands of a giant agri-business. Then when they have an economic stranglehold they can charge what the want.

Also, GM crops developed by the scientists for the greater good is very different from GM developed by companies for the greater profit.

They will invest in lines that benefit themselves. Not us.

Compare the extent to which large drug companies spend vast amounts on R&D for the rejigging out of copyright products, but don't want to invest to develop anything that only benefits the poor and needy or find other uses for cheaper products that have lost copyright protection.

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IBM invents printer that checks for copyrights

Terry 6
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What's to patent

I know this happens all the time, but allowing a patent on a vague idea, rather than an actual working device seems to be absolute lunacy. - even with pretty pictures this is no more than a pipe dream.

"Hey guys - wouldn't it be good if we had a machine that....." *

At best this sort of patent is bonkers.

At worst it allows someone can't or won't to block someone who can design a device.

Imagine telling the first 'plane designers that they can't do that because "we already thought it would be a good idea and got the patent. No, we don't know how, but that's beside the point."

*Irrespective of whether this copier is a good or bad idea.

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Destroying ransomware business models is not your job, so just pay up

Terry 6
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Re: Price of an education...

Not even just the pros. That folder of family photos needs to be kept backed up, safe.

Yet we still hear of distraught people who have lost all their precious piccies because they lost their mobile phone, let alone a HDD. This is 2016 and too many of us, individuals and businesses, still trust to luck that our data will still be available where we left it.

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UK needs comp sci grads, so why isn't it hiring them?

Terry 6
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Employer responsibility

Even 30 odd years ago part of the problem was that some employers stopped hiring inexperienced graduates or training and sponsoring school leavers and instead chose to poach the ones that had served their time.

Which meant that the remaining employers also stopped, because there was no point spending years and money bringing someone to level of usefulness only to see them leave and go down the road to earn an extra few quid from companies that hadn't spent thousands on trainees.

A professional degree - CS or anything else - is only the start of training, not the end point. A good one will provide the transferable skills that make a person ready to develop practical skills. A very good one will stick the student in to a workplace for six months in the first year or two then bring them back into college with an idea of what the skills will be used for. Lawyers do pupillage before they are qualified. Teachers do teaching practice and an NQT year ( probationary year in my day). Doctors spend years walking the wards. Even bloody politicians with their PPE degrees ( used to ) have to get elected and serve on a council for a few years before they get a chance at fighting even a no-hope seat.

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