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* Posts by AndrueC

2283 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

BT: Hey guys, we've developed NEW MOBE TECH! It’s called... 2G

AndrueC
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Happy

Sat in an office in Brum. one end of the office 3G, other end 2G

Here in Brindleyplace my S3 is saying 'H' so that's either H or H+ (I'm getting 5Mb/s average so impossible to know based on that).

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MYSTERIOUS Siberia CRATER: ALIENS or METEOR not involved, officials insist

AndrueC
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Re: Giant golfer? Not likely.

You've never seen me golf

You, I might have seen. My ball in the rough on the other hand..natch. I play either bright yellow or bright orange and still the buggers can vanish without trace barely an inch off the fairway.

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AndrueC
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Its a cover-up they have been breeding giant gofers

I briefly mis-read that as giant golfers.

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Rural mobile coverage: Tweeting twits to join chirping tits in UK's national parks

AndrueC
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Re: Hooray

Unless you call £53 for 7 days or £88 for 15 days rental expensive ?

For the UK - yes. Granted people sometimes get into difficulty in really bad weather on the top of what we like to call mountains(*). But suggesting people should take a sat phone when they go walking around our national parks is a bit silly. The biggest communication problem we face on our small island when out enjoying the scenery is trying to get away from twitters, texters, talkers and the beeping noises that accompany them.

Now if you actually live in a remote(**) area it can be a bit of a pain but then you'll be making more use of it so investing in a proper installation might make sense.

but when your several hundred miles from the nearest person

Extremely difficult to achieve in the UK. In fact about the only way to do is it go and sit on a small rocky outcrop in the north Atlantic ;)

(*)The rest of the world call them 'rocky hills' :)

(**)Again, our definition of 'remote' is not the same as in most parts of the world.

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X marks the chop: Microsoft takes axe to Nokia's Android venture

AndrueC
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Re: Buzzword bingo

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1998-12-27/

Maybe the new CEO is Scott Adams in disguise playing the world's biggest prank.

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Cops nab suspect using CREEPY facial recog system

AndrueC
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You're right about witness testimony, but human eyes are very impressive optically.

I'll take that back then. Most of the problems are probably the result of how we direct attention which is of course the visual system. Apparently we find it very hard to see people dressed in gorilla suits :)

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AndrueC
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organise an identify parade, both of which carry weight in court

Does it? Not much I'd hope. Certainly not as key evidence. Witness testimony has been proven to be horribly unreliable. Human eyes aren't very accurate optically, the human visual system makes things up as it goes along, human data storage is tainted by emotional triggers (both storage and retrieval) and human memory is fallible.

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Running the Gauntlet: Atari's classic ... now and then

AndrueC
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I loved the original. I think 2000 was okay but the more recent ones introduced micro-management and got rid of water and/or power management (I forget which). SC was always an excellent time-sink. Hours could fly by without you realising.

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AndrueC
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I played it on the CPC I think. Have to admit it was great fun although there could be arguments if the players tried to explore too far on their own. Eventually someone had to agree to turn round and go back.

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F1? No, it's Formula E as electric racing cars hit the track

AndrueC
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just a tedious procession round and round in a circle with hardly any passing

That hasn't been true for at least a couple of years now. DRS and a reduction in aero grip means that there's quite a bit of overtaking and close racing. Not as much as in closed wheel racing, true, but probably as much as there ever has been in F1. If you've ever liked F1 you'll probably like it now.

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Unique Passwords

I don't understand why password systems *insist* on capitals, numbers, non-alphas, etc instead of just *allowing* them

Dilbert covered this a while back.

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AndrueC
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Re: spot on

I use unique crap e-mail addresses

I do that for every contact. I have my mail server set up with a wildcard pattern so I can hand new addresses out to anyone without having to change anything. I only have to administer the server if an address goes bad so that I can add it to the blacklist.

This is how I know that LinkedIn either sell their email addresses to third parties or else can be farmed. Last time it took barely two months before the latest address went bad.

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AndrueC
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Re: Password Managers?

Or a notepad and a pen

In some cases you can improve security by only writing down a pattern. In my previous job where the passwords changed every 90 days I used incrementing numbers and for each account wrote down the number.

So my main login would be written down as 'MLI:57'. Even if you found the piece of paper it wasn't going to help you much.

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AndrueC
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I've been doing this for a long time. I have three main levels of password and the most secure has variants for those sites that are particularly strict. It's slightly marred by Tesco who have recently enforced stronger passwords. Consequently when I log in to order groceries I have to use one of my strongest passwords. That's overkill. It's not like anyone can spend my money if they gain access. It only needs a second-tier password in my opinion.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

AndrueC
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Re: Not surprising

All I can say is thank you, Ofcom. I don't agree with all they've done but compared to what I hear about the US in these cases I think they deserve some credit. Most of us can at least choose the DSLAM or backhaul provider and when it comes to cost and customer service we all have lots of choice.

It's also quite cheap here which is nice but the flip side of that is the damage it does to the case for investment. Swings and roundabouts but I think on balance I prefer what we do. Someone stuck on a sub-2Mb/s line might not agree :-/

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Barclays Bank counter staff to become iPad-toting 'community bankers'

AndrueC
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They've been doing that in the Exeter branch for ages and it's seriously annoying

That brings back memories from a long time ago. Is it still a large, round underground chamber? Always made me think of a dungeon when I was a sprog :)

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Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?

AndrueC
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Re: Mistake ?

Is this a mistake ... surely if the analyst's expected $17.1 bn and MS made 17.63 bn revenue this is a good thing ?

Does it mean that the analysts were expecting $17.1bn profit not revenue? Although that would mean they saw $4bn instead of $17bn which is a nasty, nasty surprise so doesn't make much sense either.

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Say goodbye to the noughties: Yesterday’s hi-fi biz is BUSTED, bro

AndrueC
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Re: @ Simon Harris - This new stuff looks boring (Soldering iron)

I have an Onkyo 507. Not top of their line but pretty good and great for the price at the time. It has four HDMI inputs and as of last month I'm using them all. Luckily you can modify input assignments so now I have DVD/BD, Cbl/Sat, VCR (actually my Freesat box) and Port for my media server. I have one optical in for my Sky HD box (they didn't used to support 5.1 over HDMI) and the other for my Freesat box (same problem I think) with my Squeezebox Touch feeding in through coax digital.

When I first got my PS3 it sometimes didn't sync video and needed restarting but a firmware to the PS3 eventually fixed that.

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AndrueC
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Re: This new stuff looks boring

A single LED - to indicate its power status - should be quite sufficient.

For a home theatre system there needs to be something to indicate the source format, but otherwise I agree.

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AndrueC
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Re: Sigh,,,

Logitech. Le sigh. Le BIG sigh.

MX 700. The best mouse I've ever owned. Wireless, rechargeable and takes two AAs so when the batteries finally give out you..just..buy..new ones. Discontinued.

Harmony One. Best remote I've ever owned. First one sucumbed to budgie excrement. Second was v2. Charge doesn't last as long. Ironically it goes to sleep to conserve power and has to be shaken awake before use. Discontinued.

Squeezebox. Discontinued.

Such a shame indeed :(

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AndrueC
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Re: Sigh,,,

CD player, DTT receiver, amplifier, two speakers.

I ditched the CD player a long time ago when I bought my Slim Devices Squeezebox but otherwise, I agree. Multi-room doesn't make much sense to me. I only have one living space and frankly the music travels from there into the bedrooms fairly well anyway since it's a typical modern house. Squeezebox does offer some kind of synchronisation through the server so I could do multi-room that way (I have two of them) but have never bothered.

My SB3 is in the study for when I work from home. The Touch is the primary player for the living room.

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Read the proposed US ASTEROIDS Act to green-light mining IN SPAAAACE

AndrueC
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Re: Footfall

Thinking about it though - perhaps the dinosaurs were space-faring and did themselves in?

There's quite a good S/F book along those lines. It's called Tool Maker koan. It's not a classic but it develops quite nicely.

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AndrueC
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Seriously, fuck you, groundhuggers.

I prefer the term flatlander :)

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AndrueC
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Re: Law doesn't enable, it recognises ownership

Without the law material could be taken from the miners and there wouldn't be any law that said it was theft as no country would have recognised the ownership.

This all assumes the material and/or perpetrator is brought to Earth. Personally I think it's better to use the material to build an off-Earth civilisation. Still it's probably best for now not to let Earthly governments know that. Let them pass their laws if it keeps them happy and encourages them to provide funding and assistance ;)

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In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR

AndrueC
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Re: Increase in fuel consumption

Thanks for that :)

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AndrueC
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What is causing the increase in fuel consumption? I can't get to the report site at the moment to see if it says. I'm curious why a craft that is on an outward trajectory would need to expend fuel. I suppose it would be required to orient the antenna but given the distance I'm surprised it needs much orientation to keep it pointed at that slightly brighter but fading dot in the distance.

Anyway, thumbs up to both Voyagers and especially to NASA engineers.

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Google de-listing of BBC article 'broke UK and Euro public interest laws' - So WHY do it?

AndrueC
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Facepalm

it may not be a coincidence that google.co.uk went down for approximately 10 minutes shortly before 11am UK time.

So that's what caused it. Barstools.

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You 'posted' a 'letter' with Outlook... No, NO, that's the MONITOR

AndrueC
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contemplate the humiliating prospect

Now you're making me ashamed and that deserves an upvote. Anyway I'm spending this weekend with him so it's all good. We get on well most of the time it's just the computing stuff that can be a bit frustrating.

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AndrueC
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Re: VPN.

Teamviewer is a better option, as it doesn't rely on the user setting anything up other than a shortcut.

And for Windows, Remote Assistance doesn't even need that. It does require them to be capable of sending an email and reading a password out correctly though :)

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AndrueC
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Oh this is so like my tech support calls with my Dad. It's a lot better now that I can use Windows Remote Assistance but he still refers to his email as 'Firefox' and if something changes his homepage he calls me to tell me that he's lost Google.

And I really wish he'd stop confusing 'operating system' with 'program'. He was at ICL back in the 60s working on George V so I'd have thought he knew the difference. Then again he was mostly a tape engineer so perhaps that's unfair.

I wonder if I'll be like that when I'm in my 80s? It almost makes me want to have kids just so that I can piss them off with inane questions and leave them frustrated because they love me too much to vent their feelings.

Bless :)

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El Reg is looking for a new London sub-editor

AndrueC
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So, just to be clear, are sarcasm and cynicism in or out?

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Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

AndrueC
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Re: Is this really possible?

Separating out Windows 8 and 8.1 is a little disingenuous

I agree. Things still don't look brilliant for Win 8 but no worse than I'd expect for an even numbered version. As has been noted many times MS seems to alternate good versions with bad versions when it releases an OS. I think that Win 9 will be a good release and will do well. What's odd is that (to me at least) it even sounds like a good 'un - Windows 9.

We shall see. Things have changed a lot in the desktop market and if Win 8 was a stepping stone to something Win 9 should be the full blown effort.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

AndrueC
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Re: Ancient technology

Never heard of a digital amplifier. Amps have to be analogue.

They are called Class 'D' amps. I think I used to own a 5.1 receiver that was class D. I'm not completely sure but (this was about ten years ago) it was the same size as my DVD player. Despite being vertically challenged it could deliver 100w per channel.

Ah here we go. Took a while but this is the user manual and this is the beastie in the flesh:

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AndrueC
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Re: Improving your reproduction

Most modern music is just badly produced almost from day one. That's why I gave up buying CDs and ripping to a lossless format(*). It's just less hassle to download the MP3. My ageing ears help ensure that I don't hear the damage rendered by the studio 'engineers'. In addition most of my listening these days is in the car or via bluetooth headphones on the train or walking around.

I have a reasonable enough system at home but generally don't have the time to just sit and listen. It doesn't bother me too much. I enjoy listening to it - ignorance is bliss and all that :)

(*)WMA if you must know :)

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Ofcom to BT Openreach: From now on, you'd better kill 70% of gremlins within 2 days

AndrueC
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Re: Toothless watch dog passes demands to massive telco........

You want a citation?

Here Ofcom tells BT to reduce its charges..

It's very much cat-and-mouse as you'd expect but Ofcom has considerable control over BT. It was Ofcom who pressured BT into splitting into separate divisions in 2006.

This is why we can't talk to the people fixing the line faults.

For now BT's FTTC is being left largely alone to encourage take-up but that's going to change some time in the next couple of years. And it'll be interesting to see what Ofcom does especially about pricing for FTTPoD.

So just because a particular person or organisation doesn't support your preferred viewpoint or position doesn't mean they are toothless(*).

(link courtesy of Wikipedia).

(*)It might mean they are wrong of course and I've questioned a number of Ofcom's choices over the years.

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AndrueC
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A good goal but i'd like to see better customer services on the phone and an end to all the excuses they come out with.

That would be a different company ;)

Mind you if BT Openreach improved their service there'd be less need for other companies like BT Retail to invent excuses and fewer calls for them to deal with.

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AndrueC
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Re: OpenWretch

Hah - it could have been a contractor. And that's a possible downside of this ruling. BT use third party companies sometimes and they are pretty awful. It is of course still BT's fault since they choose to employ a sub-contractor but that's little comfort.

Frankly I'd rather wait an extra day for a genuine BT engineer than risk priority service by some odd-job bloke they picked up at a yard sale.

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AndrueC
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Re: Toothless watch dog passes demands to massive telco........

Ofcom is not toothless. Incompetent sometimes but certainly not toothless. If BT don't do what Ofcom is telling them to they will suffer. Ofcom effectively has control over BT's profit margins. It can (and often does) squeeze BT until the pips hurt.

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AndrueC
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Re: Do they still charge for technical support calls?

Excellent revenue stream. 45 minutes minutes of dull music waiting for someone to answer the phone and tell me to call the other number

That's not Openreach. That sounds like BT Retail. Never get the two (or indeed the third almost invisible partner 'Wholesale') mixed up. That only serves their purpose. Sadly most faults end-users encounter lie within either Wholesale or Openreach's remit and end-users aren't customers of those companies so they won't talk to us.

It sounds like a great scam (and in a way it is) but it's not really their choice. Ofcom forced the triumvirate on us and it's Ofcom that insists they stay separate. With very good reason to be fair - it's done wonders for competition in this country. Unfortunately the various BT divisions are also very good at hiding behind their Chinese walls.

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AndrueC
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Re: FTTP - see Verizon, JT, etc

And as for BT being ready to "fibre up the whole country" in the 80s,

I think they'd have fibred up roughly those bits that VM currently serves. Unfortunately VM and its predecessors didn't make any profit until a couple of years ago and still have painfully large debts to service so I too am sceptical that BT would have replaced the old metal local loop everywhere by now. It's possible we'd be looking at a larger footprint than VM at this point but poor ol' Bill living in Much Dribbling would still be without high speed internet. They might not even have DSL if BT felt/knew that the future was fibre.

Mind you - all the new builds of the 90s and 00s might have been fibre fed so that would have increased the footprint. Maybe enough such that reduced maintenance fees could add yet more.

Meh. No-one will ever know but I think you'd have to be optimist and BT fanboi to think that the entire country would be fibre by now.

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AndrueC
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Re: FTTP - see Verizon, JT, etc

Agreed on the ally cable but fibre is a bit more tricky.

First-off they did offer to roll fibre out to the entire country back in the 80s. Unfortunately Margaret Thatcher refused to let them. They wanted to have broadcast rights but Maggie thought it better to open it up to rivals and that's when the cable companies(*) came from. Of course it's unknown whether 'the entire country' was an honest goal but they did make the offer.

These days the problem is cost. It's bad enough with their half way FTTC solution (the industry is struggling to find the funds to get that out to everyone) but full fibre everywhere would be vastly more expensive and even now it's hard to justify it. BT have done a good job(**) sweating the value in their local loop so who's to say what the situation would be if it had all been converted to fibre back in the 80s? It's sometimes nice to think that telecoms should be a service without a price tag but it isn't a realistic view. The money BT has saved by prolonging the life of their metal(***) might have had a beneficial effect.

We are getting there - anyone connected to an FTTC cabinet will soon be able to upgrade to fibre if they have deep(ish) pockets. A lot can already and more exchanges will go on that list over time. Unfortunately the pricing for it is a bit painful and that's going to be the next battleground I expect.

(*)Yes, there used to be more than one back when they thought they could make money off it.

(**)Read to the end of the sentence then think before you criticise me about that :)

(***)And of course as many of my fellow commentards like to say, it was 'given' to them by the PO. Those commentards have to either agree that throwing it all away would be wasteful or else they have to claim that it wasn't really worth much anyway. You can't have it both ways :)

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Home automation while it's hot: Winter warmth for lazy technophiles

AndrueC
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Re: Baffled?

When I watch the TV, I do it through the AV amp, for which the Harmony is pretty well suited

I do the same. In fact my amp (an Onkyo) acts as HDMI switch box for everything. I have a Harmony One but unfortunately v2. My much loved v1 suffered at the hands (claws(*)) of my budgie and some of the keys began to play up. The later version has an annoying power saving mode. It has to be shaken to wake it up and worst of all needs to be charged more often.

Bloody Logitech. Great hardware to start off with but it seems once they've recouped the R&D costs they cut down on the build quality. I'm glad all three of my MX-700 mice are still going. I'm considering replacing the remote again but I'm not sure what other remotes work in the same way with such a good design.

(*)Actually it was more his arse than anything else.

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AndrueC
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I can see a little more value actually. If I go on holiday I can only tell mine which days the house is empty. On the day of return that could mean several hours of wasted heating since I rarely get back until after lunch and often not 'till the evening. Being able to tell it I'd started back (or have it work it out) could save a chunk of heating effort.

But something my current thermostat is missing that would be nice would be 'I'm going out for a few hours' aka 'golf mode' :)

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AndrueC
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And I still don't see where significant savings are going to come from. I already have a thermostat that can be programmed with a time range and a temperature(*). In effect my heating is never on when the house is empty (or everyone is tucked up in bed) already.

I suppose that on a rare weekend day when I leave the house and don't come back until the evening it would be nice if it spotted that and turned the heating off. But those days are rare for me. Most days I might go out for an hour or two but that's it. I doubt there are significant savings in switching the heating off for a couple of hours.

And as for switching it on when it sees I'm on the way home. How's that going to work considering that it can take two hours (three on some winter days) for the house to get to the target temperature?

So this stuff looks cool - but basically just toys. If I ever need to buy a new thermostat I might get one of these but they don't really seem to add anything if your current system is working.

(*)It has optimum start so you don't tell it when to come on. You tell it the time you want a particular temperature and it works out when to actually come on to achieve that.

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BT and TalkTalk BOTH claim victory as Ofcom tackles fibre price row

AndrueC
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Re: That old horse:

The ducting etc down which the fibre travels, and the copper from the cabinets to the homes, was there when BT was a state monopoly.

Some of it was however a lot of homes and offices have been built and connected up since 1981. BT rebuilt the national network using fibre optic cables and upgraded all the exchanges to digital. It is solely responsible for rolling out three xDSL flavours and for maintaining the existing infrastructure.

I think it's unhelpful to keep harping on about what BT may or may not have started with. For damn' sure it's a far better network than it ever was in 1981. BT has stood on its own two feet for the last 33 years and deserves to be judged solely on that basis.

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AndrueC
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WTF?

Ofcom noted that the superfast broadband market had significantly grown since the watchdog first told BT to offer other ISPs access to its fibre network.

Eh? Was there ever any doubt that BT would do that? BT Openreach developed its GEA product in conjunction with multiple CPs (including C&W and TalkTalk and Sky) so that was always going to be available to other companies. And of course if BT Wholesale didn't create a wholesale product for it there'd be little point in that division existing.

I'm therefore pretty sure that Ofcom did not 'tell BT to offer other ISPs access to its fibre network'. It was always going to happen. Right from day one.

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FCC boss says he'll SHAME broadband firms for fibbing on speeds

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Mr. Cable

Mr. Cable

He's not going to do anything.

It may be better that way. He does things over here and a lot of people wish he'd stop.

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Finding the formula for the travelling salesman problem

AndrueC
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Some will already give you lower delivery costs

Yeah, Tesco do but only based on time rather than being 'opportunistic'. Still, at £1 delivery it's cheaper than going to my nearest decent Tesco since that's over ten miles away. The one in town is very poor and not adequate for a weekly shop.

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DANGER MOUSE is back ... and he isn't half a GLASSHOLE

AndrueC
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Boffin

There's probably just a small server room there now

Maybe not even that. There's this thing called Cloud Communications. You can already purchase (lease?) a cloud-based PBX and I vaguely recall reading about BT being interested in the idea.

So it might be that all that's inside the voice comms part of your exchange is a DAC/ADC bank and a data cable. Somehow that feels to me like 'the world's gone mad'.

Back to DM - I always liked the name of the MoD research centre. 'Putnam Down', I think it was.

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