55 posts • joined Tuesday 29th September 2009 11:29 GMT
TalkTalk customer service - cruel and unusual punishment
I was a TalkTalk customer, as well as my girlfriend.
Around the start of the year, my girlfriend's broadband connection went down. Solid green lights on the router, phone line active but no connection. Changed routers, same issue. 100% packet loss for pings, etc.
I called TalkTalk technical support (Indian call centre) and thus began the 6 week labyrinthine, soul-destroying attempt to resolve the issue until we threw in the towel, cancelled the service and switched to Sky. I've tried to erase the many hours I was asked to perform the same tests, by a variety of different technical support staff; the bare-faced untruths with different support staff contradicting each other in the 'advice' that they provided.
I was told on two separate occasions that there was not a fault with the line.
6 weeks later, after switching to Sky, same issue. Within 5 minutes of phoning Sky technical support (UK based), I was informed that there was a fault on the line and that an engineer would be sent out in 3 days. When I called back 3 days later, Sky technical support were still liaising with BT Open Reach to get an engineer to the exchange because my girlfriend's line was switched with another customer - hence, why there was a telephone line but no broadband connection. The next day, a BT Open Reach engineer popped round and within 15 minutes the broadband service was up and running.
I immediately switched my line and broadband from TalkTalk to Sky. As much as I hate to further line Murdoch's pockets, their deals are competitive and compelling, with UK technical support centres.
To date, I have never experienced anything as soul-destroying as TalkTalk technical support.
Re: Microsoft are playing the long term game
I think your prognostication is correct if you simply reverse the order of MS and Apple. My company Win Server 2003 on desktops / WYSE terminals and Win 7 on laptops. Tablets are iPads. BBs for Senior Management and Nokias for everyone else. Personal? I see MacBooks and either iPhones or HTCs, with a few Samsungs [Android].
Companies upgrade to 8? I think you are severely underestimating Corporate culture and Production environments. Stability in terms of uptime and supporting business critical applications is King and Queen. If Windows is still used in the Corporate environment in years to come, Win 8 will be skipped for the next iteration (or iterations).
If Dell and HP are "dead in the water", then so is MS in the tablet stakes. As in 'dodo' dead. There's Apple. Then everyone else. The boot if firmly on the other foot. Of course, that could change but WOA ain't the disruptive product that will re-order the playing field.
The *real* point is WHY have Apple and Android had a three year head-start? Do you think the average consumer will ponder and sympathize that their Lumia <<insert model here>> doesn't have a rich eco-system because both iOS and Android have had a "head-start"?
They'll simply look around at the competition at the same price-point or less and think "where's the value proposition?". Ok. Admittedly, they probably *won't* think "value proposition", but you the meaning ;)
FWIW, I personally prefer iOS compared to Android - however, the Apple tax and the relative performance between comparable iOS and Android handsets means that there was no way I was going to pay stupid money when I could get a HTC Desire on contract for 2 years (expires this Autumn) for circa £20 p/m (voice, text and 'net).
Anecdotal evidence, I still do not believe I have genuinely seen a Nokia Lumia or an advert in the wild. Given that I live in London and commute to the Heathrow everyday, the marketing of these devices is truly dreadful.
Parting with cash
1. When I receive a return on investment / ownership
2. Upon release
My altruism extends to charity (but even that has a self-interest i.e. a better world) - it does not extend to acting as a form of free funding.
Re: In case of porn, avoid court
You're a guy living in the country with the most beautiful women in the world (IMO), and you decide to sue a JAV star because she doesn't respond to your deranged advances on Twitter. So much fail ...
Randy Marsh [South Park] was absolutely on the money when he stated, "Once you've seen 2 Japanese women vomit into each other's mouths, there's no going back to vanilla".
"Stuff it in my tight hole"? Sounds like fairly standard adult material fare - either West or East. It's not so much the JAV titles as the content. From fairly innocuous stuff to just plain bizarre scenarios and fetishes. The inventiveness of the Japanese when it comes to sexual devices and just plain odd contraptions is a marvel to behold.
Just FYI there are a couple of labels which show uncensored JAV such as Carribean, Red Hot Fetish, Tokyo Hot, et al.
** I'm not kidding when I could easily submit an application for Jeopardy / Mastermind with my specialist subject as JAV, and kick ass! Whether I should have made such an admission without logging AC is another matter ...
Re: .. they could have a point, though ..
In complete agreement. Bought my HTC Desire on 24 month contract Autumn 2010 based upon:
1. similar spec to iPhone
2. without Apple tax * (£21 p/m 300 texts and minutes and 500 MB internet)
Based upon those requirements, there is no value proposition for me to buy a Lumia - although I originally did like the colour scheme.
Agree with the other commentators vis-a-vis lack of marketing or any form of marketing penetration. There is a whooping Samsung advert en route to Heathrow Central Bus Station, and I frequently see Samsung or HTC advertised. To date, I cannot remember a single Nokia Lumia advert. In fact, I do not believe I have seen a Nokia Lumia in the wild. I did have a false positive a few months back, when I thought I saw a guy use a Lumia on the Northern Line (en route to Old Street). He caught my glances and shielded his phone before I could make a confirmation.
My HTC Desire meets my needs so I'm jumping off the merry-go round of upgrading.
* I am otherwise a fully paid-up member of the Jobsian cult, having bought an iPod and iPhone 3G in the past, and now own an iPad2 and a MacBook Pro Early 2008.
I like Google+ but I do not intend to use it much longer. It's only because I do not have time that I haven't deleted my account. It's a solution looking for a problem. Want to discuss a specialist subject? It's called a BBS - now a forum. Plenty on the web with a critical mass. I'm a semi-regular for ones relating to travel, Chinese and iOS.
Social network? Facebook. I rage-quitted FB last year and will never return due to all of the changes. All I want is a place to post my holiday pictures for friends and other tidbits, post to my friends walls and receive a news stream in chronological order from my friends. That's it!
Google+ tried a different paradigm and tumbleweeds. I can see the appeal, but it feels more a niche interest than a critical mass of users. The sad part is that it is getting slowly more intrusive with Google+ posting what they believe is their important news in my stream, without the ability for me to filter it out.
I'll stick to looking for a site where I can post my holiday pictures for friends / family (privacy filters), and forgo the social networking side. Not because I have feel there is anything intrinsically wrong with the medium - more I hate the way it is being misused by the companies which provide the service.
Back to good old fashioned email and forums.
Like the vast majority of commentators, I saw this on the BBC website and thought it was an April Fool's prank. To my horror, it really is going to be passed as law.
It is not just the invasiveness and scope that concerns me, as well as the lack of accountability (cornerstone of our legal system - although Habeus Corpeus has been under attack with extended right to detain), but the billions of pounds that will inevitably be wasted under the guise of yet another massive IT contract with poor scope, poor execution and total disregard for Total Cost of Ownership, and like the national ID cards, another pet project that will spectacularly fail to meet the main pillar supporting its rationale.
Energy strategy (lack thereof)
In these times of so-called austerity and cuts in various social services, trust politicians of ALL stripes, to think of yet more ingenious ways to waste money on projects with nebulous ends.
Word of warning: take a look across the channel at our French chums, and the success of Marie Le Pen. The National Front were the 3rd biggest party in the 70s - when people become disgruntled with mainstream politics, the fringe parties gain a degree of legitimacy.
Good grief! Does this mean I'm forced to vote Green at General Elections?! Or the most respectable Monster Raving Looney Party?
Re: Silly regulations killing an exciting technology field dead.
I was also scratching my head at this article because when I was living in Kunming (SW China),
E-bikes were a common form of transport - especially because Kunming has dedicated cycle lanes.
In between regulation and poor infrastructure (whilst I applaud the desire for more people to use their bikes, there is NO way I use my mountain-bike during rush-hour in London. Strictly weekend pleasure / masochistic cycling across NW London), this concept is dead. Sadly, no surprise. After reading more news reports on the state of the nuclear industry, and the lack of any coherent plan to meet our energy needs in 2020 (or whenever most will be decommissioned) - let alone any emissions targets - is it any wonder that when a potential option appears (emission free inter-city transport), it's strangled at birth.
I'm not a car lover by any means - as I would love to see more no car zones in London, but with ever- increasing transport costs without any apparent benefit to the commuter, what incentive is there for people to give up their cars?
Re: Agree he seems a most unpleasant person but...
The real crime is how such an ignoramus (if we judge him by a) his opinions, b) through his command of English) obtained a place at University!?
This thread delivers!
I haven't stopped laughing through 13 pages.
I was less discriminating in my youth, but even I managed to avoid Battlefield Earth and Highlander II. Allow me to present to you:
1. Curly Sue - to this day, this remains my unofficial definition of what should be specified as a form of torture. I have never sat though anything as excruciatingly dull - even when I stupidly locked myself out of the house and sat on the landing for 8 hours until someone came home and let me in.
2. Along Came Polly - forced to watch this in Bangkok because I didn't wish to disturb my drink(s).
That said, both Matrix Revolutions but especially Terminator: Salvation (why oh why did I watch this on a long-haul flight to Hong Kong!?) - the latter is irredeemably shit.
Jason X could be added to the celluloid torture pile, where it not for the fact that it stars Lexa Doig. I think the phrase, "I would drag my balls across broken glass, just to sniff the butt of the dog that urinated on the laundry truck that hauled her panties" springs to mind.
It's not bad or the worst by any stretch, but I cannot watch beyond precisely 24 minutes of Lost In Translation. I've tried 3 times and the 'Oh those wacky Japanese' theme gets to me every time. Not even Bill Murray can save this film for me.
Someone mentioned The Chronicles of Riddick. I first saw that film in Taiwan, then Hong Kong - and every time it is on (although I stopped watching network TV some time back) I feel compelled to watch. It's a guilty pleasure - a bit like Under Seige (the line "And I can cook!" caused me and a female friend to collapse into paroxysms of laughter just before Dracula (starring Keanu Reeves) started - we were still laughing 15 mins later).
I personally do not think it is enforceable because one of the essential components of a contract is 'capacity' - which does not apply to children. The parents, however.
Glad that to see articles like this on El Reg, and all of the comments. As someone who works in Procurement, the trend (allegedly) is for simpler, but tighter and robust contracts that are appropriate to the Procurement. In the 'real' world, it's still insert boiler-plate clauses that result in supplies ramping up prices to factor contractual disputes / compliance with a bunch of policies that bear little relation to the Procurement at hand.
Back to the point at hand, I am more and more concerned at the use of T&Cs to syphon away rights. I suspect that if this issuers highlighted in the media i.e. Metro, and a MP or two become involved, the embarrassment factor will result in a more sensible set of T&Cs.
Always reminds me of that wonderful Stalin anecdote when informed that his actions might rankle with the Pope. "F**k the Pope. How many divisions does he have?" or words to that effect. T&Cs may say one thing, actual enforcement in law if one party wishes to rely on a clause, is another
Paid vs free
I used to hold the view that:
1. more genuine profiles on paid sites
2. better quality profiles
3. better service
After spending many years online dating (in-between long/medium term relationships), I took a hiatus last year and have recently dipped my toes in. I decided to test my assumptions. I used Dating Direct and Match as my test pay sites and ran the following filters on them:
1. Age: 30-44
2. Location: within 30 miles of Central London
3. Smoking: no
4. Last logged in: 1 month or less
Dating Direct: c133 profiles
Match: c233 profiles
If I ran the same filter last year I would have returned 40 pages of profiles. Now 7.
So what are the paid sites actually offering? First up, they do not indicate who is a subscriber i.e. who can receive and reply. Match used to allow non subscribers to receive emails. Not anymore. Secondly, if you want to use the site on a mobile device, you have to pay significantly extra. Seriously. Thirdly, in my experience, the number of genuine profiles has slipped dramatically.
Ok. Free sites. PoF: used for 6 weeks in 2010 before I went to China. Forums are hilarious, but full of fakes or angry, bitter people. Too much of a cess-pool IMO.
OKCupid: free, good interface, novel/annoying (take your pick) way of matching people (you can use the standard search filters), tonnes of users, and so far, am surprised by what appears to be genuine people. Admittedly, I am quite picky with my filters (Oriental) and who I would contact but seems to be better than the paid sites.
At the moment, I'm scratching my head and wondering why on earth I didn't use OKCupid sooner. That said, it's only been 4 days and the real test is replies that lead to dates.
I've decided to commit to relocating to Asia-Pacific to resolve my dating issues. Dating in London is just a massive PITA whether online / offline.
Ibaraki / Yen strength
Ibaraki / Miyagi are not traditionally on the tourist path. I did visit Sendai and Matsushima back Christmas 2009. Sendai liveable city if you're on the JET programme (however, you'll more likely live somewhere more rural) but nothing to really see as it was bombed flat in WWII. Matsushima? Quite pretty (bloody freezing when I went!) but not going to be on the list if you are a first-time visitor.
Far more important is the strength of the Yen. When I first went to visit my ex-ex (after she moved back to Japan, and wasn't my ex-ex) the Yen/Pound rate was 200:1. Japan was quite reasonable in terms of prices - it is never going to be SE Asia cheap - and the rate held throughout 2008 (travelled 3 occasions). Fast forward end of 2009 and it fell to 140:1. Now it's been hovering at the 120:1 mark.
I used to read an expat focused board on a lot of posters were transferring Yen into Dollars (or currency of their choice) because the rates gave them the opportunity to build up a bit of a nest egg if they decided to make the decision to leave Japan.
I can understand the sentiments of the Japanese Government but the lure of Kyoto (to take the obvious example) and the strength of the Yen means they be better off focused on promoting JET and/or something similar.
Pity. I planned to go back to Japan to finally visit a lot of places that I did not get the opportunity when I was with my ex-ex. Yep, that includes Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Koya-San, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima and Miyajima. Maybe as far as Fukuoka. Not going to happen for quite sometime now.
As another poster said, traditional media does not get the 'net as a distribution mechanism since to them all 'net users are hoisting the Jolly Roger. I used Napster back in the day until iTunes and then bought mp3s - singles and albums - when there was a easy, legal alternative.
I don't watch films via foreign sites and/or via torrents (except Riko Tachibana productions - yes, I have previously dipped my hand in my wallet to pony up for subscription), but I do watch TV shows (recently the under-the-radar Odyssey 5, Firefly, Jericho, Outer Limits and Twilight Zone) via the 'net. I never switch the TV on.
Netflix looks like a legal alternative (unless I pony up for a VPN and watch Hulu - I can't believe this issue plagues e-books. FFS! When will these industries wake up!) - except for the brainless decision to only browse once you've signed up!? Why the **** do we have to rely on a 3rd party site? http://www.thenowhereman.com/netflix/
If Netflix has the Outer Limits (old and new) and Twilight Zone, and will get Game of Thrones Season 2 at some stage, I'll sign up mid-Feb so I can watch on my tablet device (iPad2 / Asus Transformer Prime).
Since we are using anecdotal evidence and extrapolating into statistical significance, I'd thought I'd chime in. If nothing else, than to kick Nokia when they're down. Like the US car industry (although I do not drive) I'm annoyed by the unrealised potential and arrogant complacency.
I finally stopped using Nokia after my experiences with the E71. Solid build, good keyboard - which I do miss, although my smart-phones are predominantly touch - superb call quality and hands free (allowed me to talk to my ex-ex and do the washing-up at the same time) but sweet Jesus! The UI to navigate the 'smart' aspects. Even worse, fiddling around with internals and/or paying silly money for apps free on other devices - ok, the iPhone.
3 months after my honeymoon with the E71 ended, my language partner showed me his iPhone. I naively asked what apps he used for reading / writing Chinese. He starred at me and replied, " None". All native in General Settings. Couple of weeks later I had sold the E71 and bought an iPhone 3G on the secondary market. Now? Been using an HTC Desire since I returned from China 15 or so months ago.
Why? iPhone like spec, eco-system and UI (not as good as the iPhone but still good) but without iPhone type prices. So many 18-24 month contracts with good bundles and still good TCO. As others have stated, so many Android powered devices on a wide range of low/mid/high end phones. Where is the compelling reason (value proposition) to choose a Lumia?
My anecdote? Oh right. My former house-mate knows zero about tech and her brand recognition is comparable - except with the ubiquitous iPhone. She plumped for a HTC Wildfire based on the low contract cost and oddles of bundled extras she negotiated with her telco provider. What she lacks in technical knowledge she compensates through negotiation skills. It's her first smart-phone and her experiences have been positive. She still secretly wants an iPhone but is happy for now.
I have yet to see a Lumia in the wild (had a false positive whilst waiting for the tube to Old Street last night - the guy seemed to be a little perturbed at my interest in his non-Lumia handset and turned his body away from me) and - for my sins - have to endure 3 tube-lines and the Heathrow Connect. Lumias spotted in the wild = big, fat zero. Adverts spotted in the wild = big, fat zero. Spotted lots of Samsung adverts (the 'new' HTC) and Samsung devices in the wild.
If it wasn't for El Reg I wouldn't know the Lumia existed! That said, I do think the Lumia 800 looks a lovely device (I'm in the minority who like the colour scheme) but cannot think of a compelling reason why I would lock myself into another contract to upgrade to one. My HTC Desire meets my needs.
As Jay Zelos stated, it's all about the deals.
I'm waiting for the Riko Tachibana or Tia Ling personal moulds.
Let's get serious. Whatever happened to holo-technology developments? When I have the "Help me Obi Wan. You're my only hope" holo device - but with Riko as opposed to Princess Leia - in my living room then we can talk.
Re Yes, but
The compensation when I was on the Odakyu line was a plethora of Japanese women. There is no such compensation on London Underground.
Have portals next to ticket machines to help plan journeys (with multi-lingual options - bit like Hong Kong, although I believe you can even trade shares on their portals?), fine. Better would be adopting the radical notion of co-ordinating services so when commuters traverse from one line to the other (say Finsbury Park), they can - gasp - actually board the train (relieving platform congestion) and not suffer the ignominy of doors slamming into their face.
Yes, Japan does adopt this radical notion.
When one finally boards a train - jammed in - misery is made complete by stopping in a tunnel "to regulate the service"!
****s! Of the highest order.
You are all Norm, and I claim my free point
Although the initial postings conformed to my expectations from reading this thread, I am amused, surprised and disturbed by the serious amount of interior design knowledge displayed by a predominantly male set of commentators.
Vases with twigs and stones?
Reminds me of that episode of Cheers where Norm displays a previously undisclosed talent for interior design, and even fakes being gay to fit the part. Despite possessing the taken to make a serious amount of money to whatever field he puts his mind, he's happy enough to drink beer, eat peanuts and be accepted by his small drinking circle - even if that means putting up with Cliff's sense of his own self-importance - at the bar where everyone knows his name.
What I really want to know is when 'burnt orange' stopped being fashionable to paint one's lounge?
Re: I actually like it
I agree, even though tumbleweed is blowing across my account and my circle of friends because they all use FB.
It's strength - it isn't FB - is also it's weakness. FB is sharing content with friends and family, commenting on inane posts and despite what Zuckerberg would like us have to believe, an easy, unintrusive way to keep in touch with people. Oh. And those who want to play Farmville (or the latest game).
G+ paradigm is sharing content to build communities beyond one's own i.e. our own immediate friends and family.
Both are two completely different paradigms. FWIW I prefer the ascetic feel of G+, and I like the concept of circles to segregate content to specific audiences (my Chinese audience may not share my affection for Riko Tachibana - weirdos!). However, I'm really looking for a place more like FB before the changes i.e. somewhere to stay in touch with people, comment on holiday snaps, without FB slurping and re- posting my content or deciding on my behalf how I would like to view content.
The problem with G+ is that it is a solution looking for a problem that has been solved by tech that has been around for decades in one form or another: bulletin board / forum. Travel? Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum or TripnAdvisor. For my Chinese, there is a forum. All these dowdy forms of tech already have communitites, with regular posters, sub-communities / sections, etc.
G+ task is simply bigger than trying to exist alongside FB. It has to convince people that it is a better medium to share content / build communities than the humble forum.
If we take El Reg as an example, the site reports on news with an IT angle and has various sections - each with their own community ( does anyone use 'sub-cultures' anymore? Or did usage die out with BBS?), commenting on the article (such as I am doing now).
In this context, G+ is offering us a solution where the vast majority do not see a problem [need]. *
* I think G+ would be a good communication tool for internal - and external - company communication.
Re: from the author re. updates
I found this out via Google just as the Heathrow Connect pulled into Paddington.
This is the clincher for me, especially as I'm 75% leaning towards emigrating to China end of the year. If this does transpire then the following become deal-breakers for the iPad2 (as I plan to use the tablet as my sole device - de-cluttering my life):
1. Removable storage
2. OTA updates
3. Flash (Riko Tachibana)
Once I get my desktop to POST and update my iPad2 to iOS5, time to look into a potential swap for the Asus Transformer Prime.
Then see if I can sell my Samsung NC10 (Ubuntu 10.4 installed) and my Bookeen Opus e-reader (might go to charity instead - no way I'll recoup anywhere near original early adopter cost).
Apps and Flash
I caved in last year and bought an iPad2, which has proven to be indispensable. However 2 minor well-documented irritations:
1. no removable storage (without Apple dock)
2. Flash (lack thereof)
I can live with the lack of removable storage because Dropbox takes care of most things. However, as a media consumption device, the lack of Flash is starting to hurt. Even stripping out the Riko Tachibana fixation, I'm starting to feel the hurt because a lot of sites I visit are predominantly flash.
The Asus and keyboard dock for me would act as a desktop replacement as I rarely play games now. Can't say the same for the iPad2.
What is the Android marketplace like in terms of apps? I notice that my core apps are catered by Android re: Anki, Pleco, Economist, Skype, IM app, etc but I do not know how they compare to the iPad experience.
Also, are updates through the air, so to speak? Or do you need to update via a desktop / laptop?
I could be sorely tempted to see if I could trade my iPad2 (via Gumtree) for one of these bad-boys dependent on answers to the above.
Noble but contains 2 small fallacies
1. Mr Wang no longer solely owned the business once it went public
2. Genuine belief that company would be better off needs to be substantiated with a strategy
Yahoo was floundering for years without - outsider view - any obvious value proposition, differentiator or strategy whereby it would offer value over and above the MS bid for it's owners re: shareholders.
FWIW I do believe in long-term greed i.e. sustainable growth and profit beyond the next quarter or financial year. However, couldn't see it with Yahoo then, couldn't believe MS seriously offered the size of the bid in the then market conditions, was flabbergasted that Yahoo turned it down, and still cannot see how Yahoo will even get anywhere near that valuation - if anything it's competitiveness is much worse after yet another couple of years of burying it's head in the sand.
Not a colour or a load of water bubbles
How is 3's coverage and call reception these days? When when they first appeared, my T-Mobile contract expired, and after a conversation with a customer service rep in a handset store deviating the pros and cons of being an early adopter, I signed up to 3 ( around 5 and a half years ago or so).
Poor coverage (London), dropped calls and 90 minutes spent speaking to 6 customer reps before I coud cancel the contract! Went back to T-Mobile with my tail between my legs.
My current contract expires this Autumn. Presuming, I do not decide to ditch blighty and return to China to live for a while (c700m Chinese women - vs stupidly long-ass commute via tube trains and Heathrow Connect), I need to decide whether to switch operators.
My experience with 3 is quite dated so would be good to solicit the experience of other more recent subscribers.
Re: Corinne (Right on the money)
As someone who works in Procurement (e-Procurement) for large companies (not Government, although I have worked in the Civil Service) in OJEU regulated industries, I second, third, fourth and fifth Corinne's post and experiences.
Point 3 would be hilarious if it wasn't so true. The review boards set-up to review requirement documents are obsessed more about the process - OJEU compliant ITT - than the actual content by way of documenting requirements, undertake studies to see what other companies have implemented / what products are in the Market and then using the information to create an RFI to properly form a detailed, robust requiremens document.
You can almost guarantee that the weighting criteria are amorphous, vague and will only be properly fleshed out once all the bids have been submitted by suppliers.
The bane of any procurement is poorly scoped specifications and the inevitable variations.
That said, I'm a firm believer that Procurement should be adding value as a business partner by not kowtowing to compliance, but influencing the business by inputting - if necessary rejecting ITTs - into the specification. Yeah, good luck getting any senior support to reject ITTs.
As for Government procurement, you're screwed from the get-go. A friend of mine used to work as a consultant (if you can't be part of the solution, make money from the problem ;)) in the Public sector and it became an axiom that any project which straddled the life of a Parliament was pretty much f**ked. Everything would slow to a crawl as everyone tried to fathom which way the wind would blow. Inevitably someone new would come in and ask to review all on-going projects. Rinse and repeat about 25 times.
Like Corinne, she quit that gig because she felt so disillusioned by the process of pissing money away without anything being delivered.
I'm still playing this on my Pc (when I get round to fixing it) and decided to purchase it on my iPad. For the price of a very large coffee, I have the wonderful Lips106 and Head Radio available for my commute, let alone 'jacking a variety of vehicles just to drive around Liberty City, with camera flare as the sun rises / sets.
Not only is it quite staggering to be playing this game on a tablet, but also for the price of £2.99. A steal, if you pardon the pun.
More and more pernicious changes
I rage-quitted from FB a couple of months ago due to the news feed SNAFU. Every single enforced update in FB since merely reinforces my decision.
The benefits (staying in contact with friends and family, holiday snaps, etc) are by far and away outweighed by the negatives of my personal content no longer being 'personal' - but used to drive advertising revenue.
Even by FB's standards, this is a cluster-f**k of a bad idea:
1. use of personal content [picture] in advertising without consent
2. a whole barrage of negative publicity for advertisers when clued-on users start uploading 'alternative' photos for the purposes of said photos being displayed in advertising
I suspect that point 2 (bad publicity) as opposed to point 1 (concern about user privacy) will see volte-face.
Whilst I actually expect this of FB, 'WTF' icon because clearly the ramifications have not thought through properly (whole sleuth of adult / inappropriate images i.e. enema images being posted on people's profiles).
I must admit that I stopped watching part-way through. I think that last episode that I viewed was the plot to kill Hitler. By that stage, the show was a parody of itself: ludicrous, convoluted plots, too much emphasis on one part of the story (7 of 9 effect ala Star Trek Voyager - despite 7 of 9 being an extremely tall, extremely blonde, extremely big-breasted attractive actress, made to wear body hugging catsuits, the constant focus on her struggle to regain her humanity diluted the story lines and the rest of the cast), too much hammy-acting and a lack of focus of what made the Tennant years so good re: good story-lines and a superb supporting cast.
Bernand Cribbins stole the show every-time he featured.
As for the Pond effect. Seriously Karen Gillan or Alex Kingston? A slip of a girl versus a real woman. Alex Kingston every day and night of the week!
Now, where's the 'Do not Disturb' sign?
P.s. Agree with commentators regarding a new companion who will not become a potential romantic interest of the Doctor. That was the saving grace of Donna Noble - although clearly admiring the Doctor, she also felt he could be a bit of a tit a times.
Re: More bang for your buck
I couldn't possibly comment on whether this Top 10 meets my approval or not given that the latest game that I own is Fallout 3 (and my Pc will not POST at the moment *mutter*), but ...
"Delivering more bang for your buck than a two-week holiday in Patpong" had me trying to suppress my laughter en route to my commute to Heathrow!
Their aim will be achieved As soon as porn switch to HTML5 or alternative. Otherwise Flash is here to stay. In the interests of 'research' (ahem), I did find a site that required Silverlight. "Fools!".
Whilst Flash keeps on delivering Riko Tachibana goodness, "out of my cold, dead hands" comes to mind. This from an iPad2 fanboy!
I've noticed that a ripple stream - a stream containing a number of publically posted posts that Google+ recommend - has appeared in my stream. Fine to integrate enterprise / companies into Google+ and notify users of changes and new functionality (a new features / functionality section would work) - not fine to introduce ripples / streams into my stream that I cannot control / remove.
One of the principal reasons I deleted my FB account and switched to Google+ was to regain control over what I considered relevant - not FB. I hope that Mountain View is not falling into the same trap of deciding on the user's behalf of what content is relevant to the user.
Do yourself a favour, play it!
An excellent, excellent game - I still have the original disks and BG is installed on my PC, because I have never managed to complete it (I'm horrendous with completing games - or not as the case may be).
In fact, I've started playing BG over the years and recently decided to play it, with the eventual aim of completing it. I've got to nearly the point where I was back in 2004, and haven't played it in a while because I got distracted by Fallout 3 and then work, professional qualifications and dating (I place an unhealthy premium on trying to sleep with Asian women above all else).
I'm taking some time off over Christmas - not to visit the family but to play SW:TOR and a few solid days of BG playing.
I love the actual detail in the game - incredibly meticulous; an excellent soundtrack with beautiful, immersive sound effects and excellent dialogue and characterisation. Plus, it's is a brutally tough game at times - especially when you're weak at the start and get ambushed by Orcs ("Spare no-one!") and/or bandits ("So I kicked in the head until he was dead"). Or run foul of the Flaming Fist ("I serve the Flaming Fist!").
Plus, tactical play in setting up your party, their positions, formation, spell-choice et al, really works.
Oh. It's bloody massive! Cue the Douglas Adam joke about the Universe.
Goddamn you, El Reg! I have 2 assignments to do - including a very overdue one that I have not even started the reading, let alone write the damn thing, and now you nudge me towards resuming my BG game!
Nokia handset builds / design
I must 'fess up that despite hating S60 (or rather the abysmal UI), I was a loyal Nokia owner until I ditched the E71 for an iPhone (now HTC Desire).
As many have stated before, handset build / design usually wonderful - although there have been a few howlers (one of which I owned) - and you could always count on Nokia for battery life and build quality. Shame about Ovi.
The HTC Desire is a solid smart-phone (especially the contract deals, giving the phone free for a relatively cheap tariff - very good VFM on TCO [Total Cost of Ownership]) but battery life and call quality leave a lot to be desired. Also, I've never got the hang of an almost fully touch-screen smart-phone.
I also have to 'fess that I'd actually like to Mango, and am I the only one to love the designs for the Lumias? The electric blue is an arresting colour - but I prefer the simplicity of the chrome finish and rounded corners on the Lumia 710. Not to mention the price differential (is the AMOLED screen and camera worth that differential?).
I still have a year to go on my contract so perhaps I'll have a play in the Nokia store and see what I think of Mango.
Personally, since I have an iPad2, I'd rather downgrade altogether to a 6310i - if they were still being sold at a reasonable price.
When did enhance become exploit?
I have absolutely nothing against the profit motive, providing that the motive is about providing me with goods and services that I need and/or providing added value.
I deleted my account weeks back when it became blindly obvious that Facebook is less about enhancing the user experience than totally exploiting it. I even clicked and rated / reported the damn adverts in the hope that they would personalise them to something at least relevant.
The damn site knew all of my likes, but rather than provide a personalised experienced based upon them i.e. a Caffe Nero promotion / Special offer, I was constantly plagued by adverts from two-bit companies selling nothing of value.
I felt cheapened using the site, which clearly has no regard for its users - except Zuckerburg and co rubbing their hands at the thought of hoovering all of our content up until they hit lint.
The actual irony of heading to Mountain View due to privacy concerns! Yet Google innovate and provide a different paradigm with privacy controls. Before I used Google+, I couldn't see the point of 'circles'. Now I wondered how on earth I stuck with Facebook for so long with its myriad of confusing options that it has now seen fit to disregard.
It's sheer arrogance and contempt of its user base in the belief that the sheep will bleat a little, but fall meekly in line. There are other options and with each intrusive upgrade that neglects users from their own experience, slowly but surely those users will seek other alternatives.
Re: one step too far.. as usual
It's sad in many ways, as I used Facebook in exactly the way that you described: keeping in contact with friends, ex-work colleagues, acquaintances and old friends (university) whom I like to know what's going on in their lives over the years.
The new direction is all about selling one's content rather than sharing, The former 'Recent Events' feed worked perfectly for keeping in contact with people, sharing lives with each other (and having full control over what we share). Facebook has become far, far too intrusive, too busy and is a poor user-experience.
Google+ is user-friendly, intuitive and even ascetic compared to Facebook.
When I log on to Facebook, I'm bombarded with content - none of which I can contextualise due to lacking chronology - and tickers and feeds. In log on to Google+, and I feel calm, relaxed, serene.
I'm still deciding on how best to migrate my picture albums out of Facebook and into either Flickr or Google+. Then deactivate and delete my account, bitch!
The new Myspace
I rarely get my panties in a twist with changes, as I can adapt. However, upon logging into Facebook I immediately had a 'WTF? Have Facebook just hired a bunch of Microsoft Engineers!?'. As others have commented, Top Stories is intermingled with News Feeds, with no indication of how Facebook determines what is a Top Story, and apparently no understanding of the importance of chronological order.
The side bar could have potentially been a good feature (click on an item in the side bar, and the story and all the corresponding posts appear) but there is no way to disable the side bar or the scroll-bar.
The most bizarre aspect is that both Top Stories and Latest News (not that I can distinguish between the two or any chronology) appear as a main news-feed and in the side-bar with NO option to disable.
I could handle the adverts and constant 'recommendations' of random acquaintances to be my friends, but not this change. The whole purpose is to be connected with friends and acquaintances and have control over my content. Now Facebook is using my content and that of my friends and telling me how it thinks my content should be used.
In the words of a Harry Enfield character, "OI! FACEBOOK! NOOOOOOOOO!".
Google must have spent today grabbing seats and bringing out the popcorn. I'm heading straight to Google+ this weekend, and migrating my images to Flickr.
Memo to Facebook: you're no longer the only game in town. You've just removed the one reason why people may be hesitant to migrate - keeping in contact with friends - because Google+ is suddenly going to become very, very popluar.
Here we go again
Why does a 5 letter word that is also a fruit make grown men regress? Amiga? Atari? Apple.
Quite simple: it's the user experience and ecosystem stupid! I sneered many years ago at the iPod touch and the iPhone until my Malaysian friend (whose knickers I was kind of trying to get at the time) came over to my house (sadly, no knickers interaction) with her new iPod touch. Like any good sales person she bid me to try the forbidden fruit (still no knicker action. Goddamnit!). A week later I sold my Nokia E71 and bought an iPhone 3G on the secondary market
Years later I once again sneered (spontaneously channelling the spirit of Steve Balmer) at the iPad. Glorified iPod touch. Until once again, the forbidden fruit was proferred and I shaved my head, donned a white robe and was allowed into the inner sanctum of then Holy Apple store on Regent's Street to buy an iPad2.
As cults go, it's not to bad adjusting to a life without Flah - although I do surreptitiously use the Pc for my Riko Tachibana fix.
As other commentators have said, unless there is a significant discount, where is the value proposition for other tablets? I am by far and away much more productive than I ever was on my notebook (Samsung NC10 - lovely notebook, now neglected).
Absolutely agree with the AC 16:16. It's the whole user experience (sadly without Malaysian knicker interaction).
re: More for less, rather than less for more
Agreed. As other commentators here have mentioned, combine tablet functionality, UI, eco-system (especially native apps for the specific device) and price point, then despite the Jobsian restrictions, the Apple value proposition (urgh. I work in Procurement, and I still hate that term) is a tough one to beat.
I resisted the temptation for a tablet for a long time as I didn't understand their use. I succumbed to an iPad2 last week. Why Apple rather than Android, or any other brand? Simply put, all the above. Flash? It is an issue, but my desktop will be my main point for JAV [Japanese Adult Video - I'll quite happily 'fess up for my occasion Riko Tachibana fix) with it's 22 inch screen. iTunes? Dropbox provides a different paradigm for managing content - yes, would still prefer portable media (USB stick) but I see the power of Dropbox and have converted.
Unlike smartphones where there is still a large difference (on contract) between iPhones and HTC Desires (insert own brand here) and little difference in functionality, I feel there is still a night and day difference between the tablets in terms of slickness of UI, eco-system and price point. If you're prepared to get down and dirty, and like tinkering, then you can get a tablet for half the price [Android] and install a custom ROM. Me? I've realised that my tinkering days are over, and it's more the overall experience, as well as a few killer apps such as Anki (Chinese), and the more ubiquitous ones.
** I'll probably tinker at home with Ubuntu (or another linux deriative) but life is too short to be faffing around tinkering with a tablet. The 'just works' paradigm - even with the Jobsian restrictions - and the slick user experience (plus 10 hours battery life) ticked my requirements and except for Riko Tachibana requirements, my desktop and netbook (due to be sold, along with e-Reader and HTC Desire - I'll downgrade to a baisc Nokia, if I can find a 6310i) have been displaced by my iPad2.
Google implementation of paradigm
I like the idea of using the web (I refuse to ever use the term 'cloud') in this way, in terms of accessing / sharing files across different devices and locations (if on holiday), but as ZenCoder stated this is an extreme solution to a problem that has already been addressed.
There are a number of different ways I can already share and access my own data - without the weird and wonderful restrictions and entrusting more of my privacy to Google.
I initially thought that Google had accidentally submitted a belated April Fool's after reading the article. Google are selling a dumb client at a price point where one can already buy devices (laptops) that do much, much more. As for security, that remains to be seen (compromised browser) but it's an extreme solution to a security issue by ridding yourself of your house and it's contents to live in the equivalent of a tent!
As for the mother (or grandmother) test, iPad. Yes, it's at a more expensive pricing point, and has a number of Jobsian restrictions but is so much more capable, and easy to use.
I think that that Chrome OS netbook fails the mother / grandmother test by quite some margin. If my own grandmother were still alive, or my mother hadn't already bought a laptop, I would have given both of them iPads. The only issue is whether one predominantly types or not (touchscreen vs qwerty).
On the subject of Citrix, I'm not sure whether it's my company's implementation or a number of other factors, but each and every time I open a goddamn file, I have to wait 20-30 seconds! I like the concept (in theory) of getting away from local storage - especially in work environments due to colleagues STILL saving on their C:/ drives instead of the server - but the existing options, plus my flash drive (physically small and unobtrusive, big enough storage and highly portable) is good enough for me.
$499 for a dumb client to implement a paradigm that already exists to a degree. Why? I mean, why? ** As someone else has stated, the only market I can immediately see a use for is any place offering 'net access.
Cannot comment on the validity on the article one way or the other, but it [central tenet] does chime in with a discussion I had this morning (and recently) during a 2-day commercial workshop) on Total Cost of Ownership.
We have the same issue in trying to get stakeholders to recognise TCO, rather than look at upfront costs (Capex) that will hit their budget in a financial year. As well as looking at the TCO to include maintenance, operations and disposals, there is also a supply risk consideration in terms of components / spares i.e. can you obtain generic components / spares that meets conformance and performance critera, and are readily available from a number of suppliers.
Unfortunately, the commercial side [TCO] and the supply risk are rarely considered because the stakeholders are different from the Capex and Opex sides - hence, the Capex side are interested in different criteria from the Opex side, and it's difficult to cross the cultural divide; especially when there has been little thought into obtaining hard commercial and risk data because the systems and reporting hasn't been set-up and/or is held in disparate systems, by separate teams that do not communicate to one another!
I only half-joke that the best change management tool is a baseball bat ...
P.s. Any mention of TCO is also best avoided in the 'dating' sphere because providing a response when someone broaches the subject of 'So what do you do?' leads to EPIC fail.
Agree with the comment that this feels more like planned obsolescence then anything else. Mobiles [handets] are commoditised - it's the apps that of primary importance (give or take certain features). Hence, like a lot of other commoditised products, there is zero incentive for either the handset maker or the telcos (or other companies) who sell subsidised handsets, for a handset to go on, and on, and on. Just ask Nokia about the 6310i.
After buying the HTC Desire after I came back from China last year, I decided to jump off the upgrade gravy train because I don't need the latest and greatest, provided my current device (be it smartphone, netbook [Samsung NC10], Pc, etc) still does what I need on a daily basis.
If I do need a change, I'll simply install a custom ROM (one of many which the gracious El Reg commenters, have noted).
The only consideration that I would be prepared to upgrade, if there was a major breakthrough in battery life.
Lars Von Trier
I might have been interested in the concept if Lars Von Trier was directing (or Alejandro Amenabar). Verhoeven's effort for pure pace, style and verve was almost perfect. I remember going to see Total Recall in my late teens and my expectations were low (a bit like the Matrix, many, many years later). So I was completely blown away by the frenetic pace, action, sheer violence (the body count in the early stages is staggering - but often gets missed), interwined with the plot.
Agree with the majority of the comments, that there are plenty of Sci-Fi films that could be made (Neuromancer demands to be done right - without overblown Lawnmower Man style effects - although I don't think any version will come close to the stylistic, downbeat feel of Bladerunner re: drizzling rain, skyscrapers with images of Japanese women 'geisha' make-up, and the throbbing crowds), so am perplexed but not surprised at yet another re-working. Especially when there is no need.
It's been a long time since I've shown any interest in Hollywood. That doesn't look like it's about to change.
Neuromancer or Snow Crash - without Keanu Reeves. That's all.
Re: Been on cable since it was invented in the UK
Similar story here, although not as long as El Presidente. I was a Cable Telewest Customer back in 2002, then Virgin Media. I was a fairly happy customer until this year, when I noticed my bill creeping upwards with sneaky price increases - the odd £1.00 added to a service here, the odd £1.00 added to a service there - at least 3 prices increases since October, excluding the change in the VAT rate.
I never received any correspondence to inform me of these price increases. I then suffered extreme poor broadband speeds - 56k modem speeds. The slow download / streaming speed, compounded with the price increase caused me to investigate the competition. I realised I was paying for XL TV that I don't actually watch apart from South Park and CNN!
The real kick in the nether regions, was that when I compared my package with the current deals, I was paying approx £4.00 a month for a poorer package (comparing the packages excluding the 6 month half price sweetners for new customers).
I've just switched to TalkTalk for a better phone and broadband package (less TV package), for £13.50 less a month. I'll probably buy a Freeview box for the BBC 3 and 4 channels.
Underhand price increases without notification, and a poorer service equals instant switch. I'm on the whole fairly loyal (provided I still receive a good - not necessarily a great - deal) but once a company starts taking the proverbial, I have no compunction in switching.
@Yahoo owned AltaVista?
Don't get too misty eyed regarding ye old days, because the days of AltaVista, 56k modems are also the days that I paid £250 quarterly bills to BT on a regular basis (damn MUDing ...) before Freeserve. Oh, that sometimes involved a two-hour wait to actually connect due to demand!
All that needs to be said, is that I didn't even realise that these services haven't already gone the way of geocities. Then again, we are talking about the company that turned down c$44.6bn (£22.4bn) from Microsoft (whose shareholders, no doubt, uttered a sigh of relief).
I finally made the switch from Yahoo to Gmail this year because Gmail offered threaded conversations amongst other things. Although, Yahoo.com is still my home-page for (i) a snapshot of news headlines as I log on, and for (ii) sentimental reasons. But aside from maybe Flickr and maybe Yahoo games (for those who like such things), Yahoo has become increasingly irrelevant - and I wonder if maybe the decline is terminal.
@Oh give it a rest
I *knew* there was a reason to avoid late-night posting (as well as late-night OS installations). I made a FUBAR in my previous post by erroneously stating that pre-installed is synonmous with out-of-the-box.
My error notwithstanding, I even more forcefully and respectfully disagree with your assertion that "NONE of which work out of the box like windows does"; primarily because even windows doesn't work out of the box 100% guaranteed (different hardware settings) - especially Win 7.
Whatever OS you use, if you go around poking in places, make sure it's wrapped [patched].
@Oh give it a rest
Whilst I agree that the knee-jerk MS flaming does get old, I disagree with the rest of your post. For any affadavit, I run WinXP SP3 on my desktop (FF rather than IE) and I'm quite happy with XP for the most part (although I had to manually turn off a LOT of unnecessary services running by default, as well close a port or two).
1. Mozilla isn't in the OS market - so what? There's a comment here missing some relevance. FWIW, I'm glad that Mozilla has decided to focus on it's product [browser] and I have a choice of browser. Bringing me neatly to ...
2. Choice. IE is embedded into the OS - so even if I uninstall, I *still* have to update the bloody thing because it isn't completely 100% removed.
3. Out of the box. You're wrong on two counts: (1) a Windows machine out-of-the-box and a Linux machine (choose your distro) out-of-the-box WILL work - precisely because 'out-of-the-box' implies that both have been pre-installed; hence are sold to work as such. (2) If you are comparing a machine with Windows pre-installed (out-of-the-box) with a machine where the user has to install a linux distro, then you are comparing apples and oranges.
Personal ancedote relating to recent Unbuntu 10.04 installations / Live CDs: my flatmate's Dell 1525 Inspiron running Vista (ugh) had serious issues - aside from Vista - due to lack of maintenace. So much so that she decided to reinstall. Her Vista recovery disk failed to install, so in the interim I gave her a Ubuntu 10.04 Live CD to allow her to back up her data. The only issue was I had to temporarily install drivers for her network card so that she could get 'net connection. That's it. When she backed everything up and wanted WinXP SP3 installed instead of Vista, not much worked out of the box because none of the standard Windows drivers worked. I had to use my desktop to download drivers from the Dell website for nearly everything on her laptop: display, video, sound, 'net, etc.
I also decided to wipe WinXP SP3 from my Samsung (NC10) netbook, and replace it with Ubuntu 10.04. Everything worked first-time i.e. display, sound, network card, yada yada yada.
I also like my computer to turn on and work properly. Ubuntu 10.04 does that on my Samsung NC10 netbook. YMMV.
That said, on days like today, it's the Sysadmins for whom I feel sympathy.
You are essentially correct in terms of pricing, but you are missing one small, but crucial point: portability. If you essentially read at home, then carry on as normal. But if you travel a lot, have a long commute, or study and have to carry (heavy) textbooks from one location to another, then an eReader comes into it's own.
I'm currently (studying) in China, and as well as weeping as a semi-early adopter (Booken Opus owner - sitting on my desk back in the UK), I'm really missing being able to read without buying / shipping books that will either have to be donated or shipped back to the UK. I'm already loaded down with Chinese text and grammar books that will need to be shipped back!
The UK Kindle is now priced at a level where I feel people will be prepared pay, including a number of features that one would expect as standard (but sadly haven't been from some previous eReaders) e.g. decent bookmarking, annotations - plus being able to download books without having to connect to a Pc and use software to download one's book to a Pc, then transfer it to your device.
Storing your library in the cloud, then being able to access one's library from any device is the cherry on the cake.
I'll be purchasing an UK Kindle upon my return - simply because my Booken Opus fails in some crucial areas in terms of lacking a decent bookmark function, no annotation function, having to connect the device to a Pc, install yet more 3rd party software to simply transfer books to my device (small but aggravating point - also why I'm seriously thinking of buying the HTC Desire, so I can finally rid myself of iTunes), and I really dislike the page-turning transition on the Booken Opus. Whilst I was initially impressed at the accelerator function to be able to turn the device and read books in wide-screen, Apple slick it ain't! The stutter and flicker as it turns - although small - begins to irritate with time.
Standard advice before you take the plunge to buy an eReader: check to make sure that the books that you wish to read are available - particularly if you wish to buy textbooks for study purposes, or wish to buy certain books that are only available in certain regions (it's like regional coding for DVDs all over again!).
One question vis-a-vis regional coding: does anyone know if one purchases an UK Kindle, will one be kicked square in the balls by regional coding i.e. books only available if you are located within a given region e.g. US, Europe, yada yada yada? The reason for asking it would be a pain whilst travelling (or living / studying abroad) to want to be able to read a book, then find you're prevented from purchasing due to regional coding!
@Gilbert Gosseyn and Tankut Erinc [nail on head]
I can see a market for this type of product that just works, and does all of the multimedia / email / social networking stuff effortlessly, intuitively (think iPhone user-interface and experience) and *if* it performed seamless integration with other Apples products and services.
My mother - like Tankut Erinc's mother - would be a perfect candidate. She is not technically minded in the least, and nor should she need to be technically minded to fulfil her requirements. In this context, I equate "technically-minded" (and pejorative terms) as an euphemism for 'poor design / execution'.
That said, the cost is simply too prohibitive at the moment, features too limited and the lack of support for Flash is a major stumbling point.
As other posters have stated, this is a piece of disruptive technology that clearly has a market (communications / e-reader / multimedia / social-networking), and has potential for creative industries - I'm thinking decent pen device for input - but maybe 12-18 months down the line once there is more competition, maturity and the 'oooh shiny!' tax has been removed.
I'm happy with my Samsung NC10 netbook (dual-booting Ubuntu and Win XP) and either an iPhone or HTC Desire - to fulfil my requirements. Yet I do see a market for the iPad and similar products (especially if the device allows annotations with pen-input device - I'm thinking for e-reader functionality) and could maybe be tempted down the line. But I got stung with the Opus E-reader - sitting in it's box, awaiting my return from China to sell on secondary market - and am firmly sitting on my hands for 12-18 months, before deciding if my mother will receive an iPad (or similar product) for Christmas.