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* Posts by Semaj

367 posts • joined 2 Feb 2010

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Microsoft buys Minecraft for $2.5bn. Notch: I'm getting the block outta here

Semaj

"In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time"

... but in a real sense, it belongs to Microsoft now, who will fuck it up.

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'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

Semaj

Meh

It looks like they've sorted out some of the issues of Windows 8 but frankly it's going to take more than the implementation of obvious features that should have been in the predecessor (at least) to bring me back to Windows.

I already switched to Mint on my low powered laptop (though the poor thing needs putting out to pasture tbh) and my Desktop install is starting to get a bit more unstable so it's gonna get the Linux treatment too when I can be bothered.

I'm just sick of the MS bullshit. It's going to take something special to bring me back, especially when the alternative doesn't cost anything.

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Visual Studio Online goes titsup as Microsoft wrestles with database

Semaj
FAIL

Worrying

We're very heavily invested in all things Azure so this outage caused us big headaches yesterday.

It wouldn't be so bad for TFS online to be down if Visual Studio didn't have to timeout (~3 minutes) on EVERY SINGLE FUCKING CHECKOUT...

But no, the amazing resilient cloud can't be down so no need to do some defensive coding around that.

It's exactly this kind of crap that is turning me off MS dev (and MS in general tbh) more and more. Which is a shame because I normally sing the praises of both Visual studio and TFS, especially when used together.

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AWS hell no: Can Microsoft Azure sales beat Amazon's cloud?

Semaj

Re: Embrace, extend and extinguish

"Been hit by both of these."

"I assume you mean you have been hit by service outages"

No, service outages happen, that's annoying but it happens.

The 2 services I listed were extolled as being best practice for a while before the announcement that they are being deprecated. ACS will stay around but will not be developed so it's going to just get more and more out of date and Federations are being actively canned next year (not sure of the details so existing ones might still work but I doubt if you'll be able to make new shards).

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Semaj

Re: Loong term view

Well sticking stuff on a VM would certainly work but that kind of defeats the purpose of Azure's offering IMO. We may as well (and should) have gone with AWS if we were going to do that. Besides, they've only been offering actual VMs for a couple of years and our stuff was already on Azure by then.

As for the bacpac option, they don't include the transaction log so aren't fit for purpose for most companies who would need a real backup strategy for a legal requirement to minimize risk.

And of course RDP being disabled by default is a good thing but you shouldn't have to take down your live service to enable it. And you shouldn't need to enable it because Azure should provide access to real diagnostic tools from the admin console.

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Semaj

Re: Loong term view

They do but they don't push out major version upgrades. They do deprecate them though.

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Semaj

Re: Embrace, extend and extinguish

"What history of nixing customers"

Azure Federations, Azure ACS. Been hit by both of these.

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Semaj

Re: Loong term view

"Azure is easier to use"

I use Azure every day and can confirm that it most certainly is NOT easier to use than AWS. At least from a development and deployment point of view.

I'll list a few off the top of my head examples of where Azure makes things more awkward than AWS (or an on-premises setup, which is basically the same as AWS) I'm talking from a .net perspective, which in theory should make things easier so I dread to think what it's like for non .net folks.

- Wrappers. To deploy to Azure you need to wrap your projects in a special .cloud project. These frequently become corrupt (especially when upgrading) and have lots of config XML duplication. Very awkward to merge. (You don't have to use these if all you are making is 1 website but for anything remotely interesting you have to use this mechanism)

- Deployment. Is SLOW. You can deploy from Visual Studio, which packages up your application then sends it up to Azure, which will then makes a whole new VM, installs what it needs then allows you access. This can take anything from between 5 and 45 minutes depending on the size of your application and which way the wind's blowing. Note that getting the deployment set up in the first place is a pain because you need to mess around with storage locations and other auth stuff. Oh and if you just want to make a minor CSS tweak (for example) to a wrapped website you need to do a whole new redeployment because any changes you make via RDP aren't guaranteed to remain.

- Config. With Azure, they've thrown the .settings stuff in the bin and implemented a fudge so you can store your settings in the .cloud project and access them through a proprietary MS class. This does fall back to web.config or app.config if the setting isn't found but it throws and catches an exception to do it. Also it duplicates config, meaning it's easy for stuff to get missed out. Oh and it still takes ~5 minutes to make any config change via the Azure front end (it must do a soft reboot or something).

- Waste. For every project in a .cloud wrapper Azure will create a VM, eating into your cores limit.

- Backup. Backups (of Azure SQL) are still practically impossible to get set up in a reliable, automated, on and off-site way.

- Azure SQL. Is just generally awful. Missing features (freetext search, custom CLR functions, scheduling), difficult to diagnose when things are going wrong.

- Scheduling. Is only available via creation of a mobile app and even then it's only able to call a web service so you still need a whole instance per (different) scheduled action.

- Remote access (RDP). Needs to be enabled specifically from the first deployment or you need to redeploy with the various settings enabled. Makes debugging a failing service very difficult. Oh and you can't do an in-place swap of VMs while turning on RDP because it creates another endpoint and you can't swap in that situation. That means downtime, of however long it takes it to deploy.

- Diagnostics. Aren't provided by MS at all. The best software seems to be "Azure Management Studio", which is OK if a bit flaky (I put this down to the services they are calling rather than their software). But to get anything useful you have to mess around with more settings, pepper your code with more Azure only MS classes (Azure Diagnostics), turn around 3 times and stand on your head.

...That's all that immediately spring to mind.

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Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes

Semaj
Facepalm

Re: "just charge more"

Oops, I misread "charge" as "change" ... and even quoted it. What a numpty! You get the message though.

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Semaj
Linux

"just charge more"

Well, they have certainly pushed me to change more - to Linux.

I've just moved house and we don't have a phone line yet so we're using a prepay 3g dongle. So naturally we're being conservative with bandwidth.

So last night I boot my Windows 8.1 PC for the first time since moving, turn off Windows Updates, various sync things via the "modern" UI, App Updates via the store and all the rest of the bandwidth eating stuff I could find ... and it still keeps gobbling up data. It's the final straw for me. I've had enough.

If this is the "cloud" future that everyone wants then count me out too. Once I've got time, Windows 8.1 is going and being replaced with Linux. I can always run a VM if I need Windows for gaming or Visual Studio and even then, next time I move jobs I'm intending to go somewhere less MS focused. And universal apps can fuck off too (you got WCF support yet MS? Thought not). Besides which, app dev on the Windows platform in general is dire compared to Android and Azure is a massive, slow, gold turd compared to AWS.

That's me though. Having read your articles and comments I feel your pain that you and your clients will be stuck with Windows for the foreseeable future. All I can say is good luck :/

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You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary

Semaj
Megaphone

Re: Eek!

For me it's a single portal, offering brand new content, as well as an archive of previous stuff (music, film and TV shows), including old and obscure, possibly never released on DVD stuff (cartoons etc), with the ability to take an offline copy.

At the moment, torrents offer basically this for free so I guess I'd pay maybe £5 - £10 a month for it. Maybe they could have an ad supported version too. As you say though - it's about availability, not price.

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

Semaj
Alien

Well no, obviously the spaceship didn't CRASH there - it was underground and took off.

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Hate phone games that make you buy in-app gumble? Congrats, you're a niche player

Semaj

If it means a reduction in the dumbing down of franchises on consoles then I'm all for it.

Mobile for easy, throwaway yet expensive crap. Console and (hopefully) PC for real games, which are actually challenging to play and have plenty content. Oh and some good UIs would be nice.

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Watch: Kids slam Apple as 'BORING, the whole thing is BORING'

Semaj

Old horse o.o

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Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly

Semaj

I'm all for not discriminating against people who like to say they are whatever gender they want but this seems like a little strange way to go about it. I'd have just replaced the dropdown with a tag based textbox so it covers all bases while still remaining elegant.

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Larry Ellison: Technology has 'negatively impacted' children

Semaj

Not Black and White

Thinking back to my own childhood, I can say that in fact technology and computer games had the exact effect that Ellison describes - and it was the best thing that could have happened for me.

I grew up in a relatively poor area. Thankfully not the hell that inner city kids have to deal with but the kind of place where 8 out of 10 families (mine included) were dependent on benefits of one form or another.

As a young child I'd go outside a lot and do all the usual stuff such as making tarzan swings, camps in bushes and things like that (didn't have a bike until I was 12 as we couldn't afford one). The people I'd do these things with were not nice (I knew right from wrong) and along with the good, wholesome activities there were the games which involved setting stuff on fire and other antisocial stuff.

That all changed when I got my Sega Master System (saved up all year). Now I finally had something to do, which didn't involve hanging around with mini-chavs. Then when we could afford the Internet, that really allowed me to become the person I am today. I could talk with those with views like my own and it allowed me to see that there was a whole world out there to experience.

Fast forward a few years and now I'm doing well. I'm a software developer with a good degree from a decent uni, a good few years of experience and will soon be buying my own house. The majority of the kids I hung around with are either dead, in prison or on benefits with a horde of little bastards of their own.

It's true, computer games and other tech can prevent kids from going outside and in my opinion, that's a good thing.

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Fisher-Price in hot seat: iPad bouncy chair lets APPLE BABYSIT tots – parents

Semaj
Trollface

Old

Wow, old news today Reg - the DM covered this one weeks ago.

Hilariously inappropriate device though non the less.

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It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources

Semaj

Re: I had to Google how to find the Control Panel...

Right click the start button (bottom left hotcorner if 8.0)

You will be happy.

Very under-reported (and non-obvious) but useful feature, which should have been in Windows since XP.

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Microsoft: Don't listen to 4chan ... especially the bit about bricking Xbox Ones

Semaj
Trollface

Lol

Unfortunate and very mean, but quite funny.

This really is what 4chan [used to be] all about. Not getting people to kill themselves or the lame moral crusades.

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MPs back call to boycott low-taxed tat from Amazon over Xmas

Semaj

Z Shops

One of the things that these "boycott Amazon" lot always seem to forget is that a large amount of what we see on Amazon is actually provided through small, independent, tax paying retailers who could not even begin to survive the hideous shop rental prices if they couldn't supplement their sales through Amazon (and Ebay).

So before talking about how evil Amazon are - think about the little guys who they keep afloat.

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Nice job, technology. Now we have to work FIVE TIMES HARDER

Semaj

Re: The promise of automation

The trick is to never give overtime for free. Leave work on time (a few mins to finish off is fine), never check your emails on the evening / weekend / holidays and have a separate work and personal mobile phone if the office always rings you.

It's tough being the only one to do this in a company of spineless coworkers but it does catch on.

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RUMBLINGS: Apple pondering 'Touch Cover keyboard' for iPads

Semaj

The cover-keyboard was a good idea. It could have been a killer feature if it had been bundled with every surface for free rather than costing an extra ~£120.

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Windows 8.1: Read this BEFORE updating - especially you, IT admins

Semaj

Tip

In case anyone is wondering (as I was) if this update will remove the HEIGHT restriction for running apps, the answer is no. Only the width restriction for snap has been removed / modified.

No big loss really.

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Here comes Windows 8.1! Microsoft grits teeth, pushes upgrade to world

Semaj

Hurf Durf

I'm hoping this fixes a few of the annoyances of Windows 8 on my (crap, low res) laptop.

The start button and custom corners will be nice currently it's annoying with the rubbishy trackpad. The top right one for example causing the charms bar to appear when I'm trying to scroll something.

As for the start menu / screen debate. Honestly I (and I suspect most other advanced users) don't much use the Win7 start menu. We open it, search and press enter or we use taskbar or keyboard shortcuts. One thing that we do use is the fast access to computer management etc but that's BETTER in win8 because you can right click on the bottom left hotcorner (most useful feature in the whole thing).

The only people who will actually have their use case changed are those who enjoy scrolling through the start menu, which is a waste of time.

That said - I do think the start screen is ugly and unnecessarily large on a proper screen. A middle ground would be nice.

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Now that's real science: CYBORG MONKEYS with PROSTHETIC ARMS

Semaj
Boffin

It's definitely been tried. I attended a talk by a guy who did an experiment like that on himself (essentially inserting tiny wires directly into the nerve - an incredibly painful process apparently).

If I remember correctly he was receiving the stimuli from someone else, having it sent over wifi then into his own hand.

That was a few years back though so I don't know what happened with him or his research.

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'Safest car ever made' Tesla Model S EV crashes and burns. Car 'performed as designed'

Semaj

Video

I really wish people would stop recording videos with their phone rotated vertically.

Or the developers of the recording software should automatically transpose them. It's hardly rocket science.

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Regretful selfie-snapping vixens, lads to get shame-hiding digital burqas

Semaj

Re: Pointless

I did read the article. Did you not read the comment?

If you do something in public - people can see and photograph you and the Internet has nothing to do with it.

If you are ashamed of your behavior and don't want it photographed maybe you should just not behave that way in public?

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Semaj

Pointless

What a waste of time.

Any company with photos of someone will probably remove them if asked. The problems occur when someone's peers have downloaded their own copies. It's annoying that people in positions of power still fall for that tired old Hollywood misconception that there is only have 1 copy of anything digital.

Anything you do in public is exactly that - public. If you don't want people to know about it then do it in private and don't take photos.

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Intel touts 2-in-1s, the 'new' reincarnation of convertibles

Semaj

Flimsy

For all the improvements, I just can't get past the impression that such convertibles would be really flimsy and prone to physical failure at the pivot points.

Does anyone have one? If so, are they more robust than they look?

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The bank that likes to say... crash: TSB's online banking goes titsup on launch day

Semaj

You think that's bad...

Anyone ever tried to use Standard Life's "Customer Zone"? It's IE Only for a start so if you use any other browser, the contents of the pop-up (yes - obviously it's all in a pop-up) get rendered about 10000 pixels wide and none of the links work. The design is awful and the interaction just not thought out in the slightest.

The worst though? It's only available during business hours. They actually go to the trouble of turning their web application off after 6pm. You can use it on weekends though, which is cool.

I guess the point I'm making is that finance companies are really behind the times in many ways, their IT systems being the worst.

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Crumbs, we're going to lose that public sector bid - Jeeves, send for the lawyers

Semaj

Not New

Public sector tenders are stupid and pointless. Generally they come in 2 flavours:

Tender A: The one, which has clauses in it that only <Big Company> can possible say yes to (e.g. your system must fully integrate with <Big Company Proprietary System>... which has no externally available API).

Tender B: The one where the clients don't know what they need so they pick as many tick-box requirements as they can. ISO XXXX, AAA accessibility, Investor in People, CRB ... et al. These ones are especially frustrating because those who come up with them play a game where they attend public sector conferences and talk with other tender creation people to exchange new tick-boxes. It's like swapping stickers for them.

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Google menaces Apple's 3-year-old toddler with its cheap stream tech

Semaj

Meh

Now I may be completely missing something because you lot (el Reg) seem to be doing a fair few articles on this thing but the only reaction I can summon of the Chromecast is "meh".

I'd be much more interested in a wireless HDMI desktop streaming dongle for the same price, if anything cause it'd make working with projectors much easier.

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Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

Semaj

£50

I'll give you £50 for one Microsoft, wouldn't pay any more.

I'm actually thinking of buying a new, small form factor laptop but given that I can get a really nice one from PCSpecialist for ~£500 - why on earth would I buy a surface RT for only £150 less?

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France's 'three strikes' anti-piracy law shot down

Semaj

"declining home media and ticket sales"

I simply don't believe that there is a decline in ticket sales or home media. Cinemas make an absolute fortune from every rubbish reboot blockbuster that gets released and while CDs are only bought by enthusiasts now, legal downloads seem to be doing quite well, as are devices to play them on.

Just sounds like an excuse to make a new tax to me.

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Modern-day Frankenstein invents CURE for BEHEADING

Semaj
Facepalm

Shortage

While this clearly falls into the realm of "cool", I don't really see the point.

Surely the only way this would benefit anyone is if they could be given a better body than the one they currently have. But don't people tend to die more often from things damaging their bodies rather than just their heads? Using a heart or a lung, which remained undamaged when the previous owner's been killed in a car crash is one thing but this would need an entire undamaged body. I just can't see them having many to hand.

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Microsoft's murder most foul: TechNet is dead

Semaj
Facepalm

Re: Freeride

Indeed there were a lot of users who did that. And now they will either pirate the software they need or they'll go elsewhere.

Way to go MS.

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Microsoft talks up devices, Windows 8.1 at developer shindig

Semaj

Re: Maybe

Good tip but having them arranged differently to how they are on the desk would do my head in ;)

Mostly I just use the windows key.

Oh I did forget another annoyance though - the charms bar often seems to appear when I try to scroll full screened windows - very annoying.

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Semaj
Thumb Up

Maybe

I use Windows 8 on a small laptop (with low screen res) and on my media PC. I have a Windows 7 work PC and home Desktop and an old XP machine too for some games.

I actually sent a long and detailed document of my findings around the shortcomings of 8 to Microsoft and oddly enough, these new features actually pretty much cover my major gripes.

Yeah we all know TIFKAM is a culture shock but in all honesty I don't mind it (I don't really like it and having the choice of a menu would be nice but there were worse issues IMO). The thing that bothered me most was the "invisible action areas" that you had to hover around to do anything with (very hard with multiple monitors / RDP). The start button fixes this.

My other major gripe was the res restriction (I have to do the display scale hack on my laptop to run the calendar etc). So if they are being honest about app scaling being put in then that's pretty good. Same goes for more than 2 at once.

And search all instead of just my apps would be nice too (that way it's EXACTLY the same as 7).

Tentative thumbs up from me - as long as it's not all lies. I think I'll stick it on the laptop when the ISO comes out.

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Canadian TV station wails: NFC bonking... it's not SAFE

Semaj

Re: NFC

It asked me for mine. It does remember the details until the card expires though - but that's linked to the account so it should be OK.

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German boffins turn ALCOHOL into hydrogen at low temp

Semaj
Thumb Down

So it required more rare stuff and produced more CO2 ... swing and a miss guys.

Good marks for effort though - it's always worth exploring the options.

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Unwearable tech: Five ways IT garb's gone HORRIBLY WRONG

Semaj
Go

Re: Many

"Many glasses wearers have been trying to get away from wearing them, look at the popularity of laser eye surgery and even contact lenses"

Those are only popular with people who never wore their glasses at school as a child because they wanted to be like all the other little lambs. I.e. were terrified of being labelled a nerd.

So if Google whack them on a pair of chunky D&Gs (which look like utter crap anyway) and they get some vapid celeb to wear them then those same people will buy them in droves.

Personally I wont bother because I just don't see the point.

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Is social networking good for anything more than cat pics?

Semaj
Thumb Up

I find that linkedin is a useful tool for aggregating results from recruitment sites.

It's also quite handy when you need a new job quickly because the recruiters mob you as soon as you let them know you are up for grabs.

But I can't see it's purpose for anything other than finding a new job. It's too spammed up with recruiters to find anything of interest.

Out of all the various ones I'd say it's the best because it at least have a purpose - even if it is a really boring one.

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El Reg contemplates the ultimate cuppa

Semaj
Boffin

Yorkshire tea bags (1 per cup) in (hot water rinsed) tea pot

Small amount of full fat milk (yes, just like Han shooting; the milk goes in first)

Let it brew strong (or agitate it)

Pour

1 tea spoon of Billingtons golden granulated sugar (or non to taste)

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Microsoft can't even shift Windows 8 slabs in the middle of a tablet frenzy

Semaj
Boffin

Third it and throw in the cover-keyboard (should come with it on all models) and then maybe.

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UK web snoop charter: Just how much extra info do spooks need?

Semaj
Trollface

Wrong Icon

You wanted this one.

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Microsoft 'touches 16k shop workers' to flog Windows 8 hard

Semaj
FAIL

Crystal Ball

Except that MS had something even better than a crystal ball - thousands of beta testers who all gave MS countless warnings that the Windows 8 UI was not fit for purpose. They were ignored and MS are suffering for it. Office 13 won't do well either for the same reason.

And as for the surface marketing - anyone with any knowledge of how people use computers could have told MS what a terrible campaign that was. What the hell were they thinking? The surface ad makes it look as though the (admittedly novel) case-keyboard is an add-on, which needs to be carried around separately - it's misses the whole point.

Fail all around at MS. Hopefully it'll give them the kick up the backside they need though.

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Kids as young as FIVE need lessons in online safety - NSPCC

Semaj
Coat

Lucky

I wish I'd been given lessons in how to find porn when I was in school.

I had to figure out all the good keywords myself :P

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Wii-U boat torpedoes Nintendo's '¥20bn profit' into ¥20bn loss

Semaj

Re: Good

The last PC game I played was Skyrim. The remapping in that was awful. Perfect example of a game (franchise), ruined for casuals and their consoles (though that UI sucks on console as well IMO).

I'd hope that some are better than others because chances are that I'll be avoiding the next batch of consoles for many years so PC will be my only option.

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Semaj
Thumb Up

Re: Good

Upvoted you because you are right. If consoles die out all together then even better. I just can't see it happening though where as they least they could do is throw the hardcore crowd a bone or two.

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Help us out here: What's the POINT of Microsoft Office 2013?

Semaj
Facepalm

Re: ToDo Bar

I like to see when my next holidays or social appointments are even if they are a few weeks away.

So it's not a massive problem for me but if I used it for business there's no way I'd put up with it. I'm sure that sales reps who like to know at a glance if they are going to be driving up the country over the next few days will be hit especially hard.

Anyway, just do a Google search for "Outlook 2013 ToDo bar" and you'll find plenty angry people.

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