* Posts by Slx

359 posts • joined 5 Jun 2010

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Ireland looks like it's outpacing Britain in the superfast broadband rollout stakes

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I'm sitting in on the edge of Cork City with 360 Mbit/s

You can get 1Gbit/s in some of Cork's suburban areas from Eir and from Siro in at least a couple of county towns.

It's very hard to generalise about Irish broadband. It's very good if you're in a cabled area or on a phone line that's less than 1km from a street cabinet and basically every line is on one of those.

You'll always get exceptionally broadband in some odd locations. It happens me in rural France and rural Massachusetts too.

If you're on a rural long line, you shouldn't be using Eir at all. Check out fixed-wireless options like Imagine LTE.

The issues are about density of housing and one-off-homes in the countryside.

It's actually very easy to provide solid broadband in a small village. Throw in a couple or VDSL2 cabinets with vectoring enabled and link it back to the core network with fibre - everyone in the village has 100Gbit/s.

Its exceptionally difficult when you scatter 100 homes across 20 square miles and connect them back with kms of copper to a tiny village exchange somewhere.

You either have to replace copper with fibre or LTE radio signals to get any kind of solid services.

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Re: Cu?

I don't know about the UK, but in Ireland very, very little of the Irish phone network or the power network was 'direct buried' (i.e. just stuffed into the concrete / soil with armoured cables). The vast majority of it is in ducts, or where it's not in ducts, overhead. So, laying fibre in most cases is just a matter of pushing micro ducts through and then blowing the fibre down those to the end users.

That's precisely what was done with the FTTC cabinet rollout, where the only major civil works involved in most cases were about getting 230V AC power to the cabinets from the nearest 'mini pillar' (ESB Networks connection point) and it's how they're extending that to full FTTH.

Eir actually set out some pretty strict requirements for how phone lines would access homes quite a long time ago. It's always been ducted, but it's evolved over time so that maybe about 20 years ago they added an ECU (External Connection Unit) which is like a mini version of an electricity meter cabinet and ducting going back to the nearest vault or telephone pole with inspection access at the bends. This was specifically done to future-proof for fibre. It's completely overkill for a POTS line but it's very useful for fibre.

Eir had a plan to either roll fibre, coax or just extra copper lines at some stage in the future, so they had a plan for this a long time ago, as they obviously knew this was around the corner eventually.

The state-owned power utility ESB Networks also has some very strict requirements for provision of ducting and inspection points which has allowed for very easy rollout in areas that aren't absolutely ancient.

ESB uses a very structured setup where you've a substation feeding 'mini-pillars', each of which feeds several homes. It's possible to quite easily push fibre through this and site splitters underground in the vaults.

SIRO is their joint venture with Vodafone for FTTH. That's running fibre over ESB infrastructure to get into homes via the ducts, overhead wires and ultimately coming out at the meter cabinet on the side of the house and into an ONT.

SIRO is also fully wholesale / open. So, it's got multiple ISPs using it. So far, just Vodafone and Digiweb but apparently Sky and several others may jump onboard too.

If infrastructure in the UK is mostly direct buried, it could explain why it's proving more difficult to upgrade.

--- How an Irish POTS line is installed --- :

http://www.reci.ie/Portals/0/Documents/eircominterface.pdf

---- How to connect an Irish electricity customer ---:

House:

https://esbnetworks.ie/docs/default-source/publications/your-meter-cabinet.pdf?sfvrsn=6

Full guidelines for a development:

https://esbnetworks.ie/docs/default-source/publications/electrical-services-guidebook-for-housing-schemes.pdf?sfvrsn=4

OpenEir also gives you a huge amount of information about their network and how it all works, what's available where, what they're planning and so on :

http://www.openeir.ie/Our_Network/

(Geeky I know, but this is a geeky site and I have no idea how this compares with the UK or elsewhere)

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Bear in mind though Ireland has very scattered rural development patterns compared to the UK, certainly England anyway. The result is very, very low densities in rural areas rather than clustered into villages. That's always been massively problematic to serve with DSL.

It's FAR, FAR more scattered than rural France or anywhere on the continent.

The "Irish Dream" tends to be a sprawling bungalow on a huge site several KM away from any village, yet there's an expectation that it should be able to connect like central Dublin or Cork. You've also a history of ribbon development which is extremely hard to serve with technology that's designed for radial networks.

I know Eir has always used very distributed equipment. For example even the voice network in rural areas going right back to the early 1980s was largely built around Alcatel 1000-E10 switches (and some Ericsson AXE). Recent iterations have allowed tiny remote units housed in street cabinets. Even moving the ADSL DSLAMs to those isn't much use if you're on a 4km copper line. Some of those units only have less than 100 active lines, yet are still classified as an "exchange".

So you can see why parts of rural Ireland were challenging to connect to broadband using DSL technologies. That's why they're so keen to replace copper with FTTH and very heavily fibre backed LTE.

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Virgin (UPC) pass 50.8% of Irish homes and provide 240Mbit/s as standard and 360Mbit/s as an add on. Their business connections are 400Mbit/s.

Remember, Virgin Media in Ireland was Liberty Global (UPC) to begin with so deployed different infrastructure to Virgin Media in the UK and the cities have always had huge cable penetration going back to the 1960s. The rebrand was weird as Virgin Media UK.waa acquired by Liberty who then adopted the same branding in Ireland. So the networks are still quite technically different.

The network widely supports 500Mbit/s they're just not rolling it out as Eir and Siro (fibre delivered via publicly owned electricity company ducts and/or clipped to overhead 230V/400V distribution wires) FTTH isn't eating into their cake just yet.

Eir rolled out very extensive FTTC and sufficient spare fibre to every cabinet to rapidly deploy GPON FTTH.

Eir (the main landline company) and anyone using OpenEir can provide "up to 100Mbit/s" vectored VDSL from every street cabinet right across the country.

Imagine Communications are also doing an initial 70Mbit/s using fibre-to-the-tower TDD LTE Advanced in rural areas using 3500MHz recovered MMDS television spectrum and fixed roof antennae.

Obviously you'll get the odd anomaly anywhere (I couldn't get anything other than bad quality ADSL2 in a street in North London) but in general the broadband situation in Ireland has vastly improved beyond recognition for most people

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Notting Hill Carnival spycams: Met Police rolls out real-time live face-spotting tech

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Everyone will just have to add Theresa on Facebook and Twitter by law.

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Apple is making life terrible in its factories – labor rights warriors

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It's going to take a lot more than one company to change this.

There's a need to counter the slip back to the Victorian era in terms of workers' rights.

That change needs to be driven politically. Companies are all only driven by their last quarter's results.

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The issue is Apple is used as a whipping boy because it claims to be ethical and because it's a trendy, expensive brand. However, most of our consumer electronics are made in or their cheaper components are made in these kinds of conditions.

Even products that are made in the USA, Ireland, UK, Germany etc etc all contain components and subcomponents that are likely sourced from plants elsewhere in the world that have poor labour laws.

If you look at clothing manufacture, we think we're sophisticated in the West but a huge % of what we wear is made in sweatshops, out of sight and out of mind.

I was browsing for kitchen appliances yesterday and ended up buying an expensive German washing machine but there were machines available for €219 ... How do you even buy the raw materials for a washing machine for that little money, do the design and pay someone to make it? These machines were very expensive once in 15 year purchases that were often put on HP payment plans in the 1980s, 80s and 90s now they're being bought for the price of a large supermarket grocery shopping trip and they're lasting barely a few years.

The jobs that put money on the tables of families in places like Italy and parts of the USA making white goods on reasonable wages that supported reasonable lifestyles are gone and unrealistically cheap machines made with what amounts to slave labour have largely replaced them at the mass market side of the industry.

The electrical and electronic waste cycle and abuse is absolutely out of control.

Do consumers care?

Nope! They snap up that vacuum cleaner for €59.95 knowing that it will be replaced with another one in a year if it breaks.

I think to be quite honest Apple is just the company that people like to bash because of the brand image.

It's the whole manufacturing sector that's doing this.

Do you think Apple would have a business if they made iPhone in Cupertino or Cork and they cost $2000? When they made Macs in places like that they were EXPENSIVE machines if you work out the inflation to get a modern day price.

We are expecting complex electronics and other goods made at totally unrealistic costs. It's a zero sum game and someone is losing and it's not the manufacturers' shareholders or the customers.

Watch now as China becomes too expensive and the cheap sweatshops move on to their next "Efficient" destination?

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EE looks at its call charges, hikes a bunch, walks off giggling

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Welcome to BT!

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Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

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Meanwhile, an unopposed Tory Government is running the country off the rails entirely.

Labour needs to get this leadership contest over and done with. If it's Corbyn, they need to get behind him and actually challenge what's going on.

All I see is naval gazing.

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Ireland's govt IT: Recession and job cuts forced us to adapt

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They talk about ICT in state bodies because it also encompasses telecommunication and digital broadcast technology.

State bodies tend to have much broader needs than a lot of companies have : things like vast numbers of distributed sites, secure comms for emergency services and police, state support of rural telecoms, regulation of telecoms, licencing of radio spectrum, aviation IT systems you name it.... It's a hugely broad area.

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How Brussels works: if you can’t beat them, join rewrite an EU directive

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It seems utterly unenforcible as there's a plethora of alternatives to mainstream apps at any given time.

Also this is very unlikely to get past the European Parliament even if the commission proposes such a change. They're not really into spying on people at EP level.

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The curious case of a wearables cynic and his enduring fat bastardry

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Isn't that image above what the crew of the Enterprise and Voyager *really* look like when the Hologrid falls over?

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US extradition of Silk Road suspect OK'd by Irish judge

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You simply wouldn't be extradited to any of those places. There's unlikely to even be any kind of extradition agreements.

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Thieves can wirelessly unlock up to 100 million Volkswagens, each at the press of a button

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Considering that you could open a typical 1980s/90s car with a coat hanger and the could be hotwired in about 10 seconds by someone who knew how, I don't think we are really any worse off.

I think though were are going mad on unnecessarily insecure wireless technology just because it's cool looking. I can't really see the great advantage of keyless ignition. At least when you have to insert a key or fob you know where your keys are!

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Judges put FCC back in its box: No, you can't override state laws, not even for city broadband

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Amazing that states are actually working against the interests of their own citizens.

They've only got themselves to blame though. The electorate in those states clearly isn't asking the right questions.

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Virgin signs up record ultrafast broadband subs

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I'd expect Gigabit connectivity for "ultra fast"

It's amazing that they're calling this "ultra fast"

Over here in Ireland Virgin (formerly UPC) do 360Mbits.

In this day and age, you'd really want to be offering FTTH-like speeds to be worthy of the the term "ultra fast"

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BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

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Why not just encrypt the BBC & C4?

You're spending millions on these complex, legally and morally questionable snooping and harassment practices.

If you want to protect revenues, encrypt public service television. If you don't have a valid licence number and pin, make it impossible to stream anything.

It's also perfectly possible to encrypt the broadcasts - charge a licence fee via Sky and cable subscriptions and encrypt BBC on freesat and freeview.

Yeah, it'll annoy and anger people but the current approach is an absolute farce and a really creepy one at that.

The only conclusion I can reach is that BBC content isn't compelling enough to ensure that most people wools actually subscribe.

The other alternative is to make an assumption that public service broadcasting is worth funding as a public service and either allow the BBC to levy an actual tax on all residents via their income or council tax or directly state fund it through some kind of protected structure that removes risk of government intervention in programming.

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Give it a while - U.K. outside the protection of the ECHR and under the Stasi, eh I mean the Maytonian Tories.

It won't be long now before you've a special little box on your broadband connection and CCTV on every lamppost.

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Post-Brexit spending freeze in UK is real, says enterprise distie titan

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This really isn't good for anyone.

I smell a global recession coming...

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$67M in bitcoin stolen as hacking typhoon lashes Hong Kong's Bitfinex

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When you consider that cards are the means of payment for most consumer transactions and they are currently losing 16.3 billion US$ Bitcoin is probably doing OK.

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They don't hold significant gold or reserves to back them up. Not since the end of the gold standard decades ago anyway.

They're all "fiat" currencies unrelated to anything to back them up in reality.

The likes of the US$ and € are large reserve currencies and just effectively are valuable because they are what they are - accepted units of exchange / value storage.

Legal currencies are regulated and will be backed by central bank interventions though.

The differences between virtual and traditional currency is less than many people think though!

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No currency system is safe and they're all in reality backed by virtual databases.

What % of US$, Euro €, Yen, Pounds etc are potentially forged bills/notes or online credit card or other fraud ? Most of the value of all currency is virtual. It's just numbers in a database. There's ultimately no gold in a vault somewhere backing up every bill. They're only worth what the market believes they're worth.

In comparison to traditional currency, I'm not really seeing that huge a difference. If anything a virtual currency is likely to have more hardcore and better designed security on its transactional infrastructure and will have more ability to react than the slow moving IT departments of traditional banks.

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Iceland beats England again

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Ranking Ireland as more politically unstable than Turkey ?! *LMAO*

Actually just on further reading of that report...

It ranks Ireland (23rd) as more politically unstable than Turkey (16th) which just had a military coup.

Clearly whatever methodology is being used doesn't seem to understand non-first-past-the-post political systems very well.

Let me get this straight ?

"Instability" = a country with a complex proportional representation system that constantly elects centrist coalitions has no far right, no serious far left and that might rearrange the deck chairs a bit from time to time in arguments about mundane issues about water utility charging.

It's capable of modifying its constitution through very stable, mature debates and referenda e.g. the gay marriage debates were pretty tame compared to what is going on in the US etc. In general it's very difficult to describe Ireland as 'politically unstable' by any comparison. It ranks very, very highly on things like press freedom, human development indices etc etc.

Meanwhile in the same rankings: "relatively more stability" = Turkey ... a country that has just had an attempted military coup and is currently undergoing what looks like a right wing islamic purge of academics, journalists and others.

So, I think you can basically give it a quick read through with a massive bucket of salt handy, never mind a grain.

It sounds like whatever analysis they're doing of Ireland, the they are using metrics don't work for Ireland's model of electoral politics.

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I'm a little 'iffy' about some of these stats.

How the hell is Ireland rated 23rd for political stability?

It's sailed through a massive economic crisis electing totally sane governments without any instability at all.

It has no far right parties rising, no serious far left and tends to vote for pretty bland centrist politics using the longest established form of proportional representation in existence. The only major political protests were over the introduction of water charges and they were extremely mild mannered compared to what you see almost every weekend in France.

Meanwhile the UK is ranked 4th?!?!

It's just voted to leave the EU without any plan at all based on jingoism largely.

Both major political parties fell apart.

Scotland is actively threatening to leave and split the country.

and Northern Ireland (which *is* fully part of the UK although many people conveniently forget that when they want to offload its issues onto Ireland which is actually a different country) had a violent conflict which was the closest thing to a civil war in Western Europe running from the 1960s right into the 2000s and is still rather unstable today.

I suppose though to some business and banking minds, the UK is the square mile, Belgravia, Chelsea (and for those slumping it Kensington) and maybe the nicer bits of the Home Counties, which is generally very stable.

Meanwhile the US is ranked 9th for political stability.

So clearly Federal Government shut downs and the possibility of electing Trump in November are indicators of total stability.

Did nobody notice that the US federal structures basically stopped for 16 days in 2013 - Even NASA was off line.

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Chinese Android smartphone firm: It packs a dedicated crypto chip

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Hmm, just what I want a mysterious black box to hold all my data..

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You think Donald Trump is insecure? Check out his online store

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Despite flushing the cache several times, my browser still feels dirty after visiting that website.

I think I'm going to need a new laptop.

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Australia to spend a billion bucks and seven years on SAP project

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How about they just swap it around...

Just spend 7 bucks and a billion years.

Problem solved!

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Skyscape rebrands to UKCloud following legal challenge by Sky

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Skynet will have to send a team of T1000s back to the 1980s to sort it all out.

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Russian spy aircraft are flying over Britain – and the MoD's cool with it

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The secret of Borris Johnson's fabulous hair do?

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O2 sales dip 9% as tight-fisted Brits cling to their old handsets

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Don't worry!

Now that you're leaving the EU you can allow a nice expensive and exploitive duopoly to reemerge.

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Ofcom: Legal separation will force Openreach to eat more fibre

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How many telco infrastructure monopolists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

None! They set the standard to candle power and you can be thankful that they bother to even give you any light at all!

If you live in an unprofitable area without competitors, you can use a white-label, wholesale provided OpenCandle as nobody else is providing these new-fangled 100W light bulbs and no matter which ISP you pick (unless you're in a cable area) you're getting our candle powered service!

You can have any brand of light, as long as it's one of our candles! Incidentally, candle rental applies so pay up!

Please note, candles get significantly dimmer the further your home is from our candle facilities.

Regardless of who owns OpenCandle, the rational and forces driving the business will be the same as you're stuck in a paradigm of having a single, private monopoly.

So long suckers!

Muhahaha!

Lots of love from the crew at OpenCandle.

X

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The problem isn't who owns the wires, it's that there's no competition or incentive to upgrade them.

Why would separating Openreach make any difference?

You need to be frightening them with alternative access networks.

At least over here in Ireland the publicly owned owned power company ESB Networks has begun to take on OpenEir (yes eircom wholesale really did rebrand themselves that...) by rolling out FTTH across their duct and wire networks. It's not all that widespread yet but it is in several towns already offering gigabit internet access and it's an wholesale product so other ISPs can get on board too.

That's frightened Eir (Ireland's main telco and BT counterpart) to get moving as ESB reaches every home in the state, unlike Liberty Global / Virgin media which only does 360Mbit/s and only in larger urban areas.

ESB's product called Siro has really shaken them even if it's only a beginning, they've had no choice but to speed up their own FTTH rollout. They already offer up to 100Mbit/s VDSL from ever street cabinet.

Also we're moving forwards on opening the duct networks to competition too, albeit slowly.

We're also seeing serious progress on using fixed point to point LTE in rural areas initially offering 70Mbit/s from at least one provider. This doesn't use mobile spectrum but is vastly better than rural DSL solutions and could become a lot faster with LTE Advanced upgrades.

If you don't have a major competing infrastructure player, what incentive will BT or anyone else who owns the wholesale access network ever have to invest? You can't just whip them into doing things. They won't budge if it's not going to result in lost revenue not to move.

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Don't worry! Now that those pesky meddling Eurocrats are out of the way you can all have the new Torycom Broadband. It comes in Upper Class (for chums, chaps, bankers and old Etonians only), middle class Torycom (a bit slow but everything is safely filtered unless you register as a perv.), Working class (good enough for you! Back up they chimney! Aren't you lucky to have dial up?) and OoopNorth class (probably runs on steam engines or something!)

All broadband is subject to 100% data retention and passwords and keys will be assigned by the head mistress eh, I mean prime minister's office.

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What's losing steam at Apple? Pretty much everything

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Em, yes ... Indeed.

It's a wonderful piece of utterly flawless technology - All hail Alphabet.

It doesn't help that I'm a bit dyslexic and the keyboard makes changes retrospectively based on the context of what it thinks you are trying to put into sentences. So after you've seen the correct word appear, suddenly several words behind where you're focused, it changes things.

The iOS keyboard does something similar but not usually as bad a that.

Anywa, thanks for your most helpful comment. I'll just get my proof reader to go through my posts in future or just nor bother posting here again..

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Re: Wrong turns

Removing Save As drives me nuts. I keep accidentally editing documents and realising that I've just modified the original and can't Save As.

Whoever decided to change that really needs to realise that's like deciding to put a car's brake pedals on the ceiling! You can't just change an interface element that's that fundamental without any warning and for no logical reason.

Save As works very well and it's still in use across the majority of applications other than the infuriating Apple ones!

Also Final Cut seems to go out of its way to make saving and loading projects as confusing as possible.

Who in Apple is doing this and why?!? It's basically scoring massive own goals.

Also the endless doing away with ports and that bloody MacPro that has hardly any ports, no expansion and looks like a bin?!!

Did you actually ever ask what pro users want ?

The old Mac Pro cheese grater was an amazingly practical design that did what you'd want to do in a studio or similar space. The new one is like a piece of modern art (and not a very good one)

Why would a studio user need a tiny, pretty machine that's a totally impractical shape?

Basically it's a machine that's unattractive to studios and creative media users and way too expensive for home users.

So who exactly was it for? Or did you even think about that before rolling it out and killing what was one of the most successful studio machines ever built !!

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The problem is also that we've arrived at a point where all phone innovations are just incremental.

Realistically all top end phones have phenomenally good displays, cameras that have excellent resolution, all the new ones supper LTE Advanced (but hardly any mobile operators have it rolled out out in any meaningful way yet). They all have a vast array of sensors etc etc

The only major change is more powerful processors and packing in more memory. That would really only benefit people who are maybe hardcore mobile gamers but that's not your average punter.

Apples only major innovation recently has been 3D Touch which is genuinely very useful. I wools find it very hard to move back to a phone that didn't have it on be I became used to it. Things like editing text using a cursor controlled with a full trackpad by just pushing the keyboard harder is really handy and clever.

Also I genuinely do find they think their hardware out more carefully. I have an iPhone 6S+ and a Nexus 6P and I prefer using the iPhone because it has little things right. The ability to silence the phone with a rocker switch, the 3D Touch etc etc is all great and the phone just feels better put together. The Nexus has major issues with being accidentally powered off by over sensitive buttons and so on. The iPhone doesn't.

I think Apple has really top notch camera software too which is something severely lacking in stock android.

The problem though is they aren't going to drive huge sales without producing something that doesn't look exactly like what they produced last year.

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Btw I typed that on Google GBoard!

Wow! Riddled with predictive errors...

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They haven't exactly been releasing new iPhone updates that would make it worthwhile upgrading.

The iPhone 6S+ is basically exactly the same as the iPhone 6+

The iPhone 6SE rather shockingly is there iPhone 5S with new innards.

You have excite the market by rolling out the exact same product over and over with a new go faster stripes and expecting people to Riyadh out and buy it.

They dropped popular professional applications like Aperture and they've really dymbed down Final Cut, Compressor looks like they're not even bothering ; awful UI etc and Motion is being outranked by other products.

Professional design and video was a big chunk of their market and also a huge generator of their brands image as many of the trend setters were using Apple products. They idiotically have been abandoning and annoying those people with these decisions.

Also because Apple keeps behaving so high handedly around apps like Final Cut it's actually putting people off relying on it. There's a sense that abandoned Aperture so, will they just differently drop FCP and expect us to do everything with iMovie? so many of us hedged our bets and moved to other software.

I think Apple has begun to hit that dangerous phase where companies become too "cool" for their own good and start to forget they actually have to sell products not just manage lines of adoring fans at their stores.

I still like many of Apple's products but, I think the complexity needs to wake up and smell the coffee before it's back to the days of being "beleaguered Apple",

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Did the Russians really hack the DNC or is this another Sony Pictures moment? You decide

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Maybe it's Skynet's first move ...

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Why Agile is like flossing and regular sex

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Don't ever confuse flossing and having sex or attempt both at the same time!

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UK membership of Council of Europe has implications for data protection after Brexit

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Re: Brexit means Brexit

The little known (by most of the commentators anyway) fact that the Republic of Ireland doesn't operate passport free travel with the rest of the EU as it's not in Shengen. So it can quite easily refuse entry to people who have been deported and so on (and does). I personally witnessed an EU national being turned around at the Irish border around an airport because they had been deported from Ireland and their passport triggered an alarm somewhere.

The Irish also fairly regularly compare aircraft manifests with welfare claimants and arrest Irish and UK nationals who have been border hopping and claiming dole here. There are plenty of cases of this out the last few years in the media where someone kinda at a Dublin or Cork etc to be met by a friendly Garda and welfare inspector with a list of flights they've been on. For example there were high profile cases of Irish citizens doing university courses in the UK while claiming dole here.

If you enter the Republic from any other countries in the EU, other than the UK you've got to show a passport and actually pass a camera.

Both countries already operate totally independent visa regimes for non-EU nationals. Someone from Country X can have a visa for the UK, yet be unable to travel to Ireland or an Irish visa and be unable to travel to the UK. This is the situation for many Chinese nationals, even those with long term visits. A friend of mine who is long term resident in the UK has to apply to the Irish embassy for multiple trip visas because she is from a country without visa waiver to enter the Republic of Ireland. You could be from the USA and hold an Irish green card but have no right to live in the UK or visa versa. Those situations already exist and are not causing massive waves of illegal immigration into either country.

Yes, you can walk across the border but you would be unable to get a job (legally) without applying for a National Insurance number in the UK or PPS in Ireland. You'd have no welfare rights and so on.

There's so much misinformation and lack of knowledge in these debates that it's frightening!

The external Irish border is far from "soft". I think there's genuinely a lot of concern about a problem that's already been solved and that both countries deal with all the time anyway.

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Europe gives Privacy Shield one year to work

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And will the EU be able to trust the UK with data?

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise: Brexit, weak pound. A price hike is coming

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Sadly, I jest. I don't know how the UK lost all of its IT companies

The UK has been pretty good at producing innovative ideas in technology but they have been really poor at marketing them and capitalising on them. I think it's because of an obsessive focus in these islands (and I include where I'm based in Ireland in this problem) on investing in banks and property instead of IT, technology and developing the industrial base.

Huge amounts of academic-led research came out of the UK and just made no money for the UK economy. I would include ARM in that btw. The company is hugely valuable in terms of IP but its revenues are fairly insignificant because its licences are obviously quite cheap and it never developed its own fabrication capabilities or products and the golden goose has been sold off to the Japanese.

There's an endless list of these companies for example, take a look at what was a very thriving British telecommunication equipment business in the 1970s that no longer exists at all. You had a pretty big telecoms equipment making business and it came up with fairly innovative products that they never seemed to be able to commercialise in a way that was exportable and just got wiped out by companies that could - Ericsson, Alcatel, Siemens, Ma Bell/Western Electric, Nokia, Fujitsu, NEC etc etc.

If you look at Germany, most of these kinds of companies aggressively protect their IP, stay off the stock market specifically to avoid being run by focus on quarterly earnings and they think long term. In France, there has historically been a lot of protection and help for 'national champions' like Alcatel etc (sadly no longer the case due to a change there too.)

In the UK, it's all been build a small company, sell it off as soon as it's worth anything and never get to the stage where the products are actually developed.

I also think that it has to be remembered that while the US has been a world leader in technology, it's by no means entirely down to free market capitalism. A huge % of R&D money came in through defence spending, space programmes and so on. The trickle down into the rest of the IT sector over there was and is vast both in terms of money and knowledge build up.

But, yeah I do think it's a pity that the UK hasn't really commercialised very much IT. It's a massive lost opportunity and really says a lot about the focus of the business environment since the 1980s.

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Your currency is worth significantly less than it was. That's not really PC makers' problem - take it up with the people who you elected to manage these things.

They're probably hoping you'll all buy Amstrad and English Electric computers instead of these awful foreign ones.

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Apple Watch craze over before it started: Wrist-puter drags market screaming off a cliff

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I bought a Huawei watch and it's a really nice piece of kit and very classy looking. However, after playing with it for a few days I pretty much only use it for telling the time.

I don't really think I will be replacing or upgrading it as I just can't see any purpose for it.

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Oh dear, Vodafone: Sales dip in UK

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Vodafone Ireland is just too bloody expensive.

I'm not sure about Vodafone UK, but since their EU sales are taking a dip too, I just thought I would have a moan about their Irish operation.

Vodafone mobile here seems to have a rake of good services but they're prices are like they're just blissfully unaware of having any competitors. Their data caps are tiny compared to other networks and their call plans are ridiculously more expensive. The service isn't any better either so it's not like you're getting some kind of super premium services.

Meanwhile their landline, fibre and iptv stuff seems to be fairly competitive.

I just don't know what their strategy is though. You can only rely on inertia to keep customers for so long. The other networks' offers are just soooooo much more attractive .

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Apple, Facebook and Coinbase coughed data to finger alleged pirate king

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There's a massive difference between the iPhone and the contents of a hosted email account.

Any email provider ultimately has access to the contents of their servers unless they're selling some kind of specifically anonymous service.

Typically, they're not providing email services that are end-to-end encrypted in a way that they have no access to data and their systems administrators would technically be able to access all sorts of content and metadata. Legally speaking, in the US and probably in Europe and definitely elsewhere, they can be compelled to hand that content over in an investigation.

With the iPhone case, Apple was legally in a very different position. They were being asked to effectively crack an iPhone to which they had no access at all without the keys. What they refused to do was reverse engineer software to break it open.

That's *very* different to deciding to refuse access to information on e-mail servers. If they did, they wouldn't have a leg to stand on legally speaking.

Standard email shouldn't ever be considered entirely private. It's more like a letter in the post - secured by a bit of glue and paper. All it takes is the digital equivalent of a steaming kettle to gain access to the contents.

It isn't the ISPs, telcos and email hosts who trigger these things, it's the structure of privacy laws / laws around warrants and wire taps that allow ever-increasing levels of access.

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Microsoft to rip up P2P Skype, killing native Mac, Linux apps

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Skype may well fade into obscurity...

I could see Skype becoming irrelevant very quickly. It's not like it doesn't have very easily available, and often far superior alternatives.

It won't be the first or the last platform to just fade away.

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Star Trek Beyond: An unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung

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That's a shame.

I'll probably give it a skip based on the reviews.

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An anniversary to remember: The world's only air-to-air nuke was fired on 19 July, 1957

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Not sure it's an anniversary I would celebrate

Great... Another 20th century day where they exploded a big load of radionuclides into the atmosphere.

Nuclear power might be a necessary calculated risk but nuclear weapons still threaten to wipe us all out of ever used in anger and nuclear testing unquestionably increased cancer risks.

The sheer number of tests carried out, especially in the 60s and 70s is just frightening and the absolute arrogance of those who did them Is even worse.

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