* Posts by ShelLuser

1868 posts • joined 19 Dec 2010

Card skimmers targeting more than ATMs, says EU

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Boffin

@Gordon

From the very inception of the "Pin Code" we have been laughing at how insecure this system is.

True, but my humor wasn't aimed at the pin code itself but the usage of a magnetic strip which got swiped, thus very easily read and copied.

Which basically supports your criticism in my opinion; the sheer time alone before certain banks finally switched from using the magnetic strip to the chip itself, some took ages. The fun part was that at a given time my creditcard (visa) had already implemented this system way before the "common" banks had.

But there's another aspect... In theory I think "chipping" (electronic wallet) is much more secure than pinning. After all; with an electronic wallet you can only loose what's on the wallet itself, people can't easily copy your card and gain access to your whole bank account. Another pro, in my opinion, is that you can pay by simply clicking "yes". No pin or such required at all, only when transferring money.

Yet the electronic wallet is something which according to many people has to go (here in Holland at least). In most places you can only pay with your pin code and no longer with the "chipknip" (Dutch name for electronic wallet).

Which makes me conclude that a lot of banks and electronic payment providers don't have safety and security at the top of their priorities list. It needs to be cheap, it needs to work and it needs to provide them with revenue.

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Microsoft gives away Windows 8 to Mac devs

ShelLuser
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Windows

Hypocricy

“We heard that the most common way you test across browsers is through virtualization of browser and operating system combinations using your favorite virtualization platform, such as Hyper-V, VMWare, VirtualBox, or Parallels,” Singhal wrote

True, and because of that the Microsoft website designer Expression Web 4 includes a program called SuperPreview (download link).

What this program does is take several webbrowser engines and renders the page you're working on using those engines. It supports several versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (obviously) but also FireFox as well as Safari. The best part is that it can display the same page, but rendered by different engines, side by side and even indicate problem areas. You can read more about this program on it's MSDN page

Yet guess what? This program gets dumped (it already lacked quite severely with regards to supporting modern browsers) together with Expression Web itself. There is also no comment (to my knowledge anyway) that it will surface again together with Visual Studio (which is the destined replacement for Expression web).

So please excuse me for stating that I consider this move quite hypocrite to say the least. You already had an awesome tool, which not only could clearly display changes and differences, it could all be done on one single developers workstation. No need for virtualisation, VMWare, Hyper-V at all.

You only needed to have the appropriate browser engines installed.

Then again; this is Microsoft we're dealing with and they have a tendency to simply drop good working software on a snap.

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If Google got a haircut, a tie and a suit, would it be Microsoft?

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Windows

Listening to your customers....

THAT is what Microsoft really should do a lot more often. And then I'm not talking about the several inquiries they perform on their websites ("has this information helped you?") or the rants you see on several blogs.

I'm talking about listening to the people who actually use, respect and like your products, preferably before they move on to something else.

I'm quite new to the Visual Studio environment, but what I've done is go over a lot of forums (even trying to help out people myself if I could) in order to get a good impression of what could be done, what couldn't and which caveats I had to look out for. I also found the place where users could make feature requests...

If the number one request (link to visual studio feature request site) is to bring back colour to the program which gets 12.500 (approx) votes and 1100 (approx) comments then surely its not that hard to realize that something is seriously amiss here?

(for the record: when you look at page 2 or further you'll notice that an average good idea has approx. 1000 votes or lower (800+, 600+, etc). So twelve thousand is really a lot!).

But... Nope. Microsoft has very quickly worked up a theme editor to bring some sanity back to the user interface, but the colours remain mostly absent.

NOW realize that this same interface is in par with the overall 'new' Windows look and feel. Office has almost the same look and feel to it, including the NICE TO READ MENUS. And although I know there is a difference between programmers and office users, the line that separates them can be quite thin (sitting the whole day behind Visual Studio, or sitting the whole day behind Word, Excel and maybe PowerPoint).

That is in my opinion Microsoft's number one problem today. They don't seem to realize (enough) that they're no longer in a position where they can dictate the world. At least by far in the same amounts as they could in the past.

So yes; when people dislike something enough they move on. If you don't want that to happen you really need to come up with something which will attract people's interest instead of scaring them off whilst you keep on claiming that "you redefined the way people work".

Get your act together Microsoft, before the empire comes crumbling down.

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Microsoft's summer update will be called Windows 8.1

ShelLuser
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Windows

Its quite plausible actually...

To be honest I'm not overall impressed with what Ms. Foley has to say. I still remember the El Reg chat in which she claimed how Windows Server should stay in sync with the development cycle of Azure, apparently completely unaware that Azure was suffering from major outages at that time which had already lasted nearly a week.

However, this makes sense; we all know and realize by now that Windows 8 isn't exactly the great success Microsoft was hoping for. However it seems that Microsoft invested quite heavily in this new infrastructure and really wants to make it work.

So what other option is left /but/ to introduce a minor update?

Windows 8 SP1 would make it clear with admins and such that an update has been issued, but for the common crowd it would still be "Windows 8". Think about it; I'd want no less but Windows 7 SP1 and XP SP3. However, for common users these are simply "Windows 7" and "Windows XP", maybe for some who keep a bit more track of it all its "Windows with a bunch of updates" but that's about it.

So what other options would Microsoft have to make it well known, even with the common users, that Windows 8 has been updated into something (hopefully) less bad ?

Though I wouldn't bet on it; unless they come up with a decent replacement for the start menu, and I'm not referring to some TIFKAM update, I'm keeping clear from this mess.

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ROBOT COCKROACH SWARM unleashed in Sheffield lab

ShelLuser
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Mushroom

This looks awesome, BUT...

Do these robots also abide by the 3-rule law of robotics? ;-)

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Brits, Germans, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italians ALL to probe Google

ShelLuser
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WTF?

Unity, or...

SO when it comes to 'European rules' all countries agree to have themselves led by the European commission to lay out these rules and enforce them (think about the latest issue where Microsoft can be fined quite heavily for not complying to providing a browser choice in its operating system).

Yet now I get the impression that the moment there's money to be made this unity quickly dissolves and its back to "every country for itself".

Where did the European unity suddenly go to? Shouldn't these issues be addressed on a European level, as has been done with Microsoft?

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Merde! Dummkopf! Google Translate used as spam cloak

ShelLuser
Silver badge

So the moral of the story

Don't click URL's in weird e-mail messages.

But isn't that something most people realize by now ?

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Production-ready ZFS offers cosmic-scale storage for Linux

ShelLuser
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FAIL

@Malcolm

Apples and Oranges, it really helps to know what the heck you're talking about.

Comparing XFS (which I've been using myself on Linux for ages) and ZFS is so absurd its not even remotely funny. For the record; I personally prefer XFS over Ext3 and Ext4 (see below).

Lets see here... ZFS allows you to setup one huge storage pool and then create virtual filesystems which all share the main storage pool. Meaning: I hope we can all agree that using one huge filesystem in Linux / Unix is a bad idea. So the very least you'd want /, /var and /home to make sure one doesn't interfere with the other. Now what would happen if you notice that /var is gobbling up too much space than is good for it ?

With XFS you'd have no other alternative but to change your setup (quicker log rotations, quicker removals, etc.), down the system to resize (outage, which is a big no no for production), or perhaps setup a whole new box then move the data over (if this really is a huge deal while uptime is too).

ZFS? Well, you simply change this on the fly. You can resize filesystems all you want, you can setup quota's, hard or soft, you can basically do whatever you want while the system remains running.

Then there's the issue of backups. One of the reasons I favour XFS is the xfsdump/restore program. It doesn't only make a filesystem snapshot like dump/restore does; it also allows you to restore your stuff interactively. On a per-file basis if you need to. Last time I checked dump/restore simply didn't work at all anymore on ext4, and it has given many issues in between (up to last year it seems). XFS just kept working ;-) (this is one of the main reasons I prefer XFS; Ext4 is a filesystem where restore tools stopped working? for real?!).

ZFS otoh... Snapshots as well as dump/restore setups (though those were a bit flakey too; you couldn't easily restore parts nor restore to a smaller filesystem).

But snapshots FTW. It basically means you make a backup in one second or so, and then continue working. This is esp. true if your storage is completely redundant (raid5 / 6 or so). You can make as much snapshots as you have diskspace and of course also remove older snapshots and such.

And needless to say; restore can either be a complete rollback or you simply get individual files back.

These are only 2 points where ZFS differs with XFS, but I hope you do realize comparing the two like that is simply absurd.

PS: I know about the online resizing capabilities of XFS btw. But the same story goes; its simply not comparable AT ALL.

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Giant ad company (Google) offers tool assessing worth of ads

ShelLuser
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Devil

So an 'ad tool' eh ?

An "ad tool" for advertisers to check up on their investments... Now, without knowing exactly what it is or what it does I still dare state to think that it has "fail" written all over it.

If you want to know if using an advertising service such as Google or Bing actually works then simply check your website statistics and compare them with stats dating from a few months ago. Also very important: pick out a few IP addresses and check out where they're coming from!

When I had fully setup our company website the first thing I did was get a Google account in order to gain access to their Google webmaster tools. Excellent service, just as the Bing webmaster tools are btw. Because I was a new 'customer' they gave me Adword credits which I could use to test their service.

And what do you know; the moment I had setup a few ads the visitor amount of the website went up by miles. Surely this seems like something worth investing in, right?

Well, not exactly. Because my webstats told me that I got referred visitors based on completely unrelated search requests than I had filled out. Sometimes it simply didn't make sense. And although my hit rates went up, my visitor rates remained fairly the same. A lot of people focus on hits,but hits mean absolutely nothing. Visitors is what it is all about; those are the guys who spent more time on your site than 1 page before they move on again.

All in all making me wonder if Google themselves didn't arrange for the increase in hits instead of actually attracting real visitors. I didn't take it so far to check out every IP to see what network it belonged to, but I sure had my suspicions. Don't forget; they're trying to sell you a service, so its in their very interest to make it look as good as possible. And there's no law forbidding them to fake the whole thing either.

Not saying this is the case; but I sure had and have serious suspicions.

So for me there are only 2 proper ad tools: AdBlock+ and NoScript.

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A lightbulb that does IPv6: You know you want it

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@David

If you can control it then what's to stop others from doing the same thing?

Esp. when taken into consideration (a point made earlier) that many consumer routers don't even provide proper support for IPv6. And if they do; a computer illiterate maintaining an IPv6 firewall to make sure only they gain access ? I don't see that happening to quickly, most of them already struggle with IPv4 addresses.

Sorry, but I think you missed a few points as well.

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ShelLuser
Silver badge
Stop

@Len

It must have been some time since you last looked into consumer routers.

And I think you're focussing too much on propaganda. For example; my company bought several DrayTek 2820 routers only a few years ago. Quite expensive critters too, but worth every dime. On my current firmware, 3.3.4, it doesn't provide IPv6 support.

However, the current firmware version is 3.3.7.3 (release 12 October 2012) and guess what? Check the release notes yourself, they fixed and added quite a bit, but IPv6 support wasn't amongst those features.

In fact, a company like DrayTek deems IPv6 so important that they don't even mention it on their product comparison chart.

Or what to think about my home cable modem; a Cisco EPC3925, also not that old (got it no longer than 1 / 2 years ago I think). This critter doesn't support IPv6 nor firmware updates. Not allowing updates is also a very common trend amongst consumer routers in order to prevent home users from screwing up themselves.

As said; I think you've been reading too much propaganda. In many cases the only way people might be able to start using IPv6 at home is by purchasing a new router. Well, even though I really understand the need for IPv6 (I'm proud to say that all my new hosting servers will fully support it) I have no intention - what so ever - to purchase new DrayTeks merely to get native Ipv6 access at home (a broker can do that for me just as well).

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IT Pro confession: How I helped in the BIGGEST DDoS OF ALL TIME

ShelLuser
Silver badge
FAIL

You're lucky...

That your servers didn't reside on networks from TransIP, LeaseWeb (Dutch hosting providers) or even GoDaddy. Because setting up a recursive DNS server completely open for all to (ab)use gives them the right to terminate your connection entirely until you "fix your shit", and to my knowledge they will exercise that right too.

DNS administration isn't for everyone. No offense but there are some mistakes you shouldn't make, this only tells me that you didn't go over your entire setup as carefully as you should have. Also makes me wonder if you really take (/ took?) DNS as seriously as you should.

Because that's the problem with the Net these days: ignorance. "Nah, I'll fix that "tomorrow" because there's no way they'll abuse a server as small as mine".

bzzzzt.

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MI5 undercover spies: People are falsely claiming to be us

ShelLuser
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Joke

They should fight back!

If people claim to be them, they should turn the roles around. By becoming anonymous for example, that will teach them! ;-)

* Become anonymous

* Something

* Profit!

Success guaranteed.

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BIGGEST DDoS ATTACK IN HISTORY hammers Spamhaus

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Stop

@moiety

Spamhaus is the reason I can't use a desktop email server

Uhm, and the fact that many MTA admins, myself included, have turned on the demand for an associated PTR record before incoming mail is accepted has nothing to do with that ?

Sorry but I think you make a bogus argument; chances are very high your desktop MTA also wouldn't be able to drop mail to any of my servers, AOL's servers, Microsoft's Hotmail / Outlook servers (these also start to adopt the Sender Policy Framework btw) and most likely Verizon's.

Even without the help from Spamhaus. Simply because your IP most likely doesn't meet quite a few demands.

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ShelLuser
Silver badge
Pirate

I hope we can all agree...

That actions such as these prove once again that DDoS attacks should never be recognized as free speech.

Or perhaps someone can explain the protest aspect here, esp. given that we're dealing with a non-profit organisation here which most likely can now look forward to a massive increase in its monthly bill due to extra traffic.

DDoS is lame IMO, plain and simple.

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Chinese game addict MURDERS girlfriend after she leaves him

ShelLuser
Silver badge
FAIL

Doesn't he know...

That playing (games) with your girlfriend can be MUCH more fun & rewarding than sitting behind the screen all day?

Stories like these always make me wonder how the heck an addict like that actually manages to meet up and show interest to any girls at all. Because I can't believe that things like this changes over night so to speak.

Even so, the icon says it all. What a loser.

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Televisions in living rooms now the fastest-growing internet platform

ShelLuser
Silver badge

I can well imagine..

Here in Holland we're on cable, and my provider is UPC (which I actually consider to be doing a good job). They provide tv/radio, phone & Internet access. All in one.

With digital television we also have a Dutch service called "Uitzending gemist", you can find their website right here: http://www.uitzendinggemist.nl/

Its very handy because programs from public TV will end up on that website for all to view them again at a later date. UPC has brought this service straight into the home through their digital television services.

Result is that I hardly watch live TV these days; I simply end up skimming some of the programs available in the "back log", perfect when you're done working and are about ready to head for bed (yes, I make long working hours atm) :-)

But in the end its simply part of the development; Internet on your TV.

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I've got a super free multi-petabyte storage box for you: /dev/null

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Joke

Help!

SO having complete faith in El Reg to know what's best for me I first tried to move my stuff info /dev/null, only to find out that this doesn't work:

[me@smtp ~]$ mv test.jpg /dev/null

mv: inter-device move failed: `test.jpg' to `/dev/null'; unable to remove target: Permission denied

SO then I asked our admin for the root password, but that didn't go too well either.... After he asked me why I wanted it I told him that I needed to move my data into /dev/null, then he only gave me a rude comment about lame jokes and hung up on me!

But I figured it out:

[me@smtp ~]$ cp test.jpg /dev/null

[me@smtp ~]$ rm test.jpg

However, there's one problem when I try to get my picture back:

[me@smtp ~]$ cp /dev/null test.jpg

[me@smtp ~]$ file test.jpg

test.jpg: empty

So I hope anyone can help, I need this picture back yesterday ;-)

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Experts agree: Your next car will be smarter than you

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Joke

Just an (fun) impression...

Aaah, here we go... Gotta go visit a customer in Amsterdam, it'll be a one hour or so drive from Wageningen and with my new smart car I can work out some paperwork along the way. HA, those suckers in public transportation with their big brother chipcard.... (in Holland you need a chipcard for this; thing is that to get access to reductions and such you need to register with $company and give them access to your bank account so that they charge you automagically. Many people like myself call that big brother because they can very easily track you).

And so we're on our way, the car drives me through Wageningen and Ede flawlessly. I do get the occasional weird looks when people see me read the newspaper right behind the wheel while the light turns green but they're just jealous. Suckers! :-)

Soon we're on the highway to Amsterdam and the speed also increases. Due to traffic the car remains in the right lane (we drive on the right side of the road, no pun intended) and everything is going just fine.

Until all of a sudden: "Warning, gas station about in 2 km, please get ready for a quick stop to pick up required fuel". What?! I filled her up only yesterday, what's this for nonsense? I check my dashboard and there it is; 80% full. That is WAY then enough to make it to Amsterdam and back, so that we can get some fuel in Germany later on (much cheaper over there). Aah, must be a glitch...

So we continue and what do you know; "Warning, gas station in 1 km, please get ready for a fuel stop!". No, what the heck is this for nonsense. I hit the dashboard meter and it remains on 80% full.

"Warning, taking exit in 500m to refuel". Ok, screw this. I throw my paperwork on the passenger seat, click the override button and take the wheel myself. "Override engaged, have a good drive" the automated voice tells me. Finally we're getting somewhere, I increase speed and go over to the left lane. Time to get moving!

Then, only 10 minutes later, "Warning, fuel tanks nearly empty. Enforcing fuel stop in 2km", the autovoice goes again. What?!

And what do you know; 8 minutes later: "Warning, overriding car control for emergency fuelstop. Please do not be alarmed", and all of a sudden I can no longer steer the car myself. It takes back on the throttle, returns to the right lane and obviously gets ready to stop at a gas station with a nearly full fuel tank.

What the hell ?!

As expected; there we are 2 minutes later... "Warning, emergency fuel stop. Please get out and replenish fuel reserves".

But but but.... "You're completely filled up, you moron!" I cry out, knowing very well that this car doesn't have voice dictation or such. "Fine!...", I get out completely pissed off, and refuel the car for a meager E 5,-.

When paying the man behind the desk points me to a sign: "Minimum fuel consumption 10liter". Great! So now I gotta pay for fuel I couldn't even buy.

Quite agitated I get back in the car, fire her up and get ready to drive away. "Warning, fuel reserves nearly depleted, getting ready for emergency stop on parking lot!". WHAT?!

I pick up my phone and call my dealer. What the heck is going on here, this is just way stupid. Right, the mechanic will be here in one hour or so, great. Better cancel that appointment, because there's NO way I'll be able to make it this way.

And finally he arrives, takes place behind the week, starts the car... "Ah yes, I see what's going on. No need to worry sir, it seems the battery is nearly dead. This car has a small software bug where it sometimes doesn't detect the fuel source as expected; so it mistook your battery for your fuel tank".

"So what do I do now? I need to be in Amsterdam today"... But the mechanic told me not to worry; he would simply grab an emergency firmware update from the company, install it and all should be well.

And what do you know? 20 minutes later I'm finally back on the road, behind the wheel and the morning paper again. MUCH better...

"Warning, screenwiper water reserves nearly empty. Getting ready to stop to replenish water at next fuel station". What?!

Now quite annoyed I call the car company again demanding to speak with that same mechanic who helped me out. "Yeah well, we couldn't really fix the firmware just yet so we simply switched two other sources. Water reserves you say? Let me look it up... Ah yes, here it is: that would now mean that your oil reserves are a bit low". "No they're not, I filled those only last week", I protest.

"Yes, but you now forget to take tank capacity into account. While the oil tank maybe full enough, if you take the same storage percentage, apply that on your much smaller water tank then it would be a lot emptier".

That doesn't make any sense to me, but ok.. I'll just fill both tanks up and then I can finally be on my way again. What a lousy day this is turning out to be.

As soon as we stop at the gas station I get right to work; just to make sure I fill both the water and oil reserves, and to rule out anything else also take care of tire pressure.

AND we're on our way again... "Warning, oil tanks filled beyond maximum capacity. Risk of fire in engine imminent, making emergency stop!".

WHAT?!

Damn this shit, this is almost as bad as the time Windows told me that I didn't have enough free space on my drive to delete some of my files!

"There's no need to become insulting sir", my car suddenly responds...

(sorry; start of the day, I feel energetic, ready to DO stuff so before I knew I had this all written up. Sorry for possible typo's, not gonna reread just yet).

17
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Are you in charge of a lot of biz computers? Got Java on them?

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Facepalm

@Ian

Ignoring is one thing, I tend to disable it first chance I get.

Its another total fail in the whole process IMO. I mean; sure, for home scenario's I can see why they chose for an updater. But what about JDK installations? Those environments don't need to be treated like children; developers usually know very well which versions to use and which to ignore.

But no; it needs to be automatically updated... Preferably with Google and Tumbler and god knows what kind of toolbars and mal- or spy ware.

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ShelLuser
Silver badge
Mushroom

We're in the process of dumping it...

Its the funniest thing; when I was still deeply involved with Java development I always (lightly) criticized several Linux distributions for defaulting to OpenJDK instead of Sun's own native JDK. Now I really welcome it ;-)

Even so; we maintained some EE (in-house) projects as well as some Java build software but we're getting ready to move it all away into .NET. Not claiming that this is the better of the two platforms, but when your customers start asking questions about your Java-build software, even though they're pretty computer illiterate, you really need to take the hint.

Esp. if you're a small firm which can't maintain a "Microsoft-like attitude" (the "we know what's best for you" approach) :-)

And the less I have to deal with Oracle, the better it is IMO.

Even so I think this is a really sad development. Oracle does a great job in totally destroying the Sun legacy, great going you guys. I'm just glad that Sun managed to release several projects into the open source scene before going tits up, thus allowing others to keep those safe from the "great leadership" of Oracle (here's looking at OpenJDK and ZFS for example).

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Security damn well IS a dirty word, actually

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Linux

Its the people, not the computer

"The problem with computers today – as with yesteryear – is the abstraction of these operating fundamentals from the usage of the device."

I think it goes much deeper than this; to me its the people's lack of interest above anything else combined with an odd (to me) inability to find the information should they eventually start wondering about some topics.

I've seen this happening too many times now in too many different area's that I really think this is a fundamental problem. In Java a program starts with the "public static void Main(String[] args)" method. It was one of the first thing I got curious about when I dove deeper into Java; why? how?

When Solaris 10/x86 finally became more mature and started taking off a bit it eventually introduced a new SysV compliant boot mechanism: Manifests. You'd write an XML file to describe the program or service (name, start/stop method and any optional or mandatory dependencies) and import it into the main structure. It was quite sophisticated and worked very well. Also because this same system could also monitor its services for availability.

Yet soo many people who couldn't be bothered to look into this (it wasn't that hard) and simply relied on the previous (and still supported) rc.d structure. Nothing wrong with that, sure, but I really sensed a lack of interest. And a missed opportunity because this system was extremely powerful when used right.

Heck; I also see it with my current endeavours, I recently dove deep into ASP.NET, and I'm actually enjoying the ride too. By default a webpage in an ASP forms project "simply" needs a method "Page_Load()" to start your code. I'm a bit too new with this to name the parameters from mind, but one of them is of type "Eventargs". So why does this get started, magic? I don't think so....

When you dive into this stuff you'll learn that /everything/ including the webpages themselves are objects (classes) and that by default the environment scans a Page class derivative for methods such as Page_Load(), Page_Init() or even Page_PreInit().

And after you found out about this it starts to make much more sense, because the real method which you'd normally use is: protected void override OnLoad(Eventargs e). This "easier approach" is simply activated by default due to an option called "autoEventWireup".

Yet soo many people who can't seem to manage to get their heads around this, or couldn't even care less about the why and how...

Just a few examples which stuck with me; but there's sooo much more than that.

Its not the computers which make everything easier; its the people who lost their curiosity and interest to find out and discover for themselves why and how things work.

Tux; because most people I know using Linux still have this strong curiosity and interest. Even though in many cases it doesn't go beyond Linux.

6
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Microsoft splashes coat of paint on Windows 8 comms apps

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Windows

First impressions are what count.

Honestly; if Microsoft is telling us about this then I have full confidence that they'll succeed and turn those programs into something awesome. Because if there's one thing Microsoft can do is turn something totally shit into something totally awesome (at least to some people, others might be less enthusiast and would probably label it "finally useful").

But here's the thing: Too little, too late.

Microsoft really needs to realize that the first impression is all that counts.

I'm not getting near Win8, even though it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Microsoft would somehow eventually succeed in setting up a solid and liable replacement for the start menu in Windows 8. I dunno; something which brings TIFKAM and the desktop better together.

But the damage has already been done; a lot of people have only one intention: to keep their current Windows version around for as long as possible. Where XP users are more likely to upgrade to Windows 7 than Windows 8.

So even if Microsoft would succeed, and I honestly think they'll pull it off eventually, it would hardly get them much further. Because just as now people will approach the product with a lot of (warranted!) prejudice; more likely picking some "other" solution just because of it.

The first impression is what counts.

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Next from Microsoft: 'Blue', the Windows 8 they hope you don't hate

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Windows

NOW I get it...

After all that talk about Windows subscription models and such I finally get it...

'Blue' seems nothing more but a continuous set of updates (formerly known as Service Packs) and Microsoft will continue releasing them until the general public finally buys into Windows (8) again.

Something I personally don't see happening any time soon so maybe we'll get lucky and it will also force Microsoft to keep Windows 7 around for a very, very long time (hopefully longer than XP!).

2
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Syrian hacktivists hijack BBC Weather feed

ShelLuser
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Pint

@Robin

Just unfortunate that the article doesn't tell if the camel survived the head-on collision, now I won't be able to sleep this evening ;-)

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NASA chief: Earth is DOOMED if we spot a big asteroid at short notice

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Pint

Why one country ?

I really don't understand why topics such as these aren't carried over across multiple countries... Several countries have their own "space agency" yet it also seems as if all those several countries find no reason for cooperation.

Sure; a little competition is always good. And often doing it yourself can come with its own benefits.

But shouldn't topics such as these be addresses by an international organisation instead of just NASA? That way all the involved countries can contribute thus also making sure that even in rough financial times we don't need to cut back on issues which really matter on a global scale.

Or put differently: Now it seems as if NASA is has a leading role in all this, and although I have nothing against that they are fully dependent on whatever the US government can provide them with. But issues like these concern the whole world...

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SimCity owners get free game, EA will get A NEW CEO

ShelLuser
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@djstardust

I can't help wonder if this is really about finishing the game or getting his hands on the Lamborghini Diablo (or whatever else is in the DLC's).

Unless he's referring to the 'time saver' DLC; you don't need that to finish the game. You need this if you want to finish the game quicker; so instead of unlocking all cars yourself one by one you get everything in one go, or better put: one purchase.

There's also nothing new here; they did the same with Burnout Paradise.

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3

Lenovo: Windows 8 is so good, everyone wants Windows 7

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Windows

@AC

Agreed wrt. enterprises. However, that's not what Microsoft wants us to believe, so with that in mind I think articles like these are good eye openers.

And of course it also brings some food for thought; how long before this sales method also finds its way in the consumer market?

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Modder hacks SimCity for unlimited offline play

ShelLuser
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Pint

That's why I think...

...software pirates aren't bad or evil per definition.

Although I also admit that we're dealing with a sort of chicken and egg problem. Without pirating software companies would most likely (though not necessarily) spend less on copyright protection, which would then lead up to less annoyances.

The reason I have my doubts there is because some companies exist solely because of software pirating (think about the companies which invent copyright protection schemes) and although some try to balance between userfriendlyness and security, there are also plenty who focus on security over anything else.

But even so; in a lot of cases you're better off with a pirated version. Personally I think its best to obtain both versions, but that's another topic.

In a lot of DVD movies you can't watch the film until you went through a lot of advertisement or several "copying is illegal" warnings. Didn't I PAY to watch the MOVIE?! The download movie plays instantaneously. Some games require you unlock it through means of a security code. Unfortunately many companies considered it smart to print this code onto the CD package itself. You know; the one which gets stacked with other games, and before you know your code got rubbed off. Nice...

Or what to think about the classic issue of the booklet (which doesn't easily fit) getting lost while you still have the package and CD's? Just too bad that the code you needed was in that booklet; not a smart insert leaf or something.... (though modern games do just that btw).

This is no different.. Now you need to be online to be able to play? Well; the pirates can play no matter what, making it all the more appealing (even for regular customers) to use that version. Because ask yourself this; what happens when the company running the "unlock server" decides that its now time to pull the plug?

"they will probably do that in 10 years or so."

Are you sure about that? Changes are much higher that they'll do that when the amount of players reached a certain threshold. And if you happen to be one of those "die hards" who can actually still enjoy a game even if it is 3 - 4 years old (to name but a "random" period) you're simply out of luck; "Go buy the sequel cheapskate!".

Such a wonderful world...

24
0

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device - or Bring Your Own Disaster?

ShelLuser
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Devil

Savings?

"But some organisations have decided to trust the user and claim big savings in productivity by deploying BYOD."

Trust the user or trust their admins to keep everything safe?

And speaking of which; I can't help wonder how much extra taxation this is going to put on IT. Depending on how you (try to) implement all this I can imagine it now: "So I brought my laptop and I can't see my PC?", "Where is that standard logon screen?", "How do I access my files again?", "Why doesn't my version of Word 2003 open this Word 2010 file?", "My Avast kept saying I have a virus for the past hours but now it seems I can't click the error message away?", "Are you SURE you can't convince management to switch to Office 2003?", "I clicked this icon and then my work PC suddenly showed a blue screen?", "Can you give me an extra HD for my laptop, I tried to copy my documents and now it says my laptop is full", "My PC says "Same IP detected in network", what does that mean?".

Yeah, that's going to save SO much money....

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1

Marvel: 'Come and get 'em! 700 first-issue comics! FREE!'

ShelLuser
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Torrents?

IMO this was an ideal opportunity to use BitTorrent and basically let the fanbase help itself to the whole collection. It will put less tax on your servers, the availability tends to go up longer and most of all: nearly all of your fanbase will be able to fully enjoy the contents.

I know, I know; torrents are "evil".

3
0

Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

ShelLuser
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Joke

C'mon Yoda...

"bikini-busting princesses do not real science fiction make."

You're just jealous that Lucas replaced you with a computer imagine in the first 3 movies.

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0

Here's the $4.99 utility that might just have saved Windows 8

ShelLuser
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WTF?

Not sure I agree here..

(about introducing Metro in some sort of "Battering ram" style)

"When you think about it, it’s not a bad strategy.

I have to disagree there. Because this strategy does not account for one major aspect: the fact that consumers have many options to simply ignore the environment all together. Even more than in the days of Vista.

Microsoft needs to realize that they're not in a position where they can simply dictate the market any more. Tick people off enough and they're going to look and find alternate solutions. And then you'll have lost them as customer.

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Google sends Street View car into Fukushima dead zone

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Joke

@Phil

Using those self-driving cars is dangerous. It might become self-aware due to the radiation, take control over the nearby power plant and transform into our worst enemy.

3
0

Carrie Fisher dusts off THAT bikini for Star Wars VII

ShelLuser
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Mixed feelings

A "real" Star Wars could be fun, but I have to wonder how good of a film its going to be when they apparently need to bring in 3 of the bigger names from the past. I mean; Indiana Jones in his prime looked pretty good IMO, but when he got older and we got a sort of "Grandpa Jones" then it didn't really do so much for me anymore.

Of course they could manage to surprise. When I read about Sean Connery (also somewhat older by then) in the movie "The league of extraordinary men" (an action movie at that) I also had quite some doubts, but it turned out to be pretty decent IMO. His character fitted perfectly with his age, and we didn't get to see a grandpa perform tricks which normally only a 20 - 30 year old would do.

Still... As some other commentators mentioned; this is Hollywood, where cash flow is deemed more important than realism.

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Europe tickles Microsoft with €561m fine for browser choice gaffe

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Stop

And people wonder...

Why we have to pay more for some MS products in Europe than in the US.

I don't see a victory or anything of the sort here; because eventually you'll know who will be paying the actual bill. The same population which this EU moloch is supposedly trying to protect. Yet when that happens you won't hear the EU anymore. Because price differences are something which simply happen...

5
8

Farewell, Reg: This hack is hanging up her Apple jacket

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Happy

Awwww....

Finally we meet an author who obviously highly thinks of us and actually calls us Reg Readers instead of the commonly used commentards. And just when that bright news flash manages to hit me do I realize that you're leaving. Aaaawwww :-)

Anyway, although Apple isn't really my thing I did read several of those articles you referred to and I agree with some of the others; they were very pleasant to read. I hope your next job (if that's the case) will give you as much pleasure & satisfaction as this one has apparently managed to do. Because having some fun at your job and the things you do is IMO priceless.

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Torvalds asks 'Why do PC manufacturers even bother any more?'

ShelLuser
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WTF?

When are you going to quote Torvalds properly?

"Linux Lord Linus Torvalds is thinking about making Google's Chromebook Pixel his main computer – once he installs a proper Linux distribution on the machine, that is.".

Yet on that page you mentioned (link to Torvalds Google+ post) we read the following: "And it is a beautiful screen, to the point where I suspect I'll make this my primary laptop."

No where in the entire article is he referring to any other computers. So how come you manage to conclude that he'll only use this laptop from now on?

11
1

Microsoft offers developer tools for its lonely Office Store

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Windows

@dogged

I know you probably meant that in a cynical manner, but the way its going that statement could hold true very quickly. Take for example Windows 8 and their store model...

If Microsoft would continue with their current model where developers need to get a subscription for the sole purpose of being able to program for Windows then I sincerely doubt that the model will last very long.

Yet it seems that is exactly what Microsoft is aiming for.

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ShelLuser
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Windows

@AC

#1

I can't answer that, because I'm not using any of their new Office stuff. My development is fully based on Office 2010 (which most of my customers are also using) and I have no desire what so ever to upgrade. My main VS2012 usage is building (dll) extensions and (VBA powered) templates. By using VS2012 I can distribute such products using an InstallShield solution; which can be used free of charge thanks to my VS2012 license.

#2

Strictly personal opinion: I think they're trying to make more money by providing less service and solutions. Take their Office 365 environment... Its not bad at all, but can only provide but a subset of what their desktop products have to offer. Yet if you look at what you need to pay for 365 over a longer period you're actually paying a lot more for less money.

Sure; you can end your subscription on a monthly basis. But can you really do that once you've become dependant on such an environment for your day to day work? I would imagine that moving from 365 to a desktop-based solution can be quite a task in itself.

Hook, net, sinker...

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0
ShelLuser
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Facepalm

Cool, I suppose. But, uhm...

To be honest I have to admit that the integration of Office development within Visual Studio 2012 is actually pretty slick, that is of course if you're into this kind of thing. Which I am, sort off. I got VS2012 Professional, the Office SDK is a free download and then all you need is a version of Office installed.

The thing is; wouldn't it make more sense to start by fixing our interface and feature set before adding new "cool" stuff ?

Many VS2012 developers are anxiously awaiting VS2012 Update 2 which, among several other bugs, also fixes bugs with the (hastily) released blue theme in the theme editor. Sometimes you get black letters on a dark blue background. Which really isn't all that easy to read; and according to the update description its something Microsoft has also come to realize.

But there's more... Microsoft wants us to use their tools to make cool apps. But at the same time they also want to prevent us from doing so.. Sounds strange? Read on..

One of the tools in their discontinued Expression series is Microsoft Blend; a tool which you can use to make "dynamic interfaces" (to put it easy; more info on the website). But, as mentioned, its discontinued and instead embedded with VS2012. You can see on the site itself; instead of being able to download Blend you're pointed at downloading Visual Studio.

And there's the problem; at the moment of writing there is only a Blend version for Windows Phone development or Windows 8 ('app') development. People new to VS2012 who want to utilize Blend for Silverlight or WPF editing are pretty much out of luck; Blend as a stand alone product is gone and there is no full integration with VS2012 as of yet.

There is, however, the previously mentioned upcoming update 2. One of its feature enhancements is Blend for Visual Studio 2012: "Support for Sketchflow, WPF, and Silverlight". All good and well; but what about people who need this tool right now? Well, as said they are out of luck: because if you read closely the update is merely a so called Community Technology Preview (CTP). Put differently: this is merely for testing purposes only, the Team Foundation Server update is the only part which has gotten a "go-live" remark. You're not supposed to use this VS2012 CTP update in a production environment.

So basically Microsoft dumped a tool (Microsoft Blend) while stating that Visual Studio 2012 would be the new all-in-one solution which would provide Blend functionality yet hasn't managed to release it just yet.

Just like they did with Expression Web (mentioned on that same Expression website). VS2012 is supposed to provide all you need for website design / editing. Well; at the time of writing you're IMO better off using Expression Web for your web design where VS2012 can come in handy with programming the underlying logic. It does not provide the same functionality right now.

So summing up: a half-baked interface (don't get me started on the colour removal!) combined with an as-of-yet unfinished feature set. Where people currently using VS2010 (with or without extra "supporting" tools) have a fully complete and functional programming environment.

And they're wondering what is keeping all those developers to embrace these shiney new tools?

For real?

5
0

Cruel Microsoft will drive us into arms of iOS, Android, warn resellers

ShelLuser
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Windows

Humbug

""This is another classic case of Microsoft moving the goal posts. A lot people sell SQL Standard and this will hurt," said one Microsoft partner that spoke on condition of anonymity."

Then your whole strategy has been flawed from the getgo and you have no one to blame but yourself IMVHO. Because it seems you're not selling Microsoft products and services for what they are, but for the bonus you may get from selling those.

But shouldn't that bonus be the profit you're hoping to get with selling these products and services to begin with?

My (small!) company is also a Microsoft Partner and reseller at that. And although the whole idea looks neat we're not trying to sell Microsoft based solutions with the sole motivation of grossing in extra money from Microsoft. We sell stuff (on certain occasions) because we think - depending on situation and customer - that it is the best solution for the situation.

In that same strategy we also sell Linux solutions. Guess what; there's no "Linux company" out there which will give us an extra bonus if we manage to distribute an X amount of Linux servers. Yet companies still manage to make money from Linux solutions; even though everyone can download and use Linux for free.

As such my conclusion is that companies who solely rely on extra bonuses have a flawed market strategy to begin with.

13
1

Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

ShelLuser
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Pint

How much...

How much (taxpayers) money did those "health guru's" manage to gross in for their wisdom ?

I just had a few myself and honestly; this is uberly stupid. Sure; there are plenty of people who can't handle alcohol; but I'm pretty sure there are a lot more who can. Don't take the cheap way out of this; if people misbehave then hold them responsible instead of trying to take it out on the whole population who likes to drink alcohol every now and then.

And if we're talking about health problems here (I hjave to admit; read briefly; I refreshed El Reg before bedtime, guess that makes me an El Reg junkie ;-)).. What ever happened to people's own responsibility ?

Hold people accountable for that they did, not for what they might going to do.

And yeah; I had a few beers myself. Amazing; even managing to wrie up an comment; guess the alcohol isn't that bad at all :-)

10
1

Yet another Java zero-day vuln is being exploited

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Joke

We shouldn't worry

Oracle will have this fixed asap, so with a little luck we can expect the fix to be released somewhere in December this year. Think of it as a Christmas present from those generous caring people at Oracle.

3
0

Euro watchdog bares teeth at Microsoft over browser gaffe

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Windows

Too little, too late

Of course fines are in order because the EU needs the money. Heck, although I think its a good thing that customers are being protected against monopolies or unfair businesses I do place some question marks behind this particular ruling.

Not because I think its bad perse; but because the timing was pretty poor. Because the EU started flexing its muscles when the damage was already done. Even more funnier: where other browsers such as Firefox and Chrome had already managed to gobble up huge chunks of Microsoft's market share. And only then the EU kicked in with their browser choice demands.

Is this about protecting the EU civvies or another good attempt at grossing in some extra (desperately needed) cash ?

4
8

Microsoft Surface Pro will land in UK in WEEKS*

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Trollface

The Surface Pro is coming

All 1000 of them; so that Microsoft can start another story about "extremely high demands", or are they going to do it properly this time?

7
1

Keyboard, you're not my type

ShelLuser
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Mushroom

A Cherry for me

I've been a computer nut for quite some time now, it started back in the days when I was a kid with a C64 and eventually worked my way up with a 286 which later became a Compaq 486 and eventually I got the PC I have now.

I've had several, unnamed, keyboards during those days but eventually came across a Cherry 6000M. The funny thing is that I don't know where I got it, but I do know is that this keyboard turned out to be virtual indestructible! You see; during those times (we're talking the 80's here) I smoked. And I also smoked behind the PC; always had an ashtray sitting near my PC because of that. And a lot of that ash (and other junk) ended up in my keyboard. Because you see; I also used to eat breakfast behind the PC or sometimes even lunch.

This keyboard eventually failed me. Approx. 20 years later, at the time of writing only 2 years ago. I cleaned it up, even found ash in there while I quite smoking approx. 25 years ago, but to no avail. It responded a bit better, but several keys failed more than often, thus making typing extremely annoying.

SO I started looking for replacements but the problem was that a lot of keyboards are quite bulky. I also liked the click sounds I got while typing (I type blindfold, and decently fast too) and not too many keyboards have that. I tried some of the keyboards still lying around the house but none felt that good as my good ole Cherry :-(

AND then I discovered the German Cherry website (link to Cherry.de). Imagine my surprise; they don't 'merely' sell keyboards, they sell mice and more advanced keyboards as well (stuff with a cardreader in 'm, as you can sometimes see being used in banks and such).

Because I didn't see my keyboard there I simply wrote them an e-mail telling them that I was looking for that particular keyboard and if they could advice me which one would best suit my needs. "Oh, but we can make that model for you. It will take time but for E 110,- (approx.) it can be done".

I paid and I waited, for 1.5 - 2 months or so. I recall writing them an e-mail because the whole thing went a little bit vague and at one time I was worried that I spend a lot of money on nothing. Needless worries as it turned out because eventually my keyboard arrived. Slightly larger than the one I had (this one has a larger edge at the top which now also features the 'Cherry' logo) but the touch and response is exactly what I came to love and respect so much.

A very expensive keyboard, sure, but if you spend as much time behind the keyboard & screen as I do where a good keyboard has become an essential part then believe me; its money well spent. Especially if this critter manages to last for yet another 25 years :-)

4
0

So much noise on WinMob, but Microsoft's silent on lovely WinPhone

ShelLuser
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Windows

@JahBless

A simple thing like not having a file manager just puzzle people who purchased a Windows Phone. I know that because my co-workers bang on my door asking for help. And if you want to manage your phone on windows, you need Zune.

This! +1, spot on.

I really like my Omnia W, it does what I need it to do (though in all honesty I do wish it could sync a little more data) but I hardly update my media contents because, as you very well mentioned here, that part is totally fucked up.

The reason I'm responding is that your message could make people think that you can then use Zune to somehow copy files back and forth but you can't even do that :(

Instead you need to point Zune to a folder on your PC after which it'll keep that folder synced with your phone. Which shows the completely screwed up design; I don't want each and every one of my mp3 files to be stored on my phone. As such I can't simply tell Zune "there's my music, go sync".

But you also can't easily tell Zune "there's my music, I want this, that and that". Because Zune doesn't work with files and folders; it'll use the information retrieved from the MP3 files. So now you need to somehow give your MP3 files some info so that you know what you have, THEN copy it over. I don't have that because I didn't care for that; I ripped some of my CD's and simply let a player randomly play files (these are files from a time before we had id3.org and such).

As such you'll soon find out that the easiest way to do all that is to copy your stuff to a folder, point Zune to it and then try to get it to copy stuff. More than often it won't because you don't copy; you synchronize. That translates to: "You click a button and hope that it'll copy the media across that you want, but there's no way to be sure but to disconnect the phone and see for yourself".

And don't get me started on "What happens when you discovered that you wanted that extra file to be included afterwards?". Zune will eventually spot the changes; just not one minute after you copied a file to a directory. What idiot thinks that I want to wait 5 minutes for Zune to cope? I want my media copied NOW.

SO you're eventually done, all is well. Because you don't need the bloat you remove the folder which you made with all the mp3 files because there's not much sense keeping the same files on 2 places at once. Waste of space, no ?

And then, several months later, you connect your phone somewhat casually to your PC to charge it. Normally you'd use the adapter but you're in a hurry; you simply take the adapter with you. Then sitting in the bus you want to listen to a nice piece of music...

WTF?!

All of that got neatly synchronized and therefor is now also no longer available on your phone, just like its gone on your PC. Microsoft couldn't have made it any easier; apart from the fact of course that I didn't WANT my files to get removed like that.

Zune is sheer hell. Yet required for WinPhone, go figure :(

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1
ShelLuser
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Windows

What paradox?

"The paradox is this: when Microsoft had a terrible product (except perhaps as a second device, or as an enterprise terminal) it was a lot noisier than it is today. But Microsoft doesn’t do noisy any more."

I'm sorry but I just don't see it. Because you could also turn this around: MIcrosoft makes noise when introducing new products (which, as we all know, are usually "so so") and makes less noise when releasing newer versions of the same product.

And when talking about the Windows Phone; have you already forgotten about that huge Winphone being placed in (iirc) New York where all sorts of stuff went down? Or the several "Smoked by Windows Phone" advertisements ?

Microsoft made a lot of noise with Windows Phone 7.

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1
ShelLuser
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Windows

@AC

With message alerts I assume you're referring to broadcast messages aka CB messages?

Because that's supported, on Windows Phone 7.5 no less. However, there is a caveat here; many WinPhones have specific features not supported by the OS itself but provided by the manufacturer. To make it even easier on the customer there's no way to find out if a certain feature is out of the box or not..

So; on my Samsung Windows Phone (Omnia W) I have the option "Advanced text messaging" located under the 'Settings'. There I pick anything I'd need; from channels, to countries.

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