24 posts • joined 26 Jun 2012
Re: Smart Phones Myth
Isn't it simply the fact that the Intel and Microsoft monopoly pricing of operating system and processor/chipset has become untenable with the rise of Android/OSX/iOS/Linux and ARM processors? I remember when a decent Compaq Windows laptop cost about £4000+VAT and the operating system was a tiny proportion of the cost. Intel and Microsoft are still trying to charge monopoly money (in every sense) for their PC components but the proportion of the cost absorbed by processor/chipset and operating system has grown by an order of magnitude rendering the PC platform uncompetitive and unattractive when consumers can choose to use smart TVs, tablets, media players, smartphones or old PCs to do what only a new PC could have done cost-effectively a few years ago. Companies like Dell and HP, who made good profits by hanging onto the Wintel monopoly for decades are being annihilated in the market but are incapable of doing anything else as the products are rendered uncompetitive by Microsoft and Intel's prices and their own lack of innovation and investment in R&D, itself a result of the Wintel monopoly. Unless some killer applications come along that forces the use of Intel processors and Windows, I can't see the situation changing any time soon.
Is the console paradigm still the right one?
I bought an HP N40L for £85 after cashback. Added a seventy quid 7750 slimline graphics card, slapped on an old copy of W7 I had lying around, installed Steam, plugged in a pair of controllers and plugged it into the TV. Result: Outperforms an Xbox 360, low power, much cheaper games on Steam with no DVDs to lose or scratch, less annoying ads, no Xbox Gold, kids can access CBBC/CBeebies/Netflix Kids/iPlayer/Wikipedia, proper wireless keyboard and mouse, etc. (lying around again but cheap to buy). What are the advantages of a console these days? I just don't get it? Paris doesn't understand either...
Just a guess but...
I'd assume, given past bitter experiences, that some of Google's extremely arrogant but unempathetic account managers/directors/silly_yet_pompous_title_here marched into Sky and made all kinds of unreasonable demands at contract renewal without listening to a word said by the poor bods at Sky. I then imagine that all kinds of higher-paid but just as arrogant and autistic Google bods went to the Sky Board, who know Rupert's view of Google, and Sky told Google's overpaid muppet Yellow Pages salespeople to go forth and multiply. Just a guess.
Re: My project...
Sounds really interesting, and I don't want to be a spoil-sport, but it might be a lot easier and better to use the programmable Danfoss Eco Living TRVs available for about £35 from say Plumbnation or elsewhere:
Then you'll have a thermostatically-controlled TRV, with a fully programmable seven day timer and local manual override, in every room. In our five-bedroom Victorian house, the variation in room warmth and use is such that a single thermostat and control in the hall (or wherever) isn't much use. I've even set up the controller in our dining room to heat up the room for my daughter's piano lesson on a Saturday morning after she complained it was cold. The controller is also beautifully intelligent, so if you say you want the room at say 21 degrees at 6 a.m. it learns continuously what time it needs to switch on to achieve its objective.
Buy the Danfoss valves and fit and programme in half an hour for each radiator (the TRVs aren't too noisy either and don't lose their programming when you change the battery like some others - beware) and build a lovely MAME games table instead, which looks seriously cool.
And physical buttons
Nexus 4 is all very nice but I've lost track of the number of calls I've missed while trying to take off my gloves to answer the bloody phone. Soft buttons might be great for the Beach Boys but here in northern Europe it gets a bit chilly and I really miss that magic green physical button. It is not like the space is used for any other function either...
Re: Utter shambles
I've got one...
Re: Future Perfect?
This is absolutely right. It is exactly the Davos-attendees and wannabes who forced BYOD on corporate IT departments when they used iPhones and MacBooks at home and then had the authority to refuse to accept they had to give them up and use Microsoft products at work (all those terribly awkward "You can't use your lovely metrosexual iPhone, you need to use this fucking awful Windows Mobile or slightly less clunky but unreliable Blackberry" conversations...) Unless Microsoft can win these people back, it is game over. I can't see them giving up their iDevices, even if Microsoft gives away its stuff for free and it is as good. Microsoft's offerings are not as good and they are not free. Microsoft could try giving every Davos attendee, their private office and family a Lumia 920 (and a night of product training with a fully-trained 'professional' for every 'business leader'...) but even then I can't see them giving up their iDevice habit...
Re: As many people have said here many times
To misquote the yanks: No representation without taxation.
Sony has a two year warranty. Sent me a freepost document and turned my Xperia Arc S around in four working days when replacing the cracked bezel and gave me a new screen while they were doing it. The phone is 13 months old.
EE has made the classic mistake of trying to sell a feature rather than a benefit. There is no killer application for LTE. The key benefit of LTE is more bandwidth and EE isn't even trying to sell that. I generally get about 4 Mbps down 2 Mbps up on 3G and I'm happy with that, and I'm a pretty demanding punter. What matters to most consumers is being able to download decent amounts of data at reasonable cost with good coverage on a cheap phone with good battery life. EE, daft rebranding without owning the .com domain, doesn't hit these requirements. I can't see this 4G-only network idea enabling them to grab market share or increase customer satisfaction and margins, any more than a wholly 3G-only network approach helped Hutchison. And Hutchison thought they had a killer app with video calls. EE doesn't even have that.
I fear EE has gone down a cul-de-sac with this. It only takes one of its competitors to realize that differentiation between 3G and LTE tariffs is not only futile but also counter-productive (i.e. very limited coverage, pisses off existing customers, few phones, damages existing brands and relationships, gives an excuse to reconsider loyalty as 4G more important than existing brand) and where does EE go? Imagine if 3, or one of the other competitors announces "All our customers have 4G. Does your network love you enough?" It doesn't cost them much, as most customers don't have LTE phones and LTE technology can be delivered to alleviate current network overload. Meanwhile, T-Mobile and Orange, overloaded and unloved, lacking LTE contracts, become perceived as budget network and go into a death spiral. But remember, this is where most of EE's customers live. This approach might have been worth the risk for a small player like 3 (though I still don't believe it), but it doesn't make any sense for the biggest player in the market.
This just shows that Olaf Swantee isn't very smart.
OFCOM is a waste of £115 million p.a. You might as well just burn the money.
Re: This is actually about whether OFCOM can be bothered to do its job or not
I still enjoy looking at the image of this T-Mobile cheque I very much enjoyed cashing courtesy of the nice judge in the County Court. I'm so pleased I scanned it first...
There is only one contract between consumer and provider in terms of consumer protection and European legislation, whatever the telecoms companies try to claim.
This is actually about whether OFCOM can be bothered to do its job or not
The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations and in the General Conditions are supposed to implement EU directives which are very clear that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and illegal - and the telecoms firms have certainly not been giving customers one month's notice *and* telling customers that they can leave if the customer believes the changes are to their detriment - which makes the price hikes null and void. In a cosy stitch up between OFCOM and the major telecoms firms, the firms have been blatantly breaking the law and OFCOM hasn't been bothered to do anything about protecting the consumer. CISAS, etc. is a joke. If OFCOM doesn't do anything, what is the point of the £115 million budget for all of its bureaucrats? I just went to the County Court and took T-Mobile to the cleaners. The judges, at least in my experience, actually read the relevant regulations, understand contract law, weren't looking for jobs with the firms they are supposed to regulate, weren't having lunch bought by telecoms lobbyists, saw their jobs as protecting the consumer and forced T-Mobile to write me a cheque for £430. Only belatedly, years and millions of pounds later, does any lazy bastard at OFCOM get off their arses to do something about the abuse - maybe. Very maybe.
I bought a w7 i5 v131 laptop from Dell Outlet with a three year warranty for just under £400 inc VAT. I put in an 256GB SSD and increased the memory to 8GB, and for less than £560 in total (£60 less than that, in fact, as I sold the drive for £60) - it does everything you ask for. Fab device, though I'd like the screen resolution to be higher.
Ultrabook's were massively overpriced and that is why they didn't sell. HP's mistake has been to produce shiny shiny consumer laptops which are as you described or dire grey stuff for three times the price. HP's idea of software innovation has been to discover a new piece of bloatware to install. HP needs to stop expecting Intel and Microsoft to do its thinking for it - else extinction beckons.
Re: Paper maps
You can't be married. The rows with my spouse, in the UK and particularly in cities abroad, when driving have almost disappeared since the road atlases disappeared and I can no longer blame her for making me drive the wrong way down a one way street in Brussels, taking the wrong autobahn, etc. I can't believe others don't have the similar experiences. GPS Sat Nav has saved marriages, mine included.
Re: iTards can all get lost
Given that the iPhone's ubiquity in the gay man's pocket has more to do with grindr than Jonathan Ive's beautiful design, getting lost could get very embarrassing...
Us techies forget the importance of form over features, but my aesthete wife, who loved the early Apple stuff, reminds me that the iPhone 4 and 4S are ugly. Sadly for Apple, she reckons iPhone 5 looks even worse and nowhere near as good as the S3. If that is true, a lot of Apple's female or metrosexual fan base is going to be very disappointed - the kind of people who don't care about all the technical, megapixel this, processor that, improvements that this keynote had too much of, imho.
The Huawei deal does show, however, that Telefonica decided that selling phones and marketing tariffs rather than running O2's cellular network is its core business, in the same way that RBS decided that working cashpoints and providing balances are not related to its core business of securing huge bonuses for underperformance, paying LIBOR and PPI fines and scrounging rescue funds from the UK taxpayer. Reminds of how Sainsbury was persuaded by Accenture that having a warehouse that worked or the ability to replenish shelves wasn't core either. My guess, for what it is worth, is the most likely common factor is the selling of shallow and self-interested fads to senior executives by McKinsey.
Am I the only one to think that 200 'engineers' (probably includes hole-diggers and plug-wirers) doesn't seem a lot for a national network?
Re: The story that I have been told
Well, they never told that to Robert Peston and those who gave Peston his RTS awards for the Northern Rock scoop.
This thread provides a sample of what has been going on in Ireland:
Re: The story that I have been told
I think you're right. I've heard some people have been 'paid' after a two week delay but the decimal point has been in the wrong place! I'm pretty sure they are doing the recovery process manually, as they seem to be targetting large transactions first, then smaller ones, but it still seems like an impossible task against a moving target. In Ireland, they seem to have lost all control, with reports of people being able to take pretty much any reasonable amount they like out of accounts without having to produce a payslip, with records kept manually. Ulster Bank has in effect collapsed in Ireland and RBS is forced into this kind of desperation. There are also reports of big queues as Ulster Bank customers attempt to close accounts and big queues in other banks as ex-Ulster Bank customers attempt to open replacement accounts, which is an orderly bank run. Both the CEO, Hester, and the Chairman, Hampton, have been in Ireland attempting to sort out the mess and mollify the Irish Central Bank.
Even with the Bob Diamond sacking/resignation, you'd think that a subsidiary of one of the largest banks in the world being reduced to Dickensian manual book-keeping would make the news over here, but there has been hardly a word. It certainly doesn't look like a 'glitch'.
Re: RBS don't seem to understand basic book-keeping
Your post is really important and I linked to it here:
I was really alarmed when I saw the 99% rather than 100% figure quoted in the media and the situation appears to be even worse at Ulster Bank. The journalists seemed quite happy to take the RBS spin at face value but I thought "My God, RBS must have lost or corrupted data when it attempted recovery". 99% recovery is a failure, not a success. It is hard to believe RBS is listing transactions with only a date rather than some unique identifier. I don't think we can assume that the balance is now correct. Do we trust RBS to get it right? Who audits this? One per cent is an awful lot of money. This could be terminal for RBS, so you can see why Mervyn King is so involved and angry. This is the utility side of banking that people need to be able to have confidence in. Expect this story to explode, eventually, in the mainstream media.
Re: The Guardian is spineless
Or, perhaps, another way to look at the CV is that it shows how mainframe batch support has been largely shifted to India and that outsourcing firm Infosys had a central role in that process, contrary to the public assurances of the CEO of a virtually-nationalised basket-case bank? Never mind the huge inconvenience and cost to millions of people as they were unable to get to their own money and the thousands of staff sacked in the UK. You're right though about this being about more than one technical person though, and that wasn't the point of what I posted, so I've deleted his name. You're welcome to your own opinion. Obviously I don't agree with you.
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