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* Posts by Jess

715 posts • joined 17 Jul 2007

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UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know

Jess
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Re: Revolutionaries

> It's just common sense

Common sense in government policies IS revolutionary.

The normal practice of government is to correctly identify an issue in the way they do things, then come up with a solution that makes things worse, because they haven't thought it through.

It will hit Microsoft, not because the big office suite replacements will be alternatives, but because they won't be forced to happen.

If a new computers appear with a newer version of MS Office, the documents will still be compatible, the change won't be forced. (Although technically Microsoft didn't force it, because converters for the old versions are available. Did you know that Word 97 and Powerpoint 97 work quite happily with the 2007 converter pack? Excel doesn't though, presumably due to the larger sheet support).

With the way governments procure, this may not be such a big effect, but once industry in general starts following, it will be.

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So whither Microsoft? If Nadella knows, he is keeping it well hidden

Jess
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the poorest version of Skype is the one Microsoft produces for its own Windows Phone.

Is this literally true?

The recent OS X version are vile and the BlackBerry version is very poor too.

If they aren't the worst then I pity and WinPho users having to use it.

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X marks the chop: Microsoft takes axe to Nokia's Android venture

Jess
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re: simply a ruse

Probably not simply a ruse, probably something they though would earn them some money, if Microsoft didn't buy them, but with the bonus of making that far more likely.

A bit of a poison pill though.

So Nokia (phones division) have pulled the plugs on or are doing so to:

Symbian

Meego

WIndows Phone 7

S40

X

How many customers and devs will that have pissed off?

The devs who signed up to X after the previous burnt platforms must now feel like Charlie Brown landing on his back after Lucy pulls the ball away, after yet again promising she wouldn't.

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

Jess
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Different passwords for different uses of the same account?

I find it strange that the same password is used for an account with multiple functions.

For example, if a social network has a chat system and you are able to access the chat facility externally (jabber, or via 3rd party sites for example), then why doesn't it allow you to set a separate password?

Then if it compromised, your entire account isn't gone, (OK your friends will be inundated with spam, but they would have been anyway), you can reset the password from the main account, apologise to your friends and everything is back to normal.

(I believe facebook has a poor version of this, where it generates passwords for such a use, but not ones that can be remembered easily)

The recommendations seem to be good, so if Microsoft has people who can use common sense, why didn't they ask them to make the decision as to whether Windows 8 shipped with an on/off switch for Metro?

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New leaked 'Windows 8 screenshot': The Start Menu strikes back

Jess
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The start screen is a pile of crap on a big screen.

It slows you down because you have to move the mouse too far.

It makes sense on a small touch screen.

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Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops

Jess
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Re: One of the reasons I moved away from my Mac

> was the worry that if it broke beyond repair then I would have a helluva lot of money to spend for even a simple means of accessing my data in a meaningful way.

Presumably you weren't using any Mac only programs (because you would have the same problem migrating.)

So the problem would be disk format. The Mac can use FAT and NTFS media (some versions need an add-on to be able to write to NTFS). So Backing up to an external drive would be no issue and be accessible.

Unless you were using Time machine. In that case, if your Mac failed you would need to restore to a working Mac. However, the likely failure is either the harddrive or something else (i.e. not the hard drive *and* something else). So if it is the HD, you just replace it and restore, if it isn't you remove the HD and put it in a USB enclosure and access it via Linux.

The problem seems very artificial.

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Adobe Flash: The most INSECURE program on a UK user's PC

Jess
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Re: BBC and YouTube without Flash?

I have a rather nice G5 which obviously has no current flash support (though there is a current firefox port, called tenfour fox)

This (plus grease monkey) allows me to watch youtube on it:

http://isebaro.com/viewtube/?ln=en

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Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system

Jess
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An excellent system

But I'm not quite sure why it needs a Pi.

Surely a simple timer would be cheaper?

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Panasonic's seven-inch Windows slab has tough exterior, confused mind

Jess
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Re: none of that 'jarring' you've described

I just had a quick go on a windows 8.1 system.

The start tile is horribly jarring, more so than on Windows 8, because it doesn't disappear when you click on the background of the other screen like it does on Windows 8. (Though I'm sure there's a way to fix this.)

The UI is inferior on the desktop to windows 2000, so while, overall unhacked 8.1 may be better that unhacked 8.0 it is certainly nowhere near as good as Windows 8 play a start menu add on with all the touch stuff removed.

Please note: I am ONLY referring to desktop use.

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Jess
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Re: the move from 3.11 to 95

But that was an improved interface. (Seemed a lot like RISC OS, but with some of the best bits missing).

It was also appropriate for the systems it was shipped with.

And it was relatively easy to use to old way of doing things. (Which is pretty much what Windows 8 is like when you remove the metro stuff).

I expect Windows 8 to work well with a tablet instead of a keyboard, with a regular screen. However on a regular desktop, it sucks, badly. Why they didn't simply have an off switch for the touch stuff, I really don't understand. Without it, it is quite a lean fast system, exactly what many Windows critics have been crying out for.

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Jess
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Re: The niche market that Windows 8 appears to have been designed for.

> maybe you should try using a Windows 8.1 tablet before you comment at such length!

Why? I made no criticism of the use of W8.x as a tablet. My comment was that my expectation was for it to work well for the reviewed device.

My criticism was the use of this chimera on the desktop. Please could you point out where your second (full) paragraph is at odds with my post? At least the implication is that it is a counter argument, whereas I find it totally consistent.

I haven't actually seen 8.1 yet. There was one machine that someone upgraded at work, but it caused so many problems it was quickly reverted back. But given the lip service they paid to the Start Button. They literally put it back, but not the menu which was what people actually missed, I will take nothing on trust. Is it on a par with de-Metroed Win 8?

(By the same token, I didn't actually accept that out of the box Windows 8 was as bad as everyone said, until I tried it.)

Is there a trial version available, like there was for 7 (I liked that, but not enough to pay what they wanted to avoid reverting to XP, it after it expired) and 8?

The really stupid thing is that Windows 8 after removing metro, is probably about the best version of Windows I have tried. (I wish had had the information to do that when the £30 upgrade was still around).

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Jess
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The niche market that Windows 8 appears to have been designed for.

Using out of the box Windows 8 in a few configurations.

Single screen desktop/laptop config.

Jarring and cumbersome. (Certainly justifies this quote from the BBC website: "Windows 8 is as charming to use as a second-hand toothbrush" ) The jumping from a windowed environment, to a full screen app reminds me of Windows 3 or GEM switching to and from DOS applications (though in that case it was a step forward, not back). The screen being touch enabled doesn't really help, it is slower to move your hand from the keyboard, and I'm sure long term use like this would result in RSI. Not a system I would want to live with.

Dual screen desktop.

Much less jarring, since jumping to full screen only obscures one screen. A big enough improvement to remove the desire to throw the machine against the wall. Still not as good as a single screen machine with all the touch stuff removed though. Could live with though.

I have never used a W8 tablet, but I have no reason to believe it is any worse or better than the established mobile platforms.

However, the behavior does make me believe that the original plan was (as suggested in a reg. comment a while ago) to have a tablet that runs mobile apps as a tablet, and sits in the place of a keyboard for desktop use. (My theory is that whoever though this up, forgot to tell anyone else, and left).

The flaw in the design is that the thing would be horrible to use for desktop apps without the desktop screen. (Easily solved if they logically split the screen, which ought to be do-able in the driver.)

Seem a strange niche to bet the company on. Unless they they were hoping to copy the success of the iPad. (However, that product wasn't being sold at the expense of a huge existing product, it was not a risk for early adopters, because it had a decent ecosystem already, and was probably a success, in part because it allowed people to do 80 or 90% of what they used a computer for without all the bother of a computer, meaning the bother of windows in most non techies' heads .)

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NHS delivers swift kick to Microsoft's wallet over fee demands

Jess
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Re: No Sympathy

> You conveniently forgot to mention that 20 years ago Linux was a baby OS

Totally irrelevant in this case because the NHS used to use Novell. They only signed up to the total Microsoft monopoly relatively recently.

Having two competing suppliers is fine. Having one is not.

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Windows users: You get a patch! And you get a patch! And you get a patch! Everybody gets...

Jess
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Are any of the patches for serious flaws that also affect XP?

Because when that happens XP becomes a problem. Until then, it is no different from before, other than the possibility of this. (Inevitable, eventually, I think, unless MS blink first when it happens).

At that point moving to VIsta, for machines with both licences, or dual booting Linux mint would appear to be sensible.

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Your Android phone is a SNITCH: Wi-Fi bug makes you easy to track

Jess
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Since the phone knows your location....

Why doesn't it remember the location of networks and only try and connect when it is in the correct area?

All it would then leak is whether you have been there before.

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Big Java security fixes on the way – but not so fast, Windows XP users

Jess
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Noscripts, if you *actually* need java

Noscripts also stops plugins, so using this should provide a good level of protection.

Security risks will usually come from java apps running slyly in the background, rather than (reputable) apps you actually want to use.

Limiting its execution to where you know you want it used is a sensible precaution.

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Xiaomi: Hidden Android dragon is growing fast, despite being unknown in the West

Jess
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Re: Let them come

Since when were Apple devices poorly built?

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Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

Jess
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I can see how Vista would increase its market share by users with dual licensed machines doing a factory re-install.

Maybe the increase in XP is old machines that have been given away, coming back in service?

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BlackBerry's Passport will be the WEIRDEST mobe of 2014

Jess
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I like the look of it.

As long as it doesn't share the Q5's poor text selection. (Cursor keys would solve that). And lack of phonetic non latin keyboard layouts.

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Labour vows: We'll pause one-dole-to-rule-them-all for drastic fix-up if elected in 2015

Jess
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Re: drastic fck-up

Probably far closer to the truth.

As has been pointed out, the idea is good, the implementation isn't.

Were I to make the rules, I would combine NI and income tax. Tax allowance would be scrapped, and something similar to the basic income scheme would replace it, and most benefits and state pension.

The amount would be based on the number of years paying into the tax system. (years in secondary school would count too). 5 years needed for the minimum amount, after 10 years it raises to standard amount, and after 50 it raises to a pension rate. For disabled and sick people this rate would be adjusted upwards, to reflect extra expenses and reduced earning capability.

The amount would not be enough for most able bodied people to live comfortably on, and so job centres would provide guaranteed paid casual work and training.

Obviously there would still need to be some benefits, for those who don't fit into the above system, and during the transition.

(This is a slightly bluer version of the Green Party's basic income scheme.)

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Russian gov to dump x86, bake own 64-bit ARM chips - reports

Jess
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Re: chip-making facilities.

> nowadays there isn't really anything but high-end.

I don't know what facilities they have in Russia, but even if they have few, and are blocked from importing the facilities, due to the Ukraine situation, I'm sure they have enough resources to produce something considerably more powerful than the strongarm relatively quickly, which with a decent OS would allow them to replace a fair chunk of their x86 kit. The high end stuff would follow later.

It is a bit odd that they haven't already mandated a home grown Linux or BSD to replace Windows, though. If they did that right, then changing architecture after would be a lot more simple.

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Jess
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Re: chip-making facilities.

It is worth pointing out the Arm chips were designed not to need high end chip making facilities.

When the design was produced by a company with high end facilities, the Strong Arm was produced, which when dropped into a Risc PC for a while gave one of the most powerful workstations available. (Despite the bottlenecks caused by the internal buses being designed for a machine 10% as fast).

Intel soon caught up and then acquired the strong arm and let it stagnate for a few years, while their own designs overtook it.

It is also worth pointing out that the Russians have a lot of money.

Don't forget, a Raspberry Pi with an efficient operating system would be enough to replace the majority of PCs.

And unlike us, the Russians appear to believe it is a good idea to educate their people, so I doubt they would have a serious problem.

If Putin thinks it is a good idea, then it is highly likely to happen.

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BlackBerry bottoms out: Vows to wow with new Berries

Jess
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Love my Q5, but.

It has some very annoying omissions compared to the 9700 it replaced. Had I known about them beforehand, it may have lost BB a sale. (Because I wouldn't have know how good the rest of the system was.)

However it has some really nice features, too. Music sounds excellent, for example.

However, I don't think it will win over BB7 users that well because it doesn't use the same BB infrastructure, so if you are a corporate, you have to upgrade it and it doesn't run the same apps.

They should make all new high end phones dual boot.

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BlackBerry inks deal with Amazon to get Android apps on its mobes

Jess
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I've had Amazon Appstore on my Q5 for ages.

Since a few days after Android support arrived.

Just a case of a search, download, allow it and it works.

Of course it does mean that there is something subject to the Patriot act on the phone. (But then simply having Skype or an American mail service or chat installed would do the NSA almost as well).

It would be nice for it to be official, and presumably Amazon would be allowed as a second trusted source, without opening up the phone completely.

It would be even nicer if Amazon had a service to auto convert apps to BlackBerry format, so they would work on the Playbook, but that's probably far too much to hope for.

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Jess
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Re: Dilemma

> having to wipe the phone if you change the SIM.

I have swapped mine around a few times. Never had this issue. (BB 4, 5, 6 and 10). I know some phones offer this as an optional security feature. (I haven't *noticed* it in the BB options, though.)

> the SIM being linked to Blackberry rather than your telco so data capacity paid for can't simply be transferred to another phone.

Do you mean the requirement for BlackBerry services rather than standard internet? That is just a service the telco provides. True, it can't be used by a normal phone, but it also can't be used by a BB10 device, which needs standard internet. It used to be an advantage for domestic use, because it was cheaper, now there is no difference (t-mobile in the UK) There was a disadvantage in that the phone became almost useless on wifi abroad, (which sent me back to Nokia, reversed later by Microsoft.)

> I dislike the (to me unnecessary) corporate level security stuff which just hampers normal use

I'm totally at a loss to understand this, unless your phone is a company one.

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Wedding tackle started out as PROTO-SHARKS' LEGS, boffins say

Jess
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parallel evolution

Since no modern amphibians have wedding tackle*, either;

1] this must be parallel evolution

2] reptiles didn't evolve from amphibians, but legs came about by parallel evolution

or

3] the ancestors of current amphibians evolved away the wedding tackle.

* (sorry Miss Piggy)

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Samsung's 'OS of Everything' Tizen still has little to offer

Jess
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Simple solution - dual boot.

All they need to do is make the high end devices either dual boot, or easy to swap system. Perhaps the OS on an extra microSD, (it would be nice if there was a software interface on board, similar to how a BIOS worked in DOS, etc.)

They could sell the device with a full android ROM (as in paying Royalties to MS, Google etc.) and a free Tizen ROM. Cheaper devices could come with a Tizen ROM and perhaps an Android lite ROM (without the bits that cost).

If Tizen is any good, it would catch on, if not, it wouldn't.

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Valve says no Steam Machines until 2015, fingers crossed

Jess
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So it is only the controller that is missing?

So why don't they allow the unit to ship in a pre-release form using a standard controller?

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Vinyl-fetish hipsters might just have a point

Jess
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But in fairness..

if you didn't look odd at a Numan concert, you'd look odd. (Though if you want really odd, try a John Foxx concert.)

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Microsoft hints at smaller Surface

Jess
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Re: Exactly what don't you like about it? Serious question.

I think what everyone else hates are the things you refer to as niggles.

The thing I absolutely detested about it, was the jumping to full screen design. I didn't like that behavior in the 90s. It is like using a DOS program under GEM. (Which was a step forward, when it was current).

All the swipey stuff is annoying too, (on anything with separate screen).

I gave the demo a try (with a view to buying it, was it £30?) but it was so bad, I didn't bother.

Had I known that there are simple procedures to remove all the garbage, I probably would have gone for it.

But I'm certainly not paying the price they want for it now. When I need a PC compatible at home, I'm sticking to Mint, and I have a chuck out Vista machine for the occasions windows is needed. (It doesn't seem so bad after Windows 8 ).

The loss of the start menu doesn't bother that much, although the panel they replaced it with is awful. (though the hybrid thing I have seen pictures of looks ok). It is just like going back to windows 3.11 (however it may not be so nice for those not familiar with the command line and shortcuts).

Had they allowed the metro apps to run as desktop widgets or programs in normal windows, made the start menu an option instead of the panel, and chosen different defaults for tablet to laptops and workstations, then the story would have been very different, I think. (It may have helped if they had made the same metro app work across all the systems, rather than needing 5 different versions.)

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10 PRINT "Happy 50th Birthday, BASIC" : GOTO 10

Jess
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Re: More fun with the Oric

WHSmiths?

A pause

A poke to turn off the keyboard

A ping using a random number

go to the previous line

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Google forges a Silver bullet for Android, aims it at Samsung's heart

Jess
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Can't they all just make their customisations into an app that is loaded onto vanilla android?

Then there would be no issues, and anyone who didn't like it could uninstall.

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Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Jess
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re: make sense and look aesthetically OK on a Mac but it is horrendous on Windows.

Doesn't feel horrible and the tabs now match thunderbird. (Snow Leopard) Also feels a bit less glitchy on nasty pages.

But isn't the whole point of windows modern UI to look horrendous? (Or are you still using 'dated and cheesy'?)

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Victory for Microsoft as Supremes decline to hear Novell's WordPerfect whine

Jess
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Was word perfect 32 bit?

I seem to recall that at least one of the major competitors to MS Office was 16 bit.

(Was it Lotus or WPOffice or both?)

16 bit programs generally turned Windows 95 from a nice OS to a hideous pile of cack. (Office 4.3 didn't seem to for some strange reason.) And the program I'm thinking of was no exception.

DOS programs however, generally worked really well under 95. WP 5.1 generally was great on it.

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US judge: Our digital search warrants apply ANYWHERE

Jess
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Re: Not just a blow to Microsoft's attempts to assure non-US customers

I'm typing this on a non American smartphone. A BlackBerry. Certainly much nicer than a Samsung. And better sound quality than an iPhone.

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Awkward? Elop now answers to ex-junior Nadella as Microsoft closes Nokia buyout

Jess
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While Android would almost certainly have been a much smaller disaster than Windows Phone, I really don't believe it would have been better than giving the Symbian and Meego teams a boot up the arse to get their act together. (If that was actually seriously needed at that point, as many commentators claim).

The difference between Belle and the older Symbian versions on the E72 for example was huge, the hardware in the phones was great, if they were to have carried on cleaning it up at a similar pace, Symbian Donna(?) phones would have matched any other phones. (The N8 with Belle is a great phone, but with a few horrid gotchas.)

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Microsoft: The MORE Surfaces it sells, the MORE money it loses

Jess
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A cunning plan.

Make a device so expensive that Microsoft's fans won't buy it, make a loss selling it so the only people who buy it are Microsoft haters, who want to cost Microsoft money.

The idea is they like it so much that they are converted.

How could it fail?

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That's right, MICROSOFT is an ANDROID vendor after Nokia gobble

Jess
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Nokia won't be changing its strategy

That could refer to the ongoing strategy of dropping operating systems and replacing them with ones incompatible with both hardware and software. Which is why I will never spend more than a throw-away amount of money on a Nokia phone ever again.

(How many is it so far, 4 operating systems killed?)

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Samsung claims it still plans to ship Tizen phones in Q2

Jess
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Why is it such a big deal to make a specific tizen phone?

Tizen, Android, Ubuntu, Firefox, Sailfish etc are all Linux based, why is there an issue? They should all run the same drivers. (Or at lease very similar ones)

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USB reversible cables could become standard sooner than you think

Jess
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100W?

That would be 20 Amps at 5 Volts.

Impressive with such a thin cable.

That sort of cable would make wiring ovens easy.

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BlackBerry not afraid to throw its mobe biz under a bus, says CEO Chen

Jess
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BB10 is nice.

It will be even better when the remaining important features finally make it over from BB7.

(Cyrillic phonetic keyboard layout for example, no good being able to switch to Russian, if you have no idea where the letters are.)

I really like the system, but it really annoys me, the things that it can't do that even BB OS 4 could.

(Like timed power on/off, and delete original message, in replies.)

It is a really good media player, and web browsing is pretty good. The Q5 was certainly worth the £185 I paid for it unlocked new from Amazon, and I'm very glad I couldn't bring myself to buy an Android.

It really would make sense if BB could replace all the high end BB7 phones with dual boot BB10/BB7 devices.

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Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app

Jess
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VK dropped support for Jabber about 9 months ago

Since then my total use probably adds up to about the same as a couple of typical days before this braindead move.

I noticed jabber stopped working for me on FB a few days ago, I had assumed it was because I'd disallowed app integration on websites, (a bit odd I thought), but perhaps they just turned it off.

I think my facebook use has been halved.

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Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

Jess
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I expect that the portfolio contains a couple of rock solid patents that would be tricky to work around, a few more that are solid but easy to work around if needed, and several hundred weak patents that wouldn't stand up to any serious scrutiny.

No-one is going to make a fuss about the weak ones when they are in a bundle with the strong ones, that is sold for a reasonable price and to anyone.

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Mad Raspberry Pi boffins ripped out its BRAINS and SHRANK them for your pleasure

Jess
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Re: I really can't see the point of this.

Because if they release a new faster Pi, it will be a simple upgrade for any kit based on it. (Assuming they don't do anything stupid.)

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Tamil Nadu's XP migration plan: Go Linux like a BOSS

Jess
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I suspect this is brinkmanship.

What dropping support actually means is that Patch Tuesday (13th?) May 2014, will not support XP, so until that date, (unless there is a hideously bad vulnerability discovered) there is no difference from before.

This is an extra month to play with, (providing you are willing to take the small risk of serious vulnerability.)

My expectation is that when MS don't backtrack, then they will roll it out over the next few months, but they are hoping for a U turn, so they don't have to.

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BlackBerry revenue slips below $1bn as users shun BB10

Jess
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Re: But BB10 is still catching up with BB7 features.

Yes. That is the main thing I dislike about the Q5. Other than that it is a great phone.

Where OS 4 - 6 (never tried 7) are better.

1. Far better autocorrect.

2. Phonetic Russian keyboard.

These two are very strange omissions, because surely they are simply data structures that could be re-used from the old OS.

3. Plain text setting for email accounts.

4. Delete quoted text from reply to email.

5. Timed on/off.

6. Alarm works if phone is off

7. Volume control acts as a cursor (OS 4) or there is a proper cursor.

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Huawei: We'll sell a dual-boot Android, Windows 8 smartphone because, well, isn't it obvious?

Jess
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At least when the version of WP becomes obsolete, hopefully you will be able to keep the device current with a cyanogen mod.

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Steve Ballmer: Thanks to me, Microsoft screwed up a decade in phones

Jess
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Re: IS MICROSOFT AN INNOVATOR?

Their innovation was to create the expectation that computers require lots of maintenance and are quite unreliable.

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Roku flashes $50 HDMI TV web dongle at anyone sick of Google's stick

Jess
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Simpler solution for audio

I have just got a bluetooth adapter for my hifi (digital out, to high end kit) and I am really pleasantly surprised by the quality. I was expecting it to merely be a convenience, however I am now seeing it as a serious source. (flacs playing on a Q5, maybe the qnx core is really makes it low jitter)

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Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge

Jess
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Re: That has got to be embarrassing for Microsoft

Because it was close enough to being a monopoly to make little difference.

Because the replacement was so poor and so incompatible (you couldn't install a vista machine on an AD with lots of policies and expect it to work properly without a lot of changes) that users avoided it.

The replacement for Vista, although a good version of windows, still had the same issues with migration.

And the replacement for that, although probably the soundest core ever for windows, had a UI that was a showstopper.

My opinion is that whenever they fix a bug that dates back to XP, they should fix it for XP too.

If it has a bug then they have sold a faulty product, and should fix it. If they fix it for other versions of windows, then they are pointing out a hole for malware authors to use. This is very close close to blackmail. (Of course many domestic users will just say sod Microsoft and buy an iPad or Nexus)

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