Re: Crap Crap Crap Crap
Actaully, I'll admit that it could be worse.
They could abandon the forums and install Disqus instead.
278 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007
Actaully, I'll admit that it could be worse.
They could abandon the forums and install Disqus instead.
Call me old school but I like to use these old fashioned things called WORDS to get information.
GIANT pictures are not words, and in 99% of cases do not add any useful INFORMATION. Even if they're real purdy.
WHITE SPACE is not words, and if the page has more white space than words, it is wasting my time.
And oh yeah, in case this is also planned: VIDEO is a horrid way to get across information, and it is exceedingly rare for me to watch any embedded video.
I've been a Reg reader for more years than I can remember, and it's one of maybe two or three sites that I have consistently kept open in my browser for all of those years.
If you go for the stupid eye-candy instead of content I'll be gone.
(Paris because, like this redesign, it's all about style, not substance.)
I still think that BlackBerry's one saving grace may be the decision to focus on adults and corporate customers instead of teenagers.
Note the current lack of pink phones in their line up of devices.
They're selling to the people who value service and security, and who will tend to build loyalty to the company that serves them well. What they're not doing is selling to the kids and hipsters who can be swayed by the latest shiny shiny bauble.
lone worker efficiency
The kind of euphemism that explains why trade unions are still popular.
"Jones, we're letting you go, as you spent five point seven minutes in the toilet, and another three point six at the coffee machine before returning to work."
"And just what were you doing in that closet that caused your phone to change elevation repeatedly and quickly for ten minutes?"
Somewhere around 1978, in the age when 8-track tape was king, I worked for a stereo store that had as a sideline, a "service" that allowed people to make one off "personal copies" of commercial tapes.
We had a high speed duplicator, and blank cartridges of various lengths, and a library of popular tapes, and would even set up the original and blank on the machine for you.
The claim was that as long as the customer pushed the big "Start" button, it was legal.
Then there were the legions of people in the 90s who argued with great vigor that copyright and other laws "don't apply to the Internet."
Face it folks, just because you think your scheme to game the system if cool doesn't give you a get out of jail free card.
YMMV, but 97% of people have never changed out a battery, and probably 75% have never changed an SD card in their phones. It would be just as sensible to complain that you can't upgrade the RAM or swap in a new processor.
Likewise I chuckle whenever someone suggests that two microscopic speakerettes two inches apart could ever offer reasonable sound. Sorry folks, but there are laws of physics involved, and no speakers that will fit into a phone, or even a laptop or tablet, will ever offer high quality audio.
(Then again we're all used to MP3 quality through earbuds or Dre Beats, so maybe the standards have just dropped that far.)
Finally, I know this is a bit much to ask, but How the hell is the damned thing for making phone calls? Especially in fringe areas.
I took the ultimate option a month ago and just shut my account down. Never looked back.
I shut down my Facebook account entirely, then created a new one with a bogus name and no identifying information. Carefully invited the ten or twenty people who I really wanted along (of the 150+ that over the years had been added) and things are much more manageable.
Likewise, I'm pretty brutal when it comes to unsubscribing from email lists, Twitter and RSS feeds. If I even think I wouldn't miss it - blam - it's gone. I generally keep thing to about fifteen Twitter feeds that I follow, and a dozens RSS feeds in TinyTinyRSS.
Seriously, in this age you really need to say "No," an awful lot more than you would even five years ago.
@ParisHilton to keep things topical.
Word has long been that the Canadian government (or their American masters) will continue to overrule any takeover of BlackBerry by Lenovo or any other Chinese company.
The theory is that with both governments still using tons of BlackBerry phones it would seem a bad idea to have them manufactured by a country that would happily add spyware.
On the other hand Emperor Harper just signed a big fat "free trade" agreement with China, which will more or less let the Chinese ignore any Canadian law that gets in the way of their business interests.
Too obvious; Didn't read the stupid article.
Suffice to say the author likely missed the points being made, probably read a review, not the book, and came to it with so many pre-conceived notions that he wouldn't have absorbed the central thesis in any event.
One of the common veterinary diagnoses out here on the West Coast of Canada is stoned dogs.
For some reasons a lot of canines have a fondness for the herb, often finding carefully hidden plantations deep in the forest.
Or maybe that's just British Columbia dogs...
I went on holiday and 4 weeks passed, came back and I hadn't heard anything. So I went to the shop and asked what was going on, the phone hadn't even left the store to be fixed. Took them another 3 weeks after this to send it off to BlackBerry, at which point it came back fixed.
This is one of my real big gripes with BlackBerry - absolutely no end user support. No matter what your problem is, you have to work through either a retailer or wireless company to get near the people who might actually solve a problem.
That can do nothing but delay repairs or service issues.
At least with Android you have a reasonable likelihood of finding someone on-line who knows the underlying code well enough to figure out a fix. And if that fails, you can actually file a bug report. Or install Cyanogenmod.
No such options exists for BlackBerry.*
* Yes, yes, Crackberry does exist, and Blackberry's own forums, but compared the Android equivalents they really don't cut it. Too often the answer that you get back is either "That's a feature, not a bug" or "Reset the device to factory install."
potentially, their lives were at risk
Actaully looked into that old claim a while back, and found that cops don't even make the top ten in terms of dangerous jobs.
They do though have much better PR departments than most construction workers.
Beyond that, there's actually one way they could have got the guy out: STAND THERE AND WAIT.
Seriously, how long would the guy sit in a toilet before coming out, hands up?
My Z10 keeps developing just plain weird problems for no obvious reason.
First, after two weeks, it suddenly refused to send group text messages.
Then after another two weeks, it stopped connecting to my Bluetooth handsfree.
This week though, a new problem - suddenly one of the three email accounts set up on the phone refuses to send if the phone is connected to WIFI.
The other two work fine, but the third will not send unless WIFI is turned off.
In each case a troll though the BB forums finds that these are BB problems - it's not just me.
These sorts of things, and utterly abysmal support for anything Google, are why I'll be back to Android by the end of the year.
There's lots to like in BlackBerry, but you have to balance the strengths with the weaknesses.
Adding insult to injury is the repeated suggestion that you should reinstall the OS to solve problems - what is this? Windows 95?
Burner phones though are purchased with no backtrace to the owner (cash) and are used generally for an illicit act, and then dumped immediately after.
Damn. I had visions of Clooney lining up at Wal-Mart with arm full of cheap Android devices.
Pseudoscientific wank from the pages of audiophile magazines.
Also on Twitter: @wathifi
“With these [speaker stands], our kit sounded ponderous, with a flabby low-end” http://tmblr.co/ZSi1ar1RoDr9o
“We like the warm, full-bodied and gentle sound that these slim wooden stands bring out of our reference” http://tmblr.co/ZSi1ar1RerMT0
“For best results have the arrow pointing in the direction of the flow of music. For example, NAS to Router...” http://tmblr.co/ZSi1ar1H7i3Kn
Count me among those who cannot understand why some designers INSIST on moving or removing more or less universally standard features.
Maximize/Minimize buttons are one. Moving them from the left to the right hand side without an obvious and simple way of changing it back is another.
Despite what a lot of younguns might believe, there are some things in computing UI that really have, if not matured, at least have become defacto standards.
Just because you and your mates think some new idea is super cool doesn't mean that world plus dog wants to deal with it.
(That goes double for inventing your own inscrutable icon set.)
Feel obliged to note that I cannot recall ever seeing an iPhone that didn't wrap it's incredible silky loveable design perfection in a nasty cheap-ass plastic case. Often bedazzled.
My eternal gripe has been with companie that INSIST on putting stupid stickers on things. Stickers that serve no purpose. Stickers that cannot ever be entirely removed, or which leave behind some kind of eternal glue film that will never, ever look clean.
At one point I even managed to get Brother to replace the handset, the paper tray, and at least one other removable part that came with a brand new fax machine, arguing that the garish stupid stickers made it unsuitable for a professional environment.
Icons? Like it or not the icons used by Microsoft are more or less the defacto standard. Why oh why can't we also define an Open Source standard for common icons? Why does EVERY Open Source software insist of inventing new icons for common activities?
Yes LibreOffice, I'm talking to you.
Then again, after six months I'm still finding the icons used on my Blackberry Z10 to be utterly unintuitive and baffling.
(Paris, surely iconic?)
The $949 model turns into $1,400 by the time you add on AppleCare and charging cords.
One can surely marvel at Apple's overall ability to suck dollars out of users, but it still staggers me to realize how many of them are still buying Extended Warranties.
Even the most uninformed shopper these days knows that such things are primarily just a very large profit margin for the companies selling them; predicated on the assumption that a) most of a particular product won't fail, or b) most of a particular product's purchasers can't or won't bother to try and claim money from it.
But hey, once you've paid them just shy of a grand, what another $100 for the privilege of paying them another $79 if you break it?.
Yeah, but you know those Americans - if you give them cheap cel phone service next thing you know they'll be demanding universal health care.
Admittedly, TL;DR entirely, mostly because I've heard more or less the same hackneyed arguments for many, many years.
It borders on idiotic to suggest that (lacking lots of cheap space flight options to exploit extra-planetary resources) a) infinite growth (of anything) is possible; or b) that any specific resource will not, eventually run out.
You can debate the end dates for either, but cannot reasonably or intelligently argue that either will not happen.
And that's leaving aside the varying definitions of "growth" that only measure selective targets that suit the people who most stand to profit from "growth."
I am not remotely in the neo-Luddite, hemp will save us, and we should all ride bicycles and eat home brewed tofu camp, but neither am I so blinkered as to ignore the very real consequences of our current business and economic practices.
What we know:
More industrial production almost invariably leads to more green house gas production, or, as we called it in olden days, "pollution."
By "pollution" I mean "stuff that is unhealthy for people, animals, or plants."
Somewhere along the line we have been convinced that the almighty need for "growth" trumps any need for clean water, air, or even a habitable planet. Is this in any way sane or reasonable?
In the absence of government regulation many, if not most corporations will pollute with impunity, will drive incomes down endlessly, and will as quickly as possible exploit a given resource and then leave the clean up for whoever is left behind.
Go on, show me a country without strong regulation where these things don't happen.
No matter how you look at it (and debunking fairly ancient Club of Rome projections is really quite beside the point) the trend is towards more people, more use of finite resources, and more pollutants dumped into our environment.
Regardless of "growth," there comes a point when people start dying off, or critical resources start disappearing. And no, recycling old Christmas tat won't fix it - only in science fiction is any industrial process 100%. And the idea that you can always just substitute resource A for resource B is equally daft: all that does is speed up the eventual depletion of Resource A.
At some point you wind up at Resource Z, and need to figure out how to drive an entire global economy with nothing but lead and belly-button lint. It may be possible, but I don't want to be around when it happens.
It is telling that the people who write drivel like this article never really offer up a solution to these problems, aside from the magical promise that either the "free market" or technology will fix everything.
When people like Worstall start telling us explicitly how they will maintain endless "growth," while simultaneously reducing the amount of pollutants generated, and how they will deal with the eventual loss of resources, I'll bother to read their articles.
"Er, we're not all going to die. Sorry about that"
Er, yes we are. All of us. The only question is how fast, and how soon.
An Canada. My Bank (Scotiabank) STILL refuses to use case sensitive passwords, and STILL refuses to allow "special" characters.
However, the fact that they ask me the name of my first pet makes feel very secure....
In other app stores, particularly the Play store, the good apps are chosen by the market, as it should be, and float to the top of the search results. Bad apps may get into the store, but they sink to the bottom of the results.
Really? I despair every time I try to find a useful app on the Play store.
As far as I can tell the ratings are useless - half of the reviews are obvious astro-turf - I mean REAL obvious, written by the developer obvious - and the other half are useless one line "Hate it" trashes that don't tell me anything useful.
Then there was the review that read "The app is still downloading to my phone, but it's really amazing!"
I'd guess that 60% of what's on the Play store is utter crap, and thirty percent is overpriced or lacking significant features. The great challenge is that it's pretty much impossible to tell which is which without actually downloading and installing the damned thing.
Somewhere in all of this there's got to be a way to make money with a site that has actual live human beings testing out apps, or at least reading and approving reviews.
Despite the seemingly endless onslaught of such things, I will hardly ever click on video - on news sites, on Facebook or Twitter, or on The Reg.
There are very, very few times when video is the best or more efficient way to get information across - especially technical information, and I will always prefer to read than watch and listen. In my experience the vast majority of "informational" videos can be summed up in one short paragraph with no loss of meaning.
Although I'm sure the video is cute, I didn't watch it. There are, simply, better things to do with my time.
Why aren't we hiring them to run e-everything.gov.uk, and offer really useful online services?
I've always thought: why doesn't <large company or government> just hire Amazon to design and run their web systems?
Whatever you may think of Amazon's business practices, they have by far the most consistently easy to use retail front end anywhere on the 'net.
Dunno - I've had more than a few issues with the BB10 browser.
Followed by a realization that NONE of the big guys offers a BB 10 version fo their browsers - no Chrome, no Firefox, no Opera.... so, aside from a couple of "never heard of it" alternatives, I'm stuck with the factory browser.
As much as I like some things about the Blackberry, the Apple-esque lack of choices and options is feeling a bit uncomfortable.
Always wondered just how dangerous being a cop really is. Turns out it doesn't even make it into the top ten.
1. Logging workers
2. Fishers and related fishing workers
3. Aircraft pilot and flight engineers
5. Structural iron and steel workers
6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
7. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
8. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers
9. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
10. Construction laborers
a police officer shot and critically wounded a man who drew a handgun
Um, it is not unheard of for cops to claim that the dead guy had a weapon when in fact none seems to have existed. It is also not unheard of for cops to gather immediately after a shooting to "get their story straight.'
Pretty much every Canadian is familiar with the Robert Dziekański murder, during which a group of RCMP tasered an unarmed man to death.
(Oh sorry, he had threatened them with a stapler! And yelled at them too!)
Only later was it found that the cops involved had met secretly at a family member's house, presumably to make sure they all were singing the same song.
The story told by police turned out to be complete fiction, and it was only because of bystander video that they were forced to admit as much.
At this point the only reasonable action is to assume that the police are lying in situations like this, and that the ordinary citizen who has been killed or wounded probably was not at fault.
Punchcards? Yup. Back in my first turn through University.
Before some idiot youngun' jumps in with the usual nonsense, let's squash the notion that "Old People" will need and/or want this phone.
Us old folks have been using computers since before you were alive, and are very happy with out latest iPhone or Android device. Although less so with my BlackBerry Z10...
Just because we're old enough to remember Zmodem and WinFax doesn't mean we're technological illiterates.
Seriously, around here we just assume that once or twice a day the Internet will just stop happening for no obvious reason.
Such is life with Shaw as your ISP.
Personally I think that they're all pissed off at us for using Netflix at $9.95 a month instead of paying them $75 a month for a bundle of mostly crappy cable channels....
(Is it just me, or has "routing issues" become the new catch-all excuse for any Internet outage?)
Currently the weakest password that I use is in fact at my bank. They still insist that passwords are not case sensitive, and won't allow "special" characters.
But they do provide significant added security by demanding to know my mother's "maiden" name.
Any Canadian boy can tell you for just about any purpose, but especially if you're using some kind of power drill to drive screws home, the Robertson is the one and only choice.
I still can't imagine why the easily stripped and screwed up Phillips, or the "Whoops damn it slipped out of the slot" regular screw are so popular. Especially in the US of America.
Then again, a country that so solidly refuses to move into the modern age of screw technology would probably also refuse steadfastly to accept metric measurement....
On the question of the actual screwdrivers, I once worked for a guy who had a set of insane Swiss made screw drivers. Seventy-Five Dollars Each!
They NEVER slipped. Ever. And you could use them all day with no hand fatigue.
(Mine's the one with the red Robbie in the pocket!)
Am I alone in sometimes abandoning forms and forum posts just because the CAPTCHA is so stupidly useless that I can't be bothered?
Am I alone in finding that usually I have refresh the damned thing three or four times before I can even GUESS what letters or numbers it wants?
Am I alone in wishing that the idiots who use this technology would at least tell me if it's case sensitive?
I suspect that CAPTCHAs have become like copy protection schemes in the eighties and nineties - intensely irritating for end users, and useless against the people that you're trying to block.
"The real question is, how cheap can they make it?"
Lithium is relatively cheap. Lots of it around, and it tends to be produced by very large operations who minimize production costs.
Seriously, I'll use this just to piss off my evil scumbag wireless provider.
Except that I can only use it with WIFI because the wireless data charges would be through the roof.
@RRoker I'm with you. I use my BB for email, documents, and related tasks way, way, way more than I use it as a phone. Even though I have a lot of issues with BB OS10, the on screen keyboard, predictive text, and general ease of writing is not among them.
It's just brilliant, and I can see the wide screen making it much better.
I'm also with you on the sorry state of Google integration - I was very surprised how poorly the BlackBerry plays with Google services, and see this as a major weakness.
And yes, although you can sideload apps from the Play Store, it's really pretty hit and miss how well they will work. Beyond that, many of the BB native apps that I've installed are a version or two behind their Android cousins.
You simple cannot assume that you can just install and Android app and have it work fully and reliably.
Short of BlackBerry actually paying people to write good, up to date native apps, I can't see this situation changing any time soon.
Ultimately though the thing I've learned since getting my Z10 is to quickly differentiate between people who actually use their smartphone for business, and the teenagers who are annoyed because it won't do the stupid kid stuff that is so common with Android and Apple devices.
The world does not need more fart apps - it needs to be able to edit Word docs on the fly.
Oh yeah, been through the Crackberry and Blackberry forums. Sum total of knowledge there is a) Restart your phone b) delete the group c) rest the phone to factory state.
Nothing that really addresses the underlying problem.
HOWEVER, only two days after tweeting them Blackberry Twitter support responded. I immediately replied, and expect to hear back in another two or three days.
In the words of Sloan, "I was underwhelmed, if that's a word."
About two months ago the spouse and I were ready for new smartphones, so we ordered up two BlackBerrys - a Z10 for me, and a Q10 for her.
Reason? Partly Canadian pride. Partly because she owns a bunch of BB stock. Partly because I use my phone as a primary computing device most days - especially email and text creation and such - and figured that BB should do that well.
Upside: I love the hardware. The on screen keyboard is so much better than my old Android phone that it's a true joy. And the predictive text on the Blackberry is stunningly good.
Downsides: Android apps work, sort of, sometimes, to various degrees. Native apps are few and far between. Integration with Google products is spotty and occasionally just plain boneheaded in how bad they work. I was REALLY surprised by that.
Biggest downside for me though is in support: there is none. Period.
BlackBerry does not offer ANY support to end users, Nothing, At All, and is explicit in saying so.
When a serious problem emerged (suddenly can't text message a group of more than ten people) I found that:
- There was no way to get support from Blackberry
- my wireless provider claims it's software bug, and not their problem.
- the company that sold me the phone will exchange it for a new one, but that's it - no other support.
I'm the first to criticize Google for lousy support, but this takes the cake. And at least with Android the core OS is more or less open sourced, so there is almost always someone who can fix something, or at least tell you why it doesn't work.
I'm not a big corporate customer, but I can't see me ever buying another Blackberry product.
Lord yes, those endless and unstoppable LinkedIn emails!
a) Have a LinkedIn profile. May look at it once or twice a year to make sure nothing is significantly outdated. I don't know what actual use it's ever been to me, but as long as I keep unsubbing every time LinkedIn emails me it seems to be pretty low maintenance, and not likely to hurt me.
b) Have a Facebook page for our business, for sole purpose of providing an easy way to share pictures and videos of clients' dogs that we walk. Good for that, but not much else. We get business by word of mouth, not social media.
c) Deleted my whole personal Facebook account a year or so back and created a new one with a fake name and no details of any sort. Please don't tell Google or Facebook. Allowed me to silently lose about 100+ "Friends" who had already been blocked anyways, and invite a small handful of family and genuine "friends." Signal to Noise much improved!
d) No, I will not give you my cel phone number as a security measure.
e) And sure as hell NO!!!! I will NOT give you access to my e-mail contact list. By far the most evil thing ever invented.
f) Yelp? Seriously? Has anyone ever actually got business from them? Or trusted the reviews?
I guess I'm spoiled by several years of Linux, but does Windows still require reboots after installs and upgrades?
One of the great things about Palm Pilots was that at the end of the day you'd sit it in its cradle, press one button, and the thing would sync everything on it with your desktop.
I would pay real money to have the same thing with my smartphone instead of relying on Google or Apple to save stuff to the cloud.
(Then again I'm using a Blackberry and a Linux desktop, which is complete waste of time.)
When I started shopping for a new smartphone last month I had two specific goals: to pay something like $250 CDN, and to buy it outright without giving more money to our greedy wireless service provider. I absolutely refuse to spend the better part of a thousand bucks on something that will likely last me no more than 1 1/2 to 2 years.
The Nexus 5 was the number one contender, and the Moto G would have been if I could buy it directly in Canada instead of handing money to Bell or Telus.
As it turned out I got a good deal on a Blackberry Z10, which I'm liking an awful lot. The final deciding factor was a presumed likelihood that the BB would be good for writing e-mails and text messages, and generally being used for text communications as well as voice.
And it is - the predictive text is amazing - much better than what I've had in ICS or even Jellybean.
Ultimately though this story makes me happy - the Moto E is another phone that is more than adequate for most people, and priced sensibly. That will tend to force down prices from other manufacturers, and will encourage people to just buy a phone instead of locking into some wireless company's two year plan in order to get it for "free."
Who on earth thought that it was a good idea to outsource the US space program to a foreign country?
Did no-one consider this possibility?
Further down the road I can see the day when Americans are SHOCKED, SHOCKED I SAY, to learn that they no longer produce computers, telephones, toasters, condoms, and tube socks, and that the Chinese consequently have them over an economic barrel.
Was it only a hundred years ago when governments thought that self-sufficiency was a good strategic move?
I give up. What the PUK are MVNO customers and MNO customers?
My immediate question is: which Android versions, and how does this affect the security?
It's still possible to buy a brand new phone running ICS which will never, ever be upgraded. What does that do to the security of email, banking, and other information that is commonly access via a smartphone?
FWIW I did clean Mint install last month - new hard drive - and it was ridiculously painless.
It took all of fifteen minutes, including remembering how to disable Caps Lock, plus fifteen more to install the two or three non-default apps that I use.
I shudder to think about how much I used to dread the regular Windows re-installs back in the day.
Like, oh, 95% of the people on the planet, don't care about the lack of an SD slot; have never changed a battery in a phone, ever; and can't think of any way I'd fill up even 16 gigs.
But I DO care about a price that's closer to $300 than $700. I'm of the firm opinion that we've been getting robbed blind when buying smartphones. Given their ubiquity the prices should be a lot, lot less than what is charged now.