261 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007
Icons and Goop
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?)
And Would You Like....
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?.
Re: They call $1920.99 a "fire sale"??
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.
Watch the Funny Man!
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....
Re: An example to follow
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.
Video... not more video....
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.
Re: Wrong platform.
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.
Re: "puts his life on the line every day"
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
Re: Has anyone given thought to the fact that...
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.
Re: An Old Fogey Speaks
Punchcards? Yup. Back in my first turn through University.
An Old Fogey Speaks
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.
Time for the daily outage I guess.
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?)
Re: Strong password to protect pictures of kittens.... WHY??!
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!)
Another Tech That Should Die
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.
Re: thought I'd counter the inevitable outright negativity
@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.
Re: First Time Caller here...
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."
First Time Caller here...
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.)
Move Prices Out Of The Stratosphere.
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."
The Perils of Off-shoring
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?
Old Storage media?
Which Android versions?
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?
Re: my 2 cents
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.
Normal Person Here
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.
Re: Foot, meet bullet
Or like Starbucks announcing that there are absolutely no rat-droppings
in their coffee...
One word for you: civet.
Anyone heard from a server admin anywhere yet?
admins of at-risk servers should generate new public-private key pairs, destroy their session cookies, and update their SSL certificates before telling users to change every potentially compromised password
Anyone heard from a server admin anywhere yet? I have logins at probably 50 to 75 sites of various sizes and shapes, at least some of which should have been hit by Heartbleed.
To date I have not heard from a single one of them to say that they've fixed things up, or telling me to update passwords.
Re: Yelp ain't a bed of roses either
As we speak Yelp is blitzing our business phone each day trying to sell us... well, I don't know what because I never answer calls from 1-888, can't be bothered to listen past the first ten words of their voice mails, and I sure aren't about to waste time phoning them back.
I'm honestly not sure that anyone really uses Yelp for anything. We've never seen a referral from them.
Then again I stopped paying them any attention when I discovered that a glowing review from one of our clients had been spam filtered by them, with no notification, and no apparent way to appeal the move.
That's the kind of crap practices that makes me lose all interest in a company.
Re: Just great...
Silly me. I thought they could maybe FIX THE WEB SITE?
Thank you for your email. If you currently reside outside of the United States, but purchased DRAM during the class period while residing in any state or territory in the United States, you can still submit a claim. If you supply me with your mailing address, I would be happy to mail you a claim form. Alternately, there is the option to print a claim form from the website www.DRAMclaims.com.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
DRAM Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation
Re: Just great...
I just e-mailed them to ask how to do that, since their idiotic web form of course will not allow anything but a US mailing address.
Yes, on occasion people do actually LEAVE The Land Of The Free.
Fear Uncertainty Doubt
I am resigned to upgrading my Significant Other's XP box some time soon - probably just by just buying a new system.
What I dread is moving her files and such over from XP to Windows whatever we wind up with.
In particular Windows Live Mail. By which I mean, the Windows Live Mail that downloads and saves your e-mail on the hard-drive, not the Windows Live Mail that saves your e-mail in the cloud.
I still wake up with nightmares when I think of the horror show that was moving email from her old and horribly overstuffed Outlook Express (which honestly was just fine except that it was becoming unmanageable for some reason that I now forget but assume involved thousands of messages in her Inbox).
I'm assuming that moving her documents and email to a new Windows box will be anything but straightforward.
Seriously, I FEAR this job.
There are still people who use E-bay?
Cheaper phones? About time.
It's long overdue for a shake out in the smart phone market - no matter how I look at it the current $500-$1000 prices are way out of line.
Given how ubiquitous these phones have become, and how short the usual life span is for a bit of tech that gets carried in pockets and purses, and dropped regularly, I would expect prices for mid-range phones to settle in at couple of hundred dollars.
At that point I'd trade in at least once a year instead of waiting until my phone is well and truly dead.
Slightly More Useful Than MySpace
I've got a LinkedIn profile. Once every two years I even update it.
And I get no less than three or four e-mails every week from LinkedIn telling me something that I don't need to know about someone I don't remember ever linking to.
I honestly can't see the point of it. I know that I never came close to getting a job because of it. Or hiring anyone. I'm more likely to do either of those via Facebook or even Twitter.
I suspect that this is because I actually am drawn to content. Discussion. Thoughtfulness. Depth.
Stuff that LinkedIn can't or won't provide.
Besides - who in God's name wants to spend an afternoon reading other people's resumes?
Re: JB? I Dream of JB!
Will check it out!
Re: So why didn't you buy an iPhone?
Do they not sell or somehow block unlocked handsets in Canada?
Actually it's pretty much impossible to find a handset for sale except from the the cel providers.
You can order up a Google phone on-line of course, but aside from that you will have to look very long and very hard in Canada to find a company other than the big three selling handsets.
JB? I Dream of JB!
About three months ago my Nexus S gave up the ghost. Called my cel provider (Telus in Canada) to see about upgrading to a new phone. I got the Nexus on a three year contract and actually felt it was a reasonable deal. I'm perennially short on cash, so I can live with the contract. Or could.
After WAY too much time and energy I finally pinned them down: in order to upgrade to a current (ish) smartphone I would need to pay $150 and accept a MINIMUM increase in my monthly spend of $20. For two years.
Which would mean that the new phone would cost me about $650.
Except that the "cheapest" plan I could get on a new contract was not the same as what I have now. I would need to pay extra to keep my 2 gig monthly data cap, and my full voicemail service (not the "free" one that limits you to three messages in your inbox.)
They finally admitted that in order to upgrade the phone to a current one would cost me $150 PLUS I would now be paying $98 a month, instead of the $50 a month I pay now.
Meaning, to get a new phone and keep the service that I have would cost me an added $1300!!!!!
Which is how I came to by a cheap as dirt $100 pay as you go Samsung Discovery. Never heard of it? Neither had I.
Which arrived three months ago with Ice Cream Sandwich, and with no hope whatsoever of an upgrade, and because it's pretty much unknown, underpowered, and mediocre, little likelihood of a Cyanogenmod implementation.
The camera sucks rocks too.
I have to say that Android is pretty much a hopeless mess, with every phone, from every manufacturer, and many carriers, being it's own little customized item, which leaves 85% of the Android population powerless to do anything but wait for some large corporation to bother to upgrade their systems.
Why this matters: smartphones now handle just about anything that desktop computers did five years ago - e-mail, communications, banking, shopping, bill payments, remote access by VPN.
One hell of a lot of sensitive and private data is flying around, and the end users not only don't have any idea how secure their systems are, they have literally no way of improving the security of their smartphones.
None of us would accept it if Apple, or Microsoft, or (insert Linux distro here) said "Here's your OS, and don't ever expect us to fix any security problems, or make any improvements, or make it possible to replace it with a new version."
So why do we accept that from the companies that provide the OS for our phones?
Surely one massive lawsuit is pending at some point.
Email = Text
Every time you add pictures, or great swaths of white space, to a page, you've decreased the amount of text that is displayed.
Give me e-mail client that makes text the focus, and which can display a large number of useful things on one screen.
There's a reason why the basic e-mail client presentation hasn't changed since pretty much the inception of e-mail... it works.
How the Mighty Have Fallen
Wow. I can remember when you bought Sony stuff because it was, simply, the best.
Gee... what other tech company is seen as untouchable, very shiny and cool, has a fanatical fan base, and is seen as having success and stock value that can't be stopped?
I have to ask, who on earth would want to watch a videotaped version of a movie screening a theatre?
No, I've never bothered to download a camcordered movie, and doubt that I ever will. I can't imagine how it could be anything but awful, and (in my limited experience) I can't think of anything that I would want to watch that badly that I wouldn't just pay to see in the theatre - or wait for a DVD or screener to show up on Pirate Bay.
As an aside, a couple of months ago we saw an remarkably dimwitted woman arguing with the theatre employees when they busted her for videotaping the credits at the end of the movie.
I don't if she filmed the whole film, or just the credits (plausible enough), but standing in a movie theatre with a video camera AFTER THE HOUSE LIGHTS HAVE BEEN TURNED UP is about as dumb as it gets.
Re: We did question his use of plywood
I will continue to malign cheapo Chinese plywood.
Here in Canada our mighty leaders have determined that the best way to grow our economy is to ship raw logs to China, then ship the finished plywood back for use here.
It IS cheap, but as if often the case with Chinese products, you get what you pay for.
When we painted the stuff the top veneer BUBBLED.
"having experienced its first work-related riots"
Wow! Just the thing that every potential investor wants to hear!
- 'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
- Review Apple iPhone 6: Looking good, slim. How about... oh, your battery died
- Crawling from the Wreckage THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models
- +Comment EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
- Moon landing was real and WE CAN PROVE IT, says Nvidia