* Posts by Barry Rueger

324 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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Embracing the life-changing qualities of USB power packs and battery extenders

Barry Rueger

Re: elegant metallic finishing

Ah yes. The days when US auto companies charged you hundreds of dollars for the "optional" automatic transmission on a car that couldn't be purchased with a clutch.

Which, to think about it, is the business model for half of the companies on the Internet.

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Duncan Campbell: GCHQ and me and a roomful of Reg readers

Barry Rueger

Clarification needed

Speaking on behalf of an awful lot of people on the West Coast of Canada, I need to ask:

When you say “a gangly fellow with a stutter who loved long-distance running and mushrooms,” do you mean mushrooms, or MUSHROOMS......

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'Fix these Windows 10 Horrors': Readers turn their guns on Redmond

Barry Rueger

Phew!

Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed!

My experience is rather different: for at least four years my Linux system, and Open/Libre Office, has worked with minimal problems.

Aside from figuring out where Mint has hidden the "Disable CapsLock" setting.

In fact, the reason I stay with Linux is because it doesn't have the problems that seem to be endless in Windows boxes.

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Slashdot, SourceForge looking for new owners after parent dumps them on the web's doorstep

Barry Rueger

Re: SoylentNews

I too jumped ship to SoylentNews and have to say that it seems to do just fine. But hey, with User ID 66, I may be biased.

Mostly I like the the overall attitude of trying to respond to what the community wants, or at least needs, which is refreshing after the last few years of Slash madness.

Worth a visit.

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Voyager's Golden Record now free to download

Barry Rueger

Re: Here...

Thank you! My thought exactly - why the hell do you write an article like this and not add the link to the darned page??

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OnePlus 2: The smartie that's trying to outsmart Google's Android

Barry Rueger

Can they fix Android?

I'm one of those who finds that every iteration of Android breaks something else that I actually use.

(Actually that goes for every Google product these days.)

I honestly can't fathom what their Contact app is useful for, and why it randomly changes stuff without asking me.

Today though I was reminded once again of my number one gripe with Android: the insane limit on text messages.

I think this appeared in ICS, or maybe JB, but Google in their wisdom decided that Thou Shall Not Send a Text message To More Than Ten People.

In an emergency there is a list of 39 people to whom I need to send a text message.

Google does not allow that, and after about ten texts are sent I need to approve EVERY SINGLE ONE by clicking "Allow."

There is no conceivable reason for this, and many, many people have chimed in on the bug reports, but Google refuses to bend.

Sigh. I may need to bite the bullet and go Cyanogenmod once again.

The point being, I shouldn’t have to root my phone for basic functionality.

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GOOGLE GMAIL ATE MY LINUX: Gobbled email enrages Torvalds

Barry Rueger

On No. Another Google Screw-up ahead?

Is it just me, or does Google manage to break everything that they create?

Certainly search is not as useful as it used to be, the new Contacts thingy sucks big time, Maps has become just plain irritating, and the new Gmail interface looks like a dud.

And Android... don't get me started.

Google's excellent spam filtering was one of the very few things that have made me stay with Gmail.

Lately though I'm seeing hundreds of spam filtered messages each day in the spam folder. A month ago it may have been a couple dozen.

Sure enough, it looks like Google is "improving" their spam handling.

I expect nothing but a complete disaster.

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GM's cheaper-than-Tesla 'leccy car tested at batt-powered data centre

Barry Rueger

Say what?

"Electric vehicle batteries are still capable of holding a lot of their capacity when drivers choose to replace them in order to maintain their vehicle's range capabilities."

Am I alone in reading that sentence three times before even guessing extactly what it said?

Somehow from a fine British publication I expect reasonable grammar.

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Abort, abort! Metal-on-metal VIOLENCE as Google's robo-car nearly CRASHES

Barry Rueger

Audi Drivers Throughout History

The year was 1986. A co-worker had just bought a used Audi.

A friend visiting from France looked at him, looked at the car, and moaned, "Oh Peter! How could you buy this? All of the Audi drivers are - how do you say? - Assholes!"

Of course for at least the last couple of decades Volkswagon drivers seem to have taken over that title.

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British banks consider emoji as password replacement

Barry Rueger

Re: Great Idea!

Been asking my bank fot three years, and it's still alpha letters, not case sensitive, numbers, and no, repeat NO special characters.

Their argument, with an apparently straight face, is that anything better would confuse customers.

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Auto-playing video ads? People love auto-playing video ads – Twitter

Barry Rueger

Phew!

Boy, am I ever glad I've got my Ello account to fall back on.

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Cinnamon 2.6 – a Linux desktop for Windows XP refugees

Barry Rueger

So Far they haven't F*cked it up!

I swear to God that Mint is the only system I use (computers, phones, TVs etc.) that hasn't managed to add an "improvement" that made it seriously less usable.

Somehow the choices they make are sensible and don't force users into some dramatic new environment.

Yes, I'm talking about you, Unity.

Mint seems to avoid "change for the sake of change," or even "change for the sake of OMFG LOOK AT THIS COOL THING I DID!!"

As a bonus, the Mint team actually reads, and even finds fixes for, bug reports.

I've tried a lot of software over the years, and multiple OSs. I don't crave novelty, I just want to get work done.

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'Lemme tell you about my trouble with girls ...' Er, please don't, bro-ffin

Barry Rueger

Bye bye Broffin

Come on folks. No organization is going to fire a Nobel laureate because of one stupid joke.

If nothing else, the PR boffins would have told the bosses to sit tight til the smoke cleared in a couple of days and it was all forgotten.

More likely the "joke" was the last straw in a long history of offensive behaviour.

Somewhere Dr Broffin likely has a big fat personnel file that has "Your last warning." on the second to last page.

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Fire, fire! Just move your data centre onto my lawn ... Oh rats!

Barry Rueger

Re: Power of Three

Arguably what every business needs is a plan for what to do when the technology just fails entirely.

Even if it amounts to "We'll email all of our clients from the boss' Hotmail account."

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Nobel bro-ffin: 'Girls in the lab fall in love with me ... then start crying'

Barry Rueger

Such impressive trolling!

It probably speaks volumes that it is nearly impossible to tell which comments here are honest debate, and which are well crafted trolls.

As regards the good Doctor, sometimes in life the only reasonable response is, "Wow, you really are a fucking idiot, aren't you?"

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Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht to spend LIFE in PRISON without parole

Barry Rueger

Not a Victim, He's a Volunteer

Even before Snowden I was always pretty sure that doing illegal stuff on the Internet was not an entirely good idea.

More to the point, operating a large, lucrative, and very public web site selling drugs is pretty much guaranteed to bring the authorities knocking.

By the time that Silk Road started being mentioned in the main stream media it was 99.99% inevitable that whoever was behind it would get shut down, arrested, and dropped in jail for a very long time.

If DPR didn't see that coming he was an idiot.

If he did see it coming, and didn't head for some no-extraditable country he's still an idiot.

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Android M's Now on Tap cyber-secretary is like Clippy on Class A drugs

Barry Rueger

Yeah, but what will Google break?

My girlfriend is still using XP because "upgrades always break things."

She's right. Except for my Linux box, which actually seems to upgrade things AND make them better, I can't recall an upgrade in years that didn't screw up some perfectly good feature.

Phones, computers, TVs.... I've seen all of them knackered by an upgrade.

But Google is the worst. I can't recall a Google product that is as usable as it was three years ago. Any number of core Google services are THAT close to being abandoned because they have eliminated some feature that I use, or have been changed in enough inexplicable ways that I can't be bothered.

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Factory reset memory wipe FAILS in 500 MEELLION Android mobes

Barry Rueger

Lawyers needed

Given that for many people the phone has become the primary computing device, including banking and other financial type transactions, it's really a pretty serious problem that it can be nearly impossible to get the OS updated.

My guess is that sooner or later someone - Google, carrier, manufacturer, maybe all three - is going to get clobbered with a massive lawsuit alleging significant negligence in not providing timely and easy security updates.

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City of birth? Why password questions are a terrible idea

Barry Rueger

My bank

The weakest passwords in use are for my bank, who claim - seriously - that allowing upper case and non-alphabetic characters would be too confusing for customers.

Unlike questions about my childhood, answers to which have either been forgotten or suppressed decades earlier.

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Word to your mother: Office 2016 preview flung at world + dog

Barry Rueger

No rush here

In this household we're still on Office 2013, and just for Word.

I only use LibreOffice, and find it fine for everything that I need. The SO uses Word because that's she's always needed. She relies on some pretty funky MS Word docs that I'm sure would choke in LibreOffice.

Now, why I am unlikely to toss more money at Microsoft: Somewhere along the line after my Android phone updated to Lollipop I added Office Mobile - it's entirely likely that I'll occasionally need to edit an MS document, and it was free.

Several weeks later someone sent me a .doc Word doc, and I thought "Oh good! I can do quick edit on my phone and send it back!"

You guessed it, Office Mobile won't let you edit a .doc file.

OK, it's am old format, but it's still used a lot in the Real World.

I was not impressed.

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Why should I learn by ORAL tradition? Where's the DOCUMENTATION?

Barry Rueger

Oh why this hatred for records?

Agree on bad training regimes, but this:

As a result, learning how to use one of the most important software systems at the company has become an oral tradition passed from one hapless employee to the next. When a casual shift worker turns up for the first time, he must approach the Tent Cubicle of the CMS Elders and sit around a campfire to hear a wizened office Gandalf recite obscure GREP expressions from cultural memory.

... perfectly describes our residential strata Council's approach to recordkeeping.

Meeting minutes? Records of votes by Council? Records of how a $30,000 purchase was initiated and approved? Records of near lawsuits averted at the last possible second? Reports on engineering studies indicating repairs needed in the hundreds of thousands of dollars?

Those that exist are so obscure and hard to access that they are of no use in tracking anything.

Instead we rely on a long, arbitrary, contradictory and (I suspect) made up on the spot list of rules that all must follow but which exist only in the minds of the person speaking them.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying: when you see bad documentation and a lack of training you need to first ask, "Who benefits from this?"

Because someone always does, and if you can identify them you can find a solution.

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Hi, Fi: Google JOWL-SLAPS mobile bigguns with $20/mo wireless service

Barry Rueger

I'm torn....

On one hand, I really don't want any more Google tentacles in my life. I'm already trying to extract myself from as much of the Googleverse as is practical.

Still, as a victim of the Canadian cel phone triumvirate I would be VERY interested in this.

Right now I pay $50 CDN/month, which includes TWO GIGABYTES of data. Adding another couple of gigs would cost me half that much again.

If I wanted a "free" phone I would have to cancel this plan, and open a new one which would - I kid you not - increase my monthly spend to $100 for exactly the same package.

Needless to say I'm now among those who buys phones outright and who will hang on to this grandfathered plan until the execs at Telus are long dead.

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Because the server room is certainly no place for pets

Barry Rueger

No really, wire recorders have a much warmer sound.....

Ah yes, spoken with the authority I once heard from a radio engineer* who steadfastly refused to swap out ancient reel to reel tape decks** for computer audio editing and serving. Or even to develop a plan to replace thirty year old mixing consoles (Penny & Giles faders in a McCurdy) for brand new ones that had actually been purchased.

Or the guy who claimed repeatedly that it was not possible to eliminate the "Buzz" in the audio chain that happened every morning at 10am. A subsequent engineer finally untangled and removed the mound of cabling behind the mixing board (3 feet wide x 2 feet deep!) and voila - no buzz.

I tend to stay one generation behind the latest and greatest in software and hardware, and have been known to rescue some pretty old machines, but I also understand that there comes a time when it makes no sense whatsoever to hold together old technology.

"We built systems 30 years ago that are still running" always sounds to me like "We've got a box of thirty year old components, some of which aren't manufactured any more, and the balance of which have been repaired several times."

* "Engineer" in North American broadcasting is not someone with an actual engineering degree. It's the guy who fixes stuff around the radio station.

** Actually, two very ancient and knackered Ampex machines were eventually stolen from deep storage. The insurance settlement bought four new PCs with audio software!

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Tech leaders: Can you predict the future? Tell us all about it

Barry Rueger

Tech leaders: Can you predict the future?

You bet!

First, it's a no-brainer that 3D TVs will remove all of the old 2D ones from the market.

You know, just like DAB totally eliminated AM and FM across the globe?

And Google Glass will surely be a positive and disruptive force.

Internet of Things!

Wearable Tech!

Big honkin' smart watches!

Seriously though, given the realizations that pretty much everything that travels via the Internet gets hoovered up and examined by Big Government, I predict a resurgence of fax machines, with some heavy duty encryption added.

Oh yeah, almost forgot: THE CLOUD! THE CLOUD!

(If you gather that I think that predicting the tech future is largely a mug's game, you're correct.)

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Pebble Time Steel ready in May. Plus: Now you can strap on sensors, GPS ... Geiger counter

Barry Rueger

A Minor Quibble

I may just buy a smartwatch ... if I ever see one that isn't insanely butt ugly!

I've watched a raft of these things being enthused over recently, and every one of them has been big, ugly, and looks like it would eventually cause elbow injury hauling it around.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

Barry Rueger

Who Doesn't Hate Upgrades?

The Significant Other in this house is still running Windows XP, and steadfastly refuses to upgrade software because, in her words, "It ALWAYS breaks something."

Sadly she's right.

Strange thing is, the one exception seems to be my Mint Linux box, that merrily upgrades everything without a thought, and which thus far has had only one or two niggling issues with software changes.

So why is it that I tend to dread software upgrades on our Windows machines, or my Android phone, or even my goddamn Smart TV?

It honestly feels like the attitude is a) we have your money. b) unless you want to give us more money for a new version you don't matter.

And what company any longer thinks it's acceptable to create "solutions" that only work on either Apple or Windows? Particularly stuff that's "cloud" based?

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A truly SHOCKING tale of electrified PCs

Barry Rueger

What? Just electricity? LUXURY!

While managing a radio station at an unnamed Canadian University we decided to purchase a group of new PCs, and chose to do so through the university computer services - they're experts, right?

Imagine our surprise a couple of months later when they started to fail.

"Fail" meaning loud noises, smoke, and a great long blast of sparks out the back of the PSU that honestly looked like a roman candle!

Thankfully that was the PC sitting on the desk in front of me, and not one in an unoccupied studio!

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Don't touch me up there! Photoshop creator appeals for 'ethical' use

Barry Rueger

OB GIMP disclaimer

Just to get it out of the way, The GIMP is in no way, shape, or form a replacement for Photoshop.

If you're used to the Adobe product GIMP is an exercize in frustration.

And I speak as a semi-regular GIMP user because PS is priced far, far out of my budget these days.

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Nutanix to release 'community version' of its secret software sauce

Barry Rueger

Re: "Secret software sauce"

OK. It's hyper-converged....

"Nutanix hyper-converged solutions marry web-scale engineering with consumer-grade management to simplify every aspect of the IT infrastructure lifecycle and deliver real business benefits."

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Barry Rueger

"Secret software sauce"

Is it too much to ask that the first paragraph of an article include some hint what a product does?

The Great Unwashed of the Internet would appreciate something like "Nutanix, whose software does this, is months away from releasing a free, “community” version..."

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

Barry Rueger

WAT HiFi

My source for audio geek nonsense! http://wathifi.tumblr.com/

““The damn things do lower noise, increase dynamics, remove haze, and open up the top octaves. Once you listen to their effects, even a skeptic like me has to admit that it is hard to take them back out of the system. Music sounds more like music with the Cable Elevators in place. I recommend them strongly, especially given their price!”

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Snowden reveals LEVITATION technique of Canada’s spies

Barry Rueger

What wasn't said...

The Canadian spymasters have been very careful to not say when or if data about "innocent" people is destroyed.

The working assumption is that all of it is being archived indefinitely.

Past experience strongly suggests that it will be cheerfully shared with foriegn goverments, other government agencies, and the inevitable "North Korean hacker."

We have truly reached the point where the only rational assumption is that everything that you do on-line is being watched, recorded, and can be used against you years or decades later.

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Facebook, Instagram, Tinder TITSUP*: HOW did anyone even find out?

Barry Rueger

#PrayForFacebook

As usual, Twitter is the place to be.

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Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Barry Rueger

Re: Call filtering

Years ago I figured out that a call coming from a toll-free number, or a blocked number, or no ID at all, is one that can safely be ignored.

If, by some miracle, it's a call that I actually would have wanted, they'll leave voice-mail.

To me a phone call with no proper ID is the equivalent to an email that has been spam filtered - the only way I'll bother to look at it is if it can give some real evidence that it's worth my time.

I'm not alone - if you've ever worked for a polling company you'll know that significant portion of the telephonic population simply don't answer any call that they don't recognize on Caller ID.

(Note: the term "land line" is a bit much these days, at least in Canada, where large chunks of the population get their "home phone" from a cable TV company or other non-copper provider.)

(And yeah, we get shafted by all phone companies, repeatedly and with great passion. My favourite is a voicemail package that only allows three messages at a time, forcing you to cough up $5 or $10 a month for a "real" mailbox.")

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Facebook poaches design talent from Toronto firm – fate of staff unknown

Barry Rueger

Evil Corp Speak

We also needed to consider the impact on the people who work with us. If the company wasn’t realising its potential, employee growth would begin to stagnate. Could another company give our co-worker’s greater professional and economic opportunities than we could on our own?

Um, in other words, "Hey, we're out of here, and it's your problem to find another job!"

Remember folks, be sure to stock up on Post-It notes, staplers, and copy paper as you're whisked out the door!

(and that's ignoring the rather ominous misuse of an apostrophe.)

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Fujitsu: Slide your fingertip through our ring piece and show mice the finger

Barry Rueger

Fu-who?

Am I alone in reading this and saying,"Fujitsu? They're still around?"

My first laptop was a Fujitsu, a real tank, running a 486 chip as I recall, but I can't recall seeing a Fujitsu product since then.

But apparently they're still going strong!

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Checkmate, GoDaddy – Google starts flogging dot-word domain names

Barry Rueger

Kudos to Google

Or anyone who can take GoDaddy down a few notches. I don't expect that I need to list all of the ways that GoDaddy fails its customers, or its penchant for using half naked women to flog web hosting.

Suffice to say that anything that drives GoDaddy into the dust is fine by me.

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This boat can move 234,989 cubic pink elephants! (honest)

Barry Rueger

Wipes tiny tear from eye...

I am so proud, and would like to thank all of the little people....

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20 years on: The satirist's satirist Peter Cook remembered

Barry Rueger

Re: Lobsters...

More years ago than can be counted a bartender pal played me that record. I have never forgot that line....

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Got a 4King big TV? Ready to stream lots of awesome video? Yeah, about that…

Barry Rueger

Same old story

I recall the days when people were adamant that sigs should be no more than three lines long because there wasn't enough capacity to "waste" it on unneeded characters.

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Marriott: The TRUTH about personal Wi-Fi hotel jam bid

Barry Rueger

Dear Marriot

Lord almighty. Just once can't a corporation have the balls to say "Because we're greedy, that's why."

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THREE MILLION Moonpig accounts exposed by flaw

Barry Rueger

Basic Good Manners

Wow. This is really the time when a reassuring notice on your web site is good PR move.

Even if you don't admit liability, it's good practice to at least acknowledge that there's been a problem and offer some reassurance that you're fixing it.

Or, like Moonpig, you can just pretend that it never happened....

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The Shock of the New: The Register redesign update 4

Barry Rueger

oooh! Mobile!

Late in the game I've discovered the glory of the Reg mobile site - WOW!

Lots of text, little pictures NO ADVERTISING OF ANY SORT, and fast to scan and read headlines.

Essentially, all of the things that are annoying about the new Reg disappear as if by magic.

And all of the things that were annoying about the old site for that matter.

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Barry Rueger

I'm wandering away

Am I alone in finding that I visit and read far fewer stories than in the past?

For whatever reason this new look just doesn't draw me in, and I'm finding that I'm just not enticed to scroll down through all of the great swaths of white space.

In other words, because I can see only four stories in their entirety when I visit, I don't tend to look any further. More stories visible without scrolling = more pages visited.

I'd love to see how visitor metrics have changed.

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QWERTY-tastic BlackBerry Classic actually a classic

Barry Rueger

Tempting but...

Just switched back from a BlackBerry Z10 to Android.

I really, really miss the superb BB writing tools. It was the first on-screen keyboard that actually worked for me, and the predictive text was nothing short of brilliant after less than an hour.

In short, if writing long or complex messages you really do want a BlackBerry - Android is painful by comparison. REALLY painful.

But, and they are big buts....

BlackBerry's integration with Google services is pathetic.

Have a nice big contact list with lots of custom tags? Not only will your BlackBerry do a piss poor job of working with it, it will also change records with no warning.

Other common Google services may or may not work, and some can only be got at via the browser.

Android apps? I guess you no longer need to side load them, but there's no way of knowing which of them will work properly - especially those that rely on Google integration.

This matters because the pool of BlackBerry native apps is tiny, very tiny, and most of them are at least one or two generations behind the Android versions.

If you're a Linux user be warned: BlackBerry offers you nothing. If you don't run a PC or Apple box you're out of luck.

On my system I could access only the SD card via USB, and only the internal storage via wifi - via a strange and convoluted trick not for the fainthearted. I won't speculate about the logic behind that.

Because I run Linux there was no possible way to back up the device.

I found that many of the frequently changed settings (like turning on USB file access every single time you plugged in.) were buried many steps down odd and unintuitive menus.

And BlackBerry has what has to be the least understandable icon set yet imagined.

At this point what I really what is to see somone rip out all of BlackBerry's text handling tools and graft them onto Android.

I'd pay real money for that.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Barry Rueger

Re: Crap Crap Crap Crap

Actaully, I'll admit that it could be worse.

They could abandon the forums and install Disqus instead.

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Barry Rueger
Paris Hilton

Crap Crap Crap Crap

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.)

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BlackBerry's turnaround relies on a secret weapon: Its own network

Barry Rueger

Selling to Grown Ups

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.

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In a mall at the weekend? WORSE STILL, are you LOST?

Barry Rueger

Happy Happy Joy Joy

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?"

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